School Daze [VINYL] Double LP
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Vinyl, Double LP, 26 Jan 2015
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Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem have teamed up to release the gay porn soundtrack work of San Francisco-based musician and producer, Patrick Cowley. Perhaps one of the most revolutionary and influential people in the cannon of disco music, Cowley created his own brand of Hi-NRG dance music coined The San Francisco Sound. Born in Buffalo, NY on October 19, 1950, Patrick moved to San Francisco at the age of 21. He studied at the City College of San Francisco where he founded the Electronic Music Lab. During this time Patrick would create radio jingles and electronic pieces using the school s equipment, first a Putney, then an E-MU System and finally a Serge synthesizer. He would make experimental instrumental songs by blending various types of music and adapting them to the synthesizer. By the mid-70 s, Patrick s synthesizer skills landed him a job composing and producing songs for disco superstar Sylvester such as You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) , Dance Disco Heat and Stars. This helped Patrick obtain more work as a remixer and producer. Of particular note was his 18-minute long remix of Donna Summer s I Feel Love and production work with edgy New Wave band Indoor Life. By 1981 Patrick released a string of dance 12 singles, like Menergy and Megatron Man , creating the soundtrack for a generation. Also that year, he founded Megatone Records and released his debut album. Around this time Patrick was hospitalized and diagnosed with a then-unknown illness: that would later be called AIDS. Prior to his passing on November 12, 1982, he recorded two more Hi-NRG hits, Do You Wanna Funk for Sylvester and Right On Target for Paul Parker. In 1981 Patrick was contacted by John Coletti, owner of famed gay porn company Fox Studio in Los Angeles. John had heard about Patrick s music from the legendary Sylvester and proposed he write music for his films. Patrick jumped on this offer and sent reels of his college compositions from the 70s to John in LA. Coletti then used a variable speed oscillator to adjust the pitch and speed of Patrick s songs in-sync with the film scene. School Daze is a collection of Cowley s instrumental songs recorded between 1973 and 1981 found in the Fox Studio vaults. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos and Giorgio Moroder, Patrick forged an electronic sound from his collection of synthesizers, modified guitars and self-constructed equipment. The listener enters a world of dark forbidden vices, introspective and reflective of Patrick s time spent in the bathhouses of San Francisco. The songs on School Daze range from sparse proto-techno to high octane funk to somber post-punk to musique concrete, revealing the depth of Cowley s unique talent. Featuring over 80 minutes of music, this compilation contains soundtrack music from two Fox Studio films, Muscle Up and School Daze , never before released on vinyl. The tapes were restored and transferred using the same speed and pitch settings, then remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. The vinyl comes housed in a glossy dual pocket gatefold featuring classic gay porn imagery from the Fox Studio vaults plus an essay from Indoor Life vocalist, Jorge Soccarras. For Patrick s 63rd birthday, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem present a glimpse into the instrumental world of a young genius. These recordings shine a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon.
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I’ve had this CD playing when friends have come to visit and nearly every one of them remarks about how “strange” or “spooky” the music sounds to them. And you know, there certainly is an eerie thread running through many of these pieces, but they are also very hypnotic and mesmerizing too. Like so much great instrumental music, listening to this CD reveals new layers and nuances almost every time you hear it.
Patrick Cowley may be best known for his dance music, but these recordings prove that he was an extremely skilled and inventive composer of electronic music, one who could have produced even more amazing albums if his life had not been cut tragically short by illness. Thanks to the compilers of this album for giving new life to Patrick Cowley’s music. This one is a definite treat.
I grew up listening to a lot of Alan Parsons Project, and lately I've been getting into synthwave and synthpop stuff. I checked out this disc, and it's just blown me away how much of what I've also liked listening to can be traced back to Patrick Crowley. I've never really heard of him before... dance music, disco etc. are outside my usual interests. I had no idea how much Crowley influenced everything after him. Listening to this is like a history lesson in electronic music. I plan on getting more Crowley discs soon (I already have "Muscle Up" which was recently released by Dark Entries/Honey Soundsystem and is also amazing).
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