Morgan Fisher has had quite the career. Having been about for 50 odd years, Fisher was with the one hit wonders Love Affair in the ‘60s, moving onto Mott The Hoople and then into ambient and soundtracks with Yoko Ono among others. It is Fisher’s admiration of Erik Satie that inspired Inside Satie - an album of charming improvisations and surreal experimentations. Something Satie himself would have been proud of.
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- Inside Satie by Morgan Fisher
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Born 1866. Died 1925. Reborn 1985: so states the back cover of the sleeve to this interesting and at times wondrous record. Thus incomparably sweetly-born of Morgan Fisher in the mid-80s, this tribute to the much-loved modernist Eric Alfred Leslie Satie (Erik to his Parisian avant-garde mates) arrives on a new slab of vinyl in a glorious screen-printed sleeve. What really shines through on this record is Fisher’s admiration and understanding of the elegant, pretty, no-frills melodies his French hero was renowned for and have, of course, been celebrated widely since.
At the time of these recordings Fisher -- whose unique career trajectory thus far had encompassed roles in sixties beat combo Mott The Hoople; film soundtracking with Yoko Ono and discovering ambient under his Veetdharm guise -- had discovered and tinkered with an impressive array of electronic and electroacoustic instrumentation. Sessions took place in Tokyo in June of ‘85 with Ryo Fukui on co-production duties and Michiaki Saskai at the engineering desk. There are quite a few instruments used by Fisher here, with a range of treatments often bearing compact, dinky, beautiful results.
Some of the names of the toys used here actually sound like you’d imagine they might: of the three versions of Gnossienne #1 here, my favourite has to be the recording made on ‘French Ice Piano’ & ‘Siberian Snow Synthesizer’. Appropriately chilly, nocturnal and lonesome in sound. There are also tracks made with cabaret piano (cute); sugar plum piano (even more cute); German Haiku Pianica (sophisticated continental cafe on a side-street) and the heart-and-homeliness of the ‘family piano : a hint of la-la-la’. And really, these were recorded simply and in a light-hearted way, with hums and soft whistling sometimes audible over the notes; surely the playfully serious Erik himself would have looked on, approvingly from his salon couch.
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