Wednesday, May 20, 2015

R.I.P. Daevid Allen & May 2015 Gong News/Tour Update

R.I.P. Daevid Allen
13, 1938 — March 13, 2015

Photo courtesy of Sergio Amadori
Late last winter, on March 13, 2015, guitarist, vocalist, & pataphysical icon Daevid Allen died after an extended fight with cancer. A creative musical catalyst, Daevid was a key figure in the founding of some of the 20th century's most innovative rock bands, including Soft Machine and Gong. His music pushed the boundaries of pop music, psychedelia and art, and he expanded the technical possibilities of his instruments, inventing the "glissando guitar" technique and experimenting with tape loops and musique concrete.

Cuneiform worked with Daevid on the 2004 release of Jet Propelled Photographs by University of Errors, one of his last bands. The album featured University of Errors performing new versions of songs that Daevid played on when he was a member of Soft Machine in 1966-67. All Music Guide noted that “There's nothing musty and quaint about any of the music on this CD. It's still strangely compelling 40 years later, and for this, Allen certainly deserves some major credit.” Daevid was a creative genius, continually, ceaselessly transforming what existed into what it could be, into something new
Daevid also performed on a bonus track (#8) on another Cuneiform album, The Gift Of Purpose by the trio Bonereleased by Cuneiform in 2010 as a benefit album for Hugh Hopper's family following Hugh's death. In 2014, Daevid did a brief interview, which Cuneiform arranged, with the curator of a William Burroughs exhibit. Daevid remained involved with edgy, creative music until the end, performing with his beloved Gong until shortly before his death. He is missed by countless fans, friends, and fellow musicians, worldwide.

More Daevid Allen information

Gong Website / Fan website:

May 2015 Gong News Update: 

In May 2015, Daevid's band Gong confirmed that they would continue in his absence, as he had desired, with guitarist Kavus Torabi (member of Cuneiform band Guapo, and leader of Knifeworld) as Daevid's designated frontman. Gong announced a 5-date UK for October 2015.  See "Gong 2015 are 'exactly what Daevid wanted'. Frontman Kavus Torabi explains current lineup's determination to continue"– Martin Kielty, Classic Rock Magazine, 18 May 2015.

Gong: You Can’t Kill Me 2015 UK tour dates
Oct 20: Bilston Robin 2
Oct 21: London Dingwalls
Oct 22: Leicester Musician
Oct 23: Glasgow Audio
Oct 24: Manchester Band On The Wall

Daevid Allen Obituaries/Memorials: a Brief Sampling

“Daevid Allen: The original anti-establishment hippie remembered.” Everett True. The Guardian. 13 March 2015.

“Gong, Soft Machine Founder Daevid Allen Dead at 77.” Daniel Kreps. RollingStone. 13 March 2015.

“Daevid Allen, Founder of Gong and Soft Machine, Dead at 77.” Evan Minsker. Pitchfork. 13 March 2015.

“Daevid Allen, Guitarist, Singer and Founder of Gong and Soft Machine, Dies at 77.” Peter Keepnews. The New York Times. 16 March 2015.

“Remembering Daevid Allen, co-founder of Soft Machine and Gong.” Randall Roberts. Los Angeles Times. 13 March 2015.

“Daevid Allen Dead at 77.” Martin Kielty. Prog. 13 March 2015.

“Daevid Allen dies aged 77.” The Wire.18 March 2015.

“Daevid Allen: 1938-2015.” Phil Alexander. MOJO Magazine. 13 March 2015.

“Daevid Allen dies aged 77.” Michael Bonner. Uncut Magazine. 13 March 2015.

Monday, May 18, 2015

R.I.P. Mike King, Sound Engineer & Owner of Reel Recordings

 In Memory of Mike King:
March 13, 1957-March 2, 2015

Mike King in Canada, early 2000s. Courtesy of Hailey King.
British Jazz and beyond has lost one of its most passionate advocates: Michael King, a globally-respected and uniquely talented sound engineer, producer, tape restorer, researcher/historian/writer, and the head of the record label Reel Recordings. Mike committed suicide on March 2nd, 2015 in Hamilton, Ontario, two weeks before his 58th birthday.

Mike King was a Canadian sound engineer, tape restorer, and fan of British music who devoted his professional career to unearthing, restoring, and/or assisting the commercial release of previously unreleased recordings by many of the key figures in Britain's avant-garde jazz underground of the 1960's, 1970s and 1980s. He was a true sonic archaeologist, determinedly researching forgotten archives and pursuing lost tapes; an Indiana Jones audiophile explorer who was absolutely smitten by music and the romance of unearthing sonic treasure. 

As those lucky enough to receive his voluminous letters and emails could attest, Mike also loved the written word. He was author of Wrong Movements: A Robert Wyatt History (1994), the very first book published about one of Britain's most beloved but under-documented musicians. Compiling a treasure trove of Wyatt information for the first time, it paved the way for subsequent film documentaries and printed biographies. (Facelift's comments on Wrong Movements:

Mike King & Robert Wyatt. Alfie Benge, Photographer.
Courtesy of Hailey King

Highly personable and intelligent, Mike was a fascinating conversationalist, with a remarkable memory for musical details and events of all-and-every kind having to do with the British jazz, prog and improv music that he loved. His sweet personality and social skills surely aided his archival hunts, and Mike uncovered fascinating musical finds in the most unlikely places. Many of the analogue tapes that he and his fellow music archeologists unearthed were ravaged by time and/or bad storage, and Mike felt duty-bound to bring them back to health. He taught himself techniques – and developed new, uniquely personal methods of which he was deservedly proud – to restore these sonic gems to their original luster, and soon he was restoring not only tapes that he'd found, but discoveries made by others as word of his restoration skills spread. He was passionate about sharing these discoveries with the world, making sure that such formerly lost music would be released on recordings to be preserved for posterity. 

Mike and Steve Feigenbaum, Cuneiform Records' head, were friends for over three decades. They shared a love for the same British musics, and a passion for shining new light on and releasing forgotten music to the public, and over the decades they collaborated in various ways on numerous projects. Sometimes, Mike worked with Cuneiform to release something he had found; sometimes, they shared information about tapes; and at other times, he helped Steve to restore archival tapes that Steve found in his own research.

Mike worked on an extensive number of Cuneiform albums, serving in varying capacities as mastering engineer, researcher, archivist, and/or producer. Some of the biggest Cuneiform projects that he worked on include: Soft Machine’s album, Middle Earth Masters, in which he was the mastering engineer, researcher, producer, and restorer of the tapes; Gary Windo’s Anglo American, in which Mike was the mastering engineer, researcher, and restorer of the tapes; John Surman’s Way Back When, in which Mike once again was the mastering engineer and tape restorer; Delivery’s Fools Meeting, where Mike was the mastering engineer, tape restorer and researcher; The Story So Far / Coxhill Miller by Steve Miller / Lol Coxhill, in which Mike was the mastering engineer, tape restorer, and researcher; Old Stuff by New York Art Quartet, in which Mike was the mastering engineer; and the 2015 release of Dawn by Mike Osborne, in which he was the mastering engineer, researcher, tape restorer, and producer. And Mike served as mastering engineer and sound restorer for the "Holy Grail" of Robert Wyatt recordings: the long-lost tapes that Wyatt recorded in 1968 while at the Jim Hendrix Experience house, which Cuneiform released in 2013 (the year Wyatt turned 68) as '68  (Wyatt's own cleverly-chosen title for the release). Note that this is only a small listing of the collaborations between Cuneiform and Mike. 

In 2007, Mike and his second wife, Miki, founded their own record label, Reel Recordings, which they referred to as a "Label of Love." While releasing the music that he loved on Reel Recordings, Mike continued to restore archival tapes for Cuneiform and other labels. In 2012, after releasing 20 archival recordings of British jazz, Mike and Miki brought Reel Recordings to a close. (See below for a list of Reel Recordings' releases).

In August 2014, Mike visited us for more than a week in Silver Spring, staying at our house and spending time in our offices, where he set up his restoration equipment to work on tapes he was restoring for a British label. Mike was looking ahead, positive about the future, and told us of his plans to start a new label, called Jazz in Britain. Mike firmly believed and frequently expounded that "Music is Analogue" (a slogan he used for his email address), but he now recognized that record labels had to also embrace digital to survive in the 21st Century. Thus also while staying at Cuneiform, our staff member Javier introduced him to the workings of Bandcamp and other digital sites, and I encouraged him set up a Twitter account for Jazz in Britain.

Mike was also looking forward to travelling to Europe again, to re-immerse himself in the live music that he loved. In September, after seeing his children in Pennsylvania and returning to Canada, he flew oversees. Mike attended Italy's Talos Festival and fell in love with that country's culture, as a letter to his daughter Hailey attests:   Following Italy, Mike traveled to the UK, visiting musician friends. He then returned to North America.

We are honored and so very lucky to have had the opportunity of having Mike as a friend and collaborator. His talent, hard work, and passion for music not only led to incredible releases on Reel Recordings, Cuneiform Records, Ogun and other labels, but also to memories and music that the  whole world could then share. He dedicated his life to the music that he loved, for the benefit of all.

Mike King was born on March 13th, 1957 in Toronto, Ontario—Canada's largest English-speaking city. He was the eldest of 6 children of Herbert King and the late Joan O'Hara King, and attended schools in Toronto. In 1983, Mike married his first wife, Lori Train, and they had two children – a daughter, Hailey Emma, and a son, Ryan Wesley. After they divorced, Lori and the children emigrated to the USA. Mike moved from Toronto to Dundas, Ontario, where he set down new roots with Miki (Fran Dandy). The two bought a house together in 2000, and on August 5, 2006 they got married in their Dundas home. Mike was stepfather to Miki's 4 children: David, Danny, Will and Sarah. At their home in Dundas, he and Miki adopted two dogs that they adored: Scooter, a howling beagle, and Rufus, named after jazz bagpiper Rufus Harley. 

Mike King playing sax in Dundas. Photo by Miki King. "We shared a great love of all things music...from birdsong to street performers to jazz in a small club, to Burt Bacharach at Roy Thompson Hall," recalls Miki.
Mike was a beloved father, and his daughter Hailey King has set up a Facebook page in Mike' memory, called "Memories of Mike King," to give information on public memorial services or events; and to provide a place for Mike's friends and colleagues to write down their memories. You can visit "Memories of Mike King" here:

Mike's widow Miki Dandy is assembling a Facebook page for Reel Recordings, featuring a history of the the label, memories of the artists whom they worked with over the years, and her gratitude for all those who supported their "Label of Love: Reel Recordings." You can visit Miki's Facebook page for Mike here:

Please contact us if you need addresses for Mike's children, Hailey and Ryan, in America, and for Miki and his stepchildren David, Danny, Will and Sarah in Canada.

A service for Mike King will be held on May 30, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. To share memories with Mike's families, and to be informed about upcoming memorials, please consult the Facebook pages for "Memories of Mike King" and "Label of Love: Reel Recordings."
– by Joyce (Nalewajk) Feigenbaum

Steve Feigenbaum's Obituary for Mike King, Originally Posted on Facebook: 
by Steve Feigenbaum
Steve Feigenbaum & Mike King, holding Robert Wyatt '68 lps released in 2013 on Cuneiform.
Mike served as the Mastering Engineer ad sound restorer for '68.

At Cuneiform Casa (Steve & Joyce house), Silver Spring MD, August 2014. Photo by Joyce Feigenbaum.

I knew & was pals with Mike for something like 35 years.

Mike King first came to attention the world as an archivist for the Canterbury and Brit-jazz scenes very early on, writing and publishing the Robert Wyatt chronology "Wrong Movements" in the early 90s, before the internet and doing it the hard, old fashioned way, by visiting and digging through newspaper archives and the accompanying Flotsam Jetsam compilation.
Michael King. Wrong Movements: A Robert Wyatt History
SAF Publishing Ltd: 2001
He was also the point person and introduction for me and for Cuneiform to many musicians and by the mid 90s was compiling and/or producing releases for the label.

[unidentified], Phil Miller & Mike King at Gong Reunion 1994.
Courtesy of Hailey King

By the early 2000s, he had invested in audio equipment and with his fine ear and strong opinions of the right way of doing things, was doing some of the rescuing and technical work necessary to make these recordings releasable or to greatly improve them for us and for other labels.
Photo by Miki Dandy.

In 2007, he launched Reel Recordings, which existed from 2007-2012 and released more than 20 titles.

All in all, he had his hand involved in some way with dozens of our releases. Cuneiform would have been a very, very different label without his help, concern, input, expertise and friendship, and now, going forward without him, it will be a very different label.”
–Steve Feigenbaum, March 2015

Reel Recordings Catalogue:
Titles released by Mike King
Reel Recordings' catalogue: Photo courtesy of Sergio Amadori.
Avant Gardeners by Pam & Gary Windo
Hyde Park Free Concert 1970 by Kevin Ayers And The Whole World
Echoes of Duneden by G.F. Fitz-Gerald & Lol Coxhill
Dreaming Of Glenisla by Ken Hyder’s Talisker
Secret Asylum by Ray Russell
Force Of Nature by Mike Osborne
Steve Miller Trio Meets Elton Dean by Steve Miller Trio and Elton Dean
Al Dente by Soft Heap
What More Can I Say… by Kevin Ayers
Curiosities 1972 by Command All Stars
Crossing Boarders by Bob Downes Open Music
Full Steam Ahead by Harry Miller’s Isipingo
Split The Difference by Splinters
Live At The Union 1966 by Don Rendell Ian Carr Quintet
Radar Favourites by Radar Favourites
Trad Dads, Dirty Boppers And Free Fusioneers: British Jazz 1960 - 1975 by Various
Live At Henie Onstad Art Centre 1971 by Soft Machine
The 100 Club Concert 1979 by Elton Dean’s Ninesense
Double Trouble by Dreamtime
The Poppy-Seed Affair by G.F. Fitz-Gerlad & Lol Coxhill Featuring Ian Hinchcliffe


Mike King at Talos Festival, Italy, Sept. 2014
Photo from Talos Festival Facebook page