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Fischer, William S. – Circles [DIE-CUT SLEEVE; BLACK-ICE VINYL] - New LP
Fischer, William S. – Circles [DIE-CUT SLEEVE; BLACK-ICE VINYL] - New LP
Fischer, William S. – Circles [DIE-CUT SLEEVE; BLACK-ICE VINYL] - New LP
Real Gone / Embryo Records

Fischer, William S. – Circles [DIE-CUT SLEEVE; BLACK-ICE VINYL] - New LP

Regular price $ 22.00 $ 0.00

Flipped out sonic explorations and hard-rockin grooves from 1970, a cauldron of sounds (funk, rock, groove, jazz, soul).  Some of the excess could have been trimmed but who am I to tell someone like this how to do his thing.  While you can connect this with other outfits from this era--Sly Stone, Isaac Hayes, Hendrix, Rotary Connection, Swamp Dogg, Isley Brothers--in the end, this is really its own psychedelic groove/ acid rock fusion thing.  Maybe the closest comparisons come from Detroit: Black Merda, Funkadelic, and Norman Whitfield's psychedelic soul/rock projects (Undisputed Truth, Temptations...), but when this launches into rock, you can't help recall Band of Gypsies (their album had likely just been released when this was recorded), and when this launches into sound explorations, this sometimes connects with Sun Ra, and often connects with the more exploratory yet enjoyable jazz from this period, some CTI, Roland Kirk...and especially with the best of the fusion of this era (or any era) with pioneers such as Larry Coryell, Miles Davis, and Weather Report.  Considering the era, it's easy to see how albums like this can get lost, especially when a Black artist like this refuses to fit neatly into one genre.  The singer is good but certainly not great, doesn't steal the show but also doesn't distract from the main attraction--Fischer's arrangements and the band doing their thing.  While some of the exploration perhaps could have been left off, other times, the sounds are simply stellar.  (Fans of Moog and early analogue electronic will likely dig all of the exploration.) This set might not match the music of this era from the artists mentioned, but often something different from this era doesn't equate to something that's really that interesting or enjoyable, and this one is definitely an oddball from this era that deserves a deep listen...drop the needle and crank it, light up and click off the lights. -- winch (green noise)

Richard S. Ginell: Still riding high in 1970 as a subdued, thoughtful arranger for Herbie Mann, Nat Adderley and other headliners, Fischer was given a flyer by Mann's Embryo label to front a record of his own. The results -- eclectic to a fault, sometimes wildly avant-garde, heavily influenced by the about-to-explode jazz-rock movement -- are not at all what one would expect from this man, who arranged and composed the whole package. The basic band is staffed by guitarists Hugh McCracken and Eric Weissberg, with Ron Carter on electric bass and Billy Cobham revving up the power pack on drums. Three tracks are fronted by serviceable R&B vocals by Bill Robinson; others approach the energy level of jazz-rock and even the ponderous pace of heavy metal. There are also tracks of abstract classical electronic music played by Fischer on an early Moog synthesizer -- one of them, "Capsule," is downright visionary -- and the Moog filters its way into other compositions as well. Only occasionally does the mournful signature string sound of Fischer turn up, courtesy of five cellos. One would liked to have heard Fischer expand upon, refine and hone this direction into some kind of breakthrough, but he left little more than this fascinating obscure LP.

1970 was a time for heady experimentation in popular music, but very few records and even fewer on major labels come close to matching the stylistic ground covered by William S. Fischer's album Circles. African-American composer/ arranger/ keyboardist/ saxophonist Fischer grew up woodshedding with the likes of Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Muddy Waters, and Percy Mayfield and then took a sudden left turn by studying electronic music in Vienna during the mid-'60s. There, he met Joe Zawinul, and ended up penning five of the six tunes on Zawinul's groundbreaking 1968 album The Rise and Fall of the Third Stream. Fischer went on to arrange for Herbie Mann, who signed him to his Embryo imprint for Atlantic Records; Circles was Fischer's one and only release for the label. And he didn't waste the opportunity; an utterly mind-blowing mix of Sly Stone funk, heavy Hendrix-y metal, Southern soul, jazz fusion, and Stockhausen-esque explorations on the Moog synthesizer, Circles enlisted the same band (bassist Ron Carter, guitarists Eric Weissberg and Hugh McCracken) that Fischer had worked with while acting as Musical Director on Eugene McDaniels' underground classic Outlaw, complemented by drummer Billy Cobham and a five-piece cello section. With a line-up like that, it's little wonder that the artistic reach of Circles is breathtaking, but it somehow manages to cohere according to its own internal, crazy logic; it remains one of the most adventuresome releases of its day. For this, its first-ever vinyl reissue, we've pressed 2000 copies in 'black ice' vinyl, preserved the original 'circle' cut-out stencil cover, and added liner notes by Peter Relic that feature quotes from Fischer himself. For the intrepid listener!

Side One

1. Patience Is Virtue
2. Saigon
3. Electrix
4. Chains

Side Two

1. There’s a Light That Shines
2. Circle
3. Green Forever
4. Capsule

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