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The ALEX VAN STARREX Website


THE GREAT UNKNOWNS


INTRODUCTION

This "band" was just a (variable) group of local guys that my brothers Rudi and Johan used to occasionally jam with, while I was away working in the country. I joined in, start recording the sessions and virtually took over most of the proceedings - edging Rudi out along the way (since I never like his playing). I started played with them around 1981 and by 1983 everyone had lost interest. My solo "guitar" albums stemmed from (unsuccessful) attempts to compose music for this group.

NOTE: I am in the process of trying to remaster all the "Great Unknowns" recordings - for improved tape-stability and sound-quality.

ORIGINAL MUSIC CDs & CDRsAVS & JVS - 1981

Any reservations I have about these discs are noted in italics. Example songs - available in RealAudio - are noted in orange, and appear at the bottom of this page.

- The Unknowns - Compilation#1: This is a compilation of 1980-82 band recordings - instrumental jams, improvisations and a few "live" (party) tracks - including Freakout - that I made in 1986, and just transferred to CD - a better sounding recording is possible. There's nothing resembling a finished song here - everything was done on the spur of the moment. The music is in a variety of styles - rock, swing, funk and experimental.

- The Unknowns - Second Helping: This disc contains "band" performances from 1980-1981 not already featured in "Compilation#1". I didn't directly go to the original "master tapes" for these songs, as I had to include quite a number of rarities that I don't have the masters of. This is a more diverse collection of music, at least for me - since I (alternately) play guitar, bass, synthesiser and drums on the tracks.

- The Peace To Apocalypse Jam: This was recorded sometime in 1981 or 1982, with myself and (brother) Johan, plus Jeff and (occasionally) Phil Moore. It's the first "complete" jam to be remastered since it was the longest (I had to cut about 6.5 minutes to fit it on a 74-minute CD). I alternate between "bass" (possibly played on guitar), lead guitar and (pretty awful) drums. On a sadder note, this was probably the last main jam that we had, as I knew our impromptu "band" was breaking up - the music is harsh, discordant and often almost unlistenable.

- The Infamous Party Tape: (see "Freakout" below) Recorded by an audience member at one of the band's few live gigs (probably the unknown - and over-enthusiastic maracca player) .We'd rehearsed thoroughly and would have been fine but for the the influence of various mind-altering substances available. Freakout comes from this session. The sound quality is OK, and the band is augmented at various times by additional/alternate musicians - on piano, guitar, bass, drums and percussion. I alternate between bass and lead guitar.

- Before & After: A middle-range jam (neither good nor bad), with some interesting bits.

- Strange Songs: Bizarre, mostly tune-less songs - though almost all have vocals.

- Piano Jam: Jam at Danny Rogan's place - Danny is on (barely audible) piano. I play (right-handed) bass for much of the jam, before switching to lead guitar - though I do a nice, extended piano solo at the end. Another middle-range jam.

- Trio Jams: Some of the best jams, though there were/are problems with the old, deteriorating tape and bad sound. At the end is a 17-minute track where we just go nuts on percussion and occasional piano.

- A Broken Record: A great jam, though this tape was in the worst condition - there are several breakdowns and screeching noises.

- In Search of Bass: Two jams without a bass player. Both have poor sound, and the second jam - with a "substitute" drummer is pretty awful.

- Stone-Age Funk: Pretty amazing, though I play fake-bass (by guitar with auto-wah) throughout - there is no AVS lead-guitar playing.

FUTURE RELEASES

SOME

REAL AUDIO FILE TO STREAM/DOWNLOAD (RealPlayer required to play this)

This file is highly compressed and in mono - the original recording sounds much better.

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URL: http://homepages.tig.com.au/~avanstar
EMAIL:
avanstar@tig.com.au
Alex Van Starrex