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Henry Kaiser

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Poll Question: Which YouTube comment do you agree with?
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HackettFan View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 19 2014 at 13:37
Here is a positive, neutral, and negative comment about Henry Kaiser I found on YouTube, edited for space and chosen for lack of cuss words. I like his playing, but the positive and neutral comments were quite hard to find. The venom over his playing is really quite extraordinary. Time for a PA vote, I think. Which comment most reflects your opinion of Henry Kaiser's playing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Man With Hat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 19 2014 at 14:02
He's a good one. So option #1 for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 19 2014 at 15:09
I'm surprised there are that many people talking about him.  He seems to have been under the radar since the more high profile days of the 80s/90s.  So I wasn't even aware he was a controversial figure at all.  I mean if you like that kind of music (experimental), what objection could one possibly have against him in particular?  And if you don't like that kind of music, how did you come to hear it in the first place?  Maybe I missed something, I dunno.

Anyway, to the point, I have a few albums of his, mostly rock-oriented stuff, and he's quite a player.  Maybe even a virtuoso.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 19 2014 at 15:50
Originally posted by Man With Hat Man With Hat wrote:

He's a good one. So option #1 for me.


Originally posted by HolyMoly HolyMoly wrote:

I'm surprised there are that many people talking about him.  He seems to have been under the radar since the more high profile days of the 80s/90s.  So I wasn't even aware he was a controversial figure at all.  I mean if you like that kind of music (experimental), what objection could one possibly have against him in particular?  And if you don't like that kind of music, how did you come to hear it in the first place?  Maybe I missed something, I dunno.
He makes a fair number of YouTube videos on a variety of topics. I bought an effects pedal that I just love, a Red Panda Particle, after a demo that he did, for instance. I was not specifically searching for "Henry Kaiser" at the time. I figure a lot of non-Prog guitarists or non-Prog music fans came upon him indirectly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 19 2014 at 16:41
Ah. That makes sense, I wasn't aware of those videos.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote octopus-4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2014 at 01:20
Sorry, who is Henry Kaiser?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2014 at 01:35
The only Kaiser related LP I have is a collaboration album by French, Frith, Kaiser and Thompson. It's a great album....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote argybargy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2014 at 03:45
Apart from the collaborations with French, Thompson and Frith he's also done some interesting work with other people. He did an album "The Mistakes" with Mike Keneally, Prairie Prince and Andy West. And also an album called "Invisible Rays" with Trey Gunn and Morgan Agren.  Both are quite rocky with some great instrumental work, some of it improvised I guess , from all the participants.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BarryGlibb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2014 at 03:48
Originally posted by Tom Ozric Tom Ozric wrote:

The only Kaiser related LP I have is a collaboration album by French, Frith, Kaiser and Thompson. It's a great album....


Tom, I reckon you are talking about their album Live, Love, Larf & Loaf I have that as well, and their follow up Invisible Means....two all time favourite albums of mine. Very experimental; wierd, sad, spine tingling and lots of humour as well...... Surfin' USA and Loch Lomond as you've never heard them before, March of The Cosmetic Surgeons, Now That I am Dead (hilarious!) . This quartet has been discussed before and I still don't understand how they are not on PA for those 2 albums.

Kaiser is a avid appreciator of Richard Thompson (the Thompson in the quartet) whose guitar work, both acoustic and electric, are well known....well I assume they are..


Edited by BarryGlibb - June 20 2014 at 03:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Ozric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2014 at 04:54
Why yes, Surfin' USA - total crack-up ........and some more 'serious' pieces as well : Where's The Money?, Drowned Dog Black Night, Tir-Nan-Darag etc.
Naturally, I picked up the LP in the 90's coz it had Frith on it. I did know of Thompson, but the other two folks were lost on me. I don't know what sub-genre they'd be under - perhaps R.I.O. ?? This L,L,L&L album is a winner for sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote octopus-4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2014 at 05:49
I'm honestly ignorant about this guy. Does he deserve a listen?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 20 2014 at 12:16
Originally posted by octopus-4 octopus-4 wrote:

I'm honestly ignorant about this guy. Does he deserve a listen?

Oh, yeah. He's a product of the California scene, was a friend of Frank Zappa from what I understand and probably belongs in the same RIO/Avant sub-genre. Be willing to laugh. He invokes humor in a lot of things. His guitar style is very idiosyncratic and a common component of his style of humor. I get a real kick, for instance, out of his YouTube video, Radio Flyer. Live, Love, Larf and Loaf, which was already mentioned, is a fine recommendation. His pairing with Fred Frith on With Friends Like These... has some pretty avant-garde guitar torture. I don't know what they're doing, but I'm pretty sure it involves in some part scraping stuff with pliers. FYI, Henry Kaiser is also the grandson of the highly rich industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. It is clear from several YouTube comments that that is held against him.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cali_Dreamer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 22 2014 at 00:51
Wait, did I understand that right? You thought Radio Flyer was funny? An example of his humor? How do you figure? Although I thought it was generally a good performance piece, the narrative freaked me out! I mean, WTH, grandson of HJK grows up institutionalized year-round in an abusive military boarding school? It blows my mind.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evolver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2014 at 12:33
I have a bunch of his albums, and love them all.
Very complex, so not for everyone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2014 at 20:47
Originally posted by Cali_Dreamer Cali_Dreamer wrote:

Wait, did I understand that right? You thought Radio Flyer was funny? An example of his humor? How do you figure? Although I thought it was generally a good performance piece, the narrative freaked me out! I mean, WTH, grandson of HJK grows up institutionalized year-round in an abusive military boarding school? It blows my mind.
Point well taken, and shared, but, of course, humour has dealt with many lamentable topics in the past. Please note that the exact opposite sentiment to yours abounds in the YouTube comments. The animosity toward HK pretty well astounds me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mirror Image Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2014 at 21:02
The number two option for me, but I would extend it to say that he's just not my cup of tea.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July 23 2014 at 21:37
Originally posted by Mirror Image Mirror Image wrote:

The number two option for me, but I would extend it to say that he's just not my cup of tea.
Ha! I'm not surprised. I just left the Zappa/Floyd poll. If you're not strong on Zappa, Henry Kaiser indeed probably wouldn't be your cup of tea. Interestingly, there are a couple of Henry Kaiser videos on YouTube that people have trashed in the comments section that were actually Zappa covers. The commenters seemed generally unaware too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cali_Dreamer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 11 2014 at 23:07
I think that's because he does a poor job of his Zappa and Beefheart covers. I found videos of the originals to some of his covers, and they have a melodic quality that his renditions lack. I can't help wondering if he can't hear the difference, or if he deliberately plays them the way he does. If the latter, I don't know what the point is, what he's aiming for. Maybe for him, it's more about experimenting with extreme pedal effects. But I can see why he gets flack for those.

Edited by Cali_Dreamer - August 11 2014 at 23:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2014 at 09:42
Originally posted by Cali_Dreamer Cali_Dreamer wrote:

I think that's because he does a poor job of his Zappa and Beefheart covers. I found videos of the originals to some of his covers, and they have a melodic quality that his renditions lack. I can't help wondering if he can't hear the difference, or if he deliberately plays them the way he does. If the latter, I don't know what the point is, what he's aiming for. Maybe for him, it's more about experimenting with extreme pedal effects. But I can see why he gets flack for those.
He probably is experimenting with extreme foot pedals. They're not pristine covers. They're live practice sessions uploaded to YouTube. The Ship Ahoy cover was done in someone's living room. These YouTube vids are not the equivalent of any album he has put out, and I don't know why anyone would expect it to be. He takes his own liberties, but he's an improviser. I personally like that. I'm an improviser and would take liberties with anything I were to cover too. All that aside, the YouTube comments as I recall seldom both recognize the Zappa cover he's playing and trash it, while many of the comments trash the actual music itself. Other comments trash him for being a "smug a****le" or being the grandson of a rich tycoon. Those commenters tend to also trash the music. There's an asymmetry there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HackettFan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August 12 2014 at 10:29
Originally posted by HackettFan HackettFan wrote:

Originally posted by octopus-4 octopus-4 wrote:

I'm honestly ignorant about this guy. Does he deserve a listen?

Oh, yeah. He's a product of the California scene, was a friend of Frank Zappa from what I understand and probably belongs in the same RIO/Avant sub-genre. Be willing to laugh. He invokes humor in a lot of things. His guitar style is very idiosyncratic and a common component of his style of humor. I get a real kick, for instance, out of his YouTube video, Radio Flyer. Live, Love, Larf and Loaf, which was already mentioned, is a fine recommendation. His pairing with Fred Frith on With Friends Like These... has some pretty avant-garde guitar torture. I don't know what they're doing, but I'm pretty sure it involves in some part scraping stuff with pliers. FYI, Henry Kaiser is also the grandson of the highly rich industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. It is clear from several YouTube comments that that is held against him.

Moose and Salmon is probably his most Avant-Garde, full of squeaks and squeals. I like it, but it would be a hard listen for most. Lemon Fish Tweezer is a highly recommended album of solo guitar improvisations from 1973 to 1991. Where Endless Meets Disappearing is a more recent solo improv album from 2009 that's absolutely beautiful and highly recommended. Requia and Other Improvisations for Guitar Solo is another recent album that I would recommend.
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