Cosmic - 1978
Paradise Frame's self-titled cosmic disco LP is a holy grail of sorts for collectors of the genre. Tracking down one of the few copies of this rare gem will set you back a good two or three hundred bucks and most likely many hours of your time. But Paradise Frame's relative obscurity is nothing when compared with the dearth of information about it out there in cyberspace.
What we do know, apart from its release date and label, is that it was produced by Hugh Dixon, the same Hugh Dixon who recorded three guitar instrumental albums for the Rusticana imprint back in the early 1960s. Dixon also spent a few years as a deejay, during which time he experimented with various effects and techniques and at one point was known as "the guy with the crazy sound".
Allegedly, when Dixon set about recording Paradise Frame in his home studio in Baie d'Urfe, just to the west of Montreal, his sonic intentions were much more of the earthbound sort. It wasn't really until the arrival of engineer Billy Szawlowski (whose swelling resume already included the likes of April Wine, Mahogany Rush and Patsy Gallant) that the record started to take on more of an interstellar sound.
That said, the galactic grooves on Paradise Frame are actually more chill-out than dancefloor...no surprise, I suppose, given the lack of an accompanying twelve-inch single. Much of the record's 4/4 rhythms come speckled with various period references, like minimal guitar riffs, vocoder and of course the sort of cheezy synthesizer that was almost standard issue in late-seventies euroclubs. The obvious standout here is the glistening 'Time Tunnel', a bouncy composition flanked by alternating swirling and percolating synths, and thus surely a classic of the era.
(For those timid types who cower at three-figure price points, the Berlin-based Private Records pressed up 500 copies of Paradise Frame back in 2011, with 200 of those on spacy purple vinyl.)
The Red Squares
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