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ESCAPADE / ESCAPADE - HISTORY

Escapade & related projects 
American 1990s+ experimental free-rock/space-rock band


Auricle releases...

It's a strange phenomenon, in that most of the best experimental instrumental rock bands of the past couple of decades have been American. It all seemed to start with Djam Karet, and then later we had Atavism Of Twilight, Cul de Sac, Mushroom, SubArachnoid Space, Melting Euphoria, Davis Redford Triad, etc. There have been numerous others that have done one-offs and then disappeared, but it's these bands that have continued on with numerous albums to their credit that have in essence created what seems to be a "scene" focused on the music instigated by the likes of Ya Ho Wah, Man, Ash Ra Tempel, and such-like back in the 1970s. But, it's not really a scene as such, in that the USA is now such a big population base, and it's far easier today to "do your own thing" that it's inevitable such music is bound to appear wherever like-minded people decide to jam and have so much fun doing it. But, amongst all these bands one that has really shone without getting the real media attention they deserved was Escapade.

    Formed in New York (February 1996) by Hadley Kahn (drums), Christian Doscher (guitar), Joey Murphy (bass), Paul Hilzinger and John Ortega (keyboards, electronics), little is known about any of the musicians history before that. In the Escapade interview in Audion #51 Hadley was quite cagey about his earlier history. The earliest known document of Hadley playing drums in a band is Drunken Boat in 1991. Most of the other members were unknown on the scene before Escapade. The brothers Rob and Russell Giffen, who joined in 2002 previously worked as the experimental synth duo Everything Must Go, but in Escapade donned the roles of guitar and bass. As far as connections went, that was it, Escapade were pretty much an island unto themselves following a unique path, and a repertoire that was nigh on all improvised throughout their history, except for the one Pink Floyd cover that is.

    I first reported on Escapade in Audion #37 (Spring 1997) reviewing their SEARCHING FOR THE ELUSIVE RAINBOW, about which I said "A step on from early Djam Karet, with a smattering of Ozrics and a lot of Krautrock type energy, Escapade are yet another American band that have done the wise thing. Yes, they've gone against convention, avoided songs, avoided normal rules, deciding to just whip-it-out, and whip it good! More than anyone else, Escapade remind me of an obscure early-80's USA band called Ra Can Row, but with a much greater degree of improvisation. I could draw in lots of comparisons if I wanted to, though most would be superficial. It's just great guitar with great bass and drums backing, good old "acid-jam" if you like. A personal concert in your living room! After that it was hard to come up with new superlatives. In my CITRUS CLOUD COVER review I said they treat us with a massive 2CD slab of jamming that sizzles as it trundles off into space! ...with... nimble slightly funky bass, guitars that bridge John McLaughlin and Syd Barrett stylisms, flowery yet solid drums, and superb interaction. ... making them a kind of modern hybrid of classic Guru Guru and Hawkwind ... another classic album, full of riffs and drifts, fiery drives and sizzling solos. Do I really need to say more?

 

We were so impressed with Escapade that eventually we even released a CD by them ourselves: IF/OR in 2007, a 75 copy edition which documents an early live recording. That's out of print, but will be posted on Bandcamp for reference. We later negotiated some more releases (which are currently available here) in an attempt to keep the spirit of the band alive. OBSCURED DIALOGUES is remastered issue of an early CDR release that had been out of print since its very limited release 20 years earlier. We also issued an all new collection of out-takes, specially selected by Hadley called SO YOU KNOW with recordings from 1996 to 2004.

 

Also documented in this Escapade section, for convenience, is our reissue of a little-known collaboration Hadley did with guitarist (multi-instrumentalist), F/i & Vocokesh member Richard Franecki from 2004, which is also really out there and creative stuff, covering a wider range of styles than just space-rock, and a gem that really deserves a listen.

discography...

Escapade
SEARCHING FOR THE ELUSIVE RAINBOW - CD Mother West mwr030896 (1996)
INNER TRANSLUCENCE ‎- CD Mother West mwr010497 (1997)
OBSCURED DIALOGUES - CDR Mother West mwr0107097 (1997), CDR Auricle AMCDR 232 (2017)
CITRUS CLOUD COVER ‎‎- 2CD Mother West mwr010698 (1998)
DUE TO A FAULTY PREMONITION ‎- CD Mother West mw011299 (1999)
REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS UNKNOWN - CD Mother West mwr0045 (2000)
RULE #3 ‎- CD Submergence SUB-5004 (2002)
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE / ESCAPADE: A THOUSAND SHADES OF GREY - CD Fünfundvierzig142 (2003)
IF/OR - CDR Auricle AMCDR 056 (2004)
BUT DISTRACTIONS ABOUND ‎- CD
Submergence SUB-5008 (2006)
JUST WHEN, JUST HOW ‎- CDR private (2006)
SO YOU KNOW ‎- CDR Auricle AMCDR 241 (2017)

original Escapade tracks on other releases...
TURN CENTURY TURN - CD Mother West mwr010499 (1999)
track: Under An Intrusive Glare
FLUORESCENT TUNNELVISION ‎- CD Submergence SUB-0047 (2001)
track: Warningless
TRYPTAPHONIC MIND EXPLOSION ‎- CD Mandragora Records MR011 (2002)
track: It Gets Banished Forever
HALL OF MIRRORS ‎- 2CD Emperor Jones ej69 (2005)
track: 4'33

Richard Franecki & Hadley Kahn...
EEMN
- CDR Slippy Town SLIPT025 (2004), Auricle AMCDR 233 (2017)

Escapade reviews in Audion - #37/30, #38/32, #39/28, #41/32, #42/43, #43/31, #44/31, #46/39, #51/10-11, #54/8

 

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