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FROLK HAVEN-At The Apex Of High
ORIGINAL PRIVATE 1972 PRESS,
EXCEEDINGLY RARE British private pressing LP from 1972 by Frolk Haven, “At the Apex of High” – a true homemade college kids low budget pressing if there ever was one. Now if you can get past the crude cover art, the Randy Tuten For Beginners band logo (5 years after the fact), and song titles like “Zonation of Galactic Cosmoidal Entities” (a real toe tapper, that one!) and “Idiomatic Interlude”, you’ll notice that the drummer on this album is none other than a young, gangly and downright scrawny Stuart Barfalonius Copeland – that’s right, the SAME Stuart Copeland who would later go on to worldwide fame as the drummer for Klark Kent. And that other band…what were they called? Oh yeah, the Police. And while you won’t find anything even close to “Roxanne” or “Hole in My Life” on Frolk Haven’s LP, you WILL be surprised that this is Stuart’s teen band and not Sting’s, because of the crazed mental spastic jazz fusion the band lays down all over this thing. Okay, so technically the post-Police Sting favored the mellow cocktail lounge jazz vibe, whereas his buddy Stuart prefers a kind of intense cosmic freakout jazz, like King Crimson colliding with Captain Beefheart as performed by epileptics. The opening track begins with some intense thrashing and burning, and so much dissonance it comes out overdriven through their little Radio Shack Tandy mixing board – Stuart’s flailing drums are double tracked, the vocals are oddly distorted (probably unintentionally), and you can actually hear the guys playing with the production board controls. It’s like King Crimson’s “RED” played by the Shaggs, and goes on for a patience-trying 12 and a half minutes. And they call it “Oracle of Delphi” too…go figure. After this dubious opening, things get better with the spacy jazz freakout “Cyclation”, which features some great wah wah guitar action. And much, MUCH better when the interstellar overdrive kicks in on “Zonation”, a series of monklike chants over an oscillating sine wave and some heady space synth and moog FX, which proves that at least ONE member of the Police owned a copy of “Ummagumma.” The freakishly demented “Back Up!” sounds like Captain Beefheart attempting to cover “Purple Haze” on open mike night. Over some squealing freeform saxophone and some heavily distorted buzzing fuzz guitar, the rantings of lead vocalist and guitarist Charles Hugo Nowak “Zilch” Ostman II play like a Village beat poet reciting the high school yearbook musings of a young Gene Roddenberry: “Dance to the rhythm of the paisley skies – Out of the mist, what is that I see? A stray time warp coming straight at me, and all the colors before my eyes…Back up, back up! This is a nightmare!” Perhaps this strange, mystifying album is best summed up by a line from “Quest” – “This is the only window that faces the cortex of the mind.” Whatever that means, I don’t doubt that THEY fully believe it. Both Stuart and Charles were in college in England when they recorded this bizarre homemade album – but make no mistake, this is NO lo-fi basement garage band. These are the musings of a couple of honor roll students heavily into Star Trek, the Outer Limits, free jazz and Captain Beefheart. And to think 11 years later, our little Stuart (now spelled “Stewart”) would be professing his attraction to a sassy Russian military woman in an ill-fitting uniform. Now I ask you, is that REALLY musical progression?1972 private pressing from the UK – needless to say, this has NOT been reissued and probably never will be.
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