John Lafia - 1980-1985 2xLP (Discos Transgénero, 2019)
"Active in Los Angeles’ 1980-1986 underground music scene, John Lafia is best known for the hypnotic album Prayers, released through Barry Craig’s influential, cassette-only label Trance Port Tapes. "Life Is Short", "A Promise", “Dream", “Hidden Things", "Spaghetti Western", and "Escape" come from that release.
This compilation also features tracks from subsequent Trance Port releases: LA Mantra 2 ’s "Queen Of The Nile" and Phantom Takes’ "The Moth". John’s “Odyssey Girls” appeared on the seminal 1983 spoken word LP, English As A Second Language. “The Confession,” a collaboration with legendary producer Ethan James, was released on 1986’s LP, Voices From North America. While recording this music, Hollywood-based John also dreamt of making his own films.
To support himself, he intermittently crewed on low-budget movies, including fellow UCLA Film School alumni, Alex Cox’s infamous Repo Man. Cinematic influence comes to the fore in titles such as, “Spaghetti Western”, “Queen Of The Nile”, “Escape”, and “Hidden Things”. Working alone endlessly in his home studio, John used the recording environment as a launching pad for exploring his uncensored psyche’s furthest dimensions. Hours of repetitive rhythms often transported him into trance-like states.
Tracks “Propaganda” and “Art Of The Jungle” exemplify this technique. Others, “4AM”, “Doubt”, and “Montgomery Park”, are miniature psychodramas (replete with three-act structures). Songs "Life Is Short", and "Dream" grapple with life’s fragile and unknowable essence. "The Moth", "Fourth Of July", and "SOS", are sonic journeys into trance-like repetition.
This intensely personal music never intended to "find" an audience; it was a means in and of itself. Its decades-later rebirth in this compilation is a joyous surprise." - DT