Compendium Records
– Norway`s First Progressive Record Store & Label 1974-1977

Releasedate: 25.October 2010
Digipack CD 20-page booklet // 2LP vinyl gatefold
Linernotes by Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Frode Holm og Hans Voigt

Plastic Strip is proud to present the first retrospective documentation of Norway`s first alternative record store and progressive label, Compendium Records.

Compendium started out in 1974 as a classic hippie enterprise: a lucky set of circumstances, practically no money and a complete disregard for any and all usual business practices. But the business idea was good. At the time, the price difference between Norway and England for records was quite substantial, and Compendium found out that they could sell the albums cheaper than the other stores by importing directly from England and still make money. After harassing parents and friends for startup capital, they managed to buy 6-7 boxes of the hottest items and put them up for sale in a dilapidated basement in an obscure part of Oslo.

The first crew of Compendium Records consisted of Frode Holm, Gunnar Skogen and Jomar Johansen; all a little bit ‘off center’ from the usual Oslo music scene, in that they all liked to listen to jazz and pretty much any kind of ‘out there’ music, like Frank Zappa and Soft Machine and the whole Cantebury movement.

By 1975, Compendium was in full bloom, to the record companies’ great annoyance, and they had refurbished the basement to include not only a record store, but also a book store, a small coffee room, oriental goods and posters.

After Frode Holm went to see the band Henry Cow perform at Kensington theatre in London and was completely blown away, he invited the band to Oslo to hold a concert at the Henie Onstad Art Centre. The sold out concert was taped and Frode and since the guys wanted to set up a record label, they asked the band if they wanted to release the concert. This recording together with others live tapes from Henry Cow ended up as Compendiums first release, Henry Cow “Concerts”.

Already at the time of Soft Machine concert at the Henie Onstad Art Centre in Oslo in 1971, Frode had met some of the Soft Machines members and in 1976 they met again to discuss recording plans. This concluded with Compendium Records releasing Hugh Hoppers classic ablum, Hoppertunitybox, and Elton Dean/Keith Tippet/Hugh Hopper/Joe Gallivan`s classic fusionjazz album “Cruel But Fair”. Compendium also released the british progressivejazz band Mirage with Brian Godding and different records by Joe Gallivan and Charles Austin.

But Compendium was also releasing allot of Norwegian jazz and progressive rock music. In 1976 they released the album Hi-Fly with Norwegian singer Karin Krog and American jazzmusician Archie Shepp. They also released subliminal albums by the Norwegian groups Saluki, Vanessa and the classic Norwegian group Blow Out, consisting of the Jon Eberson, Sveinung Hovensjø, Jon Christensen and Håkon Graf.

That a small indie label from Norway released albums by such peers as Henry Cow, soft Machine members and Archie Shepp, is nothing but amazing!

In 1977 Compendium closed it doors. The label had by then released ten albums and the store had sold thousands of progressive jazz and rock records to the Norwegian public.

The release is supported by The Norwegian Cultural Council.

CD Tracklist

1. Karin Krog & Archie Shepp “Steam”
2. Vanessa “Street Talk”
3. Dean/Hopper/Tippett/Gallivan “Seven Drones”
4. Charles Austin & Joe Gallivan “Peace in the world”
5. Saluki “Come Down”
6.. Hugh Hopper “Spanish Knee “
7. Intercontinental Express “Human Syndrome”
8. Mirage “Kings Head”
9. Blow out “Watching Everybody Else”
10. Henry Cow “Oslo”

Vinyl Tracklist:

Side A:
1. Karin Krog & Archie Shepp “Steam”
2. Vanessa “Street Talk”
3. Dean/Hopper/Tippett/Gallivan “Seven Drones”

Side B
1. Charles Austin & Joe Gallivan “Peace in the world”
2. Saluki “Come Down”
3. Hugh Hopper “Spanish Knee “

Side C
1. Intercontinental Express “Human Syndrome”
2. Mirage “Kings Head”
3. Blow out “Watching Everybody Else”

Side D
1. Henry Cow “Oslo”