April 13, 2012

Mental Sailing

A copy of Beverly De Fries-D'Albert's Mental Sailing: Electronic Music Album Number 1 was found Friday in a university library in the Deep South. The label is Coronet, copyright 1981. De Fries-D'Albert  wears thick, rounded-corner square glasses, and the cover of her album bears a photo of her face superimposed over an Icelandic scene. On the back is a smaller photo of her in which she has long, curly hair and a boyish face. The music is as difficult to describe as any other electronic music, but not unpleasant. At one point on side one, heavy, rhythmic breathing can be heard. Side two offers a guest appearance by Francois D'Albert on violin, who brings a nice angular sound to the mix. It's unclear how De Fries-D'Albert and D'Albert are related. D'Albert appears from his photo on the back cover to be quite a bit older than De Fries-D'Albert. It says in the liner notes that De Fries-D'Albert  received a BFA at the Chicago Art Institute in 1979, and an MA from Governors State University, a school in the Chicago suburbs that no one has ever heard of. D'Albert was an artist-in-residence there. The only information about De Fries-D'Albert that could be found on the internet was that on June 4, 1995, she appeared on Essential Mix - Future Sound of London: Earthbeat Studio Session pt2with a track called "ARP 2500"[Coronet]Very little can be found about D'Albert. On Tuesday, August 6, 1974, he gave a recital at Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana, and before that, in 1960, he advertised his services as a violinist. At an unknown date, he recorded an album called Jeno Hubay LIEDER und VIOLIN MUSIC. Only one copy of Mental Sailing: Electronic Music Album Number 1 could be found on the internet for purchase, a Vinyl LP & CD Album for $93.35. It usually ships in 3-5 weeks. One sold for $35 on Halloween 2010. Back in the early 1980s it was possible to purchase copies directly from De Fries-D'Albert at Monadnock Building, Suite 1664, 53 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL, 60604, or by phone at 312-663-3653, though that information was on the record itself and only available after purchase.

Below is the beginning of side one, "... And the Sea Turned Red ... Forgive Them ..." (1980). It's "dedicated to the thousands of dolphins killed in southwestern Japan -- Iki Island."


  1. Hi, thanks for posting this. A bit of history behind this album. Beverly De Fries-D'Albert (electronic composer) and Francois D'Albert (classical violinist -Died 1999) were married. I know that back in the late 70s early 80's (perhaps later too), Beverly was a professor of electronic composition at Governor's State University in Richton Park Illinois and Francois was a Professor of Violin. I believe that's where they met. I was a teen then and took violin lessons from Francois. He was born in Hungry and had quite a fine career as a solo violinist in his younger days before coming to the US. (By his own claim, the Chicago Symphony once offered him its principal seat but he refused as he held to his independence and pride as a soloist). Anyway, D'Albert held various teaching positions in Europe and the US before he met De-fries late in life, married, and went into semi-retirement in the Chicago South Suburbs. Both De Fries and D'Albert were very proud of this album. I remember at one of my violin lessons, Francois gave me a copy as a gift. I still have it today.

  2. Thanks for your story. It's fun to find something mysterious and then learn more about it. I like the album a lot. If it weren't so rare and expensive, I'd buy it.