Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Ooh a blast of nasty 60s psych rock brightens up any gloomy Tuesday- this one from Los Angeles' The Chocolate Watchband from fifty years ago this year is as good as any, with fuzz guitars and a snarl.
Let's Talk About Girls
Monday, 30 January 2017
Whoever spliced Allen Ginsberg reading his 1956 poem America with Tom Waits' Closing Time created something beautiful and profound. You can take as much as you want from Ginsberg's poem at the moment.
America (Closing Time)
Sunday, 29 January 2017
A skip back to Friday for today's post. After writing about Death In Vegas' You Disco I Freak a friend on social media pointed me towards this which somehow I had missed. Consequences Of Love remixed by ex-Throbbing Gristlers Chris and Cosey. TG seem to be one of the influences on the Transmission album (and on vocalist Sasha Grey) so it's fitting that they remix one of the songs from it and it's a very good job done indeed- throbbing synths and nagging melodies.
Saturday, 28 January 2017
If you're at a loose end and want something to soundtrack ninety minutes of your life you could do worse than this mix from the Quiet Storm family, a blogmind compilation expertly sequenced by Mark. This one took suggestions of songs inspired by the cosmos, the moon and the stars. It opens with William Shatner, takes in a wide cast of stargazers including Prefab Sprout, Billy Preston, AR Kane, The Upsetters, David Sylvian, Chilly Gonzales, Billy Bragg, Declan O'Rourke, Stereolab, I Am Kloot, Mayer Hawthorne, Sandy Denny and Labelle and finishes with Rutger Hauer and the 'tears in rain' scene from Bladerunner. See if you can guess what I suggested.
And this didn't occur to me at the time but it could have been a fine addition to the mix, Paul Weller dubbed out and spaced out by Brendan Lynch back in 1993.
Kosmos (Lynch Mob Bonus Beats)
Friday, 27 January 2017
The world that seems to be going madder as each day goes by. Watching the news is an exercise in seeing how low one's jaw can drop before spluttering 'whatthefuck whatthefuckingfuck didhejustsay?' One day we'll look back and laugh.
Death In Vegas released an album last year, Transmission, a record that fused minimal techno with the late 70s and early 80s synths, industrial ambient, and the breathy vocals of Sasha Grey. It is an intense, nocturnal, somewhat freaked out collection of songs, that throb and drone and pulse. It draws you in. It is very self contained. This one is especially trippy.
You Disco I Freak
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Jez Kerr, frontman and bass player for A Certain Ratio, has had an on-off solo thing going on for a few years. ACR have signed a deal with Mute and are planning a series of re-releases plus a new album so the solo thing is probably off for the moment but I revisited some of his solo tracks from 2012 recently and there are a couple you might like and may not have heard.
Reason I Feel Like An Alien has a dreamlike melody and an ACR-like vocal but this is more meditative and lost than ACR are. There's another version which is even spacier but I can't find a link to it right now. The video is pretty hypnotic too.
Rip You Right Back rides in on noises and a mechanical rhythm and stays right there, with Jez's monotone vocals sinking over the top. In different ways I can hear the influence of Brian Eno in both songs. The pair are off an album called Numb Mouth Eat Waste which you can still pick up in the usual places.
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
The Hoga Nord record label (of Sweden) is putting out a consistently high standard of tracks and this recent one is no exception. The music makers behind F.A.T.M.A. (or Fatma) are currently a mystery but they are hiding behind a very good track. A track that they have linked to the unsolved assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olaf Palme and thus labelled conspiracy funk.
Just press play and get down.
Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Jaki Liebezeit has died aged 78. There aren't too many drummers- forgive me drummers if I'm showing my ignorance here- who you can say are unique and recognisable. His playing, his rhythms, on Can's records are otherworldly, like nothing else. As well as Can he played with Jah Wobble, Michael Rother and Brian Eno. Again, there aren't many drummers whose name alone makes me want to check out something they played on. Jazz trained, reluctantly pushed into rock 'n' roll in West German beat groups in the 1960s he (and the rest of Can) came up with something entirely new that was also culturally significant. Can were determined to reject all that their fathers had stood for, perhaps more significant in Germany in the 60s than other many countries, and avoid the influence of the USA too. They wanted to make a music which was new and European with the rhythms well to the fore. His Can companion Holger Czukay was asked by a journalist if Jaki was like a drum machine. 'More accurate' he replied.
This footage shows B-Boys poppin' to Can's Vitamin C back in the day.
That is the real deal I believe.
Monday, 23 January 2017
Briefly in 1990 The Beloved made some very good music, perfectly in tune with the times- a run of singles, the 1990 album Happiness and its remixed counterpart from a year later Blissed Out and the not-a-hit It's Alright Now single. This Melody Maker front cover is dated 27th January 1990 and shows where the inkies were at that point- Loop, Carter USM, Baby Ford and The Shamen show the twin pleasures of noisy guitars and the dancefloor while The Cult, Mantronix and Psychic TV bring the mid 80s back. Tanita Tikaram was available for interview twenty seven years ago too.
The Sun Rising is a fast paced, slinky groove with that female vocal sample that Orbital also used (on Belfast). Music made from optimism with a sense of endless possibilities.
The Sun Rising
I chanced upon this NME cutting yesterday too, a review of The Beloved playing the Hacienda (5th March 1990 I think, according to some internet research), supported by local heroes The High and a dj called Andrew Weatherall. I may get around to posting something by him sooner or later.
Sunday, 22 January 2017
'Greetings Gnostic wanderers' are the words Andrew Weatherall uses to welcome us to the first edition of Music's Not For Everyone of 2017. I was going to make a crap joke about Gnostic Wanderers FC still being in the FA Cup. I just have. They're playing away. Think it may go to extra time.
You know what happens here. Weatherall plays records for two hours. You make notes of those you really like and spend your hard earned money on more plastic that you are struggling to store but feel better about for owning. You make mental notes about a few others and an upcoming remix by the man himself- future spending and storage issues. Repeat monthly.
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Are we all still here? I'm assuming that during the night Trump didn't get his horrible, stubby, little fingers on the wrong buttons and start a nuclear war and that I'm alive and you're here reading this. Hopefully that's not a stupid assumption. We are living in strange times.
This Detroit remix of Berlin dub techno came out in 2006, Carl Craig reshaping Rhythm And Sound, with righteous vocals from Bobbo Shanti. It's pretty intense and could easily be twice the length and not outstay its welcome. This sleek, ultra rhythmic, layered techno is really pushing my buttons at the moment. Coming over Barton Bridge last night to something similar on the stereo the south Manchester sky was astonishing, a broad pink band bleeding into bright blue with a few streaks of white cloud and the disappearing sun a vibrant orangey-pink ball. A wheeling arc of birds rose over the retail park. I couldn't photograph it (I was driving) and the view only lasted a few seconds but it was something else.
Poor People Must Work (Carl Craig Remix)
Friday, 20 January 2017
Innersphere's Out Of Body is a 1995 ambient classic- over nine minutes long, a shuffling drumbeat, rippling pianos, squelchy bass, spine tingling stuff all told. It came out on Sabrettes with an Andrew Weatherall remix on the B-side. Weatherall's version is a less optimistic, more paranoid take. There's a high pitched noise that is there more or less all the way through, like a radio not tuned in right, the pianos have been spooked and three quarters of the way through the whole thing turns when a voice asks 'Can I come in please?'
Out Of Body (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Thursday, 19 January 2017
Timothy J Fairplay has a debut album out next month, following a slew of ep and 12" releases over the last couple of years and a stint as an Asphodell. The blurb from Dutch record label Charlois adds several new genres to Timothy's already pretty unique list of musical areas covered- proto techno, horror disco and forlorn wave. The last one, forlorn wave, is a beauty to add to the Stasi disco and rare gloom tags that were my previous favourites. Twelve synth and drum machine tracks over four sides of vinyl, out on February 20th. Things are looking up.
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Ten Fé are a London duo who I'd never heard of until recently. They sound a bit like 80s Cure mixed with 80s Bruce Springsteen. Their new album was recorded in Berlin- often a promising sentence- and is preceded by a remix e.p. This is the one for me, Roman Flugel's remix, a vibrant, hopeful version with juddering bass and synths like daybreak.
Tuesday, 17 January 2017
Chris Mackin (also Chris Rotter of Le Volume Courbe, the live band version of Two Lone Swordsmen and his own Bad Meat Club) shared this over Christmas and then it got lost in amongst all the merrymaking. Eleven and a half minutes of sonic adventuring and dancehall vibes, turning cosmiche at five thirty and then building.
Monday, 16 January 2017
Obscure Monday- as if it hasn't been obscure or obtuse enough here recently. Afrobeat legend and drummer Tony Allen remixed by Berlin techno legend Oswald von Moritz back in 2007 (that's ten years ago now, as if you need reminding that these things are all longer ago than you thought they were). What is this? It's Afro-techno-dub.
That doesn't really do it justice. It's lighter than air, languid poly-rhythmic, Nigerian disco via Deutsch motorik funk with a dubbed out end section.
Ole (A Remix by Moritz von Oswald)
Sunday, 15 January 2017
My posts seem to be getting briefer- maybe I'm running out of ways to talk about music and I don't seem to have any stories to tell either.
Kelly Lee Owens has released some really interesting music in recent years and is gearing up for an album. I first heard her as the voice on some of Daniel Avery's Drone Logic lp and the techno influences are evident in the songs here. There's also some wonky electronic pop going on and a whole load of disorientating echo and wobble.
This one came out two years ago, a tribute to Arthur Russell.
This ep, Oleic, is on Bandcamp, four slices of snare, synth, odd frequencies and voice.
Saturday, 14 January 2017
Friday, 13 January 2017
The Runner by A Certain Ratio is the best, least known song from their mid 80s phase, post-Factory and pre-house. It sort of manages to sound like its caught in between the two as well with a driving rhythm, some discordant brass and some bleeps behind Jez Kerr's dry vocal. It came out on a 12" called Greetings Four on an Italian label, Materiali Soneri, after their appearance at a gig in Italy (and although the single had pictures from the Italian gig on the sleeve the songs were recorded in the less latin surroundings of Rochdale). The single had versions of songs released on Force (Inside, Bootsy and Fever 103), and maybe they're superior versions to the Force versions too, but the real treat is The Runner. The dark, strange funk sound of ACR.
And here, in glorious wobbly VHS form, are ACR live on the telly in 1985 doing Wild Party and Inside (swapping instruments just for fun). On keyboards is Andy Connell who went on to form Swing Out Sister.
Thursday, 12 January 2017
This song, Missing as remixed by Todd Terry, was an enormous hit for Everything But the Girl in 1995. It was ubiquitous. You couldn't leave the house without hearing it. Or stay in the house for that matter. As a result familiarity led to contempt. When I hear it now twenty two years later, especially when played at some volume in a shop say, it sounds good and transports me back to my mid 20s in the mid 90s.
As a song it's a fairly standard and simple remix job, Terry adding on the New York deep house vibes and clattering drumbeat but it works as happy/sad dance music, the upbeat drums against Tracey's vocals and lyrics.
Missing (Club Mix)
Wednesday, 11 January 2017
This should have been posted earlier but I messed the scheduling thing up.
This two hour long mix was presented earlier this month for Radio 1's Essential Mix series. It is two hours of full on, maximum acid house from Detroit originator DJ Pierre (of Phuture) and is utterly superb. If you like this kind of thing. Luckily I do. It starts good and doesn't let up. Squiggle squiggle thump thump thump.
Tuesday, 10 January 2017
A year ago today we woke up to the news that David Bowie had died. After that, the whole year went to shit.
Station To Station is my number one Bowie album, one I've been listening to since a very cold winter in a student house in Childwall, Liverpool in 1989. The album is only six songs long, marking a transition from the Bowie of the USA to the Bowie of Europe, from Young Americans to Low. The influence of West German bands, mechanical rhythms, detachment, the flight to Berlin, the after-effects of years of cocaine use, a Bowie who needed change and to be saved are evident. All this and more- and plenty of things that even now I haven't got under the skin of.
Station To Station
And just after the The Last Five Years documentary finished on Saturday night a new e.p. was released online, the last recordings including this sax and vocals dominated piece No Plan.
Oh look, Newton Electricals...
Monday, 9 January 2017
I know a lot of you went back to work last week but my blue Monday is today. It's not the job- it's everything that goes with it that makes this morning a shock to the system. Early, dark mornings, traffic, late nights...
This is the 1988 version of New Order's best known and most mythologised song. It was re-released to celebrate five years since the original but in a remixed form with Quincy Jones (and John Potoker) at the controls. It's not as good as the 1983 version but it's good enough in its own right and did the business in chart terms (number 3 in the UK) and I like it well enough. The Peter Saville sleeve, not as costly to produce as the 83 diecut version, is a favourite of mine too.
Blue Monday 88 (7")
Sunday, 8 January 2017
Sons And Daughters were a two boy/two girl band from Glasgow, dressed like Johnny Cash and sounding like a roots group gone punk. Taut guitars, crisp drums, Scottish swagger, growls and shrieks in the vocals. I liked their first two albums a lot. They split up a few years ago.
The Emperor Machine is Andrew Meecham, synth enthusiast and producer and formerly a member of Bizarre Inc. In 2012 he remixed Sons And Daughters' Orion and turned it into a long, funky, expansive, in your face, cosmic trip. Eleven minutes and thirty seven seconds of trip.
Orion (Emperor Machine Mix)
Orion is one of the most prominent constellations in the sky, visible across the world, named after Orion the Hunter from Greek mythology. It makes me think of Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty in Bladerunner...
'I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the Shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die'
Saturday, 7 January 2017
Social media has been taking a battering recently. Twitter is full of trolls, Nazis and Donald Trump. Facebook is awash with pictures of cats and kids. Instagram is populated by pictures of celebrities dinners. And yet if you look only at what your friends/people you follow post you can also imagine that the world is made up entirely of people like you. It has its good points though- I got in touch with several people from my past last year which led to real life meetings, which was good. One of them was the young man on the left in the photo above, Darren Jones. We were friends at school, knocked around with the same group of people and then lost touch in the 90s. He was the guitar player in Rig.
When The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays gatecrashed Top Of the Pops and a nations kids began wearing baggy jean and casual wear the record companies sped up north to sign groups. From this second wave of Manchester bands came The High, Northside, Paris Angels, World Of Twist, Intastella, Rig and others. Rig didn't sound like a stereotypical Madchester band- in fact all of the bands listed above sounded pretty different from each other. Rig had an industrial, indie, mutant funk sound and imagined they sounded like a south Mancunian Talking Heads. ACR's Martin Moscrop produced a single. They put out a cover of E.S.G.'s Moody and did a cover of Adolescent Sex by Japan. In 1990 and 1991 they released a handful of singles (and some songs on 'scene' compilation albums). Two of the singles, Big Head and Spank, came out on Dead Dead Good, home of The Charlatans. Through Facebook I found this recently, a remix of their song Dig by DJ Blue which sounds a bit like Tackhead remixed by Weatherall.
This video captures Spank played live in Stockport. After thirty seconds the studio version comes in on the audio, Martin Moscrop at the desk. The funky guitar and fast dub bass sound pretty fresh all these years later and the vocals and sax show that late 70s/early 80s New York art-punk scene coming through.
Friday, 6 January 2017
More early 80s post-punk goth magnificence, 12" version again too, this time Siouxsie in imperious form and the classic Banshees line up of John McGeoch, Steve Severin and Budgie. The band are out of this world here, blood coursing through their veins- thumping tom toms, manic acoustic guitars and psychedelic finger-picked electric ones.
Spellbound (12" Mix)
Thursday, 5 January 2017
23rd of August 2017 according to this poster which also states that 'The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu are currently at work in their light industrial unit.'
K2 Plant Hire twitter here.
Bill Drummond on punk.
PUNK'S NOT DEAD from Penkiln Burn on Vimeo.
I don't have (or need) that many records by The Cure but this 12" single from 1980 is close to perfection. The interplay between bass, drums, keys and flanged guitars with Robert Smiths' anxious vocals work a treat. Post-punk dread as standard.
A Forest (Extended Mix)
Wednesday, 4 January 2017
I was listening to Dexys Midnight Runners on New Year's Day. Not the young soul rebels Dexys of Geno or the misunderstood but not stood down Dexys but the more maligned raggle-taggle gypsy Dexys. This was sparked by two things. Firstly the younger child, now thirteen, singing the chorus of Come On Eileen and me wanting her to get the words right. And secondly a Top Of The Pops repeat from 1982 of the single Let's Get This Straight (From The Start) where Kevin nails perfectly the Celtic soul thing- 50% Celtic and 50% soul. It's also that great thing, a non-album single. While I'm here, although the styling wasn't the best Dexys look, it was memorable and I won't have a bad word said about dungarees (not that I own a pair. I'm 46 for God's sake).
Let's get This Straight (From The Start)
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
I don't know much about this record except it was made by Munich based producer Skee Mask, was one of Daniel Avery's favourite records of last year and it sounds like a beautiful winter. There's an album called Shred which I shall be investigating once I have some money.
Monday, 2 January 2017
Larry Heard aka Fingers Inc. and Mr Fingers doesn't really have anything to prove. His mid 80s house music tunes practically define the scene- Can You Feel It?, Mystery Of Love and Washing Machine. Last year he put out a four track ep in his Mr Fingers guise that showed he still knows where to find it, using undeniably 'classic' sounds but updated. The standout was Qwazars, a circling, pulsing synth riff with a sense of awe and wonder. Music that floats.
Sunday, 1 January 2017
Morning- sorry if you've got a bad head. New Year and all that. It's 2017, a date which once seemed impossibly far off in the future to someone born in 1970.
This blog started seven years ago today, January 1st 2010. I think I had an idea that I'd start off with a song a day and stop at the end of the year. That didn't happen- it just kept going and I'm still here. The best thing about blogging hasn't been the music, though that's nominally what it's all about (and is a huge part of it, sounds old and new that keep our heads spinning and feet moving). The best part is doing something creative that has led to contact and friendships with all of you. So, thanks to everyone who has read this blog at any point over the last seven years and who has dropped in to comment at any point in the same period. That's really what it's all about. More of the same tomorrow and thereafter.
The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Dance