Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Sunday, 29 March 2020

A Star... In The Sky

The International Space Station has been passing overhead recently, clearly visible in the clear night sky. There's something very serene and quite moving about seeing it the last few nights, 408 kilometres up above the earth, circling the planet every ninety two minutes, round and round, unaffected by what's going on down here at the moment. I tried and failed to get a decent picture f the ISS passing overhead but last night, sticking my head out of our attic window, I got this shot of the moon and Venus which turned out alright.

This came my way a couple of days ago and fits the stargazing vibe perfectly. The original track is by Aimes and is called A Star... In The Sky. The Hardway Brothers remix is more than a little bit spine tingling, adorned with squelchy bass, moody synths and sci fi vibes. It soundtracks the non- stop revolutions of the I.S.S. very well indeed.

Aimes' rework of his own track throws in a massive acidic bass part via Detroit and pushes the track further towards a black hole, somewhere out in deep space.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Tranquillity Mixes

The blossom has suddenly appeared on the trees round here, a sign that some things are going ahead as they should be even if everything else is completely upside down. Long ambient mixes are the order of the day round Bagging Area much of the time at the moment- they seem to have a positive effect and provide a welcome distraction from the news. This one by Youth dates from five years ago, an hour and fifty minutes of ambient with several detours into psychedelia and global sounds from the likes of Cliff Martinez, Popul Vuh, Orchid Star and Suns Of Arqa. Highly recommended.

JD Twitch, Glasgow's Optimo supremo, put together the first in a series of Tranquillity mixes last weekend aimed specifically at calming the nerves during the coming months. Perfect for headphones while social distancing. There's a download button too if you want to keep it.

Takashi Kokubo - A Dream Sails Out To Sea part 1
Mkwaju Ensemble - Lemore
Hiroshi Yoshimura - 小川にそって
Yumiko Morioko - Rainbow Gate
Haruomi Hosono - Fujitsubo
Inoyoama Land - Glass Chaim
Inoyama Land - Pokala (remix)
Popol Vuh - Ah!
Justus Köhncke and Fred Heimermann - Albatros
Nuno Canavarro - Blu Terra
Erik Satie - Gnossienne No. 1
World Standard - Rozo, Du Pecoj
Testpattern - Souvenir Glacé

The second Tranquillity Mix went up on Wednesday, similarly ambient and calming but with some beats appearing towards the end.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (piano version)
Bill Evans Trio - Peace Piece
Eden Ahbez - The Wanderer
Popol Vuh - We Know About The Need
Gaelic Psalms From The Hebrides Of Scotland - Psalm 62
Geinoh Yamashirogumi - 合唱刈干切唄
David Cunningham - Blue River
Inoyama Land - Anatano Yushoku No Tameni
Raymond Scott - Sleepy Time
Sheila Chandra - Quiet 1
Sheila Chandra - Quiet 6
Resili - Corrie Caves
Dettinger - Oasis A3
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

Friday, 27 March 2020

Music Control

Manchester DJ and producer Chris Massey remixed A Certain Ratio's Dirty Boy single last year, a delirious blend of biting acid house, northern funk and the voices of Tony Wilson and Barry Adamson. Now comes this, Chris Massey with a one off single with Sir Horatio (I'm sure you can figure out who that is) plus some remixes from Sink Ya Teeth and See Thru Hands, three hundred vinyl copies available through Piccadilly Records (out today assuming mail order is still a going concern- it was yesterday).

The song, Music Control, is an intoxicating dance floor monster, acid bassline and growly vox, ACR:MCR updated for 2020. The video is spliced together footage of dancers, TV show titles, drugs, Manchester, robots and marchers, technology and rave graphics, models and nightclubs, a social history of the last three decades in four minutes forty. I'm hitting replay quite frequently.

Thursday, 26 March 2020


This is Manchester viewed from Werneth Low near Stockport. A low is a hill, confusingly, for those of you who don't live in northern England. From the top of the Werneth Low you can see right across the bowl Manchester sits in, the Pennines to the south and east and Winter Hill and Rivington Pike near Bolton to the north. We drove up there the other day. Isaac, our eldest is in twelve weeks isolation- shielding the vulnerable from Covid 19- and the things he likes to do such as going out to cafes and shops or meeting people are now strictly prohibited. We didn't get out of the car. We parked up, ate our sandwiches and drank our flask of tea and then drove home again.

This is some swampy, rock meets dance grooves courtesy of Ess O Ess and Saul Richards and remixed by Hardway Bros. Crashing piano chords play off against throbbing bass and guitars. The original and Swamp Crawl versions are tasty too, Swamp Crawl especially, a dusty trek across the mid- west. Heavy tunes for heavy times.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Manu Dibango

Coronavirus has taken Manu Dibango, Cameroonian saxophonist and vibraphonist, aged 86. Manu was a giant of Afro- jazz whose 1972 hit Soul Makossa was a massive influence on pop music, a track originally written for the African Cup Of Nations football tournament of the same year. His Cameroonian upbringing and family, schooling in Paris, time in Brussels, periods spent in Congo and Cameroon, life in Paris, touring Europe with Africa Jazz, show a life lived well. This is a very laid back piece of music and hopefully might make day two of lockdown more tolerable. RIP Manu.

Bessoka (Version Courte)

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Brunswick Drive

Originally released on Andrew Weatherall's 12" vinyl only label Bird Scarer Black Merlin's Brunswick Drive, from 2012, is twelve minutes of electronic sound, an interzone where ambient meets industrial. There's something of the dystopian sci- fi soundtrack about Brunswick Drive so entirely fitting to our present situation. Lockdown, Britain, 2020. Stay in. Let's hope for all our sake's, it works. I can't help but feel it's happened too late, we've all seen what's been going on in Italy for the last two weeks.

Brunswick Drive is available at Bandcamp for just £1.20 so you can download it and keep it forever.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Monday's Long Songs

David Sylvian's name has popped up in a few places recently, largely unconnected I think (although these things usually end up being connected somehow). I read about his solo albums in Rob Young's Electric Eden book, a long meandering trawl through British folk music and how in the 80s various people- Sylvian, Talk Talk, Cope- reconnected with visionary folk music in one way or another. Then, having moved on and semi- forgot about it he came back via social media and then came up in conversation with a friend who's a big Bowie fan when talking about Fripp. I dug a little into Youtube but didn't buy anything and again moved on. Then last week digging around Richard Norris' Soundcloud page, a proper treasure trove of tracks, remixes and versions, I found his 1993 remix of Sylvian and Fripp. Richard took the original track, Darshan (The Road To Graceland), a seventeen minute epic and remixed it, shaving a minute off in the process. An ambient opening section followed by a long, funky, experimental art- pop journey with a '93 house beat.

Sylvian and Fripp the turned up a few days ago at Echorich's place (linked on yesterday's post) with the dreamy two and half minutes of Endgame, ambient opening and then acoustic guitar and voice, which has sent me scurrying down a rabbithole. The Richard Norris remix of Darshan came out on a CD mini- album, only three songs long but well over forty minutes long in total. Richard Norris's remix, the original version and this ten minute ambient psychedelic swirl re-construction from the Future Sound Of London. Float on. Ambient special as i-D noted in '93.