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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Black Vest


I'm trying to think of a situation that wouldn't be improved by sticking some Lee 'Scratch' Perry on. Not coming up with much.

Black Vest is off 1976's Super Ape album, ten dub cuts made with The Upsetters at The Black Ark. This song is particularly good, a bubbling bassline from Boris Gardiner and some deliciously delayed horns.

Black Vest

Monday, 21 January 2019

Something's Got To Give


I've had a lot of Beastie Boys going on in January- the book, a 550 page joy, was the starting point. I've gorged on 1989's Paul's Boutique, the sampledelic album recorded in Los Angeles with the Dust Brothers, Yauch, Diamond and Horowitz on the run from their Fight For Your Right To Party days and Def Jam. I've played 1992's Check Your Head and 1998's Hello Nasty in the car to and from work. Ill Communication (which I think may be their best, just pipping Paul's Boutique). The 1999 double cd anthology The Sound Of Science, a round up of hits, singles, B-sides and unreleased songs. A double DVD with allmnner of videosa nd experts that someone bought me back in the early 2000s. I've begun thinking about an Imaginary Compilation Album for The Vinyl Villain's long running series. It's been Beastie-tastic.

In 1992 they moved into a property in the then unfashionable Atwater Village and built a studio/offices/live rehearsal space/basketball court they called G-Son (after what was left on the sign on the front of the building after some of the letters had fallen off). It was accessed up this flight of stairs...

Having started out as a punk/hardcore band the Beastie Boys set up their guitars, drums and bass and set about making an album with live instruments rather than samples. Joined by producer Mario C they spent 1991 making what would become Check Your Head, a twenty track soup of hip hop, funk, punk, soul and rock that laid out the template for much of what would make the 1990s. Half way through the record comes this laid back piece of space rock, led by some killer MCA fuzz bass, a rotating Leslie speaker on the vox and a lot of echo, a plea for tolerance and understanding.

Something's Got To Give

'I wish for peace between the races
Someday we shall all be one
Why fight yourself?
This one's called Rectify
There's something coming to the surface
There's fire all around
But this is all illusion
I've seen better days than this one
I've seen better nights than this one
Tension is rebuilding
Something's got to give
Something's got to give
Someday, we shall all be one
Jesus Christ, we're nice'

Sunday, 20 January 2019

The Sunday Night Blues


Often, around about this kind of time of night, a small group of us meet up on Twitter to moan about the Sunday Night Blues. Drew is polishing the kid's school shoes and making packed lunches. I've had some essays to mark. Jake has been tidying the house. All of us preparing for the working week, the grind of Monday morning and the long haul through 'til Friday. It's worse in winter when the lack of sunshine and daylight bring the lingering black cloud on sooner and the existential dread of SNBs really kick in.

I wondered if posting something joyous and uplifting would help, drive the bastard blues back a little and make Sunday night more bearable. Drew wavered, saying that he wasn't sure that even something as smile-inducing as the South Street Player and his early 90s garage house masterpiece would do the trick. See if it helps....

(Who?) Keeps Changing Your Mind

I was thinking that this fuzz guitar, tropicali gem from Os Mutantes in 1968 could help, a shot of musical happiness...

A Minha Menina

Either way, I think a glass of red wine is in order.

Let Me Follow You Down


One of the things I like about blogging is that you can chuck in a curveball with no build up, lead in or preparation. After a week of ambient, electronic, early Balearic, early 90s dance remixes and B-sides and 21st century techno/house, today I'm offering you a Bob Dylan song from 1961.

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

Nearly 60 years ago Bob Dylan was a kid in Greenwich Village, an up and coming folk singer with a corduroy cap, a guitar and harmonica and a deal with CBS. As Bob says at the start of the song, he learned it from Ric von Schmidt, but it was also played by Dave van Ronk, who may have learned it from Rev. Gary Davis. There's something about the guitar picking, the rhythm and Dylan's vocal that makes it just right for Sunday morning.

Saturday, 19 January 2019

Filthy


Down the road from here at Broadheath, behind the retail park, they're building a load of new houses. This involves demolishing some Victorian factory/industrial units, which if nothing else provides me with some photographic content. The beautiful linotype works (pictured below in sunnier days) seems to be protected from destruction I'm pleased to see- it's currently covered in scaffolding and plastic sheets. I'm guessing it's being converted into flats.


I'm hopping back to Thursday's post musically and an early St Etienne B-side that I'm enjoying again. Filthy was the other side of the Only Love Can break Your Heart single, their debut, and has a deliciously murky sampled wah-wah guitar part and a rap from the then teenage Q-Tee. Everything, from the drums up, is drenched in reverb.

Filthy

The other version of Filthy which has appeared on various compilations and 12" singles is a dubbed out version, Pete and Bob going mad with the echo unit.

Studio Kinda Filthy

Friday, 18 January 2019

So Right


This came out last August but I only found it recently, a John Talabot remix of Marie Davidson. John Talabot is a Catalan DJ and producer who has remixed the Xx as well as releasing his own album way back in 2012. Marie Davidson is a French- Canadian producer and musician who put out an album last year called Working Class Woman on Ninja Tune (which includes a track called Workaholic Paranoid Bitch). House music from Barcelona and techno from Montreal. Talabot's remix of Davidson's So Right is a nine minute dub techno excursion, a deep dive into metronomic drums, moody synths and spectral, echoed voice. I like this a lot.



In 2014 Talabot remixed Bicep. This alternative mix was given away free somewhere- a long, somewhat bleepy version and like a lot of Talabot's remixes is a mid-tempo, mid-set sort of tune.

Satisfy (Talabot Alt Mix)




Thursday, 17 January 2019

Flying


I last posted this song three years ago in January 2016 and it's fair to say a lot has happened since then. Theresa May stumbles on, unable to act, held hostage by her own red lines, her own party and the wingnuts and closet racists of the right wing, and her deal with the DUP. A government that can't deliver whatever it was the 52% imagined they were voting for. The vox pop sections of TV news and the papers are currently full of people saying they want it over, they want out and they're happy with a hard Brexit so 'we' can get back to being 'great' again (never mind the fact that almost everyone who uses that phrase seems to think that the word Great in Great Britain means amazing or powerful and isn't actually just a geographical term to describe a landmass containing England, Scotland and Wales). Many of these people seem to have an unlived, deluded nostalgia for a England of the early 1950s, a post-Dunkirk and World War II but pre-Suez Crisis country, with an Empire overseas, where the milkman came every morning whistling as he left glass bottles on doorsteps, the birds chirruped in the trees and you could get an appointment at the doctor's the same day (and there weren't any people with darker skins or eastern European accents living down the road). I fear we are heading for a No Deal Brexit and that there are plenty of people happily welcoming this, all of whom are also suddenly experts on WTO rules and tariffs. How leaving the E.U. is going to achieve this is unclear to me. From where I'm sitting, it looks like a total disaster, for all of us. People that want to live in the past usually get stuck there. Does any other nation other than the English have such an obsession with its past, a past that never really existed? The only faint glimmer of hope is that the Tory Party will have to own this fuck up forever (and if this whole debacle led to the break up of the United Kingdom, that would be an even sweeter irony).

Back to the song and a total change of mood. St Etienne's third single was Nothing Can Stop Us, an uptempo slice of indie/dance/northern based around a Dusty Springfield sample and the then new vocalist Sarah Cracknell. The single was a double A-side, the flip being Speedwell, a chunkier, deeper, house influenced tune. The 12" single was followed up by second 12", released a week later, with two remixes of Speedwell and an instrumental version of Nothing Can Stop Us. The remixes of Speedwell were by Dean Thatcher and Jagz Kooner, as The Aloof, and are superb. Totally 91.

Speedwell (Flying Mix)

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Drop The Deal


'Please remain in your seats, we'll have a full report in a moment' says the voice at the start of this record (a sample from an episode of Miami Vice), a 1987 release from Code 61, a Belgian New Beat outfit, and a track heading for the open air nightclubs of the Balearic isles. A vocal sample of a prayer from Jean Michel Jarre. A Harry Belafonte sample and some eastern sounding melodies. A robotic voice intoning 'drop the deal'. A woman talks about business. The drum machine punches away, the clock running down. What could it all mean?


Drop The Deal