Tuesday, 6 December 2016
Unique 3 were from Bradford. This 1989 single was a massive club record, north and south. It also shows just how strange and abstract late 80s dance music could be and how far it could confuse people. Aspects of it, the buzzing bass and the drums, are made to be blasted through speakers to get people dancing. But there's nothing conventional about it, the structure and those bleeps that run all the way through are from some other place entirely.
The Theme (Original Chill Mix)
Monday, 5 December 2016
In the early 80s Factory signed lots of bands who sounded very Factory. Many of them struggled to escape from the long shadow cast by Joy Division and New Order. Occasionally someone would produce something that stepped forward from those shadows. Section 25's Looking From A Hilltop, from 1984, is one of those records. The single release had this version on the B-side, produced by Bernard Sumner and Donald Johnson from ACR, it is years ahead of itself. A pulsing bassline, percussion and drum machine way up front, with layers of synths, guitars and noises and hard to hear vocals. It is one of Factory's most startling moments and despite being eight minutes long it never feels like it. Various underground djs and left of the dial radio stations in the States picked up on it pushing it further onwards. From Blackpool too. Kiss me quick.
Looking From A Hilltop (Megamix)
Sunday, 4 December 2016
One of the things music blogs are for is going deeper and further, plucking out the out of print, the lost and forgotten, the obscure b-sides and alternate takes. Today I've got two Big Audio Dynamite B-sides for no reason other than I was scrolling through a folder and the first one caught my eye. Mainly because looking at the track name I couldn't place it at all.
The spirit of forward momentum and trying new ideas, new sounds and new technologies that led Mick Jones through The Clash and then into Big Audio Dynamite is in full effect on In Full Effect. It was on the Contact 12", the single that promoted 1989's Megatop Phoenix, an album that married B.A.D.'s guitars, choruses and samples with acid house. In Full Effect is a seven minute instrumental credited to Mick and Greg and shows they could do a pretty convincing version of what was then the new thing.
In Full Effect
Three years earlier V Thirteen had a similarly dance floor bound B-side, this time soaking up electro and giving it a B.A.D. spin.
Hollywood Boulevard (Dub Mix)
Saturday, 3 December 2016
San Diego's Crocodiles are always worth a listen. They put out their sixth album back in October which somehow I missed and have just been discovering recently. The fuzzed up, sleazy psych sound of their previous records has been replaced by something sunnier on Dreamless, especially so on the single Telepathic Lover which sounds a lot like late 80s New Order to the Bagging Area ears. Across the album as a whole here's some spreading of wings (winged crocodiles would be fearsome) and they sound like a band energised and loosened up by experimenting, synths and piano are all over this as well as the usual guitars, even though the lyrics remain pretty weighed down by life and experience.
Friday, 2 December 2016
Some records grow in reputation over the years, even the ones that are raved about on release. DJ Shadow's Entroducing... is one of them. I listened to it loads in the months and years after its release but haven't played it end to end for years. It is a monument to one man's obsession (record collecting, obscure samples, building an album by using pretty much nothing but an Akai MPC60, a Technics SL-1200 turntbale and a tape recorder) and has probably become a bit of a millstone around its creators neck. I listened to it again recently, after Ctel posted a remix of Midnight In A Perfect World, and said he wasn't such a big fan of it. On this occasion I have to disagree (and Ctel is often right in these things). I can't find any reason to suggest that it is anything other than a stunningly inventive piece of work. Midnight... is based around a sampled drum beat and a David Axelrod piano sample and doesn't sound twenty years old at all. When the album finishes it almost forces you to turn it over and start again.
Midnight In A Perfect World
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Le's start December with something new. New to me anyway. A friend passed this to me earlier this week, a Canadian duo called Bob Moses. Tom and Jimmy met at school and started making music, trying Californian punk and grunge before heading into a deeper electronic groove. This song has an Xx feel, the pitter-patter of drums, minimal waves of synth, a pulsing bassline and some easy-does-it vocals. The breakdown and re-entry at just after six minutes goes into club territory and I like it very much. From an e.p. called Far From The Tree.
Wednesday, 30 November 2016
This came out back in 2013 to little fanfare which is a shame as it's a rather good remix job done by Weatherall and Fairplay on Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33s, a sort of hypnotic, space age, techno remix. Some lovely melodies reveal themselves set off against the breakbeat. Best description I can manage right now.
The Circular Path (Asphodells remix)