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Monday, 29 November 2021

Monday's Long Song

Jon Hopkins has a new album, Music For Psychedelic Therapy, inspired by a visit to an ancient cave network in Ecuador, making field recordings while there, and then recording while microdosing with the intention of making an album for people to accompany supervised therapeutic journeys in altered states for people suffering from PTSD and depression. You could easily make a mess of that entire situation. But Jon Hopkins is very skilled and this fifteen minute ambient odyssey, a section called Love Flows Over Us In Prismatic Waves/ Deep In The Glowing Heart- drones, melodies, widescreen psychedelic ambient deep listening- is a genuinely transporting and hypnotising quarter of an hour. 

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Phantom Ship

Isaac tested positive for Covid on Wednesday, the day after his birthday, which is obviously a massive concern. He's been pretty unwell since then- temperature, cough, lack of appetite, lethargy- and was very out of sorts yesterday. We put him on a course of emergency antibiotics which were prescribed to us months ago in case this happened and now just have to watch and wait. If he goes downhill, we'll have to take him to hospital. We've have both been testing since Wednesday. I've done four lateral flow tests since Wednesday, all negative, and went for a PCR yesterday. The chances of us not catching Covid while living with Isaac would seem pretty slim. He requires constant care and isn't very careful with his coughing. It leaves us feeling very anxious about things. Fingers crossed and all that. 

I had this song lined up for today before writing this post and it isn't really at all relevant to the above but I'll go ahead with it anyway- it's a laid back, sunset groove remix of Tempelhof and Gigi Masin by Coyote, Nottingham remixing Italy back in 2016, Balearic sounds for late November.  

Phantom Ship (Coyote Deep Acid Remix)


Saturday, 27 November 2021

First Movement

Bjorn Torske released a solo album in 2018, a Scandinavian space- disco epic called Byen. It opened with First Movement, eight minutes of seagulls and waves, keys and synths, a gently rolling bassline, percussion and hand drums. It's not aimless but very much a wandering and drifting piece of music. When the seagulls and waves appear again at the end it feels like you've been somewhere, slowly. Ideal for a Saturday morning in November if you've got nothing much to do. 

First Movement


Friday, 26 November 2021

Ascent

I took this picture in Manchester walking down Oldham Street back in August. A month from today it will be Boxing Day and the whole Christmas thing will be done and dusted bar the leftovers. The longest day will have passed and we'll be heading towards the new year. 

As Tony Wilson/ Steve Coogan says in 24 Hour Party People, “It's my belief that history is a wheel. 'Inconstancy is my very essence,' says the wheel. Rise up on my spokes if you like but don't complain when you're cast back down into the depths. Good time pass away, but then so do the bad. Mutability is our tragedy, but it's also our hope. The worst of times, like the best, are always passing away.” (thanks to Guarin Tees for reminding me of this quote recently on social media). A lot of people are going through a lot at the moment and it's tough sometimes to keep going and remember that all this will pass. Which it will, sooner or later. 

Today's music comes from Brian Eno, no stranger to literature and clever quotes himself. Here he was with long term collaborators his brother Roger and Daniel Lanois and the soundtrack to the 1989 documentary For All Mankind. It's as good a way to start Friday morning as any. 

An Ending (Ascent)

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Never Lose That Feeling

Two weeks ago Khayem posted Creation Myths, an hour and twenty minute long mix of songs released by Creation Records between 1989 and 1991. It is a wonderful time capsule, a spicy soup of electric and acoustic guitars, dance beats, distortion, noise and melodies. Tucked away inside were two songs by a band I haven't even thought about for years/ decades and certainly not listened to in as long- Swervedriver. Swervedriver were from oxford and were deeply inspired by American bands- most Creation bands who were influenced by US groups loved Love, Buffalo Springfield and The Velvet Underground. Swervedriver wanted to sound like Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and Husker Du and to be fair they did a good job of it. Huge crunchy guitar riffs, snarly FX pedals, wah wah and tremelo, thumping drums and multi- tracked, stoned vocals. Heavy, rocking shoegaze with dreadlocks. They sounded like what they sang about- the open road, hot sun beating down on tarmac, speeding cars and gas stations, all the cliches but done so well. 

Never Lose That Feeling came out in May 1992 and was produced by Alan Moulder who made a lot of Creation groups sound big- it's woozy, stoned but speedy rock.

Never Lose That Feeling

Rave Down was on Khayem's mix and is my favourite Swervedriver song (although I don't own a physical or digital copy). It came out in 1990 and then appeared on their debut album Raise a year later. It's a blast with a bulldozing, churning chord change and vocals to match. 




Wednesday, 24 November 2021

J. One M. One

A 2014 Andrew Weatherall remix of Atari Teenage Riot, one of several from this point that shared a sound- a futuristic, slow mo chug, bassline to the fore, sci fi sounds bouncing around, lots of dubby space and then the arpeggiated synth part comes in. A long hypnotic groove. This was from around the time when Tim Fairplay was in the studio a lot with him, The Asphodells album came out the year before and the travelling A Love From Outer Space night with Sean Johnston was gathering pace- lots of cross pollination going on, sounds and styles being road tested and refined.

J. One M. One (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Other than this and an Atari Teenage Riot remix of a Primal Scream's Miss Lucifer I don't think I own anything else by Berlin's foremost exponents of digital hardcore.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Every Day You Make The Sun Come Out

Twenty three years ago today Isaac was born, making his entrance at just after half past seven in the morning and whisked off immediately to an ICU unit. Although I don't think you can ever be ready for the impact that becoming a parent has on your life we certainly weren't expecting what we got- serious unknown genetic illness, frequent hospitalisation in his early years, deafness, serious learning difficulties, bone marrow transplants, operations and much more. 

When pregnant people are asked 'what do you want?' and they reply 'I don't mind, as long as it's healthy', it's a comment that you can't possibly consider properly unless you're thrown into the thick of serious life and death illness. Isaac is twenty three today and there have been occasions when he wasn't expected to survive the night. In 2000 when he was undergoing a bone marrow transplant he contracted a serious Epstein Barr virus. In  2008 his undiagnosed missing immune system led to him getting pneumonia and then meningitis). Ass a result every year he adds, every birthday, feels like a stolen year, another year grappled back from what could have been. Sorry if that sounds melodramatic or maudlin- it's supposed to be celebratory. And he will be celebrating, he loves a birthday and loves a party. Happy birthday Isaac.

Back in 1997, the year before he was born, The Charlatans released this piece of Dylan inspired, Stonesy guitar slinging, a song with a loping beat, some northern swagger and an emotion laden set of lyrics from Tim Burgess. A friend bought it for Isaac on 7" not long after he was born. Isaac isn't fussed about music (ironically given how much I am) and doesn't know the song so it sits in with the rest of my 7" singles. 

'Hey country boy/ What are you sad about/ Every day you make the sun come out/ Even in the pouring rain/ I'll come to see you/ And I'll save you, I'll save you'

North Country Boy