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Sunday, 20 September 2020

Sketch For Vini

I've been playing a lot of Durutti Column recently. Their second album, 1981's LC, has been on a lot, as has 2010's Paean To Wilson, the 1984 12" single Without Mercy (two long form musical pieces recorded at Tony Wilson's suggestion with students from the Royal Northern College Of Music), the recent re- release 7" single Free From All The Chaos dropped through the letterbox not long ag and I keep returning to 1989's Vini Reilly album. 

In an attempt to pull some of this together into one place I've put together an hour of Durutti Column songs in the mix below, this selection all from the 1980s, and called it Sketch For Vini 1. It's not meant to be definitive or a Best Of The Durutti Column, just some of my favourites stitched together, starting with some of Vini's early work with Martin Hannett, then him being joined by Manchester legend Bruce Mitchell and the expanded line up in the mid-80s with viola player John Metcafe and Pol singing. Some of these songs are ones I've been listening to for the best part of three decades now and still don't get tired of- Sketch For Summer, Otis, For Belgian Friends, Bordeaux Sequence, Jacqueline, Sketch For Dawn 1. There's something unique and very affecting about Vini's endlessly inventive guitar playing, his tone and sound, his use of echo, delay and chorus, and despite what Tony Wilson said about it, his voice too. I'm going to follow it with Sketch For Vini 2 at some point, going into the 90s and beyond. The Mixcloud player won't embed- ongoing problems with the new Blogger- but you can find it and listen here. Hopefully it'll hit the spot for a bright autumn day in September. 

  1. The Second Aspect of the Same Thing
  2. Sketch for Summer
  3. Jacqueline
  4. For Belgian Friends
  5. The Missing Boy
  6. Enigma
  7. Tomorrow
  8. All That Love And Maths Can Do
  9. For Friends In Italy
  10. Otis
  11. When The World (Live in New York 1986)
  12. Bordeaux Sequence
  13. Sketch For Dawn 1
  14. Home
  15. Real Drums- Real Drummer

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Gush Forth My Tears

In 1991 Barry Adamson heard three women singing/ busking on Portobello Road. The songs they were singing were Elizabethan madrigals, not the most obvious type of music to busk in the early 1990s. He was struck by their voices and they ended up working on a soundtrack he was making, signing to Mute Records, going in the studio with Danny Rampling to record their debut single Gush Forth My Tears and album Madra and going on tour supporting Blur (where on stage they received a barrage of sexist abuse from some of Blur's fanbase). The music press were all over Miranda Sex Garden briefly, partly because of their novelty value- three attractive young women with a memorable and provocative name singing Elizabethan madrigals a capella while supporting Blur at their drunkest was a story in the same way the NME and Melody Maker latched onto Dread Zeppelin (American rock band with a singer dressed as Vegas- era Elvis play Led Zep covers in reggae style). Miranda Sex Garden's career saw them expand and release several albums up until 1995 when they split and then Kathryn Blake formed a new group, Medieval Baebes. 

Their 1991 debut single, Gush Forth My Tears, was remixed by Orb man Thrash and Paul Kendall (who'd produced Depeche Mode and Nitzer Ebb). The remixes as reported at the time felt a bit desperate at first glance, as if Mute calculated that either by Rampling sticking a clubby drumbeat underneath the madrigal or by Thrash remixing it for the ambient crowd they'd end up with a crossover clubland hit one way or another. But that's to do Thrash and PK a disservice and the original record too because Gush Forth My Tears (Ambient Mix) is a bit of treat. 

Fluttering synth sounds, a warm kick drum, some trademark Orb ambience, the hiss of a hi hat, some distant violins and the trio of clear voices harmonising. There are several different mixes but this one is the pick and while you might not think you need a twenty nine year old Elizabethan madrigal revival/ ambient crossover record at this point in 2020, a sharp a rise in Coronavirus infections sweeping in and a new lockdown imminent, you actually do.  And, if you're going to have one, it should be this. 

Gush Forth My Tears (Ambient Mix)

Friday, 18 September 2020

Woodleigh Lament

Recorded in August at Facility 1, this is a forlorn but beautiful instrumental from Nina Walsh, keeping the spirit and questing nature of the Woodleigh Research Facility alive despite the absence of WRF partner Andrew Weatherall. The title is Woodleigh Lament and it's obvious who it is a lament for. Brushed drums and slow rhythm ticking onward and the achingly sad melody on top. The new Google Blogger format/ interface is shit. It took me ages to be able to get the photo to upload- in the end I had to upload it to Google Photos and then upload it to here from there. The Bandcamp player has two options, to embed in either html or Wordpress. Neither works with the new Blogger (obviously I didn't expect the Wordpress one to). It's messed about with the formatting of text too. Why can't they just leave stuff alone? 

Woodleigh Lament at Bandcamp is here

Recorded this month and released at the same time is Ella Baila, pushed along by one of those steam powered drum machines with a circling topline and a bubbling, acidic synth coming in and out. 

Ella Baila at Bandcamp is here

Thursday, 17 September 2020

From Left To Right

One of the legacies Andrew Weatherall has left us is that it is pretty essential to keep informed with what is coming out of Gothenburg's Hoga Nord label. The newest release is album number four from Rickard Jäverling, his latest emission cunningly titled Album 4. Radiation Dub is a very nice piece of echo and rhythm, dubbed out excellence.

From Left To Right is an experimental combination of dub, slow techno and cosmische- but mainly dub, Swedish style.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Pink Industries

I had a go at writing this post and putting the photo and the Bandcamp player in using Blogger's new dashboard and interface. I tried three different ways to get the picture attached but whatever I did it wouldn't upload, wouldn't Copy and Paste and wouldn't Drag and Drop. The Bandcamp player wouldn't work either- it just published it as a string of code. I need to persist because sooner or later the current format will be removed and we'll all be moved over to the new one but it's looking like a massive problem at the moment.

Manfredas put Pink Industries out in 2014, a weird, lurching crawl with grinding bass and industrial noises. He DJs and makes dance music but this is not conventional music for frugging to.

Richard Norris remixed it in 2017, a psyched out, stop- start chug with lots of droney, tripped out noises playing around at the peripheries and some ultra- reverb laden voices swirling about. I think they're voices, they could be the sound of the stars laughing or abandoned machinery on the edge of a forest crying. You can buy the pair for £2- probably the best value for money you'll find today.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Small Things

This path goes alongside the brilliantly named Kickety Brook, part of a network of paths, streams, meadows and wetlands that surround the River Mersey between Sale and Stretford. I can't as yet find out the origins of the Kickety but it's a great word/ name.

Small Things, an ep by Italian DJ and producer Gallo came out back in June, a release drenched in all things Balearic. The title track is a slow motion walk at sunset, rippling sounds and padding drums while the Balearic Gabba Sound System remix of it ups the ante even more, long synth notes, piano dropping in and some bubbling noises. The Vendetta Suite remix of Small Things is bass- led, with angelic cooing, rim shots echoing round and horns. Vortex has gentle house piano. Flensburg is Rimini at dusk and takes you someone were else for the duration. Very nice.

Monday, 14 September 2020

Monday's Long Songs

This is a new edit from Dan Wainwright, a psychedelic Indian epic, Shanti Shanti Shanti. There's something about Indian sounds that lends themselves to trippy, long form music- the drones, the scales, the percussion and the strings- that goes back to the 60s and then the late 80s and early 90s.

Four Tet's music, especially his 2015 Morning/ Evening album is a delight, comes from a similar place, the Morning side especially, a piece of music I never tire of hearing. The looped vocal, a Lata Mangeshkar sample, played over Four Tet's intricate dance rhythms and raga mode, are a total joy. I've posted this fairly recently but it's too good not to share again.