Friday, 31 August 2018
The last day of August is always depressing- the end of summer, end of school holidays, changing seasons, nights drawing in, all that stuff. We need something heroic and valedictory to see us through- and Pete Wylie is the answer I think. I was going to post Sinful, his 1987 single, a real fists in the air, all together now moment, but while looking for that I found this one (also a single from 1987).
Otherwise known as 4-11-44, a love song and one of those songs that can convince you Wylie is some kind of genius. The roots of the phrase 4-11-44 are in the African American community of the USA in the 19th century. 4, 11 and 44 were popular numbers chosen when gambling on illegal lotteries,a three number gig that rarely came up and would therefore give a large payout. According to Urban Dictionary and at least one other source, the numbers are slang for the penis, particularly among black Britons.
Oh go on then, here's Sinful as performed on Top Of The Pops back in '87, presented by Peel and Long, with Josie Jones (sadly no longer with us) and 3 dancers dressed as nuns (which brought a complaint from Mary Whitehouse). We need more of this type of thing.
Thursday, 30 August 2018
The Mirror, 12th March 1932
Sleeping Woman By A Mirror, 1932
We had a few days staying with friends in South London and took in trip into central London on Tuesday which gave me the opportunity to see the Picasso 1932 exhibition at Tate Modern (for free too courtesy of friend's Mum's membership card. The Picasso show is amazing, gallery after gallery of paintings done in a year long creative burst (inspired by his love affair with a younger woman Marie-Theresa Walter). Along with the paintings are sculptures, drawings, sketchbooks and a few paintings from earlier on in his career, arranged to re-create the one man show he held in Paris in 1932. Some of the portraits, large canvasses, were completed in one single afternoon sitting. The speed and intensity of the work is jaw dropping as is his use of colour. The paintings become darker towards the end, a recurring rescue of a drowning woman dominating (in the autumn of 1932 Marie picked up an infection swimming in a sewage infected river). It's on until 7th September. It frazzled my head a bit to see so many of these pictures together and close up. Well worth a trip out.
There are quite a few songs that mention or are about Picasso. Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers are at the top of the pile.
Coming out of South London our SatNav decided to take us north up to the Thames, though Crystal Palace, Norwood, Tulse Hill, skirting the edge of Brixton, and then crossing the river at Hammersmith Bridge. I don't think it was the fastest way out of the city. Maybe it knew the M25 was at a standstill. Or maybe it knew that having crossed Hammersmith Bridge we'd turn left and see Cheyne Walk and Edith Grove, home to the 60s Stones, the World's End Estate (home to Joe Strummer and where he wrote London Calling, by the river) and then turn up Gunter Grove (the infamous home of John Lydon and the base of Metal Box-era PiL). All seen through the window of the car while negotiating London traffic. I think London Lee of Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop fame knew this part of London well. Anyway, thank you SatNav for showing it all to me.
Sunday, 26 August 2018
Back in 2015 Lonelady released an album of skeletal funk, inspired by the dead zones around the city centre and partly recorded under the Mancunian Way (a concrete flyover that skirts the southern fringe of the city centre). I'd forgotten about it until someone played this on BBC 6 the other day and was reminded how good it sounded- viciously trebly guitar part, hissing cymbals and 1981 bass. Lonelady is Julie Campbell, singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist.
(I Can See) Landscapes
There will now follow a short break in transmission at Bagging Area. I'm away now for a few days, taking an end of August trip down south. See you at the end of the week. Be good.
Saturday, 25 August 2018
Radio 6 spent a day celebrating 30 years since the summer of love and dance culture earlier this week. You can catch some of it here where Steve Lamacq interviews Andrew Weatherall, Nicky Black market and The Bug.
Dr Rob has put together a Flying Mix Part 3 which captures the spirit of the times, a tribute to the clubnight Flying, held in central London back in the day. There's also a wonderful written piece to go with it here titled Oh My Gosh! You can also find links to parts 1 and 2 in here.
The tracklist is below- surely everyone can find something to groove to in this. It reminded me that I'd forgotten how much I like that Jesus Loves You record (Boy George's acid house guise).
Blvd Mosse - Can`t Escape The Hypeness
The Aloof - Never Get Out The Boat (Farley & Heller Mix)
Ethereal Beat - Can You Understand
Ariel - Sea Of Beats
Sensuround - Blind Faith
Orchestra JB - Free Spirit (FPI Project Mix)
Mad Jacks - Feel The Hit
Ian Dury - Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick (Flying Mix)
Kwanzaa Posse - Wicked Funk
Raimunda Navarro - Jungle Fever
Beautiful Ballet - Energy (Rudy`s Remix)
Pete Wylie - Sinful
Jesus Loves You - Bow Down Mister (Grid Mix)
Audio Deluxe - Sixty Seconds
Ragged Jack - Party`s Over (Flying Mix)
Deep Joy - Fall (Let There Be Drums)
Mr Luthero - Rotation
Kiss AMC - Circles (Blind Lemon Mix)
La Camour - Tarantella
Paradiso - Here We Go Again
DJ H & Stefy - Think About
Stex - After The Rain
Sound Of Shoom - I Hate Hate
The Temptations - Ain`t Too Proud To Beg
Eve Gallagher - Love Come Down
Frances Nero - Footsteps Following Me
A Man Called Adam - Barefoot In The Head
Love Corporation - Give Me Some Love (Weatherall Mix)
Less Stress - Don`t Dream It`s Over
Archie Bell & The Drells - Don`t Let Love Get You Down
I have long held a dislike of Simple Minds, since the 1980s now I come to think of it. I think this is based on the bombastic, U2-lite material they released, the wind in the hair videos and the awful baggy grey suits they all seemed to wear. I still think these are good reasons to dislike Simple Minds by the way, I'm not going completely soft in middle age.
People have often, especially in recent years, tried to convince me that there is merit in their works and I can see that there is a charm to some of their mid-80s pop material. Don't You Forget About Me is one of the components that makes The Breakfast Club an enjoyable film. However it would be stupid of me, really stupid and churlish, to deny that this song from 1980 is a bold and innovative piece of electronic pop music.
Theme For Great Cities
Friday, 24 August 2018
This song from Mogwai came out back in June, from a soundtrack they've done for a sci fi film called Kin. The full soundtrack is out at the end of the month and also features an instrumental called Donuts that came out back in April. We're Not Done (End Title) picks up where last year's superb Party In The Dark left off with hazy vocals, washes of feedback and overdriven guitars and a sense of uplift among the noise and unease. A bit like standing in the hallway between two rooms, one where My Bloody Valentine are on a crappy radio and another where a pop group are playing, a bit indistinct but enough to hear the difference between the verses and chorus. Very nice indeed.
Thursday, 23 August 2018
There's an interesting read here about one of the most sampled sounds, a laugh that found its way onto records by (but not only) Derrick May, Deee Lite, Snoop Dogg, Roni Size, S'Express and the Macarena. To summarise, when Yazoo were recording the B-side to what would become a number one single (Only You), Vince Clarke and Daniel Miller caught Alison Moyet off-guard with a load of reverb piled onto her vocal mic. She laughed. Clarke and Miller decided to keep the laugh on the song, and it works really well, opening the song up after its electro-pop introduction but before her vocal, trampling all over a man who done wronged her.
Situation became one of those songs which got picked up in the USA and became an underground club song. It then got re-purposed by the next wave of artists. In Detroit Derrick May under his Rhythm Is Rhythim name layered it all over Nude Photo, one of the tracks that would invent techno. From there it was used in countless tracks, from hip hop to Eurobeat.
I'll save you the bother of searching for Nude Photo if you're at work, which might prick the interest of the boys down in the I.T. Dept.
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Newly out on vinyl is this four track ep from Timothy J Fairplay called DX Marks The Spot. The title track rides in on a massive kick drum and some bass that will cause your speakers to vibrate before one of those trademark spooky, science fiction synth top lines comes in.
Tim does song titles better than most- here's a new ocontender for 2018- Phantom Guard Dogs Of Chomolungma. It sounds like a lost track from the Escape From New York soundtrack, circling synthesiser riffs and 80s drum track, melodies which get inside your head and stick there.
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
I heard St Etienne's You're In A Bad Way on the radio recently and was reminded what a good song it is, a perfect early 90s version of 60s pop. I've always loved the way Sarah coos the line 'don't you know that crew cuts and trainers are out again?' to the subject of her affections, someone who has let himself go but who should give her a call. I'm not sure this video has aged very well....
Funnily You're In A Bad Way was initially meant to be a B-side but Heavenly insisted on its release as a single. The song that was to be the A-side was Everlasting, a much more house influenced song with a chunky early 90s drum track and bassline, Pete, Bob and Sarah taking their cues from Chicago and Detroit as much as 60s London. The synths sound very like Bernard Sumner's from the same time in Electronic. Everlasting was then unreleased until the deluxe edition of So Tough in 2009. It shows the strength and depth of songs the group had at the time that they could shelve Everlasting and leave it in the vaults.
Monday, 20 August 2018
It's easy to feel dismayed about the state of things in 2018- the ongoing self-destructive impulse of Brexit; the Conservative Party continuing to put holding onto power over the national good; the threatened 'return' of Farage; the lack of opposition to Brexit from the Labour Party and the schisms within it that distract it from doing its job; the walking turd that is Boris Johnson and his racist game playing; Trump's autocracy and ongoing normalisation of far right wing politics; the lack of investment in infrastructure by bureaucracies and profiteering/cost-cutting by private companies that leads to loss of life on a large scale (Genoa, Grenfell); in a different area, the Glazer family, Ed Woodward and Jose Mourinho's continuing mission to fuck up Manchester United. I could go on. But take heart from the fact there there are people who can do this...
Actually, I'm not sure that there are people (plural) who can do this- there is only Richard D. James who can do this. Seriously mindbending, otherworldly stuff.
Sunday, 19 August 2018
The latest Music's Not For Everyone has arrived, Andrew Weatherall's monthly exploration of 'yesterday's and tomorrow's music today'. The chief talking point about this one is a preview of 5 new Woodleigh Research Facility songs he's been working on with Nina Walsh- although disappointingly it looks like the vinyl release will be 100 copies only, sold through a car boot sale in London in mid- September. Which would be quite irritating for completists. I imagine. It also includes two songs from London's Rude Audio, who I've featured here before. Good work Mark! The full tracklist is here.
Saturday, 18 August 2018
I found out recently that Will Sergeant, the only man to have been an ever present member of Echo And The Bunnymen, has had a fairly recent (2013) side project with an ex-Bunnyman (bassist Les Pattinson) and it is very good. I don't know how I missed this- and I'm sure some of you didn't- but it is new to me. Poltergeist is Will, Les and drummer Nick Kilroe. They put out an eight track instrumental excursion into psychedelic, open ended space rock called Your Mind Is A Box (Let Us Fill It With Wonder) and on the basis of this track that's exactly what they will do. It also shows that Will is very much an inventive and distinctive guitarist and that stepping away from the Bunnymen is good for his artistic juices.
Friday, 17 August 2018
Joe Strummer's recordings outside The Clash, especially those in his so-called Wilderness Years, are a mess, scattered across various record labels and projects, film soundtracks and singles. His albums with The Mescaleros were at least all done for one label (Hellcat) but until now the best place to grab the various bits and bobs, apart from blogs like this one, was in the fairly widely available Generations bootleg. Happily shortly there will be a commercially available, official release covering Joe's extra-Clash career, both before and after. The Joe Strummer 001 album comes out in September, a double cd, deluxe double cd, 4 disc vinyl box set and super deluxe 4 disc vinyl boxset- you pays your money, you takes your choice (anywhere from £9.99 to £110.00). In advance of it, the set is being offered with a download now (if you order it now) of Joe's song Rose Of Erin from the soundtrack of Pigs Might Fly from 1993, never previously available. Rose Of Erin is a lilting song, full of Joe romanticisms and Celtic touches.
Joe Strummer 001 covers a good spread of Joe's solo stuff from The 101ers to The Mescaleros including some not available before and some recently discovered songs found on tapes in his archive.
1. Letsagetabitarockin' - The 101ers
2. Keys To Your Heart - The 101ers
3. Love Kills - Joe Strummer
4. Tennessee Rain - Joe Strummer
5. Trash City - Joe Strummer & The Latino Rockabilly War
6. 15th Brigade - Joe Strummer
7. Ride Your Donkey - Joe Strummer
8. Burning Lights - Joe Strummer
9. Afro-Cuban Be-Bop - The Astro-Physicians
10. Sandpaper Blues - Radar
11. Generations - Electric Dog House
12. It’s A Rockin' World - Joe Strummer
13. Yalla Yalla - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
14. X-Ray Style - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
15. Johnny Appleseed - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
16. Minstrel Boy - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
17. Redemption Song - Johnny Cash & Joe Strummer
18. Over The Border - Jimmy Cliff & Joe Strummer
19. Coma Girl - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
20. Silver & Gold / Before I Grow Too Old - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
1. Letsagetabitarockin' (Strummer Demo) - Joe Strummer
2. Czechoslovak Song / Where Is England - Strummer, Simonon & Howard
3. Pouring Rain (1984) - Strummer, Simonon & Howard
4. Blues On The River - Joe Strummer
5. Crying On 23rd - The Soothsayers
6. 2 Bullets - Pearl Harbour
7. When Pigs Fly - Joe Strummer
8. Pouring Rain (1993) - Joe Strummer
9. Rose Of Erin - Joe Strummer
10. The Cool Impossible - Joe Strummer
11. London Is Burning - Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
12. U.S. North - Joe Strummer & Mick Jones
Thursday, 16 August 2018
I wouldn't necessarily consider myself an expert but I have a copy of this album and I'm fairly sure it is one of the best, if not the best, of the 60s soul albums. Solid gold from start to finish. RIP Aretha Franklin.
I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
Madonna turns 60 today so here's happy birthday to her. I've written before about Madonna, about the turn of the 90s Madonna where she took on board house music and sampling and bestrode the planet like a Galtier bra wearing colossus singing Justify My Love and Vogue, and also about the later 90s Madonna working with William Orbit making the superb Ray Of Light album, and before that about Into The Groove and Sonic Youth's Ciccone Youth, and before that about her appearing on The Tube at The Hacienda and a story about Peter Hook (allegedly) or Rob Gretton (possibly) offering her £50 to dance for him and being told to fuck off.
Madonna's songs from the 1980s, the pop stuff, sound better and better the further away from then we get- whenever I hear them on the radio or the TV I'm always struck by their dance-pop nous and the exuberance she put into them. La Isla Bonita, Live To Tell, Borderline, Like A Prayer, Live To Tell and a load of others too- top stuff. Here are two of them to remind you...
Borderline was her first US top ten hit and reached number 2 in the UK. Produced and then remixed by Jellybean Benitez, her boyfriend at the time, it is one of the building blocks of her career, four minutes of perfectly pitched pop music.
Like A Prayer, from 1989, signals the end of her pure-pop phase and the start of the next part, but is really just pop. It is a blast, mixing sex and Catholicism, and guaranteed to cause controversy. The video where Madonna witnesses a murder by the Ku Klux Klan, takes refuge in a church and then dreams about kissing a black Jesus, was banned by The Vatican and led to an outcry by various 'family and religious groups' who also boycotted Pepsi who then dropped her and the song from an advert. A lot of fuss over a pop song- who'd have thought the religious right wing were so touchy?
Like A Prayer
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Here's the A-side of the forthcoming Andrew Weatherall and Nina Walsh 12", a piece of heavy dub with a bassline that reverberates around the memory long after the track has finished playing. The B-side, another dubbed out track but with Ride's Andy Bell playing guitar on it, was posted here last week.
Tuesday, 14 August 2018
One of my most played 12" singles from last year was Morning Velvet Sky by Gulp, a Cardiff based group comprising Guto (from Super Furry Animals) and Lindsey Leven plus guitarist Gid Goundrey. The single came with an excellent space-disco remix from Richard Norris as well as the original version. A couple of days ago Drew pointed me towards their new album All Good Wishes, which came out at the start of the month and is packed with 60s psych influenced songs, some of that strange folk tinged stuff and some progressive, cosmiche exploration. So now I have another album that I need to buy. Thanks Drew.
Monday, 13 August 2018
Back in the day (the late 80s day specifically) getting into Lou Reed's solo career was a dangerous game. Transformer was the obvious place to start and set a standard which was difficult to follow. From there it was a New York lucky dip. Rock 'n' Roll Animal is still one of the worst albums I have ever heard and you'll never convince me it has any merits. Berlin is distressing. Coney Island Baby is a joke. Without the internet there was no way to try before you bought. A lot of his albums were available on the Mid-Price range which made them cheap and tempting and there were always fellow travellers willing to give advice along the lines of 'yeah, that one's shit but you should try The Blue Mask/Mistrial/New Sensations'.
The scene in Trainspotting where Sick Boy explains his theory about life, having it and then losing, is spot on. Renton replies to Sick Boy's theory that some of Lou Reed's solo stuff is 'no bad'. Sick Boy counters that although it's alright it's not great either which means that 'actually it's just shite'.
Let's make an exception for one eleven minute long song he put out in 1978, a three part tone poem that explores the underbelly of New York with prostitutes, drug dealers, the death of a woman and an uncredited spoken word section from Bruce Springsteen. It's been suggested that Street Hassle is also a response to the end of Lou's relationship with Rachel, a trans woman he had been seeing for three years. Street Hassle is a remarkable, moving piece of music with the same riff being played first on cello, guitar and bass. Reed's ambition for the song was that it was something that could have been written by Tennessee Williams, Raymond Chandler or William Burroughs set to music and I think he pulled it off. In typical Lou Reed fashion it is followed by I Wanna Be Black, a bemusing song which has nothing going for it at all and then a re-recorded Velvet Underground song. But in a solo career that up to his resurgence in the 1990s is wildly erratic, Street Hassle (the song) is a major achievement and a truly great song. I don't have an mp3 of it and my vinyl is in poor condition so can only provide you with the Youtube version.
Sunday, 12 August 2018
This is another pop gem from the Factory Records back catalogue, a 1984 single from Life. Andy Robinson was New Order's guitar technician and would become their manager later on following the death of Rob Gretton. He put Life together with Graham Ellis and singer Rita Griffiths and put out four singles, two on Factory and two on Factory Benelux before calling it a day in 1986. Tell Me is bright and breezy synth-pop, fizzing with ideas, a minor gem in a back catalogue that is stuffed full of them, produced by Be Music. In this instance Be Music was Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert and it isn't a million miles from the sound they would make as the Other Two.
Saturday, 11 August 2018
A Certain Ratio are putting out a compilation album in October which by the looks of it mirrors their current live set, opening with Do The Du, Wild Party and Flight and then moving through their back catalogue taking in Mickey Way, 27 Forever, Won't Stop Loving You, Good Together and finishing with the samba drum fest of Si Firmir O Grido. Attached to the end of the compilation are two new songs, the first of which was posted online yesterday (the 11th anniversary of Tony Wilson's death, presumably not coincidentally). The song is called Dirty Boys and has the voice of Wilson on it along with vocals from Barry Adamson. It sounds like a reinvigorated ACR still have plenty to contribute.
Friday, 10 August 2018
I've had three different Iggy Pop encounters in the last week- the recent Teatime Dub Encounters ep with Underworld was the first, followed by watching a documentary I'd taped before going on holiday, the film American Valhalla, which records the making of the Post Pop Depression album with Josh Homme and subsequent tour. Then somebody, somewhere, posted a clip from the 1984 film Repo Man.
I'd already been writing an Iggy Pop solo Imaginary Compilation Album for JC at The Vinyl Villain (it's only being written in my head at the moment but may make it to type at some point along with the almost finished Primal Scream ICA, a 2nd Factory Records one to go with the one JC wrote and a Spacemen 3 one which is still very sketchy). An Iggy Pop solo ICA is confusing. In many ways you'd just decide to cherry pick five songs from The Idiot and five from Lust For Life and be done with it but it seems remiss to not include songs from his wider back catalogue, not least one from Post Pop Depression. I'm working on it.
Repo Man is great little film, an Alex Cox punk rock/science fiction adventure starring Harry Dean Stanton and Emilio Estevez. The soundtrack is wall to wall US 80s punk- The Circle Jerks, Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag et al and the title track from Iggy. Iggy was in a bad way in 1984 (and looking back he had a pretty poor 80s musically). Alex Cox asked Iggy to do the title track and Iggy put together a punk band at short notice, comprising ex-Sex Pistol Steve Jones and Blondie's rhythm section. The engineer claims that Iggy and the band threw the song together in the studio 20 minutes before recording it, did two takes and then Iggy said 'Well, I think that's good enough unless someone has a problem with it'. Repo Man is two minutes of hard riffing with a decent Iggy vocal and some stream-of-consciousness stuff about living in Los Angeles, better by far than much of what he put out in the 80s. Functional 1980s L.A. punk rock maybe but good enough unless anyone has a problem with it.
Thursday, 9 August 2018
Richard Norris has begun a new project with Icelandic singer Finnur Bjarnason called The Long Now. This song, Restoration, is a beauty, pitched someone between ambient and classical- built around Bjarnason's voice with strings, piano and modular synths combining to create something altogether quite otherworldly. The video is mesmerising and not a little psychedelic. Buy it at Bandcamp.
Wednesday, 8 August 2018
Another record Factory couldn't sell to put alongside Marcel King's Reach For Love was Cath Carroll's album England Made Me and its pretty wondrous single Moves Like You. Both came out in 1991 by which point Factory had at least accepted promotional activity might help some artists but apart from New Order, Electronic and Happy Mondays nothing else really sold in anything like the quantities needed to keep the wolf from the door. In typical Factory fashion they threw huge amounts of money at Cath Carroll too- Wilson loved her- and the album was recorded partly in Sheffield, partly in Sao Paulo, partly in Chicago and partly in London. With Steve Albini at the controls and with a Robert Mapplethorpe portrait on the cover. Some people blamed the album for Factory's demise but the problems ran far deeper this record.
Moves Like You is a brilliant song- starting out with some very 1991 bleeps and then a massive electronic bassline, before Cath's vocal comes in. There's a great housey piano part and the whole thing is very effortless and light on its feet. This is what St Etienne would have sounded like if they'd been based in Didsbury not Camden. But it didn't sell. This version is from the 12", remixed by Martin Phillips.
Moves Like You (12" Version Remix)
Tuesday, 7 August 2018
I was mucking about with the effects and filters on my phone's camera and managed to do this to the picture I took of the forum at Pompeii. I was quite pleased with it- it looks a bit like a place where Captain James T. Kirk would fight a rubber alien and then meet a girl and explain to her that 'on earth we call this kissing'.
Andrew Weatherall, mentioned once or twice in these parts recently, has a new e.p. out at the end of the month on the Byrd Out label titled Blue Bullet. It includes this mighty and exploratory dub influenced excursion featuring none other than Andy Bell (of Ride) on guitar. Apparently he'd popped into the studio where Weatherall and Nina Walsh were at work to try out a Les Paul that was for sale and was then asked to contribute to the track. The results are out of this world.
Monday, 6 August 2018
One of the best things about Factory Records was that in the early years of its existence the label put no pressure on artists to conform or play the industry game. Commercial considerations were way down the list of essential requirements for a release. Art came first. Not to say they didn't want a hit every now and then to pay the bills but the musicians were more or less given the freedom to record anything they wanted to, to experiment and to explore.
The other side of this, which was probably just as important as the one above theoretically (and Factory's directors especially Tony Wilson were very into their theory), is that in attempting to prove that an independent record label could stand alone outside the majors, they also refused to play the game. To Wilson this meant, certainly in the first half of the 80s, that there would be no promotion, no pluggers, no advertising (apart from bill posters). The records would sell themselves because they were brilliant and because they packaged inside beautiful sleeves.
This worked fine for New Order. New Order could release a single, a work of art on 12 inches of vinyl housed in a Peter Saville sleeve, and know that a fanbase of 60- 80, 000 people would buy it within a week of it being released. However, as Stephen Morris pointed out to Wilson in what became a heated debate 'while sitting in the studio for hours waiting for Bernard to redo his guitar for the umpteenth time', this policy of no promotion (or anti-promotion) was letting the bands down. Wilson replied that 'the trouble with you is that you're too money- minded'.
If ever there was a record that came out on Factory that should have been a massive hit and wasn't it was Reach For Love by Marcel King. It was produced by Be Music, the catch all name for New Order band members producing other artists. In this case, the producer was Bernard Sumner along with ACR's Donald Johnson (who played many of the instruments as well). Released in 1984 Reach For Love is a fantastic piece of dancefloor soul, a tough, urban sounding record packed with electronic rhythms and a pulsing bassline and topped with a beautiful vocal from Marcel. It should have been number 1. It wasn't. Marcel had been at the top of the charts ten years earlier with the group Sweet Sensation and according to legend was found by Rob Gretton sleeping in a car and offered the opportunity to make a record on the spot. He died of a brain haemorrhage in 1995 aged just 38. Factory made many of the greatest pieces of pop culture of the late 20th century but they also fucked it up many times. Maybe they fucked it up for the right reasons but not selling a million copies of this single is a fuck up however you slice it. Your Monday however will be immeasurably improved by pressing play.
Reach For Love
Sunday, 5 August 2018
Iggy Pop and Underworld- I was unsure until I heard it. My initial reaction on reading about it was that the guest Iggy Pop vocal has become a cliche, his instantly recognisable voice a short cut to rock 'n' roll for others, some vicarious Stooginess. But this collaboration, a four track e.p. between Iggy and Underworld called Teatime Dub Encounters is great, recorded on the hoof in a hotel room between other projects. In this track, Bells And Circles, Iggy describes taking a gram of coke on an airplane in the 1970s while flying to New York, the loss of the stewardess's phone number and resulting effects of the consumption, the loss of being able to smoke on aircraft and the state of liberal democracy. Rick Smith's beats and techno rushes are as good as any he's put together this decade and when Karl Hyde's backing vocals come in it becomes extra exhilarating.
Saturday, 4 August 2018
Yesterday one of our longest standing friends got married- we all met doing teacher training back in the early 90s. Today he and his new husband are holding a party for everyone who couldn't make the wedding. It will inevitably be a full on party, a celebration and a dance.
Back in 1992 Orbital remixed this track, a Michael Hazell and Paul Hartnoll co-production for Belgian label R&S, an Orbital track in everything but name. It is a full on party, a celebration and a dancer too.
Kinetic (Orbital Mix)
Friday, 3 August 2018
Thursday, 2 August 2018
There's a good part of me that thinks that I could live in a caravan out in the west of France with the Atlantic Ocean close by and pine trees overhead. The problem of storing several thousand pieces of vinyl would have to be solved- maybe a small house rather than a caravan would be best.
This Richard Norris dub (and remix) of Liverpool's latest psychedelic-pop purveyors The Vryll Society is sounding very good. Richard Norris has been at it for over 3 decades, one of the first people in the UK to get acid house (recording Jack the Tab with Genesis P Orridge in 1987), then The Grid and in recent years in his The Time And Space Machine guise and under his own name. It's a long trip that keeps on giving.