Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Tak Tent Four

I submitted another mix to Tak Tent Radio, an eclectic and broadminded internet radio station broadcasting out of Scotland. It went live yesterday. You can find it at Tak Tent and at Mixcloud. No irritating DJs talking over the intros, no cutting away for the travel news or adverts, no playlist songs you don't like but they have to play anyway, just an hour of songs from my record collection/  hard drive. I don't think there are many surprises in the tracklist, it's the usual sort of stuff I've been writing about here but collected into one hour long mix. 

Tak Tent Four

  • Durutti Column: Sketch For Dawn I
  • Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood: The Crescent
  • David Holmes and Steve Jones: The Reiki Healer From County Down
  • Reinhard Vanbergen and Reinhard Roelandt: Amber Amplifier
  • Steve Cobby: 45ft Tide
  • Nick Drake: Rider On The Wheel
  • Saint Etienne: Little K
  • One Dove: Breakdown (Squire Black Dove Rides Out)
  • David Holmes: Theme/ I.M.C.
  • A Mountain Of One: Custards Last Stand
  • 10:40 Kissed Again
  • Ry Cooder: Cancion Mixteca (Paris Texas Soundtrack)

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Devil Rides out

The Lucid Dream had a new album out earlier this year, a customarily vibrant sonic attack, guitars and synths and drums all turned up loud. From Carlisle, they started out very much as a guitar based psyche- rock group and have shifted into dancier territory. The album, The Deep End, is well worth your time and attention, full on, experimental grooves with tunes attached. Lead single CHI- 03 begins with chanting crowds and hip hop drums before bringing the noise, riding along on a huge bassline. 

Ten years ago they released Devil Rides Out, a song Richard Norris' Time And Space Machine remixed, one psychedelic pioneer twisting another. This is actually what the 60s garage bands and freakbeat groups would sound like if they were time warped from 1967 into 2011- insistent, snarling, juddering psychedelic adventures. 

Devil Rides Out (The Time And Space Machine Remix)

Friday, 15 October 2021

It's A Little Secret

We watched The Graduate last weekend, the first time I've seen it for many years- it's still a brilliant film I think but it made for discomforting viewing in ways it didn't when I first watched it in the late 80s. Seen through 2021 eyes (and a fifty one year old eyes as well) the seducing of Ben by Mrs Robinson at a party to celebrate him graduating is less seduction and more grooming. Ben's post- college malaise, aimlessness and fear of adulthood was very familiar to me when I first saw the film but his behaviour becomes increasingly extreme as the film goes on and his treatment of Elaine, the Robinson's daughter seems much crueler now. His later and sudden obsession with her also seems much odder now than it did then- Ben's descent coming across more and more like a breakdown, mental health issues surfacing rather than the whims of a young man. At the centre of the film is the empty lie at the heart of the suburban American dream, the existential crisis of people who have it all but have nothing. Mrs Robinson is bored, listless, trapped by manners and society in a marriage she never wanted but ended up in because of a teenage pregnancy. Ben is adrift, literally for much of film, floating round his parents' pool on a lilo. The only place he seems content is at the bottom of the pool in the scuba diving gear, well away from his parents, their friends and an endless round of congratulatory parties. Mr Robinson plays golf and drinks. Ben and Mrs Robinson's relationship (if that's what it is, regular sex in a hotel filling the hole in both their lives) is destroyed when Ben says he wants to talk before they have sex. The conversation throws it wide open and leads to Ben telling Elaine and everything unravelling. When the action shifts to Berkeley and Ben pursues Elaine the film becomes increasingly dark. It's difficult to have much sympathy for Ben at this point- in 1989 I'm sure it was Ben I was supposed to identify with but it's not easy to sympathise or empathise with him very much now. Dustin Hoffman makes him become pretty unlikeable in ways I hadn't really noticed before. Mrs Robinson, crushed by the affair becoming common knowledge, becomes less sympathetic too. Elaine is the most sympathetic character, about to married to a college boyfriend solely to keep her away from Ben. The closing shot of them on the bus chased by Elaine's family is superb, the sinking realisation on both their faces that what they've just done might not be the answer to either of their problems. 

The Graduate was released in 1967, the central year of the 60s, and is at least partly about a generation gap- Ben's behaviour and attitudes and those of his parents in stark contrast. Ben and Elaine question their parent's values -get married, get a good job, settle down, get a car and a house. Mrs Robinson is questioning those values too. Conformity and acquisition lead to deadening boredom. The youth feel confused and lost. These aren't specific to the 60s, they're universal (at least in the modern world). Ben's generation are now in their seventies, the Boomers, many of them comfortable and well off in their retirement. It's a clever and witty film, sly in places and seems to be about a rite of passage, but some of it's central themes came through quite differently watched in 2021. 

It was well worth watching again. The cinematography is brilliant, suburban California captured in mid- 60s technicolour, the enormous houses and swimming pools, the blues really blue and the greens really green. The soundtrack is, it goes without saying, superb. It's a record that has been part of my life since childhood. My mum had a copy and its cover, Ben in the hotel room and Mrs Robinson's stockinged foot sticking out provocatively, was always near the front of her records. Simon and Garfunkel's songs are not just playing with the film, they are woven into it, as central to it as any of the cast. The Sound Of Silence is as bleak as any folk music made during the 60s, the harmonies and reverb unable to distract from the 1960s- the problems caused by lack of communication, the apathy generated by consumer society, neon gods and darkness. Strawberry Fair/ Canticle is another song that's always been there, not least because in the late 80s The Stone Roses turned into a song about getting rid of the Queen. And then there's Mrs Robinson...

Mrs Robinson

Mrs Robinson was re- written for the film after Simon presented it to director Mike Nichols but began life as Mrs Roosevelt, a former First Lady who worked tirelessly for others and rarely did anything for herself. The famous Joe DiMaggio line appeared out of nowhere according to Paul Simon, a moment of inspiration. 

The Lemonheads cover version from 1992 is an oddity, a minor hit that sounds like the band tossed it off in an afternoon, a punk- ish cover that the record company hoped would recoup some money/ smash the charts. Evan Dando reportedly hates it- so apparently does Paul Simon. 

Thursday, 14 October 2021


We were walking in Trafford Park last weekend (the world's first industrial park and still the largest in Europe fact fans!). On the side wall of an enormous grain refinery were these patches of green paint, a cover up job for some graffiti. The green on green (not matching in the slightest really), the drips  running down the wall and random block shapes, plus the incorporation of brickwork and the fire hydrant sign really caught my eye- this is art isn't it? Accidental art or ambient art or industrial art maybe. I could see them being printed up as postcards or onto t- shirts, canvasses and tote bags.

We haven't had any Four Tet here for a while so here's a gorgeous piece of green ambient- turning- into- electronica to go with the photos, a track from last year's 16 Oceans album. Nature sounds, washes of found sounds and then one of those skittering melodies he's so good at, music that shimmers and dances about.

One of my friends I play football with has a son who's just left university and spent the summer doing what twenty one years old should- holidays, dossing about, going to festivals. He played football with us too, filling in when sundry middle aged men couldn't make it due to commitments or injury or old age. He came back from one festival Lost Village, a festival that looks like its run and organised as festivals should be- smallish, low key, leftfield artists, mix of ages, funny stages and tents hidden in forests and woods. I asked him who he'd seen and whether he'd caught Daniel Avery (who I knew was playing there). He had and also said he'd seen someone called Four Tet headlining in the tent- the clips he showed me on his phone looked amazing, a chilled but enthusiastic crowd and Kieron Hebden raising the roof. I've just discovered his set, all two hours of it is on Soundcloud here and Youtube here.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021


Jesse Fahnestock's 10:40 keeps up the high hit rate with Sleepwalker, a gently psychedelic, pulsing piece of music, slipping into a sweet spot where the trippier late 80s indie groups, Motorik rhythms and blissed out electronics overlap. Guitars are by UFO Club's Ben Lewis and beamed in vocals are from The Weather Band's David Rosenheim. The arrival of the throbbing, wobbly synthline at sixteen seconds and then a second a little later raises the pulse rate and then the guitars dapple their way in, like bright sunshine through thick tree cover, all light and shade. Lovely stuff. Six minutes long and it could go on longer without outstaying its welcome. 

I used to sleepwalk a lot when I was a kid. On one occasion I ended up fully asleep but wedged in behind a wardrobe (I vaguely remember dreaming about being in a tunnel) and having to be rescued by my dad. Another time I got fully dressed in the early hours and was about to go out to do my paper round several hours too early and still fast asleep. Disconcerting. Thankfully I grew out out of it although talking in my sleep continued into adulthood. I noticed recently my wife has begun sleep swearing, occasionally muttering 'for fuck's sake' as she rolls over or switches sides. Make of that what you will. 

The two other 10:40 songs on the EP are both worthy of your attention too. Neighbours (Dub) isn't a cover of the Australian soap theme tune, more's the pity, but a slinky instrumental and there's a very laid back Spacemen 3 edit, Let Me Down Gently- which does exactly that. Buy it at Bandcamp, a pay what you want deal. 

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

More Treasures

On Sunday I posted David Holmes' set for Brother Joseph's Sonic Treasures, a radio station beaming delights out of Glasgow. October's show opened with a ninety minute mix from Glok (Andy Bell, guitarist and singer from Ride and more recently a solo artist responsible for some of the best songs of the last couple of years). Glok is a sleek, kosmische, synth based outlet for Andy's music. The first Glok album- Dissident- came out in 2019 and the follow up called Pattern Recognition is due this year (currently another victim of the crisis affecting vinyl pressing plants). Andy's mix for Sonic Treasures is a perfect way into the Glok world, gliding between several Glok tracks (Day Three, Invocation, Kolokol, Closer, Pulsing), Andy's Indica (remixed by Pye Corner Audio and then remixed by Glok- yes, Andy remixing a remix of himself), his Glok remix of Hermann Kristofersson from earlier this year, an unreleased Andy Bell song called Drone, some sublime ambient techno courtesy of The Primitive Painter, Freur's Doot- Doot (proto- Underworld from 1983), Roisin Murphy, Sensate Focus and Porter Ricks. It's a lovely trip, chilled and hypnotic. Find it at Soundcloud

Glok's return with Pattern Recognition was led back in March with the release of That Time Of Night, a warm, throbbing synths and electronic shimmer, the voice of Shiarra celebrating the collective experience of losing yourself in the crowd and on the floor- 'in the heat and the light and the flashing/ Being a small part of the whole crowd of people'. The version below is an edit, the full length one is nine minutes long and together with a Darren Emerson remix can be gotten here

The entire six hour broadcast of Brother Joseph's Sonic Treasures for October- Glok, Joseph, Stephen Haldane and David Holmes- can be found at Soundcloud, handily chunked into seven sections. 

Monday, 11 October 2021

Monday's Long Song

Dr Alex Paterson has been making music at a rate of knots in recent years and has more to come (an album as OSS is due in November). They all- The Orb, OSS, Sedibus OSS- have plenty in common sonically and quite a bit of overlap in terms of sounds and samples but each has its own identity too, a sense of distinctness. His album with Paul Conboy as Chocolate Hills (A Pail Of Air from 2019) resurfaced recently and soundtracked a commute or two last week. Opening track Rehip is nine minutes of ambient sounds, slide guitar, bubbling noises and some very English voices. It becomes less gentle and more unsettling in the second half, noise and vague menace taking over for a while before the warmer synths recur for the last two minutes.