Unauthorised item in the bagging area
Friday, 30 June 2017
These Various Artists compilations have so far all come from a similar time frame and this one is right in there, the Junior Boys Own Collection from 1994, a round up of singles released on JBO between 1991 and 1994. Heller and Farley appear twice in their Fire Island guise (Fire Island, off Long Island , New York is and was legendary for its gay scene and clubs) and also as Roach Motel. Underworld contribute three songs under two names (Lemon Interrupt and Underworld) and pre-Chemicals Ed and Tom showcase the monstrous Song To the Siren and X-Press 2 are represented by two pieces of essential early 90s house.
This compilation is pretty ubiquitous in 1994, a good round up of a label with its finger near the pulse. All these tracks could be heard in Manchester's clubs- not always the same club but somewhere between the Hacienda, Home, the gay village and various other darkened rooms these tunes would never be far away. There But For The Grace Of God is Fire Island's disco house, a 1979 disco-funk classic from machine updated by Farley and Heller, camp as fluffy bras, crop tops and silver trousers.
There But For The Grace Of God
Rez is one of the greatest records of that period. Or any period. Beyond sheer brilliance, it is in some ways a full stop. The ever circling squiggles, the hi-hats and snare, the rush of the chords, all seem to say 'where else can you go after this?'
Of all the big hitters of the dance music world of the early 90s Orbital always seem to be the raviest, the least moody, the most up and optimistic. The first two Orbital albums, the green one and the brown one, are both essential snapshots of the duo and the scene. The second one (brown or 2) is a blast from start to finish, opening wiht the sampled voice talking about Moebius, time as a loop, the sampled then looped and played against another version of it. From there on in the synthesizers and drum machines take over and the Hartnoll brothers manage to make techno that is melodic and poppy, dance music that works at home, simple sounding tunes that are increasingly complex, all building towards the majesty that is Halcyon + On + On. Before that though there is the ten minutes of this track, three or four songs in one but all the same too- synths, sirens, clattering drums, breakdowns, build ups and half way through a voice... 'it's like a cry for survival'.
Impact (The Earth Is Burning)
Thursday, 29 June 2017
Here's something brand new from Swedish producer Paresse, whose stuff I've really enjoyed before (Hunters In The Snow, The Night Before You Came, Rosarita, Phantoms Are Waltzing- he's got a way with song titles). His new ep La Paresse is out now on Magic Feet, four new tracks the lead one being this one- Let Me Out Of This Studio (another winning song title). Hypno Hips, La Flaneur and Zen Fishing make up the rest of the ep, absorbing and sultry techno, electronic music with depth and heart. The Balearic influence is there, to keep it on board with this week's posts and as Echorich said on Tuesday's post Balearic is a feeling rather than a sound, but this also has a definite Scandi air to it. You can buy it at Bandcamp.
Wednesday, 28 June 2017
I'm going to keep the Balearic vibes going in a vain attempt to make it seem like summer despite the fact that I'm at work and the weather has turned dull and a tad wet. This 1992 Sensuround single was partly the work of a post-Membranes, pre-Goldblade John Robb, with vocals from Tracy Carmen and remixed here by Dean Thatcher, who was responsible for several key remixes from the early 90s. Stick it alongside some early Saint Etienne, some A Man Called Adam and some Screamadelica era Primal Scream and it makes perfect sense.
Blind Faith (Aloof Mix)
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Stepping backwards in time from yesterday's Balearic Charlatans remix to a song from Liverpool in 1986 that found its way into DJ Alfredo's record box in Ibiza and the terrace at the Cafe del Mar with his guiding philosophy of 'if it sounds good, play it'. Driving Away From Home (Jim's Tune) was a single from It's Immaterial, a Liverpool band with a Mancunian at the helm (John Campbell) and Henry Priestman of The Christians involved on keyboards. The song is perfect mid-80s synth-pop with acoustic guitars and a semi- spoken vocal, not a million miles from the Pet Shop Boys. Driving Away From Home was a UK hit (number 18) and popped up on adverts and compilations and TV shows but don't let that take anything away from it.
One of my favourite aspects of the song is the attempt to write a British road trip song, something that on the face of it is an American thing. 'Why don't we cross the city limit, and head on down the M62, it's only thirty nine miles and forty five minutes to Manchester' John says, and goes on to tell the driver 'all you've got to do is put your foot hard down to the floor, we can call on people I know in Newcastle or maybe in Glasgow'. See also Billy Bragg's A13 (Trunk Road To The Sea).
Driving Away From Home (Wicked Weather For Walking)
Monday, 26 June 2017
The Charlatans have just put this up online, a remix of the title track from their new album by Chris and Cosey. A lovely, summery, 80s sounding, Balearic version.
Opportunity Three was a different, remixed version of Opportunity (off debut album Some Friendly). It was mixed by Flood, originally released as the B-side to the 1991 Over Rising single and then saw the light of day again on Melting Pot, their first Best Of back in 1998. Opportunity Three is a delicious seven minute plus slice of 1990, equal parts 60s psychedelia and late 80s dance infused rock, led by some very loose drumming. The band (bass, guitar, Hammond) all swirl around, tripping out while Tim sings some sweet nonsense.
Sunday, 25 June 2017
Back in 1991 this Various Artists compilation was stuck on my turntable for what seemed like months. The acid jazz scene had been born and in the USA jazz flavoured hip hop was briefly the cutting edge, partly led by Spike Lee's Mo' Better Blues film in 1990. This all fed into the emerging trip hop scene too I think. The Rebirth Of Cool was a fourteen track compilation opened by Gang Starr's Jazz Thing, with a swinging beat and pulsing bassline from DJ Premier and Guru's effortless rhymes recounting the history of jazz and its place importance now/then.
There are many fine moments among the rest of the songs and artists- X Clan's Raise The Flag, MC Mello, Dream Warriors, Stetsasonic's brilliant Talkin' All That Jazz, Galliano and Young Disciples from London's Acid Jazz label and Young MC. Between 1991 and 1998 4th And Broadway put out a further seven volumes and it lost its way a bit. I bailed out after Volume 2 but this one, the first, was a definite winner.
Saturday, 24 June 2017
The moment where the girl in the white dress appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, at Glastonbury back in 2013 is one of the greatest TV gig moments I've seen. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds had launched into a ten minute version of sex and murder fest Stagger Lee (sample line- 'just count the holes in his motherfucking head'). The band with beards, suit jackets and Chelsea boots, had locked into a killer groove. Nick, black trousers, mostly black floral shirt, blacker than black hair, had gone down to the barrier and was giving it the full foot-on-the-fence-while-growling-into-the-mic Nick Cave thing. At seven minutes forty six seconds she rises up from the throng, like a Victorian ghost, all in white, arm stretched out, full eye contact. Nick is singing about the devil and Stagger Lee is about to be taken down. Four holes in his motherfucking head. The bassline is thunderous, he is shrieking, the pair are still maintaining eye contact. The strange to-and-fro dance continues, sexual tension rising among thousands of people in broad daylight. Spontaneous gig theatre.
There are some Nick Cave songs which are as good as anything written and recorded in the 21st century (and 20th for that matter). This one from 2008 is a lyrical tour de force, laugh out loud funny and serious as fuck, Nick on his knees railing against his god, author and creator, howling for answers. There's a bizarre cast of characters, from the 'myxomatoid kids' in the first verse to a death in the second, causing him to shake his ' fists at the punishing rain'. This is one great line after another set against The Bad Seeds driving feedback and pummelling drums, occasionally breaking down into nothing but the noise of overloaded FX pedals and Nick looking for scissors.
'Everything is messed up around here
Everything is banal and jejeune
There's a planetary conspiracy
Against the likes of you and me
In this idiot constituency of the moon'
When he goes guruing down the street young people want answers. Nick doesn't have them. he feels like a vacuum cleaner, a complete sucker. There are slavering dogs and enormous encyclopaedic brains, third world poverty and a whole list of world issues to be answered for. Later on Doug turns up tapping at the window and offering a book of Holocaust poetry complete with pictures. There is a line about Nick down in his bolthole appalled at the publishing of 'another volume of unreconstructed rubbish'. Bukowski gets put down, the jerk. Prolix. Prolix. More scissors. Seriously, stunning stuff. Who else can do words this good?
We Call Upon The Author
Friday, 23 June 2017
I spent Wednesday evening watching the Pet Shop Boys playing in the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool. The Empress Ballroom, known to fans of The Stone Roses as being the gig that sealed their ascent in the summer of 1989, is a beautiful late 19th century venue holding 3000 people, pretty intimate for an act who often play arenas. The show had everything you'd want and expect from a Pet Shop Boys performance- lights, projections, images, lasers, daft headgear, costume changes and more great tunes than you can shake a stick at. It opened with Neil and Chris appearing by rotating into view on two giant white circles. They stepped down, daft headgear intact, and got right on it in front of a crowd who were very much up for it. As a pair they've made songs that are informed by forty years of club culture and fifty years of pop culture and for a while were very near the centre of UK music. The projections for second song Opportunities have smiley faces swapping with dollar signs, a nice visual ironic nod to Thatcher's enterprise culture. From there on in it's recent songs like The Pop Kids and Love Is A Bourgeois Construct spliced with highlights from their back catalogue. A few songs in the giant white discs are dismantled, the screen falls down and a trio of musicians join Neil and Chris, two percussionist and a keyboardist/violinist, the extra drums beefing up the rack of synths and laptops local lad Chris Lowe is playing. Somewhere around halfway in, the temperature in the room rising and some of the crowd now shirtless, they drop in a beautifully chilled Love Comes Quickly, a pop song as good as any written in the 1980s.
Neil Tennant is a superb lyricist, a writer who frequently finds the sweet spot between the uniquely personal and brilliantly universal, and his distinctive voice has survived the years. In the second half of the set they show their strengths to full effect with a run of West End Girls, Home And Dry and It's A Sin, lasers beaming, hats and jackets changed, building up to the finale, now with giant coloured balls suspended above the stage- a reworked, upgraded version of Left To My Own Devices and then a singalong Go West, a song of community and brotherhood. The encore has a perfectly pitched and played Domino Dancing, the moment house music explicitly influenced their sound, followed by Always On My Mind. It's the hits. Pile 'em high, give 'em what they want. I could gripe that there's no Being Boring, no So Hard, no Rent but it'd be churlish. It's quite a show they put on, songs that last with choruses that stick (for decades), performed with knowing theatrics, with a nod and a wink but with feeling too. A class act.
Thursday, 22 June 2017
'...but then again who does?'
Sean Young's Polaroids she took during the filming of Bladerunner are really something else.
And here's even more Bladerunner. You may have heard there's a new film imminent, Bladerunner 2049. Spain's disco/house producer Vicmoren has a free download of his theme to the new film on Soundcloud. Vangelis evidently referred to, this is ten minutes of minimal soundtrack electronica well spent.
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Back in 1989 808 State released Ninety, one of the first UK house albums. Ninety is chock full of summer of '89 acid house filtered through a group of four men all trying to get all their ideas onto every song- crashing drums, vocal samples, mad and delirious synth lines, songs with mulitple melody parts playing at the same time, sirens, everything. I had it on cassette and remember well driving to Glastonbury in June 1990 , arriving at the site with Ninety on the car stereo. We pulled up, opened the car doors to get out, Cobra Bora thumping away. A hippy crawled out of the hedge right in front us, said hello, asked us if we wanted to buy 'anything' and then shambled off.
Monday, 19 June 2017
Inside this giant mobile mirror ball is Graham Massey, once/currently of 808 State. In front of the mirror ball are a New Orleans style marching band called Mr Wilson's Secondliners accompanying him on brass and percussion as he spins house classics through the streets of Manchester, as part of yesterday's Manchester Day parade. Now in its eighth year the parade was played out this year in standard Mancunian weather- blazing sunshine, thirty-odd degrees heat. Even just standing still was a sweaty business. As the parade finished in Exchange Square, Massey and his band kept the party going a little longer with a wonderfully ramshackle version of Planet Rock.
Sunday, 18 June 2017
Sometimes things just come together nicely, one thing from over there and another from over here. On Friday the Pulp Librarian posted this Polish promo poster for Bladerunner on Twitter. On Saturday while watching something completely unrelated on Youtube this long trancey remix of Vangelis' Bladerunner soundtrack turned up on the right hand side. A rather good expansive, trippy re-working of the film's soundtrack by Tranonica.
Saturday, 17 June 2017
I was having a conversation online recently about the wonders of the Various Artists compilation album, which at certain times has been a real work of art. There are others I could go on about at some length but these are the three that immediately come to mind, all released within a few years of each other (and all tied together as well).
I've written before about Creation Records 1991 dance/house compilation Keeping The Faith but it is a perfect example, a well put together round up of similar minded artists and tracks defining a moment in time. From the opening minutes where Fluke take off on a Pan Am to Philly through to Hypnotone, a pair of Primal Scream remixes, Weatherall's definitive remix of My Bloody Valentine, Love Corporation, J.B.C., Sheer Taft, Danny Rampling's The Sound Of Shoom and World Unite here isn't a duff track and it is full of great moments. The Tears For Fears sample in J.B.C.'s cover of We Love You sums up how far Creation Records have shifted in 1991- 'dj's the man you love the most'. World Unite by World Unite is a majestic ambient house dub excursion- bubbling synths, up vocals with an eye on the dancefloor. The only thing I know about World Unite is that it was written by Potter and Stacey. And I love it still.
In the mid-to-late 80s Creation excelled at budget compilations, often a way to keep the wolf from the door and keep the cash coming in. At a knock down price of £1.99 1988's Doing It For The Kids was an essential purchase- The Jasmine Minks, Felt, Primal Scream (early indie version), The Weather Prophets (their song Well Done Sonny is below), The House Of Love, The Jazz Butcher, Biff Bang Pow!, My Bloody Valentine, Momus, The Times, Nikki Sudden, Pacific, Heidi Berry, Emily, Razorcuts. It is almost the complete picture of post-Smiths indie. And completely untouched by what was already brewing that would lead to Keeping The Faith. A snapshot of a time.
Well Done Sonny
The last one is this one, Retro Techno/Detroit Definitive Emotions Electric, a 1991 double album of the futuristic sounds of Detroit, a pulling together of the work of Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, wall to wall techno classics that still sounds like its ahead of everyone else. From Model 500 at the start of Disc 1 Side 1 through to the massive drums, rhythms and bleeps of The Groove That Won't Stop, this is better than most 'proper' albums. The closing track is a sublime version one of dance music's set texts, the unreleased mix of Strings Of Life by Rhythim Is Rhythim.
Strings Of Life (Unreleased Mix)
This could become a series I fear. Feel free to chip in with your own suggestions.
Friday, 16 June 2017
A flat in this house on Palatine Road was once the home of one Alan Erasmus. In 1978 he co-founded Factory records along with Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton. Martin Hannett and Peter Saville soon joined. The label operated out of this flat throughout the 1980s, a short distance from where I grew up. The tales of Factory Records and its bands are the stuff of legend- no contracts, fifty-fifty split between label and bands, the artists own the music, the Hacienda must be built, Ian Curtis, So It Goes, Granada TV, Joy Division, New Order, the numbering system, A Certain Ratio, Durutti Column, Section 25, Stockholm Monsters, The Distractions, Crispy Ambulance, 52nd Street, Quando Quango, The Wake, James, The Railway Children, The Royal Family And The Poor, Miaow, Happy Mondays, the Factory egg timer, die-cut sleeves, tracing paper sleeves, no band photos on the sleeves,... In 1990 Factory moved out of 86 Palatine Road and into Factory 251 in town.
Yesterday a blue plaque was awarded to 86 Palatine Road in recognition of Factory's cultural, civic and artistic importance. Shaun Ryder unveiled the plaque. Of course given that he demanded the destruction of the Hacienda to prevent it becoming a museum piece Tony Wilson may not have approved of this recognition of a piece of Manchester's musical history. But if buildings are going to be awarded blue plaques for the part they played, then this is as deserving as any.
There are so many songs that illustrate Factory's brilliance in the 80s. On this song Otis, from Durutti Column's 1989 album (named after its creator Vini Reilly), Otis Redding's voice is sampled along with vocals credited to Vini's friend Pol. Reilly's guitar playing is fluid and lighter than air, echo on the arpeggios underpinning and enveloping the spectral Otis vocal- 'another sleepless night for me'. And then 'come back, come back'.
Thursday, 15 June 2017
Andrew Weatherall must have been going without sleep recently given his prolific remixing output. Here's three new ones for your Thursday.
This one is a weird, frantic, dubby thing with scratchy guitar and yelping, not a million miles from The Slits. It's not The Slits though, it's The Orielles, out on Heavenly. This is Part 2, so there must be a Part 1 somewhere too. I'll keep you posted.
This is the Mix 2 of of Balearic Queen Nancy Noise's Azizi's Dance, following Mix 1 which I posted last week- subtle and spacey with some snatches of conversation just out of earshot and rather nice.
Finally, Weatherall has turned in not one, not two, not even three, but four different remixes for Swiss pioneers Yello, all different versions of the track Frautonium from their new album. This one has bleeps and noises and glides about the place.
Wednesday, 14 June 2017
My daughter Eliza was born fourteen years ago today, arriving at four minutes to five on a Saturday morning back in 2003. She's been barely a moment of trouble ever since apart from a worrying diversion into Ed Sheeran's most recent album. Chatham troubadour Pete Molinari had a song for an Eliza on his 2010 A Train Bound For Glory album.
When I was fourteen, in 1984, the number one single in the UK this week was Frankie Goes To Hollywood's Cold War epic Two Tribes, riding in on Trevor Horn's thunderous production. Not quite as good as Relax but then not much else at that time was. The spoken intro warning of nuclear war still sends shivers down the spine. This version (below) was for the 30th anniversary of their Welcome To The Pleasure Dome album.
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
Mad Professor brings you some speaker shaking dub for Tuesday. Neil Fraser was born in Guyana and emigrated to London aged thirteen. He built his own recording studio and began making music there in 1979. Throughout the 1980s he put out albums on his own label Ariwa Sounds. Especially of note are volumes 1 to 12 of Dub Me Crazy, a series of original and inventive British dub albums, making use of new digital resources. The first Dub Me Crazy was in 1982. When it was re-released in 2005 it came with two untitled dubs as additional tracks, presumably cut from the original vinyl running time for reasons of space (and bass). John Peel was a big fan and regularly playing tracks from the different Dub Me Crazy albums. This is the first of the two untitled extras from the first album and is all horns and bass. As good a way to start the day as any.
Monday, 12 June 2017
Despite her woeful performance as Prime Minister, unpleasant views, potential alliance with a highly dubious Northern Irish political party and the nasty tone of her election campaign there's a good part of me that wants Theresa May to carry on, limping on for months as a Prime Minister with no authority, unable to choose her own cabinet, unable to get what she wants through parliament, constantly hamstrung by her decision to have a general election. It also holds off the grimness of Boris Johnson.
Totally unrelated, this is a track from a forthcoming Timothy J Fairplay ep on Hoga Nord. Mindfighter is like an 80s video game soundtrack with everything turned up, tuned up and sped up.
Racunari was a magazine for computing enthusiasts published in Yugoslavia in the 1980s and 1990s. If you want more front covers on a sexy, retro-futurist, former-Communist theme, then go here.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
Cigarettes After Sex have found themselves in possession of a beautiful sound, a slow motion, monochrome crawl through a guitar led ambient haze with some highly ambiguous and androgynous vocals (courtesy of singer Greg Gonzalez). Lots of late 80s and early 90s reference points, you can spot them yourselves I'm sure. Their debut album is out now and is sounding like one that we'll be listening to for some time.
Keep On Loving You
Saturday, 10 June 2017
Friday, 9 June 2017
Getting up this morning to find that the exit poll which caused my jaw to drop several inches when it was announced at 10 pm last night was pretty much spot on was a wonderful feeling. I stayed up for a while but went to bed before it was clear what the result was. This morning's news- Theresa May's cynical bid for a personal majority completely scuppered, hanging on as the leader of a minority government was good enough on its own. The massive increases made by Labour, the collapse of UKIP, the high turnout especially among younger voters, the rejection by the voters of an entirely negative Tory campaign- these are the things that put a smile on the face. Having been on the losing side so often politically, Friday 9th June felt like victory.
With perfect timing, to celebrate, here's a new Andrew Weatherall remix, this time of Nancy Noise.
Non-UK readers- the man in the picture is Lord Buckethead.
I wrote this without knowing what the election result was so I've no idea if this morning is one of elation or despair. Despair I expect. Anything else is a bonus.
Some of the teenagers I work with like to say (ironically I think) 'I didn't choose the thug life, the thug life chose me'. East Yorkshire's Mark Osborne didn't choose the thug life, he chose the Mono Life. Mono Life's first album, released back in 2015, was a Bagging Area end of year favourite. A couple of weeks ago he released his second, Sandalphon. I wanted to give it a good listen and live with it rather than type up a hasty review. This means that he's had to fight for airtime with some recent big hitters who've put out new albums in May, Jane Weaver and The Charlatans mainly.
Sandalphon is an album not just a collection of tracks put together, it works as a coherent whole, buzzing with ideas and invention from start to finish. Opening track The Science Of Love And Deception with juddering synths and beats is a powerful statement of intent and from there on he covers the gamut of electronic styles, from acid house to big beat, via Crockett And Tubbs, an 80s style electronic funk. Phantoms rides in on a cool breakbeat and bleeps. Radiate echoes Leftfield's dub techno. Dusky is low slung and optimistic. Closer The End (Keep Smiling) opens with washes of noise and builds from there, darker and less sunny than much of what's gone before it. Some piano finds its way in and then the distortion and static returns for the end. Mono Life has one foot in the past for sure, dance music's back pages are where this comes from, but there's also an eye looking forwards to an electronic future.
Thursday, 8 June 2017
Right then, time for action, time for change, time to see what is going on. Today is the day. By this tomorrow we should know what we face. The way I see it there are three potential outcomes of this general election.
1. A victory for a socialist Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn. If I am to believe my Twitter timeline this is a completely plausible outcome, but I fear it is unlikely.
2. A hung parliament. Seeing as there can't be any parties out there who would prop up a minority government led by a politically damaged Theresa May, I'm guessing this would result in a progressive alliance of Labour, SNP, PC, possibly some Lib Dems, and the Greens. I am happy with this as an outcome.
3. A Tory government, a cabinet of barbarians, who will hold power for the next five years, driving us off the cliff face and into some sort of post-EU, post-human rights, right-wing elective dictatorship where the poor are left to fend for themselves and Britain becomes a Poundshop, Daily Mail outpost off the coast of northern Europe.
I'm not looking forward to this.
In 2013 Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds released an album called Push The Sky Away, the first without long term cohort Mick Harvey. It has a warmth that singles it out in Nick Cave's back catalogue and on this beautiful closing song, a most un-Bad Seeds sound, an almost post-club sound with some optimistic, life affirming lyrics...
'I was riding
The sun was rising from the fields
You've got to keep on pushing and keep on pushing
Pushing the sky away
And some people say that it's just rock and roll
Oh but it gets down right into your soul
You've got to keep on pushing and keep on pushing
Pushing the sky away'
Push The Sky Away
It's a thing of beauty, even if you're not much of a Nick Cave fan. But it's not a song to take to the barricades or the polling station. This is though, Chuck D and Flavor Flav telling it how it is...
Harder Than You Think
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
The weather's gone horrible. The political situation is, um, tense, with no guarantee of a good outcome despite the surge of the last two weeks. The view on the TV is depressing beyond belief. Time for one of Aphex Twin's most inventive and feel good tracks- Alberto Balsam floats by on a lovely warm synth melody. The rhythm track is stop-start percussion. I read somewhere that the hi-hat is a cigarette lighter being clicked, which makes me love it even more. Some of Richard D James' stuff is brain rattling techno and fried acid and some of it is aural balm. This is the latter.
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
This post follows on (coincidentally) from Drew's on Friday where he posted a different mix of the same song. William Orbit's Water From A Vine Leaf is a long progressive house tune from 1993 with a Beth Orton vocal. Over twenty years on it sounds good to these ears, still has a freshness about it. This remix is even better than the original mix though I think. In 1993 Underworld were on top of their game, Emerson, Hyde and Smith capable of turning out ten minute remixes that reshaped the source matter and drove it onwards. This one adds a certain moodiness to Orbit's original version, perfect for the dancefloor and the headphones. Underworld really should compile their best remixes- they had so many from this time.
Water From A Vine Leaf (Underwater Mix Part 1)
Monday, 5 June 2017
It's a new week, back to work after the half term holiday and this is a new track from our spiritual guide Mr Weatherall, taken from a compilation called Moving House put together by Belgium's Mugwump, which is as good a compilation album of chuggy/electronic/dance music you'll hear this summer. You can buy it here.
The Weatherall track is a big one. A steamhammer industrial beat with chanting from somewhere east of the Bosphorus. Rather good.
On a recent jaunt to Glasgow Weatherall played a dub set at The Vic Bar at The Art School, a precursor to A Love From Outer Space upstairs at the same venue. Thankfully someone had the good sense to record it.
Sunday, 4 June 2017
Just up the road from us later on today a concert will take place at Old Trafford cricket ground, where Ariana Grande and a host of pop stars will perform with all the proceeds going to the families affected by the bombing at the arena two weeks ago. The One Love Manchester concert has shown the best side of human nature- fair play to Ariana Grande for coming back so soon and bringing so many people with her- and also some of the worst- ten thousand people applied for tickets either they weren't entitled to (free ones for those at the arena gig) or to sell on at a profit. The line up includes Pharrell Williams, Justin Bieber, Take That, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry.
A smaller scale fundraiser is taking place at the Deaf Institute on the same day including Marshall Jefferson, Mr Scruff, Graeme Park, Steve Cobby, Dave Haslam, Peter Hook and The Light, ACR, Denise Johnson, Badly Drawn Boy.
This city has shown what it's made of in the last two weeks (and I'm sure any other city would have done the same) and it's moving and heartwarming to see. I've been moved to tears I don't know how many times during the last fortnight.
Saturday, 3 June 2017
This picture shows the sunset in the hills above Ulverston a week ago. This Steve Cobby Sunset mix, for Thump Magazine, is a bit special, chock full of his own work (original and remixes). Very much sounds for the summer.
Bushfarmer - Cobby & Arthurs
Big Wow - Steve Cobby
Babylon On The Hudson - Steve Cobby
Templehof / Blue 13 -Steve Cobby mix
Tonto Rides the Gain / John Kennedy - Steve Cobby Mix
Tumblefish / Cobby & Mallinder
Teleseme / Steve Cobby
Darren Emerson / Graceland - Steve Cobby mix
Boule De Suif / Steve Cobby
Absolute / Cobby & Welton
Balearic Gabba Soundsytem / Gomasio - Steve Cobby mix
Tan Bello Que Duelo - Steve Cobby
This came out on line on June 1st and is what happens when Danish dance producer Trentemoller gets Warpaint bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg to sing on one of his tracks. You could argue that this is so in thrall to The Cure, Siouxsie and early 80s goth-rock that it's almost a Batcave tribute act but that would be churlish because this is so well done and so good that you should just let it push your buttons while you career around flapping your arms like a chicken. It wins, yes, hands down.
Friday, 2 June 2017
I've been listening to a lot of spoken word and poetry stuff recently and burned a cd that worked well- the intro to Misty In Roots' Live at Eurovision, John Cooper Clarke's Twat, yesterday's Steve Cobby and Russ Litten track, Joe Gideon and The Shark's Civilisation, Allen Ginsberg/Tom Waits' America/Closing Time, a Joe Strummer and Jack Kerouac ghost duet track, Weatherall's remixes of Mike Garry's St Anthony and BP Fallon and David Holmes' Henry McCullough plus The Deep Hum (At The Heart Of It All) that he did with Michael Smith, a few other things on similar lines. And some Linton Kwesi Johnson dub poetry. Dub and poetry go together very well indeed, like chips and mayonnaise, like punk and speed. This one, Inglan Is A Bitch from 1980's Bass Culture album, is full of righteous anger at the way Jamaican immigrants were treated in Inglan. The man himself said that 'writing was a political act and poetry was a cultural weapon'.
Inglan Is A Bitch
Thursday, 1 June 2017
A week today the people of the United Kingdom will go to the polls. Voting Tory is obviously so completely wrong that we will talk of it no further. Views of Jeremy Corbyn are polarised too, among Labour supporters and voters as well as the wider electorate, but the election campaign and the choice facing us has thrown everything into new light, and views of Corbyn have been shifting with people getting on board who previously had doubts. It seems blindingly clear to me (in England at any rate, Scotland and Wales have different issues and different options and Northern Ireland is a different situation again) that if you have any interest in wanting a fairer society, anything approaching some kind of social justice, a society where there will be an NHS for all and an education system that is relatively equal for all, a country where the many are not downtrodden for the benefit of a wealthy few, then there can only be one box to place your X. Whatever your thoughts on Corbyn, Labour are offering a manifesto that promises hope- for the many, not the few. Will they win? I don't think so but it's tighter than it was a few weeks ago and if the polls are correct it's getting tighter still. I'd like a Labour government with the Green's Caroline Lucas in the cabinet, by far the most impressive of the debaters at the leadership TV showdowns (which Theresa May is too frightened to attend despite seeing herself as strong).
That's my soapbox speech over, at least until next Thursday. Hull's Balearic campaigner Steve Cobby and realist poet Russ Litten have recorded a song borrowing the name of Labour's manifesto, for the many not the few. Smart electronic funk, a bubbling bassline, horns and flutes, and Russ's words. The original track was a free download. They performed it at a rally in Hull and it turned out Corbyn already had it as his ringtone. You can now get a four track e.p., complete with Corbyn himself edited into one of the mixes Tackhead stylee, for the cost of £1 (all proceeds to the Labour Party). It's here. You can get the single original version as a free download here. For the many, not the few.