Steve Cobby's new album, Hemidemisemiquaver, came out last Friday. I've been living with it for a few days (while also waiting for pay day so I can order the double vinyl) and can report that it is excellent. From the liquid funkiness of opener Jenkem to the inventive electro of The Canyons Of Lower Manhattan, the dub stylings of Babylon On The Hudson to the downtempo Balearic drift of Fixing The Shadows, it never disappoints and frequently delights, showcasing Steve's love of sound and attention to detail, the little twists and turns he puts in, the joy and the adventure. Double vinyl, cd or digital, you can/should buy it here.
Unauthorised item in the bagging area
Monday, 30 October 2017
Two new Richard Norris remixes for your enjoyment at the start of the week. There's a lot of new stuff out at the moment, from all over the place and a multitude of sources. It's difficult to keep up.
This one is a new version of Morning Velvet Sky by Gulp, one that has gone down a storm recently with punters at A Love From Outer Space. Pulsing synth bass, echo on the drums, and then joined by a spaced out, slightly folky vocal. Blissful. Gulp contain one Super Furry Animal (Guto Pryce).
And this one is Richard's remix of Drive by Halina Rice, a London based producer. It picks up where the previous one started/left off- whooshing synths, electronic arpeggios, Halina's choral vocals and some space age flamboyance. Magical stuff.
Sunday, 29 October 2017
Once a month Sunday becomes our Music's Not For Everyone day, our guide Mr. Weatherall presenting us with two hours of tunes old and new. This month's edition is full of the usual sonic delights and discoveries, taking in Faten Kanaan, Syrinx, Sibusile Xaba, Hologram Teen, Yamasuki, T Rex (I've heard of them, tick), Carlton Melton, The Gimicks, Dennis And The Menaces, Belbury Poly, Hove, Groupe Dago, The Vendetta Suite, 4416, Paradise Box, Abdou Al Omari, Mugwisa International Xylophone Group, Barry Adamson (yup, that's two) and Spider And The Flies (Horrors offshoot, three). As you were, as Our Kid keeps saying.
Saturday, 28 October 2017
I've written before about Swedish producer Paresse and his slow motion, glacial tracks, landing somewhere between Balearic house and Italian disco via Stockholm. He has a new ep, Sloth Machine, out soon on Belgium's Eskimo records- truly criss-crossing Europe here aren't we? The four track ep has been led off by this one, Temples, a throbbing bass, some cosmic synths, plenty of atmosphere and a general sense of forward momentum.
The artwork, from 1896, is titled La Paresse. In French, a propensity to do nothing, a reluctance to work or make an effort. Lounging around on the bed with no clothes on tickling a cat would qualify. I guess it also explains the title Sloth Machine.
Friday, 27 October 2017
Let's end the week with some dub, a previously unreleased track from On-U Sound about to be part of a Dub Syndicate vinyl re-issue set (first four albums) and a cd anthology box (Ambience Dub 1982-1985). This is a heavy duty, wandering slice of Sherwood dub with Bim Sherman's vocals floating above the rhythms. Echo, reverb, hisses, wobbles, sounds dropping in and out. Friday has come and it's not a second too soon.
Thursday, 26 October 2017
In June Richard Fearless put out a 12" single with an A-side that I've been returning to ever since, a high quality piece of modern techno called Sweet Venus. The other side of the single was this, a thumping piece of acid techno, hypnotic and repetitive. The sort of track where attention to detail is utmost- lovely oscillating synths, crisp drums and the cymbals are a total joy in themselves. It just glides by.
Out recently on Fearless' own imprint Drone is this from Von Haze (produced by Fearless). Solar Plexus is a ten minute exploration of drone and frequencies. It's too insistent to be ambient. You'll either love it or it'll do your head in.
Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Back at the start of the year Kelly Lee Owens released an album of woozy, slightly off kilter dance music songs. It was stuck to my turntable for a while and will be dug out again before the end of the year. Kelly has reworked a new song by Mount Kimbie, a dance music duo who started in dubstep and moved elsewhere- ambient electronica, future garage. The result is right up my street, a repetitive echoey sound to open and a single kick drum, and then several minutes of build, layers of sound on top of each. When the bass hits at two minutes everything gets spaced out a bit. The echoey, keening sound comes back with some pow-pows. By the time the vocal comes in at four minutes you're well away, transported elsewhere. Blissful stuff.
Tuesday, 24 October 2017
There's a dreamlike quality to The Cure's Just Like Heaven, a 1987 single recorded in the south of France. The instruments come in one by one, the quicktime drums and melodic bass then rhythm guitar, followed by keys and lead guitar, and finally Robert Smith's lyrics and thin vocals, inspired by a trip to Beachy Head with Mary. Smith says it is about 'kissing and fainting to the floor' and that sense of giddy weightlessness crosses over into the music.
Just Like Heaven
Dinosaur Jr's 1989 cover is faster, louder and messier. It still carries the sense of weightlessness but is rooted in small venues, spilt beer and feedback.
Just Like Heaven
Monday, 23 October 2017
Godspeed You! Black Emperor have a new album out, Luciferian Towers, another state of the world address and an attempt to topple global capitalism with noisy instrumental music. Song titles like Bosses Hang Pt I to III and Anthem For No State give you an idea of where their heads are at. If you are familiar with their back catalogue there's nothing here that will especially surprise you but the power, drama and intensity in the playing are as impressive as they've always been.
Saturday, 21 October 2017
'...since I know why you have come! But your quest is in vain! You cannot save your world from being ravished by Galactus!' The colour, vibrancy, movement and energy in these frames is something else.
The opening track from 808 State's 1989 album 90 is the first track on the memory stick in the family car at the moment. I can't get past it, hitting replay time after time while running around- the melodic intro, then the breakbeat and busy bass, synths in technicolour and Vanessa's spoken/sung vocal.... 'come with me and have no fear, just close your eyes and disappear'. Dead stop.
I'm away overnight and haven't had the time to write anything for tomorrow so it's a rare Sunday off at Bagging Area. Enjoy your weekend.
Friday, 20 October 2017
Silver Surfer again, exploding out of deep space and bringing with him Galactus, devourer of worlds. But the Surfer makes his choice, the surfer stands with earth!
More good news for the people of planet earth, there is a new release from Finiflex (some of Finitribe) . This four track release on Bandcamp (digital and yellow vinyl) has four versions of Ta Ta Oo Ha. Origination, the nine minute, full length one is the one I'm going back to most, but the low slung, hypnotic throb of TX20 Agent Of Intelligence is a treat too. I really like this e.p., a blast of modernity with a foot in the early 90s.
And as a bonus, just in case you needed reminding, here is one of 1991's best releases.
'Bass, can you hear me? Loud and clear. Crunching through these speakers to you...'
Thursday, 19 October 2017
Doctor Doom, perennial enemy of the Fantastic Four, has frazzled the Surfer and is now 'invincibly superior... and has attained powers without limit-- power enough to challenge Galactus himself!' We all know how this ends- overconfidence is always the downfall of a supervillain. Even Victor von Doom.
Jack Kirby's artwork doesn't make me think of reggae too often- Lee Perry's Super Ape sleeve art and a few others aside- but in a week of new music today I offer you the honeyed voice of Hollie Cook and some wonderfully poppy reggae vibes on this single Freefalling which comes out tomorrow. An album, Vessel Of Love, produced by Youth is following in January.
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Back to Marvel's Strange Tales today, with Jeremy Corbyn, prior to his leading the Labour Party I imagine, ending up with an injured hand and doing Mordo's bidding. Jeremy has clearly failed in his quest to strike back at the ancient one.
Earlier this year Siren (a chuggy electronic house duo) released a four track record. The lead song, Lulu, has been remixed by Italian cosmic-disco experts to absolute perfection. Daniele Baldelli and Marco Dionigi send the track to a lush and expansive other-world, with Devi Mamboka's wonderful vocals floating on top. Viva Italia.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
One of this year's treats has been a remix by Chris and Cosey of Different Days, the title track of The Charlatans latest album. Rude Audio, a London based collective, have done a completely unofficial re-edit of Chris and Cosey's already rather gorgeous, Balearic remix. Rude Audio have pared the vocals back, dubbed it up and let the lovely, bubbling synths take centre stage.
In the picture the Fantastic Four's own powers have been combined by this set of magic gloves and this will enable them to be totally defeated--now-- and forever!! By hurling their own powers-- magnified many times-- against them!!
Monday, 16 October 2017
I was going to give the Marvel thing a rest but I've got several great frames still to use and it's given the writing of posts a new lease of life for me and I don't ignore those kind of things when it comes to trying to find something to say every day.
Barry Adamson, a man who has played bass with both Magazine and The Bad Seeds, had several first rate solo albums and a bunch of soundtracks (including The Beach, Lost Highway and Natural Born Killers), has a new e.p. out next month- remixes of his Love Sick Dick 6 track e.p. Love Sick Dick was a kind of modern, urban blues for 2017. One of the remixes out next month is by A Certain Ratio.
Martin Moscrop, ACR's guitarist and trumpeter, describes the remix as more of a collaboration. ACR built up a new track, with drums, 303, guitar, keyboards and trumpet, dropping in Barry's vocals, chopped up, and the backing vox. The remix is tagged ACR:MCR Rework and the reference to their 1990 masterpiece is spot on. This sounds like a continuation of the sound of that record, lovely uptempo grooves with Barry's vocals on top and an extended funky end section. Very good indeed.
ACR have recently signed a deal with Mute and a series of reissues has started, with Good Together and ACR:MCR due next year.
Sunday, 15 October 2017
The Inhumans look like a band- an L.A. punk band, Black Flag maybe, or a second generation UK punk group like The Rezillos. There's something of Pixies about them too. The Inhumans first appeared in Fantastic Four in 1965, evolutionary advanced superbeings, led by their king Black Bolt. In this frame they have kidnapped Sue Storm (The Invisible Girl) and are facing down her brother Johnny Storm (The Human Torch). Coincidentally I've just seen an advert for a new Inhumans TV series, about to be shown on the Murdoch channel (which I don't subscribe to).
The Rotters Golf Club Archive Hour Vol 10 has recently been posted online, an hour inside Andrew Weatherall's record collection. This one is very much a band based affair and perfect for Sunday morning.
'No! They've brainwashed you! You don't know what you're saying!'
Radiogram – Waiting For The Merry Go Round
The Fall – Bill Is Dead
The Faces – Debris
Cowboys International – Here Comes A Saturday
Del Shannon - That’s The Way Love Is
The Czars – Killjoy
Lali Puna – Move On
Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell – The Breaking Hands
P. F. Sloan – Upon A Painted Ocean
The Duke & The King – The Morning I Get To Hell
The Felice Bros. – All When We Were Young
Alex Chilton – Every Day As We Grow Closer
Brett Smiley – Queen Of Hearts
Sir John Betjeman – A Russel Flint
Ian McCulloch – Nothing Lasts Forever (Live)
Scott Walker - Lines
Saturday, 14 October 2017
'Beautiful Dreamer versus Darkseid! Both hold the key to victory in the strangest war ever fought in comicdom history!'
More early 70s Jack Kirby-Third Eye- Black Light psychedelic madness. The more of this Marvel art I look for, the more I find, the more I want to post. I was planning to finish yesterday but there's more to come.
Two days ago reader KevM asked for The Box by Jack Of Swords, released on Weatherall's Sabres Of Paradise label back in 1994. The Box is a cover of The Velvet Underground tune (from White Light/White Heat), a tale of sexual obsession and accidental death, voiced by John Cale (and it's the original Cale vocal used on this cover too, a benefit of the being able to lift the whole isolated vocal off the Velvet's record by switching the speakers balance to the left hand channel). The Jack Of Swords version has a heavy, electronic backing that is pretty transfixing. On the B-side of the 12" single was a remixed version by Technova (David Harrow), a brilliant remix which adds a jackhammer beat, some speaker rattling bass and a load of acid-techno (the sort of record that makes me think I can smell dry ice) and see strobes flashing in the corner of my eye.
The Box (The Black Angel's Death Mix)
Friday, 13 October 2017
A 1971 psychedelic/Norse crossover, this one drawn by John Buscema, from the Third Eye series. Odin resurrects Hela. So shall it be.
This can only go in one direction can't it? From 2008's Black Sheep album, some prime recent Julian Cope.
More from the Marvel Third Eye series, these ones are all by Jack Kirby I think, but its the colourist who's getting most of the fun- The Infinity Man, an acid trip in spandex; the Silver Surfer, freed and unbound; magnificent Medusa.
And because Cope has more than one Marvel link, Spiderman and Daredevil threatened by Submariner- The Teardrop Explodes!
This is their 1979 single (that inspired its own tribute song by Chris Sievey and the Freshies, otherwise known as Timperley's own Frank Sidebottom).
Thursday, 12 October 2017
'Doubt and fear hang heavy in the passing light years---- until the passing form of the ranger centre appears!
ARE YOU CAST IN MY IMAGE?
We grow in your image!!--please translate us into penal section'
I'd love to explain what's going on here but I can't (so if anyone knows please put something in the comment box). Jack Kirby in full on, all the way up to 11, everything louder than everything else, Marvel psychedelic mode. Magical.
Lucy And The Mango Man is a fairly stoned psychedelic excursion that came out on Weatherall's Emissions Audio Output label in the mid 90s. It's by Is. The voice at the start is Lux Interior from The Cramps. It's a little less frenetic than what's going on in the picture but could easily soundtrack us sonic and sci fi adventurers as we cruise past by the giant hand with a brain in it, an eye on the wrist and yellow beams shooting from the fingertips.
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Silver Surfer was Norrin Radd, the young man from the planet Zenn-La who saved his home world from Galactus, the planet devourer, by agreeing to act as his herald. This resulted in Norrin flying through the cosmos announcing to various planets that they were about to be destroyed. He later turned on his master, defending the earth. Exiled to the blue planet he spent much of his time shaking his head, ruminating on existence and despairing at the inhumanity of mankind.
Silver Surfer first appeared in a Fantastic Four comic in 1966. When drawn by Jack Kirby a completely silver humanoid with no genitals on a surfboard sweeping through the cosmos, his speech coming from Stan Lee's scripts with him speaking in a kind of Shakespearean English, makes perfect sense.
Here's some beautiful minimal ambient-techno from Aphex Twin.
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
No grandiose caption or speech with this Steve Ditko spread for Dr. Strange, who is on a very odd voyage into another dimension. And while that nearly led me to Intergalatic by the Beastie Boys it also put me in mind of Cavern Of Anti Matter and this piece of experimental retro-futurism from their 2016 album Void Beats/Invocation Hex.
It's nice to have something calming and melodic to bring you safely home from excursions such as the one Dr Strange is taking. From the same record, this fits the bill perfectly...
Melody In High Feedback Tones
Monday, 9 October 2017
'It is as I have feared' says Dr Strange, 'the cataclysmic impact of their clash threatens to destroy them both!' This frame comes form the Strange Tales comic. Eternity, created by Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, is a sentient force, a cosmic and abstract entity, immortal and unaffected by the passage of time and can warp space and time. Steve Ditko's art goes even further than that.
Michael Rother's 1977 album Flammende Herzen was his solo debut, recorded after his time in Neu! and Cluster. It is only 5 tracks long but every second and note is perfect. Rother plays guitar, synths, keys, bass and percussion. Jaki Liebezeit drums and Conny Plank produces. Harmonic, cosmic, unaffected by the passage of time.
Sunday, 8 October 2017
I've been posting some artwork on Twitter recently, frames from the golden age of Marvel Comics, (Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko era) with a distinctly psychedelic edge to them. The riot of colours, light and shade, the melodramatic language, the composition, especially from Dr. Strange and Fantastic Four, are all from way out in the outer reaches of the imagination. What I thought I would do here for the next few days is post some of the pictures with a song that the picture suggested to me.
The frame is from the Fantastic Four- 'I've done it!! I'm drifting in a world of limitless dimensions!!' says our hero, 'It's the crossroads of infinity-- the junction to everywhere!'.
The tune is from 2000, Marshall Jefferson vs Noosa Heads, remixed by Salt City Orchestra, and the long, trippy, deep house magnificence of Mushrooms.
Saturday, 7 October 2017
In 1994 Kylie went for some credibility- not that she needed it, everyone loved Kylie anyway- but she was fed up with feeling like a puppet in the SAW production line. Brothers In Rhythm were on board to provide some dance productions skills and she had signed to DeConstruction (then a pretty hip dance label). Confide In Me is a slow burner, opening with violin and piano. Sweeping Arabian strings and a didgeridoo join in with the indie-dance drums. Kylie does her thing.
Confide In Me (Master Mix)
I've posted this before but it's worth a repost while I'm in Kylie territory, a Go Home Productions mash up of Kylie's Slow and The Stone Roses' Beggin' You. Slow is a great, sultry pop song and was co-written by Emiliana Torrini, an Icelandic singer who has graced these pages before. It looks like The Stone Roses have called it a day again- the poor reception given to the two singles and Ian's frustration with the others not wanting to do much work is one reason that has been whispered about. Another is the ever present tension between Ian and Reni. To be frank, after the Etihad shows it looked done to me anyway. This mash up is good fun.
While I'm here, I always thought this 2010 single was a really good, classy piece of electro-pop too.
Friday, 6 October 2017
Yargo have appeared in my social media timelines a couple of times recently so it's time to revisit them here. I've written about them before, a band barely known outside Manchester but who really should have been bigger. There's a dearth of decent pictures on the internet too and while searching for an image for this post I found the one above, a ticket for a 1990 gig at Manchester International 1 where they were supported by Rig (who I wrote about at the start of this year here and who had my mate Darren on guitar).
Yargo were a four piece who defied pigeonholing mixing blues, soul, funk and reggae, and a singer (Basil Clarke) with the voice of an angel. Several of them had previously been in Biting Tongues, another unsung Manchester band. This song, from the album Bodybeat, has brushed drums and jazzy guitar licks before moving into a sort of dub/film soundtrack area.
Another Moss Side Night
In 1988 they put out a single with singer Zoe Griffin called The Love Revolution (Manchester, 1988- 'ten thousand people committing no crime... we're dancing away'). Basil's voice floats over an ACR style house groove on this very nice Justin Robertson remix.
The Love Revolution (Justin Robertson's Scream Team Remix)
They received their most widespread coverage in 1989 when their song The Other Side Of Midnight was used as the theme tune to Tony Wilson's late night Granada music TV show of the same name. As well as some legendary appearances by some definitive Manchester guitar bands OSM enabled Tony to broadcast a party from Victoria Baths soundtracked by A Guy Called Gerald (starting at 6.15 with Voodoo Ray).
And from the end of the series in July 89 a stunning show from the old Granada Studios building, a live rave with Gerald again, T-Coy (Mike Pickering and ex-ACR man Simon Topping) and the Happy Mondays at their chaotic peak. But you know, it's 1989, the crowd are the real stars.
Thursday, 5 October 2017
In the nearly eight years I've been doing this blog the only Cocteau Twins song I've featured has been Frosty The fucking Snowman so it's well past time to rectify that. Their 1989 album Heaven Or Las Vegas found them approaching accessibility and looking for the fabled crossover. Iceblink Luck is full of wobbly, woozy sounds but is also technicolour, centre stage, looking for attention, and in tune with the times it has a rhythm that you could almost dance to/shamble about to.
For all her new audibility I'm still none the wiser as to what Liz is singing about but it doesn't really matter.
'You're the match of Jericho
That will burn this whole madhouse down
And I'll throw open like a walnut safe
You will seem more like being that same bot-tle of exquisite stuff
Yes, you are the match of Jericho
That will burn
This whole madhouse down and I'll throw
Open like the wall, not safe
You, yourself, and your father don't know
So part in your own ways
You're really both bone setters
Thank you for mending me babies'
Wednesday, 4 October 2017
The news, big and small, is just a mess at the moment, one crushing item after another- Catalonia, Las Vegas, the Tories in Manchester and the whole Boris Johnson circus, the continued existence of Donald Trump, Morrissey's dullard pronouncements about Ukip- that's just scratching the surface. Yesterday brought news of the death of Tom Petty at the age of 66. I can't claim to be a massive fan but I'm aware of his role and status. I'm fond of Free Fallin' which struck me as a good tune back in 1989 (and still does) and this is a fucking monster of a song/riff/chorus/sentiment.
Julian Casablancas might have been listening to this one in the early 2000s. At the weekend I happened upon the picture of Madonna (at Keith Haring's birthday party in 1984) and it seemed too good not to use for a post about an American girl.
Tuesday, 3 October 2017
Back in 2013 I posted Talagh, a delirious and funky piece of Iranian pop from 1975, sung by Azerbaijani singer Googoosh. She was big in Iran before the revolution and then banned between 1979 and 2000. Israeli artist Alek Lee has gave it a bit of a makeover last year. Still delirious and funky, now with a 2016 edge. Free download. Apparently Talagh was sampled by Kanye West recently too for his own stab at 'the greatest album ever made' (although I think Ian McCulloch bagged that phrase and title back in 1984).
Monday, 2 October 2017
Sunday, 1 October 2017
There's no getting away from it, we are well into autumn- it's October today, the trees have suddenly sprouted shades of brown and orange. A couple of weeks ago when summer was still just about a recent memory I wrote about the Balearic Beats compilation album and its eclectic selection of tracks and artists. While digging around the internet I found a Balearic Beats 2 mixtape/download at the always excellent Test Pressing, put together by Terry Farley at some point in the 90s. The tracklist is below (with Terry's handwritten explanation below that), the highlights including It's Immaterial, Paul Rutherford's still fantastic acid song Get Real and Turntable Orchestra's You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone. You can find the original post here and its still available to download and keep forever. It just might keep October at bay for an hour.