Unauthorised item in the bagging area
Wednesday, 28 February 2018
More 80s Creation for you- this one from The Pastels, a gloriously amateurish racket and a genuine indie classic. This is the 12" version from 1984, coupled on the A-side with Million Tears and Surprise Me. They re-recorded it for their 1987 album Up For A Bit With The Pastels but this one is better by far.
Stephen Pastel runs Glasgow record shop Monorail. He was there when we shopped there at the International Bloggers Convention back in May last year. He doesn't look that different from the picture above despite there being about thirty years between the two.
Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Creation Records put out all sorts of chaotic, inspired, noisy and wilfully uncommercial music before they had their heads turned by Oasis (after which scruffy kids in suede jackets and scuffed winklepickers were largely shown the door and sales and charts and being the biggest band in the world became the order of the day). The Telescopes started out in 1987 in Burton-on-Trent and landed on Creation in the early 90s. Flying came out as a single in 1991. It is described as shoegaze but it's squally and discordant rather than dreamy and mesmerising. A lot of music in 1991 was in this vein, bursts of art and noise and hidden melodies, flying from the arc started by punk 15 years or so before and the mid 80s re-discovery of the Velvets, Suicide and 60s psyche-rock.
Monday, 26 February 2018
They have predicted a blast of Arctic weather for us this week- low temperatures, snow, ice and all the rest. To offset that here is a track from that Italian compilation I wrote about (Welcome To Paradise: Italian Dream House 1988-1993), Time Unlimited by High Tide from 1990. Close your eyes while this is playing and it is summer, you are young and all that matters is the next record.
Sunday, 25 February 2018
The first time I played Factory Floor's new single, Heart Of Data, I wasn't too struck on it. I must not have been paying attention because it is 6 minutes of sleek modern techno brilliance. Pulsing bass, waves of synths, crashing cymbals, kick drum and a sense of rushing to meet the future. It and the B-side are from their score for Fritz Lang's 1920s sci fi classic Metropolis, which they produced last year for the Science Museum. More please.
Saturday, 24 February 2018
This picture was from an NME interview, Mick Jones photographed in Portobello Road following his recovery from chicken pox and complications with pneumonia in 1989 that nearly killed him. I was hoping to find other similar pictures of punks on bikes and do a semi-regular feature called Punks On Bikes but alas I've not found any others (apart from Paul Weller in that Style Council video).
Mick always had the ability to rise from the ashes of defeat and disaster. He came back from being sacked from The Clash with Big Audio Dynamite and a debut album that was chock full of tunes and hits. When the original line up of B.A.D. walked out in 1990, partly in response to his 'intolerable' attitude after getting over his near fatal illness in '89, he put together a new line up and came back once again. Rush was a big hit in the US (on the back of the re-released Levi's tie in Should I Stay Or Should I Go? admittedly but it also gained B.A.D. II plenty of airplay and curiously they also won the Billboard Modern Rock Song of 1991 award). In Rush Mick sings of no regrets and of keeping moving...
'If I had my time again
I would do it all the same
And not change a single thing
Even when I was to blame
For the heartache and the pain
that I've caused throughout the years
How I learnt to be a man
Through the laughter and the tears'
The song is so full of Mick Jones joie de vivre you can practically hear his wonky toothed grin as it plays and his continuing love of sampling is evident with borrowed sections from The Who, Deep Purple, Tommy Roe, The Sugarhill Gang and Peter Sellers.
'Now I'm fully grown
And I know where it's at
Somehow I stayed thin
While the other guys got fat
All the chances that I've blown
And the times that I've been down
I didn't get too high
Kept my feet on the ground'
Mick was still playing Rush when touring with the Justice Tonight crew in 2011- he definitely played it The Ritz in Manchester, Pete Wylie sharing the mic and The Farm backing him. The release of it as the AA side to Should I Stay Or Should I Go? caught him a bit of flak from people accusing him of cashing in the back of The Clash's belated number 1 single, but the whole Levi's re-release was a cash-in, so why not? Across a multitude of formats there are at least eight different versions of Rush. This one is the album mix.
Friday, 23 February 2018
There are songs from the late 80s and early 90s which I didn't buy at the time, songs I have never owned until getting mp3s of them in recent years, but which I know inside out. This is because-
a) you can't buy everything
b) limited budget
and c) record buying priorities.
It's probably also the case that there was some stuff I dismissed a bit at the time but which really sank in to my musical memories and in retrospect (or actually at the time) liked.
Tom's Diner, the 1990 DNA remix of Suzanne Vega's 1981 written but 1987 released song, is one of those songs. Everything is utterly familiar and known inside out, from the da-da-da-duh intro to the chugging Soul II Soul beat, every line of the lyrics, the grinding bassline and then the cathedral bells as the whole thing seems to slow down.
Tom's Diner (DNA Remix)
DNA remixed it without permission and distributed limited quantities on white label. The record label, A&M, heard about it, liked it and rather than sue DNA, sought Suzanne's approval and bought it to release officially. Which was wise as it was a massive hit in the UK (number 2) and USA (number 5). In one of those typical chart battle stories it was kept off the UK number 1 spot by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Thursday, 22 February 2018
I'm just dipping back into the Trance Europe Express compilation that made up a number of last week's posts. Several of you mentioned this song and I couldn't let it go. Charlie Hall and Lol Hammond were The Drum Club. Follow The Sun is a trip. Drums. Buzzing sounds. Ascending and descending synth lines. Vocals from Kate Holmes and Wonder. Leaves you better than it found you.
Follow The Sun (Remix)
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
In 2016 Bicep remixed 808 State's 1991 In Yer Face, taking the almost ambient two chord synth part and looping it (with that vocal sample slowed down). It gets busier in the second half, an updated version of '91, fine tuned for modern times with Bicep's trademark warmth. I can imagine it going down very well in the right places.
I'm not sure 808 State always get their dues when Manchester bands are ranked, rated and discussed. They made records that were as much part of the place as many of the more famous guitar bands and many of them have stood the test of time too. Here's the original version of In Yer Face from Ex:El.
In Yer Face
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Ride put out a song last year, Pulsar, that ended up being one of my favourite songs of 2017- Pulsar, a dreamy bass driven guitar song about space and life and travel. They released it on vinyl last week with 3 other new songs including this one, Catch You Dreaming, a Ride song dominated by synths. Catch You Dreaming is about a couple watching the end of the universe. I like the science fiction concepts behind these songs- makes a change from the usual guitar band stuff.
The second track on the 12", Keep It Surreal, is my current pick, a short, sharp burst of guitar mangling with a falsetto vocal. You can buy it (and the whole ep) digitally or on vinyl here.
Monday, 19 February 2018
Opinion seems to be that The Clash's final album* Combat Rock is a major label attempt to break the band in the States and shift some serious units. The hit singles and the production seem to suggest that this was an album where the Sandinista! style experimentation was off the agenda in favour of stadia and the top 40. Maybe that's partly true but Combat Rock also contains some songs that only The Clash could have made and only The Clash could think were commercial. Straight To Hell goes without saying. Ghetto Defendant (with Allen Ginsberg) is a reggae blues anti-heroin lament. I've written before about the record's closing song, Death Is A Star, a 6 minute excursion into modern jazz and the nature of fame. Opening song Know Your Rights is a call to arms, a rant against government and police forces, crunching two chord agit-pop. It is followed by Car Jamming.
Car Jamming is a treat, everyone playing their part with some of Joe's most Strummer-esque lyrics. Topper sets up a tub thumping rhythm and is joined by Mick playing post-punk guitar, both paying some kind of tribute to Bo Diddley but in a very early 80s way. Paul's bass is a descending roots reggae line, low in the mix. Joe's lyrics are the icing on the cake- funky multi-nationals, King Kong, Agent Orange, gorillas and hyenas and Lauren Bacall- 'I swear fellas, Lauren Bacall!' All as seen from the window of a New York taxi in a traffic jam. And I love the way he closes with 'ah, yeah, positively, absolutely', every syllable separated.
*The proper line up's final album that is, not the rump Clash's Cut The Crap
Sunday, 18 February 2018
Last year a compilation came out on Dutch label Safe Trip called Welcome To Paradise: Italian Dream House 89-93. It was, as it suggests, a round up of Italian house music, 21 slices of late 80s and early 90s modernism. The Italian house music in the compilation is completely care free- it has none of the wonky, hard edge of Chicago or the mind melting acid of Detroit, the darkness of British house from the same period (like Voodoo Ray) or the sped up frenzy of rave and hardcore. It is beaches, bikinis and tanned skin. Drums pad away, synth lines ascend slowly, basslines are fat and warm. A lovely place to visit. The compilation is well worth picking up with a second volume is about to be released. This 1991 single from Don Carlos is not on Welcome To Paradise but is a perfect accompaniment to it.
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Tracey Thorn's new single Sister, described by TT herself as 'an eight minute feminist groove anthem' with vocals from Corinne Bailey Rae and drums and bass from Stella and Jenny Lee from Warpaint, is out now. As the player below shows there are also two remixes from Andrew Weatherall, both long and spacey. The dub mix is particularly intense.
While we're here Tracey's vocal for Massive Attack's Protection is right up there. All the mixes and versions are among the best things Tracey and Massive Attack ever did. This version, the Eno mix, from the 12" single is nine minutes of ambience, warmth and protection.
Protection (The Eno Mix)
Friday, 16 February 2018
The Trance Europe Express compilation continues to feed my head musically. Funnily, another trainee teacher on my PGCE course lent me the cd back in 1993, at a time when I didn't even own a cd player. I happily borrowed his cd, read the booklet from front to back and back again and then returned it without being able to listen to any of the tracks. I didn't buy Trance Europe Express until I'd bought a cd player, some time in 1996 or '97, when I found it second hand and then had the joy of listening to all the tracks.
From disc 1, this is a driving, thumping piece of progressive house (with a dash of trance). Scubadevils were Andy Ellison, Pete Latham and David Holmes. There was another version of this track, the Angel Delight mix, which appeared on a 12" single (split with another Holmes alias Death Before Disco) but I don't have that- and this is more than good enough on its own anyway. When I re-found the Trance Europe Express cd last weekend and pressed play, this track made me almost giddy with excitement as it played. A proper dance floor filler.
Thursday, 15 February 2018
Someone, somewhere posted Flowered Up's single It's On the other day and it reminded me of its release back in summer 1990. The band had got some music press coverage, references to them being the London answer to Happy Mondays (whatever the question was). ITV's Saturday morning music programme The Chart Show had an indie chart segment, once every 3 weeks (switching between the dance chart and the metal chart). The programme trailed Flowered Up's appearance later on so we settled down on our rented sofa in our student house and waited for this up and coming band we hadn't heard yet.
It sounded really weird, all over the place. Vocals sometimes rose up in the mix and sometimes the instruments sounded like they'd been stretched out and a strange whooshing noise dominated. It was miles away from Step On.
It turned out the video tape that Heavenly had sent over to ITV was faulty, the band's first TV appearance screwed up. I don't know if it affected the sales of the single. It's On was released in a variety of formats, 7"s and 12"s, as labels did back then to fleece the fans out of their cash by getting them to buy multiple copies for that extra B-side. It's On is a good song, the rhythm lurching from one foot to the other, enough to disconcert at the indie-disco. There aren't many good songs led by pan pipes and keyboards, and then there's Liam Maher's stream-of-consciousness lyrical drawl- 'I like French ones, big French ones'. The extended version, It's On- Sonia, seems to exist in different versions as well, across multiple formats. This is the seven minutes plus version.
It's On- Sonia
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Here's some sweet and swoonsome Lover's Rock for Valentine's Day and a gig review to boot.
I went to see Hollie Cook at Gorilla on Sunday night- I didn't really get any decent photographs of the gig but earlier on in the day I saw this pair of shoes hanging from a tree in Old Trafford. It was snowing heavily when I set out and it kept it up on the way into town, not the best preparation for an evening of reggae and tropical pop. Gorilla is a brilliant gig venue, inside the railway arches on Whitworth Street, great sound and small and intimate. Despite the conditions outside and most people turning up in several layers of winter clothing Hollie's joyfulness at seeing a full room and subsequent set could warm the heart of the most curmudgeonly gig goer. The band are tight as you like and aren't afraid of wandering off into dubbed out versions during the second half of the songs, the delay pedal on top of the keyboards getting frequent use, bouncing chords and sounds around the room. Much of the set is taken from the new album, Vessel Of Love- this one, the single, sounding especially good, Hollie's voice floating on top of the band's reggaeton groove...
Hollie has released 3 albums now (plus a dub version of the debut), sung and toured with the reformed Slits and supported The Stone Roses at Heaton Park in 2013. She should be playing to bigger crowds than the couple of hundred who have turned out on Sunday night, a wide mix of ages from early twenties and students through to those in their sixties. They finished with a magnificent dubbed out version of this to close the set.
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
The Trance Europe Express compilation I wrote about yesterday has given me a track I have kept going back to over the last few days and may be developing a mild obsession with. Warp recording artists The Black Dog wrote and released under a variety of names, putting things out under the umbrella name Black Dog Productions. The track on Trance Europe Express is by Xeper (a pseudonym for one of The Black Dog trio, Ken Downie). It starts sounding like it could be the beginning of an episode of Star Trek (original 1960s version) and then brings in a rattling drum sample. Washes of synth and some Sheffield bleeps fill it out before some piano chords work their way in, that almost but never quite turn into a full-on piano house riff. That description really doesn't do it justice- there's much more going on here than I can hope to explain adequately. It unfolds beautifully over the ensuing eight minutes. Just listen to it.
Carceres Ex Novum (Remix)
In case you're wondering Xeper (or Kheper) is a word from Ancient Egypt meaning 'to come into being, to change, to occur, to happen, to exist, to bring about, to create', associated with the Ancient Egyptian God Khepri. And if you Google it there's a whole load of increasingly deep and dark stuff connected to it which I shall steer well clear of.
Monday, 12 February 2018
Trance Europe Express was a double cd or quadruple vinyl compilation of early 90s dance music that came with a 192 page booklet (or it was a 192 page booklet about early 90s dance music that came with a double cd). It was an offshoot of the Volume series of compilations which had a broader focus musically. Both series were excellent, high quality songs, often unreleased or different mixes/versions. Trance Europe Express wasn't really trancey at all, more progressive house, ambient and techno. But none of them made sense in the title- Techno Europe Express?
I think I've expressed this view before but it struck me again- at the time we took this music for granted, imagining it would always be this good, that the innovation and leaps forward taking place here would be sustained (for most of the artists the culmination of several years work, of getting the best out of new technology, of watching what was happening on the dancefloor in clubs and at raves). Across disc 1 there are easily 5 or 6 tracks that are as good as anything else released at that time in that area- Orbital's Semi-Detached, Spooky and Billie Ray Martin's Persuasion, Celestial Symphony by Scubadevils (a David Holmes project), a jaw dropping track by Xeper (The Black Dog) and Midnight In Europe by 030. Outstanding work from everyone involved but the one from disc 1 that has turned my head the most is this one from Bandulu.
Gravity Pull (Remix)
A different version from the one on their Guidance album (released on Creation offshoot Infonet). Oscillating synths. Clattering rhythms. Abstract but with a sense of forward motion. Mind popping stuff.
Here is their remix of The Times' cover of Blue Monday, something I've posted before but which is ripe for a re-post. A remix that makes me feel like I'm gliding around underwater through bubbles and bliss.
Lundi Bleu (Bandulu 'Smiling' Remix)
Sunday, 11 February 2018
More Sabres related stuff for Sunday. I was rooting through a box of cds (home made ones I burned and made covers for when I first started downloading mp3s, going back to 10 years ago). In the box was a cd of Sabres Of Paradise remixes of One Dove's 1992 song Transient Truth, one of many standout songs from their Morning Dove White album. Sabres remixed Transient Truth not once but six times. Two of the versions were officially released, The Old Toys Mix and Old Toys Dub, on the 12". The other four remixes turned up on a four track promo white label- the Paradise Mix, The Sabres Fuzz Dub, the Squelch Mix and the Death Of A Disco Dancer Mix. And that is how I soundtracked my journey to work on Wednesday and Thursday this week just gone, the variations of remixes making the miles pass by, repeated bits of bassline, synths and the Sabres rhythms and dub production flowing into one another. There are worse ways to spend forty minutes of listening time. The Paradise mix is possibly the pick, ten minutes and five seconds of 1992.
Transient Truth (Paradise Mix)
Saturday, 10 February 2018
I found this Sabres Of Paradise advert for forthcoming releases on Weatherall's record label back in 1994 so it seemed to make sense to post a track they were promoting. I did Jack 'O' Swords cover of The Gift fairly recently so instead we'll have some very 1994 techno with a remix of Technova (David Harrow) from Innersphere (David Hedger). This track has withstood time pretty well I think - some early 90s techno can be a bit much now, a bit too bangin'- but this is still listenable and enjoyable.
Bastard Bunny began life in his own Dave Anderson drawn and written comic before becoming co-opted by Weatherall's label and Sabresonic night (underneath some railway arches near London Bridge station. I never went alas). Later on Bastard Bunny turned up in Deadline and then NME.
Tantrum (Innersphere Mix)
Friday, 9 February 2018
Trax was the legendary Chicago label that put out early house records, tracks like No Way Back by Adonis, Jamie Principle and Frankie Knuckles' Your Love, Can You Feel It by Larry Heard, Marshall Jefferson's Move Your Body and Phuture's Acid Trax- pretty much the records that invented the scene.
In 2011 with the involvement of Bill Brewster, a DJ and writer who knows his onions, they put out an album of re-edits. Seven years on the album is a bit hit and miss although some of the reworkings sound pretty good (it'd be difficult to make a complete mess consdering the source material). Some of the re-edits are a bit too safe, missing the weirdness and WTF-ness of the original tunes, too reverential. In most cases you'll want to hear the original straight after, just to confirm its mid-80s brilliance. The re-edits also tend to sound a bit samey, using the same kit and software that was then the cutting edge in 2011. But there are some worthy efforts in the double cd. Ron Hardy was as much as anyone at the centre of the mid-80s Chicago house scene, DJing with twin turntables and a reel to reel tape-deck and producing tracks too. Richard Sen's re-edit of Sensation is a juddering monster with synth stabs...
Sensation (Richard Sen Re-edit)
Toby Tobias and Sean Johnston's Hardway Bros add some sparkle and shimmer to Adonis' We're Rockin' Down The House...
We're Rockin' Down The House (Toby Tobias and Hardway Bros Re-edit)
Thursday, 8 February 2018
Valentine's Day is approaching. In 1977 The Slits turned the punk boys club upside down a little and lyrically turned listeners upside down a lot. Love and Romance is about male possession of women and how relationships can lead to loss of freedom with some killer lines- 'I'm so glad that you belong to me, oh my darling who wants to be free?' and 'loves a feeling and so is stealing' among them. Not traditionally how song writers approached the subject of love.
Love And Romance (Peel Session)
Wednesday, 7 February 2018
Richard Fearless at the controls with an hour long mix for i-D Magazine. Starts out percussive and African-influenced before heading into techno territory. Rather good if this kind of thing is your bag.
Bob Holroyd "African Drug"
Studio 1 "purple" on Studio 1
Mutabaruka "Dis Poem"
Mark Ernest’s meets BBC Version & Ngunyuta Dance by BBC
Ishio Dai "Island Dub"
Lns & DJ Sotofett "Jugando Con Fuego" (Percussion Mix)
Dude Energy "Beat Desire"
Lns & DJ Sotofett "Jugando Con Fuego" (Sunrise mix)
Richard Fearless "Sweet Venus"
Richard Fearless "Cancan"
Richard Fearless "Rex"
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Mogwai came back to Manchester's Albert Hall on Sunday night to play to another sold out crowd (they'd played Friday night too). People who went on the first night said I was in for a treat and they were right. Mogwai were stunning. Making noise is easy. Making noise with beauty in it, controlling it and riding it is something else. Mogwai have also hit upon a sweet spot where they can make largely instrumental guitar-heavy music that has huge emotional resonance. Post-rock can sometimes be technically impressive but a bit bloodless, without heart. Mogwai's tunes, especially the ones off last year's excellent Every Country's Sun, hit the spot. Party In The Dark, surging psychedelia crossed with Peter Hook's bass, is a proper moment, getting me right there.
The group switch instruments around, swapping from bass to guitar or guitar to keyboards, shards of melody escaping through the FX pedal wall of noise. In the fairly compact space of the Albert Hall with its high roof space, Methodist chapel organ pipes still in situ above the stage, the rising waves of guitar cause a few whoops and arms in the air but mainly people stand in silence, swaying slightly. Their use of rhythms, bass and toplines, crescendo, peaks and troughs often make me think that this is a band who are not just post-rock (which is a rubbish description anyway) but post-house too. The lightshow, strips of colour behind them, strobes and spots, add to the intensity. Mogwai work their way through much of the recent lp plus some older ones, a magical Rano Pano and an epic Mogwai Fear Satan. The songs unfold slowly, still and quiet beginnings and endings, sections that create a vast noise, three guitarists and a bassist perfectly in tune with each other, who can then kill it dead. At times, there's so much going on in the mix that its difficult to tell who is doing what. At the end of the set three of them are on their knees at the front of the stage, manipulating their pedals, playing the howling feedback and distortion. At the close of the encore Stuart is last off, again fiddling with the buttons on his pedals before leaving and the roadies appearing to turn the amps off. My only complaint is that they didn't play The Sun Smells Too Loud. I'm not sure I can forgive them for that actually, as it would have taken the top of my head clean off given the form they are in.
Mogwai Fear Satan
I caught the last two-and-a-bit songs by support act, electronic trio Beak>, who were busy being very good indeed- live synths and samples, bass and Geoff Barrow's krautrock drumming. The new one they finished with, which they promised they'd get wrong, sounded ace- and they didn't get it wrong either.
Monday, 5 February 2018
Who wouldn't want a Face magazine t-shirt as modelled by Siobhan Fahey from Bananarama? I'm half tempted to print out the cut out slip and send it off to the address and see what happens (I'd have to put a postal order in I think).
Bananarama have reformed recently. They kept appearing on the Top Of The Pops reruns (not the 1985 ones showing at the moment but last year's 1983 repeats). Cruel Summer sounded very good all these years later, a slightly off kilter pop song about love in oppressive summer heat in the city. The home-made dancing is refreshing too, a time when female pop stars weren't drilled to within an inch of their lives. And maybe some of us were suddenly reminded why Bananarama being on Top Of The Pops week in, week out when we were 13 years old was something of a visual treat...
They first hit the chart due to their backing vocals on the Fun Boy Three's 1982 hit single, It Ain't What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It), which came about because Terry Hall saw an article on them in The Face and liked their look. They switched around for Bananarama's next single Really Saying Something with Terry, Lynval and Neville singing backing for Siobhan, Sara and Keren.
It Ain't What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It)
The song was originally written in 1939 by jazz musicians Melvin 'Sy' Oliver and James 'Trummy' Young. It says something about the Fun Boy Three's talents that they took an old jazz tune and turned it into a pop ska song, and then to number 4 in the charts (probably selling hundreds of thousands of copies).
Sunday, 4 February 2018
Kettle on- Weatherall's brewing up. It's that man again back at that radio station playing that high quality and eclectic mix of songs again. Includes two from the excellent new Liminanas album, an old Weatherall remix of The Shoes, a new one from Timothy J Fairplay, an unreleased one from the Woodleigh Research Facility plus the latest Fort Beulah release.
Tonight I'm off to see Mogwai go through their paces at the Albert Hall in town. I am expecting a night of intense but ultimately uplifting instrumental post rock from bearded Scots in black played to intense but ultimately uplifting bearded Mancs in black.
Saturday, 3 February 2018
I missed this at the end of last year and have become somewhat addicted to it over the last few days. Nightmares On Wax have released 8 albums and various singles since 1989 (mostly on Warp). In A Space Outta Sound from 2006 was the last one I got, an album of laid back, downtempo reggae inspired grooves but somehow still seeming to be in a straight line from the bleep 'n' bass releases in 1989. There's a new one called Shape The Future out now. Back in December this came out as part of a remix 12" of the track Citizen Kane. The original is gospel-hip hop-soul. For this 10 minute excursion Ron Trent sets the vocal (by Mozez) to a skippy, propulsive Chicago house beat and allows the groove to whisk us away to a future where the machines have made gospel their own.
Friday, 2 February 2018
Hollie Cook has a new album out now- Vessel Of Love. I haven't got it yet but her previous two albums, the dub album done with Prince Fatty and various singles have all been favourites of mine. Her lovely sing-song voice and Lover's Rock/pop reggae is top stuff. The new album was trailed by two songs last year and recently by a remix from South London's reggae outfit Hempolics. Grippa Laybourne's lo fi reggae stylings strip back Hollie's original track, adding some bounce and some 70s rhythms. This was available as a free download via Soundcloud but seems to have vanished - the track to stream and the free download. Hopefully posting it here won't get me in to trouble.
Stay Alive (Hempolics Remix)
Thursday, 1 February 2018
'...When October comes around' said the Pet Shop Boys in My October Symphony. Later on Neil Tennant asks about whether we should 'remember December instead or worry about February?' I guess February just rhymed. I haven't got any songs on the computer named after February and can't think of many with lyrics referring to the second month other than this one.
My October Symphony is from Behaviour, 1990's PSB tour de force. Produced by Harold Faltermeyer using analogue synths it mixes full on pop, rave influenced pop, ballads and what got called adult pop- musical, reflective, lyrically grown up, classy instead of teenage (which could sound a bit dull but Behaviour is an album that could never be called dull. Inventive, subtle, wry, expansive but not dull). My October Symphony chucks many things into the pot besides Neil's lyrics- a blast of a male voice choir, house inspired backing vox, sweeping strings and a funky guitar part played by Johnny Marr. I always felt it's a song about autumn really (and wanting to move on and change) but according to a PSB fan site- 'Neil adopts the role of a Russian composer who has dedicated his life and work to the ideals of the revolution but now feels confused and betrayed in the wake of the collapse of Communism'. So there you go. On the same site Janet Street Porter claims it is about a lingerie model. Which one Janet?
My October Symphony
In 1991 they released a stand alone single, DJ Culture, partly to promote their singles compilation Discography, partly as a comment on the Gulf War and how George Bush borrowed from Churchill's wartime speeches just as artists sample each other (with a reference to Oscar Wilde's trial thrown in too), and partly because they'd recorded what was a very good pop song. As a single it kind of went missing, despite reaching number 13 in the chart.