Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Sunday 28 February 2021

Blue And Green

Yesterday felt like the first day out of the winter, maybe not spring but a step towards it- sun shining, blue skies, wispy clouds, first shoots of flowers appearing. 

Brian Eno's work has always been very linked to colours, from his album with his brother Roger last year (Mixing Colours) all the way back to the 70s. Deep Blue Day is beautiful piece of work, recorded for his 1983 Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks album and re- used in 1996 in Trainspotting in the scene where Renton dives into The Worst Toilet In Scotland in search of a suppository. Deep Blue Day (recorded with Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois) is gorgeous, an gently ecstatic drift of synths and pedal steel guitar.

Deep Blue Day

That gives me the excuse, if one were needed, to post this re-edit by Mojo Filter of Eno's 1975 classic Another Green World, Eno's semi- ambient, piano led original pushed into Balearic waters with a drumbeat and a truckload of samples, including a child saying 'L- O- V- E, Love'. Play one, then the other- Sunday morning sorted. 

Another Green World (The Blue Realm)

Saturday 27 February 2021

Something About Love For Glory

Drifting through the Freeview channels a couple of weekends ago I found the old BBC2 programme Sounds Of The Sixties and in my slightly red wine affected haze a black and white performance by Tim Buckley, originally from Late Night Line Up in 1968.

Such a strange combination of instruments and sounds- Buckley's folk guitar, the jazz chords and runs of the guitarist along with the rhythm section of double bass and congas. On top, Buckley's voice with those detours he takes into yodelling. The TV says the song is called I'm Coming Home but the song as it appeared on his 1969 album was called Happy Time. I found it very odd but entrancing when it was on and as soon as it finished I rewound the TV and watched it again, unexpectedly drawn in by Tim Buckley's psychedelic jazz- folk fusion.

This song, from 1967, is a bit less startling but still pretty hypnotic, a three and a half minute swirl, the words and the voice tumbling over the music (piano, acoustic guitar, drums), no chorus or hooks to speak of, just this acoustic psychedelic flow

Phantasmagoria In Two

Friday 26 February 2021


One of my favourite songs of last year was Formerlover's Correction Dub, a track released on a compilation called Galactic Service Broadcasting Vol. 1 last May. Justin Robertson and Sofia Hedblum combined dub space and bass with Nigerian rhythms and a vocal giving instructions and asking questions via a late night chat line. Video here

In September last year there was a second Formerlover release which to my shame I missed until this week. Bassline from Jamaica, percussion from Lagos, slide guitar from the Delta, echo from the 1960s, a surf guitar lick, a Miami beach vibe, another unmissable vocal- not only do these seemingly disparate influences work together really well but sound like they were made specifically for each other, like four different records playing at once. Buy it and a dub version at Bandcamp and put some shimmy into your Friday.

Thursday 25 February 2021

Acid Story

This photo was taken at dusk somewhere near the French/ Belgian border in July 2016- I remember the date but not the exact location. I'm going to say Belgium because that allows my tour of Europe through holiday photos to extend into another day and the excuse to post some Belgian New Beat. 

In 1987/ 1988 northern France and Belgian clubs played a style of music known as Electronic Body Music, a hard edged dance music made by groups like DAF, Front 242 and Die Krupps, a sort of tough punkish dance music. At the Ancienne Belgique nightclub in Brussels DJ Dikke Ronny accidentally played Flesh by A Split- Second at the wrong speed, 33 instead of 45rpm, but with the pitch control at +8 and the crowd's reaction sent him looking for other records to pitch down- repetitive beats, sequenced basslines, sirens, sampled voices slowed down issuing commands. 


Early house records fitted in with the sound as did records by 80s electronic artists such as Fad Gadget and the techno and acid coming out of Detroit and Chicago in the late 80s. The scene was short lived, eventually replaced by house, but the This Is New Beat compilation spread the sound beyond Belgium. This track, a collision of acid and New Beat was made by Italian Bruno Sanchioni under the name Dr. Phibes and released on Belgian label DiKI Records in 1988, sparse, hypnotic, underground music.  

Acid Story

Wednesday 24 February 2021

Audio Trip

I don't know if posting photographs of beautiful places in Europe I've been to in the last decade is the best way to deal with lockdown in February but yesterday's picture of the Alps suggested I follow suit, so I'm heading heading south- east out of France and over the Alps to Italy. In July 2018 I spent a week there, a few days in Rome (top) and then a few in Sorento including a visit to Pompeii (bottom), on a school trip so I had a party of fifty- six teenagers with me. Returning to Italy is something I'd really like to do if/ when we can go abroad again (and maybe next time without responsibility for fifty- six teenagers). In the late 80s and early 90s Italy was home to some of the best house producers on the planet. This track is from Dreamatic, released in 1991, euphoric and dreamy Italo house with one of those sumptuous basslines you feel like you could ride on and floaty synths and a very apt title. 

Audio Trip

Tuesday 23 February 2021

The Mirror

One of our eldest Isaac's pastimes is to watch photographs stored on the computer as a slideshow, a non- stop stream of holiday photos, days out, birthdays and my shots of urban dereliction. He got up and wandered away from it the other day and must have tapped the keyboard, because when I came back to the computer the slideshow had stopped on this photo, a picture I took in August 2013 of the mountains above Lake Annecy, nestled in the French Alps. We camped at the southern end of the lake for two weeks and our tent faced out of the campsite, towards the Alps. The view, changing all day as the sun rose, climbed above the mountains and then set, was stunning. 

A French group to go with the French Alps. The Liminanas are a husband/ wife beat group, equal parts the Velvets, Yé-yé, poetry, cigarettes and fuzz guitars. This song came out on 7" in 2015 and has British writer, actor and musician Kirk Lake on spoken word vocals telling a tale of a French mirror workshop and the nature of reflection, with mentions of mermaids, Jean- Paul Sartre and a fire.  

The Mirror

Monday 22 February 2021

Monday's Long Song

This is a photo of sunset on Mars- clearly not my picture- a blue sunset, caused by dust scattering the red light of the sun. It is one of those things which fries my mind if I think about it too much, as does the landing of the rover Perseverence on Mars. That something made here can end up there and send back photos such as this one is incredible. As a kid of the 1970s and 1980s we were drip fed science fiction, from the obvious films such as Star Wars to the near constant re- runs of Star Trek (the original 1960s version, I must have seen every episode), the re- runs of the black and white Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers 1930s series and the more British and more violent 2000AD comic, it was a part of the culture. Paperback books were cheap and passed around- Isaac Asimov's novels, Frank Herbert's Dune, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (book, radio, TV), Ray Bradbury, Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat. All of this must have been the long tail of the Space Race, the USA and USSR competing to put their satellites, dogs and people into space. The moon landing happened ten months before I was born, the peak of the space race. After that it was all downhill but the science fiction was everywhere. 

By the 1990s science fiction seemed to have peaked but the sound of science fiction and of space travel/ exploration was taken up by musicians and producers, particularly those with access to samplers and synths. This week's long song comes from 1994 and the electronic ambient of Mysteries Of Science (Dominic Woosey). Twelve minutes of stellar melodies, long washes of synth and pattering rhythms, all taken at a glacial pace. A warm, emotive, spaced out drift through space and time from a self titled debut album (recently re- issued). The follow up a year later was called The Erotic Nature Of Automated Universes. All very sci fi. 


Sunday 21 February 2021

A Lockdown Mix

An hour and four minutes of music for lockdown. This lockdown hasn't been any fun at all. The novelty of the first lockdown has been absent and in the two darkest months of the year, it's been difficult. There are at least some glimmers of light now, the vaccines, the numbers starting to come down but I don't have much confidence Johnson will make the right call on Monday and fear that he is in thrall to the voices on the right wing who want to unlock everything as soon as possible. No one wants to stay in lockdown any longer than necessary but I think many of us would rather soldier on for another month or two with a very gradual loosening than open up quickly, chuck away all the gains and end up with another surge in cases and lockdown four in April. 

It's easy to be overwhelmed when faced with all this, all these problems and issues that are beyond our control. As Richard Norris said recently, 'music is the answer'. This is a mix I put together recently, starting out with some street sounds from the BBC's extensive online archive and a bit of Blade Runner, some drones and spoken word, something from Luke Schneider's astonishing steel pedal ambient album, more ambient music with guitars and pianos and synths and then a second half that opens up and lets the light in, a bit of optimism before the strings and drama of Two Lone Swordsmen remixed by In The Nursery. It's at Mixcloud

  • Romanian street sounds (morning in Bucharest)/ Leon’s Voight Kampf Test
  • Andrew Weatherall and Michael Smith: Estuary Embers
  • Luke Schneider: Anteludium
  • Mark Peters: Ashurst’s Beacon (ambient version)
  • Daniel Avery and Alessandro Cortini: Illusion Of Time (Teodor Wolgers Rework)
  • Smoke Test: Regress
  • Ganser: Bags For Life (GLOK Remix)
  • The Primitive Painter: Invisible Landscapes
  • Underground System: Bella Ciao (Laguna Mix by Gigi Masin)
  • Seahawks: Sky Is You (Pye Corner Audio Head Tek Remix)
  • Two Lone Swordsmen: In The Nursery Visit Glenn Street

Saturday 20 February 2021


Rich Lane's new EP came out a week ago, three tracks of sunlit Balearic chug and dancefloor monsters with energy and melodies to spare. Buy it at Bandcamp (it's only two pounds fifty, you've got nothing to lose). 

Flecktarn (a woodland camo pattern used by many European armies and by the Bundeswehr particularly) fades in on some gorgeous synth sounds, before the chiming guitar line appears and then a bouncy bassline glides into earshot. The breakdown at four twenty and re- entry is a moment. One day we'll listen to this on a dancefloor and we'll all smile and cheer and throw our arms around each other. 

Telo Mimetico (a camouflage pattern used by the Italian army for shelters and uniforms) is a squelchy acidic banger, rattling snares, voices coming in from leftfield and a wonderful Italo piano part. 

The third track is Dispersion Pattern Material (camouflage that creates an optical illusion), a dark, moody, basement track but with a piano breakdown that is pure 1990 before that wobbly, menacing bass comes back in and then off we go again. 

Rich loves the woodlands. Last year he took his camping gear and his studio gear into the north Midlands woods and made this, Prusik, a live hardware jam in the woods. Fades in with the sounds of leaves rustling in the breeze and a growly bass before some 80s Linn Drum samples kick in. 

Friday 19 February 2021

The Kind Of Love That Leaves Me Burning With Desire

Last year was the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Happiness by The Beloved, an album which is wall- to- wall, smile inducing, MDMA fuelled, dance- pop. By 1989 the two members of the group (Jon Marsh and Steve Waddington) had seen their line up slim down from a guitar- based four piece, heavily influenced by New Order but not really heading anywhere in particular, to a duo acquiring a drum machine and a sampler. Jon had been to New York in 1987 and when he returned to London began to throw himself into the new sound, both him and guitarist Steve becoming enthusiastic attendees at Shoom! and Spectrum. Happiness is one of 1990's key albums, loved up, hedonistic, bright eyed and wide eyed with tunes aplenty. If you want to see the effect that the period had on them, this version of Your Love Tales Me Higher is perfect, a shuddering, body shaking jolt of love, lust and electricity that may rewire your central nervous system. 

Your Love Takes Me Higher (Piano/ 303 Demo)

Thursday 18 February 2021

In A Lonely Place Again

The In A Lonely Place cover version tribute to Andrew Weatherall by his brother Ian and Duncan Grey and the remixes courtesy of Keith Tenniswood, Sean Johnston and David Holmes, have sent me back to the original. In A Lonely Place came out in January 1981, the B-side to Ceremony, New Order's first release. Ceremony, with it's ringing guitars and pace has a celebratory feel, a sense that the three surviving members of Joy Division have somehow made it through the night and seen the dawn break. In A Lonely Place doesn't- it is a funereal dirge with Bernard singing Ian's lyrics which can only be read as a cry for help, a man at the end of his tether. 

'Caressing the marble and stone/ Love that was special for one/ The waste and fever and hate/ How I wish you were here with me now

The body that kills and hides/ Matches an awful delight/ Warm like a dog round your feet/ How I wish you were here with me now

The hangman looks round as he waits/ Gullet stretches tight and it breaks/ Some day we will die in your dreams/ How I wish we were here with you now'

The slow rolls of drums, the synths and the laser, Bernard's melodica and Hooky's dramatic bassline plus Martin Hannett's production (the reverb making it sound like it was recorded in a vast empty church), make it an uneasy listen at the best of times, a grimly beautiful song. The song was written (as was Ceremony) by Joy Division and recorded by them and then re- recorded by New Order in 1980 as their first single. 

In A Lonely Place

New Order's first  steps into the world of performing were tentative and uncertain, the band visibly displaying the stresses and strains playing live brought. Gillian learning to play the songs and finding a space in the group, the increasing reliance on unreliable equipment, Bernard's discomfort with singing and being in the centre of the stage and an audience who in some cases came out of ghoulish curiosity and in some cases came because they wanted to see Joy Division. In 1982 they were filmed playing In A Lonely Place at BBC Riverside in London

At nearly six minutes this is a longer version than the single and the song has clearly become a lament for their departed friend. Stephen is the key, the drums at the centre of the song while Hooky plays the cymbals. Bernard's vocal is drenched in echo and he looks like he'd rather be anywhere else. Gillian's keyboards and the melodica add the colour- if the various shades of grey this song contains can be described as colour. It is a superb rendition, taut and emotional and intense. When Bernard steps out of the spotlight to play the synth, turning his back on the audience, there is a gap in the middle of the stage- a gap they still haven't really worked out how to fill. As it approaches its end, with the song still playing Bernard walks off stage and the rest then follow. I have an internet friend who saw New Order perform the song in London around this time and he says that when Bernard sang the 'How I wish you were here with me now', his eyes looked to the ceiling and members of the audience gulped and wiped their eyes. 

By 1984 New Order were established, two albums in and with tours and gigs behind them, confident and bolshie and with a pioneering sound, rock and dance fused, Joy Division's basslines and the electro of clubs in early 80s New York and Berlin making something new- the rousing, sensational rush of Temptation, the dance dynamics of Everything's Gone Green, the life affirming day- glo colours of Age Of Consent. The story of their performance at the Radio One studios in summer 1984 has been told before. The group played a gig in Cornwall the night before and assumed that a cross country dash to London would be no problem. It was- bank holiday traffic and stinking hangovers combining to produce a grumpy band arriving at the BBC. The studio wasn't to their liking and all their temperamental synths and machines had to be set up in the summer heat. Bernard in particular is in a foul mood. Both Hooky's and Stephen's autobiographies are pretty candid about the drug use within the group by this point and when watching the four songs played that day, it's looks like at least one member of the group, the one in the short shorts and vest, has guzzled a significant quantity of cocaine. 

In A Lonely Place is a strange choice for a live Radio One session when they had a good number of songs to choose from by this point but it seems typically New Order to play it. As Stephen begins the song, rolling his sticks round the drum kit, at what is the correct tempo, Bernard screws his eyes up at the mic and snarls 'faster, Steve, FASTER'. The song progresses to a pace Bernard is happier with. At one point Hooky shoots his school friend a foul look. Bernard wipes his nose with the back of his hand, again admonishing Stephen to play faster. It is the grumpiest performance of a Joy Division song you'll see. You might feel that it undercuts the funereal majesty of the original recording and the otherworldly quality of the version at BBC Riverside but that's New Order for you, certainly the 1980s incarnation of the group. 

Hooky's amp, if you want another Andrew Weatherall connection, is sprayed with the words Gay Sperm. On the 1998 Two Lone Swordsmen mini- album A Bag Of Blue Sparks there was a song called Gay Spunk- I'm guessing one led to the other. Hooky had a habit of spraying messages on his amp- Salford Rules was a common one. In 2007 as he played what would turn out to be his last gigs as New order's bass player, over four consecutive nights he sprayed the words 'Two Little Boys' , then 'Formed  A Band', followed by /'They Fell Out', and finally 'The End'. 

Wednesday 17 February 2021

In A Lonely Place

Ian Weatherall and Duncan Grey's cover version of New Order's In A Lonely Place is out to buy digitally, released on the first anniversary of Andrew Weatherall's passing with the proceeds going to his charities of choice. 

Factory Records held an important place for Andrew and his brother. Early New Order records have been cited by Andrew in various interviews- in Jockey Slut he said Power, Corruption And Lies was his favourite ever album and Your Silent Face crops up repeatedly (not least in his remix of Mike Garry and Joe Dudell's St Anthony tribute to Tony Wilson). His admiration of Martin Hannett as a producer is well documented and Peter Saville's artwork, sleeve design, posters, the whole visual identity he created for Factory, must have struck chords. At one point in his youth Andrew styled himself on early A Certain Ratio's look (bleached crop, army shorts). There are several Weatherall mixes where Durutti Column songs appear (Sketch For Summer is in his Fact Magazine mix). There's an interview where he talks about the more obscure early/ mid 80s Factory bands- The Royal Family And The Poor are mentioned and the slightly better known ones such as Section 25. Ian and Duncan Grey's cover is a work of love and of homage, not just to a song but to a time and place and a way of life- Factory's bloody minded independence, their refusal to play the game and their insistence that they were an enterprise prioritising art over commerce. We all know how that ended but look what it gave us...

Duncan is the boss at the record label Tici Taci, and in the past with Ian made music as The Sons Of Slough. Duncan's solo releases over the last couple of years have been a joy, long chuggy instrumentals led by huge basslines and with trippy FX. Ian and Duncan's cover of In A Lonely Place is a heartfelt, stately cover, dubby melodica and a recreated Hook bassline. 

There are three remixes, all by people with close connections with Andrew Weatherall. David Holmes' remix has a vocal, Ian Curtis' words re- imagined, a ghostly remix, the sounds coming at the listener as if through mist. Or maybe as Martin Hannett would have liked, from the bottom of a lift shaft. 

ALFOS partner Sean Johnston in his Hardway Bros guise remixes the track as a dubbed out chugger, a different bassline driving it, some twinkling synths and a gear change at three minutes fifteen. Duncan's Hooky bassline re- appears at five minutes for an intense last few minutes. 

Former Swordsman Keith Tenniswood's a long, thirteen minute trip, starting out very dubbed out and dislocated, winding it's way onward gradually. Eventually the melodica comes in and then at seven minutes thirty- nine the remix pivots on the line 'How I wish you were here with me now', just as Andrew's dub mixes in two halves for St Etienne and Primal Scream did. The second half is a beautiful but sombre journey. 

There are links to buy the four tracks here. Vinyl to follow in June. 

Andrew Weatherall

A year ago today Andrew Weatherall died. I was sitting in a pub in Didsbury, back in the days when pubs were open and popping into one was the most normal thing you could do. We'd been for a walk around Fletcher Moss Gardens and were having a half term lunchtime pint when I got a message. Within an hour social media was a torrent of outpourings of loss and also of love and affection for the man, and his music filled the internet (or at least the parts of it where I tend to go). In the eleven and a bit years I've been writing this blog I've tagged 567 posts with his name. One in ten posts have been about the man and his music. It could easily be more- I realised this when writing about the Two Lone Swordsmen remixes of Texas recently, a pair of fairly overlooked deep house/ electro remixes from a time (1997) when he was in the shadows (a self imposed shunning of the limelight), a long way from the glory years of Screamadelica and all those early remixes and from the elder statesman/ national treasure status he'd acquired in more recent years. Nearly six hundred posts in and there's so much more in his back catalogue to throw some light on and to write about.

As a DJ he was untouchable. His skills on the turntables weren't just his undoubted technical prowess or his peerless tune selection or his unerring capacity to take a crowd on a journey but the fact that he could play across a wide variety of genres and make all of them sound like his specialism.  There are many very successful, well respected and well paid DJs but most of them stick within their field. Andrew could play house or techno or Balearic or dub or electro or exotica or trip hop or rockabilly or ambient and other genres besides and be the expert in the room. A purist with wide tastes, he had a range of interests but had mined each one deeply. The last ten years saw the creation of the travelling club night A Love From Outer Space, a never exceeding 110bpm cosmic disco, a sound he described as 'drug chug', but it constantly evolved, the next night different from the last. Despite this, everything felt like it was joined up, it all came from the same source. The internet is awash with his DJ sets and mixes, a huge, long trip around the styles and nights he played (you can find over one thousand hours of them at the Weatherdrive if you're so inclined). 

His monthly residency at NTS radio, his two hour programme called Music's Not For Everyone where he played whatever was tickling his fancy that week, was full of avenues and back alleys for you to disappear down, artists and albums and singles and compilations to uncover and explore. It never felt thrown together, but planned meticulously. Again, on these shows, his taste took in so many styles of music from weird jazz to African funk, 60s psyche and 80s post- punk, acres of dub, his own remixes and the work of people who'd put a CD into his hands at a club or in a pub. Many obscure and unknown artists will attest to him playing their music without them knowing he was doing so, because he'd discovered it somewhere and loved it. He seemed to be endlessly open to the new, to the undiscovered and unheard. In the 90s he often gave records away straight from the turntable at club nights to punters who'd asked him what it was he'd just played. 

I've written about his remixes endlessly and the sheer variety is headspinnning: the everything- and- the- kitchen- sink euphoria of the early 90s remixes; the dub in two halves deconstructions; the Sabres Of Paradise remixes that could be rave meets techno, stoned grooves or two a.m. deconstructions; the Two Lone Swordsmen remixes that took a snatch of vocal, twisted it into an unrecognisable shape and built a bassline- led deep house track around it; and the glorious widescreen remixes of the last decade- to pick a handful almost at random, just cue up these ones and see the range and depth of his work, the wide open spaces and giddy ecstasies of his Moby and Wayne Coyne remix, the controlled chaotic noise plus huge rhythms of his Fuck Buttons remix,  his grin inducing remix of Out Of The Window by Confidence Man and the deep space glide of his remix of Emiliana Torrini. 

Speed Of Dark (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

In 1991 Andrew and fellow travellers A Man Called Adam met in 'a shitty hotel in Coventry' and Sally and Steve asked him to remix their song The Chrono Psionic Interface. It is one of those early 90s beauties, infused with the spirit of the times, music that suggests endless possibility, open minds and freedom. A Man Called Adam have made it available at their Bandcamp page as a pay- what- you- want deal but if you can pay for it all monies raised will be going to one of Andrew's chosen charities, Thrombosis UK. Get it here.  

I was wondering what he might have done with the past year if he'd lived. Lockdown has stirred lots of creativity out of people. Last year's A Certain Ratio album Loco would surely have been accompanied by a Weatherall remix given the links between the two. The monthly W.R.F. EPs carried on without him but eventually he'd have gone back to one of the Facilities and made more music. Maybe he'd have started those memoirs that Lee Brackstone at Faber had suggested to him. Possibilities, maybes and what ifs. 

Throughout 2020 I did a series of hour long mixes, most of which were a response to lockdown and the situation we all found ourselves in almost a year ago now. This one, Weatherdub, was a bunch his dub infused productions and remixes stitched together (featuring tracks recorded under his own name and  as Sabres Of Paradise with remixes of St Etienne, Steve Mason, Richard Sen, Lark and Meatraffle and the one off recording with David Harrow as Planet 4 Folk Quartet). I did a pair of mixes of songs that came to me because he'd played them, talked about them or listed them in a magazine chart, a brace of tributes to his ears, his record collection and his taste- Songs The Lord Sabre Taught Us One and Two. In December I did a collection of songs from his back catalogue titled Audrey Witherspoon's Blues. Between them I tried to sum up something of the spirit of the man and his music. A year ago in one of the many obituaries and tributes that appeared online as the world ground to a complete halt came from London based magazine Time Out and it's worth quoting the final section in full-

'It’s been pointed out that, spookily, you can still see the man on Google Street View – walking purposefully up Kingsland Road, looking customarily fantastic in smart brown shoes, wide-legged camel-coloured trousers and tats galore. It’s just one of many beautiful perspectives on Andrew Weatherall – a street-pounding, eye-catching local London legend. 

He is survived by his partner, his family and about 7 million children of the acid-house revolution. Rest in peace.'

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Sonic Booms

Sonic Boom has announced a remixed version of his album from last year, a record called Almost Nothing Is Nearly Enough, out in April. More analogue synths, more drones, more slow motion, tripped out washes of sound, more songs that sound like waking up to the sun coming through the trees, flashes of light and rainbows at the edges of your vision. On A Summer's Day is the first release. The album is available at Bandcamp and out on clear vinyl with a neon candy splatter in a foil embossed jacket with a poster. I'd be happy with plain old black vinyl and a cardboard sleeve but that doesn't seem to be an option. Video here

The album he produced with Cheval Sombre is also out soon, at the end of this month I think. Fragile songs for late at night, acoustic guitars and hushed vocals. Curtain Grove has Sonic on guitar and Britta on backing vocals. The album, Time Waits For No One, will be on white vinyl. Video here

Monday 15 February 2021

Monday's Long Songs

Richard Norris' Elements album was one of last year's highlights, five tracks of analogue synths, pulsing rhythms and washes of sounds, widescreen ambient music that forced its way into your foreground. 

Water, with a haunting vocal by Bishi Bhattacharya, has recently been released in several new forms. This version is a remix by Richard himself, driven by a rattling, echo-laden breakbeat and sounding like it's come from the very distant past and the present at the same time, Neolithic acid ambience.  

This is the fifteen minute extended instrumental version, a superb version which unfolds very slowly, rippling piano melodies, gentle drones, the sound of water lapping on a shore, long synth sounds, all the time in the world. 

There are also remixes by Kams, Pulselovers, Dohnavur and Kieran Mahon. Every remixer makes something new out of the original, finding new ways into the track and taking it somewhere else. The whole pack is at Bandcamp where you can also sign up to Inner mind, Richard's new subscription club which will bring forth all sorts of new music and monthly treats. 

Sunday 14 February 2021


14th February. Valentine's Day in lockdown, difficult to spark some romance perhaps when you've been living in confined quarters for the best part of a year and a dinner date in a restaurant is out of the question- a takeaway tea or coffee while sheltering from the arctic blasts that have been heading our way this week is the most that lovers can hope for. We've still got music though. Here's some songs for lovers.

First The Scientist and a rocking dub from 1980, recorded at Channel One and mixed at King Tubby's, Sly and Robbie on board with bass and drums. 


From 1991 and  Love Corporation,  Ed Ball's loved up Creation Records dance division- chunky drums, piano runs and thumping bass. 


Saturday 13 February 2021

In God's Waiting Room Again

I'm not sure anyone will ever fill the hole left by Andrew Weatherall's monthly two hour Music's Not For Everyone show for NTS but David Holmes is doing a good job in the meantime. His monthly show, God's Waiting Room, has the same questing spirit, uncovering music new and old that you haven't heard before along with some that is familiar, a similar mix of leftfield eclecticism- psyche, dance, dub, weird jazz, samples from films and some Weatherall remixes but with David's own cinematic/ Wrecking Crew influences. Holmes was back at NTS on 8th February. You can find the show at Mixcloud here and the full tracklist here. Two hours well spent including one of Andrew's 1992 remixes of Flowered Up's Weekender, a pair of tracks from Madlib, Cindy Lee, Pharaoh Sanders, Sly and Robbie with Vladislav Delay, La Tempa and two versions of the forthcoming Ian Weatherall and Duncan Gray cover of New Order's In A Lonely Place (of which more next week). 

Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit More Partial Mix)

Friday 12 February 2021

The Mountain

This remix three pack came out in December- I missed it and only stumbled across it recently. Phil Mison's Balearic project Cantoma make music for sunsets, for summer evenings, long shadows, the heat of the sun on your skin. 'Music', Phil says himself, 'for far away places'. The exact opposite of the sub- zero, dark days of lockdown. This lockdown is hard, I think many people are finding it really difficult and even the vaccine doesn't seem to offer a way out in the near future. Relentless, unremitting gloom in the cold darkness of a British winter. Music like Cantoma's can take you away, even when it's -3 outside. The three remixes of Cantoma's song The Mountain are by Chris Coco, Lexx and, for me the pick of the bunch, Coyote. Video here if you're on a device where the embed hasn't embedded. 

If that doesn't make you feel like you're somewhere else, I don't know what will. You can buy the EP at Bandcamp where there's also a limited edition 10" single, a format I'm quite fond of- the midpoint between 7" and 12". Here's the Lexx remix, a balmy, dubbier affair with that snaking guitar line. 

Thursday 11 February 2021

Double Gone

On Monday the death of Nolan Porter was announced. Nolan was from Los Angeles but made his name on the Northern Soul scene in the UK with the superb Keep On Keeping On (as NF Porter), a song which gave the scene a slogan as well as a floorfiller. This 1972 single is less well known but easily the equal of Keep On Keeping On. 

If I Could Only Be Sure

Many of the musicians in his band in the early 70s were also members of The Mothers Of Invention and Nolan was married to Frank Zappa's sister Candy. He died at home last Thursday aged seventy- one.

 RIP Nolan/ NF Porter. 

As if one passing wasn't enough this week yesterday brought news of the death of Mary Wilson, an original Supreme. The buffer between future solo superstar Diana Ross and gospel trained Florence Ballard, Mary was one third of the group but according to many the force that held them together. There's nothing quite like The Supremes in the mid 60s in full flow, a celebratory, upbeat and infectious sound that will be listened and danced to for as long as recorded music exists. This song, a single in 1966, was one of the few Holland- Dozier- Holland songs written for them that didn't go to the number one but it's a perfect piece of Motown pop. 

Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart

She died suddenly on Tuesday aged seventy- six. 

RIP Mary. 

Wednesday 10 February 2021

In The Locker

A postcard from 1996 today, System 7 and Alex Paterson from The Orb, and a gently pulsing, psychedelic bubblebath with a nod in its title to the seabed- aptly so- this track sounds like it has surfaced from the bottom of a deep blue sea and into the sun. A funky guitar part strumming away for eleven minutes, a dubbed out bassline, warm atmospherics and a faint male voice choir humming along. 

Davy Jones' Locker (The Orb Mix)

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Bags For Life

I missed this last year, or overlooked it, and found it on my hard drive at the weekend, a remix of Ganser by Andy Bell in his GLOK guise. Ganser are from Chicago, a post- punk No Wave four piece. Andy has set them up for a lovely seven minute glide by, a very echo- laden musical box to start and then padding drums, layers of sounds, swelling horns and a synth pulse. Dreamy and floating even if the lyrics hint at something darker,  'First/ Don't leave your post/ Panic palette/ Rise and run/ Fear/ Fear in real time/ Take what you can hold'. 

Bags For Life (GLOK Remix)

Monday 8 February 2021

Monday's Long Song

One of my favourite albums of 2020 came out right at the end of the year, released by the Dutch label Music From Memory, a triple vinyl compilation called Virtual Dreams (Ambient Explorations In The House And Techno Age, 1993- 1997). It is a beautifully packaged release and the music within the six sides is beautiful too, slow motion, transporting, ever so slightly trippy, trancey, machine music infused with human emotions. Many of the artists on the album made club music, high tempo, high octane dance records but would also slow the tempo for a B-side, cuts for home listening and the inevitable comedown. The track selection and running order are superb and it sounds like one cohesive album, almost as if these tracks from twenty- five to thirty years ago were designed to end up next to each other in in the next century. 

I bought the album based on a review by Robert Harris (Dr Rob) at his Ban Ban Ton Ton blog in November. It's here. Be warned- I read Rob's piece and went straight to purchase. Some of the artists may be known- Richard H. Kirk of Cabaret Voltaire appears as do fellow Sheffield bleep pioneers LFO and The Primitive Painter was a 90s vehicle for Roman Flugel but many of the names are only dimly familiar. MLO, Pulusha, Spacetime Continuum, LA Synthesis, Bedouin Ascent. The full tracklist is here. This one, Rainful Memories by by MDA Analog, is only on the digital release. The combination of the sound of rain falling, the children's voices and the washes of synth is like having a warm bath in analogue sound. 

Virtual Dreams is completely in tune with what I've been listening to for the last year. I realised it also has some crossover with the 1993 mix by Andrew Weatherall, the so- called Massive Mellow Mix (real name Sabresonic Slow Electric Vol. 1) which I wrote about here. The name that crosses both is The Primitive Painter and handily their 1994 album has also had a recent re- issue (by Dutch label Apollo/ R&S). Roman Flugel and Jorn Elling Wuttke grew up in Frankfurt and hearing the sounds coming out of the UK on labels like Warp and out of Detroit on ones like Transmat they made an album of 'gauzy, melodious electronic'. The Primitive Painter took their name from Felt and declared themselves to be children of C86, inspired by the DIY attitudes of Felt, The Jesus And Mary Chain and the C86 bands. This track, Cathedral, sounds nothing like The Pastels or Primal Scream but having had a burst of C86 at this blog and others recently everything seems to be coming together nicely. This is ten minutes of gorgeous, hypnotising sound. You can buy the album here


Sunday 7 February 2021


A new single package from Andy Bell's album, The View From Halfway Down, came out on Friday containing an edit of Skywalker, an acoustic version and a very fine Pye Corner Audio remix. Skywalker is one of the highlights of the album, a tribute to his eldest daughter and her reaching adulthood. Musically it is a blissed out blend of Michael Rother, The Velvet Underground at their dreamiest and 80s psychedelia. The video is a trippy affair that looks like it should have been shown first on Snub TV. You can buy it at Bandcamp.

Pye Corner Audio released a new track on Friday too, a free/ pay what you want six minute slice of modernist acid house, jacking rhythms, squelchy bassline and analogue synths, called Rotational Squelch. Here

Saturday 6 February 2021

Too Bad She Won't Live... But Then Again, Who Does?

'A new life awaits you in the Off- world colonies! A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!'

Two weeks ago I published a post about Blade Runner and the long lasting impact of Vangelis' music from the 1982 film. The soundtrack, held up for years in legal disputes, eventually came out in the mid 1990s and included pieces of dialogue from the film among the synths and timpani to great effect. For some time there have been a series of bootleg editions of an album called Blade Runner Esper Edition, originating (I think) in 2001 on CDr. The Esper Edition is the full, proper soundtrack to Ridley Scott's film, an ambient/ musical edition across two discs, the score as well as music from the film itself, the dialogue (but not Harrison Ford's controversial film noir voiceover) and all the noises from the film- the rain, street sounds, voices, gunshots, the Voight- Kampf machine, hovercars, footsteps, all the ambient background sounds of Los Angeles in 2019 (or the Blade Runner version of it). You can fall down some internet wormholes looking at all the different bootleg editions that have been produced, various claims to be definitive and better or best quality. This one seems to be highly rated and to my ears is as good  as you're going to need. 

Blade Runner Esper Edition

And if you want to go deeper and further Youtube is full of parts of the soundtrack slowed down for a long, soft, ambient drone, white noise and Vangelis six hundred times slower than intended- this one, Blade Runner Blues slowed right down is a beautiful way to spend an hour.

Friday 5 February 2021

Come Down Dawn

The KLF have spluttered back into life recently, thirty years since deleting their back catolgue. A couple of weeks ago a compilation album called Solid State Logic 1 appeared on the internet, dropped onto streaming services without warning- well, almost without warning, apparently a fly poster appeared under a railway bridge in Kingsland Road, London on the last day of 2020, but the eight track Best Of took most people by surprise. Yesterday Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty launched the second chapter of their musical back pages into the internet- a version of their 1990 album Chill Out appeared on Youtube retitled Come Down Dawn

Chill Out, from its sheep in a field cover to it's mythical recreation of a drive from Texas to Louisiana, was a KLF concept album, an ambient classic designed to be listened to as one piece of music, Drummond and Cauty on a road trip through the Deep South. It is peppered with samples from some of rock histories most famous songs- Elvis singing In The Ghetto, Fleetwood Mac's Albatross and Aker Bilk's Stranger On The Shore. Come Down Dawn has removed these samples, presumably for legal reasons, and although I miss them the broad, cinematic, blissed out sweep of Come Down Dawn works perfectly well without them. The rumble of trains, the voices, the pedal steel guitar, the radio reports and bird sounds are all still there, the vision is intact. The tracks have all been renamed and the original road trip from Texas to Louisiana now sets out from Brooklyn and runs down the east coast before heading to Mobile, Houston and Loredo, finishing in Mexico City. The last ten minutes of Come Down Dawn depart from the original release too, lots of new/old elements thrown in with parts from The White Room movie and various other KLF releases. A new mix then, the original re- imagined and reworked, much more than just the removal of some difficult- to- clear samples and you can say it's just a new way to recycle their material and provide some cashflow (although the return artists get from streaming rates means they won't see much) but it sounds pretty fresh to me and just what's needed for a Friday in February 2021. 

Here is an uncredited remix from The Orb in 1989 which takes a maximal approach to ambient house.  

3am Eternal (Blue Danube Orbital)

Thursday 4 February 2021

To Texas

Around twenty years ago, before their mutation into The Double Gone Chapel and Wrong Meeting period where they fused electronic sounds with guitars, live drums and Andrew Weatherall singing, Two Lone Swordsmen were a solely electronic act and released a run of albums from The Fifth Mission through to Tiny Reminders, records that still reveal new things played today. The Fifth Mission is a progression across six sides of vinyl that encompasses a range of leftfield electronic sounds and styles. Stay Down is a record of short, deep sea, ambient/ dub- techno emissions. A Virus With Shoes experiments with a stoned, instrumental hip hop vibe. Tiny Reminders is a purist, triple vinyl, night bus ride into electro and abstract techno sounds. 

The Swordsmen would also regularly turn in remixes for other artists. At this point, circa 1997- 2002, Weatherall was as far from the centre of attention as he ever got- the acid house days and the huge life affirming remixes that made his name long behind him, Sabres Of Paradise broken up and his natural tendency to avoid the bright lights, the big cheques, the greasy pole and the big names kicking in. Many of the remixes Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood did as Two Lone Swordsmen are uncommercial, single- minded transmissions from the underground, deliberately turned away from the light. In 1997 they remixed Texas, Sharleen Spiteri's pop rock band, who had just released a six times platinum selling album called White On Blonde. Texas were mainstream, centre ground, tasteful Radio One fare. It's a bit odd to think that someone somewhere decided that what the fourth single off the album needed was a pair of TLS remixes. Many of Weatherall's remixes over the years have been done for mates and sympathetic souls, or done as remix exchanges (TLS remixed Calexico and in return Calexico remixed TLS) or through long standing friendships such as Jeff Barratt at Heavenly (a long history of remixes of Heavenly artists from Sly And Lovechild, St Etienne and Flowered Up in 1990 to Doves and LCMDF in the late 00s to the more recent Heavenly artists like Confidence Man, audiobooks and Gwenno). In the case of Texas, multi- million selling major label artists, I'm assuming someone at Mercury thought it was a good idea and money changed hands. The result was a pair of overlooked and really very good, deep house and electro reworkings of the song.

The Breath Mix is the longer of the two, eight and a half minutes of minimal electronic sounds, led by fast, skippy drums and a line of Sharleen's vocal isolated and distorted. The injection of the deep bassline at around a minute is a blast and then the bleepy topline, sounding like it has washed up from the Stay Down sessions, dances over the top. Sharleen's disembodied voice continues to hang around, beamed in from another station. Very nice indeed and way too good to be buried on CD2 of an album's fourth single release/ vinyl promo.

Put Your Arms Around Me (Breath Mix)

The Electric For Bird Mix is shorter, only five and a half minutes, and a further deconstruction of the original song- Sharleen is chopped up even further, the beats are harder, the snares tougher and the bleeps less welcoming, with more static and distance. This remix eventually re- appeared on Two Lone Swordsmen's own remix compilation in 2004 sandwiched in between Six By Seven and Howie B. 

Put Your Arms Around Me (Electric For Bird Mix)

Bizarrely given the staggering inflation in the cost of second hand vinyl with Andrew Weatherall's name on it, copies of Swordsmen Go To Texas can be picked up from Discogs currently for as little as thirty seven pence. 

Wednesday 3 February 2021


More music for a jingle jangle morning, this time from East Village. Vibrato is short, only one minute fifty- six seconds, but very sweet. It is the sound of The Byrds transplanted to the Home Counties in 1991, guitars ringing and drums thumping in before the chorus and vocals sunken in the mix. 


East Village were blessed with three songwriters and vocalists and some really strong songs. Despite being on not one but two of Jeff Barratt's labels (the short lived Sub Aqua and the currently thirty years old Heavenly) they never really made the breakthrough their music deserved, always the support band, their albums released posthumously, cult status after they split. Maybe in the long run it's better that way- don't implode, don't fall out, don't end up kicking your guitarist out of the Transit van at Bristol services and driving off without him.

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Nothing To Be Done

While there's so much c86/ Glasgow guitar bands in the internet wind at the moment I thought I'd chuck some Pastels into the mix. I'm no authority on the group- I have a few bits and pieces but never followed them in any really committed kind of way. When they're good, they're really good. Baby Honey is my favourite, a 1984 single and 1987 album track but I've posted it previously and I wanted to post Truck Train Tractor, a 12" from 1986, but don't seem to have an mp3 of it, at least not on this hard drive.

Instead here's the opening song from 1989's Sittin' Pretty album, a crunchy, shambolic number with twin vocals split between Stephen Pastel and Annabel Wright. I always think this one sounds like Dinosaur Jr, a similar lurch and drawl and a squealing guitar part splattered across the middle eight. 

Nothing To Be Done

Monday 1 February 2021

Monday's Long Songs

Hey, February! Nice to see you. No offence to January- usually a month of restarting, reflecting and re-setting and requiring a certain stoicism and some austerity- but that was the worst, longest January we've ever had and it can, in no uncertain terms, fuck the fuck off. Will February be any better? Probably not but at least it's only twenty- eight days long, not thirty- nine like January was. 

Amor are a Glasgow based four piece centred around the talents of Richard Youngs, a man with umpteen albums behind him. They make dance music, a sleek, analogue, DIY, post- everything, Balearic/ avant disco approach to dance music, laid back and slinky with catchy vocals, rubbery basslines and beautiful melodies. Amor's new four track EP has just come out, available digitally at Bandcamp and in a limited edition of 500 12" singles, a work in collaboration with Lemur. All four songs are superb and wind their way around you. Fear is eight minutes and eight seconds of naggingly brilliant toplines and riffs, funky drumming and Richard's upper register vocal. For You is early 80s New York beamed into 2021 Glasgow, Talking Heads and Arthur Russell out for the night. Unravel is seven minutes of magic and already sounds like a future classic- synths and an earworm of a bassline and then Richard singing, 'I'm finding myself in your smile/ Always unravels me'. The piano chords hit the spot and then there's a ray of sunshine in the lyrics, to see us through the darkest of winters, 'The earth shall rise again'. Beautiful, hypnotising and just what we need. 

Back in 2017 Amor's Paradise single, their debut recording and release, was one of the highlights of that year . I have really strong memories of driving through the Vendee region of France with this playing on the car stereo, the Atlantic coast coming into view, two weeks of holiday ahead of us. 

'We're calling from paradise/ can you get through?'

Paradise (Alt Mix)