Over the last few years I've had quite a bit of contact with Dr. Rob, the man behind the blog Ban Ban Ton Ton, an online archive for all things electronic and Balearic. Rob served his time in London during the acid house years, a period of great music, great clubs and legendary nights out, where he took full part in everything London could offer. Now, older and wiser, he lives in Japan. Well over a year ago Rob suggested a Ban Ban Ton Ton/ Bagging Area collaboration and we've finally got around to it, after both of us thinking it was a good idea but neither of us quite sure how it would work in practice. Recently I've written a couple of reviews for Ban Ban Ton Ton, the first a review of Richard Norris' Chrome and more recently a review of Nina Walsh's Music To Fall Asleep To: Delta Waves. Even better that those, today sees Dr. Rob write for Bagging Area- fittingly (for both blogs), it's a piece of music first encountered while listening to Andrew Weatherall.
Over to Rob-
Harry Roche`s Constellation / Spiral 2022_02_28
Wah wah guitar gets this groovy gear going - out of the gates at a cracking clip, as if it were scoring a chase scene in a cool `70s flick, like Shaft. Mod jazz organs and big band brass blasts rise and fall in massed fanfares. There’s soulful moaning care of Clare Torry, whose deep, psychedelic tones also graced Pink Floyd`s Great Gig In The Sky. The word “spiral” is whispered as if it`s a spell. Things are already pretty frantic with only a tambourine`s tapping keeping the beat, and it`s a full four minutes before the drums kick in. When they do though, they signal a crazy keyboard solo. At 6 minutes the track hits its first breakdown, a quick short switch into an easy-listening swing. Then trumpets and trombones sound and the race is on again - a soaring saxophone joining the party, before pausing once more for a bash on some bongos. At 8 minutes, things enter the same syncopated, symphonic Sci-Fi space as Deodato covering Strauss` Also Sprach Zarathustra - aka the theme from 2001 - the sort of fusion favoured by the Creed Taylor`s CTI label. The climax then comes in the form of a final funk freakout. Believe me, Harry Roche`s Constellation`s Spiral is a real library music / muzak rollercoaster.
Originally released on Pye in 1973, Spiral was squeezed in as the last track on an LP in the imprint`s “4D” quadrophonic demonstration series. Goodness knows where the budgets came from in those days, but the recording credits list some 15, 16, 17, players. I first heard Spiral on an Andrew Weatherall mix made for Dummy Mag, back in July 2013. Spiral just leapt out. It was so unique…and it just didn’t seem to quit. It immediately became a “must have”. As far as I know, the original LP has never been reissued, and is still quite pricey. However, if you’re after a vinyl copy of the song it can be found on Sequel Records` 1995 comp, Easy Project: 20 Lounge Core Favourites. Try to ignore the cheesy title, `cos there Spiral spins spaced-out, loud and proud, over the whole side of a bonus 12.
*Spiral also featured on another outstanding Weatherall mix, over at The Rotters Golf Club, where it rubbed musical shoulders with a track from a perhaps more well known quadraphonic masterpiece, Mystic Moods` Awakenings.
The Dummy Mix Rob refers to appeared in 2013.Tthere's a link to it the text above or you can download below.
Oskar Sala: Improvisation No. 2
Arthur Lyman: Exodus
The Harry Roche Constellation: Spiral
Beaver And Krause: Another Part Of Time
Francois Roubaix: Militerreuse
Francois Roubaix: La Fete Des Deux Avions
Mad Professor: Rampage In L.A.
Count Ossie And Leslie Butler: Soul Drums
Effie Briest: New Quicksand
Team Ghost: Echo
White Noise 3: Time Travel
Moebius And Plank: Tollkuhn
Hannah Peel: Electricity
Wild Nothing: Bored Games