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Thursday 29 February 2024

When We Were Beautiful And Young

This song has featured at a few blogs over the last week, a new song from Mick Harvey called When We Were Beautiful And Young. It's dusty, mournful and slow paced, acoustic guitar and organ and Mick's time worn vocal eventually joined by cello and horns. As the video plays, a montage of Mick and friends in younger days from the 1970s onwards, Mick's lyrics unpick the sadness and regret of looking back and the loss of those who have not survived the journey- former bandmates and friends Anita Lane, Tracy Pew, Rowland S. Howard and Conway Savage. 

Mick isn't being entirely nostalgic here, although with lines like 'When we were beautiful and young/ there was time for anything/ And the days slipped through our fingers like golden sand... a thousand verses not yet sung', he's certainly nailing the arrogance and surety of youth, the not caring about the future or of what may happen down the line. He ruefully acknowledges those Bad Seeds who died along the way and the role drugs played in that- 'It all just turned to junk... and there were some who came undone'- and having looked back he concludes that he's fine where he is, late middle age has it's benefits- 'I'm having my time in the sun/ Now I'm not beautiful and young'.

Stirring stuff. You'd expect nothing less from a man who served time as a key member of The Birthday Party, Crime And The City Solution and as a Bad Seed from 1983 to 2010, Nick Cave's co- writer and arranger, a multi- instrumentalist and key driver in the group. When We Were Beautiful And Young is on Mick's forthcoming solo album, Five Ways To Say Goodbye, out in May, a mixture of new songs and covers that you can find here

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Underneath All The Thundering There's Magic

This came my way recently (although it came out in November last year) and blew the cobwebs and the years away- you can get to a point where you think that there's nothing new under the sun and then something turns up. Kneecap are from Belfast, three young men who make hip hop, rapping in Irish and English with lyrics that make their support for republicanism very clear along with a truck load of satire, piss taking, and references to casual drug use (one of the many things they talk about that would get them kneecapped by older, more frightening men). On their debut single in 2017 they talked about C..E.A.R.T.A, (rights, as in of the human variety). On their album they have a song called Your Sniffer Dogs Are Shite. They rap about their mums and about being real. They have said they don't want to 'box themselves in with masculinity all the time'. They seem both completely irreverent and utterly serious. 

On Better Way To Live they share their spotlight with Fontaines D.C. frontman Grian Chatten, a man who has his own brand of street poetry and real life lyricism. Grian's half sung/ half spoken vocals go like this...

'Underneath all the thundering there's magic. If there's a better way to live I've gotta have it/ Because I think all but when I drink I'm OK/ It gets further away every time I try to grab it/ Underneath all the chattering there's heaven/ I gotta peak one day made me feel like I was seven/ I know it exists but I can't stop getting pissed/ One more thing I'll be adding to the list/

Much of Kneecap's verses are in Irish and though I don't know what they're saying I think I know what they're on about. The combination of English and Irish, the flow of the words and the rhythms of the grinding bass and drums, are matched by the video, the all day drinkers and the world inside the pub.


Tuesday 27 February 2024

Ways Of Seeing

This is the wall at the back of our cupboard under the stairs, one of those cupboards that when you open it everything- the ironing board, the hoover, the stepladders, a pair of shoes- falls out on you. Or at least it was- it's been sorted now. Sorting it revealed the wall which looked to me like an abstract expressionist painting from the 1950s. It's gone now too, painted white. 

This pair of songs are both new, came out recently and although they don't sound much like each other have become linked for me- I've been playing them back to back and they evoke similar feelings in me. Firstly the latest song from Khruangbin, May Ninth, a promise of springtime coming. Someone said recently it's beginning to feel if not like spring then at least like the end of winter. May Ninth makes me feel exactly that. It is just over three minutes long, the sonic equivalent of sunshine, the delicate guitar playing, the notes ringing and rippling like a happy Vini Reilly, the drums just so on it as to be perfect and the bass padding away as the words waft by, 'Waiting for May to come... Just another day'. Something very close to pure feeling in a song, an emotional hit and a few minutes of optimism for the end of February.

I've been pairing it with the latest single from the forthcoming Ride album, an Andy Bell song called Last Frontier, four minutes of soaring, chiming indie rock with an early 90s New Order feel (if this song had been on Republic it would stand alongside Regret as the album's best moment). Over streamlined bass and drums and twin guitars Andy songs of 'Ways of leaving/ ways to say goodbye/ Ways of seeing/ Seeing eye to eye/ Without losing our way'. Like Khruangbin's May Ninth, it's emotive and inspiring, music that makes you feel something.  

Monday 26 February 2024

Monday's Long Song

This came my way last week and instantly improved my life, an eleven minute epic from Marshall Watson called Astro Pan. It is a piece of music that evokes all sorts of imagery and visions, a soundtrack and a journey, an extended prog/ acid/ ambient/ cinematic ode to the cosmos; a layered, expansive interstellar long song. Halfway through voices appear among the organs, synths, drums and FX, an Alpha Centauri choral ensemble. Magical stuff from Marshall. It could easily be twice as long and not overstay its welcome. Get it here

Marshall is from San Francisco, a composer, sound engineer and producer. Last year he released an EP with Cole Odin that was one of my favourite tracks of 23, the shimmering indie- dance of Just A Daydream Away, and a five track mini- album of blissed out Balearica called Foothills, complete with a Seahawks remix. I recommend both fully. And if you want/ need a brand new Marshall edit of Iko Iko, the New Orleans song recorded variously since 1953 Sugar Boy Crawford and his Cane Cutters, The Dixie Cups, Dr. John, Natasha, Captain Jack, The Belle Stars and Justin Wellington, then you can get that here, renamed Eye Co. 

Sunday 25 February 2024

Fifty Minutes Of Deadstock 33s

Last May I did a Sunday mix of Justin Robertson remixes from the 90s, forty minutes of trumpets and acid house/ indie- dance. It's here. I always intended to come back and do a more recent mix of Justin's music and having struggled with a completely different Sunday mix for a couple of days- it just wan't coming together and the segues were difficult to get right- I thought today would do for a return to Mr. Robertson and specifically his music and remixes as his Deadstock 33s. There are eight tracks in today's mix coming in at around fifty minutes, plenty of dub influence, lots of chuggy drum machine rhythms, a few New Order- esque moments, some cosmic motorik grooves and some lovely wired and weird synth and FX flying around. On top of all that Justin is always faultlessly turned out, has a fine array of headwear and always comes across as a thoroughly good chap. 

Fifty Minutes Of Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33s

  • Mercury Project
  • Magnetic
  • The Confidence Man (Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33s Remix)
  • Dark Endless
  • Brix Goes Tubular
  • Lone Raver In Dub
  • The Circular Path (Asphodells Remix)
  • One Lone Rider
Mercury Project came out on a  2013 compilation titled Treasure Hunting, released by Astrolab, and a rather good round up of chuggy cosmic disco/ house from a decade ago with Hardway Bros. Tim Fairplay, Toby Tobias, Scott Fraser, Daniel Avery, Mugwump, Marc Pinol and Ana Helder in the list of artists included. Something of a forerunner in that sound/ scene. 

Magnetic was from an EP with Daniel Avery and sounds like early 80s New Order wired up to the nearest electricity pylon, a very smart piece of 2012 motorik psychedelia, released on Optimo.

The Confidence Man  was a stand out song on Andrew Weatherall's solo album Convenanza. The remix album that followed it, Consolamentum, saw Andrew remixed by Justin along with Unloved, Heretic, Duncan Gray, The Emperor Machine, Red Axes, Tim Fairplay and Scott Fraser. On the sleeve there was a very Weatherall quote- 'delights are stronger the longer they remain secret' (by Joseph Roth).

Dark Endless was on a digital only compilation released by Spun Out Agency in 2022, a tribute to Mr. Weatherall, that went under the title More Of That Frightful Oompty Boompty Music. Justin gets on the cosmische tip on Dark Endless, a throbbing bassline and swirling sounds setting the controls for the outer limits. 

Brix Goes Tubular was a Bandcamp only single from 2022, three tracks recorded by Justin and Brix Smith (with a dub mix). I'd forgotten about it until pulling this mix together and really like it, Brix and Justin finding a musical sweet spot in the space somewhere between dub, Tom Tom Club and surf. 

Lone Raver In Dub is a bouncing, rocking dub- flecked tune from September last year, part of the ongoing Deadstock 33s Unreleased series at Bandcamp, a goldmine of music. 

The Asphodells (Andrew Weatherall and Timothy J Fairplay) remixed Deadstock 33s' The Circular Path in 2013. The remix is ticking, clanging, metallic space motorik with a spluttering topline and acres of echo and wobbling synth oscillations. 

One Lone Rider came out in summer 2023, a massively distorted bass drum and frequency test synth line, six minutes of hypnotic sci fi dub/ acid house.

Saturday 24 February 2024

V.A. Saturday And The Woodentops Live

Back in 1988 Trevor Fung, Pete Tong and Paul Oakenfold came home from a summer on the White Isle and filled with the spirit of Ibiza, the anything goes approach of the DJs out there and the desire to do it in London. In September of 1988 they complied a Various Artists compilation record, Balearic Beats Vol. 1 (complete with legendary Dave Little sleeve art, multiple acid coloured single eyes and some Terry Farley liner notes). Balearic Beats Vol 1 pulls together what have become ten set texts of late 80s acid house, with Mediterranean house, Stock, Aitken and Waterman pop stars, industrial groups, Belgian New Beat and  EBM rubbing shoulders with proto- indie dance, Code 61 and Thrashing Doves, Nitzer Ebb and The Residents, Mandy Smith and Fini Tribe, Electra and The Woodentops. Play whatever you like as long as people can dance to it. 

Balearic Beats is a classic VA compilation, an attempt to pull together the sound and energy of a time and place onto black vinyl. For those of us in the UK who didn't make it to Amnesia or Pasha and who soaked this sort of thing up second or third hand, here was a primer, a record or tape to play over and over and a raison d'etre. In some ways, the anything goes spirit of this album, is what this blog and what the  compilation tapes, mix CDs and attempts at DJing I've messed about with ever since, are all about.

Incidentally, at Ban Ban Ton Ton Dr. Rob posted an extensive interview with Trevor Fung and a follow up post where Trevor outlined the tracks he submitted to Oakenfold's label FFRR for the album, some of which didn't make the cut. Trevor's Balearic Bonus Beats can be found here

Of those songs on Balearic Beats Volume 1 the one I was most familiar when it was released was Why Why Why by The Woodentops, a track that appeared on the album as live recording. The manic energy of The Woodentops, the acoustic guitars not so much being played as scrubbed, the hubcap and wood block percussion hits and Rolo McGinty's chanted lyrics, 'Are you ready now?... why? why? why?', was a step away from the indie world that they seemed to come from in 1986- it was t- shirts and shorts, sunglasses and suntans, a song made for dancing to as well as for listening to in a bedsit/ halls of residence. 

Why Why Why (Live)

The Woodentops are currently part way through a short tour of the UK. They opened it with a gig at Night And Day in Manchester on Wednesday night, a cold and wet night lit up by Rolo and the band who gave their all and looked like they were enjoying themselves. 

The first couple of songs felt a bit like it was the first night of the tour, a little time needed to warm up possibly, but they kicked into gear and kept going, quick fire drums bubbling basslines and Rolo's rapid strumming. In the midst of guitars, drums, keys and cellos and the group's songwriting chops, the sounds of influences such as Can, The Clash and Talking Heads can be heard. Why Why Why gets a cheer mid- set and Love Train rattles by like 1986 was just a few days ago. The recent single Ride A Cloud, surely a chart hit somewhere, is a delight, the chilled guitar lines and breathy feel changing the energy and feel completely, a Rolo spoken word section describing the actions of astronaut Mike Massimo, a man with a lifetime ambition to work on the Hubble Space Telescope and who at the moment of achieving his lifetime ambition, broke the hatch and watched the screw float away into the depths of space. I guess it's still out there somewhere. My memory of exactly what they played on Wednesday night is patchy and I wasn't taking notes but near the end they played Good Thing, a stand out from 1986's Giant album, the African highlife guitars sparkling. This version is from the 1987 live album Live Hypno Beat, an album recorded live in Los Angeles in '86, a live album that can be returned to and played over and over again. 

Good Thing (Live)

My friend Darren and came with me took this photo of Night And Day,, a small venue that is a Manchester institution and that has played host to some amazing gigs over the last three decades, from bands big and small, known and unknown. I've seen Carbon/Silicon (Mick Jones' post- BAD group), Pete Wylie, The Orb and Damo Suzuki play there among others. Doves, Johnny Marr and Manic Street Preachers have all appeared on the small, square stage. It's currently awaiting a legal hearing about it's future due to a complaint from a resident who bought a flat above Night And Day, a bar and live venue, and then complained a bout the noise. I really hope it wins and stays open. 

Friday 23 February 2024

The Custom 88

The tidal wave of new music continues today with a four track EP on Tici Taci from BTCop and Rude Audio- I've been waiting for this one to be released for some time, it contains two new tracks and two remixes all from the top drawer. The Custom 88 has a pair of new BTCop tracks- Sabre 540 and the self referential B.T.C.o.P. with a Rude Audio remix of each. Sabre 540 is a slow starting, ambient wash of sounds and whispers, a full two minutes of build up before a drum makes an appearance, backwards sounds and enveloping melody lines dragging the listener in ever deeper. Truly gorgeous ambient house. 

The Rude Audio remix adds the thump of a kick drum, a juddering synth line and the space of dub techno, turning Sabres 540 into an entirely different beast- it blasts off at one minute eighteen with some classic Rude Audio rhythms, with the melody lines and synth strings adding some twinkle to the euphoric, widescreen dub- chug. 

B.T.C.o.P. is a heavy duty and slightly moody track, with thundering bass and drums, slo mo dancefloor stuff with vocals that swirl around at the edges of the mix. It thumps onwards gathering pace and intensity, breaking down and taking off again. The Rude Audio remix takes the dubbier parts, loops them, messes around with them and then springs into a rapid chug a minute in. Rude Audio don't tend to do things by halves or in small doses and the remix of B.T.C.o.P. sticks at it for nine minutes, the thumping rhythms, long synth chords and sparkling melodies, pushing and pulling at each other.  Likely to cause dancers to wear the carpet out at parties. 

The Custom 88 EP is out today at Tici Taci and you should be able to find it here. I'll update the link later on today and add any YouTube versions if they materialise. 

Edit: no Bandcamp for this one but you can buy at Juno

The BTCop tracks and Rude Audio remixes are represented at Brother Joseph's Sonic Treasures radio show, three hours of top quality music broadcasting out of Glasgow earlier this week. Joseph kicks off with the first part opening with Therapy? as remixed by Sabres Of Paradise and working his way through to Coyote with Rude Audio's remix of Sabres 540 visited along the way. Stephen Haldane takes the middle slot, an Andrew Weatherall dub- slanted selection (including The Asphodells, Andrew's remix of Steve Mason, the TLS dub of Saint Etienne's Heart Failed (In The Back Of A Taxi) and an Unloved remix) and then Joseph returns to the mix with more BTCop/ Rude Audio, the recent David Harrow and Little Annie smash (again remixed by Rude Audio) among others. It's a fine way to spend three hours of listening time. You can hear it here

Thursday 22 February 2024


New on Paisley Dark, a Leeds based label run by John Paynter dedicated to releasing electronic psychedelia, is this three track EP by Spanish artist Stylic. The opening track PoPoPoPom is built around a hypnotic slowed down chug groove, bouncing synth bass and some excerpts of vocals, chopped up and cut up, repeating and ricocheting.  

Second track Like This is even further broken down, echo and a rhythm eventually forming into a drum track and more dislocated voices, one instructing, 'go like this'. A synthline comes in, buzzing and ringing, sounding like a plane in a dive right over head, a sound that goes on. The tripped out nature of Like This continues, the sounds and voices more and more on the edge. The 'yeah, go like this' vocal returns, a siren goes off, a drum rattles.  Things get no less weird.  

The final track is On Fire, one that gets down to business immediately with a drum that attacks from the off, hi hats hiss, bass thumps, an insistent rhythm drives onwards- at the Paisley Dark Bandcamp page the brief description suggests that this EP is an 'auditory expedition produced for blissed out dancefloors'. On Fire would cause some mayhem on the floor, the sole vocal this time a deep and breathy, 'set my body on fire'. Bassline. Cue mayhem. 

Wednesday 21 February 2024

This Is The Sea

Sparked maybe by listening to the new Bill Ryder- Jones album Iachyd Da and to Bjork's Post album from 1995, plus now I think of it Durutti Column's Domo Arigato, I've been subconsciously searching out music with strings recently, big music with orchestral instruments. I only started joining the dots when I started writing this post. As well as those above (none of which seem to be that directly related to each other sonically or thematically) last week took me to Penguin Cafe's 2023 album Rain Before Seven and to The Waterboys. I think maybe these connections are unrelated and as much prompted by links on blogs and websites but listing them does seem to reveal a pattern and I'm into that as an idea. I'll come back to Penguin Cafe another time though because today is all about The Waterboys. 

For some reason last week I had an urge to hear Fisherman's Blues, the 1988 album where Mike Scott did an about turn and headed away from The Big Music to Ireland and to traditional music, led at least partly by fiddle player Steve Wickham and also partly by the view from the top of the mountain, from the stadium tours supporting Simple Minds and U2 that This Is The Sea led him to. Mike decided he'd done enough of that, it wasn't a goal to pursue anymore and decided to follow his nose elsewhere. But back to This Is The Sea is where I headed after playing Fisherman's Blues (I'd forgotten incidentally how much of Fisherman's Blues I knew inside out, an album that was an essential part of late 1988. In our first term at university in Liverpool I had a friend who played it constantly and the music you hear at that age runs deep- Fisherman's Blues does for sure). 

After playing Fisherman's Blues a couple of times and enjoying it immensely I headed back to my copy of This Is The Sea, Mike's 1985 masterpiece, the culmination of several years work and songwriting, pulling together the sounds in his head and the themes in his writing with the ability, musicians and people to realise them fully. On This Is The Sea Karl Wallinger played a key role musically, a one man orchestra according to Mike. The album is also something of a state of the nation address, a record of important songs that takes in English politics and Thatcherism (on Old England), spirituality, meditation and shamanism (The Pan Within, Spirit), environmentalism (Don't Bang The Drum), love (Trumpets) and on The Whole Of The Moon a song started on the back of an envelope when his girlfriend asked him if writing a song was difficult and which turned into a tribute to an inspirational, mythic figure, a chart hit and a future end of the night Balearic anthem. All of this blasted its way through the speakers last week, all texture and dynamics, lyrics and vision, songs with an epic quality that I don't always go looking for in music but which has a real power on this record in Mike Scott's hands. The title track was the one which really cut through to me though...

This Is The Sea

The final song on the album, the end of the journey, the thrum of energy powered by a wall of acoustic guitars and a panoramic sense of scale, a fiddle and the poetry of the words- 'These things you keep/ You better throw them away/ Turn your back on your soulless days/ Once you were tethered/ Now you are free... That was the river/ This is the sea'- a song about renewal, about letting go of the old and embracing the new. 

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Wish We Were Together

I have a list of new music to write about that fills a page of my notebook and as I work my way through it, more new music arrives. This is a good thing, the endless rush of new sounds and songs, constant motion and novelty. This one arrived in my inbox a couple of days ago, new from Peaking Lights, a song called Mental. You can buy the download here

Mental is a tumbling cascade of psyche pop, spiralling keys and guitars over primitive 60s drums and the voice of singer Indra Dunis, the space and echo of dub but with the day glo hues of psychedelia. Indra and husband Aaron Coyes started out in Wisconsin, went to Los Angeles, then to Amsterdam and are now back in California. There is something very Californian about this song to me- at least it seems so to me, someone who admittedly has never been to California. 

Monday 19 February 2024

Monday's Long Song

Back to work today after a week off. Last week turned out to be a big week. The Sounds From The Flightpath Estate album which me, Baz, Dan, Martin and Mark have been pulling together since the germ of an idea occurred to us last summer, went live on Wednesday and on sale for pre- orders on Thursday. The album is a ten track compilation featuring a previously largely unreleased Two Lone Swordsmen track and nine of brand new recordings from Justin Robertson, Tim Fairplay, Hardway Bros, Sons Of Slough, 10:40, Rude Audio, Richard Sen, a well known and highly regarded producer/ DJ from Belfast under the name The Light Brigade plus Andy Bell's cover of Smokebelch. Every track is gold. 

The link to buy  the album, double vinyl, 500 copies, went live at 10am on Thursday morning. By the end of the day it had sold out, 420 copies gone. Watching this happen during the day via our screens was incredibly exciting and there was a genuine buzz about the record. The remaining 80s copies have been kept for some physical, face to face sales over the weeks following release. 

Matt Hum's twenty two minute mix of the ten tracks at Mixcloud is there to whet the appetite and has been streamed more than 800 times to date. On Friday night Mark Cooper, a friend of the group, the man behind Bedford Falls Players and a superb DJ played tracks from the album at his The 365 Social with our very own Baz providing some interview segments scattered throughout the show. You can hear it here. Word has it BBC Radio 6 might be onto it and some of the tracks might get played there next week. It's all very exciting. Dr Rob, the man behind the Ban Ban Ton Ton blog reviewed Sounds From The Flightpath Estate at Ban Ban Ton Ton on Friday, a review that perfectly captures the album and the spirit of it. You can read that here

I've been writing guest reviews for Ban Ban Ton Ton intermittently for the last couple of years. Last week I wrote a review of the forthcoming Sedibus album SETI. I posted an advance track last November, SETI Part 3 (the third part of a three piece suite which makes up the second side of the album on vinyl). SETI is a wonderful album made by The Orb's Alex Paterson and ex- Orber Andy Falconer, a record that takes the ambient house sound of those early Orb records, adds some acoustic instrumentation (piano, xylophone, horns) and a lot of space samples about the search for extra- terrestrial intelligence and creates something warm, organic and genuinely awe inspiring. My full review for Ban Ban Ton Ton and Rob's companion piece are here. SETI comes out on Friday. 

Sedibus' first album came out in 2021, a four track source of electronic fun and wonder. This track is Toi 1338b, twelve minutes of space age, spaced out Sedibus ambient house. 

Toi 1338b 

Toi 1338b is a planet roughly between Neptune and Saturn in size. Toi 1338b is in the Pictor constellation, 1320 light years away from us. It was discovered in the summer of 2019  by a 17 year old New York student named Wolf Cukier, while on an internship at the Goddard Space Centre, and announced in January 2020. I don't know what you did in the your 17th summer- I spent the summer of  1987 working in the record and tape department of WHSmiths and indulging in underage drinking in pubs. Wolf discovered a new planet. 

Sunday 18 February 2024

An Hour For Tak Tent Radio

Last Sunday Tak Tent Radio hosted an hour long mix of mine, my tenth for the radio station. You can listen to it at Mixcloud and or at Tak Tent. It's mainly made up of music from 2023 with a couple of older (but still fairly recent) ones, almost all having featured at this blog at some point in the past. The Jezebell track is unavailable elsewhere and was sent out to people who pre- ordered the double vinyl edition of Jezebellearic Beats Vol 1(and although Jesse and Darren said the track would never be made available from them they were happy for other people to share it- I thought this mix was a good place for it and luckily Jesse and Darren agree). The Khidja track has become a minor Bagging Area obsession- this is the third mix its appeared on, previously making it onto my end of 2023 mix and the David Holmes at The Golden Lion one a few weeks ago.  

  • CLAIR: Body Blossom (Extended Mix)
  • Psychederek: Test Card Girl
  • Andy Bell and Masal: Tidal Love Conversation In That Familiar Golden Orchard (Edit)
  • Coyote: We Got Lost
  • Justin Robertson’s Deadstock 33s: Golden Twilight 23
  • Cole Odin: Dawn’s Approaching (Psychemagik Remix)
  • Jezebell: A Dangerous Side
  • C.A.R.: Anzu
  • Khidja: Do You Know This Record Marius?
  • Bedford Falls Players: Marmite Marimba
  • Four Tet: Bubbles At Overlook 25th March 2019


Saturday 17 February 2024

V.A. Saturday

Jon Savage is a writer who fully deserves the status legendary attached to his name- since the early days of punk he chronicled the music and the subculture, a  writer and journalist who knows his stuff and who cares. His Sex Pistols book England's Dreaming is probably the definitive account of account of UK and US punk and his oral history of Joy Division, This Searing Light, The Sun And Everything Else,is the best account of that band's trajectory and story bar none. He has had for many years a sideline as a Various Artists album compiler, including some VA albums that have had repeat plays round here over the years: Fame- Jon Savage's Secret History Of Post Punk 1978- 1981 and 1966 Jon Savage's The Year The Decade Exploded are both Bagging Area favourites and his recent one, Do You Have The Force? Jon Savage's Alternate History Of Electronica 1978- 1982, is a genre busting, futuristic compilation that finds proto- electronica in Throbbing Gristle, Soft Machine, UFO, PiL and The Flying Lizards among others. 

In 2015 Caroline True Records released Perfect Motion: Jon Savage's Secret History Of Second Wave Psychedelia, 1988- 1993, a treasure trove of the period across four sides of vinyl, a snapshot of guitar bands, pop acts and dance music that to Jon, was what the title suggested- a new wave of psychedelia. Jon found it in Shack, The High and The Stone Roses (for this release the head spinning track Full Fathom Five, Elephant Stone played backwards, named after a Jackson Pollock painting), he found it in Deee- Lite, Pet Shop Boys, 808 State and Joi, he found it in Saint Etienne and Electronic and he found it in 'the scene's resident genius', Andrew Weatherall (Clock Factory by Sabres Of Paradise, Andrew's remix of Sly And Lovechild and his production on Screamadelica, in this case Slip Inside This House, Primal Scream's cover of a first wave of US psychedelia band, The Thirteenth Floor Elevators).

Full Fathom Five

Jon takes some delight I think in stretching the boundaries of the genre he's compiling, in finding what he's looking for places some people wouldn't. His latest compilation for Caroline True Records, out at the end of last year, is titled Jon Savage's Ambient 90s, a concept and compilation that's very up my street. True to form Jon stretches the definition of ambient so far it almost snaps the fabric of music to pieces, but it all makes sense too. In 1992 Jon started sending articles to Jockey Slut, fired up by the new music being made- 'a new way of looking at the world, a new language', he said at the time. Jockey Slut were more than happy to publish 2000 words on the importance of Aphex Twin by the man who saw Joy Division at the PSV. 

On Ambient 90s he compiles tracks by William Orbit, Aphex Twin, Underworld (Blueski from Second Toughest In The Infants, three minutes of Karl Hyde's blues guitar looped and distorted), Sandoz (Richard Kirk from Cabaret Voltaire), React To Rhythm's Intoxication (a huge progressive house track with a vocal sample whispering, 'this works almost instantly', a track so rhythmic and thumpy it can't be really called ambient but let's go with it), U-Ziq and several others. It closes with this by Biosphere, a 1994 release by a Norwegian artist on a Belgian label that starts out with background noise and acoustic guitar and floats away on ambient waves, synths and washes of sound ebbing and flowing as the acoustic guitar keeps time. 

En- Trance

Friday 16 February 2024

Waving Flags

I got a late offer of a ticket to see Sea Power at Manchester's Albert Hall last Friday night, a band I've not seen live before. They are touring to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the release of their album Do You Like Rock Music? and the main part of the set is the album played in full, in order. The Albert Hall is a stunning venue, an old Methodist chapel on the first floor of a Victorian Manchester building with stained glass windows, an upper balcony with bench seating and pipe organ as a backdrop to the stage. Sea Power dropped the British from their name in 2021 as a protest against 'crass nationalism', a drop in the ocean maybe but a change that succeeded in annoying the right people. The stage is decorated with trees and foliage, lit from below. Sea Power appear on stage in darkness, brothers Yan and Hamilton at the centre, guitarist Noble to the left, with keys/ trumpeter Phil Sumner and violinist Aby Fry, waving and saluting the crowd with drinks. They start at the start of Do You Like Rock Music?, the slow gentle ebb of All In It fading in and then gathering pace and steam as they work their way through the album, the band's brothers switching guitars and places at the mic. 

No Lucifer and Waving Flags are early highlights, the latter a modern indie anthem, sounding big and celebratory, the hopefulness of the song and its lyrics welcoming immigrants from Eastern Europe to the UK, now sounding more like a wistful lament for a pre- Brexit world than a celebration of a world without borders. No Lucifer with Hamilton at the mic and its opening chant of 'easy, easy' is widescreen indie rock, Aby's violin and Phil's keys adding shade and light to the twin guitar sound.

No Lucifer

Waving Flags

The band disappear after the album's last song We Close Our Eyes, a hugely appreciative crowd and a mosh pit waiting for their return. The six song encore is a second mini- set and although the energy levels drop a little they pick back up with 2021 single Two Fingers, a song that is a salute and a toast, a song in memory of the Wilkinson brothers' late dad, a windswept song that says 'fuck you' to the world, remembers those who have gone and one that intends to start again- 'two fingers for the dead/ two fingers for the living/ two fingers for the world that we all live in'. 

Thursday 15 February 2024


Andres y Xavi are a duo from Brighton whose Sounds From The Secret Bar was a slo mo, slow burn, Balearic/ downtempo double album summer 2021 highlight. They followed it a few singles/ remixes including Bibbles, out in the middle of last year. Andres y Xavi asked Jezebell to remix Bibbles and Jezebell went to town creating not just one but three remixes of the original, each remix one containing the seeds of the next. 

The first is Bibbles (Pots And Pans Mix), an abstracted, stuttering take with whirring, ticking, clanking and clicking sounds over the drums. Jezebell say its not a million miles from vintage DJ Shadow and I'd add Clock Factory (from Sabresonic) and some 90s Warp records as reference points. It's endlessly inventive, a remix that keeps surprising as it twists and splutters to its endpoint, a chopped up vocal sounding like the baa baaing of electronic sheep. 

Bibbles (Bubble And Squeak Mix) is a step up in tempo from Pots And Pans. It sets out from a similar point but streamlines itself fairly quickly, coalescing into an insistent synth riff and slo mo drums with lasers flashing and a human voice lost somewhere inside it, a remix that combines spaced out with a hefty thump. 

Bibbles (Baubles And Beads Mix) completes the triptych, a six minute work out with a nod to mid- 80s hip hop grooves, some thundering bass, some 60s organ and those electronic sheep back again, this time accompanied by cowbell. Floor shaking action. 

The Bibbles remix package came out yesterday and you can hear it and purchase from Higher Love here

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Sounds From The Flightpath Estate

This is a big news announcement! In fact, that probably needs to be in capital letters to reflect the hugeness of this- THIS IS A BIG NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT! 

We, The Flightpath Estate, are releasing an album, double vinyl limited to 500 copies, Sounds Of The Flightpath Estate Volume 1, a ten track compilation of artists associated with Andrew Weatherall and the online group The Flightpath Estate (run by five of us and celebrating its tenth birthday this year). There are nine previously unreleased, newly recorded, exclusive to this album tracks and a Two Lone Swordsmen track that has only ever seen the light of day on a very limited promo CD in Japan. It's taken since last summer to pull all this together and there have been times when we have been pinching ourselves about the line up of artists, the quality of the music and the fact that this is going to be an actual record. 

The tracklist is hopefully enough to have some of you reaching for the pre- order links (which will go live tomorrow, Thursday 15th February) and getting your credit card out. 

  • Two Lone Swordsmen: The Crescents
  • Sons Of Slough: Red Machine (Live at The Golden Lion)
  • Timothy J. Fairplay: Centurion Version
  • Justin Robertson's Deadstock 33s: Curtains Twitch On Peaks
  • Richard Sen: Tough On Chug, Tough On the Causes Of Chug
  • Rudio Audio: Running Wild
  • 10: 40: Three Rings
  • Hardway Bros: Theme For Flightpath Estate
  • The Light Brigade: Human: Remains
  • Andy Bell: Smokeblech II
Last summer while me, Martin and Dan were DJing at The Golden Lion we had a chat about a Flightpath Estate compilation album, the sort of chat which seemed like wishful thinking at the time but which sowed seeds with each of us. At first I was thinking of a compilation of already released tracks  but that seem to be fraught with complications- licensing tracks from various other labels seemed complex and potentially costly. A compilation of artists who are members of the group and who were friends/ partners/ colleagues/ fans of Andrew's but with previously unreleased music might be easier to pull off. I should point out that our experience of putting an album out was at that point extremely limited (of the five of us, Mark makes music as Rude Audio and has some experience releasing music but the rest of us- me, Dan, Martin and Baz- have close to zero). 

The following week we discussed it further and drew up a list of names to approach. Our list included David Holmes, Timothy J. Fairplay, Sean Johnston, Richard Sen, Justin Robertson and Sons Of Slough (Ian Weatherall and Duncan Gray), plus Rude Audio, Jesse from 10: 40 and a few others. We divided them up between us and started making contact, via social media messaging and email. The first name in the list, a well known Belfast based DJ and producer who may have the initials DH but who has to appear pseudonymously due to him being signed to a record label, said yes immediately. Once he was on board we felt we had a chance of getting this together. We contacted Waka and Matt at The Golden Lion, Todmorden, who not only run a pub/ live venue/ portal to another world, but also have a record label- Golden Lion Sounds. They were happy to put our at this point speculative album out. The other names on our list began to respond and say yes too. As summer turned into autumn we began to receive music: a track from the Belfast based DJ/ producer that he'd begun years earlier and now wanted to finish to give to us, a track that is seriously good; dubby music from Justin Robertson and Tim Fairplay, recorded specifically for the album; music from Richard Sen and from Hardway Bros (Sean sent us a track, then another version of it, then scrapped it and went back to the drawing board and sent us a Flightpath Estate theme tune); Sons Of Slough promised us a live track recorded at their gig at The Golden Lion last August; new music from 10: 40 and Rude Audio. All of it genuinely brilliant. 

We discussed getting an Andrew Weatherall or Two Lone Swordsmen track. Martin is one of the few people who owns a copy of Still My World, a promo CD released in Japan in 2003 tied into a clothing range and we all loved the ambient track The Crescents. He contacted Andrew's manager Pete Lawton and former Swordsman Keith Tenniswood, and we got their approval and blessing to use it, pending discovery of the master. Ian Weatherall gave us his approval, as did Lizzie, Andrew's partner. I contacted Andy Bell (of Ride and GLOK) and asked if he was interested. He replied to say he had a cover of Smokebelch that he started the day Andrew died but hadn't finished but to keep in touch. Then he went on tour to the USA with Ride. Our deadline for music was approaching (we were keen to have the tracks in our hands, compiled, and ready for mastering for vinyl by November '23 in an attempt to get the album out spring 2024).  I emailed Andy on the off chance and the following day he replied to say I'd given him the nudge he needed and he sent me his now completed, stunning cover of Smokebelch. Now we had ten tracks, and a clear idea of which ones should open and close the album (Two Lone Swordsmen and Andy Bell respectively). Dan contacted Rusty, an artist and designer who goes by the name of Personality Crisis, about sleeve art (and getting that back plus the gatefold inner was another genuinely amazing moment). I wrote some sleeve notes. We did the legal stuff. GLS got it mastered. Last week test pressings arrived at The Golden Lion. Now the sleeves are going to print and the records are going to press and with any luck we'll have them out in April (which happily will coincide with the AW61 celebrations at The Golden Lion). 

At times while doing this we've felt like a bunch of amateurs chancing our collective arm and making it up as we go along- but it turns out that things like this can actually happen. It's one of the most exciting things I've ever been involved in. It still makes me shake my head in disbelief that in a couple of months it will be an actual physical record with this line up of artists, available to buy. The artists who have donated their music, the people who've helped us out along the way with advice and contacts, the team at The Golden Lion, the enthusiasm from a very select group of people who've known about this until last night-  massive thanks to each and every one of you. 

Matt from The Golden Lion has done a twenty two minute promo mix of the ten tracks sequenced together, if you need any further inducement to part with your money. You can listen to it at Mixcloud- find it here

Our compilation album, Sounds From The Flightpath Estate Volume 1, is available to pre- order tomorrow from Golden Lion Sounds and/ or the GLS Bandcamp. There will be 500 copies, no repress, no digital, vinyl only. Any proceeds from sales will go to The Lion and to Andrew's preferred charities (Crisis, Shelter and Thrombosis UK). Not only is it therefore a good thing for a good cause, it's actually a really good album. 

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Damo Suzuki R.I.P.

Damo Suzuki, Can's vocalist and front presence, died a few days ago on 9th February. It's fair to say he was a distinctive and unique person, discovered busking in Munich by Can's bassist Holger Czukay and drummer Jaki Liebezeit as they wandered through the streets of the city. He joined them for Soundtracks, released in 1970, and then their run of groundbreaking and massively influential early 70s albums- Tago Mago, Ege Bamyesi and Future Days. His vocals were a singular sound in themselves, freeform and freestyle, switching between English, Japanese and a language all of his own. The singing on those records sometimes seem to bear little relation to the music Can were playing, their own distinctive take on rock fused with jazz/ musique concrete/ avant garde/ whatever, but it's impossible to imagine the songs without him and his stream of consciousness words and non- sequiturs.

After leaving Can he spent a decade out of music before returning in the mid- 80s and in recent decades has toured the world as his own Damo Suzuki Network, playing with bands recruited locally, that he called his sound carriers. When he played Leicester a few years ago, my brother in law Harvey and members of his band had the chance to become sound carriers for one night. At the soundcheck Harvey asked Damo what he wanted them to play. 'Whatever you like', was the reply. So they did just that. 

Scrolling through my social media timeline at the weekend it turns out quite a few people I am friends with or follow have been sound carriers, all of them part of the Damo Suzuki Network, an improvisational, amorphous, ad hoc clan of guitarists, bassist, drummers, synth and keys players bound together by one man, Damo Suzuki. He is of those people of whom it seems very apt to say, we shall not see their like again.

Damo Suzuki R.I.P.

Some music to celebrate the man and his life. First Mother Sky, a Can song from 1970, recorded for the film Deep End and released on Can's album Soundtracks. Mother Sky is a fifteen minute long song, that jumps straight in, one of those grooves that only Liebezeit and Czukay could muster, with a Michael Karoli guitar solo and Damo pondering the relationship between madness and mother sky. 

Mother Sky

In 1985 The Fall, another group with a singular and unique talent at the microphone, paid their own tribute to Damo with the song I Am Damo Suzuki (the entry point for many people into Can in the mid- 80s). The song is from This Nation's Saving Grace, a Fall highlight and one from the Brix period. Mark's opening lines, 'Generous of lyric / Jehovah's Witness / Stands in Cologne Marktplatz / drums come in / When the drums come in fast / Drums to shock, into brass evil', summoning both Damo and Jaki into The Fall's unholy racket. 

I Am Damo Suzuki

In October 2022 I put together a half hour mix of Can songs for my Sunday series, seven slices of pioneering West German krautrock with Damo Suzuki's voice running through it, starting out with some funky Can disco- kraut and ending with a 2007 edit by French producer/ DJ Pilooksi. 

Thirty Minutes Of Can

  • ... And More
  • Moonshake
  • Vitamin C
  • Oh Yeah
  • Future Days
  • Mushroom
  • Mother Sky (Pilooski Edit)

Monday 12 February 2024

Monday's Long Song

Today's long song is a guest post by the writer behind No Badger Required, a blog that has more ideas for posts and monthly series than many of us will ever manage, always beautifully written and based in his life. A few days ago I wrote a post for No Badger Required as part of the Nearly Perfect albums series that has been running on Saturdays for the last 97 weekends. It's about Sabresonic, the 1993 Sabres Of Paradise album. You can read it hereSouth West Correspondent promised me a Monday Long Song in return and has more than delivered with this, a song I might have missed if he hadn't sent it- and one that I've been playing repeatedly since he sent it. 

Over to SWC...

Unravelling – Ada Kaleh featuring Eric Leeds (2024 R&S Records)

I’m going to start with pleading my ignorance on three things.

Firstly, I have no idea what constitutes a long song.  When I was younger, anything that nudged seven minutes was considered to be an epic, and back then I only really listened to guitar music and therefore anything with guitars in it that went over seven minutes was probably prog rock or the end of a Stone Roses album.  But then I started listening to Underworld and Goldie and frankly anything under seven minutes was considered to be short and snappy. 

So I’ve plumped for something where the track running times runs into double digits in the minute column - to be honest the definition of a long song should be a song that goes on but is so good that you don’t even notice that it been playing for three days (or fifteen minutes, whichever is more realistic).

Secondly, I have no idea who Ada Kaleh is.  I expected it to be a female, because of the Ada bit.  I expected a little blue rinsed old granny with a twin set and pearls outfit on her way to Bingo.  But I am wrong, Ada Kaleh is two things, neither of them old and blue rinsed or even female.   It is most promimently an island located on the Rover Danube in Romania that was submerged in 1970 so that some gates could be constructed.  More importantly it is the name of a Romanian producer and composer who explores different sounds on his journeys through electronica. 

Finally, I also have no idea who Eric Leeds is.  I assumed it was going to be a vocalist, but when you hear the vocals, you instantly know it can’t be.  So wrong again.  Eric Leeds is in fact an American saxophonist and I think I might be the only person in the world who didn’t know that.

Which finally brings us to the track, ‘Unravelling’, which blends some Afro beat and some jazz (that will be the saxophone bit) alongside some minimal electronica which burbles away marvellously and then this voice pipes up, which just happens to be from the late great Fela Kuti – you’ll know that in about four seconds after he starts.  His vocal is great taking aim at “police beating heads, Shell Oil, petty crooks, bastard landlords and wifebeaters” and then calls for us to tackle all these criminals and take our destiny in our own heads. 

It’s proper goosebump stuff really as Fela speaks, the saxophone chirps away, the electronica enters a soft dubby loop and is gently caresses your ears like a minimalist pillow.  Just wonderful.

Sunday 11 February 2024

Forty Minutes Of Nick Cave

Some time ago C (of Sun Dried Sparrows blog) left a comment in response to one of my posts about Isaac’s death saying that when she suffered a loss there were times when the grief felt so personal and so awful, that it feels like this can only be happening to you, that no one else can possibly be feeling this way. She said she found comfort in the realisation that anyone you see in the street could be going through exactly the same thing, that grief and loss are universal and not something that you are going through on you own. The horrors of the death of a person close to you, especially one who dies young, are so traumatic and so terrible that it can feel like it has only happened to you but the truth is that we are not alone, no matter how much it might feel like that at times.  


Since Isaac’s death some people close to us have gone through similar experiences, the loss of a young person. I subscribe to Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files. Nick has opened his email address up to anyone to ask him a question and he operates it unfiltered, there no assistant reading through the inbox first and selecting them for him. Nick reads all the questions and letters sent to him and decides which to respond to. I don’t know how many he receives a week or a month- thousands I’m guessing. It’s a big undertaking and he freely admits he’s got no especial skill or training in terms of offering advice to people, many of whom are going through the worst situations imaginable, other than his own experience and a seemingly unlimited capacity for compassion. Many of the replies he posts are on the subject of loss and grief. In recent weeks he’s posted two which have struck chords with me. One is from a man, Mark from Scotland, who has suffered the death of his young son in truly awful circumstances. It's here. Nick's reply to Mark's letter contains these lines...

Your letter will be difficult for anyone to read, but it will also take many of us back, with a shudder of recognition, to our own times of sadness and loss.

We grievers know, Mark. We recognise in your letter the bottomless sorrow, the outrage, the desperation, the helplessness, the feelings of cosmic betrayal. We understand the sense of having nowhere to rest our minds that is not full of the darkest treachery. We know what its like to be confronted with the impossibility of a future life and the feeling that things will never be bearable again. Many of us also know the ghastly mechanics of planning the funeral of a child midst the zombied chaos of new grief. We know, Mark, and we are so very sorry.

But I want to say something, and even though it will doubtless mean little to you at this moment, I hope in time you will look back and know I spoke a kind of truth. Some years have now passed since the loss of my own sons, and though gone from this world, I have come to understand that they still travel with me – they are with me now – but more than that, they have become the active participants in a slow but certain awakening of the spirit. It saddens me deeply that they never lived their own full lives, but though I would give anything to have them back, these departed souls ultimately served as a kind of saving force that revealed the world to Susie and me as a thing of outrageous beauty. I have found my relationship to the world enriched in a way that I never dreamed possible. I know this to be true, but I also know it is a truth beyond understanding in your time of fresh grief, and so I say these things with extreme caution and pray it doesn’t come across as a kind of glibness uttered into your despair.

These are the saddest and most hopeless days you will experience, but I want you and your family to know this – if you can just hold together, I believe that life will get better for you, in ways you cannot yet comprehend. One day you will find Murray travelling with you, not just as a grief or a memory, but as an animating and guiding principle, allowing you to experience joy in a way you have never experienced it before. Be kind and patient and gentle and merciful with one another. Stay close. Hold firm. Forgive. Grief prepares the way. Joy will in time find you. It is searching for you, in the impossible darkness, even now.

I don't have anything particular to add to this. I'm not at the point Nick describes, I haven't had the world revealed to me as a thing of outrageous beauty (although I can see glimpses of it at times) but I'm also no longer at the point Mark, the letter writer, is either, where only a few weeks in everything is raw and brutal. For weeks after Isaac died waking up each morning was a wrench, a punch to the gut, every morning he died again when the realisation that I was awake and he was still dead hit me.

Nick is open and direct in his writingOne of the issues surrounding death is the language that people employ (or don't). People regularly use words like traumatic, horrific and devastating to describe commonplace situations- their football team conceding and losing in the last minute or having to take a day off work because their kid's school was closed due to snow. As a result, those words sometimes seem inadequate when talking about death, they have lost their true meaning. Another issue is the use of euphemisms. I always try to avoid euphemisms for death. Isaac didn’t pass away or pass on- he died. I think sometimes people flinch a little when I use that language of death in conversation but I can't sugarcoat it or hide it (and have felt guilty on the occasions that I have done so). Nick doesn’t use euphemisms or dress death up into  something palatable, he confronts it head on. He has traversed a way through the deaths of his sons (Arthur in 2015 and Jethro in 2022) and with his wife Suzie they have found a way to live with it. And this is the truth about it- you can and do find a way to live with the loss. It doesn't go away. It sits inside me in my chest like a ball of pain, sometimes big, present and engulfing and sometimes smaller and pushed down a little by life. It's always there and I know it always will be but you can get used to living with it. Nick responded to another Red Hand Files question since the one above, a letter writer asking how he deals with receiving these emails and whether it is a kind of catharsis. That letter and Nick's reply are here.

I have been listening to Nick Cave's music for many years, since the late 80s. In the 90s I dropped in and out, sometimes tuning in and sometimes missing albums. I really connected with his music with Abattoir Blues/ The Lyre Of Orpheus in 2004, then Dig Lazarus Dig!!! in 2007 (which has two of my favourite Cave songs, We Call Upon The Author and More News From Nowhere) and then the first Grinderman album (also 2007). Nick's run of albums since 2013- Push The Sky Away, Skeleton Tree and Ghosteen and then 2021's Carnage (with Warren Ellis)- have been big albums for me. Skeleton Tree and Ghosteen are both in different ways connected to the death of Nick's son Arthur, Skeleton Tree written before Arthur's death but recorded after, and Ghosteen written as a way to deal with and live with the grief and the loss. Nick has described how while writing and recording Ghosteen he could feel Arthur as part of the process. There are times when they are difficult listens and there are times when they are absolutely what I need to hear, a mirror to my own bereavement.

Today's mix is a Nick Cave mix drawn solely from albums since Push The Sky Away and with a definite emphasis on the songs that have Nick dealing with Arthur and his death. I know some people find these songs difficult, a tough listen in places- but it does find hope and uplift as well. I did try versions of this mix with some other songs in there too to lighten or change the mood but in the end it didn't work and I took them out.

Forty Minutes Of Nick Cave

  • Push The Sky Away
  • Lavender Fields
  • I Need You
  • We Are Not Alone
  • Into My Arms (Idiot Prayer Version)
  • White Elephant
  • Leviathan

Push The Sky Away is the title track and closing song from the Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds album of 2013. It is a minimal and stately, synths and rumbling percussion, a much subtler record than previous ones.

Lavender Fields starts out with the line, 'I'm travelling appallingly alone'. The song groans and sways, synths and organ swelling. Nick says the song is about change, moving from one state to another. A choir comes in singing, 'there is a kingdom in the sky', and the song becomes about rebirth or renewal (the pale bird represents that I think). The chords rise, the singing rises, everything moves upwards. Lavender Fields is from Carnage, the album he made with Warren Ellis in 2021, a record that deals with the chaos of the modern world as well as Nick's interior life. White Elephant is a change of mood, a riotous, ridiculous and profound song that takes in Black Lives Matter, protestors, statues, Botticelli's Venus and (again) the kingdom in the sky.

I Need You is heavy. Heavy as fuck. It is the bottom of the pit, absolute hopelessness, the horror of loss and a world that has become meaningless. The woman, presumably Susie, is in the supermarket with her red dress on, they're holding hands, and nothing really matters. It's from Skeleton Tree, from 2016, the electronics, loops, atmospherics and synths now central to the Bad Seeds sound. The songs don't conform, they exist. Nick sings from a place of numbness and of grief.

We Are Not Alone is from a soundtrack recorded by Nick and Warren Ellis. The film is a documentary about snow leopards, La Panthere Des Neiges, from 2021. It is ten minutes long, a slow moving and layered piece of music with synths, strings, a choir, acoustic guitar and Warren's violin and eventually Nick singing about being observed and unaware and how, ultimately, we are not along. It seems to me like a counterpoint to the song that precedes it here.

Into My Arms is one of Nick Cave's most loved songs, a love song and a ballad, from the 1997 album The Boatman's Call. Famously, Nick wrote the song at a battered old piano while in rehab. Nick performed it at the funeral of Michael Hutchence. The version here is from Idiot Prayer, a live recording from Alexander Palace on 23rd July 2020. Nick was the only person present at the concert, a solo concert, just Nick and a piano and a vast empty space, deep into the world of Covid and lockdown.

Leviathan is from Ghosteen, the 2019 double album that is some kind of Cave masterpiece. It's a song about love and loss, about Nick and Susie and about Nick and Arthur. The second verse hits me hard- 'We talked it round and round again/ Then we drove down to the sea/ We sat in the car park for an hour or two/ I love my baby and my baby loves me'- the visuals it conjures up, the prosaic nature of a couple talking and driving round. I think they're talking about the death of their son and what the fuck they're going to do, how on earth they're going to manage to move forward, to do anything. Meanwhile the piano and the atonal synth sounds lurch and swim around, choral harmonies taking over as the song crawls towards its conclusion, a slow motion sonic rendition of grief. It's utterly beautiful, an immense and emotive expression of the human condition. Ghosteen is bleak and beautiful and ultimately it's about survival.