Tuesday 30 April 2013

Stephen Malkmus does Can's Ege Bamyasi?

What the fuck? What's the point? Can you improve on perfection? Is this further proof that the ideas well in music has dried up? Does this prove Stephen was never that original in the first place? This is like some kind of joke to add to Simon Reynolds Retromania book, particularly the retroscape section. Will we file this alongside Jo Mitchell's re-enactment of the infamous Concerto For Voice and Machinery at the ICA in London, where they re-enacted the gig/riot that included Einsturzende Neubauten, Throbbing Gristle and Fad Gadget members originally? IE. how fucking pointless considering how spontaneous that riot was. Can were the same on Ege Bamyasi. Can's records were improv/jam sessions where usually the editing would retain the telepathic magic and dump whatever was not so happening. That's a big part of the feel and attraction of Ege Bamyasi as well as the incredible chemistry between the 5 members. I doubt they ever played a song the same way twice. This was music summoned out of the air. How the fuck are you gonna replicate that vibe when your vibe is the total opposite. You get the feeling Malkmus has missed a very important point here. Maybe he's not as cluey as he/we thought.

Anyhow any excuse to get into a bit of Can and dig out the old 1989 reissue cd of Ege Bamyasi which perhaps wasn't the best remaster ever to see light of day. It's like someone leaned on the volume levels during the process leaving a very quiet cd that really has to be pumped twice as high on the volume switch as anything else I own. There have been several reissues since so maybe it's time to reinvest in one of the greatest LPs of all time.

3 of Can's tunes that really could have made them international pop stars.

Can's best attempt at pop fo shizzle!
This was actually a top 10 hit in Germany and a theme tune to a German TV crime show.

Vitamin C
Could be my fave pop Can Song.
This was used in another TV crime series.

I'm So Green
Can at their most pop again albeit idiosyncratic can pop!

Is anyone actually gonna buy that Malkmus LP?

Sunday 28 April 2013

Led Zeppelin IV - Eric Davis

I finally read this book in the 33 1/3 series after hearing those Zep trax in the films Argo and Silver Linings Playbook. Surprisingly I got through a book of 170 pages written about 1 LP. Surprising as my favourite template for LP reviews is Greil Marcus's appendix to Stranded. The appendix is basically 2 sentence reviews of hundreds of records that didn't make into the main body of the text. He once noted he loved doing that but perhaps prior knowledge was required to fully understand them. Considering we're in the age of info-overload this seems like a perfectly valid way to analyse Albums today. The kind of information in a normal media review is usually padded out with this type of background/prior knowledge anyway, so who needs another one. Every time Nick Cave puts out a record I have to wade through his immense history, usually in the Sunday supplements, before we get to the few words about his new LP. This has got to the point where I just scan to the new info or sometimes I just give up all together. So Eric Davis you've done well to get me through your 170 pages. Admittedly I didn't know that much about Led Zeppelin, their history and what they were on about.

I don't need to say anything about Led Zeppelin IV except I cant believe how much I enjoy it. For a large part of my life they were the enemy, everything worth hating about rock. This stance of course was residue from the punk/post-punk/new pop eras. I guess this all started to erode in the late 80s. I was very confused when Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth in a Juke magazine (Aussie equivalent of NME, MM & Sounds) article said he was re buying old Led Zep LPs. I think though I started to cross the line when I could no longer deny how fucking great Jane's Addiction were and bought their classic Ritual De Lo habitual. Some how I could put it down to their mix of Zep rock and post-punk/hardcore/pop flavas. I was yet to be convinced that you could listen to a Zeppelin LP in all seriousness though.

I didn't really like the more trad Zep influenced bands like Soundgarden etc so it was ok. My Phobia & denial continued despite kinda digging the Dazed & Confused film clip which was frequently played on Rage from the late 80s onward. 6 or 7 years ago I thought 'if i can be massively into the first 4 Black Sabbath albums surely I can let go of my Led Zeppelin prejudice. They must be bloody good'. In a record shop I found II, III, IV and Houses of the Holy for 5 bucks each. II was the one for a couple of years. Then III & IV took my fancy then the levee broke and it was all over. I was finally emancipated from the narrow minded anti dinosaur dogma.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Buffalo - Freedom

One More For ANZAC Day

9 minutes of slow burning hard rocking boogie oz rock stylee from 1971. I can smell the booze, smoke & exhaust from here. Taken from the classic LP Volcanic Rock. Rock on Sydney!

JPS Experience


JPS Experience Inside Out
Absofuckinglutely gorgeous tune from an underrated Flying Nun band. Recorded in 1988.

JPS Experience Get My Point
From one my favourite Flying Nun records of all time The Size of Food. This is a fucking incredible intense psychedelic track. I love how he's losin his mind at the end. More gold.

The Eastern Dark


The Eastern Dark
Julie Is a Junkie
Wow I cant believe how great this is every time I hear it. I can't put my finger on what it is about this tune. From 1985 this is their only 7" before singer/guitarist James Darroch died in a car crash en route from Sydney to Melbourne for a tour. There was an EP recorded prior to his untimely death released posthumously. What could have been? More mid 80s gold from when Sydney was the place to be.

La Femme - Chelsea Kids


La Femme
Chelsea Kids
Glitter punk into New Wave from 1979. I love this song.  Can't deny classic status for this track. The godfathers of Eddy Current doncha reckon? Frankston area scuzz.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

On The Hi-Fi Part 22

Forest Of Evil II - Frank Reidy & Eric Allen (De Wolfe)
This would have to be in my top 5 library LPs of all time. Splendid Haunted Arrangements from 1981. Strings and electronics. Perfect for days like these. The title says it all. Class and quality all the way. This shit should get a reissue, can't recall where I found this though. I've been tryin' to track down Volume 1 for years now but to no avail.

Cold Nose - Franco Falsini
For fans of mellow kosmiche. Laconic atmospheric guitar and electronics from this Italian chap recorded in 1975. Reissued last year on the fine Spectrum Spools label

Tellus #13 Power Electronics - Various Artists
Downloaded this from UbuWeb and wow what a revelation. Only a couple of familiar names here for me Merzbow, f/i and Rhys Chatham. The rest ?? But the rest are fucking great. Who'd heard of Merzbow in 1985? The guys at Tellus were certainly documenting the cutting edge. I'm loving the track excerpt from between Space by Psyclones which is prime space rock electronics with radio and turntable manipulation by the sounds. The Heaviest from Master/Slave Relationship is a gas that sounds like it could come from the current cassette underground. Joseph Nechvatal's track How To Kill is an Oswaldian deconstruction of Janet Jackson's Nasty Boys. There's even a Christian Industrial band, Blackhouse, amidst these nihilistic fiends. Anyway that's just the tip of the iceberg. There's plenty more. Controlled Bleeding are here who once did a split LP with Maybe Mental who also feature with 2 tracks.  A lot of these bands recorded for the Ladd-Frith cassette label which was run by Brian Ladd of Blackhouse & Julie Frith of Psyclones. Other labels connected to these groups include Sub Rosa, Subterranean, Staalplat, RRRrecords etc so you know it's quality. F/i finish the set with the most er... rock (if you can call it that) track which sent me on this mission of rediscovery....

Space Mantra - F/i
This is classic space rock from 1988. Space Mantra is possibly the greatest scuzz psych/space rock LP of the 80s. Who else was doing anything remotely like this in the mid to late 80s? These are sonic transmissions from amongst the space debris. Occasionally stopping off in clangorous ethnic tribal colonies. This deep space rock drifts into black corridors then blasts itself out of the vortex. This is all driven by these Galaxian rockers F/i from er... Milwaukee. Then there are the rest of their 80s records The Split LP,  Why Not Now?.... Alan,  Paradise Out Here and The Past Darkly compilation which are all gold (More on those another time).

BBC in the Desert

On a recent trip to the semi-arid zone of Sunraysia district for a family wedding during the late throes of an Indian summer, I found myself listening to Delia Derbyshire (music & documentary), BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Ekoplekz, eMMlpekz and an audio book of JG Ballard's first novel from 1962 The Drowned World etc. A couple of the tunes from the eMMplekz record Izod Days surprisingly fit the draining summer heat, eMMplekz Theme and Bocanet particularly. I was going for that incongruity thing.

Later smoking out in my sister-in-law's backyard I heard the Dr Who theme (arranged & cowritten by Derbyshire) tune wafting over from a neighbour's TV set and thought 'yeah, right, that sounds perfectly normal to me. It's from my childhood and I spent that time in this geographical zone!'

The Drowned World I thought would be incongruous too, but as I thought about it; not really. As this district I was in was once part of an inland sea. Despite now being 500km from the sea, remnants of that inland sea remain - massive sand dunes, sand bars along the Murray River give the river that weird beach-like vibe, without the waves of course and the salinity problems in the soil. Post apocalypse stuff fitted too, considering Mad Max I and II were filmed a few hours north of Mildura and contain similar features to the terrain of Sunraysia. Man made disasters from damming once great rivers, now drying up  and salinity problems caused by over-irrigation and so on. All this stuff on my ipod seemed well, normal, and quite fitting. Blue Monday on the wedding dance floor - natural - as Joy Division/New Order were part of the soundtrack of my youth here.

Funnily enough, the most incongruous music moment happened back in Melbourne in an inner-city suburb. At 4.30 in the morning, a party started up next door, full of 18-22 year olds where they were singing Billy Joel's Uptown Girl at the top of their lungs, followed by a bunch of early '90's mainstream alternative tunes. Weird? This also parallels recent footage of a friend of a friend's 16 year old daughter being dragged on stage at a recent Springsteen concert in Melbourne to dance the Courtney Cox part during Dancing in the Dark.

It made me think of the atemporality of the times. The kids don't own their own times like they used to. My dad dragged me to an Everly Brothers concert as a young teen. As a protest, I pretended to go to sleep. The Models and INXS were playing a concert in Melbourne that night and there I was at the Everly Brothers, how naff. Now, of course, I think I was being naff by being an obstinate brat. But you had that rebellion to make a generation gap and to have your own soundtrack to your life.

Friday 12 April 2013

BBC Radiophonic Workshop

More BBC Radiophonic Workshop gear here. This time it's a video documentary produced by the BBC called The Alchemists Of Sound from 2003. This is an hour long doco and features Oliver Postgate, John Baker, Delia Derbyshire, David Cain, Wendy Carlos, Sonic Boom & a dude from Portishead.

Saturday 6 April 2013

Delia Derbyshire

BBC Radio documentary here on Delia Derbyshire the BBC Radiophonic Workshop composer and member of White Noise at the fabulous UbuWeb.

Friday 5 April 2013

Darkside Mix

Been diggin this Darkside mix from Blog To The Oldskool I Can't Believe How Dark It is. Heaps of great gear here for old and new converts. This genre is fast becoming one of my top 5 eras of music ever. On the evidence here, I also still have much to learn and that excites me. I missed a lot of this stuff first time around, only being aware of the major playerz. More treasure from Blog To The Oldsckool. Onya!

Hang on...... more dark science dropped here for Halloween last year at Blog To The Oldskool.  Two & a half hours, 70 + trax of prime Darkside gold for your pleasure.  With a classic section half way through featuring the panic attack trax Ricky, Scottie & Johnny. Can you handle it?