Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 43 – Heroes)

Songs, that in my head relate somehow to heroes, whether in the song itself or in some tenuous link that was good enough reason for me to include it.

The Sony Vaio is the worst laptop ever created

I’ve been away a while due to my lovely macbook being used by my son, who broke his and, as he is now attending University, had to have one. The one he had to have was mine apparently and I have had to resort to using an old Sony Vaio laptop that I replaced with the macbook due to the Vaio being appalling.  The last time I wrote anything here was back in July, not because I had nothing to write but because it take that long for the Vaio to boot up. There is much frustrated swearing occurring in my household and it is entirely Vaio related.

Anyway, I was listening to a CD in the car the other day that I’d picked up in a charity shop for 30p and remembered the first time I’d heard a track for it. I had the TV on a music channel, in the background really as I was doing something else, and a piece of music caught my attention. I won’t keep you in suspense, it was this:

I knew nothing of Kasabian at all, certainly not that they were from Leicester, I thought they were from some Eastern Block country to be truthful, which I think is fair enough, based on the video. I still really like this track, and the whole first album actually, but nothing after the debut. I’ve tried listening to the other albums and there are a few bits and pieces that are OK but it’s mostly a disappointment.

So I appear to be able too post again, subject to the Vaio not being a complete imbecile. I have much to talk about.

Bjork – Utopia – New Video

The video for Utopia was released today, and it is gorgeous.

Bjork – Utopia Track List & Video

Björk has released a second single from her new ‘Utopia’ album, ‘Blissing Me’. The video is below, which is screen grabbed so I’m not sure how well it will come out.

 

This is the track list:

‘Utopia’

1 ‘Arisen My Senses’
2 ‘Blissing Me’
3 ‘The Gate’
4 ‘Utopia’
5 ‘Body Memory’
6 ‘Features Creatures’
7 ‘Courtship’
8 ‘Loss’
9 ‘Sue Me’
10 ‘Tabula Rasa’
11 ‘Claimstaker’
12 ‘Paradisa’
13 ‘Saint’
14 ‘Future Forever’

I like this new track, it’s really rather joyous, which is something Björk does really well.

I’m looking forward to my pre-order arriving.

Matmos – Ultimate Care II

There are two things that made me buy this record, the first were the words ‘ Limited Edition’ and ‘Coloured Vinyl’, the second was that I’d heard quite a few Matmos tracks in the past that I liked, maybe that’s three things, anyway, it’s quite clear that I am easily seduced by the first two and this was no exception. It wasn’t until after I’d left the record store that I released what the picture on the record sleeve was, I had thought it was a sort of abstract mushroom:

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Even though it’s quite clear that it is a washing machine with chunks taken out of it. I just can’t have been paying attention. The album, ‘Ultimate Care II’ is named after that very washing machine and is made up entirely of samples of the sounds the washing machine makes.

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This is a problem. I bloody hate the sounds a washing machine makes, well, mine at least, when it starts its spin cycle it is so loud that it drowns out all other noise and it’s damn annoying. So I really didn’t have high hopes for this album when I realised exactly what it was I’d bought.

I’ve given the album about three full listens through and there is no doubt that it is technically adept, well constructed and is, despite it being a washing machine, highly musical but as one might expect, it has a lot of percussive elements.

The liner notes on the inner sleeve explain exactly what it is you are listening to:

WARNING
All sounds on this recording were originally
generated by a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II
washing machine in the basement of our
home in Baltimore.
These sounds were then manipulated with
samplers, software and outboard processing
gear.
No synthesizers or drum machines were used.

It is 9 tracks, or excerpts as they are listed, although I believe the CD version is one long track designed to echo the washing machine cycle. The vinyl has a ‘Wash’ side and a ‘Rinse’ side. Have a listen to a track below to judge for yourself.

There are knobs being turned, lids being slammed shut, water gurgling, all manner of bangs and electronically beepy sounds that must have been treated, and it does alternate between highly listenable and not.

As an artifact it is something that I rather like owning and I can appreciate the skill it must have taken to create these tracks from a single sound source, but I can’t see myself playing it too often. I’ve said that about other albums before of course and ended up liking them a lot more that I thought I would, so who knows, maybe it’s a grower.

 

Angelo Badalamenti – Soundtrack from Twin Peaks

Did you love Twin Peaks? I did, it was so odd and somehow compelling, with the show creatingtp1 a feeling that everybody there had something to hide, whether it related to the death of Laura Palmer or not. The strange, slightly uncomfortable viewing was enhanced greatly by the music of Angelo Badalamenti, who seemed to have created a perfect musical accompaniment.

I pre-ordered a re-issue, re-master of the soundtrack a while ago and it arrived last week, it’s a lovely thing. It has a die cut outer sleeve and an inner gatefold housing a coloured vinyl, what colour? Damn fine coffee coloured apparently. tp2

I went to the location where the series was filmed in Washington state back in 1999 (With friends Dirk and Allison pointing things out) and it was quite weird to be there. What you see on the TV screen is, of course, not what is there in reality, however, seeing the actual place made the whole show seem somehow more real and, in many ways, rather more frightening as the protection of the TV screen was removed. I watched it again after visiting and, even though I knew what happened, it still put me rather on edge a lot of the time.

Who could forget this:

Genius! Also crazy, but genius all the same.

I’ve been listening to the soundtrack all week and I do now plan to watch the entire series again, for a third time, because, well, why not?

You can, should you wish, remind yourself of just how good this soundtrack is by playing the video below.

Ennio Morricone – Escalation

I spent yesterday in London touring Universities but managed to slip away long enough to nip to Berwick street and have a root through the basement of Sister Ray. I could, had I had the money, spent £1000 and still left there feeling there were just a couple more albums I could have picked up, but I don’t have that sort of money so I had to be picky. My first choice, from what was quite a large Morricone section, was the soundtrack to the 1968 film Escalation. It’s a re-release from Dagored and this one is one of the yellow clear vinyl versions limited to 500 copies. As you can see in the picture below:

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Dagored have this to say:

In 1968 the Maestro Morricone was at the height of his career scoring Sergio Leone’s classic “Once Upon a Time in the West”. For the soundtrack of Roberto Faenza’s cult debut movie ESCALATION, set in swinging London, 1968, Morricone teams up with fellow composer Bruno Nicolai and the vocalizations of Alessandro Alessandroni’s “Cantori Moderni”, making this one of his least minimal soundtracks.

Containing the legendary tune DIES IRAE PSICHEDELICO , this is one of the most essential Morricone soundtracks of all- time.

It’s certainly a beautiful object and though I haven’t seen the film, but will, I expect it to be really rather odd based on the soundtrack, which is equally beautiful and bonkers.

Here, courtesy of youtube, are a few of the tracks from it:

Album Tracklist:

Escalation
Dies Irae Psichedelico
Collage N. 1
Luca’s Sound
Senza Respiro
Luca
Casa Londra
Matrimonio
Collage N. 2
Carillon Erotico
Primo Rito
Secondo Rito
Funerale Nero

The soundtrack has all of the classic Moriccone traits, from harpsichord to wordless vocals (and some with words, shouty mad words, in Italian, probabaly), and they  work brilliantly.  With films this old it’s often possible to stream them for free online but I haven’t found anything yet, not even a clip, so I may have to try and find a dvd of it from somewhere.

I also nipped across the road to Reckless Records, which is, for the most part, used vinyl, but after a brief flick through the racks I didn’t see anything that I really fancied. There may have been a few things but it was organised in such a way that I couldn’t easily go to the sections I wanted.

Next time i’m in the area I’ll have to give it a little more time.

That Special Record – Unearth Noise LP & Maizena Boys 12″

It was great to receive another 12″ with my ‘That Special Record’ subscription, because it was a great 12″from Danish label ‘No Hands’. I guess it is a sampler of sorts as it has 4 different artists on it but they sit side by side really well and the listening experience is very consistent. By this I mean that the the chosen tracks flow from one to the other without noticeably effecting the listener, breaking one out of a mood so to speak, it flows.

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While I would like to present a rather more glamorous view of myself, I listened to this 12″ nice and loud while washing the dishes, which gives me an idea for a suite of music similar to ‘Music for Airports’ by Brian Eno. ‘Music for Washing Dishes’ doesn’t sound quite as intriguing though.

I can’t recommend the Maizena Boys 12″ highly enough. It’s a corker

Tracklist

A1 DJ Sports Emotional Endeavour 6:02
A2 Manmade DeeJay & Palta Improvise In Order 8:55
Fake Picasso Side
B1 C.K Log On 5:22
B2 Patla Fingerdansen 8:19

This months album is ‘Prayer and Resonance’ by ‘Unearth Noise’ which is an odd one. It’s a double LP with a wonderful cover, which makes me feel slightly odd if I stare at it for too long. Here it is:

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I haven’t had a lot of time to give this album a proper listen but I can tell you that on first listen I frowned a lot, either from concentrating or wondering what I was actually listening to. Then I took closer note of the album title and track names and things began to make a little more sense. ‘A place where prayers are heard’, for example is, musically, a perfect embodiment of the title. To provide some reference point, if you have watched the Netflix series ‘Stranger Things’ (which is a great series) and know the part where they are walking through the woods in the upside down world, then this track would slot in there quite nicely. It is both creepy and joyous, depending on how you choose to think about it. Have a listen and make your own mind up (but I am coming around to the idea that I like this track a lot):

Juno Records website had this to say:

In March, Izabel Caligiore decided to launch a label named after her superb Lullabies For Insomniacs show on Redlight Radio, with its debut release coming from the excellent Sugai Ken. Lullabies For Insomniacs now returns, proffering a debut LP from the impeccably obscure Unearth Noise. Full of clandestine mood pieces, droning textures, unsettling pitched-down IDM rhythms, mutant wind chimes and deep space explorations, Prayer & Resonance does a fine job balancing dark and maudlin material, with tracks that feel more gently positive. At 17 tracks deep, it takes a little time to fully take root in your consciousness, but the musical rewards are more than worth the effort.

They say it better than me. I feel like this is a grower, and it’s not all weirdness, ‘Sacred Souls’ for example, is a much more instantly accessible track, well, to my ears it is at least.

There’s still something unsettling about it though.

Tracklist

A1 Soul Surgery
A2 Ayahuasca
A3 Divining Rod
A4 Decoding the past
A5 A Place Where Prayers are Heard
B1 Message from the Dead
B2 Redemption
B3 Sacred Soul
B4 The Sound Is God

Violin – Gautam Karnik

C1 Eulogy
C2 The Mist

Violin – Gautam Karnik

C3 Sceptres
D1 I Have a Dream
D2 I Surrender
D3 Like Meeting God

Words By – Tanisha Jackson

D4 Another Dimension

Credits

  • Artwork By – Mario Martinez
  • Composed By – Roger Berkowitz
  • Design – Steele Bonus
  • Mastered By – Wouter Branderburg

There a soundcloud preview and a nice write up here:

Soundcloud

Overall I think I’m going to enjoy getting to know this album, it has some nice textures and odd dissonance which are a couple of the things that really appeal to me in music, even if that music has the ability to make me a little uncomfortable.

Another thumbs up to ‘That Special Record‘ from me.

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Departure Lounge – Jetlag Dreams

For Record Store Day 2016, the record label Bella Union released a clear vinyl version of the album ‘Jetlg Dreams’ by Departure lounge. The group have been together since early 1998 when singer – guitarist Tim Keegan, then a recovering singer – songwriter, asked his friends Jake Kyle (bass, double bass, trumpet), Chris Anderson (guitar, various keyboards, saxophone, oboe) and Lindsay Jamieson (drums, keyboards, flute) to join him on some new recordings.

It was originally released in 2001 I think and I wasn’t really looking for it but stumbled across it in the leftover RSD box  at Seismic records. The only reason I wasn’t looking of it was because I didn’t know it existed.

Sometime around the turn of this century, Simon Raymonde conceived and curated the Series Seven experiment on Bella Union.

He commissioned seven artists to each create an album comprising seven instrumental pieces, to be written and recorded, from conception to completion, in seven days.

Departure Lounge rose to the challenge and ‘Jetlag Dreams’ came very naturally into being under these terms, against the backdrop of emotional and geographical upheavals in the lives of its creators.

The process unfolded as if in a slow-motion dream over the last working days of a studio called Hum Depot, an old converted wooden house in Nashville, on the site of a Civil War burial ground, filled with dusty old pianos and reputedly haunted by the ghost of a Confederate soldier.

So there isn’t much information bout this Series 7, but I’ve found a couple of others that appear to be part of the series:

Pelican by Bonnevill
In The Pulse Of An Artery by Rothko
Gwei Lo
Variaciones Espectrales by Jack Dangers

and that’s 5, maybe, of the 7. Information is sketchy, though I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.

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Side 1

1. “Equestrian Skydiving” (5:33)
2. “Runway Doubts” (5:50)
3. “Too Late To Die Young” (5:45)
4. “A Strange Descent” (6:18)

xCS606982-01B-MED

Side 2

1. “Purple Fluffy Haze” (3:10)
2. “Beyond The Beltway” (4:36)
3. “Charles De Gaulle To Belleville” (8:49)

Post Scriptum – 01

Sometimes I like to take a chance on an album. To know absolutely nothing about it, to not know what it sounds like, what genre even, but to judge the book entirely by its cover, or the record in this case. My local store had a box of sale items at 25% off, which is an immediate draw for me, and in the box the album that stood out for me was £15.99, which would work out at £11.99 after the discount, and it looked like this:

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As a design I quite liked it and the title at the top left reminded my of stationary for some reason, and I love stationary. What really made me buy it were the track titles on the back:

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Just in case that’s a bit small, they are:

Tracklist

A1 Decades To Millenia
A2 Even The Nearest
B1 Interstellar Medium
B2 Gliese 581
C1 Decelerate At The Destination
C2 Proton To Proton Fusion
D1 The Extreme Distance
D2 Constant Acceleration Drive

A new double LP, for £11.99 with those track titles? Of course it had to be mine.

Label:  Infrastructure New York ‎– INF-CD001
Format: Double Vinyl Gatefold Sleeve
Released: 25 Jun 2015
Genre: Electronic
Style: Industrial, Techno

Post Scriptum 01 is the debut full-length album from anonymous producer Post Scriptum. That’s about as much as I know.

Gliese 581 is a star of spectral type M3V about 20 light years away from Earth in the constellation Libra. Its estimated mass is about a third of that of the Sun, and it is the 89th closest known star to the Sun.

The proton–proton chain reaction (Proton to Proton Fusion) is one of the two (known) sets of fusion reactions by which stars convert hydrogen to helium.

Constant acceleration (Constant Acceleration Drive) is a proposed aspect of most future forms of space travel. It entails that the propulsion system of whatever kind operates continuously with a steady acceleration, rather than the brief impulsive thrusts used by chemical rockets — for the first half of the journey it constantly pushes the spacecraft towards its destination, and for the last half of the journey it constantly uses back thrust, so that the spaceship arrives at the destination at a standstill. which also fits in with Decelerate At The Destination.

But is it any good. Well yes it is, I really like it rather a lot having listened to it 15 or 20 times.There are no official videos to accompany any of the tracks for the album but here is one where you can have a listen to get an idea of what sort of music it is:

As a completely blind purchase this couldn’t have worked out better for me (and it doesn’t always, I have bought some crap in the past) so I’m delighted.

Aphex Twin – Cheetah EP

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Yesterday, while sat outside Costa contemplating whether I just had a cup of frothy milk and if I would ever actually reach the Marina Trench where the coffee must actually have been, I read one of the free papers that I picked up at the record store. It’s the NME, now free and funded by advertisements. Usually I just glance at it but it had a review of the Aphex Twin 12” single (mini album really) that I had just moments before bought. I had two weeks’ worth of copies and the Aphex Twin single was the lowest scored review from both weeks, which is ridiculous, even though I haven’t heard any of the other releases, I base my opinion not on fact but on brand loyalty.

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It scored a three with the synopsis of the review amounting to ‘Could do better’, whereas I listened to it on Apple Music and loved it, so I bought it. It’s all about opinions I suppose and, to me, mine is the most valid, so screw you NME with your balanced and well thought out words.

As a final word, I love the retro graphic design, because I remember when it was futuristic.

Label: Warp Records ‎– WAP391
Format: Vinyl, 12″, 33 ⅓ RPM, EP
Country: UK
Released: 08 Jul 2016
Genre: Electronic
Style: Techno, IDM

Björk ‎– Vulnicura Live

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Label: One Little Indian ‎– tplp1328
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: UK, Europe & US
Released: 15 Jul 2016
Genre: Electronic, Pop
Style: Experimental

I am a sucker for all things Björk, and I think she knows this as she keeps releasing things and making me buy them. I bought ‘Vulnicura’,  I bought ‘Vulnicura Strings’ and now I have bought ‘Vulnicura Live’. This is quite an odd situation and I am very much beginning to feel over Vulnicurad. I’ve said before that sometimes it can take me a long time to get to really like a Bjork album and this album, in all it’s variations, is another example. I find some of the tracks really lacking a much needed structure, they are angular, full of corners and edges, which may be entirely intentional as it is supposedly Bjorks ‘Break-Up Album’ but there are tracks which seem to have absolutely no melody whatsoever and the words are sung prose rather than lyrics. This can work, and it does more often than not, and the words themselves are at times powerful and heartbreaking, particularity in respect to the break up of the family unit:

Family

Is there a place
Where I can pay respects
For the death of my family
Show some respect
Between the three of us
There is the mother and the child
Then there is the father and the child
But no man and a woman
No triangle of love

 What is lacking, as far as my listening experience is concerned at least, is something to cling on to, a little hook, a snippet that I can hang my hat on and say to myself, I get this, I understand this, I like this. ‘Family’ is an example of this, musically it feels at times like a soundtrack from a 1960’s thriller, vocally it is Bjork singing (quite beautifuly) what she speaks, and the two don’t sit side by side as comfortably as they should.

Here is ‘Lionsong’ from the Vulnicura tour, it’s pretty damn good actualy:

More time is required for the Vulnicura tracks on my part again, I have little doubt of that, but I very much hope that my patience is not let down, though it never has been by her before.

The tracks that weren’t from Vulnicura are in bold below, with the album from which they are taken, These are really very good versions, perhaps because they are more familiar.

The packaging is nice, with another die cut front cover and a gate fold sleeve. I did think about waiting for the deluxe version of this, but decided against it, I don’t really need a mask (some would disagree!).

I’m not disappointed with my purchase of this album, far from it, it’s just taking me so long to like the whole album that it is a bit frustrating at times, which may say more about me than Bjork.

Tracklist

A1 Stonemilker 7:24
A2 Lionsong 6:35
A3 History Of Touches 3:19
B1 Black Lake 10:44
B2 Family 7:50
C1 Notget 5:09
C2 Come To Me (Debut) 5:16
C3 Undo (Vespertine) 6:10
C4 I See Who You Are (Volta) 3:52
D1 Quicksand  4:04
D2 Wanderlust (Volta) 6:18
D3 Mutual Core (Biophilia) 4:58
D4 Mouth Mantra 6:28

SPASMO!

The final record I picked up from the Record Fair at the Custard Factory on Saturday was the re-released soundtrack to the 1974 film, ‘Spasmo’ directed by Umberto Lenzi. There were two runs of 500 done for Record Store Day 2015, this electric blue LP with “The Mouth” cover art and a clear blue LP with “The Hand” cover art.

My copy is numbered 339 as you can see from the front cover.IMG_2482

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And what a front cover it is. Just a little unnerving. Dagored have a number of great re-releases that you can find on their site here: http://www.dagored-records.com/

The synopsis of the film from IMDB is:  Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend are taking a walk on a deserted beach when they discover a woman’s body. A closer look proves that she’s alive. The next day Christian meets her again at a yacht party and they fall in love. Later at a nearby motel, something weird happens as they prepare to go to bed together: An intruder breaks in and starts beating Christian who accidentally shoots him with his own gun. A few hours later they find out that the corpse is missing and a series of weird incidents takes place.

Which is not a great synopsis to be fair, but, interestingly, the tagline for the film was:  Beyond “Psycho” SPASMO!

Spasmo is a film which has a rather weird, disorienting feel to it and this is reflected in Morricone’s score, consisting of a variation on three themes. The music Morricone composed for this odd film is somewhat disturbing and disorientating, as is the film itself and his use of unusual instrumentation adds to the overall weirdness.

There are some Morricone trademarks included, such as in the opening piece, Bambole, where we have wordless vocals, which always work a treat. At this point though, delightful though it is, if somewhat melancholy, there is no indication of where the soundtrack is going. Even in lighter moments there seems to be an underlying feeling that something isn’t quite right and the soundtrack does develop into a really rather difficult listening experience, which may well be why I love it so much.

Tracklist

A1 Bambole
A2 Spasmo
A3 Stress Infinito
A4 Bambole (#2)
A5 Spasmo (#2)
A6 Stress Infinito (#2)
B1 Bambole (#3)
B2 Spasmo (#3)
B3 Stress Infinito (#3)
B4 Bambole (#4)
B5 Spasmo (#4)
B6 Stress Infinito (#4)
B7 Bambole (#5)

How could I not love it really? It’s Morricone for a start, but it’s a limited run, in transparent coloured 180g vinyl with a freaky cover and a man being run over by a car on the back, It ticks all the boxes for me, just look at it:

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I covet it and I already own it! It’s a beautiful thing. If you care to have a listen, then please do, it’s probably not what you might expect:

And as a special treat for those with about 90 minutes to spare, here is the whole film, dubbed into English, but still the whole film. It’s over 40 years old now and is of it’s time, but that is not necessarily a bad thing, especially with such a great soundtrack:

That Special Record – Update

I mentioned a little while ago that I had subscribed to the vinyl service – That Special Record – and yesterday I opened the first package from them.

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It’s a double vinyl from ‘The Gods Planet’ titled ‘LP2’. Here is how it is described by one site:

Nietzsche once said: “I would only believe in a God who could dance”. The 2nd The Gods Planet LP, simply titled LP2, is ample proof that you can trust in Claudio PRC and Ness to make you dance. Built upon pieces of music purposely made for a live presentation at Paris´ well-regarded Concrete club, it sees the Italian duo of techno producers applying a willingness for inner and outer discovery, and a more human outlook to the brand of thoughtful, detailed, yet emotional and powerful productions, which they have built their name upon. New machines, techniques and skills are dexterously applied to the foundations displayed on the 1st album, from 2013, making it more direct and overtly danceable, not as experimental but certainly as explorative as before. It is the sound of two artists further more at ease with their standing in the scene, taking stock of their surroundings, before further ventures into the unknown, but still as interested and skilled as ever in telling stories. And what´s presented here is a compelling story of self-discovery woven into Claudio and Ness´s vision of techno and house music.  

This is quite possibly true, I really haven’t had a chance to listen to it properly. The main question that arises is, do I like it and do I think that my money was well spent. Early indications on whether I like it are good, that’s as much as I can say on it for the moment, at least until I’ve had a chance to have a proper listen and to have lived with it for a little while.

It’s double black vinyl and as well as the note you can see in the image there was a separate inner sheet with a bit more information on. The track listing is:

A1 – The Gods Planet – Landing
A2 – The Gods Planet – In the Maze
B1 – The Gods Planet – New Dawn
B2 – The Gods Planet – Ascending
C1 – The Gods Planet – Nightfall
C2 – The Gods Planet – Glimpse
D1 – The Gods Planet – Fast Shadow
D2 – The Gods Planet – Time Machine
D3 – The Gods Planet – The Golden Age (Vinyl Edit)

Now, as for price, I paid €28,00, I’ve seen it priced online at €14,99, however, there was €7,98 shipping to add to that and that was not for international. I’ve written myself a little questionnaire to make it easier to clarify my thoughts.

Would you have chosen this album if you had stumbled across it yourself? :
I don’t think so, but I did know what I signed up for and I don’t dislike the album, though I do find it a little one dimensional musically. I am wondering how often I will be moved to play it in the future, I suspect it will be rarely.

How was the service provided, from a delivery perspective? :
No complaints there, it was well packaged, arrived in one piece and the album was already in a protective plastic sleeve, which is handy as it saves me using up one, although they are only 10p each it’s still good.

What are your thoughts on the price you paid? :
I found the album at €14,99 online, which suggests that this is the retail price or thereabouts, so the rest of my subscription went on what? Post, packaging, a plastic sleeve and a leaflet, which is €13,01. I don’t usually deal in Euros so I have to convert to £ for me to really get a sense of it, so we are looking at £21.87 for the subscription, £11.71 for the album and £7.94 for the rest.  When I look at it in those terms it does seem much more reasonable to me and, depending on the length of your subscription you can get the overall price down to €23,00 (£17.97).  That £7.94 for the rest though, it feels a little high to me but I guess I am paying for only having a month on month subscription.

Are you going to renew your subscription? :
I already have. I’m in for next month because I was really interested in some of the previous releases and, while this first album may not be exactly what I was hoping for, ‘That Special Record’ have built up a month on month list of releases that make it worth continuing to see what I get. Also, jumping back to price a moment, there is the curation aspect which I accept attracts a fee and is a portion of that £7.94 over and above the cost of the album.

More info on this subscription service can be found at http://www.thatspecialrecord.com/

Here is a track from ‘The Gods Planet’ – ‘LP2’

Let me know what you think.

Oh, one other thing, I do get a nice e-mail every weekday with a recommended album on it, you can sign up for that yourself as it’s free.

Spiritualized Vinyl

A look at a couple of records with a track from each to listen to as well. One of the albums is sealed and opened for the first time.

Tricky – A Retrospective: 1. Maxinquaye

I’ve been a fan of Tricky since he first appeared as part of Massive Attack on their début, ‘Blue Lines’ and I’ve followed him ever since. His career is a little different as he is not really a front man as such, at least not in the normal sense of the word. He is often in the shadows, and it is quite the norm that he doesn’t noticeably appear on tracks at all. He is a writer & producer but also a collaborator, with so many people over the years it’s difficult to keep track, there’s Terry Hall, Björk, Gravediggaz, Grace Jones, Massive Attack and PJ Harvey, to name a few, but let’s start at the beginning.

Tricky was born in the Knowle West neighbourhood of Bristol, to a Jamaican father and a mixed-race Anglo-Guyanese mother. His mother, Maxine Quaye, committed suicide when Tricky was four due to epilepsy complications. His father, Roy Thaws, who left the family before Tricky was born, operated the Studio 17 sound system (formerly known as “Tarzan the High Priest”) with his brother Rupert and father Hector. In just this paragraph we have the basis for 3 Tricky albums, the debut Maxinquaye, Knowle West Boy and recent release, Adrian Thaws. It would seem that Tricky has never forgotten where he came from and has woven his early experiences into his later work.

It wasn’t an easy childhood in Knowle West, sometimes described as a white ghetto in Southern Bristol. He was involved in crime at an early age and was part of a gang that took part in car theft & burglary, and often ended up in fights with whoever crossed their path.

In the mid-1980s, Tricky met DJ Milo and spent time with a sound system called the Wild Bunch, which by 1987 had evolved into Massive Attack. He was given the nickname “Tricky Kid” and at age eighteen became a member of the Fresh 4, a rap group built from the Wild Bunch. He also appeared on Massive Attack’s hugely successful début album Blue Lines (1991).

Above are 5 tracks that Tricky appeared o with Massive attack, which is chronologically incorrect for this retrospective, but I’ve done it anyway. There were three tracks on ‘Blue Lines’, which were ‘Daydreaming’, ‘Blue Lines’ & ‘Five Man Army’. The next track is from second album ‘Protection’ and is called ‘Karmacoma’ and finally, the ‘Ritual Spirit’ E.P. which is pretty recent as it was only release in January 2016, with Tricky featuring on the track ‘Take It There’.

In 1991, shortly before the release of ‘Blue Lines’, Tricky met 15 year old Martina Topley-Bird in Bristol and she told him at a later meeting that she could sing. They recorded a white label, which was pretty basic, but got them a deal with Island Records and they started work on his début album.

maxinquaye

Maxinquaye (1995)

‘Maxinquaye’ was an extraordinary album at the time, both innovative and startling. When I listened to it for the first time it was one of those very rare moments when I heard something the likes of which I had never heard before. Credited as the album that birthed Trip-Hop, which Tricky distances himself from, and the formation of the ‘Bristol Sound’, it was actually quite shocking, but in a wonderful and glorious way. Martina Topley-Bird 71jcLkpoG-L._SL1219_deserves a huge amount of credit as her voice contributed hugely to the whole aesthetic of the album, and echoes of here performance can be heard in many later releases of the period which both enhance the reputation of this album, but also diminish it to a degree, as if you have never heard the album before it’s impact is soiled by those it influenced.

Yes, I sing it’s praises, but do some from a position of somebody for whom a void was filled by it’s creation and whose enjoyment of music has genuinely been enhanced by it’s existence and much of what it spawned.

The album begins with a reworking of ‘Karmakoma’, titled ‘Overcome’, that was to appear on Massive Attacks second album, or perhaps it was the other way around. Tricky was open to wearing his influences on his sleeve and  re-imagined the Public Enemy trackOvercome-cover ‘Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos’ into something completely different, unless you knew where it originated you may not have realised, many thought it was Tricky being covered by Public Enemy.

‘Hell is Around the Corner’  could easily have Beth Gibbons of ‘Portishead’ singing over the top of it, but instead has Tricky with Topley-Bird lazily, and beautifully, dipping in and out throughout the track.

On ‘Pumpkin’, Alison Goldfrapp takes the lead vocal, and does so with aplomb, adding a different dynamic to the album that complimented what had gone before and what was to come.

It is a milestone album, difficult perhaps to appreciate now just how large it’s impact was, but still full of brilliant songs and, I think, for a debut album, really quite remarkable. Here are some tracks from it.

Following the release and success of his debut album Tricky toured with PJ Harvey throughout Europe and the U.S. and partner Martina Topley-Bird is pregnant resulting in Alison Goldfrapp filling in for her on the tour. Their daughter Mazy is born in April of 1995 and shortly after they embark on a solo tour, again throughout Europe and the U.S. Tricky and Martina were soon over as a couple and Tricky is soon in a relationship with Björk, although there were some troubles with her former partner, Goldie. Tricky actually wrote and produced two tracks on Björk’s album ‘Post’ which, ‘Enjoy’ and ‘Headphones’.

Björk says about ‘Headphones’: “He was getting a lot of pressure from his record company, because there was a real buzz about his album, so he was a bit naughty and escaped to Iceland. We drove around in a four-wheel drive and saw the glaciers and swam in the hot spring and wrote this tune… I had this idea to do a song that is like a worship of headphones. The chorus is “My headphones saved my life, your tape lulled me to sleep.” All the noises in the song are just-for-headphones stereo tricks. It didn’t need a lot of instruments. Tricky feels really strongly about noises and beats, and that is exactly my weakest point.” (The Quietus).

The relationship didn’t last long and that winter Tricky was alone again and writing and recording a new album in Jamaica. He also took part in a lot of remixes and collaborations during 1996. Some are included below:

The remix for Garbage of ‘Milk’ is, in my opinion, superior to the official release.

In 1981 this sounded like the future

it still does in some ways.

From the 1981 section of last weeks Radio show, for MK.

I’m the operator with my pocket calculator
I’m the operator with my pocket calculator
I am adding and subtracting
I’m controlling and composing
I’m the operator with my pocket calculator
I’m the operator with my pocket calculator
I am adding and subtracting
I’m controlling and composing
By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody
By pressing down a special key, it plays a little melody
I’m the operator with my pocket calculator
I’m the operator with my pocket calculator

Album Covers Come Alive!

What’s in the Bag? (101)

Yesterday I replaced my missing copy of ‘Outlandos D’Amour’ by The Police. The album was released in November of 1978 but I already had the single that preceded it, namely ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’, which received short shrift from the BBC due to its subject matter and the picture sleeve which featured an image of Stuart Copeland standing on a block of ice with a noose around his neck, waiting for the ice to melt. I had it on blue vinyl if I remember correctly. I then bought ‘Roxanne, which the BBC didn’t like either as it dealt with prostitution, and ‘So Lonely’ after the album was released, and then later I bought the actual album. I also had their debut single, ‘Fall Out’, but I couldn’t say whether it was the original 1977 release or the re-issue from 1979. It’s a decent track, with a different guitarist, Henry Padovani.Cantstand

I was very big on The Police for about 2 years, although when you are eleven or twelve years old, two years seems a much longer time, in the same way that the school summer holidays felt like they lasted forever. It all ended for me with the release of their 3rd album, ‘Zenyatta Mondatta’, which just didn’t seem to work for me. There was nothing particularly wrong with it as such, but tracks like ‘Don’t Stand So Close to Me’ and ‘De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da’ were missing that heavier, indie (for the time period) and punk feel and they didn’t quite grab me in the same way. I have all their studio albums and they are all decent, but the first two are the ones that appeal to me the most.

The single disappointment on ‘Outlandos D’amour’ is ‘Be My Girl Sally’, which would be great without the Andy Summers poem thing on it. It’s a one-time funny story and doesn’t fare well from repeated listening, although as a pre-teen I found in hilarious, only becoming rather irked by it several years later. Here it is, and if it’s the first time you’ve read it then you might not see what I mean, but after triple digits listening, well, it’s worth lifting the needle for and skipping to the next track:

Link to lyrics

I just read that, I didn’t enjoy it at all. I even like the instrumental (of sorts) ‘Masoko Tango’ although at the time it was to me the second worst track on the album. I’ve revised that opinion over time and like it a lot now.

At some point I owned the ‘Six Pack’, which was a collection of seven-inch singles released in 1980. The pack, which came in a PVC folder contained the first five A&M singles by the band, namely “Roxanne”, “Can’t Stand Losing You”, “So Lonely”, “Message in a Bottle” and “Walking on the Moon”, plus a mono version of “The Bed’s Too Big Without You”, which was previously unreleased. Apparently the records in the pack were all produced on blue vinyl in picture covers with specially adapted labels which featured the heads of the band, rather than the original “A&M” logo and each single was accompanied by a special picture card. I seem to remember mine had no picture cards, and possibly not picture sleeves either, the memory is hazy in truth.

The album was a great début, despite the one drawback, it’s an 8.25/10

Your F***ing Sunny Day (Episode 6)

Mostly instrumental – but AWESOME!

Explosions in the Sky – Last Known Surroundings Official Music Video in HD
MONO – “Follow the Map” Official Video
Hammock – Breathturn (Official Video) {HD 720p}
a silver mt. zion: Stumble then rise on some awkward morning
65DAYSOFSTATIC – Prisms (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
The Album Leaf – There Is a Wind [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
Sigur Rós – Valtari [Official Music Video]
El Ten Eleven – “Yellow Bridges” (Official Video)
This Will Destroy You – Black Dunes (HD – Official Video)
God Is An Astronaut – Reverse World
Collapse Under The Empire – The Great Silence (Post Rock)
Mogwai – Mexican Grand Prix [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
65daysofstatic – Retreat! Retreat!
Explosions in the Sky – Be Comfortable, Creature Official Music Video in HD