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Archive for the ‘1980s’ Category

Midori Takada – Crossing (1983)

April 8, 2018 Leave a comment

A holy grail of Japanese ambient music, the Through The Looking Glass LP was finally released on CD in 2017.

This track is my favourite and finds Japanese composer Midori Takada really channeling her inner Steve Reich.

Pitchfork describe the creation of the LP thus:

… Takada entered the studio by herself to realise this music. Over the course of two days, she put to analog tape all four of the LP’s extended performances as well as laying down the overdubs, producing and mixing the album on her own … Looking Glass is one of the most dazzling works of minimalism. be it from the East or West.

The track “Crossing” builds up layers of overdubs from a single struck cowbell. More cowbell? Yes, please.

Stunning stuff.

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Mary Margaret O’Hara – When You Know Why You’re Happy (1988)

April 2, 2018 Leave a comment

Canadian singer songwriter Mary Margaret O’Hara only released one LP: 1988’s wonderful Miss America.

The gestation of this album was troubled to say the least with Virgin Records never being happy with the recording process or the finished result. Remarkably, in a world where every album ever made seems to have been re-issued many times over, Miss America was only once re-issued after its 1988 release and that in the mid 1990s.

This is my favourite track on the LP which sees the occasionally erratic MMO stripping the music back to its very basics – the bass provides a metronomic and understated pulse, the percussion shuffles quietly, and, over the top, the vocals duel with stripped back electric guitar to achieve pop perfection!

The original from the LP then a great live version from the telly.

Zazou/Bikaye/CY 1 – Dju Ya Feza (1983)

April 2, 2018 Leave a comment

An extraordinary track taken from the fantastic Noir Et Blanc LP released on Crammed Discs in 1983.

As the blurb on the back of the CD says:

An unsurpassed milestone in European/African fusion, this is a head-on collision between traditional Central African vocals and uncompromising analog electronics. Resulting from a torrid encounter between Zairean singer Bony Bikaye, Algerian born French composer Hector Zazou and mad scientists CY1 …

Relentless.

Wah! – The Story of the Blues (1982)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Can’t believe I hadn’t posted this before!

Pete Wylie was a “member” of the “crucial three” in Liverpool in the late 1970s. Also present were Julian Cope (Teardrop Explodes) and Duke McCool AKA Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen.

Pete Wylie recorded under a variety of names: Wah! Heat; Wah!; The Mighty Wah! Shambeko! Say Wah!, etc. There’s a theme there I feel.

The early Wah! singles will definitely need inclusion on this blog – “Better Scream”, “Seven Minutes To Midnight”, “Don’t Step On The Cracks”, etc.

However, this was their one moment in the commercial spotlight – and what a moment. The seven inch version, “Part 1” was the Top Of The Pops pleaser; Part 2 “Talking Blues” is a 3 minute polemic that explains the philosophy underpinning Wah! and much of early 80s anti-Thatcherite indie music – it”s stirring stuff!

The 7 inch single and then the 8+ minute magnum opus

The Chameleons – Intrigue In Tangiers (1985)

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

From Ethiopia to Morocco (no, really …)

I loved The Chameleons while living in Manchester in 1984-1985. My other half and I saw them live at their home town gig at the Ritz in Manchester around this time and they stood out from most bands of the period with their rare combination of aggression and contemplation.

I’ve previously posted their debut single “In Shreds” here (what a stupendous song that is!)

“Intrigue in Tangiers” is taken from The Chameleons second LP What Does Anything Mean? Basically.

The LP version, the Peel Session and then a spine-tingling live performance from 1984! The somewhat muted reaction of the audience probably a consequence of the track not having been released yet!

 

Soul Brothers – Sebenzubuye (1989)

October 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Kings of the South African township jive who started back in the 1970s and whose sound underpinned so many of the records released on the wonderful Earthworks label during the 1980s.

They released so many great tracks but why not start here? Melancholic and uplifting in equal measure, “Sebenzubuye” featured on the Impimpi LP released in 1989 and its only fault is that it isn’t twice as long. At least.

Perfection!

Laraaji – The Dance #2 and #3 (1980)

October 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been re-reading a number of books by David Toop (Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather, etc) and listening to all the wonderful CDs in the “Ambient” series on Virgin Records associated with those books.

Plenty of gems to post but why not start here?

Produced by Brian Eno, Laraaji was responsible for the Ambient 3 (Day of Radiance) LP released in 1980 on EG Records. Part of a series of stunning releases featuring Eno, these two tracks, in particular, are mesmeric.

Immersive, gamelan-esque, percussive, perfection.

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