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Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – International (1983)

February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

I’ve always had a bit of a contrarian streak about me and this post gives me a chance to show it off twice!

Firstly, I am unashamed to say that I really like (early) Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – “Electricity”, “Enola Gay”, “Joan of Arc”, “Tesla Girls”, etc, really are peerless classics from the synth-pop era. All sorts of aspersions relating to geography teachers and “dad dancing” have been cast about the band but, really, this is pretty lazy criticism (and, as a king of dad dancing myself, rather offensive to boot!). Their influences are sound and their execution, largely, impeccable.

Secondly, not only do I really like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark but I really love this album track! It’s from their fourth LP, Dazzle Ships, and, in truth, it hasn’t got the pop sheen of their earlier singles. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful piece of (pop) electronica  with some great samples and a beautiful melody. The only downside is that, on occasions, the tune gets dangerously close to “The Bonnie Banks ‘o Loch Lomond”. However, it is also a waltz and that trumps any pseudo Scottish considerations!

Frankly, name me another blog that would bother with this? Quitters!

Vangelis – Abraham’s Theme (1981)

January 26, 2015 Leave a comment

On this momentous day for Greece, I thought I’d better post something relevant.

Despite his death coinciding with the election results, I simply couldn’t warrant putting something on the blog by Demis Roussos …. also, despite my late father’s love for Nana Mouskouri, I’m afraid that a prime example of her irritating warbling was also ruled out early on in the deliberations.

This left me with a choice between “Grease” by Frankie Valli (clever wordplay of the highest order), “The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks” by The Eagles (a record of stupefying banality), something challenging by Iannis Xenakis (could have earned some Brownie points with my avant-garde followers) or, this, a rather nice piece composed by Vangelis for the film Chariots of Fire.

Interestingly, Vangelis was another artist beloved of my late father. Looking back, my dad may well have had the highest proportion of Greek artistes among any record collection outside of Greece itself.

No matter, this is a typically thoughtful piece of mid period Vangelis electronica.

Monoton – π 3.141592653589793 (1981-83)

August 27, 2013 Leave a comment

I only stumbled upon Monoton a few years ago and it still surprises me that nothing that they did impacted upon my consciousness during the 1980-1983 period when they were most active. To quote from the usual sources:

Monoton was founded in 1979 by hypermedia wizard Konrad Becker as an art project that underwent various transformations and collaborations in its exploration of psycho-active sound programming and its psychosocial contextualizing.

Staggering that such a toe-tapping, chart aiming, project didn’t reach the ears of a callow 16 year old…. Living In Hong Kong…. Who still appreciated a bit of AC/DC alongside the Joy Division canon and who wasn’t averse to a spot of Madness and Adam and the Ants. Where was Trevor Horn when he was needed?

Nonetheless, I now have three Monoton CDs which are worthy, but rewarding, discs but had not heard this particular track until this evening. Using the wonderful Spotify to check out new tracks, I stumbled upon this ditty which appears on the 2009 Monoton release “Eight Lost Tracks”. The other seven are very tedious but, by the magic of Amazon, I was able to purchase the one good track on the album for £0.89. Not sure what the hypermedia wizard would make of that bit of business but, no matter, here it is.

Suffice to say that this track was originally recorded sometime between 1981 and 1983 and, three listenings in, it is clearly well worth a place in the pantheon of the bestmusicofalltime. What to expect? Well, perfect, “toytown” techno whose innocence and simplicity only adds to the allure. It has no proper beginning nor, indeed, a proper end. It just is 4:54 of pop perfection.

Take it away Konrad …

Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells (1973)

September 1, 2012 Leave a comment

On so many levels this is a wonderful and groundbreaking record.

One of the founding documents of minimalist, ambient, techno, chillout, etc, music. A perfect follow-up to the last post featuring Aphex Twin at his peak.

Also, the first ever release on Virgin Records; this bankrolled Mr Branson for years.

For me, I remember listening to it on the radio in the car as my dad and mum drove me and my sisters up the winding roads to the very top of The Peak in Hong Kong in late 1973 or early 1974 to see Comet Kohoutek. Still recall the otherworldy nature of the music and then the crisp chill on The Peak as we watched the apparently immobile but, ultimately, uncanny Kohoutek staining the night sky. Even more memorable was watching satellites smoothly and silently passing overhead.

Quite a night.

This was the soundtrack.

Comet-S74-17688.jpg

 

 

Brian Eno – An Ending (Ascent) (1983)

August 15, 2012 1 comment

Just one of the many wonderful pieces of ambient electronica released by Brian Eno and a variety of collaborators in the early 1980s.

“An Ending (Ascent)” is the final track on the Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks LP released in 1983.

This music was originally recorded in 1983 for a feature length documentary movie called “Apollo” later retitled For All Mankind, directed by Al Reinert. The original version of the film had no narration, and simply featured 35mm footage of the Apollo moon missions collected together roughly chronologically, and set to Eno’s music as it appears on the CD.

Excerpts from the track also featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games to accompany the showing of photographs of “friends and family of those in the stadium who cannot be here tonight”.

 

 

Justice vs Simian – Never Be Alone (2003)

August 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Always loved this record since hearing it on Volume 12 of the Disco Pogo for Punks in Pumps CDs given away with Jockey Slut magazine in the early 2000s.

One of the best releases on DJ Hell’s International Deejay Gigolos Records label.

Posted today as this was the soundtrack at the Olympic Stadium last night following Usain Bolt’s wonderful 100m victory. Remarkable atmosphere in the stadium!

A short video and then the full version of the track.

LCD Soundsystem – Losing My Edge (2002)

July 15, 2012 1 comment

LCD Soundsystem have released some fantastic records. I’ve already posted my favourite live track of the last 20 years here ….

But, “Losing My Edge” was the real eye opener.

One for all the late 30s+ musical bores like myself whose record collections, allegedly, “ticked all the boxes” …. often just for the sake of it ….

A killer lyric over an unrelenting beat ….

My favourite line is “I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know” ……

All the lyrics quoted in full and then scroll down for the track!

Yeah, I’m losing my edge

I’m losing my edge

The kids, are coming up from behind

I’m losing my edge

I’m losing my edge

To the kids from France and from London.

But I was there

I was there in 1968

I was there at the first Can show in Cologne

I’m losing my edge

I’m losing my edge

To the kids whose footsteps, I hear when they get on the decks

I’m losing my edge

To the Internet seekers

Who can tell me, every member of every good group from 1962 to 1978

I’m losing my edge

To all the kids in Tokyo and Berlin

I’m losing my edge to the art school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80s

But I’m losing my edge

I’m losing my edge

But I was there. I was there. But I was there

I’m losing my edge. I’m losing my edge

I can hear the footsteps, every night on the decks

But I was there

I was there in 1974 at the first Suicide practices in a loft in New York City

I was working on the organ sounds with much patience

I was there when Captain Beefheart started up his first band

I told him, “Don’t do it that way. You’ll never make a dime”

I was there

I was the first guy playing Daft Punk to the rock kids. I played it at CBGB’s

Everybody thought I was crazy. We all know

I was there. I was there

I’ve never  been wrong

I used to work in the record store

I had everything before anyone

I was there in the Paradise Garage DJ booth with Larry Levan

I was there in Jamaica during the great sound clashes

I woke up naked on the beach in Ibiza in 1988

But I’m losing my edge, to better-looking  people with better ideas and more talent

And they’re actually really,  really nice.

I’m losing my edge

I heard you have a compilation of every good song ever done by anybody

Every great song by the Beach Boys. All the underground hit.

All the Modern Lovers tracks

I heard you have a vinyl of Every Niagra record on German import

I heard that you have a white label of every seminal Detroit Techno hit – 1985, ’86, ’87

I heard that you have a CD compilation of every good ’60s cut and another box set from the ’70s

I  hear you’re buying a synthesizer and an arpeggiator and are throwing your computer out the window because you want to make something real. You want to make a Yaz record.

I hear that you and your band have sold your guitars and bought turntables

I hear that you and your band have sold your turntables and bought guitars

I hear everybody that you know is more relevant than everybody that I know

But have you seen my records? This Heat, Pere Ubu, Outsiders, Nation of Ulysses, Mars, The Trojans, The Black Dice, Todd Terry, the Germs, Section 25, Althea and Donna, Sexual harassment, a-ha,  Pere Ubu, Dorothy Ashby, PIL, the Fania All-Stars, the Bar-Kays, the Human  League, the Normal, Lou Reed, Scott Walker, Monks, Niagra,
Joy Division,  Lower 48, the Association, Sun Ra, Scientists, Royal Trux, 10cc, Eric B. and Rakim, Index, Basic Channel, Soulsonic Force (“just hit me”!), Juan Atkins, David Axelrod, Electric Prunes, Gil! Scott! Heron!, the Slits, Faust,  Mantronix, Pharaoh Sanders and the Fire Engines, the Swans, the Soft Cell, the  Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics, the Sonics

You don’t know what you really want

The LP version then a shorter video version!

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