Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Hit Factory: Pete Waterman’s Greatest Hits – Various Artists [#587]

Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 11.33.40.pngBack in the eighties and nineties, when he wasn’t that wrinkly dude off the talentless shows on a Saturday night, Pete Waterman was a successful record producer. Polluting the airwaves with hideous plastic pop.

Of course, growing up in the eighties meant that hideous plastic pop was de rigour and many of the songs played at family occasions and parties came from the Hit Factory stable. It is difficult to not listen to examples of this music without being transported back in time thirty years to a wedding or school disco, where teenage hormones raged and lessons in social interaction began.

Hit Factory features artists such as Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Mel & Kim, Steps and 2Unlimited. It is truely dreadful. And yet, I believe that everyone’s record collection should contain at least one example of youthfully contemporaneous music. That way our memories persist and from our memories, we learn and develop.  Indeed, many of the artists featured have either returned to obscurity or seen sense and improved without the Stock Aitkin Waterman interference in their art.

Advertisements
Comments Off on Hit Factory: Pete Waterman’s Greatest Hits – Various Artists [#587]

Heavenly Voices Parts 1 – 3 – Various Artists [#578-580]

A bumper three albums on a Friday with a most peculiar acquisition, Heavenly Voices.

Much like how Looking for Europe does for the Neofolk genre, Heavenly Voices does for the dreampop/ethereal wave genre by way of the artists on the Hyperium record label. Here we have, in effect, three distinctly glorious compilation albums featuring a whole range of talent from artists like Eden’s Sean Bowley and his side project Sunwheel to fully functioning bands like Bel Canto,  Black Tape for a Blue Girl and Miranda Sex Garden.

41WklcPe5PL

[#578] Part One is possibly the most accessible of the three. A little catawauling here and there but a nice build up towards (and what was my introduction to) Ordo Equituum Solis‘  Playing with the Fire.

Dreamily swimming onwards through Die Form’s Cantique and culminating in Winter Moon Descending by Annabel’s Garden

hev[#579] Part Two takes a different approach. The songs here have a much more floaty dreamy kind of feel with a slight dash of hauntology. This album was my introduction to the whole Heavenly Voices trilolgy and as a result not only are there many artists who have appeared previously in the Music Project, for example Collection d’Arnell Andréa and Black Tape, but also many who are yet to come. Possibly my most favourite tracks from this album are Sunwheel’s Walk Upon the Grass (which, incidently, I was intending to shoot a music video for but couldn’t find a willing person to film in time! Maybe a later opportunity will arise) The Sea is My Soul by 24 Hours and the haunting 56 in 81 by Eleven Shadows.

 

11K190SNXWLFinally Part 3 [#580] copies of which are currently changing hands for around £300. Featuring a much more accessible approach to the genre with more familiar artists like Miranda Sex Garden and Bel Canto. Again, this album introduced me to many artists and it is easy to see why people prize it so highly. Emerging from Part 2’s forest of floaty vaginas into a dystopian landscape of industry like a stumbling ninny, the listener finds Part 3 rips up the leafy glades of Part 2 and drills deep concrete foundations of industrial darkwave right into your mind.

Legend has it that there is actually a part four and a part five compilation. Rumours, whispers abound.  Sadly the Hyperium label closed shortly after the death of its founder in 2002, but many of the acts continue on in the worlds of Darkwave and etheralwave.

 

Comments Off on Heavenly Voices Parts 1 – 3 – Various Artists [#578-580]

Greatest No.1 Singles – Various Artists [#559]

41SXZJ8MHCLWhether it’s Garth and Wayne singing Bohemian Rhapsody in a car, Robert de Niro in Jackie Brown rocking away to a strip tease to the Supreme’s Baby Love or fish faced Julia Roberts poncing down a New York high street to Roy Orbison’s Pretty Woman, this compilation has a selection of songs that everyone born in the last 50 years should be familiar with somehow or other.

Originally this was a two volume compilation (still available on Amazon)but over time volume 1 has been lost. Probably for the best as the “greatest” singles on the second volume were all a little too contemporaneous compared to those presented on volume 1. There was a spate of similar compilations after the millennium, Greatest This, Greatest That and who could forget the Absolute All Time Best of Super-dooper Mega Party Funtime Hoo-Har Music Ever Volume 3, all vying for the  hard earned cash of the gullible.  Of course, as with all compilations, there are some tracks I feel shouldn’t be there, and others that are conspicuous by their absence. Never the less, Greatest No.1 Singles is a nice “leave it on in the background while you do the cleaning” album.

 

 

Comments Off on Greatest No.1 Singles – Various Artists [#559]

Great British Psychedelic Trip (Vols 1-3) – Various Artists [#548]

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 11.39.20A compilation of psychedelic music covering 1966 to 1970.

This is a relatively new addition to my music library and as a result I’m yet to form a reliable opinion on the songs therein. However, during the cursory listen given for the purpose of this entry I can reveal there are some very strange additions. It’s no wonder that some of the over 60s are so weird.

Songs with titles such as Baked Jam Roll in Your Eye by Timebox, Vacuum Cleaner by Tintern Abbey and In My Magic Garden by Tinkerbell’s Fairydust and bands with far out names like Virgin Sleep and The Crocheted Doughnut Ring all come together for a four hour trip through the weirder parts of the genre. Its easy to see how many of these bands influenced each other and how even the lesser known bands had some influence on those who would become superstars.

What else is interesting is how the bands all seem to have formed from various liasions and chance meetings. Like with the prog and Canterbury scenes, band members would swap bands, ideas, songs and even drugs. Some would go on to do great things, others would end their days in a bar in Liverpool bemoaning the fact that they “could have been famous man”. As an observer, I often think about how modern manufactured bands don’t seem to be interchangable. Ok you sometimes get “projects” and “collaborations” but you don’t see the likes of say,  some guy out of 1D joining up with someone out of Steps and someone out of Back Street Boys to form a mega supergroup.

I blame home taping.

 

Comments Off on Great British Psychedelic Trip (Vols 1-3) – Various Artists [#548]

Grand Theft Auto (Original Soundtrack) [#546] & Grand Theft Auto: London (Original Soundtrack) [#547]

Possibly one of the best, well thought out and inventive game franchises began back in the late nineties with the release of Grand Theft Auto a game noted, not just for it’s violence and adult themes, for its soundtrack.

I spent many late evenings playing the game driving round the fictional cities of San Andreas, Liberty and Vice Cities, with the soundtrack blaring out to the annoyance of any neighbours. I even popped the CD from my Playstation into my CD player and ripped the soundtrack to cassette to listen to while on the bus or on foot. A cassette that joined me later in my car. A cassette I regret making because, as we all know, home taping killed music (and computer games).

Indeed, when I was able to do the same to the soundtrack of the less than successful London themed spin-off, I further damaged the whole industry which, as we now know, is worthless.

While the original game’s soundtrack was inventive with a variety of music genres parodied by the game’s designers with original songs by fictional bands such as Slumpussy’s Gangster Friday and The Ballad of Chapped Lips Calhoon by Sideways Hank O Malley and Alabama Bible Boys , the London spin-off existed as a blend of 60’s pastiches without the same wicked streak of humour. As a result I felt a little let down by the quality and lack of attention to detail that went into the spin-off game.

The London spin-off was to be a harbinger of things to come, the soundtracks for sequels to the game, like San Andrea, GTA IV and V all relied heavily on existing real music by real bands. The humorous sly digs at the music industry lacking saved only by the sly digs at the radio advertising industry.

Comments Off on Grand Theft Auto (Original Soundtrack) [#546] & Grand Theft Auto: London (Original Soundtrack) [#547]

Gothic Erotica – Various Artists [#543]

41821Z2JRZLAnother gothic compilation. This time with a sleezy kink feel to the songs. Or so it’s suggested by the albums title. I’ve been more aroused sat at the back of the 81 bus than the music in this compilation.

That aside, it’s not a bad compilation. Lots of old and new favourites turn up to the mix including Mephisto Waltz, Nico, The Mission and Bauhaus. There are also some good covers too, Brix Smith does a version of Bowie’s Space Oddity, Ghost Dance do a version of the Yardbird’s Heart Full of SoulBauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead is given the Electric Hellfire Club treatment and Patti Smith Group’s Because the Night is reimagined by Beki Bondage.

Some songs in the compilation I can do without but it’s not something I could delete at this moment in time.

Comments Off on Gothic Erotica – Various Artists [#543]

Goth Stuff – Various Artists [#542]

This is an unusual compilation, and it is one that guided my ears in the direction I took when exploring the genre. It’s an unofficial compilation and, like all good music, not available in the shops. More of a mix tape someone put out onto the wibbly wobbly web back in the nineties.

The first track is Hoquetus I-VII by an unknown composer and by the third track, a Saltarello  also by an unknown composer, it starts to become clear that the compiler is trying to take the listener through their interpretation of goth music through the ages. Soon we hear Minstrel Hall by Blackmore’s Night. Not exactly goth but dabbling with medievalism, nicely leading us into track two, 18th Century Gypsy Music by Bubak and Hungaricus. Layers of folk influences building up. By the time we reach midway point, we are already being tricked into believing that Ataraxia’s Canzona is a faithful reproduction of a old classical piece.

Of course it’s not. But by this time you don’t care. Further tracks of the acoustic, goth, medieval theme float past including Eld’s interpretation of Death in June’s Death of the West, songs by Ordo Equitum Solis and Eden  also don’t seem out of place. The cherry on the top being Bauhaus‘ King Volcano. 

I’m still fond of this compilation, even though, in all honesty, I am missing a number of tracks from  the original compilation. Moreover, this album also saw me eager to discover more about bands like Ordo Equitum Solis, Blackmore’s Night  and Eden. Bands I would never have heard of if it had not been for illegal downloads of music from unregulated sources.

Of course, like home taping before it, downloading music illegally was the death of music and we know today how empty our lives have become because  music was killed.

Comments Off on Goth Stuff – Various Artists [#542]

Goth Electro Tribute to Depeche Mode – Various Artists [#541]

UnknownAnother tribute compilation album featuring artists nobody has heard of covering a band people have heard of.

Today, Goth Electro bands mostly murder 12 classic Depeche Mode songs but surprisingly, I’m willing to reduce the sentence to manslaughter with diminished responsibility. Or maybe even just a “slap on the wrist don’t do it again” common assault charge.

Because on about fifth listen, some of the tracks actually work. It’s that age old thing of music suiting the environment and situation. Here I am, listening to the album in bed, late, alone at night while Mrs Gnomepants is out at an Ezio gig, and it’s kind of fitting.

Goth electro is not my favourite gothic sub-genre by any means. It’s a little too cyberpunk for me, wet streets, stupid hair styles and skin-tight plastic clothes in a post industrial futuristic vampire nightmare. This album is that, only with Depeche Mode.

Comments Off on Goth Electro Tribute to Depeche Mode – Various Artists [#541]

Goth Box – Various Artists [#540]

R-427454-1292370992.jpegHad I started this project at “G” back in 2012, at this point we would be at Gothic Compilation Vol 342. But rather than shed even more readership, I opted to weed out those compilations and reduced them to  the selection that follows.

Today’s album, four volumes, G, O, T and H. In a box. Goth Box. Genius. Made up of four volumes, it is a showcase compilation of gothic artists from Europe featuring artists such as Inkubus Sukkubus, Big Electric Cat, Bauhaus, Mephisto Waltz, Lycia, Love is Colder Than Death and Black Tape for a Blue Girl.

I really like this compilation. It scares me like all good goth music should, in that I’m not entirely sure what it is I like about it all. It’s a compilation that I dip into for a bit, then quickly dip out of. The arrangement features gothic music from most of the goth subgenres including cybergoth, fluffy goth and neoclassical goth across the decades. There’s something for every wanna be goth, though there are exceptions and omissions that I, personally, would have included had I been compiling the compilation.

The compilation is massive, coming in at a whopping sixty tracks long and would make the perfect gift for any wannabe goth or moody teenager looking to discover their own identity.  Rather than list the tracks and artists featured,I’ve opted to let you discover the album yourself through the wonders of Amazon. 

Comments Off on Goth Box – Various Artists [#540]

Go: Music from the Motion Picture – Various Artists [#529]

Go_1999_filmGo is one of those films that tried to capture the zeitgeist of the innovation created by Tarrantino’s Pulp Fiction. Three entwined stories about young people involved in a drugs deal.
While not a fan of the movie as such, I appreciate the stylistic  90’s celluloid portmanteau vibe, but I did like the soundtrack. Not only does Len’s enigmatic Steal My Sunshine feature, but so does Natalie Imbruglia, Fat Boy Slim’s Gangster Tripping  and Air’s Talisman (from their album Moon Safari) which, although mostly used to death in “teen” films of the time, do still get the toes-a-tapping.

Comments Off on Go: Music from the Motion Picture – Various Artists [#529]

Ghosts of Oxford Street – Various Artists [#522]

Unknown-5 The soundtrack to Malcolm Maclaren’s Christmas film for Channel 4.

Like with the Kinks’ Return to Waterloo, I have an off-air recording of the film on VHS that I treasure. I’d even go as far to say it is one of the primary reasons that I still have a VHS tape recorder tucked away in the loft. Sure there are probably versions of this on Youtube or Vimeo, but they’ll only last as long as the copyright nazis allow them to stay up.

Home video taping is killing music.

That said, I did buy this (and still have it) on CD.

The film has Maclaren poncing around London’s Oxford Street at Christmas telling tales about the dark history of the world famous street of consumerism with each of the “ghosts” played (sung) by different artists. Tom Jones pulls off a great Gordon Selfridge while the Happy Mondays manage an excellent cover of the Bee Gees’ Staying Alive. While Sinead O’Connor, Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues remind us of the festive season with their  songs with a slightly Christmassy feel.

Because of the Christmas bias, it feels odd listening to the soundtrack out of season but it’s not impossible to do so. Skipping the four Christmas centric songs still allows the listener a good twenty minutes of interesting music. Even Ponchielli’s  Dance of the Hours (performed on the CD by the Academy of St Martin’s in the Field) isn’t too festive in feeling and is a really piece of driving Classical music.

Comments Off on Ghosts of Oxford Street – Various Artists [#522]

Ghosts from the Darkside III – Various Artists [#520]

R-708447-1150309381.jpegCompilations, it seems, are like buses. You wait for ages then two come along at once.

Ghosts from the Darkside III (I’ve no idea what happened to Ghosts from the Darkside I) is pretty much the same as Ghosts from the Darkside II, darkwave/goth music somewhat difficult to ingest aurally driving to and from work.

This time Tristania, Clan of Xymox and L’Âme Immortelle join the dark pageant but again, the rest of the acts I’d never heard of, nor did I find any affinity with.

Unfortunately, this eagerness to embrace the dark resulted in me getting quite a few albums and fan compilations like this and, advanced warning here, very soon we will see examples of other Gothic compilations on the music project.

1-01 Flesh Field Animal 5:34
1-02 Funker Vogt The Journey 5:52
1-03 Terminal Choice The Saviour 6:46
1-04 In Strict Confidence The Truth Inside Me 5:05
1-05 Yendri Bodyless 5:49
1-06 Diary Of Dreams Winter Souls 5:45
1-07 Clan Of Xymox Crucified 6:00
1-08 Sanguis Et Cinis Phantom 4:57
1-09 Illuminate Energie 4:58
1-10 Umbra Et Imago Mea Culpa 4:47
1-11 Samsas Traum Für Immer 5:23
1-12 Mondsucht Verlies Der Ewigkeit 4:28
1-13 Mantus (2) Feuer 7:08
1-14 Exovedate Truly 2:30
1-15 Ophelia’s Dream Quando Corpus Morietur 3:09
2-01 L’Âme Immortelle The Immortal Part 4:53
2-02 Claire Voyant Love The Giver (Eskil Simonsson Of Covenant)

Remix – Eskil Simonsson

5:28
2-03 Love Like Blood Bleeding 6:02
2-04 The Garden Of Delight Chaos AD 5:09
2-05 Tristania Beyond The Veil 6:39
2-06 Grabesmond Totgeboren 3:45
2-07 Stillste Stund Drei Sind Eins 4:28
2-08 Cinema Strange Lindsay’s Trachea 5:17
2-09 S.P.O.C.K Klingon 2000 (Radio Mix) 3:49
2-10 Klirrfaktor Dekadenz 4:10
2-11 Cleaner Anti-Arctic (Hard Vox Version) 5:38
2-12 Absurd Minds Fairy Stories 5:12
2-13 Hocico Spit As An Offence (Suicide Commando Remix)

Remix – Suicide Commando

5:25
2-14 Siechtum Gesellschaft Mord 3:36
2-15 Dulce Liquido Illusión Hecha Mentira
Comments Off on Ghosts from the Darkside III – Various Artists [#520]

Ghosts from the Darkside II [#519]

R-570247-1150308479.jpeg
A compilation of highlights of Goth, Darkwave and Dark Electro bands.

During my exploration of usenet newsgroups, specifically the goth-industrial binary group, I happened upon a whole treasure trove of gothic compilations (as you will hear about a few weeks later on in this project). In an effort to grow my “repertoire” with goth music I would download compilations as a way to find new bands.

Ghosts from the Darkside II is pretty hard going. I’d heard of a few of the bands featuring on this album through other explorations, such as Inkubus SukkubusBlack Tape for a Blue Girl and Blutengel so it was natural for me to give it a go. However, I’d not really heard of any of the songs in the compilation either. There are quite a few German bands in this compilation so I suspect this is an album aimed at people who attend Wave Gothik Treffen.

After several listens I’m still not enamoured with the album. Perhaps it’s because I’m older now and I’ve reached “Full of Goth” or perhaps it’s because I just don’t like what I’ve heard.

Tracklist

1-1 Swartalf Invocation 4:03
1-2 Non Compos Mentis Without Bloodshed 6:10
1-3 Ikon (4) Fatal Attraction 3:17
1-4 In Extremo Ai Vis Lo Lop 4:02
1-5 Morthem Vlade Art Beyond Sorrow 5:19
1-6 WeltenBrand The Fall Of Trisona 6:35
1-7 Diary Of Dreams Drop Dead 7:11
1-8 Nekromantik Girlstickboy 4:05
1-9 Blutengel Beauty Of Suffering 6:13
1-10 Fiction 8 Second Skin 3:32
1-11 Girls Under Glass New World Order 4:20
1-12 Das Zeichen In The Garden 3:58
1-13 Theatre Of Loneliness Holocaust 4:16
1-14 black tape for a blue girl Given 4:20
1-15 Hagalaz’ Runedance When The Trees Were Silenced 2:45
2-1 Exovedate Ego Sum Mons 4:30
2-2 Untoten Gothik Years 5:54
2-3 Chaos God Judgement Day 5:36
2-4 The Dust Of Basement God’s Own Fairytales 5:28
2-5 The Second Sight Answer 3:29
2-6 Die Form Spiral 2 4:12
2-7 Vespertina De Profundis 4:20
2-8 Inkubus Sukkubus Starchild 4:44
2-9 Sanguis Et Cinis Nicht Mein Schicksal 5:33
2-10 The New Creatures My Child Queen 4:53
2-11 This Burning Effigy Exquisite 4:58
2-12 Hexedene Only Human (Original Mix) 4:30
2-13 Attrition The Thin Veil 6:12
2-14 Louisa John-Krol Alexandria 5:30
2-15 Summoning Angbands Schmieden 3:28

Comments Off on Ghosts from the Darkside II [#519]

Ghostbusters OST – Various Artists [#518]

Ghostbusters soundtrack - various artistsThis is the soundtrack to the classic 1980s blockbusting movie Ghostbusters.

As a regular downloader from the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.soundtrack newsgroup in the late noughties, I would frequently smugly mark for download the soundtracks for movies I’d always wanted but had been unable to obtain from crappy HMV or Virgin Megastores. One such prize was todays album.

I remember my brother taking me to see Ghostbusters in the Lime Street Odeon in Liverpool. I remember queuing up (in the cold) for hours before the doors opened so that we would be some of the first in the theatre and be able to get the best seats. I remember being excited to rent the video when it became available, and I still remember the anticipation and thrill of being able to video record it off the telly when it was eventually shown over Christmas for the first time on network television.

I also remember the disappointment at being unable to find the soundtrack on CD, a dissipating disappointment when I located it on Usenet.

Classic 80s soundtrack for a classic 80s film. Not sure why they feel the need to “reboot” it.

 

Comments Off on Ghostbusters OST – Various Artists [#518]

Ghost Riders in the Sky – Various Artists [#517]

Ghost Riders in the Sky - Various ArtistsOne of the more quirky “albums” in my collection is this compilation, a collection of recordings of the same song by a variety of artists.

Ghost Riders in the Sky has been credited as one of the top 100 Western songs of all time and has been recorded by a whole host of performers since its first recording in 1948. Artists such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and even death metal bands have recorded their own interpretation of the song.

This unofficial “not-available-in-the-shops” compilation was uploaded to Usenet newsgroups in the late noughties and contains versions by:

Boston Pops
Elvis Presley
Ennio Morricone
Frankie Laine
Lawrence Welk
Patrick Normand
Peggy Lee
Roy Clark
Roy Clark & Chet Atkins
Roy Rogers & Sons of the Pioneers
Shadows
Slim Whitman
Spike Jones
The Spotnicks
Tom Jones
Ventures
Wingy Manone and his Go-Group

Seventeen versions of the same song. My wife deserves a medal for helping me listen to them all.

Comments Off on Ghost Riders in the Sky – Various Artists [#517]

Gather in the Mushrooms – Various Artists [#511]

Gather in the mushroomsGather in the Mushrooms  is a compilation album featuring tracks by acid folk bands from 1968-1974.

As a prog fan, it is only natural that I have a penchant for music often classed as acid folk, which, one could argue, is a shared root for the mighty tree of progressive rock in the forest of alternative adult music.

This album was kindly “donated” to me by a dear ex-work colleague with whom we share similar tastes in music and interests in media and popular culture. When I saw the artist listing I was further excited to see artists such as Sallyangie (Sally Oldfield, Mike Oldfield‘s sister, with whom he began his career), Pentangle, Magnet and Spirogyra, all of whom have connection within this music project.

Hauntology at its best, Gather in the Mushrooms provides a soundtrack for a period when Canterbury was just begining to burgeon and fills the minds eye with images of green home county villages populated with beautiful long haired tie-dye be-dressed lady hippies like in some Avengers/Hammer Horror/sci-fi TV/Film that was never made. Beautiful tracks like Sandy Denny’s pre-Fairport Milk and Honey, Trader Horne’s post-Fairport Morning Way and the largely forgotten Forest’s Graveyard not only provide a powerful aural illustration for the genre but create a fitting tribute to a time that existed for a few but was appreciated by many.

This has largely become my third most favourite compilation of the past decade.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments Off on Gather in the Mushrooms – Various Artists [#511]

Forrest Gump: OST – Various Artists [#492]

Low_res_cover_Forrest_GumpI was never a fan of Tom Hank’s lumbering buffoon Forrest Gump. The film was a little too whimsical for my liking but I felt that the soundtrack was well researched and included a good few classic popular songs from the period of history in which the film is set.

A nice compilation of tracks featuring classic songs from the sixties by The Byrds, Beach Boys, The Doors and Dylan.

 

Comments Off on Forrest Gump: OST – Various Artists [#492]

Fairy World 3- Various Artists [#454]

Unknown-2A sampler compilation of a variety of European artists which I received for free when buying some forgettable obscure music during the end of my exploration of the European Darkfolk genre.

Nothing memorable and apart from Collection d’Arnell Andrea appearing, I’ve never heard of any of the other artists.

Disappointing.

Comments Off on Fairy World 3- Various Artists [#454]

Eurovision Song Contest: Helsinki 2007 – Various Artists [#437]

500px-Eurovision_Song_Contest_2007_logo.svgPicture the scene. It’s 2006. Outsider, Lordi, have won the Eurovision Song Contest. Confused and out of touch officials around Europe scratch their heads in bewilderment. How can something as noisy as Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah win by a land slide? Do the public know something others don’t? What ever the reason, imitation wins hearts and minds so let’s goth up our acts for 2007.

Which is exactly what happened. Especially with Switzerland.

The United Kingdom went all cheesy sleazy and failed.

Finland tried to win again (and this was my favourite)

But when it seemed that outsiders were going to win again, Plan B was put into action and Serbia’s entry won with Molitva.

After that, I lost interest in Eurovision for a few years…..

 

Comments Off on Eurovision Song Contest: Helsinki 2007 – Various Artists [#437]

Eurovision Song Contest: Athens 2006 – Various Artists [#436]

For those not familiar with European traditions and culture, every year since 1956 European public broadcasters get together to find a song to unite Europe in culture.  In the UK, Eurovision is seen as a bit of a joke while the rest of the European Union see take it quite seriously. As a result it is often the case that the UK’s entry gets a low score while serious music producers across Europe are able to showcase a variety of talent which will never see the light in the UK because of inherent taught resistance to euro-culture, but will proliferate across more receptive mainland Europe.

Eurovision 2006 was possibly the most enjoyable Eurovision in the past 30 years.  2006 was the year that Goth and Rock culture broke onto the Eurovision stage with such ferocity that many returning countries in 2007 tried to mimic the whole scene too.

Unusually the contest started with quite sedate, run of the mill songs like:

Sense Tu Jenny (Andorra)

Je t’adore Kate Ryan (Belgium)

 

Other entries were more up beat such as Tornero (Romania)

and Congratulations Silvia Night (Iceland)

But while the tweeness of Switzerland’s Six4One’s If we all give a little was trying to capture the zeitgeist of peace and love arising from the conflict plagued noughties.

The shockingly bad UK entry, Daz Simpson and Teenage Life was like Timmy Mallet or Keith Harris trying to capture the gangsta culture.

But it was the winning entry, Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi (Finland) that resulted in the landslide victory that Eurovision needed to bring it back to centre stage.

 

Comments Off on Eurovision Song Contest: Athens 2006 – Various Artists [#436]

Electric Dreams – OST [#418]

Unknown-1A film ahead of its time was the little known eighties film Electric Dreams. Possibly more familiar is the song from the closing credits performed by former Human League and car stereo buyer Phil Oakey.

Electric Dreams tells the story of Miles (Twin Peaks’ Lenny von Dohlen), a geeky architect nerd who happens to fancy his new neighbour Madeline (played by Dune Princess Virginia Madsen) just at the same moment he buys himself a home computer and accidentally makes it sentient by spilling wine all over it. As you do.

The music is a perfect eighties music time capsule with songs by Culture Club, ELO’s Jeff Lynne and P.P.Arnold (currently doing the Caribbean Cruise circuit).

I love this soundtrack. I love the film too. It’s such a shame that it’s hardly ever shown on TV these days and it’s pricey on DVD.

Comments Off on Electric Dreams – OST [#418]

Dream of the Wizard – Various Artists [#390]

imagesSometimes the album title makes the acquisition seem like a good idea.

This is case in point to not judge an album by its cover. It’s truly awful nonsense featuring the “best” of Scandinavia and Europe’s Operatic Metal scene.

Appearing here are Trail of Tears, Evanescence, Avantasia, Leaves’ Eyes, Sirenia and Lacuna Coil. Also joining the cacophony we are subjected to Persephone, After Forever, Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy  and a number of other bands before being treated to some Nightwish with their Dark Chest of Wonder.

The band list alone makes it sound like an ideal compilation except for the fact there is no cohesion to the compilation (This is an unofficial compilation anyway so it is more than likely fan generated) and because of that it suffers becoming dirge.

Shame really.

 

Comments Off on Dream of the Wizard – Various Artists [#390]

Donnie Darko – OST [#384]

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 14.28.54I missed Donnie Darko on the cinema. First time I knew of its existence was when I saw it on the shelf in the Rialto News video library on Upper Parliament Street looking unloved.

Watching the film had me transfixed in a way a film hadn’t had me transfixed since Lost Highway. Here was a film that was so intricate that one viewing would not suffice. Several viewings would be needed and so, as it should be, I nipped into HMV and treated myself to a copy of the film on DVD. I went round telling people that this film was one they should watch and digest, a suggestion that was met with the usual dismissive shrug.

Since then, the film had an almost viral spread. Months would pass and the people I suggested the film to would say to me “Hey, have you ever seen Donnie Darko?” excited by the prospect that they may have seen something enlightening that would appeal to me before me. Then people started talking about it in the mainstream press, on the mainstream television, even a song from the soundtrack, the Michael Andrews version of Tears for Fears’ Mad World reached number 1 in the UK.

The film, previously a slightly unknown cult movie, was rereleased to capitalise on its growing success with a Director’s cut. Unfortunately, the directors cut didn’t add anything to the original apart from time. In fact it watered the content down if anything. Made it easier to digest and over explained bits that didn’t need explaining. Then there was the sequel,  S.Darko but we don’t talk about that. In fact, let’s not even admit to it existing…

Still, like all good capitalists the owners of the film rights released an extended version of the soundtrack too and today’s album is that very same. The soundtrack features a number of popular contemporary songs from the time in which the film is set interwoven with nice hauntological piano led intermissions. The original soundtrack release featured less of the plinky plonky and focussed more on the atmospherics and contemporary sounds than this version. Still good though.

 

Comments Off on Donnie Darko – OST [#384]

Dirty Dancing – OST [#372]

DIRTY+DANCINGDirty Dancing – OST

Hello again. It’s Steelrattus here with the first of seven consecutive guest posts. This time around I am helping Stegzy out for a whole week, so I have essentially got whatever seven albums are scheduled for this week. So this is why I’m utterly blameless for the first of these posts.

The Dirty Dancing soundtrack. I’m not sure I have ever seen the film. In fact my only real memory of the film is my sister being a huge fan back when it must have been at the cinema in 1987, and subsequently home cinema. But in the interests of… science (and blogging) I have forced myself to listen to the soundtrack. For review purposes I appear to have the 20th Anniversary Edition of the soundtrack, which is twenty seven tracks versus the 1987 original edition’s twelve, to add insult to injury. So the beers that Stegzy owes me have just increased I feel. By an order of magnitude.

The soundtrack itself appears to be a mix of 1950/60s rock and roll, reflecting the 60s setting of the film, and 80s power ballads. I don’t mind the 1950/60s tracks so much, but the 80s stuff doesn’t do so much for me. Listening to the album it all tends to bleed together. And that’s about all I’ve got to say about the music.

For fact fans, apparently the original 1987 soundtrack was a huge success, sold 32 million copies worldwide, and is one of the best-selling albums of all time, proving there is no God. Apparently it spent 18 weeks at number one in the US Billboard chart. Its performance spawned a follow-up called More Dirty Dancing in 1988. Ultimate Dirty Dancing was released in and contains every song in the order played in the film (great for OCD nuts like me… well it would be if I would ever listen to it. Which I won’t. Ever). It transpires that the version I’ve listened to, the 20th Anniversary Edition (unsurprisingly released in 2007), contains remastered and additional tracks in a different order. *shrugs*

Anywhere, here’s the obligatory YouTube video, of what is presumably the most popular track.

1 Comment »

De Afrekening Vols 4 & 5 – Various Artists [#346]

During the height of the download free for all, I was taken by the idea that my musical tastes were fairly limited. I was also struck by the idea that the majority of introductions to new music used to come from cassette compilations made by friends or those cassette compilations found discarded on the road, possibly by car thieves.

So I took the initiative to download compilations created professionally or by fans. De Afrekening is one such professionally produced compilation founded from a Belgian radio and record chart broadcasting program featured on Studio Brussel. There were many De Afrekening compilations available at the time and I recall downloading many. However, it now appears that I only have the two remaining ones.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 07.05.23Volume 4 contains the following:

Liberty Song  – Levellers
Nearly Lost You – Screaming Trees
Rockin’ the Res – John Trudell
Rosie – Claw Boys Claw
In Liverpool – Suzanne Vega
Changes – Sugar
Stockholm – New Fast Automatic Daffodils
Suspicious Minds – Dwight Yoakam
A Letter to Elise – The Cure
Cold by the Sea – Betty Goes Green
Sting Me – The Black Crowes
This Is Not a Song – The Frank & Walters
Dit is mijn huis – De Mens
Goodbye – The Sundays
Soap Bubble Box – Nits
I Had a Dream, Joe –  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Generations – Inspiral Carpets
Als de rook om je hoofd is verdwenen – Tröckener Kecks

 

No songs that really grab me on this selection, lots of indie Madchester rubbish and it’s nice to see Susanne Vega there but I’m not all that enamoured with this compilation.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 07.05.12For Volume 5:

Two Princes – Spin Doctors
You Suck – Consolidated
Creep – Radiohead
Would? – Alice in Chains
Courage – The Tragically Hip
Feed the Tree – Belly
Cats in the Cradle – Ugly Kid Joe
Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine
If I Can’t Change Your Mind – Sugar
Why Should We Wait? – Soapstone Mountain
I Feel You – Depeche Mode
Sugar Kane – Sonic Youth
The Ballad of Lea and Paul – K’s Choice
Your Town – Deacon Blue
Somebody to Shove – Soul Asylum
Can’t Call Me Yours – The Scabs
Little Baby Nothing – Manic Street Preachers
Underwhelmed – Sloan

This volume contains a few good tracks, notably including Belly and Depeche Mode. Some other classics including Ugly Kid Joe, which always reminds me of 1993 and Spin Doctors, who feature later in the music project, also feature on the compilation.

While the idea of discovering new music through compilations was good, using the De Afrekening compilations as a method to achieve this was probably not a good idea.

 

Comments Off on De Afrekening Vols 4 & 5 – Various Artists [#346]

%d bloggers like this: