Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

#159 – The Best of & The Rest of British Psychedelia – Various Artists

 

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 09.51.41The Best of & The Rest of British Psychedelia – Various Artists

It was obvious from the out set that the compiler of this compilation thinks that psychedelia has to either sound like Village Green Preservation Society by the Kinks or like it should be played in some new town like Reading or Milton Keynes with lots of young people expressing themselves through dress and dance.

It seems also that to pass as psychedelia, both the lyrics and the band name has to be slightly odd and quirky. This compilation has the following:

1 Morning Morgan Town – Jude
Keep Hold of What You’ve Got – The Shots
3 Shirley – Cliff Wade
House of Many Windows – Motherlight (sounds a bit like Genesis meets Marillion)
Peru – Chimera (Should be a theme tune for some Youthwave devil worship film from 1970, possibly starring Beryl Reid)
6 Saga of a Wrinkled Man – Fortes Mentum
7 Baby You’ve Gotta Stay – Angel Pavement
(Track 8 is Missing)
9 Laura’s Garden – Orange Bicycle
10 It Never Stays The Same – Bob Grimm
11 All Of My Life – Pussy
12 Green Mello Hill – Magic Worms
13 Leilla – Chiitra Neogy
14 Look At Me I’ve Fallen Into A Teapot – Cliff Wade

Never heard of any of them.  Nice as non-distracting background music…

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#154 – The Best Indie Anthems – Various Artists

The Best Indie Anthems - Various ArtistsThe Best Indie Anthems – Various Artists

This compilation starts off well. Opening with Radiohead’s High and Dry, Catatonia’s Road Rage and the odd gem from atypical nineties/noughties inde bands.

But then about the twentieth track, it appears that the compiler has given up and opted just to put twenty songs that happened to be on the radio as he or she was compiling the album. The theme to the box office flop Lost in Space for example. Hardly indie.

It’s like when you go into a pub and ask for a pint of real ale. The landlord or barman fetches you a pint of something like Greene King or something from Shepherds Neame or Adnams. Yes, way back in the dusty mists of time when our pubs had mainstream beers like Tetley, John Smiths and Trophy, such treats might have seemed like real ale. But in today’s environment this is not the case. Greene King et al are now just as bad as the Tetleys and Scottish Newcastles of the day.

Indeed such logic can be applied to the Indie genre of music. The majority of artists that try to pass themselves off as Indie are as mainstream as Sony and Virgin Records and have no true claim to the indie crown. Blur for example. They’re so mainstream they’re akin to the M1.

Shame really. I had high hopes for this album.

 

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#152 – The Best Anthems in the World…Ever – Various Artists

The Best Anthems in the World...Ever - Various ArtistsThe Best Anthems in the World…Ever – Various Artists

This compilation does for Indie and the noughties what The Best Air Guitar Album in the World did for rock. Here we find songs and bands from the late nineties and early noughties which became the soundtrack to New Labour Britain.

Some of the artists, Chumbawumba for example, are one hit wonders while others such as Blur and Reef stride the boundaries of indie and rock like Duran Duran and Simple Minds connect us to the eighties.

However, after the first 10 songs or so we enter into forgettable tracks. It’s almost as if the compiler has struggled to fill the 41 track compilation with similarly rememberable songsmiths. Still, it’s good car music, for those long journeys where arguments over what should be played are rife.

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#151 – The Best Air Guitar Album in the World…Ever – Various Artists

The Best Air Guitar Album in the World...Ever - Various Artists The Best Air Guitar Album in the World…Ever – Various Artists

This is every Dad’s favourite compilation from the nineties and noughties. Glove boxes throughout the UK had a copy of this album in it and jukeboxes in dodgy pubs were required by law to have this album also.

As much a part of pre-MP3 music culture as Tubular Bells, Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds and other coffee table albums, The Best Air Guitar Album in the World…Ever is one of those compilations that seem to be in every collection. It’s not hard to see why. All the traditionally popular bands are here; Queen, Def Leppard, Skynyrd and Blur but there are also bands and songs that are missing – Stiltskin’s Inside and Mountain’s Nantucket Sleighride for example, surely two of the most prolific air guitar riffs ever? Also there are some bands whose inclusion seems to only be to hook the younger generation in, Blur and Robbie Williams for example.

Still as compilations go, this is one of the better more agreeable ones.

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#130 – The Beach (OST) – Various Artists

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 11.22.16 The Beach (Soundtrack) – Various Artists

After surviving a fate worse than marrying a soggy Kate Winslet and the sinking of a cruise liner, Leonardo Dicaprio swims all the way to Thailand and begins a life of backpacking across Asia.

During his adventures, some drunken sop tells him, in whispered tones, about a beach so beautiful it will melt your brain.

So begins the story of 90’s hedonism and awareness that secrets are best kept to yourself as nobody can be trusted. The film rings true to me especially as how every year people go to my favourite holiday spot, enjoy themselves and tell others to go too. Over the years the area has gone from nice quiet relaxing holiday spot to approaching awful Guardian reading family friendly frightfest.

Only without the drug smuggling, violence and Lord of the Flies inspired committees.

The soundtrack isn’t too bad either. It’s a nice snapshot of the 90’s hedonistic holiday nightclub crap that seemed to flood the radio waves, peoples cars and CD racks of the time. Bands such as Blur, Moby and All Saints feature with summer holiday inspiring tunes to whisk you off to your favourite sandy hot spot with a stylus fall.

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#118 – Back to Mine: Faithless

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 17.36.28Back to Mine: Faithless – Faithless & Various Artists

Back to Mine, is a series of compilations where musicians remix or perform covers of other peoples music. Because rejigging other peoples work is art. Apparently.

Regardless, it’s lucrative isn’t it? What do I know? I’m not a hipster or in with the yoof.

This particular Back to Mine has 90’s Ibiza faves, Faithless, taking Bomb the Bass, Dido and Adamski back to theirs for a good old record playing session. As my first introduction to the Back to Mine series and the fact that out of the 28 volumes, this is the only one that hasn’t been deleted, it shows that Back to Mine: Faithless  is probably the best of the lot.

Even if it is just someone elses work played a bit faster or jiggered about by playing someone elses work over it.

 

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Album # 61 – The Album – Various Artists

url-1The Album- Various Artists

Short of stealing a TARDIS and traversing the wibbly wobbly, time travel is a bit difficult. However, you can mitigate the lack of ornate chez lounges or blue police boxes by slapping on a good old compilation of music from the period to which you want to travel.

And that’s exactly what this album does. It transports the listener to the heady days of the late nineties and early noughties.

There are just as many artists I’ve never heard of on here as there are artists I have. Immediately I am there, mooching about Liverpool in the mid to late nineties wearing my scruffy jeans. Neo-Socialist optimism oozing out of the ground in a pre-911 hedonistic carefree era.

Bands such as Blur, Creed, Manic Street Preachers and Top”We now play at village fetes”loader strumming away in that plastic coated faux indie scene soundscape created in antithesis of the cheezy and garish eighties soundscape.

Not a bad compilation for long journey in the car. Or for when you’re writing one of those gritty dramas about young people flat sharing in the mid 90s early noughties.

 

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Music Project – Album #50 – Absolute Beginners (Soundtrack)

Absolute Beginners (Soundtrack)

Absolute Beginners is one of those films you’ve either seen or not. But nearly everyone knows the title tune as performed by David Bowie.

I saw the film many years ago, some time in the mid-nineties when it was already old. The young plastic surgery free Patsy Kensit looking very tasty, the fresh faced Eddie O’Connell acting his socks off and even a bit part for good old Lionel “Give us a Clue” Blair. All mixed together by jazz and soul with a light dressing of British humour. It was no wonder it was a flop.

With artists such as Sade, The Style Council and even British stalwald Ray Davies popping up, the soundtrack is a rather good old toe tapper.

Whenever I listen to it I’m immediately transported back to my vane efforts to restylise myself as an independent batchelor in my crumby bedsit in the Wavertree suburbs of Liverpool.

I didn’t grow a soul patch. Nor did I start poncing around in berets and lounge about looking moody. So I guess I got off lightly.

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Music Project – Album #45 – A Metal Tribute to Abba – Various Artists

 

imageA Metal Tribute to Abba – Various Artists

Possibly one of the best compilations I have in my library. The Metal Tribue To Abba compilation never fails to raise a smile on faces as a group of (mostly) European metal bands rip into some of Abba’s popular pop songs with the power of a force ten gale. And it works.

 

Starting with Summer Night City performed by choral metal group Therion the listener is carried through Thank you for the Music, Voulez-Vouz and Chiquitita by bands whose names probably won’t be familiar to people inside the UK. Really, this is a treat. I urge anybody with even the slightest penchant for chugga-chugga guitars, thrash drums and chicks in latex with long hair and comedy inflatable breasts to find and listen to this album.

 

In the meantime….here is a Youtube clip

 

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Music Project – Album #40 – A Saucerful of Pink: A Tribute to Pink Floyd

A Saucerful of Pink: A Tribute to Pink Floyd by Various Artists

Somebody once said to me “You know when a band is good by the number of tribute acts”. Someone else once said to me “Turn this fucking racket off”. This album illustrates why both these people were correct.

This album is the result of a group of lesser known artists such as Psychic TV, Sky Cries Mary, Eden, Alien Sex Fiend and Controlled Bleeding gathering together to tortuously mutilate 2 hours of Pink Floyd instrumentals and songs. Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. After 30 minutes of this album I challenge them to repeat that claim without a grimace on their face.

To be fair, some of it isn’t too bad. Nothing is “individual” or stands out. I suspect this is another album heading its way to the digital recycle bin in the sky. Of course, if you’re brave you’re welcome to ask me to upload it somewhere for you…..

I swear, my musical tastes have become a lot more conservative in recent years….

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Music Project – Album #37 – A Psychedelic Guide to Monsterism Island- Various Artists

A Psychedelic Guide to Monsterism Island by Various Artists

Towards the end of my most recent exploration of musical genres I kind of rediscovered Psychedilia for myself. One of the many trophies I gathered from my foray was this collection.

Of course, listening to it again I can only assume that somehow my ears had been affected by something. Not drugs. Probably tiredness.

Whatever the case..this is utter bollocks. Except maybe for the fact it has a Belbury Poly tune on it. Nah…it’s shite. Don’t waste your time….

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Music Project – Album #34 – A Monsterous Psychadelic Bubble- Various Artists

A Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble by Various Artists

One of the many pitfalls of downloading music illegally is that sometimes you download an incomplete rare album and you’re unable to find the missing tracks to make the album complete. Usually I’ll just delete and discard. But this compilation is somehow connected to my mind in some sort of mystical way.

You see, it has been my wish for a very long time, that in the event of ever finding out I have a terminal illness and a short period of life remaining, that I obtain some LSD and trip to the other etheric plains. This album, it seems, will be one of the albums that play during this trip session.

A curious compilation of all manner of Psychedelia tunes mixed by Amorphous Androgynous. If you’re planning on dropping some acid soon, I suggest this is what you want to have on in the background. Unless of course if, to you, dropping acid means a chemical spill in the lab. You might not want this on when the HSE come to visit.

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Music Project – Album #19 – 2001: A Space Odyssey – Original Soundtrack

2001: A Space Odyssey – Various Artists (Original Soundtrack)

As a child I thought 2001 was boring. Too much talk. Not enough lasers or explosions. And what was that thing about the huge slabs of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk in space about? And why was Rigsby talking with a Russian accent? But hey! Look at all that cool stuff we’ll have in 2001! Holidays in space, floaty pens and Commodore 64s will have huge red lights and be able to kill you. Wow.

As a twenty something, 2001 became the wall paper for mind experiments. Mostly to do with the weird bits at the end. A chap I knew edited the weird trippy hyperspace sequence at the end into a 3 hour stoner flick complete with far out music. Suffice to say, his place was popular with hippies and tourists of the ether on a Friday night after the pubs had closed.

The soundtrack for 2001 is a mix of familiar classical Strauss waltzes interspersed with more unusual Modernist works by Gyorgy Ligeti. Ligeti, you might recall, is a progenitor of the atmospheric style of music. Eerie chanting choirs (they chant “Eeee” and nothing more) are part of the course with Ligeti and sections of his Requiem provide further feelings of unease and suspense. It’s amazing what music can do isn’t it? Some might think of six minutes of people going “eeeeee” discordantly would be torture, while others listen through the surface and deep below feeling the pulses and rhythms on an almost synesthesic level.

On reflection I seem to recall one of my brothers having the 2001 soundtrack when I was a child. I’m certain my mum insisted that he did not play the album when I was around as it might be too scary. It probably was, but I’m sure the continuous playing during my early years, altered my mind on some level, meaning I can appreciate atmospheric, true industrial, noise and rhythmic genres on a significantly different level.

Or perhaps has given me the ability to spout shite.

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4AD Presents…-Various Artists [#6]

4AD Presents the 13 Year Itch by Various Artists

This is the first of many compilation albums and the first of several sampler albums that I’ve collected over the years.

I’ve been a huge fan of Ivo Watt’s 4AD label since the early nineties. Watt’s distinctive production reverberates throughout all the artists borne from the 4AD stable. Throwing Muses, Belly, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, Department of Eagles…they’re all 4AD bands. What is unusual is that I was unaware at the time that the vast majority of them were 4AD artists. Indeed, at the time I was buying CDs and it was only in about 1991 that I actually started to pay attention to the studio and record label. So when the download frenzy of the last decade began I eagerly sucked every album I could from the 4AD label.

It was interesting at the time because I found it difficult to get most of the stuff I wanted legally due to licensing and limited editions. I would look full of whist at the catalogues and try to imagine what the songs sounded like. When I gained super fast broadband I was able to source the actual tracks and, no, I wasn’t disappointed.

13 year Itch  is a compilation sampler of the bands that were available in 1993. It starts with a rousing dose of shoe gazing with Lush’s Desire Lines, passing by The Breeders brooding about the Invisible Man and heading briefly into shady Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance) territory (Perry performs a cover of Tim Buckley’s Happy Time) before nose diving into the This Is the Way, Part 2 climax with Ultra Vivid Scene. The zeitgeist of the 90s lives on through these artists and the 4AD label . If I was to relive my youth, I would want this to be the soundtrack. I would want to be a little older and better off than I was. I would also want to be hanging round with moody gothesque shoe gazers, talking about the impending doom of the approaching millennium, whilst sitting in bed sitting rooms that stink of Patchouli, joss sticks and couscous.

Wait…

I did.

I just described my early 20’s.

Sadly this album wasn’t playing.

If I was to do it again. I would expect it to be playing on my Sony Walkman or at least on my Sony CD player.

If you’re interested in 4AD this is the second best compilation sampler to get hold of. The first is the Uncut freeby, which I will probably review sometime in the next year.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/4ad-presents-the-13-year-itch-mw0001811485

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