Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

The Incident – Porcupine Tree [#632]

Unknown-6.jpegPorcupine Tree‘s tenth and final album, The Incident draws heavily from other progressive rock bands and especially shows influence from Pink Floyd in their homage Time Flies which has clear elements of Animals and Dark Side of the Moon woven stylistcally throughout the song.

The first time I properly listened to this album was while doing research for today’s post and was frequently surprised by the elements that appear throughout the album. THe aforementioned Pink Floyd homage and even stylistical similarities to David GalasCataclysm.  Definiately the icing on the Porcupine Tree Cake, the album has grown on me over the weeks and, if you’re a prog or Pink Floyd fan, I think you too might be tempted to lean favorably towards it.

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Hazards of Love – The Decemberists [#571]

I once accidentally found a folder filled with illicit music on a hot desk PC at work. I’ve found over the years, the music I have self-discovered on the various platforms available, that have been left or lost by other people has become incalculable. Disguarded cassette tapes at the side of the road, mysterious CDs left in cars, abandoned MP3s on computers. So many different forms over the years and, like porn in park bushes, a form of discovery denied to future youth because of the controlled way that music is proliferated and consumed.

I suppose that is why I started this music project. A way to explain, not only to myself, that my music tastes have developed over the years but to also preserve for future generations a catalogue of music to discover for themselves without commercial interference and duplicity.

The Decemberists were one of those bands that I self-discovered via an abandoned folder of illicit downloads; Hazards of Love was a legitimate purchase made on the back of that discovery. But as we all know, downloading music illegally killed music, and this is why today, The Decemberists have to tour and continue to produce sound to feed their starving faces.

I’d not listened to Hazards of Love for some years after its purchase. Mostly because it languished in my collection out of reluctance to listen to it. Eventually, sometime in 2016, I plucked up the courage. My disappointment in having not listened to it before then forced me to reevaluate the whole purpose of the Music Project; this, curiously, took me a whole year to do.

Hazards of Love is a prog masterpiece. A true concept album and much more enticing than Crane Wife, Hazards of Love tells the story of magical beings that live in an enchanted forest and how falling in love in such environments is never a good idea. Some really catchy tunes with intricate lyrics make up this acoustic soundscape which will lure you in like a forest enchantress. Ideal as a first tentative step into the back catalogue of The Decemberists especially for those looking to later paddle into the shallows of post-pre-neo-revival prog rock.

Yes, I make up my own genres.

 

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Happiest Days of My Life – David Galas [#567]

First post in a year and with it, our last visit to a David Galas album (unless he releases another album before I reach Z). Happiest Days is Galas’ difficult second album with anger, gloom and despondency key elements at play.

Smouldering gloomy guitar work coupled with a flavour of the conceptualisation of returning from war; shocked and horrified by the sights witnessed. Dark places. Dark wave.  Again, Galas pulls it off. It is a vast difference from Cataclysm and you can hear the developing themes that would later appear in Ghosts of California. 

I’d like to thank David Galas for this and all his solo albums to date. Thank you for making such life changing and affirming music at the right time. Your work has been a stretcher bearer for me on many occasions and  I guess you’ll never know how much it means to me and others. Please don’t give up on your amazing talent.

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Force of Gravity – Sylvan [#486]

Sylvan - Force of GravitySince we last met Sylvan with their release Artificial Paradise, I’ve actually grown to like them more. I’ll even go as far to say Artificial Paradise is quite a clever little concept album and deserves more ear time. Force of Gravity is another one of those albums that have not had anywhere near the amount of ear time as I would have liked. Getting old sucks kids, don’t do it.

Anyway, Force of Gravity, Sylvan’s seventh studio album, shows a great deal of maturity considering it was released seven years after Artificial Paradise (the band’s second album). Yet still we get the rich gravy of their sound pouring over our aural Sunday dinner complete with their lyrical roast potatoes and conceptualised roast meat (or nuts if you’re aurally vegan).  It’s as if the band have actually bettered themselves rather than tear themselves apart in an effort to maintain the successes of their earlier output.

The album has, as in the opening statement, had little ear time despite languishing in the collection since 2009, something I regret, but even on fifth listen I’m impressed with the sound the band have produced.

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Dziekuje Bardzo – Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard [#405]

Dziekuje_BardzoIf you’re a regular reader, you might remember when Klaus first appeared on the music project with Peter Namlook in Dark Side of the Mooand how disappointing that album turned out to be. We now meet Klaus working with former Dead Can Dance stalwart Lisa Gerrard in what turns out to be their third collaboration.

Listening to Dziekuje Bardzo is sometimes like listening to a futuristic Dead Can Dance without Brendan Perry, a bit like listening to Lisa Gerrard’s solo work without Klaus Schulze (Does that make sense?) and sometimes like listening to some god awful German electronic bollocks created by an egotistical electronic musician who can’t accept that their music is tosh and are misguided enough to continue under the premise of “occasional good bits”.

Still if Lisa Gerrard like his music who am I to judge?

 

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Chinese Leftovers – Sugarplum Fairies (#267)

Screen Shot 2015-03-07 at 09.15.06Chinese Leftovers – Sugarplum Fairies

Way back in the early days of the internet there existed a website devoted to the promotion of unsigned bands. It was called Peoplesound and I have mentioned it before. Peoplesound was an excellent place to find new music. Bands I’ve never heard of since or before would allow you to download samples of their music for free in the hope that you’d spend a tenner on their “LP” or “EP”.

I regularly paid for EPs and LPs so I like to think that there are bands around the world that were able to carry on producing good music beyond the confines of their local community centres and parent’s garages .

One such band was Sugarplum Fairies. I was introduced to them through Peoplesound and went and bought their first album Flake, their second album  Introspective Raincoat Student Music, their third album Country International Records and their subsequent albums Chinese Leftovers and The Images We Get. But more of those later.

Sugarplum Fairies consist of Benny Bohm and Sylvia Ryder from sunny Los Angeles. Deliciously balanced mix of low-fi guitar and drums with flourishes of other instruments all draped lovingly with a silky smooth blanket of  husky whispers.

Chinese Leftovers shows how Sugarplum Fairies continue to produce excellent music with a very unique sound. Think Françoise Hardy meets Mazzy Star. This album, like the others, has me making mental music videos for their songs featuring moody poetry reading emo teens falling for their corduroy wearing English teacher.

See! I was into Emo before Emo existed. That makes me a hipster. Before hipsters existed. Nernernerner…Ppphthhhhh

Yes, a fully fledged corduroy English teaching poetry writing hipster.

With a beard.

And a beret.

Fortunately I don’t have teenage emo kids hanging round being all shoegazery and hipstery.

However, listening to this album always brings me feelings of lazy hazy Saturday mornings eating bacon sandwiches, reading the Guardian and ordering next week’s Ocado delivery. It’s difficult to say which of their albums are my favourite and it’s just as difficult to suggest which album would be a good intro to their music. I can’t suggest one, just get the whole lot.

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Music Project – Album #28 – A French Kiss in the Chaos – Reverend and the Makers

A French Kiss in the Chaos by Reverend and the Makers

I met Jon McClure some years ago, just as his Makers were starting out in the big wide world of showbiz. His then girlfriend Laura Manuel (One of the Makers) was working with Mrs-soon-to-be-ex-Gnomepants and Gnomepants Manor would often receive demo cds of the Reverend’s new work.

 

Personally I thought he was a wanker.

The Mrs liked him though and went skinny dipping somewhere wild with the whole band.

Laura was ok though.

Jon was a wanker.

Anyway, historically, I liked their first album. This is their “difficult” second album. It’s shit. Don’t bother.

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Music Project – Album #27 – A Curious Thing – Amy MacDonald

A Curious Thing by Amy MacDonald

Well it’s was a curious thing as to why this album was in my music library. None of the songs seemed familiar (apart from the cover track at the end) and I couldn’t work out why. Then I realised it was a case of “Oh I like the first album, their other albums must be just as good” – This is not a good philosophy to have.

In brief:- Scottish chick with guitar. Hurt. I’d do her.

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Music Project – Album #9: 10 Neurotics by Black Tape for a Blue Girl

10 Neurotics by Black Tape for a Blue Girl

Aside from Porcupine Tree’s In Absentia which is a concept album about a serial killing pervert, this is possibly one of the more….twisted….albums I have.

Each song on the album tells the story of some sort of sexual depravity, kink or perversion. Some very dark indeed.

Black Tape are a kind of darkwave caberet band. Think Dresden Dolls wearing gimp suits in an S&M dungeon (as opposed to an M&S dungeon; which is something else entirely). Interestingly Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls plays drums on this album. Which is nice.

Anyway, the story is that the lyrics, themes and topics dealt with in this album caused a lot of Black Tape regulars to quit the band. Zoe was at home when I was playing this album and even she commented that the lyrics made her feel uneasy. If you listen to the lyrics you’ll see why.  If you don’t you’ll probably think “Oh this is a nice tune”…kind of the way your folks probably did with Abba in the 70’s without realising the twisted sordidness of Benny and Bjorn’s lyrics. (Dancing Queen? Really? You do know what that’s about don’t you?)

No.

This is dark. Dark and happy. Dark and scary. Dark and disturbing. Much in the way that you feel dirty after listening to it and realising that Perfect Pervert is socially unacceptable on so many levels, Marmalade Cat is about Furries and Pleasure in the Pain…well…I’ll link to the video….you make your own mind up…but do try it, it has one of the best lyrics in  a song ever – “I wake humiliated by the reality of what I’ve imagined”

Black Tape are on the Projekt Records label. Take note. I will be mentioning that label again.

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