Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Jute City OST – David A Stewart [#651]

Album cover
Jute City by David A Stewart

In the late eighties I knew a guy at school, Charles Hurt, who introduced me to alternate comedy, comic books and graffiti. He would often regale me with tales of his mother’s lodger, a certain Scottish actor/comedian that I had seen in the dramatisation of Porterhouse Blue and would encourage me to seek out his other works. John Sessions was the actor/comedian. Regularly I would scour TV listings and magazines for any mention of him. Quite often I would find him on Channel 4 doing odd stuff or on Radio 4 doing odd stuff. But time passed and I began to care less about John Sessions however, imagine my joy when the BBC announced that a three part Sunday night drama featuring said actor would be broadcast.

Jute City was a BBC drama set in the crumbling city of Dundee and focussed on environmental issues and corruption. An absolute joy of a drama. Sadly only really shown once (that I know of). It starred David O Hara, John Sessions, Fish and a number of other actors who I can’t remember. The soundtrack for the drama was composed and performed by David A Stewart, not Dave “I worked with Barbara Gaskin” Stewart, but David A (A is for differential) “Eurythmics” Stewart.

The soundtrack has elements of Local Hero, uilleann pipes and a haunting whistfulness that seems to be a recurring theme through the Stegzy Music Project Library. The soundtrack is difficult to obtain these days and I’m not letting go of my tightly gripped CD but you should be able to find the drama on Youtube or somewhere.

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Images – Jean Michelle Jarre [#612]

Images - Jean Michel Jarre

Not available in the UK

Having now swapped to the more hard drive friendly Apple Music, when writing entries for the music project, I often try to do research by listening via my iPhone through my car stereo while driving to and from work. This usually works well for the more mainstream bands in the collection but sometimes I’ll have difficulty locating the album on Apple Music because of “Licencing Laws” which I feel is a bit of a bugger because I have the CD!

Images is a “best of” compilation of Jarre’s work. It is the last CD I ever bought from the Virgin Megastore in Liverpool (now the awesome Clas Ohlson) during a 5 for £20 mega sale. Isn’t it a shame that streaming media providers like Apple Music and Amazon don’t do the good old “5 for £20” deals? Instead, they sting you for music you already own. Meh.

Jarre is one of those artists whose music screams 1970s hauntology. In fact, I’d probably hazard a guess at him being an influence on the likes of Belbury Poly, Focus Group and other Ghost Box stalwarts. To me, if it isn’t the expectation of hearing the hum from my father’s stereo’s badly earthed amplifier or the memory of the cassette tape with the picture of the weird skull/bleeding Earth picture on the front, the 1970s is this type of music. The tracks on this album are pretty similar to those on Essential and Aero, indeed, this is just simply a record label’s attempt to cash in on some hapless music nut wanting a bargain in a 5 for £20 deal.

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Heaven’s Open – Mike Oldfield [#577]

Mike_oldfield_heavens_open_album_coverLong term followers of this blog may remember my joy at Amarok, when that came out I was overjoyed, but when Heaven’s Open came out the following year, I was ecstatic. Here was Oldfield singing pop songs, angry ones at that, and doing a whole side of his multi-instrument magic. Awesome.

Of course, this was in the days before the internet. When music news and gossip was gleaned from NME and Melody Maker, both publications that I avoided because I didn’t want to be seen to be a desparate hipster, and, of course, because I wanted to happily stay in my musical comfort zone with Yes, Mike Oldfield and the Tubes. So I was unable to learn until much later that this was Oldfield’s last album on the Virgin label and a great big “Fuck You” to Richard Branson, although if you listen carefully to the lyrics of the songs, it’s fairly obvious.

With five singles tracks, including the non-hit title track, Heaven’s Open and a massive 20 minute opus much akin to Amarok, the album is totally out of character compared to later and earlier works. Even Oldfield’s temporary rebranding of himself (to Michael rather than Mike) gives the whole album and uneasy feel. However you can hear the development of stylistic motifs from both Islands and Amarok and the birth of riffs and styles that would cross over to Tubular Bells II.

 

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Gish – Smashing Pumpkins [#524]

GIsh - Smashing PumpkinsOnce, while talking about the amazing film Lost Highway and its soundtrack with a former acquaintance, the conversation went like this:

Me: – I love the soundtrack, especially the David Bowie intro and I’ve already gone and bought a Rammstien CD off that new “interweb” thingy.

FA:- Really? Well I really liked Eye by the Smashing Pumpkins

Me:- Yeah? Me too. Over all it’s a good soundtrack

FA:- Well if you like the Pumpkins, you should get Gish. I rate it. You should like it 

Regular readers will know how I feel about being told that I “should” like something. But this is one of those rare occasions where I did actually like some of their songs. Not all of them but some. Again, given limitless time to listen to music I probably would have developed a taste for them. Sadly real world pressures meant diminishing time to devote required attention to new music and the changing way we consume music (focussing on individual tracks rather than whole albums) meant eventually the Pumpkins slipped by me.

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From Oblivion – Pink Floyd [#500]

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 10.39.49Bootlegs bootlegs bootlegs. They killed live music you know.

From Oblivion is a compilation of bootleg recordings of gigs by Pink Floyd. Only this isn’t. The album in my collection is labeled From Oblivion but looking at track listings around the internet, we have the correct track listing for the first 4 tracks then completely gaga for the rest which appear to be bootlegs from the Dark Side of the Moon tour.

Still. Good music. And, whenever I feel like I want to go to a Pink Floyd concert, I can bob this on the stereo, go and stand in the far side of the room, turn the lights off and charge myself £80 for the privilege.

 

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Forever & Ever – Fields of the Nephilim [#487]

R-571075-1165231721.jpegMore brooding beats from the cadaverous cowboys that are Fields of the Nephilim taken from the soundtrack of their video release Forever Remain.

I suspect after Ginger Chris’ cassette finally drove the music industry into an irretrievable spiral of descent, my enthusiasm for music waned too. As I wandered around the global car boot sale that was the early internet of 2004-2010, I would pick up remnants of forgotten things called albums from the digital flotsam and jetsam and store them for humanity on my hard drive. If it wasn’t for my actions I’m fairly certain the music industry would have been completely destroyed by home taping.

Forever & Ever is a rip of a live video album and features many of FONs “greatest hits”, all favourites of mine. I could have quite happily left my appreciation of the band there but subsequent releases enticed me in with the promise of good music. I suppose by then, the zeitgeist had leaked from the loosely sealed bottle of life and I began to realise that the new rules and flavours brought about by the demise of the music industry were bitter and unpalatable.

 

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