Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Ipcress File – John Barry [#642]

If you’re one of those people who only engage with media that is no older than twenty years old, then not only are you deluding yourself, but you are missing out on a whole trove of cinema, music and literature. One such diamond in this trove is the 1965 film Ipcress File the soundtrack for which is today’s entry in the project.

The Ipcress File is pretty much how James Bond would be if he was real. Lots of form filling, shit salary and offices that have seen better days. The film follows the adventure of Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer character who is caught up in a bit of cold war era espionage involving the reprogramming of prominent scientists through sinister mind washing techniques employed by Soviet-era bad guys. There are more twists, turns and double-crosses in this film than a box of headphone cables.

The iconic music, also a diamond musically, has been sampled to death over the years by bands like Portishead and makes heavy and distinctive use of an instrument known as a Cimbalom.

The soundtrack was one of the first albums I bought through the new iTunes store back in the noughties. However, as I didn’t have a portable device capable of playing Apple’s proprietary music files, I could only listen when at my computer. This was, of course, in the time when computers where huge things that sat on your desk and not the candy bar sized multimedia devices of today. But when you see the film and the size of computers in 1965, you’ll be grateful you don’t have to cart one of those around if you want to make a phone call.

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Into the Labyrinth – Dead Can Dance [#640]

Into_labyrinth_-_dead_can_danceThe sixth studio album from Dead Can Dance was the first to make me think that perhaps it was time to move on from this particular taste in weird music. A marked change from Dead Can Dance’s previous album Aion , Into the Labyrinth has a completely different, more world music feel to what came before.

It was my penultimate Dead Can Dance purchase before the long haitus and Anastatis and still I feel a little disappointed with it. Even after having not listened to it for some time before reasearching for today’s entry. I guess by this point Perry and Gerrard were busy doing their own thing and it was a contractual obligation that needed fulfilling. It sounds like it.

 

Available on Amazon and iTunes.  It might be on Spotify but I wouldn’t know.

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Into Temptation: The Best of Gothic Rock — Various Artists [#637]

intotemptationThere are as many compilations claiming to be the best of gothic rock entitled Into Temptation as there are compilations claiming to be the best of gothic rock. Confusing really as this isn’t really what I’d call Gothic Rock, it’s what I’d call Scandinavian symphonic rock fronted by tight-fitting low cleavaged black catsuit wearing busty sirens in a wind tunnel aimed at appealing to frustrated teenage males with big hair and middle-aged balding forty-somethings trying to recapture their lost youth.

When the much talked about Great Internet MP3 Download Free-for-All of the mid to late noughties hit, I was trying to develop my musical tastes in the dark elven forests of gothdom. As long-term readers may remember, one of the many tactics I use to discover music is to download compilations to figure out which bands I like the sound of.

One of the first compilations I downloaded was called Into Temptation. It had some really good songs on it from bands like Nightwish, Within Temptation and Ayreon. Sadly, I lost the first version due to file and disk corruption and, despite repeated attempts, was unable to locate the version I had. But with acts like Nightwish, Within Temptation, Ayreon, Sirenia, The Gathering, Lacuna Coil AND Tristania….it will do.

Complete tracklisting for this compilation:

1 –Within Temptation – Ice Queen
2 – After Forever – My Pledge Of Allegiance #1 (The Sealed Fate
3 –Nightwish – Ever Dream
4 – The Gathering – In Motion #1
5 – Tristania – Wormwood
6 – AyreonMy House On Mars
7 –Within Temptation – Our Farewell
8 – Ambeon – Cold Metal
9 –Lacuna Coil – Senzafine
10 –After Forever – Emphasis
11–Trail Of Tears – Driven Through The Ruins
12 – Sirenia – Meridian
13 – Beseech – Between The Lines
14 – Therion – O Fortuna

And if that list doesn’t get you running for the Kleenex you’re obviously listening to the wrong genre.

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Interstellar Encore – Pink Floyd [#636]

R-1738078-1240176164.jpeg.jpgA bootleg so bootleggy you can smell the sweaty socks. Interstellar Encore is one of many Pink Floyd bootlegs donated to my collection by a former work colleague who had a similarly large music library to mine, although admittedly, most of his music was a bit more….”bootleggy” in nature.

Of course, back then, the tagging of MP3s was in its infancy and some people used to just dump a load of MP3s into a folder of a CD with no organisation and pass it around like a spliff at a hippy party. Carefully written sleeve inserts would get mixed up and any questions about which MP3 belonged to which album quite often resulted in snorts of derision.

So, as a result of how it happened, my version of Interstellar Encore might differ from 99% of the people out there with the actual Interstellar Encore bootleg although on research the track listing does seem to match up. But, such is the nature of illicit downloads and bootlegs; only a true fan would tell you whether it was actually the Filmrore West Interstellar Encore version of Embryo that I have or if it was the Biding My Time in Croydon version.

Like I care.

Incidentally, if you’re still enjoying this music project, I would appreciate a little publicity. One thing that fires me up when doing this project is knowing I have a readership. While it’s not exactly interactive like say The Existential Compost, The Compostual Existentialist or u/stegzy on Reddit, a look at the (very basic) site stats shows me that I do have some visitors, but having more keeps my typing fingers itching!

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Emerger – Carptree [#635]

Emerger by Carptree
Apple Music was one of the causes of the last hiatus. Having taken advantage of the super 3 months free offer and slightly better than usual broadband at my rural home, I was given access to loads of new music. Moreover, I was thrilled to discover the “Suggested for you” feature of the For You tab and how it “Suggests” music you might like based on your listening. Then, one-day last year, Apple Music suggested I’d like Emerger by Carptree and that was it, I was sucked in like a leaf in a water pump reservoir.

Carptree do everything right that a progressive rock band formed of two Swedish blokes with a fondness for fishing and a theremin would do. Bog standard low budget music videos, lyrics about nature, crazy waxed moustaches, lots of keyboard twiddly and a vocalist that sounds like Peter Gabriel before he went all Brian Pern.

Emerger is new prog done well. Like someone has been handed the progressive rock recipe book and followed it to the letter. The whole album has a semi-concept feel (is it about fishing? Or is it about life on a river bed? I’m not entirely convinced) and the production values show how easy it is for middle-aged mates to be creative together in a “We’re getting old now but haven’t made it yet because of the day job” way with an Apple Mac and a bloke from work who plays the drums.

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In the Clear – Ivy [#626]

IntheclearTess Don’t Tell was the first song I ever heard from this, Ivy’s fifth studio album. I forget where it was but suspect that it was on a random “Music you might like” playlist from the earlier days of Last.FM before it was bought by Spotify and ruined.  Of course having a band name like Ivy meant having to use hardcore advanced Googlefu so that Ivy, the American band, came up in searches instead of what other monstrosities came up instead.

Ivy’s sound is a familiar one, haunting female vocals over lackadaisical rhythm and melody that just says LAZY SUMMER’S DAY in huge invisible letters. They’ve been sampled in Europe and were quite popular in parts of North America and Canada for a while. Sadly, as with many non-British bands, the licencing laws and promotion of such bands in the UK mean that few people here have heard of them except perhaps in the occasional American TV show or film.

Which is a great shame.

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If You’re Feeling Sinister – Belle & Sebastian #606

Belle_And_Sebastian_-_If_You're_Feeling_Sinister.jpgOften seen as the quintessential gay album of the nineties, I was gifted If You’re Feeling Sinister by old gay pal Gay Jamie who, himself, had obtained it during the Great Internet Download Free-For-All of the mid to late 1990s.

At the time, I saw Belle & Sebastian as a kind of hipster bollocks band. Loved by trendies and soul patch sporting arts students and with such prejudice, I  wasn’t all that bothered by them. Of course, this was in my late, uninformed, uncultured, blinkered, pre-internet, pre-university, unenlightened, pre-millennial twenties where most of my world still revolved around Liverpool, a shit office job and regularly going to the pub with similarly minded folk and talking shite.

Of course, hipster pals were already hinting that I would like the band long before I’d actually listened to the album. Indeed, when I met him, Hipster Nick was already much of a keen fan and Telly Expert Tim, who would often talk about how he was into Belle & Sebastian before anyone else had even conceived of the idea of a band called Belle & Sebastian and that, besides which, they weren’t as good now, anyway, since Stuart had left the band, would sneer at anyone who clearly had only recently become a fan. The thing was, this time they were right; I did like the band.

Fortunately, Stuart was still in the band at the point of releasing If You’re Feeling Sinister and Tim was quite right, the band’s early albums are, in my opinion, the better ones. Much in the same way that Syd Barratt’s influenced Pink Floyd albums are distinctly different to those that come later and indeed, after, Roger Waters. Well crafted, the songs on the album have a unique sound with a lyrical poetic genius that is lacking from the majority of modern bands some of them define adolescent exploratory gay sentiment while others reflect on angst, paranoia or obsession.

A genius of an album!

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Human Equation – Ayreon #597

Ayreon_-_Human_Equation

Human Equation by Ayreon

Human Equation is a double concept album from legendary Nineties/Noughties Dutch prog experiment Ayreon.

A man in a coma for twenty days struggles with inner demons and outside influences through internal song, each day being a track on the album. A supposed break from Ayreon’s  album spanning “Forever” story arch, although in the last track we do hear albeit briefly, from Forever of the Stars from the album Final Experiment and the Dream Sequencer from Universal Migrator which ties it all in nicely.

Human Equation is not my most favourite of Ayreon discoveries instead I’m all for the drama of Into the Electric Castle but as 01011001 hadn’t been released at the time I obtained my copy of Human Equation, it was a lid on the metaphorical pie of Ayreons work for me.

Like other Ayreon albums, guest singers each take a voice of a character within the overarching story with the likes of Dream Theatre’s James LaBrie and Soul Machine’s Eric Clayton joining the cast. Even prog keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman‘s son Oliver guests as synth player on track 7.  A feast of noughties prog.

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Hidden Treasures – Dead Can Dance [#584]

UnknownThe problem with bootleg albums is that they become addictive. Especially when the band has been around for ages and you’ve come to them late. Following my introduction to Dead Can Dance in the autumn of 1993, I had already collected the majority of their albums on CD by the time the Great Music Download Free For All hit the UK in the mid-noughties. So I would often spend hours late at night scouring the alt.sounds.gothic.mp3 newsgroups looking for new and rare Dead Can Dance material that I was, perhaps, unfamiliar with.

Hidden Treasures is one such catch. Released in 1994, possibly recorded in Italy though some sources differ, the “Unofficial” album has live performances of tracks stretching back through from the band’s Towards the Within stage of life but also features a collection of tracks from much earlier. Thing is, as with all live bootleg recordings, some of the songs are much different than their studio recordings which, I suppose adds to their appeal amongst fans.

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Blue Lines – Massive Attack (#207)

MassiveAttackBlueLinesBlue Lines – Massive Attack

As I’ve stated before during this project, when relationships break down these days there is often an amicable exchange of music via the ripping of jointly owned CDs and mergence of MP3 libraries. Unlike in the past where bitch fights would break out over who owned the Peter Sarstedt album, these days we can share and amalgamate, break up peacefully without the need to decimate music collections.

Unless you’re a bastard and you delete all your music just to spite them.

Anyway, this is an album gained through one such breakup. I’m not a big Massive Attack fan. I have their best of somewhere I think, though it doesn’t seem to have appeared on this project yet, and I have their “coffee table album” Mezzanine. But other than a few songs of there, I’m not a big fan. They’re ok. Just not my scene. A little like a seedy version of Portishead.

So I can’t really tell you what I think about this album other than I like one song on it. The rest is just Meh. I have no stories attached to the album and I have little memory of when it was added to my library.

 

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Album #83 – Aqualung – Jethro Tull

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 16.39.39Aqualung – Jethro Tull

Sitting on a park bench listening to Aqualung reminds me about history lessons at school.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Annwyn, Beneath the Waves – Faith and the Muse [Album #76]

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 13.11.55Annwyn, Beneath the Waves – Faith and the Muse

Until the last decade I had shamefully only heard of Faith and the Muse in rumours and student bedroom wall posters. Faith and the Muse have a similar style to Ordo Equitum Solis. Much like OES, Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, Faith and the Muse are popular amongst the dark clothe wearing goth fraternity. Dark in style with mediaeval tones, Faith and the Muse mix open atmospheric chords with wailing floaty dressed female vocals and, in some tracks, militaristic drumming.

I had only listened to Annwyn once before. I’m not sure I would choose them for a car mix tape or to accompany a dinner party. Unless I was trying to be some sort of hipster goth or impress some Twiglet (sic) obsessed teenagers on their first forays into the dark.

I don’t know why I find this kind of music enjoyable. Perhaps it is the mental images of  dark and wet rainy streets that it conjures. In all, if your folk is too cheery, this is what you want. In a room. With joss sticks and pentagrams.

 

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A Broken Frame – Depeche Mode [#24]

A Broken Frame– Depeche Mode

I was surprised to find this album in my library; I’d never heard of it.

Turns out this is the second studio album by DM; the first following the departure of Vince Clarke. Seems like Martin Gore described it as “our worst album”. It shows.

I’m not familiar with any of the songs on here and if you’d said to me this was DM I’d have said “Is it?!”

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01011001–Ayreon [#22]

000-ayreon-01011001-(advance)-2cd-proof-2008

01011001 by Ayreon

I can’t remember how I first heard about Ayreon. It might be listening to a compilation or something but from the first song that I heard, I just knew that I would like his work.

So I managed to get his back catalogue with this fantastic double album being released at the moment that I began getting Ayreon’s work.

I think that Ayreon, or Arjen Anthony Lucassen, does a bloody good job of uniting various artists such as Floor Jansen, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Bruce Dickinson and Fish under a single project umbrella. Much in the same way as Ivo Russell-Watts did with 4AD and This Mortal Coil. The difference being that Lucassen creates a concept album as the central cusp of the union.

So let us see….changing artists – Check; Concept albums – Check; Bearded and hairy musicians – check; Rock music – Check….so does that make it prog? New prog? In my opinion, yes it does.

01011001 tells the tale of the descent of man into destruction despite alien entities, psychically beaming visions of our destruction into our little heads. It works. It tells a story. With music and catchy tunes.

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9012 Live: The Solos & 90125- Yes [#20] & [#21]

9012 Live: The Solos – Yes

People that have known me for a while will no doubt agree when I say, as a youth, I was weird. When all my contemporaries were enjoying U2, Deacon Blue, Blur and Shakespear’s Sister; I was deeply entrenched in a puddle of prog. Most notably, Yes and Triumvirat.

As I reached my early teens my desire for music grew. HMV became the Minaret that called me through it’s doors to the music Mecca that was inside. Remember, this was many years before the Internetz and free musicz. You would have to go through the LPs and CDs alphabetically by artist and hope that there would be something new or exciting within your price range. If they didn’t have the album, you could ask them to order it, but they’d probably charge a fortune. Or you could just hope that on the off chance it would somehow miraculously appear in the racks.

In the day, records were out of my price range and I would use Christmas and Birthdays to boost the contents of my music library by asking grandparents to buy me the albums or by using gift vouchers. One of the albums I got during this time was this. Unfortunately the vinyl got warped somewhere between the printing press and my record player. I didn’t have a receipt. I didn’t have the courage to ask for a refund. Instead I listened to the listenable bits and made do.

This album reminds me of so much about my childhood. Probably because this and the accompanying studio album and video were on repeat

90125 – Yes

I wrote to Jimmy Peado Saville and asked him to fix it for me to sing with Yes because of this album. He was obviously too busy fiddling to Fix anything for me.

90125 is a break from the twiddly weirdness of their earlier stuff. A complete style change from Tormato and Drama. Yet it works. It works well. They even had a new guitarist. Trevor Rabin (Steve Howe had gone to play with Asia). He looked so cool I wanted long hair like his. I wanted to be dark haired so I could have long hair like his. This was new stuff and a new style that would continue to evolve and grow like me. I must have listened to this album a million times as teen and as a twenteen. With the VHS live video to accompany it too.

Incidentally, this is the album which contains Owner of a Lonely Heart; Yes’ most famous song.

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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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1984 – Rick Wakeman [#18]

1984 – Rick Wakeman

Take one Chaka “Chaka” Khan (out of deep storage), a dose of Kenny Lynch, a teaspoon of Jon Anderson, a pinch of cockney rebel Steve Harley and mix well with copious amounts of bearded prog rock keyboard player (remove beard). Garnish with sprinklings of Tim Rice Libretto which has been steeped overnight in a solution of George Orwell’s 1984. Leave to play for 46 minutes.

Serve with bemusment.

Rick the bearded grump mashes out another album of prolonged twiddling this time without the ice skating panto horses. Instead he collaborates with Tim “Jeeeesus Christ Superstar” Rice and tells the story of Orwell’s 1984.

If you can listen through Chaka “Chaka” Khan’s screeching you will hear something quite entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t “Lounging about on the sofa drinking coffee” music, nor is it “bring some girl home and romance her” music (unless you’ve found the mythical female prog fan). It isn’t even “Aren’t we refined” dinner party music. It’s “Let’s vacuum the house” or “Wash the dishes” music.

Admittedly I used to listen to it when I did my paper round so it isn’t all that bad really.

Except for the screeching.

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Music Project Album #17 – 1200 Curfews – Indigo Girls

1200 Curfews – Indigo Girls

What is this shite doing in my music library and how did it get there?!

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Music Project Album #16 – 666 – Aphrodite’s Child

666 – Aphrodite’s Child

Aphrodite’s Child is to Greece what the Beatles are to Liverpool and Abba to Sweden. If Greece had maintained such quality progrock output I suspect they wouldn’t be in financial difficulty now.

Though what do I know about economics? Stuff all.

I suspect most of you will not have heard of Aphrodite’s Child (AC) but I’m certain you may be aware of two of the lead members: Vangelis and Demis Roussos. The band was a product of a time when Prog was popular in the west – long before punk appeared. With a style similar to the Moody Blues, AC only managed to churn out 3 albums. 666 is the last AC album before they split to pursue solo projects and is a concept double album based on the bible’s Book of Revelation.

I’ve only ever attempted to listen to the album all the way through a couple of times. It’s quite hard going but there are a couple of sections that stir up desires and send prog infused shivers to your toes via your spine. These being most notably The Four Horsemen and Hic and Nunc If you know the works of Vangelis and Roussos you would probably listen to it blissfully unaware of who you are listening to, this album being so detached from their later styles.

But to truly experience the album in its fullness, you need to abide by the following recipe:-

You will need:
A room (plastered, painted white with lines of blue to resemble some form of Greek restuarant)
Some form of heating (can be natural)
A beard
3 chest wigs
A kaftan
Some drugs
Metaxa
Strong smelling aftershave from the 1970’s (Brut 33, Blue Stratos, Denim or HiKarate will do)
A record/tape/MP3/media player
A couple of friends with beards and kaftans
Numerous cushions (varying in size)
A mezze board of kebab meat

Method:

1. Take the room, heat to unbearable sweaty levels. Sit in the room. On a cushion. Wearing your kaftan with your beard and similarly attired friends. Stuff the largest cushions up your kaftan and encourage your friends to do the same. This is to increase your girth and make you at one with Roussos, Sideros and Vangelis.

2. Douse each participant in the strong aftershave and apply the chest wigs (if you are doing this on your own because you have no friends, use all three chestwigs for full appreciation). Repeat until fumes effect visibility or motor functions. Ensure all participants have worked up a really big sweat.

3. Partake in the drugs and metaxa. Cannabis is recommended here as you can usually get a good hit if you use a hooka pipe which will also add to the authenticity of the experience. Other drugs can be used but may effect the overall experience detrementally (especially crack or crystal meth).

4. Play the album and nibble on mezze board.

5. Chill

6. Halucinate and sway about.

7. ???

8. Profit.

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101 – Depeche Mode [#15]

101 – Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode’s music incites a strange mix of emotions and feelings. Kind of kinky dirty but also grimey in the same way. I suppose it’s because I know some members had a really bad smack habit so often images of Grange Hill’s Zammo slumped in a dirty public bog, hypodermic needle in his arm and dirty burnt silver foil in his hand come to mind.

Saying that, some songs especially those off Songs of Faith & Devotion onjour images of Martin Gore and Dave Gahan in bondage gear flagellating each other in some weird S&M orgy involving penguins and matchsticks. Dunno why….it just does.

My first post-childhood exposure to Depeche Mode, as in one where I was starting to become aware of popular music, occurred in 1992 when I was a student at Sheffield Hallam University. It was while supporting my studies working at Halfords I met a strange chap (who smelt of used sleeping bags) whose belief was no Sunday was complete without 7 hours of constant Depeche Mode. I suppose the repetition helped. I even went and bought their albu Songs of Faith and Devotion, the tracks from which became the soundtrack of those days. Mostly because it was the only CD other than Mike Oldfield that I had with me during my stay at Uni. But I’ll go into that more in about a year or so…when I get to S.

101 is a live album. As with all good live albums they provide a snap shot of a band’s catalogue at the time of going to press. Indeed, I find live albums a good way of determining whether or not I’ll like a band. With some exceptions. But we’ll get to that in a few months time.

Recorded in 1989 at the Pasadena Rose Bowl,101 is a good collection of Mode favorites. Most importantly it has an accompanying live concert video which I saw back in the mid nineties. I recall seeing it when at Ginger Chris’ house. Everyone was smashed out of their heads on their intoxicant of choice and discussions regarding Egyptian spirituality, UFOs and conspiracies were rife. I suppose that situation reinforced the imagery I described earlier in this entry.

Mode, like Abba, are one of those bands who feature on everyone born in the 1960’s to 1970’s personal life soundtrack. I’m sure there are some younger readers who will also say “Ah but they feature on my life soundtrack too”, and that may be the case. Such is the power and distinctive style of Depeche Mode. Indeed, this live set contains some of their earlier more poppie tunes (I maintain the best thing that Depeche Mode ever did was persuade Vince Clarke to leave) such as Just Can’t Get it up enough and People are People

It would be pertinent to expect to see a fair bit of DM during this project.

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90 Bisodol (Crimond) – Half Man Half Biscuit [#14]

90 Bisodol (Crimond) – Half Man Half Biscuit

There are these four blokes from Merseyside in the UK who formed a band and stormed the world with their music. Unfortunately they were very over rated, one had such a big opinion of himself he got shot; another took too much drugs in India; the third couldn’t play or write any good songs and the fourth is popular with the ladies for some reason.

They were shit.

Then there was this other group of four blokes from Merseyside. They too formed a band and stormed the UK with their unique sound, acerbic lyrics and cutting social commentary. They are not known well enough. I hope this corrects itself soon.

HMHB, to those in the know, have been going for many years. The late John Peel listed them as one of his favourite bands. I do too. 90 Bisodol is their most recent album and it performs very well.

As with most new music it does take a while to get into but I think Excavating Rita (a humourous song about necrophilia) was the first song on the album that grabbed me by the funnies. But it wasn’t long before the sarcastic account of mischief around a village fete in Fun day in the Park (They lied to me they lied to me on their posters!) that had me hooked and landed like a gasping trout. Side ways jibes, observation and commentary on British middle class society permeate HMHB songs. Sadly I worry that their unique observations do not translate well to other cultures beyond the UK. Do Americans have issues with local scolds on lower walks? Do Europeans understand the concept of attempting to descend the Stiperstones or cross the road without drawing attention to ones self? I don’t know. What I do know is HMHB talk to me like I talk to myself. Which is a good thing right? I mean I talk to myself all the time. Its the only way I get a sensible answer sometimes…..

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Music Project Album #13 – 25 Years On – Hawklords

25 Years On – Hawklords

Hawklords are the little known reformation sub-band of the widely known Hawkwind.

You might know Hawkwind from such mind altering albums as Quark Strangeness and Charm or Pxr5 or the single Silver Machine or perhaps you know Hawkwind as that prog-band with the tits(Hawkwind employed a topless dancer for live concerts who would just squirm and gyrate, topless, to their sets) or the band that Lemmy used to play for before Motorhead. Of course, you might not know Hawkwind at all.

Hawkwind are true prog. Concept albums abound, frequently changing line ups and weird lyrics that morph into socio-political Sci-Fi motivated anthems such as Highrise. For the album 25 Years On, the lineup consists of Hawkwind stalwarts Bob Calvert, Dave Bork and Simon King (no not that Simon King, the other one) with a couple of lesser known musicians. If you are familiar with Hawkwind you will detect the immitable Hawkwind sound permeating throughout the set. In fact that is basically what it is. A Hawkwind  album performed by three regulars and a couple of session musicians.

Songs of note from the album include Psi Power and Flying Doctor. Both testaments to Calvert and Brock’s lyrical genius.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/25-years-on-mw0000808795

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Music Project Album #12 – 25 Jaar Na "Waterloo" – Abba

25 Jaar Na “Waterloo” by Abba

I am a firm believer that when someone breaks John Lennon’s rose tinted spectacles, historians will realise that the most influential band of the past 50 years was not John, Paul, George and Ringo and was in fact Abba. No. You will fail to convince me otherwise. I won’t hear it. Every record collection of people born in the 1970s should include at least one Abba single or album. Everyone knows an Abba song if not an album. Every family gathering since 1978 has had a cheezy disco with at least one Abba song or melody playing.

Hell, Bjorn and Benny have not stopped with Abba and have continued to exude their musical talent in areas you probably wouldnt believe. Their mix of cleverly crafted lyrics and joyous pop tell dark and sinister stories of unrequited love, collapsing relationships and even underage sex. There is nothing more disconcerting than watching old Aunts cheerfully caterwaul along to an Abba song, blissfully unaware what the true meaning of the lyrics are.

I can see you will need convincing.

Listen to  Take a Chance on Me and tell me that the lyrics are not those of a stalker. Dancing Queen – a story of a leering pervert. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! – the wanton desires of a nymphomaniac. Chiquitita – the story of someone taking advantage of someone in dire romantic straits. The Name of the Game – about prostitution.  Knowing Me, Knowing You – the story of a failed marriage and the fallout of a truly disastrous argument, the consequences of which are self uncertainty and depression further supported by Winner Takes it All which is clearly the vitriolic outburst of the spurned spouse. It’s weird watching people dance, stomp away and sway joyfully at songs with such deep and dark meanings. It’s kind of like watching your gran sing along to Radiohead’s Paranoid Android. Wrong on so many levels.

25 Jaar Na Waterloo (aka 25 Years Since Waterloo) is a compilation album from the Netherlands. I don’t need to tell you what it sounds like as unless you’ve been living in a soundproof booth for the past 40 years you will know Abba. It’s a good mix of Abba favourites, maybe not for all the family, but certainly for those that like them.

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Music Project – Album #11: 18 – Moby

18 by Moby

Ah Moby. Your baldness makes you who you are.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Moby. To me, his albums are nothing but coffee table music. The kind of music you put on when you’ve got some girl back to your flat that you want to romance over very large glasses of red wine in the warm autumn evenings.

Unfortunately, every music editor for television documentaries and films since 1997 has immediately turned to Moby for incidental or illustrative music. 18 is one of those albums where you spend the majority of the time listening to it half expecting to see the irritating toothy grin of “Professor” Brian Cocks [sic] loom into view and give one of his patronising monologues about why you are doing the dishes.

After you have washed Brian Cocks’ blood off your hands you then start to muse about which film the song you are listening to appeared in (Extreme Ways is the end credits tune for the Bourne films). Your date looks on horrified at the bloodied corpse of Brian Cocks and listens to your pleas that it was for the best as you could never let him take the over Sky at Night since Patrick Moore’s death. It was for the good of the nation. At this point she picks up her bag and leaves. The evening spoilt. Thanks to Brian Cocks. Brian Cocks and his baldy musical chum Moby. He looks at you from the album cover. Grinning that “Heh! I’m famous for playing bits of records me!” smile and you vow to track him down and do the same to him as you have done with Brian Cocks.

Then, while you clean up the bloody cadavers of Moby, Cocks, Cameron and anyone else that takes your fancy, you think “Hey! What I could do with is some nice background music. I’ll put that Moby CD on…”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18_(Moby_album)

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Music Project Album #10 – 10cc – 10cc

10cc –  10cc

The following entry has been written by a “special” guest writer – Zoefruitcake.

Stegzy delayed playing 10cc by 10cc as he knew I liked 10cc, and then decided I should be the one to write about it. So tonight he popped it on, we settled down to listen…and I discovered something.

I’ve got a CD called Changing Faces – The very best of 10cc and Godley and Creme. In the distant past I paid someone at work to record it from my cassette tape on to that CD and it has great songs on it like Wall Street Shuffle, Under the thumb (still one of my all time favourite songs) and Dreadlock Holiday. I’ve listened to it for years, and along with watching a BBC 2 showing of 10cc in concert circa 1970-something (which I enjoyed so much when I saw it that I actively wished time travel existed) I thought I was a fan of 10cc.

Tonight I was proved wrong, because 10cc by 10cc is a big pile of steaming horse shit that didn’t talk to me in the slightest. Ok, so it didn’t contain any of the later big hits I enjoy so much, but I expected to enjoy it and feel some connection. Nope. Maybe if I was younger and less tired I would play it a few times to see if it grew on me but I’m confident that unless this was the last album on earth that isn’t going to happen.

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