Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

From an Ancient Star – Belbury Poly [#620]

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Today I’m stepping back in time to add some of the albums I have bought since starting this project back in 2014. While I will continue to work through my album collection alphabetically, occasionally, once a month at least, I will post an album bought recently that  I may have missed alphabetically. One such example is todays offering from hauntology experts Belbury Poly.

From an Ancient Star is, in my mind at least, the soundtrack from a British 1970’s children’s TV programme from Ghost Box Studios. A young family, mother deceased, move into a spooky old manor house in rural Berkshire (because it always is); Two older children, brother and sister, their adopted younger sibling and scientist father.

Within the house they discover a “hidden door” which, it transpires, allows passage between a strange new world wherein the children have a most peculiar adventure. Freddie Jones or Patrick Troughton would be the old man living near the house with seemingly bizarre ideas, while rugged Patrick Allen would provide wise sensible fatherly words to his wild sounding children alight with strange tales, perhaps supported by his new girlfriend possibly played by someone like Caroline Munro.

Sadly, there isn’t really such a programme, but, upon listening, hauntological memories of Owl Service, Children of the Stones and Dramarama from the golden age of children’s TV are invoked. Its not hard to imagine the music being used in such programmes, yet the album is actually from 2009.

Belbury Poly have a really unique and imagination driving sound and I think of recent years, this has got to be my most favourite Belbury Poly album. From beginning to end, every time you listen, you get something new.

Or should that be reawakened memories from that parallel universe you slipped in from….

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In a Moment…Ghost Box – Various Artists [#619]

Unknown-1Ghost Box. The stable from where delights such as Belbury Poly, Broadcast and Focus Group hail. In a Moment…Ghost Box is a compilation of some of the most awesome hauntological music you’ll ever hear. If you’re looking to relive those summer holidays in Scarfolk or those school gatherings around the TV in a cabinet on stilted wheels, then this is what you want to listen to.

Invoking memories of a prenuclear holocaust society, crap video graphics and lots of nylon sweaters, the album is a showcase for many different bands that come under the Ghost Box label’s protective cloak. An excellent starting place for people wanting to explore music of its type.

This album is definitely a gateway album. Though probably to another dimension rather than hard drugs. I suppose that depends on your outlook on life. It is also one of the main reasons why there was a hiatus of the Music Project last year. Having obtained the compilation, I then discovered I had actually bought more albums since starting the project and they had been omitted because they didn’t show on my list. Frustrated by not having a completely alphabetical list of albums, I’ve now decided it doesn’t really matter and only a few OCD readers will be upset by the out of sequence post that will follow this but I’m sure you’ll forgive me when you hear how awesome From an Ancient Star is.

 

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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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Black Forest Gateau – Neu! (#193)

Black Forest Gateau - NeuBlack Forest Gateau – Neu!

What I loved about the nineties and the noughties was how I’d rediscover old bands that had been around for ages but I hadn’t heard of them. Like Greenslade. Or Renaissance.

Neu was one such band. My dear friend Jamie downloaded this one rainy evening. I’d gone round to visit, possibly to talk computers or swap software or something. He played the album to me and I was immediately besotted with it. Simple yet out of their time melodies. No singing. Just electronic music. Think Kraftwerk without weirdness.

Of course it later became harder for me to source music like this without someone to bounce CDs off. When Jamie moved away from Liverpool and returned to Preston, new music like this in my life also started to dry up. I became too stuck on one genre.

Still, this is good stuff. The kind of music I’d like to listen to high on morphine while flying through the skies in the air ambulance. Or on a rocket. Or UFO.

Or squirrel.

 

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