Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

It’ll End in Tears – This Mortal Coil [#644]

Gloomy collaborative music by Evo Watts’ music project This Mortal Coil.

Like Mike Oldfield’s Islands this was also part of a x for £xx deal at the Virgin Megastore in Liverpool (now Claus Ohlson). I mourn the passing of record shops and their x for £xx deals, this is not an offer the likes of Amazon, iTunes and their ilk seem to foster. I was drawn to This Mortal Coil and their 1984 album It’ll End in Tears via the 4AD Uncut Compilation CD and David Lynch’s Lost Highway in which the band’s cover of Tim Buckley’s Song of the Siren featured and marked the beginning of me being a little more adventurous with my music choices. However I only became aware of them following the rerelease of the album in the nineties.

Of course, this was in the nineties so music downloading hadn’t really taken off in the UK due to the crapness of internet connectivity but it quickly became a prized item in my music library. Especially as it made me feel that I appeared cultured and with it to my Guardian reading, coffee table book owning friends at the time.

Hipster? moi? Nah my trousers are not corduroy and I don’t own a penny farthing.

Apologies for the break in posts last week, I’m still rebuilding my music library following an IT issue with my iMac, and have just returned from a holiday in Dorset so posts will be a little sporadic for a few weeks. However, please do not feel I’ve abandoned this project or stopped writing, I haven’t. Keep an eye out on my other blog, the Compostual Existentialist over the next few weeks for details of my recent holiday.

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Islands – Mike Oldfield [#643]

One lesson to learn when curating a large collection of music is to make regular backups. Last week I had to make an emergency restore of my Mac’s OS which meant having to resort to a backup from the iCloud. Unfortunately, this meant that only the files I’ve managed to upload via my very slow 21st Century rural broadband or those matched via iTunes are currently available for me to listen to. Indeed, today’s album, Islands, is not available on iTunes and my iCloud library does not have the files uploaded, which is a shame. Fortunately, I did manage to listen and pencil together a brief draft of observations for today’s entry but it means there may be a slight decline in posting regularity for the next couple of weeks. Please stay with me though!

Good old “x for £xx” deals. If it wasn’t for “x CDs for £xx” deals my music library would probably have been very sparse and I’d have a lot of money.  I first obtained Oldfield’s Islands on CD during a 3 for £20 deal at the Virgin Megastore in Liverpool (now Claus Ohlson) in the early nineties, I think I was still at school.

When Islands was released, computer graphics were, by today’s standards, a little bit shit. But that didn’t stop artists like Mike Oldfield from using visual media to add to their output. So when I came across the music video that accompanied this album, Wind Chimes, I was blown away. “WOW!” I would say, “Look at the detail on that vector graphic!” something I would struggle to recreate on my Commodore 64 even if I had the right programme to do something like that.

So a career in computer graphics passed me by because the technology I had to hand was insufficient to help tease me towards such an occupation. The self-realisation that already older people are often better at things than you is a big train not to miss.

The Wind Chimes is the long piece in this album and is riven with melodies, rhythms and motifs with a heavy eastern and international influences pretty much like most Avante Garde and artistic music of the time (see also the African influences in Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe). The other tracks are songs performed by the likes of Bonny “Total Eclipse” Tyler and Kevin “Nick Drake” Ayres. Also, curiously, Yes alumni Geoff Downes and Enigma’s Micheal Cretu also assisted with the production which just sends chills down my spine as trying to visualise the way my music tastes are connected is what inspired this whole project in the first place.

If you are enjoying this project, please share and tell your social media pals. Publicity is key to any successful blog or online project. I’m not asking for cash and I’m not asking for fame, just an appreciative readership.

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Into the Gap – Thompson Twins [#639]

album cover for Into the gap by the thompson twins
No Eighties compilation can possibly be complete without Thompson Twins. Indeed, no music collection grown across the decade of the eighties can be considered complete without them either. Thompson Twins are a sound so the eighties they may as well have quiffy hairstyles, have a band member of undetermined gender and look moodily into the camera when not dancing freestyle in their music videos.

During one of my many visits to Virgin Megastore when I was a student in 90’s Sheffield, I was desperate to make up a 3 for £20 offer from the selection available, so it was Into the Gap that became the third. Sadly, in a desperate effort to make friends, I loaned the CD out to someone only for me to drop out of uni a few months later and lose contact with the borrower forever.

Fortunately for me, I kept a cassette recording of the CD to listen to on my Walkman and managed to rip the cassette recording nearly an entire decade later. The version I have now is kind of a third gen rip of the album but still really good crystal quality. A testament to the various recording devices I’ve had over the years.

Yet considering I wasn’t all that keen on the band to begin with, I really fell for this album. Perhaps it’s the waves of nostalgia that come with it or perhaps the power of the three hit songs from the band that appear on the album. I’m not entirely sure.

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Camera Camera – Renaissance (#241)

Camera Camera - RenaissanceCamera Camera – Renaissance

Prog is a funny old thing. Lots of twiddly widdly. Lots of showing off. Long songs. Nice things like that. Punk came along and ruined it; turned music listeners into consumers of sweet saccarine junk with about as much artistic merit as a lump of tar.

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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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