Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

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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Dust Bunnies – Bettie Serveert [#403]

440px-Dust_Bunnies_(Bettie_Serveert_album_-_cover_art)The second of the three Bettie Serveert albums in the music project.

I’d not listened to this album entirely before writing this entry and before this project, I’d only really heard Bettie Serveert’s Totally Freaked Out track on the 4AD Presents compilation. After listening to the previous album I’d reviewed, I wasn’t too enamoured but then I wasn’t totally repulsed either so I approached Dust Bunnies in the same way.

Unfortunately, I think I must have listened to Attagirl on a day when I was feeling less critical because on second listen, I was wondering why I actually bothered saving the album from the recycling bin for. As a result, Attagirl eventually ended up a casualty of the first “purge” of unwanted previously featured music project albums.

Moreover, although first listen of Dust Bunnies wasn’t too offensive, it’s certainly not something I would probably listen to again. I think after nearly 10 years of ownership without listening, or identifying a track I’m keen on, is indicative that the music project’s second aim (#Deletion of unwanted music) is now starting to take effect and the decision making processes leading to the deletion of unwanted music (thus freeing up disk space) is now becoming easier.

Still, I’ll plough on…

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Demo Tape – Big Ade & Simon [#360]

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 19.50.43I’m not entirely sure who this is by. All I know is that it was given to me by my friend Min back in the 90s. The story behind it is that Big Ade (an associate of Min) and his friend (name possibly Simon) got together in Big Ade’s house and created a musical masterpiece using CueBass on Big Ade’s Atari. The added sting was that Big Ade couldn’t read a note of music.

Sadly I am unable to present the entire album for everyone to hear here, instead I created a music video to accompany this entry. It is also noteworthy that I created an album cover for my own purposes and that I have ripped the album from a cassette so sound quality isn’t great.

Enjoy.

 

 

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Dead Can Dance (1981 – 1998) – Dead Can Dance [#348]

Dead_Can_Dance_(1981-1998)A four volume compilation of various works by the band Dead Can Dance.

Being a bit of a DCD nerd, I couldn’t turn my nose up at this. Sure I have most of the tracks already on other albums but there are some tracks on here that aren’t available on conventional releases.

Radio recordings and rare songs appear here along with the foetal essence of some well known DCD songs. It also came with a DVD of the live Toward the Within concert which will appear here on the music project in a few years time.

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Crooked – Kristin Hersh [#326]

Crooked - Kristin HershYou might know Hersh as either half-sister to Tanya Donnelly or lead singer of Throwing Muses. However, Kristin Hersh came into my life through the Uncut: 4AD compilation album and her song Your Ghost. I was later to hear her first solo album Hips and Makers from which the song came but was not too impressed.

Years passed but I still enjoyed Your Ghost. Then along came Learn to Sing Like a Star. Wow what a difference! Like a fine wine or a port or single malt whisky, Hersh had matured. So when I saw Crooked I had to get it.

Crooked is Hersh’s eighth studio album and she plays and sings with a rich style and many of the songs on this album can be heard on the previously project featured live album Cats and MiceWorth a listen.

 

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Ceromonies: Ad Mortem Ad Vitam – Fields of the Nephilim [#257]

Ceromonies: Ad Mortem Ad Vitam - Fields of the NephilimCeromonies: Ad Mortem Ad Vitam – Fields of the Nephilim

Live music from our gothic dust beaten hat wearing chaps from Stevenage.

Perhaps it’s age, but to me it’s hard to take this album seriously. The guy you can hear growling away, Carl McCoy, was in his mid forties  when this album was recorded. Which is cool. If that’s what you can pass off. But all I can think of is some “dad” like figure dressing up like some forsaken cowboy growling. Not singing. Growling.

That’s not to say I don’t like it. It’s a good album. Nice mix of songs old and new showing progression and a nice introduction to the band for young newbies. But remember kids, the lead singer is old enough to be your dad. Or, in some cases, your granddad.

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Century Child – Nightwish [#256]

Century Child - NightwishCentury Child – Nightwish

More big boobed long haired gothic operatics from Finland’s second greatest export. Century Child is Nightwish’s fourth studio album. It shows.

At this stage, the music sounds unnatural compared to the previous three albums. Synthetic. Forced. Like rhubarb. Bless the Child and the cover of Phantom Of the Opera (but only for pure amusement) are the only two tracks on this album that are akin to previous works. The rest sounds strained. Awkward. Unnecessary. The sound is tired, the singing like a cheated jigsaw.

The follow up album to this, Once, mirrors this strain and really is a last hurrah. Century Child is probably one just for hard core fans. Unlike me.

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Celestine Prophecy – Christopher Franke [#255]

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 13.45.24Celestine Prophecy – Christopher Franke

Utter shite.

A musical “accompaniment” for the best selling book by James Redfern which sparked off a new age revolution in the 90s. Plenty of floaty tofu weaving vaginary in this album as well as new age world m-yewsick wankery. And pan pipes. Lots of pan pipes.

In collection for interest only.

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Cats and Mice – Kristin Hersh [#254]

Cats and MiceCats and Mice – Kristin Hersh

Kristin Hersh is another artist I would probably have never got into had it not been for the  Uncut: 4AD cover disk I got in the nineties.

Hersh, stepsister of  Tanya Donelly (4AD and This Mortal Coil) and former lead singer of Throwing Muses (also 4AD),  has a very unique sound. Her early stuff takes a bit of getting used to but this album, Learn to Sing Like a Star and Crooked show a much more mature and well developed Hersh than her earlier primary release groundbreaking Hips and Makers album.

This is a live album recorded sometime in 2010. As with most live albums, this is an excellent showcase of Hersh’s works spanning some years. I have tried to get to see her in the past, but she never seems to come to Daventry 😦

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Can’t Look Away – Trevor Rabin (#243)

CantlookawayCan’t Look Away – Trevor Rabin 

This is former Yes guitarist, Trevor Rabin, and his third studio album.

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Looking for contributors

I’m always keen to have guest writers on my blogs, Stegzy’s Music Project especially. As many of you will already know, I’m off getting married soon, so I am keen to have someone take care of the postings while I’m away.

If you would like to review any of the albums listed below, please message me (either in comments, email or DM) with the album you’d like to review or comment on and I’ll set you up as a contributor.

I’m happy to make the music available to you too if you haven’t got it already. I find that the project has meant I’m often listening to things I’ve never heard before and it’s fun writing musings about things as you hear them for the first time.

There are a small number of albums that I’d like to do myself (marked with an asterisk) but I’m happy to have guests review them too if they want. As long as you can commit to submit before or on publication date (in brackets) that’s fine. I don’t usually post on weekends but if I get significant interest, then I’ll fudge the dates accordingly.

So, coming up is:

Car Wheels on a gravel road – Lucinda Williams (9/2/15)
Caravanseri – Carlos Santana (10/2/15)
Carnival of Souls – Miranda Sex Garden (11/2/15)
Carry on up the charts – Beautiful South (12/2/15)
Casanova – Divine Comedy (13/2/15)
Casino Classics: The Remix Album – St Etienne (16/2/15)
Cassette – Fields of the Nephilim* (a compilation given to me years ago) (17/2/15)
Castlefest 2011 – Various artists (18/2/15)
The Cataclysm – David Galas* (my favourite album of 2009) (19/2/15)
Cats and Mice – Kirstin Hersh (20/2/15)
Celestine Prophecy – Christoper Franke (23/2/15)
Century Child – Nightwish (24/2/15)
Ceromonies: Ad Mortem – Fields of the nephilim (25/2/15)
Change we must – Jon Anderson (26/2/15)
Changes in Mind – Golden Dawn (27/2/15)
Changesbowie – David Bowie (28/2/15)
Charlie and the chocolate factory – Danny Elfman
Chestnut Mare – Byrds
Chicago Demos – Blood Ruby
Chicken Skin Music – Ry Cooder
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Cammell Laird Social Club – Half Man Half Biscuit (#242)

Cammell Lairds Social ClubCammel Laird Social Club – Half Man Half Biscuit

Cammell Laird Social Club  is possibly one of my most favourite albums. Not only is it a sly dig at Buena Vista Social Club but it’s possibly the finest bit of musical wit and whimsy that has ever existed.

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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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Bridge over troubled waters – Simon and Garfunkel (#222)

Bridge over Troubled Water - Simon & GarfunkelBridge over troubled waters – Simon and Garfunkel

In one of those odd little moments of synchronicity the day my beloved asked me to write about this it was mentioned in a book I was reading ‘the unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ where a bridge by a West Country pub is credited with being the inspiration behind the name. This may not be true, but Paul Simon is well known for his affection for England (and his English girlfriend who couldn’t face life in the limelight).

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Breakfast in America – Supertramp (#220)

Breakfast in America - SupertrampBreakfast in America – Supertramp

 This album takes me back to my father’s office, filled with his diving treasures, a fascinating roll- top desk my mother later worked at (with an old cheque book in pounds shillings and pence in the drawer) and his drawing table where he would draft out plans.  Oh, and the hi-fi, a futuristic silver thing that played my favourites on a Saturday morning when I wasn’t listening to Junior Choice with Tony Blackburn and Arnold the dog (woof woof) on the radio.

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Born of the Night – Midnight Syndicate [#212]

Born of the Night - Midnight SyndicateBorn of the Night – Midnight Syndicate 

If you ever want to give your neighbours the impression you are a goat worshiping Satanist or maybe get the locals gossiping about you being a bit odd. Then all you have to do is put this album on, invite a few local dignitaries round for a glass of red wine and roll your eyes uncontrollably while chanting in Latin every hour or so.

Seriously.

This album will make you seem like either a teenager trying to be all out goth or a middle aged nut case who wants Peter Sutcliffe or Charlie Manson as bunk mates. If you were holding a seriously dark Halloween party then yeah, this would go down well providing, of course, there are no plans to dish out psychotropic drugs with the jelly and ice-cream.

 

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[Big] Bond Movie Themes – Geoff Love & His Orchestra (#209)

[Big] Bond Movie Themes - Geoff Love & His Orchestra[Big] Bond Movie Themes – Geoff Love & His Orchestra

Ok. Well it was going to happen. Some git tagged this album with the incorrect album name thus buggering up my alphabetising of the project.

Bond Movie Themes, or BIG Bond Movie Themes sees us back in the welcoming auralscape of Geoff Love’s easy listening. The main theme gets the Love treatment along with a number of Bond theme tunes.

Not as good as Geoff’s sojourn into Westerns or Sci-fi but a notable addition to his works.

 

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Bodkin – Bodkin (#208)

BodkinBodkin – Bodkin

This album is exactly what I’m doing the Music Project for.

My music collection is so vast it is impossible for me to have listened to every single album. The point of this project is to listen, filter and discuss with others what the albums mean to me, them and the rest of history. It is also there for me to delete albums that I have no wish to listen to again. However it is also there for me to discover albums I didn’t know I had. This is like that.

Bodkin is a gem. A prize in Prog-ism. Heavy in Hammond organ. Crazy drug inspired lyrics and wild wild instrument solo breaks. What more could a prog fan want?

Bodkin were a Scottish progressive rock band from the 1970s Doug Rome (Hammond organ), Mick Riddle (guitar), Bill Anderson (bass), Dick Sneddon on drums and Zeik Hume on vocals. A smooth mix of dirty blues (much like the Groundhogs) and Heavy Prog (King Crimson). Unique sound. An absolute pleasure to listen to and almost akin to Thotch

Unfortunately, Bodkin is the only album Bodkin made and it leaves you wanting more.  Considering I heard this for the first time the other week, the album has already gone up my personal charts and nuzzled itself between Illusions on A Double Dimple (Triumvirat) and Animals (Pink Floyd).

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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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Best ofs – Stegzy’s Music Project

StegzyWe now enter into the muggy world of “Best of” albums. For the next 29 days we will be delving into the mindset of the fan, the music producer and the bands that are too lazy to chuck out another studio album so cobble together a few popular songs on one album as a retention marketing exercise.

Best ofs are an excellent way to become familiar with a genre or an artist’s work. Quite often, when trying to get an idea of what an artist sounded like, I would get their “Best of” and used them to make a judgement on whether or not I obtained their other albums.

As I said, this works well with genres too, so you will see a number of genre focussed best ofs over the next few days. I intend on adding the tracklisting of genre focussed best ofs as quite often these reflect the compiler’s taste rather than being an accurate reflection of the actual genre. Plus I find this kind of thing interesting.

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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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Abraxas –Santana #48

imageAbraxas by Santana

Sometimes I wonder if anyone is still actually reading these entries as I persevere to listen to my album collection in alphabetical order. But do you know? Part of me like to think that long forgotten LJ flisters might still be reading or random people might be coming across these posts many years into the future on WordPress. I also like to think that this is kind of a historical record and in a far off distant future scores of academics and philosophers are debating not only what I meant by vampiresses with comedy inflatable breasts but also why did I have such a massive cock collection of music and were people actually interested in this and if so why?

 

Ritual purposes.

Simple.

 

Anyway, as I plunge on through the “A”s missing out only a couple of two track EPs as they don’t really count as full albums (If you’re really interested they are “Abandoner” by some bloke out of Porcupine Tree and “Absence and Plenum” by Lux Interna who none of you will have heard of anyway. I was also wearing my khaki short sleeved shirt and there are 7 cards in the card holder on the mantelpiece) we arrive at an unusual choice.

I’d never heard of Santana until they appeared on a soundtrack for a film I liked. So as I liked one of their tracks I did my usual thing of downloading their entire back catalogue. Yes. It was getting a bit silly doing that. Anyway, Abraxas contains Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va  which always makes me feel like I should be in some seedy Spanish restaurant in the 1980s. Surrounded by bullet ridden corpses having just survived a Spanish Mafia attack by hiding behind the fake plastic plant in the corner.

I know some of you guys like Santana.

Good for you.

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Music Project – Album #46 – A World We Pretend–Twilight Garden

 

imageA World We Pretend by Twilight Garden

Every so often I come across a band in my library and I think “How the hell did I ever get this?”

 

Twilight Garden are one of those bands.

 

 

They are a curious cross of Depeche Mode, the Cure and maybe a tiny bit of Bauhaus. Lots of echoey guitar, forlorn vocals and the kind of production that makes it sound like they’re recording in some disused quarry. In the rain. After a group of smack head punks from the 80’s have been and daubed the walls with political slogans.

 

Perhaps they recorded in the foot tunnel depicted in their album cover?

 

 

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Music Project – Album #45 – A Metal Tribute to Abba – Various Artists

 

imageA Metal Tribute to Abba – Various Artists

Possibly one of the best compilations I have in my library. The Metal Tribue To Abba compilation never fails to raise a smile on faces as a group of (mostly) European metal bands rip into some of Abba’s popular pop songs with the power of a force ten gale. And it works.

 

Starting with Summer Night City performed by choral metal group Therion the listener is carried through Thank you for the Music, Voulez-Vouz and Chiquitita by bands whose names probably won’t be familiar to people inside the UK. Really, this is a treat. I urge anybody with even the slightest penchant for chugga-chugga guitars, thrash drums and chicks in latex with long hair and comedy inflatable breasts to find and listen to this album.

 

In the meantime….here is a Youtube clip

 

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Music Project–Album #44–A Thousand Roads–Lisa Gerrard & Jeff Rona

imageA Thousand Roads by Lisa Gerrard & Jeff Rona

A Thousand Roads is a film by Chris Eyre released in 2005. This is the soundtrack for it.

I’m very fond of soundtracks and there are many in my collection. Mostly they are of films that I have seen but this is one of 2 film soundtracks of films I’ve not seen.

I’m also very fond of Lisa Gerrard’s music including Dead Can Dance (but more about them in a later post).

So there’s two things: Lisa Gerrard and Soundtracks. What more could I want? Well there is a third thing. World music. I first got into World Music as a teenager when I was taken on a school trip to see the Gamelan at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool. Initially I was resistant but an hour into the performance I began to recognise repetitions, subtleties and changes in rhythm which none of my classmates seemed to appreciate. On the back of that experience I embraced World Music and, over the years, have collected some interesting music (again, more of that in a later post).

A Thousand Roads is a lovely mix of etherical wailing, tribal chants and haunting synths. A rare treat for travellers and explorers of the musical soundscape.

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