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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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 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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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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Insane Times – Various Artists [#634]

 

61FhX7u36eLInsane Times: 25 Psychedelic Artyfacts from the EMI Vaults is a compilation album of really odd music. I’d say completely odd but the inclusion of Bonzo Dog, Yardbirds and Kevin Ayres kind of bring the oddness down a bit. It is though, very much the Psychadelic Rock version of the folk anthology Gather in the Mushrooms

Amongst the bands appearing in this compilation are Mandrake Paddle Steamer, Simon Dupree & the Big Sound, The Lemon Tree and The Orange Bicycle with some oddly familiar yet new to many songs. I saw this compilation as a gateway to new-to-me and interesting acts from the psychedelic era, about the time when the Beatles were farting about with Sergeant Pepper and lots of drugs and indeed, there are subtle beginnings of some huge prog acts within this album and bands in which young prog stars cut their teeth.

Very much an interesting selection.

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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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Changes in Mind – The Golden Dawn [#259]

CHANGES+IN+MINDChanges in Mind – The Golden Dawn

The Golden Dawn were a group of enlightened spiritual adventurers devoted to the study and practice of dark arts, occultism and paranormal activities. This basically means they liked to meet in creepy places, have sex (possibly with each other) and take hallucinogenic drugs. Which is what everyone likes to do really.

However,  in the time of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, such things were frowned upon by stuffy types in society. So it’s no wonder why wealthy people dabbled in a bit of old “wakey wakey Satey” in remote places away from prying eyes, what with everyone else being so repressed and stuck up their own arses and everything. Naturally, good old Aleistair “I’m a complete nut case” Crowley, thought it would be a good idea to be a member but he was a little too weird for the other members. So when the Golden Dawn booted him out, Crowley went off to form his own “Let’s all wank in a box” cult and eventually popped his clogs in a guest house in Hastings.

So imagine my delight when scouring Jamendo, a music site where artists provide rights free music (for use in Youtube videos and the like without the worry that Mr Sony will ask you to take down the video), I found a band called Golden Dawn. “Brilliant” I thought, “Some sort of dark satanic goth music to tickle the old occult glands”.

Disappointed isn’t in it. Surprised, yes, disappointed, no. This isn’t Black Mass. It isn’t death growls and tortured souls. It isn’t even worthy of playing backwards in the hope of some vague musical artefacts that you could mistake for Satanic messages. This is nice plinky plonky electro-psychadelia from songwriter/guitarist Nick Gent and lead guitarist Ben Skultety, who, it seems, have about as much satanic wizardry in them as Sooty.  It also seems, that they have since changed their name to The Mind Orchestra. Probably because of the hounding from nutters hoping to find darkly satanic occult music to have sex and take drugs in creepy places to.

Changes in Mind, is available from Jamendo in it’s entirety for free. Golden Dawn are a nice fit for those looking for simple sounds to aid them with their moody beard stroking or beret wearing but possibly not for those hoping to raise the Goat of Mendes.

 

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The Cataclysm – David Galas [#253]

The+Cataclysm+coverThe Cataclysm – David Galas

Possibly one of the most remarkable yet uncelebrated albums I have ever had the pleasure of listening to is Cataclysm by David Galas. I have to say that in my personal all time top ten favourite albums, this ranks in the top 5.

Galas, previously with Lycia, released a number of albums between 2007 and 2011 and Cataclysm was the first of his solo releases. I came across the album in 2008 and it changed my life.

Primarily my interest was due to an incorrect review on a website which described the album as “a miserable concept album about Chernobyl”. This was, of course, total bollocks but it didn’t stop me listening to the atmospheric sounds, gloomy lyrics and melancholy melodies while mentally visualising images from an illustrative Chernobyl based film which could pass as it’s music video. Of course, there is no such actual video and it certainly isn’t anything to do with Chernobyl, but a visual backdrop like that would make a fantastic accompanying video to the album.

Galas has a very unique style. His work is instantly recognisable and his musical talent makes most of his contemporaries look like amateurs. Sadly Galas has moved away from his solo career and back into group work. This is mainly due to his own personal reasons but I can’t help feeling disappointed that he was only able to squeeze out three albums.

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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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