Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Jackie Brown OST – Various Artists [#645]

Jackie_Brown_album.jpgIn 1994, I went to the Liverpool ABC cinema in Lime Street to kill a couple of hours I had spare. As I took my seat in the empty theatre, little did I know that I was about to be subjected to an amazing rollercoaster of a film. Pulp Fiction hit me like a train. To me, this was a new style of film, a new director to follow and a soundtrack that would fill that period of my life with music. So when Tarantino’s followup was the 1997 film, Jackie Brown, I was hoping that it too would renew the tarnished soundscape of my life.

By this time I was working long hours in Bootle so trips to the cinema seemed like a luxury reserved for films that had to be seen on the big screen like Star Wars. All other films, especially those which we were uncertain about, were relegated to the cheaper hire from the video shop. Despite being a video rental, Jackie Brown didn’t disappoint.

Quite often with music, it’s easy to hope that the blow away of the previous success will continue to fill one’s sails with uplifting wind and it’s sometimes the case that we disregard those works that follow as “not as good as the previous”. Take Air’s Moon Safari or Portishead’s Dummy for example, both are much more successful than their later releases because perhaps, they were seen as groundbreaking.  I think the same is true of film and that a person’s personal perception and appreciation will change depending on their tastes.

That said, the soundtrack to Jackie Brown is as vastly different to Pulp Fiction as a cake is to bread but still holds its own. A lot more soul and country compared to Pulp Fiction‘s surf guitar filled selection but still a really good selection of tracks and, like the film, at a totally different pace.

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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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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 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 the Electric Castle – Ayreon [#638]

Ayreon_-_Electric_Castle album cover
Big-haired symphonic prog rocker Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s third concept album, with his collaboration project Ayreon, tells the tale of time-napped protagonists sent to find their way through some weird assault course like maze for some obscure reason that really doesn’t matter.

Marillion’s Fish, The Gatherings Anneke van Giersbergen and Within Temptation’s Sharon den Adel all play characters warbling their way through various trials and tribulations much like they might in some Jeff Wayne tribute musical if it was done right. The dramatic passion within the music illustrates just how talented and creative Lucassen can be if left to his own devices.

Into the Electric Castle is possibly my most played Ayreon album if not for the fantastically big hair rock Rainbow Bridge which often results in in-car rock performances while en-route to distant places indeed, I have frequently threatened to subject passengers to the entire album it’s so good.

I think if I’d come across the music in 1998 when it was released, many of the late night conversations I used to have about music with my pals would have resulted in even longer talks into the night. Sadly I only became aware of Ayreon when I had moved away from my hometown of Liverpool, leaving the opportunities for late night debate ever diminishing into the realms of misspent youth and early adulthood.

 

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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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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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Inconsolable Secret – Glass Hammer [#633]

TheinconsolablesecretWhenever I hear Glass Hammer, I can’t help imagining a group of prog loving guys getting together to play music they enjoy. They do a few cover versions then decide to do their own stuff. Their own stuff is heavily laden with references to riffs and melodies from the covers they have just played. This makes their sound almost comical and self-referential.

I first heard Glass Hammer on the Odessey concept album, a various artist collaboration retelling the story of Odysseus, in the track In the Court of King Alkinoos and was interested in its similarities to works by Yes and King Crimson. A quick Google resulted in the suggestion that Inconsolable Secret was an album that I’d like.

I didn’t.

There is a little too much twiddly in the album for me. Lots of long keyboard widdling and guitar wankery can be a little too detrimental to the sound of an album. Moreover, the similarities to Yes are a little too obvious. Indeed, Glass Hammer singer Jon Davidson would later go on to replace Jon Anderson in the latest post-Squire incarnation of Yes. Beyond that, there are too many similarities to In the Court of King Alkinoos. Too often I forgot I was listening to Inconsolable Secret and thought iTunes had slipped into Oddessey. Still, it’s an interesting work and I suppose I keep it just incase my music tastes develop later, much like how they did recently with Renaissance and Illusion.

 

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The A1111….and Other ones – John Shuttleworth [#631]

Unknown-5One-trick Pony John Shuttleworth’s latest album.

You might know Graham Fellows as Jilted John or in his Northern persona John Shuttleworth. Simplistic easy listening with a heavy dose of Northern British humour. I bought this album after seeing Shuttleworth live in Milton Keynes.

An amusing musical folly.

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Incas Valley – Yes/Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe[#630]

Unknown-4As long term readers of this project might remember, during the divergence of Yes in the early nineties, when Chris Squire said “No” to Jon Anderson’s use of the band name

Yes

forcing the creation of  the eponymous Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (and later the creation of Anderson Rabin Wakeman (ffs!)), Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick “Keyboard Wizard” Wakeman and Steve “Carpet” Howe  got together with Tony Levin, released an album and went on a world tour entitled An Evening of Yes Music. Incas Valley is the bootleg of one of those shows.

I remember being excited at the prospect of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe touring the UK with their show and hoped that I would be granted permission from my parents to go to their gig, the closest to me at the time was in Birmingham. Sadly, my olds decreed that 16 was too young to go to Birmingham to see a rock band on my own and my older brothers couldn’t care less about their younger brother’s musical development so didn’t offer to take me. Instead one recorded onto a cassette a BBC radio broadcast of the gig instead so I had to make do with that.

Many years later I discovered the Incas Valley bootleg on a binary newsgroup and it was pretty much the same set but with extras. So now, to relive that experience, I often play Incas Valley on my stereo in the kitchen while I charge myself £40 to sit in the loft and pretend I’m in the Birmingham Arena. Win!

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Incantations – Mike Oldfield [#629]

Incantations_(Mike_Oldfield_album_-_cover_art)Incantations is Oldfield’s fourth album following Ommadawn and precedes Exposed. Musically, this album features themes and motifs that are repeatedly used throughout the four sides accompanied by Oldfield’s stylistically familiar circle of fifths.  Through his guitar wankery, his use of choral and a folksy solo by his singer du jour, Steeleye Span’s Maddy Prior (doing a really good impression of Renaissance’s Annie Haslam), the whole album just screams Mike Oldfield.

Incantations requires a good set of headphones, a good red wine and a badly earthed hi-fi for that true middle-class seventies dad experience. It is sadly too minimalist for casual listens and, like most of Oldfield’s work, definitely requires the listener’s full attention to appreciate fully.

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In the Name of the Father (OST) – Various Artists [#628]

 

Unknown-3.jpegThe soundtrack for the 1993 film In the Name of the Father about the Guildford pub bombings of 1974.

While the film is an often harrowing study on injustice, political corruption and false convictions, the soundtrack is nothing that special. Bono, Sinead O Connor, Gavin Friday, The Kinks and Thin Lizzy (naturally with their Whisky in the Jar) give the whole set the geographical soundscape for the period piece, Bono and O’ Connor  for the Irish connection and The Kinks and Thin Lizzy to set the time.

I think around that time in the nineties there was a strong swell in Irish pop and rock surfing on the crest of which was Bono on his U2 surfboard and it seemed like any TV show or film with a vague Irish link would have featured either a song by U2 or Sinead O’ Connor.

Mrs Gnomepants v1.0 was very fond of the film and requested that I obtain the soundtrack during the Great Internet  Free For All of the early to mid noughties.

 

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In the Court of the Crimson King – King Crimson [#627]

In_the_Court_of_the_Crimson_King_-_40th_Anniversary_Box_Set_-_Front_coverI first learned about King Crimson following the amusing Bill Bailey fronted Channel 4 docu-countdown-show Top Ten Prog which was broadcast at the height of the prog revival of the late nineties/early noughties.

Crimson King was the band’s first album, King Crimson then comprising of Robert Fripp  Michael Giles, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald and Peter Sinfield. Over the years Crimson’s line up would change more often than I change my socks with other notable musicians such as Yes’ Bill Bruford and session musician Tony Levin turning up over the years. As a result of this frequent fluctuation of line up, it is difficult to find a sound that one can pin on their output as 100% identifiable King Crimson. Indeed, their heavy jazz influence makes most of their output inaccessible to me as after a while, for me, it starts to grate.

Even so, the variety of the sound and the diverse use of instruments make In the Court of the Crimson King is an album I enjoy listening to, however, the album is, sadly, not available on Apple Music. Licencing again eh?

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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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In Memoriam (P Henroit 1889-1944) – Les Joyaux de la Princesse [#623]

We’ve seen Les Joyaux de la Princesse (LDJP) on the music project several times before, so by this time we should be aware that yes, they have been associated with some far right philosophies and yes, they have looked at a history that some would prefer to be buried, but we should not bury history for how else can we learn the errors we have made in the past. Moreover, art should know no barrier and we should consider that, for all we know, even the Statue of David or the Mona Lisa may have hidden connotations no longer apparent to modern eyes.

However, readers also should remember that while some music in my collection has been associated with some less than savory organisations and times in history, even the likes of Band Aid and what they stand for are seen as obscene in some parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean that the music isn’t any good and, indeed, while I don’t agree with the politics and allusions made by such artists, I appreciate their work.

In Memoriam is LDJP’s second 2004 release and is a work that examines through noise, recordings and industrial ambience the life of Philippe Henroit, a staunch anti-communist and Nazi sympathiser in Vichy France.

Not knowing this when I obtained it, I enjoyed the music for what it is, atmospheric ambience overlain with recordings of a strong and passionate sounding French speech, a language that I have very little comprehension of beyond playing ping pong in La Rochelle. I suppose in my childlike innocence and ignorance, I am attracted to the haunting voices and sustained industrial music rather than the ideology and symbolism that is lost in aural exposition.

 

 

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From an Ancient Star – Belbury Poly [#620]

Screen Shot 2018-04-15 at 18.21.06

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 Living Hell – Hey Marsha! [#618]

UnknownIf you lived in South Liverpool during the late 1980s you would have seen posters around the place for local popsters Hey Marsha!. On the back of the emerging Madchester scene, rising youth unemployment, low prospects and the internet not having been invented yet, not to be out done, Liverpool had its own popular music revival scene. Bands like Pyramid Dream, The Stairs, The Farm and Hey Marsha! jostled to be the next Beatles, be discovered and propelled to a life of occasional studio dates, late into the night boozing and drug parties.

Sadly, the horse I backed, Hey Marsha!, split, reformed as The Numbers, split and then went off to become accountants, teachers and office workers at the council, which goes to show I’m never a good judge of good music; John Peel, I’ll never be. Unfortunately, in the days before AOL and Freeserve, the band’s marketing was mostly limited to flyposting, sending advance copies to journalists and use of Probe Studios in Button Street while no doubt leaving their lyrics in the green room and typing out their setlists so that meant they didn’t get the coverage I think they deserved.

In a Living Hell, is a vinyl rip I did a few years back of the band’s EP so you won’t find it in the shops. Sadly, because of this, it’s also not freely available on the internet. Also, when ripping the vinyl I discovered that a cat had been sick all over the record some years previous and I hadn’t noticed as a result the grooves are now clogged and the first track has a massive gap in it.

Instead, here is the only Youtube video I can find of the band’s music from their first release Optimism Flamed. Until writing this entry, I’d never heard the track before, but you can get a great feel for the band’s sound through this track.

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Impossible Princess – Kylie Minogue [#616]

Kylie_Minogue_Impossible_PrincessMrs Gnomepants V1.0 is the keeper of this album of which I have a digital rip. Weirdly, and possibly because of you know “internet downloading”, I appear to have a fusion of two versions of this album: the original 1998 CD rip and the 2003 Special Edition.

Of the two versions, it’s the original I prefer, I’m not sure why producers think remixing things is something people want to hear. I mean imagine someone going into the Louvre and remixing the Mona Lisa the making the remix the only version people could see. There would be uproar!

Impossible Princess is a marked divergence from Minogue’s usual pop princess style and, I think at least, is her best work. She has said of the album that she would never do another like it and it is her least favourite. Also, sadly, exposure wise, it didn’t fair as well as other albums, especially in the UK, as its release coincided with the death of Princess Diana, so was renamed Kylie Minogue and release was delayed until the buzz had died down.

This and Air’s Moon Safari are two albums that define a period where there were a lot of changes in my life every time I hear songs from it, fond memories are invoked of people I’ve not seen in ages and events and activities partook.   It still, even nearly 20 years since its release and about ten years since I last listened to it, sounds amazing.

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Immortal Memory – Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy [#615]

Immortal_memory_-_gerrard_cassidy_-_front.jpgWhen she’s not wailing away hauntingly with Brendan Perry and the rest of Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard likes to loan her distinctive siren call to other atmospheric music makers like Irish composer Patrick Cassidy (Hannibal {2001} and Salem’s Lot {2004}).

This pretty much sounds no different to any other Lisa Gerrard work and will no doubt appear in cheaply produced tense, moody-broody television dramas and films set in rainy locations and involving despairing situations such as wearing raincoats in Washington DC or the protagonist not being able to tell people about something awful they’ve uncovered because “the man” won’t stand for it.

I think if I really want to feel depressed and out of luck, this is the album I’ll listen to.

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Immaculata – Ion [#614]

ImmaculadaNot one of those CDs that you might find in an incense smelling floaty vagina new age shop in Avebury or Glastonbury but not far off.

Immaculata is the second album of Duncan Patterson’s music project Ion and, if the official Ion website press blurb is to be believed, a result of visiting Greece and Ireland to study musical style. And why wouldn’t you believe that? You can clearly hear the Greecian influences, the Irish influences and also maybe a teeny bit of influence from Lisa Gerrard or Blackmore’s Night.

There are some good sounds on this album and I’m not entirely certain how it ended up in my collection, but I suspect I’ve probably got it from either a royalty-free site like Jamendo while looking for something to use in a video I was making or it was one of the last things I downloaded from Usenet.

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The Images We Get – Sugarplum Fairies [#613]

Unknown-2.jpegThis is the Sugarplum Fairies’ fifth album following Chinese Leftovers and preceding Godspeed & Silver Linings and was the first crowdsourced/funded album I ever contributed to. It features the usual corduroy wearing English Literature teacher allusions and lyrical references as well as the haunting tones of Sylvia Ryder’s vocals.

Every time I listen to SPF I imagine the life of a female English Literature student besotted with and embroiled in a steamy Truffautesque relationship with their older corduroy jacket with leather patches wearing teacher. Lying post-coitally semi-naked on a bed in a smoke-filled wooden panelled windowed room. Copies of classic literature strewn hither and thither. Perhaps, as the album title suggests, that’s the imagery the band want us to get…

 

Comments Off on The Images We Get – Sugarplum Fairies [#613]

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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