Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Rock n Roll Lament

A charming poetic hodgepodge this, allowing the Gong shaman Daevid Allen to revel in his whimsical yet witty bardic persona.

Disparately drawing on the Beats, Robert Wyatt, Genesis P Orridge and Faust [!], the result is a gorgeous homage - and obituary- to poetry and music.

Realised with the help of [Mark] Kramer on piano, William S Burroughs via sampled voice and Elizabeth Middleton adding female voice and occasional piano, Allen concocts and mixes the elements masterfully together.

The Burroughs featured track 'You Never Existed At All' is the highlight of this mini-album; Allen continuing the project that Burroughs and Gysin began: creating forms and textures from cut up samples of recorded, then manipulated voice tracks.
It's both eerie and mesmerizing, and somehow manages to utilize the seemingly oppositional styles of ambient and industrial.
Released in several different forms, this is the original 12" vinyl version.

Daevid Allen - The Death of Rock & Other Entrances (1982)

Death of Rock
Poet For Sale
Tolly's Birthday Song
You Never Existed At All

Vinyl rip @320kbs
Go beyond the Planet Gong here

Saturday, 26 September 2009

All for One & One for All

Excellent retrospective collection of Clement 'Sir Coxsone' Dodd's Studio One Records, representing a track by track history and evolution of Jamaican reggae; from ska to roots, from dub to DJ.

So many major artists began their career recording with Dodd, to list them would literally be a who's who of Jamaican music.
But this compilation (originally part of a DVD, CD and book package) is well chosen and expertly put together, reflecting the true development of the Jamaican sound; and proving the importance of Sir Coxsone's role and ubiquitous presence.

So the compilation isn't obvious, and at the expense of going for a Best Of packed with big star names, a far more interesting collection of tracks can be heard.

For instance, Michigan and Smiley's 'Nice Up the Dance' is a great example of early dub music. Primitive, sure, but you really can hear the foundations being laid; the ground rules being set.

And when you hear the Heptones performing 'Baby', ska roots noticeably morph into the more accessible and pop friendly rock steady beat, right before your very ears.

The perfect compliment to this post can be found courtesy of Devotional Hooligan; showcasing the development of Duke Reid: Sir Coxsone's major rival during the period when the Sound System really mattered and meant something in Jamaican popular culture.

Various Artists - Studio One Story (2002)

Theo Beckford - Easy Snapping
The Skatalites - Guns of Navarone
Delroy Wilson - Dancing Mood
Michigan and Smiley - Nice Up the Dance
Heptones - Baby
The Abyssinians - Declaration of Rights
Alton Ellis - I'm Still in Love With you
Tommy McCook - Tunnel One
Sugar Minott - Jah Jah Children
The Skatalites - Men in the Street
Dub Specialist - Banana Walk
Dennis Alcapone - Run Run
Larry Marshall - Nanny Goat
Brentford Road Allstars - Throw Me Corn
Lone Ranger - Love Bump
Jackie Mittoo - Freak Out

CD rip to mp3s
Skank through time here

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Bro! Orb Remixed!

Motivated by their best release for years, The Orb broadcast this sixty minute little gem last weekend.

Mostly new, a little bit of old, material mixed up and remixed; proving that their Baghdad Batteries is a blessed return to their roots and previous form.

Plenty of hints of 'Fluffy Little Clouds', 'Assassin' and 'The Blue Room' here; moving gently between ambient and dub and back again; all perfectly controlled by the good Doctor Paterson whose fingers guide the knobs.

Originally broadcast on BBC6, 12/9/09, as part of the 6 Mix Session spot.
I have split this up into bite size pieces; separating Paterson's patter and removing idents.
I have included Paterson's preamble, as it's worth hearing, but you may not want to hear it every time.
When editing for burning, put the musical parts together and remove pauses, it segues pretty smoothly.

Baghdad Batteries
Chuck Peas (remix)
Your Eyes Are Dreaming (remix)
Styrofoam Meltdown
Dolly Unit (remix)
Orban Tumbleweed
DDD (remix)
Raven's Reprise

Captured digital broadcast @320kbs
Polish up your Orb here

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Mix It Up

Feel I needed to mix things up a bit; and having not posted any dub for a while, I felt the best way to stir things up is to post a slice of one of the great mixers of all time: Mr.Blakamix himself: Dennis 'Mixman' Bedeau.

In fact this is a double dose of Mixman; as he generously provided Volume One of his 'Dub Series' New Dimension Dub (1989), with this the second in the series: Dub Like Wild Fire (1992).

All in all very nearly eighty minutes of eardrum bending, torso folding, 'Essential' dub.

Like The Mad Professor, Scientist, King Tubby, Adrian Sherwood, et al. Bedeau's mastery of the studio places his music right up there alongside those other more well-known dub-masters.

There is a slight leaning on Dub Like Wild Fire towards drum and bass patterns and hints at other similar club styleees; but really the heart of Bedeau's dub lay in roots music, the African continent and Jamaica - despite the fact that he was based in Bedford, England - and New Dimension Dub is far more traditionally flavoured.

So if you dig heavy heavy dub sounds, made from a blend of instruments, elecronica, the odd voice and some serious knob twiddling, it may be well worth checking this out.

Much of Mixman's recent music is still available; so if you like this seek some out.
Betcha can't get this one though!
(Except here of course...)
MixMan - Dub Like Wild Fire & New Dimension Dub (1992)

Imperial Dub
Trodding Creation
Zulu Warrior
Dub Tribe
Kill Nebuchadnezzer
Rivers Dub
African Princess
Crash Like Thunder
African Boat Row
Dub Like Wild Fire
Malachi the Messenger
Try Run Nuh
Steppers Delight
Dub to Zion
Dangerous Fusion
Warrior Dance
Mixman's 5th Symphony
Who is the Hooligan
Ark of the Covenant
New Dimension Dub

CD rip to mp3s
Mix one for yourself here

Monday, 7 September 2009

Deluxe Upgrade

Be Bop Deluxe were a guilty pleasure of mine back in the late seventies.
Of course I was a young punk: 'rock music was passe' ; bands such as Be Bop Deluxe were dinosaurs: has beens.

But there was just something about them I liked.
A particular favourite was the Live in the Air Age album; the one with the Metropolis robot on the cover; but it wasn't something I would slip on between ATV and the Angelic Upstarts when mates were round.

Essentially, what was so interesting about Be Bop Deluxe was Bill Nelson.
So when he decided to dissolve Be Bop Deluxe, and recreate himself in the guise of an arty post-punk rocker, it suddenly became okay to publicly show appreciation: Bill Nelson became hip!

(If you think I'm exaggerating just check out the hair and outfits he wore on the covers of Be Bop Deluxe albums. Don't mean to sound too mean though; after all it was back in the day... and he was definitely one of the best - and one of the least appreciated - guitarists of that late glam period.)

His first conception into this new world was the album Sound on Sound, quickly followed by the e.p. Furniture Music.
With the title track lifted from the album, the flip contained two unreleased tracks; and as so often with artists working in more alternative genres the flip side is more interesting than the more commercially targeted A side.

'Wonder Toys That Last For Ever' is a great track; very evocative of its time.
Punk had completely thrown out the rule book, and the early post-punk period allowed musicians to experiment; to play around; not to be so self conscious and deferentially intertertextual.

With this in mind, the final track, 'Acquitted By Mirrors', is a kind of laid-back, post-punk, reggae, blues.
Nelson possessed the 'magic ears'; he was incredibly good at mixing things up.

The next single revealed Nelson's new sense of style; adopting a militia look, fascistic even - it was kind of vogue: think of Devo, Kraftwerk or Joy Division.

The tracks leaned more towards the new wave than the harder post-punk sound, and electronica and manipulation of sound seemed to become more interesting to Nelson; and technology and development of sound soon became something that was very much part of the band's identity.

And then he broke it up.

And for the first time since his debut album in 1971, he began creating music as a solo artist.

Whether it was the independence, autonomy or whatever; his next project, the e.p. Do You Dream in Colour? was without a doubt the best yet.

Playing all instruments bar saxophone (played by brother Ian), Nelson's magic ears brought great vibrancy and colour to the title track.
The arrangement is perfect. The production entirely modern - reverting back to more of a progressive post-punk sound - but I just love the way he uses the finger cymbals throughout the track; it shouldn't work, but it so does.

On the flip side more experimentation is heard; with Nelson using lots of guitar effects and synthesizers to great effect.
'Instantly Yours' is particularly excellent; with some of the fastest ska styled playing you'll ever hear.

In so many ways Bill Nelson's music at this time was really a product of fusion: his own past had caught up with him.
It's all in there; evident especially on the Do You Dream in Colour? e.p.
You can hear the prog roots and the glam; punk, new wave and post-punk; they're all there too; all elements coming together; creating something new.
Nelson was a true post-modern musician; he adapted to the time; he tuned into the zeitgeist.
But to be quite honest; to my ear at least; there's not really that much difference between 'Atom Man Loves Radium Girl' and 'Ships in the Night'.
After all, Live in the Air Age did use robot imagery for its cover.

Bill Nelson's Red Noise - Furniture Music (1979)

Furniture Music
Wonder Toys That Last For Ever
Acquitted By Mirrors

Bill Nelson's Red Noise - Revolt Into Style (1979)

Revolt Into Style
Out of Touch

Bill Nelson - Do You Dream in Colour? (1980)

Do You Dream in Colour?
Ideal Homes
Instantly Yours
Atom Man Loves Radium Girl

Decent vinyl rips @320kbs
Nelson's evolution found here

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Sonic Nights

This Hawkwind 12" is really an homage to themselves and an ode to their relationship with the Stonehenge Free Festival; a festival that was certainly at its biggest when this was released in 1984.
It was essentially the last of the Stonehenge June festivals as the following year ended in what has now become infamous history.

The title track is joyful, celebratory; even Lemmy lends voice to the football-chant-style chorus.

Brock does his typical piston-like lower arm oriented riff while Huw Lloyd-Langton's floaty lead guitar notes dance gracefully over the top.

'Green Finned Demon' is a strange beast.
Penned by Brock and Bob Calvert, it's a kind of 50's B movie, of the monster variety, in sound.
You'll get what I mean when you hear it.

'Dream Dancers' reveals Dr. Technical's love of electonica and avant-garde experimentation; segueing nicely into Huw Lloyd-Langton's 'Dragons & Fables', sounding very much like a typical Lloyd-Langton Band number rather than a full blown Hawkwind take.

So a bit of a mini-Ummagumma really; the big joint effort juxtaposed with some individual pieces.
As a whole it makes for a good listen.
It was a good period for Hawkwind. The Mother Ship had returned to a positive course; and I believe inspired many a band from around this period to journey off on their own voyages of cosmic exploration.

Hawkwind - Night of the Hawks (1984)

Night of the Hawks
Green Finned Demon
Dream Dancers
Dragons & Fables

This e.p. was dedicated to Barney Bubbles, leaving Planet Earth in 1983.

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs
Nocturnal raptors here