Friday, 24 December 2010


There aren't enough surprises in life anymore - but here's one for ya.

This is what I'll be listening to while unwrapping my pressies, and I'd like to share it with you, all in keeping with the spirit of peace and goodwill.

I'm not going to tell you what's on it - that's where the surprise element comes in - you'll just have to trust me on this one.
You do trust me, don't you...?

So grab yourself some fun: grab my alternative Christmas mix here
And have yourself a very merry Christmas.

I'll pop the track list in comments when I'm sober.

Nadolig Llawen!


Here's some tasty bites from the recent Electronica Concert held at London, Southbank's Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The BBC Concert Orchestra along with an electronic ensemble made up of Moogs, Korgs, Rolands, ondes Martenots and theremins performed all manner of electronica from past and present, including a truly magnificent performance of Bernard Hermann's score for the 1951 movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Gort is readily envisaged: pounding the city streets; the theremin, used to exhilarating effect, creating a creepy yet truly cosmic unworldliness.
Quite brilliant.

The concert was keenly MC'd by electronica enthusiast Jarvis Cocker; his preambles, some of which I have included, explain and inform much of the music played.

His discussion with composer and performer Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) is hilarious: you can hear their anoraks rubbing together.

Following the film music, is a performance of Johnny Greenwood's (Radiohead) ever so dissonant but totally compelling smear; the strings and synths really tear and shred the air and space.
Yeah, compelling.

The downbeat smear is followed by an uplifting premier performance of Will Gregory's Journeys Into the Sky, a work still in progress, not that you'd know it from what is heard: it all seems very tight, the electronica marrying-up with the orchestra in homogeneous and harmonious splendour.

The gig ends with a rousing rendition of Kraftwerk's The Model, arranged by Art of Noise founder and Oscar winning composer Anne Dudley.
You really get the sense that the musicians are having a great time, recognising that the music they are playing is one of the reasons they are performing: anyone interested in electronic music must surely fall at the feet of the Teutonic maestros.

So, if you want to get yourself a last minute Christmas present, you could do worse than go get yourself a theremin.
Imagine this: the theremin, spoons and howling dogs.
You couldn't get more Christmassy.
Dickens would just love it.

Electronica (6/10/10)

Performed by The BBC Concert Orchestra & electronic ensemble.
Directed & conducted by Charles Hazelwood.

The Day the Earth Stood Still - Bernard Hermann
smear - Johnny Greenwood
chat (Jarvis & Will)
Journeys Into the Sky - Will Gregory
The Model - Kraftwerk (arrangement: Anne Dudley)

Ripped from DVD captured radio broadcast @320kbs
Plug in here

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Ooooh Weee Ooooh

As a supplement to the electronica pieces coming up, here's a tasty little radio doc that reveals the amazing story of Leon Theremin: electronic wizard, musician, spy, and inventor of the curious instrument that adopted his name.

With a contained enthusiasm, British musician, actor and comic, Bill Bailey, unravels Theremin's biography with some excellent clips and bites, as well as utilising the help of various talking heads from the worlds of music, electronics and espionage.

O yeah, and a poet.

With his sardonic take, John Hegley performs a theremin accompanied poem in homage to the wibbly-wobbly sound generator, bringing this entertainingly informative piece to a perfect end.

Good Vibrations: The story of Leon Theremin
Narrated by Bill Bailey (30 mins)

Ripped from cassette captured broadcast @320kbs
get here

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Radical Riddims

While listening to this album earlier while ripping, it struck me as to how relevant it still is, reinforcing the feeling that Britain has returned to a state comparable to the early nineteen-eighties: what with the rioting on the streets of London, right-wing attacks on public services, radical voices coming up from the street, and of course a right royal wedding.
Maybe we should all take to wearing leg warmers.

This recording also takes me back to that time as I saw Linton Kwesi Johnson and The Dennis Bovell Dub Band in St. Germans at one of Lord Eliot's Elephant Fayres in what I think was eightie-three [?], but bit vague there.

It was memorable enough though, for me to know that it was without doubt the best reggae show I ever experienced - only Misty in Roots came close - Johnson's wonderfully crafted dub-styled polemic poetry juxtaposed with Bovell's masterful arrangements and the band's musicianship made for the best way possible to spend two hours in a pitch field in the middle of Cornwall.

Talk about a light in the darkness; we were like moths to a flame; hanging on every word; every beat; homogeneous: unified.

Johnson often spoke about his use of 'reggae riddims' in his poetry; a way of capturing in language the rhythms and metre of Jamaican dub music; and they do work well when read a capella; the couple of examples on here exemplify this technique perfectly; and of course it allows in a live capacity for the musicians, and the audience, to have a bit of a rest and catch their breath.

But the addition of music adds so much colour and vibrancy to Johnson's poetry; often reinforcing his message; emphasising his anger and adding enormously to his emotional expression.

But most importantly, you can dance to it.

And in a sense, this is a real 'Best Of', so to speak; easily his greatest songs are included on here, capturing his first few albums, all of which are now classics of British reggae.

So get your big boots on; and whether you're on your way to a demo or a disco this makes for the perfect accompaniment.

See kids, politics can be fun.

Linton Kwesi Johnson & The Dub Band - LKJ in Concert (1985)

Five Nights of Bleeding
Dread Beat an Blood
Intro (chat)
All Wi Doin is Defendin
It Dread Inna Inglan
Man Free
What Fi Got Rave
It Noh Funny
Forces of Victory
Independent Intavenshan
Reggae Fi Peach
Di Black Petty Booshwah
New Craas Massahkah
Reality Poem
Wat About Di Workin Class
Di Great Insohreckshan
Making History

Decent rip from cassette @ 320kbs
There is a drop on one channel for part of 'Dread Beat and Blood', but it doesn't last long and soon repairs.
This is really scarce now, it seems; I attempted to find a copy - because of the aforementioned problem (yeah, anal, I know) - but couldn't find one; so let's cherish this.
Radicalise here

Friday, 10 December 2010

Macca Do

So here's some mainstream booty for y'all.

A few tracks gathered from one of the first big get-together charitee-type-affairs, collectively titled Concerts For the People of Kampuchea.

I've only got a small sample of what was put out, but I've been careful in my selection, as a lot of what was put out wasn't that great.

All the tracks were recorded at London's Hammersmith Odeon back in 1979.

Included here are two tracks from The Who: a groovy rendition of 'Sister Disco' with tasteful, bluesy, dubby outro, and a well belted out - when Daltrey could still do it - 'Behind Blue Eyes'.

Two tracks from Dave Edmunds' Rockpile, including a guest performance by Planty, who lends vocal for a pub-rock version of 'Little Sister'.

Next up, a right blistering bender from Queen [!], their epic 'Now I'm Here', and they never sounded heavier or better, and I'm not even a fan.
(I only really like 'Get Down, Make Love' and 'Killer Queen' [O yeah, and 'Flash', that one's quite good]).

This eclectic bagatelle comes to an end with the song that apparently inspired John Lennon to get off his bed, turn off the television, and go and cut an album (Double Fantasy), raising him back out of obscure privacy and making him a popular figure and recognizable icon once more.

So in a way, Wings' 'Coming Up' could be said to be responsible for Lennon's death... in a way... if you know what I mean.

The Who - Sister Disco
The Who - Behind Blue Eyes
Rockpile - Crawling From the Wreckage
Rockpile (with Robert Plant) - Little Sister
Queen - Now I'm Here
Wings - Coming Up

Quality rip from cassette @320kbs.
Rock out here

Wot, No Foetus!

Suffering another attack from the DMCA - telling me that complaints have been made to Blogger; so posts have been removed, comments lost and links deleted - I presumed it would concern those such as Primal Scream or Oasis, but no: Black Uhuru and Foetus!

So now I have no Foetus on my blog (O I do hope you all managed to grab those out of print and well deleted 12" vinyl rips), and I empathise more with those bloggers who have given up; making music available through Pirate Bay or one of the other torrent platforms (Bah!).

Still, not gonna go on about it.


Friday, 3 December 2010


It was twenty years ago Primal Scream recorded their seminal album Screamadelica, and it was seven days ago they performed the album in its entirety at London's Olympia Stadium.

Thankfully the world's greatest PSB outfit, the BBC, broadcast it, allowing me to catch it, rip it and share it with you.

I've even made a cover!
(Who said Humanity's dead?)

Primal Scream live as an experience depends entirely on their somewhat unpredictable front man Bobby Gillespie.
But he was on his very best behaviour - I don't think he even swore - however, that didn't prevent the BBC announcer squeezing in a warning as often as possible alerting the listener that they may be confronted with 'the strongest of language and adult themes'!

(I know.
It did seem rather paranoid.
I'm sure BBC6's demographic could handle anything Gillespie mentioned.

Cem and I worked out that what the BBC were most anxious about was the overt drug referencing; but hey, that's the songs; and one would assume we've come a long way since the BBC banned 'A Day in the Life'.

Still, best to be cautious when it's a Murdoch associated Tory government deciding as to whether 'Auntie' continues to receive its funding....)

The other striking factor about Gillespie's performance is that he sounds exactly the same: still the breathy, staccato, Scottish/American [?], speed fueled delivery; although it is a little painful hearing him get through 'Damage'; but to be fair, it's probably not a song they regularly include in their set list.

Strangely, they played around with the order of tracks, breaking the continuity the audience is so familiar with.
But this did allow for an enormoulsy upbeat ending, as the band closed with the two anthems 'Loaded' and 'Come Together', leaving the listener dizzy but undoubtedly aurally gratified.

Lots of bands are doing this now: taking to the road with their albums as set lists.
Some are even taking to the road with other band's albums as set lists; and I'm not just talking lookalikees or soundalikees.
More evidence, perhaps, that recorded music is moribund; over and done with; on a commercial level, at least.

But while these bands are still standing, they'll keep playing.
I mean, what else can they do...?

Primal Scream - Screamadelica Live, Olympia, London. 26/11/10

Movin' On Up
Slip Inside This House
Don't Fight It, Feel It
I'm Comin' Down
Shine Like Stars
Inner Flight
Higher than the Sun
Come Together

Ripped from DVD recorded digital broadcast @320kbs
Get Primal here

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Cocaine Knights

If you take the elements mentioned in my previous two posts:

a heap of Beatles
a dollop of Slade
a dash of Sweet
a hint of Bolan,

add just a pinch of Neil Innes,

and you arrive at Oasis.

Their Knebworth gig brought closure for me as far as the band's output was concerned.

The gig summed them up. Crystallized them.
Everything that was good about Oasis was played out in that one night.

To me they were a two album band, and their monster Knebworth gig was really an homage to those classic albums.

This is not the bootleg version of the gig. That comes from a DVD rip, and you'll be very lucky to find it at a higher rate than 128.
No, this is a recording capturing BBC Radio 1's live broadcast; ripped from cassette @320.

It is quite different to the more familiar boot; it certainly has a richer depth of sound, and of course as a 320 rip you can really crank it up.

You also get to hear why Liam apologises to his mother ('Sorry, Mam'): a little bit of banter that was omitted from the DVD - and therefore the boot - a little bit of banter that no doubt omitted a sliver from the BBC license payers' pot.
But hey, rock n roll....

My recording begins with 'Acquiesce', but on the night, they began with 'Columbia'.
I don't know why my recording excludes that opening track; either I wasn't ready to hit the record button in time - which is possible - or the BBC weren't ready - more likely - and for whatever reason that track wasn't broadcast.

So I have included it here - ripped it off from the previously mentioned boot - and it does make an interesting comparator for sound quality.

For me, Bonehead was really the driving force behind the Oasis sound; he was the engine: the one man wall of sound - think Malcolm Young (AC/DC) - a steady foundation; one strong and bold enough to withstand copious amounts of noodling that Noel built up on top of it.

Yeah, once Bonehead was out of it they were/are [?] a different band; a band that often sound like they're struggling to recreate something they once had.

But then again, aren't we all....

Oasis - Knebworth House, Stevenage. 11/8/96

Some Might Say
Roll With It
Slide Away
Morning Glory
Round Our Way - Up in the sky
Cigarettes and Alcohol
Whatever - Octopus' Garden
Cast No Shadow
The Masterplan
Don't Look Back in Anger
Live Forever
Champagne Supernova
I am the Walrus

*Columbia @128kbs, from 250,000 Fans Can't Be Wrong
All other tracks ripped from cassette captured live radio broadcast @320kbs

Grab a slice of history here