Friday, 27 April 2012

Resurrection 2

Before I go - for my work here is almost done - I wanted to resurrect a few more Remnants from the past.

No real agenda, merely things I like being available: posts that capture, in some way or other, the ethos of what this blog is supposedly all about.

Okay, to start off, and there's no better way to start than a fresh link for The Temple City Kazoo Orchestra, in all its horrible 128 glory. Continuing the absurd, I've Resurrected Edward Not Edward, songs by Edward Barton performed by others (includes: Stump, Inspiral Carpets, Dub Sex, 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald, Ted Chippington and others). One of my favourite live recordings, a truly fantastic gig that no fucker attended: Barry Melton (CJ & the Fish), Micky Jones & Deke Leonard (the two Man guitarists) captured live at...wait for it...: Baglan Social Club, Baglan, Swansea! Honestly, you won't hear a better acid-edged jam from a trio of SG wielding plankers anywhere. And it's one of the last recordings made by Micky Jones (a player Zappa rated very highly), reason enough to check it out. There's a little bit of Hawkwind: Warrior on the Edge of Time, one of their more proggy albums, released in '75; the last recording made while Lemmy was still in Dave Brock's favour. And talking of Dave Brock, I've re-upped his debut solo album Earthed to the Ground, well worth a visit. There's also two albums by the original space poet, Bob Calvert: Hype, and the excellent Test-Tube Conceived; two albums so different, it's hard to believe they came from the same artist. There's a bit of hard-edged, jazz tinged seventies' rock courtesy of Patto & Halsall's debut Boxer album Below the Belt, proving that British rock from the mid-seventies wasn't all shit. For a nostalgic reminder of what happened just a few years later, I've Resurrected Magazine's return show from 2009: a wonderful greatest hits set, with the band on top form fronted by an even camper than usual Howard Devoto. And finally, after all that dynamic sonic action, chill out with a tasty slice of Jamaican Culture: Culture's unofficially released Africa Stand Alone: heavenly sounds from one of the Island's finest.

O, there's also one of those Resurrected naughty posts below.

Shanti, roy

Bloody Hell!

Another fantastic Foetus-related item.
Mean, dirty and in your face; this is the best material J.G. Thirlwell (Foetus, or in this case Clint Ruin) produced while collaborating with the bombastic percussionist and no wave master producer Roli Mosimann: collectively known as Wiseblood.

Put together in the mid-eighties, with this album released in 87; Wiseblood are long gone; but their legacy of sound lives on, and it still sounds as stunning today as it did twenty-five years ago.

The beats and percussion on this album are absolutely immense; Mosimann creating the perfect rhythmic pallet for Thirlwell's words, delivery and soundscaping to possess and inhabit.

From the opening utterance: 'Gonzola', the mood is immediately set - how Thirlwell manages to make the mere mention of an innocuous substance such as gonzola sound so dirty and disturbing I don't know. But he does.

With the lyrics accompanied by a clipped, sharp beat and a massive guitar sound, again we see Thirlwell responding to the zeitgeist. Post-hardcore (Big Black, Sonic Youth et al.) and avant electronic music (Aphex Twin, Autechre et al.) were the new sounds that many members of Wiseblood's audience would have been interested in, so Thirlwell, a true bricoleur, readily absorbed those styles into his sound.
Consequently this album has a far more metal and bombastic sound than the Motorslug e.p. released two years earlier in 85.

'O-O (Where Evil Dwells)' is a track that in a way could be seen as reportage; as it tells the horrific story of Ricky Kasso, a murderer who inspired by mescaline, Anton LaVey and Satanism decided to commit an act of human sacrifice on a camping trip with some 'friends' on Long Island, New York, in 1984.
Once taken into custody he soon hanged himself, so no trial ever took place; which has led to enormous amounts of speculation and machination about what actually happened.

It caused an awful lot of fuss in North American media at the time as an association was soon made with the fact that Kasso listened to heavy metal music.
This all fitted in very nicely with Tipper Gore's activities: recruiting for and eventually creating the obnoxious pressure group the PMRC.
(She was soon joined by her husband Al; and I know he seems to have acquired a saintly persona of late, what with his saving the world and all, but he did make comments back in the mid-eighties that parents who allowed their children to listen to punk rock and heavy metal music were committing an act of child abuse - he also expressed a desire for the American government to take total control and heavily regulate the Internet and the World Wide Web. Funny how things change... Jeepers, I'm starting to feel like Winston Smith!)

Anyway, Wikipedia has a page about the Kasso case; if you're interested go there and check it out.

'Stumbo', one of my all-time favourite Thirlwell songs, is like a graphic novel or comic book captured in sound.
A repeated pig-like oink or grunt is the foundation of the track's beat, really adding and enhancing its surreal noirish atmosphere.
Once you hear the track 'Stumbo': Stumbo lives!
You can visualize him. You feel him. You fear him.
And rightly so, coz:


'Someone Drowned in my Pool' begins ethereally; hardly Thirlwell-like at all.
A spooky piano, lo-fi dissonant guitar chords accompany a deeply remorseful, timorous voice; a voice that attempts to explain the corpses that keep turning up within his immediate vicinity:

'She told me she was breeding
Then slipped backwards downstairs
Someone died in that womb.

I turned round to find
that miscarriage of justice [nice!]
Someone drowned in my pool.'

Of course he may sound innocent at the beginning, with maybe just the slight hint of contrition evident, but he's just a victim of circumstance, right: a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But you know by the end of the song, that the speaker is guiltyasfuck!
The track becoming a wonderful Dostoyevskian delineation and study of guilt.
Proving, if any proof were needed, that Thirlwell is a true artist of the highest calibre.
Musically and lyrically unique; and not at all afraid to deal with the most taboo of subject matter.


The final track, 'The Fudge Punch' is a spiteful piece of misogyny (just dwell on the title).
And it's a blues! well, kind of.

A monster metal guitar, provided by Mosimann's band mate, Swans' guitarist Norman Westberg, and with Mosimann's kit right at the front of the mix, the track has an enormously powerful drive and momentum.
Thirlwell spits outs the words: a delivery full of spite, venom and hate:

'Hey baby, keep your big mouth shut...
Bite the pillow...don't talk back...roll over...lay down

How can it be interpreted? Well, I guess as with so many things it's down to the ears of the beholder.
Me? I like to see it as satire; and with the big metal sound, I feel Thirlwell is attacking the misogyny associated with so much metal music; especially that which could be considered to be no more than 'cock-rock'.

But he is very convincing in his delivery. So take from it what thou will.

The climax to the track, and therefore the album, sounds just like that: a climax.
Thirlwell appears to be pleasuring himself; captured in a manner reminiscent of a dirty phone call, while Mosimann 'beats out' a Zeppelin like drum riff.

And the final sounds are given over totally to the kit; the beats play out alone, and with a great Bonham-like flourish the album comes to an end like the slamming of a door.
Which always seems to me a great way to end anything.
End with a bang. Not a whimper.

Wiseblood - Dirtdish (1987)

Vinyl rip @256kbs

Prime Gonzola
O-O (Where Evil Dwells)
Someone Drowned in My Pool
The Fudge Punch

Go get it here

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Don't Think About It!

Before the brawn, brainy discourse or movie stardom, Rollins took the Pink Fairies' passionate call for action and made it imperative.

A studio/live split, Do It adopts a kind of funky Sabbath, Stoogey blues sound for the Ian MacKaye produced studio tracks; and live: sounds more reminiscent of the mid to late seventies - sort of Dolls-like: with a more existential kind of camp, but minus the narcs, of course.

Rollins Band - Do It (1988)

Do It
Move Right In
Next Time
Black and White*
Lost and Found*
Followed Around*
Hot Animal Machine 1*

*Live in Holland, 1987

Excellent vinyl rip @320kbs

Some of the segues on the live side are so slick I felt it intrusive to interfere; so edited to two files.

Start Doing It here

Tuesday, 17 April 2012


Once Big Black had finished, and Rapeman had been fully exorcised, Albini moved on to greater things in the creation of Shellac.
1000 Hurts is their third album, and in my opinion, their best.

It features what must be the greatest opening track, ever.
It's not the greatest track - although it is a sonic blast - but it is, without doubt, the best of openers - check it out; you'll hear what I mean.

The vinyl edition came in a 12" box, emulating in design and size an Ampex Professional Recording Tape packet.

It also included a free CD edition [!], included here:

Shellac - 1000 Hurts (2000)

Prayer to God
Squirrel Song
Mama Gina
Song Against Itself
New Number Order
Shoe Song
Watch Song

CD rip
Hurt yourself  here

O, and do check out Steve Albini's food blog.
Seriously. It's very cool.
And often recipes include a little diatribe about something or other. Funny.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Tooty Flutey

For the same reason Jack White insists on using valves, Florilegium insist on playing music using very old instruments.

The results are impressive; and bring to the familiar something fresh and exciting; not bad going for music written nearly three hundred years ago.

Mine [and everyone else's] favourite baroque suite, is Bach's Brandenburg concertos; but this version has readily become my favourite.

Along with their longing for keeping it real, Florilegium Early Music Ensemble often like to play around with convention: they include difficult sequences that other chamber orchestras may leave out; they play complete pieces where others abbreviate; and as in this case, they often play around with what has become conventional arrangement and order; deciding in this instance that the concertos should be played 1,6,3,2,5,4, rather than the conventional numerical order.

Okay, hardly The Sex Pistols on Today, but anarchic none the less.

As for their playing, well, beautifully recorded (Radio 3 have had a lot of practice at this sort of thing), very breathy, very live, and at times Florilegium aren't a million miles away from a live Mothers of Invention (think Lumpy Gravy, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, Uncle Meat periods); revealing Bach's importance and quite ubiquitous presence in the most peculiar of places.

J.S. Bach - Brandenburg Concertos (circa 1720)

Performed by Florilegium at the Chipping Campden Music Festival, 2011.
DVD captured Radio 3 digital broadcast @320kbs

1,6 & 3 here
2,5 & 4 here

The Post Below

The post below is one I posted a few years back but had a little, ahem, problem with; so I've put it back up with new link and no label.
Pushing my luck perhaps, but my luck I shall push as this blog is soon to go into retirement.
Grab it while you can

Foetal Remnants

Quadruplets of prime Foetal matter.
A brood of Thirlwell e.p.s from the eighties for aural delight.

As his first adopted persona: 'Foetus', J.G.Thirlwelll really did bring something new to life during that horrible dour period of the mid-eighties. Full of drama, overt machismo, threatened violence, sadism, misogyny, black-vaudeville-type [ironic?] humour and musical theatrics equal to the grandest of grand opera, here was an artist who although quickly labelled as a member of the 'no wave', was unique. Incomparable then: greatly emulated since; you can hear his influence throughout so many sub-genres; and this e.p. from 85, a You've Got Foetus On Your Breath production, shows how Thirlwell was already having big fun with rap and dance music. Accompanying it with what was already becoming his own familiar style of art work, adopting stark red, white and black cover designs, which often incorporated comic book and iconographic styles; in this case obvious Socialist imagery, but doing a bit of an Escher with it.

And why not?

Sometimes it seemed as if Thirlwell existed years ahead of his time. I could imagine, at the time of listening to this on release, this is what the music of the future will sound like; and on listening to this e.p. now, 'Slog' especially sounds very relevant; and if it wasn't for the crackles on my recording (just imagine it as a DJ Shadow mix) it wouldn't sound that out of place amongst what is going on now, twenty-five or so years later, in the 'alternative indie dance scene'.

Cem, on first hearing Foetus described it as sounding like Trent Reznor speeded-up; like NIN, but more jolly, and a lot more fun.

And this recording is definitely fun; not yet the darker Foetus that would soon expose its depravity, but a bouncy, danceable and singalongable-to Foetus.

But things were about to change: for as the decade moved on, selfishness, greed and smack were all becoming the fads and flavours of the day, and Thirlwell was to be our mirror, our own little no wave Caliban.

You've Got Foetus on Your Breath (1985)

Wash It All Off
Today I Started Slogging Again

A couple of releases later and Thirlwell was becoming just as much a composer as he was a radical artist and musician. This e.p. from 87, indicates how much he had progressed musically: the Stravinsky-like stringed outro on the track 'Ramrod' is stunningly arranged and executed; full of foreboding, darkness and power: a truly incredible piece of music.

The flip side adopts a more industrial edge, with the track 'Boxhead' sounding a little like an Al Jorgenson production; but due to its idiosyncratic soundscaping and theatricality, Thirlwell's sound allowed him to retain individuality: Ministry-like, perhaps, but a very dark vaudeville version.

Along with the previous album Nail, Thirlwell had established a place in the music scene akin to a cult film director working in Hollywood; a Lynch-like character.
This e.p. is Thirlwell's Eraserhead.

Scraping Foetus Off the Wheel (1987)


Thirlwell was always big on collaborations, and one of his best joint projects was Wiseblood: a collaboration with the Swiss' Prince of Darkness: Roli Mosimann.

And apart from the obvious percussive elements, Mosimann brought a lot of production value to Thirlwell's sound. This is most notable on the Dirtdish album, featuring songs such as the comic monster blaster 'Stumbo' and the wistful 'Someone Drowned in my Pool', both of which were later released as singles.

Motorslug, 1985, was the first Wiseblood e.p. release. Petrol-head's delight: strap yourself in and GO:
"Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel"

 Minimalist is too busy a term to describe 'Death Rape 2000'.

With just three notes, Thirlwell attempts to conjure up a demonic state with a blast of Musica Diabolica: an assault on the senses from a tritone sequence repeated for seven and a half minutes.

"Death Rape 2000.
An Instrument.
An Instrument of Torture/An Instrument of Music

Maximum Volume and Minimum Distraction is Suggested.

Playable At Most High Speeds.

Recommended Listening Environment:

Under Fast Strobe And/Or At High Speed"

Using the tritone, or Devil's Interval is not uncommon in dissonant music; and since the Middle Ages has always been considered to be audio code for evil or the Devil; so much so, that the Catholic Church censored and banned any piece of music that included the diabolical musical interval: any sequence of notes spanning three whole tones.

It has become most familiar now through Tony Iommi stumbling across it and choosing it as the riff to open the theme track 'Black Sabbath'. He claimed to know nothing about the diabolical connection with the augmented fourth (probably the most diabolical of all tritone sequences), he claimed to be just searching for "something that sounded right... something that sounded really evil and doomy".

And I believe him, serendipity is an amazing thing; and who knows, maybe the devil took his prosthetic fingertips and guided the digits through the sequence. Well you never know.

More conscious uses of the Devil's Interval pop up in Sibelius and Wagner; Britten uses it in his War Requiem; Hendrix used it in 'Purple Haze'; Metallica in 'For Whom the Bell Tolls', and Danny Elfman used it to open his theme for The Simpsons!
Go on, sing it to yourself.

On seeing Foetus around this time, I was expecting to walk out on stage (remember this was years before the net, when an image is merely a click away, and Foetus didn't appear on BBC television that often) some dude with a bone through his nose, draped in shrunken heads, carrying a spear in one hand and the Bible in the other; but no, he was just a real regular looking guy. In fact, someone commented at the time, that he looked a little like Rick Astley...

Rick Astley

Wiseblood - Motorslug (1985)

Death Rape 2000

Long before Nick Cave and Polly Harvey became the darlings of the hip-goth set, or Dita got it together with Brian, Thirlwell got it on, both romantically and creatively, with musician and all-round vamp, Lydia Lunch.

One of the results of their creative entanglement was the release of the e.p. Stinkfist in 1987, with Thirlwell adopting his favoured collaborating moniker: Clint Ruin.

A vast amount of percussion and 'metal' was used in this recording, with Thirlwell even drafting in extra skin and metal thumpers - Cliff Martinez amongst them - to add some professionalism to the cacophony.

Very tribal and dancy, Thirlwell created a ritualistic sound; again foreseeing future trends, and anticipating the fusion of the industrial sound with dance, and much of the thematic thrash and hardcore that was soon to follow in its wake.

The percussion and beats are highly textured and massive on this piece and it really builds as the track progresses. Accompanied with vocal group chants and moans and groans from Lunch, it almost becomes reminiscent of White Noise's 'Black Mass in Hell', but essentially it has Love at its heart:


I like to play along with the spoons.

The flip side allows Lunch to take the reigns, and we hear her creepy, seductive, femme fatale voice utter, spit and shout the words of her 'Meltdown' poem. Thirlwell provides a fitting dockland soundscape, with the sounds of distant heavy machinery and fog horns [!].

As her final "I'm terminally fucked up" is decaying, it is met with an enormous barrage of explosive percussion, squeals of feedback, and ending with erotic sounds that could have been taped from a sex-line.

At very nearly eleven minutes long, this may well be the true heart of this e.p. and in many ways is the most collaborative of the three tracks, as it is just Lunch and Thirlwell providing all the sounds.

'Son of Stink' sounds to me like some diabolical tap-number from a warped-out horror movie that nobody has been quite warped-out enough to have made yet. I'm sure its time will come.

Again, another good one for the spoons. Well, while you've got them out...

Clint Ruin & Lydia Lunch - Stinkfist (1987)

Meltdown Oratorio
Son of Stink

All Foetal Remnants @320 here

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

St. Patrik's Day

Here's a rare thing: a tribute album dedicated to a single artist that's actually very good; consistently very good, in fact.

There's something extremely conducive in Patrik Fitzgerald's songs that make them ideal cover fodder.
No matter what the genre - although there is a natural tendency towards punk and post punk - the diversity and range across this two disc package creates interest, surprise and a little bit of nostalgic pleasure.

Bands, artists, poets, from all over the place get in on the act: some old, some new - there's a lot from Norway [!]; PF must be big in Norway - but all in all, homage indeed for one of the original urban folkies.

Most gratifying this.

Various Artists - All Sewn Up - A Tribute to Patrik Fitzgerald (2009)

Punch - Motorpsycho (feat Jello Biafra)
Laughter Far Away - Terry Lee Hale
Live Out My Stars - Max Lorentiz
Ragged Generation - Milk Kan
Safety Pin Stuck in My Heart - Isreael Vis
Banging & Shouting - Betong Hysteria
Trendy - Seven
Little Fishes - Jim Jasmine
How the Fuck? - All Trouble
Animal Mentality - Sister Rain
Tonight - Lez Marwick
Work, Rest, Play, Reggae - Benjamin Zephaniah
Backstreet Boys - Attila the Stockbroker
One Little Soldier - Pog
Island of Lost Souls - Reilly Express
Set We Free - Bladed
When I Get Famous - The Legend!
One By One - Dog & Sky
Shadow of a Man - Jackie Leven & Michael Cosgrove
Unaware - BC
All the Years of Trying - Geoff Berner
Bingo Crowd - The School
As Ugly As You - Try Love & the Taxis of Evil
Personal Loss - Kevin Hewick
Optimism/Reject - Hook Line & Sinker
No Fun Football - Liliedugg
Paranoid Ward/All My Friends Are Dead Now - The 3rd & the Mortal (feat Attila the Stockbroker)
Improve Myself - Thomas Robsahm (feat Vera & Jara)
All Sewn Up - Monolithic
Cruelest Crime - Max Lorentz
Same Coin, Different Madness - Motor Incubator

CD rip
Down Pat here