originally published via losing today in January 2011……this one features…..
wanda jackson, part chimp, john blaze, k-x-p, fortdax, sideways through sound, kentucky ramblers, charley patton, sonhouse, sean smith, sleepy sun, dungen, galactic ramble, fuzz acid and flowers, special sound – the creation and legacy of the radiophonic workshop, children of the revolution, jonny cola and the a grades
‘ear candy for your hi-fi’
Wanda Jackson ‘thunder on the mountain’ (third man). Bugger me been a long time since we heard the celebrated queen of rockabilly sounding so on top of her game, uprooted and equipped with a new set of sparks and signed to the vastly improving with each coming release Jack White headed Third Man imprint, Jackson is let loose with her new found mojo and here found hurtling at speed over the hillbilly hills and bearing down fast and evoking new life into Dylan’s ‘thunder on the mountain’. a freewheeling mama make no bones about it, this babe struts, purrs and shimmies like a bad ’un with Jackson being tailgated by tooting honky tonk keys and a devilishly insistent and impatient riff coil all flanked by busy buzz of Stax primed brass fanfares. Not to be outdone ‘dust on the bible’ features on the flip – a sterling slice of chilled and smoked deep South gospel soul that aside having you radiating with warmth may well instil a desire to dig out some old Emmylou Harris and Dolly tunes for comparison.
Part Chimp ‘you decide’ (gringo). Welcome return to these pages for both label and band, seems in the intervening years of absence that Part Chimp have lost none of their charm for ‘you decide’ is a seeping scab dying to be picked, about you in an instant from the word go, this caustic cacophony rattles up the tension like no ones business, a jarring jamboree nailed to the floor by the rush of grizzled riffs, locked groove chord and punctuated vocals – hell if we didn’t know better we’d say it was a nasty skull crunching face off between Shellac and Jesus Lizard. On the flip you’ll find lurking ‘big bird’ – a swamp dragged and festering cauldron of some measure, totally skewed and screwed and blessed with the kind of white hot riffage that you suspect exposed to repeat doses will melt your stylus, buried somewhere in the calamitous goo though a new strain of glam grunge is forging an unhealthy birthright. Comes housed in a nifty screened envelope sleeve type thing with download code for all you turntable-less heathens.
John Blaze ‘groovy news’ (self released). Ooh this is quite sumptuously – dinky and disarming, is that trace elements of the Burt (as in Bacharach) we can here, oh yea and what’s this – shades of Fort Dax’s ‘like cream in your spine’ swirling curvaceously amid an orbiting cosmic west coast breeze that shimmers with kaleidoscopic succulence upon the crest of whose wave a secret sonic space is encountered wherein the harmonic forever golden sound of the Beach Boys interweaves with the chilled milky way groove of a ‘cobra and phases’ era Stereolab. Alas though no further info for now but you can download (I think we are okay in saying) this cute thing from http://johnblaze.bandcamp.com/track/groovy-news
K-X-P – this maybe called ‘pockets’ and then again may not – who knows – well we don’t for starters – anyhow pulled from their forthcoming self titled debut full length here’s a sneaky mp3 link that we’ve managed to prise away from their press people and which if like me should have you suitably mind wired and gagging for more – alas the albums not out till march – it arrives on the pretty classy Smalltown Supersound imprint – they hail from Finland and will be over here on these shores doing bad things with paying punters headspace at the end of the month with dates planned for Dublin, Glasgow, cork, leeds, Kilkenny and London. As to the actual track sounds to us like a seriously freakish and psyched out youthful Pere Ubu trashed out on bad hallucinogens after a marathon headphone experience blissing out on Amon Dull II and such like and found engaging in some sort of galactic warfare by wiring up an early 70’s Radiophonic Workshop studio for meltdown. Nuff said – here’s the file see if I’m not right……
And as we mentioned fortdax in passing a little earlier – just a quick one to say that while Darren still remains in hiding you can of course download the entire fortdax back catalogue via http://www.fedge.net/fortdax/archival/06.html – the set split into three parts features rare demo cuts, singles that were shelved, limited promo releases never made widely available to the public – a here we are talking of the Static Caravan xmas single from 2005, a peel session and some live stuff – worth it just to grab ’like cream’ and ’a beverley mythic’ – much missed – oi where are you ya work shy blighter……
Sideways through sound -the essential folk gazing psyche show transmitting from out of Australia and hosted by thee sonic assassin rounded up the year by featuring selected cuts from Sean Smith’s Dfahey-esque ‘Christmas’ set which you can root out at the finest record emporiums in the land or else order via Tompkins Square the very same label which released the highly recommended 3cd set ‘people take warning – murder ballads and disaster songs 1913 – 1938’ – a colossal set of depression era slabs of country, blues and folk – among the celebrated roll call tracks from son house, charley patten and the Kentucky ramblers. Further mentions in near future missives. Anyway back to sideways through sound – Sean Smith is the featured artist – elsewhere sharing the play list schedule with a smattering of festive fayre and best of 2010 tracks – the selections including cuts from Sleepy Sun, Dungen, wolf People and something quite simply stunning from the Demon Parade who we will be scampering around trying to source for future missive mentions. You can d/load the set via http://sidewaysthroughsound.blogspot.com/
Fairly sure I mentioned in passing the latest Richard Morton Jack tome ‘endless trip’ which is out shortly via foxcote, the essential cousin to the immensely enjoyable ‘galactic ramble’ and perfect book shelf companion to all those Vernon Joynson related psych / garage / bubblegum lists such as ‘fuzz acid and flowers’ er al. those fancying pitting your wits can get a stab at grabbing one of the copies going up for grabs in a competition being run by mad Jack – all you have to do is identify all the tracks featured on cobbled together d/load compilations available via the link below. Hell if you canna be arsed at least you get yourself a tasty bag of rockin toons – go to http://galacticramble.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html
And talking of Fuzz, Acid and Flowers – those of you who can’t quite stump up the rather pricey cover fee of the latest limited and expanded print edition or else don’t have a coffee table sturdy enough to take the weight of this back breaking door stopper can console yourselves by hooking up to the PDF version of what we assume is an earlier edit of this most essential and celebrated by going to http://alextsu.narod.ru/borderlinebooks/us6070s/index.html – we are just to good to you lot…….
And so to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop – which indeed we were mentioning if only in passing a short spell back – there’s a most excellent tome currently doing the rounds published by Oxford University Press entitled ‘Special Sound – the creation and legacy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop‘. don’t be put off by the seemingly high brow outer appearance of this work, though an academic/ musicologist study by Louis Niebuhr – moonlighting from his daytime post as assistant professor at the University of Nevada, its allure is that it hits a highly readable literary middle ground that appeals and communicates to scholars, musicologists and casual observers alike, between the musical notations / theorems / case studies and the technical instructions of the hardware deployed by the Workshop throughout its 40 year existence, Neibur strikes a telling balance in the telling of this as were most prized BBC institution the overall remit of the account essentially being to recast the importance brought to bear by the Workshop of shaping, moulding and changing the understanding / perception of a recalcitrant and often suspicious British listenership to the delights of electronic sounds. Of course these days such hardware mediums are taken for granted, costs of state of the art musical devices are now easily within the budget of most, wander into your local high street newsagent and browse the news stands and peruse copies of magazines such as Computer Music and Future Music and you’ll find resources available enabling the ability to craft and create weird or more specifically special sounds, more is the point such resources are now within the grasp of anyone hooked up to a computer. Such ease and spirit of the DIY ethos was in the end the ultimate downfall of the Workshop, its painstaking artistry and expertise for experimentation and its resourcefulness at working to non existent budgets often with a need to cannibalise redundant hardware had won it admirers for sure, yet those admirers in the secrecy of homes, bedrooms and hobbyist sound sheds were taking note and as agendas within the BBC shifted with each passing suit and with them the revaluation placed upon the Workshop in terms of limits, focus and profit margins often at the expense of being out there and a flag ship leader – so to technology shifted apace and the real cost of each passing season’s new wave of synthesizers dramatically reduced and those students that had watched and admired from afar soon themselves became the sonic alchemists taking electronics to the next level. However back in the early 50’s the musical landscape was a world away, as early as 1953 the BBC had began to utilise elements of electronic sound primarily in so far as radio science fiction with the Charles Critton penned ‘journey into space’ proving to be the first recognised broadcast, that said there had been a small albeit vocal minority at the BBC enviously observing the experimental developments from Europe – notably Paris (Schaeffer) and Cologne (Stockhausen) and their work surrounding electronic acoustics by way of music concrete and tape manipulations. As ensuing broadcasts by way of the light programme became more critically acclaimed for their accompanying sound treatments, insiders amid the shadowy corridors of the BBC began to rally for an accessible specialist studio / laboratory where sonic innovation could be nurtured and that could exist unfettered by the hierarchy and left to its own devices to experiment / develop and create the kind of sounds to match their European rivals. As Niebur notes throughout ‘special sound’ the arrival of the Workshop was a prolonged birth fraught by political / organisational suspicion (in particular sexism and the BBC‘s attitude towards women), petty jealousy and snobbish ignorance, belittled by internal composers working to traditional means / instruments – from day one the BBC failed to really grasp what worth they had in the Workshop, from its initial emergence in 1958 faced with budget restrictions (an issue that would bedevil the department throughout its forty year existence) the savvy engineers posted to the new baby in Maida Vale were forced to go begging bowls in hand to salvage equipment from other departments. Niebur traces the ages of innovation compromised and persevered by a shoe string mentality and a determination to succeed and achieve the impossible as well as the shifts from tape manipulated sources to analogue synths to the digital age and the embracing of the Mac in the 80‘s. within changing cultures, attitudes and fashions are discussed in detail, elsewhere all the key personnel of the Workshop who helped shape its lasting reputation are duly honoured with each of their attentive creative foibles discussed in detail – Derbyshire (note her spectacular meltdown at the 1971 Exhibition concert attended by the Queen), Baker, Fagandini, Hodgson, Clarke, Kingsland, Limb, Parker and Howell to name just a small select few whilst Niebur pays particular attention in ensuring that the key part in the departments development in its formative months by Daphne Oram is something more worthy of a generalist post script. From its fledging and celebrated scores for drama (see ’the disagreeable oyster’ and ’quatermass and the pit’) to the groundbreaking theme for Dr Who whose importance cannot be overstated (a show that would by equal measure stereotype and yet define and ensure for all time the collectives deserved space in the musical history books and act as a central character to the Radiophonic story) through to the benchmark aural choreography provided for Attenborough’s most memorable ‘living planet’ and ’life on earth’ series’ whilst not forgetting ’hitchhikers guide to the galaxy’ – ‘Special Sound‘ provides a more than welcome re-alignment of the history of electronic music placing the Radiophonic Workshop firmly on the axis of everything creatively innovative in terms of sound development in the last half century whilst simultaneously addressing the long overdue credit deserved of this most treasured collective for the removing of the wizards curtain to reveal and reclaim the experimental electronic techniques from the intellectual avant garde set.
One thing we did mean to mention in the bumper year end missive – apart from that is 2010’s edition of the Yellow6’s merry 6mas extravaganza – was the third (I think I’m right in saying) festive musical calendar via maps magazine which you can still pick up for a free d/load at http://www.joyzine.org – of course ion our own imitable arse about tit fashion we will cover both in the next missive (which all things being well will be surfacing in cyber space sometimes over this coming weekend). So just to confuse matters a tad and serving as a taster – we’ve decided to mention ahead of all this a dinky little cut which features on said compilation by the much admired Jonny Cola and the A Grades who will according to a hot of the presses email just received – be appearing – oh bugger I’ll let them tell you –
On Friday night (14th), we’re doing a live acoustic session on
London’s Resonance FM, available on 104.4 if you’re in the capital or
online at http://resonancefm.com/. The show is Mining For Gold, the
brainchild of Johny Brown, frontman of underground legends The Band Of
Holy Joy, and we’re very much looking forward to it.
Oh yea there’s a debut album currently kicking – well been kicking around for a few months that we’ll have to nab a copy of – ho hum – anyway to that maps magazine festive gubbins. ‘all I want for Christmas is an action man’ is its title – alas not a loosely reworked cover of the famous Half Man Half Biscuit – ’all I want for Christmas is the dukla prague away kit’ – instead this babe is a bit of a beast of slyly epic proportions with its tousled Suede – esque glam locks and its pouting glitter adorned Mott meets Wizzard lashes Johnny Cola this gloriously misty eyed sweetie sways and swerves all the time propelled and adorned in the finest top and tails of classic Christmas pop valour. A bit of gem in other words.
‘Children of the Revolution’ by Dave Thompson (Cherry Red). According to Thompson glam rock was an inevitable scene waiting to happen, its coming was forged by a series of events both style and social in origin, the passing of the 60’s and with it the decline of hippydom and the briefly colourised psychedelic movement had themselves nurtured a lingering hankering for glamour and flamboyance, around the time there had been a relaxation of the legal strictures pertaining to homosexuality and the ending of the centuries old right of the Lord Chamberlain’s office to veto and censor plays and productions destined for the public stage, these freedoms brought with them a new found creative out-ness bringing with them the art class movers from out of the secrecy afforded by their underground hideaways to the public masses at large. At the turn of the new decade the primary forces on the UK scene throughout the 60’s were rapidly unreeling – The Beatles were at an end while the Stones looked similarly off stride with the death of Jones, the hugely publicised drug busts and the Altamont fall out all converging. Elsewhere rock music was splintering between two classes – the heavy blues variant touted by Led Zep and co would mutate through the varying hard rock skins before being celebrated as heavy metal while elsewhere seasoned musicians were happy to practice their art amid the eclectic and sometimes considered snobbish progressive movement a by product of this was that albums ruled the market while the single / 7 inch was relegated in worth and relevance. While the late 60’s had prompted and promoted a new musical liberalism, by its close the axe had swiftly settled down leaving the musical landscape as narrow as ever. 1970 in the UK was a time of optimism, looking to the future, the drab and dour early 60’s still suffering with a post war hangover had started to loosen, it was the coming of youth, political schisms aside it was a time marked by the space age and with it the territorial landscape held by the accepted mediums of sound were being infiltrated by the growing acceptance of sounds derived by synthesizers – oh and Top of the Pops went colour. Thompson’s ’children of the revolution’ is a hugely enjoyable read that takes us through the frightening and fantastic faces and facets of glam in between stopping off at the daft and the dandy, the beautiful and the bizarre. restricted to the UK scene, Thompson doesn’t pretend to have noted every glam release however what he has done is to chronologically list a month by month account of happenings (tv appearances, radio sessions, concert reviews and other such like) / incidents of relevance and news cuttings that would have attracted and interested any self respecting the glitter glued geek of the day whilst into the bargain shining a florescent moon beam on this most genre bending of scenes (rock n’ roll, punk, new romantics, Goths and brit pop have all somewhere along the line cross wired into its manifesting sonic matrix). Thompson thoroughly makes the case for glam’s opportune arrival and its teen beat transfusion to an ailing pop market notably its reclaiming of the 7 inch single, like its distantly related successor punk to which glam was a contributory antecedent, the scene was primarily aimed at the youth of the day and like all memorable scenes each had a totem imprint upon the utterance of whose name would immediately attach to a specific time and sound style – punk had stiff, mod had two tone, c-86 would take creation while for glam no other label shone like the glitter garlanded Bell records – the ultimate hit factory of the era. Over the course of 450 pages Thompson inspects the loft to dust down the terrible and the treasures of the age, the Top of the Pops albums, lift off with Ayeshea, pan’s people, pop printed pillowcases and disco 45 are just some of the memories dredged and brought back to full lasting horror. Glam was of course the scene that celebrated the outlandish and big – big hair, big shoes, big egos and big waistlines – Glitter perhaps being the scenes most unlikely teen beat heart throb (the Strawbs perhaps the most bewildering), it was a scene that breathed life into those careers of failed 60’s rockers and wannabes who‘d thought their ticket to fame had long since expired – Stardust, Glitter (again), Bolan – yes you read right – Bolan and arguably Bowie in one of his many 70’s skin shedding personas. All the usual (Sweet, Slade, Elton, Wizzard, Smokie, Quatro et al) -and dare I say unusual (Eno, Zappo – nee Marty Wilde, Spunky Spider, the Damned – no not that Damned, Big Carrot – T-Rex in r n‘b mode, Grumble – a 10cc off shoot, Grudge, Arnold Corns – Bowie and tony Blackburn) – suspects are pawed over through a rosy tinted viewfinder and just for a second I was a nipper again overdosing on cola spangles, watching ‘tomorrows people’ on the goggle box, clutching a copy of Valiant and Lion in one hand and my klackers in the other (ooh er).
Next time out more joyzine xmas stuff, yellow 6, something dandy from backwater records, the bumps and loads of other stuff……
Take care of yourselves….