Tag Archives: music

Tago Mago

February 2021 and it will be 50 years since the release of properly one of the greatest rock albums EVER. Tago Mago, by Can was recorded during November 1970, built around experimental sessions blending Jazz, Funk, tape editing and sampling, avant-grade. Released during February 1971 it was the band’s first album to feature Damo Suzuki after the 1970 departure of vocalist Malcolm Mooney. 

No. 4: Cuts – SOLD

Cuts released their second album Unreal on the Village Green label towards the backend of last year, a progression from the 2018 A Gradual Decline, album.

Unreal brings texted vocals and beats to the mix.  As one observer suggests Cuts are, “The sound of a world collapsing and it is sublime.” I could not put it better myself. The person behind the Cuts project is Anthony Tombling Jr.

Anthony’s work also ventures into the world of the visual arts, film-making and contributing to film soundtracks. Unit 3, where his film output materialises is a treasure trove of creative collaborations with community and campaign groups, as well as the likes of Alan Moore, Michael Sheen, Beak> and Massive Attack. The sublime soundtrack to the film Ex-Machina on Invada Records features Cut’s goose pimple raising Bunsen Burner track. A track that also brought the TV series ‘Person of Interest’ to its finale.

The Dinky model I used in this piece is from around 1951/2 and is not for sale given it already has an owner. The real Trojan vans, by the way, were manufactured in Croydon, London. They used diesel and petrol engines, as well as a revolutionary electric-powered version in 1951 known as the ‘Electrojan’. It may be difficult to comprehend that 70 years ago our grandparents were ahead of their time when it comes to alternatives to fossil fuel but, they did.

The Sound of Japan

Pretending to feel the warmth of sun rays on my neck, I walked from the garden to the kitchen my thoughts were distracted by the telephone. Having lifted the receiver I immediately knew Mysterious Vee voice was awaiting my ears. Her journey this time was the eclectic rhythms of the Japanese soundscape.

Synthesiser for the Devil

Mysterious Vee calls from a telephone booth in rural Punjab, Indian, and brings another collection of artists and tracks, some well known and some not so. Her theme in this episode of Lost In a Wide Open Field is an exploration of artists, some known and some not so, who have utilised the honourable synth.

Bone Machine

Released in 1992, Bone Machine was the 10th Studio album from Tom Waits.  Back in the early 90s music mags regularly featured a free cassette tape, which contained a selection of tracks from the recently released albums. This was my introduction to bone machine. A cassette, which included the track The Earth Died Screaming. Unlike CD’s or streaming devices, the cassette format made skipping between tracks a bit of an art form, especially when driving.

The effect of being pinned in your car, having to endure all types of music, you would not usually select with limited ability to skip tracks certainly helps educate your taste. By the way, the album cover was taken by Jesse Dylan, Sir Bob’s son.

16.12.19: The Magic Lantern & Pete Roe

Properly my last proper gig of the year, but ending on a high note. I realised tonight that I may have overindulged this year on what some may refer to as “difficult music.”   The essence of a beautiful song with its woven lyrics, delivered with real heart and sincerity was in abundance tonight at the Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol. The Magic Lantern and Pete Roe. Beautiful.

 

Today I stumbled upon: Slumb Party

There is something quite refreshing about Slumb Party, although plenty of the old tricks can be found in their production. Influences from bands such as XTC and Gang of $ are plain to see in their DNA, but their own identity is not lost in the mix. This is a really, really good album and I feel we may hear more of Slumb Party once the 6 Music sent picks them up.

16.05.19: Benjamin Zephaniah, Trinity Centre Bristol

A highly enjoyable evening with Benjamin, but there is a serious issue of people talking at gigs. I noticed it at the recent Massive Attack shows. A total disregard for artist and audience. Why these people just don’t stay at home, listen to a CD is beyond me. Apart from that Mr Zephaniah was in fine form. The band were tight and a genuinely enjoyable night, which reaffirms my belief that white people can’t dance and we tend not to look cool with dreads.

Today I stumbled upon: Kosmischer Läufer

Sometimes you’ve just got to acknowledge you are late getting to a party. The Secret Cosmic Music of the East German Olympic Program 1972 – 83 is just an excellent concept and most importantly backed up with some truly exhilarating music. The narrative goes, “for the first time since it was recorded in East Berlin over 30 years ago, the music of Martin Zeichnete can finally be heard. A disciple of the Kosmische Muzik of the likes of Kraftwerk, Can and Neu! that was drifting across the Wall from the West, Martin’s idea of using the motorik, hypnotic beat of krautrock in the training of athletes was taken and exploited by the DDR’s Olympic Committee.” 

My introduction, I have several memories that are managed over the years to blend together into a romantic melting pot of musical discovery. It is difficult to separate truth from fiction now, but the timing is pretty much self-evident. I know it was during a period of school exams, so I’m guessing it was around 1976 when my ears first discovered what I would get to know as Krautrock. That genre of experimental music, which had emerged in Germany in the late 1960s drawing influence from psychedelic rock, the avant-garde, electronic music, funk, minimalism, jazz improvisation, and world music styles.

I know some of the punk bands I was starting to listen too had referenced the likes of Kraftwerk, Neu and Can. My music teacher, Mr Bell had given me a copy of one of Kraftwerk’s early albums, which I still have to this day. Maybe, I’d subconsciously developed a liking for Krautrock as I listened to John Peel show on my radio while preparing for exams.

How my admiration for Krautrock developed I guess I will leave to my fond memories, no matter how clouded they increasingly become. Today, I’m happy to just stay behind the illusion of the Secret Cosmic Music of the East German Olympic Program 1972 – 83. I did start to do some research, but you know what? As we continue to consume ourselves a little piece of escapism, which transports us back in time to a period where things seemed a little bit simpler, black and white, may not be an altogether bad thing now and again.

Beautiful Shambles: Idles, Bristol SWX

16.10.18: Ding, ding, round two and back in the ring with Idles after first experiencing their rapturous performance on 8th April this year (here) at the Komedia in Bath. A lot has happened in that 6 months. A second album, which achieved a top-five slot upon release, a world tour,  TV/radio exposure and now a sold out UK tour, which has cemented them as the most essential band to emerge from these shores in recent years. It’s loud and fast here at SWX, Bristol as Idles rip through their set like the Village People on acid. Support is provided by the ever impressive Heavy Lungs. At the Bath gig, the live energy of the band carried them through their set, but here tonight with growing audiences their confidence is high and rightly so. It takes confidence for a band to bring audience members onto their stage, but it takes absolute confidence for band members to then hand over their instruments to audience members. The resulting noise is a complete shambles, a beautiful shambles, which adds to the raw energy of a band who are just on top of their game at the moment. There is a special relationship between band and fan base here. A relationship I’ve not seen since the heady days of punk in the late 1970s, or the stage invasions of early Smith’s concerts. Idles concerts are a celebration of positivity and life with all its faults and beauty. Something, so badly needed in an era where hate has become mainstream and fashionable. Tonight a rock band had their audience eating out of the palm of their hands, nothing new about that, but its rare in today’s over-produced, clean packaged musical output for a band to actually mean something beyond the product on sale. Thank fuck for Idles.