This week, cashing in or out…

Not going to get maudlin.

My mum is here, this has resulted in an increase in tea and coffee consumption. It has also resulted in a lot of shouting watching the soccer, she truly is a fan.

The past weeks have  been dominated by instrumental music, this week has not really been different, kicking off with some Edgar Froese albums and Clearlight Symphony.

First off came the Edgar Froese, they really deserve more than just a picture but I am still integrating them into my world, they have been sitting around for awhile without getting a play:


IMG_2818Clearlight Symphony apparently was Virgin records attempt to cash in on the sensation of Tubular Bells with another vaguely psychedelic album of two sides of instrumental music. Cyrille Verdaux got it together in the studio and recorded two rambling and exploratory 20 minute or so piano solos, then over time added some overdubs with some other musicians, notably Steve Hillage and Tim Blake long with Didier Malherbe on side 1, which originally should have been side 2, and Christian Boule and some others on side 2. which should have been side 1. This all came about because Virgin decided that the Gongsters had more pull and should lead off the album. Just goes to show the breadhead that is Richard Branson had only one thought in mind for all eternity which is what will make the most money.

Now if you like Soft Machine, Gong, Steve Hillage or Hatfield and the North you will get off on this masterwork. It’s suitably tripped out meandering stoned and funky music, as far as a French pianist and some stoners can be funky. It also has nothing in common with Tubular Bells other than two 20 minute or so sides of music. It’s not that restful meandering ambient music that I was craving, it’s a little twitchy in places and dragged me into head nodding raptures at times, which maybe is enough for late on a Saturday night.

So if you have the LP play side 2 first followed by side 1 to hear it the way the composer intended, if you have the CD you probably have it the way good old Cyrille wanted. Of course why would anyone want the CD?

IMG_2823At times due to the nature of the house we live in and the proximity of our bedroom to the living room where the stereo is I have to apologize occasionally to my wife due to the nature of the sounds filtering through the door. I do not have a designated listening space, man-cave or shed to myself, we have a shared living room. This week I have had to apologize twice as I played NEU! a little too loud for the tastes of the people I cohabit with. This is a little amusing to me, isn’t it supposed to be the kids apologizing? Side 2. of NEU! 2. was the last straw however, don’t even pretend Mr’s Rother and Dinger that you were pioneering re-mixes or sampling, and the in-jokes are only funny once, you just ran out of money and had to improvise for the second side, we forgive you. IMG_2824

NEU! and NEU! 2 are however three brilliant sides of German genius, one part noise and electronics and one part melody, last weeks NEU! 75 led me on quite the trip. Prior to this week I had not listened to NEU! and now apparently I own all three of the original albums, there is a fourth and I may get to it one day, although there are two different versions of it.

So this week I have been dancing around the living room gyrating to the germanic motorik beat and looking quite the idiot at times. This according to my beloved wife, what however does she know about getting in touch with the experimental side of myself, “lets face it the neighbors don’t want to see that either” was her reply. The vaguely punk aesthetic to both albums and consistency of beat have made this super enjoyable, I am considering joining that ecstatic dancing group at the community center. I am not however sure that they allow this type of music, it’s probably all new agey and trippy.  They did both come on very pretty white vinyl part of that clean aesthetic I suppose.

IMG_2820This Faust album has just confused me to no end, mostly because I can’t figure out which is the A Side and which the B Side, at some point I just gave up and immersed myself in the thing. Tape manipulations, mumbled words and all, I have no idea what this is all about however I have been playing it fairly consistently, mostly when I am alone. The deluge of noise and confusion has been something of a clear out for my brain at the end of the day, unsettling, comforting and confusing, no wonder they are such an influential band.

For this reason I am getting close to declaring this my official year of Krautrock. Lets face it, it’s time to get away from the blues and Brill building focussed world and let the strangeness in, well let the strangeness even further in. It is refreshing to listen to music that is mostly devoid of the conventional in pop. I have been feeling a little comfortable and with so many changes this year it’s maybe time to shake it all up. Of course I have started myself out on many a theme and lost the thread before.

Man I rambled on.

As the week is ending here is where we are, mum has gone home it was a bit fo a disaster as the wheelchair never turned up in Amsterdam or Manchester.

Now for the played this week list along with those at the top of the page and not necessarily in the order of playing and really some of them need some discussion but they probably won’t get it.

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So there you have it the week in review, boohoo.

well I like your feather bed…

Finally after years of indecisiveness I am sat here listening to my newly acquired Live at the L.A. Troubadour by Fairport Convention. Universally accepted as perhaps the worst album cover ever to adorn the Island years of the band, and that includes some dodgy sleeves.

It is however my entry point to all things Fairport and for this I am ever grateful. It’s also a pretty excellent album if confusing. The band were obviously on fire during their residency at the Troubadour and I am not sure why we get Yellow Bird and an outtake from Full House instead of more of the crushingly frighteningly brutal Full House lineup of Fairport Convention. Yes Poor Will and the Jolly Hangman deserved to be released but there had to be a version of Tam Lin or Genesis Hall or maybe Journeyman’s Grace laying around. Maybe one day the L.A. Tapes will come out with Linda Ronstadt and Led Zeppelin appearing and we will get to relive that crazy week. Legend still say that Fairport are still paying the bar bill.

House Full is probably better but like I said this was the start of something of an obsession, and yes I did just order the new CD.


and your only friend is music…

Late at night as I browse the internet lost in thought and wondering what to buy next sometimes I make these silly decisions, mainly around my 3 dollar bids on eBay. The theory being that sometimes people miss things and that occasionally you will get lucky and with mail it seldom comes to more than 10 dollars. So I end up with a massive amount of 3 dollar bids sitting out there waiting to come to fruition or nothing, I really do get a lot of your bid was beaten emails the skill is in not feeling you have to have something so bad that you bid again, unless you have to have it.

In this way I bought NEU ’75. The album arrived, the packaging was okay but did show someone was upset to only get 3 dollars perhaps.

IMG_2794.JPGI settle down to listen to an album I had never really listened to, lulled a bit by the motorik beat, mellowing my mind on the soundscapes almost ambient tracks on some one, Isi, Seeland and Leb’ Wohl all flowed around my brain creating images in the dark. Suitably relaxed I flipped the album and came face to face with Hero, a surging roiling slice of in your face spitting and biting angry punk, as if the Pink Fairies crashed a Brian Eno convention and switched the tapes. Barely decipherable lyrics, guitars and bass crashing around the driving drums with some caterwauling fuck you vocal style. E-Musik manages next to groove along in a hypnotic way, predictable drums, some neanderthal guitar strumming, phasing and the keyboards. Then After Eight kicks you in the balls, grinds it’s heel in and rolls you over to dance in stilettos on your back. Lets be honest I have no idea what they are singing about and really don’t care, I had to google the lyrics at the end of the day.

It really is a good thing I had never heard this. I was not ready for it, it’s exciting and invigorating and really a lot of why I listen to music, the discovery of new sounds and songs and melodies and crushing guitars.

And with that the New Year arrived, so Happy NEU Year and all that.

In no particular order and with no explanation this weeks listening.