This week, it gets different from here on in…

So this has been what I have been up to listening wise this week, I don’t necessarily have much to say other than I should maybe have more to say about some of them. I think I managed to cover a reasonable range of musical styles with enough clashes to cause the people who share my house enough head shakes and worried expressions, or maybe that was just the Cluster  or Brainticket albums.

I am taking my time with the Kate Bush, I am a little afraid of the Elton John covers on one of those records but I couldn’t resist buying the collection as it sat on the shelf in Barnes and Noble . That Barnes and Noble 50 percent off sale could have been problematic if I had more ready cash on hand.

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I’m really sure about getting things sorted out…

Well I told the short sordid story of my Whitesnake show here:“here’s a song for ya!!!!”

Since writing that I was reminded of the existence of the double album version of Live In The Heart of the City here: 2loud20ldmusic , then I had to embark on the search for the double album because, well because I collect shit. I was also as part of my search reminded by my lifelong friend and repository of all Snake legends that the Come An’ Get It tour was not the last time I saw Coverdale and the chaps but we had attended both nights of the Slide It In tour at the Royal Court and that was the night my brunette siren had stole my attention, well at least on Feb 23rd, Feb 24th was reserved as a boys night out. The Come an’ Get It tour had just been a boys night out, in fact contrary to my memory we had been at every Whitesnake Gig in Liverpool starting in 1979, this would make Whitesnake one of the first gigs I went to without my cousin Tony as he would not have stooped so low, in his opinion.

Gooey also reminded me that at that Slide It In Gig Mr Coverdale had sworn to always play Liverpool, a promise he never kept. Gooey’s feeling is that he moved on from his working class roots and got a little uppity with himself with the L.A. crowd, something Gooey let him know in 2006 when he finally came back to town.

This is all leading up to the fact that with the help of Gooey, John and Rosey I am the proud possessor of the UK double album version of Live in the Heart of the City and it rocks. There is enough testosterone on these four sides to cause significant problems in a Viagra factory. I don’t think there is actually a side of Whitesnake music that can compete with the Side 4. double whammy of Trouble and Mistreated, it is majestic, pompous and rocking enough for all you rockers out there.

While they won’t win any awards for lyrical brilliance or sensitivity Whitesnake for a brief period were the working class band that would fill the need for every bedenimed and sweaty youth that was out to spend his cash on the weekend.

All I need is a copy of Saints and Sinners and all will be well in my Whitesnake collection which just goes to make the statement that this and Ready and Willing was all the Whitesnake anyone needs appear really stupid now.

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Will-o-the-wisp…

In the bad old strange days we would lay on the floor after consuming some sort of organic vegan mash that we had concocted and attempt to stay as still as possible and listen to Irrlicht by Klaus Schulze. And this was in the days before vegan was hip. It was probably closer to vegetarian if I am honest, as who can give up cheese really? We would lay side by side in our baggy hemp clothing smelling of patchouli and incense and let the drone and waves wash over us. I had found the record in the classical section of the library and was drawn to the cover. I had no idea what to expect but the strange alien creature on the cover stood out in the classical section, I discovered as I looked it over  at checkout it had been misplaced and belonged with the other Schulze in the electronic music section. This was 1985 and for everyone else this was the year of Born in the USA, Hounds of Love and Brothers In Arms, for us it was the strange beauty of Irrlicht that dominated the year.

About halfway through the first week we bought a C120 cassette as that way we could get the whole album on one side, so we recorded the whole thing twice both sides of that strange ethereal music that was literally so dense it would pin you to the ground, turn your head inside out and have your ears leaking fluids into the carpet. The we took the record back to the library.

Several times friends came to our flat during this ritual and would attempt to understand the attraction. I was convinced that Klaus Schulze was a synthesizer genius ahead of everyone else. I would point this out and they would roll their eyes and ask to hear Eliminator instead. I would try and convince them to lay still on the floor and truly feel it and they insisted on going out for beer and a curry. Philistines all, although most of the time we went along as we could always come back and listen.

Our problem in deciphering the genius of Irrlicht was that the sleeve notes were in German and neither if us could read it. This was also in the days before the internet and we had no way of researching the album, we could have maybe used the library but I think we had given up reading books as bourgeoise at the time and only used it to enhance our musical diet. It was only in the last twenty years or so as computers became more common and the internet a real thing that I learned that no synthesizers were used making the album and this messed up album was made with a broken organ, a broken amp a cassette player and a recording of an orchestra rehearsal that had been manipulated beyond the bounds of reasonableness or sanity.

At some point that cassette went away, we drifted apart and I almost forgot about Irrlicht. However once it’s in your head that music is always going to come back and it did, first streamed and then one night as I scrolled through the ridiculously priced Schulze album I found someone in Germany selling a new one for nine dollars with free shipping. With a certain sense of doubt and faith in PayPals refund policy i bought it and waited almost a month for it to arrive. When it did I was so happy to see that same strange creature reclining on an alien landscape. In honor of the past I lay on the floor as the record played, this time it was the dog laying next to me and I swear I could smell patchouli and lentils and cumin.

Still Irrlicht is an album that will make you sit still and listen. It is completely engrossing and will demand your attention, the odd thing is that each time you play it you will be connecting with a different sound, passage our journey. It’s terrifying, beautiful captivating and disturbing and may be the strangest thing you will ever listen to. It requires attention and will reward that attention. It will however drive many others away screaming demanding that it never be played  again in their presence or even when they are nearby.

I am aware the sleeve that I first got and have searched out is not the original one, but it is the sleeve I connect with the album and if I had the original I would actually be disappointed. This is the picture that drew me to the record and the image I will always associate with it. I think it perfectly describes the strange beauty of the record.

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12 inches…

I have seldom understood the purpose of the 12 inch remix/mix, especially in this day and age of the digital world, and then if there are five on one album should they still be called  12 inch mixes because while they are on a 12 inch platter they are not singly so?

Damn it’s Kate Bush they are great, everyone needs more Kate let’s face it, it is also a throw back to my days in the 80’s of being a bit shall we say smitten by the fair Ms. Bush. Damn who am I kidding I am still somewhat smitten. Apart from Experiment IV all the songs are from Hounds of Love which probably wrongly makes me think that Kates fascination with the 12 inch was fleeting.

Thats also a very beguiling picture on the cover.

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Does anybody else feel that the 180g release has robbed us of the chance to shake the record and get that lovely wobble feeling and sound, it’s such a disappointment to shake a solid piece of vinyl.

 

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.

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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.

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