Tuesday 28 February 2023

Still Watching, Yet Not Wanting

Side 1 of a cassette compilation, compiled 8th August 1998. If Side 2 stretched the C90 capacity to it's limit, Side 1 must surely have snapped the tape...

Your ride begins with Trust by Money Mark, from his 1998 album Push The Button. I knew of Money Mark from his association with Beastie Boys but this record saw him veering into - in my mind, at least - Elton John territory at times. Though thankfully by that I mean Elton's imperial 1970s phase, not the then-contemporary Something About The Way You Look Tonight/Candle in the Wind 1997, which remains the all-time best-selling single in the UK. Money Mark's track is building, rabble-rousing instrumental, much more in keeping with what follows.
Barry Adamson versus Skylab, Kid Loco taking on both Pulp and Saint Etienne. I previously described the mixtape as "dirty, downtempo beats" and this was very much the style du jour in the late 1990s.  
Theo Keating continues to release music as Fake Blood but when I recorded this cassette, he'd released a single called Ooh La La as The Wiseguys. It entered - and peaked - the UK chart at #55. The song's subsequent use in a Budweiser commercial saw it released a year later in June 1999, where it did rather better, entering at #2 and spending 5 weeks in the Top 30. His remix of Desire by Mulu is really good but had little positive impact on it's own chart placing, managing just 1 week at #84 in November 1997. 
My introduction to Trembling Blue Stars came by my jangly indie music-loving girlfriend, who was a big fan of The Field Mice and followed Bobby Wratten's subsequent band. I'm very glad she did. I'm only familiar with Trembling Blue Stars' two albums from the 1990s (there were two more before they disbanded in 2010) and they're both things of understated beauty. The Rainbow was released as a single and really shines in it's longer (album) version.
A small confession #1. The original cassette featured an alternative mix of A Little Soul by Pulp, from the CD single. I haven't unearthed and uploaded the shiny disc, so swapped it out for the Kid Loco. It's to blame for the ridiculous running time though I think the segue into Desire by Mulu works better than the original sequence.
A small confession #2. This is the second appearance of The Box (Part Four) by Orbital, following a previous appearance in my Boxing Day selection in December 2021. However, as the link for that one is long dead, I'm glad to represent the song here.

Also making a second appearance on this mixtape is Justin Warfield. On Side 1, he's hiding in plain sight as One Inch Punch; here, he's a guest of Cornershop

Moby ups the ante with a remix of Honey, his 'comeback' single in 1998 following his thrash metal phase. I've not counted, but I'm assuming the 118 in the mix title refers to the beats per minute. Try making a cup of tea whilst dancing to this one and not making a complete mess. Maybe that's not what Moby intended.

Bringing things to a close is Leila with a track from her astonishing debut Like Weather. It's typical of the album as a whole: beautiful, simple yet stirring chords and synth washes with moments that push the needle way into the red, just in case you were getting complacent.

I'll sign off with an apology to Walter at the excellent A Few Good Times In My Life blog. He left some very kind comments on my original post in April 2022, to which I replied, "I'll try not to leave it too long before posting Side One...!" I think at a little over ten months later, it's fair to say I tried and failed. Sorry, Walter, I hope it was worth the wait...
1) Trust: Money Mark (1998)
2) What It Means (Skylab A Smokin' Japanese We're Chicken In Moss Side Mix): Barry Adamson (1998)
3) A Little Soul (Lafayette Velvet Revisited Mix By Kid Loco): Pulp (1998)
4) Desire (Wiseguys Remix By DJ Touché aka Theo Keating): Mulu (1997)
5) 4.35 In The Morning (Talkin' Blues Mix By Kid Loco): Saint Etienne (1998)
6) The Rainbow (Long Version): Trembling Blue Stars (1998)
7) The Box (Part Four) (Vocal Reprise): Orbital ft. Grant Fulton & Alison Goldfrapp (1996)
8) Candyman: Cornershop ft. Justin Warfield (1997)
9) Honey (118 Mix): Moby (1998)
10) Piano-String: Leila (1998)
Side One (47:37) (Box) (Mega)
Side Two here

Monday 27 February 2023

Filled To The Top With Pop And Rocks And Cyanide

John Grant hasn't featured on these pages for a little while, so here's a short selection to ease into the week.

It's a fairly random selection: I've unintentionally left out anything from Pale Green Ghosts or Grey Tickles, Black Pressure; I tried not to overthink things and make sure every album was covered. 

I could easily have created a selection that was twice as long - and I did, in October 2021 - but I think this works. As ever, you'll be the judge of that!
1) Touch & Go (Blancmange Remix ft. Neil Arthur) (2019)
2) Sigourney Weaver (Strongroom Session) (2010)
3) Chicken Bones (2010)
4) Dandy Star (2021)
5) You Don't Have To (Live @ BBC Radio 6 Music, Media City, Salford) (ft. The BBC Philharmonic Orchestra) (2014)
6) The Common Snipe (2018)
2010: Queen Of Denmark: 3
2010: The Strongroom Sessions EP: 2 
2014: Live In Concert: 5
2018: Love Is Magic: 6
2019: Remixes Are Also Magic EP: 1 
2021: Boy From Michigan: 4
Pop And Rocks And Cyanide (31:27) (Box) (Mega)

Sunday 26 February 2023

A Quiet Glade In A Burning Forest

Side 2 of a mixtape, recorded sometime around 1997, featuring the music of Mark Pritchard & Tom Middleton in a variety of guises, but mainly Global Communication.
First off however is one of their remixes as Reload. The 147 Take of In Mind by Slowdive appeared on Side 1 and was recently highlighted in a typically great post by Swiss Adam over at Bagging Area. Their remix of On by Aphex Twin is a close second as my favourite remix that Mark and Tom did as Reload, but then the song is a thing of beauty to begin with so how could they possibly go wrong?

Next up is Link, one of Mark Pritchard's many, many solo projects. This remix of Arcadian by Global Communication originally appeared on Warp Records compilation Artificial Intelligence II, running to just under ten minutes. In order to squeeze it into a C90 side, I crudely faded it out halfway through. Unlikely Side 1, where I restored the minimal cut to a track, I've kept this one in to maintain the original sequencing and running time.

The Grid aka Dave Ball and Richard Norris were enjoying much-deserved success with a brace of UK hit singles, Texas Cowboys reaching #21 in October 1993 and then Swamp Thing crashing in at #11 in June 1994, peaking at #3 a month later, spending a total of 12 weeks in the Top 20. Rollercoaster didn't enjoy quite such a chart run, entering at #19 in September 1994, then #22, #42, #70 and out of the Top 100 by mid-October. It's an underrated single and contained a hidden gem in Global Communication's ambient reworking of the song. I say 'hidden' but the remix was that good that it appeared on several compilations, including Survival 2000 and respective 'best of' remix collections by Global Communication and The Grid *
Epsilon Phase is the closing track on Mark and Tom's radical overhaul of Chapterhouse's Blood Music album, originally released as a limited edition double CD in 1993. I discovered the Global Communication CD all on its own in the secondhand trough at Replay Records in Bristol and bought it without hesitation. It was roughly another ten years before I bought and heard the parent album by Chapterhouse for the first time!
Nav Katze (translates as 'Nervous Cat') were a Tokyo-based female rock group who released music between 1987 and 1997. Initially a trio, by 1994, Nav Katze were Miwako Yamaguchi and Naoko Iimura, with male producer Yuji Sugiyama as unofficial third member. Wild Horse appeared on the first of two remix compilations titled Never Mind The Distortion, in a beautiful 15-minute journey with Global Communication, easing in with synth washes and snatches of vocal before heading into more percussive territory in the latter stages. Like much of Mark Pritchard and Tom MIddleton's music from the early/mid-1990s, Wild Horse should have been all over like-minded compilations of the time but according to Discogs seems to be relatively rare.
* I realised when researching and writing this post that tracks 3 to 5 of this selection are the exact same sequence as the last three tracks on the aforementioned Remotion: The Global Communication Remix Album from 1995. I bought the compilation for my girlfriend at the time but I have no recollection whether I was so inspired by the running order that I was compelled to replicate it for my mixtape or if I was simply being a lazy git. Probably a bit of both and definitely no coincidence!
On a completely unrelated note, after 2 years, 2 months and 18 days and 685 posts, I've received my first takedown notice via Mega. It was for my recent posting of Django Django and was submitted by one of those companies that appear to specialise in actively finding and shutting down any potential infringements. I'm wondering whether my uncharacteristic decision to include the artist's name in the post and MP3 title made it easier for the bots to home in this particular Dubhed selection. 
Anyway, Box and Mega links have now been removed from the offending post and, in a bit of housekeeping, I'm now running a tighter ship on how long links stay up in general. Whenever I post the corresponding side of a mixtape that's appeared previously, I'll continue to add new Box and Mega links to the older post.
1) On (Reload Mix): Aphex Twin (1993)
2) Arcadian (Remix By Global Communication) (Edit): Link (1994)
3) Rollercoaster (The Global Communication Yellow Submarine Re-Take): The Grid (1994)
4) Epsilon Phase (Retranslated By Global Communication): Chapterhouse (1994)
5) Wild Horse (Global Mix Communication): Nav Katze (1994)

1993: Blood Music: Pentamerous Metamorphosis: 4
1993: On EP: 1
1994: Artificial Intelligence II: 2
1994: Never Mind The Distortion: 5
1994: Rollercoaster EP: 3

Side Two (45:55) (Box) (Mega)
Side One here

Saturday 25 February 2023

One Year Later

Yesterday marked one year since Ukraine was invaded by Russia. I wrote a couple of posts around that time, hardly daring imagine that twelve months later, the people of Ukraine would still be fighting for their freedom, their identity, their homes, their very lives. 

One year. Twelve months. Three hundred and sixty five days. Eight thousand, seven hundred and sixty six hours. Five hundred and twenty five thousand, nine hundred and sixty minutes. Thirty one million, five hundred and thirty six thousand seconds. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to live every moment in the heart of a war.
It makes me think not just of Ukraine but other countries whose people have lived with war, or my parents' and grandparents' generations, who had lived experience of war's devastating effect on home soil. I frequently feel guilty when I find life difficult, challenging, at times overwhelming when I look around me and see what is going on elsewhere in the world. 

The Ukrainian people, led by Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have shown a strength and resilience that is nothing less than astonishing and a lesson for us all. I wrote a year ago about overhearing colleagues complaining about their treatment at work and comparing it with what was happening in Ukraine and Russia. Today, people were noisily complaining about the shortage of tomatoes, cucumbers and other food - mostly 'out of season' items or food no longer grown in significant quantities in the UK - which juxtaposed and jarred with the minute's silence and reflection on Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 
I wonder, if we were to be subjected to an invasion, a conflict on our home soil, could we as a people manage thirty one million, five hundred and thirty six thousand seconds and counting? Half? A third? A twelfth of that? 

A little under a year ago, I wrote about Ukrainian duo Ptakh_Jung aka Anton Dehtiarov and Volodymyr Babushkin, in particular their song Dnipro, inspired by and named after the country's fourth largest city, At that point, the song had been out for a couple of months, released in December 2020 well before the invasion began but which resonated in the new context and environment that it existed in.

Ptakh_Jung started posting music via Soundcloud in 2016 and there are some beautiful ambient/piano-led pieces, taken from gigs or film soundtracks. YouTube also has plenty of live performance excerpts. Bandcamp has their officially released music available for purchase. Apart from the aforementioned and recommended Dnipro, their first release in 2018 was the Black Period EP/mini-album, a "cosmological fantasy" played out over four songs and just over half an hour. In 2020, the third track, Monika, was edited to accompany the short film/video that leads off this post. 
Sadly, there have been no further releases from Ptakh_Jung since Dnipro in December 2020. Their Facebook page has also been quiet, the last post photos from a gig in Kyiv in May 2021. I hope they're safe and well. My thoughts, hopes and wishes are with them and their families.

Friday 24 February 2023

The Music Of Light, That's Our Song

It's been a bit of a rum month, so I’ve been digging into my digital crate for some uptempo tunes for the last Friday in February. Being me, there's a melancholy edge to quite a few of them and the pacing is all over the place, but hopefully you'll be too busy moving your hips and waving your hands to care. Just make sure you put down that hot drink before you press play. 

We get down to business with Max Essa and a wonderful remix by Mark Seven of Uptown Vibration that - in my mind at least - has an intro that continually makes me think it's going to launch into A Certain Ratio's cover of Shack Up. More of them later.

audiobooks are Evangeline Ling and David Wrench. Wrench has a mightily impressive CV but I first heard of him via his link to Julian Cope. audiobooks are remixed here by Bruise, a duo featuring Darren House, better known to me as Diesel of Rocky & Diesel, Ballistic Brothers and X-Press 2 fame.

There was a lot of love for Blancmange over at The Vinyl Villain this week, so it would be remiss of me not to include Pete Herbert's remix of one of their finest moments from the 1980s. Living On The Ceiling is possibly their finest song, but it’s a tough call.

Coming in at the tail end of the 1970s, A Certain Ratio were smashing it in the 1980s and, like Blancmange, have been enjoying a purple patch this decade. 2021's Loco Remezclada saw a bunch of artists remix their album Loco, with deeply satisfying results. Featured here is Manchester-based DJ and producer Kirby Halliday aka Muddy Feet, delivering a cracking version of Always In Love. 
Speaking of cracking tunes, Hifi Sean and David McAlmont have released a whole album of them with Happy Ending. All In The World was remixed by Hifi Sean himself, a pulsing, energetic tune that retains just enough of David McAlmont's vocals to hit that sweet spot (though the vocal-free dub is excellent, too).
afterlife is a one-man act, Steve Miller, described in the Resident Advisor bio as "the sunset phenomenon, purveyor of romantic and melancholic mood music". Who better to guide a tune through the night and blinking into the sunrise than Sean Johnston in his Hardway Bros guise? This is kind of how I imagined a Slam remix of Ultramarine might sound, very 1990s yet perfect for a 2020s winter weekend too.

Jezebell should need no introduction if you're a regular visitor to this blog as I've featured them many times. Like A Certain Ratio, Pete Bones turned over his album Hyena Hopscotch to a clutch of creatives and the results were impressive. Jezebell have only been releasing music for a couple of years but have hit the mark each and every time. My regular stream of Bandcamp mailing list updates included the good news that there are more Jezebell remixes coming out next month, which will undoubtedly feature in future posts.
Abstract Incognito is also known as DJ Pants and to friends and family as Aditya Mehta. His music is inspired by "his love for bright sunny weather and warm coastal breezes" and I first heard of him last year, following Max Essa's trail to his Jansen Jardin label and the rather fine Collection Number One compilation. Another track with a strong 1980s vibe, this time a little swingbeat soul.
Speaking of the 1980s…cripes, I hadn't twigged the underlying theme when I was stitching this selection together! Mark Rae - taking a break from Rae & Christian - released The Tracks Of My Psychedelic Soul in 2021, containing a very familiar sample from one of my favourite bands underpinning a very satisfying mash-up.
I know very little about Unu' Marika aka DJ Marika aka Florin Marica, other than they are based in Romania and run the Selectro Records label, this track appearing on the 22-track compilation Free Download in 2021. Much of it made up of hit-and-mix remixes of artists as varied as Echo & The Bunnymen, Cardi B, Dead Or Alive and Massive Attack. This remix and accompanying dub by Romanian producers Sakdat & Balaur aka Paul Andrei & Loko Trashman are the highlights.
I've been following Nicolas Laugier aka The Reflex for many years, from his early outings with unofficial/bootleg reworks to the present day with official 're√isions' for the likes of Róisín Murphy, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and UNKLE. Here, he returns to a stone cold classic from the Bar-Kays, teasing out 1978's Holy Ghost to a satisfying eight and a half minutes.
Resident Advisor states that Deo'Jorge is a "well-known figure in New York's infamous underground off-location party scene". Sadly for me, being located in rural Gloucestershire in England, there's a distinct lack of an underground off-location party scene, but I can still appreciate Deo'Jorge. I originally bought his Robotic Souls EP in 2021 on the strength of featured remixes by Hardway Bros and Prins Thomas but the other tunes were pretty darn good too, as evidenced here by Do Androids Dream.
I like Jane's Addiction but haven't particularly bought their albums and have even less sense of Perry Farrell's other work with Porno For Pyros and as a solo artist. Therefore, I can only describe his 2021 compilation The Glitz; The Glamour: Remixes as an impulse purchase. It was a good one, though. Oh The Sunn! is a collaboration with The Avalanches and provides today's post and mix titles. Oh, and I've included the lyrics below if you want to sing along.
Hola Estrella are another act that I know very little about, apart from the fact that they are an Italian duo who appear to share my love of "obscure and psychedelic disco sounds and cosmic emotional tracks" - I mean, what's not to love? I believe Velax is Russian born but residing these days in Mexico City. As for AGD, you've gotta be kidding me, I haven't a clue! However, I will say that I'm very glad that they all come together for the closing track on this selection, Les Etoiles.
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

1) Uptown Vibration (Mark Seven Downtown Mix): Max Essa (2022)
2) The Doll (Bruise Remix By Christian Campbell & Darren House): audiobooks (2021)
3) Living On The Ceiling (Pete Herbert Version Darkness): Blancmange (2021)
4) Always In Love (Muddy Feet Remix By Kirby Halliday): A Certain Ratio (2021)
5) All In The World (Hifi's Electro Flux): Hifi Sean & David McAlmont (2022)
6) Resistance (Hardway Bros Remix By Sean Johnston): afterlife (2021)
7) Submissive Background (Jezebell Remix By Jesse Fahnestock & Darren Bell): Pete Bones & The Stones Of Convention (2022)
8) Me Gusta Dancing: Abstract Incognito (2022)
9) The Tracks Of My Psychedelic Soul (Redux): Mark Rae (2021)
10) Stelele (Sakdat & Balaur Remix): Unu' Marika (2021)
11) Holy Ghost (Reborn) (The Reflex Re√ision By Nicolas Laugier): The Bar-Kays (2021)
12) Do Androids Dream: Deo'Jorge (2021)
13) Oh The Sunn!: The Avalanches ft. Perry Farrell (2021)
14) Les Etoiles (Velax Cosmic Dust Reix): Hola Estrella ft. AGD (2021)

The Music Of Light (1:29:10) (Box) (Mega)
Oh The Sunn! by The Avalanches ft. Perry Farrell 

The entertaining lightsWhen the sky and stars at nightFashioned by divine light
DivineDivine designerUnder lights, suicide
No, we don't understandWhy they treat us so meanNo, we don't understand it at allBut we'll do our bestTo stand the testAnd we'll never turn back no more (the big, big, beautiful lights)
No, we don't understandWhy they treat us so meanNo, we don't understand it at allBut we'll do our bestTo stand the testAnd we'll never turn back no more (under lights, suicide)
The music of lightThe music of lightThat's our songLove is our songIt's what we've known all alongLove is our songBig, big, beautiful lifeLove is so powerfulLove is so strongLove is our rightBut we've known all along
No, we don't understandWhy they treat us so meanNo, we don't understand it at allBut we're doing our bestTo pass the testAnd we never turn back no moreLove is our right
No, we don't understandWhy they treat us so meanNo, we don't understand it at allBut we do it our bestTo pass the testAnd we never turn back no more

Thursday 23 February 2023

Freak Yourself Once Again

Side 1 of a Cabaret Voltaire cassette compilation, recorded 5th June 2003. 

I posted two sides of separate Cabaret Voltaire mixtapes in fairly quick succession (for me) in early 2022 and haven't revisited either of them since so here's my first attempt to make amends. 
Bad Self (Part 1) was originally the B-side of 1984 single James Brown and was one of the tracks from their years on the Virgin label that Cabaret Voltaire revisited and reworked for the 1992 album Technology. Despite the title, I don't think there ever was a Part 2.
Big Funk was one of four songs released on the Drinking Gasoline double 12" single in 1985 and one of two which were tacked on as bonus tracks for the CD edition of The Covenant, The Sword And The Arm Of The Lord. 
Here To Go was the second single from their eighth studio album, Code, released in 1987. Cabaret Voltaire had moved from Virgin to Parlophone and were shifting towards a more commercial - if not entirely radio-friendly - sound. Adrian Sherwood produced the album and a remix of Here To Go; the one featured here is by another remix/production/DJ legend, François Kevorkian.
Hypnotised saw Stephen Mallinder and Richard H. Kirk saw step fully into club culture, drafting in Fon Force to remix and Ten City to provide backing vocals. It provided Cabaret Voltaire with their biggest UK single to date - #66 in November 1989 - and although the subsequent two singles did slightly better - parent album Groovy, Laidback And Nasty didn't trouble the Top 100. Many saw this album as the Cabs going from innovating and inspiring to jumping on the bandwagon. Taken as itself, I think it's a good album and Hypnotised is a cracking single, in all it's various versions.
Tough then to place the song next to Sensoria, which is one of the examples of Mallinder and Kirk leading the way. The 12" mashes up the single with Do Right, another track from the Micro-Phonies album, and it really is about as good as Eighties club music could get. Always a popular choice when played at some of the alternative clubs I went to in the late Eighties and early Nineties and still holds up today.
The original cassette features the second of two remixes that John Robie made for 1983 single Yashar. I decided to tweak today's selection as featuring it would have meant the third appearance of that particular mix on this blog (albeit one accidentally as I should have included mix #1). In the early 2000s, Richard H. Kirk revisited and reworked several Cabaret Voltaire classics for 12" singles and promotion for various back catalogue compilations. Just Fascination and Nag Nag Nag got the remix treatment, as did Yashar. The latter came out as a 12" single on 9th June 2003, as few days after I'd recorded this very cassette. Along with remixes from The All Seeing I and Alter Ego, RHK delivered his own update, which I've included here.
The selection closes with one of my favourite tracks from 1983 album The Crackdown, which was pretty much my first exposure to Cabaret Voltaire, via my brother's copy on cassette. In a blip on their usual UK chart trajectory, the album crashed in at #31 in August 1983, managing a total of five weeks in the Top 100. 
Seven songs, spanning 1983 to 2003, revisited two decades on. Damn, that makes me feel old! 

1) Bad Self (Part 1) (Western Re-Work 1992 By Cabaret Voltaire) (1992)
2) Big Funk (Single Version By Cabaret Voltaire) (1985) 
3) Here To Go (Extended Mix By François Kevorkian) (1987)
4) Hypnotised (The Fon Force Mix By Mark Brydon & Robert Gordon) (ft. Ten City) (1990)
5) Sensoria (12" Remix By Cabaret Voltaire & John 'Tokes' Potoker) (1984)
6) Yashar (Man From Basra Rmx By Richard H. Kirk) (2003)
7) Animation (Album Version By Cabaret Voltaire & Flood) (1983)

1983: The Crackdown: 7
1984: Sensoria EP: 5
1985: Drinking Gasoline EP: 2
1987: Here To Go EP: 3
1989: Hypnotised EP: 4
1992: Technology: Western Re-Works 1992: 1
2003: Yashar EP: 6

Side One (46:04) (KF) (Mega)
Side Two here

You can also find Side One of a previous Cabaret Voltaire mixtape here

Wednesday 22 February 2023

And Time Still Stood Still

Side 2 of an Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark cassette compilation, recorded 7th July 1990. 
I recorded this a month on from the first volume of the All Wrapped Up twin set, covering the years 1980-1983. Volume 2 focuses on 1984-1986, where O.M.D.'s music was becoming more commercial as the band - it appears - sought success across the Atlantic.
At the time, I'd skipped Junk Culture altogether but I got the follow-up album Crush on cassette and again on vinyl a year or so later when the tape got chewed up. I went to see O.M.D. for the first time in 1986, touring to promote The Pacific Age but I didn't buy the album, borrowing my friend Stuart's vinyl of this and Junk Culture when it came to recording this compilation.
So In Love was the first O.M.D. 12" single that I bought, along with She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult, How Soon Is Now? by The Smiths, Faron Young by Prefab Sprout, Head Over Heels by Tears For Fears and Love Is Just The Great Pretender '85 by Animal Nightlife, possibly a few others. I was on holiday - I forget where, possibly Bournemouth or thereabouts - I had money to spend and I discovered a record shop to satisfy my curiosity.

After that, I managed to get hold of O.M.D.'s previous 12" (and 10") singles and continued to buy the subsequent releases, even though I loathed Crush's second single Secret (still not a fan, if I'm honest). By 1990, O.M.D.'s last single had been Dreaming, a one-off to promote a best of collection in 1988. 

I'd recorded the O.M.D. compilations as part of a stack of cassettes to take with me on my year-long stay in Australia and I'd pretty much assumed that this was the final chapter for the band. I was surprised therefore in early 1991, whilst living and working in Perth to get a letter (remember them?) from Stuart, mentioning that O.M.D. were back with a Top 10 single. Well, it was O.M.D. but not as we knew it...
Side 2 of this selection leans heavily on 1985 and tracks from Crush, with apologies for the variable sound quality. My copy of Crush seems incredibly quiet compared to the other albums, whilst Junk Culture is the 2015 deluxe edition which is awfully loud though not quite brickwalled. I've wrestled with the levels on Audacity, it's not perfect but hopefully won't have you continually adjusting the volume whilst listening.
This side is much lighter on singles, but includes a couple of cracking B-sides. Wrappup is re-recorded and better version of All Wrapped Up, an album track on Junk Culture and the inspiration for this collection's title. Satellite appeared on the flip side of Dreaming and is one of their finest pop songs, full stop.
I dodged the "McCluskey Solo Years" O.M.D. but I jumped back on board for their brilliant run of reunion albums from 2010 onwards so there's plenty more material for a future selection or two.
1) Stay (The Black Rose And The Universal Wheel) (1986)
2) So In Love (Extended) (1985)
3) Women III (1985)
4) Wrappup (1984)
5) Never Turn Away (Album Version) (1984)
6) Hold You (1985)
7) The Lights Are Going Out (1985)
8) The Native Daughters Of The Golden West (1985)
9) Satellite (1988)
10) Flame Of Hope (1986)
11) Crush (1985)

1984: Junk Culture: 5
1984: Never Turn Away EP: 4
1985: Crush: 3, 6, 7, 8, 11
1985: So In Love EP: 2
1986: The Pacific Age: 1, 10
1988: Dreaming EP: 9
Side Two (46:13) (Box) (Mega)
Side One here
All Wrapped Up Vol. 1 Side One & Side Two

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Another Happy Jolly Tape Thing

Side 2 of a mixtape, recorded sometime in 1992 for my then-girlfriend.
We went on a couple of camping holidays, the first of which was a return to Bowleaze Cove in Weymouth where my parents used to keep a static caravan for several years. There's a photo in a dusty album somewhere of me as a baby, having a bath in the caravan's tiny sink. I suspect I looked as bemused as I do now. 
We also used the take the cat with us, which seems bizarre in retrospect, but I guess we just didn't have the money to afford the luxury of a cattery for a week. I remember one trip where the cat hadn't returned from their daily patrol on our last day and we were actually driving (albeit very slowly) along the track out of the holiday park, windows open, shouting their name, when they suddenly appeared at the top of the hill, racing down to join us. I don't think my parents really would have left without the cat...would they? The cat was named Sacha, after the popular French singer, although my folks had never shown any particular fondness for his music. Parents are weird like that.
We swapped a caravan for a tent in 1992. I hadn't admitted to my girlfriend that I'd actually done very little camping at this point in my life and putting up a tent almost proved to be beyond my capabilities. Relatively early in our relationship, she may not have experienced quite the level of expletives that undoubtedly burst forth as I took about four times longer to get the darn tent up and staying up than any other complete novice.
Little had changed in the decade and a half since I'd last visited Weymouth, not least the shift from pebble (& tar) beach at the Bowleaze Cove end to golden sand as you got further along the promenade and into town. At the far end of the beach, before the pavilion and pier, the sand sculptor was still at work, creating scenes and still life art to wow and delight. We ventured into town to the fishmongers, sampling jellied eels (still disgusting) and whelks. All in all, a great few days away and some happy new memories to treasure. 
I've been back a couple more times since with Clan K and whilst the town and seafront have experienced more dramatic changes - and the beach-based sand sculptures have now moved slightly inland and upscaled to become Sandworld - we have had a great time, each time.

I like to think that Happy Jolly Tape Thing was playing on the drive from Bristol to Weymouth and home again, back in 1992. It's certainly chock full of travelling, sing-a-long tunes from Depeche Mode, Primal Scream, Talking Heads and Prefab Sprout. The Undertones are the only act to appear on both sides of the cassette, whilst my girlfriend was a huge fan of The Smiths and liked The Doors, although I think that was more to do with Jim Morrison in leather trousers than their music in particular.

Tacked onto the end of the compilation was a hidden track that played out following the closing seconds of the final song on Adam & The Ants' 1981 album, Prince Charmng. Sounds of waves lapping on a beach, guitar strums and a 'wimoweh' refrain, what better way to end, then and now?
1) Boom! There She Was (Sonic Property Mix By Steve Thompson & Michael Barbiero) (UK Edit): Scritti Politti ft. Roger Troutman (1988)
2) (Keep Feeling) Fascination (Extended Version): The Human League (1983)
3) The Meaning Of Love (Single Version): Depeche Mode (1982)
4) Movin' On Up (Album Version By Jimmy Miller): Primal Scream (1991)
5) Tell All The People: The Doors (1969)
6) Road To Nowhere (Album Version): Talking Heads (1985)
7) Downtown ('Shag Times' Album Version): The Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu (1988)
8) It's Going To Happen! (Album Version): The Undertones (1981)
9) Faron Young (Truckin' Mix By Thomas Dolby): Prefab Sprout (1985)
10) Ask: The Smiths (1985)
11) Streets Of Your Town (Album Version): The Go-Betweens (1988)
12) untitled: Adam & The Ants (1981)
Side Two (46:55) (Box) (Mega)
Side One here

Monday 20 February 2023

Levelling The Vibes

Back to Bristol and Rob Smith aka RSD aka Blue & Red aka one half of More Rockers aka founder member of the legendary Smith & Mighty. And that's before I add other examples such as Zion Band, Restriction and Jaz Klash...

Today's selection is a brisk ten-track jog through Rob's solo and remix work between 2003 and 2021. It barely scratches the surface, to be honest, but at least gives a snapshot of the skill at work behind the desk and with a host of collaborators including Alice Perera, Sasha Perera, Jah Device, Kelz and Tammy Payne.
For more - much more - of Rob Smith's music, head over to his Bandcamp page.
1) Righteous (Dubstep Remix By RSD): Evergreen, Landlord & Ruckspin ft. Danman (2011)
2) Likeminded: Rob Smith ft. Alice Perera (2003)
3) Jim Screechy (Dub Roller Youth) (Remix By Rob Smith): Big Youth (2015)
4) Ningun Hombre (Rob Smith aka RSD Remix): Dactah Chando (2013)
5) Pump Up The Volume (Rob Smith aka RSD Remix) (Cover of M|A|R|R|S): Rude Boy ft. Kardi Tivali (2021)
6) State Of Emergency (Rob Smith aka RSD Dub Remix): Illbilly Hitec ft. Longfingah & Lady N (2013)
7) Work!: Rob Smith ft. Jah Device & Sasha Perera (2014)
8) Finding Feathers: Rob Smith ft. MC Kelz (2007)
9) Same (Smith 2019 Mix): Smith & Mighty ft. Tammy Payne (2019)
10) Boxes And Amps (Remixed By Rob Smith): Zion Train ft. Dubdadda (2009)
Levelling The Vibes (50:10) (Box) (Mega)