Clock Factory

Following Drew’s post on Friday- it doesn’t take much for me to return to Weatherall- here’s some early Sabres Of Paradise, illustrated with a photo from Boy’s Own fanzine (captioned in Lord Sabre’s own hand I believe). Clock Factory took up an entire side of the vinyl release of Sabresonic (1993), a tad under fifteen minutes long. Across its seven tracks (or eight if you count Smokebelch the Beatless Mix, an extra 7″ in initial copies and added to the cd release) Sabresonic has cuts aimed fairly and squarely at the dancefloor (Still Fighting), some very smart dub-house (RSD) and some more abstract, broken beat ones (Ano Electro). Clock Factory is the more ambient one of the set- whirrings and tickings and time moving slowly but purposefully.

Clock Factory

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Rewind

I was listening to Big Audio Dynamite’s third album, Megatop Phoenix, released in 1989. In 1988 Mick Jones contracted chicken pox which then spread to his lungs causing double pneumonia. He was close to death, in intensive care and in a coma for several days. Hence the phoenix of the title. It was also the last album made by the line-up of Mick, Don Letts, Leo Williams, Dan Donovan and Greg Roberts last album. BAD had already pioneered sample based songs, using drum machines, films and hip hop and reggae influences. By 1989 they were soaking up house sounds too. The album shows the quality of the group’s songwriting, the wide range of Mick’s lyrics (James Brown, love and romance, the UK, football, the emerging house scene, Victor Tretchikoff’s famous Green Lady painting, Tower Bridge and World War II all make appearances) and the scope and wit of the sampling- Charlie Watts’ drumming, Bernard Cribbins, The Great Escape, Noel Coward, George Formby, Alfred Hitchcock, The Who and The Pretty Things and James Brown (again) are among the credited ones. House music is all over the lead single Contact, essentially a verse-chorus house song sung by Mick and the song House Arrest is pretty convincing too- pianos, jackhammer bass, whistles. There are songs which are cut and paste experiments and songs which are more crafted. It’s an album that intends to be modern. It’s not easy to get hold of currently and doesn’t seem to be in print- but if you go second hand you’ll find an overlooked but fine lp. Rewind is sung by Don Letts, digital reggae inspired, diverting off into Tenor Saw’s Ring The Alarm at one point and including part of the later song Stalag 123 played backwards. Ideas busting out all over the place.

Rewind

The band shots on the inner sleeve are superbly late 80s. Mick went to the photoshoot dressed like this…

Chase The Bush

Oooh, this is a dancefloor stomper with the chug in full effect from Sean Johnston’s Hardway Bros. Some of squiggles are messing my central nervous system up a little. Turn the lights off, get someone to flick the lamp on and off really fast.

Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party

I kept seeing Courtney Barnett’s name in the end of 2015 lists and have eventually got around to listening to her album Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit. The music is satisfyingly catchy, ramshackle three chord indie with thumping drums propelling the songs along. There’s something early 90s about it, but with a bit less slacking. Her biggest strength is her writing- Courtney’s lyrics are a total joy, she has real fun with words, throwing out lines that are clever and witty, grounded in everyday life, occasionally slipping some genuinely profound moments. Unfortunately part of me can’t help feeling that I’m maybe twenty years too old for this record.

Dub You Can Feel

From cosmische yesterday to dub today. There are a bewildering number of King Tubby albums and tracks, some on what look like iffy labels in poorly printed sleeves/cd cases. You can’t go wrong with the two definitive dub albums Tubby made in the mid 70s, The Roots Of Dub and Dub From The Roots, both made with Bunny Lee. The titles are often brilliantly self explanatory as well- Dub You Can Feel, A First Class Dub, Rocking Dub, The Immortal Dub. The sounds and experimentation in those records never fail to move and inspire and (like Neu!’s music), it never sounds old or dated either.

What colour is dub? Dub is green.

Dub You Can Feel

New Musik

If we’re doing cosmiche we shouldn’t go any further without acknowledging the masters. I never get tired of Neu!, that combination of straight ahead rhythms and guitars being fed through some lovely FX pedals for up to ten minutes. It’s funny – all those bands active in West Germany from the late 60s onwards, produced by the same combination of geography, socio-political events, youth culture and US and British rock ‘n’ roll, get lumped together and don’t really sound anything like each other. Neu!, Can and Faust sound very different from each other, which can make first delvings into the genre very confusing.

e-musik

European Orange

Weatherall played this on his radio show last week and it complements the kosmische theme currently circulating this corner of the interwebs- The Swede and Walter have both been on this tip with Fat White Family and Cavern Of Anti-Matter. The Wrestler are from rural Sussex, and according to legend record in a bunker studio that was built for a abandoned European trade fair. They put this out as the flipside of a split 10″ single alongside The Cult Of Free Love. The rhythms are motorik, the synths pulse and throb and the guitars are beamed in from West Germany circa 1972. Beautiful repetition. Sehr gut.

Split singles are a good thing I think. My main issue with them is where to file them? Which band’s name takes priority?