Bagging Area End Of Year Review

Nope, I’m not entirely sure what is going on in the pictured Bagging Area either.

Albums
2017 seems to have been a good year for music. Making a list of 15 favourite albums was easy, an average of more than one a month- and in the end I got to 18. I’m sure there are loads of good albums I haven’t heard too. These are the ones that pushed my buttons the most.

18 Monolife ‘Sandalphon’
17 Peter Perrett ‘How The West Was Won’
16 The Charlatans ‘Different Days’
15 Hannah Peel ‘Mary Casio: Journey To Cassiopeia’
14 Steve Cobby ‘Hemidemisemiquaver’
13 Timothy J. Fairplay ‘Where Is The Champion’
12 The Replacements ‘For Sale: Live At Maxwell’s’ (30 years old but first official release)
11 Ride ‘Weather Diaries’ (especially Cali, which soundtracked the end of August perfectly)
10 Slowdive ‘Slowdive’
Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band ‘Adios senor Pussycat’
Mogwai ‘Every Country’s Sun’ (especially Party In The Dark, a number one in another universe)
Bicep ‘Bicep’
The Jesus And Mary Chain ‘Damage And Joy’

The top 5 are interchangeable in terms of positions, each one could be my number one in its own way.

Moon Duo ‘Occult Architecture Vol 1’ and ‘Occult Architecture Vol 2’.
Released a couple of months apart as separate but linked records, the flip sides of each other, the light and the shade. Vol 2 is as light and up as anything they’ve done and is a treat but the dark side of the Vol 1 is often its equal. Motorik drumming, mellifluous guitar parts, analogue synths- psyche rock with electronics, blissed out and dreamy.

Andrew Weatherall ‘Qualia’
Over the last couple of years Weatherall has hit another purple patch, with releases all over the place- singles, remixes, albums, dubs… Qualia is an 8 track joy, synths and guitars over live drums and loops, buzzing and propulsive, determinedly European in sound and full of vim. And just when you think he might be  playing within himself, he throws in something like Soft Estates, a harking back to TLS’s minimal electro, or Vorfreude 2, with lounge backing vocals cooing over massive sounding drums and wiggly keyboard lines.

Jane Weaver ‘Modern Kosmology’
A hit of summer, psyche, folk, glam, kraut and pop all bound up in one ten song record.

Kelly Lee Owens ‘Kelly Lee Owens’
I bought this almost on a whim in Piccadilly Records at the start of the year (and it’s their album of the year). Kelly’s debut is a beautiful blend of woozy electronics, ambient textures with both pop and techno at its heart. The slow motion build of some of the songs contrasted perfectly with the rhythmic pulse of the others. Closing track 8, extended over nine and half minutes, is a trip into a dream world.

Singles/e.p.s/remixes 
Yes, there are quite a lot  of Andrew Weatherall records in this list. There are individual songs off all of the albums listed above that could make this list but for the sake of brevity I’ve kept it to stand alone releases. It starts with a summer holiday earworm courtesy of the daughter and the then latest NOw! compilation and ends with Aura by Bicep which, especially in its 12″ form, sums up everything that is great about electronic dance music.

35 Miley Cyrus ‘Malibu’

34 Gorillaz ‘Andromeda’
33 Paul Weller ‘Mother Ethiopia’
32 Lorde ‘Green Light’
31 Fort Beulah N.U. 3 one sided 12″ singles that I’m taking together- ‘1’, ‘2’ and ‘3’
30 Phil Kieran ‘No Life’ Roman Flugel remix
29 Trentemoller and Jenny Lee ‘Hands Up’
28 Confidence Man ‘Bubblegum’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
27 AMOR ‘Paradise’
26 Kid Wave ‘Everything Changes’
25 Doc Daneeka and Robert Owens ‘LUV UNLTD’
24 Calexico ‘Voices In The Field’
23 Konzel ‘Haptic Didactic’
22 Finiflex ‘Ta Ta Oo Ha’
21 Andrew Weatherall ‘Kaif’
20 Duncan Gray ft Sarah Rebecca ‘Erotica Nervosa’
19 Heart People ‘Voices’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
18 Nancy Noise ‘Kaia/Azizi’s Dance’ Remix e.p.
17 Phil Kieran ‘Find Love’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
16 Jagwar Ma ‘Give Me A Reason’ Remixes
15 Charlotte Gainsbourg ‘Deadly Valentine’
14 Andrew Weatherall ‘Kiyadub’ ep
13 Gulp ‘Morning Velvet Sky’ single/Richard Norris Remix
12 Justin Robertson ‘Numerical Discord Swap’
11 The Charlatans ‘Different Days’ Chris and Cosey Remix
10 Halina Rice ‘Drive’ single/Richard Norris Remix
9 Mark Lanegan Band ‘Beehive’ Andrew Weatheral Remix
8 The Early Years ‘Hall Of Mirrors’ Andrew Weatherall Mixes 1 and 2
7 Ride ‘Pulsar’
6 Bicep ‘Glue’
5 Alien Stadium ‘Livin’ In Elizabethan Times’ ep
4 Yello ‘Frautonium’ The Andrew Weatherall Remixes (4 of them but especially Warehouse)
3 Richard Fearless ‘Sweet Venus’
2 BP Fallon and David Holmes ‘Henry McCullough’ Andrew Weatherall Remix
1 Bicep ‘Aura’ 12″ Mix

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Hypnotise Us

Two slices of early 1990s dance music to whisk us away from December and all those pre-Christmas irritations. First up is a song I’ve posted before but only recently saw the video for the first time.

Released by Creation in 1990 Dream Beam is a wonderful slice of house music, bleepy and spaced out with vocals from Denise Johnson. It was this song that got her the gig with Primal Scream and led to her singing on Screamadelica. Tony Martin’s production is perfectly in tune with the times- he put an album out too, also called Hypnotone, which is worth pulling out from the shelf or looking out for if this kind of thing is your bag. Dream Beam is also on Creation’s definitive 1991 Keeping The Faith compilation, along with Fluke, Weatherall’s MBV remix, World Unite, Sheer Taft, Love Corporation, Primal Scream and a couple of others. Keeping The Faith is among the very best things the label ever released.

I saw Hypnotone perform at a mini-festival in Sefton Park, Liverpool (I think it was summer 1990). Larks In The Park was an annual affair starting in the early 80s. Famously in 1985 The Stone Roses and The La’s played the same night. Hypnotone went on way after dark. We were on a grass bank across the boating lake from the stage and the bleeps came  from the bandstand, drifting across the water towards us, followed by Denise’s voice. Everyone was very chilled and happy. It was one of those moments.

Dream Beam (Danny Rampling Remix)

I posted Papua New Guinea by Future Sound Of London fairly recently, back at the end of August. August seems like a long time ago now. This is another video I’d never seen before until recently, FSOL playing Papua New Guinea on Top Of The Pops in 1991. And playing it live. Papua New Guinea is one of those records that takes you away from it all.

Weatherall’s remix takes things up several gears, a thumping kick drum over that throbbing synths and the rushing rewind sounds. Tom toms. Seagulls. Chanting.

Papua New Guinea (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Dark Of The Woods

It’s Saturday, the forecast is for snow today and lots of snow tomorrow. They often promise that but equally often it doesn’t happen. To be frank, snow at the weekend is a waste of time and effort. Snow is only any real use if it closes work and you get a stolen day off.

A few weeks ago the latest edition of the R.G.C. Archive our went up online, Andrew Weatherall’s irregular jaunt through his record collection following his enforced move form his Shoreditch studio. This is Vol. 11 and has a distinctly filmic and soundtrack quality with a side order skronky saxophone jazz. Just right for bunkering in while the snow falls.

Black Merda – Windsong
Don Sebesky – Sounds Of Silence
John Schroeder Orchestra – But She Ran The Other Way
Quincy Jones – Sahara Stone
Simon Park – Tides
Annette Peacock – The Succubus
Ralph Carmichael – Searching Questions
Bruno Nicolai – De Sade
The Harry Roche Constellation – Spiral
The Mystic Moods – The Seventh Plane
Ennio Morricone – Come Maddalaena
The Animated Egg – I Said, She Said, Ah Cid

November’s Not For Everyone

Mr Weatherall is currently on tour in Australia but he sent in November’s edition of Music’s Not For Everyone so we wouldn’t miss out.
More of the usual weird, psychedelic, dub, house mish-mash. from Agnes Obel, Okay Temiz and Johnny Diyani, Stunning Couple, Poets Of The Machine, Natural Sugars, Konzel, The Spellbinder Project, Mumbo Jumbo, Au Pairs, Sven Libaek, Anthony King, Jock Scott and Gareth Sagar, Klaus Joynson and The Type 40, Eddie Miller, Buck Jones, Max Wall, Kaleidoscope, Gerardo Iacoucci, O.C.S., Justine, Jennifer Touch, Anne Clark and AMOR.

Glowing Trees

There’s been some discussion over the last couple of days at The Flightpath Estate (A Facebook group for Weatherall enthusiasts) about this 12″ single from 1994, a one off under the pseudonym Meek. It came out on Conemelt’s New Ground Dance Division and was limited to 500 copies- I only got a copy a few years back, via Discogs, but remember hearing it at a friend’s flat in Liverpool, late one night after clubbing. I’ve posted both sides before but that was back in 2012, decades ago in blogging terms.

Glowing Trees is a long, abstract piece of experimental ambient-techno- whirring clocklike noises, some echo, a little melody box type refrain, a soft padding bassline- all quite dreamy and drifting.

Glowing Trees Part 1

Part 2 adds a kick drum and some extra rhythmic intent, propelling it forward. Very Sabres Of Paradise-esque (not surprisingly).

Glowing Trees Part 2

On the label at the centre of the record there is an inscription, reading ‘with a head like a burnt candle’.

Dig in Webbie.

Moine Dubh Journey

Another long one today, a tad over an hour’s worth of folky freakery for you. Back in September Andrew Weatherall guested on 6 Music’s Freak Zone and played a load of unreleased songs from his Moine Dubh label. The first bunch of songs were released as part of a 7″ vinyl subscription a year ago, five singles for fifty quid. The follow up, which is what I’m assuming this will become, is in this big mp3 file.

A Journey Into Moine Dubh (6 Music Freak Zone)

There’s a mixture of Moine Dubh artists here, old and new. Frank Alba and Barry Woolnough both appeared in the first singles club or at the live night at Crystal Palace, Woolnough with the spooky song of loss Great Spirit Father In The Sky. Fireflies, Echowood and Lowroad did too. Nina Walsh, who is in this mix a few times including twice solo with some sparkling acoustic guitar songs, is half of the Woodleigh Research Facility and a long time musical partner. Rootmasters, Jessica Cahill, Eva Eden and Kave are all new ones to me. Over the course of an hour there’s some strange modern British folk, some weird psych and some killer tunes.

October’s Not For Everyone

Once a month Sunday becomes our Music’s Not For Everyone day, our guide Mr. Weatherall presenting us with two hours of tunes old and new. This month’s edition is full of the usual sonic delights and discoveries, taking in Faten Kanaan, Syrinx, Sibusile Xaba, Hologram Teen, Yamasuki, T Rex (I’ve heard of them, tick), Carlton Melton, The Gimicks, Dennis And The Menaces, Belbury Poly, Hove, Groupe Dago, The Vendetta Suite, 4416, Paradise Box, Abdou Al Omari, Mugwisa International Xylophone Group, Barry Adamson (yup, that’s two) and Spider And The Flies (Horrors offshoot, three). As you were, as Our Kid keeps saying.