Island Earth Is A Happening Place

In the early 90s Sandals, a four piece from South London, signed to Acid Jazz and put out a series of 12″ singles and an album called Rite To Silence. They came up in conversation in a social media post a few days ago and I thought it was time to put some of their music back up here (the last time they featured was back in 2012).

Sandals came together from the club scene and various record stalls and clothes shops, eventually rehearsing in the storage room of a book/record/clothing shop they ran in London’s Trocadero. They mashed together a heady stew of beatnik spoken word poetry, soul, funk and jazz, lots of percussion and bongos, some heavy grooves and early 90s clubland sounds.

Debut single Nothing, from 1992, was produced by Leftfield and predates the trip hop sound by a year or two. Samples of voices, boom- boom- bap drums and whispered/stoned street poetry.

Nothing (Extended Version)

In the same year they put out a second 12″ single, produced this time by Gary Burns and Jagz Kooner of Sabres Of Paradise, with a more progressive house sound. It was remixed by DSS (David Holmes and Ashley Beedle). It opens with Country Joe’s Woodstock crowd participation exercise, ‘Give me an F! Give me a U! Give me a C! Give me a K! What’s that spell? What;s that spell?’ The techno drums come in and Derek Delves begins singing/chanting about the mess we’re in, war, the environment, general madness and bad times. It couldn’t be more relevant today, the best part of three decades later, if it tried. This being a 1992 progressive house remix it goes on for twelve minutes, never really letting up. Exhilarating stuff.

We Wanna Live (DSS Remix)

Also from 1992 was this one, A Profound Gas, which I played loads at the time and still sounds great today. Flutes, guitars, pan pipes, chunky drums, production from Leftfield and more beatnik poetry with some memorable lines and imagery.

A Profound Gas (Vocal Mix)

The group disbanded in 1996 having had a second album rejected by London Records. It was eventually released in 2009 in Japan. A copy came my way recently and when I’ve fully had a chance to listen to it, more Sandals will be coming this way.

Monday’s Long Songs

This Monday’s long song is a remix and a Record Shop Day 2019 12″ release. Despite all our misgivings about RSD- people who buy in bulk to then sell on ebay, the proliferation of re-issues no-one has asked for, the massively bumped up prices, the insistence that coloured vinyl is in some way better than black- this release showed that it was worth heading to a record shop for. New York’s 1960s home-made synth enthusiasts Silver Apples remixed by Andrew Weatherall, a nine minute wonder with lighter than air melodies, steam powered drums and so many false endings that when it finally finishes you still expect it to start up again. Ace.

Weatherall has also recently remixed an Unloved song so while I’m here we may as well slip a second one in. Devils Angels is a very different animal, busier and built around a repeating bassline with ghostly echoed vocals and all manner of noises swirling around its eight minutes.

 

Grow The Revolution

This graffiti appeared on a footbridge that crosses the M61 a little while ago. The photograph was taken by someone I follow on Twitter, Paul Wright. I drive underneath it every day on the way to and from work but haven’t been able to photograph it due to my hands being needed to drive and it being dangerous and all that, so I’m glad Paul got a shot of it (and I hope he doesn’t mind me using it here). On the other side of the bridge, heading away from Manchester, there is another piece of graffiti by the same writer that reads ‘burn fuel don’t care we all breathe the same air’, something I think about often as my car goes underneath it.

Wilmslow’s favourite sons Doves are back and are playing some festivals this summer. They’re playing Heaton Park in June but going to see them there would mean shelling out for a Noel Gallagher gig, something which I’m reluctant to do. After that they’re in Glasgow and at Bearded Theory Festival, Tramlines in Sheffield, Kendal Calling and Somerset House in London (all during term time). A smaller gig somewhere in Manchester would be nice (I’d settle for Castlefield Bowl if need be).

Doves have been well served by remixes in the past.  The original version of Black And White Town from 2005 is an uptempo northern soul inspired stomper. David Holmes slows it right down, puts the descending bassline at the centre with some organ, with the vocals in the distance occasionally, echoing in.

Black And White Town (David Holmes Remix)

Their last album was Kingdom Of Rust in 2009 with various remixes surrounding it across various single releases including this monster from Andrew Weatherall, a bass heavy version, kicking off with shouts and reverb, and then a crunchy drumbeat, a remix that crackles with electricity and ideas. This remix was a sign that Weatherall was finding his groove again, the start of a purple patch that has lasted a decade now.

Compulsion (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

There was also this eight minute gem, a Diskomiks of the title track by Prins Thomas, a 12″ promo of which I found in a local charity shop yesterday for £1.99 and which sounded really good in the early April sunshine.

 

Without Charge

Last Sunday’s post was an hour long mix by Dr Rob, an eclectic selection of songs that were the sources of samples for remixes and productions by Andrew Weatherall. Dr Rob has done a companion mix, a just shy of two hours mix of the less well known remixes that Lord Sabre has turned his hand to over the last three decades. It features mainly his earlier works, some of the remixes from the glory days of the early 90s bookended by a pair of Two Lone Swordsmen remixes that bring a very different vibe.

Tucked away in here you will find the spooked freak out of Spiritualized’s Come Together, opening with the question ‘How big are your eyes?’, followed by some wonderful extended reworks of Word Of Mouth, S’Express, the Gaelic dub of Peace Together, The Impossibles, a TLS remix of later period Stereo MCs, Galliano’s Skunk Funk, Deep Joy, the everything plus bells ten minute Love Corporation monster, a well Balearic West India Company, One Dove, Yello and finally the Swordsmen’s long, jazzy take on David Holmes’ Gone.

Of these remixes the only one I’ve never posted in its own right here is the last one. Gone was a track on Holmes’ 1995 album This Film’s Crap, Let’s Slash The Seats, double bass, brushed drums and Sarah Cracknell on vocals. Weatherall and co-Swordsman Keith Tenniswood did a pair of versions. The first is sparse and made for the small hours, double bassline and breakbeat and some knob twiddling noises. The second is clubbier, a techno kickdrum and hi-hat, some very wobbly bass, some distance further from the original and much more cut from Two Lone Swordsmen’s machine funk cloth.

Gone (First Night Without Charge)

Gone (Second Night Without Charge)

Necronomicon

Sometimes the internet is a wonderful thing. Someone posted this on Facebook and I’ve been mildly obsessed with it for a few days now. In 1994 Nina Walsh launched Sabrettes, a record label that was an offshoot of the Sabres Of Paradise record label (she also registered the Sabrettes tartan seen above with The Scottish Register Of Tartans but that’s a side issue here).

Innersphere made techno. In 1994 they released an album called Outer Works and three 12″ singles. One of them, Necronomicon, was remixed by Sabres Of Paradise on one side and David Holmes on the other. This is the David Holmes remix but played at 33 rpm rather than 45 but then pitched up to +8, stretched out for over eleven minutes. It is head nodding heaven and totally absorbing- a looped bassline, some long keening sounds, a wiggly acid squiggle, all very hypnotic. You can lose yourself inside it very easily.

Just for comparison here’s the Holmes remix played at the intended speed, 45 rpm- still good but considerably more banging in tempo and 1994 attitude.

Jackson Johnson

When David Holmes gets it right he really gets it right. This long instrumental is a good way to start Saturday, riding in on a busy drum part and some twiddly guitars before the organ and keys take over (vibraphone and Wurlitzer according to the sleevenotes).

Jackson Johnson was recorded in New York in 1999, appeared on his 2010 compilation The Dogs Are Parading and has been added to the re-issue of his 2000 album Bow Down To The Exit Sign but wasn’t on the original release. Which is a bit mystifying as it’s top drawer stuff.

Jackson Johnson

Heartbreak

More new stuff. Unloved, a threepiece made up of David Holmes, singer Jade Vincent and Keefus Cianca, inspired by the 60s girl groups, Jack Nitzsche and Hollywood’s darker soundtracks, have signed to Heavenly and have a new song out. Their first album, Guilty Of Love released back in 2016, had a great sound and some good songs. This doesn’t sound like a massive departure from that record, a bit denser and more fractured possibly.