Celestial Symphony

The Trance Europe Express compilation continues to feed my head musically. Funnily, another trainee teacher on my PGCE course lent me the cd back in 1993, at a time when I didn’t even own a cd player. I happily borrowed his cd, read the booklet from front to back and back again and then returned it without being able to listen to any of the tracks. I didn’t buy Trance Europe Express until I’d bought a cd player, some time in 1996 or ’97, when I found it second hand and then had the joy of listening to all the tracks.

From disc 1, this is a driving, thumping piece of progressive house (with a dash of trance). Scubadevils were Andy Ellison, Pete Latham and David Holmes. There was another version of this track, the Angel Delight mix, which appeared on a 12″ single (split with another Holmes alias Death Before Disco) but I don’t have that- and this is more than good enough on its own anyway. When I re-found the Trance Europe Express cd last weekend and pressed play, this track made me almost giddy with excitement as it played. A proper dance floor filler.

Celestial Symphony


Bagging Area End Of Year Review

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

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.

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

Henry Dub

Look, they put the Andrew Weatherall dub of Henry McCullough by BP Fallon and David Holmes on the internet. With moving pictures of the record playing. Some of you will like this a lot. Out tomorrow.


Henry McCullough is the subject of one of 2016’s best songs, recorded by BP Fallon and David Holmes, a long, euphoric, spoken word tribute to the Northern Irish guitarist and songwriter. BP Fallon’s vocal was recorded when he stayed at Holmes’ house, the night after Henry’s funeral. It’s a stunning piece of work.

On Saturday Record Shop Day will be upon us again, the annual cash cow for record companies and Ebay scalpers, with the odd sideline benefit for independent record shops and fans. In terms of its intentions starting out, it was meant to get people back into record shops. Job done I think. But it’s crossed over into something else now, something more crass and brazenly commercial. On the other hand, irritatingly, there are always one or two things that I want. Andrew Weatherall’s stellar remixes of this track is this year’s must-have record here in the Bagging Area bunker.

God’s Waiting Room

Not content with giving us an Andrew Weatherall radio show every month NTS Radio have now given David Holmes a two hour window to broadcast in. If you got Holmes’ Late Night Tales album last year you’ll have an idea of  where he’s at at the moment. God’s Waiting Room takes in soundtracks, library recordings, psych, rock ‘n’ roll and other recordings from the further extremities of a man’s record collection. No tracklist though so your guess in many cases is as good as mine. In fact your guess may be better than mine.

Bagging Area End Of Year Review

I saw a thing on social media recently which said ‘nobody cares about your end of year review’. Possibly true. But it’s a blogging tradition and so here it is.

2016 has been a wretched year in so many ways but there’s been a real glut of good music from start to finish, from Bowie’s astonishing and difficult to listen to Blackstar (and death) in January through to the very recent album from A Tribe Called Quest (also marked by the death of one of its makers, Phife Dawg).

Albums Of The Year

All of these have spent time on the Bagging Area turntable and/or car stereo…

David Bowie ‘Blackstar’// Andrew Weatherall ‘Convenanza’// Dinosaur Jr ‘Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not’// Unloved ‘Guilt Of Love’//Aphex Twin ‘Cheetah’// A Tribe Called Quest‘We Got It From Here…’//Beyonce ‘Lemonade’//Tim Burgess and Peter Gordon ‘Same Language, Different Worlds’//Toy ‘Clear Shot’//Underworld ‘Barbara Barbara We Face A Shining Future’//Echolocation ‘Empire Blood And Bones’//Sordid Sound System ‘Lux Exterior’//Cavern Of Anti- Matter ‘Void Beats’// Steve Mason ‘Meet The Humans’//Frank Ocean ‘Blonde’// Baltic Fleet ‘The Dear One’//Pete Astor ‘Spilt Milk’//Cobby and Porky‘Cities Below Future Seas// and the much played round here swansong from Iggy Pop ‘Post Pop Depression’

As well as all of these the three that have given me the most repeated joy are…

Woodleigh Research Facility ‘The Phoenix Suburbs (And Other Stories)
Beyond the Wizards Sleeve ‘The Soft Bounce’
Factory Floor ’25 25′

But the most jawdropping album has been a compilation which included new recordings along with old, mixed together perfectly, making something new that was a meditation on life, love, loss and death, and that is David Holmes’ Late Night Tales. So that’s my album of the year.

As a sampler for those that haven’t heard it it opened with Barry Woolnough’s tribute to his wife who died of cancer, a 7″ single on Moine Dubh…

This is Sung Sung’s spooked out cover of 10cc’s I’m Not In Love (not a song I previously particularly liked but this is just wonderful)

And this was a one take vocal performance by BP Fallon to his friend Henry McCullough (a pair of Weatherall remixes are due next year).

E.P. Of The Year

Hardway Bros (Sean Johnston) released a four track e.p. in the early summer and I can’t think of three songs that have sounded any better on one piece of vinyl than Pleasure Cry, My PNO and especially Argonaut. The sound of my summer. Still doing it in December too.

Songs Of The Year

Drew’s songs of the year from last Saturday crosses over with mine in many ways- our 2016 Venn diagram has a big overlapping section. Here are 24 songs from 2016. No rankings, think of this list as a suggestion of the order in which these songs could be played…

Steve Cobby and Rich Arthurs ‘Bushfarmer’
Cobby and Mallinder ‘Tumblefish’
Primal Scream ‘100% Or Nothing Dub (Bobby Selassie And Primal Jah)
David Bowie ‘I Can’t Give Everything Away’
Wussy ‘Ceremony’
Pete Astor ‘Really Something’
Paprika Kinski ‘Kids Of Your Crime’
Iggy Pop ‘Gardenia’
The Hurt ‘Berlin’
Unloved ‘When A Woman Is Around’
The Liminanas ft Peter Hook ‘Garden Of Love’ (Lundi Mouille Mix)
Warpaint ‘New Song’
Woodleigh Research Facility ‘Taqiya’
Massive Attack ‘Ritual Spirit’
Andrew Weatherall ‘The Confidence Man’
The Xx ‘On Hold’
Beyonce ‘Hold Up’
Beyond the Wizards Sleeve ‘Diagram Girl’ (BTWS Re-Animation)
Craig Bratley ft Danielle Moore ‘Play The Game’ (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
Circle Sky ‘Reveal’
Daniel Avery ‘A Mechanical Sky’
Death In Vegas ‘You Disco I Freak’
Andrew Weatherall ‘Ghosts Again’ (Scott Fraser Ghosts In The Piano Mix)
Hardway Bros ‘Argonaut’


Friday- and thank fuck for that. It’s been a long and trying week. I’ve got my computer back and it seems to have survived the experience despite the best efforts of the staff at the shop who were borderline incompetent, had no customer service skills whatsoever and didn’t even seem to think an apology was due when I listed the multiple let downs in service they’ve provided me with over the last four weeks.

Today’s tune to lift the spirits is a follow on of sorts from Drew posting LB Bad’s New Age Of Faith last week, the starting point for Sabres Of Paradise’s  1993 classic Smokebelch. David Holmes took Weatherall and co’s track and added a tumbling house piano guaranteed to set the hairs on the back of the neck up straight and a majorette style drumming section. Breakdowns and build ups, and end the of the night has come too soon.

Smokebelch II (David Holmes remix)

If you haven’t yet heard Holmes’ Late Night Tales compilation you really should do so as a matter of urgency, whatever your current tastes. It is much more than a mix cd or compilation. It is an expertly put together and seemless mix of songs to guide you through the small hours, taking in psyche, folk, the weirder end of rock and roll, a children’s choir, ambient and found sounds, the spoken word and some songs recorded by Holmes specifically for this album. It takes in the words of Seamus Heaney, the music of strange bedfellows like BP Fallon, Jon Hopkins, David Crosby, Buddy Holly, The Children Of Sunshine and Moine Dubh’s Barry Woolnough. It tracks a journey through life, complete with loss and love and redemption. It is quite magical and proves that light always finds its way through the dark.

The two covers are kind of the inverse of each other aren’t they?