Random Selections From The Shelves

On Boxing Day night sitting in the room with all the records in it we played the game where someone pulls a record at random from the shelves and we play it. First to go was my daughter, who had already said she didn’t like what my brother- in- law were listening to when she came in- ‘it’s not music, it’s just noises’ (Richard Norris’ Abstractions Vol. 2). She was given the first go and pulled out St Etienne’s 1994 12″ single Pale Movie.

Pale Movie is off Tiger Bay, the sleeve with a tiger on both front and back. I photographed the tiger above at Port Lympne safari park in Kent a few years ago. I don’t think keeping tigers in cages is a good idea (apart from the obvious conservation arguments) but the tigers at Lympne had a lot of room and seeing one close up and hearing it roar was pretty exciting. I digress. We played the single version of Pale Movie from the choice of four mixes on the single. Pale Movie is classic mid- 90s St Etienne, equal parts Eurobeat, Spanish guitar and Sarah singing lyrics about a boy and girl (‘he is so dark and moody/she is the sunshine girl’). Pete, Bob and Sarah went to Nerja in Spain to shoot the video.

I went back to the 12″ afterwards to re- listen to the other three mixes, all of which were worth giving a spin. Mark ‘Spike’ Stent, the man who mixed the song (and Hug My Soul from Tiger Bay as well), did the Stentorian Dub, a straightforward but effective clubby remix- plenty to enjoy in it with its bleepy synths and chunky drums.

Pale Movie (Stentorian Dub)

The longest remix was ten minutes from Kris Needs in his Secret Knowledge guise. It starts with an extended intro which builds into the first of several peaks. The Secret Knowledge Trouser Assassin mix goes pretty trancey with pummelling drums and Sarah’s vocals dropped in along with the kitchen sink. Kris Needs was a master of this kind of thing in the mid 90s.

Pale Movie (Secret Knowledge Trouser Assassin Mix)

Finally a remix by Underworld (credited solely to Rick Smith), the Lemonentry Mix, one that clocks in at just over four minutes, very short for Underworld at the time. Rick worked on Tiger Bay too, mixing and programming Like A Motorway, Cool Kids Of Death and Urban Clearway. The Underworld remix of Cool Kids Of Death is one I’ll come back to when I do a follow up to the Underworld remixes post from a week or two ago. The Lemonentry Mix is a slowed down, dubby affair, darker and moodier than the rest, with Sara’s vocal intact.

Pale Movie (Lemonentry Mix)

Just to show how random the following selections from the shelves were my niece followed St Etienne with Gnod and a song from their Just Say No To The Psycho Right Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine album. We played the opening song, Bodies For Money, a glorious piece of feedback guitar led noise, every instrument recorded with the needle tipping into the red and Gnod raging against late period capitalism.

Mrs Swiss then pulled out a six track maxi- single The House Sound Of Chicago and as Gnod’s noise dissolved we had Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk’s 1986 song Love Can’t Turn Around, featuring the sublime vocals of Daryl Pandy, a song that was the first US house track to hit the UK charts. It still sounds huge, crashing pianos, 808s and 303s. Magical.

Love Can’t Turn Around

Fun for all the family as I’m sure you can see.

Monday’s Long Song

Gnod are an ever increasing and decreasing collective who started life based in Islington Mill in Salford and have been unleashing records on the world since 2007. They make long songs. Noisy, experimental, guitar-based songs with drones, long build ups and slow explosions, unsettling and psychedelic, vocals covered in reverb and static. In 2017 they made an album called Just Say No To The Psycho Right- Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine, an album dealing with ‘the rampant dehumanisation and destruction of personhood under Western capitalism’. Previously, in 2013, they released Chaudelande and this seventeen minute space rock extravaganza is a wake up call to welcome you to Monday morning. There’s a heatwave coming this week- Gnod are already burning.

The Vertical Dead

On My Gnod

I don’t know what they’ve been drinking in Salford recently but there’s some strange things brewing across the Irwell. Drew tipped me off to Gnod a little while back. This song is one of the shorter ones of their new lp Chaudelande, being a mere eight minutes long. Starting with some finger cymbals and chanting, just to disconcert you a little, it then settles into a crunching groove with thumping drums and a cranked up guitar. Occasionally some extremely distorted, crackly vocals appear and then disappear. Towards the end they raise it up a notch, shift gear and proceed towards the finale. The wah-wah pedal takes a battering. I’m picturing Salfordian noise-monks playing at a Julian Cope gig somewhere remote, with an audience locked in a barn, transfixed by the pummeling the instruments are getting. Although the truth may be a little crustier. See for yourself. And then shell out for the album.

Man On The Wire