When Tomorrow Hits

I’m going to see Sonic Boom play next week, in his Spectrum guise, which I’m really looking forward to. I recently discovered this album, Indian Giver from 2008, recorded by Pete Kember and legendary producer Jim Dickinson (appearing as Captain Memphis)- a man for whom the word legendary is fully deserved. On Indian Giver they revisited Spacemen 3’s cover of Mudhoney’s When Tomorrow Hits and it is all you need for this Wednesday morning, two chord, Stooges-inspired, fuzz rock par excellence, a song going off like a slow explosion.

Indian Giver by Spectrum

Monday’s Long Song

This came out back in 2013 and I posted it back then and again in 2014 but it was among the piles of records that I was sorting through when the big sort out/Kallax construction took place recently and I thought it would fit this series perfectly. Beachcombing is a fifteen minute collaboration between New York composer Peter Gordon, a man who worked with Arthur Russell and Laurie Anderson, and Nik Void and Gabe Gurnsey of Factory Floor. Beachcombing sounds a bit like a 45 rpm record slowed down to 33, the pitter-patter of a drum machine, slow and warped tones, woozy almost inaudible vocals from Nik and waves and surges of analogue, modular synths and sweet bursts of saxophone. It  builds and holds a trance-like state that is easy to get lost in and if it doesn’t improve your Monday morning, I don’t know what will.

Beachcombing

 

So Right

This came out last August but I only found it recently, a John Talabot remix of Marie Davidson. John Talabot is a Catalan DJ and producer who has remixed the Xx as well as releasing his own album way back in 2012. Marie Davidson is a French- Canadian producer and musician who put out an album last year called Working Class Woman on Ninja Tune (which includes a track called Workaholic Paranoid Bitch). House music from Barcelona and techno from Montreal. Talabot’s remix of Davidson’s So Right is a nine minute dub techno excursion, a deep dive into metronomic drums, moody synths and spectral, echoed voice. I like this a lot.

In 2014 Talabot remixed Bicep. This alternative mix was given away free somewhere- a long, somewhat bleepy version and like a lot of Talabot’s remixes is a mid-tempo, mid-set sort of tune.

Satisfy (Talabot Alt Mix)

Flying

I last posted this song three years ago in January 2016 and it’s fair to say a lot has happened since then. Theresa May stumbles on, unable to act, held hostage by her own red lines, her own party and the wingnuts and closet racists of the right wing, and her deal with the DUP. A government that can’t deliver whatever it was the 52% imagined they were voting for. The vox pop sections of TV news and the papers are currently full of people saying they want it over, they want out and they’re happy with a hard Brexit so ‘we’ can get back to being ‘great’ again (never mind the fact that almost everyone who uses that phrase seems to think that the word Great in Great Britain means amazing or powerful and isn’t actually just a geographical term to describe a landmass containing England, Scotland and Wales). Many of these people seem to have an unlived, deluded nostalgia for a England of the early 1950s, a post-Dunkirk and World War II but pre-Suez Crisis country, with an Empire overseas, where the milkman came every morning whistling as he left glass bottles on doorsteps, the birds chirruped in the trees and you could get an appointment at the doctor’s the same day (and there weren’t any people with darker skins or eastern European accents living down the road). I fear we are heading for a No Deal Brexit and that there are plenty of people happily welcoming this, all of whom are also suddenly experts on WTO rules and tariffs. How leaving the E.U. is going to achieve this is unclear to me. From where I’m sitting, it looks like a total disaster, for all of us. People that want to live in the past usually get stuck there. Does any other nation other than the English have such an obsession with its past, a past that never really existed? The only faint glimmer of hope is that the Tory Party will have to own this fuck up forever (and if this whole debacle led to the break up of the United Kingdom, that would be an even sweeter irony).

Back to the song and a total change of mood. St Etienne’s third single was Nothing Can Stop Us, an uptempo slice of indie/dance/northern based around a Dusty Springfield sample and the then new vocalist Sarah Cracknell. The single was a double A-side, the flip being Speedwell, a chunkier, deeper, house influenced tune. The 12″ single was followed up by second 12″, released a week later, with two remixes of Speedwell and an instrumental version of Nothing Can Stop Us. The remixes of Speedwell were by Dean Thatcher and Jagz Kooner, as The Aloof, and are superb. Totally 91.

Speedwell (Flying Mix)

Drop The Deal

‘Please remain in your seats, we’ll have a full report in a moment’ says the voice at the start of this record (a sample from an episode of Miami Vice), a 1987 release from Code 61, a Belgian New Beat outfit, and a track heading for the open air nightclubs of the Balearic isles. A vocal sample of a prayer from Jean Michel Jarre. A Harry Belafonte sample and some eastern sounding melodies. A robotic voice intoning ‘drop the deal’. A woman talks about business. The drum machine punches away, the clock running down. What could it all mean?

Drop The Deal

Signals Into Space

First album to purchase of 2019 comes from Essex and Ultramarine who have been making ambient dance music since 1990. Signals Into Space doesn’t really break any new ground but does what it does very nicely indeed. Some of the tracks, especially those with singer Anna Domino, have a jazzy edge to them to go alongside the pastoral psychedelia, the sunrise soundtracks and the outward looking ambience. This is an eleven minute sampler for the whole album.

Monday’s Long Song

This Monday’s long song is an seven minute meditation from Newcastle’s Steven Legget, a slow moving, elegiac tribute to a Turkish bath at Newcastle’s City Pool built around cello and waves of electronics. The album this track is from, Bathhouse, also takes field recordings from Crete and uses them to construct luscious ambient music. It has long since sold out on vinyl but is available digitally from Bandcamp. To be honest, at just under seven minutes this track isn’t nearly long enough- it could be twice the length and I’d happily let it wash over me.

French artist Moebius (Jean Giraud) brought a distinctly European sensibility to comics, a semi-surreal style that was a world away from the Wham! Pow! Blam! world of Marvel and D.C. His comic art is wildly imaginative and the colours shimmer, the people seem real but other and the worlds and places he drew became a standard for sci fi films. He grew up watching and reading Westerns and was inspired by the endless skies of the Mexican desert (having lived there briefly with his mother in 1956). Between 1984 and 1986 he drew The Fantastic Four and Silver Surfer for Marvel, bringing his European bandes dessinees style to superheroes. If any Marvel comic was going to fit with Moebius, it was Silver Surfer.

Starwatcher (pictured at the top of this post) was an androgynous stargazer in a trippy, hypnotic world and is Moebius’ career high. Published in French in 1986 and long out of print- a second-hand copy will set you back a couple of hundred quid. Moebius’ Starwatcher and his artwork generally is perfectly suited to today’s ambient sounds.