Wherever You Go

More new stuff for this week in the shape of a multi- guest star release from The Avalanches. Sometimes projects with large numbers of guests feel a bit overwhelmed or weighed down them but that isn’t the case here. Wherever You Go is expansive electronic music, taking off with a sample from the Voyager Project, music sent into space with the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1977. Co- produced by Jamie xx and with Neneh Cherry and Clypso on vox and with piano from Mick Jones it sounds like a meeting of minds and talents, a song that picks up the pioneering spirit that sent music out of orbit and into the solar system and runs with it. The children’s voices suggest ’70s TV shows, the drums coming in just after two minutes and the pumping bassline make it more contemporary, and the layering of sounds, Clypso’s rap and sheer bounce of the last couple of minutes plant it in now. The promise of space exploration coupled with the sort of sounds that should be heard from a car radio passing by in the street.

‘Why do we send music to the stars? Is it because we want our voices to live forever? How else should we become pure spirits, singing forever in the dark?’

The Avalanches, July 2020

The Wheel Keeps Turning

Since posting Massive Attack’s 1991 single Unfinished Sympathy I’ve been listening to my fairly battered copy of Blue Lines and some of the 12″ singles that surrounded it. There’s no getting away from the brilliance of the album and especially it’s final song, the whale sound, Buddhist, ecology trip hop/ ambient beauty of Hymn Of The Big Wheel. The heartbeat drum opens it, there’s didgeridoo and then the sound envelopes the room before Horace Andy begins his wonderful, androgynous vocal. The lyric, a man talking to his child, about life and its cyclical nature, the weather, inequality, cities and factories, the sunset, the need to have one’s soul mended. It’s breathtaking stuff.

Nellee Hooper did a remix not too far removed from the album version but more breakbeat- led and with a heart stopping piano part. Co- written (and sung on uncredited) by Neneh Cherry, if you needed another reason to love it. They can play this at my funeral.

‘The big wheel keeps on turning
On a simple line day by day
The earth spins on its axis
One man struggle while another relaxes’

Hymn Of The Big Wheel (Nellee Hooper Remix)


We Always Hang In A Buffalo Stance

One of the late 80s most infectious singles, sung by the gorgeous Neneh Cherry, produced by Bomb The Bass’ Tim Simenon and here remixed by Arthur Baker. He stretches it out, adds a house drum groove and chops up the vocal at the end.

Buffalo Stance was a big hit for Neneh in 1989. Originally it had been a B-side to a  poor 1986 single called Looking Good Diving by Jaime Morgan and Cameron McVey, produced and put out by PWL. Nick Kamen later covered it too, for extra awfulness. Given all of that it’s amazing that such a good single was the end result. Cameron McVey became Mr Neneh Cherry in 1990- and as far as I know, he still is today.

Buffalo Stance (Nearly Neue Beat)

Dead Come Alive

Adrian Sherwood has rummaged through his vaults and put this out, a previously unreleased 1983 tune with the man himself operating a then brand new Linn Drum and a teenage Neneh Cherry rapping. Ahead of the game in 1983, still sounding fresh today.

Out Of The Black

This is a bit good and thanks to Echorich for the tip off- a remix of Out Of The Black from Neneh Cherry’s excellent album Blank Project. The songs on the album are really stripped back and percussive, Neneh’s singing blues and jazz influenced. This remix by Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard puts some clubby sounds and dynamics into it, alongside Swedish popstar Robyn.

And tying recent postees together neatly, in this Big Audio Dynamite video for C’mon Every Beatbox, Neneh Cherry busts some moves and cuts some rug. I always love the way Mick and Don sing alternate lines in this song (and there’s a guitar solo pinched from Jimi Hendrix). Surely this was where Roddy Frame got his inspiration for Good Morning Britain from too.

Blank Cherry

Neneh Cherry’s album from this year is being re-released as a deluxe version and if you haven’t got it, you should give it some thought. Produced by Four Tet, with tons of skittering drum machines, sparse arrangements and loud, fuzzy bass, all riding underneath Neneh’s voice, it’s not a boring or safe record.

This jazzy break led, street poetry collaboration with Afrika Baby Bam is just too good- ‘My life is like an island’…

I Heard It Through The Bassline

The Bagging Area Slits-fest continues with this astonishing piece of live footage from Berlin in 1981, playing Man Next Door- freeform dub live with The Pop Group’s Bruce Smith on drums, Neneh Cherry on backing vox and dancing and Ari, Viv and Tessa in full effect for eight minutes. There really was nothing else like them.

Man Next Door was originally a John Holt hit, based on a Dr Alimantado song, based on a Dennis Brown song.

As an extra I’ve been hammering this recently, their cover version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine (B-side to Typical Girls). It is the best dub-punk cover, bar none, and I have posted it before but it bears repeating. Tessa Pollitt’s bassline is out of this world- as Ari Up sings ‘I heard it through the bassline’

I Heard It Through The Grapevine

This Is A Woman’s World

Pop fact- Drew of Across the Kitchen table was almost in this issue of The Face. But that’s not solely why we’re here today. Cover star Neneh Cherry has a new record out on Monday and it’s had some pretty positive reviews and sounds interesting. In 1996 she had several hits including a global smash Youssou N’Dour and this excellent string laden, trip hop song.


Woman was Neneh’s response to James Brown’s It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World and had Bernard Butler fresh from Suede on guitar. At the end of the 80s she’d had her first taste of pop stardom with the Raw Like Sushi album- superior Ladbroke Grove pop-rap… ‘and all that you need is the air that you breathe’

And to those of us of a certain age she’ll always be the woman doing the Buffalo Stance on Top Of The Pops, seven months pregnant.

Sweetness That I’m Thinking Of

From 1987 Neneh Cherry’s worldwide hit single Buffalo Stance. Worldwide smash. Poppy. Hip-hop-ish. Housey. Top stuff.

neneh cherry – buffalo stance.mp3