Bank Holiday Monday’s Long Songs

Andrew Weatherall’s back catalogue (his productions, own material, remixes and collaborations) is so vast that I keep re- discovering things I’d forgotten about. In 2017 he remixed an Australian duo called Heart People, Rachel Rutt and Ryan Grieve. The internet doesn’t give much away about them- an interview with i-D Magazine in 2015 and a handful of releases in 2017. Weatherall’s remix is a fast moving, sci- fi affair, lots of rattling snare drums and acid squiggles and bleeps with Rachel’s vocals layered over the top. Weatherall remixed fellow Australians Confidence Man at the same time (twice in fact, Bubblegum in 2017 and ecstatic Out The Window a year later). He took an annual DJing jaunt to Oz around that time so I’m guessing the Heart People connection came via one of those trips. The remix has bags of energy and should kick start your morning if you’re looking for something to plug you back in.

Voices (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

In 2014 while still during his Asphodells project with Timothy J. Fairplay they remixed She Lies, a  Berlin post- punk disco band- the internet again offering up little more in the way of information or background. This sounds very like a version of Berlin in the early 80s but with Weatherall and Fairplay’s trademark drum machine rhythms and some lovely wobbly synth sounds and pulsing bassline. Waves of hypnotic sound and chilly, detached vocals. Sehr gut.

Needed You (Asphodells Remix)

Barely Alive

Brand new and retro- futuristic, Kris Baha’s Barely Alive remixed by Timothy J. Fairplay, a chilly, detached crawl through the early 1980s with 808 and ARP synth- this probably needs a new tag in classic Fairplay style, 2020 chill wave or nu D.D.R. synthpop. Ghostly and physical at the same time. The original mix is pretty smart too.

Remix Exchange

I found this again recently, a very smart piece of digital dub from 2013. Group Rhoda is/was the solo electronic project for Oakland, California artist Mara Barenbaum. King was a track on Group Rhoda’s 12th House album (the original version of King is available from Bandcamp here). It was remixed by The Asphodells. Weatherall and Fairplay set the controls for the heart of the bass frequencies, echo- drenched bleeps punctuate the synths and Mara’s vocals ride over the top.

King (Asphodells Remix)

Group Rhoda returned the favour, the second leg of a remix exchange, by reworking Another Lonely City from The Asphodells only album Ruled By Passion, Destroyed By Love. There were a bunch of remixes of tracks from Ruled By Passion… from the likes of Phil Kieran, Justin Robertson, Ivan Smagghe, Hardway Bros, Daniel Avery, Richard Sen and Scott Fraser, all released as a companion album. Played back to back these pair of remixes complement each other really well (unsurprisingly) and give you ten minutes of digital dubbed out pleasure for Saturday.

Another Lonely City (Group Rhoda Remix)

 

Skylark II

It seems like a while since Timothy J Fairplay released any new material. I’m a big fan of his music- vintage synths, 80s keyboards, driving bass and drum machines, obtuse and funny song titles. The new one, Skylark II is a four track e.p. on digital and yellow vinyl and an amazing retro sci- fi sleeve from Fred Gambino, and is a short soundtrack to an alien abduction mystery in Chile which is, if nothing else, different from run of the mill songs about your girlfriend leaving you.

The Bandcamp page for Skylark II has a passage to go with the music…

Out on the hard shoulder of Highway 3, close to the mountains, Pablo Mistral kneels by the rear of his truck, weak and immobilised, and unable to speak. Ahead of him near a grove of trees, a great luminous plate shaped object hangs motionless about six or seven metres from the ground. Close behind him three strange figures eye him fixedly. He watched the three beings as they stood looking at him for what felt like five minutes. ‘They were what looked like two men and a woman, all were blonde and their hair was combed back. All were roughly the same height and were all dressed alike. Very tight fitting leaden grey coloured one piece suits, three quarter length boots of a yellow colour like that of chamois leather, they had long gloves of the same yellow colour, and these reached half way up their arms. They wore no belts, nor helmets, nor anything else. They had no weapons. Their faces were like ours, but they had great wide foreheads and slightly protruded eyes that appeared to a emit a low blue glow which seemed to gently pulse in intensity. They were talking together in a language that was impossible to understand, it had no vowels, and sounded like a badly tuned radio, with squeaky sharp noises. One of them seized me by the collar and pulled me upright forcibly, but without violence. I tried to speak, but my voice would not come. While the one who had pulled me up held me, another put a device to the base of the index finger of my left hand. I got a good look at the device. It looked like some sort of small portable computer, and it had a nozzle which they applied to me for a few seconds. It did not hurt. When they took it away, I had two drops of blood on my finger. I think I fainted then, because I don’t remember anything else…’

Together More

Together More is the latest release on Andrew Weatherall’s Bird Scarer label- BS007 if you’re keeping a count- from Scott Fraser and vocals from Louise Quinn, a slow burning, deep house rumble, a track with a kind of dark energy. The flipside of the limited edition 12″ is an Andrew Weatherall remix and in a weird and unexpected turn of events I’m digging the original version more than the remix at the moment.

Back in 2012 Scott Fraser’s A Life Of Silence was the second Bird Scarer release, a 12″ that is one of the best releases of its kind of the last decade. That may sound like hyperbole but it’s a magnificent beast- nine minutes plus of juddering, synth led beauty with a bassline like prime mid 80s Peter Hook and a choppy guitar part.

A Life Of Silence (Timothy J. Fairplay’s ‘Fall Of Shame’ Remix)

Sugar

I’m launching into what may be an ill conceived Friday series here at Bagging Area. Last Friday I posted several songs about honey- songs by Death In Vegas, The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Pastels and Spacemen 3. Today’s musical foodstuff is sugar, delicious, addictive, lipsmacking sweet stuff (that a report recently said is the real cause of the modern obesity crisis in the western world). A quick search of my hard drive reveals I’m spoilt for choice when it comes to sugar.

The lightest song on The Stone Roses debut album from May 1989 was about a girl, a sugar spun sister, opening with John Squire’s crystalline guitar chords and Ian’s softly sung vocals. The chorus turns things a little in what seems on the surface to be a fairly simple love song- the sky going green, the grass blue, M.P.s involved in solvent abuse- all these things would happen before she is happy with him. There’s a bit after the second chorus where there’s a pause and in the gap Ian sings ‘my hands….. are stuck to my jeans’ which is very nicely done (and which for years I misheard as ‘stuck to my dreams’). The sugar analogy is back at the end as Squire winds things up- she is the candy floss girl, he the sticky fingered boy.

(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister

In 1997 Yo La Tengo put out a career highpoint, the double album I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One, an album which is a masterpiece of its kind. Sugarcube was in the middle of side 1 and later released as a single, 3 minutes 21 seconds of New York dreamy, soft noise perfection.

Sugarcube

Lyrically it’s a bit more oblique than The Stone Roses sugar spun song but I think it’s about the same thing ultimately…

‘Whatever you want from me
Is what I want to do for you
Sweeter than a drop of blood
On a sugarcube
And though I like to act the part of being tough
I crumble like a sugarcube
For you’

More sugar vicar?

AR Kane’s sugar song came out in 1989 and is a lilting, off-kilter song, acoustic guitars and odd tunings and another case of sugar being a female who’s a little too sweet.

Sugarwings

There’s loads more sugar on my hard drive- The Orielles have a song from last year (with an Andrew Weatherall remix to boot) called Sugar Tastes Like Salt, Slowdive’s recent triumph gave us Sugar For The Pill, there’s some Balearic Sugar Water from Kamasutra, Echo And The Bunnymen’s glorious 1987 single Lips Like Sugar and Secret Knowledge’s Sugar Daddy, a 1994 epic from Kris Needs and Wonder. I think I’ve posted all of these before at some point. There’s plenty more sugar in my record collection too but I’ll wrap this up with one more sugary delight before our teeth fall out. Four years ago Timothy J Fairplay released a 12″ in his Junior Fairplay rave guise, a back to the old skool circa 1990-1 retro-rave track that I love to pieces. Created using solely a breakbeat and a Korg 1, a vocal whoop and a stacatto ‘yeah!’, and then released on one sided purple vinyl, it is fun bottled, the future backwards. Sugar Puss.

Now go and clean your teeth.

DX Marks The Spot

Newly out on vinyl is this four track ep from Timothy J Fairplay called DX Marks The Spot. The title track rides in on a massive kick drum and some bass that will cause your speakers to vibrate before one of those trademark spooky, science fiction synth top lines comes in.

Tim does song titles better than most- here’s a new ocontender for 2018- Phantom Guard Dogs Of Chomolungma. It sounds like a lost track from the Escape From New York soundtrack, circling synthesiser riffs and 80s drum track, melodies which get inside your head and stick there.