Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nothing to do with intros. Not a favorite Madness tune either. Just to mark the fact that I passed my driving test. Finally.

Three and a half years after moving to a city where you really have to drive. 

And thirty three years after you're eligible to learn in the U.K.

Monday, December 30, 2013

intros #3

Postpunk, New Wave, New Pop...  the creeping return of "fancy music" (as M.E. Smith sneered it). So plenty of intros to choose from. Probably. Here's three:

Clive Timperley's delayed, echo-plex guitar - the missing link between Vini Reilly and Alan Rankine. (With a bit of that speccy git-arist in Flock of Seagulls thrown in too).

Talking of Rankine... 

This next one - competition's over, surely?

Now, the start to this is very nearly sublime.


Even the verse is rather lovely. It's the chorus where it craps  out utterly.

Intro semi-recurs with the breakdown at 2.17 which again is really rather wondrous (that gaseous billow of lead guitar). Dudes in the band wanted to be Level 42.

intros #2

A no-nonsense genre like punk shouldn't really bother itself with yes-nonsense stuff like intros.  Punk songs should slam right in. Most do. A few don't.

Phil's nominated "Smash It Up" by the Damned already, which I'd never heard (the intro, I mean: basically a completely different and rather wet song, nothing like the rousing, ridiculous anthem itself).  He also mentions Black Flag.

Here's three others:

Fanfare-knell-salvo, warning of tempestuous darkness to come.  The whole song is almost symphonic in its glowering grandeur, but that intro makes me think of Beethoven's 5th. 

Just back from Catalina, as it happens.

Were The Only Ones punk?  Not really, but "Another Girl Another Planet" belongs to that moment and it has one of the most thrilling ignition / take-off  bits of that or any other time, eclipsing the song itself (great as it is).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

intro inspection

Nominated by the Phil Zone as this year's topic. Seconded by Our God Is Speed. Ratified by ththrong. This year's theme is: Great Intros.

Can't be the clearing house for non-blog-owning entities just yet, owing to commitments over the holiday season. For now, a few suggestions of my own.

Lovely darkly shimmering bit at the start of this Roxy:

Aerosmith had a penchant for the unusual or dreamy-eerie intro:


There is a dubby-metal thing going on at the start of these near-contemporaneous MTV faves by Guns N 'Roses and Def Leppard

 But this time around, though, not going to stick to rock, or even hand-played music. 

 The Drum and Bass Intro could be one of the worst things ever, especially during the Intelligent Era -  every bleedin' track came with a long drawn antechamber of synth-pads and atmospheric flatus. Always for the same (excessive) number of bars too - such that you could look at the vinyl on the 12 inch and see how far it was before the track got going, the grooves looked different. 

But there were killer ones too, proper tension builders, and others that walked a line between daft 'n' deadly: 


(That is Japan's "Nightporter", that intro).

Many more from the world of dance to come I'm sure.

But for now, in closing, and before anybody else nabs it - from 2001, Osymyso's "Intro Inspection", a mash-up made of 101 intros....




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

best bits  
Sage the Gemini, "Gas Pedal"
Kanye West, "Black Skinhead"
Gesaffelstein, "Piece of Future"
DJ Rashad, "Only One"
Sage the Gemini, "Red Nose"
Boards of Canada, "Reach for the Dead" 
A$AP Rocky featuring 2 Chainz, Drake, Kendrick Lamar, "Fuckin' Problems" 
Ty Dolla $ign featuring B.o.B, "Paranoid"
My Bloody Valentine, "In Another Way"
Big Sean featuring Lil Wayne, Jheine Aiko, "Beware" 
Haim, "Honey & I"
Lorde, "Royals"
Children of Alice, "Harbinger of Spring" 
Daft Punk featuring Panda Bear, "Doin' It Right" 
Lorde, "Million Dollar Bills"
B.o.B featuring 2 Chainz, "Headband"
Peter Graham & Chris Lorenzo, "Dorothy's Forrest" 
Tyga featuring Rick Ross, "Dope"
Jay-Z, "Tom Ford"
John Foxx & the Belbury Circle, "Almost There" 
Sean Paul featuring Konshens, "Want Dem All"
Raven Felix, "Girl"
Dev featuring Sage the Gemini, "Kiss it" 
Chris Brown featuring Nicki Minaj, "Love More"
Lorde, "Team"
Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & French Montana, "Loyal"
TeeFLii, "This D"

best bundles 
Kanye West, Yeezus 
James Holden, The Inheritors
Young Echo, Nexus
Forest Swords, Engravings 
The Horrorist, Fire Funmania
The Knife, Shaking the Habitual
eMMplekz, Your Crate Has Changed
DJ Rashad, Double Cup
Gesaffelstein, Aleph 
Boards of Canada, Tomorrow's Harvest 
Moon Wiring Club, A Fondness For Fancy Hats ~ Soft Confusion 
The Focus Group, Elektrik Karousel
David Bowie, The Next Day
These New Puritans, Field of Reeds

bundles with good bits
Oneohtrix Point Never, Laurel Halo, Juana Molina, Connect_icut, Autechre, Katy Gately, Dinos Chapman, Ensemble Scalectrix, Matias Aguayo,The Haxan Cloak, Rashad Becker, Moine, FC Judd Remixes, Lucrecia Dalt...

best "new-old" bits + bundles
Daft Punk featuring Todd Edwards, "Fragments of Time"
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell, T.I., "Blurred Lines"
Pulp, "After You (Soulwax Remix)"
John Foxx & the Belbury Circle, Empty Avenues
Arcade Fire, "Reflektor" 
Special Request, Soul Music
Logos, Cold Mission
Manix, Living in the Past 
Infestus, "Dopamine Rush"
Haim, Days Are Gone
Disclosure, Settle
Tame Impala, "Elephant" (2012, true, but still on the radio)

best old-new bundles 
Various, IPEM - Institute for Psychoacousticsand Electronic Music : 50 years of electronic and electroacoustic music at theGhent University
Laraaji, Celestial Music 1978-2011
Various, Trevor Jackson Presents Metal Dance 2 
Various, I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America 1950-1990
Jeff Keen, Noise Art
Mike Ratledge, Riddles of the Sphinx 
Otto Luening + Vladimir Ussachevky, Tape Recorder Music 
My Bloody Valentine, m b v
World of Twist, Quality Street
Footsie,  King Original Vol 2 
Various Germans, Elektronische Musik: Konkret - Instrumental - Vokal
Various Greeks, Works of Electronic Music 
Various Yugoslavians, Elektronski Studio Radio Beograda 
Lucien Goethals + Karel Goeyvaerts, IPEM 1963-73

food for thought 
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

food for puke  
M.I.A.  "Come Walk With Me"
Paris Hilton featuring Lil Wayne, "Good Time"
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, "Ceiling Can't Hold Us"

"you fill me with... inertia" 
Julia Holter
Jake Bugg
           ~~~~and many more utterly evacuated from memory~~~ 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

In the inaugural issue of The Pitchfork Review - the hitherto-online-only magazine's quarterly excursion into archaic ink-on-paper--you can find my essay "Worth Their Wait", a remembrance of  the inkie music papers of the 1970s and 1980s. When they suggested the idea, I said to editor J.C. Gabel, "You do realise this could end up a right wallow in nostalgia?" In the event, it's part "Confessions of A Teenage NME Reader" and part cost-benefit analysis of the Analogue System versus the Digital System.

More information about The Pitchfork Review and the contents of the debut issue. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"We miss / World of Twist"

At The Quietus, an in-depth interview, by Julian Marszalek, with World of Twist's Gordon King and Jim Fry, in celebration of the reissue of Quality Street  (+ extensive bonus material)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Like mince pies, ginger wine, brazil nuts and packets of dates, the Moon Wiring Club album is a seasonal occurrence. The crepuscular dank of Ian Hodgson's latest is always linked for me with that time of year when daylight hours shrivel and the chill creeps under your clothes into your bones.  

A Fondness For Fancy Hats is the latest emanation from the Blank Workshop. There are two formats, compact disc and cassette, with the latter bearing an extra title: Soft Confusion.  In line with the governing audio-concept of "Edwardian Computer Games", the cassettes nestle inside the sort of plastic case that once upon a time housed certain videogames ("mainly BBC Micro ones", notes Ian, causing me to nod blankly, having not the slightest inkling whereof he speaks).  

The Soft Confusion version especially -  which involved recording much of the CD onto tape, mucking about with it, looping, weaving in game sounds and ghost-flickers of earlier MWC tunes,  until the end-product resembles a "knacked-up" mixtape - is one of the best things he's done yet, I think.  Hear an excerpt:

At this point MWC possesses the most consistently on-it discography (and Fancy Hats is album #9, would you believe!) in the H-ological domain, nipping clear ahead of Ghost Box, Jon Brooks, Mordant, James Kirby, et al, who all have more stumbles to their name. (Only the Royal Wedding-timed Somewhere A Fox Is Getting Married failed to fully engage me, and perhaps revealingly, that one didn't come out in the winter). 

More information about A Fondness for Fancy Hats / Soft Confusion and the "mind palace" is secreted here. A vintage piece on Moon Wiring Club lurks over there.