MIND DE-CODER (2012) 14

MIND DE-CODER (2012) 14

“I’ve hummed this tune to all the girls I’ve known’’
                                                                                Leyland Kirby
Jon Brooks, of The Advisory Circle, described his sound as  “Everything’s fine, but there is something not quite right about it,” which nicely sums up the opening track on the show, the eerie Swincoe Episode 2 – Release The Birds, from his first album proper, OTHER CHANNELS, released in 2008, on the ubiquitous Ghost Box label HYPERLINK “http://www.answers.com/topic/brooks-group”  – home to all things of a hauntolgical nature – that is, a certain pastoral eeriness; weird electronics and warped collages of noise and samples; ’70s kid’s TV shows; vintage public relation films; Delia Derbyshire; ancient witchcraft and rituals, as well as, as is the case with this album, timely advice on issues such as domestic isolation, tranquillizer addiction and the nuclear threat. Light synthesizer melodies and moments of surreal humour float by in a drift of pastoral melancholia and fuzzy music concrète. Fragments of public information broadcasting are filtered through the distorting lens of prescription tranquillizers, malicious gossip becomes jumbled and confused with continuity announcements, snatches of speech and fragments of banally beautiful melodies conjure a vivid suburban nightmare of Mogadon coffee mornings, treacherous frozen ponds and imminent nuclear war.
It’s an album that both chills and charms – it really is that good. Welcome to Mind De-Coder 14.
                         THE ADVISORY CIRCLE     AND THE CUKOO COMES
Roj Stevens was the original keyboardist with Broadcast, so he knows a thing or two about weird audio. His debut album, THE TRANSACTIONAL DHARMA OF ROJ, was also released on the Ghost Box label in 2009, and on it he transforms vintage meditational Library Music into a mysterious wonderland of Germanic voices, glinting ambience and Hare Krishna hand drums and washing machine music that once again blurs the lines between past, present and future.
And while all that’s going on, I added And The Cuckoo Comes from The Advisory Circle’s debut EP, MIND HOW YOU GO, released in 2005.
It clearly worked.
Georg Deuter was one of the lesser known Krautrock acts, but his second album, AUM, released in 1972, is rightly considered a thing of great wonder – it’s a dreamy, peaceful, dark, spacey album with a deep tantric feel to it.  Deuter blends acoustic and electronic instruments, ethnic influences, and sounds from nature which sadly led to something of a new age style following a few years on an ashram – but AUM is considered a Krautrock classic.
As you can see, I’m a bit of a fan.
A lovely track, this. Peter Scion is a Swedish singer/songwriter who does a very fine line in pastoral psychedelia. All his albums are currently online at his web-site for free download (he just wants you to hear the music), but Butterfly, a cover of an obscure B-side from the only single by an even obscurer British psychedelic band called The Fox, which was released in 1970, appears on the compilation album PULL UP THE PAISLEY COVERS (2003), a collection of 60’s psychedelic covers by modern artists which, if Peter Scion is anything to go by, you may or may not have heard of.
The song’s are so short on this wonderful album (the whole album comes in at 30 mins – I was tempted to play all of it as one long track) that I thought I’d play a couple of tracks together. These are lovely, but all of AUM is this good.
The flutey bit from the otherwise sprawling 20 minute Tone Float, the title track to Organisation’s only album, released 1970. Organisation were one of the earliest Krautrock groups – a fiercely experimental group that essentially combined two components that were pulling in entirely different directions. Following a free-form bass-less wigout on German TV in 1971, the band split into two distinct groups – Kraftwerk and Neu!, two of the greatest Krautrock band’s ever. These days Organisation’s TONE FLOAT out-there noise-rock is not an easy listen, but I do like the flutey bit.
One of the greatest psychedelic singles ever made, and certainly the equal of anything The Beatles or Pink Floyd produced during this period (1967). In fact, the band only released two singles, and you’ll know singer Keith West as the vocalist on Excerpt From a Teenage Opera which more or less was the #1 single for England’s summer of love, but nothing the band did blew me away like hearing Revolution for the first time. They performed regularly at UFO and in his book  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Bicycles_-_Making_Music_in_the_1960s” \o “White Bicycles – Making Music in the 1960s” White Bicycles – Making Music in the 1960s Joe Boyd, who produced their debut single White Bicycles, asserts that the band’s performance of the Revolution one night at the  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFO_Club” \o “UFO Club” club as the  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apotheosis” \o “Apotheosis” apotheosis of the 60s  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UK_underground” \o “UK underground” UK underground. Sounds right to me.

A lovely cover of The Bee Gees’ Kilburn Towers, recorded by Damien Youth, a sin

ger song-writer with a touch of the early Julian Cope/Robyn Hitchcock about his ability to get to the melodic heart of a song. Kilburn Towers can also be found on PULL UP THE PAISLEY COVERS, released, as mentioned above, in 2003.

Pretty much does what it says on the label – another track taken from the ever-so-clever OTHER CHANNELS.
Mildly psychedelic, quintessentially British, stoner folk from English song-writer Jack Cheshire, whose second album COPENHAGEN was released in 2011and invited comparisons to Nick Drake, Syd Barrett and Roy Harper. There, you now know as much about him as I do.
Mountains are a Brooklyn based noise-drone duo whose panoramic electro-acoustic soundscapes drift across the canvas of your mind through a slow-motion landslide of long tones, but never feel aimless or inert – Backwards Crossover being a case in point. It’s taken from the duo’s second album, AIR MUSEUM, released in 2011.
This is from the mind-blowing album SPACE HYMNS, released in 1971, the debut album by the artist Ramases (Martin Rapahael to his mum), former central heating salesman and PT instructor, who was inspired to take up the mantle of the Egyptian Pharaoh Rameses, of whom he believed himself to be a reincarnation. Recorded with a nascent 10 c.c., the album is a kaleidoscopic mix of acid-drenched madness, combining spaced out rock with moogs, sitars and guitars to the fore.
The album also features the most expansive artwork  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Dean_(artist)” \o “Roger Dean (artist)” Roger Dean was ever allowed to produce with a 6 page fold out on printed card of a Cathedral steeple lifting off into the cosmos. On the other side, in infra red style colour, Ramases and his wife Selket (Dorothy Frost to her mum, who contributed to several of his early singles) stride forward holding aloft wheat in a Demeter like pose from the  HYPERLINK “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries” \o “Eleusinian Mysteries” Eleusinian Mysteries. When illuminated from behind, the two sides of the cover art comes together as a divinised humanity mystically steps out of and over an outmoded religious establishment into cosmic/life affirming destiny. Truly, they don’t make them like this anymore.
More electronic tinkering from The Advisory Circle, and yet another track from OTHER CHANNELS, which increasingly looks like it needs a show all to itself.
I loved Lush from the moment I heard their debut mini-LP SCAR in 1989, from which this version of Thoughtforms is taken. I mean, they were on 4AD for a start, so the battle was half won with the packaging alone, but when their shimmering guitars and weightless voices swept across my longings and wants, I knew I’d found a band I could take to bed with me and hold on tight to through my lonely student nights – and let’s face it, Miki and Emma were hot. Robin Guthrie of The Cocteau Twins had them re-record Thoughtforms with him as producer on their Mad Love EP because he loved the track so much, but, almost inevitably, he turned them into The Cocteau Twins. The original is better – spiky, hurt and defiant, despite the fragile vocals (but then I’ve always been a sucker for fragile vocals). And shimmering, of course.
This is what Faust sound like these days – or this version of them, anyway; and you’ll agree, no doubt, before I enter into a brief synopsis of the band, that nothing much has changed – they are still very much confounding and contrarian, still just as capable of moments of astounding beauty, and they’re also quite fond of their fillers, like this little track taken from their 2011 album SOMETHING DIRTY. Well, I say ‘their’ – the original line-up split in 1975, reunited in the 90’s (I think I was at that gig) only to split into two groups, both called Faust a decade later. This is the version of that band that’s led by founders Jean Harvé Peron (bass) and Werner Diermaier (drums), and not the other version, led by the other founder, Hans Joachim Irmler, whose own Faust released an album in 2010 called Faust Is Last. I hope that’s cleared that up for you.
Killer single from 1994 by Vibrasonic, a psychedelic duo whose sound took in 60’s pop, garage and surf in one glorious cocktail of noise. This single contains just about every psychedelic effect ever invented which, rather than overwhelming the listener, leaves them helpless for more.
The Outsiders were one of the great lost psychedelic bands of the 60’s, and their third and final album CQ, released in 1968, whilst largely ignored at the time, is now thought of as something of a masterpiece of psychedelic garage rock. On it they explored several styles that included the snarling punk of fast-paced R & B, Syd Barrett-style space rock, folk rock, and as is the case with the title track, eerie experimental material. Often they did this in the same song. Did I mention they were Dutch?
On last week’s show I played the mighty Amboss, the 20 minute cosmic freakout that takes up all of side 1 of the first album by Ash Ra Temple. Side 2 contains, or is contained by, the 25 minute Traummachine, a percussionless dreamscape of sounds, with some wailing going on, which envelope the listener in a warm shimmering multi-dimensional glow. That word again.  Copey reckons that ASH RA TEMPLE, released in 1971, is one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll LPs ever made, and who am I to disagree?
The A Lords make songs about Dorset; their debut EP, released in 2006, was improvised on summer days spent in gardens, churches and a lovely old wooden summerhouse. I’m a big fan.

That was Mind De-Coder 1

4. Thank you for listening.


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