MIND DE-CODER 34
“…dedicated to all the people who feel obliged to space”
DJ FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION TADESSE TESFARMICHAEL
This is the opening track from a sampler collection by DJ Female Convict Scorpion (known as Josh Pollock to his mum) called THE BEGINNERS GUIDE TO DJ FEMALE CONVICT SCORPION, released in 2012 It originally appears on his debut album PATIENCE CLEVELAND, which he released in 2005. I don’t know why he called it Tadesse Tesfarmichael because that appears to be the name of a highly respected dentist in San Jose, but I expect he had his reasons. DJ Female Convict Scorpion composes psychedelic music with turntables, samplers, and the like and in many ways he’s the leading name in West Coast non-hip-hop psychedelic turntablism since 2004. Possibly available for weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and funerals.
MOON WIRING CLUB ANOTHER DREAME
A new album from Moon Wiring Club’s Ian Hodgson is always a cause for celebration round these here parts but with his latest release, BREAD TODAY, TOMORROW SECRETS, (released 2012), Hodgson has gone one step further – two releases with the same name; one on CD and one on vinyl, each with a different tracklisting and a different vibe, but each starting with the same track – Another Dreame. After that, the CD version has a cracked hip hop thing going on amidst the Edwardian banquets, singing birds and Bressian-wielding cats, whereas the vinyl version is almost entirely beatless, with the emphasis on tonal mood and atmosphere which, in this case, comes across like a particularly lysergic Hammer Horror film soundtrack. I got so excited I decided to make use of both liberally throughout the show.
Please enjoy your trip.
BASIL KIRCHIN ONCE UPON A TIME (EXCERPT)
I’m performing Basil Kirchin a grave disservice by only playing a small excerpt from this track, one of two that make up the album QUANTUM, recorded in 1973 but not released until 30 years later. It offers an intriguing glimpse at Kirchin’s particular oeuvre of sonic weirdness, in which he borrows from free jazz, musique concrète, and splices them together with field recordings (animals, insects, trams), his wife and Autistic children. It’s all based on Basil’s theories of sound and that when you slow down or speed up sound, you open up new doors, and new sound is revealed. The first side, titled Once Upon a Time, starts off with the squawking of geese before a gentle drone calms things down, then a child’s voice, possibly one of the autistic children Kirchin recorded off and on in a ten-year period in Switzerland, repeats “something special will come from me.” More bird noises are mixed with some skronky free jazz that builds with intensity, with an ominous organ drone thrown in. At times, the horns and the bird chatter become so entwined it’s hard to know which is which, but sadly you don’ get to hear much of this, as I cut it after the child’s voice, but you owe it to yourself to hear the rest of this album. The only reason I’m not playing the track in full is that it takes over 35 minutes.
MOBIUS AND PLANK NEWS
Marvellous. Krautrock goes reggae on the 1980 release RASTAKRAUTPASTA by Mobius and Plank, where the inner-city Bavarian vibes meet Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry at his most absurd and mixes it with a Faust thing at their most far out. Opener, News, samples TV news over a heavy bass slide trombone groove; except, as Julian Cope notes in his ever trusty KRAUTROCKSAMLER, its not a slide-trombone at all , that’s just the effect created on this kosmiche masterpiece of anti-world music masterpiece. I shall be returning to it later in the show,
MOON WIRING CLUB DUSKY EVESDROPPER
Pretty much sounds as the title suggests. From the CD version.
ILL WIND PEOPLE OF THE NIGHT
Ill Wind were a little known psychedelic folk outfit from Boston who only released the one album, FLASHES, in 1968, and never really had the chance to develop their sound. They were badly served by producer Tom Wilson, who’d worked with the likes of the Velvet Underground, The Mother’s of Invention and Simon and Garfunkel but who could find little to interest him in the making of this album, which is a pity because some of the songs, like People Of the Night, are pretty cool and would have benefited from a surer touch. When the album was released every copy was damaged so had to be recalled. By the time it was re-released the world had moved on, and that was the end of Ill Wind who, apparently, blew no one no good.
VLADIMIR USSACHEVSKY & OTTO LUENING INCANTATION
A little something from legendary electronic composer Vladimir Ussachevsky who, in the early 50’s, with collaborator Otto Luening, created the first music using magnetic tape – specifically those reel-to-reel tapes, with which some of the most astounding musical innovations were realized. Incantation is taken from the 1968 album TAPE MUSIC AN HISTORIC CONCERT, a recording of a live concert, performed by the two, in 1952 at the Modern Museum of Art which would radically change the way music was created forever and is, therefore, well worth two minutes of your time.
PERRY LEOPOLD SERPENTINE LANE
In the United States, at least, Perry Leopold is often referred to as the godfather of acid-folk, having combined his love of folk music, classical and the LSD based acid-rock to produce an album of progressive folk loveliness called Experiment in Metaphysics, released in 1970, that, despite having a print run of only 300 copies, most of which, in the spirit of the times, were given away by Leopold on street corners where he used to busk, was truly a historical book mark in folk. His next album, CHRISTIAN LUCIFER, from which this track is taken, recorded in 1972, but not actually released until the year 2000, was an equally psychedelic affair and, if anything, even more lovely than his debut album, causing his clavinet player to remark that this record had ‘fulfilled the promise of psychedelia in a way that nothing else had before”.
CHAPTERHOUSE SOMETHING MORE
The first of four shoegazing tracks in this evening’s show, starting with Chapterhouse and Something More from their debut album WHIRLPOOL, released in 1991. Hardly representative of the scene’s harder guitar white-out&r
squo;s, which the band were certainly capable of (they started out supporting Spacemen 3) it captures much of its prettiness, the combination of both being what attracted me to it in the first place.
MOON WIRING CLUB SPIRITS CLUSTER
More hauntological going’s on from TODAY BREAD, TOMORROW SECRETS, this time a track from the LP version.
RIDE DREAMS BURN DOWN
The definitive track on Ride’s definitive album, as far as I’m concerned. I was always a big fan of their effortless noise, bought the first three albums and all the early EPs but kind of gave up on them more or less the same time they gave up on themselves (that would be roundabout the time of their last album Tarantula). Dreams Burn Down, originally found on their third EP, FALL, released earlier in 1990, however, opens side two of their debut album NOWHERE, and had everything that the short-lived shoegazing scene promised – whir, whoosh, haze and swirl all caught up in a storm of dense, hypnotic guitars and trippy as hell.
LEW PRYME GRACIOUS LADY (ALICE DEE)
Back in the 60’s Lew Pryme was one of New Zealand’s most popular hip-swinging music stars and light-entertainers who, in 1968, was given this song to sing by ex-House of Nimrod singer Bryce Peterson, who clearly had a sense of humour. It was banned, of course, and lent Pryme a certain amount of notoriety at the time. He eventually became executive director of the Auckland Rugby Union – introducing cheerleaders, mascots and music entertainment to rugby fans.
MOON WIRING CLUB WOMBWOOD PATTERN
Another unsettling track from the 2012 CD release TODAY BREAD, TOMORROW SECRETS.
COSMIC JOKERS KINDER DES ALLES
Our second Krautrock track on the show, Kinder Des All (Children Of All) (possibly), takes up all of side 1 of their second release, GALACTIC SUPERMARKET, released in 1974. I say ‘their’ but the band, a kind of krautrock supergroup featuring members of Ash Ra Tempel, lesser-known act Wallenstein and producer Dieter Dierks were secretly recorded jamming at epic acid-fuelled sessions by the endearingly reprehensible Ralph-Ulrich Kaiser who then edited and mixed the sessions and released them on his own Kosmiche Music label as The Cosmic Jokers. This is wildly cosmic spaced-out psychedelic rock that reaches far into the interstellar aether – sadly I had to edit it somewhat otherwise it would have taken up the rest of the show, but given the way it was created, I can’t imagine anyone complaining, except the band of course.
THE BELBURY POLY THE ABSOLUTE ELSEWHERE
A hauntological piece from THE WILLOWS, the debut album by The Belbury Poly, released in 2004, and an album that pretty much set the Ghostbox record label, and, therefore, the hauntological, agenda. The Absolute Elsewhere, like the rest of the album, is a knowingly spooky piece and so it’s fitting that THE WILLOWS comes with a quotation from that great English writer of ghost stories, Algernon Blackwood: “It’s the sound of their world, the humming in their region. The division here is so thin that it leaks through somehow. But, if you listen carefully, you’ll find it’s not above so much as around us. It’s in the willows”
HOLISM GAEA AH, SUNFLOWER
In your cosmic, psychedelic, hauntological, acid folk circles you can’t really go wrong with a track called Ah, Sunflower and Israeli duo, Holism Gaea, don’t disappoint. Ah, Sunflower is a surprisingly gentle and almost-melodic song, taken from their album BLAKESIAN WILLIAMNESS, released 2012, in which the poem by William Blake is made to shiver: “…where youth pined away with desire, and the pale virgin shrouded in snow, rise from their graves and aspire, where my sunflower wishes to go”.
ELLA FITZGERALD SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME
Quite simply one of the most perfect recordings I’ve ever heard. I believe she covered this Gershwin classic a couple of times, and I don’t know on which album this version first appears, but you can find it on the 2007 cverve compilation, GOLD. While it’s playing, however, you can hear excerpts from electronic pioneer, Tod Dockstader’s piece Ariel Song, and sound designer Alan R. Splet’s Space Travel With Changing Choral Textures.
SLOWDIVE SOUVLKI SPACE STATION
For many Slowdive were the quintessential Shoegaze group – they barely seemed to move on stage and yet quivering waves of sound just radiated from them. Souvlaki is from their second album, SOUVLAKI, released in 1993, in which they dropped the swathes of oceanic sound of their previous album and replaced it with a lighter, swirling sound in which the guitars stretch in slow motion layers and the vocals seem to call out desperately. This dubby affair is absolutely stunning – gorgeous.
MOON WIRING CLUB MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME
An LP track.
LUSH SWEETNESS AND LIGHT
No one did shimmering guitars like Lush, and this track, released in 1990 as a 12” single, is almost transcendentally beautiful. There was a time back then, in fact, when I thought that this was most perfect single ever made and, in truth, I’ve not heard much since then that’s made me change my mind. There was something about their sound, and Miki Berenyi’s featherweight falsetto, that made each song, no matter how lovely, sound like the girl you loved most in the world gently letting you down – sweet, broken and fragile; and shimmering.
MOBIUS AND PLANK SOLAR PLEXUS
The second track from Mobius and Plank’s brilliant album, RASTAKRAUTPASTA, and this time a more traditional krautrock workout that pretty much takes you as far out, or indeed, as far in as you can go.
PEOPLE LIKE US THE SOUND OF THE END OF MUSIC
People Like Us is the name under which sound artist Vicki Bennett releases her surreal audio collages that take in, mix
, manipulate and rework original sources from both the experimental and popular worlds of music, film, television and radio. The Sound Of The End Of Music is taken from her most recent album, WELCOME ABROAD, released in 2011, and I’ve never heard anything like it. It’s not a mash-up because this isn’t a case of taking the vocals from one track and laying them over the music of another – I think it is what it is – two tracks, The Doors’ The End, and Julie Andrews’ The Sound Of Music played at the same time. It shouldn’t work but it does and causes the peculiar experience of listening to one song or the other, but not both, at the same time, even though that’s exactly what you’re doing.
BASIL KIRCHIN SPECIAL RELATIVITY (EXCERPT)
Another excerpt from QUANTUM, only this time from Side 2 and a track called Special Relativity, one long piece that fills up the whole side. The piece moves from simple, childlike melodies to sections where the strings and brass get into intense, free-form freakouts, while the voices can shift from calm and playful to frantic. The shifting emotional mood gives the piece a theatrical quality as it moves from one strange tangent to another but, sadly, I give you just the closing moments, although I’m really quite tempted to play the whole track in a later show. Hopefully the snippets I’ve offered will have aroused your curiosity and you’ll go out and find the whole thing. What I’ve used, however, closes the show very nicely.
Thank you for listening.