Time for some more techno, I think. 9 more top tunes from back in the day - if you were clubbing a lot in the mid 90s you may well have heard all of these tracks played out, and I'm sure a few of them are still played regularly, particularly Dave Clarke's Red 2 and Red Planet's Stardancer. The latter was absolutely hammered in London clubs when it came out, and it took me a while to track down in the days before the internet, as usually I was too busy going mental to try and see what was revolving on the decks at the time. As far as I am concerned, these tracks are all brilliant. From the house/techno crossover anthem of Planetary Assault System's Booster; the brain-mashing sound that permeates Teste's The Wipe to the face-punching aggro of Mark Bell's Hardfloor remix. I think my favourite, though, would have to be possibly the least well known track. Secret Cinema's Jeroen Verheij turns in an epic remix of Yantra's 360. Driven along by a bashing snare breakbeat and razor sharp cymbals and percussion, before a subtle rasping bassline comes in, this track takes off into a weird spacy soundscape with alien synths echoing around. Strange and brilliant, as well as being a terrific techno stormer. Bitrates vary as before, but it all sounds pretty good to me. Tracklist: 1 - Dave Clarke - Wisdom To The Wise ['Red 2', Bush] 2 - Dave Angel - Bounce Back [R&S] 3 - The Martian - Stardancer [Red Planet, by Mad Mike Banks] 4 - Teste - The Wipe (5am Synaptic) [Plus 8] 5 - Planetary Assault Systems - Booster [Peacefrog, by Luke Slater] 6 - Yantra - 360 (Flutter Mix) [Music Man, remix by Jeroen Verheij] 7 - Laurent Garnier - Astral Dreams (Speaker Mix) [F Comm] 8 - Slam - Positive Education (2nd Morganistic Mix) [Soma, remix by Luke Slater] 9 - Hardfloor - Strikeout (Orbit Mix) [Harthouse, remix by Mark Bell]
Debut album from 1973 by this bass/drums/sax trio. All instrumental, this is a terrific display of musicianship by all three members - playing super-tight, punchy, proggy jazz rock for the most part. The drums and sax are both excellent, but the virtuoso bass of only surviving member Colin Hodgkinson is the real highlight, driving the sinewy melodies with some inspired percussive sounding picking and slapping, demonstrated by the dazzling ensemble playing on 'Catcote' - similar to the super-prog section of '21st Century Schizoid Man'. There are deviations - the gorgeous bass solo 'Lieutenant Loose' is splendid, the lyrical duo of bass and sax on 'Turning Point' is truly marvellous, and the flute and bass track 'Human Bed' grounds the band in the early 70s, sounding more like contemporaries Traffic. Sharp-eared listeners will spot a sample used by the Beastie Boys (on Paul's Boutique, I think) from 'Slivadiv', way back when this was a real obscurity. I actually paid £20 fro this on vinyl back in the early 90s - I was going to photograph the original artwork for this post, but I think it's been in my 'buried' vinyl stack since I got the timely cd re-issue back in 2000. Also the original artwork is not that great. This is a real unique gem, and thoroughly enjoyable due as much to the good tunes as the playing. I recommend checking out some clips of Colin Hodgkinson on Youtube.
2003 album from this magnificent band. I was going to post the masterpiece that is their second album, but someone requested this one, and it's a beauty. I feel that a band as consistent and durable as this often fade almost into background noise in the world of music - only a trickle of new fans are won, although there is a significant and loyal fan base. I am guilty in this respect - I only realised they had a new album out whilst I was idly browsing discogs. I promptly bought it, and you should too: this band are a glorious institution. Singer Stuart Staples has a unique voice - a quavering, world-weary baritone that suggests fragility as well as a plethora of hedonism experienced. This a collection of really strong songs, which are only improved by the the great arrangements: string sections along with Dickon Hinchcliffe's lead violin; horns; vintage organ all create a warm, fuzzy, sumptuous envelope around the shuffling songs which inhabit the region somewhere between Nick Cave and Lee Hazelwood (not a huge region, admittedly, but a fabulous one.) This is most evident on the beautiful, string soaked duet with Lhasa De Sela on 'Sometimes It Hurts'. I first saw Tindersticks in Dublin promoting the second album, and it was pretty incredible - a real emotional revelation that completely blew me away, and is still one of the best gigs I've ever seen.
The Necks are an Australian instrumental 3 piece who have been around for over 20 years. The basic formula is piano, bass and drums, and they display a mastery of both their own instruments and their overall sound. This is not expressed in explosive virtuoso passages, even though they definitely play jazz tinged music: they play acoustic instruments, but they also explore the usually minimal themes of their music, with the same kind of repetition and recapitulation of motifs and themes that you would normally find in jazz. However, they usually do it in an elegant and sedate way that owes as much to post rock as it does to any jazz master, and on this album there are understated embellishments, such as small blasts of distorted guitar, some reversed atmospheric echo, and wonderful electric organ. Often their albums and gigs will be a single piece of music, but on this disc, the soundtrack to 1998 Australian film The Boys, there are seven. This does include three ten minute plus tracks to give you a good illustration of their MO, not to mention three versions of the main theme, which is superb - a brooding and noirish piano led theme, full of menace and rippling with atmosphere. Although many tracks and the addition of extra noises to the mix may make this a more expansive and less representative Necks album, they also help it to be fantastically listenable.