Friday, 16 December 2011

Eclecticism 03: Diversity Sounds

This is the third and final mix completed for the art show in Salisbury 2011. Again, Krautrock plays a large part, but this time there are all sorts of styles and genres present.

Delia Derbyshire

This mix begins with some lovely looping radiophonic noises from Delia Derbyshire. The Guardian called her 'the unsung heroine of British electronic music', she was a pioneer working at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the 1960's and her influence on electronic music should not be underestimated. This is just a snippet, taken from her website: www.delia-derbyshire.org

Next another favourite of mine from Cluster & Eno. "Die Bunge" is from the album simply titled "Cluster & Eno" which has one of my most loved cover photographs.

This is followed by a track from Stereolab who have been a big musical part of Nicky's house for many years (Nicky was the hostess of the art show). "Young Lungs" is a beautiful mellow piece with Stereolab's typical wondrous synths and wonderful arrangements courtesy of Sean O'Hagan. The track was originally released on the Cybele's Reverie EP in 1996 that preceeded the brilliant "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" album that Nicky & I played to death when it came out.

Stereolab have always embraced retro sounds and often evoke half-remembered soundtracks of my childhood in the 1960's & 1970's. The same can be said for Broadcast & The Focus Group. I already had some albums and EPs by Broadcast before Andi discovered the album with the Focus Group callled "Broadcast & The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age". He insisted I get a copy. Quite right too, I now consider the album a masterpiece. It won The Wire best album of the year in 2009. Its a dense album full of psychedelia and effected cut-up soundscapes with the voice of the (very sadly) late Trish Keenan who died earlier this year. It is well worth exploring other works by both Broadcast and the Focus Group. There is a blog website for Broadcast here: http://futurecrayon.blogspot.com/ and information regarding the Focus Group can be found on the beautifully designed Ghost Box site, where you can also discover wonders such as The Belbury Poly and The Advisory Circle amongst others.

I discovered the strange world of The Endless House foundation this year. Apparently material from this collective body comes from a time in the 1970's when a "superclub" was built in a forest in Eastern Europe. They say: "An obelisk of noise that rose rudely above the treetops of the Bialowieska Forest, the Endless House project shone for a mere six weeks in the spring of 1973. The outlandish brainchild of wealthy audiophile/maniac Jiri Kantor, its stated mission was "to become the cradle of a new European sonic community... a multimedia discotheque" that should "surprise and delight" artists and dancers alike. For all the wide-eyed optimism of its manifesto, however, the enterprise was never unknowing in its flirtation with disaster and self-destruction. The brilliant Czech may have made his millions as the midas-touched entrepreneur/taste-maker behind Paris-based magazine Otium International, but Endless House was always a vanity project as irredeemably vain as its maker...". 

There is an LP and an EP of material allegedly from this era from a variety of artists. I bought the "Endless House" album and it is a wonderful package. As well as the CD, you get a series of postcards with descriptions and portraits of each artist on plus some slightly confusing photos of the club itself. The story goes that the club had five pneumatic dancefloors and cyber-baroque decor. Some people call it a "fictitious reality", whatever it is, its a lovely mad world which is supported by some wonderful tracks. The Dazman and I loved its link with Krautrock and for a while were completely taken in with the fictitious reality. I have included tracks 3 here. One by Johannus Arpensium and two by Rasmus Folke. "Coupé" is my favourite: "speeding alone in my coupé, sixteen miles from San Tropez", you get this lovely visual image in your head. Look out on the net for some great DJ mixes from The Endless House Foundation too, one of my personal favourites is this one from Jiri Kantor himself: Jiri Kantor mix

For more info and record releases check out Dramatic Records. They also have some footage of an interview with Walter Shnaffs apparently from 1977:

After the first of the Endless House tracks in the mix it made sense to return to Krautrock. Two masterworks, Can's "One More Night" (listen to Holger Czukay's bass on this..wow!) and Harmonia's "Deluxe (Immer Wieder)". The lyrics to the Harmonia track go: "Immer wieder rauf und runter, einmal drauf und einmal drunter, immer wieder hin und her, kreuz und quer, mal leicht, mal schwer. Immer wieder rauf und runter,
einmal drauf und einmal drunter." Beautiful stuff, it means: "Up and down again and again, Once on top and once underneath, Back and forth again and again, crisscross, once easy, once hard. Up and down again and again, once on top and once underneath", something like that. That makes sense now doesn't it?

Arthur Russell
After a track from Rasmus Folke, there is a shift in gear. I said recently that I would drop in an Arthur Russell track whenever I could and here we go. This track is a remix, but it stays faithful to Arthur's feel, and as it often does with Mr. Russell, his cello leads the way over some simple, yet beautiful lyrics and of course, a disco beat.

Next is Daphni. Daphni is Caribou is Dan Snaith. This track is a remix/edit of Thomas Mapfumo and The Blacks Unlimited's "Shumba". I must admit there have been some of Dan Snaith's re-edits that I am not so keen on, but this one is fabulous with disintegrating drum beats and analogue-style effects similar to the effects used on Caribou's remix of Virgo Four, which is one of my absolute favourites of 2011. However, most of the greatness of this track you have to admit, is down to Thomas Mapfumo's original work, with the most beautiful bouncing guitar rhythms.

The end of this track overlaps with a track from Pantha Du Prince called "Lay In A Shimmer" from his acclaimed 2010 album "Black Noise", another album worth a look. Although considered German techno, I feel this has more of an affinity with Indonesian Gamelan, with the harmonic and rhythmic bells and gongs.

After a gorgeous track from Flying Lotus' magnificent Los Angeles album and the aforementioned "Coupé" from Rasmus Folke, the mix finishes with a couple of tracks from the Ghost Box label. "Spiders Web" is pure 1970's theme music and "Hey Let Loose Your Love" is a great retro sample over mad Focus Group instrumentation. I couldn't resist a bit of effects warping at the end to finish.

I hope that you have enjoyed these mixes, I know I have. Exhibitions or not, I reckon I shall put some more together like this.

Love.. Simon x

PS: the mix artwork photo was taken on a footbridge in Longfield, Kent.

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