‘In A Moment’ Ghost Box 10th anniversary compilation

In A Moment GB web
A new record from Ghost Box is always a cause for celebration on this blog but this next one is actually celebrating their 10th anniversary so congratulations are in order. It’s a double album of highlights from the back catalogue on CD and LP with thirty one re-mastered tracks, heavy with The Advisory Circle, The Focus Group and Belbury Poly as you would expect. Graphic design as ever is by Julian House and extensive sleeve notes are by music writer, Simon Reynolds (who coined the term ‘Hauntology’).

Only one track is new – from the forthcoming Hintermass album – and you can hear clips from the compilation here. They promise a double CD with booklet or gatefold LP with DL code. Available on 9th October 2015, (pre-orders in the Ghost Box shop from 19th September). I’m really looking forward to listening to this in one sitting,  from one of the most consistent labels out there and a constant inspiration.

The Dragons in Shindig! magazine #49

Shindig Dragons1
My article on The Dragons is in issue #49 of Shindig! Magazine – out now, 6 pages too. New interviews with Doug & Dennis Dragon plus Donn Landee who produced their BFI album. After their recent publisher troubles the mag is back and as good as ever, you should be able to find it in most WH Smiths and decent record shops. If the article piques your interest and you want to hear the music they made then Ninja Tune still has digital and CDs in stock although the vinyl is long gone.
Shindig Dragons2 Shindig Dragons3

C418 ‘Minecraft Volume Alpha’ soundtrack

C418 Minecraft vol.A If any of you have young children you’ll probably be familiar with Minecraft, the computer game where you can build whole worlds and adventure around without all the usual shoot ’em up, dodge the obstacles, collect the gems and battle the boss-type things (although you can do all that too if you want). It’s like virtual Lego and each self-generating land is populated by all manner of creatures who each have their own quirks. I always remark on the music when my kids are playing it, a collection of short, ambient piano pieces which remind of Satie, Eno or Budd and makes for a refreshing change from the usual repetitive manic mayhem associated with most games.

Now the soundtrack – by Daniel Rosenfeld aka C418 – has been released on vinyl and CD by Ghostly International, or the first volume has anyway – subtitled ‘Alpha’. Vinyl fiends take note: the first run of the LP (1000 copies) comes in transparent green after which is switches to black and the sleeve is a lenticular version of the graphic above. It’s available digitally for just $4 from C418‘s Bandcamp page which has previews of all tracks and the second volume, ‘Beta’, follows at some point in the future.

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The Grateful Dead Movie animated intro by Gary Gutierrez

Pretty much the best quality version of the animated intro from the 2 hour + The Grateful Dead Movie from 1977 I can find on the web. It was created by Gary Gutierrez who “had already apprenticed at John Korty’s Mill Valley studio as an animator of children’s films, creating and directing live action and animation for “Sesame Street” and “The Electric Company,” before working on the Dead’s animated sequence. He continued working withe band on various projects of theirs, including the surreal title sequence for the CBS revival of “The Twilight Zone” television series (1985), for which (Jerry) Garcia composed the score.” *

* Info from www.nightflight.com

UPDATE: There’s a good minute of the intro in very high quality over on Vimeo on the trailer for the film.

Jane Weaver – new single, 12″ and video

The fabulous Jane Weaver has a new digital single out in the form of ‘Mission Desire’, one of my favourite tracks from last year’s album, ‘The Silver Globe’. Check the video for it above too, featuring French cartoon Marie Mathematique which serves as a trailer of sorts to a forthcoming DVD on Finders Keepers. There will be a split 7″ arriving soon shared with another Bird artist: Cardiff’s Tender Prey.

Also just released and already on the turntable is an offshoot recording, ‘Neotantrik Globes’ – teased at the end of ‘The Amber Light’ 2xCD extended album. It’s a 1-sided LP with an ambient collage recorded live late last year by Andy Votel, Suzanne Ciani, Sean Canty and featuring Jane’s vocals and other parts from the record.

JW Neotantrik

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Barry Bermange & Delia Derbyshire ‘Amor Dei’

Delia Derbyshire‘s radio programmes with Barry Bermange from the mid 60s are great works of wonder, forward thinking and as relevant today as 50 years ago. Until now I was only aware of ‘The Dreams’ – an unnerving 5 part exploration of various themes people experience in dreams set to Delia’s dark ambient soundscapes. But earlier today I discovered there are actually four separate programmes, created in 1964 and ’65, on the subjects of God, The Afterlife and Growing Old.
Here is the second ‘Invention for Radio’ as the pieces are known, ‘Amor Dei: Vision of God’, a four-parter that pits believers against non-believers to show two sides of people’s perceptions of God and worship. Each is set against a minimalist soundtrack, choral and calming – an incredible work, originally created for BBC Radio 3. There’s more info on delia-derbyshire.net with links to the other inventions as well as pretty much anything else you want to know about her work.
Part 2.


Part 4.

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Rammellzee ‘Cosmic Flush’ Pt.4 – Doze Green & Edan ‘Fight My Fire’

Doze Green Ramm 12"I’ve been away for the last four days at Camp Bestival with the family but it looks like biggest news of the weekend is this monster. The Rammellzee ‘Cosmic Flush’ project just gets better and better and is shaping up to be release of the year if it continues like this. Here’s the blurb: “Part 4 in Rammellzee‘s Cosmic Flush project brings together Doze Green and Edan, two heavyweights who need no introduction. Pre-orders are now live, limited to 500 copies with 250 signed print editions.”

Galactic Nightmare album

Galactic Nightmare
An absolute gem of an album recently surfaced on Trunk Records – ‘Galactic Nightmare’, a kind of low budget War of the Worlds first released on cassette in 1986 and now transferred to a double vinyl album with gatefold sleeve, printed inners and extra art. There’s a nice story behind it on the Trunk website and I love that GN logo above – so 80s. Only 500 copies on double vinyl, sold out on the label website but they have digital if that’ll do you. A real special one-off as only Trunk can do, look out for it, here’s a short preview…


John Baker ‘The Vendetta Tapes’

Vendetta LP

A brand new album of material by John Baker from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop is getting a release on Buried Treasure next month. You may remember me featuring their Rare Psych, Moog & Brass comp over a year ago that I’m still playing tracks out from.

From the press release: “Whilst producing ‘The John Baker Tapes’ albums for Trunk Records, Alan Gubby – Buried Treasure’s label manager –  unearthed several reels of music & sound effects from the 1960’s BBC TV series ‘Vendetta’ – an organised crime / mafia thriller starring Italian actor Stelio Candelli (Barbarella, Django, Planet Of The Vampires). John produced a tense, rhythmic & unhinged James Bond style score for the 1st series in 1966 featuring live drums, radiophonic bass lines, taped atmospherics & screaming jazz improvisations.
Vendetta Banner
Available for the 1st time ever, The Vendetta Tapes displays Baker’s legendary skills in combining tape manipulation with live instrumentation. The music is thrilling, sleazy, deranged & very hip. Highlights from the score are presented on this compilation alongside other previously unreleased tracks plus a couple of classics from the hard to find Trunk compilations – all digitally remastered by Mark Ayres from the radiophonic archives.”

Released on LP, CD on the 14th August 2015 via Modulor Distribution (Paris) but you can buy the digital right now from the BT bandcamp page. Unfortunately all CD & vinyl copies have already been swallowed up by the stores such as Rough Trade or Norman Records so hit the links to pre-order.


Love & Mercy

Just saw Love & Mercy – utterly fantastic in so many ways. The casting was superb, the music (both real and recreated) was spot on, the attention to detail between the time periods right on the money. It moved me to tears several times and their portrayal of the injustice Brian Wilson suffered without resorting to sensationalism was admirable. A big hand should also go to Atticus Ross for his amazing sound collages that use snippets of Beach Boys songs and studio outtakes to form mood montages throughout the film, let’s hope they get an official release at some point.
Paul Dano as a young Brian – superb, Paul Giamatti‘s Dr Landy was terrific and Jake Abel WAS Mike Love. John Cusack as the older Wilson wasn’t facially convincing but he got the mannerisms down although that half of the film was more about Landy’s battle with Melinda Ledbetter anyway. As a hardcore Beach Boys fan who’s read the books (official or otherwise) and waded through the bootleg sessions, it got the tone pitch perfect.


The Mercy Giants ‘We Think So Loud’

Here’s a late 80s oddity that I was turned onto recently by Steve Cook – he of Secret Oranges fame. A 1988 Acid House 12″ made by the late, great Brett Ewins among others that comes with an 8pg B&W ‘lyric sheet’ featuring the art of Brendan McCarthy, Steve Dillon, Jamie Hewlett, Shaky Kane, Philip Bond, Jamie Hewlett and more.
The tracks themselves are primitive attempts to make Acid House (without the aid of the all-important Roland 303 by the sound of it) but have a period charm to them. Brett intones creepily over the top of the A side sounding like a riled up Timothy Leary on speed. The B side houses two instrumental cuts with ‘The Church of Acid’ coming on like Bam Bam with a sledgehammer and there IS a snatch of 303 but it sounds sampled and slightly out of time.

‘Dr. Microdot’ is a shorter version of same with the addition of an unidentified voice asking you to relax (we’ve all been there) and both tracks suffer from a lack of a decent arrangement, stumbling along with samples and effects being randomly thrown in and out of the mix. I’m being unkind but it’s fair to say they haven’t aged well although the fact that they were made in the middle of the second summer of love gives them a certain kudos. I’m wondering if the Ken Thomas credited with producing this fascinating artifact is the same one who has worked with everyone from Queen to the Cocteau‘s?

There’s even a video for a shorter version of the A side featuring Brett spouting his gobbledegook lyrics.

The artwork is the gold here and the free comic is basically of lot of the early gang of artists responsible for Deadline taking a page each and letting rip with whatever they feel is appropriate. Brendan, Philip and Shaky come up with some crackers but I’m not sure where Jamie’s contribution is exactly unless he collaborated with someone and isn’t credited. Ron Merlin, an early Deadline character, makes an appearance but it’s not clear if he is supposed to be the voice on the A side. There’s very little about it on the web but I love these musical comic crossovers (the Madness off-shoot ‘Mutants of Mega City One’ is another) even if the sounds often play second fiddle to the artwork.

MercyGiantsbookfrontMercyGiantsbookShakyBrettMercyGiantsbookBrendanMercyGiantsbookPhilip    MercyGiantsbackdetail

Gamma Proforma – Rammellzee, Futura, She One and more…

Ramm Brainstorm:Girlfriends
OK, so – Gamma Proforma – UK label dealing in music, art, books and apparel (T-shirts to you and me). I’ve mentioned them before, most notably with the recent Divine Styler album that blew my socks off in January but also with the ReWire kickstarter of last year and the Futurism 2.0 exhibition they put on a couple of years back. Their ‘roster’ – if you can call it that as they seem to deal in a project by project way – is full of name familiar to this blog both new and old: She One, Augustine Kofie, Divine Styler, Futura 2000, Will Barras, Remi/Rough, Delta, Rammellzee, Syd Mead and Ian ‘Swifty’ Swift among many more. If that isn’t enough to get your interest then you may as well stop reading now. I just want to highlight some of the currents releases coming out of this great label who seem to have tapped into my mind at times and assembled items that tick multiple boxes to an extent where it’s just getting silly now.
Ramm1&2backRamm BrainstormRamm #1&2
Their current big project is a multi-part release of The Rammellzee‘s final album, ‘Cosmic Flush’, incomplete at the time of his death but now finished by producer Jonah Mociun whom he worked on it with. Each track is being released on a single 12″ backed with a remix + instrumentals with a different artist chosen to provide the cover which is also included as a signed print.
Above and below are the first two singles, ‘Brainstorm’ and How’s My Girlfriends’ with art by Futura 2000 and Ramm acolyte Ian Kuali’i and remixes by Divine Styler and Mr Len (ex-Co. Flow). The third 12″ – released next month – will be ‘Crazay’ with art by Delta and Mike Ladd on remix duties. Each 12″ is a pressing of 500 with half of these adding the print, these versions aren’t cheap and the Futura one is already sold out but the quality is top notch. Eventually all the releases will form the album proper although I’m not sure whether that will be collected into a box of some sort or issued on CD.
Ramm Girlfriends
Ramm Futura sig
As you can see, there’s a heavy emphasis on the more leftfield, abstract side of graffiti on these releases and that’s carried over into the books and T-shirts too. The She One book with 7″ picure disc below is a heavy slab of goodness chock full of James Choules’ flaming brushstroke camouflage styles from close ups to sketch book scraps and a beautiful collection presented without all the usual clichés of the genre.

Shebook & disc2 She Book&disc1 PhilAshcroft&printSimilarly Phil Ashcrofts angular spikes take on a more ‘futuristic’ tone in his book of dystopian visions and sci-fi seems the be at the heart of what Gamma produce with Syd Mead T-shirts being an early release. There’s also a shirt series underway too with Kofie supplying the first example on a white shirt below and Will Barras depicting a menacing Rammellzee in his signature style for the second.

Gamma shirts Kofieshirt

All the pieces mentioned here are immaculately laid out and design forms the subject of another forthcoming book – a retrospective of Ian ‘Swifty’ Swift‘s career titled ‘Full Circle’, due in the autumn but you can pre-order it now. I daren’t even mention the Will Barras book arriving shortly, the prints, magazines, original art or the digital freebies available if you peruse the Gamma site at length…

PS: in a weird act of synchronicity the Has It Leaked site just put up a look at the label too with quotes from me included – read it here and find out even more…

Renegades of Rhythm – The Movie (VHS edition)

Just uploaded to the Pillage Roadshow YouTube account – the film of DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist‘s recent ‘Renegades of Rhythm’ tour where they played Afrika Bamabaataa’s records and formed a history of Hip Hop from some of the vinyl it was created from. Not sure if this will ever get a legit release due to all the licensing that would be needed to make it legal so this may be the only way to see it if you weren’t there. It was definitely gig of the year so far when I saw it in January. Thanks to Suki Majhail-McLean for the heads up.

Black Channels video collages

Loving these daily video collages by Black Channels – snippets and studio experiments from their new 10″ on Death Waltz Originals. Order it at Bleep, or Rough Trade (and get a free mix CD).

See more on their Instagram account.

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The The ‘Hyena’ soundtrack on Death Waltz

A new The The record is always cause for celebration and the first on vinyl for over 15 years (not counting reissues) is an even bigger one. That this beauty appears on Death Waltz in a leather effect gatefold sleeve with 12×12″ booklet, obi strip, lobby card, coloured and etched vinyl is more than anyone could have hoped for. The icing on the cake for me here is that I introduced Matt Johnson to Spencer from Death Waltz, suggesting that he would be the best man to put his music on vinyl and release it to the world. He’s more than outdone himself and the soundtrack is a perfect fit for DW’s style and ethos. You can order it now from Mondo and listen below.

Preview the whole soundtrack here:

The NME goes free

ABC NME cover '81

After the news that the NME was going to be free as of September yesterday I dug out these old covers from over 30 years ago. I never read it until the late 80s and 90s but have since gone back and waded through years of issues for various research purposes and the breath of subjects covered, the writing, the photography and even the design sometimes, was taken for granted on a weekly basis. Barney Bubbles designed the logo seen on these covers too. Check the Sly & Robbie feature below for the skewed design and the Frank Sinatra wraparound cover which seems apt after the news.
Along with the Melody Maker, Sounds and Record Mirror (four weekly music mags!) it was the only one to survive, having weathered the storm since 1952. This latest move – this ‘last throw of the dice’ as someone called it – seems to indicate that we’re another step down the road, another nail in the coffin, where the worth of others’ creativity is reduced to practically zero. Rockin’ in the Free World.

BEF NME cover '82

Sly & Robbie NME feature '81 Girlschool NME cover '81 Sinatra, NME Jan '85

Posted in Design, Magazines, Music. | 2 Comments |

Simon Reynolds on Ambient from 1993

img_0419Music Journalist Simon Reynolds – author of Rip it Up & Start Again, Retromania, Energy Flash and more – has put some articles up that he wrote about the Ambient scene in the UK for Melody Maker in 1993 on his blog. The reason I’m including them here is because this was the first proper interview I ever did for a music publication and I love Reynolds’ writing in general (despite his need to define and compartmentalise micro scenes before they’ve fully evolved all the time). An interesting look back but I think he was shoe-horning what we were doing into his collection of interviewees and possibly using us as a link the other bands to the Ambient/Chill Out scene at the time.

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Found In Sounds #7 (Old School Hip Hop special)

Electro Funk cover Sounds 14.04.84

An Old School special this time round with vintage cuttings from early 80s copies of the weekly UK music paper, Sounds. Traditionally a Rock and Heavy Metal-biased magazine, they still found time to cover some of the bigger stars from the emerging New York scene. They went all out in 1984 with an Electro Funk special issue (above).
Below is an early Bambaataa chart – check #10. An early UK rap gig at the Comedy Store is reviewed and Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Flash, Bam, the Sugarhill Gang and more are interviewed.

I like looking back on images and articles like this from a time when I was too young to know that this was even happening, you see a less revisionist history as the movement and artists are in the midst or even before their peak years. Details that have been lost in time are revealed and a few oddities pop up that make you re-evaluate accepted norms. Click on each image for the full size.

Rap chart Sounds 1984 Rap review Comedy Store Kurtis Blow Sounds 15.08.81 GMFlash Sounds 18.09.82 GMFlash Sounds 11.12.82 Afrika Bam SOUNDS_19.02.83 Rapping 2 Sounds 13.03.82 Rapping 3 Sounds 13.03.82