Thursday, January 30, 2014

Happy Birthday New Order's Technique - 25 Years Old Today

On the 30th January 1989 New Order released their LP Technique on cassette, compact disk, record and digital audio tape! Released on Factory Record with the Factory Number - FAC 275. 

Recorded partly in Ibiza (although very little of the Ibiza recordings made the final record), where the band spent the time partying, crashing cars and soaking in the emerging Acid House/Balerica Beat club culture. The new club sounds clearly influenced the band and bleed through to the LP. You can hear them in the indie acid of Fine Time to (the first single) to the general sun dappled production, upbeat melodies and rhythmic thrust. The shift from the band debut LP Movement in 1981 with its heavy Martin Hannett production and difficult lyric and deep vocals couldn't be more marked. If a year is a long time in politics then eight years is generation in musical terms. They simply don't sound like the same band at all, the only clue that links the bands is Hooky's melodic bass and the brilliance of the drumming. 

I remember buying at the time on cassette from Our Price in Woolwich. It is one record that has really stuck with me through the last 25 years, it arrived at a rather difficult part in my own personal life and I have bought it on CD a number of times as I have lost or damaged them across the years. It always brings a smile to my face and is an uplifting listen. 

 "It begins. It thumps with glee, it swirls with lackadaisical  intensity. "You're much too young to be a part of me, you're much too young to get a hold on me." And never have veterans sounded so
brilliantly arrogant, masters so eager. Jesus. "Technique" is so
effortlessly GREAT, so languidly heroic, so vibrant and thrilling
despite itself, that one wishes one could weep....."

Chris Roberts 

A can remember Chris Roberts review in Melody Maker at the time and it can viewed here 

A great review from Ian Wade at the BBC website from 2008

Rate Your Music Page on Technique

The LP reached number one in the UK Album charts, the singles released were Fine Time (11th), Round and Round (21) and Run 2 (49). It would be the last LP the band released on Factory before the label went bust and the band moved to London record for the release of Republic in 1993. 

Happy birthday Technique you are still a joy to listen to.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cool as Ice - Be Music Productions (New Order) Spotify Playlist

Have just found this little gem on Spotify. The LP Cool as Ice collects various New Order Productions as Be Music between 1983 and 1984. This was just as New Order were dancing headlong towards electronic music and away from the Martin Hannett  Joy Division production template.

The LP collects the various members of New Order as they produced other Factory Record acts (no doubt Tony Wilson hoping that some of that chart bound magic could be sprinkled on other artists).

The Be Music productions were divided into three teams:

  • Barney and Donald Johnston of ACR (aka DoJo)
  • Hooky
  • Stephen and Gillian 

Section 25, Marcel King (Shaun Ryders favorite ever Factory track) , Paul Haig and Quando Quando (including future M People main man Mike Pickering) were produced by Barney and Johnston, Nyam Nyam and the Be Music Theme are the work of Hooky and Life, Thick Pigeon and 52nd Street by Stephen and Gillian.

The two Section 25 tracks are wonderful, full of the fragile grace and brittle melodies that also marked out New Order at this time. They could be out takes from Movement or Power Corruption and Lies. The Looking From a Hilltop 12" Megamix is a real lost factory classic all bleeping bass, interweaving male and female vocals and a great synth string part. 

The Be Music Theme has shades of the New Order track murder in its mix of sampled(?) speech, tribal drumming and keyboard washes. Fate/Hate by Nyam Nyam is with is chugging baseline and midi synth parts is beautiful. The New Order pair of Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert also played on the Nyam Nyam record and went on to produce and play on the LP Too Crazy Cowboys released by Factory in 1984.

You can purchase the LP in CD and Vinyl formats here:

Monday, January 20, 2014

East India Youth - Total Strife Forever

On the first couple of listens I am loving the debut LP by William Doyle as East India Youth. It has elements of many things I love, electronic systems music, four to the floor electronica, warped left of centre pop and an a vocal that is equal parts papier-mache vulnerable and 3am lonely ache. Some in it reminds me of the first Matt Johnson/The The Record - Burning Blue Soul, well if Matt Johnson had recorded in 2013 as opposed to 1981. The mix of fractured instrumental, vocal looping and loneliness places it in the same sonic space just 32 years apart. Total Strife forever could be Burn Blue Soul's musical baby . Oddly both were written/recorded in the East End of London so it might be something haunting the air. James Blake is a name that keeps cropping up in the reviews but I think this much more interesting sonically and emotional than that.

The closing Total Strife Forever IV builds up from static and distorted strings to a stirring organ hook and chugging noise undertow, it is a blissful hazy way to finish the record.

One for the Mercury Prize in 2014?

The Soundcloud track Heaven, How Long showcases his ability to meld these disparate strands into a wonderful whole.

Some good reviews of the LP here

Nice playlist of tracks that inspired the writing of the LP via Q Magazine

Article about forming a record label to release the LP as no-one would sign East India Youth

Friday, January 17, 2014

Return of Mogwai - Remurdered

The new Mogwai LP is released in the UK on the 20th January 2014 on Rock Action Records. Titled Rave Tapes and likely the works of Burial it seems to be in part at least a requiem for the "gold age" of rave in the early 1990s.

Below is the track Remurdered from the Rock Action Soundcloud Page.

You can also get a lovely boxset version of the LP with Pink Vinyl included! Mogwai Rave Tapes Boxset

The Guardian website is carrying a full stream of the LP here-

Stuart Braithwaite of the band wrote the following:

"...The album was recorded by Paul Savage who we worked on for our early single Summer as well as our first record Mogwai Young Team and our most recent Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will. Paul was also a member of The Delgados, the owners of Chemikal Undergound Records who released our first two records..."

Its good to have them back. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Doll Boy – Ghost Stations

Doll Boy – Ghost Stations 

There is something about travelling in London on the Tube that makes me want to soundtrack the journey with electronica. Born and bred in London I find the Tube and endlessly fascinating and enjoyable way to travel, mind I no-longer have to do it every working day and tend to avoid the peaks of rush hour commuting.

My recent soundtrack to Tube travel has been Lost Stations by Dollboy. The songs are a requiem/reflection on “lost” Tube Stations in London and Berlin. Empty or abandoned spaces are another one of my obsessions so an LP about abandoned Tube stations, well what’s not to love about that.
The LP was released back in 2010 on Second Language Music records but I only stumbled across it just before Christmas this year. 

"Dollboy is the alias of London-based musical polymath Oliver Cherer who has released three albums (of both electronic music and more orthodox song-based material) under that moniker for the likes of Different Drummer, Arable and Static Caravan..."

Imagine a lovingly blended mix of field records, electronic chatter, Eno style ambient washes and Eric Satie piano and you’re in the right place.  The songs rotate and mutate around long brass tones, clicks, hisses, bass piano notes and the ebbing of slow electronic pulses. The pieces use silence to great effect, the balance between the rattle of the tube trains and the dolorous nature of their empty life’s since closure are keenly felt in the music.

I would love to get the chance to wander around the empty stations with this as my soundtrack, a homage to forgotten places no-longer of commercial use but full of memory and loss.

The closed London Underground Stations that feature on the record are:

  • Down Street
  • York Road
  • South Kentish Town
  • British Museum
  • Brompton Road
  • Strand

More information on Ghost Stations in London-

The Berlin Stations that receive the musical treatment are:

  • Warschauer strasse
  • Jannowitzbrucke
  • Potsdamer platz
  • Unter den linden

Close your eyes and picture yourself in the Berlin of Christopher Isherwood’s novels.

Dollboy has a great Soundcloud page here where you can hear a live versions of LP tracks that can be downloaded - and track 10 Potsdamer Platz for free.