January 11th, 2013

stegzy

Music Project - Album #4: 2 Sides of Yes by Rick Wakeman

2 Sides of Yes by Rick Wakeman

In case you didn't know, Rick Wakeman was once the keyboard player for 70's prog band Yes. The wizard of the keys. The bearded wonder of twiddle. A very talented musician. Sadly tainted by religious fervor and self important attitude.

As a big fan of Yes, it makes sense to have some solo albums by the numerous members of the group. Indeed, you will see I have several. However, really I should have a clear out. This is utter dirge.

Uncle Rick twiddles about for 52 minutes playing keyboard versions of some Classic Yes songs. It kind of reminds me of those awful musak albums we used to have in the 1970's. You know the type, the ones you'd pick up from an all night garage because you were stoned when you went to get the emergency rizlas on your credit card at 3am. The sort that plays in the elevators in Hell. Or in waiting rooms in wanky restaurants in London.

I think at this point in Rick's career he needed a bit of cash to pay off the credit card he maxed out while buying Rizlas at 3am in the morning at the 24 hour garage on the Isle of Man. It clearly shows. This style of record production does nothing to enhance an artist's career. Far from it. It just shows that in reality they are talentless lazy fucks who once had a good idea but can't think of any more now so here's a best of or compilation album for you adoring fans. It's like when I post best of journal entries. Or when they do those mid season flashback clip shows on TV.

So if you want to have a preview of the music you will be listening to in the elevator to the fiery click the link below.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/two-sides-of-yes-vol-1-mw0000739523
stegzy

Music Project - Album #5: 2 Metre Sessie by Chris Isaak

2 Metre Sessie by Chris Isaak

Now the more astute of you or any huge fan of Chris Isaak will be going "WTF?! I don't recognise this as an album!". And the answer would be yes. You are right. This is a 1991 recording of a live session from a Dutch radio programme (http://www.2metersessies.nl) which runs regular music sessions with musicians. A bit like John Peel used to do. Without the alleged kiddy fiddling.


Chris strums his way through half an hour of a mixture of his own tunes and some classic covers of Orbison, Diamond and Nelson. If you like Isaak's style this is a nice little filler your music library if you can find it. It's from 1991 so don't expect stuff from his Speak of the Devil or Forever Blue albums. This is Isaak at the point where I got into him. 1991. I remember queuing for his gig at the Royal Court in Liverpool with Laura Beachball, my first girlfriend. Listening to this album I sometimes imagine it being a recording of Chris practicing before going on stage.

A short review this one. Mostly because it's a brief "album" that few who are interested will be able to obtain. I think I was just very lucky to be on Usenet on the day it was posted.
stegzy

Music Project - Album #6: 4AD Presents...

4AD Presents the 13 Year Itch by Various Artists

This is the first of many compilation albums and the first of several sampler albums that I've collected over the years.

I've been a huge fan of Ivo Watt's 4AD label since the early nineties. Watt's distinctive production reverberates throughout all the artists borne from the 4AD stable. Throwing Muses, Belly, Lush, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, Department of Eagles...they're all 4AD bands. What is unusual is that I was unaware at the time that the vast majority of them were 4AD artists. Indeed, at the time I was buying CDs and it was only in about 1991 that I actually started to pay attention to the studio and record label. So when the download frenzy of the last decade began I eagerly sucked every album I could from the 4AD label.

It was interesting at the time because I found it difficult to get most of the stuff I wanted legally due to licensing and limited editions. I would look full of whist at the catalogues and try to imagine what the songs sounded like. When I gained super fast broadband I was able to source the actual tracks and, no, I wasn't disappointed.

13 year Itch  is a compilation sampler of the bands that were available in 1993. It starts with a rousing dose of shoe gazing with Lush's Desire Lines, passing by The Breeders brooding about the Invisible Man and heading briefly into shady Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance) territory (Perry performs a cover of Tim Buckley's Happy Time) before nose diving into the This Is the Way, Part 2 climax with Ultra Vivid Scene. The zeitgeist of the 90s lives on through these artists and the 4AD label . If I was to relive my youth, I would want this to be the soundtrack. I would want to be a little older and better off than I was. I would also want to be hanging round with moody gothesque shoe gazers, talking about the impending doom of the approaching millennium, whilst sitting in bed sitting rooms that stink of Patchouli, joss sticks and couscous.

Wait...

I did.

I just described my early 20's.

Sadly this album wasn't playing.

If I was to do it again. I would expect it to be playing on my Sony Walkman or at least on my Sony CD player.

If you're interested in 4AD this is the second best compilation sampler to get hold of. The first is the Uncut freeby, which I will probably review sometime in the next year.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/4ad-presents-the-13-year-itch-mw0001811485
stegzy

Music Project - Album #7: 9 by Damian Rice.

9 by Damian Rice

He lies.
There are 10. Not 9. He might be referring to 9 albums. Or 9 pairs of socks. Or something. Not sure what. Don't really care.

Rice is one of those artists I thought "Oh I like that song on such and such a soundtrack, I'll get their other stuff because it must be equally as good" only to find out that the other stuff isn't as good and fail in erecting my interest. Are you detecting a theme here dear reader?

Folky strumming at its least mediocre. You just know what the album is going to be like when you see track 10 is over 20 minutes long (Just over 5 minutes of music with 15 minutes of silence or imperceptible noise). Only a very few artists pull that trick off well. Mr Rice doesn't. However I don't want to be too harsh on him, think James Blunt with talent. Or maybe even David Gray with feeling. I appreciate Rice's work for what it is. 9 is pleasant moody coffee table music that makes a moody Sunday afternoon coffee just that little bit more enjoyable. Of course, those that know me will say "Ah! But Stegzy, you don't wear stylish clothes, live in a stylish apartment in Crosby nor do you sup black coffee on Sunday afternoons". No. I don't. But the person that does does. And the person that does listens to Damian Rice. I know. I've met him. Not Damian Rice. The chap in the flat.  
stegzy

Music Project - Album #8: 10000 Hertz Legend by Air

10000 Hertz Legend by Air

I first heard Air in the mid 1990's when they made 1997-1998 more bearable for me. That was Moon Safari. This is the album that followed.

At the time, the wife and I thought our selves very avant garde. Listening to music by French musicians of the electronica genre. Hey, we even read the Guardian newspaper on Saturdays. And we had a coffee table.

Yes. The coffee table that groaned under the weight of our extensive coffee table music collection. Coffee table music? Did I explain that concept?

Ok. You know when you go round to people's houses. No probably not. People dont go to other people's houses anymore. Not like they did in the 90's. People sit at home and interact with others through the wonders of a like button. Well before the thumb when people visited others and held non-judgmental dinner parties, people would leave books they had no intention of reading on the coffee table for the guests to peruse and assume levels of intellect and culture. Likewise, the concept passes into music. Albums that people would play when they had guests as background music. It would show the visitor that the host was cultured, stylish and a Guardian reader. Hey, they probably also had a copy of the Buena Vista Social Club somewhere and they could then sit and discuss how everything was going well with their lives.

10000 Hz Legend could have been one of those albums. Sadly, Moon Safari did too much of a damn good job and it wouldn't be until the recent Le Voyage Dans la Lune that Air would recapture the Moon Safari vibe. Legend is a little bit too much different to Safari to ease into. It's like having a new conservatory built then completely demolishing it because you want a new carpet. There are some good tracks though, Wonder Milky Bitch is very weird while Sex Born Poison adds to the feeling of odd aural eclectica present but Caramel Prisoner takes you back to the Air pool with a nice gentle splash.

It's another grower.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/10000-hz-legend-mw0000004288
stegzy

Music Project - Album #9: 10 Neurotics by Black Tape for a Blue Girl

10 Neurotics by Black Tape for a Blue Girl

Aside from Porcupine Tree's In Absentia which is a concept album about a serial killing pervert, this is possibly one of the more....twisted....albums I have.

Each song on the album tells the story of some sort of sexual depravity, kink or perversion. Some very dark indeed.

Black Tape are a kind of darkwave caberet band. Think Dresden Dolls wearing gimp suits in an S&M dungeon (as opposed to an M&S dungeon; which is something else entirely). Interestingly Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls plays drums on this album. Which is nice.

Anyway, the story is that the lyrics, themes and topics dealt with in this album caused a lot of Black Tape regulars to quit the band. Zoe was at home when I was playing this album and even she commented that the lyrics made her feel uneasy. If you listen to the lyrics you'll see why.  If you don't you'll probably think "Oh this is a nice tune"...kind of the way your folks probably did with Abba in the 70's without realising the twisted sordidness of Benny and Bjorn's lyrics. (Dancing Queen? Really? You do know what that's about don't you?)

No.

This is dark. Dark and happy. Dark and scary. Dark and disturbing. Much in the way that you feel dirty after listening to it and realising that Perfect Pervert is socially unacceptable on so many levels, Marmalade Cat is about Furries and Pleasure in the Pain...well...I'll link to the video....you make your own mind up...but do try it, it has one of the best lyrics in  a song ever - "I wake humiliated by the reality of what I've imagined"

Black Tape are a Projekt Records. Take note. I will be mentioning that label again.