singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
29 April 2014
(listening through speakers)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Linn Kilmax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove
TEAD Vibe 1.5 / Pulse 2
TEAD Linear A
TEAD Model One

The sticker on the front tells me this was recorded at the same time as Lousy with Sylvianbriar, which I still haven’t got round to listening to. It also tells me that it’s on “Seafoam Green” vinyl, which I otherwise would have described as “yellow”.

I’ve no idea who is singing here: I don’t think I’ve ever heard her on an oM record before though. She’s good. The a-side is a solid, confident and accomplished, slightly psychedelic 60s influenced, traditional pop song, with a dollop of Kevin’s by-now familiar self-loathing. B-side is more electronic, and harder to pin down. Stylistically it probably fits best with Skeletal Lamping, with that cut-up switching-from-one-song-to-another feel, though it has a fuller and deeper sound than that album. Good single. Better than I expected, after the last couple of oM 7s were slight let-downs.

4

I once heard that, oooh, “the devil will find work for idle hands to do”, and proof, if proof be need be, is found in the fact that I’ve recently started a job five-minutes walk from the Berwick Street record shops, where I can take long lunch breaks. The result: I’m buying shit like this. There were two of them, seven quid a piece, in matching die-cut sleeves with lovely artwork, called Music from Mathematics, “played by IBM 7090 Computer and Digital to Sound Transducer”. Naturally I bought both.

I think I was expecting some kind of interesting electronica like Broadcast might enjoy, but instead I’ve ended up with some largely monophonic beeping and tones pretty close to pure, with titles like Variation in Timbre and Attack. In the late 60s this was the cutting edge; using a proper business computer to generate music would have been exciting and likely no small technical accomplishment. Alas, the 7090 is no Kronos X, and at best the record is borderline listenable. Historical curio only.

2

Beautiful radially patterned blue and yellow vinyl here, though sadly plays at 33rpm, which is never quite right for a 7”. Starts off sounding like the bloody digital sound transducer (see above), but the Leslie cabinet effect and phase sweeps soon put us in familiar Füxa territory.

I see they re-released Photon a while ago, which is a perfect record. This isn’t, but it’s still quite pleasant. Rather krautrockish to my uneducated ear

B-side is pretty blissed-out and ambient. Nice.

3

The sides of this 7” are numbered 7 and 8, and the catalogue number is DEAL 040-7. There’s only one terrible conclusion to draw from this: I’ve missed three Kim Deal records. Having had a little sit down to get over that awful realization, let’s pop it on.

It has that sloppy, lo-fi sound Kim always works so hard to achieve, with the drums heavy and up-front, scratchy guitar way in the back. Everything about it sounds like Kim Deal, ergo it’s great.

Morgan Nagler sounds a bit like an anagram. I don’t know what he does on this record, but whatever it is, it’s working. Nice job, Morgan Nagler.

Nothing to report on the artwork front, just a plain white paper sleeve, which fits the approach to the music.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have three records to find. Oh, and we all hate the Pixies these days, right?

5

Here’s the other one. At the side of this ear-scraping racket, the first Music from Mathematics sounds like Jean-Michel-Effing-Jarre.

At times it reminds me of the soundtrack from a very early cabinet arcade game, at others like a kid messing about with a simple Casio keyboard. Neither are things you’d particularly want to sit and listen to.

So it continues, for longer than you would ever think a single side of a 45rpm 7” could. Then, from nowhere, the classic riff of Daisy Daisy kicks in, and the bloody thing starts singing! This must have blown peoples’ minds back in the day.

B-side goes experimental, with computer generated horses; a child practising scales; semi-rhythmic white-noise percussion; an interminable Joy to the World; and the Equalizer theme tune played by a calculator with diarrhoea. Sometimes I amaze even myself.

2

Despite their terrible name, I have a real soft-spot for Ringo Deathstarr, who I see as far more than an all-of-shoegaze tribute act. On this beautiful clear orange mini-LP, the influences are harder to pin down than they used to be. The band has its own sound which, sure, sounds kinda shoegazey, but they seem more confident in their own skin. They sound tighter, and the music flows and cracks along more happily than it ever has before. There’s a pretty broad sonic palette too, with electronics, pianos, and metal guitars.

Just to show I’m paying attention, the tracks on the record don’t match the listing on the sleeve. My favourite is super-catchy Over There, which is sadly not a cover of the terrible Level 42 anti-war song. (Update: it might not be that song. You’ll know the one when you hear it though.)

The record is on Invada, who do something every other label should do. They give you a digital download coupon, but you download from Bandcamp. This means you can get a proper FLAC of the music rather than some shitty MP3. I don’t want to get all Neil Young at this point (not least hi-res audio is bullshit, or because his “porno” thing looks stupid), but it’s great to have the option of lossless digital as well as shitty-ass MP3s. Well done Invada! (All of the preceeding is based on the possibly invalid assumption that the FLACs aren’t transcoded MP3s.)

Great front cover too, though we aren’t told who did it.

3

This is a re-release of an EP from 1986. Being a child then, with limited access to New York record shops, I wasn’t able enough to pick up one of probably about eight copies when it came out originally, so here we are, god knows how many years later, kidding ourselves we’re still young, buying music that we feel safe with, because music these days is rubbish. Apparently they just press a button on a computer and it does it all for them. Not like back in my day, when you had proper, talented musicians writing proper music like, err, Pussy Galore…

It’s at the slicker end of the PG spectrum, being positively hi-fi at the side of some of their other stuff. Still pretty typical though, pure trash, with the metal drums, the shouting, the effing and jeffing, and utterly obnoxious guitar sounds. Great front cover too, a black and white photograph by Karl Peterson. (And you definitely would.) Always credit your sleeve artwork kids. Always.

4

A 10” mini-LP on Elefant, so you’d expect this to be on coloured vinyl, and you’d be right. Clever you. It’s quite shoegazey, sonically a close neighbour of Ringo Deathstarr, but whilst super-cool Alex Gehring’s voice is just right for this kind of racket, the singer here doesn’t quite fit. There’s some lovely sonic cathedralism (sorry, I can’t resist: it’s always said with tongue in cheek) going on though, even though the whole sounds as if it’s playing at the wrong speed. Everything’s a bit too high pitched and fast. Probably the best song is Lo Siento Mucho, which I think must be Spanish for Leave them all Behind.

3