singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
9 July 2015
(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

To my pleasant surprise, today brought three more instalments in the Polyvinyl four-track singles club thing. The last batch were all on reddish and purplish vinyl, but this time we creep around the colour wheel into green, blue/green and blue. I read an interview with Bridget Riley the other day where she was saying what a load of old crap the colour wheel was, and she was absolutely right. But back to the records; they’ve all had a whiz on the Loricraft and got a nice antistatic sleeve, so let’s go disco.

Both Comfort and Exotica are pleasant synth instrumentals which sound a little like the music you used to get in the ’80s, whilst the TV channel was counting down for a schools programme to start. This surely did not happen in America, which I suppose is Ducktails’ point of origin. They have nice bland pad sounds, and a pretty rotten drum machine, and little of note occurs in either of their songs, but when you’ve drunk a couple of bottles of wine, as I have now, it makes for a pleasant effect. I much prefer the more complicated arrangement of Exotica, which strikes a balance between mildly blissful mellowness and engaging intellectual braininess.

The fade-out on both sides kicks in too sharply, which may be unavoidable on the 4-track all the artists in this series were compelled to use. I’m always sensitive to that. I’m not keen on fade-outs at all. Frank Sidebottom once said on the subject something to the effect of “imagine if you were watching The Emprire Strikes Back, and Luke Skywalker started fighting Darth Vader, and it just faded out into black. You wouldn’t be very happy about that would you?”. No Frank, you know you wouldn’t. You really wouldn’t.

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Here we find Kevin going totally Bowie. More Bowie even than Flight of the Conchords did that time. Just listen to how he gives it some proper old-skool Anthony Newley Bowie on the A-side.

I think this record might be Kevin on his own in the house, like on the early records. Both songs sound very much like solo pieces, which I know all the best oM records effectively have been, but there’s a nakedness about these recordings that makes them very effective. Perhaps Kevin should drop the band, drop the Synclavier and stick to the 4-track, because it works for him. He’s great, even though I did lose a little respect after he sacked off BP et al after False Priest.

Side B features Norman Collier on vocals. Bloody hell, I’m old.

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These records fit inside their PVC sleeves so snugly that it took me several minutes to extricate this one. It has a slightly textured exterior, which I think the initial batch of this series had, whilst the previous too records feature the bog-standard 7” jackets you can get anywhere.

Side A is an odd one. It seems to be a couple of rough loops of a sample from the kinda disco record Steve Wright “spins” on a Friday afternoon when you’re stuck in the car and you just want to get home and you think for Christ’s sake why don’t you play ABBA or Boney M, everyone likes them, what the hell is this crap it sounds like something no one dances to at a wedding. This sounds too fast at 45rpm and too slow at 33rpm, and at times it’s cut together as badly as one of those old V/Vm records. I loved those. The Minder one on Jonathan Whiskey is the best one. “That’s what you get for treating kids like adults”. Genius.

Side B is a singer-songwritery piece with chorus, and excellent, easy voice, and a bit of AOR echo. Very pleasant.

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