singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
1 February 2019
(listening with headphones)Avid Acutus
Funk F·XRII
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Kilmax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
Luxman P-1u
Sennheiser HD800

I went back for some more of the old ’90s drone stuff that we had the other day. These are a little musty too, but I bought a pack of new paper inners. Now everything smells nice and fresh, but part of me feels bad that the inners aren’t original. These are the dilemmas with which I have to wrestle. Who’d be me?

Everyone likes Low now don’t they? They’ve found some way to make out that Double Negative is all about hating Donald Trump, so liking it becomes a badge of righteousness. And my word, doesn’t the world like being righteous today?

The uncomfortable thing for you modern types to deal with here is that the ‘a’ is a straight-up religious song, and there’s no way to make these modern types feel uncomfortable than by hitting them with a bit of straight-up religion. They can pretend to respect Islam, I suppose: mostly because if they don’t, they miss out on calling other people Islamophobic. (It’s great to talk about why algebra is called algebra; or the simple beauty of Moorish architecture, demonstrating one’s own open-mindedness.) But these people can’t deal with Christianity, because that’s what people who like Donald Trump believe in, and it’s stupid and retarded because they’re all stupid retarded racist bigots.

I’m reminded of that “I love you Jesus Christ” line on Aeroplane over the Sea, and all the half-arsed attempts to explain it away because it doesn’t fit with what people want that record to be. You want to weird somebody out these days? Tell them you love Jesus. Even better if you mean it.

Both sides of the record are, obviously, gorgeous. The ‘a’ has the usual Low thing, where he starts singing and you think “that is the most beautiful voice in pop music”, then she starts singing…

Instrumentation is spare, with that distinctively Low guitar playing and some brushed percussion, but it’s all about those two voices, presenting some of the better Christian tenets in so sincere and beautiful a way that they don’t sound quite so stupid and retarded after all.

The ‘b’ is Blue Christmas, sung so beautifully it almost makes you forget the Porky Pig version. Almost.

God bless Low.

5

Bought in Sheffield, and being played in Sheffield, so the first part’s covered, but there isn’t a lot of melody. A glitchy drum track and a bit of loose arpeggiation make something very much of its time. It doesn’t remind me so much of t’oil int rooerd, or ‘Endo’s, or the Boxing Day Massacre so much as it does of a Flowchart album track.

It’s 1.1, so most of the major bugs should have been fixed.

Has a nice photocopied insert, and lovely clear, deep blue vinyl. This is the only record we’ll be playing tonight not on Wurlitzer Jukebox.

2

Buddha on the Moon had a bad name, but weren’t a bad band. The ‘a’ is a bit too clever for its own good, with its tremolo, backwards reverb, stop-startiness, and one of my pet hates, a bit in a different time signature. The ‘b’ is simpler, and its attempts to work more tone and texture around its minimal core are more successful. It builds, recedes, builds again, as a coherent, unpretentious whole. I think they got the sides the wrong way round on this one.

3

The only thing I can tell you about Electroscope is that they released an album that came with a free kite. I’ve been trying to find somewhere to put that bloody kite for the last twenty-five years. What do people expect you to do with a free kite? Fly it? Bin it? Somehow mix it in with the record collection? These things are all very well, but they don’t live happily with everything else. Like that Dreams of Tall Buildings 7” in the wooden sleeve. It has a ruddy great bolt through it, which ruins whatever it ends up next to. Or Metal Box. What are you supposed to do with that? (My Metal Box records are in paper/poly sleeves on the shelves, and the tin is under the stairs, ironically, in a plastic box. With the Electroscope kite.)

We get four short songs here, all very home-recorded, and no worse for it. The sleeve art (also by Electroscope) is the same. Collaged, hand-lettered, appealing with its off-beat intimacy. A lovely mix of DIY, low-fidelity, the ancient, the modern, and the future.

4

You don’t remember Sound Smith. They had one chord and a gong. It’s giving me the munchies just thinking about it.

2

I went to the see the optician. He said I had complex astigmatism. When I told my wife she sighed and said “everything has to be complex with you”.

Not your standard Wurlitzer Jukebox fayre, this one. Sort of ’60s girl singer. Seek is electronic and a little off-kilter, but with a lovely Pet Clarke/Dusty vibe. Six in the Morning (or Six a.m. in the Morning, as Mike Oldfield might have it) is delightful singing with a single guitar, which is where we came in. Good night.

4