singles by choice
(albums when it's necessary)
9 July 2022
listening through speakersAvid Acutus
Benz Micro LP-S
Linn Klimax DS (Renew)
TEAD Mastergroove Mk 2
TEAD Vibe Phoenix / Pulse 2
TEAD Linear A mk 2
TEAD Model One

More death-row records. They’ve been sitting on my shelf for half my life, and I want to own less stuff. If they’re good they stay, if they’re not, they go. All twelves; I haven’t got to the sevens yet.

12" single

Two copyright dates on this one, so it’s clearly a reissue of something from 1978, and it’s on Rephlex so it’s probably going to be “interesting” if nothing else.

On the b-side label are some boobs. That’s something you used to get a lot on records, but don’t any more. Once-upon-a-time boobs on things was pretty exciting, because you didn’t have the access you have now. I imagine many a chap bought a Top of the Pops album at least partly for the bikini cleavage on the front. Now, people sit on the bus vacantly scrolling through videos of women being choked. Gene Roddenberry didn’t see that coming, did he?

I’m not sure exactly what this music is. The title says “disco”, and that’s definitely in there, but so is a whole bunch of other stuff. Some pretty experimental electronics, scary vocoder, maybe some afrobeat. I don’t know what the heck people would have made of this in 1978. I’m not altogether sure what I make of it now.

12" single

This is Bis from after they went serious and stopped shouting all the time, and apparently doing something with Free the United Kingdom from Drugs, either before or after they hooked up with British Opposition to Metabolically Bisturbile Drugs.

Brainclouds is a derivative looping bliss-out that sounds better at 45rpm. Someone should do a Babylon Zoo on it. The European (remember those?) is also not the most original thing you’ll ever hear, but it’s well enough done not to particularly matter. There are few ray-gun samples to call back to the more childish times, but it’s pretty sophisticated disco-indiepop. Goes on far too long though.

Mamelodi Sundown is kind of like a really boring Pet Shop Boys remix. Situation has a terrific bass sound but it’s also pretty boring and very long.

It’s a great sounding record, so nice job “Apollo Studios”, but it’s not a very engaging listen. I think I have another in this series, but I’ve no idea what it is. I’ll have a dig.

12" single

The Beta Band were one of those short-lived inexplicably Big Deals. The back of the sleeve carries a sax warning. I’m dreading it already. Continuing tonight’s 100% streak of playing everything at the wrong speed, it turns out this is a 45.

To You Alone is stupefyingly dull. Less isn’t necessarily more. For some reason it reminds me of The Beatles. Possibly just because it contains the line “across the universe”, possibly because it’s supposed to be good and it isn’t. The other day I saw an interview on YouTube with Flood, from the ’90s, and he was wearing a T-shirt which said “The Beatles were shit”. You’d get lynched for that these days.

Sequinsizer has a title which doesn’t really work, and is starts off as flat, plodding electronica with a honking sax. I don’t know what happens next because I turned it off.

12" single

That’s their lack of apostrophe, so don’t be writing in, okay?

When I was at school, some of the people in my year had a band, and their drummer was called Bentley (I forget the first name). He could only play one rhythm, presumably the first one you learn when you have drum lessons (I’m not knocking it: it’s one more than I can play), so all their songs had it, and it became colloquially known as “a Bentley beat”. If I hear that same basic pattern thirty years later, I still say “Bentley beat”. So, I always found “Bentley Rhythm Ace” (affectionately) comical. You had to be there. And yes, I know it was a rebadged Roland drum machine.

I have a feeling this might have been moderately successful. It’s got that kind of Morse-codey thing that Beat Dis had, and a sample of the noise that they used in The Dave Nice Video Show when Lady Di and Sritty Titty showed Nice their boobs. (Good, clean, family fun.) Run on the Spot is kind of fun too. Unlike running on the spot. Or, indeed, any kind of running at all.

More of the same on the ‘b’. Nothing ground-breaking, but it’s all nicely put together and enjoyable, and reminds me of playing the original Grand Theft Auto on the Amiga.

It goes for about 80p on Discogs, if you want one.

12" single

Four remixes here of, I assume, Appliance originals. I think I have a few of their singles, but I can’t remember what Appliance sounded like, so I’ve no reference point. I chose the wrong speed.

Kriedler (No? Me neither) do something called Hot Pursuit, and it’s pretty nice. Spare. Considered. Doesn’t sound like any kind of pursuit at all to me though, and certainly not a hot one. Next, Heroes of Telemark (isn’t that a film?) remix Pole into something deep and stuttery and quite compelling. On the other side it’s mostly To Rococo Rot, an act who do absolutely, completely nothing for me. Their several minutes, as expected, go nowhere at all. At the end Tarwater do something that would fit perfectly on one of those Ghost Box 7” series records, mixing electronica, guitars and folkiness.

12" single

Finally, the speed is printed in large print on each side. I appreciate large print more every day. When I was about 15 I wanted to start a band, and I wanted to call it Large Print Westerns, after a section in the local library. But I was too much of a loser to ever start a band.

Side A (45 rpm) is the title track, which is a pretty okay indie song with more than the average sonic breadth and depth. This record, on weapons-grade white vinyl, sounds terrific. Next, Love Lies (Broken Pieces), which I had on a free tape that came with Select or something, and I loved. That’ll be why I bought this. It’s a masterclass in noisy control. There’s another version of it on the ‘b’, which is far too long, tries far too hard, and has far too much saxophone (i.e. any at all). Finally, huge breaking waves of fuzz and feedback on mandatory-shoegaze-girl’s-name-song Emily.

Photography by the drummer from Stereolab. Does that make it collectible? (No.)

12" single

All a bit too earnest and proper for my tastes. I thought they were some sort of trashy Mudhoney spin-off or something, but apparently not. Again, very well recorded. You get a lot of people playing 12”s at hi-fi shows, making out their record player is better than it really is.

In a dim, distant past I knew, or knew of, a woman who ran a hairdresser’s called “Debonair”. Because me name’s Deb, and I do ‘air. And “Debonair”, that means something. That’s etched in my memory for some reason, but I don’t know where it came from. Maybe it was on telly.

12" single

Works at both speeds, but I think it’s probably a 33. Everything that the Beta Band record isn’t. I mean, what the hell is this? How does this even happen?

There’s a lot of generative stuff around these days. People do incredible things with modular, and with Max and Pd, but I find I very rarely want to listen to any of it for very long.

Music to study to (10 hours). Relentless, unthinking consumption, driven by data. That’s today all over isn’t it? Replace silence with something; anything. Replace food with generic protein. Replace the ups and downs of life with numbness.

I don’t understand music that’s not meant to be listened to. It seems like huge numbers of people are terrified of the sound of silence, or perhaps the sound of the world. Music is wallpaper, no longer just endlessly, algorithmically streaming, but endlessly, algorithmically generated.

This EP tempers mathematical complexity and unpredictability with a human side. There may be generative machine-elements to the music, but it’s been thought about, worked over, edited, and shaped into something real. It’s remarkable. And it’s nearly thirty years old. Thirty year old music when I was a kid was Lonnie Donegon and Rosemary Clooney. Heck.

12" single

Here’s the companion to the Bis thing from earlier. I haven’t the foggiest who British Meat Scene are/were, but they’ve got a Wurlitzer EP and a decent drummer, and play what is probably jazz. I know nothing about jazz.

Sometimes this record has weird screechy horn stuff going on; sometimes it has gurgling electronics; sometimes it has a kind of Jamaican vibe; sometimes it sounds like incidental music from a 70s cop film. I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s pretty enjoyable though, a nice raw recording, and generally engaging. I might hang on to it. Now I know what it is, I can imagine moods it might fit.

12" split single

Says it’s 45, is actually 33. There’s no wonder I keep getting it wrong, is there? I’m just thankful I no longer have a turntable where you have to change a pulley wheel to switch the speed.

Collapsed Lung, as I’m sure you know, were a kind of supergroup made of people from Death by Milkfloat and Pregnant Neck. With that kind of pedigree, it was inevitable they’d strike it big with a novelty football record based around a line of Alan Partridge commentary from The Day Today. The goalkeeper, has got football pie, all over his shirt.

Maclife is not, so far as I can tell, about the Apple magazine, but it might be. I haven’t got a clue what they’re on about. It’s probably not though, because Wikipedia sez they were Amiga users, and Wikipedia’s never wrong. I read it on Wikipedia.

The Guardian did an article about the Amiga music scene a little while ago. Never mentioned Bars & Pipes once. Bars & Pipes was really something. You could do all kinds of crazy stuff with that, even manipulating MIDI data with ARexx scripts. like Autechre. Actually, I was doing exactly that in my bedroom in 1994, with a free Amiga Format cover disk and a DX11. I just wasn’t very good at it.

Soul Coughing’s side has two versions of Sugar Free Jazz, neither of which are as good as the one on the album.

12" single

I’m keeping this, because a record collection isn’t really a record collection unless it contains twenty-five minutes of abstract noise and field-recordings put together for a Japanese exhibition on The Poetry of Sex. Pitchfork did a thousand words on it. Obviously. Go there if you care enough, and tell them I said “suck it”.