Archive for the ‘Obscurios’ Category

Duet Emmo – ‘Or So It Seems’ UK 12″ (Mute, MUTE 025, 1983) / French 7″ (Mute/Vogue, VG 108 / 101835, 1983)

Sunday, November 14th, 2021

This was such a surprising release, completely out of the blue. With three albums already under the project monicker of Dome, an album (‘3R4’) and single (‘Ends With The Sea’) as B.C. Gilbert & G. Lewis, 12″ EP under the name Cupol and the B.C. Gilbert/G. Lewis/Russell Mills exhibition installation soundtrack (‘MZUI’) – evidence witnessed the ex-Wire pair follow a particular sonic path that mostly found its music fashioned from manipulated sound sources – Blackwing studio as instrument in particular – with vocals mostly (but not exclusively) provided by Graham Lewis. Despite the then fairly common default assumption that anything that sounded unusual must be done on ‘synthesizers’, rarely were there much in the way of traditional keyboards and synths to be found on their releases. This release was quite the exception however, no doubt due to the presence of Daniel Miller amongst the ranks.

Duet Emmo 'Or So It Seems' UK 12" single front cover

^ Duet Emmo ‘Or So It Seems’ UK 12″ single front cover

The A side is quite the minimal synth track – building slowly from odd keyboard/synth sequences, the Mute Records house style is there to hear, with the unmistakable vocals of Graham Lewis in particularly fine form on top. It is melodic, make no mistake about it – incredibly so compared to much of the preceding, often stark, output since 1980 by Gilbert and Lewis, where you would have little clue as to quite what instrument or sound source was made to produce what you were hearing. Despite the sweetness in melody and vocals, plenty of more discordant elements were still to be found, particularly the track’s intro section and later saxophone. (more…)

Wire – ‘Third Day’ CD EP (Pink Flag, PF1, 2000)

Saturday, August 21st, 2021

This small object of desire was initially available for sale from the merch stall upon the occasion of Wire’s second ‘reactivation’ (their third coming, I suppose) – a concert at the Royal Festival Hall [RFH], London on 26th February 2000. By that time, despite their absence after having reverted to the three-piece format of WIR and it having come to an end in the first few years of the ’90s, the band’s critical stock had risen, no doubt thanks to obvious Britpop admirers such as Elastica, Blur, et al, through the mid to latter half of that decade, but also along with the good work that Wire Mail Order [WMO] had been doing in curating the recorded legacy meantime. The vibe meant that selling out a venue as large as the Royal Festival Hall was possible in order to welcome back Wire on returning, once again. (Such a venue and audience was not necessarily a good thing, in my experience, but more of that later…)

Wire - ‘Third Day’ CD EP front cover design

^ Wire – ‘Third Day’ CD EP front cover design

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Brian Eno – ‘The Drop’ and ‘Iced World’ version craziness

Monday, June 7th, 2021

A simple joy of physical format products – the ability to pinpoint precise times and places associated with them. For me, Brian Eno’s 1997 album release ‘The Drop’, (All Saints, ASCD32), always takes me back to a summer morning on the ground floor of HMV’s flagship London Store on Oxford Street, on a brief city break, where I was loaded up with a shopping list of records to look out for across the many and varied record shops of the great city. New and exotic, second-hand and scarce – the list was long. This album had only just come out and was on that list…

Brian Eno - ‘The Drop’ - 1997 Japanese 2 x CD edition

^ Brian Eno – ‘The Drop’ – 1997 Japanese 2 x CD edition

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Drinking Electricity ‘Shake Some Action’ UK 7″ single (Pop:Aural, POP 005, 1980)

Friday, May 28th, 2021

We’ve visited Drinking Electricity once before, with their ‘Cruising Missiles’ 45, which was my introduction to the band and their work. I’d go on to buy the subsequent single releases on and off as they came out, where their own original synth pop sound would emerge. This single though was their own unique minimal synth rock’n’roll take with a cover version of the 1976 Flamin’ Groovies track, ‘Shake Some Action’. Like the band’s previous cover version of Johnny Kidd & the Pirates’ ‘Shakin’ All Over’, this was again a faster tempo, stripped down angular guitar thrashing and synth interpretation. Depending on how well you get on with late 70s/early 80s minimal synth pop and its production values versus the original, lushly produced power-pop take of the Flamin’ Groovies, this may well take a bit of getting used to. In the context of a produced-to-death, auto-tuned attention deficit get-to-the-chorus within a count of seconds not minutes of modern pop, this is beamed in from another world.

Drinking Electricity ‘Shake Some Action’ UK 7″ front cover design

^ Drinking Electricity ‘Shake Some Action’ UK 7″ front cover design

Flip it over and its a whole other galaxy of primitivism in comparison to the original – the ‘Cheapo’ demo version replaces drums with ticky-ticky drum box and even a prominent earth-hum buzzing in the background throughout. Nonetheless, it sparks away in its own exciting, cheapo way. (more…)

Kraftwerk – ‘Die Roboter’ MusikExpress magazine German 7” single (Kling Klang/Parlophone, 2017)

Friday, May 14th, 2021

What is it? A one-sided 7″ single with a 3 minute 33 seconds edit of the ‘3-D’ re-recording of ‘Die Roboter’ given away exclusively with the German magazine MusikExpress in its August 2017 issue. The flipside, rather than completely blank, still has a red label design with the pixelated band members logo and has an etched artwork design on the vinyl, with ‘KRAFTWERK’ (top) and ‘12345678’ (bottom) in the familiar pixelated font so beloved of many a Kraftwerk release from 1981 onwards.

Kraftwerk ‘Die Roboter’ MusikExpress magazine German 7” single front cover

^ Kraftwerk ‘Die Roboter’ MusikExpress magazine German 7” single front cover

This is the first of what now appears to be something of a biennial series of 7″ releases for Kraftwerk in MusikExpress magazine. It was followed in 2019 with a new edit of ‘Autobahn’ on blue vinyl 7″, which was featured in a previous post. (more…)