Recommendations - March 2011


This came from a weekend in Whistable organised by the Wire, where I had to play music at a non music festival. It was a lovely weekend, full of fun, violence (man thrown from third floor hotel window) and a record fair on the Sunday morning. This caught my eye as the title is strange and she’s the woman from Dr Doolittle, the one with Anthony Newley in it. I believe she is playing keyboards here, and she sure knows how to party.


Yes, suddenly I find myself listening to an Italian library record with funny pastiches of things like the Doobie Brothers, folky funk and Yacht Rock on it. All played and performed by just one man. Which is quite clever really.


Over the years I might have put this in the recommendations list before, but I’m not sure. Either way it’s here now as I found a better copy of the one I had and started listening to it again. Basically it’s a Mizell Bros album with fast, complex rhythms, tough drums and a sort of slightly camp thing going on that many people might not spot. Maybe it’s just me but I often do detect a whiff of masculine / feminine across several hard fusion albums – but then again they do have some funny titles, “touch my love”, “hunt up wind”, “Autumn Blow” etc. On reflection it is probably just me. I even find rudeness watching the Antiques Roadshow.


In February I was lucky enough to go and interview Andy Partridge, he of XTC and Dukes Of Stratosphere fame. What a smashing bloke, and he gave me one of his latest musical works, simply called Powers. It’s music based on the sci fi book cover art of Richard M Powers, and is all spooky electronics and doomy noise. Brilliantly made, it could be classic early 60s lost in space stuff but was made last year in a shed in Swindon. Comes in a lovely book like cover too. This is inspiring on many levels.


This is a very small seven inch record and is of interest to all sorts of people, because it’s about steam trains, involves Ron Grainer and was helped along by the Radiophonic Workshop. Grainer made the music for the TV show, and someone must have through it wasn’t mechanical or chuggy enough, so they got someone (I know not who) to lay loops underneath each piece of music. Wow. Amazing. Well not really but worth a mention and it’s surprisingly scarce.


Years this took to find, but it’s possibly the most lovely ambient album you could wish to hear. Issued privately by music art dude Bill Fontana it began as a piece of sculpture in that he placed microphones near all the fog horns in the bay at San Francisco, and brought all the real time recordings together on a pier, where the sound of the actual foghorns (which are a long way away) would be heard a few seconds after anyone listening on the pier would hear the live recording. The whole thing is calm, disorientating and a bit worrying in that disaster at sea sort of way. Not what you’d expect from an ambient recording but you can leave it on and just drift mentally out to Alcatraz.


This has been played a lot at breakfast and the lyrics of Mark Hollis, which incidentally are sung in the style of his handwriting, mix very well with much of the indecision and confusion that greets me every morning. Will Bert have weetabix, Shreddies or just some toast this morning? Will Harvey want a banana or just stick with the dry toast thing he gets on with so well. Who will fall off their chair first? How long before I shout at someone? Played in the evening the album reaches another level, possibly because the noise of the oven extractor fan goes quite well with it’s progressive, experimental 80s nature.


Well its been a while since I listened to Peter Hobelzeimer then I found this album at Spitalfields for a couple of quid and knew that the live version of Mr Clean was supposed to be quite good. To my delight I found that the track Hoops is way better than the aforementioned. And notice Sabu is wearing very little compared to everyone else on what looks to be a cool May evening in Soho.


There are a couple of films with that title I believe, but this is the Japanese one. Fabulous music, funny wobbly classical bits and other very pleasant orchestral sounds that make me feel terribly sophisticated and educated when I hear it, even though I’m not. Very good cover art too, and some scantily clad ladies inside just adding to the excitement for some.


Here it’s all about the B Side. Yes, this is one of those CAM LPs with two scores on one LP, although it’s hard to beat a cowgirl in tight leather strides on the front of anything. I think it’s good to have a break from Spaghetti music every once in a while, and then when you get back into it you realise how weird, dubby and odd it really can be.


Quite like this Sonic Youth soundtrack. I love the cover art, I like the music, but not sure why. I spend very few moment in the post rocky weird world and most of them recently have been taken up with this. It’s pretty groovy actually and changes quite a lot in simple musical ways which I like. Good album.


A long time ago, the classic magazine called Practical Electronics issued a flexi disk with their latest issue (obviously it’s not their latest issue now, it was their latest issue back then). It contains a large amount of electronic sounds made by Frederick Judd whose music later turned up on all the Studio G electronic records. Yes, it’s very interesting, What’s also interesting is that you can get flexi disks made once more in the UK. No doubt the market will be flooded soon with square plastic see through recordings. In fact I’ve been sent one already.


Everything I want from an LP is right here on this old album. A thin cover than spoils in seconds, a jazz meets easy meets really bloody odd vibe and at least one terrible track somewhere. Yes. This LP has it all.