Long time, no see. I’ve been without a computer recently. Now it’s been fixed, I’ve got a bit of a backlog of posts. This is a spotify playlist I made a little while back. I was going for a introspective and slightly witchy mood.
1. I Found the F- Broadcast
I never got to see Broadcast properly live. I caught part of their set once at ATP when they were on really early, but I wasn’t in a hurry because they were a UK band, so it seemed like there were plenty of chances to see them. And then of course Trish Keenan sadly died of pneumonia, so no more Broadcast. I always categorise Broadcast with Stereolab and Ladytron in my head, except instead of focusing on 60s jet age stuff, they’ve been watching loads of Oliver Postgate and eerie 70s Nigel Kneale tv shows. Last year I went to a Halloween special event at the UCL Archaeology department themed on “Archaeology and the Uncanny”. As well as actual archaeology there were talks about portrayals of archaeologists in the media, literature etc (Nigel Kneale was a name that came up pretty often). Fictional archaeologists who aren’t Indiana Jones usually discover some forbidden secret and come to a nasty end.
2. Army Dreamers- Kate Bush
No, I didn’t go to see Kate Bush play recently. I didn’t have the money, and I’m not good with things where you have to leap on the tickets at just the right moment. Some people find that exhilarating, I just find it stressful. I did watch a really good documentary on BBC4 about her though. For some reason her speaking voice surprised me. I guess I was expecting it to be posher for some reason, even though I know she comes from down the road from where I grew up.
3. Rose Hip November- Vashti Bunyan
4. Julius Caesar (Memento Hodie)- Nico
I don’t understand why people call the Marble Index unlistenable. Yes, it’s stark and bleak, but not horrible to listen to.
5. Come Into Our Room- Clinic
6. Turquoise Hexagon Sun- Boards of Canada
The Boards of Canada brothers live in a bunker in the Highlands watching nothing but Canadian wildlife films and terrifying old public information films like this one. I refuse to believe otherwise.
7. The Belldog- Eno, Moebius, Rodelius
Brian Eno with Krautrock band Cluster. Only room for one Brian on stage. Not many German Brians about, luckily.
8. Green Grass Grows- Belbury Poly
Belbury Poly are named after the evil academic institute in C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength. That book is my guilty pleasure. It’s possibly one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever read. I guess Lewis went “hmm, my children’s books are very successful and might have encouraged readers to become more religious, I think I should write some religious sci-fi thrillers for adults to try to make them become more religious too”. The result is pretty bizarre. The main characters are an academic couple in the 50s who are having marital problems. The husband accidentally ends up joining the bad guys (the wife joins the good guys, but still gets a lecture from an angel at one point for her failure to stop her husband going wrong), who are an evil research institute called NICE. They are communicating with the devil through a severed head kept alive in a lab, and do all kinds of nasty animal experiments. C.S. Lewis also seemed to feel the need to shoe-horn all his pet hates and prejudices into his portrayal of the villains. One of them is a completely over the top S&M lesbian security chief called Miss Hardcastle. She is fat and clanks around in tight black leather holding a whip, and leaps at the chance to interrogate any pretty young blondes. The bad guys also have a room full of modern art which is apparently intended to make their enemies lose their minds, but which sounds great to me. The good guys live in a commune with a bear called Mr Bultitude and both sides are in a race to dig up Merlin and get him to join their side. It’s a deeply, deeply odd book. (I recently found out that good old JBS Haldane was quite critical about this book too.)
9. Nanzen Kills a Cat- The Van Pelt
I can’t really think of any other songs named after Buddhist koans. “The monks of the eastern and western Zen halls were quarrelling about a cat. Nansen held up the cat and said, ‘Monks, if one of you can say a word, I’ll spare the cat. If you can’t, I’ll put it to the sword.’ No one could respond so Nansen finally slew it. When Jōshū came back in the evening, Nansen told him what had happened. Jōshū, took off his straw sandals, put them on top of his head and left. Nansen said, ‘If you had been there I could have spared the cat’ (Mumonkan, Case 14).” As far as I can tell, it seems to be one of those Buddhist stories supposed to show the futility of trying to analyse some things logically, or using words or thoughts. I’ve never really got on with Zen Buddhism. Chris Leo doesn’t seem to like religion much either.
9. Dramamine- Modest Mouse
Someone synched up the song to this old cartoon. It works really well.
10. Pam- Slint
I can understand why they didn’t put this outtake on Spiderland, it wouldn’t work at all, sounding more like something from Tweez, but that’s no bad thing. I still haven’t got round to seeing the Slint documentary, I need to fix that pronto.
11. Paperhouse- Can
12. Rain on Tin- Sonic Youth