Гражданская Оборона -Оптимизм (1985)

Recorded at the same time as Поганая молодёжь in a period of frenzied experimentation. One discarded title was История Омского Панка, часть 2-я (History of Omsk Punk Vol. 2).
This is very lo-fi whilst being poppier than its companion LP.
Letov recalled that at this juncture the band’s career was …Ended all by the fact that the group at the end of 1985 was pitilessly driven away by state punitive organs, me they forcibly sent into the crazy house, Kuzma - into the army…
So these guys really did suffer for their art and had to put up with a bit more than sneers from disapproving elders.
Great album.
With thanks to the lovely Natasha.

Егор Летов (Yegor Letov) - voice, guitar, bass, ‘striking’ (a reference to the simple percussion employed – a hi- hat nailed to a plank and one drum);
Кузя УО (Kuzya UO) - bass, guitar, voice;
Валерий Рожков (Valerie Rozhkov) - flute.


Raoul Vaneigem said...

Raoul Vaneigem said...Our situation is paradoxical: never in Europe have the forces of repression been so weakened, yet never have the exploited masses been so passive. Still, insurrectional consciousness always sleeps with one eye open. The arrogance, incompetence, and powerlessness of the governing classes will eventually rouse it from its slumber…

We are at war, yes, but this is not an economic war. It is a world war against the economy. Against the economy that for thousands of years has been based on the exploitation of nature and man. And against a patched-up capitalism that will try to save its skin by investing in natural power and making us pay the high price for that which—once the new means of production are created—will be free as the wind, the sun, and the energy of plants and soil. If we do not exit economic reality and create a human reality in its place, we will once again allow market barbarism to live on.

These are extracts from an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist for e-flux, the whole of which is here.


Aphex Twin - Windowlicker (1999)- directed by Chris Cunningham

…the most inventive and influential figure in contemporary electronic music
Paul Lester, The Guardian (2001)

Richard D James , aka Aphex Twin, has had a fascinating career in which he has broadened the horizons of electronic music. At the age of 11 he was tinkering with a Sinclair ZX81, producing sounds (on a machine with no sound hardware) and composed ambient techno music at the age of 13. His contribution to electronic music would take pages to catalogue; he has been a trend setter in Ambient, Jungle, Drum and Bass- critics have struggled to define the genre in which James operates, and he does not ease their toil by avoiding labelling.
He has acknowledged the influence of avant garde composers such as Satie, Cage and Glass as well as electronic/ ambient masters such as Brian Eno and Krautrock outfits Kraftwerk, Can, Neu! and Tangerine Dream

This is the video for Aphex Twin's 1999 hit Windowlicker. The title is derived from the French term for window shopping (faire du lèche-vitrine which translates literally as

licking the window). The homies in the video are cruising - windowshopping for pussy...

The film was directed by Chris Cunningham.
As a 19 yr old Chris worked on radical puppet show Spitting Image - before moving into movies , working on sculpture and animatronics for the film Alien 3- he later worked with Kubrick.
His work is characterised by startlingly disturbing imagery.
Here's a Dazed and Confused article...

An approximate obscenity count for the dialogue: motherfucker or variants-26 ; fuck- 46 ; shit- 16 ; non pejorative use of the word nigger-43.
For lovers of the written word here's a transcript...

And finally a link to the movie ...


Happy Mondays- Freaky Dancin' 12" (1986)

Another forgotten record from 'before they were famous'. Bernard Sumner from New Order producing (not a particularly succesful venture in my opinion- the funky bass gets buried in a rumbling muddy sound at times, and the clangy guitar only sporadically shines through, the overall effect is that there's a hell of a lot going on- this worked on later records like WFL).
I think this is the only place you can find The Egg- a cracking, funky track.
This is probably my best charity shop find for years.


Ghosts...of the Civil Dead (1988)

I haven't posted much Nick Cave stuff- I'm sure that nearly all The Birthday Party and Bad Seeds LPs are readily available. I notice , tho, that this seems to be quite rare.
Here is the soundtrack of John Hillcoat's 1988 movie Ghosts...of the Civil Dead .Hillcoat and Cave are long term collaborators, from 1981's Birthday Party video Nick the Stripper to Cave penned feature film The Proposition (2005).
Ghosts... , based partly on the autobiographical writings of the American Jack Henry Abbott (1944–2002) concerns a lockdown in a privately run maximum security prison in the middle of the desert.
The title is derived from civiliter mortuus, a condition under Roman law whereby a miscreant was deprived of their civil status and rights.

Cave as Maynard in the movie...

News [Voice: Michelle Babbit] - Nick Cave
Introduction-A Prison in the Desert - Nick Cave
I've Been a Prison Guard Since I Was 18 Years Old - David Hale Associates
I Was 16 When They Put Me in Prison
You're Danglin' Us Like a Bunch of Meat on a Hook
- David Hale Associates
Pop Mix - Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey
We Were United Once
Day of the Murders - David Hale Associates
Lilly's Theme (A Touch of Warmth) - Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey
Maynard Mix - Blixa Bargeld, Nick Cave, Mick Harvey
What I'm Telling Is the Truth - David Hale Associates
Outro-The Free World - Nick Cave
One Man Released So They Can Imprison the Rest of the World


Steve Reich- Works 1965-1972

Here's a rare photograph of American composer Steve Reich without a baseball cap. Reich (1936-) was a pioneer of minimalism and massively influential on the development of ambient music.
He employed a technique called phasing (phase shifting), in which tape loops moving in and out of synch produced astonishing distortions of the stark phrase sampled. This is a selection of his early works.

It's Gonna Rain (1965)- a tape recording made in January 1965 at San Francisco's Union Square of an African American preacher, Brother Walter.

Come Out (1966)- Reich wrote this piece to be performed at a benefit for the retrial of the Harlem Six, (six youths arrested for committing a murder during the 1964 Harlem riots for which only one of the six was responsible). An example of process music, it used the voice of one of the accused, nineteen year old Daniel Hamm. At the beginning of the piece, he says, describing injuries he received at the hands of the police: I had to, like, open the bruise up and let some of the bruise blood come out to show them ...

Melodica (1966)- Melodica and tape- more phase shifting.
Melodica is composed of one tape loop gradually going out of phase with itself, first in two voices and then in four. The original loop is of myself playing the four note pattern on the melodica, a toy instrument. I dreamed the melodic pattern, woke up on May 22nd, 1966, and realized the piece with the melodica and tape loops in one day... and the last tape piece I ever made.
Steve Reich

Piano Phase (1967) A piece for two pianos, Reich's first attempt at applying the phasing technique that he had previously used in the tape pieces to live performance.

Clapping Music(1972) A minimalist piece , involving the phasing effect with two performers clapping.

You can read Reich's account of these early works and an explanation of how he developed the technique of phasing here.


Abbie Hoffmann said ...

Abbie Hoffmann said : Reality is a subjective experience. It exists in my head. I am the Revolution...


The Moon And The Sledgehammer...

It was back in the early days of Channel 4, and I was about sixteen years old. I was suffering from some sort of social phobia, some kind of dread. I still haven't worked out whether it was an ordinary adolescent experience or a brush with something more sinister. The real McCoy- madness, call it what you will.
Anyway, aside from the trembling discomfort of ordinary days one of the things I remember most vividly from that era was seeing this film one Sunday afternoon.

Phillip Trevelyan's compelling film features the Page family, eccentric recluses living in the south of England, building steam engines, drinking tea and smoking endless roll ups.Mr Page has seen sea monsters and believes that man could reach the moon by means of a long ladder.

His adult children live with him in an old cottage in the woods, the grounds a ramshackle overgrown scrapyard in which the sons restore traction engines whilst Mr Page builds a boat.

There are clips of the film on You Tube, but it really is worth the seventeen quid that you can pay for it here:http://www.themoonandthesledgehammer.com/


Harold Budd, Simon Raymonde, Robin Guthrie, Elizabeth Fraser - The Moon and the Melodies (1986)

The sound of the wind humming in telephone wires was a formative influence on American composer Harold Budd. No surprise then, that his early works included experiments in drone music.
Budd, (b 1936), an important figure in ambient music, has collaborated with a variety of artists including Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Andy Partridge, John Foxx and David Sylvian.
In 1986 he teamed up with Scottish 4AD darlings Cocteau Twins...
Harold Budd – piano
Elizabeth Fraser – vocals
Robin Guthrie – guitar
Simon Raymonde – bass
Richard Thomas – saxophone, drums


Zorro cleared of rape...

I first wrote about Zorro back in April- at the time he was enjoying a degree of local celebrity and even had a Facebook fan page.
When he was arrested I promised to keep you posted- here's the outcome: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/8357858.stm

I think that we won't be seeing him out and about in his trademark costume. Section 117 would never allow it...


гражданская оборона- Поганая Молодёжь (1985)

Гражданская Оборона was formed in the Siberian town of Omsk in the early 1980’s. Yegor Letov (1964-2008), the only constant member in their prolific career, was the godfather of Soviet/ Russian punk music (despite getting to look more like one of the Freak Bros. with the passing years).
The band’s name translates as civil defence and was often abbreviated to ГрОб (coffin), or simply ГO.
Early material such as this, their first album, 1985's Поганая Молодёжь (pronounced poganaya molodej and translating as Nasty Youth) was distributed via magnitizdat, an underground network for sharing music that was officially suppressed.
Early in his musical career Letov was committed to a mental hospital, and later allegedly contended with such obstacles as the KGB cutting off the power supply when he appeared on stage. Western suburban punks could only dream of such things!
The sound here is rough street punk (there’s even a few oi oi ois), with the occasional hints at Russian folk influences (those mournful minor keys). Quality wise it sounds like one of those demo tapes you might have made with your mates in the early eighties, which is essentially what it is.


CocoRosie- La maison de mon rêve (2004)

Here’s an interesting one, but… You know those posh fucking hippies that have had oh so interesting lives? Rich Hippies. The children of rich hippies. Peripatetic lifestyles. Shamanism.
Native Americans. Steiner schools.

Cut and pasted from Wikipedia:

In 2000, at age 20, Sierra moved into a tiny apartment in the Montmartre district in Paris, France, to pursue a career as an opera singer (yeah…), studying at the Conservatoire de Paris.
During this period, Bianca studied linguistics and sociology, and pursued her passion of visual arts and writing.
In 2003, Bianca was growing restless and decided it was time for a change. She left Brooklyn to travel the world. Unexpectedly, she showed up at Sierra's apartment in Paris.
Over the course of the next two months, the women spent nearly every waking hour in Sierra's bathroom, chosen as the most acoustic and isolated room in the apartment. Soon, they had completed both a hip hop recording (never released) called "word to the crow" and their proper debut album La maison de mon rêve.
Sierra mainly plays the guitar, piano and harp, and contributes vocals. Bianca sings and manipulates various children's toys/electronic & percussion instruments as well as other exotic noisemakers.

Lovely record. Wouldn’t want to meet them…hippies.