Sunday, 24 May 2020

Einstürzende Neubauten ‎– Strategies Against Architecture II (1991)

Style: Industrial, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mute, Reihe EGO, Potomak, Virgin, Some Bizzare

1-01.   Abfackeln!
1-02.   Prtynummer (Live)
1-03.   Z.N.S.
1-04.   Die Elektrik (Merle)
1-05.   Intermezzo / Yü-Gung (Live)
1-06.   Seele Brennt
1-07.   Blutvergiftung
1-08.   Sand
1-09.   Kangolicht
1-10.   Armenia (Live)
1-11.   Ein Stuhl In Der Hölle
2-01.   Vanadium I Ching
2-02.   Leid Und Elend (Live)
2-03.   DNS-Wasserturm
2-04.   Armenia II (Live)
2-05.   Fackeln!
2-06.   Ich Bin's
2-07.   Hirnlego
2-08.   Wardobe
2-09.   Bildbeschreibung
2-10.   Haus Der Lüge (Live)
2-11.   Jordache
2-12.   Kein Bestandteil Sein (Alternative Ending)

Edited By, Mastered By, Compiled By – Jon Caffery
Lyrics By – Blixa Bargeld
Music By – Alex Hacke, Blixa Bargeld, F.M. Einheit, Mark Chung, N.U. Unruh
Producer – Einstürzende Neubauten

Complementing the original Strategies collection, this double-disc affair covers the years 1984 to 1990, featuring the noted Bargeld/Unruh/Einheit/Chung/Hacke lineup of the group. With an informative, witty booklet providing a slew of pictures and complete liner notes for each track, Architecture II focuses on the band's continued rude creative health through the rest of the decade, inventing and perfecting a wide variety of approaches that would help define industrial music. Power tools and heavy machinery still get used and abused throughout, Bargeld's vocals remain in extremis screeching or nervy, unsettlingly calm semi-crooning, both loud and soft tracks appear with regularity. It's abrasive and strangely beautiful at its best, art music via studio manipulation turned into gripping aural entertainment. As with the first Strategies, studio recordings get mixed with various live efforts as well -- in one instance, a fiery rip through "Haus der Luege" is grafted with the audience reaction from a completely separate concert once the quintet lit the stage on fire! Many highlights appear -- besides the aforementioned "Haus der Luege," there are a number of versions of the fierce "Abfackeln!," a blistering concert take on "Yu-Gung," the centuries-old death shuffle of "Ein Stuhl in der Hoelle." Two interesting diversions capture the sly humor of the group -- first, there's the 1985 studio take on the Lee Hazlewood/Nancy Sinatra song "Sand," partial evidence of Bargeld's dual alliance with Nick Cave via the Bad Seeds, perhaps. The liner notes claim that the group "detected a Neubaten feel" in the original -- but if the idea means use of studio sonics, why not? Meanwhile, one of the variants of "Abfackeln!" is a 1988 Jordache jeans ad, of all things -- brief, but amusing, with the store's name bleeped out at the end because they refused to pay up!
Ned Raggett / AllMusic

VA – OHM+ : The Early Gurus Of Electronic Music : 1948 - 1980 (2000)

Style: Musique Concrète, Experimental
Format: CD
Label: Ellipsis Arts

1-01.   Clara Rockmore - Valse Sentimentale
1-02.   Olivier Messiaen - Oraison
1-03.   Pierre Schaeffer - Etude Aux Chemins De Fer
1-04.   John Cage - Williams Mix
1-05.   Herbert Eimert - Klangstudie II
1-06.   Otto Luening - Low Speed
1-07.   Hugh Le Caine - Dripsody
1-08.   Louis and Bebe Barron - Main Title From Forbidden Planet
1-09.   Oskar Sala - Concertando Rubato From Electronische Tanzsuite
1-10.   Edgard Varèse - Poeme Electronique
1-11.   Richard Maxfield - Sine Music (A Swarm Of Butterflies Encountered Over The  Ocean)
1-12.   Tod Dockstader - Apocalypse – Part 2
1-13.   Karlheinz Stockhausen - Kontakte
1-14.   Vladimir Ussachevsky - Wireless Fantasy
1-15.   Milton Babbitt - Philomel
1-16.   Musica Elettronica Viva - Spacecraft

2-01.   Raymond Scott - Cindy Electronium
2-02.   Steve Reich - Pendulum Music (Performer – Sonic Youth)
2-03.   Pauline Oliveros - Bye Bye Butterfly
2-04.   Joji Yuasa - Projection Esemplastic For White Noise
2-05.   Morton Subotnick - Silver Apples Of The Moon, Part 1
2-06.   David Tudor - Rainforest Version 1
2-07.   Terry Riley - Poppy Nogood
2-08.   Holger Czukay - Boat-Woman-Song
2-09.   Luc Ferrari - Music Promenade
2-10.   François Bayle - Rosace 3 From Vibrations Composées
2-11.   Jean-Claude Risset - Mutations
2-12.   Iannis Xenakis - Hibiki-Hana-Ma
2-13.   La Monte Young - Excerpt "31|69 C. 12:17:22-12:25:33 PM NYC" From: Drift Study "31|69 C. 12:17:33-12:24:33 PM NYC" From: Map Of 49's Dream The Two Systems Of Eleven Sets Of Galactic Intervals

3-01.   Charles Dodge - He Destroyed Her Image
3-02.   Paul Lansky - Six Fantasies On A Poem By Thomas Campion: Her Song
3-03.   Laurie Spiegel - Appalachian Grove I
3-04.   Bernard Parmegian - En Phase/Hors Phase
3-05.   David Behrman - On The Other Ocean
3-06.   John Chowning - Stria
3-07.   Maryanne Amacher - Living Sound, Patent Pending Music For Sound-Joined Rooms Series
3-08.   Robert Ashley - Automatic Writing
3-09.   Alvin Curran - Canti Illuminati
3-10.   Alvin Lucier - Music On A Long Thin Wire
3-11.   Klaus Schulze - Melange
3-12.   Jon Hassell - Before And After Charm (La Notte)
3-13.   Brian Eno - Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills)

Coordinator (Project Coordinator) – Jennifer Beal
Coordinator (Project Director) – Russell Charno, D.C.
Edited By – Priscilla Stuckey
Executive-Producer – Jeffrey Charno
Producer – Jason Gross, Thomas Ziegler

I was leafing through Scientific American the other day at the library-- don't laugh, my alternative was the "beer barn" in the liquor store parking lot-- and noticed an article by noted artificial intelligence guru Ray Kurzweil. Actually, it was a thinly veiled plug for his new book on "the singularity," or the coming of an age when we will all be connected to each other via electronic networks, and little microscopic robots will help turn us into super people. Once I got over the "Star Trek"-ness of it, it started to seem less science fiction and more black comedy. To think that in only about 75 years we've gone from the idea that computers might be useful for some simple calculations to planning to use them to turn us into what our ancestors would have considered gods is both amazing and disturbing. Kurzweil's "law of accelerating returns" is indeed impressive, and when you think at all the good that might come of leaps in both technology and human evolution, the future looks pretty bright. That is, if we're still actually human. 
Music has been affected no less drastically. As Brian Eno points out in his forward to the recently reissued and expanded OHM: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music 3xCD box set (now with the addition of a DVD, and re-dubbed OHM+), most of what we listen to is electronic in some fashion, contrary to the entire history of music prior to the 1920s. Whether over the radio, stereo, or amplified speaker, electronic music has all but made "natural" sound obsolete. And of course, this says nothing about the musicians who actually use electronics as instruments, manipulating digits, circuits, and bits to make music-- music that, for all intents and purposes, would have been as unimaginable as Martian rovers to your grandparents. 
Lucky for us, three generations into the technological revolution, much of the shock of innovation has given way to something of a learned instinct when it comes to this stuff. The groundbreaking experiments of composers like Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Schaefer, Pierre Henry, and John Cage have led to an age where blips and beeps are not only taken for granted but form the basis of a musical education that for most people starts in pre-school with such "advanced" learning tools as Simon Says. OHM+, covering electronic music from the 1930s to the 1980s, documents a clear and steady path towards an age when most music simply couldn't be made without electronic assistance. The characters involved were undoubtedly experimenters working on the edges of both technology and good old human ingenuity. In many cases, their results will sound strange to ears accustomed to more refined uses of the available tools-- but in others, the sounds are eerily ahead of their time. Regardless, OHM+ is one of the best documents of its kind, and a model for archival compilations. 
OHM+'s first disc contains music from the earliest days of recorded electronic music, and as much as you might expect it to contain barely controlled squeaks and static, there are moments of surreal beauty. Olivier Messiaen, though hardly known as a preeminent electronic music composer, did use the ondes martenot (a keyboard using a ribbon and ring to change pitch) on "Oraison" from 1937. The melody (borrowed from his own "Louange a l'eternite de Jesus") is perfectly suited to the keyboard's theremin-like portamento (a technique of gliding smoothly from one note to another). Likewise, Clara Rockmore's performance of Tchaikovsky's Valse Sentimentale on theremin transcends gimmick, sounding like an alluring, retro-futuristic serenade. 
Of course, there is plenty of the hard stuff: check the animated audience reaction to Cage's revolutionary tape-edit piece Williams Mix from 1952, or Tod Dockstader's creepy sound collage "Apocalypse II" from 1961. Stockhausen predates both surround sound and Zaireeka with his four-channel Kontakte, while Edgard Varese's "Poem Electronique", using seemingly random snippets of found-sound and ancient synthesizer squeaks, is actually one of the great early examples of mastering electronic music bit by bit. And if you're left wanting some good old fashioned humanity, Milton Babbit's Philomel excerpt, a duet of sorts featuring synthesizer and female soprano, forecasts just how integrated electronics would become with live performance. 
Disc 2 picks up in 1959 with Raymond Scott's fairly amazing "Cindy Electronium", composed on a synthesizer Scott invented and sounding a lot like something you'd hear on a Mouse on Mars record. Seriously, someone needs to organize a Raymond Scott remix album stat. As it happens, Pauline Oliveros' psychedelic masterpiece "Bye Bye Butterfly" predicts the remix, using bits of old opera and state-of-the-60s delay to concoct a piece of prime haze fit to tie all of Brooklyn's hip noisemakers up on a very tall pole. In fact, there's a lot on this disc to feed the avant-rock crew: Can's Holger Czukay delivers the sample collage "Boat-Woman-Song" from his 1969 Canaxis LP, Terry Riley gets his freak on with "Poppy Nogood" and in some bizarre, out-of-time programming, the OHM+ folks use Sonic Youth's 1999 performance of Steve Reich's "Pendulum Music" (originally composed in 1968). Elsewhere, electronic music legends Morton Subotnick ("Silver Apples on the Moon, pt. 1"), Luc Ferrari ("Music Promenade"), and Iannis Xenakis ("Hibiki-Hana-Ma") demonstrate that you don't have to have ties to rock music to make head-fucked noize. The disc ends with Minimalist pioneer La Monte Young's precisely titled "31 I 60 c. 12:17:33-12:25:33 PM NYC" from 1969, a dissonant sine wave drone-- ordinarily, this would clear the room, but in light of what came before, it's practically a come-down*.* 
By Disc 3, electronic music's exponential rate of progress is evident. From the otherworldly, digitally harmonized vocals of Paul Lansky's "Six Fantasies on A Poem By Thomas Campion: Her Song" (which he programmed partially in the FORTRAN computer language) to Krautrock pioneer Klaus Schulze's ornery, beat-driven "Melange" to the massive, droney void in Maryanne Amacher's "Living Sound, Patent Pending", it's clear that by the late 1970s, composers were breaking down sonic barriers by the day. Growing out of the painstaking mold of punch cards and handmade circuitry, these musicians took one step closer to modern electronic production methods of sonic manipulation and construction. Ironically, they were also becoming masters of the acoustic, as in Alvin Lucier's ingenious use of the tension in a single wire ("Music On A Long Thin Wire 1" or Robert Ashley's collage of human voices on "Automatic Writing". Of course, Brian Eno's ethereal "Unfamiliar Wind (Leeks Hills)" forecasts modern electronic music most directly-- but then some would argue no one's yet improved on his ambient excursions. 
The accompanying DVD has enough archival performance footage (performances by Morton Subotnick, Laurie Spiegel, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, Mother Mallard, and Holger Czukay) to make it worthwhile for fans, but the real joy is in the interviews and original video productions. Milton Babbit's discussion of the difficulties of working with archaic synthesizers in the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in the 1950s and 60s is a firm reminder of just how foreign electronic sounds were to even the academic community only 40 years ago. Likewise, Paul Lansky's private lesson with theremin inventor Leon Theremin is an example of how non-user friendly electronic musical instruments could be, even to people who should have the best sense of how to approach them. And speaking of Lansky, someone really needs to issue a DVD of all the animations accompanying his pieces, because his The Dust Bunny features a great computer-generated cartoon that's one part Pixar, one part "Ren & Stimpy". Even after 70 years of innovation (and renovation), electronic music still manages to surprise.
Dominique Leone / Pitchfork

HE3 Project ‎– Chapter Three (2012)

Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Family Groove Records

A1.   Dark Angels
A2.   The Message
A3.   Civilization
B1.   Smoothing Along WIth The Smoothies
B2.   Feelin Good Cause It Feels Good
B3.   Artesian Wells
C1.   This Is The Struggle
C2.   To Be True
C3.   Strength
D1.   Shake A Leg Woman
D2    Dark Angels (Alt Take)
D3.   Civilization (Alt Take)

Bass – Charles Fletcher, Johnny Yu
Drums – Glen Cronkhite
Flute, Saxophone – Hadley Caliman
Guitar – Joe West, Terry Mederios
Percussion – Kenneth Nash
Piano, Piano (Fender Rhodes, Echoplex, Screwdriver) – Herman Eberitzsch
Vocals – Julia Tillman Waters, Maxine Waters
Producer – Daniel Borine, Herman Eberitzsch

It came out again! ! Excavation Sound Source Collection Part 3! ! Coke Escovedo's rare groove / free soul classics "Make it Sweet" known as the creator of Herman Eberitzsch's project HE3 Project's third unreleased album by HE3 Project has arrived! ! This time, it is one piece that recorded the sound source recorded from 71 to 1973, from psychedelic jazz funk to spiritual jazz full of dashing feeling, the finest sound source that is as good as two works up to this is recorded Great content! ! Jazz funk and rare groove are not allowed to pass by! ! !

The Young Gods ‎– The Young Gods (1987)

Genre: Electronic, Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Organik, Play It Again Sam Records, Wax Trax! Records

01.   Nous De La Lune
02.   Jusqu'au Bout
03.   À Ciel Ouvert
04.   Jimmy
05.   Fais La Mouette
06.   Percussionne
07.   Feu
08.   Did You Miss Me
09.   Si Tu Gardes
10.   The Irrtum Boys
11.   Envoyé
12.   Soul Idiot
13.   C.S.C.L.D.F.

Trumpet – Roli Mosimann
Drums – Frank Bagnoud
Sampler – Cesare Pizzi
Vocals – Franz Treichler
Composed By – The Young Gods
25 years ago, in 1987, the English music scene felt debilitated by a certain, deliberate, postmodern smallness. The highly influential C86 cassette put out by the NME just months earlier set the indie tone – groups like The Wedding Present, Bogshed and pre-rave Primal Scream, dubbed the “shambling bands” by John Peel, were deliberately colourless, unambitious and low-key, retaining the provincialism of punk and post-punk but little of its energy or rage – a drizzle after the storm. The Housemartins from Hull were the pop epitome of this new dispiritedness – clever purveyors of wry, sidelong ditties. It was as if the music were beset by an inferiority complex, that new generations could aspire to be no more than pygmies mooching on the shoulders of dead giants. To reach for the sky, rather than into one's pockets, was considered unseemly, even pretentious, the worst thing one could possibly be. No air, no grace. 
This stooped cultural tendency was exacerbated by the recent introduction of the sampler. Although this new technology opened up infinite possibilities, many of which would be pursued in time, it was initially used as a filching, quoting machine – the backbeat to James Brown's 'Funky Drummer' or Led Zep's 'When The Levee Breaks', or the retro-stream of M.A.R.R.S' 'Pump Up The Volume'. The overall effect of the sampler, as deployed in 1987, wasn't in general to undertake fresh sonic exploration but to wittily refer to the past, a halcyon, disappeared age of innocence and greatness destined to be alluded to in a new, perma-era of retro-gradism. The earnest cod-soul of the pop day, meanwhile, seemed to come in with a built-in, earnest, reproachful reminder that no modern music could possibly match the grainy greatness of Motown and 60s soul, of which it was almost a duty to generate inferior, worthily unworthy versions.
Fortunately, our weatherbeaten little Atlantic rock was buffetted from one side by the expansive likes of Sonic Youth, The Buttholes, Big Black (and from Ireland, My Bloody Valentine) and also from Europe, The Sugarcubes, Front 242, Einsturzende Neubauten and others, all of whom, in the different ways, dared to inflate, expand and rearrange notions of what rock could be, if it chose not to settle into the morose, trad-indie furrow. 
The Young Gods were from Switzerland. They were formed in the mid-80s by Franz Treichler, a conservatoire-trained classical guitarist. However, while there was guitar noise aplenty in The Young Gods, they used no guitarist. Their initial line up was Treichler (vocals), Frank Bagnoud (drums) and Cesare Pizzi, who operated the sampler that supplied the remainder of their sound. 
Released a quarter of a century ago, The Young Gods's eponymous debut album featured a cover in which the band were depicted as stick-men chalked onto a stone surface, like early cave paintings. Their line-up and approach were unprecedented. It was as if history began again with this record, this group. We weren't in Hull any more. Treichler bore some physical resemblances to Bono whose U2 had, with titles like The Unforgettable Fire, had pompously assumed the mantle of bearers of rock's pure late 80s flame. However, as Rattle And Hum, their 1988 would confirm in all its nauseating osmosis-masquerading-as-homage, they were in deadly, earnest retrospective thrall to rock's roots and origins, to Presley, BB King, to Bo Diddley, to antique soul and prepostmodern authenticity. 
The Young Gods, by contrast, aspired to what might be called postpostmodernism. Though the turbulent, elemental sound spectacle they presented felt like Earth before the dinosaurs, The Young Gods's use of samplers was symbolic – they used artifice and synthesis, mechanically retrieving the sounds of the dead rock (and classical) past, but forging them in such a way as to create something bold, grandiose and absolutely new under the sun. “They have chosen the right time to rediscover fire,” I wrote at the time. “They are at once a funeral pyre and a giant ignition.” 
The Young Gods certainly got their first hearing among the more inquisitive of those into goth and post-industrial and certainly, in their unabashed grandiosity, with titles like opener 'Nous De La Lune' (We Of The Moon), featuring tolling bells and Treichler's vomiting, bass growl, they were not short on portentousness. With its martial beat preceded by what sounds like the sounds of Martian heavy industry, it was, however, subtly unlike anything conceived by Throbbing Gristle's world of moral decay or Neubauten's deconstruction or Sisters Of Mercy's moshpit-friendly shape throwing.

This is affirmed by “Jusqu'au Bout”, whose juddering progress and exhaust fume sputters of revving guitar feel both quintessentially rock and yet, in its strange and visible joins, revealing that this is mechanically simulated, revolutionary. Treichler's melodramatic, pterodactyl-like screams again intimate that this a new prehistory is dawning here; an effect exacerbated on 'A Ciel Ouvert', in which the skies blacken and redden at time lapse photography speed. As with Jimi Hendrix's 'Voodoo Chile', the lyric is about unrestricted, infinite capability. “Stop the wind / with your teeth / Encircle the earth / Pay homage to your being." 
Then comes 'Jimmy', which could be perceived as in tribute to either Hendrix or Page, both of whose volcanic contributions to rock history are referenced here; the mid-section reminds of the abrupt, reverberating detonation that punctuates Zeppelin's live version of 'Dazed And Confused'. But again, the straight ahead rotor effect of the riff, feels manufactured, freshly minted, could only have occurred as late as 1987. 
On 'Percussione', there's a dialogue, a gladiatorial tussle between primitive, muscle-powered percussion and the synthetic variety, while on 'Feu', a looped riff crashes and burns over and over, as the track temporarily buckles under its own, lava-like intensity. The historical rules of progression, verse, chorus, are all suspended; America is no more, or has yet to happen. The Young Gods, insisted Treichler, represented “a quintessentially European idea of rock”. 
'Did You Miss Me' is a temporary diversion, a Laibach-like version of Gary Glitter's 'Hello, Hello (It's Good To Be Back)', but ingeniously constructed from orchestral samples, and the “Yeah!!” chant a forgivably sly lapse into homage, drawn from a live album by fellow Zurich based innovators Yello.

The clouds lift hereafter, with early hit 'Envoye' driven by a fast-somersaulting guitar sample and hectic, motorik percussion. 'Irrtum Boys' is like some cubo-futurist take on Thin Lizzy's 'The Boys Are Back In Town', stabbing at you from all angles. 'C.S.C.L.D.F.', meanwhile, loops a Ruts riff to solemnly mesmeric effect, the sampler used to frame, maximise and preserve its energy, which on the original suffers a conventional death by ordinary progression and decay. The song is broken up by what sounds like a moment of instant, nuclear annihilation, before resuming.

The Young Gods did not achieve instant success; their Swissness, their insistence on singing in French all precluded a wider audience, while some looked askance at the sort of extravagant language heaped on the group by writers such as myself and approached them suspicious of hyperbole rather than open to experience. In 1991, they did achieve the pinnacle of their commercial success and were namechecked by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie and even U2. They continued to record, achieving notable brilliance with 1995's Only Heaven, though today they are one comet among many in a dark sky of processed electronica/rock crossover. 
I was afraid, coming back to the album and listening to it in full and in sequence that it would sound tinnily dated and disappointing in 2012, superseded by the sheer volume, capacity and weight of 21st century recordings – that it would seem significant only as a pivotal, if improperly acknowledged moment in the dialectical process. But no – crank it up and immediately I experienced again the rush of blood I felt as a young writer, having just interviewed the band in Zurich, heading to a cafe in the city that had been a Dadaist hangout back in 1916 in naïve search of psychogeographic inspiration, blackening a notebook with screeds of adjectival frenzy as the album raged on my headphones. It retains both its molten power and own, grandiose sense of purpose – the fire that came along to torch an entire era of white-socked hipsters, crewcut mumbling indie dullards, smirking ironists, lumpen, Luddite grebos and post-Live Aid white soul hegemonists and Bono's stupid big white hat.
David Stubbs / The Quietus

Butthole Surfers ‎– Piouhgd (1991)

Style: Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Capitol Records, Rough Trade, Danceteria

01.   Revolution Part 1
02.   Revolution Part 2
03.   Lonesome Bulldog
04.   Lonesome Bulldog II
05.   The Hurdy Gurdy Man
06.   Golden Showers
07.   Lonesome Bulldog III
08.   Blindman
09.   No, I'm Iron Man
10.   Something
11.   P.S.Y.
12.   Lonesome Bulldog IV
13.   Barking Dogs

Oh what a difference nearly two decades makes. Texan psychedelic hardcore overlords the Butthole Surfers - once held in the same amount of esteem as Sonic Youth, Big Black and Dinosaur Jr - first reached the height of their powers with_ Locust Abortion Technician_ in 1987. All of the promise of the live shows - often featuring pyromania, surgery film shows, seizure inducing strobes and vomit inducing volume - and previous output was condensed onto a disc that was more warped than any that had previously been released. They hit a plateau with the heavier and more narcotic_ Hairway To Steven _a year later and it seemed like the unthinkable was about to happen: one of the world’s most unbroadcastable bands were about to become hit makers.

The first hint of the new direction was a Peel Session broadcast during the August of 1989 containing a song that may or may not have been called ‘Booze Tobacco Dope Pussy Cars’ (on a personal level, the excitement this caused saw a friend crash our car on the motorway en route to our first Reading Festival – where the highlight of the weekend would be the Buttholes). It was a rambunctious, almost industrial take on punk and a lot of the tar-heavy heroin psychedelia of Stairway… had been stripped away. Here the canny use of drum machines and electronics to beef up the Texan hardcore sound pointed the way forward to Gibby Haynes’ inclusion on Ministry’s_ ‘Jesus Built My Hotrod’_. Elsewhere _‘Bong Song’ _should be as daft as the Cypress Hill style samples it uses, but it all adds to a sensuous post rock flavour.

On the album proper (initially released in 1991 on Rough Trade) what sounded like unnecessary sheen back in the day has proved to be something of a bonus now. Far from sounding like some kind of shiny sell out, tracks like_ ‘Revolution’ _come on as overwhelming as nearly anything else they’ve recorded. It’s a bugged-out hippy jam that slowly transforms into a colossal stoner romp with Paul Leary’s warmly overdriven guitar, psych keyboards, police sirens, phones ringing and the loon Haynes chanting Gary Shandling’s name (TV’s Larry Sanders).

Their straight-up cover of Donovan’s ‘Hurdy Gurdy Man’ _was at once brilliant but also signalled the end, including as it did a shuffling hip-hop beat that would be resurrected for the weak _‘Pepper’ – their biggest hit. An early track ‘Something’ is resurrected in the style of the JaMC’s ‘Never Understand’ but perhaps the standout is their homage to Sonic Youth, ‘P.S.Y.’. It ends as their albums nearly always do, on a bad acid trip freak-out, ‘Barking Dogs’, which is the sound of synapses misfiring, shot gun blasts and canine growls of anger as Leary lets rip beautifully losing all hold on melody, cohesion and sanity.

Nostalgia, for the most part, is a very bad thing, and it’s literally years since even I’ve listened to this record but it’s amazing how good it sounds now and (stupid songs about bulldogs aside) it makes you realise just how much the double whammy of grunge and Britpop changed things. The former certainly swept a lot of hair metal garbage out of the way but took some of the best out-there music with it as well, as alt rock became easier and easier to digest. And this, of course, is ironic given how they were one of Cobain’s favourite bands (he spent time in rehab with Haynes for heroin dependency shortly before killing himself). After this album the Buttholes still had some fuel left in the tank but this was to be their last truly exhilarating and unhinged slice of punk rock psychedelia before their tribute act, The Flaming Lips, stepped into the void, the band themselves created by untrammelled drug use and mental health problems. But for now let’s be thankful that we have these reissues of one of the great ‘lost’ bands of alternative rock.
John Doran / Drowned In Sound

Jah Wobble, The Edge, Holger Czukay ‎– Snake Charmer (1983)

Genre: Electronic, Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Island Records, Polystar, Universal

1.   Snake Charmer
2.   Hold On To Your Dreams
3.   It Was A Camel
4.   Sleazy
5.   Snake Charmer (Reprise)

Backing Band – Invaders Of The Heart
Bass, Vocals – Jah Wobble
Keyboards – Ollie Marland
Percussion – Neville Murray
Written-By – Kevorkian, Czukay, Jah Wobble, Marland
Producer – Francois Kevorkian

Yes, it was the Eighties as you can hear from the first stuttering synths on this overwrought supersession. Bassist Jah Wobble was post-Public Image Limited, The Edge from U2 clearly at a loose end (although a decade away from letting go on Achtung Baby) and multi-instrumentlist Czukay from Can probably quite liked the idea of getting into a studio for a series of free-flowing sessions. 
Others who dropped in during the recording of the Snake Chartmer mini-album were Can's Jaki Liebezeit, jazz-funk singer Marcella Allen and guitarist Animal. 
Wobble had already explored "Islamic funk" with his Invaders of the Heart band but here got down with some weird amalgam of Eurobeat hooked to Afro-funk of the Talking Heads kind. Mat Snow in NME at the time generously described the five tracks as "all good but somewhat lacking in unity" and "displaying more on and off the wall wit" than his old "boss" from PIL, John Lydon, was managing to muster. 
In truth it is a lumpy mini-album but this reprise has a little something going for it, a silly vocal part atop wittering techno-beats and faux-funk, slashes of keyboards and guitars and a kitchen-sink approach to production by Francois Kervorkian (which is even more all-in on the opening version of whcih this is a reprise). 
Not a landmark or even a scratch in sand in many ways, but much more enjoyable than it is "interesting". 
And it gave them all something to do for a while.
Graham Reid / Elsewhere

100% Pure Poison ‎– Coming Right At You (1974)

Genre: Funk / Soul
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Soul Brother Records, EMI, P-Vine Records

01.   You Keep Coming Back
02.   No More City, No More Country
03.   Boarding Pass
04.   Holes In My Shoes
05.   My Little Someone
06.   Windy C
07.   (But You Say) You Want To Make It With Me
08.   Don't Let Your Pride Overpower Your Love
09.   (And When I Said) I Love You Puppet On A Chain
10.   Puppet On A Chain

Bass – Lawrence Reynolds
Guitar – Danny Leake, James Williams
Keyboards – James Williams
Leader – Danny Leake
Organ – Steve Maxwell
Percussion – John Jackson, Pie Harrison
Saxophone – Jackie Beard
Trombone – Slide Beard
Trumpet – Marvin Daniels
Vocals – Jackie Beard, Marvin Daniels, Pie Harrison, Slide Beard
Composed By – Danny Leake, Lawrence Reynolds, Marvin Daniels
Producer – Danny Leake, Rick Hartung

1974's Coming Right At You, the sole album from 100% Pure Poison, has long been a sought-after jazz-funk gem. Soul Brother has previously reissued the rare (and increasingly expensive) LP, though this double 7" marks the first time most of these tracks have been available on wax since 2001. Check first opener (and title track) "Windy C", a superb chunk of lolloping, laidback jazz-funk that sits somewhere between Bob James and Cymande, before turning your attention to the slow-burn soulful delights of string-laden torch song "Puppet On A Chain". Over on the second 7", "No More City, No More Country" is a more hard-spun Blaxploitation funk affair, while "Hole In My Shoe" is a horn-fired slab of J.B's style funk-soul fusion.