Tuesday, July 11, 2006
The Harlem Shuffle
Who said the art of the compilation tape is dead? Certainly not Swiss Toni and Yoko. Yoko created a brilliant idea, the Shuffleathon. Compile a CD of tracks you love, that suit your personality, pick a name out of the hat, and send them your CD. You then get some other person's CD in exchange. Swiss Toni was the drawmaster who organised it all brilliantly. I sent mine to Sarah, who did a lovely review, and I received one from Mark, which I'm gonna do my best to review here now.
Living In The Shadow Of National Landmarks.
First impressions are that the tracklisting feels like walking into a party. There's a few familiar faces, but some dressed in different clothes. There's people you've heard about, and you've always been curious about, and complete strangers who are even more intriguing... So here goes.
1. Pink Floyd - 'Pigs On The Wing'
A sad irony to start at this track on the day we heard that Pink Floyd founder, and continual inspiration, Syd Barrett had passed away. I listened to the whole Wish You Were Here album on my way home from work, the band's tribute to their lost comrade. I don't know this song so well, but it's delicate and perfectly paced as ever, lacking the overblown bluster of some of their weightier numbers. A low key start, but all the better for it.
2. New Order - 'True Faith (Peel Session)'
And what a way to pick up speed. A more electronic version than the single mix, full of piano stabs and bubbling synth lines. Wonderful. I love the original as much as anything else this band have released, and it's a real pleasure to hear this reinterpretation.
3. Karl Bartos - 'The Camera'
An unfamiliar name, but a sound I feel completely at home with. It would be lazy to say it sounds like Kraftwerk, but lazy is what I am. But it's tougher, more danceable, but no less ornate and spine tingling. The breakdown at the end is magical. I will have to investigate further, which is a high a compliment as i can give.
I've just googled him and he was in Kraftwerk, so my lazy instincts were correct. Score!
4. Har Mar Superstar - 'Transit'
I initially dismissed Har Mar as something of a novelty when he first appeared. Oh how very wrong I was. Another gorgeous slice of funk, knowingly tongue in cheek, but no less enjoyable for it. Living proof appearances can be deceptive. Irresistable.
5. Guns n Roses - 'Madagascar'
Ah. Guns n Roses. Yes. I must confess I've never been their greatest fan. I have Appetite for Destruction tucked away somewhere, but away from the singles, it rarely appears. This is ok, but never really grabbed me. Sorry.
6. Ministry - 'The Great Satan'
Now, I do enjoy a band that like to make a bit of a racket. This is about the War On Terror and involves lots of shouting and thrashing of guitars, with clips of George W mixed in for good measure. I can appreciate this on an ironic level, but away from that... I struggle a little because I can't take it seriously!
7. The KLF Featuring Extreme Noise Terror - '3am Eternal'
I feel a bit guilty, because the surprise was wasted on me. This is a rerecording of The KLF's biggest hit with thrash metallers Extreme Noise Terror. But being a huge KLF fan already, I know it well, and saw it coming. Not that this deminishes the impact of the sound of a band self destructing before your eyes. The KLF tore apart their Number One at the Brits to announce they were leaving the music biz. And it's a glorious noise.
8. Dillinjer Escape Plan - 'Come To Daddy'
Crikey! Anyone who's heard Aphex Twin's original will know what to expect. More than a little unsettling! And the video... it'll give the kids nightmares. A fantastic cover from a band I've not heard much from. Takes some doing to equal the electronic terror tactics of Aphex Twin, but they pulled it off with guitars and some blood curdling vocals. Marvellous.
9. Moby - 'We Are All Made Of Stars'
And after all that noise, a hymn to the wonder of creation from everyone's favourite vegan. Oh go on, be honest. This is a wonderful guilty pleasure, as is a lot of 18, it's source album. Something about Moby is a bit irritating, but this is possibly the best thing he's ever done. Great guitar, soaring synths, a vocal understated and expressive. A warm hug after all the shouting.
10. Alabama 3 - 'Ain't Going To Goa'
Another act that can rub me up the wrong way, or charm me. They did the theme from the Sopranos, which was ace. But their blend of electronica and country is an acquired taste. This is one of the better things I've heard from them, but it overstays it's welcome a little. Still, they mean well, so I'll let them off.
11. The Flaming Lips - 'Thank You Jack White (For The Fibre Optic Jesus That You Gave Me)'
Ah, and here comes the cavelry to take us on home. The Flaming Lips are one of my fave bands, but I don't actually own this, so it's wonderful to now have it on CD. It's exactly what it says on the tin: Jack White from them there White Stripes gave our hero, lead singer Wayne, a fibre optic jesus. And it lit up Wayne's world. So he wrote a song about it. Sublime.
12. Velvet Underground - 'Last Night I Said Goodbye To My Friend'
And to close, the original underground rock stars bid us farewell in their own uniquely charming ramshackle way. A wonderful drowsy end to a rollercoaster collection.
So, plenty of bits to love, a few parts that weren't quite my cup of tea, but still a collection to savour. Thanks a lot Mark! A diverse and exciting CD which suggests you're jsut as diverse and exciting. As soon as I move to a home with a barbecue, you're invited! I hope yours was good too.
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