Saturday, April 15, 2017

Song of the day

"Open Soul", by Tomorrow's People.

Floating Points is probably the most significant musical discovery I have made over the past 18 months. I don't know precisely what it is, but everything he turns out sounds to me like some sort of perfection. But not satisfied with making his own particular musical magic, Mr Points has seen fit to reissue what would appear to be a pretty obscure 1976 soul-disco album from some otherwise-unknown Chicago band of (literally) brothers.

I can't speak for side one of said album, but this song, which comprises the entirety of side two, is twenty minutes of the best kind of seventies insanity. Nothing stays in the one place for long except the rhythm, which is relentless. Give that bass player a medal. And the drummer. And the rhythm guitarist. Oh, and let's not forget whoever provided the vamping electric piano, which is all over everything. And everything, as Radiohead once sung, is in its right place. I don't know if Floating Points established his own label solely to be able to release this monster jam, but I couldn't blame him if that turned out to be the case.

It's a four-day weekend, so you have time to listen to this.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Song of the day

"Sunspots", by Julian Cope.

In those long lost days of 1984, following the dissolution of his band The Teardrop Explodes, but before he became something of a latter-day druid, world expert on all things Krautrock and Japrock, creator of heavily psychotropic- and/or magick(sic)-influenced multi-disc concept records, published author, archaeologist, and possibly much else besides, Julian Cope released two brilliant and still, I think, criminally overlooked albums of finely crafted, inventive yet earworm-heavy psychedelia-tinged pop songs, "World Shut Your Mouth" and "Fried". Cope, I think, had the idea that he wanted to be a star, and after these two albums failed he took a bit of time off, returned with a larger budget and with songs containing bigger (and louder) hooks, but stardom yet eluded him. In the traditional narrative of the damaged rock musician, that would be the point at which he fell off the edge of the world as most people know it, but looking at the series of photos adorning "Fried", with a seemingly naked Cope looking fairly comfortable and relaxed under a tortoise shell, one suspects that by 1984 he was, just possibly, already occupying a space slightly out of phase with that occupied by the rest of us. Looking at the vastness of his body of work, it doesn't seem to have held him back. And "Sunspots", which popped, unbidden, into my head this morning, and which I am, as a human being, ashamed to say climbed no higher than number 76 on the UK singles chart, is about as good as it gets.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Song of the day

"Two Arrows", by Real Estate.

This song starts off like some kind of Paisley Underground throwback (not a criticism). It breathes a lot more than a Real Estate song usually does. (It is also in the direction of twice the length of a typical Real Estate song.) Around four minutes in, something locks into place. You know those songs that go round in a seemingly endless circle, looping back on themselves so often that, no matter how often you have heard the song, you have no idea when it is going to end? "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", from "Abbey Road", might be the ur-text for this type of song. It can be an almost stressful listen, in its own way, as you know the song is going to abruptly cut out but you can never be quite sure when. "Two Arrows" does exactly the same thing. (One assumes this isn't coincidental.)

(You kind of wish The Velvets' "What Goes On" did the same thing, instead of fading out; although there is an argument that fading the song out, rather than cutting it out abruptly, leaves a stronger suggestion that the song does, in fact, go on forever. (It's nice to think that somewhere "What Goes On" is continuing to motor its way ever onwards.))

Bonus beats: here they are performing the same song live in the middle of last year, when it was a "new song", and where it heads off in a slightly different, but also very satisfying, direction.