too much typing—since 2003

4.14.2005

if you should make a sound...

So, I finally found a CD copy of an album I've coveted for quite a while: the "original soundtrack for a video-film by WonderProduct" entitled Fuck Your Dreams, This Is Heaven. (Has anyone ever seen this "video-film"?) This is an album of covers, mostly Syd Barrett songs, but also two Velvet Underground songs, a Jefferson Airplane song, a Yardbirds song, and a Patti Smith (!?) song - all done by various combinations of folks from Minimal Compact and Tuxedomoon. Except for the version of "Ocean" these versions aren't revelatory - but they do offer a Euro-post-punk take on psychedelia...which proves to be an oddly blocky, strange concept. Here, for example, is Peter Principle's version of "No Man's Land": instead of Barrett's swirling confusion, Principle offers, first, an almost militaristic setting (that grim bass drum, and the low-register, doubled vocals), but offset by rambling glockenspiel (an instrument featured quite a bit on this CD) and later, a disorienting drop into some odd sort of conversation. Partly, this seems almost tongue-in-cheek - "Ha, this is what psychedelia was all about!" - but it also offers, by other means, a similar sort of entry to a mental playground...even if this one is outfitted with rusted shards of rebar jutting from broken concrete blocks rather than plasticine porters with looking-glass ties.

Around the same time (1986), Colin Newman recorded with a musicians from the same, Belgium-based crowd (including the immortally named french horn player, Rino Christ) on the decidedly odd Commercial Suicide. (In fact, the two albums were released on the Belgian label Crammed Discs only three catalog numbers apart.) No one should have been surprised that Newman ventured quite far indeed from any of the sounds he'd put out with Wire...but a mix of orchestral instrumentation and booping, bleeping synths was still probably unexpected. Unexpected, but not unsuccessful: somehow, on "Feigned Hearing," for example, he manages to combine the most obnoxious, fakey synth sounds, arrange them in a near-minimalist style, and come up with an oddly affecting pop song. At least it works that way for me.

What's this? Yes, you are correct: those are links to mp3 files above. I'll occasionally be posting sound files here from now on. I have no particular program in mind for what I'll post, although I'll probably avoid in-print stuff on major labels (gee, I wonder why...). At any rate, should anyone with any legal rights to anything I've posted here object, please drop me a polite e-mail, and I'll take it down. They'll generally be up only for a couple weeks at a time anyway.

2 comments:

Sue said...

I'd forgotten how good COMMERCIAL SUICIDE was. That's one of those albums I lost a long time ago... is it out on cd?

2fs said...

I don't think it's in print...but it's hard to tell at Crammed Discs' crappy website (www.crammed.be). If it is, you can mail-order it from there.