Wire’s 100 Records that set the world on fire while no one was listening. 96 – 100
God I love these Wire posts. I’ve been writing up a petit little storm in this corner of the globe for the last couple of weeks and the blog and all its accoutrements have been suffering. I don’t listen to music when I write literature – too much head noise to capture – so its been quiet around me lately. I needed a break from the intense tonight and as soon as rich hit ears I got my groove on. I started with our friend Joey and it just got prettier and prettier from there.
This is the final of my Wire posts. Its been a trip and a half for me. Many of the albums on this list I have, and many many more I am yet to collect. I’m not a fan of list posts – I think they lean toward a weird kind of music colonization arrogance – but I am happy to celebrate this list that made a very big difference to me and marks a complete turning point from the world that had been offered to me prior to this point. Before this list I was Indie gal. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s been some great indie music in the last ten years. But what was sort of sad for me, was I had decided (based on my listening experience) that music wasn’t “my thing” and that I wasn’t a part of the world that so many others inhabited where music opened the mind and carried you off to a far out place of far out themes. It was after this list that I knew, I simply wasn’t listening to the right stuff. I came alive listening to this music, and immediately had to have almost all the music on it. All of it is on my shuffle today still.
And really, that is what lists like this are all about. Music education, music information and music opportunity. I will never be the same (and that is as true as true gets) after listening to the music on this list.
I hope you’ve enjoyed it too.
For the previous post go here.
For the original Wire list, go here.
I’m not usually into the graffiti thing. It can be a little “cheeky college boy” for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love it all over the walls in my local area, but I think it can be a little like coke at a lawyers party. Conservatives trying to be “bad”. But I have to say when the artist gives up the scrawl and goes Techno even I can become a believer. This little gem is pure percussion, pile upon heap of raw sound energy. It’s almost perfect dance music with just a hint of retro sci-fi. I”ll add a couple of lines from the Wires list blurb, cause I didn’t know anything about the graffiti referencing: Places is a classic example of Techno’s ability to keep itself indecipherable and let the listener give it meaning. Beltram is resolutely determinist about his work and refuses to see it in any narrative or evocative from outside of the dancefloor. Tracks like “Floaters” and “Set Ups”, which initially hint at dark underworld references, are in fact graffiti slang – Beltram had begun to pine for his spray cans when making the LP.
I adore anything that will blurr the boundaries between sound art and music as we recognise it for me. Anyone who frequents this blog knows that I am willing to find music in the most anti-music of places. But this is an easy journey into an alternate world of sound giving us an almost ambient quality to a deep and resonant sound. This is a tiny tiny album – only about thirty minutes long – but it is one of my favourites of this kind of distilled sound. This rare thing of beauty is all digital and all “new” sound style. I love this so much. Lets listen to the full baby shall we?
Did you know a violin could get nasty? I bet you didn’t. There is simply nothing like this in the world. A real work of genius. Here is another in a long list (I think we’re close to 100 now) of my favourite albums. What Tony Conrad can’t teach your ears about minimalist music aint worth knowing. This brilliant music can take the beauty of the violin and give it a deadly drone that completely avoids that familiar violin screech, in favour of the pristine beauty of the sound piling upon itself to create a monster we (and the music establishment) haven’t heard before. Conrad, together with John Cale, Angus Maclise, La Monte Young, and Marian Zazeela formed a performance collaboration from 1962-65 sometimes known as the Dream Syndicate. When this remarkable group dissolved in 1966, their many rehearsal and performance recordigns were stored away by Young and Zazeela, and remain unheard to this day. Conrad himself stepped outside of the dream syndicate once: on december 19th 1964, he recorded four violins, his only 1960s solo tape of violin playing.
This is quite simply one of the most shocking things you will ever hear. It’s those baby noises, those sounds we associate with love, and innocence and complete utter dependence looped over and over so that we are left with the shivering dystopia of the endless need and suffocating dependence of our own children. Listen to what the Wire have to say about this: Stockhausen’s Gesang Der Junglinge features the voice of a near-infant boy. Nesting Stones doesn’t seem so different: a mix of musique concrete and electronic treatment, featuring the cry of Lane’s own child Mia. What’s so striking is how insipid and even cowardly Stockhausen’s pioneering work suddenly seems, how carefully the young Darmstadt modernist (who had just become a father) distances himself from any of his own feelings about child-as-sound (above all, imposing some irrelevant biblical material on the work). Mia’s yowling, by contrast, is looped and treated until its primal empathic pull (she’s calling “Mama”) folds into maddening repetition, strain and ugliness. Even as the sound mutates into gurgles and chuckles – everything we’re programmed to respond positively to – the baby manifests as parasite, as cancerous scrawl, as chaotic insistent thing. A simple idea, on the face of it far from new, and yet – in this age of child abuse panic and false memory syndrome – far more powerful, daring and revelatory than almost any Electronica or concrete I can think of.
King Sunny Adé
And so, we come to the end of 100 albums that set the world on fire while no one was watching. Juju Music is the 1982 major label debut of Nigerian jùjú band King Sunny Adé and His African Beats. It represented the first worldwide release for Adé, who was already established in his native Nigeria as its “biggest musical draw and juju music’s reigning monarch”. The album was a critical and commercial success, peaking at #111 on Billboard’s “Pop Albums” chart.The New York Times, which described the album in 1982 as “the year’s freshest dance-music album”, credited it in 1990 with having launched the “World Beat movement in the United States”.In its review, Allmusic indicates that the album gave Adé “unprecedented exposure on the Western market and introduced a slew of music lovers to the sounds of Afro-pop”, concluding that it “should not only be the first-disc choice for Ade newcomers, but for the Afro-pop curious as well. It has a totally cool and groovy pop sound with the purest of African hearts and introduced a dancing world to the deep and rich music of the African continent.