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{Saturday}

 
SKYMMMM ...

{- I just popped up the road for my daily dose of SMOKING KILLS LITE and on the way back I noticed this big U-Haul type truck and on the side the legend or ™ was CAN MUSIK or CAN MUZIK, cool!!, I mean from what I could make out frm the rest of the amateur-daub colorful text it wuz probably some kinda TURKISH mobile disco or disko or s/t but who knows, maybe it DOES belong to some itinerant group or roving band of Stoke Newington based Krautrock obsessives ...}

... but no, anyway so, talking of Underworld, listening to them last night I got this feeling I always get, that well, they're not exactly "under rated" as such - I mean, they have had their fair share of critical acclaim, maybe at times even un critical acclaim, and public success, so much so that they can probably still headline a certain sort of Creamfields event what do I know ... but e.g. the last time I mentioned this pash of mine for Underworld to a real House/Jungle type afficianado they snobbishly turned their nose up like, yeah, I can see how YOU would like THEM, I.P., not knowing any better, but see I don't even seehear them in those kinda terms {how could I, given that I never go OUT anymore?}, I always think of them more hand in hand with ST ETIENNE, say, who, in a very similar way have always had their "fair share" of critical and popular blah, but ... but ...
... it's just this feeling I get they're [both] taken for granted, a situ both units have OK sorta contributed to inasmuch as:

a} they have occasionally come out with samey-sound treading water product; and
b} they have never excelled, either of 'em, in the INTERVIEW stakes, so that at a time say when the inkies and Q and Th'Observer Mag and Uncle Tom Fanboy and all were devoting 12 unedited Q&A pages a week to These Fascinating Plebs, Darling, Don't You Know coke-stoked WE'RE GREAT US rants of e.g. Oasis and/or pseudo-lad-era Blur or Weller or Primal Scream or whoever's PR they were all getting pissed with or buying coke/speed off that week, the actual sublime BEAUTY and sad mad INTELLIGENCE of certain periods or plots or pop!s of St Etinne and Underworld went univestigated.

SOME RANDOM EXAMPLES

Tiger Bay : = one of the Great Works of the Past [insert random number] Years and yikes! just looked at the cover and am staggered to see it came out as long ago as 1994. Recall also having a CD 45 spesh which had a remix of "Cool Kids of Death" which went on for eeeeeeever and was one of my fave remixes ever as well as an instrumental which stroked the heart if u know what I mean.

Tiger Bay = also one of my all-time favourite DRIVING tapes;
likewize
Beaucoup Fish which wuz listened to one end to t'other last night on a dark journey home and there was a time when we were rounding a shady glen/bend in the Highlands a few years ago and "SYKM" [track one Side Two if you're on tape - and Beaucoup Fish IS arranged so that it does make sense as a TWO SIDED beast/treat/platter/mirror] - yes, "Sykm" came on and I burst into tears just like that out of the blue and that's only happened one other time in my in-car listening experience, when I ill-advisedly put on a tape of Astral Weeks at a certain {wrong} moment and a certain moment in a certain track came up and we both looked at each other and wordlessly knew: We'd better pull over here and let out throats stop aching and/or tears abate before we go on ...
... but "Skym" can TEAR ME APART in any situ.
I remember the first time I heard it, I'd switched late night radio on, think it was that love-it-AND-hate-it R3 prog Mixing It, and the track had already just started and I was STARTLED and for the life of me couldn't imagine who this could be, was thinking - has Peter Hammill finally got a hip remix producer in or something?!, who on unearthly earth IS this?! Which just goes to show how powerful a role CONTEXT as pre-judgement has in our listening I think, as Marcello was likewise recently saying about the price of CDs - something I've thought for a cash-poor while now and agree with whole heartedly b/t/w ...

And I DO SO wish Underworld would do a whole CD of all their Melancholy Slow Ones; especially as the tooled-up THUD THUD THUD 808 power-tool ones [like the aforementioned "Kittens"] aren't really living room muzik any way you look at or listen to it ...

But Beaucoup also contains possibly my all-recent-time favourite in-car summer-day windows-down cool-breeze drivin' track, which is the opener, "CUPS", a GORGEOUS track by anyone's measure, surely ...
... and I haven't even started on the rest of their catalog, even starting with the motion that dubnobasswithmyheadman and Second Toughest In The Infants are two of the best LP titles ever.

I'm not even gonna attempt to start on Tiger Bay; except to say a}I've just never understood this rockboy sneer about St Etienne - especially prevalent at the time of Grunge and Britpop - that they were too knowingly "kitsch" for their own good. KITSCH? What kinds of IDIOTS get jobs as music writers these days ...?
& b} - the lyrics to "PALE MOVIE" ... O-H! come ON!
"All of his friends have been wondering / Why he spends so long with her / He's so dark and moody / She is his sunshine girl [...] In the bed where they make love / She's in a film on the sheets / He shoots dreams like a movie / She's the softness of cinema seats / Dreams come true as he holds her / Til the Xs come up in her eyes ..."
I mean, come ON: is this not Pop that is clever but still Pop but still clever but still able to open up old & healed over or so you thought mnemonic scars deep inside your HEART ...?

· Not altogether sure why, but I always think of Tiger Bay in tandem with two other works that I LOVE, i.e., love like one loves people not objects:

· WHEN I WAS A BOY · Jane Siberry
· MORNING DOVE WHITE · One Dove ...

And TWO other favourite all-seasons-round NEVER-tire-of-'em i-am-the-passenger IN CAR classics:

· EVERY MAN & WOMAN IS A STAR · Ultramarine [1992!*]
· CRUEL INVENTION Sam Phillips [1991!*]

*{which, still not as hard to believe as the FIFTEEN years that have now elapsed since 69 by A.R.Kane. And talking of the latter and under rated releases, I gave their doomed third lp a smudgy fudgy ambivalent but pretty DOWN review in The Wire at the time, but it was one of those things where you have five days to play & think about it and you put the thumb half down and then over the course of the next few months realise you've been playing it more and more and finally far more than supposed Album of That Year type releases. Shamefully, I can't even remember its name. It was very un-conceptual short-soul-song type stuff ... and the only copy I had of it, a PROMO CASSETTE, I lost - along with a CD of the equally underrated [I thought] solo-project SUFI cd - also a real slow grower - when they were left behind or "borrowed" or nicked from a TV production company office in circa Summer 1998 ... so, paw people, taped or burnt-off or bartered COPIES OF BOTH would be HIGHLY APPRECIATED {and it WAS my b*rthd*y last week ... yeugh I know I know ...

{just listening to Tiger Bay as I type and OH but my my my by Venus and Orpheus and Aphrodite & all the muses, how can sublime stuff like "Western Wind/Tankerville" and "On The Shore" and {a personal fave: "Former Lover"} be considered "kitsch" on anyone's compass ... ? Wasn't it just that callow young rockpress fanboys were frightened of the type and depth of emotion(s) stirred up in the cloudy rockpool here ...?

"
in ..... my ..... head
listening to windchimes
married a fool
i know
married a fool
i know
why on earth didnt i wait for you?
now look and see
who's paying .....

"

+ ---- +

posted by Ian 8/09/2003 03:01:00 PM

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