Tag Archives: CD

➤ Ex-Blitz Kid Rusty Egan and friends dress 80s electro-pop in brilliant new clothes

Welcome to the Dancefloor, Rusty Egan, electro-pop, Blitz Kids, New Romantic, EDM, synthesisers,

Egan deejaying at Tramp this week: a nightclub launch for Welcome to the Dancefloor

AFTER FIVE YEARS OF BLAGGING, and five years of feuding with former collaborators, 80s Blitz Club deejay Rusty Egan’s own “electro-diskow” album, Welcome to the Dancefloor, amounts to a superb sonic landmark. He and his guest performers engage an impressive range of emotions by dramatically humanising the potential starkness many associate with electronica.

ALBUM REVIEW
Welcome to the Dancefloor
Rusty Egan

Spookily, their energy rockets us immediately into that vast clean stereo soundscape that uniquely defined the new music of 1980. Here synthesiser chords are stretched and layered and cracked like a whip, as if by an invisible hand in another time and space, which of course was precisely the sound of London clubland when its youth culture erupted as a volcano of creativity. The album’s pacey opening track finds ex-New Order’s Peter Hook on The Other Side spinning through the Milky Way, his thin 80s vocal style querulous and wistful, yet poppily optimistic.

That era did after all abandon the overpowering noise of the rock stadium and the punk nihilists to celebrate a return to melodious singing voices and to arch lyrics meant for listening, while synthesisers defined a fresh musical ambience. Inexperienced young artists unsure about their singing ability half shouted, half vocodered their limited vocal range to re-imagine their teenage dreams on a different planet.

Egan’s collaborators: click any pic below to launch slideshow

While Egan has carefully selected 13 tracks reflecting the wide spectrum of synth possibilities, half are love songs in the spirit of the 80s generation who were dubbed by the press New Romantics. Nevertheless he has created a consummate showcase for electronic music, co-produced by Nick Bitzenis (aka Nikonn). He has had a hand in writing a majority of the songs, many co-written with Chris Payne (of Fade to Grey fame), these being subsequently endorsed and expressed by a handful of starry friends such as Midge Ure and Tony Hadley on tracks of their own.

Despite its title, this is not dance music that the funk nation would groove to. Laying down a dominant 4-4 beat is not conducive to free-form movement unless you think you’re Tik or Tok. Exceptions include Egan’s own pulsating title track with robo vocals as if by Stephen Hawking and knowing breaks parodying Tenek and the Human League; also the nippy number Hero, which gains spiritual resonance from Andy Huntley’s richly textured delivery.

➢ Listen online to Welcome to the Dancefloor
track by track

The stand-out track is Midge Ure’s transformation of an Egan/Payne song titled Glorious. He rewrote lyrics and melody so as to construct one magnificent crescendo filled with space and tension reminiscent of “Ohhhhh, Vienna!” A close second for reconjuring the authentic 80s is Egan’s own Wunderwerke, driven by his Trans-Europe vocals through classic synth sweeps, hypnotic repeats and bass stabs. Third comes Erik Stein on the astonishingly contemplative Ballet Dancer, basking in a wonderful waterfall of synths.

Like Brexit, Tony Hadley *is* Tony Hadley and here (without the Ballet) on the coltish lovesong Lonely Highway he canters to the top of a whole new hill as a crooner. What distinguishes this album is that it’s awash with affecting lyrics and fine voices to listen to in the name of electro pop – among the gentlest are Be The Man featuring the gorgeous inflections of Kira Porter; Nicole Clarke’s ethereal contribution to Love Can Conquer All; and Love Is Coming My Way, a second number from the silken-voiced Stein.

And just wait for the Chariots of Fire finale: Egan’s intensely personal track, Thank You, which unleashes a shock of the best kind. To describe more would be to spoil a gifted idea. It is emotional and all too evidently sincere. Thank you, Rusty.

Welcome to the Dancefloor, Rusty Egan, electro-pop, Blitz Kids, New Romantics, EDM, synthesisers,

Rusty Egan: co-producer, co-writer and much else – has created a landmark album in Welcome to the Dancefloor

➢ Pre-order Welcome To The Dancefloor as 180g vinyl LP and CD variants, plus bonus mixes, at Pledge Music. – All pledges immediately receive MP3 downloads of the album, with the physical products promised by Rusty Egan “once we reach a target” (unspecified). At worst, PledgeMusic clearly says it “will refund you if the Artist doesn’t reach their target”.

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s:
1980, First sighting of the Blitz Kids

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➤ Escape to the Nightlifers’ Shangri-la just in time for Christmas

Animal Nightlife, Andy Polaris, soul music, jazz, pop group,London, Andy Polaris,nightclubbing,Shangri-la, CD

Cool-hunters 1985: the Animal Nightlife lineup who charted with their album Shangri-la. . . Billy Chapman, Paul Waller, Andy Polaris, Leonardo Chignoli and Steve Brown

REMEMBER SNAKE-HIPPED ANDY POLARIS, frontman for Animal Nightlife, the soul/jazz/pop socialist collective who emerged from London’s cool clubbing scene and charted with Native Boy in 1983? This week their debut album Shangri-la is re-issued in a deluxe two-CD edition, having charted in summer 1985 only on vinyl.

Andy says: “It comes with a bonus disc of remixes and a great booklet with retro photos of the band in its two phases. Just in time for Christmas. The vinyl album has long been deleted and since then a very poor compilation of songs was released. The re-issue’s  tracks consist of the album in its original form and a second CD containing other singles and extended remixes that were only available on 12-inch before.” Lois Wilson supplies some nicely informed sleeve notes identifying Animal Nightlife’s role as innovators when the UK’s thriving underground changed the face of nightclubbing.

“Just listen to the Pink Panther style
saxophone of instrumental Basic Ingredients
and try not to lose yourself momentarily
in another world, a better world even”
First review (7/10) by Loz Etheridge

Managed by Steve Lewis, London’s coolest club deejay in the Beat Route’s heyday, Nightlife’s swing sound with an electronic twist enjoyed its moment as the hippest trend in music while Polaris penned his own brand of torch song and the band wore head-to-foot styles from Bolshevik bolshieness to Johnson’s jazz-age retro. Rabid clubbers must remember how Nightlife’s crazy animalettes and animalads went through about 35 line-up changes during their eight years on the scene, sadly scoring only four chart singles. For some band members, good times tended to take precedence over naked ambition in those highly competitive years when British acts were storming international pop charts.

“The must have re-issue CD of 2016.
A perfect Xmas stocking filler”
– deejay Mark Moore

By 1985 the band had slimmed down to the five-piece pictured on the CD cover. They consisted of Andy Polaris (vocals), Leonardo Chignoli (bass), Paul Waller (drums), Steve Brown (guitar) and Billy Chapman (playing a thrilling saxophone). After switching from the finger-snappy Innervision label to supercool Island Records, they were all packed off to Philadelphia where the first album was recorded at the legendary home of Philly World Records.

“The label wanted a bit more discipline from us,” Andy says, “and they sent us to America to get us out of our element and into the hands of those seasoned veterans who’d created the fabled Philly sound. We five working-class boys from London were wide-eyed and just did everything they told us. It paid off, because after our sojourn at Philly World our urban jazzy feel translated into a more sophisticated British club sound.”

❑ Standout track on the second Shangri-la CD of lost mixes is reggae producer Dennis Bovell’s version of Native Boy. Whoever’s on vibes – “mm, nice”.

➢ Shangri-la is cheaper direct from Cherry Red records (plus quick delivery)

➢ Polaris recalls his impressions of recording with the Philadelphia greats

➢ Definitive yet unofficial Animal Nightlife band history created online by Mike Albiston, a fan who remembers their last gig and senses something’s afoot that might require a web update

➢ Catch Andy Polaris’s reminiscences in the recent BBC doc Boy George’s 1970s: Save Me From Suburbia

➢ Previously at Shapersofthe80s: Animal Nightlife as part of the UK’s second wave of 80s image bands

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➤ A pregnant silence over Bryan Ferry’s next tour

Jazz Age, CD, album,Bryan Ferry Orchestra, UK tour, dates
❚ CONFUSINGLY FOR ROXY MUSIC FANS a UK tour 2013 has been announced under the title of An Evening With Bryan Ferry, pretty much simultaneously with the release of The Jazz Age, an album played by the newly convened Bryan Ferry Orchestra. Familiar tunes include Virginia Plain and Do the Strand among 13 tracks which are all rendered as instrumentals only. It celebrates Ferry’s four decades as an icon of the music scene … Scott Fitzgerald described the sound of the Gatsby era as “yellow cocktail music” and, 80 years on, Ferry reimagines his best known songs performed by a swing orchestra from the Roaring Twenties. Vintage microphones and a bass sax in place of a double bass conspire to create an authentic sound, but without one breath of Ferry’s voice. “I am the Diaghilev figure, directing not playing,” he says. Whether next autumn’s 21-date tour will feature any vocals – or even require his presence on stage – is as yet unknown!

♫ HEAR JAZZ AGE TRACKS AT SOUNDCLOUD


❏ Includes recent Radio 4 interview: “I’ve been listening a lot to 20s music, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, early Duke Ellington. It’s quite raw, but very passionate and dynamic music.”

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➤ Happy golden anniversary to Lord Gnome, Glenda Slagg, Topes, O’Booze, Knacker, Knee and especially Gnome-Mart’s theme tune

Private Eye, First 50 Years,magazine covers,satire
❚ HOW ONE MAGAZINE has enriched a nation’s vocabulary over 50 years is evidenced by the enormous page at Wikipedia, detailing euphemisms for sex (“Ugandan discussions”) and drunkenness (“tired and emotional”), and the eternal cast of daft characters from public life, as headlined above.

October 25, 1961, saw the first issue of Private Eye as a silly-jokes threat to the ancient humourous periodical, Punch. The Eye was quickly given a worthy role by the nation’s thirst for incisive satirical critiquing of all aspects of the British Way of Life, the irony being that today the Eye itself has become an institutional beacon in the democratic process. As editor for the past 25 years, Ian Hislop’s best boast is that he is the most sued man in Britain, libel writs being substantially provoked by the rear-end pages of sound investigative journalism. Not a bad metamorphosis. Is it then churlish to mention that what some of us really, really miss are the hilarious sketches once enacted on 7-inch flexi-discs attached to the cover and given away with the Christmas issues? [See below]

➢ Private Eye’s own library of epochal covers

➢ Bags of Private Eye memorabilia as Creative Review previews the new V&A studio display paying homage to the magazine’s humourists

➢ Direct link to the V&A’s video and display Private Eye: The First 50 Years, running October 18 to January 8

Private Eye, First 50 Years,magazine covers,satire,humour
❏ Back in the 1960s the then new technology of offset litho encouraged cut-and-paste techniques such as the DIY speech balloon photograph (one Queen and a bevy of prime ministers, above). This didn’t stop the Eye from becoming a prominent outlet for the nation’s leading cartoonists (the Thompson effort below appears in the V&A display).
Private Eye, First 50 Years,satire,V&A exhibition,humour, cartoons

GNOME-MART’S CACOPHONY OF CELEBRATION

Private Eye, 50th anniversary, issue No 1300, Gnome-Mart,satire ➢ The Eye celebrates its 50th anniversary with issue No 1300 and at its website a page of unfunny audio recordings that simply don’t come close to the efforts 40 years ago of Peter Cook, Willie Rushton & Co.

➢ Update Nov 5: Fortunately The Grauniad has released an exclusive CD of classic audio sketches made by Private Eye legends Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Eleanor Bron, Willie Rushton, John Wells and Richard Ingrams — 34 excerpts spread over 40 minutes include Grocer Heath, E J Thribb, Farginson, I Musicci di Neasden, Inspector Knacker and many more favourites.

➢ The full archive of Private Eye recordings made by Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Barry Humphries, John Wells, John Bird, Barry Fantoni, Richard Ingrams and Spike Milligan – plus rare photos, video clips and historical notes – can be found at privateeyerecords.com. The whole catalogue of Golden Satiricals is due for release on CD in January 2012.

➢ Whistleblowers and those with a social conscience can download past Eye investigations into subjects such as NHS whistleblowers; How Britain’s poverty relief fund abandoned the poor; full background to the ACTIS-CDC sell-off; How Blair’s government blew £12.4bn on useless IT for the NHS; deaths of four young recruits at the Deepcut army barracks, etc.

Private Eye, 50th anniversary, privateeyerecords, Gnome-Mart,satire,CD,Golden Satiricals

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➤ Morrissey detonates bidding war for his memoirs

❚ A NEAT OUTCOME RESULTED from last week’s Radio 4 interview with Morrissey, former singer with The Smiths, the UK’s leading indie band of the 80s, who broke up in 1987. After the reluctant interviewee said that he was “very very surprised to be making music today” he added that, had his music career failed, “I would have become a novelist”. He then revealed that he had written his memoirs and was in the progess of redrafting his 660-page manuscript. He dared to suggest: “I’d like it to go to Penguin, but only if they published it as a classic. I can’t see why not — a contemporary Penguin Classic — within the next year or so.”

Very Best of Morrissey,CD,download, vinyl,Radio 4, Front RowBy Good Friday Penguin Books, creators of the modern paperback, were trying to head off a bidding war between rival publishers by announcing that it is indeed willing to publish his autobiography. A spokeswoman told The Independent: “There is a natural fit between Morrissey’s sensibility, his artistic achievements and Penguin Classics. A book could be published as a Penguin Classic because it is a classic in the making. It’s something we would like to discuss with Morrissey.”

There is no minimum time limit before a book can be considered a Penguin Classic, but the list embraces people or works that have “caused scandal and political change, broken down barriers, social and sexual”. However, a leading article in the same day’s paper pours cold water on the mighty ego of the singer they call Bigmouth: “Sadly for Morrissey, it’s the accumulated judgement of posterity, rather than authors, which determines what literature survives and what gets pulped.”

Nevertheless, according to The Independent report: “Morrissey is not short of suitors. The publishing director of Faber and Faber sent the singer an open letter begging him to join the ‘house of Eliot’, a reference to T S Eliot, the giant of 20th-century poetry. Lee Brackstone wrote: ‘We feel very strongly that you belong in this company. You deserve Faber and the love we can give you. History demands it; destiny commands it’.”

These events coincide with today’s UK release of a new album, Very Best of Morrissey, a 20-track download and CD of remastered solo classics (also as 18 tracks on vinyl, EMI/Major Minor). A bonus DVD, which includes eleven remastered videos (three of which are previously unavailable on DVD) including Boxers, Sunny, and The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get, plus I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty taken from the Jonathan Ross TV show in December 1990.

As from tomorrow the 12-minute interview with R4’s Front Row is available on iPlayer. Morrissey deals briskly with pressing issues such as ageing (“many of the early songs were like mating calls and I have to think seriously about singing them now”), the problem of having the prime minister as a fan (“no I’ve never met him”) and, inevitably, a Smiths reunion (this is not the place for spoilers). And yes, Johnny Marr gets a mention.

Dermot O’Leary,Morrissey, interview,Very Best OfUpdate: Listen to favourably selected highlights from a frankly tiresome interview between a cranky Morrissey and a very patient Dermot O’Leary (BBC R2 on April 30, 2011) as the evasive singer winds him up while discussing their Irish roots and musical idols, a UK and Scandinavian tour, an album of new material and the “mutants” of Coronation Street. We hear two clips from his Very Best Of CD, Girl Least Likely To, and Interlude: The next day Moz told True To You why he had been so cantankerous: “I’m sorry I made the O’Leary radio interview so difficult but I was in a foul mood, having spent a full week surrounded by the royal dreading. England may very well be a Windsor dictatorship, but, PR weddings aside, it is usually quite bearable.” He also complains about his familiar views on the British monarchy being cut from the earlier R4 interview.

SUMMER TOUR DATES

➢ Listed at True-to-you.net — Morrissey’s nine-date UK summer tour runs from Perth June 15–Plymouth June 30, plus Glastonbury Festival on June 24, and Hop Farm Music Festival July 2.

DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN MORRISSEY FONT

➢ Morrissey’s handwriting free from searchfreefonts
Morrissey,handwriting , font, download

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