Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm Looking Through You

Hurrah - bionic eyes are here at last. I've been waiting decades for a breakthrough like this - not that I wear specs, contact lenses or any eye tech' accoutrements.

However, I won't be signing up straight away.
No, no I'll wait until the technology's bedded in and settled down - what happens when these cyborg eyeballs have the inevitable mechanical meltdown? - Is there a puff of smoke and they and fly out like firework lollipops or do they 'blue screen' leaving you looking like Master Po from 'Kung Fu'.

But the main motive for taking a bionic backseat is that I'm waiting for those juicy optional (pimp your pupils)extras to be added to the package.

X Ray vision
Laser blasts
Sat Nav
Scrolling LED messages
Genuine photographic memory

Now that is worth waiting for...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stress Down Friday - Brian Eno

After drafting the architecture for Ambient Music, set dressing Bowie's Berlin trilogy, giving the Talking Heads a musical make over and creating one the most seminal sample albums ever ('My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts').
Eno also found time to crack off three albums of Electrokraut Robot Rock with Moebius,Roedelius and Plank..

'The Belldog' is a gentle melter taken from 'Begegnungen' that makes mention of "dark sheds" and "random code".

The Belldog

Eno on control, consumerism and religion - this is who I'd love to see as the Mayor of London .

Monday, April 21, 2008

Straight Eighties

If there was ever a musical composite of all things eighties, well early eighties - before everything went all Aha, Simon Climie, Johnny Hates Jazz and StockAitkenandtheotherone. There's probably no better soundscape than the head spinning six minutes that is the Heaven 17 megamix. Lets look at the clues...

Heaven 17 were formed from scraps of the early Human League, and went on to reanimate Tina Turner's comeback under their secret band name B.E.F - that's Sheffield Electrics, eighties power anthems, and secret bands in one slicked back, smart casual bundle right there.

There's a scrapbook of sounds in this mix you just wouldn't find on any track today - all the analogue bleeps, burbs, Fairlight synth slams, oily funk guitar used on everything from Wham to Spandau Ballet, 'Light Of The World' style synth horns and happy slappy bass place it straight in the pre Live Aid era.

Eventually adopted by Yuppies,Young Tories and Soul boys - Heaven 17 actually dressed to the left.

There's no breathing space or self editing in this let's see what that button does, lets see what all the buttons do mixed up madness.

It's a medley - another constant of that decade, from Stars On 45 to Jive Bunny.

Heaven 17 - Megamix

If you fancy filling your Tukka Boots with more sounds of the crowd - have a peep here

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Chris Difford's Second Coming

Of all the CDs packed and played on my recent country escape, only a handful became promoted to 'perma-plays'. Chris Difford's second solo album The Last Temptation of Chris was one of them. As British as Light and Bitter and as London as Pie and Mash (with liqour) each carefully crafted cracker is packed with more hooks than a velcro belt, more pop than a dropped bottle of Tizer and sensitively scripted lyrics that sit somewhere between Galton and Simpson, Clement and La Frenais, Andy Partridge and Lennon and McCartney

Chris is on tour at the moment, but managed to find time to help with my enquiries...

'The Last Temptation' was recorded at home, how techie are you when it comes to home recording , and is time spent twiddling , time that could be used tunesmithing?

I have a man who does this for me, it costs money but it's worth it.

What about gadgets like Auto-Tune, would you be comfortable using something like that.

Yes I would, it's very handy for an old chap like me.

There are several candid, confessional moments on the album. Does it work - getting subjects out of your head, off your chest and into a song?

It's a great way of saving money in the therapist's chair.

Are you ever tempted to write a book, fact or fiction?

Yes I have, if I had more time I would nail it.

Who is Jim the storyteller in 'Battersea Boys'?

He is a guy I met two years ago in a hospice, he is not very well, but he helped me write this great song.

It seems to be Londoners eye view of life, do you think geography and location have an influence on music and songwriting?

Almost everything to do with it.

As a guitarist are you self taught, and is there one artist, album or track that made you pick up and play?

I learnt to play by watching Glenn play, he is my teacher.

Are you are guitar collector, and if so what's your most cherished possesion?

I have a nice collection, my top guitar is a Jim Olson.

It's Robbie Williams on the phone, he wants to write together what do you say?

I'm coming right over.

So what can we expect at the live shows - how does it break down with new songs, old favourites and covers?

All of the above and some nice lights too.

You've done the album, you're on tour - what's next?

More of the same....and then more of the same again until I grow up.

Have you got favourite lyric or moment on 'The Last Tempatation'?

It's all great, but I think Reverso is fun.

Recommended Reading

Chris Difford's Myspace

Chris Difford's Website

Chris Difford - Fat As A Fiddle

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion

Well there's a whole lot of swapping and swinging happening on Planet Mondo today.

Mr Double Down is taking care of business for this weeks Funky Friday - while I'm over at his Hook and Sling site with my brand new fifty minute mix called .....

'Dial M For Mondo'

Which you can try before you buy with this two minute teaser trailer

And if you feel like filling your funky boots with the full track list...

Lets All Make Love In London (intro)
Rare Earth - I Just Want To Celebrate
Marsha Hunt – (Oh No!)Not the Beast Day
The Exciters - Blowing Up My Mind
Little Milton - More and More (on loan from Roman Empress )
The Isley Brothers - Get Into Something
Amanda Shankar - Jumpin' Jack Flash
Wynder K Frog – Bad Eye
Peggy Lee - Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay
Lou Rawls - The Letter
Little Richard - I Don't Want To Discuss It
M.V.Ps - Turnin My Heartbeat Up
The Younghearts - A Little Togetherness
Luther Ingram - If It's All The Same To You Babe
Electric Flag - Soul Searchin
Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes - Get Back

You can download it right here ‘Dial M For Mondo’

Monday, April 7, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful Pt 2 - UK Place Names

I may be getting into BLTP type territory here - but some villages, rivers and streets have the chirpiest, cheeriest names. So cosy they could have been dreamt up by Enid Blyton - places like......

Broughton Poggs - should surely have been a character in The Flumps.

Hatfield Pevrel - I used to know someone with a cat called Hatfield Peverel.

Littely Green - the pub here serves triangular baps called 'Huffers', which are delish.

Steeple Bumpstead - can be sung to the tune of 'Okalahama'.

Cockle Row - I whizz past this everyday on the C2C line.

River Dikler - Aaah bless.

River Piddle - you couldn't make it up could you?

And what joker came up with this one ? Gobblers Knob *does theatrical Tom and Jerry type gulp* . Don't panic - it's in America and is to do with 'Groundhog Day' apparently.

And as a footnote 'Reasons Not To Be Cheerful'.

Why does every person that buggers off and buys a farm (or moves abroad) feel they have to write a bloody book about it!

A cheese grater will cost you eighty five earth pounds at Daylesford Organic Farm - so go here instead 'The Crock Shop' just up the road in sunny Stow.

If you do visit any of these places - don't forget to follow the country code....

Joe And Petunia - Country Code

When In the Country