Monday, March 26, 2007

The Wild Swans Catalogue Completed!

The lost gems of Liverpool pop continue to be re-issued. This time it's the very wonderful Wild Swans, who in their first incarnation managed one single and a Peel session and in their second trotted out two whole albums for Sire. The second of these has been available on CD in North America, but the first has been vinyl-only until this 2 April 2007. (I guess they wouldn't want to announce this on April Fool's Day or no-one would believe them.)

Titled Magnitude, the double CD release contains all sorts of extra goodies. The disc of Bringing Home the Ashes is supplemented by the b-sides of the two singles, "Young Manhood" and "Bible Dreams". This is a must for any fans of winsome elegaic chiming guitar music, perhaps especially Echo and the Bunnymen fans. The one-note guitar solo in "Young Manhood" is a high point. (Does anyone else remember the video?)

The second album, Space Flower sees them drifting off-path into a faux bubblegum psychedelia, something Paul Simpson has made a bit of a career out of since, albeit in a more ambient vein. It's all lovely melodies, silly lyrics and phased guitar.

The ten original tracks are here supplemented by five demos of tracks that never made the album, plus a Bill Drummond remix (calling KLF fans!) of "Melting Blue Delicious" (the same one that appeared on a US promo disk?) and a session that never made the album ("Tastes Like Tuesday")

Support this site by buying this very generous two-disk set (31 tracks!) from Amazon through the following links.

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Or, start with those links and buy anything at all from Amazon. Your purchases are at the same discounted rates, but a portion of Amazon's profits instead go to help this site. Thank you.

You can visit The Wild Swans, Jem Kelly or Paul Simpson on MySpace.

And please don't forget the compilation of earlier Wild Swans material, Incandescent, which contains the massive song "God Forbid" and many other searing testaments to misspent youth.

"One day all this will be yours."
Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jean Baudrillard: How To Disappear Completely

My life is spent in an alternative media world from most, so I am often unaware of major "events" that normative values say I should be interested in. I must say I have never suffered any harm or diminishing of richness in my life due to this. Quite the contrary.

However, this happy oblivion did mean that I was unaware immediately of Jean Baudrillard's objective disappearance from the world, which newspapers report to have happened March 6, 2007. If the name means nothing to you then read the fine obituary at The Guardian, or those from his colleagues at the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies.

That publication held a conference last September at Swansea University. I was fortunate enough to deliver a paper there, thanks to Alan N. Shapiro.

After Baudrillard's non-appearance at this conference I had assumed already that he was gone. In his absence he left a paper, "On Disappearing", one of the more sublime efforts he has achieved, certainly beyond my meagre attempts at understanding. So thankfully there was an expert panel to provide multiple paths into and out of the text.

I never met Baudrillard and would have had nothing to say if I had. A positive nothing. I know this because I once met J.G. Ballard, who has had a profound influence on my life. I could not say anything to him that would not have diminished the silence with words. Though, raised always to be polite, I believe I did spoil things with a "thank you".

In this way the quotidian is used to mark time where otherwise rich stillness might fall.

A lack of noise is traditionally seen to signify quietude, quietus and death. But there is nothing richer than a silence which one experiences intently.

Death is a silence in which no-one listens. I strive to not mourn those who have gone to that literal utopia, that ou topos in which silence itself does not exist.

So, thank you Jean Baudrillard, for giving me the perspective from which I may spoil this dark page with words that know their own limitations.
Friday, March 09, 2007

Dalek I Love You Album on CD Soon

The Theatre of Noise can now reveal, in an exclusive scoop, that the second Dalek I Love You album is finally getting a release on CD. Due on the Korova imprint through Warners in early April, this compilation will see the eleven original tracks joined by five bonus tracks and one previously unreleased selection. Truly music fans can rejoice!

Courtesy of the compiler, Tim Chacksfield, here is the track listing:
  1. Holiday in Disneyland
  2. Horrorscope
  3. Health and Happiness
  4. The Mouse That Roared
  5. Dad on Fire
  6. Ambition
  7. Heaven Was Bought For Me
  8. Lust
  9. 12 Hours of Blues
  10. Sons of Sahara
  11. Africa Express
  12. Would You Still Love Me
  13. These Walls We Build
  14. Horrorscope [Instrumental Version]
  15. Masks & Licenses
  16. The Angel and the Clown
  17. Heaven Was Bought For Me
  18. 12 Hours Of Blues [Dub Version]

The package will include the original sumptuous artwork and liner notes by Paul Lester.

My contribution to this project comes through my annotated discography which, though languishing in some forgotten corner of the web (a very old site of mine) still manages to be the definitive source of information on the group. I know this because over the years it has attracted the attention of former band members (Dave Hughes, Chuka Russo), group managers (Paul Collister), research students, and now, finally, someone willing to re-issue the music.

Update on discography now available.

Two decades ago I described Dalek I Love You as "an inventive tour-de-force with witty lyrics". The music has stood the test of time. Multi-layered percussion fuse with synthetic textures and unusual chordal patterns to create a happy, lush, yet quirky mix. Anyone remotely interested in pop music should put it on their "immediate buy" list.

I will have more on this release once I have heard the finished product.