Thursday, 29 March 2018

Golden Earring : Moontan
 The first I ever heard and saw Dutch band, Golden Earring would probably have been on BBC 1s Top Of The Pops show in the early 70s. As I bought this tape in June 1974 (see photo below for details), this must have been in late '73 when their then hit, 'Radar Love' was beginning to make inroads into the charts. In fact, I bought this tape on the strength of that one great single which had been getting a lot of airplay that year. 'Moontan' is the band's ninth album but up until 'Radar Love' -and like most people outside of the Netherlands, I imagine- I'd never heard or heard of them before. They formed way, way back in 1961 and were still releasing stuff in 2012!

Anyhow, this and the 1976 album, 'To The Hilt' (which I also have on tape format), are the only two recordings of the band which I possess. I don't recall much about that second tape -I'll have to give it a listen again- but I really like(d) this album. 'Radar Love' is still classic-rock radio fare today. One of those great in-car, driving songs that you singalong with whenever it comes on the radio:

'I've been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel
There's a voice in my head that drives my heel
It's my baby calling, says "I need you here"
And it's a half past four and I'm shifting gear'

( ©: Writer(s): George Kooymans, Barry Hay)

'Moontan', thanks to 'Radar Love', turned out to be the band's best selling album ever outside of the Netherlands as well as something of an international hit. There's no information on my tape of who did the artwork but Ronnie Hertz took the photograph of the 'exotic dancer' used for the cover (and inner sleeve pics on the LP version). A cover that didn't go down too well in the USA (what a surprise!). It was later replaced by another (dreadful) one featuring a close up of an ear with a large, round "earring" dangling from it and with the band's name engraved on it. Talk about crap artwork. 

For the anecdote; I know exactly when I bought this tape as I still have the receipt for it. Receipt which I slipped inside the J-card and which has remained there for 44 years (FFS!).

 As you can see in the pic above, there's the receipt. It says where I bought it; the date of purchase; and how much I paid for it (£2.40) as well as the mysterious "Shug Barr is Cool" line beneath the shop's address. 
Of course, that Virgin Records store has long since closed down (it's now Silk & Secrets; a "seedy, cheap, nasty and, even a little bit, intimidating" lingerie shop according to one online comment). All I recall about the place was that it was scruffy -to say the least- and that the staff were all aging hippies with lank hair, flared jeans and flowery waistcoats. I was just a lad so my mind might be playing tricks on me but that's the image I have of the place.
As for "Shug Barr", I've no idea who he is/was or if he is/was "cool." If he's still around he must be an OAP. Maybe even a "cool" OAP. Who knows?

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

The Belbury Circle : Outward Journeys
A few years back I was really into the Ghost Box label. I found the whole concept rather brilliant. A small, independent label; a sort of cottage industry run by a couple of enthusiastic and enlightened fellows. Which basically what Ghost Box is.
Though the label has released a good few recordings by others the whole set up is more or less a Julian House, Jon Brooks, and Jim Jupp project.

The admirable Julian House artwork / graphic design; all that idea about hauntology, the 70s retro feeling, the library music schtick really appealed to me at that time. I bought  a batch of releases -the whole Study Series of singles, albums by The Focus Group, Belbury Poly, The Advisory Circle, Mount Vernon Arts Lab. I particularly like The Focus Group -a project of experimental electronic musician and graphic designer Julian House- with its blend of influences ranging from old library music sounds, sixties melodies, seventies film soundtracks and TV programmes.

House probably made his best disc though with the collaboration with Broadcast on the 'Broadcast and The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age' album (Warp, 2009). I say probably because I'm not quite aware of what he's released on Ghost Box in the past couple of years or so. Can imagine that I've missed out on some good stuff. In fact, I'll have to time to listen to all of the older releases too.

Of course,  the Ghost Box releases that I acquired were (are) rather splendid. As I mention, I bought a batch of singles and some albums - as well as their two packs of Ghost Box badges. Badges that had actually been inspired by me as I'd been making my own Ghost Box badges. Jim Jupp actually informed me via the Belbury Parish Magazine that mine had been the inspiration for Ghost Box to set about producing their own.

Somehow I sort of went of the label. More or less something else caught my fancy and attention. That was until I saw that they were releasing a cassette! Being the tape fetishist that I am I just had to have this highly desirable item. I hope that they release some more tapes in the near future. Maybe even some back catalogue on cassette?

As for the tape itself; The Belbury Circle consists of Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) -someone who has a fascination with sixties & seventies public information films, and Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly -the studio band of Ghost Box Records co-founder Jim Jupp and Jon Brooks). Hence the name: Belbury Circle. Belbury Poly's influences, much like those of House and Brooks, range from old library music, synth sounds, analogue and TV soundtracks to keyboard driven 70s prog rock, folk and Krautock

Anyhow, 'Outward Journeys' is the first album for this collaborative project  It also features John Foxx on vocals and synth on a couple of the tracks 'Trees' and 'Forgotten Towns'- reprising his appearance on The Belbury Circle’s debut six-track EP (Empty Avenues) in 2013. As with previous releases 'Outward Journeys' draws heavily on late 70s and early 80s synth pop and library music.
It's not my favourite Ghost Box release but all in all its rather fine indeed.

The ever-excellent design is by Julian House. Here he uses the aesthetic of early software and computer packaging though at first sight it reminded me more of Polaroid™ packaging.

Tape comes with a download code for those obsessed with the digital age who want listen to it on a laptop or a smartphone.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Viva! Roxy Music

Roxy Music has always been one of my all time favourite bands. I first heard and saw the band when they appeared on the BBC's Top Of The Pops show way back in August, 1972. That night they played their Art Rock classic and first single; 'Virginia Plain'. Amazing stuff but with the camera almost entirely focused on frontman Bryan Ferry. You only get a blurry glimpse of Brian Eno in the background as well as a short close up of his sequin-gloved hands during the entire performance. A short, debut performance; clocking in at just under 3 minutes, but which had me converted to their cause immediately.

Anyhow, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the recently released, self-titled first album which had had rave reviews in the New Musical Express, Melody Maker and the other music weeklies that were available back then. I'm not sure where I got my copy but I imagine that it was from one of the John Menzies chain strores. Then again, it might have been from a Boots. I'm not sure. Fabulous album, fabulous artwork: glam, style, kitsch, art and pop culture all in one package. Only thing that disappointed me was the fact 'Virginia Plain' wasn't on this cracker of an album! No real fuss though as my mum, much to my pleasure picked up the single later that week in a local electrical goods shop.

At any rate, I was now a fully-fledged fan of Roxy Music and continued to be so right up to the 'High Road' EP (recorded at the Glasgow Apollo in 1982) and the demise of the band. Few bands that I've liked over the years have made as many great consecutive albums as Roxy Music. The first five are all remarkable and littered with great tracks such as 'Love is the Drug', 'Do the Strand', 'Ladytron', 'Psalm', etc. etc. The latter three albums are worthy of a place in any music fan's collection but you can feel that they were beginning to wane.

Another great feature of Roxy Music was their album artwork. Particularly on the first five albums with their stunning models and design. The 'Country Life' album even caused a bit of a stir in the USA where some stores sold the album in an opaque plastic wrapper because they refused to display the cover.
Later, Factory stalwart, Peter Saville designed the superb artwork on 'Flesh and Blood'. 'Manifesto' and 'Avalon' really look pale in comparison artwork-wise to all of the other covers.

Over the years I was fortunate to catch the band live a couple of times (sans Eno *sigh*). I have a few in concert shots from the 'Flesh and Blood' tour from 1980 -which I might post at my Flickr page or on Twitter, one day. You can also see a lot of archive stuff of the band on YouTube but if you want to hear them in vivo, so to speak, I highly recommend the 'Viva! Roxy Music' live album from 1976. Captured at their best the album features tracks recorded in their hometown, Newcastle and at the Glasgow Apollo in '75 and '76.

Of course, by 1982, and the release of 'Avalon' (the only Roxy Music album I don't have on tape), Bryan Ferry had released five solo albums. Deciding to continue as a solo artist Ferry disbanded Roxy Music in 1983. No more new music was forthcoming from the band but over the years a whole host of 'Live', 'Best of', 'Ultimate Collection', etc. etc. albums have been released. If you have the originals from 1972-1982 you really don't need any of them unless you're one of those sad anorak, diehard fans who simply must possess everything.

 All of these cassettes were bought when first released. I really cherish them and am glad that I've hung on to them all these years. They have pride of place in my tape collection. As do a couple of early Brian Eno ones!

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

simple minds : live in the city of light

This is the one and only Simple Minds tape that I possess. Have only had it for a short time as I bought at a car-boot sale the other day for all of 0,50€! Now, Simple Minds were a band that I really liked from 'Real To Real Cacophony' in 1979 to around the era just after 'New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)'and the 'Up On A Catwalk' single in 1984. After that the band took more or less the same road as U2 and turned into one of those turgid stadium rock bands. Still, their early stuff is really excellent and I'm glad that I still have all my vinyl.

This is a tape copy of their 'Live In The City Of Light' album which was released in 1987 on Virgin Records. I've never heard this album; nor this tape for that matter, which was; except for one track, recorded live at Le Zenith, Paris in August 1986 when the band was more or less (*groan*) at its zenith too.

Their single, "Don't You (Forget About Me)" which had been featured on the soundtrack to the highly successful 'The Breakfast Club' film in 1985 helped break the band in the USA but they were already stadium rock stars in the UK, Europe, Australia and Canada by then. I did buy a couple of their singles after '85 but I really went off them pretty fast.

Anyhow, this tape, though its J-card is a wee bit scuffed, will easily find a place in one of my boxes of tapes and I'm rather glad to have it as part of my collection.

Artwork of the original Mick Haggerty Minds' logo in gold on a black background is very nice indeed. The Claddagh; design for a traditional Irish ring given which represents love, loyalty, and friendship, drawing is by one William F. Ryan.
J-card is a 3-panel fold-out which features colour photos of each of the band members for that show in Paris.

Monday, 21 August 2017

huxley boon : distractions loops
Huxley Boon
Distractions Loops
Twin Lakes / Burnt Brain (2017)
Pro-dubbed cassette with card insert
Limited edion of 50 copies
Compositions created using a cassette 4 track, SAD-1 delay pedal and the samples from an SP404 that Sauna Youth used on their album 'Distractions' released July 3, 2017 
Recorded & Mixed by Huxley Boon (2016) • • • [ Bandcamp ]

I must admit that I have no idea who Huxley Boon is except that he's associated in some way with London-based post-punk, four-piece Sauna Youth. That's "post-punk" as in they play the same style of music about 35 years after the advent of post punk. I wonder if any members of the band were even born then?
Anyhow, I caught onto this thanks to a Twitter post about its upcoming release. Being a fan of William Basinski the title had caught my eye: 'Distractions Loops' being a pun on Basinski's 'Disintegration Loops' though I haven't the faintest if this was intended by Boon or not. Still, the whole thing does have that whole sort of Basinski-like drone feel to it and, though rather short (14'01" exactly on each side), is really quite good. I certainly prefer this to the Sauna Youth releases which; in all fairness, I haven't really given much time to listen to. I'll reappraise after another couple of listens to them and in particular the original 'Distractions' album.

Artwork is very nice: sort of op-art-ish (if that's what it's called) on the tape and J-card on one side and rather sci-fi on the other. Someone drowned in red tones appearing to look in a mirror, holding their head while a UFO like object (probably some ceiling light fixture) hovers in the top right corner. Curiously, the whole thing -tape & j-card- smells of aftershave or some other masculine deodorant.

So, according to what's on the Bandcamp pages I imagine this is some sort of side project by Boon. There's no infomation with the tape and virtually nothing Google-wise other than some bits on Sauna Youth and at their own blog . Blog which hasn't been updated since January this year. Apparently they're on Facebook if anyone's interested. I'm not. In Facebook, I mean so you'll have to do your own research if you want to know any more.

Friday, 11 August 2017

mick ronson : slaughter on 10th avenue

mick ronson
slaughter on 10th avenue
rca records (1974)

Mick Ronson's debut album released in 1974. Tape which I bought with my well-earned pocket money for all of £2.35 from a Boots the Chemists store. At that time Boots sold both vinyl and cassettes as did a lot of other chain stores whose principal business wasn't selling records. Of course, Ronson I knew as the guitarist in Bowie's backing band, The Spiders From Mars, and was curious to find out what he had to offer as a solo artist. It's a short album -clocking in at just under 36 minutes- but it has its moments. Particularly the 'Only After Dark' track which is also the B-side to the 'Love Me Tender' single released a couple of months before the album.

The Bowie connection is furthered with two tracks; 'Growing Up and I'm Fine' by Bowie himself and 'Pleasure Man / Hey Ma Get Papa' co-written with the Thin White Duke. Not forgetting fellow Spider From Mars, Trevor Bolder, on bass. Bolder and Ronson had played together in The Rats in their native Hull before joing up with Bowie. Bolder would go on to join Uriah Heep and later, Wishbone Ash.

'Slaughter on 10th Avenue,' which became more or less Ronson's signature tune, was originally music from a ballet by Richard Rogers which was first used in a Rogers & Hart Broadway comedy musical in 1936! Apparently Ronson had listened to the original music often as a child and had always liked it. His version does it well.

All in all, 'Slaughter...' is a pretty decent album but not a great classic like 'Ziggy Stardust' nor 'Hunky Dory.' Still, it's worthy of a place in any music fan's collection. Never bought a vinyl copy though.

Monday, 7 August 2017

david bowie : station to station
david bowie
station to station (tape)
rca records (1976)
apk1 1327

design : AGI
photography: steve schapiro

 Another classic album from Bowie's best decade; the 70s. The year was 1976 and this was incredibly Bowie's tenth album release! Station To Station was recorded after he completed shooting Nicolas Roeg's Sci-Fi film, The Man Who Fell to Earth. The actual album artwork features a still from that very same film. As does the first of the "Berlin Trilogy" albums, Low.

Musically, Station to Station is a bit of a transitional album for Bowie. Developing the funk and soul music of his previous release, Young Americans, Bowie takes a new direction towards synthesisers and deutsch-motorik rhythms. Rhythms highly influenced by German electronic bands such as Neu! and Kraftwerk that were beginning to emerge and become known to a wider audience.

This trend would culminate in some of his most acclaimed work, the so-called
"Berlin Trilogy", recorded with Brian Eno in 1977–79 at the famous Hansa Tonstudio in the Kreuzberg district of '70s Berlin. Interesting to note that Bowie's buddy, Iggy Pop, who accompanied the Thin White Duke on his German sojourn, also made what are probably his two best solo albums, The Idiot and Lust for Life, during the same period.

After recording Station to Station in the USA, Bowie heavily addicted to cocaine, decided to get away from his Los Angeles base. In an attempt to flee the substance-fuelled years that had taken a toil not only on his sense of judgement but had also seen him go from thin to downright emaciated, Bowie departed for Berlin.

Incidents such as the infamous and supposedly "Nazi" salute photograph in the New Musical Express, under the headline "Heil and Farewell", as well as Bowie's apparent fascination with fascism and collecting Nazi paraphenalia really weren't doing his public image any good at the time. So, Bowie and Iggy packed their suitcases and set up home in the then very much divided and isolated former Reich capital. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Anyhow, I'd sort of gone off Bowie with  the Diamond Dogs and Young Americans albums -albums which I've since reappraised and found that they belong up there with Bowie's other great seventies recordings- but Station To Station put back him on track (no pun intended!) as far as I was concerned and gave us a glimpse of what was to come with the fabulous "Berlin Trilogy." Golden Years indeed!

Friday, 21 July 2017

mixtape : wanda is not here
mixtape : wanda is not here
limited edition cassette
wanda 001
ono/wanda (2016)

You'll gather from below that I'm a bit of a Wanda fan so when I learned about this tape I just had to get one. It was released on the Ono Wanda label in 2016 and features a host of artists most of whom I'd never heard or heard of before apart from Shreikback and Brigitte Fontaine. Made up of 100 minutes of outsider electronic-ambient, music with a mostly cinematic atmosphere. This mixtape is really good and a great addition to my tape collection.
Comes with a 4-panel, homemade J-card which has the tracklisting; plus a short explication on the film's opening shots as well as the author's ideas on what the film is a about and the message it conveys on one side, but is blank
on the other.
Also included is a J-card sized print of a still from the film of Wanda (Barbara Loden); eyes closed as if in concentration, with a set of haircurlers on her head. Includes a redeem card and code for anyone who wants to download
an MP3 version. Cassette shellcase is black on side and white on the other. Tracks are interspersed by snatches of dialogue from the film.

Wanda Is Not Here : Bandcamp link

• • • • • • • • • • •

Wanda is an independent 1970 film directed by Barbara Loden who also stars in the title role.

Loden was a Broadway Tony award-winning American stage and film actress, model, and stage/film director. She was the first woman to write, direct and star in her own feature film which won the International Critics Award at the 1970 Venice Film Festival. Loden appeared in a minor role in Elia Kazan's film Wild River as Montgomery Clift’s secretary but she was perhaps better known for her role in Splendor in the Grass (1961), in which she played Warren Beatty's sister. In 1968 she married Kazan with whom she remained till her premature death in 1980. Wanda is her only film as a director.

• • • • •

Wanda tells the story of an unhappy housewife living in a shitty Pennsylvanian coal-mining town who divorces her husband and relinquishes her rights to her children. Unable to find work, Wanda leaves the town and after a couple of misfortunate events -including one where she's robbed of the meagre amount of money she has. She eventually falls in with low-life, bank robber, Norman. A man she becomes infatuated with. Despite learning about his lifestyle, that he's on the run and his abusive way towards her, Wanda decides to stay with him.

From there on it's all downhill with Norman ending up dead after a failed bank-robbery. Wanda manages to escape only to be sexually assaulted by another man with whom she hitched a ride.The film ends with Wanda at a bar, where strangers supply her with food, alcohol, and cigarettes.

Though not exactly your average feel-good movie in any way Wanda is a film that I really like. One that I recommend to anyone who is the least bit interested in contemporary American independent cinema.

In 2012, French author Nathalie Léger published Supplément à la vie de Barbara Loden (Suite for Barbara Loden being the English title) a novel about Barbara Loden and the film Wanda. If you like the film you'll enjoy this book as well.

I first saw the film at some ciné-club in the 80s but managed to catch it again when it was re-released in the early 2000s in France. I have a DVD copy which has quite a fair amount of extras including an excerpt from a television show where Loden, John Lennon and Yoko Ono are the guests. I also managed to pick up a small french-movie poster of the film and a small booklet-sized press kit (see above) that accompanied the 2003 re-release.
The 12-page booklet  includes the synopsis, cast and tech crew credits, an interview on the film with french actress, Isabelle Huppert, and Barbara Loden's filmography.

Monday, 17 July 2017

david bowie : ziggy stardust
david bowie
the rise and fall of ziggy stardust and the spiders from mars
rca international
INTK 5063

Ziggy Stardust was released in 1972. At that time I acquired, first of all, a long since lost cassette tape copy. I bought it where I usually bought tapes at that period from a small shop in Glasgow called Casa Cassettes; which I think was in Jamaica Street near Glasgow Bridge. It would be around that time or maybe a wee bit earlier that the first Virgin Records record shop opened: a scummy, hippy hangout near Central Station. Anyhow, I did eventually get a vinyl copy. This tape version in the pic above dates from 1980. I imagine that I picked it up at some car boot sale a few years ago. Though the j-card is a tiny bit soiled the tape still plays perfectly well.


Ziggy Stardust was my first real introduction to David Bowie as I wasn't really aware of his recordings apart from the Space Oddity single which my mother had bought when it was released. Of course, what really initiated my interest in Bowie had been the Starman single as well as his outrageous appearance with his band on the Top of the Pops BBC TV show in July, 1972. As far as music goes that Summer was a great one. First we had Bowie's Starman, then Mott The Hoople's All The Young Dudes (a Bowie song) followed in August by Roxy Music's debut, the utterly stunning Virginia Plain single, and Lou Reed's Transformer album the same month. All stone cold classics and defining moments in my interest in music. Mott the Hoople apart, all three others became the foundation of my record collection for a long time and indeed still are today.

Bowie's Ziggy Stardust set me off on a quest for his other releases. His earlier albums aren't as good but, in my opinion, Hunky Dory is far superior and remains probably my favourite Bowie album to this day. Needless to say, up until his untimely death in january 2016 and the release of Blackstar, the seventies were Bowie's best years.

In that decade, a whole spate of his best recordings were released: Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Heroes, Low, Station To Station, The Lodger, Diamond Dogs. A decade of quality releases that Bowie never quite succeeded in reproducing over the next 36 years of his career. That is until his swansong; the brilliant Blackstar released only a couple of days before his passing.
On his death I recall endlessly hearing the Let's Dance single on radio and TV as if it had been the only thing that he'd ever recorded. The same-titled LP might well have been Bowie's biggest-selling album but I imagine that any die-hard Bowie fan would agree with me that it certainly wasn't his best.

Still, even the lowpoints in his career stand above most of the dross that made up the mainstream charts over the years. On the other hand though, I always liked Lou Reed; whom I'd discovered through Bowie, more
than I ever did The Thin White Duke. But that's another story.

Album artwork : Terry Pastor
Album photography : Brian Ward

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

björk : post

björk : post
one little indian (1995)

This is another tape that i got at a car boot sale some time ago. Picked it up the same day as an Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark 'Best of OMD' cassette. Got both from a woman for the princely sum of 1€ if i recall correctly. Both tapes are in near-mint condition. If they had been wrapped in the cellophane they have when they're factory produced they would have looked brand new. 

Anyhow, I don't really care at all for Björk. I've always, apart from two or three early Sugurcubes singles as well as a tape version of their first album, thought of her as sounding absolutely dreadful. In fact, I go along with what trangressive cult film director John Waters says: "Björk is the new Yoko Ono - only worse!" Might be missing out, but frankly I can't see myself one day going through her whole back catalogue.

I have this unsavoury feeling that her whole act is so contrived and calculated that it puts me right off her. Must admit though that I quite liked her song 'Big Time Sensuality'* and it's accompanying video clip of Björk on the back of a flat bed truck going through Manhattan. As for this tape, the only thing that I'm consciously aware of having heard on it is the appallingly bad 'It's Oh So Quiet' track. A song which, much to my misfortune, seemed to be on the radio 24/7 at one time. I've never played the tape.

Mind you, to finish on a more positive note; the artwork's very nice indeed - the J-card is an 8-panel fold out which includes the lyrics to all of the songs. Excellent design by Me Company and great photography by Stephan Sednaoui.
The latter being the chap that shot the video mentionned above.


*I'll correct that: I quite like 'Human Behaviour' as well. So not all negative.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

talking heads : remain in light
talking heads
remain in light
sire records (1980)
srk 6095 npc

This is a tape produced for the Spanish market which I bought at a car boot sale 5 or 6 years ago. Although the J-card and the tape itself have seen better days it's still in fine condition and plays perfectly well. Remain In Light has always been my favourite Talking Heads album and I still have my original vinyl copy. Released in October 1980 during a period of high unemployment in the UK; the Thatcher era had seen the recession got worse and the introduction of cash limits on public spending, and reduced expenditure on social services such as education and housing were the order of the day. The usual Tory policies still used today by the utterly dreadful Theresa May and her ilk who are doing their utmost to destroy the NHS as well. That year too the Yorkshire Ripper (Peter Sutcliffe) still hadn't been caught, Ronald Reagan was about to become president of the USA; Ian Curtis (Joy Division) had hanged himself in May of the same year, and, only a couple of months after the album's release, John Lennon would be gunned down as he left the Dakota building in Mahattan . Not exactly a fun year but I imagine that, if you look back, every year has ups and downs. 1980 was after all the year that the Rubik's Cube first appeared.

When punk first started I was never really into any of the bands that started a whole new musical movement in '76 & '77. Having been a fan of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Patti Smith and even Pink Floyd (whom I still like) during the 70s I never really bought into the whole amateurish shambles that a lot of the bands were trying to flog. I was looking for decent bands with good music; something less abrasive than what most of punk had to offer. Most of it passed over my head apart from bands like The Buzzcocks, The Clash, and, of course, The Sex Pistols. Post-punk was a much better period music-wise. A lot of bands that had started in the short punk era or even before had so much more to offer. Bands like Cabaret Voltaire, Joy Division, Magazine, Gang of Four, PIL, This Heat, The Pop Group among others whose recordings have stood the test of time and are just as good today as they were then.

On the American front bands like The New York Dolls, Johnny Thunders, without or with the Heartbreakers, Richard Hell and the Voidoids weren't really my cup of tea either. On the other hand there were three bands -four if you include Patti Smith whose career had taken off before punk- that were really good; Television (whom Richard Hell had left before their groundbreaking Marquee Moon album had been released), The Ramones, and Talking Heads.

The Ramones' loud, fast, up front, in your face musical style were fun but is was bands like Television and especially Talking Heads that were much more in my line.
Over a short period of time (1977 -1980), and in my mind, Talking Heads made their best recordings. Four really good albums -three of them collaborations with the mighty Brian Eno- which culminated with the release of their 4th studio album, Remain In Light. Album, which, in my opinion, is their best and one which sounds as good today as it did back then. Their art rock, funk, world music and avant-garde style makes almost every track on it is outstanding; the Once In A Lifetime track (also released as a single) is the one I like least on an album which in my books gets a 9/10 rating.

Of course, Brian Eno played a big part in its success by getting the group to "experiment with African polyrhythms, funk, and electronics." By "recording instrumental tracks as a series of sampled and looped grooves, which were an innovative technique at the time." (Source: Wikipedia)

Remain In Light would, unfortunately, be the last of the band's collaborations with Eno; who would team up with Byrne on My Life in the Bush of Ghosts which was released the following year.Their career continued with members going off on various side projects for a while before getting together again, but anything they did as a band after Remain In Light was never as good.

Friday, 7 July 2017

king crimson : red
king crimson
island records (1974)
7206 018

Unlike the other Island Records tapes of the 70s this King Crimson tape doesn't come with the usual pink background on the J-card. This one, for some reason has a white background. Also, the cover art for the album artwork is all in black & white. On the LP sleeve the album title is in -you guessed it- red.
No idea why this is unless Island were trying to do things on the cheap for cassette versions. Or that the printer had run out of red ink!

Anyhow, I picked up this cassette a couple of years back at a car boot sale. I still have the a vinyl copy of the album as well. Album which I acquired a few years after its initial release on the strength of hearing its title track; the driving, hard rock instrumental, Red while perusing the vinyl in a record shop. Sounded great on the in-store Hi-Fi and also as good when I played it on my own set up.
The opening track really is a killer one, but the rest of the album sort of pales in comparison. Still, it's a worthy album. Besides this one and the 'In the Court of the Crimson King' one by the band I haven't really had any real interest in King Crimson otherwise.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

david bowie : christiane f - wir kinder vom bahnhof zoo
david bowie
christiane f - wir kinder vom bahnhof zoo
rca records (1981)
BK 43606

This is the soundtrack to Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo; a 1981 German film directed by Uli Edel that portrays the drug scene in West Berlin in the 1970s, based on the non-fiction book of the same name written following tape recordings of teenage girl Christiane F.*

The film, to which David Bowie composed the soundtrack, actually features the musician as himself in it.

According to the book, the real Christiane F. had had her first experience with heroin at a David Bowie concert some years earlier; this is told in the film with David Bowie starring as himself.

The soundtrack is made of tracks from several Bowie albums: Heroes, Station to Station, Lodger, Stage, and Low.

The artwork on the cassette (here) varies from the vinyl release in such that David Bowie does not appear on it whereas Natja Brunckhorst, who plays Christiane F in the film, appears on both the vinyl and cassette covers.


*In real life: Christiane Vera Felscherinow.
In the early 1980s, Felscherinow's boyfriend was fellow heroin addict Alexander Hacke, from the German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten. Together they released two albums under the name Sentimentale Jugend. Felscherinow also appeared in a couple of films. In 2013 she wrote and released a new autobiographical book; Mein Zweites Leben (My Second Life) which tells the storyof her life after Christiane F as well as her continuing drug abuse.
(Source : Wikipedia)

Monday, 3 July 2017

william basinski : the disintegration loops
william basinski
the disintegration loops
temporary residence (2012)

Slight return to 'i ♥ tape hiss' after a very long hiatus. I intend to, or at least try to, update this blog more frequently. Today we have a "cassette" version of the incredible 9/11 recordings, 'The Disintegration Loops' by William Basinski. The original records were released in 2002 but this came as a promo item with the reissue of a box set by Temporary Residence Ltd. in 2012. Wonderful item and one of Basinski's best recordings ever all in MP3 format.

Memory stick, USB flash drive in cassette format.
Promo version that contains the entire box set of the Disintegration Loops I-IV plus two live concerts by Basinski at The 54th Venice Music Biennale, October 18, 2008 and at The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, September 11, 2011

Courtesy of @GMAssistance

Thursday, 4 September 2014

i ♥ tape hiss - is back!

i ♥ tape hiss

As from today, 3rd of july, 2017, i ♥ tape hiss will be updated on a more regular basis. I've managed to squeeze in 3 new posts in the past 3 or 4 days. I have some other tapes lined up and hope to get the posts up whenever I have some more free time.

All older posts that had photographs missing -due to "new, better Flickr" changing all the URLs- have been brought up to date and the photos replaced. 

A lot of images are listed as "No Longer Available".
This is due to updating at Flickr of some of the photos which originally appeared on this blog. Since today, 30 August 2015, I've been re-posting a few of them and hope to get through the entire blog sometime in the near future. As I promised last year I'll eventually get round to posting some new posts as well.

Will no longer be updated sometime
in the near future.
I've abandoned Tumblr and will be posting
here soon.
04 September 2014

My thanks to all visitors and 
followers of this blog over the past
few years.


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

nico : the peel sessions

the peel session
off the track records (1988)
jd ott 170112
4-track ep tape

Thursday, 12 July 2012

the cure : the peel session

the cure
the peel session
off the track records (1988)
jd ott 37023
4-track ep tape