Fantastic mix this week from London mix-merchants Shock World Service. “I find it difficult to sum up what the podcast is,” says creator Jon Averill. “On one hand the Shock World Service is just another mixtape. On the other it is more music and sound collage, music and spoken word interwoven with sounds and dialogue recorded around the city – best suited for long train journeys or flights, ideally late at night and played loudly on headphones.”
I’m not sure if I’ve ever read such an enticing blurb about a podcast, it makes me want to book a flight just so I can experience it above the earth as recommended. You can find their extensive back-catalogue over yonder and yonder In the mean time, enjoy one of the most enlightening and entertaining track lists we’ve ever been sent, nay of all time. Thanks Jon!
1. Chris Watson – El Devisadero
Cabaret Voltaire founder Chris Watson is adept in capturing everyday background clangour and contorting it into something between sound art and music – reigniting the debate around Musique Concrète as to whether industrial, discordant sound could be enjoyed as musical form. The Tube certainly never sounded this good?
2. Patrice Baumel – Birth
The writhing electronics of Patrice Baumel sit directly over El Devisadero. Pulsing feedback permeates Birth with its theatrical peaks and troughs.
3. Irene Dailey & Martin Donegan – Wright, Charles, November 22, 1963
Taken from the absorbing Of Poetry & Power: Poems Occasioned by the Presidency and by the Death of John F. Kennedy’on the Folkways label (a label considered important enough to be acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1987.
4. Bohren & Der Club of Gore – Texas Keller
The low slung sleaziness of Bohren and Der Club of Gore’s earier material is in evidence in Texas Keller. This track is actually from Der Club of Gore’s “lighter period.” What should be obvious connection between this and the previous track was not intentional. I can only hope that my brain was working subconsciously.
5. Mssingno – Xe3
Snapping us back right into modernity is Mssingno’s Xe3, a crystalline intermingling of elements of R&B and Grime with pitch shifted vocals and snares. Far less annoying than that sounds.
6. Umwelt – Kneecap Ridge
Absolutely no idea where I got this track from but this track feels like it’s alive, pulsing and growing before your very ears. I looked up Kneecap Ridge, it’s a real place.
7. Paul Martin – Le Troublant Témoignage De Paul Martin
Just as the party is about to get going a French man comes along and ruins it.
8. Raymond Scott – Vim
TIme for an ad break. Buy Vim people, lots of Vim.
9. Max Richter – Summer 2 (Vivaldi: The Four Seasons)
My favourite moment of Max’s Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons. I don’t need to tell you that it’s a recomposing of The Four Seasons by Max Richter.
10. Ambrosia – (On My Way To) Providence
Have had a copy of the mostly ignored album A Reminiscent Drive on a promo CD since the year 2000. I have also mostly ignored it until now, it’s great. Most likely didn’t sell due to his association with creamed rice.
11. Brian Briggs – Aeo (Pt. 1)
I know almost nothing about Brian Biggs but this track is taken from an album called Computer Incarnations For World Peace compiled by Gerd Janson. If the lost underwater city of Atlantis existed (and it does) this would be play there on a loop.
12. Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal
A galvanic and soporific deep space siren song,Brooklyn’s Oneohtrix Point Never.
13. Lou Reed – Transformer (Advert)
Time for another ad break folks.
14. Guy Warren Of Ghana With Red Garland – The High Life
Taken from an album called Funny Old Shit on Trunk Records. There’s not many labels that would release an album featuring music from Bernard Cribbins, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Noel Coward and Robert Mitchum.
15. April March – Cet Air La
April March is an American singer-songwriter who is obsessed with French music and sings almost exclusively in the pompatus of love. April is best known for the track Chick Habit which appears in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof – the track itself is actually a cover of a Serge Gainsbourg song Laisse Tomber Les Filles.
16. Dennis Wilson – Common
Followers of our podcast will already have heard me eulogise about Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s Pacific Ocean Blue – this was his the only solo album he made before his untimely death in 1983. This beguiling track is taken from the never completed follow up Bambu. I greatly suspect this was not originally intended to be an instrumental.
17. Donnie & Joe Emerson – Baby
Taken from Dreamin’ Wild. A winsome set of west-coast pop songs with a languorous delivery from 2 brothers who worked recorded it at a home made studio on their family farm in 1979. Only 2,000 copies were pressed up and almost none were sold leaving the brothers to soon return to their acreage. It pretty much remained that way, bar a few interested collectors trading them for inflated prices. Then in 2012 it all changed – Ariel Pink released a cover version of Baby and word of Dreamin’ Wild began to spread – soon after it was re-issued by Light In The Attic Records and in 2014 their highest honour, inclusion on this podcast.
18. Meredith Monk – Memory Song
An amazing piece of music by the American composer, performer, director, vocalist, filmmaker and choreographer. Memory Song sits between performance piece and music and reminds me of the work of Robert Ashley (see Bruno Pt.1 on Podcast 51). I guess Monk could be also be compared to contemporaries Steve Reich and Philip Glass in her use of words as musical elements as much as narrative guide. Sample spotters; Midnight in a Perfect World by DJ Shadow is effectively a (very clever) cut up of Monk’s track Dolmen Music.
19. The SM Corporation – [After The] Hammer (Great Lakes Mystery Version)
Now we come to some of my own label output. We have just released a track Hammer, recorded in 1986 by The SM Corporation on The Shock World Service label. This version by Great Lakes Mystery is my favourite. It twists and turns the original’s industrial pop landscape into something warmer and in many ways more dramatic – a pulsing modern pop song featuring disembodied lyrics duelling with live cello throughout its seven minute duration.
20. Alessi Brothers – Seabird
Towards the conclusion of the film Ghostbusters the Ghostbusters are given a police escort towards their final showdown with Gozer. Well the music in the background of the scene is Saving The Day by Alessi Brothers. Some people will be going “oh yeah” now, some will be Googling it, most will do nothing. That aside I remember when I was a kid I thought it was pretty cool. Fast forward just 30 years to me hearing this Seabird on a Youtube playlist and on discovering the artist name was sure it couldn’t be the same set of brothers. With all the search technology available to me this information was quickly confirmed and the status of Alessi Brother songs liked by me soon switched from 1 to 2.
I initially found the track quite pleasant and amusing with it’s snappy little toy drum machine beat and simplistic metaphors. On further appraisal I now find it to be a sagacious examination of loss and yearning.
21. Man outside HSBC – Why Are You Not Rebelling?
Just in case you thought we’d finish the podcast on a high note stay listening to this audio collage recorded on the streets of London with a well concealed microphone earlier in the summer.