Page 1 of 1

Pirate aboard

PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2005 5:25 pm
by will vine
Sorry Howard just feeling mischeivious....hijacking your column 'n all. Your wonderfully thought out essays on this and that are marvels to behold - provocative even, but I. think the guys out there need an antidote. So here's me comin' in with 3 bald statements - no 4 bold statements poorly thought out and not well argued........let's see what you make of this.
1) Pop has eaten itself
2) There was a Golden age
3) We've all got too many records
4) Dimanche a Bamako ? Do me a favour!...ruined by Manu Chao

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:41 am
by howard male
I admire you pluck young man (or old man, or middle-aged man) - I'm going to have to double the virtual-security to my virtual soapbox. And in response to your one-liners:

1. If pop has eaten itself then it has a very bad case of bulimia, being as it's self-induced vomiting continuously produces a thinned-down, nutritionless gruel out of what it has eaten

2. There was a Golden Age and it lasted for several decades eventually dissolving in 1980.

3. You can't have too many records any more than you can have too many days on this planet to listen to them.

4. I've already expressed my reservations on A & M's latest offering when everyone else was praising it too the sky. I still think it is a good pop record (thanks partly to Manu Chao) but it's impact dissolves very quickly. I haven't played it for months.

And fear-not feedbackers - if you wish to offer your own answers to Mr Vine's cheeky one-liners - it will be permitted just this once. Any further breaching of the rules in my virtual kingdom will be punishable - in a Room 101 styley - by continuous exposure for a day, to whatever contemporary artist or band you find most abhorrent. So question five is:

5. What contemporary (or just relatively recent, if like me, you find it hard to keep up with what the masses are currently ingesting) artist or band most drives you up the wall?

Mardi a Reading (unfortunately)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:15 am
by Con Murphy
howard male wrote:I've already expressed my reservations on A & M's latest offering when everyone else was praising it too the sky.


Well, I'm still praising it to the sky. I have to confess I've never been much of a fan of Manu Chao, finding his music almost nursery-rhyme-like in its catchiness (although Clandestino seemed to have its moments). This is fine for one or two plays, but the novelty quickly fades.

However, I think Dimanche a Bamako is not only really good but durable as well. It has actually grown on me with repeated plays. At first I thought it was just clever and at times almost annoyingly catchy, but now I think it's a brilliantly realised roots-pop CD. It flows superbly, Chao's production is sufficiently light of touch to give the Malian duo their head, and it's punctuated by a handful of consummate pop singles. One wonders what more you could ask for in a recording of this nature. Maybe this is one of the drawbacks of trying to shoe-horn everything foreign into a specific genre. As Howard says, this is actually a pop record, so fans of the 'pure' A et M sound might be disappointed. Those of us who have previously seen them as a bit one-dimensional (with the odd outstanding moment) are maybe less likely to feel let-down. Similarly, the duo in turn have beefed up Manu's sound, so it's a win-win release as far as I'm concerned.

Pirate aboard

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:46 am
by Con Murphy
I guess I should try answering the other questions:-

1) Disagree. There is some rubbish, there has always been rubbish, and there is, no doubt, much rubbish to come. But there is also some good, innovative pop music out there, from Gorillaz to Kanye West. And to clarify (given Howard's straw man response below): this is not to compare them with greats of the past, merely to point out that there are some decent artists making a difference out there.

2) We are living in the Golden Age, and it is ongoing and permanent. After all, there's no law against enjoying all that has gone before, and access to it has never been easier or cheaper. Although I take Howard's point below that creatively this might not be the case.

3) I prefer to see it as not having enough spare time to listen to them all :-)

5) This is defined by what you are exposed to, obviously. So my vote goes for the aptly named Ordinary Boys, current favourites with my eldest. They sound like 5th form Jam imitators to me, but as she wasn't around for the Jam I have to forgive her, I guess. Having said that she does liike the Jam a lot. Which is more than I could say at her age about The Jam's influences like The Small Faces and The Kinks.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 11:08 am
by howard male
Allow me to disagree back, Con.

1. But can you put Gorillaz on the same level as Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, the Clash, the Skatalites, Chic, (insert your own favourite musical genius here), or any other pop innovator of the past you care to mention? Or course not. They're just tiny drops of relative sonic adventurousness in a vast ocean of banality.

2. Does this mean because we still have access to renaissance paintings and sculpture, we still live in the renaissance? Of course not. The Golden Age of pop was when, as with the renaissance, the art was being invented and then reinvented in an unprecedented rush of creativity: that was the journey pop music took from the 1940's to 1980; from big bands and crooners to the beginnings of rap.

4. My main problem with 'Dimanche a Bamako' is the pop-simplicity of the rhythm tracks, which gives me nothing for my ears or feet to get excited about.

5. Luckily I have no offspring torturing me with the latest retread of my old favourites, to then have them be baffled when I say the original was better. Does your eldest acknowledge the relative greatness of the Jam over his/her current favourite, Con? I suspect not.

I didn't bother to answer this question myself, because the list is too long, and I feel that just typing out the culprit's names will sully my day. But they way it usually works for me is that the more the critics go over the top in their appreciation of an average and unoriginal band, the more I loath them. And thus the current two least favourites are Fritz Furtherbland and the Elton John Sisters.

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 1:00 pm
by Martin_Edney
howard male wrote:5. What contemporary (or just relatively recent, if like me, you find it hard to keep up with what the masses are currently ingesting) artist or band most drives you up the wall?


Can't name individuals, but check Top of the Pops any week and you'll see what John Peel referred to as "the massed Beyoncés" which sums up a certain style of identikit R'n'B belter nicely.

Re: Pirate aboard

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:18 pm
by Ian A.
will vine wrote:1) Pop has eaten itself
2) There was a Golden age
3) We've all got too many records
4) Dimanche a Bamako ? Do me a favour!...ruined by Manu Chao


1) Always does. There'll be more along soon. Always is (sometimes several at once, like 29 buses).
2) There was. There is. There will be again. If you think otherwise, you became your parents. Among the few things really worth acquiring with age is tolerance for other people's tastes formed under different circumstances and with different cultural references (is this not, after all, why certain of us find music from other cultures to be interesting, he advocated devilishly?)
3) Yes. And nothing is sacred. It's OK to dispose of old ones to make room for new ones. I did this with my vinyl a decade ago (approx 5000 LPs - kept about 300, have honestly never regretted any of the rest, many of which are on CD with better sound anyway). Ever tried working out how long it would take to play them? Life is truly too short . . .
4) Matter of personal taste (see 2). There are plenty of other Un-Chaosed A&M albums (and gigs) around if it's not to yours. Why, there are probably some who think Manu Chao's new album was ruined by A&M who had the cheek to stick their name on it!

There are no golden truths, only personal judgements (this board needs the lightbulb smilicon like wot we've on on ours!). This was my personal revelation of the summer, sat on a bench in Croatia staring at the Adriatic - that we take all this stuff too seriously. Life required . . .

Exits Howard's personal box pursued by dragons . . . promise to stay out!

Re: Pirate aboard

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:51 pm
by Tom McPhillips
will vine wrote:1) Pop has eaten itself
2) There was a Golden age
3) We've all got too many records
4) Dimanche a Bamako ? Do me a favour!...ruined by Manu Chao



1) i'm always confused by the word "Pop"... It's a somewhat local phenomenon, it's like regional fast food... eat itself? More like instantly consumed and soon to be completely indigestible, in fact "acid reflux" is probably already a genre.

2) there was always a Golden Age, it's the one we experienced but weren't aware of ourselves doing it.. such is the nature of golden ages...

3) yes

4) well, I'm still enjoying it! It's a very useful tool in persauding friends that they'd enjoy World Music, somewhat like Souad Massi's Deb was. "It's great music that you'll immediately warm to, and look there's a whole World of it out there! Go forth and enjoy!"

Golden handshake

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:33 pm
by Con Murphy
Ian A. wrote:2) There was a Golden age

2) There was. There is. There will be again. If you think otherwise, you became your parents.


I'm pretty certain that for every "golden age of pop" article/opinion piece/post written, if you take the "Year of Birth" of the author away from their stated "Year of the End of the Golden Era", the result will come out somewhere between 20 and 25. What does that tell us?

:-)

Hijacking the Pirate thread

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:42 pm
by Con Murphy
Tom McPhillips wrote:in fact "acid reflux" is probably already a genre.


I'm sure the good people at Wire magazine could find something to fit that description, if they haven't already.

Agree about Deb, that's a really good crossover CD, and is one of the first that I reach for when we have visitors around and my wife invites me to put some of my weird foreign stuff on to impress them. It's the accessibility that tends to impress, more than anything. The first two Susheela Raman CDs work well this way, also. Anybody got any other suggestions in this vein?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 3:39 pm
by howard male
Ian wrote -

Exits Howard's personal box pursued by dragons . . . promise to stay out!


You know your welcome in my box anytime Ian - it's all just playful banter anyway.

I must say your Croatian trip seems to have done you the world of good. All your answers to Will's one-liners seem uncharacteristically calm and wise - to the degree that I've got nothing to sink my teeth into by way of a response!

Con wrote -

Anybody got any other suggestions in this vein?


As I'm normally playing stuff to fellow music lovers, but music lovers who are perhaps not as into world as I am, I simply put on whatever is exciting me at the time.

If my guest is an old punk rocker I might give them a blast of Konono No 1 (Congotronics) - which is only missing the one-two-three-four count-in, as far as being in tune with their sensibilities.

If they're more of an art school, Joy Division, Eno type, then the'd get a shot of Volga followed by some Yat Kha as a chaser - just to see their reaction to a Tuvan throat singer's take on 'When the Levee Breaks', 'Black Magic Woman', and a dozen other unlikely covers.

If my mum drops round, then it's 'In the Heart of the Moon' or Mariza's latest.

And if in doubt I'll just play what I'm playing most myself at the moment. Which this week is ' Mademoiselle Marseille' by Provence's Moussu T E Lei Jovents. It's a spirited, rough-edged, inventive and melodic album which wouldn't demand much from the first-time listener, but would give them a Joe Strummerish dose of quality rootsy but poppy music, which just happens to be in French.

Recommendations for unworldy-wise music lovers

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 3:51 pm
by Con Murphy
howard male wrote:You know your welcome in my box anytime Ian


The less said about that the better.

howard male wrote:And if in doubt I'll just play what I'm playing most myself at the moment. Which this week is ' Mademoiselle Marseille' by Provence's Moussu T E Lei Jovents. It's a spirited, rough-edged, inventive and melodic album which wouldn't demand much from the first-time listener, but would give them a Joe Strummerish dose of quality rootsy but poppy music, which just happens to be in French.


...and indeed Occitan, as the calm and wise Mr Anderson informed me earlier on his own forum. It's rather good, isn't it Howard?

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 11:16 pm
by Jamie Renton
1) Pop has always eaten itself. It's what it throws up that's important.

2) The Golden age is whenever you discovered music. I've got a friend who's 3 years older than me & views punk with the same disdain that I view the new romantics. The office administrator at my day job is in his mid-50s, religiously attends 60s weekenders at Butlins, Bognor Regis & believes that civilisation ended the day Herman's Hermits stopped having hits. My children will probably 1 day say "Ah McFly, now that was when music was really music!" But as Jonathan Richman once sang, recalling some little girl who came a flirtin' "Do you long for her or for what you were?" Personally I get just as exited about music now as I did then. Just different music. This just proves that I've never properly grown up (if proof were needed)

3) We've all got too many records? Funny, I've just been trying to sort out which tunes to take along for the next time I DJ & was thinking the exact opposite

4) Dimanche a Bamako's a good album. The best that Manu's been involved in since Clandestino. I'm not sure it's the classic some would claim it to be but I enjoy it every time I play it (which is not that often, but never the less ... )

As for the album to play to those who don't know world music. Strangely, I've found that Yousou N'Dour's Egypt does the trick for all kinds of people. I can't think why as (on paper) it's the least commercial sounding thing imaginable.

Jamie

Pirate aboard

PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 12:36 pm
by Guest
An open letter to Howard Male.

A million apologies for jumping aboard your ship...'fraid I'd been amongst the bank holiday rum ration at the time, consequently feeling a bit...er...Let me explain the email.
Like the rest of the gang on this feedback thing I am a lifelong enthusiast of them crazy sounds. I'm not a cataloguer, completist collector, researcher, or even avid student of the rhythms of the world but I'm caught up in it all till it hurts. My two virtual radio stations, the one in my head and the other one - the cassette player in my truck are going on incessantly. I'm listening, making connections, making lists, and working very hard on the next ultimate compilation tape, delighting in the new, wallowing in the old, and generally having a lot of harmless fun...in a world of my own,But then...(just before I jumped aboard)...........

Blues come down like showers of rain......

.1)tape player broke. I had to endure the best daytime radio could offer which naturally reinforced the notion that pop had not only eaten itself but had made a thoroughly bad job of it.
2)that fateful bank holiday saw me finally giving up my almost unliftable box of 45s a full 2 years after I got rid of the jukebox...a bittersweet deal as you can imagine. Pawing through them all for one last time I just thought "Yeah, there WAS a golden age.
3)I've always known that I'd both far too many records and at the same time no where near enough. I have quite a few wrong ones--mistakes !
4)I chose to highlight Amadou and Mariam as a less than essential purchase, which is a little unfair since we played it again recently on a scorching hot day in the garden and it didn't seem to be the same record.

Anyway the point of all this is that for a moment in time I felt I was faltering along the way on Captain Charlie's neverending expedition and I wanted to have the absolute conviction that so many of my contemporaries have (52yo,Howard) that...
Pop has eaten itself and they couldn't care less, There was a Golden Age up to and including The Fab Four, They have more than enough Records especially since they are all in a box in the loft, and "Amadou and who?"

It's been a long strange trip with Charlie, what with all that having to sort out your Syrian rappers from your Tuvan throat specialists and,you'll be glad to know I'm still on board despite this wobble......I guess it was just like "Hey sir, Can we have a break?"

Thanks for following me aboard fellas...enjoyed all your comments. What we gotta do now is become real pirates.......I got this idea for a radio station...Radio Eclectica (working title only)....are with me, me hearties ?

PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:54 pm
by ritchie
I can almost picture the 'tee shirt' in my mind .... something subtle in xxl. and as I write this... the theme tune to 'captain pugwash' is playing on my 'brain radio'.... put me on the list of subscribers under the name of 'colin of the caribean' (I want to be a nice pirate) hey, it's a sunny day I think I'll talk in song titles for the rest of the afternoon....