Always a marriage made in heaven: the voice of Karie, a J-pop queen with a whispery, heavily accented turn of phrase and the convoluted, utterly expressive lyrics of Momus.
She positions herself as Tudor successor to Catherine Parr and, although adopting a cavalier attitude to the facts of English history ("his first six wives had their heads chopped off" - er, no they didn't) the image of a vastly overweight and gout-ridden Henry playing Greensleeves on a lute to a waifish Japanese woman is charming.
Plenty of what I'm presuming are geniune Tudor instruments such as the Hand-Pumped Regal, Sackbutt and Dulcion, performed by the Dufay Collective.
from Journey To The Centre Of Me (Polydor POCH 1927), available on CD
Digital Hardcore just sounds hopelessly dated now. Whether its the post-September 11th climate of antipathy to all things terrorist / anarchist, or those dusty 10,000bpm sounds, or Alec Empire's gradual metamorphosis into a footsoldier of nu-metal I guess we'll never know.
However, Patric C (the male half of EC8OR) escapes this near-universal damnation with his first album, probably because it was specifically retro in the first instance. The musical accompaniment to an imaginary computer game, The Horrible Plans Of Flex Busterman beeps and bursts at you like all the best simple timewasting game soundtracks did. This song, played toward the end of the album and meant to signify success at the digital challenge, is the finest of all; an inspired melody that is devilish in its simplicity and an absolutely perfect sound to come from a Commodore 64 or Amiga 500 (two of the "instruments" Patric C employed on this album).
It also retains a definite piss-taking attitude, which also stands it in good stead for longevity; the general earnestness of most Digital Hardcore is so difficult to stomach these days, and lightness of touch sets Patric C apart.
One of the more famous song-poems, this is sung by the man with a thousand names, Rodd Keith. Being English, I had never really heard of the song-poem concept until an article in (I think) Cool & Strange Music magazine. Then this compilation CD came out and, wow, pinch my cheeks and call me a convert.
Anything that encourages the bizarre side of human nature gets my approval and song-poems certainly do that. Especially the right wing freaks, who seem to be over-represented in the genre. This is one of those very over-zealous numbers, stating (pre-Watergate) that Nixon is "a man of priceless worth".
What I love about Rodd Keith is that, no matter how banal or weird the lyrics kicked out by some Arkansas dweller are, he gives a sterling performance. This is no different. The spirit in which the song is written is strictly adhered to by Keith, adding of course to its overall charm.
from The American Song-Poem Anthology: Do You Know The Difference... (Setanta SETCD126), available on CD
A wild ride down the Nile. If anyone ever accuses the girl group sound of being all innocent or only about boys then just shove this riot in their ears.
Resplendent with one of the greatest nonsense refrains in popular music ("shimmy-shimmy-shimmy-shi-mi-mis-pe-dis") and screams aplenty, this track is a winner on every conceivable level. The instrumentation is clearly designed to sound Egyptian, but instead resembles the soundtrack to a campy exploitation flick about girl gangs among the pyramids (or something).
A highly unusual platter, and deservedly enjoying a greater cult reputation as the years go by.
from the single Egyptian Shumba (United Artists UA 678) available on CD - Egyptian Shumba: The Singles And Rare Recordings (RPM)
05 Apr 04 ·unathanthium: Yes,most songs that have Egyptian in the title are fabulously stupid.Egyptian Reggae,Walk Like an Egyptian for instance.Egyptian Shumba is better than the pyramids and should outlast them.Also available on Girls Go Zonk.Shimmy,shimmy,shimmy,shy-yi,meece-e-deece according to their sleeve notes. 07 Apr 04 ·jeanette: That Girls Go Zonk CD is cool, esp. that vocal version of Mission: Impossible. But you know when you have your own version of lyrics in your head and are reluctant to change them? Their sleevenotes are probably accurate but I'll never think of the song that way. An example: until embarrasingly recently I thought the the lyrics to Fame by Irene Cara were "take your pants down, and make it happen". It is of course "passion" and lord only knows what relatives thought of a four-year old me singing those lyrics at the top of my kiddy voice. 09 Apr 04 ·unathanthium: Are you sure you misheard the lyrics of Fame?Your version makes more sense to me.
Minimalist pop, and hurrah for that. The ex-Revolution musicians show Prince that they have learned their lessons well and throw in their own funky twirls, too. They eschew the back-up lipstick lesbian persona that characterised their time with Mr Rogers Nelson and dig out a sound that nicely epitomises the late 80's, a great and much-ignored time in funky dance-pop.