That got a bit embarrassing after a while, so here instead is an extract from a film soundtrack. It was released in the 1970’s. Today happens to be a Sunday.
La Planète Sauvage (aka Fantastic Planet) is an example of what can only be described as the “Franco-Czech bonkers” school of animation. Set in a galaxy far, far away it is at once a metaphor for class oppression behind the Iron Curtain and a plea for inter-cosmic understanding.
Or so I glean from the trailer on Youtube…
What is beyond doubt is that the soundtrack was composed by the great Alain Goraguer who, among other things, wrote arrangements for Serge Gainsbourg and has been sampled by J Dilla.
So come travel with us to the planet of the Oms and Draags to investigate for yourself…
As I listened to Psychemagik’s excellent new mix on Test Pressing, I reflected on the way that a certain flavour of rock music has always been assimilated into the *cough* Balearic continuum – usually cloaked in the hipster-friendly pseudonyms of “blue eyed soul”, “yacht rock” or possibly even “guilty pleasures”.
Today, in a fearless 500MH exposé, we examine the elephant-in-the-room that is…Soft Rock.
Exhibit A: Cristopher Cross – Ride Like The Wind
This surely ticks all the (good) Soft Rock boxes: gloriously propulsive arrangement, Doobie Brothers-esque harmonies, wonderfully cliched-yet-timeless lyrics and – above all – a slightly whiney delivery. I actually played this last night at the Lyttelton Arms and got some “crowd reaction” (a middle-aged denim-clad man asked me who it was by). But strangely this sleeping giant of a record seems to have been overlooked by today’s tastemakers…possibly because it wears its Soft-ness a little too boldly?
Such concerns cut no mustard at 500MH, we declare it A CLASSIC.
Now, I’ll admit to this one being a bit more problematic. Clearly not designed for dance floor action, Rupert “Pina Colada Song” Holmes’s heady cocktail of smugness and insecurity shouldn’t work on any level.
And yet. And yet…it does!
More than one listening to the naggingly insistent chorus will have you sprouting a closely-trimmed beard and donning a satin bomber-jacket quicker than you can say Allessi Brothers. You have been warned….
No round-up would be complete without reference to one of the worst examples of the genre – and sad to say it involves a group with a couple of landmark rock/dance crossover records under their belt: Chicago.
In their earlier incarnation, Chicago Transit Authority, they cut a blistering version of the Spencer Davis Group’s I’m a Man, later reworked by Rub & Tug as Lower Beard Stays the Same (the latter being one of the few edits to get a spin by David Mancuso). Even bigger was their 1979 rock/funk/soul epic Street Player, which as well as being an ace record in its own right, become the raw material for The Bucketheads’ crossover House anthem, The Bomb!.
But, returning to the subject at hand, how in the name of God could the same band have churned out THIS…
Not even mustering the power to be considered a Power Ballad, this is the sort of mush that Christopher Cross strove so hard to deliver us from…
500 Miles High Verdict
Soft Rock: Couple of good ones, most of it shite. Probably…
Apologies for the lack of regularity in recent postings…the good news is that ongoing refurbishments at 500MH Towers will soon create a studio/den that will make ripping and blogging activities a pure delight. In the meantime, here’s a hasty post featuring a documentary I haven’t seen yet, a book I haven’t read yet and a track I absolutely love (but don’t have time to tell you why).
Yorskshire Day always seems to find me packing for a holiday (not involving Yorkshire). 500MH will return soon, but in the meantime here’s a clip of classic Indoor League from the golden age of pub-based sport.
Some unusual activity on the 500MH vinyl-ripping setup this weekend. First-off my son managed to acquire a vinyl copy of the Foo Fighters Medium Rare LP – a one off release for Record Store Day. This represents his first ever vinyl purchase and it was great to hear him say “ah…there’s something about listening to a record” (as we transferred it to mp3). Can’t say the music does much for me though…
Secondly – and in more familiar musical territory for this blog – a work colleague asked me to digitise a recent LP acquisition for him. He said he’d been searching for this for years (on and off), tracking it down in Soho last week. In fact, so long had he been searching that he no longer has a turntable – hence it was handed over to me to “do the honours”.
So…it turns out to be the not particularly scarce Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway LP. Not a record I actually own however, so I was curious to see if there were any decent tunes on it other than the obvious blockbuster. Well there aren’t, but what better opportunity to post the stand-out track – the full nine-and-a-half minute version of the anthemic Back Together Again.
Sometimes it takes a random Youtube clip to make you dig out an overlooked gem from the vinyl stash. I’d written-off this 1983 Lonnie Liston Smith LP as pedestrian jazz fusion, albeit with a great cover photo, but was forced to dig it out again after seeing this splendid “tutorial” from Ski Beatz, explaining how he created the beats for Jay Z’s Dead Presidents.
Once you get past the initial shout-outs it really is a fascinating insight into his studio practices…
So…here’s the original LLS “joint”, sounding a little crackly on my copy, but that surely only adds to the atmosphere of the piece…
Went to the Barbican last night to see the grandly-titled, Gilles Peterson and Roberto Fonseca present Havana Cultura Live – New Cuba Sound. Have to say that my expectations were not high, having seen a few of these let’s-fuse-the-traditional-with-the-modern “experiments” before. So, to my surprise, the gig itself was really good – refreshingly unpretentious and with a certain infectious charm.
But better still, in the foyer afterwards GP took to the decks and was joined for a good half hour by Roberto Fonseca (ridiculously talented Cuban jazz pianist) who jammed along on electric piano. Again, this sort of thing rarely works (live DJ + live musician) but it was the best part of night, especially as we were standing/dancing just a few feet away from them. The crowd went wild – particularly when Mr P took full advantage of the FX / EQ / Looping on the CDJ’s and mixer, and indulged some crowd-pleasing antics that Fat Boy Slim would have been proud of in his prime.
Should have taken a (discrete) photo, really. Still getting the hang of this blogging lark…