All my dreams are dead
This newsletter brought to you in even more of a fevered Thesaurus.com-assisted stream of consciousness than usual, owing to, what else, a lack of TIME (ask Dan Treacy about that below) >>>>>. What’s the old saying? In some years you age a decade. This is my year folks!
So, without further ADO, this week’s picks… and a little more small-talk next week.
p.s. Sanjay is back from holiday, come hassle him!
JOHN T. GAST
BTEC VERSION #1
NOT ON LABEL | 12" | £8.99
White label 12". Tracks from the ark circa 2013. 45rpm. ‘Angela’: mighty-in-battle UK steppers meets lo-NRG tekno / New Beat, synths craning for infinity in the age ov apathy...like some unholy congress of Public Relations, B12 and Disciples. Loneliest sound in the world. ‘Drith’: roots and destruction on a grimier/ravier flex, ratchet (!) and bassline pressure. Mastered by Amir Shoat. Ltd copies, no re-press. Cat#: ANGELAS13.
VIOLENT QUAND ON AIME
VIOLENT QUAND ON AIME
KNEKELHUIS | LP | £15.99
Sick-in-the-head but ultimately pretty logical marriage of icy, super-alienated minimal synth and heavily tranquilised 90s hip-hop / gangsta / horrorcore vibes...from France. Reminding of nothing so much as Legowelt's Memphis rap counterfeits (and come to think of it the brilliantly heavy-handed espionage schtick is pure Strange Life), Lil Noid trapped on the set of Deutschland 83 (lol), or on 'My Love', like Timbaland forced to re-record his 'Get On The Bus' riddim using Bene Gesserit's studio (aye!). As these "comparisons" suggest, Violent Quand risk silliness in the pursuit of originality and fun, but there's enough self-awareness (not self-consciousness), and enough conviction, to carry the thing home. The most refreshing and irreverent take on ze cold wave in a LONG time, big up Knekelhuis as ever!
PRIVILEGE (SPECIAL EDITION)
FIRE | LP | £22.99
***2018 REMASTERED EDITION ON B&W MARBLED VINYL**
"This time there is no happy ending..." Can’t help but feel a bit of pressure when a genuine all-time personal favourite washes up on LC’s grey and pebbly shore – a pressure to do the thing justice, to make a decent stab of explaining why it’s so good and why it might help you to navigate the choppy waters of LIFE. I don’t know if anyone other than me considers the withering, weltschmerz-stricken Privilege to be Television Personalities’ best album, but listening to it again recently in the context of the TVPs catalogue at large – which Fire have been reissuing diligently and more or less chronologically over the past couple of years – there’s no doubt it has a gravity and fluency that earlier masterpieces like And Don't The Kids Just Love It and The Painted Word quite obviously lack, and without shorting on WIT. It’s overlong – with a bit of judicious editing we would've been looking at the greatest LP ever made – but whatever.
Released in 1989, five years after their first break-up, Dan Treacy returns to the fray sounding like a changed man – ravaged by drugs and booze and penury, but wiser, clearer-sighted, more self-possessed. I mean, he’s never sounded more defeated or depressed either – insight is a bitch! But his crushing sense of LOSS is our GAIN – and where past TVP albums, however flippant, were all concerted efforts attempts to bottle TEENAGE LIGHTNING, Privilege is a requiem for the same...the sound of waking up feeling old and completely, irrevocably fucked. Simple as that. Like the man says: all my dreams are dead. Despite the heavy lyrical content, the music is lean and light on its feet: eschewing the dense, darkling drug-fug of The Painted Word, the band tighten up their attack and bask in brighter, crisper production (care of Phil Vinall): resulting in an ultra-vivid jangling misery-mod epic that's also the most mature, accessible and sustained "pop" offering in their discography (it must have been both galling and amusing for Treacy to see a younger generation of Brit-twits ride a heavily diluted version of this sound deep into mainstream consciousness little more than half a decade later). So yeah. It's quite something. In fact if you're unmoved by the plain-speaking genius of this FLAWLESS MASTERPIECE, I can only pity you. For the rest of us: essential purchase!
A PARADE, IN THE PLACE I SIT, THE FLOATING WORLD (& ALL ITS PLEASURES)
ANNO | LP | £13.99
**Re-press!** KNOCKOUT 12” from Huerco S, the clips don’t do it justice - over 30 minutes of dubbed out minimal house (eek!) bliss. You know you want to.
DUB HELL / DEVIL'S DANCE (RE-PRESS)
BLACKEST EVER BLACK | 10" | £9.99
Re-press (250 copies) in plain paper sleeve. Two tracks of tail-thrashing, sound-murdering dub-tekno/f*ck-punk...'Dub Hell' a sustained snarl of a DJ weapon that eschews smoked-out introspection in favour of a more direct and droogish 4/4 death-march: all industrial-strength drum-shudder, boneheaded rave vamps and plasmic, predatory bass-drones, like some kind of grim bio-mech death-racer built using parts stripped from old On-U/Maffia and the torn-off limbs of small children (gwan, Satan!)… ‘Devil’s Dance’ a more insidious, Isolationist nightmare, slower-acting and crueller for it - one for the committed sinners and Cenobites. Bad vibes the order of the day then, but also a certain sybaritic PLEASURE…negative ecstasy baby!