one faint deluded smile

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Their Heads Are So Small!

A Slow Rip got together this month for another quite wonderful session. Following our usual perusal of the raw recordings, we crowded round the PC this week to do some initial mixes before Rob went on a meditation retreat for 10 days! I certainly couldn't stand that long without some sort of entertainment apart from the little thoughts in my fat head. He's obviously a stronger man than me and... his head is thinner.

So here's a couple of teasers for the almighty 4th album (with titles of my own design):

mp3: Stuck

I'd like this to be the 1st track. It starts off all droney and phased, just like many of our songs but it certainly changes into something completely unexpected - especially to us. I think I'm in there somewhere but it's mainly Rob and Ian.

mp3: Mister Mesmer Underground

This one shows off my new Alesis Ion quite nicely. It's definitely more polite than the venerable Arp Odyssey but the sounds it can create are fantastic anyway. Once again, this track may confound expectations as there's some prominent, wayward vocalising by Rob. We think it greatest.

Hey, let me know what you think OK? Good or bad. That's what comment boxes are for.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Eternally Theirs

clowns re-issue cover

Hey, it's been a while - too much pleasure with my new synth (more A Slow Rip coming soon) and nothing incisive to say about music but...

Along pops 3 whole cds of studio recordings by Laughing Clowns comprising all their records. Phew - that's possibly too much information.

mp3: Eternally Yours (4.75mb)
mp3: Ghost Of An Ideal Wife (4mb)
mp3: When What You See (10mb)

I only ever saw the Clowns twice. The first one was right near the beginning of their career - on the a tour organised by Ken West in a colourful tent with lots of fairgound lights and so on. A large majority of my friends at the time fell in love with the band instantly - "hey, avant rock with jazz overtones, just my cuppa" - but I found it all so dreadfully mournful. Why was he so sad? He'd been in one of the most important punk bands of all time, couldn't he at least have a smidgen of good humour? And the music just seemed so unfocussed for my tastes. I needed This Heat's angularity, not fucking "Jazz", of all things! The next and last time was at the ever wonderfull Trade Union Club but I honestly can't remember anything else about that night at all. I imagine it was just about the same as the first but with different songs.

So, all said and done, I'm not their greatest fan. I'll never get over Ed Keupper's droll vocals - they are as deeply irksome to me now as they were in the 80s. And if I never hear that rollicking, dum-de-dum-dum tempo again I'll be very happy - it certainly is distinctive, if nothing else. And lastly, the rock / jazz combination they created rarely gels for me in the way that the tamer kind (Carla Bley, for example) does.

But, despite all these misgivings, their recordings are sometimes really, really fantastic. Driven, propulsive, deranged, psychotic and with a sombre mood that's just right for these times.

The "Cruel But Fair" compilation has been lovingly put together - possibly the best I've seen so far for an Australian re-release - with great photos and an excellent booklet filled with insightfull comments from Ed Keupper and Jeffrey Wegener. Buy it via Hot records.