Music for the Masses 16 – 5 April 2000

Bay Radio spent its first couple of years broadcasting on a closed loop around the Aberystywth University student union, and my show was no exception. The main advantage of this was being able to raid the “Ents” (Entertainments) record collection and play actual vinyl from the early 1990s, which must have seemed a very long time ago…

show16plShow 16: Wed 5 Apr 2000, from 10.55am-1.00pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 14 tracks). A indicates A-list (8 tracks); B indicates B-list (3 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 5 tracks). L indicates the ones from the “library” (Total 6 tracks). X indicates tracks from ents’ record collection (Total 2 tracks).

  • 1. Planet Perfecto feat. Grace “Not Over Yet 99” L
  • [IRN 11.00 News]
  • 2. Ooberman “Shorley Wall” C
  • 3. Yello “To the Sea” R
  • 4. Dubstar “I (Friday Night)” A
  • 5. Oasis “Who Feels Love?” A
  • 6. Travis “Driftwood” L
  • 7. Jean Michel Jarre “Tout est Bleu” R
  • 8. Space Brothers “The Light” (Space Brothers Remix) L
  • [Top 10 Album Chart]
  • 9. David Arnold & Nina Persson “Randall & Hopkirk Theme” C
  • 10. Erasure “Dreamlike State” R
  • 11. Moby “Natural Blues” L
  • [Advert Break – part one]
  • 12. Rage Against the Machine “Sleep Now in the Fire” A
  • [Advert Break – part two]
  • 13. Richard Ashcroft “Song for the Lovers” S
  • 14. Enigma “Sadness Part One” X
  • [IRN 12.00 News]
  • 15. Death in Vegas “Dirge” A
  • 16. Clinic “The Return of Evil Bill” A
  • 17. Cypress Hill “Superstar” A
  • 18. Freddie Mercury “Living on My Own” X
  • 19. Donna Summer “I Feel Love” L
  • 20. Merz “Lotus” B
  • [Top 10 Single Chart]
  • 21. Animalhouse “Small” A
  • 22. Pala “Cat-Like Creatures” B
  • 23. The Simpsons “Do the Bartman” X
  • 24. Bellatrix “Sweet Surrender” B
  • [Advert Break]
  • 25. Pet Shop Boys “Radiophonic” R
  • 26. Sash! “Colour the World” L
  • 27. Ouch “Seen the Light” A

Producer: None.

Notes: Mmmm, well, deliberate bloopers of the week include splitting up the first advert break due to thinking there were 2 less than there were and inadvertantly playing the last Sash? single – which featured Dr. All Bran on vocals. Ooops. Odd show, really, as I had twice as much music as I needed and also rather a lot more other material. D’oh! Still, better too little than too much. No, other way round…

Advertisements

Retro chart for stowaways – 25 March 2006

Here are the top 10 singles from nine years ago this week:

  1. Goldfrapp – Ride on a White Horse
  2. Sugababes – Red Dress
  3. Girls Aloud – Whole Lotta History
  4. Madonna – Sorry
  5. Sparks – Perfume
  6. Massive Attack – Live with Me
  7. Moby – Slipping Away
  8. Depeche Mode – A Pain That I’m Used To
  9. Röyksopp – What Else is There?
  10. Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round 2006

Beginner’s guide to Yazoo

The 1980s wouldn’t have been complete without Yazoo, or Yaz as they had to call themselves in the USA. Far from being a brief spin-off engine for Vince Clarke after leaving Depeche Mode, they quickly developed a life of their own before splitting up before the second album was even released.

Key moments

Don’t GoOnly You and Nobody’s Diary were enormous hits, just as they should have been. Situation wasn’t – not until the 1990 release, at least, but that’s still four more great singles than many acts can manage.

Where to start

Start with the entire set – the In Your Room box set has pretty much everything you need, including debut Upstairs at Eric’s (1982), follow-up You and Me Both (1983), and a bonus disc of b-sides and remixes from the original era.

What to buy

There’s really not much else you need. The 1990 mixes of Situation and State Farm are good, as are some of the 2008 Reconnected mixes, and the Reconnected Live double album (2010) is definitely worth having if you find yourself in need of more.

Don’t bother with

Anything from 1999 – there’s a pointless remix of Only You, some dreadful versions of Don’t Go, and a whole heap of new versions of Situation. Their only major selling point is that they may help you find the 1990 versions.

Hidden treasure

I Before E Except After C, often lacking from the CD versions of Upstairs at Eric’s, is largely dreadful but the album seems incomplete without it. The download version of Reconnected Live includes an unreleased 1983 song called Get Set, which is worth owning. And the only real 1990s hookup of YazooVince Clarke‘s remix of Alison Moyet‘s single Whispering Your Name, is quite brilliant.

For stowaways

Essential Albums – Moby

Long before this blog ever existed, some time around late 2000 or early 2001, I started compiling a list of essential albums. There were just six entries, and this was the fifth.

Moby – Play (1999)

  • Chart Position: 1
  • Hits: Honey (33), Run On (33), Bodyrock (38), Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? (16), Natural Blues (11), Porcelain (4), Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? / Honey feat. Kelis (17)
  • Highlights: PorcelainSouth Side, Run OnInside

Truly an epic album in every sense of the word. For his sixth studio album, Moby elected to base his tracks on folk and Christian songs from the first half of the twentieth century. Although it took a while to catch  on, this formula became so successful that every track from the album has since been used either in films or advertising, and even tracks from Play: The B-Sides (a limited UK release which reached number 24 in October 2000) have been extensively publicised. A total of seven singles were released in the UK (and a further 2 were released in other countries), and altogether there are no less than 12 different videos for tracks from the album.

Interestingly Play is often overlooked now for the work of genius that it is. The sound may have become a bit of a formula for Moby which took a while to shake off, but it was great for a while. The Beginner’s guide to Moby is here, and a more recent review is here.

 

The Friday Chart?

Well… it was with some surprise that I read this news a couple of days ago. Apparently the BBC Radio 1 Official Chart Show, which for decades has been announcing the official top 40 singles on Sunday afternoons, is being relegated to Friday afternoons from July, where it’s going to be tucked away as part of another show and an hour shorter.

The excuse reason, apparently, is that new releases are now shifting to Fridays worldwide, rather than the current Mondays (in the UK). It’s difficult to judge exactly how that’s relevant, but it is tempting to see it as a similar sidelining to the one that killed Top of the Pops a decade or so ago.

Of course, there is a logic to the move – the chart is going to be published on Fridays, and nobody would tune in to a show two days later – but there’s no logic to hiding the chart away in the middle of a drivetime show. If it’s got to be on Fridays, it should have pride of place at the top of the schedule! Or, at the very least, Top of the Pops should be brought back, but we all know that.

The BBC News piece linked above mentions, in passing, that the chart has been announced on Sunday afternoons since 1987. But after 28 years, it’s time to go apparently. No word yet on what will be replacing it…

Also reported by Digital Spy and NME.

Recoil – Liquid

In 2000, Alan Wilder‘s former bandmates in Depeche Mode would have been polishing off Exciter, their cheeriest album in decades. Wilder, meanwhile, with his deeply experimental Recoil pseudonym, was still exploring altogether darker territory.

The album is bookended by Black Box, also available as a b-side in its complete fourteen minute form. It’s a short story, but sounds more like an account of a failed laboratory experiment, and after the wonderfully grizzly previous album Unsound Methods (1997) it does seem to herald something very different. Until, that is, the first proper track starts, as Want sees a return of the enchanting murmured vocals that characterised so much of the previous album.

Something is a bit different, though – the guitars and drums are cleaner; even the feedback sounds more refined. But none of that can entirely prepare you for the third piece Jezebel.

It’s an easy song to love, once you’ve got your head around it, but after a couple of albums of late night electronica, the mix of southern blues vocals alongside Recoil‘s background synth frippery does come as something of a surprise. This was, of course, the same period when Wilder’s former collaborator and labelmate Moby was doing similar things all over the radio and TV, so perhaps it shouldn’t be quite so unexpected.

After JezebelLiquid is a good album, but it never quite seems to hit those heights again. It’s all entirely competent and very enjoyable – Breath Control is another gloriously filthy piece, and then Last Call for Liquid Courage, driven by some beautifully acidic 303 sounds, is great too, but they don’t quite grab you in the way Jezebel did.

Second single Strange Hours does come close. It’s another bluesy vocal, which might be why, or it could just be the brilliantly trippy percussion and haunting samples. Either way, it’s definitely one of the standout tracks on here.

The emotive Spanish vocals on Vertigen come as something as a surprise too, but it’s one that’s ultimately forgotten alongside the flippant beats and vocals of Supreme, which makes for a late highlight. It mixes into Chrome, which grows very steadily over its seven minute duration from something enjoyable into something entirely brilliant.

Part 2 of Black Box brings the album to a close in suitable fashion, with haunting synth and ambient samples backing up more of the short story. Like everything else you’ve heard on here, it’s beautiful and bizarre, and also very good indeed.

Ultimately Liquid turns out to be one of Recoil‘s most consistent albums, although you may find you can’t really name or remember much apart from Jezebel when it comes to an end. On the other hand, Jezebel is definitely one of Alan Wilder’s finest hours, and there are plenty of other enjoyable moments on here, so it’s definitely worth owning a copy.

You can still find Liquid at all major retailers, for instance here.