Chart for stowaways – 27 October 2018

These are the week’s top albums:

  1. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  2. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  3. The Radiophonic Workshop – Possum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  4. John Carpenter – Halloween – OST
  5. Kraftwerk – 3-D Der Katalog
  6. Neneh Cherry – Broken Politics
  7. Primal Scream – Give Out But Don’t Give Up – Original
  8. The Beloved – Single File
  9. Readymade FC – Babilonia
  10. Orbital – Monsters Exist

Readymade FC – Babilonia

It must have been some time around the end of 2005 when I first heard the charming, childlike chime intro of Cirkus, the opening track on Readymade FC‘s one and only album Babilonia. The album followed early in the New Year, and of course I snapped it up as soon as I could.

Cirkus is truly charming – very simplistic and lovely, with a sweet lyric about growing up and a lot of chimes, acoustic guitars, and pads. It’s rare that you come across something like this, and for me it came completely out of the blue – thanks, I think, to Mark Radcliffe‘s show on BBC Radio 2.

I still don’t know very much about Jean-Philippe Verdin, the man behind Readymade FC. Four years earlier, after a series of one-off vinyl releases, he had put out a minimal electro album Bold as Readymade, and between 2009 and 2010 he seems to have recorded a few things under his own name and what’s either another pseudonym or a duo of which he was a member, Akzidenz Grotesk. Otherwise he appears to have kept himself largely to himself.

Anyway, the quality here really doesn’t let up. Bare Feet is another sweet childlike song, full of pads and ripples. Then Feist turns up to deliver the vocal on Snow Lion, which makes for a beautifully atmospheric and wintry piece. This is followed by Not, a silly, nonsensical, and ultimately yet again entirely pleasant song.

For SlideYael Naïm turns up to deliver a soft, lullaby-like vocal, and meanwhile the backing track turns decidedly trippy and electro, and the instrumental Simple Appareil which follows keeps entirely the same mood. If you look for complete albums, rather than collections of songs, you definitely have a lot to explore here.

One of the more interesting aspects is the use of music box chimes, sometimes in an innocent way, but at other times it can be truly haunting, as on  A Fire in the Forest, with David Sylvian on vocals, and some brilliantly bizarre found sounds in the background. It’s an exploration of similar territory to Bold in a way, where Sylvian also appeared, on a song called Sugarfuel, but it fits perfectly here too.

A short instrumental, Cirkus Interlude, carries us through to the adorable Time Machine, a largely acoustic piece in which Verdin sings about his mother. Then, the one and only single from this album, The Only One, a lovely pad and chime-based piece with Yael Naïm appearing again to deliver the vocal.

There isn’t a lot left after this – the curiously named instrumental If So, What? follows, and then the slightly chaotic, harmonica-based The Last Time, and finally another instrumental, Didi. In the end, this is a sweet and simple album, which, while complete in its own right, does seem to be screaming out for a follow-up. Hopefully one day, it will come.

You can still find Babilonia on CD from places like this one.

More about this blog

I think you’ll get the hang of this very quickly.

My name is Rollo, I’m old enough to remember the 1980s, and I mainly like pop and electronic music, but also a bit of world and a lot of chillout, and all sorts of things in between. But I mainly listen to electronic music, and so that’s mainly what we’ll be writing about here.

You’ll get a good idea of my favourite bands as we go along, but loosely I grew up listening to lots of Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, then I discovered Sparks and Depeche Mode, and for a long time my favourite band were The Beloved. Then I stumbled across Jean Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk, and in more recent years became extraordinarily keen on Röyksopp, Goldfrapp and William Orbit.

I come from Sheffield originally, so inevitably I have a lot of fondness for The Human League and Heaven 17, but not ABC so much. I love I Monster and Kings Have Long Arms to pieces. I’m a Geographer by trade, and I’m always fascinated by things which fuse music from different locations such as Gotan Project, Manu ChaoDeep ForestErlend Øye and Delerium.

I’m a Europhile, and so I adore French music such as AirTélépopmusikReadymade and Sébastien Tellier, and German music such as Camouflage and Wolfsheim. My favourite country in the world is Slovenia, so I’m particularly fascinated by Laibach. I’m a proud Brit, so I love Madness and The Specials.

I love pop music, and I think Sarah Nixey has the finest voice in the world, while Saint Etienne are probably the best songwriters. I like listening to unusual laid back music such as The Future Sound of London and The Orb. I like things with a darker edge, so I love Front Line Assembly and the Soulsavers album was wonderful.

My favourite discoveries of recent years have probably been MarsheauxHoneyroot and Skywatchers.

Funny how your taste in music is so fundamentally shaped by your personality, isn’t it?