299. nuclear war

“There’s no point in trying to do justice to the universe expanding alien immensity that is the Sun Ra story with a few words. So I won’t bother trying. Just urge you to look into it, please, explore at least some of those extra-stellar regions. As for Nuclear War, I think it speaks well enough for itself. We’re f***ed if we allow for even its possibility in our stratagems. True in 1945, true in 1982, true forever to the ends of the time and space.” (Philip Random)

SuRA-rollingSTone

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309. wall of death

“Yes as a matter of fact, folk music did still matter in the 1980s, certainly in the hands of Richard (and sometimes Linda) Thompson. Because you just can’t argue with a song like Wall of Death, with pushing harder, faster, to the edge and beyond, working your momentum up until gravity’s no longer your master, just a thing to be played with straight up the wall of death (an amusement park thing in Britain, riding a motor vehicle in a circular pit until you get up enough momentum to defy gravity, pull stunts, get the crowd to roaring). Gravity will win in the end, of course, but that’s life, isn’t it?  Not defined by where you end up, but all the crazy beautiful moves you pulled en route and the places they got you.” (Philip Random)

Richard+LindaThompson-1983

314. everywhere that I’m not

Translator are one of those bands that time seems to have mostly forgotten. Which is a pity because their first album in particular is well worth forty minutes of anyone’s life. And Everywhere That I’m Not is pretty much perfect, the kind of pop nugget that shoulda-woulda-coulda been huge if the music biz of 1982 actually cared about quality, which it didn’t. I guess the cocaine was just too pure in those days.” (Philip Random)

Translator-1982-promo

330. incubus [blue suit]

“I don’t know why I never really dove in and listened to Tuxedomoon. Maybe the records were just too hard to find. As it is, Incubus found me in the early 80s via Best of Ralph, a compilation that went a long way toward turning essential parts of my brain and soul inside-out and sideways, all in the interest of driving home the point that the world wasn’t just stranger than I imagined, it was stranger than I could even begin to imagine imagining. Thanks, Ralph.” (Philip Random)

tuxedomoon-1981-live

336. big science

“It’s 1982 and Laurie Anderson, who no one I know has ever heard of, has suddenly painted a picture of the future, equal parts strange and beautiful, yet already haunted. The whole album‘s a gem but the title track deserves special mention for the way it delivers this future — all shopping malls, drive-in banks and every man for himself. And yodeling, hallelujah to that, and to the big science that makes it all possible — those cooling towers off the edge of town, higher than any church steeple ever towered, hissing and droning, liable to melt down and explode at any second.” (Philip Random)

LaurieAnderson-1982-NYC

345. upright man

Speaking of prolific, Bill Laswell‘s discography (whether working with Material or solo or any number of other configurations) goes magnitudes deeper and wider than the combined talents of some entire nations, with 1982’s Baselines being his first official solo effort. In the case of Upright Man, that meant laying down a funky, not too busy groove, then dropping in a few samples from the Old Testament to overall cool and mysterious effect.

BillLaswell-1982

363. the lunatics have taken over the asylum

It’s 1982 and the Fun Boy Three (pity about the name really) are spitting it out in so many words. The clinic full of cynics have had their way, the lunatics are in control, we’re all gonna die. No party was complete without it.

FunBoyThree-1982

375. war in the east

DOA saved my life any number of times in the 1980s, mainly through their live shows. From the back of auto body shops to abandoned youth clubs to at least one high school gym to the Arts Club on Seymour (still the best damned live venue the Terminal City has ever had) to at least two sold out Commodore Ballrooms, to some impromptu acoustic messing around off the edge of a movie set – it was never pretty, always somehow beautiful. And I’m pretty sure they did War In The East every time, their only reggae song, because it slowed things a touch, clarified a few key points. Fighting one another – killing for big brother. Same as it ever was.” (Philip Random)

DOA-live-1980s

431. Yashar

First of all, the Cabaret Voltaire that mattered most was the one that operated in Zurich for maybe six months in 1916, out of which came the movement known as Dada which, it’s entirely conceivable, saved the world, perhaps the entire universe. It’s true. The other Cabaret Voltaire (straight outa Sheffield), wasn’t exactly trivial either. Starting in 1973, they shamelessly put noise to tape and called it music. Come the 1980s, they were evolving somewhat, taking on the clubs with the likes of Yashar, which did a solid job of both making people move, and informing those people that there were magnitudes more of them on earth than anybody was letting on.

CabaretVoltaire-1982