“By 1971’s Islands, their fourth album in barely two years, the force of mind and nature known as King Crimson were not so much lost as just a very long way from shore. Down to only two of the original five members, and one of them (Pete Sinfield) had never provided much in the way of actual music, just “… words, sounds and visions, cover design and painting, production” (and in fact, he was on his way out, Islands would be his last Crimson involvement). Robert Fripp, on the other hand, was firmly ensconced on whisper-to-apocalyptic-howl guitar, with Sailor’s Tale a particularly powerful offering. Just wait until whatever high you’re riding is at its peak, then crank the sound system and wait for that sucker punch eruption at around the 4-and-a-half minute point. Not a sudden eruption from silence. No this is far trickier than that. Because the song’s already charging along at that point. It just suddenly goes way further. The earth shakes. The skies open. A gaping hole gets blown from the jigsaw of time.” (Philip Random)
An atypical Dylan track, given its comparative lack of words, the great man holding back some, letting the atmosphere speak (c/o Daniel Lanois’ masterful production). So in the end, it’s like a troubled dream that never resolves, just leaves you with questions and shadows and rumours of apocalypse. Who is he anyway, the man in the long black coat? And why does the mere thought of him fill you with dread?
The Final Countdown* is our longest, most random and (if we’re doing it right) relevant countdown yet. Which doesn’t mean we’re one hundred percent clear as to what it’s all about – just the end of result of a long and convoluted process that finally evolved into something halfway tangible a month or so ago. The 1297 Greatest Records of All Time right now right here, if that makes sense. And even if it doesn’t, we’re doing it anyway for as long as it takes, and it will take a while.
Installment #5 of The Final Countdown* went like this.
1211. Negativland – The Playboy Channel
1210. LCD Soundsystem – yeah [crass mix]
1209. Residents – suburban bathers
1208. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – messages
1207. Ulrich Schnauss – on my own
1206. Love + Rockets – lazy
1205. Dr. John – Danse Kalinda Ba Doom
1204. Harmonium – un musicien parmi tant d’autres
1203. Gary Wright – love is alive
1202. Art Ensemble of Chicago – funky AECO
1201. Mothers of Invention – dog breath in the year of the plague
1200. Mothers of Invention – Montana
1199. Waterboys – nobody ‘cept you
1198. All Mighty Whispers – Love Revolution
1197. War – seven tin soldiers [the middle jam]
1196. Clash – junko partner [and dub]
1195. Fiery Furnaces – one more time
1194. Flying Lizards – in my lifetime
1193. Flying Lizards – glide-spin
1192. Simple Minds – seeing out the angel
Randophonic airs pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and/or download options usually available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.
“It doesn’t look promising on paper. Bryan Ferry (aka Mr. Suave) taking on Bob Dylan’s 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis inspired whole-world’s-gonna-end-tomorrow-so-I-guess-I’ll-just-write-all-my-songs-tonight apocalyptic masterpiece, turning it into a gospel infused dance number with a big arrangement. But it actually works, and damned well. Miracles never cease, I guess. And the rest of the album‘s pretty strong, too. All covers, all at the very least fun.” (Philip Random)
“Gram Parsons’ Grievous Angel being perhaps the one album more than any other that made me realize just how wrong I could be about what constitutes great f***ing music. Because I was that kind of fool when I was younger – happy to tell you just how much I hated ALL country music. And I’m sure I was loud about it. Sorry. I know better now. I know that hating all of any kind of music is like hating a part of your soul. Because in what other form could you take a simple song about a simple wedding gone wrong and turn it into something epic, apocalyptic even. Because such are human souls – we’ve all got entire universes exploding inside of us. And why would you want to deny any of that?” (Philip Random)
“A smoothly apocalyptic little ditty from that latter part of Harry Nilsson‘s career when folks had pretty much written him off – all that boozing and drugging and hanging with John Lennon (among notable others) having blown his once beautiful voice to smithereens. And he was wrong about the future, too, how we were running out of air, and oceans, and pills and trains of thought even. But for whatever reason, I do like the song. Because, paradoxically, it gives me hope. Because if it didn’t happen in 1975, then why’s it going to suddenly happen now? Or something like that.” (Philip Random)
“It’s true. I wouldn’t be compiling this list if it wasn’t for Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. Push comes to shove, it’s probably the single record I’d grab if the house was burning down (which it is, by the way). Because it marks the moment at which the Apocalypse got interesting to me, when the big story I care about kicked into gear. It’s the snare shot to be specific, the one at the very beginning. That’s what did it – kicked the proverbial door wide open, and it’s all been wild urgency ever since. But you’ve already heard that record at least a thousand times, so it doesn’t qualify for this list. But I bet you haven’t heard the live version, from 1974’s Before the Flood, Dylan and the Band raving it up like the anthem it is, saving the world one night at a time. Because everything just keeps on exploding. Same as it ever was.” (Philip Random)
Come the mid 1980s, Shriekback were doing two things very well. Dark and funky rave-ups that could seriously move a dancefloor, and dark and smooth little dreamscapes, that felt equal parts seductive and apocalyptic, rather like the world in general. Like looking your loved one in the eye and hearing a serpent hiss back. Creepy stuff.
In which Aphrodite’s Child (featuring a young Vangelis among other Greek psyche-prog weirdos) deliver a nugget of pop drama that’s equal parts syrupy and creepy in all the right ways. Come, child, to the end of world which is not all fire and brimstone, plagues and pestilence — it’s just a quiet little place I know about, far, far away from your parents and your friends. Where nobody will hear our ecstatic screams.