108. eat the rich

“In which Motorhead make it clear, it must be done, the rich must be eaten. It’s the only way we’re ever going to set all the children free. And Eat The Rich (the movie) in all its punk, sloppy, inconsistent atonal elegance is a much overlooked masterpiece. How could it not be, with Lemmy on board as the communist insurgent’s right hand man? But he’s no communist. Nor anarchist, leftist, activist of any kind. He’s a hard rock bassist, which is its own justification, it seems. Which is pretty much everything I could ever say about the monster that is-was-shall-always-be Motorhead. You don’t explain it, you just get it (or not). Maybe not the kind of stuff I listen to a lot in my day to day life … but every now and then, f***ing essential.” (Philip Random) 

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166. perfect kiss

“I saw New Order twice in what was supposed to be their early 80s prime and they tanked both times. As near as I could tell, it was tech issues, all those drum machines and sequencers NOT synching up with the various human factors (the singer, the songs). But man, did they hit sublime heights in the recording studio! Proof, I guess, that sometimes a new form is best before it’s fully formed, the various clichés established – the form in question here being techno (or whatever you want to call it) when it was still allowed to have genuine human factors in the mix, pushing the machines in directions they might otherwise have chosen not to go. In terms of world breaking singles, Blue Monday‘s the obvious example but everybody’s already heard that a lot. Perfect Kiss on the other hand has remained comparatively obscure, mainly I suspect because it’s never in a rush, but rather plays a long cool game (exquisitely captured in its official video), saving most of its glory for its second half. A sudden break and then a slow build to that bass guitar, that profoundly beautiful bass guitar (speaking of genuine human factors). No wonder there’s a car crash at the end.” (Philip Random)

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(image source)

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.

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588. memory serves

“Title track from Material‘s first proper album, which was before main man Bill Laswell had played with EVERYONE on planet earth, become a household name (assuming you lived in a cool household). As a friend put it once, it’s jazz without the annoying indulgence, funk without the sleazy silliness. Not that I really felt that way about funk. But I could agree about the jazz. Always nice to hear the egos reigned in, everyone serving the groove … in a chaotic sort of way. And who better to work all that than a bass player.” (Philip Random)

808. Bass Culture

Skull rattling dub poetry c/o Linton Kwesi Johnson makes it clear that reggae music is mostly about the bass, the way it makes a body (and thus a whole culture) move. The drums, they just keep things rock steady.  The guitars, keyboards, horns etc – they’re just along for the ride. It’s the bass that’s going places, and sometimes the poetry, “like a righteous harm, giving off wild like madness.”

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