“It’s easy to file T-Rex away as a glammed up (and out) pop monster whose singles absolutely nailed the zeitgeist for a year or three in the early 1970s, and they certainly did all that (in Britain anyway). But main man Marc Bolan could also just lay down a brilliant song – poetic, psychedelic, vaguely surreal, rather like the times, but also timeless, with Ballroom Of Mars (found on 1972’s Slider) exhibit A in this regard. Because that’s how I found it, at least a decade after the fact, wasting a day, drinking red wine so cheap the only way to make it palatable was to pour it over ice, maybe add a touch of something sweet. But the sun was shining and the company was good and … holy shit, who is this? It’s T-Rex, of course, gripped in the arms of the changeless madman. It means something.” (Philip Random)
“Unlike many T-Rex songs, Cosmic Dancer seems to actually be about something, which is that certain something we’ve all been doing since the moment we exited the womb. Not just breathing, crying, shitting, eating … but moving in some sort of graceful accord with the cosmos. Trying to anyway. Noted as yet another T-Rex gem that I missed when it was fresh (easy to do over here in the Americas), but rather stumbled upon at least ten years after the fact, but therein lies the real magic of their sound, I think, particularly the stuff from 1971-73: it defines timelessness.” (Philip Random)
These 12 Mixtapes of Christmas have got nothing to do with Randophonic’s other 12 Mixtapes of Christmas from two years ago, or even with Christmas (beyond being a gift to you). And they’re not actually mix tapes, or CDs for that matter – just mixes, each 49-minutes long, one posted to Randophonic’s Mixcloud for each day of Twelvetide (aka the Twelve Days of Christmas).
There’s no particular genre, no particular theme or agenda being pursued, beyond all selections coming from Randophonic’s ever expanding collection of used vinyl, which continues to simultaneously draw us back and propel us forward (sonically speaking) — music and noise and whatever else the world famous Randophonic Jukebox deems (or perhaps dreams) necessary toward our long term goal of solving all the world’s problems.
Bottom line: it’s five hundred eighty-eight minutes of music covering all manner of ground, from Roy Orbison to Curtis Mayfield to Can, Bob Dylan, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band, Kraftwerk, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and beyond (and that’s just from the first mix) — anything and everything, as long as it’s good.
“If you’re British, you’ve likely heard plenty of T-Rex in your time, maybe way too much. But over here in the Americas a track like Ride A White Swan never cracked pop radio back in the day, so it still retains the kind of freshness that turns heads, gets people nodding along, smiling, wondering, ‘Who is this?’ Like it was recorded last week, not better part of half a century ago. Still makes me smile pretty much every time I hear it, Marc Bolan’s oddly spry little ditty about skyways, sunbeams, druids and tatooed gowns. Some say it invented Glam. I ain’t arguing.” (Philip Random)
The fourteenth of a planned forty-nine movies (without pictures), each forty-nine minutes long, featuring no particular artist, theme or agenda beyond boldly going … who knows? Or as Werner Von Braun once put it, “Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.” And we definitely have no idea where all this will take us.
14. Voodoo + Fish
T-Rex – cosmic dancer
Sugarloaf – chest fever [prelude]
Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – crossfade
Moebius Plank + Neumeir – speed display
Agitation Free – Sahara City
Riuchi Sakamoto – kachakuchanee
Colin Newman – fish-9
Colin Newman – fish-3
Clinic – Voodoo Wop
Mott the Hoople – original mixed up kid
John Martyn – glistening Glyndebourne
David Sylvian – incantation
? – a very big marsh
Further installments of the Research Series will air most Sundays at approximately 1am (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with Mixcloud streams usually available within twenty-four hours.
“I did hear Telegram Sam at least once way back when, and my immediate teeny bop take was, ‘this sounds exactly like that other T-Rex song‘. And I was right. But ultimately, wrong. Because what I was really referring to was T-Rex‘s groovy, funky, rockin’ one in a trillion sound. Which I didn’t really get for at least another decade, which is when Bauhaus’s rather raucous take on Telegram Sam nudged me into paying attention again. Pop for the ages, glamorous and forever cool.” (Philip Random)
Apparently this is the first time Marc Bolan really rocked out on record. The band was still called Tyrannosaurus Rex at the time, and despite the name, a comparatively lightweight outfit – too much flowers and fine herbs, not enough thunder and rumbling. But that had to change. The 1970s were looming, the acid was wearing off, the hippie dream was much further away than it had previously seemed. Maybe it had never been there at all. Just another storybook fantasy.
“It seems that Motron and I are still arguing T-Rex . Electric Warrior (me) versus The Slider (him). And he’s not exactly losing with the title track, which, as with pretty much all T-Rexian gems, doesn’t make much sense lyrically until you decide it’s like those warnings you used to get on porn-films: completely concerned with sex. In other words, it was miles over my head when it was new. And so was I for that matter, glam being a strange and necessary thing to find lurking in the pubertal suburbs of the early 70s.” (Philip Random)
“We were arguing recently. Motron and myself. What’s the essential T-Rex album? I was on the side of 1971’s Electric Warrior. He wasn’t budging from the next one, 1972’s Slider. My argument was simple enough. NOTHING could ever top Bang A Gong, heard by these ears a million times and they’re still not tired. He countered with Buick MacKane. ‘Heavy and wild, and a girl named Buick!?! Did her parents call her that? Or was it a nick-name? And if so, where did it come from? I don’t want to know the real answer. The song is answer enough.’ We stopped arguing, drank more Scotch.” (Philip Random)