Thursday, 1 November 2018
The new issue of Prog magazine includes an interview with me where I talk about my record collection, especially the prog-rock side of it. It was really fun to do. Thanks, Prog!
I was asked to pick ten significant records, and to keep it "purist" I confined myself to choices where I had the album on vinyl, even though, for instance, I might otherwise have included The Damned's Black Album.
These were my (not all strictly prog) choices:
The London Philharmonic Orchestra: A Stereo Space Odyssey
Genesis: A Trick of the Tail
King Crimson: In the Court/Larks Tongues
Hawklords: 25 Years On
Kate Bush; The Dreaming
B52s: Bouncing off the Satellites
Talking Heads: Little Creatures
Sound of Ceres: The Twin
War on Drugs: Lost in a Dream
A friend asked me why I hadn't mentioned The Fall. I felt that might have been pushing my luck just a bit...
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Interesting choice of B-52's album. Notwithstanding the poignancy surrounding its release, I always felt it was one of their weaker efforts, although closing track "She Brakes for Rainbows" is one their very finest songs. Every time I hear it, I can picture Ricky Wilson driving into a golden sunset somewhere near the Pacific...ReplyDelete
It was the first one I owned on vinyl, so it's always been a favorite of mine. I do think it's a strong album, nonetheless.Delete
I love "Trick of the Tail" by Genesis. An incredible album that introduced me to Genesis..ReplyDelete
I find your choice of Little Creatures over Remain in Light... disturbing.ReplyDelete
I do indeed prefer Remain in Light - but I haven't got it on vinyl. Not that it mattered in the end but at one point I was meant to have them all available to be included in the photo shoot.ReplyDelete
"Relayer" - man, you're not fooling around.ReplyDelete
I'm shown with my original vinyl copy of it, too.Delete
Hmm... I would not classify The B52’s or The Talking Heads as prog. College radio bands turned alt pop, yes, but definitely not prog... at least in the USA. I also happen to have numbers 2, 3, and 4 on vinyl.ReplyDelete
Re: Talking Heads, IMO you get a free prog pass if you've collaborated heavily with Robert Fripp. :)Delete
It was a more a case of the mag knowing I liked a bit of prog within a broader musical taste, so they were happy to have non-prog stuff in it.ReplyDelete
Re: Talking Heads, other than Fripp being on Fear of Music, there's also Adrian Belew on Remain in Light. Personally I think it was more a case of the 80s incarnation of King Crimson sounding like Talking Heads, than the other way round. Belew's vocal phrasing is very Byrne-like on songs like Matte Kudasai, Frame by Frame etc.
Mildly surprised you'd didn't squeeze the Chameleons in. The vinyl thing again, maybe?ReplyDelete
Coincidentally got Mark Burgess's autobiography in London last week. I presume you've already read it but, if not, it's a very good rock biog with a couple of SF/horror twists thrown in!
I did actually include one of their albums when I was asked to do a selection for this feature a couple of years ago, but which then fell through. When I revisited, I ended up keeping about half the original choices but it was very touch to decide what to include and what not to. I haven't read the biog. I'm a bit wary of books about bands that have gone through a messy breakup (see eg The Blue Nile) as it can be a bit disheartening when you revisit the records!ReplyDelete
Best to the folks in Fife, by the way!
Interesting observation about revisiting the records of bands who've had acrimonious breakups. I've never found that it disheartens me to the point that listening to the records is difficult, but I think that may be because I’ve never followed a band closely and then witnessed that sort of breakup in real time. I’ve only discovered artists like The Chameleons and The Blue Nile in recent years, so I’ve always viewed them as bands whose discographies are complete. If a band like Radiohead or Wilco imploded, I think I’d end up approaching their music differently (and I'd certainly think twice before diving into a biography).Delete
Also, nice list of records! I've got to check out "A Stereo Space Odyssey".
Chameleons Vox - Mark Burgess and his current sidemen - will be playing "Script of the Bridge" at The Globe in Cardiff on December 12th. Saw them in Seattle last time they were through and they were brilliant.Delete
Sorry, meant to say that it's an interesting selection in the piece. Crucial first sentence missing from last reply.Delete
With ref to Mark's book, I definitely think that any rock biogs can be categorised under 'Unreliable Narrators'! However I think that the only real view that emerged at the time of Chameleons demise #2 was Dave's. But as a document of a band getting screwed over in the music biz in the 80s View From A Hill is hard to beat.
BTW if you're going to see the Blue Aeroplanes in Bristol next month ;-) we'll see you there!
I greatly enjoy your writing, and was very interested to read about your love of prog. I sing, play and write songs for my prog band Hats Off Gentlemen It's Adequate. A lot of our music is science-fiction inspired. Our latest album contains songs inspired by Ann Leckie and PKD stories.
If you don't mind, I'd love to write something inspired by your writing. I have been wondering about a group of songs inspired by Century Rain. Would that be OK with you?
Hi Malcolm! Would you mind dropping me an email? My address is firstname.lastname@example.orgReplyDelete
relayer is awesome, not as good as talk thoughReplyDelete
Hi Alastair, not sure if you recall, but we had a very brief conversation at a science fiction book store in Stockholm. I was jet lagged and mumbled something about now having met my two favorite artists from the UK (you and Steven Wilson from the sorta-prog Porcupine Tree). Was just wondering if you remembered this and if you ever gave Porcupine Tree / Steven Wilson a try.ReplyDelete
I do remember, yes - and I did indeed acquire some Porcupine Tree records, which I quite enjoyed!ReplyDelete