Sunday, February 27, 2011

Omni Science

How about some 90s drum and bass? No? Tough luck.

Omni Trio were, confusingly, one man, Rob Haigh. Their (his) orchestral take on drum and bass wasn't everyone's cup of tea, but I quite liked it. And he hasn't appeared on Strictly or Come Dine With Me.

Hear them below.

Download Omni Trio Rollin' Heights (more strings attached mix) mp3 (deleted Dec 11)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Reggae Reggae Source

Just a few more days (if you live in the UK, or have access to a clever VPN) to catch the BBC's recent Reggae Britannia. And you should. A familiar story, perhaps, but still well told in an exemplary manner by Pauline Black and others.

The great thing about these [insert genre here] Britannia documentaries is that they're so engaging that even the stories of the genres with which you may be unfamiliar (or less inclined to admire) are still worth catching. The early Folk Britannia was a case in point.

Don Letts, about whom much has been said already on this blog, cropped up once again in the docu (as did an unrecognisable Jerry Dammers). Not that I'm complaining; Letts is such an insightful, clear-headed and astute correspondent (mercifully immune to the religion- or ganja-induced hyperbole of some commentators) that he's a pleasure to listen to. Back in the day, he compiled a 2-LP compilation for Island, entitled Time Warp Dub Clash. Actually, that's not quite true; the first LP was originally released in the early 1980s, compiled by Paul "Groucho" Smykle and Trevor Wyatt, and entitled Raiders of the Lost Dub. It featured tunes from the likes of Black Uhuru, The Paragons and Steel Pulse. The second, Letts-curated LP was a 90s riposte to the first, and featured the then-current Mad Professor, Dub Syndicate, Jah Shaka and Alpha & Omega. The whole kaboodle was wrapped in a day-glo Intro sleeve and purchased by listeners including yours truly, which is how you're now getting a brief snatch of Black Uhuru below.

Download Black Uhuru Who's In The Tomb (Guess Who's Coming to Dinner) mp3 (deleted Dec 11)

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Down to the Wire

I've been having a dilemma. Should I go and see Wire tonight here in Auld Reekie?

You see, I've made it a point of principle not to see re-formed bands. This wasn't something I had to consider up until relatively recently, but the deluge of bands that have regrouped for one last lucrative hurrah has now reached critical mass. However, it's sometimes not easy to see where the principled gig-goer should stand. I mean, which bands really have split up and which ones have been on extended hiatus? Some bands are a no-brainer. Scritti Politti? Of course. Go see. They may have huge gaps of 10+ years between releases but they've never split up. And as the band is essentially G. Gartside plus A.N. Others, I'm guessing they never will. Magazine? Computer says no. Luxuria, Barry Adamson's solo career, Howard Devoto solo albums... yes, they definitely split. The Fire Engines? No. Win? No. Nectarine no. 9? Yes.

Some bands are more difficult to categorise. Duran Duran? They've had a lot of line-up changes, members in, members out, shake it all about. But they've never actually split up. So I suppose they'd be in. Though as I wouldn't pay to see them, the point is moot.

So, Wire, then. They've had three major periods of activity, as far as I can tell: the EMI/Harvest years up to 1980 or so, the Mute years of A Bell Is A Cup, Manscape etc., and their present purple patch after a break of some 12 years between The Drill and Send . They've lost Bruce Gilbert in recent years (and as The Beekeeper he was part of one of the most memorable gigs I ever saw, a freebie at London's Tower Records with the Balanescu Quartet: but that's another story) and all the members have a huge extra-curricular workload. But did they ever split up? The jury's out. Though yet again, the point is moot, as since I've been prevaricating the gig has sold out. There's a lesson there, I think. Principles can be overrated.

Wire's current album, incidentally, is excellent. You can listen on Spotify here. Some older stuff? How about Finest Drops, from IBTABA? You got it.

Download Finest Drops by Wire (mp3) (deleted Dec 11)

Visit Pink Flag, Wire's official website