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Mikes thoughts on the new compilation tracks.

 

Mikes thoughts on the new compilation tracks


I’ve resisted listening to these for a long time. The analogy I make is if you were asked to review photographs of yourself from around 20 years ago and comment on the clothes and haircuts you’d probably also find yourself squirming. 
 
It’s not that you intended those things to be bad, or that you were careless at the time, it’s just the influence of the times, the stage you were at in life and the way we can judge from a safe distance of two decades makes some elements embarrassing or tedious. But some elements you can still be proud of.
 
Anaesthetised with a small amount of alcohol, I’ve written down my comments as I heard the songs, sometimes for the first time in a decade or more.
 
Deep breath, here goes...
 
Miss universe. Oooh, I can hear the LFO influence, and not the teen band either:  I like the sounds a lot. This must have been part of the first version of Already, reminds me of being locked in the Think studio in the Food building in Camden, a hot summer outside, long days and nights inside, just me in the studio running backwards and forwards from control room to recording area. 
As flawed as this is, an album full of this stuff might just as well have been released anyway. In some ways I prefer it to the later version of Already. But then I did write that sentence before I heard the final unnecessary verse. Clearly my self-editing discipline was sunning itself outside the studio.
 
Together. It may not sound like it but there's a strong Radiohead influence in this - I heard The Bends recently and it reminded me. Hotei's guitar is great! Sounds much rawer than the version I'm used to. The vocals sound rougher. The chorus is unpleasant, glad that was re-recorded. Love the tremolo on Hotei's guitar in the middle, reminds me of the mid-90s Britpop 60s thing.
 
Cartoon creature. Ah, AC/DC: couldn't have been long until that influence appeared. I remember making an effort around this time to show that strongly. A little too successfully, I feel, it sounds like a version where I had yet to take out the most obvious references and replace with something of my own. 
What strikes me is that there are plenty of decent ideas but a lack of focus. Nice outro!
 
Freaky people. This is a bit car crash- I have to listen but I'm horrified by what I hear. Again, some nice ideas, decent riffs and sounds, all jumbled up with some horrors. I was clearly under the influence of Jam and Lewis, Janet Jacksons producers, it's a kind of relative of Real Real Real a few years too late.
 
Metambient. Oh God, if only I could have sung like that. I love this, it sounds so unlike me and yet I know I created it even if the best stuff comes courtesy of more talented people. The Steven Reich influence with the falling-over, echoey piano was prompted by a gift of his “It’s gonna rain” album from my dad. I like that I got that in there. Nice weirdness in the dark section. And the Amen breakbeat ! Good lord! Straight outta Baalbek! 
Really enjoyed hearing that again. Does it make it interesting for the listener to hear this early stage in its creation, or do they lose respect? When it was made I did it safe in the knowledge that no-one else but me would hear it. Ho hum.
 
Saviour. This is fascinating. It kind of rocks but once again it’s about some good bits failing to make a decent whole. My neighbour genuinely did tell me he was praying for me. I now think that was very good of him. I still love the sound of a distorted 303.  Sounds like Warne Livesey produced it, going by the sound of the vocals, although its possibly Coler & Richardson beforehand.
 
As good as it gets. More swingbeat. This is terrible. Everything about it is horrible. I'm fast forwarding, I can't take it anymore.
 
Every little bit. Now is is more like it. I like the melodrama of the strings, I wished we'd used that more. What intrigues me about this is the lack of focus. I clearly know my way around instruments, technology and the the rudiments of songwriting but it never comes together as a pleasing whole, like holding something valuable in front of your face and then not being able to make anything of the detail when it's moved further away.
 
Time of our own. What a lovely instrument the santur is. The scrappiness of this at this stage shows the genius of Warne Livesey and what he added to Perverse later. Hearing this, I think in my own defence a lot of the vocals were recorded by and large as soon as the lyrics were written. That’s why they often sound so rough - I’m still learning how to sing them.
 
Machine drug. Wow, this really is the start of the 90s! I like the chorus enough to make me suspect it's a complete steal from someone else but I can’t think who. I enjoyed Jerry's cameo appearance. Rushed and shoddy but exciting. That seems to sum us up at that point in time.
 
Zeroes. The Roland JD800, the keyboard that shaped the sound of Perverse. Clearly this was before I tweaked that particular sound. I like the bass line, always have, love the way it makes this rock. I guess for the listener this gives an insight into how much or how little a producer can influence a song. This sounds like Warne really only did mid-level tinkering, unlike the major surgery performed on Devil. 
 
Meteor boy. More santur beauty, not a sampled loop on this occasion but a santur sound from another keyboard I used around this time, one that much of Perverse was written on. 
I'm really enjoying this and it's not just hearing all those wonderful singers- there's a nice song inside here. What a shame I didn't spend more time developing it as a separate entity instead of getting heavily into recycling. Something about this makes me melancholy. It's probably that Lebanese melodrama.
 
Don't believe it. Is this Coler & Richardson? Woah! Where did that beat come from? Loving this ! A nice shade of Joan Jett's Love is Pain. A song, a version I don't feel ashamed of. Well, apart from the ending.
 
Burning. Wretched piece of work from well before the Jesus Jones era. But I'm still a sucker for the evil dead-style vocal. 
 
Are you satisfied. There was a time, children,when you could only record on 4 tracks. Don't hate me for this, it a never meant to be heard by anyone other than me. Couldn't listen to more than 2 minutes.
 
Friend. This is interesting. How odd, and not any good but clearly an experiment into mucking around with breakbeats that needed something resembling a song to justify it. This is a kind of musical sketch pad with selection of faintly related themes crammed onto the same page. I hope my kids never have to listen to this.
 
Set the scene. Getting fiddly with sampled beats now are we? This is clearly the start of me taking a little more care over the basic ingredients, probably as a result of seeing Warne’s meticulous work.
It sounds to me like a warm up for Saviour. I don't mind this. "Should you look back, not now". Intriguing. The are elements of this that surprise me when I hear it back and that makes this more enjoyable than other tracks on this album.
 
Info Freako, PWL version. Fish and chips. We used to pop out for fish and chips when recording the original of this and the other songs onto that seminal demo. A tiny, subterranean studio. 
I got fed up with this, staring out of the window thinking about fish and chips, at 4 minutes. A real product of it's time, a historical bookmark.
 
 
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