Saturday, January 25, 2020

Rumble of The Ruins



So I have a new album out. Whilst listening to your copy the following notes may bring some elucidation. 

1. Rumble of The Ruins 02:23
In 2012 I bought on ebay a one-chip synthesizer, the  SN76477 or "complex sound generator". Released in 1978 the chip was used in a variety of early arcade games and has a single VCO, LFO, noise generator, noise filter, an envelope (of sorts), and a variety of modulation options.

The circuitry needed some attention before it would make any sound, and was always a little idiosyncratic, but was pleasingly crude and a surprising number of tracks were conjured from it including pieces on the Ice Yacht cassette, and The Storm Bugs Certified Original and Vintage Fakes release. The Rumble of The Ruins track was originally intended as part of a collaboration with the Vas Deferens Organization Mutant Sounds boys called the Office Abandoned, but as that project has been put on hold (or even abandoned) for a number of years I decided to record a new version of the track for this release.

Don’t fade don’t fall 
Let the rumble of the ruins calm your storm 
As you sail bye-bye 
There’s a glory hole gaping in the sky 

Red crimson is the flow 
As urban conurbations teem and grow 
For sale, for rent 
Anointed teenage bodies bored and spent

The lyrics nod towards T.Rex (King of The Rumbling Spires) and the William Burroughs novel Cities of The Red Night.

  
2. Window Sill 02:18
An early version of this track appears on the Linear Obsessional 2017 Christmas compilation A View From a Hill loosely inspired by the supernatural (or should I say eerie) tales of MR James. This version was as they say fleshed out with guitar, shortwave radio, and percussion.

Walking in the woods one day 
I thought I heard a maiden say
Hello

Pushing through the bramble hedge
I saw her flaming ginger head
Aglow

From the comfort of your window sill
You saw the outline of the hill
Below
Climbing up to reach the tor
From the tangled bedclothes on the floor
He rose

Dipping in the stream that night
Under eel pool electric light
Hello

Walking down the wind worn path
Into the contours of the past
He rose

From the comfort of your window sill
You saw the outline of the hill
Below
Climbing up to reach the tor
From the tangled bedclothes on the floor
He rose
  
There is another echo of Bolan in the opening line shared with his song The Wizard, and of course borrowed by him from many a traditional folk song and/or poem.

3. Au Coin du Jardin 04:34
The synthesizer, percussion and voices were recorded live on Ed Pinsent’s Sound Projector Radio Show in March 2019. The synthesizer is the custom made soft VCS3 app built in Max/MSP, I have been tweaking for nigh on seven years. Gradually it gets more character just like the original, but with more routing possibilities, and the ability to save presets, so in many ways it is ‘better’ than the actual, but would I swap it for the real thing - of course I would.  The treated voices describe a famous case of faux archaeology, the Glozel case. Just Google Glozel and find out. To the Sound Projector Radio Show track I added over phased guitar, it is a little tribute to Cosey who is the master of this kind of slide.

 4. Raven Row (You Know How it Goes) 03:06
In some alternate universe this is a sure fire hit from 1986 or thereabouts, but we are in 2020. A draft was played live by The Storm Bugs back in 2012, this version has slowly matured with ever more layers of guitar, strings, vocoder, and what have you added to the simple synth sequence played on the Nanozwerg and RotaSynth. File under London songs.

A lookey-likey lover whilst working undercover 
Took a liking to the brother of someone else’s mother 
He texted her each hour, even from the shower 
Pictures of his manhood hidden by a flower 

You know how it goes from Ealing to Bow 
You know how it goes down Raven Row 
You know how it goes from Strood to Soho 
You know how it goes down Raven Row 

A sea salty sailor said he’d catch you later 
Had to have a drink with a curious undertaker 
Formaldehyde hot toddy coursed around his body 
Rendering his manhood, limp and floppy 

You know how it goes from Ealing to Bow 
You know how it goes down Raven Row 
You know how it goes from Strood to Soho 
You know how it goes down Raven Row 

Searching for a top-up in a backstreet lock-up 
Ending up instead with a petal pink pop-up 
She inhaled briefly, kept on smiling sweetly 
Thinking all the while that this was kind of creepy 

You know how it goes from Ealing to Bow 
You know how it goes down Raven Row 
You know how it goes from Strood to Soho 
You know how it goes down Raven Row
  
5. The Elephant's Eye 03:00
The repeated synth sequence over which I first started singing had a touch of the Velvets about it, and though not a VU song Nico’s words from We’ve got the Gold came to mind -We've got the gold, we do not seem too old. This somehow morphed into - Please bring me silver, please bring me gold/ Tease me with your memories of being young and bold. Once the opening line was set the other words followed, a song for turning sixty too. Another influence is to the Faces Ooh La La, but the intent of the lines - I wish that I knew what I know now/ When I was younger/ I wish that I knew what I know now/ When I was stronger, is reversed so that it becomes - If only I knew now what I knew before/ When thought was just an impulse and love was something more.


Please bring me silver, please bring me gold 
Tease me with your memories of being young and bold 
Go fetch my suitcase, don’t forget my hat 
I left it sleeping under a Persian cat 

When you’re inside the elephant’s eye 
When you’re inside the elephant’s eye eye 

You might think it risible, you might think it a joke 
I’ve lost all direction, my head is full of smoke 
The trees gather round and beat their drums 
The wind claps and howls and blots out the sun 

When you’re inside the elephant’s eye 
When you’re inside the elephant’s eye eye eye eye 

If only there was a way out of this labyrinth of caves 
A jaunty little melody that rises up the staves 
If only I knew now what I knew before 
When thought was just an impulse and love was something more 

When you’re inside the elephant’s eye 
When you’re inside the elephant’s eye eye eye eye

 6. Funicular Freedom 04:11
A fellow Hastings resident was getting married at the De La Warr Pavilion in late 2018 and I had envisioned this track with its clanging vibes and sedentary procedural pace as some kind of celebration of the event. There are no lyrics per se as this is the first draft of the vocals. This is how I write all the songs just singing along forming words as one goes. There is then usually lots of revision. Pen and paper come out and over a couple of days ‘proper’ lyrics emerge, but in this instance I left things at the first stage with our lead character floating around on the West Hill watching the funicular going up and down. The title is a sly nod to Elton’s Philadelphia Freedom.

7. Funny Money 03:35
In 1976 when I should have been starting my A-Levels at the Grammar school I made a very ill-advised trip to London for a couple of weeks. The lyrics are inspired by this AWOL excursion but any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental. Musically we are appropriately enough in Pet Shop Boys homage territory. West End Girls being their finest moment.

Eleven fingers, seven toes, metal dentures, plastic nose 
Never happy, ever sad, take your Mandrax, call a cab 

Funny money won’t you be my friend 
Funny money let’s burn and spend 
Funny money won’t you be my friend 
Bunny money in the West End 

Down the Dilly nine o’clock, on the meat rack, pick me up 
Smells like honey, tastes like cream, petroleum jelly in your machine 

Funny money won’t you be my friend 
Funny money let’s burn and spend 
Funny money won’t you be my friend 
Bunny money in the West End 
Bunny money in the West End 

Never happy, ever sad, take your Mandrax, call a cab 
Tastes like honey, smells like cream, petroleum jelly in your machine 

Funny money won’t you be my friend 
Funny money let’s burn and spend 
Funny money won’t you be my friend 
Bunny money in the West End 
Bunny money in the West End

8. If You Take a Table 02:31
Found my old punky voice in the corner of the cupboard gasping for air, gave it and the old guitar a stroll and a breather.

If you take a table, and nail it to a chair 
Make your calculations on a follicle of hair 
A mystical analysis of alien underwear 

Then I don’t mind you wasting all my time 
Conservative affirmative, so absolutely blind 
No I don’t mind you cribbing all my lines 
Affirmative conservative, so absolutely blind 

If you take an astronaut, and pin him to the moon 
Decompress his chamber, and fill it with perfume 
And cushion your desire with a little red balloon 

Then I don’t mind you wasting all my time 
Conservative affirmative, so absolutely blind 
No I don’t mind you cribbing all my lines 
Affirmative conservative, so absolutely blind 

If you take a table, and nail it to a chair 
Make your calculations, pin him to the moon 
Decompress his chamber, and fill it with perfume 

Then I don’t mind you wasting all my time 
Conservative affirmative, so absolutely blind 
No I don’t mind you cribbing all my lines 
Affirmative conservative, so absolutely blind

9. The Golden Fleet 04:12
Another track recorded live on Ed Pinsent’s Sound Projector Radio Show in March 2019 with added guitar. Every time I search on Ebay for that elusive Rotherex jacket it always comes back with "0 results found for rotherex, so we searched for rother" and up comes al the Krautrock gems.
  
10. Broken Morning 06:58
What better way to end than on a long drone, using my own patent granular stretching system, with swooshes of shortwave radio. It is a bleak affair, I had in mind the 1977 Gilbert & George Red Morning series. This is my favourite G & G phase when their work resembled the style of Penguin politics and social affairs books from the 1970s.

3 comments:

Steven Ball said...

"If only I knew now what I knew before" is also a little like Dylan's "Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now."
https://youtu.be/7seZjqkk2n0

Philip Sanderson said...

hmmm "If only I knew now what I knew before" is younger and wiser rather than older and younger.

Steven Ball said...

it's similarly using the old/young inversion