Thursday, November 30, 2006

Favourite Artists (No. 3) - Fluke

Back in the early 1990's I sold my flat with the grand intention of swanning off to Australia. There I would drink copious amounts of beer, sunbathe and hopefully meet the girl of my dreams. In the end I moved 2 miles down the road into a rented house and met the girl of my dreams here in England. It was at this house that my housemate introduced me to Fluke (Jon Fluger, Mike Tournier, Mike Bryant). At the time his sister was going out with one of the guys in the band (which one I am unsure - I think it was one of the Mikes) and they had only one album released - 'The Techno Rose of Blighty'. In a country that had gone mad for all things 'baggy' or 'Acieeed' they seemed to take a very mature slant on techno. Certainly Alan McGee at Creation records was suitably impressed to give them a chance alongside all of his other indie acts. I also remember listening to Annie Nightingale who one evening said that 'Techno Rose .....' was an album that she returned to on repeated occasions because of its brilliance.

After a gap of a couple of years and a mini live album ('Out - In essence') they went on to release 'Six Wheels On My Wagon' which was their stab at the mainstream. The album had far more of a 'House' feel with some appropriate floor filling tracks in the early part of the album. Later still came 'Oto' and 'Risotto', both which realised some measure of critical acclaim. 'Risotto' especially, was well received by the music press and saw the release of their two most well known singles in 'Atom Bomb' and 'Absurd'. The band also saw a successful link into computer games with their part in the soundtrack to 'Wipeout 2097'. The group came to an effective end at the turn of the millenium with the departure of Tournier although they lived on with DJ appearances and 'Best of..' albums. There was even a comeback album in 'Puppy' but this could not live up to the early work.

Tracks (mp3)

Fluke - philly (Jamorphous mix)
Fluke - Electric Guitar (Humbucker)
World of Twist - She's A Rainbow (Fluke: Right Foot Yellow Mix)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Such a Shame

Two items of shame that I'd like to share with you:

Shame Number One: The Death of Robert Altman

Although I could never say that Altman was top of my lists of the greatest
directors, he was always in there somewhere. A true maverick, Altman was one of the original 'Hollywood Renaissance' filmmakers, along with Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese and company. But amongst them all he was the one able to draw a stella all-star cast. I first watched M*A*S*H after having consumed many episodes of the TV series, immediately I loved its sense of authenticity (something that the TV series never really had). Later, of course, there were others I've seen - Nashville, Short Cuts, The Player, Gosford Park and others that I have disgracefully missed. As soon as my current Woody Allen fixation is satisfied I'll be instructing my DVD club to send me plenty of Altman.

Shame Number Two: The Lack of Knowledge About Ken Loach

I talked to my year 13 students on Monday and said that I had seen
'The Wind That Shakes the Barley' over the weekend. Shamefully, nobody had heard of the film and even more shameful had they heard of Ken Loach. I was gobsmacked by this lack of knowledge of the most important English director of the last 40 years. I mean the film itself had won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and he had won a fellowship of BAFTA the previous year. Nobody has made more humanistic films about the lot of the working class in Britain. This emptyheadiness by these students has got to change. I'm going to have a Ken Loach season at school and they will have their eyes opened.

Mp3 track of the day:

PJ Harvey -
Shame (Peel Session)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Girls, Girls, Girls

The five best songs with girls names in the song title. I would have had 'Charlotte Sometimes' but that was in an earlier post so discounted for the rules of this particular conundrum. The Beatles alone seemed to have quite a few but I've only allowed myself one. So anyway ......

Jimi Hendrix - The Wind cries Mary
Elvis Costello - Alison
The Beatles - Michelle
The Ramones - Sheena is a Punk Rocker
10cc - I'm Mandy, Fly Me

And just for the record five more that definitely would not have made the list .......

Chris de Burgh - Patricia the Stripper
Barry Manilow - Mandy
The Knack - My Sharona
Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
Marillion - Kayleigh

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Songs and Images of a Lifetime - 1966

The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (mp3)

In music terms probably the easiest choice I'll have to make. I know in many ways this is cop out and that this song features in many 'top this' and 'top that' lists but ultimately 'God Only Knows' is just a classic pop tune. Featuring sublime vocal harmonies, and a technical ability that other bands and songwriters could only marvel at before going back to the drawing board to try and catch up. Sublime.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly - Dir. Sergio Leone

I have always been a great fan of the western genre, and I grew up watching John Wayne and Henry Fonda movies on a sunday afternoon. When I first watched this film I was entranced. It seemed so different to the other westerns I had been reared on and I couldn't get enough of the spaghetti variety. Most Leone fans would argue that Once Upon a Time in the West was his best effort, but I disagree. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly is a better balanced and better acted film altogether.

Buy Beach Boys here