Monday, June 25, 2012

Whole Lotta TOAD

v/a Further Fore
v/a Fragrant Nimbus
v/a Whea Yo Ghost At
v/a Ray's Inmyday2011
v/a nlgbbbblth CD: The World We Knew
v/a nlgbbbblth CD 12.18 Don't Make It Work: Our Failed Pop 1980-87
v/a Otto Chikan's ATP Mix 2012
v/a Mangum Mix @ ATP March 2012 (Trevor A. Smith ATP mix)
v/a P--- W----Best of 2011

It's TOAD and CD-R corner - a round-up of such things I had on hand when I was working on my contribution to the most recent mailing of Frank's APA. This is not even everything, as I should have carried over stuff from last time I had not got round to reviewing, like the end of year discs of Mr S.W------ and suchlike. I think I have at least two more ATP mix CDs I should be talking about too.

I don't know what it is like for other Frank's APA members, but I am finding TOADs and the like a bit depressing - I appreciate the work that went into them but I really do struggle to find the time to listen to them properly. I mean, OK, I do listen to them, either on the stereo or on the iPod, but not closely in a "so what is this interesting track?" kind of way. And then I think, if this is what I am doing, then is it not also what people are doing with the CD-Rs I make? And so the depressing nature of the world becomes apparent in all its awfulness.

The P--- W----Best of 2011 has been getting a bit of airplay here in Panda Mansions. It features a lot of funny electronic music, which is not particularly surprising given who put it together. There is one particular track on it that stood out to me. It features vocoder vocals talking some kind of nonsense that sounds like it might be very deep if you were ever to listen to the lyrics properly. And it has this nice programmed electronic beat to it. The track turns out to be by David Lynch, the film director. I suppose he always used music well in his films, but it is a bit weird to have someone who makes films release a record and for it not to be complete rubbish.

Don't Make It Work: Our Failed Pop 1980-87is an interesting trip down memory lane if you are Irish and about my age. The title references the charity track 'Let's Make It Work', performed by Christy Moore and some other guy for the embarrassing Self-Aid festival at which musicians attempted to do something about unemployment. It features loads of tunes (but not 'Let's Make It Work' (or was it 'Make It Work'?) itself) from the period it covers, a time when Irish pop music was a bit aspirational and where it seemed genuinely kind of possible that local bands could hit the international big time (partly because one local band hit the international big time big time).

The one real problem with the music of this time is that it was rubbish. With the benefit of hindsight these are almost all a bunch of lamer second division acts trying their hand at making something that bands elsewhere are making a much better fist of. I was particularly struck by how tunes I remembered fondly turned out to be very unappealing. Like 'November, November' by Auto Da Fé, a thin attempt at creating a local electro-goth sound (amusingly made by some folkie-tradders chasing the golden rainbow). Or 'Comin' Thru' by In Tua Nua, a plodding piece of vaguely blues-related stodge.

On the other hand, I still have a sneaking regard for Light A Big Fire's 'Mr Twilight' (another vaguely goth tune, even if LABF were not particularly goth themselves). Vocoder nonsense pop tune 'The Canvas of Life' by Minor Detail has a certain cheesy appeal. And even if I scoff at much of the music on this compilation, I salute the compiler for putting it together. The snippets from TV theme tunes and bits of chit chat from RTE youth programmes do a great job of projecting me back into that rubbish time.

I enjoyed all the other CD-Rs and TOADs to at least some extent. I hope at some stage to do a C90-Go! style review of the ATP discs, if only so I can generate something "interesting" about them to post on the Internet. But I am always proposing to do this with CD-Rs and TOADs and yet I never seem to manage it. That is the story of my life.

An inuit panda production

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