The Outer Church Spotify Playlist - Psych, Prog, Cosmic etc
, November 9th, 2009 07:32
Writer and Gramophone Technologist Joe Stannard is launching a new far-out night in Brighton, to celebrate he's penned us a few words and compiled a Spotify playlist. Turn On, Tune In and Freak Beat Out
Here's a chord. Here's another. Here's another. Okay, here's another. Here's several more. Now here's some fucked up time signatures. And a Moog. And an Arp. And a Mellotron. Now form a band.
(Don't) Beware Of The Prog
I'm alarmed at recent attempts to re-canonise progressive rock. For me, one of the joys of this music is that, like psych, space rock and krautrock, it exists somewhat outside the bounds of the rock canon. It's simply too ambitious and unwieldy to make sense in the same way as pub bores like The Clash or Paul Weller, and thank goodness for that. I view prog, psych and kraut as alternate universes where the possibilities available to rock are expanded to an almost ludicrous degree and anything goes. And regardless of the cray dough outlined above, it really isn't anything to do with the means at your disposal – you can make amazing, far out music using a tape machine and a few pedals . . . maybe a biscuit tin too. Just write 'Biscuitron' on the lid with a Sharpie and you're away.
The Outer Limits. . . ?
Punk didn't really kill prog, but the critical discourse surrounding it made it pretty embarrassing for people to admit that they actually quite liked Genesis, for example. There's a funny sort of hypocrisy to it all which often has little to do with the music – Phil Collins is roundly condemned for being a twat, which is fair enough, maybe he is, but so was Ian Curtis! And there's a fair bit of prog to Joy Division and their peers. Compare Dave Formula's keyboards on Magazine albums to those of Tony Banks in Genesis or Rick Wakeman in Yes. There ain't a whole lotta difference, frankly. Magazine's Permafrost could easily have been a Van Der Graaf Generator song, and frontman Howard Devoto has more in common with Van Der Graaf's Peter Hammill or Family's Roger Chapman than John Lydon, who was a fan of VDGG and Magma in any case. And Lydon may have scrawled 'I Hate' over his Pink Floyd t-shirt, but as Simon Reynolds recently enquired, what was he doing with a Floyd shirt in the first place? The further you investigate, the more you realise punk wasn't quite the Year Zero it purported to be. I mean, Yes had a number one album in 1976 with Going For The One and This Heat's drummer was the amazing Charles Hayward, who had previously played in the aggressively progressive Quiet Sun with Roxy Music's Phil Manzanera . . .
I won't be playing any MGMT or Empire Of The Sun. Not out of snobbishness, it's just that for me they're a bit too sane to qualify as truly psychedelic. There has to be an element of madness there, a loose screw, which those groups lack. In terms of contemporary music, I'm more likely to play 'new new age' stuff like Emeralds, High Wolf, Ducktails, Oneohtrix Point Never, alongside other stuff like Pocahaunted, Sun Araw, Broadcast, Ghost Box, Mordant Music, Position Normal, Astral Social Club, Guapo, Chrome Hoof . . . maybe even Dan Deacon. I might play the Flaming Lips, but I'd probably skip from Zaireeka to Embryonic, which I think is their best album in ages. There's definitely room for some cosmic disco, Lindstrom & Prins Thomas are on my playlist alongside some archive stuff from Tele Music, a French label who put out incredible electronic library music in the late 70s and early 80s, much of which was created by the stupidly talented Sauveur Mallia. On a similar note, Patrick Cowley is responsible some of the most psychedelic music I have ever heard and I'll definitely be rinsing Giorgio Moroder's 1975 debut album Einzelganger. That's a criminally overlooked monolith of kosmische awesomeness. It all adds up to one great big psychedelic dog's breakfast, so to speak.
The Outer Church opens at The Penthouse, Brighton on November 11, then congregates every second Wednesday of the month. Admission is free.