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Baker's Dozen

Thirteen Types Of Elsewhere: Mark Fell's Favourite Albums
Wyndham Wallace , October 9th, 2014 09:14

On the eve of his appearance at Semibreve, Portugal's annual celebration of "exploratory music and digital arts", Mark Fell guides us through his most beloved releases


Stephen Mallinder - Pow Wow
Although I'm from Sheffield, I have never met Stephen Mallinder, and actually Cabaret Voltaire was sort of outside the narrow target of my aesthetic prejudice at that time. So although I know by name most of the Cabs' releases, I would be hard pressed to recount the track lists. I got this record second hand from Sheffield's infamous Rare & Racy record shop on Devonshire Street, just along the road from the Warp shop. The record was released on Fetish Records, which at that time was kind of like something like Editions Mego or PAN is now. People would buy stuff - not me, because I didn't have the cash - simply because it was on that label and you trusted whoever it was who was in charge.

If I had a record shop and had to choose which rack to put this in, it would be the same one as early 23 Skidoo or A Certain Ratio. Actually if you imagine a line with A Certain Ratio in the middle, and Haircut One Hundred's 'Favourite Shirts' at one extreme, then I would suggest placing Pow Wow at the other extreme. The standout track for me is 'Length Of Time', which is completely intoxicating and even rivals 23 Skidoo's 'Tearing Up The Plans' in its mastery of the genre - deliberate Radio 3-type language use, by the way. Interestingly I have the reissue of this album, Pow Wow Plus, which includes extra tracks, I guess filling the additional time made possible with the advent of CD. But for me the work as a whole has much more clarity of purpose when restricted to its original form. For me this sort of agrees with Terre Thaemlitz's argument that producers are compelled to fill up time simply because it is there, a point I address in a later choice.