Wednesday, June 25, 2008

the squat pen rests, snug as a gun

I picked up a Gilles Peterson compilation in All City Records the other day. Digs America II is made up of a load of tracks from Peterson's Brownswood Basement and includes lots of tunes that he bought in the US. The pictures of him on the front and back cover were taken in Village Music, a California record store that closed in September 2007. As someone who loves to dig in the crates, I firstly envy Gilles his numerous opportunities to fly around the world record shopping and secondly feel a pang when I hear a record store such as Village Music closes it doors. I'm sure that there were many reasons for its closure but I can only suppose that amongst them was the modern way of sourcing music, the internet. Why spend a day rooting around a dusty record store when you can download it or order it online.? On a personal level I find it's a more satisfying experience when you discover a piece of vinyl in a record store, charity shop, jumble sale or wherever else. But I would say that.

Speaking of turning up some old gems, I picked up a second-hand copy of the 2002 album, Point, by Cornelius. It was released on Matador Records and it truly is the business. I've mentioned Cornelius here before but for those who forget, he hails from Japan and has a great knack for composing electronic gems. The album cover itself is fairly humdrum but when I went to put the record back into it I noticed that the inside of the sleeve has pictures on it. It looks like a Japanese streetscape but its a a bit hard to be sure. Check out Point of View Point and Drop on his myspace as both tunes feature on the album.

I picked up another Lee Fields tune on seven inch from 2007 called 'My World' which features another killer tune, Love Comes and Goes, on the flip. The stuff that he's putting out sounds like Gilles Peterson dug it out of a record store like Village Music. After doing a little research (i.e. googling) I found that Lee released his first seven inch in 1973 but for some reason dropped off the radar around 1984 and then resurfaced with a release on the DapTone label in 2000. I for one am glad he's back. If you think you'd like to sample some of Mr Fields magic then you should get his soon to be released album 'The Many Moods Of Lee Fields' on Truth & Soul Records.

Finally, I bought a seven inch from 2007 on the Morr Music label by a band called Seavault. A quick visit to their MySpace showed that Seavault are no other than Antony Ryan from ISAN and Simon Scott from Slowdive. Slowdive were a bunch of shoegazers who were on the Creation label from 1989 to the mid-nineties. This might explain why Seavault have chosen to cover a tune from 1988 by Ultra Vivid Scene called Mercy Seat. I was in a band at the same time and we would all have been listening to UVS and digging them. UVS are really a bloke called Kurt Ralske. After I bought the seven inch I got to thinking about what happened to Kurt Ralske? A quick google brought me up to speed on his whereabouts and his current occupation. It turns out that he was a bit interested in audio-visual installations and related programming matters. So much so that he developed a piece of video software called Auvi , that's used by lots of people who move in those kind of circles. He's created installations and exhibited his work in places like the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and has a permanent display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. What a guy! Here's the original Mercy Seat interspersed with an interview with the man himself.

UPDATE: I was over on MP3hugger's site and knew that he'd have been digging Ultra Vivid Scene back in the day. I found this post about what happened to all the members of Slowdive. Check it.


Justin Mason said...

hey, Ultra Vivid Scene, I remember those guys!

Was "Mercy Seat" not a (great) tune by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds before that though? was the UVS version a cover of that tune?

Matt Vinyl said...

Nah, Nick's one is called The Mercy Seat and was released a year previous to UVS. Both are great tunes though.

econgirl said...

God you just reminded me of tthat Flaming Lips / Cornelius gig in the Olympia a while back. Legend stuff.

Matt Vinyl said...

I just love Cornelius. The more I listen, the more I love.