26 September 2003

I don't often buy the music monthlies these days, but couldn't resist the October issue of Mojo, which includes a six-page feature on The Human League by David Buckley. It's a pretty accurate romp through the band's turbulent career. A few quotes in relation to what I and others have been babbling on about recently:
The Sheffield dream of Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League, and later ABC and Heaven 17, was nothing less than to destroy rock music. Ian Craig Marsh fondly remembers the enthusiasm and iconoclasm of his youth: "Rather than punk being a beginning -which is what everyone thought - it quickly developed into the end of rock. There wasn't going to be anymore progression. It seemed that rock was just going to pick and mix from what had gone before. We really wanted to destroy rock'n'roll as a popular form, and to replace it".

As if to back up my claim that all the pre-'90 visionaries were 'up north':
They tended to be warmly received in Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow and unsurprisingly, Sheffield, but indifferently elsewhere.

Martyn Ware on the radikal methodology of "Travelogue":
"Pumping the synths through massive distortion and overloading the desk. How prescient is that? The ethos of what we were doing was to kind of 'future-proof' it all. We were envisaging people playing this music in 10 or 20 years time". Mission accomplished, Martyn....

Concerning my previous comments on "Love & Dancing":
..a project that would arguably be the most influential product of their career. Producer Martin Rushent had journeyed round America in search of the latest dance sounds, and came back with an idea to pare "Dare!" down to it's basic grooves and release a remix album. Released in 1982, "Love & Dancing", by the Barry White-homaging League Unlimited Orchestra, was the first British pop remix album to reach the Top 5.

Major news for League and B.E.F. fans:
"Me and Phil get along fine now" says Martyn Ware. "I was thinking about asking him to do some writing together. Seriously. Because I was so impressed with hearing the early albums again, and I just had this idea that we could do what we used to do: me and Ian write some backing tracks and just give it to Phil. I think it would be exciting, wouldn't it?"

There's also a few comments concerning the new "Northern Electronic" CD that Diego and I have been going on about. Apparently Phil Oakey actually collaborated on "Rock 'n' Roll Is Dead" (did you know that, Diego?).
Sheffield emigre Jim Fry, who played with World Of Twist and co-fronts Earl Brutus, has a theory on how the Sheffield sound began:
"The Kraftwerk gig at Sheffield University in 1976 started it. After that the raincoat brigade all went out and bought Korg MS-20's and started experimenting with hair, make-up and kung-fu slippers - the 'Synth Puffs' as Mark E. Smith called them, even though they were usually quite hard."
Interesting view, although the Cabs were using synths and experimenting with their image as early as 1974. And wasn't it Richard H. Kirk who first introduced Martyn Ware to Kraftwerk's music, when he played "Trans Europe Express" at a party? The genesis of modern muzik began in Chris Watson's attic, official!