28 September 2004


Senses Working Overtime is not an XTC tribute blog, but does seem to be championing retro- Moog and Space Age Pop at the moment. Some fun links, including one where you can download Claude Denjean's "Moog!" LP in it's entirety. I've long had a weakness for these strange albums..there was a time when you could pick 'em up for pennies. Admittedly, many of them are totally worthless exploitative crap, offering promises of 'amazing electronic sounds' to the unwary consumer but actually containing poor renditions of pop/classical hits with awful, whining Moog noises filling in the lead melody. This one's pretty good though, in places. Beastie Boy Mike D. even included it in his Top 10 Moog Records in an old issue of Grand Royal magazine. Denjean's other Moog albums, "Open Circuit" and "Moods" are less successful though. One of these days I might compile my own personal MP3 selection of favourites from this genre, but don't hold your breath....

Another link to French Moog-pop offers downloads of Roger Roger's "Best Of..", which has it's moments. Roger was actually quite an interesting character, a contemporary of Jean Jacques Perrey who specialised in making Library LP's for such 'legendary' labels as Chappell, iM and Southern. Working from Ganaro Studios in Paris, Roger (along with Nino Nardini and Eddie Warner) was just as likely to create trippy experimental pieces as chirpy melodic nonsense. Whilst JJ Perrey always kept his muse on a jolly, light-hearted tip, Roger wasn't afraid to create some fearsomely dark, avant-garde shit - an endless conveyor belt of mad ideas which were, bizarrely, intended for use as background/jingles for TV, film and radio. I feel compelled to share a few favourites with you...

MP3: Roger Roger - Sounds Industrial #15 (1970)

I've never heard the original (and extremely rare) 'Sounds Industrial' album. But Luke Vibert was good enough to include this on his "Further Nuggets" compilation (Lo Recordings, 2002). Accurately described by Luke as "watery, futuristic electronic funk - like a '70s Drexciya", this track sounds astonishingly ahead of the game.

MP3's: Cecil Leuter Pop - Electronique #9 / Pop Electronique #12 (1969)

Leuter was Roger's unhinged experimental alter-ego. Both of these are from the "Pop Electronique" album (re-issued by Pulp Flavor Recordings in 2000). Side 1 shows it's age by using a live rhythm section bashing out the standard 'groovy' backing-tunes of the day, but side 2 is a real excursion into the unknown. '#9' is essentially a mini-symphony for electronically treated drum machine - a primitive premonition of '90s filter-techno. '#12' features some heavily equalised hi-hats that put me in mind of the metallic, processed textures of '70s dub, particularly King Tubby's sound. The bits where Roger suddenly flips the rhythm into reverse suggests hints of Jungle's beat-manipulating abstraction 25 years later.

MP3: Cecil Leuter - Electro Sounds #8 (1968)

This one comes from Barry 7's "Connectors" compilation (Low Recordings, 2001). A collaboration with Georges Teperino (aka Eddie Warner), that demonstrates Roger's application of electronics to dark ambient mood music. It anticipates Cluster's nebulous soundscapes from a few years later.

Couldn't leave this 'Gaelic Pioneers' theme without a quick mention of the great Pierre Henry. Although he was from the 'classical avant garde' quarter, there are strong parallels with Roger in terms of introducing European audiences to queer new electronic textures.

MP3: Pierre Henry - Rock Electronique (1963)

This is some heavy shit...the opening frantic oscillator pulses predict the headlong kick drum assault of hardcore Tekno, followed by Neubauten-like metal bashing percussion and violent bursts of vulgar synth-chatter - Rave music for '60's academia!