Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 00:18:53 +0600
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 01:55:21 -0700
It seems that lately, for a list called 4ad-l, there is an unusually
large percentage of anti-4AD sentiments posted. I wonder how this list
would have looked circa 1983-86? A tad more favorable to 4AD, I bet!
This list is fast becoming a dumping ground for "I hate 4AD" messages or
"I hate Scheer (or whoever else Ivo just signed)" messages. The other
discussions of other new bands and other labels is fine and constructive.
It's this ongoing negativity directed towards 4AD that seems to be
getting out of control. Let's not forget why this list exists and what
made us get into 4AD in the first place. Myself, I stumbled upon 4AD by
accident after getting into Modern English, Cocteau Twins and This Mortal
Coil. It was only after several years I realized that there were plenty
of these albums with the 4AD logo on them in my collection. There is a
certain feel and enjoyment I've received from listening to music like the
1985 Colourbox album ("Arena" is amazing; should've been a single), Dif
Juz's "Extractions" and This Mortal Coil's "Filigree And Shadow" to name
only a few that I cannot describe. I only know that I can go back to
these and other 4AD releases and receive a great deal of listening
pleasure from them. Does 4AD translate into the mid-90's? I believe so.
Despite what is said of 4AD on 4ad-l and elsewhere, it's important to
realize that Ivo has never stopped challenging our ears with new sounds.
New sounds that may not have had the chance without his involvement. How
many of you would have picked up Tarnation's "Gentle Creatures" album had
it been released on their old label Nuff Said? It's not a "typical" 4AD
sound but had it not been for 4AD, I might not have discovered the album.
Same with another great 4AD release, "Happiness" from Lisa Germano.
Capitol was probably not the best home for Germano at the time and an
ears-open Ivo took advantage of this situation and now a third Germano
album is out soon under this relationship. I can hardly wait for it! As
for the Lush back-lash, we couldn't expect them to re-do "Gala" or
"Spooky" over and over again, could we?. They have to move forward as
does the label itself. 4AD is not the world's most perfect label but I'm
prepared to say it is one of the most innovative and daring ones around,
then and now! I never really equate listening to Scheer as listening to
bad heavy metal. I like their first two EP's and I'm going to stick
around for their album, too. It's the fact that Ivo can search out bands
like Scheer, aware they are brilliant, and find them a home on his label.
He has the vision bigger labels sorely lack. He is, after all, the man
who was able to sign such diverse groups as Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus, Dead
Can Dance, Throwing Muses, Pixies, Lush and Pale Saints under the theory
that though different in styles, their high quality is all the glue you
need to build a label's foundation. 1996 promises to be another year
full of new suprises for 4AD, some that I'm sure will find a place in my
heart next to all my other 4AD favorites...
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 09:47:10 +0100
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 07:12:25 -0400
>Doesn't anyone want to share a review or comments on the new Stereolab
>album? I've seen a few one-line comments on it but nothing more
>descriptive. I'll certainly end up buying it, but MAQ was rather
>disappointing so it's rather lower on my shopping list than it would
>otherwise be. I listened to the first few seconds at Tower the other day
>and the first track reminded me strongly of Tortoise(!).
>So if anyone would like to post a review, mini or otherwise, I'd greatly
>appreciate it. Ta.
I was wondering about that myself, so here goes. This album is much more
worth getting than MAQ.
1. Metronomic Underground
Starts with weird wacka-wacka noises and something approaching hiphop beat,
then kicks in with something that's indeed a bit like Tortoise, but also a
hell of a lot of Can, with deep, round bass and clicking guitar figures.
Mary sings the same thing over and over while Laetitia sings something
entirely different over the top of it. Motors on for almost 8 minutes.
2. Cybele's Reverie
Begins with brittle-sounding string section, then leaps into a classic
Stereolab French pop song a la "Lo Boob Oscillator", stopping once or twice
for a pulsing keyboard part. The lyric deals with the question of what to
when one has done/read/eaten/drunk everything, shouted from every roof,
cried and laughed in the city and country (I'm paraphrasing here).
Another upbeat pop song with busy bass riffs going on and lots of this
keyboard sound that I can only describe as kinda wah-like.
4. Les Yper-Sound
Not much in common with Les Yper Yper Sound from the Cybele's Reverie EP
(which I guess is a remix). "You go on that team / I go on this team /
divide everything / A flag or a number / make them opposites / so there's a
reason / stigmatisation / okay, now we can fight". Very metronomic.
5. Spark Plug
Syncopated, swinging, I daresay funky. Tim's got a wah pedal and he's using
it all over this album.
society; there is no sense if one cannot see in them before anything else
the life or its capacity to be founded upon itself".
6. OLV 26
A really old-sounding drum machine, buzzing low-end keyboard, a bit
Kraftwerk. Lyrically, it deals with the myth of heaven and paradise:
"Depuis le temps que c'est promis nous irons tous au paradis - c'est un
appel sourd, une promesse aveuglante qui noie la conscience" (Since the time
it's been promised - we're all going to paradise; it's a deaf appeal, a
blinding promise that drowns the conscience)
7. The Noise of Carpet
Fast, fuzzy and upbeat in a sort of punk way. Laetitia is reprimanding
man that's too easy".
8. Tomorrow Is Already Here
What sounds like a detuned acoustic(?) guitar bounces back and forth between
speakers in time with its own syncopated rhythm. Organ comes in slowly. Mary
sings the main part (anyone noticed how she has a weak "s"?) with Laetitia
adding little bits. Vibes come in at one point, courtesy of John McEntire,
making it sound a little Tortoise-y. "Originally this setup was to serve
society; now the roles have been reversed that want society to serve the
9. Emperor Tomato Ketchup
Another track that motors along nicely. Stabbing keyboard, whooshy bits. Not
one of the more catchy tracks, so why is it the title track?
10. Monstre Sacre
A slow and sad song, somewhat Nico-esque. I have a feeling this song is
about Laetitia's relationship with her late mother: "I can't let you go
without forgiving". Swooping strings that sound like something from Indian
11. Motoroller Scalatron
This is great upbeat pop. A syncopated guitar/keyboard rhythm that sounds
familiar but I can't place it. "What's society built on? It's built on
bluff, built on trust".
12. Slow Fast Hazel
Starts slow with strings. "Discovery of fire, America, the invention of the
wheel, steel work and democracy..." Then a bit in double-time, a wah guitar
part. As the title suggests, it keeps going from slow to fast and back
(can't see where the Hazel comes into it though).
13. Anonymous Collective
Mid-tempo, subdued droney keyboard. "You and me are shaped by some things
well beyond our acknowledgement" are the only words. More vibes, not much
Sorry if these vague descriptions aren't much help, but it's hard to
describe what you hear. Definitely worth getting and takes a while to sink
in - that kind of record.
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 08:20:24 -0400
believe it or not 120 minutes (MTV) played a scheer video sunday night!
the first time hearing/seeing scheer for me personally, and they seem to
be fantastic! cant wait for STP!
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 09:36:59 -0400
sorry to bother with this, but i've got a couple of questions that i
wanted to ask mark in regards to the RHP page i put up
be contacted through 4AD i need a different avenue. if anyone knows
his personal whereabouts or could pass along a couple of queries to
him for me, i'd appreciate it greatly.
please, just e-mail me privately.
and p.s.: thanks to everyone who took the time to write me about the
page last week. it's nice to know there's so many RHP fans. byefornow.
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 08:18:58 -0500
shallow are from the kansas city area. i like the stuff they put out locally
better than the zero hour cd. my roommate loves them however so i will let him
respond to this when he gets off work. sc
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 08:18:19 -0500
does anyone have news on mimi goese besides the two songs she did with moby? my
hugo largo tapes are falling apart! sc
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 09:49:27 -0400
I've found on closer instening that one of the biggest notables on this
record is the bass. It seems that the bass lines are a lot more prominant
and more melodic than alot of other stereolab stuff. I dont know if I'd
relegate ETK to back-ground music... there are definately more 'hooks' on
this record - if stereolab can be accused of such a thing.
One last note, check out 'Motoroller Scalatron' for the most brilliant
way I've ever heard a band play a 7/8 song and recoup the 'missing' beat
with a doo-wop vocal. Not only is it musically brilliant, but it makes me
laugh at the same time. Plus I find myself singing it long after the
record is over. Who else can write an infectious song in 7/8?!
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 10:50:50 -0700
I'd love to get a tape copy of the promo cd (by the way how do you get
these things in the mail.) Is there anything I could send you a tape of?
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 10:56:47 CST
>I heard there was collaboration between Mark Eitzel and My Bloody Valentine on
>the new installment of the Red Hot +... series. Could someone elaborate?
Yes, MBV do collaborate with Mark Eitzel (and Sklab as well, I believe). It's
called OFFBEAT - A Red Hot Soundtrip.
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 11:17:39 -0500
They're a dream pop/shoegazerish band from Kansas City. They wear their
Spacemen 3 influences on their sleeves (literally and figuratively). Their
re-release of "CD Lens Cleaner" on Zero Hour features Sonic Boom remixes
of some tracks and a Spacemen 3 cover. All in all they're not that bad of
a band though. Not all to original, but some decent music.
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 10:00:19 -0700
>I'd love to get a tape copy of the promo cd
>(by the way how do you get these things in the mail.)
I took a trivia challenge and lost!
>Is there anything I could send you a tape of?
Well if you want E-mail me personally and I'll let you know!
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 16:29:19 GMT
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Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 11:20:06 -0700
Jeff (sheila@TMN.CA) delivered a long argument against the current
anti-4AD sentiment. Unfortunately he's making the same (wrong IMHO)
arguments that others have made before when this came up. Viz:
>I wonder how this list
>would have looked circa 1983-86? A tad more favorable to 4AD, I bet!
I.e. "4AD released a lot of great stuff way back when". No one (on this
list anyway) is going to argue with such a sentiment, although we do
argue about how far back "way back when" was. (For me it ended five years
ago.) But the fact that 4AD was once great doesn't mean it must still be
great, or that we must refrain from criticizing it. It's kind of a
classic-rock mindset. Sure, Pink Floyd released some great albums in the
'60s and '70s but that doesn't mean I can't laugh at them as pompous fat
>we couldn't expect them to re-do "Gala" or
>"Spooky" over and over again, could we?. They have to move forward as
>does the label itself.
There's a difference between moving forward and moving sideways. The fact
that a band changes its sound doesn't necessarily mean that the new sound
will be better. I think that Lush started out with a hell of a kick and
have been steadily regressing into mediocrity since 1991.
I'm starting to feel that the necessity of "moving forward" is destroying
too many bands. Before they really get a chance to master and explore the
intricacies of the sound they started with, they decide to abandon it and
go with a new one. All too frequently it saps their energy, or they end
up in an inappropriate place. This has destroyed Lush, Seefeel, Slowdive,
PJ Harvey and too many other bands to list. (Of course I'm not saying
this is an absolute. I love "Garlands" but I'm very glad the Cocteaux
grew out of it.)
>Ivo has never stopped challenging our ears with new sounds
>4AD is not the world's most perfect label but I'm
>prepared to say it is one of the most innovative and daring ones around
I don't know what to say to this except that, compared to the _really_
innovative and daring stuff going on right now -- and there's a heck of a
lot of it -- 4AD is sticking to relatively accessible pop stuff.
Tarnation are country with a twist. Scheer are pop-metal with a twist.
Lush are new-wave-rock with a twist. Belly and the Breeders/Amps are
alternative rock with a twist. There's something a little bit different
about each band but they're not markedly different (or markedly better
IMHO) from the mainstream.
If you compare to truly innovative labels like Kranky, Too Pure, Warp,
Apollo, et cetera, 4AD is clinging to the edge of the shallow end of the
pool with its hair up in a cap.
Back in its glory days 4AD releases often seemed to have an alien,
unexplainable nature to them -- particularly of course the Cocteaux and
Dead Can Dance, but even the early Throwing Muses and Pixies were
breathtaking in how they took your expectations and twisted them into
knots. That's gone.
One good yardstick is commercial radio, which as ever is terrified of
anything that sounds too different. Ten years ago it was hard to imagine
commercial radio touching any 4AD product with a ten foot pole (with a
few exceptions like Modern English, M/A/R/R/S, or the Pixies starting in
'88.) Nowadays I have a hard time thinking of any current 4AD product
that _couldn't_ be programmed by a mainstream alterna-rock station (or a
mainstream nu-age station in Lisa Gerrard's case.)
My feeling is that Ivo ignored or disliked the ambient/techno/drone
revolution that's been the major source of innovation in our corner of
the music world over the past almost-ten years. As a result the music he
releases sounds more and more dated, and ironically more and more
mainstream as the mainstream catches up to and devours the sounds that
sounded new ten or fifteen years ago. RIP.
__________ ___________________ ________________________
Jens Alfke OpenDoc Optimizator email@example.com [work]
to wound the autumnal city. So howled out to the world to give him a name.
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 13:58:33 -0600
I just got a hold of this CD through special order. I don't know if
everyone already knows about this, but it is so worth checking out.
It's a CD by Alesini & Andreoni called _Marco Polo_. These guys Alesini
and Andreoni somehow got the coolest people to appear on their CD. David
Sylvian sings on three songs, and Roger Eno, Harold Budd, DavidTorn, and
Pietro Mantovani all appear as well. It is really smooth, and I
recommend it to all fans of the above mentioned guest artists. It's
available through Phantom Music, imported from Italy.
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 15:59:59 -0700
just got a hold of some promo posters a few listies might be interested in.
i have one mojave 3, about 2x3, which is the cover of the latest album.
i also have three shaving the pavement promo posters: 1x2, black, with
the names of the bands across the top, and the shoe thing in the middle,
and then the dates at the bottom.
i can get a couple scheer posters, as well - around 3x3, with a
picture of the band against a red background.
if anyone feels they have to own one of these posters, e-mail me
privately, and perhaps we can arrange a swap. i'd be especially
keen on trading for any cocteaux paraphernalia...
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 19:27:37 EDT
I'm just back from seeing the High Llamas and LaBradford. LaBradford were
awesome. For any of you unaware of them, they are a trio - keyboards, bass,
guitar/vocal - and they sculpt incredible sounds. Stately, sluggish even, but
they create a real headtrip sonic attack. Closing my eyes, I imagined Shadow
exploding beneath them with some choice hip hop beats. Can't think why they make
me think of hip hop - I wasn't on drugs. The High Llamas I knew little about. I
was a fan of Microdisney, and thought they might be at worst a bit boring. But
nothing prepared me for how dreadful they were. They want to be a Beach Boys /
Beatles hybrid, but end up sounding more like ELO or Supertramp. Truly horrible
- do yourselves a favour and avoid (unless you thought 'Free As A Bird' was the
cutting edge of new music).
Saturday night was Leftfield. Techno heaven. Not as blissful as Underworld, but
not far off it. Live, they have real drums, and a digeridoo / bongos / melodica
player, plus a rapper (whose name escapes me) and Djum Djum. But the real story
is the hardfloor 4/4 beats, and the amazing tunes.
Lots of records recently. Pick of the bunch is the Ninja Tune compilation, with
contributors like DJ Food, Coldcut and The Herbaliser. A real mish-mash of
instrumental hip-hop, tr*p h*p, drum and bass, and pure funk. The absolute
pinnacle of music in '96. Tricky's 'Nearly God' LP is a mess. But a totally
compelling and dark mess. Some tracks don't really work, but others like the
single 'Poems' are mesmerising - and 'Black Coffee' is definitely one of the
tracks of '96. I thought Maxinquaye a bit over-rated, but this I reckon to be
the dog's bollocks. Mo Wax have started reissuing a load of their old stuff.
Attica Blues' Vibes Scribes & Dusty 45s is a kind of hip hop / jazz hybrid, full
of doped beats and cool vocals. La Funk Mob from Paris are more dark funk - the
sort of jazz / African / hip hop stuff that the French do well. New on Mo Wax is
a twelve inch by Chief Excel (California's Blackalicious under an assumed name)
which is superb hip hop, and its backed with some old DJ Shadow / Grooverobbers
tracks. The man is THE master of the decks - no question.
The latest Trans Am and Ui LPs were both a little disappointing. Considering
their reputations, I expected more than (mainly) instrumental guitar rock with
slight funk undertones. Both LPs are good enough, but just lacking in that
inspirational spark. The Magnetic Fields are a band I know nothing about, but
their LP on Setanta entitled Get Lost is a real find. Imagine a cheesy cheap
drum machine, cheap keyboard, brilliant pop tunes, literate lyrics, and a singer
who sounds like Michael Gira on Prozac. Finally, (and a goodly while since its
release in the US), the new Idaho LP. Year After Year was as good as Down
Colourful Hill to these ears, and very much in the same vein. After a largely
disappointing second album, Jeff Martin seems to have found the right vibes
again. With the exception of a couple of pointless. up-tempo, grunge-lite tunes,
Three Sheets To The Wind is a great slab of angst, but beautiful too.
By the way, I have heard the new Cure single, and would beg to differ from
previous posters. It's abysmal. Almost as bad as that unintentionally hilarious
piece of shit that the fucking Cranberries released. Sorry to finish on a
negative vibe. Hell, I forgot to mention 'The Box', Orbital's No. 11 smasheroo
(in the charts). Oh, just go buy it - it's good.
Coldcut - Atomic Moog 2000 (from Ninja Cuts (Ninja Tune))
Underworld - Pearl's Girl (from Second Toughest (JBO))
Nearly God - Poems (from Nearly God (Durban Poison))
Nearly God - Black Coffee (ditto)
Magnetic Fields - The Desperate Things You Made Me Do (from Get Lost (Setanta))
DJ Food - Fungle Junk (from Ninja Cuts (Ninja Tune))
Labradford - Star City Russia (from A Stable Reference (Flying Nun))
Lionrock - The Guide (from An Instinct For Detection (can't remember))
Come - Secret Number (single (Domino))
Kristin Hersh - Gazebo Tree (from memories of the '94 tour)