Friday, June 8, 2018

Groovy Instrumentals For The Hip At Heart - An Instrumental 80's Mixtape ,1980-1986

This mixtape was made and given to me by an artist/teacher friend of mine ,Leo Johnson,back in 1986.Nostalgic harpings for the past,and memories of that which once was,will all come rushing back in this fantastic compilation.This is all straight from Leo's extensive vinyl collection.Every closet,crevice and hidden free space was filled to the brim with records of all types.He frequently made overseas trips ,and would always bring back a vinyl haul.THERE ARE NO VOCALS ON THESE SONGS,THEY ARE ALL INSTRUMENTALS!Goes to show,you don't need vocals ,to create feelings or moods,this has a total feeling of the times in which it was recorded.Also this tape is 32 years of age,so it may have sound issues,but nothing that will distract you from deriving pleasure from it.In any case I will now do you the service of walking thru this listening experience,either for or with you,so without further ado:

1.Matt Johnson-"Red Cinders In The Sand" - 1981 -4AD ,as a solo album under his own name ,re-released in 1993 as The The -"Burning Blue Soul",also on 4AD. The song is sparse and tribal,lots of drum sounds definitely off to a weird start.The exact same recording,full LP was retitled as "The The",and re-released in 1993,maybe it was 10 years ahead of it's time on the first go-round?,You tell me.
2.Dif Juz - "re" -1981 -4AD -from the "Huremics" e.p. .There are a couple more cuts but not the complete four tracks from this obtuse instrumental band,with weird 2 letter titles,on this compilation ,and I will refer back to this track number (2) in further listings of this band.This track reminds me of early PIL music,the dreamy,bassy sound,and also any number of other alt bands,Flamin Groovies,maybe,Gang Of Four? No I hear PIL on this here track,what says you?
3.Chris And Cosey - "Heartbeat" -1981 -Rough Trade ,Title track from their first LP "Heartbeat",very electronic,maybe even video-gamey,dance music for robots,still sounds dated and futuristic at the same time,almost early Human League-ish.Much different than their previous band,Throbbing Gristle.
4.Zerra 1 - "Saoirse I Do Cheann"1984 - Mercury Records - from the "Ten Thousand Voices/Message From The Peoples" 12" single ,an Irish band the song title translates in english to ,"Freedom In Your Head",and has an electronic tribal/jungle drum beat,and a panflute hook that is reminiscent of the theme from "Mission Impossible".Kinda ambient in your head stuff.
5.The Monochrome Set - "Andiamo" -1984 -Blanco Y Negro ,from the "Jacob's Ladder" 12" single,B-side.This is a rather surfy one,with tropical steel guitar zooming in and out,a poppy beat,and a beachy feel.They are featured a few more times on this mixtape,stay tuned.
6.The Smiths - "Oscillate Wildly" - 1985 - Rough Trade ,B side to the "Headmaster Ritual" 12" single ,pretty much a piano-driven instrumental ,with Johnny Marr's ,dreamy ,jangly chords,and a cello,along with the Smiths rhythm section ,no Morrisey to whine on this here one,but I'd like to hear what he would've spit on that!
7.Love And Rockets - "Saudade" -1985 -Beggars Banquet ,last track from their debut LP,"Seventh Dream Of Teenage Heaven",starts out with the same chordage as "Here Comes The Sun",by the Beatles,and a beat like a boat slapping against a dock,until it eventually morphs into movie soundtrack madness.Very atmospheric,and you hardly notice the shift ,til' after it's happened.
8.New Order - "Thieves Like Us" - 1984 -Factory , title track from a 12" single ,this song is heard on the soundtrack to "Pretty In Pink" as well.Sounds cool enough for the 80's ,effected guitars,keyboard riffs,bells,slap-bass,electronic drums,synthy as hell! I will refer back to this track number,when they pop back up again later in this tape.
9.Cocteau Twins - "Rococo" -1984 - 4AD - from the "Aikea Guinea" 12" single ,sounds mellow ,acoustic guitar with electronic keys/drum ,accompaniment,until the guitar and the drums/bass kick in for a tour de force,grungey sounding riff,not so far removed from stuff that came 10 years later out of Seattle.Kinda repetitive,but definitely time traveling in your mind.
10.The Monochrome Set -  "March Of The Eligible Bachelors" -1982-  Cherry Red,from the "Eligible Bachelors" LP,this one has a spacey ,theremin-like, keyboard,jangly guitar riff like REM or the Feelies,a surfy beat and bouncy bass,almost has a western desert feel with the guitar twang,and ends with the sound of an angry crowd.
11.The Pogues - "Wildcats of Kilkenny" - 1985- Stiff Records,from their 2nd LP,"Rum Sodomy,and The Lash" ,this one starts with the sound of cats ,and surfy/jangly 80's guitars,and a tribal beat,some pipes,pipe in,about halfway thru,almost doing the commercial jingle for "Irish Spring" soap,and picked mandolins,guitars,bassline,more cat screeches,definitely a very busy track,lively and jig-worthy!
12.The Smiths - "The Draize Train" -1986 - Rough Trade,from the B-side of the "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others"12" single,also had "Frankly,Mr. Shankly" ,this is as close to disco as the Smiths ever got ,with a disco bass/drums/keyboard combo,Johnny Marr with his signature chordage,and some solos reminiscent of "rock" bands,weird track from them,definitely sounds like something from a film soundtrack.
13.The Monochrome Set - "Yo Ho Ho and Three Bottles Of Rum" - 1984 -Blanco Y Negro - from the "Jacob's Ladder" 12" single ,this is a dreamy slow surfy number,brings back that 80's feeling,it's just of it's time,although I can definitely hear the lineage from 60's surf instrumentals thru their filter.Nice and soft.
14.Dif Juz - "hu" - 1981 - 4AD -,from the "Huremics" 12" (see track 2),this one starts out with some sort of muffled loudspeaker announcement ,and then dives right into a driving riff,plodding bass line,urgent drums,and a one-note
15.New Order - "Murder" -1984 -Factory ,from the "Thieves Like Us" 12" single (see track 8),this one has a repetitive guitar line,a heavy bass,a driving beat ,and some weird sample of a guy yelling in the middle that drifts into an almost ghostly drifting ,far-off,underwater voice,not vocals,but musical sounds,and more of some guy talking throughout,still an instrumental,with samples.
16.Phil Manzanera - "Lagrima" - 1986 -EG Records ,from the "Guitarissimo" LP,this is spanish guitar sound,with a clavinet? perhaps,so ,sounds like something from a western movie,you can almost feel the dust in the air as you tip your cowboy hat back ,and draw your pistol.Very unlike his work in Roxy Music in the 70's.Very moody
17.Bow Wow Wow - "Orang Outang" - 1981 -RCA -from the B-side of the "Mickey,Put It Down" 12" single ,very surfy guitars,almost spanish,twangy,and western,all at once.The standard Bow Wow Wow rhythm section work,and no Annabella Lwin ,to make my dreams come true!
18.Simple Minds - "Film Theme Dub" - 1980 -Arista ,from the "I Travel" 7" single,long before the "Breakfast Club",and "Don't You (Forget About Me)" ,"Alive And Kicking" ,these guys were experimenting with their sound,trying to find their way.This is slow paced and atmospheric,and lives up to it's title.Reminds me of some demented Alice Cooper riff ,from "Welcome To My Nightmare".
19.Chris and Cosey - "Just Like Us" - 1981 - Rough Trade ,from their debut LP ,"Heartbeat" ,this one again reminds me of early Human League,has vocal samples throughout,like Throbbing Gristle without all the industrial flairs.Electronic madness.
20.Dif Juz - "cs" - 1981 -4AD -from the "Huremics" 12" single (see track 2),this one sounds like a mellower Gang Of Four,kinda militaristic,marchy,jangly,Weird voice samples,somebody says something at the endI think this band is pretty great!
21.The Monochrome Set - "Puerto Rican Fence Climber" - 1980 - Dindisc/Virgin ,this one ,from their "Strange Boutique" LP ,is a classic piece of 80's nostalgia.A great jangly band.Surf elements are again present,lots of bands that followed ,owe them a debt of gratitude.Great middle-eastern style surf breakdown solo in the middle.
22.Tones On Tail - "Instrumental" - 1982 -4AD - from their debut 12"ep,this is an atmospheric one,with orchestration and the standard 80's jangly guitar line,a walking bass line,keys,almost Bowie-like acoustic guitar breakdown in the middle bridge.
23.Human League - "Gordon's Gin" - 1981 - Virgin -from their 2nd LP ,"Travelogue" ,this is classic Human League sound,mid-era,before the girls,and the MTV,they finally showed up on this mixtape after me comparing other bands to them,I think now you can see that my comparisons were correct!I pretty much love all the early Human League stuff,I think it's swell,still futuristic ,to me,I imagine people of the future ,in outer space,will listen to this sort of thing.
24.Cabaret Voltaire - "Sluggin' Fer Jesus" - 1981 -Rough Trade ,from their "3 Crepuscle Tracks" 12" single ,this is an edited version of the track,has voice samples of a guy on a loudspeaker,a sequencer keeping the beat,and subtle nuances of keyboards and synths.A nice way to end this tape ,as it began,strangely!

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