Hell, I could have picked almost anything from the back catalogue of this band. Albatross is the stand-out track of an outstanding 4 track EP (entitled Holding our Breath) from early ’90s shoegazers Slowdive. Bemoaned, decried and hated by Britain’s Britpop-loving press, Slowdive’s beautiful multi-layered sound has latterly found a kindred spirit in much lauded post-rockers Sigur Ros. So maybe they were right after all…
Back to Reading – and there is no stronger example of the Thames Valley sound than Albatross. Layer upon layer of minor chords – almost symphonic in their beauty – Albatross swells to a powerful crescendo of highly processed guitars. Non-believers should check out double A-sides Catch the Breeze and Shine. The fourth track on the rather grand EP is a cover of Syd Barrett's (former lead singer of Pink Floyd) Golden Hair. Utterly remarkable.
DJ Food's Kaleidoscope was a mind-blowing record for me when I first heard it, and I'm still very fond of it after countless listens. I guess I liked it for many of the same reasons I initially liked Tipsy's Trip Tease; they both took samples I was familiar with, or at least some of which I was familiar with, and pushed them in totally unexpected directions. DJ Food's samples are perhaps more varied and less dense than Tipsy's but still just as finely and imaginatively put together. It's hard for me to single out favorite tracks on this record, but this one is a great piece of modern Exotica. The primary sample here is "By The Waters of Minnetonka" from Stanley Black's "Exotic Percussion" record on London's Phase 4 label. There are some other nice touches including harp, slide guitar, bird sounds, and even a little Ravel ("Daphnis et Chloe"). Highly recommended.
Surprised to see nothing by the Pet Shop Boys on Musical Taste. Now the only remaining intelligent British pop act, the Pet Shop Boys have consistently mixed dramtic chord changes with pathos-loaded lyrics. Being Boring is possibly their finest moment - reflective, sad and beautiful.
15 Mar 04 ·Mike: Totally agree re the worth of the PSBs output and the dramatic and very distinctive use of harmony therein. Several of their songs would be in my all-time favourites list if I ever made one.