The One Word Countdown – #30

The rundown’s most prolific contributor….

Theme – Sabres of Paradise (1994, Warp Records, Taken from ‘Haunted Dancehall’

Points 118

I think this might be the fourth week in a row that a track involving in Andy Weatherall has featured in this rundown.  I may as well change the blog name to ‘Bagging Area II’ and be done with it (not that I am in anyway worthy).  Anyway, of all the Andy Weatherall musical projects that have come and gone – and the aforementioned Bagging Area blog is a far greater place to read about them than here – Sabres of Paradise are my favourite.  It is a travesty that ‘Haunted Dancehall’, the second studio album by Sabres of Paradise didn’t achieve more than it did commercially.  It is an album that captures that after party feel perfectly – and (spoiler) it is one that will feature in the Nearly Perfect Album Series at some point.

I first heard ‘Theme’ – a track which was as close as the band came to actually having a proper hit (number 54 with a bullet) courtesy of a dance CD that I got sent when I was DJing.  I forget the name, but it also had a version of Analogue Bubblebath by Aphex Twin on it – and it may have been a Warp Records sampler, but I genuinely can’t remember, and I don’t appear to have it anymore.  Which was a shame because it was one that almost got me kicked out of the university indie society for the heinous crime of liking a CD that didn’t contain many guitars.  It might have been in the pile of CDs stolen by a bloke called Frank whilst my back was turned on the old ones and twos at university.  Might have just lost it, in a drunken haze, or lent it out and never asked for it back.  Who knows.

Analogue Bubblebath – Aphex Twin (1991, Mighty Force Records, Taken from ‘Analogue Bubblebath Vol 1’)

It’s essential Weatherall, a twisted, dubby beat, that has this almost metallic clang running through it that compliments a whole world of musical sounds.  It packs in a (sampled) brass section, a chugging, niggly, guitar riff that sounds like it comes from a car advert, a pounding, hypnotic African drum interlude and a bassline that sounds like a train going up a hill.  It is blended all together in only a way that Mr Weatherall and his bandmates know how to and the result is just astonishingly good.

There were of course one other track that were considered, one of them was ‘Wilmot’ which has one of the finest rewinds ever recorded.

Wilmot – Sabres of Paradise (1994, Warp Records) – it contains a hefty element of ‘Black but Sweet’ by Wilmoth Houdini (something that was brought to my attention by….Mr Bagging Area)

100 Songs with One Word Titles (55 – 51)

And so our jaunty hike through the lower regions of the Greatest Songs with One Word Titles comes to an end.  We’ve reached the virtual café at the end of the path if you like.  Next week I will deal with one number a day, but before then there are of course a few loose ends to tie up.  The song that was lying in 8th place after five votes were counted, was ‘Hysteria’ by Muse but then thankfully the Gods of Common Sense intervened and the normal bashing of prog rock mentalists from South Devon begun.   Moving on….

55. Sliver – Nirvana (1990, Sub Pop Records, Taken from ‘Incesticide’)

About halfway through ‘Sliver’ you can pretty much pinpoint the exact moment that Nirvana crossed from being a Black Sabbath influenced rock band into a more punk orientated band with one eye on success.  Whilst I will happily admit that it was ‘Nevermind’ and more probably ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ that gave me my first introduction to Nirvana (although I did see their 1991 Reading Show), it was ‘Sliver’ on 12” that actually turned my head as to how amazing they were.

54. Sun – Caribou (2010, City Slang Records, Taken from ‘Swim’)

‘Sun’ is a terrific blast of throbbing tech house.  It bleeps and tweeks and sparkles, whilst a techno house beat throbs away wonderfully.  It’s kind of the musical equivalent of walking through a wood at dusk, as the sunlight breaks through the trees every now again. The distorted voice that just repeats the word ‘Sun’ over and over again adds to the dazzling nature.

53. Original – Leftfield (1995, Sony Music, Taken from ‘Leftism’)

A track that only featured on here a few days ago, when the magnificent ‘Leftism’ was given the ‘Nearly Perfect’ Treatment.  I’ll repeat myself a bit if that’s ok .  ‘Original’ is magnificent, it was back in 1995 when it first surfaced and it remains so today.  It is a slow paced dubhop (If that even exists) that is brooding and menacing and Toni Halliday from Curve never sounded as good as she did here.

52. Windowlicker – Aphex Twin (1999, Warp Records)

‘Windowlicker’ was according to Richard D James, inspired by eerie lounge music that soundtracks porn films.  Whether this actually true or not is anyone’s guess.  Remember Richard D James once started the rumour that he told Madonna that the he would only remix one of her songs if she let him record her grunting like a pig, and people believed that.  Although it is absolutely possible that ‘Windowlicker’ is inspired by porn soundtracks because it is downright sleazy and full of distorted groans of some form of carnal pleasure (and its bloody ace).

And finally…

51. Queen – Perfume Genius (2014, Matador Records, Taken from ‘Too Bright’) The bottom half of the Top 100 is topped by the wonderful ‘Queen’ by Perfume Genius, another track that has already been on this blog once already – as part of the not very much missed but definitely coming back ‘Never Ending Playlist’ in the early ‘ramshackle’ days of No Badger Required. Its one of the few songs that exist that have a wordless chorus, with Mike Hadreaus just letting a tuneful groan. 

Nearly Perfect Albums #26

Drukqs – Aphex Twin

I know I have probably said this before but of all the bands and artists that appear on this list, it was the Aphex Twin that caused me the most selection problems.  Because, any of his releases could have made this list, well apart from ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol 1’ because that is actually perfect and therefore barred from this list.  For a long time I was going with ‘I Care You Because You Do’ and then I was going with ‘Richard D James’ but in the end I went with the 30 track, 100 minute epic that is ‘Drukqs’ with its impenetrable songs titles and its classical piano interludes.

Kladfvgbubg Micshk – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)

The first time I ever listened to ‘Drukqs’ I was driving to Bristol for a meeting.  I remember constantly fiddling with the volume knob, turning up the ambient hums and then frantically turning down the splintered breakbeats and scary squelchy noises. 

It’s a wonderful listen, the music on it ranges from drum n bass that frankly pounds you in the face repeatedly and then runs off laughing in true Aphex style.  It has techno that people with well-manicured beards would say is ‘intellectual’.  It has techno that is so mad it would make a horse dribble with excitement.  It has early 90s rave flashbacks, it has 80s style electro workouts, it even has Richard D James’ parents singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to him and on one occasion, it has what sounds like a backward version of ‘Silent Night’ performed by a team of amateur belllringers.  Naturally its all total genius, well apart from the track ‘Bit 4’ which appears to be nothing more than an electronic groan, but even that doesn’t seem out of place.

Btoum- rounada – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)

Lornaderek – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)

As I’ve kind of hinted above, it’s a proper mismash of an album, with no tracks across the 100 minutes sounding anywhere near similar to each one. It’s never dull and is always original.  You get regular dancefloor bangers mingling with ambient abstract piano interludes. Piano interludes like this

Avril 14th – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)

Which on its own has have over 134 million plays on various streaming sites, thanks to its use by Kanye West, John Legend, and various films.  Effectively ‘Avril 14th’ is the biggest hit that Aphex never had.

The best track comes near the end, the eight minute monolith that is ‘Ziggomatic 17’ which flits between being a straight down the line jungle banger to a four to floor rave anthem, it can’t make up it mind and its all the better for it. 

Ziggomatic 17 – Aphex Twin (2001, Warp Records)