[ORIGINALLY POSTED 2013 January 31]
[UPDATE: images, audio added 2013 February 4]
It was a night of reissues and revisions. I finally wrangled Catharsis Junior into "the studio" and coaxed a new program introduction out of her, as well as an opening to the newly rechristened "Physical Evidence" feature. And "Factory Benelux" [in quotes because I suspect it is merely invoked rather than revived] weighs in with an assortment of post-punk classics retrieved from the memory hole.
Working out my "issues" through these posts is something from which I will try to take a break this week. Fear not; old habits die hard, and the odds favor a relapse. But for this week the program can speak for itself. I would rather talk about other stuff, and give you some links and pictures.
A cloud of melancholy seems to hang over Factory Benelux, not simply because of the challenging, alienated sounds they released, but because of their rumored status as the "graveyard" for those recordings that didn't "make the cut" at Factory HQ in Manchester. Whether this was true, and how consistently it was true, is strangely difficult to nail down. And also its loose connection with the last days of Joy Division and the sordid demise of Ian Curtis, what with FBN being the result of an "arrangement" between Factory and Les Disques du Crépuscule, a label co-managed by Annik Honoré, the exotic Belgian diplomat--perhaps the only one of her kind--who was Ian Curtis's mistress. It is a good week for melancholy, as our local weather has turned from a peaceful, photogenic deep freeze into a turgid "wintry mix" of rain and ice. And there is something strangely contemporary about these 30-year old records--not just that their under-exposure prevents them from evoking a specific past but also that I hear these sounds reflected in many current releases.
Frank Brinkhuis and James Nice have tirelessly kept the torch lit in the Internet era, publishing histories, images, and discographies, and most importantly reissuing the music. One good use of this site is that I can exploit it to make the "calls to action" WRFI's license prohibits us from making on air, so I call on you to at least investigate. Your curiosity will be rewarded.
Often overlooked but central to the history in its own way is the work of Vini Reilly, a.k.a. The Durutti Column, whose "L.C." serves as this week's "Slipped Disc" piece of "Physical Evidence." I suspect that seldom will a brand new [re-] release also qualify for the "Physical Evidence" feature, since it is meant to celebrate music that doesn't appear in cyberspace, so we already have a special occasion on our hands. And then there are the tunes.
The Durutti Column is a shoe-in for the Bombast Hall of Legends, although the Committee has been out to lunch of late. The time will come for a full induction. For now, the "Lack of Appreciation" clause underwrites all of tonight's bother.
Somehow "L.C." has slipped in and out of print, and online and off, several times over the years. Were it not for things like systemic poverty, sex slavery, and drone-bombings, we might figuratively call something like this a "crime." Let's just think of it as a "puzzlement." This is a special record, containing as it does the bubbly "Jacqueline," which would have made a decent single, and the haunting "Never Known," perhaps the seven minutes without which one's experience of The Durutti Column could never be complete [but that is for next week]. Without any context, "L.C." is a great listen.
But context matters. It matters that this record is the dreaded sophomore effort and not the revelatory debut. It matters that it features a goofy painting harmless watercolor on the cover instead of sandpaper. It matters that Martin Hannett doesn't occupy the producer's chair. It matters that Reilly doesn't team up with Donald Johnson from A Certain Ratio and chooses a drummer from a parody-rock band instead. By just about any measure, "L.C." is much "less cool" than "The Return of the Durutti Column." Reilly even sings on the record, something Factory would try [and fail] to stop him from doing again.
So "L.C." is a defiant album, which makes this the perfect time for a reissue. Right now we don't know if any more new material from the Durutti Column will ever emerge. There have been rumors, but it seems more appropriate just to hope that Reilly can one day get back to living a normal life, after a series of strokes he has suffered since 2010, and do basic things like use his left hand. By the way, on a not-unrelated note, the actual significance of "L.C." is a bit of Italian slang: "Lotta Continua" [The Struggle Continues].
Reilly's financial troubles, brought on by his health issues, have been fairly well documented--much to his humiliation. Since I'm all about "calls to action" right now, why not consider adding this to your collection? It is less an act of charity than a gift to yourself. Go ahead. You deserve it.
BOMBAST playlist, 2013 January 30, 8:00 - 10:00 p.m.
- The Names: "Nightshift" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes]
- Crispy Ambulance: "Concorde Square" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes]
- Dominik Eulberg: "Als Er Den Gleißenden Rand Seines Schattens Sah" [Traum]
- Emilia Amper: "Polska Fra Hoffsmyran" [Bis]
- Other Lives: "Take Us Alive" [TBD]
- Pere Ubu: "Musicians are Scum" [Fire]
- Blurt: "Get" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes]
- Steve Moore: "Feel the Difference" [Dangerous Age]
- Debruit: "Zef (Fulgeance Remix)" [Civil Music]
- Happy Mondays: "Hallelujah (Club Mix)" [Factory / Elektra] ***"Listening Parlour"
- John Talabot: "Last Land (Kenton Slash Demon Remix)" [Permanent Vacation]
- The Durutti Column: "Sketch for Dawn (1)" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
- The Durutti Column: "Portrait for Frazer" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
- The Durutti Column: "Jacqueline" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
- The Durutti Column: "Messidor" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
- The Durutti Column: "Sketch for Dawn (2)" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes] ***"Physical Evidence"
- Ohio Players: "Skin Tight" [Mercury]
- Soundgarden: "Fopp" [A & M]
- Born Losers: "Funnel of Love" [Mean Disposition]
- Mogwai: "Soup" [Rock Action]
- The Wake: "Judas" [Factory Benelux / Les Temps Modernes]
- Leslie Winer: "John Says" [The Wormhole]
- Wooden Wand: "Outsider Blues" [Fire]
- Sugar: "Man on the Moon" [Creation / Rykodisc] ***"Listening Parlour"
next time: Side 2. Enjoy the music! --kid catharsis