Twelve 3 out…

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Had fun bagging up and posting single number three to my subscribers this morning even though I did get completely soaked on the walk back from the post office. It’s about a mile and a half round trip and the heavens opened on the way back.

Pleased with the sounds on this release too as I managed to sample some Klaus Kinski from my ‘Kinski Sprich Villon’ album. This was released in 1959 as a 25cm LP and is basically Kinski reciting poetry by the French poet François Villon (1431–1463). It was very popular at the time, I think he did two albums in the same year.

If you want to have a listen..CLICK HERE

Wrangler – LA Spark

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It’s not often a great album comes along, that is to say, one I like so much I have to listen to it until something snaps. Music is like girlfriends. As a youth, I used to weep in butchers shops, er sorry, no, as a youth I used to constantly be on the look out for a girlfriend (even if I thought I wasn’t.). Eventually you would find one who is great and you’d hang on to her until you just naturally started to look for something else. Eventually this behaviour stops, it saps your energy. The great thing about music is you can be a slag and keep fucking around, it doesn’t have to stop.

So you keep looking and eventually you find something and you spend the first two weeks in bed before you have to start to get to know each other. I’m in bed with Wrangler at the moment and their album LA Sparks. I came across Wrangler because a friend told me about them. He recommended this hot chick… Long time six by seven producer and friend Ric Peet was doing front of house for LoneLady (check out her album Hinterland its’s brilliant) and he came round and we were talking about Cabaret Voltaire. Stephen Mallinder is of / from /made Cabaret Voltaire. Wrangler is three people; Stephen, Phil Winter and Benge. Sort of Stock Aitkin and Waterman from the underworld. (There are some links below).

Me and Ric are both the same age. In 1980 I was 15 and I was into Rock. I spent most of my time working my way through Deep Purple and Black Sabbath back catalogue records and going to see the new rock bands of the time like Iron Maiden and Saxon. Around that time there was the New Modern Romantics movement of fashion and music; I hated it. The strange thing was that I was living in Germany back then and, even though I didn’t know it at the time, I was a Kraftwerk fan (I was also buying Disney and Pinky and Perky Records), but I had been collecting Kraftwerk records since Autobahn came out. The last Kraftwerk record I bought was Computerworld in 1980. I should have gravitated towards all this new synth music but I didn’t. I liked Kraftwerk because I thought they were funny, I was a kid. Believe me, ‘Farn-Farn-Farn-Auf-Der-Autobahn’ is hilarious when you are ten and later, Robots was even funnier.

New Romantics weren’t funny, they were deadly serious and it was music that girls liked!! Unfortunatly I lumped Cabaret Voltaire in with The Human League and Adam And The Ants and Haarschnitt Einhundert, without even listening. I was wrong. If you think Cabaret Voltaire are that sort of band you need to go and listen to their stuff. For me, they are one of the most interesting bands ever to come out of the UK. I have to listen to the whole of their album The Conversation now and again just to flush my system out and be able to think straight again, in musical terms. It’s like listening to Hallogallo, just strap in every now and again and you’re guaranteed to always hear something you never heard before.

Which brings me onto Krautrock because for me LA Sparks is the perfect Krautrock album. Let me explain. Too many people think that to make a Kraut album you just use the Dinger beat. I’m sick of it. Krautrock was an idea. Like all the best bands, you need to nail the metaphor and hang the music on that framework. I worked with Julian Cope for years, who was a self proclaimed ‘expert’ in Krautrock after writing the highly personal book Krautrocksampler (he actually told me he made most of that book up: “How the fuck was I to know what Faust were thinking of when they made their second album? I just thought ‘What would Odin do?'”) and he too would instantly puke at the sound of a new band playing that beat (we’ve all done it, it’s like jamming Roadrunner for three hours in the rehearsal room).

I was in Germany during the Krautrock years, it was a very small movement as I remember. The krauts my older sister was hanging around with were into Barclay James Harvest and Pink Floyd. I once read somewhere that Krautrock was ‘most German music shops selling out of bongos’.

I remember seeing a band in Munich at the time at a free festival. I was travelling up from a holiday in Germany. It could have been Can or Faust for all I knew. The guys looked cool and my Dad muttered something about ‘long haired fucking louts’ as he looked at them with interest. It sounded and looked like Deep Purple trying desperatly to jam out a B-side after taking too many drugs. I think it had an effect on me, I never forgot it.

This Wrangler album has the same effect. It’s not the B-side Deep Purple thing, it’s the statement of intent, it’s hung on a clearly defined metaphor, it’s proper Kraut, it’s beautifully excecuted and it sounds brilliant, from front to back.  Me and this record are gonna be fucking each other for many weeks. Go and buy it please.

Some links:

My own Electro-Kraut project Twelve

Wranglers Facebook

Benge

Phil Winter

I Can Make You Sick (Again)…

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As well as 10 new tracks, this months MuZiK KluB has a re-release of the spoken word album I did a number of years ago which was called ‘I Can Make You Sick’ and caused a flurry of hate mail but also a lot of people emailed to say how much they loved it. I’ve renamed it ‘The Earl Grey Whistle Test’ and it has quite a few new ‘tracks’ too, which I’m afraid to say, are pretty twisted. Great for dinner parties and a cool freebie to include with the MuZiK KluB!

Go Figure…!

Here’s another glowing report from the NME. Gold stars all around. 

I remember reading this at the time but had long since forgotten about it until a friend brought round a load of press clippings he’d collected (as a birthday present for me yesterday). 

I remember this gig for a number of reasons, it was a totally shit night. We had, for some reason, a totally different sound on stage to the one we had in the sound check. The tour manager was taking the piss and putting so much dry ice on stage that we couldn’t see each other. The drums were all over the place; when I turned around to see what was going Davis was doing this weird pose with one hand in the air, he looked like a dick and as a result couldn’t keep time. I looked over to our bass player who just shook his head at me in disbelief. 

It was our debut album launch night. There was a huge gaggle of pretty middle aged women in the crowd in front of me all looking up at me smiling. Shit! It put me off. Eddie Reader from Fairground Attraction came backstage and went on about how awful managing directors of major labels were. One thing I remember whilst playing was seeing Terry Hall from The Specials moving and a shaking. Sadly, he never came backstage.

After the show we had an ‘aftershow party’ with free beer, the label put a tab behind the bar. By the time I finished doing interviews I got to the bar to be told the beer was gone. “I’m the singer in the band!” I protested. “I don’t give a fuck who you are!” She said. I looked around at a bar full of ligers with piles of cans in front of them ready to drink and take home. The venue were giving the beer away as quick as they could, people had been going up to the bar and getting 8 cans at a time. 

I remember our publisher buying me a beer, sort of reluctantly, and then our A&R man came over to me and said: “We just about got away with tonight Chris.” I still don’t know what he meant by that and I was to disenchanted by the whole evening to ask him. Oh yeah, and the gaggle of girls at the front all fucked off by the 3rd song because I never made eye contact with them. Still, the NME loved it.

six by seven press clippings…

I’ve been asked to dig out past press clipping by our old label Beggars and it’s been funny reading some of the stuff I used to say. It’s like reading an old diary but different. I never collected the press stuff at the time, I only kept odd things and I stopped reading it and taking much notice after the second album. I think this was in the Melody Maker, a great shot though by Steve Gullick outside the brand new Nottingham Tax offices. They sent security out as soon as we arrived and started taking pictures!’Clear off you louts…!!’

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New Twelve website…

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I started my Twelve project years ago while we were waiting for our record label to put out our second album. I was always into multitracking and creating sounds and writing music and around that time I had managed to buy a reel to reel recorder and a mixing desk. I started recording stuff with our drummer but we couldn’t really do anything proper with Twelve because we were on a label as six by seven. (legal reasons mostly)

At the time, I wanted Twelve to be a singles club, releasing two songs every month (hence the name Twelve). I did release a few but the internet was still in it’s infancy back then and the band duties started coming up (touring etc.)

Anyway, over the years it’s been different things this electronic side project of mine, producing varied music, until recently when I decided to stop it and start again. I’ve spent months working on new material and trying to forge a distinct sound. That’s not easy. I wanted it to go back to Kraut roots but make a sound different from traditional Krautrock. I found that playing old analogue instruments, especially the Roland ones which have become synonymous with sound of Techno, gave me a sound I was looking for. For now anyway.

I love the sound of the Roland TB 303, it has this very rebellious sound I think, it’s almost like the electric guitar of electronic music. Combining the 303 with the loops and the drones of Krautrock and recording without a computer is what is creating the new sound. I’m really happy with it and I also have tried to sell and present the music in a new way.

Anyway, I won’t waffle on here about it because I think the website speaks for itself and there’s a video up there which explains everything. So click on the picture above and go over and have a listen and a look around. I hope you like it.