Friday, January 01, 2010
Hail Voyagers and Happy New Year! (As reckoned by one of the worst calendric systems known and foisted on mankind.) Aye, we've got to go through this to get to that. So we sail.., amdist frigid temperatures most heinous to our enjoyment of our environment. (Have I told you lately how much I loathe Winter?)
Right then. On to it: well, just when you (may have) thought this blog was on life support we take the necessary steps to breathe new life into it! We have the right person for the resuscitative act, too! 'Cause when you're on "life support" you turn to a Clinic........
Yes indeed. From Liverpool we've been seen to by none other than Ade Blackburn!
A going concern since 1997, Clinic has put out some of my own personal favorite, and highly-ranked, albums since 2000's Internal Wrangler. And while it's been two years since their last, Do It!, I understand work continues apace for a 2010 release. Cause for celebration here, there, and everywhere methinks!
Heather Phares, of AllMusic, puts the cogitating skills into hyper-drive for a fantastic and spot-on review of Do It!:
" Clinic chug along like a coal-burning engine churning out thick black smoke on Do It!, working further into their cryptically dour art-punk/psych/soul/folk niche. Granted, that's a pretty specific niche, but as on their previous album, Visitations, it feels more like a groove than a rut. More than most bands, Clinic write songs in styles, and Do It! features most of their quintessential types: the excellent "Corpus Christi" is a menacing, whispery slow-burner like Walking with Thee's "Come into Our Room" before it, with a singsong lilt that makes it all the creepier; "Emotions" is one of Clinic's soulful ballads, this time boasting a thick fuzz bassline that runs through the song like a scratch; and "Shopping Bag" is this album's version of the band's noise-punk outbursts, now with a shrieking saxophone solo. While Do It! doesn't abandon Clinic's well-defined sound and approach, it does underscore how they innovate within their self-imposed limitations, even if they don't make radical changes. Almost suffocating distortion is one of Do It!'s main motifs, along with songs that swing from mood to mood rapidly. "Memories" uses both, shifting from heavy, ugly, deeply acidic psych-garage riffs to melancholy organs and autoharps as Ade Blackburn intones "Memories are all you own" (though it sounds more like he's singing "Memories are all you're on," comparing thoughts to drugs à la the Electric Prunes' "I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night"). "Free Not Free" is nearly as trippy, jumping between brash riffs and mellow flutes while setting lyrics like "when the hoax is in the mirror" to one of the album's prettiest melodies. All of this is to say that despite Do It!'s direct name, Clinic are as elliptical as ever. They're rarely better than when they're telling someone off, even if they do it so cryptically that the feeling is the only thing that translates. "High Coin" sounds like the perfect soundtrack to skewering a voodoo doll, its sinister organ drones giving words such as "You stitch who you always wanted/Now your thoughts begin to fray" an extra malice. Visitations' elaborately dark atmosphere gets more focus on Do It!, with "Tomorrow"'s creaky, cranky acoustics and "Mary and Eddie"'s electronically enhanced steamboat shanty providing some of the spookiest, and best, moments. It all culminates on "Coda," where Blackburn explains that the album is a celebration of "the 600th anniversary of the Bristol Charter" and urges listeners to "let go of the rail" (probably not a good idea) as several chapels' worth of church bells ring out. Do It! finds Clinic getting curiouser and curiouser, but that's the direction that suits them best. "
(Brilliantly put Heather! and thank you.)
OK, we're aware Ade's got the chops and a mind for this, our favorite genre. Let's see what he's thinking:
1. In ten words-or less, define "psychedelic music."
something that messes with your head
2. What is the most psychedelic instrument, why?
i don't think there is one.it probably all depends on the context.i love phasing,so i'd choose that effect over an individual instrument
3. Favorite psychedelic album of all time?
piper at the gates of dawn.i think that covers all aspects of psychedelia.harder riff based songs next to whimsical stuff
4. What was the first song or album you remember listening to in an 'altered' state?
i hardly ever listen to music in an altered state.i usually ended up wandering around somewhere outdoors! so it was possibly ice cream van music
5. What song or album that wouldn't fall into the classic "psych" definition is, nevertheless, psychedelic to you?
leonard cohen death of a ladies man.definitely not psych in a traditional sense but suitably deranged and ridiculous
6. What album would you most like to cover, even if you were the only person who ever heard it?
i probably wouldn't cover an album.i think the fun in psychedelia is making it up and just trying new things
7. Any psychedelic groups, working today, you really enjoy?
i like sun araw and woooden shjips.they both go to town with using effects which is great.
8. You're in a discussion with your great-great-great grandfather, through time travel; what song of yours are you going to play for him from your catalog as an example of what you do?
i'd choose 'free not free'.it's melodic enough for a very old relative but still includes enough twists and oddities
9. Top Ten Psychedelic Songs?
13th floor elevators - thru the rhythm
sunday funnnies - a pindaric ode
pink floyd - bike
calico wall - flight reaction
jefferson airplane - white rabbit
love - seven and seven is
the monocles - spider and the fly
calico wall - i'm a living sickness
sun araw - horse steppin'
the melotones - i walked with a bugs bunny bendy toy
10. Turn the tables, if you'd like, and ask me a question.
Ade: what are you having for tea?
-valis: Today, the way my head feels, it's strong coffee, sir. Other days it might go something like this:
Thanks ADE! Best wishes on the new album, too. We've all three eyes peeled for it.