Thursday, 7 January 2016

Sweet Exorcist - CCCD (1990)

Although it might be pointed out that there are a number of things considerably worse than weirdy industrial types trying to get down with the kids - nuclear war, asphyxiation, and finding oneself forced at gunpoint to consume human faeces being but three - this isn't to say that weirdy industrial types trying to get down with the kids isn't pure arseache. There's the Porridge version of house music for one horrible example, a particularly mystifying response to the genre bearing more resemblance to what happens during the second half of an extended 12" mix of almost anything released by Duran Duran back when people were still buying their records. Of course you don't really expect too much from Porridge, the poor old fucker, so it's not really news when he does something which isn't very good.

Cabaret Voltaire on the other hand had much further to fall, and two decades later I still haven't fully recovered from the sight of Stephen Mallinder wearing a giant stopwatch and moonwalking backwards across a stage whilst exhorting all the ladies in the house to put their hands in the air and wave them like they just don't care. It didn't help that the record sounded like Stock, Aitken and Waterman, but the biggest mystery seems to be that Richard H. Kirk quite clearly knows how to cook up the real thing when he feels like it, as this one demonstrates, at least allowing for the involvement of the other bloke, the one who wasn't in Cabaret Voltaire.

In fact, it's startling how good this record is and how much it gets right without sounding like an impersonation. Listen closely and I suppose it's not a million miles from what Kirk was doing around the time of The Crackdown, but the whole is a very different sum of its parts. Rather than attempt to merely replicate the sound of dance music as was, Sweet Exorcist instead went for the effect and achieved something which sits very comfortably amongst all those original Detroit and Chicago acid tracks specifically because it's different. Very few of those original tracks actually did what everyone always remembers them doing, specifically that Roland bassline squiggle with the same four to the floor bum-tsk-bum-tsk beat. Sweet Exorcist instead brought the sine wave back to dance music, bleeps and pings as last heard on either games consoles or Kraftwerk records, I suppose; and they brought the sine wave back dry, without too many effects cluttering up the sound - this being the detail which the likes of Porridge always get wrong. This is an intensely electronic sounding record with virtually nothing occurring which wasn't originated inside a box of some description, although it's organic in tone at least in so much as that it doesn't feel particularly digital. Percussion aside, the sounds here provide notation without quite being musical, all building up into intense cat's cradles of clicking and pooting towards a hypnotic, even somewhat trippy whole that seems almost divorced from its own ingredients.

I think I've just reviewed a dance record as Jilly Goolden, but never mind. Normally this sort of thing would be a side project at best, but it's actually better than at least a couple of Cabaret Voltaire albums.

No comments:

Post a Comment