Thursday, 13 September 2012

Spirits living in another world (part two)

Spirits living in another world
(part two)

           Dogman, aka David Sands

  A review                          
           SPIRIT OF TALK TALK CD 2’

my copy kindly signed by James Marsh 

A double album of Talk Talk songs covered by various artists and released by Fierce Panda (September 2012).

Having lived through the decades which saw all the musical output that is Talk Talk and Mark Hollis (solo) to date, and bought everything that is available, I am comfortable with the songs. They are now a permanent part of my long term music-lyrical influences that includes the Shadows, Beatles, Paul Simon, Rolling Stones, The Blue Nile, The Cure and Neil Young with jazz and blues in between. 

The Spirit of Talk Talk CD (digipak) is designed by Talk Talk’s now symbiotic graphic-artist, James Marsh. The artwork is said to be based on a cover created in 1983 for a prospective album 'Chameleon Hour' (which was never released). The musical and production supervisor for the project is Alan Wilder with mastering by Denis Blackham, (who mastered many of Talk Talk’s albums). The Project has been managed by Toby Benjamin.

I listened to the Universal Music re-release of the 180gm vinyl ‘Laughing Stock’ last night and what struck me was the sheer intensity in the voice of Mark Hollis and the musicianship/mixing of this last Talk Talk recording. This is nigh impossible to replicate or imitate for any musician or band in my opinion. I wager that it would be impossible for Talk Talk to reproduce although Captain Beefheart, if he were alive, might argue with me. 

I enjoyed this CD slightly more than CD1.  

There is an interesting article in the Guardian here and a quote from Phil Brown who engineered Spirit of Eden GRAEME THOMSON ON TALK TALK

Phill Brown with me after the launch party

Here is part two of my review and sourced notes are given in [ ]

Opening track

It's my life - The TenFiveSixty

This is interesting cover of a most familiar (popular), middle-career, Talk Talk song that already has a famous version performed by Gwen of ‘No Doubt’ who nailed the drama-in-the-disco remix. The TenFiveSixty work to create a new blend, rock-pop style and it does have its moments.

[I struggled to find much information on the website about this man-girl duo but heard them and took photographs as they were playing live at the launch party. I thought Fyfe Dangerfield was involved vocally and on guitar in the live jam but I might be wrong]

[Track four on the 2nd Talk Talk album, ‘It’s my life’]

The TenFiveSixty playing live at the launch party (one of the few I took of the stage performances)

2) Inheritance - Recoil (ft. Linton Kwesi Johnson & Paul Marshall)

This is one of the most creative tracks on the two-CD album.
Alan Wilder conjures up the essence of Talk Talk with his arrangement on which Linton’s voice offers rich and deep spoken-word lyrics.
Paul’s vocal on this cover shines through, like the sun out of the clouds.
I can hear two versions here, one by each.

[Track four on Spirit of Eden, the 4th Talk Talk album]

3) Ascension Day - Turin Brakes

Turin Brakes, were once ‘the darlings’ of acoustic duos in early 2000 with ‘Underdog’ from the first album a favourite at open-mic nights and ‘Pain Killer’ from the follow-up reaching top 5 high in the UK charts. I own both CDs and having heard previous snippets of Ascension and watched the video I was pleased to hear them take on a challenging Talk Talk song.  

From the first acoustic chords this has the Spirit of Eden 'feel' but not the urgency or the un-nerving off-key feel of the original. The vocal does not have the ‘difficult to recreate’ stamp-of-pain that makes Mark Hollis’s unique (as I found from my own weak efforts). However, a cover should offer a different take on an original and this does that.   

[Turin Brakes are a modern English folk duo, comprising Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian, hailing from Balham, London. They had a UK top 5 hit with their song "Painkiller"]

[Turin Brakes topped the bill at the launch party and were involved in several superb Talk Talk jams onstage) Turin link

[Track two from Laughing Stock, 5th and last Talk Talk album so far]

Part of the wonderful James Marsh animation show

4) Today - White Belt Yellow Tag

This cover captures the punk-pop feel and might be what might result from the symbiosis of Duran Duran and early Talk Talk. The version brings nothing new to a song that, in terms of standing the test of time, belongs in the past.

[there is one song on myspace – I don’t know anything about  them]

[track three from the first Talk Talk album ‘The Party’s Over]

my original discography list from fan club

5) I don't believe in you - Ian Curnow (ft. Human)

I adore this version. The vocal has some kind of bullish attitude, sung softly, and it works for me. The keyboard/synth arrangement reflects Ian Curnow’s splendid touches and I would have put this on the start of this second CD.  It is a fresh take on a great Talk Talk song.

[from the web - songwriter/producer /programmer /keyboard player. Having been a session player and arranger, Ian spent 3 years with Talk Talk as keyboard player, MD and co-writer. Then he became main keyboard player and programmer for the hugely successful Stock Aitken and Waterman team during their massive success period, playing on most of their big records and also producing and writing for many of the artists there. After that Ian co-produced most of the E17 output with Phil Harding, including the Xmas UK No.1 single Stay Another Day, and also co-wrote a number of their songs.† Other names that Ian produced and/or wrote for during that time were Boyzone, Take That, Roxette, Deuce, OTT, Let Loose and many others. Since then Ian has written songs for various artists including SClub 8 (UK No3) and produced tracks for Liberty X, Girls Aloud and Robin Gibb. Most recently Ian has been involved in collaborations including writing and production work with Darren Styles, as well as scoring a UK number 23 single having written and produced "My Generation" for Billiam. He has songs and productions out in Europe including a song on the new Kate Ryan album, and the accompanying single for Soraya, and has co-written and produced the new single for the reborn artist Angel City] info on Ian

[Can anyone tell me about Human?]

[track two on the ‘Colour of Spring’ – the 3rd Talk Talk album]

My Colour of Spring 1986 tour T 

6) Chameleon Day - Goldheart Assembly

This is a gentle enough cover from a group that is signed to the same label that released this double CD tribute. I would rather play the original. It plods along in places and lacks both spontaneity and rawness that can be found on the brilliant Talk Talk album.  

[from the web: Goldheart Assembly formed in 2007, as a group of six musicians from various different bands. They met at club nights, at Covent Garden’s Rock Garden, run by now-bandleaders James Dale and John Herbert. Slowly, after a period of “band hopping and stand ins,” a stable line-up became Goldheart Assembly, who bonded over a mutual love of The Beatles and named themselves after a Guided By Voices tune, Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory.
In 2009 they recorded a live session for Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 1, being the first unsigned band to do so “in years”. In the same year, the band performed on the BBC Introducing Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, as well as a headline slot at the Camden Crawl and appearances at Isle of Wight, Wychwood, Middlesbrough Music Live,  Reading, Leeds and V festivals.
Goldheart Assembly’s debut single, a double A-side featuring the tracks So Long St. Christopher and Oh Really, was released on 15 June 2009 on the independent label Heron Recordings. In late 2009, Goldheart Assembly signed to the independent UK label Fierce Panda Records. Their debut album, Wolves and Thieves, was released to digital download on 8 March 2010, with CD release on 15 March. The majority of the album was recorded at Forncett Industrial Steam museum in Norfolk, England, and several tracks feature the sound of live steam engines. The remaining tracks were recorded at Jools Holland’s Helicon studios with British producer Laurie Latham]

[track seven on the ‘Colour of Spring’ – the 3rd Talk Talk album]

7) April 5th - Matthias Vogt Trio

This is a fantastic, brooding instrumental take on a great Talk Talk track. It reminded me of the Bad Plus (which is a compliment) who I have seen play live. If I walked into a jazz club and this was playing I would not be leaving until every tune had been played and I was on my knees, drunk.

[from the web: Matthias Vogt was born in German motor town Rüsselsheim near Frankfurt am Main. Matthias was involved in Jazz projects with Ben’s New Tribe or The New Fusion before founding the Matthias Vogt Trio. Roger Cicero and Dania König are featured in some of the trio’s songs. He also plays for Frankfurt’s [re:jazz] and is part of the deep house formation Motorcitysoul together with C-Rock.
Founding member Matthias Vogt is also DJing at Cocoon Club in Frankfurt]

[track four on the ‘Colour of Spring’ – the 3rd Talk Talk album]

8) New Grass - Do Make Say Think

It is a great touch to put two instrumental covers one after the other. It has a trippy feel and it’s a shame I don’t smoke grass because I could to this great cover.  It trips a bit much at the end but, there you go.

[From the website - Do Make Say Think came together in Toronto in 1995-96 and self-released their self-recorded, self-titled debut CD in 1997. Constellation Records re-issued this record the following year and have worked with the band ever since. Do Make Say Think consists of Ohad Benchetrit, Dave Mitchell, James Payment, Justin Small and Charles Spearin. The band has relied on recent contributions from players Michael Barth on trumpet, as well as Julie Penner on violin.
Do Make Say Think records are marked by a fiercely independent approach to recording and mixing that is re-imagined for each release, but which always remains the band’s own; Charles and Ohad have emerged as a distinctive production team, now working out of Ohad’s Toronto studio th’Schvitz. Members of DMST are involved in numerous other groups as diverse as Justin’s messy garage-soul rave-up Lullabye Arkestra; Charles’ collaboration in playing and producing with Kevin Drew in KC Accidental and Broken Social Scene. James co-founded New Glue records to document local projects in Toronto]

[Track five from Laughing Stock, 5th and last Talk Talk album so far]

Tomorrow Started - Jason Lytle

Arrangement-wise this could be the dub track from the Talk Talk track. However, Jason’s plaintiff vocal does give this cover a very good reason for it to be listened to again.

[from his website: Jason Lytle first wandered into the public consciousness as the principal singer and songwriter for the band Grandaddy.  Formed in Modesto, CA in 1992, and eventually consisting of Lytle along with Aaron Burtch, Tim Dryden, Jim Fairchild and Kevin Garcia, the band initially broke through with 1997′s Under the Western Freeway and the NME-praised single “Summer Here Kids.” The band’s sound,” atmospheric electronics meet warped Americana”, crystallized on 2000′s Sophtware Slump, which was met with breathless hype and earned the band “Next Big Thing” status. Tireless rounds of international touring and mountains of fawning press led to 2003′s Sumday, increasing album sales, more touring, more press,TV show appearances, and a slot on the main stage at the Glastonbury festival. The band produced another EP and an album entitled Just Like the Fambly Cat, before disbanding in 2006.
Since then, Jason has created music for a number of national and international commercials and released his debut solo album Yours Truly, The Commuter in 2009. A number of collaborations followed including two tracks with Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse for the Dark Night of the Soul album and with former Grandaddy drummer Aaron Burtch and Earlimart’s Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray in the Admiral Radley project which yielded 2010’s I Heart California. Jason currently lives in Montana, and enjoys hiking in woods, skateboarding in skateparks, bicycling on anything, skiing on mountains, playing the piano in his living room, and recording music, and occasionally playing shows. His second solo album Dept. of Disappearance will be released in October 2012]

[Track five from the Talk Talk album, ‘It’s my life’] [live B side]

10) Give it up - White Lies

This is now another real favourite of mine from this great project. There is a touch of Julian Cope’s ‘World Shut your mouth’ era about the vocal and I really love the arrangement.

[from their website band page and taken from Wiki: White Lies is an English indie rock band from Ealing, London. Formerly known as Fear of Flying, the band consists primarily of Harry McVeigh (lead vocals, guitar), Charles Cave (bass guitar and backing vocals), and Jack Lawrence-Brown (drums). The band perform live as a five-piece, complemented by sidemen Tommy Bowen and Rob Lee. White Lies formed in October 2007, upon writing songs they felt didn't suit their original band. After delaying their first performance for five months to build up media hype, they earned a recording contract with Fiction Records days after their debut. The release of singles "Unfinished Business" and "Death" led to tours and festival appearances in the United Kingdom and North America, including a headline performance at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend and a place on the 2009 NME Awards Tour. At the beginning of 2009, White Lies featured in multiple "ones to watch" polls for the coming year, including the BBC's Sound of 2009 poll and the BRITs Critics' Choice Award.
White Lies' debut album To Lose My Life... was released in January 2009, debuting at number one on the UK Albums Chart. Their second album Ritual was recorded in 2010, and was released on 17 January 2011. White Lies' musical style has been described as dark yet uplifting by the media, drawing comparisons to Joy Division, Editors, The Bravery and Interpol]

[Track six on the ‘Colour of Spring’ – the 3rd Talk Talk album]

11) Time it's time - Lia Ices

Not very keen on this version.

[if you want to know more about her]

[last track on the ‘Colour of Spring’ – the 3rd Talk Talk album]

12) The party's over - The Lovetones

This remains faithful to the Talk Talk version but I love this title track so much that I don’t care. I could listen to it over and over.

[The Lovetones are an Australian psychedelic rock band. Their current line-up includes: Matthew J. Tow Matthew Sigley Serge Luca Chris Cobb]

[track four from the first Talk Talk album ‘The Party’s Over]

13) Candy - Thomas White

This is a real cover of an early Talk Talk song that is popular with fans around the world. The vocal is urgent and perfect and the arrangement is a brilliant mix.

[web: Thomas White is a Brighton, England-based musician, producer and visual artist. Educated at Davigdor Infants, Somerhill Juniors and Hove Park schools, he began learning the piano at the age of 5. Music groups: The Electric Soft Parade, Brakes, Restlesslist, Record labels: BMG, Rough Trade Records, Cooking Vinyl, Truck Records, DB Records, Better Looking Records, Fat Cat Records]

[last track on the first Talk Talk album ‘The Party’s Over]

14) Renee - The Black Ships (ft. Amelia Tucker)

This Talk Talk classic is one of my favourites and so I listened to this cover with anticipation. The sensitive vocal from Amelia works really well and the arrangement is wonderful and made me want to own a dub-orchestral version!

[The Verve guitarist Nick McCabe and bassist Simon Jones The Black Ships.
The Black Ships, who formed in 2009, also count drummer Mig Schillace and violinist Davide Rossi in their line-up. Rossi, though never formally in The Verve, played on their 2008 album 'Forth' and featured in the band's live line up frequently after that]

[third track on the 2nd Talk Talk album, ‘It’s my life’]

15) Taphead - The Acorn

This is an interesting instrumental take on the more challenging of Talk Talk songs.

[The Acorn is a Canadian indie folk band from Ottawa, Ontario, formed in 2003. Their songs have charted on Canadian campus charts and have been in rotation on CBC Radio 3 and The Verge]

[Track four from Laughing Stock, 5th and last Talk Talk album so far]

The 180gm re-release

I BELIEVE IN YOU - Richard Reed Parry

He may be a ‘name’ in Arcade Fire – he may sing and play better than me but this version is disappointing.

[Richard Reed Parry is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist, composer and member of the indie rock band Arcade Fire, where he plays a wide variety of instruments, often switching between double bass, celesta, keyboards, drums, guitar, and accordion]

My attic office clutter

Description notes taken from Spirit of Talk Talk on Facebook
FEATURING 30 artists, including: Alan Wilder (Depeche Mode/ Recoil), White Lies, King Creosote, Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Zero 7, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Joan As Police Woman, Sean Carey (Bon Iver), Lights, Goldheart Assembly, Thomas White (Electric Soft Parade), Fyfe Dangerfield (Guillemots), Thomas Feiner, The Black Ships, Turin Brakes, as well as Ian Curnow, David Rhodes, Gaynor Sadler and Martin Ditcham, all of whom worked with Talk Talk.
TRACKS come from both sides of the Atlantic, and from seven countries in total, featuring some incredible collaborations.

Track listing :
CD 2:

01. IT'S MY LIFE - The TenFiveSixty
02. INHERITANCE - Recoil (ft. Linton Kwesi Johnson & Paul Marshall)
03. ASCENSION DAY - Turin Brakes
04. TODAY - White Belt Yellow Tag
05. I DON'T BELIEVE IN YOU - Ian Curnow (ft. Human)
06. CHAMELEON DAY - Goldheart Assembly
07. APRIL 5TH - Matthias Vogt Trio
08. NEW GRASS - Do Make Say Think
09. TOMORROW STARTED - Jason Lytle
10. GIVE IT UP - White Lies
11. TIME IT'S TIME - Lia Ices
12. THE PARTY'S OVER - The Lovetones
13. CANDY - Thomas White
14. RENÉE - The Black Ships (ft. Amelia Tucker)
15. TAPHEAD - The Acorn
16. I BELIEVE IN YOU - Richard Reed Parry

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