Friday, September 11, 2009

Beyond the Wizards Sleeve (#1, 2008)

My favorite discovery of 2008, and thus #1?
Beyond the Wizards Sleeve!

"Don't Cry Girl" from Beyond the Wizards Sleeve ARK.1 (2008)

Not living in England, or Europe or wherever it is, I'd never heard of Erol Alkan or Richard Norris. Nor the four 12" EPs they made from 2005-2007 as Beyond the Wizards Sleeve: Birth, Spring, George, and West. Also, I don't know even squat about international deejay culture, mash-ups, or any of that business.

But last year, they released Ark.1 on cd, collecting most of the OOP-vinyl-only EP tracks - and that made its way into my ears. Along with familiar songs by Neu! ("Hallogallo"), the Monkees (from Head) and the Rolling Stones ("2,000"), there was a treasure trove of obscurity!

See, BTWS does/did non-dance remixes (or Re-Animations) of non-dance songs, and here they were doing them to some great source material. Most of it from the '60s and '70s, most of it peripherally rock music. So there's soul-shouting organ rave-ups, Near Eastern power-pop, West Coast garage, droney feedbacking blast-offs, and even stranger bedfellows.

And then there's Bill Holt's "Program 10 Part 6" (as "Sunday Morning Sun-g"). Dissatisfied with traditional success - as an investment banker or somesuch - the major Beatles fan decided to drop out and start home-recording with an acoustic guitar, Moog, and the idea of combining the musique concrète of "Revolution #9" with downer folk and primordial melodies. In 1973. The remixing is very limited, but solely for introducing the source, I am seriously grateful.

Some live sets can be downloaded or streamed at, with more detail at Erol Alkan's site. All of his podcasts are suscribeable through iTunes. Earlier this year, BTWS released a collection of official Re-Animations - which is fine if you're more into dance remixes and/or bands like Franz Ferdinand, Badly Drawn Boy, Midlake, and Peter, Bjorn and John... or Chemical Brothers, Goldfrapp, and Simian Mobile Disco. Not my cup of tea.

However, as one (awesome/Polish) reviewer asked:
Do you urge chemical big beat in affair with Hungarian spacey rock? Here you are - try and probe convivial, brilliant "Don't Cry Girl".


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