New album release

Sad Cafe alumnus, Ashley Mulford is now one of the members of the Mandalaband who have a new album  “AD – Sangreal” which has been recently released through Diverse Artists. I’ll post my review on here sometime soon. Ashley is a key composer on this one and those who liked his guitar work on “BC- Ancestors” will need to acquire a copy.

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A Quiet Man?

Even by his own standards, John Foxx is having a prolific year. This month, he released his fourth album of new material of 2009.

First, there was "My Lost City". A set of instrumentals which those who have followed his recent career might subtitle "Cathedral Oceans Vol. 4". Very minimalist.
Then there were two collaborations. Next came an album with Steve Jansen (ex-Japan) and Steve D’Agostino who joined Foxx and Gordon on stage for the tour in which John revisited Metamatic last year. This one was entitled "A Secret Life".
It was followed by "Mirrorball", a set composed and recorded with ex-Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie.

This month’s release is "The Quiet Man". Foxx has been working on this since his days with Ultravox! – their song "The Quiet Men" was the beginning of the evolution of non-linear short stories about a man in a grey suit who passes through cities unnoticed. Read by Justin Barton over Foxx’s ambient soundtrack, these are beautiful and evocative. A good argument could be made for Foxx having read these on the audio himself in his Mancunian drawl but otherwise it is difficult to fault this. After a while you get used to Barton’s received pronunciation and the themes of the "stories" wrap you in their mystery.

Foxx hasn’t been quiet on other fronts either. The Horse Hospital in London was home for his recent art exhibition, "DNA", and some remastered albums and performance are due in October.

Digitally Remastered by……….

Some months ago I had a long conversation with a guy called Des Tong. Now Des is an accomplished bass player and he was in the band Sad Cafe who had a number of UK hit albums and singles in the early 1980s. We were remarking, that evening, how it was a shame that some of the finest Sad Cafe albums came out prior to the cd era and had never been re-released. I decided that evening to use my influence with the music industry to see if I could rectify that situation.

I contacted a label in the States called Renaissance who had already licensed some of the Cafe’s back catalogue and suggested that they should also release the remaining titles. They said that the albums would need some sound-work doing and that they didn’t have the original artwork. They could get the appropriate licences but they’d need a producer to re-master and……….

I’ll do it, I said. Okay, they said.

The first of three Sad Cafe album that I have remastered made its way into U.S. stores a couple of weeks ago. The old saying about "if want something doing right…….." comes to mind. I’m pleased with this one. I’ve nurtured it through from the point it was just a germ of an idea to the finished product. I tried to capture what I thought Eric Stewart (10cc) wanted on his original production. I provided all the artwork except the original front cover and the tray liner (for the record, I don’t particularly like that back section), the rest is mine.

Another interesting string to my bow…….

New Albums on the Horizon (and an old title just to spice the pot)

Two of the artists I respect most have new albums coming in the next few weeks.

First up is Bob Dylan whose new album is due on cd and vinyl on the 28th of April. I think the artwork is dreadful but I’m sure the musical content will be better. It’s called "Together Through Life"

Next is John Foxx who, as I’ve mentioned before, has been working with Robin Guthrie. Their album will also be on cd and vinyl and will appear the first week in May. It’s called "Mirrorball".

On a more personal note, I’ve been working on remastering the sound on three albums for a band from the 70s and 80s called Sad Cafe. I now have a provisional release date for the first of these. The album also called Sad Cafe will be on Renaissance Records in the States on the 21st of April.

I mentioned John Foxx. Another album he has been busy on dropped through my letterbox this morning. This time he’s worked with Steve D’Agostino and Steve Jansen (ex-Japan). I’ve not shown the artwork for this one before so here goes:

Mr Foxx is frighteningly prolific.

What other discs would I recommend at the moment?

Walter Becker – Circus Money (not just because I was involved in the release of this one)
Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (oh, another one I was involved in)
Mostly Autumn – Glass Shadows
Bob Dylan – Tell Tale Signs
Revue Noir (Debut EP – featuring Sam Rosenthal from black tape for a blue girl)
Sam Yahel Trio – In the Blink of An Eye
Rubicks – In Miniature
Frankie Valli – Romancing the Sixties (one for the nostalgists – but very good!)
Marie-Juliette Beer – The Garden
Barclay James Harvest – Revolution Days (just happens to feature Ian Wilson and Mike Byron-Hehir from Sad Cafe, did I mention I’ve been remastering for them)
Bob James – Urban Flamingo
Saviour Machine – Legend 1
Son Volt – On Chant and Strum
Danilo Perez – Panama Suite
Richie Furay Band – Alive (Catch my interview with him on Cross Rhythms on the web and in Natural Progressions Magazine in the world of print)

Enough for now………….

 

The Pleasures of Electricity

(Ignoring the snow outside)

One of my favourite arists, John Foxx has come up with three new albums for the first half of 2009

The first on the 23rd of February (just in time for my birthday) will be "My Lost City"

Track Listing:

01. Imperfect Hymn
02. Holywell Lane
03. Magnetic Fields
04. Just Passing Through
05. Barbican Brakhage
06. Hidden Assembly
07. Hawksmoor Orbital
08. Piranesi Motorcade
09. City of Disappearances
10. Umbra Sumus
11. Scene 27 – Intro to The Voice Behind The Wallpaper, Trellick Tower 3am

It will be released on Metamatic Records META21CD

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His second release will be a collaboration with Steve Jansen (brother of David Sylvian and formerly percussionist with Japan) and Steve D’Agostino (who joined Foxx on his recent "Metamatic" tour.

The album entitled A Secret Life will be released on the 23rd of March also on Metamatic META22CD. Track listing:

01. A Secret Life (Part 1)
02. A Secret Life (Part 2)
03. A Secret Life (Part 3)
04. A Secret Life (Part 4)
05. A Secret Life (Part 5)
06. A Secret Life (Part 6)

No artwork yet.

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The third album will be another collaboration, this time with former Cocteau Twin, Robin Guthrie. The album will be on Metamatic and will be distributed by Universal. Released on the 4th of May, it will be entitled "Mirrorball".

Seasons of Change

So I’m in the midst of an interview project with Richie Furay (former vocalist with Buffalo Springfield and Poco). Sections of this will appear here and in Natural Progressions Magazine and Cross Rhythms magazine.

Received the new albums by Al Green and Walter Becker . I’ve done some promotional writing for these so I hope they live up to what I said!

A New Kind of Album

The new John Foxx album arrived today. It’s a live album recorded on his “Metamatic” tour last Autumn. Entitled “A New Kind of Man”, it can only be obtained direct from Townsend Records ( www.townsend-records.co.uk ) under an exclusive deal that Foxx has with this outlet. As I understand it the release is limited to 1000 copies at the present time so will probably prove difficult to find in the long term.

The album carries 17 tracks which were recorded across the tour and selected by John and his musical partner Louis Gordon. Consequently, it has performances of the 10 tracks which originally made up the “Metamatic” album in 1980 and 7 recordings of additional tracks which were from the same era. These are the instrumentals: “Film One” (B-side of Underpass); “Glimmer” (which was covered by cult electronic band, Sonic Dude for a single release in 1982); “Mr. No” (also covered by Sonic Dude and then the Foxx version was remixed for a DJ single a couple of years ago); and the vocal tracks: “This City” (part of the No-One Driving single package originally); “Burning Car” (a hit, of sorts, in its own right); “21st Century” (b-side of that hit then called “Twentieth Century”) and, finally, “My Face” which those of us of a certain age will remember was originally released on a yellow flexi-disc attached to the cover of Smash Hits.

Anyway, the tour was essential viewing and listening for those who like the in-vogue tours which revive a classic album in its entirety and the album is a great reminder of that and should be picked up by those who were there and those who were not.