An Agglomeration of Variegated Aural Pleasures

My recent trip to New Zealand was on the whole quite fruitless when it came to buying music, last time I bought a dozen or so discs. I bought only one used CD this time, and the two other CDs I got were from my brother who graciously let me take anything I desired from his large collection of CDs, so I took a couple. I did however get a brillo birthday present from him which made my day, as well as a couple of double-ups he had. And I have since added a few more after arriving back in Japan, so here is what I have in no particular order.

Burial – Subtemple/Beachfires

This is what my brother gave me for my birthday, and when he handed it to me I was quite flabbergasted. I never thought I would see another Burial release on vinyl as they are hard to get, in Japan at least, so I was extremely chuffed to get it. When I think back on all of the birthday presents I have ever received, I must say that this one takes the crown.

This is a very Burial release in that it is very atmospheric, so much so that it is pretty much devoid of actual melody and is more of a series of random crackly sounds and ghostly voices, but that is what I like about Burial. Judge for yourself though…

YouTube comment for this release: People are hating on this but it’s actually top tier dark ambient. Foreboding and uneasy, perfect to set up the stage for Beachfires, which is the epic culmination. I think they’re meant to be listened back to back, the split is just so people don’t feel too intimidated by the length. If there was a sonic representation of the coming of Cthulhu, this would be it.

Spot on.

Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See

Last week I went into Book Off to see what is what and found this. I was not aware of this 2011 album so I was most pleased to find it.

And it is another great Arctic Monkeys release. Not really much more needs to be said about it.

The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever

Another Book Off find, and another album I had never seen before. And also another great listen. Fun stuff.

That is all I will write about for now. There are plenty more but I have not listened to them yet, so I will do so then report back.

Music count 2019: 10

Chick Corea – Return to Forever

This was pretty much a random purchase from Good Times a few months back, but I knew that if it was from the Chickers then it must be a decent listen, which is what it turned out to be.

I found this in the “jazz fusion” box, which is where I have bought most of my jazz records so far. Actually, I am hoping to buy an album I saw in the same box tomorrow. Jazz fusion is boss.

The songs are quite relaxing to listen to and has a nice mix of electronic piano, flute, saxophone, and female vocals. It is the kind of music you would expect to hear in some boutique shop such as a shop that sells handmade candles or fancy muffins. Side one has only three songs, and side two just one 22 minute song.

Stanley Clarke plays on the album which is an added bonus. Chickers plays the electronic piano. Each individual instrument has it’s own place in the stereo landscape. For example the drums and the flute are in the right channel, and Chickers is pretty much on his own in the left channel, while Stan and the vocals are right in the middle.

The record and album cover are in minty condition.

Good music to chill out to.

Music count 2018: 106
Total vinyl count: 23

Stanley Clarke – Modern Man

I bought this a few weeks back on vinyl, from Good Times

Click on the cover to listen to the title track.

I bought his self-titled album a while ago, and liked it so much that I wanted more. So, when I saw this I bought it, no questions asked.

Unfortunately though it is a little disappointing. It is supposed to be a jazz fusion album, but to me it sounds more like a mix of disco and funk, and in fact it came out in a still very disco 1978. There are plenty of horns, disco-guitars, and various singers, along with piano and Stan’s funky bass playing. But, it just doesn’t do it for me, as much as I like Stan and disco, the two just don’t go together for me. Reviews on the Interwebs are also quite mixed.

The vinyl, cover, and insert are all in minty condition, all good there. It is a Japanese pressing.

I do like the cover though, Stan was a cool customer back in those days.

Stan’s best album cover.
This one is cool, too.

I am sure though this is just a blip in the Stan catalogue, so I shall continue seeking out more of his albums, those two above albums especially.

Stan has a great website, check it out.

Music count 2018: 105
Total vinyl count: 22

Saturday Night Fever

Not only is this an interesting and amazing film, but it also has one of the best film soundtracks around, which is why I snapped this up a few weeks back when I found it.

Six of the seventeen tracks on this double-album are Bee Gees tracks, pretty much all of their major hit songs with tracks like “Stayin’ Alive”, “Night Fever”, and “Jive Talkin'”. Other bands include Kool & The Gang, K.C. And The Sunshine Band, David Shire, and The Trammps. The film score tracks by David Shire though are not that great, they let down the album a bit, but the rest is pure disco gold.

The vinyl is is excellent condition and the cover is not too bad and includes the “obi” (the strip on the cover) which seems to be advantageous to have whether buying or selling a used record here. I got it for around 800 yen.

Fave track on the album is the 10 min 50 sec version of “Disco Inferno” by The Trammps.

Next, I want to find the “Staying Alive” soundtrack.

Music count 2018: 104
Total vinyl count: 21

Van Halen – Fair Warning

This was an album I had my eyes on for a while, but I passed it over for other albums such as the Abba album I bought a while ago. But, finally I succumbed and it has been in my collection for a few weeks now.

I am not a huge fan of Van Halen, but songs like “Jump” and “Hot For Teacher” are just too catchy to not like. This is their fourth album and does not have any tracks that most people would know unless they are V.H. fans, although “Unchained” is quite familiar.

It came out in 1981, three years before 1984 which is the album that had aforementioned songs and made Van Halen super-duper-stars. This album though is a very Van Halen-sounding album and has some good tracks. I just find it to be a decent but not essential listen. I am listening to it as I type, and I am actually getting into it as I bash on the keys, so perhaps I am warming to it.

The record and album cover are both in near-new condition. It is a Japanese pressing.

I am getting behind in my record posts, I have at least four more to write about, so I will get onto that.

Music count 2018: 103
Total vinyl count: 20

Burial

A few posts back I said I was waiting on a much-anticipated vinyl record to arrive from England, and it did so last week. I was a little worried that it might arrive damaged in some way, perhaps warped, but it arrived in perfect condition…thanks Royal Mail and Japan Post!

The record is a 12″ Burial single called Truant / Rough Sleeper, two tracks that run for a total of 25 minutes. The songs are comprised of several parts, with each part separated by a short silence, which is something I have not heard in a Burial song before. But, it is still pure Burial gold, and having a Burial release on vinyl makes it even more special.

Here is a good review which explains the record far better than I ever could.

Certainly this is the most prized record in my small collection, and it will probably stay that way.

Listen to the tracks here.

Music count 2018: 102

The Stranglers – The Raven

This is an album I had my eye on for some time at Good Times, my fave used record shop, and by far the best place to browse for records in this fair city. I passed it over a few times in favour of other slightly more desirable records, but I finally bought it along with another record which I will write about soon. I also bought another record the same day at another shop, so I have even more writing to do.

I have heard this album before, and while it is a decent listen it is not one of The Stranglers’ better albums, but it is still decent enough. It is a strange mix of songs actually, some of it sounds like their first album, and other songs are more experimental.

The pressing I have is a Japanese one, and has the limited edition 3D cover. It is in excellent condition and has the nice inside sleeve too. And I didn’t pay much for it either, roughly the price of a Big Mac Meal (I haven’t had one of those for a while now).

Yet another welcome addition to the slowly expanding vinyl collection.

Click here for a video of The Stranglers performing a couple of songs from the album live back in 1981.

Music count 2018: 97