Songs from the Vault

I thought I’d better do another SFTV before time runs away with itself. Like the last edition, there are no intentional themes though some may emerge. We’ll see.

First up is Flim by Aphex Twin. I first heard this on the Come to Daddy EP (1997) and was reminded of the track very recently as The Bad Plus played it as their encore at a gig in East London. TBP do a great version themselves, and you can find it on their 2003 album These Are the Vistas, which is one of their finest. Back to the original. When thinking about it, it’s a bit of a strange beast. It sounds like it could have been the theme tune to a BBC science show back in the ’70s. There’s a catchy hook, some incredible drum programming, which at times combines drum and bass with jazz inflections, and a wonderful breakdown before the tune re-emerges at the half-way mark with a sonorous violin-like refrain. It’s a classic.

I’m writing this blog as I find the tunes and I’m not sure how to follow up on that. Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors from Radiohead’s 2001 album seems a pretty cool place to continue. It’s arguably their most inaccessible tune and it’s one of those love it or hate it ones. I love it. It sounds like a whorling vortex from a nightmare. So not one for the first wedding dance! Apparently it was created by looping various tracks from the OK Computer sessions to create, a ‘ghostly’ loop. The video below is good but the album version’s better.

Time for a massive about-face. When I grew up ABBA were massive and I remember well the albums in my parents’ record collection, including the likes of Arrival and Super Trouper. While Winner Takes it All is my favourite, Our Last Summer (1980) has to be up there. While it could do without the guitar solo, and some of the lyrics are a bit suspect (‘And your name is Harry’), the chorus is a pleasure and gets better and better as the tune goes on, especially as the vocals stretch out in the outro.

Handsome Boy Modelling School was a hip-hop duo which brought together the talents of Dan the Automator and Prince Paul. Their 1999 album includes The Truth, featuring J-Live, and Roisin Murphy from Moloko. It’s a a laid back affair, oozing sophistication. It would be unfair not to reference Galt MacDermot, whose Coffee Cold is sampled to great effect. Make sure you check that out too.

I should include more jazz in these blogs, so last but not least is Remember (composed by Irving Berlin) by American tenor saxophonist Hank Mobley off of his 1960 classic album Soul Station. As soon as the track starts you know that something special is happening and that the stars are aligned. Mobley is backed by jazz giants Art Blakey (drums), Wynton Kelly (piano) and Paul Chambers (bass) and this class shines through from beginning to end.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of SFTV. And let me know what you think of the tunes!