Thursday, 4 November 2010

Heartbeat and Trance - Chris and Cosey

We don't feel comfortable with a commercial attitude to music. It doesn't interest us really, we get real enjoyment out of going where the music takes us instead of being lead by external considerations.
– Cosey

Funnily enough a few of my all time favourites aren't electronic at all: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Jimi Hendrix and Abba.
- Chris

  Yes, Chris, sonic travel broadens the mind. Electronic music wasn’t my favourite genre in ’81 and ’82, when these first two albums were made for Rough Trade. I was boarding the Jazz express for all points East, West and beyond, waving goodbye to the UK music scene.
   Now that there’s a general chorus of approval for these reissues I’ve taken note and joined in. What’s not to like? Just two things: ‘Manic Melody’ from ‘Heartbeat’, which drives me nuts with the repetition of ‘Hairy Beary’ nonsense. And ‘Re-Education Through Labour’, which repeats a staccato vocal sound similar to that used by Art Of Noise and builds to a nerve-shredding crescendo.
   Apart from them, it’s all quite fabulous.
   Back then, whilst others stepped into the spotlight of Popsville armed with synths and catchy songs, C&C stayed in the shadows. As Cosey suggests in the above quote, they weren’t about to craft Pop hits and wear cartoon futurist clothing. They had more romantic notions about new music.
   To talk of going where the music takes them implies possession by the machines. In this respect, Chris differs from those who would tailor technology for the purposes of Pop. He was more deeply involved in the method, the possibilities presented to him by technology...exploring the dreams and nightmares machines could create.
   Some material here is lite, such as ‘Morby’, and ‘Until’ (from ‘Trance’), which carries a Pop melody countered by off-kilter percussion, but then there is ‘Voodoo’ (proto-Techno if ever I heard any), and the deathstar funeral march of ‘Radio Void’. Also the babblelonian brilliance of ‘Radio Void’. All on ‘Heartbeat’.
   ‘Trance’ is generally darker, and the tracks longer, as if they thought: ‘Well we may as well go deeper since we’re not going to surface’. ‘Cowboys In Cuba’, ‘Lost’, ‘The Giant’s Feet’, and ‘Impulse’ are all magnificent examples of C&C’s apparent ability to sow the seeds of a crop that many would harvest later, consciously or otherwise.

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