Well, I’m in the midst of a week away from work and guess what? No, you’re wrong. It’s raining. And it’s grey. And it’s colder than it’s been for a few weeks.
So, as I’m sat ensconced in the warmth and comfort of my domestic bubble, with nothing urgent to do, I thought I’d introduce you to my forthcoming album properly. Not a track-by-track breakdown as such. Just a few wee words to say what, why and how.
Now, I realise that only a fraction of the people who will download the album actually read this (and that the number of people who download it are a mere micron in numbers…. but that’s not the point). The point is that those of you who read this will possibly download the album and that’s enough for me. Besides, you know how I like rambling on about myself and particularly my music….any excuse.
So, ‘El Lissitzky’, what’s it all about Alfie?
Well, firstly, I’ll mention that there’s a shed-load of extras included in the download. A large digi-booklet of the usual sleevenote-type of things, plus excerpts from this blog which have some relevance to the album. There’s a storming remix of one of the tracks, “Hollow Point” by Douglas Deep (aka SK123, aka Macerator, aka the very talented Steve Kelly), many thanks to him for that. There’s an incidental track of mine called “Summerisle”, which started out as a song for the album, then became a more soundtracky kinda deal but then didn’t quite fit in with the overall tracklist, so it’s now a bonus track. Finally, there’s this video for the album track “Fatty Pork” which has had some radio-play already.
So, that’s upped the file size, I know. But I hope it represents some value for money. Or if you’re not paying (which is fine; a download is enough as far as I’m concerned), it represents something for nothing.
So, why the title? Here’s an excerpt form the booklet:
“(El Lissitzky’s) artwork was appropriated by The Wake, amongst others, to illustrate their 1985 album ‘Here Comes Everybody’. And it was this album cover which firmly implanted itself in my teenage mind, along with those of New Order, A Certain Ratio, Kraftwerk, etc. Album covers which shared common themes of technology, mechanization, ‘the future’…
It was the aesthetic of Factory Records and particularly of the early Hacienda which influenced me tremendously; everything from their posters to the yellow and black warning chevrons on everything Hacienda-based.
Way ahead of it’s time, The Hacienda’s architect Ben Kelly and the Factory gang toyed with the iconography of 20th Century modernism and industrialism; something which is common place now but, at the time in the 1980s, was like a replay of the avant-garde, a rebirth if you will. A reaction against the ramshackle and untidy aesthetic of punk, the blandness of 80s populism and against the decay and deprivation of 70s and early-80s industrial cities like Manchester. The Hacienda, and Factory in general, were incredibly influential, not just musically, but aesthetically. As John Robb says in the BBC documentary ‘Factory: From Joy Division to Happy Mondays’,
“…all of Manchester, every major city, ended up looking like the Hacienda. Every flat looks like the Hacienda…”
The exterior of Manchester’s Beetham Tower (this album’s cover image, albeit repeated and layered) being a personification of this.“
So, yes, the album’s partly autobiographical. Self-indulgient, most probably.
The music on it bears no resemblance to the music of those Factory bands though….at least, I don’t think it does. It’s more about evoking something (a memory, for me) and getting back some of the excitement I felt for making music in a band and on my own all those years ago. Young people, in their teens and twenties, are so idealistic about their music….there are no grey areas, no unknowns, and the future is not even considered. Well, while I see that as partly naive, partly unrealistic; I also see it as part of the magic and energy of being ‘new’ to it all. That’s what I wanted to experience.
By the way, I’m not sat in a bath-chair with a blanket over my legs, sitting outside the sanitorium, reflecting on a long-lost youth. I just needed to refresh my working-practices and my enthusiasm for making stuff, which admittedly, I’d lost (I had thought about selling all my music kit and taking-up something more…erm….‘sedate’).
Anyway, the album was recorded almost completely in Ableton Live, playing the instruments and recording directly into the computer and using some rather cool virtual synths.
I’m going to stop there and if you’ve read this far, well done. It killed a few minutes, didn’t it?
The album’s available from the 18th June at http://dementio13.com. Hope you can share in the release with me and, if you do download and like it, please tweet the living hell out of it! Thanks…