R e m a k e . R e m o d e l . R e i n v e n t

2009 saw the release of ‘Omnibus’ editions of the first 2 Bauhaus albums: In The Flat Field (1980) and Mask (1981). Making me doubt whether I should buy them, despite me being a huge and old-time fan.

Unable to resist. Strangely attracted. Hope. For hidden treasures. To read backwards into history. To find what’s been hidden all of these years.
…To get neatly boxed tunes and facts. As complete as can be. Shivers.

The unreleased mixes and out-takes highlight the spontaneous side of the band. Exposing it beyond the original albums (and the extended CD releases). The little experimentations. The ever-continuous search for soundscapes and tunes. An ever-never stand-still. More variation than generally known (or accepted).

The familiar work still brightly shines in its known literate fury and musical art. Form and function recorded through a stream of consciousness. Theatrical. Drama. The daring incorporation of glam and disco in a post-punk landscape of industrial wilderness. The absolute will to be and be unlike.

The booklets are a chronological guide to the creative genesis of the albums. A fascinating bundle of anecdotes, lyrics, pictures, facts, testimonials and recording sessions. Made with great care and much research. The sound is terrific. The CD’s are packed in a sleeve that’s an adorable replica of the original album cover. Of function and form.

In The Flat Field still sounds razor sharp. Without compromise going for functional industrial art. Bauhaus 1919. With minimalist aesthetics. Form = Function. Nerves. A roar that marks the escape from the flat field, their urban home-scene. Dark Entries sent to the “Singles and Out-Takes”.

Mask took most of 1981 to become. Over various recording sessions. Rejections. New edits. To end as the unique sum that exceeds the members. With a 12 string, more sax, new synths, dub sounds, funk. Completed with a complete live gig. Already including Silent Hedges, that will appear on The Sky’s Gone Out.

I personally love those little facts like the role of Alan Moore (the sleeve note and according live introduction). I already knew about his friendship with David J, who composed the music on the lyrics of V for Vendetta.

U n d e a d . U n d e a d . U n d e a d .

Can’t wait for The Sky’s Gone Out and Burning From The Inside.

Peter knows which way to go

Peter knows which way to go. And not only because his spaceship knows.

On his personal, newly established, music label Huvolla Peter Murphy has been releasing some Secret Covers, named after his latest concert tour. It started with the John Lennon classic Instant Karma, that was also used in a (JP Morgan) commercial.

Then came David Bowie’s Space Oddity. Peter added his special oriental feel; the one in which his CD Dust was already… covered. The distinct electric violin of Hugh Marsh re-appearing after Dust and Peter’s -incredible- live album Alive (Just For Love).

Next, Peter released the live and cracklin recording (with his band) of Joy Division’s Transmission, performed at the Highline Ballroom (NYC) in July 2009. I remember Bauhaus playing “Isolation” live during their last tour (ever), with Peter already copying some of Ian Curtis’ typical gestures.

Both as solo artist as with Bauhaus, Peter has performed on a number of occasions with Nine Inch Nails. He performed Hurt with Trent Reznor at a radio (FM live) session. I downloaded that one for free. Peter now released it as secret cover #4. And I bought it. Being a collector-fan and to support Peter.

Peter Murphy is a remarkable voice in today’s musical landscape, a position he rightfully gained by being an expressive, committed and original artist. Not because he’s god. Because there is no god.    But god.

From B to J

During a check on my favorite artists I ran into a music video of David J, reminding me of the fascinating artist and songwriter the man is.

The song brings up memories of Bound for Hell, which he wrote for the self-titled Love & Rockets album. Although this album divided not only the band’s 2 main songwriters, but also their fan base, I still love it. Exactly because of its playfulness, its fooling around with pop music. Subsequently they defined… pop music. And does ‘Roll On’ on the Daniel Ash album ‘Foolish Thing Desire’ bring up memories of ‘Motorcycle’ on L&R? (anyone saying “The Jesus & Mary Chain”?)

I have mostly known David J as the coolest bass player around. I found out only last year that he had composed the music for the V for Vendetta song This Vicious Cabaret, using Alan Moore’s lyrics. Following is not an official video, but pastes imagery of the (great!) movie on top of the (great!) song:

David J - V for VendettaFairly intrigued I bought me the full (mini) CD. Now, that’s what I call (avant-garde) CABARET! My edition also holds the demo version of the main song, which is truly great (knowing that it’s the result of a 1 night effort).

It all started with Bauhaus. And it’s quite fair to say that also Peter Murphy (I’m a huge fan!) and Daniel Ash are fascinating artists and songwriters, that have helped defining the face of music. Dark Entries - Bauhaus and BeyondIf you want to know more on the forming of, the history of Bauhaus and the subsequent paths of its members, there’s this illuminating book Dark Entries (Bauhaus and beyond). It goes back to the days of various bands, of David J playing bass, his brother Kevin (Haskins) on drums (flower pots?) and Daniel on guitars. With Peter they came to be the legendary Bauhaus (1919).

Of course, over the past 25 years the guys have kept creating new, distinct and fantastic work, have reformed a couple of times, even put out a new Bauhaus album. Too much for one lousy blog note…

Top 2008 Music

coldplay-prospekts-march11/ After long and hard consideration, the jury put Coldplay with Prospekt’s March on top of 2008’s releases. It is considered an unprecedented example of post-completion to an already genuinely great work, Viva La Vida (or Death and all His Friends).

The jury particularly appreciates the massive consistency. Personally I also love the guys for using the ghost title of the pre-release Viva.

2/ Not to be forgotten, to say the least, are:

  • Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts. Genius re-emerges beyond words
  • Brett Anderson – Wilderness. Former glam star contemplates (still)
  • The Verve – Forth. Grinding comeback with beatle-esque dignity
  • The Triffids – The Black Swan. Original intentions evilly reinstated

3/ The jury got used to the high performance level of Usual Suspects:

  • Kaiser Chiefs – Off With Their Heads.

4/ Unofficial commenting of the jury:

  • Eva De Roovere – Over & weer. Bevestiging van -levende- belofte
  • CPeX – Verzameld. Schitterende wederkomst onder de zon
  • Alanis Morissette – Flavors of Entanglement. Expanded scapes

Bauhaus came with this darkness to…

GO AWAY WHITE. And never return, as is to be understood.

Cover of the album ‘Go Away White’ by BauhausIf (ìf) it’s the case, at least they leave us with a great album, earning its place in their near-classical backlog. Maybe the first half is like a more classical Bauhaus touch. Still it has the distinct, original spirit of spontaneous recording, rock and atmosphere. And it is a superb performance.

Daniel’s guitar licks curl and bite around and David J’s deep-melodic bass lines go their own way in the typical Bauhaus sound mix.

As from “Saved” (and its twin “Mirror Remains”) the songs are given that extra and exquisite mix of Peter’s oriental spirit (Dust) and rock attitude (Deep, Holy Smoke), with Love&Rockets’ psychedelica.

recorded, mixed and produced in 18 days” (and what an amazing sound quality)