First of all, apologies for there being no Friday Night Tune last week. It had been a harsh 7 days and it needed a longer than normal recovery period. One of the knock ons of this was that there simply wasn’t a tune in my head for a bit. Sometimes I know well in advance what I’m going to talk about. Other times I have no idea until I sit down at the computer. Faced with an empty screen long after I should have finished last week I decided to cut my losses and go back to the source.
I spent part of the weekend rooting through my records. Aside from frequently wondering why so many of them were bad and lamenting the fact that so many of the good ones are scratched to buggery, I started to realise there are a lot of them I don’t know anywhere near as well as I should.
This has become more of a problem since I started buying vinyl again about five years ago. In the old days when the readies were not quite so ready there was a hard limit placed on the records I could buy. Probably because of that there was a bit more opportunity to get to know a record inside out. I’d mix the same records and the same tunes in and out of each other for hours, making the best out of a much more limited pool (although, it wasn’t really that limited). Nowadays, especially now I have a bit more available in the way of funds, I tend to buy more records more often. It’s a beginners mistake, isn’t it, having eyes that are bigger than your belly? And time is the real finite resource nowadays, which means I don’t get a chance to listen to some of these beauties as much as they deserve.
Very simply put I bought this record, the second release on Atlanta label CGI Records, a long while back when it first appeared, I listened to it a few times and lost it under a blizzard of newer records. It’s a split EP with Cc taking one side and Golden Donna taking the other. I gravitated towards the Cc stuff first, the hard jacking garage stomp of Shackles in particular. It’s not that I never listened to the two Golden Donna tracks, it’s just that the immediacy of the Cc tunes caught me and then I was gone.
But coming back to the record last weekend after all but forgetting it was there I stuck on Colditz and was properly demolished. It wasn’t the airy, housey tune I’d imagined on first listen. It was thunderous. The beats, infused by the rude strut of garage, are almost Ancient Methods in their controlled ferocity, like a hungry Doberman straining against its leash. That’s only the beginning, though. The heaviness is jerked in and out with the grinding bass playing off for the limelight against the grimy, swooping strings. The ricocheting vocal snap suddenly teleports you from an echoing expanse of melodic mid-western techno into the sweaty confines of Uk bass. It is the biggest tune on an EP of big tunes, riding high on an attitude that is part street smarts and part dream filled star child.
It’s probably a good thing I wrote nothing last week. The enforced need to actually spend time with a box of records paid off. There is suddenly so much to hear, and so much to relearn. Will I stop buying too many records? Probably not. Like they say, ‘a man’s aim must exceed his grasp, else what’s a record shop for?’. Robert Browning, there. He should know. He was well mental for banging acid. Aren’t we all?