Tuesday, 30 August 2011

From the Top Drawer XXII - The Ullulators

A first outing on this blog for the fondly remembered Ullulators who brought their own brand of space-rock-reggae and general jamming madness to many free festivals and gigs in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Formed by guitarist Gavin Griffiths after his departure from the original twin guitar line-up of Ozric Tentacles, and having decided that the energy of their early period would best be served by splitting that atom off into the creation of a separate second entity, the Ullulators came into being.

Joined by the ubiquitous Joie Hinton on keyboards, Roly Wynne on bass and drummer Nick van Gelder among others for early gigs and recordings, initial home studio efforts yielded the first of several tapes, 'Share A Clam With The Ullulators', a collection of instrumental rock, dub reggae, deep synth experiments, and excursions into headspaces flavoured as much by the inhaled ambience of travels to the East as by the vibe of life in London at that time.

Later Gavin and Joie were to be joined by Jane Bradfield, Generator John, Kay Springer, Chambers and Andy Ull as the band found itself a more stable gigging line-up.

Two other tapes followed until in 1989 the then current line-up of the band recorded an album at Dave Anderson's Foel Studios in Wales. Called 'Flaming Khaos' and released on vinyl through Anderson's Demi Monde label, this showed the band incorporating more overt influences from world music as well as numbers from the full-on live shows that their audience had been enjoying for some time.

The band was later put on extended hiatus in the early 1990s when Gavin worked with the Thunderdogs and Cirque Archaos until the eventual demise of that travelling show. More studio tapes were issued in the 1990s, but live appearances became more rare. Unfortunately bass player and singer Kay has since passed on. In remembrance...

  Side One: Gunk Rock / Zuzklucky / Tango Mango / The Ruzbitud Shuffle / Mixy Noise / The Full Itself Remains / Fatty Dub / Stomach Speaker
  Side Two: Hanuman Dub / Blue Aethyr / Narasimha / The Ostragoth / Elephants Have Gills / All You Need Is Hash / Eternal Now / More Tea Vicar?

Ripped from an original cassette as two side-long tracks @320kbps
Share A Clam With The Ullulators HERE

Recently Gavin has announced his intention of remastering these early cassettes and releasing them digitally on CD, so this tape rip will act as a taster for those reissues.

(Plenty photos taken from the Ullulators Facebook page here)


Ullulators at the Pullens Free Festival 25 August 1990Watch on Google Video 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

From the Top Drawer XXI - Cardiacs

'A bit like Zappa...' was the answer I received when I asked a friend how he would describe the music of the Cardiacs just before we climbed the stairs to watch them at the Hammersmith Clarendon sometime in December 1985. I think they may have been supporting Inner City Unit, I'm not sure. My memories of their performance that night are a bit hazy, but I seem to remember not thinking that much of them, a bit too hectic to take in all at once. I didn't know the songs, was a bit thrown by the madcap approach and the weird make-up, thought it was all a bit disturbing, even a bit pretentious...

I didn't really think about them much afterwards either, sorta filed them away in the 'mmm, not too sure' wardrobe of my brain, but after getting hold of this tape sometime later, gave it a listen or two (or three...) and found that the little cartoon light bulb went on in my head and before I knew it I was recognising the tunes and even knowing 'what bit comes next', etc.

Various influences became evident - Zappa yes, VDGG yes, maybe a bit of Gong & Genesis, a dose of punk and no doubt loads of other stuff that I'd never even heard of at that stage. I liked it.

I rode the rollercoaster for a couple of years, went to quite a few of their gigs, but after a while (heresy for die-hard fans I know) sorta lost interest as they started to get more well-known and even got a video or two on TV. My musical tastes wandered elsewhere and after buying some of their vinyl found that I didn't dig them as much as I had on 'The Seaside'. For me this is still the 'one', IMHO probably the best thing they've ever done. But what do I know, they are the undisputed originators and champions of Pronk and I doubt that anyone will surpass them. (Get well soon, Tim.)

Side One: Jibber and Twitch/Gina Lollabrigida/Hello Mr Sparrow/It's a Lovely Day/A Wooden Fish on Wheels/Nurses Whispering Verses
Side Two: Is This the Life?/A Little Man and a House/Hope Day/Dinner Time/Ice a Spot and a Dot on the Dog/R.E.S./To Go Off and Things

This tape contains the original (now lost) versions of "Nurses Whispering Verses", "Is This the Life?", "A Little Man and a House" and "Dinner Time" which don't appear on the CD re-issue.     (so there...)

Ripped from an original cassette as two side-long tracks @320kbps
Take the train to the Seaside HERE

Some pictures from Croydon Underground club on 5th of May 1987

Getting under way...


    Tim Q & Jim


Getting near the end...

 ...and the finale with the Consultant et al.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The lightbulb that burned for 100 years

But yours won't - want to know why?
One of the best documentaries that I've seen for a while.

"Pyramids of Waste" (2010) also known as "The Light Bulb Conspiracy" is a Norwegian documentary about how our economic system based on consumerism and planned obsolescence is breaking our planet down. Check it out.
(Subtitles aren't perfect, but this seems to be the only full-length English subbed version that you can stream).