Saturday, May 16, 2020

shoe3 (dreampoptronica)

Cardrossmaniac chips in to the shoegazetronica discussion

His mention of MBV (specifically the bonus single instrumental with Isn't Anything -  breakbeat overlaid with ghostly wavering) and A.R. Kane's "A Love From Outer Space" reminded me that the precursors to shoegaze had dancey moments.

Well, there was M.A.R.R.S. obviously....

But A.R. Kane did a one-off single as A R K that was their stab at house

Possibly motivated by desire to prove that they'd contributed more to "Pump Up The Volume" than a coloursplash of guitar? Or perhaps to show that they could do full-on dance music if they wanted to....

Comrade Oldfield oversells the side project a little bit in this 1988 Singles Page.

Paul makes it sound a bit more enthralling and achieved than it actually is. But that's how we rolled in those days ("inflation of meaning" yunno). This review is an example of what one Melody Maker editor teasingly referred to as the National Geographic school of reviewing then prevalent at the paper (at least, with my crew).  Moraines, escarpments,  that kind of thing...

Rudi and Alex had already showed their dancey tendencies on the flipside of "Pump Up the Volume" with this beauty, to which Colorbox lads contributed only a bit of drum programming.

A remix I have no recollection of ever hearing.

Then, as referenced by Cardross with "A Love From Outer Space", there were several boppy tunes on i.

"Crack Up" was a favorite.

Another vaguely housey chugger

There was even a remixes mini-LP or maxi-EP in 1990 - the typographically clever Rem'i'xes

Several of the remixes - "Miles Apart", "Crack Up", and "Crack Up (Space Mix)" - were actually done by Robin Guthrie. But they don't seem to be available on YouTube.


Tim 'Space Debris' said...

Both versions of AR Kane's "Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)" were included on that 2012 double cd Compilation 'Complete Singles Collection'.

I gotta say yep onya Dreampoptronica began right there.

I added a tune to my above linked post earlier today which is Pita's "Untitled #3" from their 1999 album Get Out.

Also dreampop technically is really a genre of one band innit? That band being AR Kane. Americans seem to call any old c86, indie-pop, noise-pop and shoegaze music dreampop though. Thoughts?


Ah well this might be a case of mea culpa.

A.R. Kane did come up with "dreampop" and were the only people using the term to describe what they did. And then in late 1991 I did a big piece for the New York Times on My Bloody Valentine and the others (Ride, Slowdive) and used the term "dreampop" as the overall rubric ( shoegaze is briefly mentioned but quickly dropped) and it featured in the headline as well. So it propagated in the USA from that, I think. It is a better term I think, actually captures that narcoleptic, lost-in-a-dream, dreaming-your-life-away vibe - and relates to the precursors like SYouth with Daydream Nation, "When You Wake You're Still in A Dream" on Isn't Anything.


Tim 'Space Debris' said...

Hi Simon

Indeed Youa Culpa haha...

You sold noise-pop and shoegaze to the Americans as "Dreampop" and they've been selling it back to us ever since.

Thanks for clearing that up it's been irritating me for years. I always just thought Americans didn't understand distinctions between certain bands and genres. Now it all makes perfect sense. Still for me there is just the one 'Dream-pop' group AR Kane. I've been thinkin it for 30 years so I can't change now.

Next: The Myth of c86.

c86 used as a genre signifier usually means third rate Smiths wannabes or 80s Jangle pop that's not trying to push any boundaries sonically or technically ie. McCarthy, The Pastels, Primals etc. It turned into a pejorative term for shambling bands. The thing is on the c86 compilation there were many groups that didn't fit this remit. Stump were all absurd, surreal and beefheart-esque, Bogshed were classic rockin post-punk, A Witness were abrasive energetic punky post-punk, Big Flame had an exhilarating spiky noise pop aesthetic, MacKenzies were an awesome Beefheart meets Postcard amalgam etc.

The funny thing is the only time indie-rock was good or had any meaning was in the 80s. Would you like to listen to some mid 90s or post-2000 indie-rock? I didn't think so.

Tim 'Space Debris' said...

Hi Simon

I've just realised that those three bands McCarthy, The Pastels and Primal Scream used as examples of bands going nowhere new or newish is a little bit funny and almost apocryphal but not quite. At the time of of the release of c86 those three groups seemed content to rest on their Jangle pop laurels and stick with their set of influences.

The funny thing is these groups or members of these groups would end up recording some of the most innovative and experimental recordings of the 90s.

Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier were both members of McCarthy who went on to form the genre defying envelope pushing Stereolab. Primal Scream would reinvent themselves several times post-c86. They were sometimes way out in the future on the frontiers but at other times they regressed back into the past. The pastels would add electronic and experimentation to their consummate pop confections. They even stretched out and did a remix LP. Anyway there was no way you could call any of these musicians lazy unambitious indie-pop ghetto types. The worm turns. Perhaps all that disparagement from the music press in the 80s actually did them some good...I doubt it.


what "disparagement"? the NME made a bleeding cassette to celebrate and promote them!

at MM, the response was more mixed - it had some supporters, also fierce detractors of the Wedding Present-y type thing. I liked some of the groups (James in their brief interesting phase) and the odd tune by Primals and Bodines, but a lot of it seemed either a bit feeble jingle-jangle mimsy or lumpy sub-Fall/Beefheart (Stump by far the best of that side of it, although did like Big Flame a bit). And generally i found the subcultural politics of it more interesting than the music - the clothes, the cult of childhood.

but it's true that some of the people went on to have a much more interesting '90s. McCarthy into Stereolab, yes. And Primal Scream's ongoing identity crisis produced some moments. You also had the chap in the Wolfhounds (who i did like - great live band) then doing Moonshake. And Talulah Gosh would have completely different legacy, as an influence on riot grrl.

as a compilation C86 seems like no match for C81. i have a whole bunch of them that i found in a cupboard in King's Reach Tower, hung onto them in the hopes they'd become valuable - never seem to happen so i think i finally got rid of them. now they seem to go for a fair bit, dammit.

Tim 'Space Debris' said...

RE: The Myth Of c86

When I think of c86 the first things that spring to mind are Talulah Gosh, cutie and anoraks. Talulah Gosh are not even on c86. I think a lot of people (and me) conflate Sarah Records and cutie with c86. This is why I was mentioning the post-punk Beefheart/Fall influenced bands that people forget were quite a big quota of music that made up c86.

Sarah Records funnily enough didn't commence operations until 1987 and Talulah Gosh only appeared on the label posthumously with a radio sessions compilation. This was issued a few years after they broke up.

I recall people in the 80s calling indie kids "Anoraks" meant as a sledge against their subculture.

Good to see you've still got some residual MM versus NME rivalry inside you Simon. I can't tell if you're being hilarious at the mention of music press disparagement of c86 type bands or if you are genuinely bemused at that perceived notion or if you are still a little bit angry about the merits of these groups to warrant such a compilation. Haha...