Monday, December 1, 2008

Killing Joke Part One

My friend Raf who writes the absolutely banging blog, Gold Code, just posted about Killing Joke’s phenomenal “Almost Red” EP and it got me thinking about the band, one of my favorites, along with The Stranglers. I love Raf’s blog ‘cos it sidetracks away from all the dance music obscurer than thou dick swinging and occasionally focuses on stuff that’s under your nose and that’s not dance music while also keeping tabs on killer classics in the boogie, Cosmic, hip-hop, house and Italo realms. And he posts mp3s. It’s a good read, no doubt.

And Killing Joke was/is a good listen, a brutal, yet complex, fusion of punk, Moroderesque electronics, disco, funk, Kraut rock and dub reggae. However, this potent concoction of sounds didn’t detract from a rage that was palpable, an anger that was moulded from coming of age in Thatcher’s no hope, no future, class war plagued Britain. Listen to tunes like “War Dance,” “Psyche,” “Requiem” and “Change” for evidence of that, and a dark edge that set them apart, putting them somewhere in the same realm as the equally dark horse group The Stranglers.

Like the Meninblack they had a kick ass bass player, in the shape of Youth, the man who brought the disco and reggae quotients for sure. Legend has it that in the ‘80s he would sneak off to New York for a month every year to check out the music and clubs etc. He would tape every mix show on WBLS that he could and then bring the tapes back to the UK to share with friends like NME writer Kris Needs. This was the age of Shep Pettibone playing dubbed out, three deck clusterfucks of avant funk. Youth took that inspiration and applied it to the production he provided on cuts like Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill. He also dated Bush, the jammy fucker, as did Stranglers bass player Jean Jacques Burnel. Shoulda taken up the bass sooner, huh?

Legend also has it that the entire band ran off to Iceland in 1982 because their occultist beliefs led them to the conclusion that the world was about to end, and Iceland was the best place to avoid the fire and brimstone. It seems the opposite is the case in the current financial maelstrom. Despite numerous line up changes they always operated as a quartet with Jaz Coleman on vocals and synths. Coleman also managed to collaborate with Anne Dudley from Art of Noise on a project that combined electronic, middle eastern and classical musics, and produced an album of Māori inflected music using master Māori players. Thus he didn’t resort to samples like the new agey twiddlings of Enigma et al.

To be continued….


1 comment:

rickdog said...

You have a great music blog here! I've added you to my mp3blog list and custom search, check it out.

Rickdog's collected 6,000 mp3blog links, accessible from the alpha menu at page top. You can open frames on these blogs to view them directly on my site, and you can also view the feeds in a frame.

The newest mp3blogs

You can search your blog and all the others in my custom google search:

Chewbone MP3blog search

I add new blogs to the alpha lists once a week, but your site is immediately added to the custom google search engine.