The pure delight of finding something you never knew about.
I love that feeling.
This may be old news to you folks. Ray, DN, CG, i bet you guys all had this on vinyl. But somehow I missed it.
801. Phil Manzanera, Eno, Bill MacCormick, Simon Phillips, etc.
Maybe I never payed attention to Manzanera ’cause Bryan Ferry touches in me in that Morrissey place; that I like the music but the singer drives me up a fuckin’ wall place. You know what I’m sayin’; it may be Neil Young that touches you there, or the Violent Femmes, or Rush. None of those people touch my Morrissey spot; Bryan Ferry does.
Maybe that’s why I missed out on Manzanera. Or maybe it’s cause I can’t stop mixing him up with Ray Manzarek. But whatever it is, for some reason I’ve never payed any attention to ol’ Phil and his axework.
So this week, while not blogging or writing, while trying to get work done and not side-track myself with social interaction or flirtation, I’ve been playing a lotta music. I’ve been playing with pandora a bit, and I’ve been in a heavy (extremely heavy, you know what I’m sayin) King Crimson phase where I had to go back and get Red and Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, and Starless and Bible Black, all of which I used to have on vinyl but never got on CD. I’ve been playing this shit in my office and, I imagine, annoying the peole around me with it. I’ve been pondering getting new speakers so I can crank this more, cause you know, I really don’t like head phones that much, despite owning a pair of $800 Grados.
So yesterday I was trying to get pandora.com to grok what prog rock is. It seems to do very well indeed at getting punk rock or funk or the jazz I like, even with no concept of genre, but prog confuses it; I tell it I like King Crimson and Yes and Genesis and Jethro Tull and Camel and Gentle Giant, and it says, sure, I gotcha, here’s some AC/DC and some Sepultura and Ron Wood’s solo album. So you know, what the fuck?
But one of the more spot-on picks it handed me was 801′s East of Asteroid, which grabbed me right off with some great, jazzy-proggy guitar and drumming, and then it launches off with this heavy, heavy bass line. And I’m thinking, who’s this band? They’re… cool.
So I wander over to iTunes where I have trouble finding them ’cause the album’s listed as Phil Manzanera, not as 801. I listen to a couple tunes, and decide, what the fuck, this is a serious line-up, and I know a lot of the songs here. I plunks down me money down.
This afternoon, I went through all the King Crimson I had, and all the King Crimson one of my co-workers had on his shared iTunes library, and then remembered this 801 stuff I’d gotten.
I’ve been playin’ it all afternoon. And I want to play it again. These guys are – brilliant. Manzanera’s an amazing guitar player, but we knew that. But Bill MacCormick – wow. Who the fuck is this dude? He’s awesome. And the odd counterpoint of Eno’s silly art-rock lyrics with this heavy prog aesthetic somehow works perfectly, leaving something that skates the surface of the usual prog pretentiousness, veering into spacey jams and sorta psychedelic bits. In places it’s vaguely like Pink Floyd, in other spots it’s like King Crimson, some of the guitar sounds like Bill Nelson of Be-Bop Deluxe (another of my all-time favorite bands). And of course here and there it sounds like Roxy Music.
I’m having one of those oh my god I love this band, and they only have one or two albums moments. How did this album – which came out in 1976 – escape my notice? I have no idea.
Maybe it was – you know – the drugs. But now I have to figure out what else I missed by not paying any attention to Manzanera.