To recap: Feline Alchemy, the genre defining dark fantasy novel, is to be filmed by Hollywood. Naturally, this means the rapier-like wit of the original text will be replaced by a lowest common denominator, bums-on-seats, FX-laden schmuck-fest replete with Dick Van Dyke accents and gooey romantic interludes… but all is not lost, because in these posts I’m providing the producers with a soundtrack so faultless that even they can’t screw it up. After the solid-gold, non-stop hitsvilles of part 1 and part 2, we stray into curiouser and curiouser territory in part 3 –
Chapter 9 – My Bloody Valentine, You Made Me Realise
“Don’t hate me cos I don’t hate you.”
When you listen to MBV at the peak of their powers you get the impression they were making music out of all the sounds that usually slip between the gaps when pop songs get constructed. The tracks on Isn’t Anything and the contemporary EPs seem like the negatives of traditional fully developed pop songs, ghosts of greatest hits beamed in from another dimension.
Chapter 10 – Howlin’ Wolf, Killing Floor
“I shoulda quit you a long time ago.”
Most people couldn’t get away with styling themselves “Howlin’ Wolf”; they’d seem a bit, well, ludicrous. But, in this case, it’s the name Chester Burnett that seems out of place. Chester Burnett might’ve been the name of a haberdasher, a friendly guy who sold you some buttons once; or a travelling salesman, specialising in pickles, say. But with a voice that sounds like a worn and weathered boulder rolling down a mountainside you’ve got no option but to take a name that’s more primal. Ladies and gentlemen, Howlin’ Wolf.
Chapter 11 – Faust, It’s a Bit of a Pain
“Who wouldn’t sell his mind?”
Krautrock as a genre divides opinion. It divides opinion because at its best it’s often like overhearing a motorway pile-up in which pop music was driving one of the cars and the other drivers were Faust, Neu!, Can, etc. Krautrock is a precise and wilful act of vandalism in that sense – that’s the joy of it. But people get teary-eyed about verse/chorus/melody, all mowed down in their prime. And so they disagree with the dangerous driving of Messrs Diermaier, Rother, Suzuki, etc. But that’s ok because Krautrock is the sound of pop music disagreeing with everyone.
Chapter 12 – Loop, Brittle-head Girl
“Trip me up inside your world.”
Pop music 101 – Pick up a guitar, hit the strings; if the noise it makes sounds good, repeat. Loop made it an article of faith to stick as closely to that template as possible. What results is music that’s like a mantra: it pulses around your head like an interior indie hypnotist and either you resist or get washed along with it and start to drift.