In The Black Box


Black Box Radio Show No.2

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Response to Black Box Radio Show No.2

featured as comment under original Radio Podcast…..



Since the mic broke on me, ill just fill in on what i was going to say bout these songs.

I had the pleasure of seeing Chris Cunningham, Pivot, Andrew Weatherall and one of my long time favourite artists George Evlyn of Nightmares on Wax perform in Paris last week as part of WARP20.. Here we have a track Jorgé from what some might consider Nightmares on Wax’s best album “Carboot Soul” ..”Soul” being the term that would tie this show together as we have a selection of artists who in their own way provide a different definition of Soul.. George Evelyn giving it an electronic treatment and sampling beautiful vocal lines leading us into Nuyorican Soul and the timeless “I am the Black Gold of the Sun” .. The Nuyorican Soul experiment resulting in this urban bustling modern soul, full of culture and truly redefining Soul in the mid nineties by combining the new with the old… the older sound represented in Nina Simone and Ray Charles.. who while not necessarily being considered “soul” in a Motown sense, reflect the undefinable nature of the Nuyorican Soul project. Ray Charles would reinvent Gospel and sexualise religion, bringing the sound into the pop world… an action which would be hard to swallow at first..such revolutionary ideas would echo that of many forward thinking artists in the past, not to mention another great composer for the piano Claude Debussy, who against the toughest of grains would bend every rule in Classical writing and create his dream worlds, romantic sounds and flowing pentatonic runs would outrage the staunch classical music traditionalists of his time.. I hear the same dream state qualities in the lyrics of Nick Drake, whos guitar playing in this track also shows how Debussy’s choice to popularise a simple pentatonic sound.. would define music for so long, clearly heard from Drakes strings…

While watching a Glastonbury festival clip from 3 years back, a Nick Drake song played over the images of love and peace from the original festival .. the Glastonbury Soundtrack to the Movie documentary released a few years back features a pumping performance of Primal Screams “Swastika Eyes”, a Chemical brothers remix of which also caught my attention from the Dirty Hits bonus CD..leading us to a chemical brothers classic…

The Grandfather Paradox is a compilation tracing the history of minimal music, this track by Pat Methany/Steve Reich opens the compilation, a track which seems to pin down the beautiful progression and relation one can achieve between the electronic synth and the electronic instrument.. a sound which brings us nicely into Squarepusher’s “Iambic 9 Poetry”, another Artist from the Warp label who also bridges the gap between live instrumentation and electronic performance, his incredible bass playing leading us into a beautiful “poem” of sound and movement… Autechre (Warp Again) expressing the electrical romantic expression… perhaps it is a little far reaching for me to claim to hear a quality of Debussy in this track. However its serenity and pulsing synth line does manage to lift the soul in a very clear way, a sort of electronic Psychedelic sound…..

cue Funkadelic’s “What is Soul?” and here we are back again.. Soul…

When i hear George Clinton define soul in his many ways…i often find myself starting to remember the Voice of Terry Reid.. here performing a song recently made hyper-popular by the Raconteurs (they didnt change much – thank god) ….just listen to this voice.. and then ask yourself is this not soul?


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