Tuesday, May 04, 2004

BSP, Budweiser Budvar and afro-gamelan-bouzouki music...

Been doing a bit of catching up on the activities of British Sea Power by reading their always entertaining newsletters. It seems if an opportunity was going to present itself for me to get a copy of their ltd edition single, A Lovely Day Tomorrow, I may have missed the deadline, as it was available throughout April at their gigs, although it is not impossible I suppose that the lovely people at Brighton's Rounder Records will have a copy somewhere or other. Either way, the idea behind it sounds delightful.

British Sea Power being British Sea Power, of course, they've not got the time or inclination to get obsessed with, say, Woody Guthrie or the Nuggets box sets. No, they've become obsessed with Czechoslovakia - musically, politically, architecturally and even, it seems, alcoholically...

The British Sea Power concert in Prague also sees the band enter into association with the renowned Czech brewer, Budweiser Budvar of Ceske Budejovice. Of course, this happy alliance should not be confused with the typical and tawdry round of booze-rock sponsorship. The fact Budvar are giving the band a modest amount of cash money does not alter this in the slightest. Oh no. BSP are, of course, immune to the notion of money as an end in itself. Just as music and myth are machines for the suspension of time, money for BSP is a mechanism that allows us to do what we must. Frankly, the more of the money supply that BSP can control at any moment, the better for the world.

More usefully, A Lovely Day Tomorrow is recorded in conjunction with Czech group The Ecstasy Of Saint Theresa, and features both English and Czechoslovakian versions. Now, I don't know about you, but I find this idea hilarious and hugely contagious.

In this month's The Wire, Canada's excellent Buck 65, talking about MC Solaar (who, incidentally, is interviewed to interesting effect here) says "Who has the patience, say, to discover what's going on in the Greek music world?". Well, apart from the fact that Franz Ferdinand commisioned a piece on Rebetiko when they guest-edited G2 a couple of weeks ago, it's a good question. Talking about one of his (and my) musical heroes, Harry Partch, Buck 65 discusses his near-gamelan style (more echoes of Wiley here, but I shall restrain myself) and his lack of affinity with the Western musical tradition - and I was thinking again how brave, exciting (and foolhardy!) to look outside the usual Anglo-American sounds we're inundated with.

Elsewhere Woebot displays a stunning collection of front covers from African Ethnographic recordings, noting wryly that it's "sort of shambolic ... not be able to talk about these recordings in the way one might the latest Garage "joint."".

I note that the BSP single is, in fact, being widely touted for sale on ebay, so maybe I'll get it yet. In the meantime I've resolved to get 3 albums out of the library tomorrow, and make sure that none of them are from the UK or the US :-)

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