Top of the Pops - The 1980s

Bustedshaun

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speaking of acoustic instruments being rewired
 
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Edit: Just seen there that Tom Dolby is playing at four UK festivals next summer. Have grabbed a ticket, he lives in LA and isn't over this way often.
While his eccentricity hasn't mellowed, the intensity of his performances kind of have.

But still a must-see, especially to see him lose it during songs like this, from the seminal album 'Aliens Ate My Buick', an hilariously uproarious album of his LA experiences after he moved there. This one's called 'Airhead' and it goes out to all of us here today, halfwits and blackguards that we are. Strictly tongue in cheek, he can still poke fun into everyday American life.

Thomas Dolby: 'Airhead' (Aliens Ate My Buick')


If he was sending messages into space via the medium of synth sounds he must have been communicating with Eno
Absolutely: anybody on here who doesn't have a copy of Byrne/Eno's 'My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts' needs telt.

Track 6: 'Regiment'

 
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jmcc

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Though I started out as strictly acoustic with my choice of instruments as a youth, I always kept one close ear on the synthesized music coming out of the UK at the time. I kept thinking that if these acoustic instruments could be rewired and used as triggers for other sounds, then the musical world could be your oyster.

This dude, Thomas Dolby, managed to do it before anybody else though. His methods were amazing to my ears and even now you can strip any of his heavily synthesized pieces back to the basics of their acoustic form and they still sound amazing and use some very original/unusual methods of arrangement. Lyrically, he was edgy and uncompromizing, and the subject matter was usually quite obscure references to wind power, signals from outer space, missiles disappearing, and other Cold War related ideas.

But most of all: he could laugh at himself and the music business in general.

Quite a maverick for the times, and the songs have lasted well - not to mention the lyrics.

Thomas Dolby: 'Dissidents' (The Flat Earth - 1984)


The lyrics were amazingly good but the engineering on Thomas Dolby songs even stands up well today. He was so ahead of things with sampling and sequencing compared to others that he was in a completely different class.
 
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The lyrics were amazingly good but the engineering on Thomas Dolby songs even stands up well today. He was so ahead of things with sampling and sequencing compared to others that he was in a completely different class.
For polished and timeless production values, few bands in the 1980's went as deep into sound and its most fundamental of meanings with recording techniques and experimental approaches as these criminally under-rated guys, Talk Talk.

While most people know of them for their pop fodder - they may not realize that the entire band hated - loathed - to find themselves having to make such trash; they were far beyond that as musical visionaries with absolutely brand new ideas nobody had even thought of before, let along actually spent weeks and months trying to perfect.

Listen to the sound of the instruments rather than the song; hear how blunt and dry they sound, yet they then melt into harmony seamlessly before falling apart again and disseminating into dust. Open space. You can hear the silence of this recording as crystal clearly as you can the bleak instrumentation. It's classic stuff.

If I may, I'd like to dedicate this one to @Field Marshal - have a lovely Sunday afternoon, Herra Anti-AntiPope.

Talk Talk: Happiness Is Easy' (The Colour Of Spring - 1986)

 

Bustedshaun

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For polished and timeless production values, few bands in the 1980's went as deep into sound and its most fundamental of meanings with recording techniques and experimental approaches as these criminally under-rated guys, Talk Talk.

While most people know of them for their pop fodder - they may not realize that the entire band hated - loathed - to find themselves having to make such trash; they were far beyond that as musical visionaries with absolutely brand new ideas nobody had even thought of before, let along actually spent weeks and months trying to perfect.

Listen to the sound of the instruments rather than the song; hear how blunt and dry they sound, yet they then melt into harmony seamlessly before falling apart again and disseminating into dust. Open space. You can hear the silence of this recording as crystal clearly as you can the bleak instrumentation. It's classic stuff.

If I may, I'd like to dedicate this one to @Field Marshal - have a lovely Sunday afternoon, Herra Anti-AntiPope.

Talk Talk: Happiness Is Easy' (The Colour Of Spring - 1986)

yeh,one of my faves.
 
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Not the kind of thing that made Top Of The Pops too often, but the guys playing here were frequent performers in their main project with David Sylvian and Japan. Mick Karn, (RIP) the bassist, was off the loop altogether with soundscapes and mental arrangements around his unique style of bass playing. His rhythmic partnership with Sylvian's bother, Steven Jansen, always delivered something fresh and ahead of its time. Barbieri was the cream on top with synths and effects.

Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri, Mick Karn: 'Beastial Cluster'


 

Tadhg Gaelach

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