Thogdin Ripley Top Ten
This weeks Top Ten is from Thogdin Ripley of Hexus Press!!!
Thogdin is an absolute legend and I’m really happy he sent us this Top Ten. Its a good one, enjoy!
1) Ken Nordine – A Good Year For Spiders
Look… there’s a spider. Nordine puts the listener wonderfully close to ‘spidering’ themselves, via a queasy mix of cookiness and black humour. This could of course be swapped out for Vincent Price’s ‘How To Cook A Small Boy’ etc as examples of a kind of horror that’s made all the better, and horrific, for the kitsch.
2) David Murray – Ballad For a Decomposed Beauty
Squeaking like a Sphynx cat in a roomful of balloons, the then-21 year old Murray treads a sophisticated line between the sombre and an otherworldly bop in this free jazzer from his live LP.
3) Intersystems – Lately
Early LP from Canadian performance poet Blake Parker and Syrinx’s John Mills-Cokell, ‘Lately’ grinds a sub-Burroughs gear against a cold-tin city without a heart in which the narrator spits a dispassionate disgust at life — “Lately there has been a new spring come upon me but I was not altogether prepared.”
4) Mike Ratledge – Riddles of the Sphinx Sequence 3
“Capitol — Delay — and body… The rhythm of the sentences was not quite right… She’d been drawing acrobats, trajectories of the body in displays of skinned balance”
For a film that’s all about looking, the soundtrack does very well all on its own. The Soft Machine’s Michael “Mike” Ratledge noodles like the sea going out beneath the psychosexual feminist prose poem from Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s film. Layers of meaning, reminiscences and conjecture shift over each other like plates of ice, parts of a larger puzzle that prove elusive and obtuse.
6) Arthur Brown and Craig Leon – Morning Was Cold
Craig Leon’s had the grand rediscovery treatment already due to the last few years’ reissues, but his perhaps unlikely coupling with The God of Hellfire is yet due its moment in the sun. ‘Morning Was Cold’ describes — in a sparse clarity that would make Raymond Carver choke on his editor — a death on the street, simultaneously invoking the wondrous and the ominous.
7) Syrinx – Ibistyx
John Mills-Cockell again, who for some reason is ringing my bell at the moment. Syrinx’s orchestrated sax / Moog blend is a true plastic burbling thing-unto-itself. Both their LPs and the (still! why?) unreleased score to David Cronenberg’s ‘Secret Weapons’ reward listening.
8) Names and Faces – The Killer
God only knows what’s really going on here, but despite — and in fact because of — the confusion the implications are monstrous. The puritanical soft-psych vocal phrasing only adds to the unexpected brutality of the whole thing, which folds a Vaseline-lensed nostalgic flashback of the singer’s youth into the trauma of living through a school massacre, presented like the obituary of a friend. A firm favourite. (The b-side, in which “hushed by the fading footsteps, Tarantula sleeps upon the shivering bitch of a new earth” — to a solid beat — is also extraordinary.)
9) Arachnoid – La Chamadere
Killer, furiously angry and angular late French prog, featuring a child chorus calling down the fall of universe, and a hard-to-refuse invitation smash things, in general.
10) Malcolm Arnold and Buxton Orr – Suddenly Last Summer
Never released on record, the soundtrack to the film of Tennessee William’s monstrously boiling Gothic melodrama (what else?!) plays like the missing link between the NWW list and Stan Kenton. Arnold apparently found the asylum aspects of the story so disturbing that he withdrew from the project, leaving Orr (composer for such greats as Devil Doll, Fiend Without a Face, and Doctor Blood’s Coffin) to finish it. The music at the end of the film — over *that* scene—sets a cold fire of terror in the midday sun, to a startling orchestral-and-tin-clattering war chant. *That* scene’s not on youtube, but here’s the main title theme, which does half the job just as well.
Thogdin’s the co-editor of Hexus Press, who’ve just published a new book from Gary J Shipley: