Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Nostalgics 01

Now and again 1979's 'Metal Box' resurfaces from the murky depths of a Mariana trench that is permanently etched into my psyche. It was always an obsession but I don't think this trench was dug until the day I played the album on a pair of hand-me-down standing speakers, a bargain from my flatmate, and first cautiously turned up the bass dial on the amplifier. It was the same dial that brought roots and dub to life via the Trojan Dub Box and Super Ape.

This is all the more significant since honourary rasta John Lydon met many of the artists on those records himself on his infamous trip to Jamaica, before returning to record the first two PiL albums. I have a recollection of an anecdote from the Lydon autobiography, essentially recounting how he and the great Don Letts went to an authentic soundsystem dance in a rough part of Kingston. Within a few tokes of powerful Jamaican skunk these Eastenders were unaccustomed to, they fell unconscious under a palm tree, carried on the sub-bass. They awoke to find the performers, the crowd and all the equipment gone! For some reason it's a powerful and soothing image, whenever I recall it it's as if I were there myself...

It's 'Metal Box' though that takes the dub template to new spaces and fuses it with experimental German rhythms, among other things. I will post it someday, hopefully when it is remastered, because in many ways it's my favourite record. 'Poptones' is about a kidnapping/murder, I am guessing.

Drive to the forest in a Japanese car
The smell of rubber on country tar

Hindsight does me no good

Standing naked in this back of the woods

The cassette played Poptones

Can't forget the impression you made

Left a hole in the back of my head

I don't like hiding in this foliage and peat

It's wet and I'm losing my body heat

The cassette played poptones.
Miss bleeding heart
Looking for bodies
Nearly injured my pride

Praise picnicking in the British countryside.

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