Thursday, 14 August 2008

Pictures of Matchstick Men

Just been lazing today mostly, but doing a bit of passive research as well. Was reading 17 and it reminded me of the proposal I had written for New Work Scotland at the Collective (For which I have recieved two individual rejections) so I ended up doing a bit of research behind that to see if I could improve the idea any. Through wikipedia I ended up reading about George Harrison, Pete Townshend, Lonnie Donegan, Cliff Richard and Keith Moon.

The Who were the first band I really got into properly, my brother wanted to be a mod, but this was in the late eighties and he had already missed the Jam-led revival of earlier in the decade and was just riding out the Madchester and Acid House era waiting for Britpop. It was years later when I got into The Who, but could remember my brothers listening to them. Shortly after my brothers when to their reuinion gig in Glasgow and didn't invite me, but that's beside the point. What I'm getting at is that I've rediscovered Baba O'Riley, and what a good song it was, the simplicity of the guitar, piano and bass, but this driving synth line all the way through, it's not a loop but a long continuous synth line created from specific details of the Meher Baba.

Before the release of Who's Next, Townshend was working on another high-concept follow up to Tommy, it was to be called Lifehouse and it was to be a fully immersive experience allowing the audience to Join together in the band to create the music as a fully inclusive experience. The project fell apart for some reason or another and they went ahead with making Who's Next, a more conventional, yet still amazing, album. Baba O'Riley was sort of a prototype for the Lifehouse project and just stands out.

I also found out that Townshend had set up a website and designed a piece of software to take people's details and turn them into synth lines, for possible use as a song. I went on to the site but they've stopped collecting details, so that's that avenue closed. Ho Hum.

Back to Baba O'Riley, I downloaded it for a listen and saw a few other tracks I'd downloaded, Born to Be Wild, obviously for Ezy Ryder, The Prisoner, Psycho Killer, On Her Majesty's Secret Service by the Propellerheads, Silver Machine (Infected By The Scourge of the Earth), Good Enough after seeing Dodgy at Wickerman, and Pictures of Matchstick Men.

I'd downloaded it a while ago after hearing it on My Name Is Earl and listened to it a few times, and a few times over the weeks since. Its weird, Status Quo's first offering and its a slice of pure psych, before Mssrs Parfett and Rossi become fond of that one riff and made music which still rings out through terrible terrible pub djs. Matchstick Men has this amazing hook, and then a crunching rythm which leads the song through the first verse before the whole mix is passed through a modulator and swirls throughout the room like some sort of bizarre trip.

A few songs for the first mixtape, perhaps.

No comments: