Friday, January 21, 2005

I plague your flesh with my thoughts

Music is something that can have a profound effect on people...or at least, I feel that way. The high school years, as for so many others, were a very strange time for me. Memories are strong...both good and bad. And my emotions were a huge part of it. It seemed to be a time of extremes...and moments that would last forever. Some memories are frozen in my mind, playing out like a series of polaroid pictures.

Music was something that made the extremes could bring me down, level me off or swing me back up...not only the actual rhythm and music, but the lyrics as well. One of the bands that was always close by was A Certain Ratio.

Now, don't get me wrong, they have their bad moments. There are releases by them that I don't really listen to, but when they hit it right, they had the ability to transport me somewhere else. There are other bands that did that, I've posted on a few of them, but for the most part I avoid these posts. It's so difficult to explain why a band connects with's a combination of mood, sound, implied intent and time. Time as in when I discovered the band. There are bands that I probably would not listen to if it weren't for the circumstance in which I came across them. They represent a memory, a specific incident...and an emotion.

So what's so great about A Certain Ratio? For one thing, their music is a bit of a journey, especially in the early years. They tried a lot of different sounds, explored some things that others weren't really doing. They made some mistakes along the way, others might say a lot of mistakes, but I enjoyed their journey of discovery. I also don't think that this led to a perfect sound. When I try to come up with a list of my favorite songs by them, I find that it doesn't center around an era, but it's a hodgepodge of selections through the years. And that's another reason I find it so hard to do some of these posts. How do I pick a few songs that'll make someone want to explore a band, especially a band that's been around for 25 years? - I know, I know, should I really count anything released after "Force"? Here's a good timeline that ends in 1986, when the band signs to A&M. -

If you want some back history on the band, I'd recommend heading over to their official site. It's actually stuffed full of info, including a pretty strong bio and some video of their first gig in New York back in 1980. Remember that ACR was one of the first bands on Creation Records, and this has a definite effect on them. Mainly because of their relationship with Joy Division and, in turn, New Order. There are moments when one has to wonder what that relationship was really like...I can't help but wonder at how competitive it was and how ACR must've, at times, felt like the little brother who had to live in their older sibling's shadow, constantly trying to step out and shine on their own. That's complete speculation on my part, but it's based on some sort of reality.

So enjoy these songs, and please check ACR out. I'd especially recommend the Soul Jazz release, "Early." It also looks like Soul Jazz is re-releasing some of their earlier albums as well. If they're handled half as well as the "Early" release, they'll be worth every penny. Here's an Amazon link of mostly import releases.

A Certain Ratio - Do the Du (from The Graveyard & The Ballroom) - REMOVED
A Certain Ratio - Saturn (from I'd Like To See You Again) - REMOVED
A Certain Ratio - And Then She Smiles (from Force) - REMOVED


Blogger heath said...

i love the ACR. do you have any of the stuff from the more obscure Factory bands of the time - Kalima or Swamp Children or their ilk? I'd love to see a post of that stuff.

3:19 PM  
Blogger guanoboy said...

I can probably pull something together...I've got some Kalima and Quando Quango and a few others somewhere around here...!

9:12 PM  

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