posted on May 19, 2008 at 9:15 pm

nk bought goldfrapps new album yesterday
oh its very lovely….very lovely
steeped deeply in the beatles
its a dreamy creamy melodic techni n sepia colour trip
a dvd came with it for a song called a and e
ali goldy singing in a forest full of leaves
suddenly these leaf-men jump up and start dancing
scarlet kilbey whose accidentally watching is delighted
oh monsters she exclaims happily
then the trees come to life frugging around floppily
you could see scarlet having a pivotal moment…
when the video stopped:
play the monster song again she says
yes this 4th album is their best i’d say after one days listening
some sublime melodies abounding
some weird place where childhood and nascent sexuality intersect
(a very tricky area)
sample :mahogany titties that live on n on
(my spell check says ive misspelled titties (ha ha ))
but the sexuality is imbued with some kinda detached buddhist thingy
the whole thing is like a memory very watercolour very warm n hazy
all of this is achieved thru copious use of mellotron
such was the beatle boys impact upon music
that the mellotron will often be always associated with them
the mellotron (some of you may know this)
was invented in the 60s…very revolutionary n brilliant idea
a machine was built…a mechanical contraption, a keyboard
which consisted of a number of playback heads
which would play a small 7 second loop of tape
when its key was depressed
the mellotron company then recorded
some beautiful and very characteristic sounds
imagine they take , say, the flautist
he plays a C for seven seconds
they record it and transfer it to the little loop that
will play that 7 seconds of C flute when the C key is depressed
after 7 seconds the little loop needed to rewind
so it could play again
just like a cassette tape but much much shorter
ok so the mellotron company records
all the instruments
solo and together
vocalists n choirs
pianos …everything
so now for the first time ever
a single keyboard player had an entire orchestra or choir at
his fingytips
mellotrons were not that stable live
the tapes would get stretched and get jammed
you can imagine…
after an initial wrangle with the musos union
who said (wrongly or rightly?)
that the m-tron would take work away from real musos
the mellotron was taken up and used very much by los beatles
its on a lot of the psychedelic stuff esp the flutes on strawberry fields
the moody blues gave it a caning on almost everything
walling up their sound with slabs of m-tron strings
genesis are the main m-tron fiends
and probably my favourite users of this wonderful machine
almost everything has it
their widescreen n archaic weirdness not possible without it
listen to watcher of the skies
the intro has about 2 minutes of just m-tron
anyway things going backwards n mellotrons
both popularized by the beatles
and now their very use automatically brings those acid days back
its a bit of an easy trick in a way
but still very alluring
the m-tron has such a characteristic sound i avoided it for so long
only recently succumbing
now its on p-killer and new church n shriek….everything
anyway goldfrapps new album is simply stunning
the video went on first thing this morning
and the woofle came out all bleary eyed
plonked herself down and devoured it again
i like the tea she says
referring to the bit at the end
where will drinks a cuppa
also coming with the excellent vid
is a rather silly n slightly demystifying film
(ha! i should talk!)
showing that strange artists should remain strangely silent
ali goldy comes across
a bit like “whatever happened to baby jane”
gee the album is a corker tho
and the the fact my kids have watched the vid 50 times
means there is room in the world
for a kids tv show set in a forest with walking trees
and talking creatures
but done with a magical aesthetic that grown ups could dig!
if you get the funding im the man to do it….
the last word on goldfrapp from scarlet kilbey
to doodles after turning the vid off
“put my monster back on
put my monster back on…FOR GOD SAKE!”

36 Responses to “gifthorse”

  1. avatar
    Ron | 19 May 2008 at 10:31 pm #

    Steve, this Goldfrapp is absolutely beautiful stuff – just checked out some tracks on their Myspace page. This is definitely on my buying list (as will be the new Church once it’s out – looking fwd to hearing So That Love May Find Us, as well as everything else). How about you guys and them as a tour combination???

  2. avatar
    athanasiuspernath | 19 May 2008 at 10:46 pm #

    SK…I bought that record of le Goldfrappé some weeks ago, and the wife just occupied it (i secretly made a copy, though). See, I loved GF’s 1st album…utopian, beautiful, thereminesque echo box stuff, with floating voices, pulsing electro beats…that vocalizing “Felt Mountain” title song, just incredible they went a little too disco for me ever after. I bought the new one because I liked the overexposed, strangely nostalgic sleeve. it sounds like a lovely summer baked into a sweet pie. it sounds like nick drake jamming with the cocteau twins. it has a lot of those lilting californian ladies, mitchell, sill, perhacs. it has a certain, wide-eyed naiveté i absolutely fall for the moment i hear it. it’s a distilled nostalgia extract for those who remember anyway. upright banana finger macca piano plus mellotrone, with grinning lyrics on Happiness…this is the stuff XTC’s Colin Moulding would have written on a nice day. Here, the press almost 100% damned them for jumping on the hippy folky bandwagon. None of those idiots noticed the masterful melodies, the unbearable lightness of being a goldfrapp singer. yes, nostalgia is a smart drug, but maybe the only one that works for me.
    what a lovely lovely album. in fact, scientists could redefine the unit of loveliness in Goldfrapp.

  3. avatar
    Richard | 19 May 2008 at 11:52 pm #

    I love Goldfrapp and have all four albums.

    Best yet is a big call for the fourth – only becuase they’re all so good.

    There’s a very deep buzzing/vibrating bass sound they get on a lot of their tracks (‘number one’ on Supernature is a good example) – is that done with the mellotron?

    D’ya reckon Goldfrapp might be persuaded to cover ‘Like a ghost’? They’d give Ignatius Jones a run for his money.

  4. avatar
    princey | 20 May 2008 at 12:05 am #

    Another one on the list, thanks nk!

  5. avatar
    Lebrinho | 20 May 2008 at 5:14 am #

    On 60’s records the Mellotron always sounds
    as if it was playing beyond the grave,
    I love that dusty sound.

    When King Crimson recorded their 1st album’s title song with several mellotron tracks, Ringo Starr stated:
    “They sound like a bleeding orchestra..!”

  6. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 May 2008 at 5:25 am #

    more like a science project in a cage for observation n chemical testing.dont they protest about that,if its done to nice to be observed,n written about…its so fulfilling to be observed…not.did ya take it down in shorthand?…beyond the grace’ grave indeed…feeling sorry for yerself huh?

  7. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 May 2008 at 5:27 am #

    Is the mellotron similar to the vocoder as used in earlier church albums? Love the sound that made “Is this where you live?” *nostalic sigh*

    Marty H.

  8. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 May 2008 at 5:31 am #

    um,sorry….i couldnt understand what you meant by that comment…can ya elaborate?

  9. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 May 2008 at 5:36 am #

    is this fun yet?tell me when it gets to the fun part will ya…what shall we call ourselves today…hmmm…howz about “bullshit bullshit”…yeah….ya should get yer wife to write a coupla days on yer blogge steven….thatd be cool…

  10. avatar
    Lebrinho | 20 May 2008 at 6:04 am #

    Hornstrumpot, we’re perishing..!

  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 20 May 2008 at 6:08 am #

    do something about it then,ya freakin wally..quickly.x

  12. avatar
    davem | 20 May 2008 at 7:55 am #

    Andy will love this one…he adores mellotron.
    Me too, I’m well into prog so I’m really looking forward to all your new stuff.
    Hurry up!!

  13. avatar
    persephone2u | 20 May 2008 at 8:15 am #

    The mellotron is always great. Goldfrapp make lovely music, but I wish they’d chuck Alison out and get Tricky to sing the lead vocals. His voice is both sensual and ominous at the same time and Alison’s has a slight bit of a Northern American twang to it, even though she’s English.

    But if a female is going to sing it, I suggest either Harriett Wheeler of The Sundays who has the voice of an English angel or the fiery Scottish Shirley Manson of Garbage who oozes sex appeal and has a dark side that Alison couldn’t ever quite reach. Stick Harriett, Shirley or Tricky over Goldfrapp’s music and I’d be a fan for life!

  14. avatar
    Lian | 20 May 2008 at 8:30 am #

    The reasons that I respect you are numerous. One of them, I’d like to say, is your honesty – which I guess is a very precious “quality” of True artists.

    True artists never hide their feelings, and they have the Courage and the Ability to express them – that’s why they are so different from our mundane people.

    I wonder how many of us can do it like you do? even 1/10?

    I sincerely appreciate all of your work, music, art, poetry. I believe they are all from your heart.

    They are all very, very beautiful.

    Australia should be pride to have a being like you – as London does.

    Best wishes.

  15. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 20 May 2008 at 11:34 am #

    well, yesterday i’d typed a witty and highly amusing (YEAH, RIGHT) tale of my first and last venture on a two-wheeler bike…unfortunately when i attempted to post it my internet connection shit itself…
    since then, the world has moved on…i’ll have to check out goldfrapp, damn, it’s just a case of finding the dough to shell out for the album…if scarlet likes it then it must be good…my little one is quite partial to the odd church album, there’s room in her scheme of things for esoterica and captain flamingo (abc kids, 20 past 7 weekday mornings)
    love always…

  16. avatar
    iseult | 20 May 2008 at 12:17 pm #

    good stuff

  17. avatar
    restaurant mark | 20 May 2008 at 12:20 pm #

    scarlett sounds like a funny and interesting child. i’ll have to check out the goldfrapp cd…i’ve never really listened to them much. out of town for work, but have a good internet connection at this hotel, so i don’t have to miss out on my reading…lucky me!

    take care

  18. avatar
    Ross B | 20 May 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    our beautiful Brian Jones did some positively eerie stuff on mellotron on 2000 light years from home, I love Brian’s musicality

    i wish i had broadbean so i could listen to goldfrapp NOW as it sounds really good going by the comments dialuP too slow blahblah..


  19. avatar
    verdelay | 20 May 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    You use a spell checker?

    What do you do with it? Torture it like a cat’s hapless sparrow?

  20. avatar
    A.M. Polydora | 20 May 2008 at 2:14 pm #

    I like how children ‘name’ things – “play that monster song, again.”

    I never knew the proper name for the day that fell between Friday and Sunday for the longest time. To me it was simply “Cartoon Day.”

    A suit of armor in a friend’s foyer was “The Big Giant Metal” to my then 4-year-old son.

    As adults we become more precise in our naming, depending on how you look at it, causing us to lose a little of the magic and scale back the realms of possibility (not to mention spontaneity) stored in those more ambiguous names we once carried around with us when we were smaller in size but bigger in soul and imagination.

    Also, it seems that as children we are more preoccupied with the content and substance of things than their form.

  21. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 20 May 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues was a seminal master of the mellotron. When Genesis was good Tony Banks used the mellotron in a celestial fashion.

    I’m afraid to say that Chicago repealed its ban on foie gras. In Australia the Goverment Sponsored Kangoroo massacre is transpiring with the support of Midnight Oil’s former lead vocalist and preachy frontman.

  22. avatar
    CSTCoach | 20 May 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    catching up after a holiday weekend away. just wanted to drop a note of thanks for your insights into the creative process of the past few days. gonna print those out and revisit them from time to time. priceless being able to benefit from your years of experience, your creative insights, the wisdom of a long road fraught with peril and success.

    thanks druid!

  23. avatar
    veleska1970 | 20 May 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    thanks for the goldfrapp suggestion. another one i’ll have to check out.

    that was very cute about scarlet. 🙂

    lotza love…..

  24. avatar
    knot | 20 May 2008 at 3:31 pm #

    Instant coffee is the work of the devil, Steven. I read you have been doing his dirty work…

    My own wee druid Deirdre daughter of the oaken door had a similar reaction to Peter Murphy. That is what I get for allowing her to watch Bela Lugosi’s Dead on a whim as we waited for our Pizza Athena.

    Must hear the new works, please. I am a big fan of Tim’s work as well. And of course no sympathy what-so-ever for aching ribs…

  25. avatar
    fantasticandy | 20 May 2008 at 5:13 pm #

    dave’s right!
    it was the 7-second loop and the unstable transport system that made it magic…..
    eg: ‘watcher of the skies’….
    those long legato bits could only be played using strange chord inversions because of the time limit on indivdual notes…dodgy pinch rollers and atmospheric factors causing tape warping
    added to the uniqueness of it all even further.
    y’see a mellotron doesn’t sound remotely like any of the instruments it’s trying to imitate.
    and thats what makes it great!
    it sounds like a mellotron!
    and nothing else does.
    these days the easy way to make this thing portable(they were heavy unwieldly beasts) is to have the tape loops transfered to hard drive and link them to a controller keyboard, which is what i do.
    the voices on mine were recorded from a mellotron 400 MKII on a Studer A80 in 1979.
    ok…iv’e bored you all enough now!

    this bloody goldfrapp album….
    eyerybody’s banging on about it….
    is it really THAT good?
    i know what my dough is being spent on!
    the new church record is going to be an all-time career high.
    the same applies to painkiller.
    cheers all!
    andy L.

  26. avatar
    tim | 20 May 2008 at 6:35 pm #

    Well ya were bang on the money with Twilight Singers….I’m sure Goldfrapp will live up to yours (and the children’s praise)
    that Tony Banks sure was some wild m-tron mofo.

    since you brought it up….
    c’mon with the painkiller already..
    i’m going through withdrawl…
    need a fix over here…


    paypal button is located in the top righthand corner of the page for you folks who forgot it was there. Great artists like Mr. Kilbey shouldn’t have to beg for spare change…do the right thing and hit the paypal and throw a few dollars in the ole honesty box…

  27. avatar
    athanasiuspernath | 20 May 2008 at 6:54 pm #

    > Goldfrapp make lovely music,
    > but I wish they’d chuck Alison
    > out and get Tricky to sing the
    > lead vocals.

    and when this is done, there are many other re-casts on the same level. what about replacing peter koppes with ted nugent? and while we’re at it, what about solo artists? replace Björk with Timbaland, and replace Kate Bush with a hoover.

  28. avatar
    Shawn El | 20 May 2008 at 7:09 pm #

    Cheers SK – I love the new G Frapp record too, although what you like about it seems altogether different from what clicks for me. The bass playing on track two is particularly awesome, as well as the line “How’d you get to be happiness?” in track three. Genius.

    When are your records coming out? I want to hear the mellotron!

  29. avatar
    davem | 20 May 2008 at 7:32 pm #

    Sod it….I can resist no longer and am off to give Foxtrot a whirl!!

  30. avatar
    ^jax | 20 May 2008 at 8:05 pm #

    .. I just had a jag thinking of the Crunchies doing a Genesis copy band thing.. Peter as Mr Banks.. Tim as Phil C, Marty as well 12 string Marty.. and Steve doing a full Gabriel.. “I know what I like in your wardrobe..” yikes!

  31. avatar
    golden thorn in my paw | 20 May 2008 at 8:08 pm #

    Yip, it’s a great record, it’s a whole world. Fullest world they’ve created yet. It’s really British as well. leaving the city, talking to the standing stones, walks toward the grey pebble shore, seals come up for air, check us out then dive down to become mermaids again. Urban foxes nuzzle trash and cross the road in broad day light, unperturbed and undisturbed by our presence. In fact his gaze suggests he’s just as curious about us as we are about him. “Hey our county home was fine, full of big space and all that, but the pickens hear are great so we forgive you, anyway what’s done is done. No hard feelings huh. Anyway it gets away from those fuck heads on horse back. But I’d watch the family cat if I where you. It’s my nature and all”. “sounds fair Mr. fox”

  32. avatar
    ^jax | 20 May 2008 at 8:12 pm #

    btw, have you seen Gabriel lately?
    he looks umm different?,28804,1733748_1733756_1735249,00.html

  33. avatar
    eek | 20 May 2008 at 8:23 pm #

    Ok, I admit it — I’m shallow. I watched the A&E video and although I did quite like the music I loved the dancing trees! They are great — just soooo much fun. I can see why Scarlet would like it. (and it has the added benefit of being a song her folks can enjoy — that’s always a plus!) 🙂 I’ll make sure to check out the cd.

    And of course I’m also looking forward to hearing all your new works. I’m pretty sure they will be worth the wait. 🙂

  34. avatar
    captain mission | 20 May 2008 at 11:44 pm #

    tori amoz and goldfrapp, nk has great taste in music, what else does she like?
    i saw tori amoz a few months ago at the opera house, amazing show and i love goldfrapps stuff to especially the new one.

  35. avatar
    chrome3d | 21 May 2008 at 3:46 am #

    New goldfrapp is excellent. It´s something I will listen many years from now.

  36. avatar
    heather | 21 May 2008 at 9:27 pm #

    “be my monster, and stay away from babies with matches!” – GWMcL

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