Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.

Wednesday

Euroman Obscurity



Imagine, you're the bass player in one of the happening punk bands of 1978, and on the strength of that success, you persuade the record company to let you make an electronic solo concept album, with the theme of a politically united Europe.
Sound feasible? Well, I guess it helped that he was British born of French parents, homeless, living in the studio during the Black And White recording sessions and in The Stranglers, but even so...

Predictably, it fell through the cracks into obscurity.


A favourite album of mine is one that you may not have heard of, Stranglers bassist J.J. Burnel’s 1979 solo project ‘Euroman Cometh’. I originally bought it way back when because I was a big fan of the band and wanted to own everything that J.J.  and the other band members put out. At the time I remember being somewhat non-plussed by this album. It was, of course, bass heavy but also political in a way that I couldn’t follow and other worldly; and as a teenager at the time I just didn’t appreciate it. In the intervening years, however, I have come to appreciate that album more and more for its genre defying avant-garde approach even though I can’t agree with the political; it was an album out of time…and has remained somewhat ignored and obscure.

Musically, it was an attempt at incorporating electronic sounds into rock. Lyrically, it evolved around the idea of United States of Europe, in the Cold war context. "A Europe riddled with American values and soviet subversion is a diseased sycophantic old whore: a Europe strong, united and independent is a child of the future." stated J.J. Burnel in the inner sleeve. Opening with a list of people he's descended from (Charlemagne, Napoleon, Adolf Hitler (?!?)) voiced over a synthetic drone, it goes on to paint a future vision of a European nation state that stands independently from the U.S. and Russia.
It was merely a dream at the time, but drenched in intuitive foresight, and leaving aside the Nostradamus element (from a guy who was probably smarting at the U.K's patronising myopic view of his homeland), it actually sounds like the future too.
Printed on the sleeve is a tribute to the Meriden Motorcycle Co-operative that manufactured Triumph motorcycles from 1976-83. The tribute reads, "The Triumph Workers Co-operative at Meriden have proved that personally motivated enterprise coupled with group interest is a necessary ingredient in successful socialism and the sham they call national socialism could only be suggested and perpetrated by enemies of the people." Burnel's 750cc Triumph Bonneville T140, manufactured by the Meriden Co-operative, revs its engine during the track "Triumph (Of the Good City)"
Dirty synths and even dirtier basslines (naturally), rumble and twitch, pummelling a trough of post-punk electro-clash almost 30 years too soon.

Yeah, 1979 was a hell of a year...


Tracks 1 To 11 - Original Album
Track 12 - B Side Of Freddie Laker Single
Tracks 13 To 21 - Live At Hemel Hempstead

Ripped from a long deleted 1999 CD remastered reissue to MP3 @ 320kbps

J.J. Burnel; Euroman Cometh

1.     Euroman
2.     Jellyfish
3.     Freddie Laker (Concorde and Eurobus)
4.     Euromess
5.     Deutschland Nicht Uber Alles
6.     Do the European
7.     Tout Comprendre
8.     Triumph (Of the Good City)
9.     Pretty Face
10. Crabs
11. Eurospeed (Your Own Speed)
12.Ozymandias (B’side To Freddy Laker Single)
13.Ode to Joy / Do the European (Live)
14. Deutschland Nicht Uber Alles (Live)
15.Eurospeed (Your Own Speed) (Live)
16. Crabs (Live)
17. Tout Comprendre (Live)
18.Freddie Laker (Concorde and Eurobus) (Live)
19. Jellyfish (Live)
20.Triumph (Of The Good City) (Live)
21. Euroman (Live)

 

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I played my copy two or three times when it first came out, but haven't listened to it since. I'm looking forward to hearing it again - and reevaluating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope I haven't over egged this, I honestly think that some people will scratch their heads and wonder WTF?? while others will go back and, as you suggest, reevaluate. With hindsight being 20/20 I'm sure many will be pleasantly surprised.

      Delete
  2. frankly, it is up there but even better than will sargeant's 'grind' album, an album which i also loved. i love a lot of the stuff that leave others scratching their heads and eschew much of the trendy crap that most endorse. this is a great album......it's not a teenage album which would be off putting to most americans. it's great work music. painting, doing dishes. that sort of thing. it was a brave record for him to make. thanks for posting

    ReplyDelete