John Grant – “Remixes Are Also Magic” (2019)

I debated on whether to join my buddy Travis in line at Easy Street Records today for RSD.  He planned on getting down there at 5AM, two hours before the store’s 7AM opening.  I did it last year and we had a good time (they serve bacon and coffee to those in line), but this year the weather was shit and it had been a long week at work… so the last thing I wanted to do was to wake up at 4:30AM and stand around in a cold Seattle drizzle for a few hours.  Besides, there wasn’t much on the RSD list that excited me.  Holly and I figured we’d sleep in and stop by later in the morning and see what we could snag.


Fast forward to 9AM and we arrive at Easy Street to find the line is still around the corner and half way around the block… and not moving.  I guess I kind of get it – after all, Pearl Jam’s Live At Easy Street was getting the vinyl treatment for the first time and all the kids in Seattle want to get their hands on a copy.  But I’m mostly ambivalent about PJ, so we went back to Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood and Silver Platters which had just opened for the day but is massive inside, so at least we were in out of the rain and cold.  Holly dropped me off and ran some errands.  I wasn’t even sure I’d buy anything since I couldn’t find the Green River of John Grant albums I wanted, but there was enough to capture my interest and I grabbed a few Madonna 12″ records, a cool Gruppo Sportivo compilation, some dub, a U.K Subs 10″, and the Stiv soundtrack before making my way to the back of the endless line.  Thirty minutes later I was about halfway through when she returned and decided to go double check to see if the A-Ha release was out there somewhere and I had overlooked it.  I hadn’t.  But then she texted me from the other side of the store with a picture of the John Grant record, which I had missed!  Wife points earned.

Unlike so many RSD records Remixes Are Also Magic is a legitimately limited release – only 300 copies of this bad boy were pressed. (♠)  It’s comprised of four remixes of songs from Grant’s last two albums, Gray Tickles, Black Pressure and Love Is Magic.  As an added bonus one of the mixes is by Carter Tutti.  Needless to say it was my best “pick” of the day, even if I wasn’t the one who actually found it.  As an added bonus a sticker on the inner sleeve includes a download code, the ONLY of my RSD purchases to have one.  Why codes aren’t included with all new vinyl, I have no idea.

Nik Colk Void’s spin on “Preppy Boy” is bleepy-bloopy chip-tuney, bouncing up and down like a deranged Q-Bert, offset by foghorn-esque blasts of deep bass.  The whole thing has  a frenetic quality, the build-ups coming on top of what is already a hyperspeed base.  Blancmange’s “Touch and Go” prominently features Grant’s vocals, though with a similar chip-tune approach to what Void did on “Preppy Boy”.  On the B side the Carter Tutti mix of “Grey Tickles, Black Pressure” takes things in a darker and heavier direction, one that befits the original song.  Deep and lush, the mood is somber and serious, the low end pulsing like a heartbeat.  The collection closes out with Anna Meredith’s version of “Voodoo Doll”, it’s simple organ opening with Grant’s voice echoing off in the distance setting the stage for a languid, dreamy journey

Remixes Are Also Magic is a fun re-versioning of some of Grant’s recent tracks, one likely to primarily appeal to the fan of Grant’s more electronic side.  And this one actually is limited, folks, so get it while you can.

(♠) By way of contrast, the two “limited edition” Madonna 12″ records I bought were in editions of 12,500 and 13,000.  Hardly limited by any definition.  Unless of course your definition allows for more something to be limited if you make 13,000 of them…

T.G.T. (The Genetic Terrorists) – “White Stains” (1990)

tgtwhitestainsI’ve been on a bit of a Chris & Cosey kick lately.  Or is it more a Carter Tutti kick?  Either way, I was doing some six degrees of separation on Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti and ran across this one-off project called The Genetic Terrorists, which they put out under the pseudonyms Todd Steele and Sadie Teslar (along with Brian Williams credited as Les Derringer).  I knew immediately I needed to check it out.

I’ve read that T.G.T. was formed as a sort of joke to poke fun at the direction industrial music had taken.  Is that true?  I don’t know.  I mean, I enjoy it… but maybe I’m just a dupe.  White Stains has one odd characteristic – many of the vocal samplings on the A side sound like they’re actually somewhere between 33 1/3 and 45 rpm.  45 is clearly too fast… but 33 1/3 makes me wonder if I’ve been drinking too much sizzurp.  I double-checked against some recordings online and even timed my damn turntable, and clearly 33 1/3 is right.  Go figure.  The B side feels perfectly normal.

If you’re looking for serious industrial, this isn’t it.  Even calling it IDM would be a stretch.  It’s probably best described as straight techno given the bpms on five of the six tracks range from 116-122, with only “TGT (Anthem)” clocking in at the more robust 132 bpm.  That being said, I still like it, especially “Deactivated”.

Carter Tutti – “Carter Tutti Plays Chris & Cosey” (2015)

I have to confess that I’m listening to this on my iPod right now.  Don’t judge me – I bought the vinyl, but I also got a free download when I purchased it and I simply haven’t gotten around to cracking the seal on it yet.  That means that I’m listening to this out-of-sequence, because for whatever reason the play order on the download is different.  I don’t know how you feel about that, but I always get a bit twitchy when I don’t listen to stuff in album-order.  First world problems.


But I can’t feel anything but relaxed listening to these Carter Tutti remixes.  The download opens with “Lost Bliss”, a track that I can only describe as effervescent.  It’s like an early evening glass of champagne – bubbly, a bit crisp, and holding the promise of an interesting night ahead.  It’s definitely not a mimosa, lacking the sweetness and bright colors; this isn’t the day getting started, it’s the evening getting started.  By the time “Retrodect” is almost finished we’ve switched it up and moved on to vodka and Red Bulls.  We’re on the dance floor, grooving, sliding, pulsing.  And “Obession”?  <sigh>  Cosey still has it, that’s all I have to say as I let the sound waves cover me like a warm blanket on a cold night.  Let’s not even talk about “Sin”, because things are getting downright strange and overtly sexual.

It’s hard for me to think of Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti as having been long-time members of Throbbing Gristle, as their collaborations are light years different from their earlier avant garde proto-industrial work.  I strongly recommend Tutti’s autobiography Art Sex Music – not only is it an interesting look at her musical career, but also her artistic one. I find her endless fascinating.