This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… The Shamen February 27, 2010Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
If you happened in 1992 to catch Ebeneezer Goode by the Shamen and thought… ‘well, that was bloody irritating’, you might be right. Up to a point. But… there was always a bit more to the Shamen than one irritating, and irritatingly hook laden, single. Because if that song shot their credibility for legions of music listeners for quite some time it also obscured the fact that they were a vastly more experimental and in some respect more intriguing proposition than the antics of rapper Mr. C suggested.
Indeed one could make an argument that long before Primal Scream met one A. Weatherall… well, a year or two anyhow, they forged a path away from psychedelic indie straight into the heart of house, rave and dance. Listen to the house inflections of their early singles and there is a missing link, if not the missing link. Arpeggiated keyboards, ‘uplifting’ lyrics, none too ambiguous references to drugs – and one drug in particular.
And all of this encapsulated on an album ‘In Gorbachev we Trust’, from 1989, which depicted the man himself in a crown of thorns surrounded by a most interesting collage… now one suspects that their politics wasn’t that deep, perhaps best typified by ‘Jesus Loves Amerika’ which tackles fundamentalism in the US (natch). And one knows that ecstasy was top of their priorities, from the more song like compositions like Adam Strange and Raspberry Infundibulum to the more experimental house like tracks like Transcendental.
Which is not to say it was a work of utter genius. It’s far too underproduced, there’s too much space between the beats and the keyboards, the vocals are too weak. But somehow all those flaws combine to make it a fascinating and evocative selection of tracks.
Two years later and much had changed. On a video shoot in Tenerife, Will Sinnott, bassist, vocalist and keyboardist, drowned. Somehow they muddled on transforming – or developing – into the band which produced Ebeneezer Goode.
I’ve thrown in Omega Amiga, because although a little later that shifts them towards their eventual destination, and it’s a cracking track in its own right (mind you, so is Move Any Mountain which despite it’s cheese quotient I’ve also thrown in… and so are a heap of tracks off Boss Drum which I haven’t) – and reading the YouTube comments I learn that the sample ‘my time is yours’ is from the movie THX1138.
Synergy (is that the doors of the Enterprise I hear in the background? Perhaps, but that is most definitely the line “M D M A-zing… we are together in ecstasy”)
Jesus Loves Amerika
Move Any Mountain (12″ Paul Oakenfold remix)