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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… The Shamen February 27, 2010

Posted 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.

Almost brilliant.


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

Omega Amigo

Move Any Mountain (12″ Paul Oakenfold remix)


1. Ramzi Nohra - February 27, 2010

Havent heard any of this stuff for ages. I thought they lost their way by ebeneezer goode / bossdrum days, but the early stuff was great. I remember having a tape of various mixes of move any mountain which was fantastic.

You really have pretty broad musical tastes WBS


WorldbyStorm - February 27, 2010

Someone once said there was a difference between catholic and undiscriminating in reference to my taste… And I was too much the latter.

I’ll take that as a compliment though Ramzi… and I appreciate the comment either way… nice to know someone is reading these.


2. Ramzi Nohra - February 28, 2010

Yeah I always have a look even if I havent heard of the band. It also broadens out the blog to have non-political stuff..
And it was indeed meant as a compliment!


WorldbyStorm - February 28, 2010

Appreciate that… Any suggestions, or indeed if you ever want to write one drop me a line at the email on the right…


3. Sticky Wicket - March 1, 2010

I met Mr. C of the Shamen in Ibiza, he was a very nice bloke. Post Shamen days he ran one the best clubs in London, The End which closed recently, pity.


WorldbyStorm - March 1, 2010

I’m sure he was. In interview he came across as sound. And I didn’t mind most of his other contributions, but Ebeneezer… well, perhaps he should have toned it down a little… 🙂


4. Damian O'Broin - March 1, 2010

Brilliant. I had a cassette of that first album which I think I picked up in London in 1989 then proceded to lose somewhere along the way, so likewise haven’t heard any of it in ages.

As an aside I went to see them in McGonagles sometime in 1990 I think, and the Happy Mondays supported – minus Bez who had been stopped at the airport for some reason (can’t think why…)


WorldbyStorm - March 1, 2010

Now that must have been quite a gig…


5. Daniel Sullivan - March 17, 2010

That takes me back, are those Dune the movie still-suits towards the end in Move any Mountain by any chance?


WorldbyStorm - March 17, 2010

That I didn’t notice, although it makes a lot of sense – if one was in the Shamen, which is to say it might make no sense at all! 😉


6. Daniel Sullivan - March 17, 2010

I recall being in Galway in some place where they played Move any Mountain, Charly Says and Out of Space and I suspect I was quite the embarrassment on the dance floor.


WorldbyStorm - March 17, 2010

I have had those moments any time I arrived on the dance floor.


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