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This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Goldie – Timeless October 31, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Well, I’d tentatively lined up another post for today, but the sad news this week that vocalist Diane Charlemagne has died this week and at an appallingly early age seemed to make it fitting to consider Goldie’s album Timeless, twenty years old last month and an album that in some ways brought jungle and drum ’n’ bass to a much wider audience than it had had hitherto. Central to that project was Charlemagne. She contributed some of the key vocals on the album and co-wrote two of the tracks and along with vocalist Lorna Harris provided a link to other areas of dance as well as accentuating the individuality of Goldie’s approach. She was someone with an already broad cv in dance, including being lead singer for Urban Cookie Collective and alter contributed to Netsky and worked with producer High Contrast. Lorna Harris’s provided vocals on State of Mind and You&Me. Her contribution along with that of Charlemagne was essential in providing a distinct character to the album.

Timeless was immediate, a rush of sound and melody and something like pop, but paradoxically languorous – with no track shorter than four and a half minutes, and some like the title track stretching to a good 20 minutes or so. Goldie, who had already a name as a graffiti artist, had been producing and appearing on tracks from the early 1990s a process that eventually led to the establishment of the Metalheadz label. His profile sort of mushroomed from there – fairly sharpish he was in television and film and so on.

I always loved the sound he achieved, the clatter of breakbeats, the none so deep basslines, the synth sweeps, even – perhaps particularly – when, as at times there was, something endearingly plastic about it, I’m not sure exactly why. I think it had an oddly nostalgic feel even when it first came out – perhaps that was driven by the almost over abundantly lush high pitched keyboard strings, the genuine emotiveness of the vocals, the sense that everything including the kitchen sink had been thrown in. And it worked!

Let’s not ignore the sheer experimental heft of the sounds on the album (again look at the soundscapes created on Timeless itself) which are breathtaking, even at this remove. The choppy and chopped up approach (weirdly reminiscent of prog) wasn’t one suspects necessarily an easy listen for some. That this proved chart-topping was nothing short of astounding. I suppose the pop finish of some tracks – State of Mind with its joyous unspooling chorus comes to mind, helped the medicine to go down.

Worth noting some of the names of others involved, Dego, Marc Mac, Howie B and Photek amongst them. Rob Playfords production and programming holds the whole show together. But this is unquestionably Goldie’s vision ably aided and abetted by Charlemagne and Harris.

Inner City Life

State of Mind

Sea of Tears

Kemistry

Also here’s Charlemagne with Urban Cookie Collective – The Key, The Secret

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1. sonofstan - November 2, 2015

Sorry to be a pest and hijack the ‘ this week’ thread again, but just back from the gig of a lifetime. The above band, Mbongwana Star, 5 men from Kinshasa – including two sextegenarians in wheelchairs – and a rogue Dubliner making a racket that recalled variously and sometimes simultaneously Funkadelic, Bad Brains, the Pop Group in their Adrian Sherwood years and, er, Killing Joke. Their album was to be called ‘From Kinshasa to the Moon’ and the Sun Ra-ish cover declares this to be far from the polite liberal Womad- ish place that African bands get consigned to ….it’s off – world music. The records great, but live was a whole other thing again. The Dub, by the way, goes by Dr L in France, but also answers to Liam Farrell – about 7 ft tall when you add the tower of dreads.

It almost made me stop worrying about the R2C (non-) voting pact for a while…

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