The ’59 2018 #230: 180818
Leftfield – Leftism (1995)
Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 37 – 1995.
Robin Risk and I went to a Leftfield gig at Brighton’s “The Event” back in early 1995 when they were promoting the release of Leftism, released on 30 January. Preceded by a DJ set, the band didn’t get to the stage until two in the morning, but then gave us a blistering two hours of progressive house, techno dub electronica.
Apart from the early hours start (a first for us), what blew us away – quite literally – was the power-wind of the bass. I guess the two drum kits either side of the stage should have given us a clue; those and the massive stacks of driver bins. But the pulse of the absolute depth of it was a living thing. It just grabbed you, gave you good shaking and didn’t let go. It still hasn’t 23 years on.
On 5 May 2017 Leftfield released Leftism 22. This re-release features a remastered album as well a bonus disc of remixes by current artists, including Adrian Sherwood.
The ‘ 59 2018 #224: 180812
Portishead – Dummy (1994)
Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 36 – 1994.
Dummy was the debut studio album from Portishead, released on 22 August 1994 by Go! Beat Records.
Portishead take their name from a quiet coastal town on the Severn estuary just north of Bristol in the UK.
The album received critical acclaim and won the 1995 Mercury Music Prize. It is often credited with popularising the trip hop genre, and is frequently cited in lists of the best albums of the 1990s.
Although it achieved only modest chart success overseas, it peaked at number two on the UK Album Chart, and saw two of its three singles reach number 13 on the UK Singles Chart.
The’59 2018 #202: 180721
Massive Attack – Blues Lines (1991)
Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 33 – 1991.
Blue Lines was the debut studio album from Massive Attack, released on 8 April 1991 by Wild Bunch and Virgin Records. It reached No.13 on the UK album charts.
Founding member Danny G had this to say on the making of the album
We were lazy Bristol twats. It was Neneh Cherry who kicked our arses and got us in the studio. We recorded a lot at her house, in her baby’s room. It stank for months and eventually we found a dirty nappy behind a radiator. I was still DJing, but what we were trying to do was create dance music for the head, rather than the feet. I think it’s our freshest album, we were at our strongest then
A remastered version of the album was released on 19 November 2012.
The ’59 2018 #198: 180717
Depeche Mode – Violator (1990)
Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 32 – 1990.
Violator was the seventh studio album from Depeche Mode, released on 19 March 1990 by Mute Records.
Preceded by the singles “Personal Jesus” (later covered by Johnny Cash) and “Enjoy the Silence”, Violator propelled the band into international stardom. The album yielded two further commercially successful singles, “Policy of Truth” and “World in My Eyes”.
Violator reached number two on the UK Albums Chart, and is the band’s first album to chart inside the top 10 of the Billboard 200, peaking at number seven. The album was supported by the World Violation Tour.
The ’59 2018 #099: 180409
Kraftwerk – Autobahn (1974)
This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 16 – 1974
Autobahn is the fourth studio album by German electronic band Kraftwerk, released in November 1974. It was the band’s first album to fully embrace the repetitive electronic sound they would become known for, and was inspired by the titular German highway system.
The radio edit of the title track became a surprise international hit, reaching number 11 in the UK, number 12 in the Netherlands, number 25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number 30 in the Australian chart.
The Epic 2017 Project #357: 171223
Yello – Stella (1985)
Stella is the fourth studio album by the Swiss electronic band Yello, first released in Germany, Switzerland and Austria on 29 January 1985, and in the UK and US in March 1985. It was the first album made by the band without founder member Carlos Perón, and with his departure the remaining duo of Boris Blank and Dieter Meier began to move away from experimental electronic sounds towards a more commercial synthpop and cinematic soundtrack style.
As well as becoming the first album ever by a Swiss group to top the Swiss album chart, it was the band’s breakthrough album internationally, helped by the success of the song “Oh Yeah”, which gained the band worldwide attention the following year after it was prominently featured in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and then a year later in The Secret of My Success.
It’s also renowned for being the song that my two eldest children rode their tricycles round the kitchen table to in the late 80’s. So this one’s dedicated to them.
The Epic 2017 Project #340: 171206
Underworld – Oblivion with bells (2007)
Oblivion with Bells is the seventh studio album from Underworld, released on 3 October 2007 in Japan, 15 October 2007 in the EU and 16 October 2007 in the US. Due to the success of lead single “Crocodile” and the use of “To Heal” as a central theme in the film Sunshine, it had sold over 93,000 copies worldwide within 6 months.
The album received positive reviews from most music critics. Allmusic gave it 3 out of 5 stars saying
The acid techno is firmly in place, with little or no regard for developments in the form after the ’80s. Still, unlike other electronica mainstays who have occasionally revealed a little weariness — either from trying to change or trying to stay the same — Underworld never sound particularly tired on Oblivion with Bells.
In 2009 Beach Bateria sampled the kick line five minutes 10 seconds into ‘Beautiful Burnout’, the time signature of which never fails to mess with your head. It certainly did mine. Still mastered it though.