3 September 2008

Yossarian - Gilbert and George/ They are Naked and They Move

Yossarian - Gilbert and George

Label: Satellite
Year of Release: 1998

You've got to move fast to catch Gilbert and George, they're fit old geezers...

Somewhat strangely, "Whatever happened to Soho?" is a question I've encountered on the Interweb more times than I ever really expected to. I'm not referring to the region of London, either, but the one hit wonders who sampled the Smiths "How Soon is Now?" on 1990's "Hippychick". It seems to be appreciated much more in retrospect than it was at the time - now the sneers of "cheap cash in!" appear to have given way to an appreciation of the single.

One small part of the puzzle can certainly be solved via this blog entry, because band member Tim London moved on to this particularly bizarre electronic project Yossarian. Unlike Soho, it was an utterly hitless and frankly rather unusual venture which slipped out largely unnoticed ten years ago, and you'd still be hard pressed to find anyone online who cares.

That's not to say that the general public are necessarily always right, of course, for whilst I find "Hippy Chick" to be a faintly irritating piece of fluff, "Gilbert and George" has wit, originality, and sonic scariness to spare. The tribute to the notorious British artists is lyrically a bit baffling, but somehow pleasing all the same with its carefully phrased but randomly tossed around references to "slightly scuffed shoes", men dressed like Mr Chips, and being stalked by the artists in question down London streets (an image which is probably meant to be worrying, but I find quite pleasing for some reason). It is backed up by primitive electronic noises, deep, stomach churning groans and oscillating whoops, and a basic, lo fi backbeat. It screams "home made", but still sounds more adventurous than most big league productions.

It's also a double A side, and the other "A" on offer here, "They Are Naked and They Move", is five minutes of Krautrock rhythms, guitar freakouts and retro space age noises. It's not as good as its partner, but certainly dominates the room impressively as soon as you slip the needle into the grooves.


And if you're still wondering what happened to Soho after "Hippychick", look here for something I uploaded last year:

They quickly shed members and became Oosh... but please don't ask me what the subsequent records were like, because I've never seen or heard a single one.


Reimer said...

I;ve loved this single since it came out in 1999 by which point in time the toiling of miners such as yourself for the buried parts of the 1960s & 70s (concreted over by the expressway to being modern)was well underway, confidence having gradually SLOOOWWLY risen once the 1977 Khmer Rouge had been ousted by Live Aid. I particularly like the freak-out VCS3 synth played by a toothless old goat in a Salvation Army-donated suit and Raybans near the end of the A-side where the clan of tramps punch the air in time to the music on the bombsite's rubble, their plassie bags bobbing with the exertion in the other hand.

SUPER blog you've got, just dandy. Any chance of Ian Cuthbertson singing the title music from 'Charles Endell Esquire', the 1978-or-so 'Budgie' spin-off?


23 Daves said...

Thanks for the compliment. If ever I stumble across a copy of the "Charles Endell Esquire" theme, rest assured I'll upload it for you.

Tim London (& Soho) said...

Oh the wonders of google. As we slowly get our heads round the never ending drips that make up the depthless lake that is interweb we find bits and pieces of Soho all over.

23 Daves, actually Soho still exist and there's a few albums recorded over our active period from 1987 to 2000 available online. Check www.sohopopmusic.com.

Yossarian hung up his boots after a few albums/ EPs etc for Satellite/Soul Jazz. Fabio, who played drums, has a beautiful piece of vinyl out with his group Washington Rays. Kirsa, who played Transcendent 2000 and glock, is a mum in south London. She was (is?) also the vibes player with proto Arcade Fire-ish Copenhagen.

I'm back doing pop music as a producer after a break to make films (the feature-length Gordon Bennett would probably qualify for this site, if it was a film site). Look out for Young Fathers (hip hop boy band from Scotland, doing Glastonbury this weekend with Stanton Warriors) and Her Royal Highness, also from Scotland.

Now, I'm off to have a root around the old posts on your marvelous site. You might feel a little tickle...

23 Daves said...

Thanks for the updates, Tim, I know they will be of interest to quite a few readers here.

No thanks to WMG for blocking the content of that video upload of mine, however...

Tim London (Soho) said...

What was the vid? Maybe I can help? Warner don't own for the world... just most of it!

23 Daves said...

Thanks for the offer, Tim. It was actually "Love Generation", but it was a Chart Show clip which then ran on to show the top ten indie singles, and it may have been ten seconds of one of those tracks which caused Warner to over-react in their usual way.

I really should try and get on to encoding it again, unless of course they do have some hold over the song and you can think of any reasons why I shouldn't.