Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Bought this one - Labradford's Prazision CD on the Kranky label from 1994 - when it first came out. I hailed it in print at the time as a masterpiece. Flawless. An incredible mass of work. I'd never heard anything like it at the time. The mixture of star-bound soundscapes, stillborn atmospherics and quietly evolving acoustic tunes blew my head clear off. Mind you, this was just before I discovered the likes of Cluster, Neu!, early (good!) Tangerine Dream, Eno's mind-melting run of ambient albums from '75 to '83 (start w/ Discreet Music and work yer way up to Apollo: you'll be so glad you did) or even Spacemen 3 beyond a track or two (I found it simply impossible to believe at the time that Britain was actually capable of birthing a rock band worth listening to in the previous decade). Perhaps that explains my growing disenchantment w/ the band throughout that decade. By '96, at which point I had discovered all of the above and flayed them high 'n' dry, Labradford couldn't get arrested in my household. I'd bought their subsequent two albums, 1995's A Stable Reference and '96's self-titled effort, and... I liked 'em OK, though the dent they made just couldn't compare. Seemed like way too much water-treading, and besides, at that point in my life I was much more keen on listening to Agharta or Space Ritual or an early Marc Bolan outing than anything I would blithely dismiss as "indie-dork music".
Even saw Labradford play here in '00 or '01. Damn near put me to sleep. And so now I play this CD, just as I have been quite a lot the last month. The ten-year gap between listens has served it well. Rather than melting my brain at this point, this now strikes me as a quaint piece of nostalgia from the period, a time when post-punk indie schlebs finally discovered the joys of music which in many ways didn't "rock" in the slightest. I was right there w/ 'em, fightin' the good fight for about two seconds before I realised the huge chunk of bands who immediately followed in Labradford's wake (this disc was pretty big news in a miniscule way at the time) were simply busy establishing another boring cliche I very soon tired of. Still, I'll give it to 'em: this is a supremely crafted album, from the distended electronic pieces such as the opening track, "Listening In Depth", which glides along like a scene from 2001, to the more song-based pop lushness of a track like "Soft Return", a near comatose opus w/ a hook. I couldn't fault this as a record if I tried. And, being the crotchety old fuck that I am, lord knows I tried. We have a verdict: like it or not, this is a classic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are one hardass for sure Mr. Lang. Will you be as kind to Dungen in 15 years?
As for the here and now... do you know about Wrnlrd?