Bad Elephant Music are picking up where they left off last year, releasing amazing music from a diverse range of artists, and with new releases coming from bands like Syncage, The Fierce and the Dead and Schnauser their schedule looks really exciting for the rest of the year. Here I have a look at two wonderfully off beat and eclectic albums that recently arrived from Elephant HQ
Topes Sphere 2 by Orange Clocks
Bad Elephant Music BEM039
- Tope’s Sphere Intro (Original Recording) 00:342.
- Just Kickin’ Back 02:01
- Fun In The Stars 01:00
- 4.SOS 01:30
- Unknown Planet 00:55
- Ambush 01:53
- Sphere Malfunction 00:53
- Trouble With Chode 02:12
- Tope’s Hope 00:30
- Darkside 03:03
- Magical Fields 03:45
- Cogs, Brackets and Chains 00:42
- Big Track 02:49
- A Father’s Return 00:59
- Stromp’s Stomp 00:50
- Chode’s Down 00:43
- March of the Psilicybins 01:37
- Out of the Aether 01:05
- Utopean Dream 00:55
- Theme from Tope’s Sphere 02:28
running time 30:33
Is Rushdenbeat now a thing?
First the out there instrumental music of the Fierce and the Dead, and now Orange Clocks both unique bands that have exploded out of the Northamptonshire town, with a knack of doing something different.
Topes Sphere was (or is) an unreleased Children’s programme from the 1970’s, about knitted monkey Tope and his chum Chode who had fantastic adventures in space, as this was the 1970’s the soundtrack was to be provided by Krautrock pioneers Klementine Uhren, who weren’t happy with their performance, dispersing into the ether with the tapes and leaving Tope and Chode lost in time and space and never to be seen again, until now however where Orange Clocks got hold of the footage and decided to soundtrack it themselves.
For missing TV enthusiasts like myself, Topes Sphere (along with the Doctor Who episode Marco Polo) is one of the holy grails of missing/junked shows, and the tantalising snippets on display here show how it could have been.
Imagine Hawkwind, Gong and early Pink Floyd jamming with the clangers and you’re only half way there, with some wonderfully Stanshall esque narration from Martin Winsley that is superbly tongue in cheek, whilst fitting the ethos and era that this album recalls.
With some suitably space rock throughout the album, and a rollicking tale of kidnap, spaceships, aliens and Chode and Tope being reunited, this is a big daft psychedelic concept that would sit happily on the space rock section of the shelf, with swathes of 70’s krautrock, fantastic guitar work and a brilliant concept all wrapped up neatly in the 30 minute mark.
It’s an album that doesn’t hang about and with the skill on display here leaves you wanting to hear more about the space adventures of Tope and Chode, and if you like your music out there, then this is suitably brilliant, and evokes the golden age of both children’s TV and space rock sublimely.
Orange Clocks are:
Burn – drums, percussion,Derek Cotter – vocals, bass guitar, Tom Hunt – vocals, synthesisers, Ja Lee – samples and sounds, Dan Merrils – guitar, Stuart Paterson – guitar, Martin Winsley – narration, vocals, percussion.
Gargoyles by Big Hogg
Bad Elephant Music BEM038
1. Solitary Way 03:44
2. Vegan Mother’s Day 02:53
3. Augogo 02:39
4. Laudation 01:35
5. Star Of The Show 04:22
6. Drunk On A Boat 04:26
7. Waiting For Luigi 01:48
8. The Beast 06:25
9. Gold And Silver 03:51
10. Mercy 00:26
11. My Banana 03:35
12. Devil’s Egg 04:41
13. Little Bear 01:19
Glasgow 6 piece Big Hogg has released their 2nd album recently on the eclectic home to new music that is Bad Elephant Music.
Whilst they hail from Glasgow their spiritual home is much further South as they blend the musical styles of the Canterbury Scene, alternative folk rock like bands like Trees or Mellow Candle whilst channelling the spirit of the Wickerman soundtrack.
With trumpets, flutes, cornet, tenor horns and trombones the brass adds some extra depth to the music, as the opening summary Solitary way leads to the brass driven Vegan Mothers Day, with some foot stomping sections and fantastic vocal harmonies from Justin Lumsden and Sophie Sexon.
Blending swing, rock, folk and rock is one things, pulling it all together so that it works is another, and this is where Big Hoggs skill lies, they can weave an aural tapestry of influences together to create some suitably brilliant and uplifting music, in the true spirit of the Canterbury pioneers.
Then on the wonderfully 1920’s filtered through the eyes of the 1960’s Augogo Sophie channels the chanteuses of the swinging 60’s with a performance blending seduction and sass in spades.
Her vocal versatility is one of the many facets to what makes Big Hogg brilliant, and on tracks like the 6 minute The Beast the music is akin to that from an early 70’s Amicus or Tigon horror film, whilst lyrics like ‘A witch in the sheets a woman gone loose’ and some demonical laughter is both musically brilliant and very sinister at the same time.
There is also a twinkle in the eye with song titles like Drunk on a Boat and Waiting for Luigi, whilst My Banana is the perfect pop song in the tradition of artists like the Beautiful South, where you get a fantastic tune and then the magic starts when you get to the chorus, with its brilliant refrain of ‘Fuck Off and give me some peace, I want my life back and my energy’ is as close to perfection as you can get.
Big Hogg makes a big sound with verve, brio and style and is a wonderful addition to the BEM family. This is a fantastic album.
Big Hogg are:
Justin Lumsden – guitar, vox, bass guitar on “Solitary Way” ,Richard Merchant – trumpet, cornet, tenor horn ,Ross McCrae – trombone, Wurlitzer electric piano
Sophie Sexon – flute, vox ,Nick Gaughan – drums and percussion, electric piano, bass guitar and synthesizers on “Laudation”
Tom Davis – bass guitar with Lavinia Blackwall – vox on “Augogo” and “Devil’s Egg”
Sybren Renema – saxophone on “Devil’s Egg”