Saturday, 13 June 2009

Hacking through the undergrowth

Here at Eighty Six we're always on the look out for quality music that’s a bit different. Numero Group is a record label that shares those same values. Set up in 2003 by three self proclaimed record obsessives their mission was simple: to dig out quality music by forgotten artists and make them appreciated.
- I’m not a fan of all their finds but you can’t knock the attitude.

Earlier this year I picked up their stunning collection of obscure solo acoustic guitar music ‘Wayfaring Strangers - Guitar Soli’.
This style of playing was pioneered by the likes of the legendary John Fahey whose LP The Yellow Princess is essential listening.

This double LP looks beyond the stellar names like Fahey, Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and picks up tracks by unknown artists. Further inspection shows many of these unknowns have drifted into a mixture of obscurity, poverty and in one case become a famed Motown session player.

As you'd expect from the Numero Group this collection is clearly a labour of love. It comes in beautiful heavy card packaging and has crystal clear sound quality. How they have achieved this from 30 year old recordings largely sourced from private pressings is beyond me. Still they have and although the names may be obscure the music is instantly appealing. Perfect for a early evening Jam St set or our radio show.

An update on this sound; tracks by Swedish ex punk rocker/singer songwriter and multi instrumentalist Andreas Söderström are always well worth looking out for. He records his solo stuff under the ungoogle friendly nom de plume of ‘ASS’ on Headspin and Static Caravan.

His beautifully austere music is a mixture of folk-inspired acoustics with subtle electronics. His second LP ‘My get up and go just got up and went’ has been a fave of mine since last year and his cover of John Carpenter’s Escape from New York theme is a real sunset gem.

The clip below is the mindblowing 'It's really a good reason' taken from the 'Get up and go' Lp. The original live clip of this track has been taken off You Tube but I've found another (sadly not quite as good quality version). Shame really as the original of Andreas playing in what looked to be a disused shop with people walking past was very atmospheric.

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