"We woke up one morning and fell a little further down."
The Dead have been playing this track continuously since 1925. A number of key changes were introduced between 1951 and 1967. In 1969 they embarked on a middle-eight which lasted until 1972. A chorus was considered but rejected in 1975. Jerry Garcia's solo lasted from 1980 until his death in 1995, at which point there was a recallibrating of the time signature and a short modal interlude which lasted until 2004. They're still playing it now. They will carry on playing it until the heat death of the Sun in four billion years' time, at which point they'll put put their shades back on, move to a cooler and/or warmer location and start the whole damn thing again.
It's been suggested that this playlist is too backward looking. But with three days to go, what other direction is there left to look? Here's our new favourite band Vision Fortune (today's oblique strategy: 'repetition is a form of change'). We were hoping to follow that with Burial's new One/Two EP, rumoured to have been released yesterday, but we can't find it. Instead, Distant Lights: the sound a city makes after the people have gone.
Another slightly tangential leap here, but the accumulation of eerie, downtuned chimes which comprise Eno's In Dark Trees is too fabulously sinister not to include. This track formed the score to Adam Curtis' great documentary The Power of Nighmares: The Politics of Fear. The video below is put together from free footage, I think, but it's so Eno-esque you'd think Brian had a hand in it. While we're at it, get your free oblique strategy here. Today's suggestion: go outside. Shut the door.
Arriving in our inbox today is the news that Youth has remixed Little Fluffy Clouds as part of the Chant project, which launches on 21.12.12 at 21.12. Here's the press release:
"This ambitious musical project requires people from around the world to choose a cause, listen to the note representing the cause, and record onto their phone. They then upload onto the CHANT website. This eventually would become part of a huge global mashup containing many millions of voices which, according to legend may reveal the mythical ‘Lost Chord.” Youth and Dan [Morrell (inventor of the term carbon neutral)] have initiated the quest to find this “lost chord.”
Download the free mp3 at www.globalchant.com.
"What were the skies like when you were young?"
And so, with terrible inevitability, we arrive at Killing Joke, who've been waiting for the world to end - or at least undergo some sort of (probably metaphorical) pole shift - for some time. Indeed, back in the early 1980s Jaz Coleman vanished, reappearing in Iceland where he claimed to be riding out the incoming cataclysm. (Actually, I'm not sure this story, so beloved of music hacks, is entirely true. Jaz did wash up in Reykjavik in 1982, but he set himself to work there, in the process recording some tracks with a shambolic punk band called Peyr who'd eventually evolve into The Sugarcubes.)
But we digress. If you're in the market for righteous ire, mysterious drama and apocalyptic dub-metal grooviness, this is very much the place to be. For a far more cogent and impassioned analysis of why this band have remained so majestically exciting and relevant, go here now.
Since Killing Joke have, roughly, 139 songs about the end of the world, it's tricky to know where to start. Here are three of them, including the single most inspired video mash-up on all of yerTube.
In this episode we go further underground. The Mob were - and indeed still are, for they have recently reformed - an anarcho-punk band from Yeovil who were first active in the early 80s at squat gigs, benefits, free festivals and the like. The anarcho-punk scene of 1980s - pretty much everything released on the Crass label - fetishised the fear of nuclear destruction to an extraordinary degree. As an aesthetic, it was perversely austere. Like straight-edge, that may have been part of its appeal, and its legacy remains unexpectedly strong. A while back I saw The Subhumans - whom we love - in London. Alongside the creaky old punks and die-hard DIYers - people you don't see much of in this city - were dozens of kids in fresh Crass T-shirts preparing to smash the system, liberate oppressed cider and create ska-based concept albums.
We choose The Mob, however, because this is a rare record from that era with a genuinely haunting undertone. Also, there's this: about 10 years ago I picked up a vinyl copy of The Mob's album Let The Tribe Increase at a charity shop in north London. It probably cost me a quid. Tucked away in the sleeve was a black and white passport-style photo of a young woman with spiky, bleached blonde hair and a leather jacket, grinning broadly into the camera. A slight incline of the head to the left suggests someone else is hovering just outside the photo booth, waiting for her to finish.
It's impossible to construct a meaningful story out of this tiny fragment of a stranger's life, but at some point in, let's say, 1981, someone evidently slipped that photo in there and thought I'll always know where that picture is - should I ever need it. Well, it's still there, tucked safely away in the sleeve, a mysterious memento of a single moment in a life I'll never know anything else about.