earthly delights archive



Nocturnal Emissions
Electropunk Karaoke

Earthly Delights CD002 CD (2000)
Track listing

The title comes from a description of an Emissions gig which appeared in this very magazine! Nocturnal Emissions' live performance at The Garage last year was a frustrating affair because despite its being far too quiet and over an insubstantial PA, the tape of the event sounded like I'd attended something worth getting very excited about, even if this was far from apparent on the night. This CD collects seven tracks from five different NE live sets performed in recent times. I don't know if these gigs were as problematic as the one I saw, but whatever the case, it's made for a fucking fantastic CD.

As Nigel Ayers has stated elsewhere, his live material has of late been quite different to the studio produced albums. The live setting is after all a very different one to the privacy of your own noise cave, so he's chosen to present an updated and remodelled incarnation of the Nocturnal Emissions that produced Songs Of Love And Revolution and Shake Those Chains, Rattle Those Cages,.. and. Lordy - I find it hard to contain my excitement! Bring Power To Its Knees and No Sacrifice are the oldest original numbers here. They're still immediately recognisable even though the original sounds of echo delayed beat boxes forcibly introduced to their own arses is replaced by smooth skittery sequences and frenetic sampling.

No Sacrifice is actually one of my desert island discs. Very few groups have managed to deliver direct and simple statements of anti-establishment leanings without sounding like worthy but dull bores (see four million drab anarcho-punk bands as of 1983) and NE not only managed to do it with conviction but came across as positively poetic in the process. No Sacrifice is one of the most joyful celebrations of not getting a job at McDonalds (or whatever) that I've heard, put together with the irrepressible joy of a kid in a toy shop and delivered like Mark E. Smith without all those french fries on his shoulder. A hard act to follow, but he's succeeded by avoiding a simple reanimation of the vintage model and - Lumme! - it's as good as the original!

The other tracks are largely new to me, or at least were as of the performance at The Garage. Confusingly, there are covers of Venus In Furs and The Pink Fairies' Do It, neither of which sound particularly out of place. There's also the Stephen Hawking sampling Imaginary Time and Di For Me which goes into pornographic detail with some er... eccentric observations about the death of Prince Chuck's late war-zone visiting main squeeze, Although the technology is all new, Nigel Ayers still seems to approach it with the same haphazard enthusiasm that informed his last beat music albums all dem years ago, and as a consequence still doesn't sound like any of those other drum machine and sequencer acts. Also, his singing has improved, in that you could call bits of it 'singing' which wasn't always the case. With the crooning and the odd chuckle prompted by something in the audience, this is almost Las Vegas without the cheese, the fruit machines, or the mob.

Electropunk Karaoke is punk rock spirit in the truest sense, rewritten for the 21st Century. It's packed with sly humour, warm electric beats and is entirely lacking in the clichés that might be wheeled out by less able dabblers in either the techno or ye olde punque roque of which this is a distant cousin. Play it loud and often, as the man says.

War Arrow
Sound Projector 7

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