An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

From a time when music was inventive...Bauhaus

Years ago, as a young lad hungry for music, I spent many a year just going to any gig going. When I wrote my Fanzine in 1991-92, I went around the local counties interviewing bands and seeing concerts. Then when I joined a band and did gigs around the country, I inevitably saw a lot of other bands also doing the same thing. Then on top of that, going out nearly every weekend and then several times a week, meant seeing a lots of bands that just happened to be on.

Unfortunately, I would say in my humble opinion, that the vast majority of bands I saw were somewhere between OK and terrible. On the rare occasion that there was something that had potential or promise, they were never seen again. For me the early nineties were a turning point in music, where popularity started to mean more than originality in music. Even in the marginalised gothic culture that I was heavily into, anyone who thought the big goth four were just ok (Mission, Sisters, Nephilim, Rosetta Stone) and preferred more of the diversity of the culture, were even marginalised within a marginalised culture. Where goth music had sprouted out from the roots of punk, by the early '90's it had drifted heavily into standard stadium rock and the diversity was drastically diminishing. Every band on the scene was trying to either emulate the big four or emulate each other emulating the big four. The only hope at the time was from outside the UK.

So in my older years, I got more picky about what music I went to see. In the yesteryear, before the internet and a million young bands, the only way of finding new music was either taking a chance and buying it or going to copious gigs in the hope of stumbling across something worthwhile. Of course today, anyone can spend an eternity looking for new music on the interweb. There was an interesting statement in this months record collector magazine about how the easy access to music has cheapened it for many of today's youth, to the point that the majority just don't see the worth in music and have very little attention span for it.

In the past fews years I have seen some of the best gigs of my life. I've already gone on before (at great length you may think...sorry) about how good Dead Can Dance are live, or even better a Lisa Gerrard gig. But this week I went to a gig that really blew me away. Peter Murphy is currently doing a world tour, playing only Bauhaus music. I saw the first leg of the UK part of the tour this weekend and I have to say it was one of the best gigs I have ever seen. I came out it thinking about how privileged I am to be able to listen and witness the kind of music I am exposed to at the moment. I was too young to have seen Bauhaus when they were a live act, so be able to just grab a snippet of that experience before either I or the creators of this music pass away has been a rare honour indeed and one that I would encourage anyone to see before the tour is over.

What also struck me about the gig and has also been the elements that I found the most fascinating about goth music when I first got into it, were the strong combinations of drums and bass. Bauhaus' music was built on this combination, with everything else being an additional flavouring on the top. Today the bass guitar seems a forgotten instrument, unfortunately. My love of Joy Division and The Cure also had this same element, where the bass accompanied by some skilful and diverse drumming patterns, makes the music so powerful and strong, that the additional of a guitar or keyboard becomes almost an afterthought. The rhythms punched out at the Peter Murphy gig from the songs Dark Entries, Stigmata Martyr, In the Flat Field and Kick In The Eye were so powerful and strong it kicked the audience into a frenzy. These songs are over 30 years old now and still there is nothing like it around. I couldn't help but think how the younger generation are missing out on such music as there was practically no-one under 35 years old at the gig.

So just in case you are under 35 years old and starting out in a band, for goodness sake, give this stuff a listen, the world needs more music like this.

Then send me a copy of it please.
If you have the chance, go and see Peter Murphy on his tour.

The one surprise song from the set was a cover of Dead Can Dance's Severance, which wasn't done that well, but then I would think that Dead Can Dance wouldn't do a Bauhaus song very well either.

Just a quick message to TinyPie that I have seen your comment. There seems to be yet another version of the Bauhaus single Dark Entries which TinyPie has found, so that would bring the tally up to eight versions, will this end I ask myself while pulling the remainder of my hair out! I will get this added soon. Thanks again to you all for reading, let me know if you have seen Peter Murphy on this tour and let me know your thoughts


  1. I found your blog randomly a bit ago (I think the original post on all the versions of the Dark Entries 45's led me here as I am trying to round out my collection, too, haha). Just wanted to first say that you are pretty awesome for doing this and drawing more attention to one of the best labels out there, so kudos and keep it going!

    I was very fortunate to see Peter Murphy on the Mr. Moonlight Tour (saw him three times on this tour, bringing my total sightings of him up to seven). I was amazed. The rare treat of an all Bauhaus set was amazing in its own right. After all these years, Peter still looks and sounds wonderful and its amazing how, as you point out, he can get a crowd riled up on songs that are 30+ years old. As with you, our crowds generally had older people who were probably fans back in the glory days of Bauhaus (I get to take the role of your under 35 crowd, being only 24 and having discovered Bauhaus somewhat randomly when I was 17 and not finding Peter Murphy's solo material until I was 20...and then seeing him as my second ever concert, NIN being the first in a delicious spell of serendipity). The first date I saw him on this tour, he did end with Severance and I thought it was done well (admittedly, while I do love DCD, I don't listen to them nearly enough, so I'm unsure how the cover stacks up against the original). He even succeeded in getting me to find some good in Go Away White when he absolutely rocked out "Endless Summer of the Damned" on one of those nights, haha!

    Anyways, keep going with this. I have many posts to catch up on, but it's neat learning more about 4AD (and I love the Bauhaus posts, though you're driving the record collector part of me insane with all the different presses I need to find in time, haha).

    As an aside - what do you know of the one-off collaboration David J did with Rene Haskett? I snagged the original 7" from eBay, but I can't find too much about how the idea came about.

  2. I found this snippet of info about David J and Rene Haskett :

    Thanks you so much for reading and thank you so much for your comment, excellent! It's annoying enough for me at times, I thought I had bottomed out all the versions of Dark Entries and then someone finds another one....but then I suppose that's the point of this quest, to find out what is out there.

    Thanks Houdah