MOLOKO & MURPHY2012-04-15 at 05:35 am Blog RSS
Almost half a decade before Basement Jaxx burst onto the music scene, Moloko was making funky and lively dance music. The debut album (Do You Like My Tight Sweater?) has a party feel throughout. Fittingly, Mark Brydon met Roisin Murphy at a party (the title of the album was Murphy’s pick-up line). They hit it off, and Moloko (named after a drink in A Clockwork Orange) was formed. The duo made three albums before splitting up (as a couple). There was one more Moloko album (Statues) and a singles collection (Catalogue). The limited edition comes with a bonus disc featuring live material.
Moloko only really became well known after Boris Dlugosch remixed one of the songs from I Am Not A Doctor (the second album). Of course, that song was Sing It Back. It became a worldwide hit (although I personally prefer the original album version). The third album (Things To Make And Do) was made with a more mainstream audience in mind. The Time Is Now was hugely popular. The following year, a collection of remixes was released. All Back To Mine (not to be confused with the Back To Mine series) is a largely unappealing double-disc compilation. Catalogue is a good CD to own (if you’ve ever liked more than a couple of Moloko’s songs).
Roisin Murphy released her debut solo album in 2006. Ruby Blue is not a particularly memorable album, but it wasn’t a bad start for Murphy (on her own). The following year, she signed to EMI. Overpowered is far more focused and energetic; compared with Ruby Blue. The catchy songs made the album a commercial success. Seiji (from Bugz In The Attic) co-wrote the songs and assisted with the production (along with Andy Cato, Richard X and others). Murphy has since made several songs (and some of them are available as downloads) but her third album has not yet materialised. She has not ruled out the possibility of a Moloko reunion.
Peter Hook’s second side-project was called Monaco (Revenge being the first one). Music For Pleasure was released, just a year after Electronic’s disappointing second album (Raise The Pressure). Monaco was like a breath of fresh air for New Order fans. For the first time, ‘Hooky’ was getting all the attention. He teamed up with singer/songwriter David Potts, who sounds a lot like Bernard Sumner. The whole album is great; from the opening track (the lead single, What Do You Want From Me?) to the stunning Sedona. Unfortunately, album number two misfired – unless the aim was to sound like a cross between Oasis and The Lightning Seeds. There are two redeeming songs: See-saw and Black Rain.
Morcheeba’s trippy debut album (Who Can You Trust?) was followed by Big Calm, which is generally considered one of the best chill-out albums of the nineties. It was a step up, for the London-based trio – into the mainstream. That’s as good as it gets though. Morcheeba moved further away from the original trip-hop sound, with each album. By the time Parts Of The Process (the singles collection) was released, Morcheeba was a pop band. Songs such as Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day and Be Yourself are particularly irritating, for people who prefer Morcheeba’s early material. Skye Edwards left the band, and one album was released with the replacement vocalist. It isn’t very good. Edwards rejoined the band, for the seventh album (Blood Like Lemonade). I haven’t heard it.
Sigur Ros fans may enjoy Icelandic band Mum (pronounced ‘moom’). Five albums were released, between 2000 and 2009. The music can be classed as ‘folktronica’ (a mixture of folk music and electronica). It is just as unusual as the album titles (Yesterday Was Dramatic – Today Is OK, Finally We Are No One, Summer Make Good, Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy and Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know). The first two albums were good, but Mum has become less interesting with each subsequent release. The vocals have become increasingly fragile and self-conscious, and the music is (for want of a better word) boring.
For some of the finest minimal atmospheric electronica, look no further than Murcof (Mexican producer and composer, Fernando Corona). Four ‘proper’ albums have been released, so far. I assume there will be at least two more albums, because the title of each album begins with consecutive letters from the musician’s moniker (the first album starts with the letter ‘M’, the second album starts with ‘U’ and so forth). Murcof’s music is dark and moody – and thoroughly absorbing. It is purely instrumental. Strings, piano and effects waft over ‘glitchy’ and disjointed rhythms; never too repetitive. The Versailles Sessions is a site-specific collaboration (with classical musicians). It was released in 2008. Corona also produced the soundtrack for La Sangre Iluminada in 2009.
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