Picked up a couple of LPs last night – Enoch Light‘s ‘Brass Menagarie’ and a funny ‘Classical goes Latin’ album by someone called Ralph Font on the Westminster Satellite series.

The Enoch Light is quite cool; my first purchase in the ‘brass menagerie’ series. I’m confused though – my copy was sealed, but when I got the record out it was really flimsy and thin, and the pressing was pretty noisy as well. Nothing like what I’d previously experienced on the Project 3 label – I thought Enoch was a big audiophile?!

I bought the Latin-Classical LP for my collection. I find myself collecting both classical-pop/jazz (e.g. ‘the baroque inevitable’, ‘bacharach baroque’) and pop/jazz classical (e.g. Cy Coleman‘s ‘the ages of rock’, the Swingle Singers, and a multitude of generic jazz-clasical LPs) from the 1960s. This one is actually pretty good, with a jaw-dropping version of ‘Fur Elise’. I should really scan in the cover, which is a very cool set of colored shapes set around an unimaginative bust of Beethoven wearing a sombrero.

Anyway, one point to all this collecting might be to make a compilation of the sacriligious classical cover versions I enjoy most. Cy Coleman‘s take on Rachmanninov, Prelude in Black, would definitely be on there. Every time I hear this track it seems to get better and better.

So, the new Air album is finally out, and I’m listening to it now. I deliberately didn’t read any reviews so I could listen to it ‘cold’. It was an interesting feeling – going into Virgin (terrible store) of all places to buy a new album excitedly on the day it came out. Air are about the only group around today I would do this for.

mix of prog/80s/everything. Overall, I’ve enjoyed it very much.

Just so you can find out why I’m not a music journalist, here’s my track-by-track verdict – to be continued tomorrow

1. Electronic Performers

A dramatic, long, meandering, cinematic piece. Uses nice vocoderized spoken vocal and an assortment or bleeps and mechanical sounds as well as the group’s favorite guitar, piano and synth sounds. Far more dark and less easy listening than the opener on ‘Moon Safari’. Good though. The lyrics are funny: ‘we need to use envelope filters…to show how we feel’.

2. How Does It Make You Feel

Air’s version of a ballad, although in the world of Air, this is about a long distance relationship between across space. It builds gradually with some a synth choir int he background, before melting into a cliched sounding 70s anthemic chorus of ‘How does it make you feel’. The lyrics are again pretty humorous – the idea of our human insecurities being common to people from other planets (‘it’s very hard for me to say these things in your presence’) is entertaining.

3. Radio #1

This was the first single from the album. It opens strongly, like a slowed down and superior version of ‘Sexy Boy’ from the first album. Then a 70s rock pastiche begins, as the ‘sexy boy’ bassline continues. It’s actually pretty cool, but as in ‘how does it make you feel’, I enjoyed the dark verse more than the chorus. Towards the end the song keeps dipping in volume as a rogue listener starts singing along, which made me laugh.

4. The Vagabond

Featuring Beck, this one opens with a harmonica and has a long, quiet intro. The song as a whole ends up sounding more like Beck than Air. It’s not bad, but not that special in my view.

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