Call Zero "Zero"
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - "Can Megan"

A psychological puzzle: I always moderate my language for the sake of politeness; I walk in an affected, bizarrely prim manner; I only ever eat sloppy joes and mincemeat pie. Why?

A clue: I listen to Gorky's Zygotic Mynci every single day. Why?

An Answer: My editor Max Maki's roommate's favourite band is Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, and as I spend 12-15 hours per day being edited (I'm an illiterate perfectionist), and as Max hasn't left her house since she was 7, when on her first and only ever outing she was burnt by the sun so severely that she ceased to be physically manifest whatsoever, I end up spending a lot of time with Max's "spirit", her roommate, and ergo Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. Which is fine, because I like Gorky's, but also not fine, because whenever I hear their music, I become extremely paranoid. Everything takes on a sinister aspect when Euros Childs begins crooning in his "sweet" falsetto. The walls start to close in on me, my friend's eyes cloud over with... are those murderous connivances? The ethereal Max Maki continues to hoist beer mugs and ice-cream cones, a kind of unmoved mover.

There's a sub-genre of pretty folk or folk-pop music that includes artists like Skip Spence and Simon Finn, as well as Gorky's, and is characterized by an underlying complete fucking insanity. You are lured in by the quiet, understated beauty of their work, and don't realize, until it's too late, that this music is primarily an off-kilter expression of the artist's extreme emotional vulnerability and/or deteriorating mental health.

But listen closely to "Can Megan" - there are clues. The Rhodes organ, for instance, is an insane instrument. It sounds like a precarious manic episode spent on the verge of tears. The rocksteady guitarist is drunk and the Philadelphia soul horn section is slow and lazy from too many downers. Consider please the low-mixed electric harpsichord. Is that not insane? And, of course, the song ends with this refrain: "You make me crazy," sung over and over again.

I assume that "you" refers, in this case, to the fact that the Welsh pronounce 'll' like Semites pronounce 'ch'. A fact that can leave no Welshperson untouched by insanity. [Buy]


Charley Patton - "Prayer of Death: Part 1"

Rarely have a voice and guitar been so perfectly symbiotic; they mirror each other, respond to one another, each consoles the other, they reconcile themselves to their mortal fate, keep on rolling together.

Patton was the subject of John Fahey's Masters thesis and here you can hear the roots of Fahey's slow, dense patterns, singing treble lines, and existential concerns. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at June 9, 2006 2:58 PM

Good lord. Never has a record review been more apt. Gorky's makes me feel like there's somebody behind me with a raised butter knife smiling sinisterly. As always, thanks for spreadin the news. This music is absolutely insane.

Posted by The Speakers at June 9, 2006 11:20 PM

I can't say I really enjoy the mass amount of static in this one. Its sad people have poorly setup records for so many years that they assume static is a guarantee in records.

Posted by James at June 10, 2006 12:48 AM

if you like patton you should check out Entrance (real name Guy Blakeslee).

i believe the static in records made during that period are due to the shellac type of wax materials which preserve poorly. this was before they make vinyl lps which are more durable and harder.

Posted by Anonymous at June 11, 2006 2:59 AM

for the last little while i haven't been able to download whole tracks from you guys. many songs get cut off after 30-60 secs. can anyone explain this? i'm assuming from the lack of comments from others that it's not a common problem, but it happens on most gramo downloads for me these days.

Posted by gareth at June 11, 2006 7:20 PM

James: Charley Patton's records from the late 20's are so rare, this might well be the best copy that survives. Furthermore, the crackle that you hear in the orginal pressing is impossible to remove even by the most sophisticated digital denoising programs.

It's as good as it's ever gonna get, I'm afraid.


Posted by Tubegeek at June 12, 2006 5:30 PM

Liked the song and the 'crackle' should stay!

Posted by zak at June 13, 2006 5:49 AM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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