Saturday, August 10, 2013


The Way You Dream: Michael Stipe & Asha Bhosle

I'd not heard this when this theme began, it almost coming as quite some surprise when I did. Let me explain. Perhaps it is the same elsewhere, but the joy of record shop browsing seems to now be a thing of the past. There are nearly no record shops left in the U.K., HMV barely hanging on by the skin of it's teeth, and a shadow of it's former self. I used to love record shops, flicking through the racks in the search for the new and unexpected, it being a constant and reliable way of killing any number of hours in strange towns. And browsing is something that just doesn't work on Amazon. Anyhow, another product of the current  financial meltdown and austerity are the the adverts for companies who will buy up your CDs, computer games and, unfeasibly, hair tongs. (Well, not mine. Clearly. Have you seen my hair?) They will "liberate the space", as if that is the problem, taken up by  your longingly acquired collection of Northern Soul for anything up to, oh, say, 50p a pop. The upside is that a whole new slew of record shops have appeared, selling such product, again at knock down prices.In order to address my addiction I have begun to frequent such, picking up a stash of otherwise unthinkable or, hitherto, unexplored. Very hit and miss, but fun!

I remember when "One Giant Leap" came out, and it's being received somewhat sniffily, as a clever clever attempt to cross genres, the sort of thing now near ubiquitous and, almost, old hat. I didn't bother then, so, imagine my pleasure, in downtown Burton-on-Trent, August 2013, to find it in the 3 for £5 slot. And it's good. It's better than good, shuffling such disparates as Baaba  Maal and Eddi Reader, Horace Andy and Maxi Jazz. OK, and Robbie Williams, but it was 2001. The selection and the unusual pairing I have chosen is Asha Bhosle and Michael Stipe. The latter, the vocal lynchpin of R.E.M. needs little fanfare, but the former may be less well known , at least outside of the South Indian landmass. Aficionados of UK indie may be aware, as she is the "Brimful" acknowledged within "Cornershop"s hit of whenever, "Brimful of Asha". A superstar in India over six decades, largely within Bollywood, she has a niche perhaps similar, in her homeland anyway, perhaps to Tammy Wynette, again perhaps thus explaining her appeal to the counter-intuition of the counter-culture.

A brief word about "One Giant Leap", the brainchild of Jamie Catto, a member of the "live musicians" electronica/dance band "Faithless", and Duncan Bridgeman, the original idea was of a multi-media presentation of the concept and genre of "World", perhaps doomed in it's scope and ubiquity, and certainly ahead of it's time. With hindsight it sits perfectly happily with "Afro-Celt Sound System", "Banco de Gaia" and other such stylistic fusions. I like it, and this track is a very good example of it's content. I commend it.

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