Sunday, 22 May 2016
Oliver: The Safehouse - Music (2 February 1992)
There must be a suitable phrase for that particular synthesiser chord that opens so many dance tracks. You'll hear it at the top of this track, Music, the lead track on The Safehouse's Full Therapy EP. It sounds like shimmering heat haze and dry ice all in one and it leads the listener into a coin toss over whether to stay with it or not. Once underway we're into ambient bleeps and blomps territory, interlaced with vocal refrains. Pleasant enough, but I'm still ambivalent. And then the moment of truth at 1:46, a stupidly exciting midsection which sounds like a sped up Chinese marimba. It's only about 10 to 15 seconds long, but it's THE moment here. So many selections qualify on fractions of the track, rather than the full totality of the thing. Rhinoceros by The Smashing Pumpkins nearly qualified on the last show purely on the strength of it's last 30 seconds, but it wasn't as exciting as the Chinese marimba here.
The importance of an aural diamond glinting through a turd within one track was first shown to me by a track which Huw Stephens played on OneMusic in mid 2006. Where the Stress Falls by The Playwrights features a number of bugbears: feedback wankery at the start, lyrics which tax the patience, an unpleasant angular tune allied to a vocal which sets the teeth on edge. But all is rescued in the extended coda which brings in a trumpet part that works in brilliant counterpoint to the band's outgoing thrash and incoherent poetry duet. The lesson being that you have to listen out for every detail and discount nothing too quickly.
Video courtesy of yellowidhouse.