Killing Joke – In Excelsis

Killing JokeIt certainly seems that I’ve spent the last quarter of the year with my head stuck in the sand.

Between Work and LRP I’ve not paid much attention to anything else.

So imagine my surprise when I discover that the greatest band of all time, Killing Joke, had released an EP back in June.

Like many fans I was disappointed when the band postponed their tour dates earlier in the year (I still have a ticket for the upcoming Edinburgh gig but probably can’t make it).

In ExcelsisThe original gig was set to coincide with the release of a new album from the original Killing Joke line up (also postponed).

Now, I knew the album was rescheduled for a September release, so I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was to see an advert in this month’s Fortean Times for Absolute Dissent.

Seeing the advert prompted me to look it up for pre-order on Amazon, which in turn alerted me to the new EP.

Absolute DissentI bought the EP on digital download from Amazon, although it does appear to be available for “free album download“.

I thought some of the Amazon reviews were a little over the top but having heard the EP, my initial reaction was wrong.  This EP deserves every positive comment.

In Excelsis is honestly the best thing to happen to me all week! Five tracks that prove Killing Joke’s musical evolution remains on track.

The closest I can describe listening to this EP is to say that, it is like discovering Killing Joke for the first time, all over again.  The sound is fresh, empowered and ancient.

Hosannas From The Basements of HellFrom the power of the title track “In Excelsis”, through the focus of “Endgame” and “Kali Yuga” to the rhythm and release coming from “Ghosts of Ladbroke Grove” and its accompanying dub mix; this EP showcases what can happen when artists recombine, despite the pitfalls life throws at them.

I didn’t take to Killing Joke’s last release, Hosannas from the Basement of Hell but if the new album is anything like the EP then it is sure to be the greatest Killing Joke album yet.

Absolute Dissent is available for pre-order on Amazon, although I think there is likely to be a 2 disc set available if you hold out for it.


Top 7 Telephony Themed Tracks

Phone at workAs I’ve mentioned before, I work for a Telecommunications Service Provider and have done since 2006.

Whilst traveling to work the other morning, I was listening to one of the tracks on this list and it got me thinking about the telephone and its impact on society.

The majority of my waking life appears to be underwritten by music and so I’ve decided to compile my a list of telephone related tracks from my extended playlist.

The telephone is ringing, is that my Mother on the phone?

The telephone is screaming, won’t she leave me alone?

Synchronicity Album CoverTrack 4 on the 5th and final studio album from the Police, SynchronicitySynchronicity is probably my favourite Police album, if not one of my favourite albums overall.

Mother is a brief burst of anger on what is otherwise quite a serene album.  Written by Andy Summers, the track by no means represent my own opinions with regards my maternal parentage; the track has made it onto previous mobile phones as the ring tone for my Mother however.

BlondieBlondie was one of the guilty pleasures of my youth, I’m not sure where I first came across Debbie Harry – probably one of my parents had an album.

As innocent a youth as I was then, I did not pin the undertone to the song that I do now. For some reason, knowing more about Debbie’s colourful past has coloured her songs when I listen to them.

Blondie also released Hanging On The Telephone but I prefer Call Me, mainly due its cover by Skye Edwards.  Skye has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard.

Put your tongue into the mouthpiece…

…and whisper in my ear.

The The - DuskI discovered The The in my mid to late teens, looking back I can see how the lyrics and music would appeal to an angsty rebellious youth.

I still love to listen to The The though, there’s a kind of discordant melody fused out of Matt Johnson‘s voice and the underlying symphonies of some of his tracks.  Or maybe that’s just the angsty-teen reviving within me… or maybe I’m a closet Emo.

Seriously, if Emo types were to listen to The The instead of The Used, the world would be a brighter place.

Water is our business…

Electricity is our business…

Gas is our business…

Lines are our business; Business is our business!

Extremities, Dirt and Other Repressed EmotionsI know it may seem a stretch to link this track to Telephony and I know most lyric sites would tell you differently but the quote above has seared this track into my mind as one associated with Telephony (amongst other things).

In fact, as Jaz bellows the penultimate line “Lines are our business” there is an actual dialing/ringing tone playing in the background.  So I feel somewhat vindicated in my opinion on this one.

This is one of the only musical tracks that actually make me feel like I’ve sold out, the other being Money Is Not Our God. Here I am, working for the very kind of company that the song rails against!

Call all you want but there’s no-one home and you’re not gonna reach my telephone.

GaGaWhen I first heard Lady GaGa, I detested her but she must use the right kind of subliminals in her backing tracks because over the last 12 months she’s grown on me (like athlete’s foot).

More than her music, I like her overt use of occult symbolism.  Forget your kabbalah cults and new age gurus; GaGa takes it back to grass roots Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn level pomp and ritual.

This track pretty much sums up my opinion of telephone use.  I am a lot better now than I was a decade ago but I still don’t like taking calls.  If I’m not expecting a call, especially on the land line, I sometimes get a little rush of anxiety when the phone rings.

I once mentioned it to my nurse (all Diabetics get one, you should try it) in passing, more as a humorous aside than anything else.  She offered me counseling!

Of course, I turned her down; I’m perfectly capable of taking calls, I just find them rude and invasive – unless from friends and family.

Lyrics, symbolism and neurosis aside; the video is pretty good too… In a Kill Bill meets Strangers On a Train kind of way.

Feelings unknown and you’re all alone,

Flesh and bone on the telephone.

Pick up the receiver, I’ll make you a believer.

ViolatorApparently their 23rd UK single (take note fellow Erisians); this is one of my favourite DM tracks (along with Blasphemous Rumours and Enjoy The Silence).

The song has a variety of different meanings depending on who you ask.  Personally I prefer the theory that the song relates to telephone sex lines.

The track just has an element of seediness to it; the sense of a cloying desperate need for emotional and physical contact with another… or maybe that’s my inner Emo again.

And it’s all your fault,

I screen my phone calls,

No matter who calls,

I gotta screen my phone calls.

No Doubt - Tragic KingdomFinally, my favourite telephone based track of all time.  I love it when this comes up on Rock Band!

This song was the first to ever encapsulate my utter contempt for telephony. Back in those dark brooding days (yet again with the inner Emo) when every waking moment would be plagued by a call, out of the blue.

Where are you man?

What are you doing?

What? Where? When? How? Why? … and who with? All these questions and more; and it only got worse when I eventually succumbed to the pressure of mobile telephony.

9 to 5Before I had a mobile, people would actually call the people that they thought I was with, purely because they couldn’t get hold of me any other way. Once I had a mobile, I had to screen the calls just to get a moment to myself.

I’ve heard people speak of the advent of mobile telephony as being one of the greatest turning points for modern civilisation. What mobile telephony did for me was rip aside the final shred of privacy that I clung to.

It wasn’t all bad though. Most calls could be screened, as in Lady Sovereign‘s 9 to 5:

Private callers get no love from me,
Just let me be…

Necroscope 4I’m a lot calmer person when it comes to telephones now, I have to be. Ironically, I have probably got the world’s finest telephone manner. I’m often complemented on my voice and mannerisms but then maybe that’s how I learned to deal with my telephone issues.

Like the great Lumley wrote:

When he yawns his great jaws at you, go in through them, for he’s softer on the inside!

From Brian Lumley’s Necroscope 4: Deadspeak

Top 10 Workout Tracks

Creative Zen X-FiHaving doubled in weight since my teens I’ve been visiting the local gym of late, doing what I can to chip away down to a BMI that’s under my age and not the speed limit on a dual carriageway.

The simplicity of the gym appeals to me, although it is difficult to keep to a slow pace (I’m told that a heart rate of 156+ is not a good thing).  I’ve found over the last few sessions that the best way to focus is to deafen out the gym’s own sound system with my own choice of tracks, streamed over my beloved Creative ZEN X-Fi.

The problem with the gym’s music selection is that it seems to have been edited and compiled by some kind of nineties hardcore techno DJ with a speed-core addiction; this may be really useful to the kind of ‘roid head beefcake that scowls at me, whilst I’m on the rowing machine but it doesn’t help me one bit.

So during my last session, whilst my legs were pumping away at 100rpm, I compiled my top 10 workout tracks.  I will add the caveat that the playlist I was listening to has a limited selection of around 500 tracks on random play.  I’ll also add the caveat that this is more of a good, solid, bike session play list following guidelines for warming up and cooling down.

Moloko Familiar Feeling10 – MolokoFamiliar Feeling (video)

A great track to start out to; a steady increase in tempo until it quickly reaches a steady rhythm. I love Róisín Murphy‘s voice, she can evoke so many emotions and I’d consider replacing this track with something like Pure Pleasure Seeker or Statues but they would actually end up being more of a distraction.

I think Róisín actually tempers herself with Familiar Feeling and that is what makes this such a great warm up track.

Nirvana Territorial Pissings9 – NirvanaTerritorial Pissings (video)

I always feel a little childish when I revert back to Nirvana. Nevermind and Bleach were the soundtrack to my late teens.

Territorial Pissings has a good pace to it, I find that I can build up a good speed whilst this track briefly plays; I also don’t feel too guilty for getting my heart rate too high, seeing as the track is only a couple of minutes long.

Pendulum Propane Nightmares8 – PendulumPropane Nightmares (video)

As I understand it, this is not the usual fare for Pendulum. I first came across this track on the XBOX shortly after switching to the 360. It was a free music video given away to advertise the music marketplace I think.

To me the track has a similar energy to running a race with a pack of dogs chasing you.

Butthole Surfers Locust Abortion Technician7 – Butthole Surfers – Human Cannonball (video) (video)

From their classic 1987 album Locust Abortion Technician, Human Cannonball is another of my favourite “Rage” tracks. Whilst it might not have a specifically angry content, it does keep me in a tightly wound state and is great for maintaining focus.

Nneka Heartbeat6 – NnekaHeartbeat (video)

I stumbled across this track during the back end of last year; it was playing on one of the music TV channels and hooked me the moment I heard it. It has an empowering rhythm and Nneka’s voice is truly enchanting. Like the other tracks on this list, Heartbeat has a great pace: steady, strong and constant; kind of like a heartbeat I guess.

China Drum Goosefair5 – China Drum – Wuthering Heights (video)

As a child I remember watching the VHS version of Kate Bush’s Kate Bush – The Whole Story [VHS] [1986] over and over again to the point of obsession. Later in life I remember hearing China Drum’s cover for the first time; we were in a club called Abrahams on a Rock Society night (Huddersfield University Rock Society, Re-enacting Society and Roleplay Society seemed to meet in the same venues, share the same members and do pretty much the same kind of thing, socially at least).

Energetic, bordering on the violent, this version of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights is another pace setter, helping keep pace and focus without letting the mind wander.

Jonathan Coulton Re: Your Brains4 – Jonathan CoultonRe: Your Brains (video)

More of a cool down song but still a great one to pop up in the workout play list. It may not be as fast paced as the other tracks on this list but that is why it makes such a great addition. It manages to hold your attention whilst encouraging a steady drop in pace.

I’d really hoped we could get everyone singing this at the last Huddersfield Zombie Slouch but didn’t think to actually put any effort into it.

Killing Joke Extremities3 – Killing JokeExtremities (video)

From the phenomenal album, Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions this track maintains Killing Joke’s usual rage but at a slower pace. It makes for a great warm up or cool down track. Other tracks on this album would suit a slower session; in fact I sometimes substitute the album in place of a mixed playlist.

Killing Joke Pandemonium2 – Killing JokeExorcism (video)

Track 2 from Killing Joke’s Pandemonium, this is such an evocation of rage! Pandemonium remains my favourite Killing Joke album, probably because it is the album that introduced me to the band.

At over seven minutes duration, Exorcism is a good focus to move from warm up into your core workout. I also find the track therapeutic, as the title implies it makes for a good exorcism:

Get it out – get it out – get it out now
Let it rise to the surface – let it rise – let it rise – guilt
All your guilt and the pain and the hurt you cause
All the tears in the child’s face
All resentment undeclared
Let it rise
Let it rise let it bubble to the surface

Not an exorcism in the Ama Nazra spirit rescue sense of the word, more a personal emotional cleansing. In fact, Exorcism always strikes me as being almost like a Sith prayer, so full of passion and hate.

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion I gain strength.
Through strength I gain power.
Through power I gain victory.
Through victory my chains are broken.
The Force shall set me free.

Sith Credo

Kava Kava Maui1 – Kava Kava – Maui (alternative video as Maui isn’t on YouTube)

From the album of the same name, Maui is incredibly energetic.

Uplifting and vibrant, this track and most of those on the album surpass any other in my collection; the only reason I don’t just play Kava Kava and nothing else is that I need variety in music. If I listen to one band at the expense of others then my appreciation for that band wanes.

Kava Kava are also great to see live, I can highly recommend tracking them down if you’ve not heard them before.

The video linked above is actually the track Bank Job, I could just as easily substituted Sicfuck or Terrorists in place of Maui – honestly, Kava Kava are awesome!