Gruff Rhys - Candylion

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Well, he's gone twee. There's another song, "Cycle of Violence," on the main page.

sjjd111 (sjjd111), Wednesday, 25 October 2006 16:26 (twelve years ago) link

"gone" twee?

gwynywdd dwnyt fyrwr byychydd gww (donut), Wednesday, 25 October 2006 18:24 (twelve years ago) link

I thought SFA/Rhys were always twee, but just overloaded their work with the ELOness to blur the tweeness.

gwynywdd dwnyt fyrwr byychydd gww (donut), Wednesday, 25 October 2006 18:25 (twelve years ago) link

there will be a lot of irritating googlers on this thread.

weasel diesel (K1l14n), Wednesday, 25 October 2006 18:42 (twelve years ago) link

there will be a lot of irritating googlers on this thread.

dude i got here googling "gwynywdd dwnyt fyrwr byychydd gww"-- and you?

marc h. (marc h.), Wednesday, 25 October 2006 19:12 (twelve years ago) link

Lovely little song. Who's the girl in the video?

zeus (zeus), Wednesday, 25 October 2006 19:43 (twelve years ago) link

I don't see any Googlers.

sjjd111 (sjjd111), Thursday, 26 October 2006 00:31 (twelve years ago) link

"Cycle of Violence" started blowing me away the other day. What an immense song.

sjjd111 (sjjd111), Tuesday, 31 October 2006 22:03 (twelve years ago) link

There's a new song up. It's probably his best yet. Kind of like a tropicalia "Northern Lites" in Welsh.

sjjd111 (sjjd111), Monday, 6 November 2006 14:31 (twelve years ago) link

i wish there were googlers. new gruff rhys!

marc h. (marc h.), Monday, 6 November 2006 18:44 (twelve years ago) link

I think it is a nice song. The nice young lady looks very continental, I don't know whether she is.

PJ Miller (PJ Miller 68), Tuesday, 7 November 2006 10:13 (twelve years ago) link

five months pass...
Might as well revive this. Nice little album! Twee points certainly but it's just got a good feeling to it; if anything it's almost his equivalent of when Gorky's turned all blissed out and gentle towards the end of the nineties.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 27 April 2007 19:57 (twelve years ago) link

More wizards, less twee!

(I haven't heard this record)

admrl, Friday, 27 April 2007 20:00 (twelve years ago) link

I think "Skylon!" is a pretty cool track

like a Donovan song stretched out to 13 minutes

on the whole it hasn't made much of an impression but it's nice enuff

dmr, Friday, 27 April 2007 20:09 (twelve years ago) link

on the whole meaning the rest of the album

dmr, Friday, 27 April 2007 20:09 (twelve years ago) link

six years pass...

New single American Interior now streaming on Soundcloud:

groovypanda, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 15:56 (five years ago) link

It's no Shark Ridden Waters but I like it a lot. Really enjoyed his last couple of solo albums but would really rather have a new SFA album.

Kitchen Person, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 16:35 (five years ago) link

It's alright--not exactly vintage Gruff or SFA, but alright. The production is appealing to my ears and I'm sure it'll work great as part of the film's soundtrack.

There were some real gems in Separado, particularly the song in the closing credits. I don't understand why they didn't release that soundtrack.

This is the aforementioned end credits song:

I'm still most excited about The Pale Blue Dots, if they ever release an actual album. Failing that, I hope SFA get back together soon. I know Cian is already doing another album, so who the hell even knows anymore.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 19:49 (five years ago) link

There was an interview with Gruff on BBC2 recently and when he was asked about SFA, he gave a pretty noncommittal answer. It was just like it'll happen when it happens, which is what he's been saying for the last four or five years. :(

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 19:56 (five years ago) link

Maybe SFA are going to do a Beyonce and they're just trying throw us all off.

Kitchen Person, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 20:00 (five years ago) link

That's pretty much what they used to do, when they released an album every year and a half. Dark Days/Light Years came out with the least fanfare and was also likely their lowest-selling album. It's a shame 'cuz it seemed like it was one of their more well-received later-period albums. I doubt money is making them do all these side projects, though. They can't sell well aside from Gruff's solo things, which don't seem all that popular either.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 20:04 (five years ago) link

I quietly hope Cian's girl group takes off. I know it's not happening.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 20:05 (five years ago) link

I definitely had a feeling that people had been taking them for granted probably since Phantom Power. Shame Dark Days sold so little, it's a really good record.

Kitchen Person, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 20:07 (five years ago) link

I think their sound and whole live experience was getting to the point where they needed to be commercially successful to grow into the band they wanted to become. I know for a fact they had some sort of financial struggles around the time Hey Venus came out and that the struggle continued until their hiatus. It seems like Gruff's current label treats him pretty well, while the other guys are self-releasing their stuff.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 26 February 2014 20:21 (five years ago) link

If you get rid of the "written during a smoke break and buffed up in the studio" filler and the SFA-by-numbers tracks, you could probably trim Dark Days/Light Years down to a good EP.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:05 (five years ago) link

I strongly disagree with you, but you already knew that.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:41 (five years ago) link

Lose the first two tracks on Dark Days and everything else is great in my opinion.

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:43 (five years ago) link

^seconded, although I'd add "Inconvenience" which feels tossed off and moderately embarrassing.

is olympic hamsterwheel a thing? (staggerlee), Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:51 (five years ago) link

That's the only track that inconveniences me...

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:51 (five years ago) link

Has anyone heard this?

It's got this on it: 8) I Am Waiting - Andrew Oldham Orchestra feat. Gruff Rhys, Al Kooper

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 27 February 2014 16:06 (five years ago) link

Lose the first song on Dark Days, Light Years and the album is killer. I like Inconvenience quite a lot. The album is interesting to me as far as the production goes, through speakers it sounds pretty tame but with headphones it is clearly a real loud rock album.

I like this new Gruff song just fine but I also adore all his solo albums. Kinda prefer him playing guitars, but whatever. Really want to hear the Seperado! songs now! The whole movie is on youtube, I guess I should watch the damn thing finally.

liam fennell, Thursday, 27 February 2014 16:38 (five years ago) link

Candylion is by far my favourite of his three solo albums. It's a beautiful record. Think the only SFA albums I'd rate above it would be Radiator, Guerrilla and maybe Phantom Power.

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 27 February 2014 16:45 (five years ago) link

His "solo" shows, IMO, have far exceeded any SFA show I've been to. I don't know why that is. He's a touch more animated and his backing bands have been stellar. I've also seen him alone with a table full of stuff and those shows have been great as well. I'm not crazy about Candylion...the first one is the one for me. I know it's probably the elitist choice, and I still have no idea what any of the songs are about, but I've played it hundreds of times. It's breezy and got his personality all over it.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 27 February 2014 16:53 (five years ago) link

'Mt.' is definitely one song that could have been dropped and I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. I know it wasn't given a physical release, but it will eternally confound me as to why the band thought that particular track was "single"-worthy. 'Moped Eyes' is another: I always felt it was incredibly slight in its embryonic form and I don't know what merit the band saw in it which made them try and work on it and develop it further. It's still slight even in its final incarnation, a barely-there track with lyrics that mean absolutely fuck-all. 'Inconvenience' is repetitive, but at least it means something lyrically and doesn't outstay its welcome.

'The Very Best Of Neil Diamond', 'White Socks/Flip Flops' and possibly 'Helium Hearts' would have been the best single releases from this album, IMO.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 27 February 2014 16:59 (five years ago) link

I love "Moped Eyes." Groovy track.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 27 February 2014 17:03 (five years ago) link

Candylion is by far my favourite of his three solo albums. It's a beautiful record. Think the only SFA albums I'd rate above it would be Radiator, Guerrilla and maybe Phantom Power.

― Kitchen Person, Thursday, February 27, 2014 4:45 PM (13 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

It's my favourite of all his solo albums too, but SFA were at their peak and released an incredible run of albums from Radiator up until and including Phantom Power, so naturally I rank all of those releases higher. As I said in another thread, I like Love Kraft, but it was definitely the beginning of the end; creatively and career-wise.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 27 February 2014 17:03 (five years ago) link

The end of the end for me, of course, being Dark Days/Light Years and a whole bunch of pointless solo and side excursions.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 27 February 2014 17:27 (five years ago) link

Even the first Neon Neon album?

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 27 February 2014 17:40 (five years ago) link

No, I like Stainless Style a lot; that and Candylion represent the very, very best of the SFA side/solo projects, I think. It definitely should have been a one-off, though... I thought Praxis Makes Perfect was a woeful record.

Omni, Yr Atal Genhedlaeth and Hotel Shampoo are okay, but I wouldn't rank any of them above any peak-era SFA album.

I thought Cian's Outside In was a borefest, and I thought his last record showed some promise when I heard 30-second soundclips of the tracks, but when I heard the full album I ended up not thinking all that much to it (apart from the first two songs, because I like the stoner rock vibe of them).

The Golden Mile? I thought 'Let's Go Fuckin' Mental' was good, but I could easily live without hearing the rest of the album ever again. Not really too bothered about hearing a follow-up.

I'm not really bothered about Gulp, The Earth, Pale Blue Dots or Gruff's "hey man, here's what I got up to on holiday" stuff. And Jesus tittyfucking Christ, let's not even think about that album Gruff did with Tony Da Gatorra...

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 27 February 2014 17:53 (five years ago) link

Okay well I haven't heard any of those. Love Candylion and Stainless Steal (as good as peak SFA for me) I like Hotel Shampoo a lot. Agree that Praxis was major disappointment. Sounded like no effort went into it all.

I still have faith when SFA come back they'll deliver the goods.

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 27 February 2014 17:58 (five years ago) link

Ha, yeah I don't have the courage to go anywhere near the new Neon Neon, the Tony Da Gatorra thing or all those solo projects. I think I'm in the minority in that I only start to like SFA a lot with Phantom Power. This is when they sort of mature and ripen as artists in my eyes. I rate all the albums after that very highly.

I too think Candylion is the standout release, I just love the sound and the energy. The upright bass is cool, too, although it's pretty buried in the dense mix. I guess I should also mention I don't pay any attention to lyrics, I only listen to the notes being sung really. For instance the fast descending vocal line in Shark-ridden Waters is what makes that particular song for me.

liam fennell, Thursday, 27 February 2014 18:04 (five years ago) link


I don't know, man. It's been about five years since SFA last put out an album. Five years. A hiatus of that length would have been absolutely unthinkable at one point, when they were putting out an album a year; and even when they didn't have a new album out, they'd still at least put something out, such as the Ice Hockey Hair EP, Out Spaced, Phantom Phorce, Songbook etc. In fact, part of me is amazed that they haven't put out a second B-sides compilation as a way of plugging the gap and easing the wait for those waiting for the end of SFA's post-Dark Days/Light Years hiatus. Maybe they want people to focus on their solo material though, rather than Super Furry Animals stuff, which is more than a little ominous to me.

Of course, ideally, it'd be great if Super Furry Animals came back with a 10th record as strong as Radiator, Guerrilla, Mwng, Rings Around The World or Phantom Power, but based on what they've been putting out solo since Dark Days/Light Years, I am really really not convinced. I'd love for them to surprise me by coming out with their BEST RECORD EVER at this stage, but I'm really not holding my breath.

Ten years ago I was at the peak of my SFA fandom post-Phantom Power and circa the Songbook compilation. If they'd broken up at that point, I would have been completely and totally gutted. But, what a great way it would have been to close a career: 'Slow Life' as their final single, and the final track on what most consider to be (even though Love Kraft, Hey Venus! and Dark Days/Light Years have their fans) their last undisputedly great record.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 27 February 2014 18:22 (five years ago) link

The Very Best Of Neil Diamond' would have been the best single release() from this album, IMO.

― Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, February 27, 2014

still a great song. like a spacey outtake that plays through a post-apocalyptic movie.

Daniel, Esq 2, Thursday, 27 February 2014 18:24 (five years ago) link

If you haven't listened to Cian Ciaran's Outside In, I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy Love Kraft. I know turrican disagrees, but I love the album.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 27 February 2014 18:43 (five years ago) link

Got quite a few friends who don't care for SFA to listen to and enjoy it, surprisingly.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 27 February 2014 18:52 (five years ago) link

I really like this lesser-known Gruff track from a concept album about something-or-other:

afriendlypioneer, Friday, 28 February 2014 18:50 (five years ago) link,204,203,200_.jpg

American Interior is a psychedelic historical travelogue from Welsh pop legend Gruff Rhys. In 1792, John Evans, a twenty-two-year-old farmhand from Snowdonia, Wales, travelled to America to discover whether there was indeed, as widely believed, a tribe of Welsh-speaking native Americans still walking the great plains. In 2012, Gruff Rhys set out on an 'investigative concert tour' in the footsteps of John Evans, with concerts in New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St Louis, North Dakota and more. American Interior is the story of these journeys. It is also an exploration of how wild fantasies interact with hard history and how myth-making can inspire humans to partake in crazy, vain pursuits of glory, including exploration, war and the creative arts. Gruff Rhys is known around the world for his work as a solo artist as well as singer and songwriter with Super Furry Animals and Neon Neon, and for his collaborations with Gorillaz, Dangermouse, Sparklehorse, Mogwai and Simian Mobile Disco amongst others. The latest album by Neon Neon, Praxis Makes Perfect, based on the life of radical Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, was recently performed as an immersive live concert with National Theatre Wales.

Coming soon on American Interior - the album! RT @AndyVotel I've got a new collab with @gruffingtonpost

I hope it's as good as "Shark Ridden Waters"!

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 6 March 2014 15:11 (five years ago) link

Gruff Rhys is known around the world for his work as a solo artist
Gruff Rhys is known around the world for his work as a solo artist
Gruff Rhys is known around the world for his work as a solo artist
Gruff Rhys is known around the world for his work as a solo artist
Gruff Rhys is known around the world for his work as a solo artist

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 6 March 2014 15:14 (five years ago) link

Ha, I just moved to America (Minnesota) from the UK and found a second hand copy of Hotel Shampoo on vinyl the other day. I had to fight off other people for it as he's just so well known here.

Kitchen Person, Thursday, 6 March 2014 15:17 (five years ago) link

I understand that, yes, he is promoting a solo product and that yes, this is the press release for said solo product. But man, that seems like an odd bit of re-positioning right there. His solo work is clearly not what he's most known for, "around the world" or otherwise. The impression is given that his solo work is now his main priority and that SFA are either something he'd going to do on the side or he considers to be a memory.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 6 March 2014 15:31 (five years ago) link

I love the opening of 'American Exterior/American Interior' and I quite like 'The Last Conquistador', but that's about it really. Found the rest to be a bit on the boring side, or, in the case of '100 Unread Messages'/'The Whether (Or Not)' incredibly cheesy. But I don't like that kinda corny truck-drivin' bullshit music anyway.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 1 May 2014 21:36 (five years ago) link

I will say that it's more engaging than Damon Albarn's recent borefest, though.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 1 May 2014 21:36 (five years ago) link

and it's better than the last Neon Neon album.

Toni Braxton-Hicks (Turrican), Thursday, 1 May 2014 21:39 (five years ago) link

I thought it was quite lovely. I always think I don't need another album by him but it turns out I do.

I agree about the Damon and Neon Neon albums.

Kitchen Person, Friday, 2 May 2014 00:09 (five years ago) link

I only listened once so I don't spoil the whole thing, but I really enjoyed the last couple tracks. The pedal steel was a nice touch and recalls some of my favorite latter day SFA moments. The drumming is also more pronounced than usual. They definitely didn't waste Kliph.

afriendlypioneer, Friday, 2 May 2014 13:47 (five years ago) link

for those who're into this kind of thing, gruff is doing a reddit ama today:

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 7 May 2014 15:55 (five years ago) link

]thegreenman42 2 points 5 days ago*
Firstly thanks for a great gig in Pentyrch. The chapel was very atmospheric. I could imagine John Evans in a similar setting trying to convince the locals to up sticks to the New World back in the 1790's
My Questions: another of my musical heroes is Euros Childs. You and him seem to be having an equally creative and productive time. Is there any chance of a collaboration of any kind in the future?
Oh and as an Archaeologist can I thank you for getting some archaeology into a song (The court of King Arthur). There's not enougth archaeology in music.
permalinksavereportgive goldreply

GruffRhysVerified 2 points 5 days ago
Euros Childs is a genius and one of my favourite recording artists of all time! We've probably sung together when drunk or something - thats good enough for me - I think I fell off my chair.

I like that he sounds like he has no desire to do that. I think it's a bad idea as well.

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 13 May 2014 15:29 (five years ago) link

lol Madoc

MV, Tuesday, 13 May 2014 19:39 (five years ago) link

i was surprised pitchfork gave it an 8.0, but they've always been pretty fair to sfa

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 13 May 2014 19:55 (five years ago) link

three years pass...

Hapus i gyhoeddi bod fy albym newydd ‘Babelsberg’ yn cael ei rhyddhau ar @roughtraderecords ar Fehefin 8ed! Rhag-archebwch // I am happy to announce that my new album ‘Babelsberg’ will be released on @roughtraderecords on 8th June! Pre-order here

— Gruff Rhys (@gruffingtonpost) April 10, 2018

groovypanda, Tuesday, 10 April 2018 10:28 (one year ago) link

groovypanda, Tuesday, 10 April 2018 10:32 (one year ago) link

very Lee Hazlewood.

Simon H., Tuesday, 10 April 2018 11:57 (one year ago) link

Good to see this total ear worm make it on to an album

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 10 April 2018 12:01 (one year ago) link

The limited edition record sleeve is insane. Not sure if it's a good insane or if I'd buy it, but it's insane:

Doesn't fold. Just a long-ass sleeve.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 11 April 2018 17:14 (one year ago) link

He's touring this with a 72-piece orchestra.

If only SFA could've ever done that.


— NOW WAVE (@nowwave) April 11, 2018

afriendlypioneer, Friday, 13 April 2018 14:16 (one year ago) link

three weeks pass...

Kinda blah, tbh.

Oh well.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 10 May 2018 14:28 (one year ago) link

Limited Edition Heart is actually pretty great.

Album's getting "Gruff's best album ever" in multiple reviews. I guess the critics are going all in on Gruff this time. I can't wait to hear the album. Anyone here get a chance to listen yet?

afriendlypioneer, Friday, 18 May 2018 16:45 (one year ago) link

Looking forward to the solo show out here in October. Caught SFA a few times over the years but this'll be the first with just him.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 18 May 2018 17:30 (one year ago) link

He’s extremely good when he does his solo shows. I wouldn’t rank any of his albums ahead of an SFA album, but I’d probably put any Gruff solo show I’ve seen ahead of SFA. He’s really funny and the way he pieces his songs together is great. I wonder if he’ll be with a band or totally solo. He’s great in either format.

afriendlypioneer, Sunday, 20 May 2018 22:53 (one year ago) link

I’m really psyched to hear this. “limited edition heart” has grown on me tremendously and I’d love to figure out what all the lines are anagrams for.

Unfortunately, my 2-year-old has decided “Bing Bong” is his favorite song of all time and I now listen to it at least three times a day, so I’m growing a little bit of enmity for SFA lately. Still think it’s a pretty decent song, though, but not something you want to listen to a thousand times.

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 28 May 2018 22:34 (one year ago) link

I'm still incredibly hyped to hear this. The pre-released tracks are both excellent, and the live rendition of 'Negative Vibes' is great and one of his biggest ear worms in a while. The reviews keep coming in strong, and suggest it's his best album yet. Man oh man, two or three more days.

I'm totally in for a good Gruff album.

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 5 June 2018 15:18 (one year ago) link

I know everyone's dying to hear my opinion on this one. It's one of the most heavily orchestrated, string-laden pop albums I've ever heard. Kind of makes it hard to get a feel for the songs. 'Negative Vibes' is one of the best Gruff songs I've heard in years, and I adore the two singles.

More thoughts to come.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 7 June 2018 13:44 (one year ago) link

I heard it a couple of times at work yesterday, there were definitely a few nice moments but overall it sounded a bit bland to me. I'll try again today. American Interior took a while to grow on me.

kitchen person, Thursday, 7 June 2018 14:40 (one year ago) link

One thing I like a lot about it is he is singing in lower and higher register than he usually does.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 7 June 2018 14:51 (one year ago) link

“Mel Gibson howls with rage, the worst Hamlet of his age.”

Might be the best Gruff lyric yet.

afriendlypioneer, Friday, 8 June 2018 13:21 (one year ago) link

But "does Will Smith lie, does he ever cave in and cry?" comes to mind and maybe not.

afriendlypioneer, Friday, 8 June 2018 13:33 (one year ago) link

So no one is listening to this?

After living with it for a few days, I’ve decided “The Club” is almost as unpleasant as anything on the Tony Da Gators album. Otherwise, this is one of Gruff’s best sets of songs in years. “Frontier Man” and “Limited Edition Heart” sound better every time I hear them. “Selfies in the Sunset” is a great duet, with incredible lyrics.

Well done, Gruff. Apparently they scrapped a song from his Candylion show but recorded the arrangement, so I look forward to taking out The Club and swapping songs.

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 12 June 2018 22:02 (one year ago) link

two weeks pass...

The new album is his best one since Hotel Shampoo, but the highlights of American Interior are stronger than anything on Babelsberg. It's okay - listenable, but good rather than great, and not quite up there with his best stuff.

'Negative Vibes' sounds like an exercise in trying to write a song for Coldplay, but getting it slightly wrong.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Friday, 29 June 2018 19:29 (one year ago) link

While it doesn't sound like Coldplay on a superficial level, the vocal melody and chord progression - particularly on the chorus - are very Chris Martin-like. This, combined with music that's stylistically in Mojo Magazine dadmusic territory, are alarming developments. It's probably his straightest, most quirk-free record.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Friday, 29 June 2018 19:33 (one year ago) link

Another one-off song. Not an album cut. Just came out for NHS's 70th.

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 9 July 2018 14:58 (one year ago) link


Simon H., Monday, 9 July 2018 15:04 (one year ago) link

He wrote a nice editorial that accompanied the release of the song/video:

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 9 July 2018 16:03 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

New one should be good:

Pang! Developed unexpectedly over about 18 months. A solo album of songs by Gruff Rhys. Produced and mixed by South African electronic artist Muzi.
Gruff Rhys on Pang!:
I met the producer Muzi during the recording of the Africa Express track Vessels in Johannesburg in early 2018.
Combining the cut up guitar of South African guitar legend Phuzekhemisi and his own beats, I got to spend a memorable time with members of BCUC figuring out some melodies and lyrics for Muzi to record over his beats. Occasionally things were going so well that he would burst away from his computer screen, out of the door and embark on a celebratory lap of the weird Motel compound we were recording in. The pace was fast and it was one of the most joyful recording experiences I’ve ever had – in my experience if you’re having fun in the studio it’s usually a very good signifier for the health and rigour of the music – even with emotionally heavy songs. Pang!
A few months later I was involved in a recording project where I live in Cardiff, Wales for a video installation which involved incredible dancers from the cities’ Butetown Carnival and local musicians such as the Balafon player N’famady Kouyaté. They needed to dance to my track so I sent it on a whim to Muzi to remix. He sent back the finished track, (a Welsh Language song called Bae Bae Bae – English for Bay, Bay, Bay ) as if from a distant future. I was astounded by the song’s transformation – I suggested we make a whole album. Muzi responded that he would be interested as long as all the songs were in Welsh. Pang!
I continued to record songs in Cardiff at producer and percussionist Kris Jenkins’s Studio, Wings for Jesus and invited N’famady back with his Balafon along with Cardiff based American drumming legend Kliph Scurlock and the brass player Gavin Fitzjohn. Over a few months we gradually cut an album by stealth during my kids school hours and sent the results to Muzi. Pang!
I felt I had somehow found a way of combining my clumsy trad Spanish guitar songwriting with something resembling progress or even experimentation. I love pop music and a good tune – but I’m also drawn to the repetitive and dissonant. A cook friend pointed out that it’s all about Sweet and Sour. Continually trying to figure out how to bridge that canyon keeps us going. Pang!
In between these occasional recording sessions I had embarked on an American tour, the highlight of which was a tourist visit to Prince’s old studio and home, Paisley Park. It turned into a pilgrimage for me – with my fellow musicians I listened to Prince’s back catalogue on Kliph’s hi-res player the entire way from the East Coast to Minneapolis. It seemed to wake me out of the bad funk of a decade of dour ballads. (I stand by the ballads – but sometimes need a holiday). Pang!
Visiting the gloss of Prince’s democratic music palace confirmed in me that my move into day-glo processed pop with this record was justified and in particular, albums like Around the World in a Day (and in particular the title track) became a reference point for attempting to make psychedelically joyful, internationalist and deeply personal digital pop music. Staring at Prince’s ashes in a Perspex box perched next to a cage of live doves on a cloudy blue sky mural backdrop was an unexpected and moving moment. Pang!
Muzi was touring in Europe last March (2019) and came to Cardiff to sift through the tracks with his producer hat on and we mixed an early version of the album and even did a bit of sight-seeing. Sometimes like on Eli Haul he would leave songs alone – often simplifying them further. On occasion he would jump to the mic and join in with some vocals. Some songs he would take a loop of a particularly interesting section, build a beat and rework the song from scratch and by the song Ôl Bys / Nodau Clust – which we mixed by coincidence following a conversation about Daft Punk and industrial music, Muzi completely takes over, scrapping my bad bossa guitars, only retaining the original’s vocals. In that sense it’s a kind of remix album where adventure is favoured over predictability and where the radical remixes are the finished articles. Pang!
By the way the lyrics deal with the negative pangs amongst the joy of daily life (Pang!) radioactivity in Cardiff bay,(Bae Bae Bae) , digital community happenings (Digidigol), the snail’s pace of inspiration (Ara Deg), Sun Screen abstraction (Eli Haul), navigating the fog of lies that is mass media misinformation – in a car (Niwl o Anwiredd), life in a storm (Taranau Mai), surveillance culture head-fucks (Ôl Bys/ Nodau Clust) and that my mouth is a house for my teeth (Anedd i’m Danedd). Pang!
Muzi returned to Johannesburg and stayed up for a couple of days and nights giving the album a final sheen and here it is. A short sharp album, a pang of positivity that jolted me personally out of the omni-present political gloom and out of my musical coma. Pang!

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 14:14 (three months ago) link

Really hoping they announce the Guerilla reissue soon.

kitchen person, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 17:39 (three months ago) link

They’re definitely working on it...

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 17:41 (three months ago) link

I heard through the grapevine they got massively fucked by Pledge Music on the BBC set so I wonder how they’re going to handle this reissue.

afriendlypioneer, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 17:42 (three months ago) link

i just want SFA albums on Spotify so i can do the artist poll already.

Bee OK, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 05:19 (three months ago) link

are SFA not on spotify in the US? all their albums are here except for Love Kraft

i like the new Gruff track, never really listened to much of his solo work but this one has quite a nice sound

ufo, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 12:31 (three months ago) link

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:40 (three months ago) link

US Spotify only has Fuzzy Logic then jumps to Mwng to Hey Venus!

Bee OK, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:49 (three months ago) link

I don't think you'll hear or see anything new on Spotify until the next reissue, which will be Guerrilla. Could've sworn Radiator was on there, though.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 15:54 (three months ago) link

SFA discussion sans Turrican should be interesting

PaulTMA, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 16:13 (three months ago) link

He's... gone?

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 16:14 (three months ago) link

Anyway, I'm really pleased with how these new songs sound and I'm glad he went for something new. He's also on four tracks on the new Africa Express album that's out on Friday. Looking forward to listening to that as well.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 20:04 (three months ago) link

He's in a time out because of Radiohead, lol. He'll be back.

Bee OK, Wednesday, 10 July 2019 22:27 (three months ago) link

I've known him for a long time.

He's an emotional individual.

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 11 July 2019 14:19 (three months ago) link

oh this is so good:

afriendlypioneer, Thursday, 11 July 2019 18:26 (three months ago) link

Oh man, this one is wonderful:

afriendlypioneer, Monday, 15 July 2019 14:19 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

I liked this. Always good to see recommendations from Gruff.

afriendlypioneer, Wednesday, 4 September 2019 14:12 (one month ago) link

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