The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Wednesday, August 21, 2002

As of tomorrow I will be away for a much-required break at home in Glasgow, and also away from computers, so Church of Me will be taking a week's holiday, returning on Wednesday 28 August.

I have to give my heartfelt thanks and gratitude for the astonishing number of positive responses which CoM has received following its recent regeneration. Special love must be given to my dearest friends, Nathalie and Mark S, who have both done so much for me in recent months - I'll never be able to repay the debt I owe both of you :-)

Next Sunday marks the first anniversary of the passing of the one person I wish more than anything could read these words - my other half, my beloved Laura. I can't believe it's a year already. As I said when I started this weblog in the New Year, part of its aim is to try in some way to keep Laura's spirit alive. Of course, in a way it keeps both of our spirits going. And I intend to keep going with this - and everything else - for as long as possible.

Thanks again to all of you. I'll be back next week.

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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Back in '77 I was obsessed, not with dole queues, but with dehumanisation and artistic expressions of same. Fired up by apocalyptic sci-fi epics like Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man (tension, apprehension and dissension have begun) and Theodore Sturgeon's More Than Human, justified by Ian MacDonald's still cataclysmic NME review of Bowie's Low, wherein "humanity" gradually vanishes from the music and is replaced by imperfect replications of humanity, it seemed radical, frightening and enticing. The absence of "real" instruments, the gradual vanishing of the "voice" from music. One big club hit from that year was "Welcome To Our World Of Merry Music" by Mass Production. It could have been the Last Trump, broadcast live from Daventry. Legalised by Brian Eno's paraphrasing of Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity, popularised by Giorgio Moroder.

As every schoolboy knows, Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" came out the same week as the Pistols' "Pretty Vacant," and yes I bought them both that Saturday from Listen Records in Renfield Street, and yes I thought the Summer disc was by far the more radical. Hard to describe just how shocking Summer's mid-song fadeout was at the time, to be superseded by impassive yet strangely sexual sequencers, throbbing strobe-like splinters of little deaths throughout the machine.

A few months later, Moroder put out his own single and album, both entitled From Here To Eternity, articulating the response of the receiver of (or listener to?) Summer's engineered passions. An era, remember, where Space's "Magic Fly" and even "Oxygene Part IV" might have sounded like nothing on earth to the average 13-year-old. An autumn where every record in the charts seemed to want to redefine the boundaries and perspectives of the "pop song" - Abba's "The Name of the Game," the Clash's "Complete Control," the complete loss of control at the climax of the Pistols' "Holidays In The Sun," Dury's "Sex & Drugs," Costello's "Detectives," even the inexplicably reissued "Virginia Plain" to underline the point.

Side one of Moroder's From Here To Eternity is a sensuous, sexier parallel to Kraftwerk's contemporaneous Trans-Europe Express - a continuous 15-minute journey. Ostensibly about the Joy of Sex but with more of a subtext beyond that - what exactly does "Baby...leaves me needing nothing/Nothing next to me" mean? Or, for that matter, "she makes me/Love me once again?" Is this a "Pictures of Lily"-type fantastical reverie? Whatever, the deadpan vocal (a clear precursor to Neil Tennant) is ideal for the passionate impassiveness of this music. After the initial song statement, the synths take off on a minimalist "Journey at the Speed of Love," adding female backing vocals to jack up the desire in the brilliantly titled "Lost Angeles," finally culminating in the glorious irreducible seductibility of "Utopia - Me Giorgio" where a seraphic chorus rises with the inevitability of Moon Safari 21 years hence.

The single "From Here To Eternity" even cuts surreally from part one (the mix emphasising the chorus riff a little more) to "Utopia" making the listener even more gloriously disorientated.

A shame about side two, over which (including the ill-advised Presley cover, "I'm Left, You're Right, She's Gone") it is perhaps best to pass over in silence. But Moroder redeemed himself the following year with the unimpeachable sequenced come-on of Summer's divine Once Upon A Time album, as well as definitively closing the trapdoor on "Macarthur Park."

posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
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