10 years since Remembering Machine

I can’t believe it’s 10 years since one of my all-time favourite albums was released: Remembering Machine, by Secret Archives of the Vatican. How time has flown.

I remember getting my hands on the album for the first time. It was a cold winter’s night in Croydon, and was my first meeting with Vince Millett and Louis Counter, who form the core of the collective. I’d discovered their music online and was playing tracks from their Babylon Halt album, which had been 10 years in the making and I really enjoyed. I’d never actually met the guys in real life but we’d been chatting online and said we should meet up one day.

Vince was waiting on the corner just outside the pub and we both recognised each other immediately, being similarly “hirsute” and “well-toned”.  Vince has gone to live up to the well-toned moniker, whereas I still remain in “inverted commas”. On the way in to the pub he pressed a CD-R of Remembering Machine into my hands and said it was the new album. This was only 6 months after Babylon Halt, so I was surprised at the speed of its release, but I was interested in hearing it.

Vice, Louis and I got on like a house on fire and I’ve been a big fan of their music ever since.

I couldn’t listen to the album until I got home, but when I did I was a little surprised. This wasn’t “son of Babylon Halt”. It was weird. With glitchy beats and almost subsonic basslines. This was new territory for me. I’m not sure I liked it.

I persevered listening to it, and something changed. This album grew … and grew … and grew on me. Just like all the great albums I had listened to my life: Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon,  Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures,  James’s Laid,  Massive Attack’s Mezzanine,  Leftfield’s Leftism  and Underworld’s Second Toughest in the Infants. These are all albums I’ve been unsure of, on first listening, but which still give goosebumps today. Part of the soundtrack of my life and I remember the day I got them vividly.

So, if you haven’t heard this album, then I implore you to get down to bandcamp and pick up your copy today. If not least, because it’s Vince’s birthday today, and it would be a fitting birthday present for him!  Go on!  You know you want to.  I promise you’ll not be disappointed.

By |2019-03-08T15:06:06+00:00February 13th, 2019|PC Podcast (PCP)|0 Comments

Review: Remembering Machine, by Secret Archives of the Vatican

Secret Archives of the Vatican - Remembering Machine

Remembering Machine, by Secret Archives of the Vatican

Secret Archives of the Vatican on the web:

Bandcamp | Broken Drum Records | Facebook

Release date: February 1st 2009

Bandcamp: Remembering Machine, by Secret Archives of the Vatican

by Pete Cogle | June 25th 2011

Having just reviewed Secret Archives of the Vatican’s, Barbary Lion album, I was thinking about their last major release and how this was a pivotal moment in the band’s direction.

Remembering Machine came out in February 2009, and was relatively hot on the heels of their June 2008 album Babylon Halt. It was, however, a completely different proposition. Whereas Babylon Halt was produced over a 10 year period, involving many members of the collective and came from the live-set period of the band, Remembering Machine was the rapid outpouring of new studio ideas over about a four month period. It’s entirely instrumental, different, and trend setting.

Beginning with “Cryptonomicon”, the new mood is set. Broken, almost DNB beats are supported by strange tonal wobbles overlaid with string orchestrations and a faintly heard lone voice.

“Stainless Steel Cat” begins with a complex broken beat overlaid with a string echo, which leads into more or the tonal wobbles that we now know are going to morph into kick-ass bass in later EPs and albums.  “Before Beauty” starts with the drum and string riffs that are the signature of the band, but this is later added to by a funky bass and eventually more string orchestrations.

“Beloved” lays down a complicated beat pattern over which a simple guitar (perhaps oud) riff is introduced and allowed to develop.  It’s simple, yet complex, all in one piece. The eponymous “Remembering Machine”, like “Cryptonomicon” before it, has an almost mathematical beat structure, overlaid with strings and a subtle, jazzy organ over the top.

“Gangs Of New Earth” has a simpler, almost bhangra beat, with oud and vocal samples on top, leading on to “Overground Resistance”. Again this uses the complex, mathematical beats, over which tabla and DNB breaks are allowed to swirl around over a bass, and sitar mix.

“Pity The Fool” has just about the simplest drum pattern on the album, giving the bass, tabla and some scratch DJ work room to move. “Dread” is the final track and is led by the bass and tabla. This time drums are less complex and it’s the keyboards that invoke the melody.

I did have problems understanding this album when it first came out. Not because the album was lacking, but because I really wasn’t ready for the change. It took me a while, but I finally got the message. Since then the band have produced numerous singles and three further EPs that have refined their musical direction and enabled the excellent Barbary Lion to be born. I’ve adapted to the change and it’s been good. I encourage you to do the same. You’ll not be disappointed.

 

By |2018-04-20T12:46:09+00:00June 25th, 2011|Reviews|0 Comments

I’m raising money for a Children’s Cancer Charity.

Between Friday 27th and 29th September a bunch of us will be Swooving for 40 hours for 40 different charities.

I shall be Swooving for 10 hours and my chosen charity is Chestnut Tree House, which provides care for children and young people with life-shortening conditions, and their families.

To Swoove means to Sing, Whoop and Move. It’s a great physical and mental excercise and keeps me sane in an otherwise insane world.

If you have heard my podcasts, and have a couple of pounds, dollars, euros, or any other currency spare then please consider donating HERE to the cause. The last time I asked for sponorship was back in 2013, so I don’t ask everyday.

THANK YOU!