The latest Motion playlist is actually an adaptation of the original Motion mix from a few years ago. I'd forgotten all about the O.G. outing before stumbling upon it about a week ago, and the general mood has fit the current drift of the Heights perfectly. All I did was shuffle a few tracks, but ultimately the songs remain the same. Despite predating the concept by some five years, this mix is pure Terminal Vibration. As such, it's a perfect way to gear up for the final chapters of the saga...
- Grace Jones Love Is The Drug Island
- Soft Cell Memorabilia Some Bizzare
- Liaisons Dangereuses Peut Être... Pas TIS
- Yoko Ono Walking On Thin Ice Geffen
- Talking Heads Cities Sire
- Can "Don't Turn The Light On," Leave Me Alone Liberty
- Morgan Geist Probs Environ
- The J. Geils Band River Blindness EMI
- Section 25 Looking From A Hilltop Factory
- Inner Life I'm Caught Up In A One Night Love Affair Special 12" Disco Version by John Morales Prelude
Motion 003: It's The Terminal Junction
Bionic mnemonic Roxy Music cover version from the mighty Grace Jones. Early Compass Point magic with its clash of dub, new wave and disco, this lays out the blueprint for what would become the prevailing sound in the coming decade. I've always loved the dub-tinged, vector moonlight vibes — and the SPEED — that the All Stars brought to this version.
Brazenly stripped-down synth pop from the duo that brought you Tainted Love, this slab of mantric 4/4 robot funk is the split of acid house in the same way that Charanjit Singh's Synthesizing: Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat was. That squelching acid line always makes me flash on 1998 and certain Meat Beat Manifesto records (particularly Prime Audio Soup).
Belgian industrial proto-techno from 1981. This is one of those records I remember obsessively searching out by virtue of its outsized influence on later dance music (particularly Los Niños Del Parque and this song). The latter so compulsively funky, you can practically hear it rewiring your circuits for the dancefloor.
Like Smith & Mighty and PIL, this music put me ahead of the curve on the post punk revival by about half a decade, which is one of the few instances I've ever been in the right place at the right time!
Yoko's icy new wave art-disco masterpiece. This Downtown New York monster groove takes everything she'd been up to with Fluxus and the Plastic Ono Band out for a walk on the dancefloor, predicting the likes of Björk and Fairlight-era Kate Bush in the process, and sounding like something that could have soundtracked a David Lynch film some ten years later. Lennon's mad guitar solo in the bridge (one of the last things he ever played) is just the icing on the cake.
More post-punk-inflected disco from arty New Yorkers, this nightmare funk finds the band working toward the multi-jointed polyrhythmic sound of Remain In Light. With bad jams like this, I Zimbra and Life During Wartime tucked away in its grooves (along with a host of moody, atmospheric numbers like Air and Drugs), Fear Of Music is an indispensable companion piece (both records Eno-produced) and remains an underrated record in its own right.
This ethereal, shambling groove from Can — one of the great institutions of krautrock — is taken from their third album Soundtracks, which is made up of a bunch of backing music they'd previously provided for films. Even taking into account its patchwork, archival nature — featuring material from both the Malcolm Mooney and Damo Suzuki eras — it remains (along with the Tago Mago/Ege Bamyasi/Future Days trilogy that follows) one of their greatest LPs.
Morgan Geist was on fire around this time (2002), with the Metro Area records on his own Environ imprint even culminating in an excellent full-length album the same year. However, its Probs and the three-track Moves EP that remain my absolute favorite, placing focus on the minimalist interplay between uncomplicated digital rhythms and dubbed-out keyboards in a half-lit, skeletal affair that boils disco down to its funky essence.
Kicking off with a bridge that sounds like the Tron soundtrack, this ragged technoid mini-epic is taken from the album Freeze-Frame, which featured the band's brilliant reinvention as a new wave blues band (see also Foghat's Tight Shoes and Girls To Chat & Boys To Bounce). The twisting rhythm box beats in this shuffle-funk masterpiece are the secret cousin to Graham Central Station 'Tis Your Kind Of Music. It's no wonder The Electrifying Mojo loved 'em.
One of Factory Records' mainstays (alongside New Order and A Certain Ratio), Section 25 struck gold with this surprising slab of electroid proto-techno. Replete with eerie/angelic vocals, throbbing proto-Underworld synths and sequences cycling over a ticking drum machine, this Bernard Sumner produced gem would have fit in perfectly on Andrew Weatherall's Nine O'Clock Drop (I thought I remembered it being on there, in fact). Future Shock/Terminal Vibration music.
Disco stone tablet from Jocelyn Brown's group, from that period before they were on Salsoul with their whole futuristic Tron-style aesthetic. This back when they were still on Prelude. Despite the images of electro-tinged post-disco that mention of the label usually brings to mind, this sumptuous mid-tempo burner is peak-era disco (hitting #7 on the US Dance charts in 1979), with a full string section in tow, soaring in the limelight.
It's the perfect soundtrack for the home stretch of any run, bringing you back down those final blocks and up to your front door. Operating at the nexus of disco, post punk/new wave and even kosmische, it also slides in quite nicely with the home stretch of Terminal Vibration (coming at you shortly).