As you may know because I go on about it endlessly, I was in the prime of youth during the days of Cool (or Cwl) Cymru. I go on about it here because I don't have children to bore. If I did, they're the ones who'd be shouting 'it's just noise' at me, because one wing of the Welsh music scene specialised in weirdo-psych-krautrock incantation. I loved the cheery tuneful bands, but I had and still have a place in my heart for the bloody-minded experimentalists and their gamelans.
In particular, I loved Ectogram, with their wacky titles (Concentric Neckwear? Fluff on a Faraway Hill? We're a long way from Menswear) and 10" singles which topped the charts in Spitzbergen (I'm not joking, by the way). They were a hard band to love, but only because Alan, their multi-talented instrumentalist was the record shop 'assistant' who spent years of my life openly mocking my purchases and loading my bag instead with his own stuff. The archetypal Record Shop Guy. I only realised later that all the Can records were just his way of getting me into the right frame of mind to voluntarily buy Ectogram's releases.
Which brings me round to the music. Here's them playing with Damo Suzuki, of beard-furrowing Can fame:
And here's the rather characteristic Cymrock groove of 'Tu Fewn Ceg Gerallt'.
And the rather sweet country-Welsh-krautrock of Cyfan Gwbl:
And now Alan tells me there's a new album out, Exo-Celestial, which he describes as the band's
pop album, although a pop album more in the tradition of The Art Bears,Roxy Music and Stereolab rather than One Direction, Olly Murs or JLS.Recorded under a set of vague rules for no apparent reason, it's available here, though only (obviously) on 100 LPs in the UKK and (obviously again) Germany, so it won't be troubling the charts. I've ordered one, and I know it's going to be good because a) everything they do is good and b) when they say they'll do a pop album, they really mean it. I'll review it properly when it arrives, but in the meantime, if you go here you can order it, or download pretty much every underground experimental North Welsh album made legally and for free. I particularly recommend Fflaps: melodic motorik beauty.