The Entropy Circus ended in 1995, and then again in 2000 and 2014. The end of the project was marked in 2014 by a track entitled The Entropy Circus which was intended as the apotheosis of everything that the title had represented.
To a disinterested observer the distinction between the Vitreous Enamel Development Corp, The Benelux, The Benelux Circus, Royal Free Electric and Zali Krishna were Rizla-thin. To the disinterested observer they were little more than Krishna’s sense of history and discontinuity played out over almost thirty years. But from the perspective of my colleague, Solomon Kirchner, and I there was a longer political game afoot.
So here at last is Solomon Kirchner’s debut release “Finchley in the Rain”. Solomon has been my long time sideman on over two decades of Entropy Circus projects as well as being half of Europe’s favourite sitar’n'synth duo, Raagnagrok.
And it’s a strange choice for a debut, being a cover version of a lost 1974 recording by Bromwich Ham (not to be mistaken with the near contemporary German fusion act Brummagem). Bromwich Ham were a progressive three piece put together by the notorious kaballist Rayne Keller as a “ritual instrument” for political, spiritual and harmonic revolution. Keller designed their costumes, their stage sets and wrote their lyrics, but preferred to remain behind the scenes pulling the strings.
The only existing version of “Finchley in the Rain” we have is from a BBC live session, where an embryonic version of the track appears as the first part of “Folk-Soul Medley (In G)”. The full version of it was intended to make up the first half of their debut album “This is Bromwich Ham”, but the band split after a studio fire which destroyed all of the tapes.
No-one was injured in this accident but frontman Brent Cunningham cut ties with Keller after the fire feeling that he had escaped from some kind of hypnotic trance that Keller had placed upon him and the rest of the band. Solomon worked with Cunningham, now a catholic priest, to reconstruct the song as it might have appeared if the tapes had not been destroyed.
This might have caused friction between Solomon and Rayne Keller, who has penned numbers for us in the past including “Kids Breakin’ the Law” and “Str8 to Video”, if it hadn’t been for the intervention of Sally Kitchener who did most of the programming and arrangements on this recording. In spite of it being Solomon’s voice on this track, there is as much of a case for this to have been released as Sally’s debut.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. Without further ado, after over forty years behind the veil, here’s “Finchley in the Rain”.
Zali Krishna, Colindeep Prefecture, 2015
Somewhere out in Andromeda is a world of dusty parking lots in the sun. Dusty and mostly empty because it is easier under local conditions to manufacture car parks than cars. You drift from place to place getting easily entangled in unhappy polyamorous clusters, ignoring the telepathic messages and increasingly irrelevant 3D blockbusters from Earth.
Weekly episodes on YouTube as they arrive:
“Pesi Lao, where are your people now?”
Lao had been considering this problem for some weeks in the only way she knew. She walked the alleyways of her side of Nova Grendoza, keeping a careful account of the discarded empty beer cans, and bottles but mostly cans, that she found either crumpled amongst the leaf litter or hung in carrier bags, blue of black in colour, from railings and broken tree branches.
She sounded the subways for evidence: the tags on the damp walls, a big metal door halfway down the subway unlocked and waiting for the unwary, the ubiquitous fisheye mirrors at each entrance.
Following the courses of muddy streams, clogged up with shopping trolleys and unwound VHS tape, she found new vistas; the pulse of life, Italian furniture, Halal butchers, the Saturday Market, but where were the fixies? Where were the latter-day baxboys snapping selfies? She was not a hundred miles from Grokiztan but she was at a loss to account for their absence.
“Vous avez suffisamment?”
Lao had to admit that she was busy enough, and while she had taken a pay cut and her income was no higher in any real or imaginary sense, the spiritual feeling that the concrete ogives of what the local rag, unreasonably in her opinion, called a “sink estate” gave her was something of an epiphany. It could all be saved. It could all be recast in her own image.
Perhaps these people, here on the sink estate, there in the municipal synagogue, everywhere unseen in the alleyways leaving their beer cans like vapour trails in a clear blue sky, were her people. And the skies were still blue once in a while.
“Und du bist ein Sonderangebot!”
She picked up the video-CD, its cover depicted a smiling girl, a young man in the background wearing a fawn-coloured pullover draped casually over the shoulders of a night blue shirt, a sports car parked beside him. She couldn’t read any of the writing other than the number 95 and the words “video-CD”, it might have been Chinese or Taiwanese, it might have been her sister from the other side.
Everything was going to be tickety-boo.
On Christmas 2013, I sent out almost fifty messages to musicians on three continents giving details of some rules, and the rhythm tracks that had been allocated to them, for the second Add Rhythm Sampler compilation…
You might know Zali Krishna for his schlager crossover hit Windmills of Amsterdam, or perhaps for his acclaimed soundtrack to Miyazaki High School, but here are a few things that you might not know about Zali Krishna:
* For many years Krishna was a professional golf coach to the likes of David Niven and Jack Palance.
* In his spare time he buys up patents for some of the key inventions of the twentieth century. Amongst his collection are the Corby Trouser Press and the IBM 3340, better known as The Winchester hard disk unit.
* His first job in the music industry was as a page turner to the legendary Acker Bilk. Bilk described Krishna as “indispensible” and “a good lad”.
I have known Krishna for most of the sixty-five years of his illustrious career and I am willing here and now to put my hand on my heart and swear that it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when I tell you that Arrivederci is the finest thing that Krishna has ever recorded. You might say to me, “hey, are you forgetting about the classic Manchurian Manstopper album of 1963?” And I would say to you that Manchurian Manstopper is indeed a fine album but there is nothing on that masterpiece that achieves the solid gold perfection of every cut on Arrivederci.
The opening number was originally commissioned for a pantomime of the same name which ran for fourteen whole months at Bournemouth Playhouse. The hit single Benny Gesserit (Are You Geddin’ It?) was chosen as track of the month in the Official Suzuki Q Chord Users Gazette. And many of you will remember Splatterlight from the scandi-drama (Klyvning Ljus) that achieved seven nominations at the Bodil Awards.~
And the list goes on. There is not a track on this album with a pedigree any less prestiguous than the three I have named.
You’d better believe it!
So before I sign off and leave you to enjoy the show, let me say just how much of a privilege it was to be asked to write this little appetizer for the Arrivederci album. Those of you who have never heard it before are in for a genuine treat. I envy you, and if they ever invent a machine that can selectively wipe the human brain without any terrifying side effects, I shall be first in the line to wipe my memory of Arrivederci over and over again so that I can savour it for the first time.
Over and out!
(recorded 4th to 26th January 2014 by Zali Krishna in Hoxton)
Video by Krishna for Homecoming by Showman’s Wagon.
Video by Krishna for Thick Syrup by The Wharves from their split-LP with The Rosy Crucifixion.
In 1967 the Harrow based Ad Rhythm Records put out its first three 7 inch singles, entitled Add Rhythm. Rather than featuring complete songs, each of them contained four drum rhythms; two on each side for musicians to “Add Rhythm to your own melody”. The three singles, entitled Dance Time, Pop Time and Latin Time, are a unique example of technological repurposing; it was no longer your gramophone it was now, “the most effective practice aid a musician ever had”.
In August 2013, I found two of the Add Rhythm 7 inches in a Red Cross charity shop in Hendon. Taking the Add Rhythm singles home two things became apparent: firstly that these rhythms were entirely usable, and secondly that they represented ancestral missing links in the technologies of break beats and sampling. I resolved to use them for my own recordings, but then as I showed off my newly won treasures online, I had a bigger idea: I thought that it would be better if *lots* of people used them for recording.
By the 30th September I had received twenty-seven recordings from the contributors. Over two thirds of the original applications. I was astounded both by the quality and the range of material on these recordings. Certainly I expected some of the playful noise-based reactions to the rhythms but there were a wide range of musical responses using a variety of techniques and even a pleasing array of songs. With most tracks ranging between three to three and a half minutes, the resultant feast is more like a mouthwatering selection of tapas than a stodgy diet of carbohydrates.