Tuesday, 22 January 2013

According to Paul


Chart climbing club tracks tend to tread well-established thematic terrain: love (both true and unrequited), running game, thug living and the gauche tastes of the nouveau riche.  But as with the British explorer David Livingstone, British producer Paul Hardcastle ventured into unknown territories avoided by those faint of heart and sound of mind.  In the early 80s he composed several italo and electro singles on such varied topics as: king tut, the rainforest, and lest we forget, the horrors of Vietnam and post-traumatic stress disorder.  Seriously.  Hand to god.  

"King Tut" riffs on some vaguely middle-eastern musical tropes and is a bit of a sleeper.  But the video is crazy dope. Anyone for inexplicable keytars in space?

"Rainforest" resides musically equidistant between the jheri-curled slow jams on Solar Records and 808 State's early rave anthem "Pacific 202."

"Forest Fire," which was released on the album Rainforest and as a b-side to later releases of the titled single, is a vocoding, scritchy-scratching, electro-boogie monster that burns the mother down.

"19," named for the average age of American combat soldiers who fought in Da Nang, is Hardcastle's big hit.  The synths are superb, the drums hit hard, the stuttered Max Headroom vocals are classic.  But it seems wildly obscene to dance while inebriated to such heady lyrics.  Lyric, incidentally, that were so popular that they were translated into French, German, Spanish and Japanese.


"King Tut," Profile, 1985

Discogs: King Tut





"Rain Forest," Blue Bird, 1984

Discogs: Rain Forest





"Forest Fire," Blue Bird, 1984

Discogs: Rain Forest





"19 (Destruction Mix)," Chrysalis, 1985

Discogs: 19





Hardcastle's more recent production is the antithesis of both creativity and music.  It's trite and offensive sax-heavy soft jazz - the sort of telephone muzak you would hear while on hold with an underachieving carpet cleaning company, or the sexy/not-sexy-at-all score to those scrambled late-night movies on pay-per-view that you'd attempt to "watch" when you were twelve years old.  I only include this video because it may be the funniest tribute video on Youtube I have ever seen.  Keep your eye out for the Dance With Me movie poster.  Romance par excellence.


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