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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Alternative TV - Vibing Up The Senile Man (Part One)

Released : March 2, 1979
Recorded at Pathway Sound Studios, Oct/Nov 1978.
Genre : Post-Punk, Art Rock, New Wave
Label : Deptford Fun City
Producer : Dennis Burns, Mark Perry

On the second album of Alternative TV, Mark Perry and friends did to punk exactly what the movement had intended for the establishment. About-facing punk and turning it on its ear would be a difficult task in 1980, and while Alternative TV's peers headed down new wave paths or into commercialism, the authors of the quintessential "You Bastard" single (regarded by many, John Peel included, as a classic) and, of course, The Image Has Cracked LP, which remains on a par with the first Sex Pistols or Clash albums for genre-defining punk, who would have expected a follow-up as avant-garde abstraction that challenges P.I.L's Second Edition for absolute left-field swing? With Genesis P-Orridge in the ranks, Vibing Up the Senile Man became closer to free improvisation and avant-garde jazz without a punk anthem in sight, and a dub edge to some of the tracks of the double LP suggest that Alternative TV had similar modernist aspirations to John Lydon's post-Sex Pistols project. Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa spring to mind as much as Pere Ubu and the Red Krayola, who were similarly exploring the avant-garde liberties of post-punk and disappointing the punks and record industry alike. What Vibing Up the Senile Man represents two decades later is a door opening on multi-faceted post-rock music -- which draws on avant-garde, noise, and jazz and arguably makes more sense in the context of year 2000 as a musical treasure much more than in 1980, when it seemed simply a spit in the eye to the industry that codified punk.

Tracks

1. Release The Natives
2. Serpentine Gallery
3. Poor Association
4. The Radio Story
5. Facing Up To The Facts
6. The Good Missionary
7. Graves Of Deluxe Green
8. Smile In The Day


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