Thread: Cardiacs--where to start?

  1. #1

    Cardiacs--where to start?

    I've been really getting into Knifeworld lately. Great stuff that has really hit that avant-pop, vaguely R.I.O.-ish spot; I'd highly recommend them you're into that sort of thing. Anyway, Knifeworld reminded me of my need to further investigate Cardiacs.

    I've tried to find Cardiacs records in the past but haven't had much success as all physical releases seems to be OOP. I have been able to find some stuff on You Tube to at least sample. According to the Cardiacs website, their releases are available on iTunes just waiting for my hard-earned dollar.

    Therefore, good people: help

    P.S. Isn't Knifeworld/Cardiacs member Kavus Tarabi a member here?

  2. #2
    Member TheH's Avatar
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    A LITTLE MAN AND A HOUSE AND THE WHOLE WORLD WINDOW

    On Land And In The Sea

    Cardiacs Live

    and all of William D. Drake solo stuff!

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    yes, kavus torabi is here and contributing. download everything from iTunes and NEVER EVER let go of it again. and make sure to have a look at the live video “mare’s nest” (salisbury/UK, 1990) on youtube. your life will never be the same again. if you do look for a headstart in audio only, i'd recommend

    i/ early (sextett) period: “a little man and a house and the whole world window” (featuring their only quasi-hit “is this the life”)
    ii/ “power” quartet period: “heaven born and ever bright” or “guns” (two of their most accessible albums)
    iii/ advanced listening: “sing to god 1&2” (a demanding listen, but a good friend for life. and it has “dirty boy” on it.)

    i will remain eternally happy to have been able to see them live once on what will probably remain one of the last occasions ever. i can safely say that no other band has amazed and inspired me to this extent during the last decade (admittedly was a bit late to the party). saw this quote on a german fansite which expresses my sentiments about CARDiACS better than anything else:

    “only a small group of people listen to CARDiACS. these belong to the happiest people on earth.”
    Last edited by iguana; 01-25-2013 at 04:17 PM.

  4. #4
    I think you'll find a lot of different answers from Cardiacs fans -in my opinion 'A Little Man and a House' and 'On Land and in the Sea' are classics -lots of keyboards and saxes, a full glorious sound like an English early period Uz Jsme Doma. I thought their sound was diminished when they lost the saxes and keyboards and I personally found the two Sing to God albums unlistenable although many people think they are works of genius, as I'm sure they will tell you.

  5. #5
    wherever you can.......hard to find them at reasonable price but if you can I would recommend Sing to God Part I & II

  6. #6
    What can I tell you? I love it all, and I can say that shamelessly because I wasn't on much of it.

    Gun to my head? On Land And In The Sea but Tim is a visionary, man. every, every, EVERYTHING he wrote is extraordinary.




    ...glad you're enjoying Knifeworld by the way.
    x

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    “tim smith’s extra special ocean land world”. my holy grail.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by alanterrill
    I think you'll find a lot of different answers from Cardiacs fans -in my opinion 'A Little Man and a House' and 'On Land and in the Sea' are classics -lots of keyboards and saxes, a full glorious sound like an English early period Uz Jsme Doma.
    I totally agree. That was the best period for Cardiacs IMO, and at that point they might well have been the best band on Earth, or somewhere very close to that. I would add the amazing live album All that Glitters is a Mares Nest, as well as the very first proper LP, The Seaside, which I just happened to hear for the first time a few months ago.
    I thought their sound was diminished when they lost the saxes and keyboards
    Agreed again. William D. Drake's keys are particularly missed - they brought the whole new dimension to the sound.
    I personally found the two Sing to God albums unlistenable
    Here, however, I don't agree - for me, those are unique and occasionally brilliant works on their own right. Still cutting edge, thought-provoking and fun - but not as transcendent for me as those early classics. I would not recommend starting with them, but I can't imagine my collection without these two CDs.
    Quote Originally Posted by iguana
    i will remain eternally happy to have been able to see them live once on what will probably remain one of the last occasions ever. i can safely say that no other band has amazed and inspired me to this extent during the last decade (admittedly was a bit late to the party).
    I hear ya! I too was lucky to see them once, in London's Astoria, and my experience was further intensified by the fact that I haven't actually heard a note of their music prior to attending the show!! Yes, I'm not joking - I was just reading accolades on PE and then found myself in London (still the only time I've been there) exactly at the time when they performed. So I thought, hell why not just buy a ticket and try it out - after all I can leave early if I don't like the music at all. Suffice to say I didn't do that! I had money for two CDs which I immediately bought - sadly I didn't even remember which albums were considered best, and the merchandise stall was rather ill-positioned, with a lot of people literally taking it by storm. So there was no time to study the CDs offered and get your thoughts together, you just had to shout the wanted titles to a girl on the merchandise, and she'll bring them to you. I only recalled two longer, more memorable titles and ended up grabbing All that Glitters is a Mares Nest and Heaven Born and Ever Bright. Oddly enough, the latter is now probably my least favorite Cardiacs album (which means - still better than 80% of other stuff). But of course, in hindsight I blame myself for not getting On Land & in the Sea or A Little Man and a House. After many years I finally scored the former on vinyl (but not on CD), while the latter I still only have on someone's homemade CDR burn.

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    Matt! polmico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progmatic View Post
    wherever you can.......hard to find them at reasonable price but if you can I would recommend Sing to God Part I & II
    Why is everything so hard to find? I keep hearing good things about this band but have never pulled the trigger on them because their stuff is so hard to find.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

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    Get them all, If you like them, you will anyhow..and Bill Drake's stuff too.

    Dave Sr.

  11. #11
    When I ask these types of questions here, I often also check out the ratings and reviews at progarchives.com. The suggestions here match up exactly with the ratings there. "Little Man", "On Land" and "Sing To God" all have the highest ratings of the studio albums.

  12. #12
    Thanks for the responses so far, been enjoying reading them so keep them coming. Hopefully I can get a couple albums this weekend, but I've got a sneaking suspicion I'm going to end up getting the entire catalog in the not too distant future.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Why is everything so hard to find? I keep hearing good things about this band but have never pulled the trigger on them because their stuff is so hard to find.
    (a) Their CDs were self-released, had little distribution, and were sold primarily through the band's website.
    (b) They've been out-of-print for five or six years now.
    (c) Even when they were in print they retailed for $20-$25 each.

    I haven't really gone looking for any of their CDs since about 2010, at which time you could still typically find them on ebay in the $30 range. What are they selling for now?

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Bbernardini View Post
    When I ask these types of questions here, I often also check out the ratings and reviews at progarchives.com. The suggestions here match up exactly with the ratings there. "Little Man", "On Land" and "Sing To God" all have the highest ratings of the studio albums.
    Likewise on Gnosis.

    If you ever come across it and still miss out on the "physical" Cardiacs discography, don't hesitate to pick up the ironically titled Greatest Hits comp. It only offers a tiny look/listen, but it's enough to make a vast impression. It was the first Cardiacs I got, and I've kept it even though I own basically everything (except for the exclusives) that's on it through other releases.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith

  15. #15
    Worthy of Laudation thedunno's Avatar
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    HUGE Cardiacs fan here.

    I think their best album is Sing to God part 1 & 2. In fact, i think this is the best album ever recorded.

    BUT

    I do not think this is the best album to start with. That would be A man, a house and the whole world window.


    All the Cd's are out of print, but the Cardiacs material is available on Itunes. The big challenge is to find the side-projects, of which some are absolutely essential. Especially the Sea Nymphs and Spratleys Japs. Happy hunting!

  16. #16
    Really enjoy all Cardiacs & related albums but if I had to pick one, it would be 'On Land And In The Sea' - especially the beautiful closing track 'The Everso Closely Guarded Line' which has some lovely chords.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karda Estra View Post
    especially the beautiful closing track 'The Everso Closely Guarded Line' which has some lovely chords.
    prog masterpiece – an “awaken” for the late 1980/early 1990s. i kid you not.

  18. #18
    Worthy of Laudation thedunno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iguana View Post
    prog masterpiece – an “awaken” for the late 1980/early 1990s. i kid you not.
    Agreed. Incredible song. One of the best they did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thedunno View Post
    HUGE Cardiacs fan here.

    I think their best album is Sing to God part 1 & 2. In fact, i think this is the best album ever recorded.

    BUT

    I do not think this is the best album to start with. That would be A man, a house and the whole world window.
    agreed with all this - StG is my favorite all-time as well. but I would start with A Little Man first and go from there. they really are a cult band in the best respect. once you get into them you'll want to hear everything. everything Tim's appeared on is good in some respect. his solo album is actually quite enjoyable, and the Sea Nymphs album (Tim + Sarah Smith and William Drake) is well worth seeking out. good luck!

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    Buy. Whatever.You.Can.Find. You. Will. Not. Be. Disappointed.

  21. #21
    chalkpie
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    Quote Originally Posted by iguana View Post
    yes, kavus torabi is here and contributing. download everything from iTunes and NEVER EVER let go of it again. and make sure to have a look at the live video “mare’s nest” (salisbury/UK, 1990) on youtube. your life will never be the same again. if you do look for a headstart in audio only, i'd recommend

    i/ early (sextett) period: “a little man and a house and the whole world window” (featuring their only quasi-hit “is this the life”)
    ii/ “power” quartet period: “heaven born and ever bright” or “guns” (two of their most accessible albums)
    iii/ advanced listening: “sing to god 1&2” (a demanding listen, but a good friend for life. and it has “dirty boy” on it.)

    i will remain eternally happy to have been able to see them live once on what will probably remain one of the last occasions ever. i can safely say that no other band has amazed and inspired me to this extent during the last decade (admittedly was a bit late to the party). saw this quote on a german fansite which expresses my sentiments about CARDiACS better than anything else:

    “only a small group of people listen to CARDiACS. these belong to the happiest people on earth.”
    Right on, bloke.

    I'm just riding the wave for the first time of any seriousness, and it's like discovering an FZ, Keneally, Bob Drake, Dave Stewart, Vander, Ravel, Wagner....you name it.....on that level. Tim is an incredible composer, to the extent that every Brit should bend down and kiss Tim's white arse, including the Queen and her ilk. This guy should have a British County named after him. His instrumental writing alone is incredibly fresh and full of amazingly inventive ideas. Musical genius is completely valid here.

  22. #22
    Member Romerovm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Right on, bloke.

    I'm just riding the wave for the first time of any seriousness, and it's like discovering an FZ, Keneally, Bob Drake, Dave Stewart, Vander, Ravel, Wagner....you name it.....on that level. Tim is an incredible composer, to the extent that every Brit should bend down and kiss Tim's white arse, including the Queen and her ilk. This guy should have a British County named after him. His instrumental writing alone is incredibly fresh and full of amazingly inventive ideas. Musical genius is completely valid here.
    Musical genius is accurate. Here is some early Cardiacs.


  23. #23
    chalkpie
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    The live version of RES on Garage Concerts is so fucking tight its scary.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I'm just riding the wave for the first time of any seriousness, and it's like discovering an FZ, Keneally, Bob Drake, Dave Stewart, Vander, Ravel, Wagner....you name it.....on that level. Tim is an incredible composer, to the extent that every Brit should bend down and kiss Tim's white arse, including the Queen and her ilk. This guy should have a British County named after him. His instrumental writing alone is incredibly fresh and full of amazingly inventive ideas. Musical genius is completely valid here.
    Your words brought a tear to my eye, man. For real, so true.

    I'm pretty much with the consensus here in terms of recommendations. A Little Man and a House... and Mare's Nest are certainly a great place to dive in. One side project that hasn't been mentioned is Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Mr. Drake. (an earlier version of the Sea Nymphs) If you can locate this thing in ANY form, do yourself a favor. It is such an odd, serene, hauntingly beautiful, melancholy collection of songs, and contains some of William D. Drake's best stuff, IMO.

    And one last thing: this awesome Garage Concert video, found in a post from Kavus (quoted from the current Tim Smith PE thread):

    Quote Originally Posted by Kavus Torabi View Post
    This is very nice by the way:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W86d_...ature=youtu.be

    Someone has synch'd up the live albums' audio with audience footage of most of the gig. This was my first outing onstage as guitarist with Cardiacs in what turned out to be three days that won't soon fade. I never expected my memory of this joyful event to be tinged with the kind of heartbreaking melancholy it is now but nonetheless this is a real treat
    -----------

    "You have the option to drill additional holes in the label,
    causing the record to rotate off the side of the turntable"

    -Tom Ellard - Severed Heads

  25. #25
    Member Romerovm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    The live version of RES on Garage Concerts is so fucking tight its scary.
    It is. I will revisit both Garage Concerts tonight with a good beverage.

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