Thread: Cardiacs--where to start?

  1. #3776
    Member Phlakaton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kavus Torabi View Post
    I can perhaps shed a little light on the frustrating omission of Gloomy News.
    Tim had edited all the music portions and the inside the shed sections, we put some highlights on YouTube with the hope of finishing it fairly soon after before the miserable events of June 2008 spoiled everything.

    Along with all the other projects we were working on, everything was on Tim’s computer(s), various hard drives and other data storing engines that I don’t really understand about.
    Things surrounding Tim were so desperate and fraught over the next few years that followed, that nothing was done to retrieve anything. Cardiacs was the last thing on our minds...there were far more pressing issues of Tim’s health, care etc. Also, legally there was a lot of bullshit surrounding Alphabet which meant we were unable to release any Cardiacs stuff, hence old CD’s exchanging hands for up to £500 on eBay! That’s why Bic and Jo had the idea of doing the tribute album to raise money for Tim at the time.
    As things levelled a bit and Mary took over the ship properly, Tim was able to find a better, albeit frustrating, way of communication and was keen to start tying up loose ends (the second Sea Nymphs album, for instance) we realised a lot of the software was now obsolete.
    Our friend, filmmaker Paul Morricone (from the sensational Scarabanga Six), took on the unenviable task of completing the film to Tim’s instructions. Whatever you see on the DVD is what he had available. There was no sign of Gloomy News.
    For what it’s worth I remember us recording Hope Day and To Go Off And Things too (Hope Day because I was pretty pleased with my snazzy guitar playing of the mad fast keyboard tune on the original and there was a nice close up of my fingers! To Go Off I remember being treated in this nightmarish monochromatic way during the ‘Squa-lor-is! At large! In tidy sub-ur-bia!’ section.)
    All attempts to locate these in the mass of obsolete formats, broken gear and mildew have proved unsuccessful, sadly.
    Thank you sir! Always nice to get solid info. BTW - dropped you a PM.

  2. #3777
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Hinge View Post
    Since being introduced to Cardiacs about 6 months ago (I know, I'm a latecomer to the party), I've been absolutely obsessed with everything about them, as seems to be the way of such things when one's life is injected with the overpowering rush of such music. I must have watched "Some Fairytales From The Rotten Shed" nearly a hundred times since then and, with my increasing Cardiacs knowledge, a new thing appears to me each time. Not least in this list of things is the fact that, as Phlakaton says, there's a clip of "Gloomy News" in the YouTube clip preceding "As Cold As Can Be In An English Sea"... but there's no "Gloomy News" on the DVD itself.

    I assume that the DVD is the edited version of the rehearsals for the "Special Garage Concerts" releases so that must mean there's a whole load of stuff on the cutting room floor. I don't suppose anyone knows where to get such material or, like a lot of Cardiacs stuff, you just had to be there at the time or you lose out?

    Also, seeing as I'm a bit of a completist, does anyone know of any tracks they played live that were never actually recorded? And whether a decent quality version of "The Obvious Identity" and the first EP with "A Bus For A Bus On The Bus" exists as, for some reason, I find myself enthralled more with the early "nightmare fairground and sea shanties" sound than the later releases.
    Discovering this band was such a special time for me and it was both life-changing and therapeutic (my dad was very sick during this time and this music helped me to get through that rotten time). Tim is such a monster composer and musician - off the charts really - an absolute musical genius on the level of virtually anybody you can name, including the great olde dead guys from various corners of Europe (imo of course). Congrats on the discovery and enjoy the ride. You seem to have caught the magic sparkle that gleams brightly from both the music and the band members/fanbase that is so unique to Cardiacs universe. The only "downside" is that they have a tendency to spoil other bands/artists you once thought were great.
    If it isn't Krautrock, it's krap.

    "And it's only the giving
    That makes you what you are" - Ian Anderson

  3. #3778
    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    The only "downside" is that they have a tendency to spoil other bands/artists you once thought were great.
    Absolutely true! I knew about them when I was already 27 (in 2006) so I already had a lot of fave bands, that clearly I still like but they're now at their place, compared to Cardiacs. For now I only hold Zappa, The Beatles and The Spice Girls as the same high place!

    It's a bit like this video showing the size of planets. you see Jupiter and you say "hey that's huge!" than you discover Alpha Centauri.


  4. #3779
    Quote Originally Posted by Phlakaton View Post
    I landed in Cardiacs land about 5 years ago now - and it took me a solid year or so to GET IT. Hated the chanting nature and the very British-ness of the singing at first - now it's my favorite part... or close. There are good copies floating around of the Toy World tape (ahem)
    "Getting it" was, for me, also a bit of a journey as I always counted myself as a death metal head and the more technical and mental that death metal was then the better. In fact, were it not for Napalm Death's cover of "To Go Off And Things", I might not have sought out what the original sounded like, had my mind blown, and then not have the blinding musical light in my life that I now have that overpowers everything else I've ever listened to.

    I can't find a decent quality version of "Toy World" either but I've read that it was recorded onto a potato in the first place so locating a decent version will be as rare as rocking horse shit

    Quote Originally Posted by aith01 View Post
    Welcome aboard the train, my friend!

    I didn't get into Cardiacs until mid-2015, so I'm really not knowledgeable enough to shed any light on your questions. I just wanted to say "welcome", and that I'm glad you're loving this music so much. I went through a similar experience, where I was listening to them every day (often repeating the same album multiple times per day). It's addictive and absolutely wonderful stuff once it hits.
    Thank you for the welcome, sir, as well as all the props other folk have sent me for being a pretty recent convert LOL! I don't think a day has gone by since I first heard them that I haven't either listened to them or spoke at length to anyone who will listen that they should ALSO be listening to them! I'm alienating a lot of people as a result (and my girlfriend rolls her eyes whenever I mention the name) but that's their fault that they don't understand

    Quote Originally Posted by Kavus Torabi View Post
    I can perhaps shed a little light on the frustrating omission of Gloomy News.
    Tim had edited all the music portions and the inside the shed sections, we put some highlights on YouTube with the hope of finishing it fairly soon after before the miserable events of June 2008 spoiled everything.

    Along with all the other projects we were working on, everything was on Tim’s computer(s), various hard drives and other data storing engines that I don’t really understand about.
    Things surrounding Tim were so desperate and fraught over the next few years that followed, that nothing was done to retrieve anything. Cardiacs was the last thing on our minds...there were far more pressing issues of Tim’s health, care etc. Also, legally there was a lot of bullshit surrounding Alphabet which meant we were unable to release any Cardiacs stuff, hence old CD’s exchanging hands for up to £500 on eBay! That’s why Bic and Jo had the idea of doing the tribute album to raise money for Tim at the time.
    As things levelled a bit and Mary took over the ship properly, Tim was able to find a better, albeit frustrating, way of communication and was keen to start tying up loose ends (the second Sea Nymphs album, for instance) we realised a lot of the software was now obsolete.
    Our friend, filmmaker Paul Morricone (from the sensational Scarabanga Six), took on the unenviable task of completing the film to Tim’s instructions. Whatever you see on the DVD is what he had available. There was no sign of Gloomy News.
    For what it’s worth I remember us recording Hope Day and To Go Off And Things too (Hope Day because I was pretty pleased with my snazzy guitar playing of the mad fast keyboard tune on the original and there was a nice close up of my fingers! To Go Off I remember being treated in this nightmarish monochromatic way during the ‘Squa-lor-is! At large! In tidy sub-ur-bia!’ section.)
    All attempts to locate these in the mass of obsolete formats, broken gear and mildew have proved unsuccessful, sadly.
    Holy shit! Kavus Torabi has replied to something I posted! Thanks for taking the time to explain this, man. It's a shame, selfishly-speaking, that we may never witness these gems but I'd gladly trade in all of that just for Tim to be well again.

    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    Discovering this band was such a special time for me and it was both life-changing and therapeutic (my dad was very sick during this time and this music helped me to get through that rotten time). Tim is such a monster composer and musician - off the charts really - an absolute musical genius on the level of virtually anybody you can name, including the great olde dead guys from various corners of Europe (imo of course). Congrats on the discovery and enjoy the ride. You seem to have caught the magic sparkle that gleams brightly from both the music and the band members/fanbase that is so unique to Cardiacs universe. The only "downside" is that they have a tendency to spoil other bands/artists you once thought were great.
    Thanks, man. I thought I was well versed in musical genres but Cardiacs seem to have developed one all of their own. I can't think of another band that sounds like them or anywhere close. And, as you say, they've pretty much spoiled every other band I ever liked due to the experience of hearing this sound that flicks all the switches in my brain rendering nearly all past musical experiences as detritus. Cardiacs have ruined my life basically but also elevated it to a different level altogether and one that I'm still finding my feet in. It's a journey that will hopefully never end I'm loving every second of it.

    Need to go. "Visiting Hours" from the shed DVD has just come on and I always feel the need to trash the place when that end riff slams in!

  5. #3780
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    What??? More then a month no activity in this thread? No way!

    Just found my old review on PA for Sing to God again. I must have been high on 'dirty boy' when I wrote this but I still agree with the things I wrote here.

    I have been a member quite a few years of PA (albeit not the most active one) and I have never reviewed my favourite album of all time. But how do you review an album that is perfect in every sense, a masterpiece through and through?
    I will not. I will just try to explain what this album does to me.

    I remember I lost sight of the Cardiacs after the release of Heaven born and ever bright. A few years later I saw in my favourite record shop in Rotterdam some manic faces grinning at me on a record cover. Cardiacs ~ Sing to God. Hey, that is that band I used to like so much! Of course I bought the CD and put it on the moment I arrived back home.

    I simply could not believe what I was hearing. It was all that you could expect from Cardiacs but at the same time nothing you could possibly have expected. All the known Cardiacs elements were there but multiplied a few hundred times to the extreme. Almost every tune is a perfect example of beatleseque tunefulness combined with manic inventiveness.

    20 years later my feelings about the album are even stronger. I can not stop myself from singing and clapping along with "dog like sparky" (much to the complete despair of my wife). The punk tornado that is 'Fiery gun hand' leaves me completely exhausted and gasping for breath again and again. The intense onslaught of 'Dirty boy' still brings me in a state of higher consciousness were all I can still do is produce some sort of lunatic grin. And if you see a guy in his late forties jumping around like a maniac through his living room that is probably me, when "bellyeye" is blasting through the speakers.

    After almost 20 years and a trillion of plays "sing to god" still leaves me completely amazed.

    5 stars of course, but I'd rather give a million.


    10 years later I even named my dog Sparky

  6. #3781
    Hi chaps.

    Iíve just read through this thread, so felt I should contribute.

    This will probably be familiar to UK members, but during an Easter break job in 1988, I remember hearing Is This the Life on Radio 1. It was played almost daily for a few weeks (by Gary Davies of all people - who, kudos to him, was also playing Bed Are Burning by Midnight Oil - a great track/band). Being more into indie/post-punk at the time, Is This The Life was right up my street. It was (and still is) one of my favourite songs. I then did the obvious next thing and bought the album, the CD of ALMAAH.

    Again this will be familiar, but my initial thoughts were "What the f***?". Clearly Is This the Life is a very atypical Cardiacs track (although obviously it does have a few eccentricities like a 3min+ outro), so the album was initially a little "challenging", and led to a red pill/blue pill moment. I know I am preaching to the converted, but I took the red pill and soon realised that I had entered what I can only be describe as a glimpse inside the world of mad genius. Some of my friends couldn't get past the inital WTF?, and never got into it. It became a firm favourite for me.

    ALM is a fantastic album by anyone's standards. I'm not really "prog", so I view Cardiacs as a little bit like 60s psychedlia (dare I say experimental-phase Beatles), with a bit of Kinks whimsy, through the lens of punk. (Obviously they're difficult to classify, but regardless, there's just so much going on). I'm not a musician, but it's interesting to hear North Sea Radio Orchestra, where Cardiacs-like music is played on classical instruments - I'm not sure if it's quite the same thing, but the odd chord-progressions etc make a bit more aural sense, and are not quite as jarring to the uninitiated?

    It's difficult to pick highlights, but my favs on ALM are probably A Little Man, The Breakfast Line, Victory (Egg? - not sure which it is), and The Whole World Window. Oddly I don't rate RES as highly as some on this thread - although it is great - perhaps I like the slightly less manic tracks? Also as I had the early CD, it has some of the early EP stuff - Loosefish Scapegrace is another work of genius (and possibly the most complete Cardiacs song of that era IMO?), and All Spectacular is great.

    Next thing was to buy Cardiacs Live (which contains another of my favs Big Ship) and OLAITS. I must confess, OLAITS didn't grab me in the same way ALM did, but it's still a great album.

    The UK music press's treatment of Cardiacs was truly baffling. They were clearly extremely capricious in that era, and what was considered "cool" was often arbitrarily decided, then doggedly followed without compromise. To miss the bizarre genius of Dr Smith was indeed an unforgivable oversight. (Although, I seem to remember even bands like Floyd and Zepplin got a hard time from some journo's in that era). More latterly, the music press were much more even-handed.

    Although I've regularly played ALM over the intervening years, I've recenty been reawoken to Cardiacs. I thought best to tackle them chronologically, so HBEB was my next choice.

    It's another brilliant album - not quite as eccentric as previous works, but still barely conventional, and packed full of ideas. Day is Gone is another relatively conventional song (in the mould of Is This The Life); and March and Core are also relatively accessible. But for the record company related problems, any of these could've been cross-over hits. I can't help thinking Cardiacs have been a little unlucky.

    Next stop, Sing to God!

  7. #3782
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    ^^^ great stuff [emoji106][emoji106]

  8. #3783
    Quote Originally Posted by The Hinge View Post
    In fact, were it not for Napalm Death's cover of "To Go Off And Things"
    Ahhhh what a GLORIOUS bit of madness that is. I use it to clear drunks out of my car on a regular basis.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robcat View Post
    Next stop, Sing to God!
    You'd best prepare yourself. (I'm not joking, buddy)

    Some of the densest music ever created -- not to mention some of the most hazardous earworms in music history -- reside on that pair of discs.
    -----------

    "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

  9. #3784
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Hinge View Post
    "Getting it" was, for me, also a bit of a journey as I always counted myself as a death metal head and the more technical and mental that death metal was then the better. In fact, were it not for Napalm Death's cover of "To Go Off And Things", I might not have sought out what the original sounded like, had my mind blown, and then not have the blinding musical light in my life that I now have that overpowers everything else I've ever listened to.

    Oh man that's fun!
    Ian

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  10. #3785
    Quote Originally Posted by NogbadTheBad View Post
    Oh man that's fun!
    Not for the drunks in my car!
    -----------

    "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

  11. #3786
    Member MaikH's Avatar
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    I've taken the plunge, and what is already certain to be only the first batch of CDs arrived this week from the Alphabet Business Concern. Based on the recommendations given in this thread, I've went with A Little Man ..., On Land and in the Sea, Sing to God, the Garage Live Album plus the first Sea Nymphs. I'm planning to pace myself and take it album by album. For A Little Man, my bewilderment has transmuted into joy, but dear god, this is dense stuff!

    One thing that neither reviews nor youtube vids had me expecting is the wonderful horn arrangements on the first and last track and the interlude - I expected saxophone, but the additional colours were a nice surprise. Apart from that, this is indeed as amazingly good and unique music as you good folks advertised. Intense, intricate, but always in service to the song, not to show off. And probably a good deal more demanding on the players than on the listener ...

    I've also dipped my toes into On Land and in the Sea, which seemed to be even less accessible on the first spin. On the other hand, the proto-metal interlude in The Duck and Roger the Horse has a break so good that it made my laugh out loud, so I'll be getting there eventually, I guess. In the meantime, a big thank you to all you enthusiasts - you do good work!

  12. #3787
    Quote Originally Posted by MaikH View Post
    On the other hand, the proto-metal interlude in The Duck and Roger the Horse has a break so good that it made my laugh out loud
    I had a very similar reaction to some parts of that album when I was first getting to know it. Joyous!

  13. #3788
    Member doh's Avatar
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    Film Festival to show Cardiacs film, a Kavus concert, and a Kavus interview.

    https://www.progressiveears.org/foru...ajor-Parkinson

  14. #3789
    New Spratleys Japs / Panixphere release: https://theconfinementtapes.bandcamp...ement-release6

    "Enjoy for free or PLEASE DONATE what you wish. All proceeds from IS THIS THE LIFE will go direct to TIM SMITH for his sweets and comics."
    Infinite Ceiling on www.ckcufm.com every Thursday night at 8:30 with me or Mark Keill, archived shows: https://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/112/...tml?filter=all
    Electronic Meditation on www.ckcufm.com archived shows: https://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/462/...tml?filter=all

  15. #3790
    Quote Originally Posted by smcfee View Post
    New Spratleys Japs / Panixphere release: https://theconfinementtapes.bandcamp...ement-release6

    "Enjoy for free or PLEASE DONATE what you wish. All proceeds from IS THIS THE LIFE will go direct to TIM SMITH for his sweets and comics."
    The live version of Hands sounds fantastic. I think it might be the rare case where I prefer a live recording to the studio version, which I also loved but this just has such a cool energy.

    And it's fantastic to finally be able to hear a Panixphere piece properly! Will an album ever come out? I hope at some point they might consider putting up the rest of that gig.

    edit: just found jon poole's solo stuff on bandcamp and my gosh i have had to buy them all. this is really really good stuff
    Last edited by auxfnx; 07-12-2020 at 09:47 AM.

  16. #3791
    A cover of Sea Nymphs "Appealing to Venus" for String Quartet ??

    Back in summer 2015, in a dream (or I was taking a shower?) I envisioned a string quartet arrangement for this wonderful Sea Nymphs' Tim Smith penned tune, so I asked my highly esteemed friend and pondie Paolo Sala - you may know him for his amazing covers of "Tarred and Feathered" and "The Everso Closely Guarded Line" - to write one in the style of George Martin. And he did! So we had a very cool version of it, but unfortunately the midi sounds of the strings were not "real" enough for a release, so we had to let the score lay aside, waiting for the day when having a real string quartet was possible.
    Now fast forward to Quarantine & Lockdown in late May 2020, when Dominique found about Layer Bows, a team of very skilled roman string players able to fulfill our dreams. So we sent them the score, and after less than 48 hours we had our REAL string quartet arrangement done perfectly! Next: we soon booked the "Jungle Music Factory", the studio of our friend and producer Francesco Grammatico (who also produced our major opus "Real Estate / Fake Inverno") and on June 20 Dominique and me went there to record lead and backing vocals, clarinet and flute.
    Our five-years long fantasy was now reality!


    Hope you like it!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpNq_nniP3Q
    Last edited by Sterbus; 07-12-2020 at 02:43 PM.

  17. #3792
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Congrats Sterbus and co.! That was fantastic.

  18. #3793
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Great version Sterbus. Loved it!

  19. #3794
    Member adap2it's Avatar
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    Excellent!!
    Dave Sr.

    I prefer Nature to Human Nature

  20. #3795
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    PLEASE let this not be true..........

  21. #3796
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    Still waiting for an official announcement but it appears to be true. Prepare for the worst guys.

  22. #3797
    Member thedunno's Avatar
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    The cardiacs.net site just turned like this

    https://www.cardiacs.net/

    I guess there's no denying anymore. Rest in Peace dear Tim Smith, you absolute beauty of a man.

    I am absolutely gutted.

  23. #3798
    I'm here for the moosic NogbadTheBad's Avatar
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    Very sad day.
    Ian

    Gordon Haskell - "You've got to keep the groove in your head and play a load of bollocks instead"
    I blame Wynton, what was the question?
    There are only 10 types of people in the World, those who understand binary and those that don't.

  24. #3799

  25. #3800
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Hopefully some folks here will check out Cardiacs for the first time. This thread was invaluable during my discovery of this wonderful music, and this amazing music helped me immensely to get through my father's illness in 2013. I am so thrilled that Tim was able to see the PhD awarded to him during his life, not so much as the award itself, but rather to show just how appreciated he is/was.

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