Saturday, April 04, 2009


The Police contemporaries "UK" were a, you guess it, UK group who disappeared from the scene even a few years earlier than their illustrious countrymen. UK was formed in September 1976 by John Wetton (vocals/bass guitar) and Bill Bruford (drummer). For a short while Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman joined, until he was called back by his label, A&M Records, who did not like Wakeman's side project. Bruford and Wetton then had quite some difficulty to find stable musicians, first unsuccesfully trying to draw in Robert Fripp (from King Crimson), then succeeding to bring in Allan Holdsworth (Soft Machine, Gong) - and losing him after a US tour in 78. Another member was Eddie Jobson, a violinist/keyboardist who had worked with Roxy Music and Frank Zappa. In the meantime, they had released their nameless debut album, but it wasn't until 1979, when Bruford himself had already left, that UK finally scored a first hit. This was Rendez-Vous 6:02, from the album Danger Money. I instantly liked it, or perhaps "like" is not the correct word. I found it interesting at first, began to like it only after. It's some kind of light, ethereal rock - they called it progressive rock back then - and I guess it requires most people a few hears before it ticks. Or does not. Here it is.

In 1980, UK disbanded because Jobson and Wetton could not agree on the line to follow. Either way, during its short and tumultuous existence, UK's distincitive sound was the product of skilled musicians, who blended together a curious mix of jazzy harmonies, electric violins, close harmony vocals, odd time signatures, and a variety of synthesizer sonorities. At any time the band had great potential, yet for some reason its members could never find the chemistry that sticks together a truly successful group. Regular reader Mark may be interested to know that they worked together with Jethro Tull and even performed as their opening act on a US tour.

Fast forward to 2002. Moby. Extreme Ways. Moby is an asshat. So is Matt Damon. Yet I like the music from the former and (most) movies from the latter. As Mark said on a previous thread, you "don't have to agree with a music artist's politics to enjoy their music." Likewise, while I consider Damon an absolute scumbag for his political stance, I have no trouble admitting he was a perfect cast for the great Jason Bourne series.

Interesting to know from the wikipedia entry is that from 1982 to 1985 Moby was in a hardcore punk band called the Vatican Commandos (bwahahahahahaaaaa!!!!), who "released an EP called Hit Squad for God." And reading that he was also in a Joy Division-inspired post-punk group called AWOL, brought back sound memories from the punk age (Joy Division was quite good in my book). Oh yeah. If you liked Extreme Ways, you might also want to listen to Lift me Up. And if you are a sensitive, caring character, like American Muslim, I can counsel Slipping Away. Both songs are from the album Hotel (2005). Just a hint.

Some trivia you can score with. Moby's real name is Richard Melville Hall, and he allegedly got his nickname from his parents because of an ancestral relationship to Moby Dick author Herman Melville, who supposedly was his great-great-great-granduncle!

Good night.


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