Images courtesy of Blackest Ever Black
Weekend have shared a free stream of ‘Nostalgia’ from their forthcoming The ’81 Demos, out on Blackest Ever Black on March 3.
Alice Stratton formed Weekend after Young Marble Giants called it a day in 1981. She began writing songs with Mark “Spike” Williams, one of the founders of Z Block Records and a member of the band Reptile Ranch. The trio was filled out by Simon Booth on guitar. They recorded four tracks which can be found on the 12″.
Stratton had this to say about The ’81 Demos in a statement;
“It’s a curious experience revisiting the ’81 demos, which now seem, in retrospect, naive and relatively unburdened musically, however the emotion contained within them is still penetrating through, after 32 years.
‘Drumbeat’ and ‘Red Planes’ began as simple bass lines and vocals I’d written, after the demise of Young Marble Giants, in a fresh and tentative get-together in Cardiff, with Spike, a musician friend, formally with Reptile Ranch and one of the Z Block Records originators. Layered narratives and the wish to portray their emotional content in sound (within my technical limitations) was the driving force for me, and Spike was the perfect partner for entering that atmospheric soundscape. ‘Drumbeat’’s melodic ups and downs tempered the track along its journey until, fittingly, entering the surreal at its end.
On ‘Red Planes’ the contrast of the solemn bass and vocal and Spike’s violin playing, soaring and diving and weaving through every possible mood with no inhibitions, created an almost psychedelic feel with a menacing undercurrent. This highlights the whole feel of freedom at the time, despite the apprehensiveness present in the music.
When I first heard ‘Nostalgia’ I was deeply moved by the bittersweet lyrics and depiction of the human resolve that is needed to survive our emotional experiences. One of the joys of working with Spike was his ability to take the soul on an intense journey just about anywhere when he played violin.
Just as Spike and I began exploring these songs I was contacted by Simon with a view to a possible collaboration. I met up with him at Mole Jazz record shop where he was working. He was full of enthusiasm and vibrantly shared his love of so many jazz greats, firing an interest that has stayed with me to this day.
I was inspired by his positivity but didn’t want to abandon the union with Spike and very soon after, I moved to London, into a squat in Camden, where Weekend was born and the ’81 demos were re-recorded with Simon and Spike.
‘Summerdays’ instrumental was practically squeezed out of the tube as it went on to tape and is now instantly recognisable as a different strand sound-wise.
Simon was skilful at visioning and pulling together a whole team of outstanding jazz and world musicians (Larry Stabbins, Dawson Miller, Roy Dodds and the late Harry Beckett and Simon Jeffes) who along with Spike, all contributed their tremendous skills with great zest and creativity, as well as Robin Millar, who was the magic ingredient that smoothly wove everything together, in the studio, when recording La Varieté. It was an honour to work with them all, and was somewhat of a magical mystery tour and an introduction to one of many lessons in life: to expect the unexpected.”
A2. Red Planes
B2. Summerdays Instrumental