Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

A.R. Kane
"69"


Released 1988 on Rough Trade
Reviewed by Moon Cat, 27/03/2002ce


Amidst a clatter of bongos and some lightly strummed reverb guitar an unusual though melodic voice, more or less goes "ooobleooobleoooble Everything goes crazy!"

Thus starts Crazy Blue, the opening track on this extraordinary album. And its a real gone trip from there on in. And yes, it was made in the '80s. Imagine!

A.R. Kane was the dreamscape brainchild of Alex Ayuli (instruments and stuff) and Rudi Tambala (vocals and more stuff). The music press of the day, in a fantastic example of lazy arsed journalism, picked up on the fact that there were two of 'em and that they occasionally used feedback, and thus often dubbed A.R. Kane the "Black Jesus and Mary Chain". There are minimal similarities but overall its utter bollocks. Where the Mary Chain used their Velvets inspired noise to plough headfirst into full on nihilistic rock on roll, A.R. Kane were a far more eclectic, trippy and experimental proposition. Love the Mary Chain though I do, A.R. Kane are a far more interesting, rewarding and basically joyously head fucking experience. It;s indie rock Jim, but not as we know it. Indeed the use of feedback and rock primitism used by the early Mary Chain is something of a visceral thing. A.R. Kane deal with dreamier, looser textures. Where the Mary Chain scream, A.R. Kane shimmer. And boy do they shine brightly.

"69" is the first full length debut from the band following a series of lush experimental-pop EP's.
For those of you that thought psychedelia and krautrock had come and gone, I assure you there are plenty of elements of both in the magical 40 odd mins of this album.

It maybe said that A.R. Kane inadvertantly invented "shoegazing", but I would say their use of sound, textures and atmosphere, though having similarities with the floppy fringed (sometimes clueless) masses that would arise in the early 90's, owe more to the experimental wigs outs of the 60's and 70's psyche-rock pioneers, albeit perhaps with an added element of 80's indie style as a kind of contemporary addendum to the soundscapes A.R. Kane were swimming in.
(hey...pseuds corner...check that fucker out!)

Something of an indication of the bands inspiration is to be found in the sonic dream gloop of centerpiece track "Spermwhale Trip Over". Within the crystalline sound shards and honeyscapes, Rudi sings softly of "LSDReaming" What can he mean?!

However, the track on "69" that shows just how far out A.R. Kane would go is "Sulliday". A slow indie-ish start builds to an eventual gibbering mass of tripped out weirdazoidness. Kind of like if Gong and Cosmic Jokers were involved in a pile up with ...ooooo lets see now.....Ride.

In fact I would argue that "69" is a must have in anyone's collection that has an interest in psychedelia, simply to attest that in a small corner of indie land, someone was really out there, still at it.

Though A.R. Kane got the critics seal of approval, they never quite translated the praise into sales. They released two more albums. "I" which is kind of like a benchmark for some billion genres of alt-music( and even some dance music*), and is perhaps more accesible than "69", and "New Clear Child" which is ok, though lacks the depth and cosmically dwarf star devouring satisfaction of the first two albums. There is a fairly comprehensive compilation called Americana, but I would still state that "69" is the standout achievement of this commercially underachieving but influential and artistically triumphant pair of star troopers.

I kind of feel that had "69" been released in 1974, half of HH would be frantically reaching into their underwear for inspirational praise. Check it out and take a trip the the "Other" 80's. A.R. Kane. gone, but soundtracking a small nebulae forming near you.

"Everything goes crazy"...but in a gooooood way

* Ironically A.R. Kane enjoyed a no. 1 single (1987/8ish?)as part of M/A/R/R/S with Pump Up The Volume, a collaboration with two of Colourbox, and DJ;s CJ Mackintosh and Dave Dorrell. Rudi and Alex's use of sound collage was skillfully mixed into this proto house classic. Influential in another field you could say.


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