From his chart-bothering work as The Grid in the early 90s through to recent club monsters with Erol Alkan as Beyond The Wizards Sleeve and his more psychedelic outings as The Time and Space Machine it seems Richard Norris has it all covered.
He’s also worked with everyone from Joe Strummer to Jah Wobble and recently stepped out from behind all the monikers and released the brilliant “Freaks” for Labs favourite Throne of Blood under his own name.
The man’s knowledge of electronic music is fairly limitless so we thought we’d see if we could crawl inside his head and uncover some absolute gems, I think we just scraped the tip of the iceberg here…
Richard Norris unveils 10 lost disco and psychedelic gems
1. Judy Henske and Jerry Yester ‘Farewell Aldebaran’ (Straight)
From the reversed out psychedelic gatefold sleeve to the lysergic tinged acid folk strangeness inside, this overlooked piece of magic, released on Frank Zappa’s Straight label in 1969, is a magnet for the curious.
2. Bobak, Jons, Malone ‘Motherlight’ (Morgan Blue Town)
Great melodic UK psych on a label put together by great character and music man Monty Babson, who, amongst other things, produced The Smoke’s ‘My Friend Jack’. For that and this 1970 release we should be grateful. Wil Malone from this album went on to work with all sorts including the Verve and Massive Attack.
3. Damon ‘Song Of A Gypsy’ (Guerssen)
A private press psych album unearthed by a Canadian dealer that has since been selling for $3000 on ebay. Luckily it’s been rereleased, and Damon the Gypsy is now touring, and has just done his first Rolling Stone interview, aged 73.
4. Fairfield Parlour ‘From Home To Home’ (Vertigo)
UK release on Verigo from post – UK Kaleidoscope band Fairfield Parlour. Great folk tinged tales, with ‘Aries’ a particular favourite. I was fortunate enough to DJ at Kaleidoscope’s London gig last year, where they played this, majestically.
5. Mellow Candle ‘Swaddling Songs’ (Deram)
More UK folk psych, from a principally Irish band. Featuring the sublime voice of Clodagh Simonds, who has more recently released some fine albums as part of Fovea Hex. Brian Eno, Roger Eno and more appear on the albums – seek them out.
6. Michael Brook ‘Ultramarine’ (4AD)
One of my all time favorite records. It’s a collection of guitar pieces, treated with echoes, rhythms, loops, by Canadian musician Brook, who had previously worked with Robert Fripp and Nusrat Ali Fateh Khan. Hypnotic, graceful, a thing of great beauty.
7. Edgar Froese – Aqua (Virgin)
Electronic music, strangely, doesn’t seem to date much. This still sounds like an otherworldly future, forty years since it’s original release. Now I own many of the synthesisers this was made with, the initial outer space impact of hearing this is diminished somewhat, but it’s still a very powerful set.
8. Material – Seven Souls (Virgin)
Bill Laswell’s Material have covered a lot of ground, from Garage classics, through drone, dub, ambient and beyond. This 1989 album includes a great guest vocal from William Burroughs, a great piece of atmosphere solid as a landscape.
9. Phil France – The Swimmer
A more recent album (2013), one that whenever I put it on at home and there’s people round, they say ‘what’s that?’ And most of them end up buying it. I know next to nothing about Phil France, although a quick Google reveals he is also in the Cinematic Orchestra and based in Manchester or thereabouts. I do know, however, I’ve sold him a lot of albums…
10. Sinoia Caves – The Enchanter Persuaded (Jagjagwar)
Another more recent album, which in common with the four above, is instrumental, electronic, atmospheric. My favorite music when it comes down to it. Somewhere between ‘More’ era Floyd, the Edgar Froese album above and your favorite John Carpenter soundtrack. Sinoia Caves is Jeremy Schmidt from Black Mountain, he also did the music for great recent sci fi psych movie Beyond The Black Rainbow.
You can catch Richard in action alongside Justin Robertson at the Ace Hotel in London on the 14th of November for a special night with Throne of Blood featuring DJ sets and live modular synth performances. Sounds ace (sorry).
Richard also recently delivered a rather brilliant guest mix for Mixmag so get your ears around that below: