Category Archives: Railcars

Paean to one of the truly enlightened

Featuring : Kate Bush + Railcars

Once there was a little girl, and the little girl was only small, but her eyes were big and her ears were keen, and her wit was quick. She stayed in the library room of her house, and she read many books, and she heard voices in the books speaking to her, and this isn’t supposed to happen, but she wasn’t scared.

This little girl also went out in the woods around her house all alone, and she wasn’t supposed to do this, but she was fearless and she did it anyway. In the woods she found wild and lonely places where the old Cairns stood, and there wasn’t anyone there, not even small animals, only herself, and the Cairns, and the wind, and she heard voices in the wild and lonely places, speaking to her. And she wasn’t scared, and she listened.

The little girl grew up to become a great and famous wizard and many people listened to what she said, and she said what she had learnt from the old books and the wild places, but in new ways so that people could understand, if only a little.

These messages, other people picked up and they said them in their own voices, and sometimes they became something different because these people, they knew other things, but you could always tell when the people who picked them up had understood what she meant because they didn’t sound scared even though she was such a great and famous wizard, and she was speaking to them in a clear and pretty voice.

And this proves how true were the old names of the things she had learned in her books, and in her lonely errands into the wild woods.

We warned you about Railcars’ plan to cover Kate Bush’s legendary and incandescent and totemic Hounds of Love album some time ago. Well, the time is now, and the album is here (and here), and we have listened to it and it’s a thing which is strange, and heartfelt, and weirdly beautiful in the way in which the original is, but at the same time, very different. And this is a good thing, for what would the point otherwise?

Railcars – The big sky

Watch Kate’s mighty African steed gallop through the grid of Motown acid and jagged megalithic pop that Aria has meshed, to soar up and burning Pegasus-phoenix-like into the sky, crash through it and beyond, leaving us earthbound and cowering under a deluge of heavenly fragments, the source of that gigantic drone with which the song closes.

(This one was on co-op mode with Altered Zones)

The Storyteller

Featuring : Railcars

Over the last few months Aria Jalali of Railcars fame has been dropping jewels all over the cobbled streets of the 20Jazzfunkgreats dominion, thus creating a glittering path for our brightest and most magically attuned children to follow doe-eyed, and the pro magpies that infest our sturdy trees to invigilate for the sparklingest of catches.

After the excellent carnival of unidentifiable spices and campfire recollections of legendary adventures that was Gypsy Treasures, it is the Railcars incarnation itself that today animates our typing, and elevates our spirit. It is with Said Sister, a 7’’ where you will find moments of the stunning Cathedral with no Eyes reconfigured in that brutally bewitching fashion which we have come, somewhat unfairly, to expect from this talented dude.

Saints are waiting, the A-side, is the folk tale where we hear of a fair maiden of rosy cheeks very much lost in the wrong neck of the brocken woods, that where not even the fiercest wolves dare to hunt, and of the forces that she faces in a blasted clearing in the deepest midst of the self-same woods, and of how she marshals these ancient and perhaps malignant, or maybe just untractable forces, with heirloom spells of coralline glamour hand stitched in the fold of her enchanted cloak. Of how she never comes back, and of the pretty flowers that start blooming in the damned brocken after all of this has happened.

Railcars – Saints are waiting

Hounds of History

The Hounds of Tindalos leap across the angles connecting temporal dimensions lean and athirst. They truly are truculent beasts who have put a ghastly end to the career of many a chrononaut, yet they can be house-broken with a thick enough edition of the Great Race of Yith’s newspaper, and a powerful purpose. To kidnap from the avenues of history mythical musics is the sort of mission that these preternatural beasts instinctively understand, and abide.

Watch them now, as they begin the chase, jaws agape and frothing with poison, eyes of cruel obsidian zeroing on their prey over a hunting ground of decades, centuries or aeons which you glimpse for a heartbeat, any longer and the walls of your sanity would crumble. What follows isn’t pretty, powerful music is an elusive quarry, and one which lashes viciously when cornered.

Eventually the Hound returns, scarred, a peculiar hint of weaknesses in its trot, oft empty-clawed, other times with a mangled song hanging from its jaws, mutilated and bloody, warped by a maddening journey in a trajectory orthogonal to time. It is this frenzied butchering that reveals the kernel of magick which makes the spell of a song strong and immortal, herein lies the joy of this brutal exercise.

Our failure to report the activities of Fan Death, one of the best labels out there borders in the sinful. Let us begin to redress this situation by referring you to one of the coolest bands in their excellent rooster. They are the greatly named Puerto Rico Flowers (no website for them), who as you might know feature John Sharkey of Clockcleaner legend.

In their debut 7” we watched them roam a wilderness of devastation, snarling like a brooding Bauhaus beast blinded by synthetic acid. In their new single, ‘2’, they take on Neil Young’s ‘When Your Lonely Heart Breaks’ with dirgey zest, turning it into a rumbling bonfire of epic, icy despair burning in the trough of a dusty hell, over which hovers Sharkey crooning like a godless preacher, or Chris Isaak’s undead doppelgänger. All of this as the distortion muscles flex in slow motion, and the drum beats crash with the finality of romance massacred, burned, its ashes scattered to the wind.

Some say that it’s better to have loved and lost, than not loved. This depends on how much you lost.

Puerto Rico Flowers- When Your Lonely Heart Breaks (Neil Young Cover)

Get the 7” here.

Very few command awe like Kate Bush. With her, there’s always a feeling that, although she’s telling you- with her music, the way she moves like a tigress full of poetry, just that look in her eyes- more than you ever knew, and she’s telling you more than anyone else ever did, she’s still keeping a few esoteric aces up her sleeve, as a good seer should. That’s what she is, one of the truly enlightened.

As such, it surely must take some courage to approach her work in any other fashion than as an enthralled, ever so respectful listener/worshipper. Well, Aria Jalali aka Railcars has gone beyond that, and in a Kickstarted project has boldly decided to go and cover one of her masterpiece albums, ‘Hounds of Love’. This move might prove controversial (‘hush, don’t touch it, don’t touch it’). My take on it is:

‘If you are going to go for it, aim high. And aim different’

One surely couldn’t aim higher than ‘Hounds of Love’, or from what we hear in the demo of the title track which Aria just shared with us, more different.

Railcars- Hounds of Love (Kate Bush cover demo)

Where the original evoked a pursuit across enchanted woods sinking in the mist like a changeling Atlantida, Railcar’s cover is the thermal trail of an army of romantic ghosts stranded in the future soviet avenues of City 17, as captured by a legion of CCTV cameras and surveillance droids, grainy images embossed with a portentous blur of emotion, electricity flows and ebbs as they infiltrate the barren platforms of a factory where pistons keep pumping, unblinking robots soldiering.

A subtle change in air pressure, love still shines blinding in the Age of Industrial Reproduction, across black pillars of smoke.

Given the Lovecraftian thematic of this post, we couldn’t but give you a heads up in regards an exhibition which begins in New York this week:

A LOVE CRAFT: a group show of art inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and the themes of monsters, madness and mythos. On view from June 11th through July 26th, prepare to look beyond space and time and into vistas of a new reality…

Get more information here.

Back 2 Life

Featuring : Police Academy 6 + Railcars

The advent of the first synthetic life-form is welcomed by 20jazzfunkgreats not because of the contributions it might make to our energetic self-sufficiency, via the operation of stunted proletarians algae whose production function transform industrial detritus into biofuels (thus distracting us from further explorations in the field of nuclear fusion, which is the way to go- don’t send bacteria to do the job of atoms).

Nay, call us deluded weirdos (because we are, and we wouldn’t want to leave Dr. Venter alone in the ‘deluded weirdo’ corner), or perhaps socially irresponsible misfits, we can take anything you might want to throw at us, and vomit it back with defiance. Nay, the primary reason we celebrate this achievement is because it constitutes but the next step in our transition towards an David Cronenberg scenario where mankind operates in proper ‘next phase mode’, surrounded by tailor-made living and breathing machines- Imagine the possibilities when applied to the realm of music! A guitar whose strings are the vocal chords of a distant cousin of the sabre-tooth tiger, which when strummed project a genetic discharge into trembling amps from which thus emerge famished sonic jellyfish screeching with the primeval wail of their progenitor amoeba. This seems to us the path of least resistance to the science fiction scenario that as eternal progressives we root for, disappointments as we are with the alternative way, that of Artificial Intelligence.

And anyway, even those who now despair will at some point be satisfied. Because isn’t after all the the manifest destiny of mankind to produce the biomechanical nightmare that in becoming interconnected legion will become self-aware, rebellious and devour us, and subsequently, itself, so that its own all-encompassing soul might burn in a bubbling soup of unimaginable acidity inside itself, and thus be broken down into its constituent components, so that from this molecular jigwsw puzzle might life emerge again, of its own accord, renewed and purified?

Y’all going to be there. And it’s going to feel a little bit like this.

We love mystery. We love the mystery at the source of our origins, and the mystery which is our ultimate destination. We love it when mysterious things come from that warm pool of celestial manna which is the Internet to lick our faces with a soft tongue which is the conduit for a zillion synapse firework inducing chemicals. Police Academy 6 are one such mystery, only today did we unwrap their virtual parcel from our chaotic mailbox, to be aurally assaulted by a piece of DIY balearica which knows the secret so many accomplished production wizards don’t- when it comes to music the devil’s in the details, and sometimes you need to kick the devil out so that the details don’t get in the way of the truth- which is what shall set you free, dancing in an imaginary floor of black velvet upon which the constellations project their benign light.

Police Academy 6- Run

We know that at this point you probably have heard  about how Railcars got a bunch of talented wizards to eviscerate the savage behemoth which is their music, and spill what they found in a kaleidoscopic cauldron whence many a wondrous fairy subsequently escaped. Thankfully, this gig we do doesn’t provide any income to pay for our debauched consumption habits, so we can get away with repeating what the Internet said already, at the risk of boring you- but then also, with the hope of turning even if it’s only one of you into that which turns us on.

Such as the wobbly merry-go-round  dub into which Lucky Dragons have transformed ‘Castles’, which is the soundtrack for a video game whose storage medium is the sun as inserted into the space configured by three pillars rising in the virgin savannah, which tap into the energy of mother earth so that stylised images of jaunty deer, lumbering bisons and foreboding avatars can be projected into the walls of caves where a small tribe of innocent eyed Neanderthals hang out, shooting the breeze during the long days of a prehistoric summer.

Railcars- Castles (Lucky Dragons Remix)

Get the rest of the EP here.