Tag Archives: Roskilde’96

Edinburgh Man

I guess, this is 2010’s first ‘Past The Bridge’ posting, and today’s band is ‘The Fall’.

The Fall

There are two things I can tell you about The Fall. First, nobody knows them and second, the band’s music is extremely hard to categorize (Wikipedia). There’s no doubt in my mind that Mark E. Smith (the band’s leader and sole inspirational force) is still around and that he picked up new band members all along. After all, The Fall, that’s the band that has more ex-members than any band in popmusic’s history (50 or something?). The last thing I heard from the band was that during the 2006 US tour, 3 band members either got fired or left the stage in an incident that included a banana peeling thrown in Smith’s face. And if that’s not enough for you, Mark E. Smith’s antics are detailed and set to film in the movie ‘The Wonderful and Frightening world of Mark E. Smith’, which you can see in full glory on YouTube. Call him brilliant or mad; at least Smith has been consistent in his music, and that all along since the 70s.

Picking out the right song was quite a task too but here goes: the
traditional 30+ second sample of ‘Edinburgh Man’, a smooth nostalgic eulogy of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. For a second, I was considering ‘Hostile’ from the ‘Light User Syndrome’ album, but, I couldn’t get it over me to put this right on this blog. ‘Edinburgh’, comes from the album ‘Shift-Work’.

I discovered ‘The Fall’ during my Roskilde 96 visit (previously) and I do remember that the show was delayed for the longest time (Roskilde organizers came up on stage to apologize multiple times). I can’t remember the particular reason, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was some kind of argument between the members and Mark Smith. But the moment the show started, I was sold (and so were other festival-minders). Eccentric but excellent live performance. I do believe I shot pictures of the band, including a pretty close-up of Brix Smith.

So, generally, if you’re into post-punk music and don’t mind a ranting Mark E. Smith, The Fall’s music is excellent. Smith has a knack for writing biting rants and mumbling lyrics (I mean, he doesn’t sing) about current political and personal affairs , plus he always seems to find excellent session musicians. That is, until, he gets bored with them and shoves them aside. After all, ‘The Fall’, that is the wonderful and frightening world of Mark E. Smith. Since 1976.


I‘m not System 7really a ‘techno-ambient’ music lover: however, as someone trying to enjoy different styles of music during my twenties I ended up listening and buying into several techno-DJs and musicians. During the early 90s, System 7 became the rage: I happened to like their ‘Interstate’ track, and that only because of the first part (30+ second sound bite). There’s not really much to tell about System 7 except for that they’re still around and that their website reminds of the pre-2000-webdesign age. I think I remember that they had this same webpage in 1996 too. I’m not kidding.

Back to the personal bit: There were basically two clubs in my old hometown. One club focused on playing ‘alternative rock music’ and the other one a mix-and-mash of, uh, well, whatever it’s called nowadays, “house and techno”? I only visited the latter on one occasion and I remember the huge video screens playing psychedelic movieclips (sort of like what your current Windows Mediaplayer is playing) and me overlooking the crowdy dancefloor, probably drinking a soda, because it was still too early in the night to drink alcohol. When the tune of “Interstate” started, I remember asking the DJ the specifics of the track, so that I could buy it the next time I was close to a record shop.

This is not the whole story: System 7 also made it to Roskilde ’96 (they were actually so popular that they played at many of the European Pop fests that year), and obviously, I was there too. This is also where I discovered that live performances of Techno-music can be rather uninspiring and, I quickly forgot about this event. Not really, of course: the music of ‘Interstate’ came back to mind when we were driving the Trans-Canada Highway, last week, for no other reason than reminding me of those uneventful couple of nights.

Update 1: ‘Interstate’ can be heard in this podcast @ Most People Are DJs (at the end of the MP3)

Update 2: This just in and official! Europeans get drunk to have sex!


About ten The band Tortoiseyears ago, I discovered the band Tortoise by accident while looking for new records (or rather CDs) in the (I dare say) legendary Amsterdam music store Boudisque. For the Dutch speaking, the recordstore is prominently and frequently on display on the YouTube channel ‘OndergrondsTV’ (Underground TV), a channel dedicated to “sub-culture in Amsterdam”. Anyway, during that particular visit on that particular day of 1996, ‘Djed’ blared over the soundsystem and since then, it became part of my (then) extensive CD collection.

Before I wade into personal anecdotes: I uploaded a fragment of ‘Djed’ (in you know how many seconds+) for your listening pleasure. The original piece is exactly 20 minutes long and can be described as ‘experimental music': the band’s website and its Wikipedia entry list their music as ‘Post-Rock Instrumental’, which is about correct too. The band itself has gone through several line-ups, but over time, their music has stayed pretty consistent. Let me say it this way: you can either sit through the band’s music or it cringes your toes. I see that someone uploaded a concert of them on Google Video, so, here’s your chance to sit through it, that is, for 30 minutes long. It will probably come to no surprise that their music was quite popular with mixers and DJs, as you can witness in this Djed video/remix (warning: noise ahead).

Yeah, so, one of the reasons to attend Roskilde Fest’96 was this band. To anyone I ran into during the pre-concert days, I proudly mentioned I was going to see this band, which generally was answered with ‘Who are they?’ or ‘What?’. In one case, a British punker thought I had called her a ‘turt-ass’. After explaining I was talking about the turtle-like animal, she quickly corrected my pronunciation (I obviously pronounced Tortoise the French way). The concert itself was held late at night (probably around 9 or 10 PM, on the second day of the Fest) and as expected, there was hardly anyone attending: which was good, because at least it allowed everybody, fans and accidental bystanders, to sit down on the grass and listen to music.

And maybe, that’s why I remember the band these days: after all, there was nothing remarkable about the band’s performance itself, except for that they were playing good music, and most importantly, I guess, it was music you had to sit through.