Friday, 8 August 2008

Marden Hill - Hijacked + Extras

163 MB
320 CBR LAME mp3
CD rip from Stepping Stone 71202
Scans from

93.5 MB
192+ CBR /256+ VBR LAME mp3
CD & vinyl rips from various sources

Hijacked video from YouTube

Chris Bemand - Producer, Mixing
Mark Daniels - Producer, Mixing
Pete Moss - Producer, Mixing
Ashley Beedle - Producer, Remixing

Bob Boykin - Guitar
Colin Smith - Piano (Electric)
Scott Garland - Saxophone
Simon George - Flute
Matt Lipsey - Flute, Saxophone
Charlie Phillips - Flute, Saxophone
Tony Walter - Trumpet, Saxophone
Gary Hammond - Percussion
Michael McDermott - Bass, Vocals (bckgr)
JC-001 & D-Zire - Vocals
Tony McDermott - Vocals (bckgr)
Andrea Oliver - Vocals
Kevin Saunders - Vocals (Hijack, Get Some In, Uptown Theme)
Vivian Stanshall - Vocals (Bombed On Heavy)

Another seminal acid jazz/trip hop treat from the vaults of Soundological and again with a heavy Ashley Beedle relation. This time we're checkin' Marden Hill and if some of the tracks look familiar on their 1996 debut Hijacked, it's because they had been floating around for years as singles and in the case of "Blacker" showed up on the Ballistic Brothers vs Eccentric Afros Vol 2 as the "Sweet Green Jam Mix." You'll also note the track "Come On" shares a few chord progs with a song by the same name on the Ballistics' first full-length. The connection doesn't quite end there as Chris Bemand, the main thrust behind Marden Hill, contributes bass and keyboards to Rude System and is a member of Black Jazz Chronicles with Beedle and Marc Woolford (you can hear a wicked mix of Beedle tunes covering all of these projects over at Play Jazz Loud).

However, that wasn't really the impetus behind throwing this up. It was actually the result of a great post over at avocado kid's blog 'Lectric Diaspora where he covered some history on one of my favourite acid jazz outfits Corduroy. He wrote they were "the first band that I’m aware of to do the "retro soundtrack to a fake kitschy blaxsploitation/spy movie" thing" which is very true. However, it just further highlights how Marden Hill got lost in the shuffle since the UK combo were critically acclaimed for their preternatural take on the subject much earlier. They were on alternative indie pop imprint Él records (who
shared aesthetic similarities with Creation and other boutique labels of the genre) and counted ur-emo artist Momus among their labelmates. As the AMG review says of Cadaquéz (reissued a couple years ago by Universal):

Imagine a wild assortment of '60s incidental soundtrack music thrown into a stew, then played back again on somewhat more modern equipment. That's what Marden Hill did on their 1988 album Cadaquez, several years ahead of when such lounge/jazz/Morricone/surf blends started to come back into fashion.

You can hear a sample of this era over at the Dirk Wears White Sox blog. Although this stuff is more on the late-50s to mid-60s tip, soon the Carnaby Street/Mod/KPM/DeWolfe sound would creep in, which would lead to the 70s soundtrack styles. As the blurb on their record co.'s website says without hyperbole, "in the wake of Marden Hill followed the James Taylor Quartet, Combustible Edison, Air and ultimately Austin Powers for whose films they really really should have written the soundtrack." Right about the time Cadaquéz was put out, Acid House hit the UK and it seems Bemand got with the times, ditched the orchestra chamber pop set-up, took up with a bunch of acid jazz/house DJs/pioneers and then moved into a more electronic production style.

Corduroy come from the same lineage and neighbourhood. They weren't big trailblazers, they just got out there in the public eye earlier with their take on the movement. If you ask me their biggest contribution was being the first of the scene to really give props to Paul Weller and bring back the energy of latter day The Jam and early Style Council sides. That alone is worth oceans of respect and, mixed with their talent and good songwriting, I think that's what propelled them to the next level and a huge reason why I still check them as one of the fathers of the 90s jazz and funk revival.

All of this to illustrate the fact Bemand has a purebred pedigree going way beyond a few singles which found their way onto almost every comp series in the day. It also a reason why this LP might sound dated - most of the songs reach back to 3 years or so earlier. In fact, a good portion of these tracks appeared on a full-length Japanese-only realease called Sixty Minute Man in 1993 and their LP on Delancey Street from the previous year, Blown Away!, is the same assortment of tracks lacking a few from Hijack but with the addition of "Uptown Theme." That track is included in the Extras file, along with a couple remixes and B-sides plus the tracks I had handy credited to his other alias Beamish of Beamish & Fly (Kevin Saunders).

This one definitely stands the test of time. No scans because I donated it last fall to my mate, master Andy Williams who's been putting it to "good" use, having played Harlem River Drive on The Goods Radio a few weeks ago. If you've enjoyed the Ballastic Brothers or Mo' Wax material we've posted previously, Soundological highly recommends you avail yourself of these classic sounds.

1 Come On (Ashley Beedle Remix)
2 Hijack
3 Shag
4 Honey Dipped
5 Bombed On Heavy
6 Harlem River Drive
7 Theolonius (Ashley Beedle Remix)
8 Get Some In
9 Evolution
10 Into The Future
11 Up In Smoke
12 Melt On
13 Blacker
14 The End

Sharebee 1 Sharebee 2

9 Lazy 9 - Train (Marden Hill Remix)
Beamish & Fly - Dozy Fuckers
Beamish & Fly - NY Shakedown
Beamish & Fly - Spin On It (Spun Out Mix)
Beamish & Fly - Stoaked
Brand New Heavies - Spend Some Time (Sweeny Club Mix)
Marden Hill - Bardot
Marden Hill - Dub Melt
Marden Hill - Sugarplums
Marden Hill - Uptown Theme (Michael McDermott Remix)


Video for "Hijack"


J Thyme...kind said...

Great record.

J Thyme...kind said...
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J Thyme...kind said...
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J Thyme...kind said...

I once owned the prerelease of this one called "Blown Away" & it in some ways is a tighter document.
My logic is that "Time is Tight" so keep it focused. The main flaw with the Acid Jazz/Trip Hop scene is that they're a bit longwinded. Listening to a few LP's with 12 songs that come in at under 30 minutes is a fact of good composition. Listen to Marcos Valle's Essential on Mr. Bongo or that Elza Soares - Elza Pede Passagem on my page. Her record is 27 minutes of TIGHTNESS. Nuff Said.

cheeba said...

No, no copy of The Daou but I think I have that Black Forest(?) track but think it's only Vanessa..

cheeba said...

From what I was able to tell, the post-El stuff was owned by a Japanese label and Delancey Street put out a comp of their tracks called Blown Away a year before this one on Stepping Stone. BA was shorter as you mentioned.

I know what you mean about the composition length thing with this genre and a lot of stuff does tend to get stretched overlong. I think a lot of it could stand to be tightened up - but not always.

It's like when North American pop scene broke out of those compositional constraints in the late 60s, for better or worse. For the most part, what wasn't aimed squarely at the dance floor was more studio experimentation or psychedelia for the stoners. As studios became more accessible, the level of output rose and the ratio of quality dropped.

I don't know if it was more competition for recording time and space (trip hop coincided with the proliferation of home studios and was the vanguard of today's bedroom studios), a higher cost for material like tape (trip hop is purely digital so time does not = money) or the fact that extended jams of these 3 minute compositions were done live (Trip hop was almost purely a studio form) but the recorded output of Brazilian popular music in the late 60s and early 70s was definitely tight and focused and if you ask me, some of the best pop music ever produced anywhere anytime. No argument there.

But keep in mind trip hop was also highly influenced by dub, the main point of which was to take a 3 minute song, deconstruct it, distill it, stretch it out and along the way play around with sound and space while riffing on the theme.

The point I think we're both making J, is that in the early days of trip hop, it was hard to find producers who did all of this with a good degree of competency, who didn't lean heavily on the novelty of the medium or fall starkly into the listening vs. dncing camps and were able to straddle both.

I'll go back to the ever-lovin' Ashley Beedle and his crew as an example of this. To a lesser extent, Bemand is also one of those people for me.

Sorry for the long reply but it was a very thought-provoking observation!

J Thyme...kind said...

Cheeba, Since I like a "Classic" in any genre, even Ambient & there are a few gems of this movement.
Let's take a record like "Destroy Rock And Roll" by Mylo. It's 54 minutes long, but manages to keep the listener engaged for the whole disc. So it can be done. Another example would be "Advanced Skin Care" by Audio Lotion topping out at an hour & 15 minutes, but strangely the disc spins well. So again it depends on the artist & the overall flow.
Of the newer Ambient kids I'm diggin', "Cirque" by Biosphere. A nicely served plate of Ambient Dub. & that "Bold" by Readymade is no joke fresh.

cheeba said...

Exactly, and great examples! Readymade is one of my favourites in the electronica genre and that Mylo record is pretty dope.

I'll have to check the Audio Lotion since you mention it... new one on me.

But I'm totally with you. A whole album of trip hop / acid jazz / ambient (excluding compilation) that can captivate from front-to-end are hard to find and the ones that do so are often usually from the same small circle of producers.

J Thyme...kind said...

Cheeba, The "Audio Lotion" is so worth having & to spice things up even more, it's a stunning example of down-tempo Drum & Bass. A masterpiece! You'll love it.

avocado kid said...

Hey Cheeba,

Thanks for the excellent post riffing off my Corduroy comments - really all I could ever hope for with a music blog is to generate this kind of dialogue!

I was only really familiar with Marden Hill from a few tracks on trip hop comps like "Koolness Purr-sonified" so this fills in some historical blanks for me! Definitely looking forward to checking the stuff out.

I'm also intrigued by your comparisons of Corduroy to Paul Weller and Style Council - it's not material I know so any recommendations are appreciated. Maybe you can do a post highlighting that stuff.

Keep on keepin on!


Anonymous said...

for those wanting to follow along:
Biosphere Cirque:

Milo Destroy Rock n' Roll

Advanced Skin Care Audio Lotion

I couldn't find a live link for Readymade Bold - anyone got one?

cheeba said...

AK, know how you feel. I never would have found that post if you hadn't struck up a dialogue here!

I might take you up on that Paul Weller/Style Council post.

Off the top, for early stuff, go with The Jam collection called Snap! and you'll hear the finest mod punk bank since The Who's heyday grow into their soul/r&b roots.

The first two Style Councils are the most jazz and soul-flavoured. I might do a SC post since the CD reissues were all super compressed and the dynamic range was stripped entirely away. Has to be heard on original vinyl or cassette to be truly appreciated.

But you must check Kosmos off Paul Weller's first solo from 92 (it was on a bunch of comps incl. one of the Rebirth of The Cools) and his LP Wild Wood which was just as influential for the UK electronica scene as it was for Oasis, Pulp, The Verve, et al.

cheeba said...

Well, thank you kindly for your generosity Anonymous

flageolette said...

Thanks Cheeba!


Anonymous said...

Just seen this and realise it's from years ago but I'm Kevin Saunders, on e of the people who worked on this and there are a couple of things that ought to be corrected.
One is that although I co-wrote and sang one Beamish & Fly song, it was Mark Daniels, not me, who created Beamish & Fly with Chris Bemand.
The other thing is that, with no disrespect to Chris, Mark Daniels was the creator and force behind all the incarnations of Marden Hill. That said, it got a lot funkier after Chris was involved.