Today's artists are British vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Kevin Godley and Lol Crème they have one of the most eclectic resumés in rock & roll. They were session musicians when they joined 10cc in 1970. Originally called Hotlegs, 10cc were an art pop group that frequently appeared on the U.K. charts in the early '70s, eventually hitting number two in the U.S. with "I'm Not in Love." The two departed from 10cc a year later so they could experiment with the Gizmo, a gadget that enabled the guitar to create sounds with symphonic textures. .....N'Joy
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Kevin Godley and Lol Creme met in the late 1950s and for a brief time were in a band together. Through the 1960s they played in different bands, with Godley briefly in The Mockingbirds with Graham Gouldman, who would later work with Godley and Creme in 10cc. After recording a one-off single under the name of 'Yellow Bellow Room Boom' for UK CBS in 1967 ("Seeing Things Green" b/w "Still Life"), the pair began their professional music career together in 1969, performing pop music in Strawberry Studios at Stockport near Manchester with Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman (often mistakenly referred to as being "Bubblegum Music", perhaps because they were contracted by Kasenetz & Katz, who produced bubblegum sub-teen pop in the US on the Buddah label). Their first chart success (Neanderthal Man) was as members of the short-lived Hotlegs, which evolved into 10cc in 1972. 10cc enjoyed chart success, most notably with their 1975 single "I'm Not in Love", a hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
After the recording of 10cc's fourth LP, How Dare You! (1976), Godley and Creme left the band to perfect a device they dubbed "The Gizmo" (Gizmotron), a module which attached to the bridge of an electric guitar. The Gizmo used small motor-driven rotating wheels which were pressed into contact with the strings, thus creating a continuous, violin-like "bowing" effect on all or any combination of strings, generating infinite sustain in voicings ranging from a single note to a full chord. The device was originally conceived as a cost-saving measure for 10cc. The group already owned and operated their own studio, and all four were talented singers and multi-instrumentalists who could also produce and engineer their own records, so their plan was that by using Gizmo-fitted electric guitars, with additional studio processing and overdubbing, they could create an almost infinite variety of sonic effects and orchestral textures "in-house", saving them the considerable expense of hiring session players to add these textures using traditional instruments.
After recording a demonstration single using the Gizmo, their label (Mercury Records) allowed them to continue the project, and over the next year it expanded into a sprawling 3-LP concept album Consequences (1977) with an environmental theme. It contained vocals by Sarah Vaughan and an extended comedy performance by Peter Cook, and was issued in a lavish boxed set package with an accompanying booklet. According to the album's liner notes, the duo's original plan was to hire an all-star cast of comedians (including Peter Ustinov) to perform the album's spoken-word components, but this was soon abandoned, partly due to the cost and logistical difficulty, but also because they quickly realised after meeting Peter Cook that he was able to perform all of the major roles himself. Unfortunately, by the time Consequences was finally released in late 1977, punk was in full swing, and the album was savaged by critics.
Unfortunately, the band wasn't democratic or smart enough at that time to allow us the freedom to go ahead and do this project and we were placed in the unfortunate position of having to leave to do it. Looking back, it was a very northern work ethic being applied to the group, all for one and one for all. If we'd been a little more free in our thinking with regard to our work practices, the band as a corporate and creative entity could have realised that it could have been useful rather than detrimental for two members to spend some time developing and then bring whatever they'd learned back to the corporate party. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be."
The duo gradually regained critical favour with a trio of innovative albums in the late 1970s and early 1980s – L (1978), Freeze Frame (1979) and Ismism (1981, released as Snack Attack in the United States).
Freeze Frame (1979) included several songs that gained airplay on alternative radio in many countries, notably "I Pity Inanimate Objects" and "An Englishman in New York", which was accompanied by an innovative music video. Several notable guest performers contributed to the album: Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera played guitar on and co-produced the album tracks "Random Brainwave" and "Clues", Paul McCartney contributed backing vocals to the song "Get Well Soon" and Roxy Music saxophonist Andy Mackay played saxophone on the single-only track "Wide Boy" and also appeared in the song's innovative promotional video. Alongside the album tracks released as singles, the duo also released two singles (both of which failed to chart) that contained tracks not included on the LP - "Wide Boy" b/w "I Pity Inanimate Objects" (March 1980) and the instrumental single "Submarine" b/w "Marciano" (September 1980).
They made the UK Top Ten with the singles "Under Your Thumb" (a song about the ghost of a suicidal woman who returns to haunt a rail commuter) and "Wedding Bells" in 1981, both from Ismism (1981). The single "Snack Attack" was also a minor hit.
In 1983, they released Birds of Prey which took their music in a more electronic direction, using electronic drum machines for the entire album. Their 1984 single "Golden Boy" was included on 1985's The History Mix Volume 1 album which celebrated 25 years of recording together. The album, co-produced by J. J. Jeczalik of Art of Noise, remixed samples of their previous recordings to a disco beat. This album also contained the single "Cry" which, helped in part by the video, became their biggest US hit, reaching No. 16. The song reached No. 19 in Britain. A video cassette was also released with visual imagery to complement the music.
Godley & Creme released their final album, Goodbye Blue Sky, in 1988. This album abandoned electronic instruments and used harmonicas, organs, and guitars to tell the story of the earth on the brink of nuclear war. The pair ended their working relationship soon after the release of the album, and reformed 10cc three years later. In a 1997 interview, Creme explained: In '89, certainly in '88, maybe before, Kevin changed, I think his priorities in life changed. He'd had enough, he'd simply had enough of me and the way we worked, the things we did, the priorities we had. It was time for a shift in all that and he was obviously right. ”
Godley and Creme achieved their greatest success as the innovative directors of more than fifty music videos in the early 1980s. They created memorable videos for The Police ("Every Breath You Take", "Synchronicity II", "Wrapped Around Your Finger"), Culture Club ("Victims"), Duran Duran ("Girls on Film", "A View to a Kill"), Herbie Hancock ("Rockit"), Go West ("We Close Our Eyes"), Frankie Goes to Hollywood ("Two Tribes", "The Power of Love"), Sting ("If You Love Somebody Set Them Free", "Fields of Gold"), Toyah ("Thunder in the Mountains"), Visage ("Fade to Grey"), George Harrison ("When We Was Fab"), Wang Chung ("Everybody Have Fun Tonight"), and Yes ("Leave It"), among many others, up to Godley's video for The Beatles' 1996 single, "Real Love", from the Beatles Anthology.
The pair's innovation extended to their videos for their own songs, notably "Wide Boy" and "Cry". The latter's 1985 video consisted of faces blending into one other using analog cross-fading, anticipating the digital effect of morphing, later used in a similar way in Michael Jackson's 1991 video, "Black or White". This has often been seen as "groundbreaking", though the promotional video accompanying King Crimson's single "Heartbeat" had used a similar effect two years earlier.
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In nature, there are neither rewards nor punishments - there are Consequences. R.G. Ingersoll, 1833-1899
Much maligned masterpiece. The effort that went into this album is staggering
The album began as a demonstration record for the 'Gizmotron', or Gizmo. This was an electric guitar effect device that Godley and Creme had invented a few years earlier as a means of providing orchestral textures, because the band at that stage could not afford to hire orchestral players to augment their recordings. The Gizmo was an electro-mechanical device which was clamped over the bridge of an electric guitar; it contained six small motor-driven toothed plastic wheels that, when pushed into contact with the strings, created a 'bowing' effect, producing notes and chords with endless sustain that, with additional audio effects treatment and overdubbing, could emulate violins, violas, cellos and basses. Godley and Creme had begun work on songs for the Gizmo before leaving 10cc, but quit the band when they realised the songs could not comfortably appear on 10cc albums.
The album was recorded over 18 months at Strawberry Studios in Stockport and The Manor in Shipton-on-Cherwell, Oxfordshire, with Godley, Creme and engineer Martin Lawrence going to extraordinary lengths to create its special effects. At one point, to create the impression that the listener is inside a coffin during a burial, a binaural "head" microphone unit was placed behind a board at the foot of a flight of stairs, while Godley shovelled sand on to it. Three days were spent producing a saxophone sound from an electric guitar; each note of a guitar solo was recorded separately and faded in on the track, which was then sent through a speaker and out of a rubber hose with perforated cigarette paper at the end. Enough pressure was displaced by forcing the sound through the holes of the cigarette paper to give the rasp of a saxophone.
The first disc is almost entirely instrumental, using the "gizmo" to create all sorts of different textures as a hurricane dubbed "Honolulu Lulu" trashes Hawaii and heads for the United States. This stuff is a feat of clever engineering (there is a particularly funny part where an obnoxious rock band at an outdoor festival is swept away by a flood), but fails to involve the listener. Consequences moves into its story line on the second disc, dividing its time between songs from Godley & Creme and spoken word comedy sketches written and performed by legendary British comedian Peter Cook that push the plot forward. The story focuses on a married couple working out the details of their divorce with their respective lawyers as the storms and earthquakes kick in. Their only hope is the downstairs neighbor, an eccentric composer named Blint who is working on a concerto that may be able to stop nature's revenge. The songs are mainly cutesy fluff: although they have clever arrangements and lush vocal harmonies, they lack the kind of memorable melodies that would bring the album's many concepts to life. The one song that stands apart from the dross is "Five O'Clock in the Morning," a clever and subtle portrait of suburban malaise that became a minor European hit. The comedy bits have some clever moments of wordplay, but weigh the album down because they go on too long and distract from the music. When the climactic "Blint's Tune" finally arrives, it is merely a meandering and overlong piano-led instrumental.
Consequences remains one of the most laudable conceits of the rock & roll era, an album to line up alongside Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds in the annals of records that were just so preposterous that you have to adore them.
Godley and Creme - Consequences (flac 331mb)
01 Seascape 2:51
02 Wind 3:54
03 Fireworks 1:00
04 Stampede 6:14
05 Burial Scene 3:07
06 Sleeping Earth 6:42
07 Honolulu Lulu 0:56
08 The Flood 10:19
09 Five O'Clock In The Morning 3:53
10 Dialogue 4:05
11 When Things Go Wrong 3:42
12 Dialogue 6:40
13 Lost Weekend (Voc Sarah Vaughan) 4:50
Godley and Creme - Consequences 2 (flac 323mb)
01 Dialogue 6:25
02 Rosie 3:07
03 Dialogue 1:06
04 Office Chase 2:34
05 Dialogue 4:17
06 Cool, Cool, Cool 2:53
07 Dialogue 0:07
08 Cool, Cool, Cool (Reprise) 0:30
09 Dialogue 0:47
10 Sailor 2:10
11 Dialogue 5:10
12 Mobilization 1:45
13 Dialogue 2:12
14 Please, Please, Please 1:57
15 Dialogue 5:49
16 Blint's Tune (Movements 1-17) 14:17
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Together, these two multi-instrumentalist studio freaks were the British Frank Zappa. Overwhelmed by their own cleverness, they often wasted brilliant production and gorgeous vocal harmonies on trite material. One gets a sense that everything these guys do is tongue in cheek. Still, it reminds listeners why they were such an important force on the pre-new wave landscape, long before the duo traded in instruments for video cameras. L opens the show in brutally uncompromising style. Indeed, with "This Sporting Life" to guide you in, with its open invitation from the Bad Samaritans (played with nauseating greasiness by DJ Paul Gambaccini) and a step-by-step guide to committing an entertaining suicide, L itself might well rank among the best bad-taste albums of the late '70s -- and one of the most enjoyably obtuse. Godley & Creme, after all, never disguised their admiration for Frank Zappa's most painfully artistic elements and, from the instrumental "Foreign Accents" to the relentless "Business Is Business," L meanders down avenues at least as overcrowded as its cover art.
Godley and Creme - L (flac 225mb)
01 The Sporting Life 7:29
02 Sandwiches Of You 3:19
03 Art School Canteen 3:04
04 Group Life 4:15
05 Punchbag 4:46
06 Foreign Accents 4:39
07 Hit Factory / Business Is Business 7:10
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It's impossible to mistake this for a 1981 J. Geils Band release of the same name. This album gets the nod over other Godley and Creme efforts because sometimes they actually stay with a tune to the end instead of sailing off on a Frank Zappa-like tangent. That might be because the part-time presence of Paul McCartney and Phil Manzanera keeps their hosts grounded. "An Englishman in New York" sounds remarkably like Queen in spots and is the strongest track on the album, although its smugness wears thin after awhile.
Godley and Creme - Freeze Frame (flac 379mb)
01 An Englishman In New York 5:33
02 Random Brainwave 2:37
03 I Pity Inanimate Objects 5:21
04 Freeze Frame 4:45
05 Clues 5:22
06 Brazilia (Wish You Were Here) 6:06
07 Mugshots 3:53
08 Get Well Soon 4:35
09 Silent Running 3:59
10 Wide Boy 3:30
11 Submarine 4:01
12 Marciano 3:25
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