This makes a change. After a run of Rough Trade AOM’s by artists that I was familiar with, along comes the December selection. I’ve been listening to a great deal of jazz over the Christmas period and into the start of 2016 and enjoying to boot. I read Ted Gioia’s excellent “The History of Jazz” in December. I had a Blue Note Christmas too with a couple of their 75th anniversary LPs on vinyl and the encyclopaedic history of the label “Uncompromising Expression“, both informative and gorgeous. Therefore I hadn’t really given the December Rough Trade selection a spin.
So time to listen to something that I really hadn’t a clue about. After giving the album a few listens, I’m not sure that I’m any the wiser.
Golden Teacher are from Glasgow and appear to be a big draw on the live electronic scene. I would imagine that in a dark club (such as where we saw New Order in December) or even a festival dance tent, they really would connect. At home in North London in February on a cold blowy evening, I’m not so sure.
The live band is made up of Cassie Oji, Lars Von Chavenac, Laurie Pitt, Ollie Pitt, Richard McMaster and Sam Bellicose with occasional other musicians chucked in. They met on a production course for unemployed musicians. Their sound is very familiar to me drawing on influence from the New York scene of the eighties with the house dance scene of the nineties. The songs are written on the spot effectively as improvised jams, with some overdubs then added.
The album is a compilation of their three EP’s for the Optimo label, recorded at the Green Door studios where they met. I’m as partial to a little bit of electronica as the next 40 something ex-clubber. This isn’t quite doing it for me though. “Love” has a real pulse to it, “Like A Hawk” has an dancehall feel and at times it threatens to take flight like Factory Floor do so often, a band that I really love. It is what is says though – a collection of three EP’s rather than a cohesive album. It’s very percussive and in the right environment, I’m sure it would get you moving. Maybe dig it out come summer time but for now, it isn’t doing it for me. The closest to a killer track at the moment is “Love Rocket” which unfortunately doesn’t stick around long enough to get off the ground.
By way of a footnote I was walking home from work tonight and “One Nation Under A Groove” by Funkadelic came on. This is a hugely unfair comparison but what was immediately noticeable was the absence of the funk when I listened back to the Golden Teacher album. Yes – Golden Teachers probably gets you dancing in the right circumstances and yes – Funkadelic are exceptionally funky but this album doesn’t quite have that snap. It isn’t bad by any stretch of the information but there isn’t anything that draws me back for now.
In the meantime, here’s “Love Rocket” for those that want to dip their toes in. Maybe if the sun shines or I’m going out on a Saturday night I’ll come back to the album and let you know if my view changes. Having said that though, I’m pretty sure I’m not their target market.