Friday, March 25, 2016

No Trip Like the Nostalgia Trip: Retro Futuristic Edition

I've been poking around some of the weird corners of the intert00bz and, as a result, I've been on Gary Numan kick. Oddly enough, in all the years I've been blogging, I've only mentioned Gary in one post, and even more shockingly, I only have one post mentioning the fantastic concert film Urgh! A Music War. At any rate, I have been binge-listening to Mr Numan's back catalog, starting with his dystopian sci-fi/horror masterpiece Replicas, originally credited to his band Tubeway Army.

Replicas opens up with Me! I Disconnect from You, a story about isolation and alienation:





Are 'Friends' Electric?, which hit number one on the UK charts, continues the same theme of urban anomie:





Down in the Park is a straight-up horror story about androids and machines which hunt, abuse, and kill humans for the entertainment of the patrons of a club (no Laws of Robotics for these killbots). I am reminded of a William Gibson story, but the song was written before Mr Gibson's writing hit the bookshelves. The concert footage in Urgh! A Music War somewhat undercuts the grimness of the song- it's hard not to laugh at the wee, weird car that Gary rides in during his performance, disquieting lyrics be damned:





Gary is still active, and seems to perform entire albums during his shows:





He'll be playing NYC in May, I may have to consider buying tickets for this show.

8 comments:

M. Bouffant said...

Not that big on the robot music of your youth (we were all young once, some of us a bit earlier than others) but I was amused by this on his website:
filmed over two shows Gary played at the legendary Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles in 2013 as part of the Splinter World Tour
The "legendary Hollywood Forever Cemetery" was, until 1998, merely Pierce Bros. Hollywood Mortuary & Boneyard, where, in the early '80s, my party clique would climb the chain-link fence at night to drink, smoke & spot celebrity headstones. Tyrone Power's was a favorite 'cause we could sit on it if the sprinklers had recently been on.

M. Bouffant said...

P.S.: You know you want to spend U.S.$500 or so for a rehearsal pass. (New concept to me. In my day, not bloody likely, yada, but I s'pose if one can afford it & is not still in one's wild 20s one probably wouldn't cause much trouble.) You could crash on my floor if you can't get a red-eye out.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

meh. He's no Mekons....

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

The Rise of the Music of the Machines.
~

Nasreen Iqbal said...

I've always considered listneing to something by him because as much praise as he garners from people like Trent Reznor, I've only heard one song by him (you know which one).

So I'm going to start by listening to these clips you've posted, but the description of the song about androids reminds me of a certain song by STYX (you know which one).

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Not that big on the robot music of your youth (we were all young once, some of us a bit earlier than others) but I was amused by this on his website:

His earliest stuff was guitar oriented and his latest performances feature a more traditional backing band, but he went all in on the Moog for much of his career.

P.S.: You know you want to spend U.S.$500 or so for a rehearsal pass. (New concept to me. In my day, not bloody likely, yada, but I s'pose if one can afford it & is not still in one's wild 20s one probably wouldn't cause much trouble.) You could crash on my floor if you can't get a red-eye out.

I'm going to have to check the sofa cushions... My sister is out in LA, but will be moving back east with the family in a few months. I may have to fly out, it's been YEARS.

meh. He's no Mekons....

Who is? He's a different sort of nerd, and he had his embarrassing Tory phase, which he now regrets.

The Rise of the Music of the Machines.

Oh, yeah... and not in an optimistic Kraftwerk way, either.

So I'm going to start by listening to these clips you've posted, but the description of the song about androids reminds me of a certain song by STYX (you know which one).

It's a lot more unsettling, it's totally something out of a collaboration between J.G. Ballard and William Gibson.

I've always considered listneing to something by him because as much praise as he garners from people like Trent Reznor, I've only heard one song by him (you know which one).

Yeah, no need to dot an 'I' that big... we all know which one. NIN covered the B-side to that song, also about an android, as did Afrika Bambaataa.

Yeah, I've been binge-listening...

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

"meh. He's no Mekons....

Who is?"

Curious as to whether you will ever see them live. Your time is running out, it's only a matter of time before some of them start dying; Garry Handling says so...

swkellogg said...

I saw the man after the release of the Pleasure Principle God know how many years ago. He had a real knack for the visual, one that was much more conceptually integrated in its lighting and theatrics than anything I'd seen (or not seen -- it came right on the tail of the minimalism espoused by the punks) up to that time. Couple that with performances that were spot on replicas of the stuff on his discs and you had the perfect storm of an awesome rock and roll show (if you can call it that). This despite the all keys, zero guitar thing which a lot of the cool kidz saw as passe after the death of prog.

While what he was doing was disdained by a lot of the self-appointed ministers of culture I knew at the time, I can tell you he did not disappoint. Hell, even Christgau wasn't that hard on the guy (though I understand Bowie thought he was something of a twat).