Monday, February 23, 2015

silent alarm

Bloc Party laid out a disquieting banquet of positive tension in the aggressive abstraction of this post punk disco miracle.  Acquaintances Russell Lissack and Kele Okereke started the group in 1999 in London after running into each other at the Reading Festival.  Gordon Moakes answered an ad for a drummer in NME the next year and the trio went through eight drummers before Matt Tong auditioned in 2003.  They also went through several names (like Union, The Angel Range, and Diet) before settling on Bloc Party.  

Their song "The Marshals Are Dead" made in onto a compilation released by Angular Recording Corporation.  Next, their single "She's Hearing Voices" came out on Trash Aesthetics, which BBC DJ Steve Lamacq played on his radio show, leading to another single "Banquet/Staying Fat" on Moshi Moshi Records.   They were offered a deal with Parlaphone; but the band decided to sign with independent label Wichita.  

Their debut album 'Silent Alarm' was recorded during the summer of 2004 at Deltalab Studios in Copenhagen; and in London at Miloco and The Exchange.  The sessions were produced by Paul Epworth and Bloc Party and featured Kele Okereke on lead vocals and rhythm guitar;  Russell Lissack on lead guitar;  Gordon Moakes on bass, backing vocals, and synthesizer;   and Matt Tong on drums and backing vocals;    with programming by Paul Epworth and Eliot James.  The album became an instant sensation, making its debut at number three in Ireland and the UK and being certified gold within twenty-four hours.   'Silent Alarm' was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the Shortlist Music Prize; and was named Album of the Year by NME, by Intro in Germany, and by Rumore in Italy.  It also won Indie Rock Album of the Year at the PLUG Awards.   The diverse nature of the music led to many comparisions with other bands from the post punk era.  

Lissack looks back:    "Kele and I have always been into all genres of music, and love dance music as much as we love guitar based music. As teenagers we didn't have the access to musical technology that being a professional musician provides you. And things have moved on a lot since we started, now you can record an album on your iPad for example. So if we were starting out now, we'd be a completely different band I'm sure."

Okereke opines:  "We are constantly trying to find new ways that we can play and express ourselves.  We have a willingness to push ourselves forward...Our idea of modern rock is really rooted in what is happening right now in terms of the musical consciousness.  Electronica, R&B and pop informs how we put songs together, not just bands from the Seventies and Eighties...Electronic dance music really was influential in how we tried to put songs together.  There is a real sense of space and atmosphere that you will hear in the techno-house style [but] you will not hear in a three-minute guitar pop song. It is a very difficult thing to try to put the two together without it sounding lame. We are still trying to work it out. We are excited by it...I just tried to explain what was happening around me," he says. "Looking back on the album, I can see that there are themes of helplessness and weariness. A lot of the album is concerned with what I was feeling as an 18- to 20-year-old. Everybody starts out in their teens thinking they are invincible. I also believed that nothing would ever move or touch me. It was later that I realised that life is soul-destroying and essentially pointless. That informs a lot of my song-writing...Modern-day American R&B is the biggest influence on how I write songs now  ...  The point about Bloc Party is that we're free to admit that there's a lot of exciting stuff happening right now. There's a lot of music that means a lot more to me right now, and I think it's somehow incorporating that into what we're doing...I really want to propose that Bloc Party is a post-modern band. We're not afraid to take from anywhere. There's too much rock that relies a fetishism or nostalgia for the old ways. That's a real enemy to music. It needs to be constantly looking forward."



"So Here We Are"


"This Modern Love"

'Silent Alarm' full album:

All songs written and composed by Bloc Party.

1) Like Eating Glass 0:00
2) Helicopter 4:21
3) Positive Tension 8:01
4) Banquet 11:56
5) Blue Light 15:18
6) She's Hearing Voices 18:06
7) This Modern Love 21:35
8) The Pioneers 26:01
9) Price of Gas 29:36
10) Little Thoughts 33:55
11) So Here We Are 37:23
12) Luno 41:16
13) Plans 45:13
14) Compliments 49:23

UK re-release bonus tracks

"Little Thoughts"   3:30

"Two More Years"   4:28

live at Glastonbury 2005

part 1

part 2

part 3

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