on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2015 1 Mrz

Cosmic Dogs, Cosmic Blank, Cosmic Glissandi‏

von: Ian McCartney Filed under: Blog | TB | 2 Comments

I was listening to Boris Blank’s recent record Electrified, which then led me to an interview Blank did with The Quietus last October, in which he tells what his favourite albums are. There were some good surprises in there, including a single by The Normal (which he regards as an album), Miles Davis‘ planet-shaking On The Corner and Pink Floyd’s Ummagumma.

The first two I am familiar with, but not Ummagumma. In the interview Blank says „the era with Syd Barrett, it’s beautiful music, but Ummagumma you can listen to today, it’s timeless. I have it on vinyl in my archives, although I have it loaded on my iPhone. It’s music that I take personally with me wherever I go.“

Intrigued, I give Ummagumma a go. But hey, I didn’t much like it – apart from Sysyphus (Part 3) and Grantchester Meadows. This listen then led me to check out Animals, which I’d never really heard before, although it does have probably the best cover of any record ever. Sad must be the fucker who ever got a train from London Victoria to someplace in Kent who didn’t look out the window and see Battersea Power Station and imagine a giant imaginary pig suspended in the air above it. So, Animals it is/was. Pigs 1, then Dogs.

Dogs starts off brilliantly – a soft guitar strum and hazy, opiated electronics. The singing is immense – there are a couple of cosmic vocal glissandi on this that wouldn’t be matched in popular music again until Bernard Sumner sang the word „anyone“ about four and a half minutes into Try All You Want (1991) and Kanye West sang the word „neon“ in Lift Off two decades later. The first Dogs cosmic glissando happens in the word „need“ at the end of the first line: „You gotta be crazy, you gotta have a real need“. Amazing, like many orchardsful of apples falling in space. The second one occurs in the word style at the first line of the second verse: „And after a while, you can work on points for style“.

At 17 minutes, Dogs is too long – the section between about 3 and 7 minutes in is too pomp/prog. The cosmic space-out section between about 8 and 12 minutes works much better. Whole careers were based on former, why not the latter?

Lyrically there’s a lot of bite in the way „Dogs“ attacks its target…

You gotta keep one eye looking over your shoulder.
You know it’s going to get harder
And harder, and harder as you get older.
And in the end you’ll pack up and fly down south,
Hide your head in the sand, just another sad old man,
All alone and dying of cancer.

… but is the target real or made of straw? Is Dogs muzzled by its own creeping existence-anxiety and fear of death? Either way, it’s an English classic.


This entry was posted on Sonntag, 1. März 2015 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Uwe Meilchen:

    I would ALWAYS recommend the first two Album Releases by PINK FLOYD. Even though I started buying records when THE WALL was high in the Charts and „Another Brick in the Wall“ was high in the sale Charts. Since then I have worked my way back thru their discography and think that these first two Albums really stand out.

  2. Ian M:

    What a 12 year journey from Piper At The Gates Of Dawn to The Wall.

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