A.R. Kane played one of the top ten or fifteen gigs I've ever seen. It was in early August 1988 at the Leadmill in Sheffield — I think the first Saturday after I moved into my flat. Just a little way into their set, the guitarist or bass player had an extended technical problem with his guitar. While he worked to fix it, the other two (or three?) started a loose jam. Or that's how it started, but, as the technical problem proved particularly knotty, they had to keep going — and gradually, seamlessly, it turned into something more coherent and purposeful. Then the guitar was fixed, and he joined back in. The music (completely instrumental) just took off, and, as with all the best improvisations, time slipped its anchor.
I saw someone there who'd interviewed me for a course at Sheffield Polytechnic. When I started the course in October, I asked what she'd thought of the gig. She screwed up her face, and said it was a bit self-indulgent for her tastes.
I can't remember whether I got this album before or after that gig — possibly after.
There are no extended improvisations on A.R. Kane's recorded output, but this album is still pretty elliptical. Tracks like Baby Milk Snatcher seem to reference both Margaret Thatcher (as infamous milk snatcher) and oral sex ("baby suck my seed" in the lyrics), and Spermwhale Trip Over witters on about LSDreams. Some of them aren't songs, but doodles in sound — but they also showed they could be very commercial when they wanted to be.
I don't like describing band just by comparing them to others — it feels lazy — but in this album you can hear clear echoes of Cocteau Twins, Lee Perry, Gong and early Pink Floyd as well as the experimental end of Hendrix.
|MusicBrainz entry for this album|