Published on 22nd August 2018
Jumble Hole Clough – Bats Tidied Up Heliport
1 Down: Biased truth, pied pilot
Hmmm, bit of a chin-scratcher, this. You see, Bats Tidied Up Heliport is as cryptic as it gets, and veteran art rebel and all-round professor of rock trivia Colin Robinson, ensconced up there in the Peoples’ Republic of Hebden Bridge, has been doing this long enough – this is the Clough’s 27th album after all – that he has distilled his expansive minimalist white boy krautfunk coupled with surreal lyrics into something rarefied and nicely dislocated.
1 Across: Pot-pie, it disabled Ruth
On album opener and nominal title track Platitudes Prohibited, which at nearly eight minutes long is some four times the length of most of the rest of the tracks on the album, we are treated to a composition that mixes chamber rock, beat boxes, brass band samples, and that good ol’ signature white boy funk. Spank that plank, boy! This is music for people who only ever dance in their heads.
2 Down: A bellman skims twice
As dry as it gets, with bubbles.
2 Across: 17 plus 17
There goes John Wayne, still Big Leggy, but now flirting with signifying mathematics and mermaids. This one is quite rubbery and goes “sproing” quite a lot.
3 Down: The dog that chased the cat
Pink Prestwich sees Gang of Four ditch the trenchcoats and the miserablism, take lots of happy drugs and do the du to a squishy-squashed guitar line that skronks in the most unusual way. If this was 1983, Ian Penman would have made it his Single of the Week.
Bela Lugosi’s Shed… that’ll be where I’m writing this nonsense, oh yes baby.
3 Across: Life is passing you by
There is a serious point to all this, as the album is “to celebrate the lives of three people who have died recently, and another two who have dropped off the radar”. Various samples and credits give clues.
4 Down: A man deserts all his friends
4 Across: Plough the land
JHC are capable of spooky filmic interludes, Colin’s expressive guitar leading us down to a ghostly dip in the soundscape on A Witches’ Elm.
5 Down: Art lies
How many times has Newport Pagnell been rhymed with Lansing Bagnall in a song?
5 Across: Wherever you are
…and whatever you’re doing, spend 50p on this album and make your day that much more bendy. It won’t cure all ills but it will make you miss your station.
These songs are vignettes, snapshots of the peculiar workings of Colin’s sparky synapses. In the past the results of his ongoing musical therapy committed to the ether has occasionally been too esoteric for its own good, but on this album there is a sense of arriving somewhere. Not here, but somewhere. A contented maturity broadcasts from these strange zeros and ones, and if like me you enjoy a journey into a land where nothing is as it first seems, then you will find much to make you smile on this fine release.
PS – Put together a cryptic crossword from the “clues” above, and the best entry gets to watch the next episode of The Klangers being filmed. Entrants must be no more than six years old, or no less the 80, and must bring their pet goldfish.
Entries on horseback to Napoleon Stormcock, TPA Towers, Over There Somewhere.
01. Platitudes Prohibited (7:53)
02. I blame Mac’s Twinkles (a bellman always skims twice) (2:20)
03. John Wayne is Big Wobbulator (3:44)
04. Pink Prestwich (2:09)
05. Bela Lugosi’s Shed (2:00)
06. Oh come on, try this just once (2:07)
07. That’s cheating – but in a good way (2:26)
08. A windswept beach hut (Haiku) (0:58)
09. A witches’ elm (1:56)
10. Sack-truck and ashes (1:47)
11. Memo to machete (2:00)
12. The rain’s the same (4:24)
13. All Quiet on the Western Front (2:00)
Total Time – 35:46
Colin Robinson – All Instruments, Vocals, Engineering & Production
Michael Linden West – Samples, Piano, Viola, Saxonet, Shehnai & Voice (track 5)
Janice Johnston Howie – Vocals (track 6)
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 22nd July 2018