Barry Adamson, "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Pelvis" (Mute)
The fantastic bassist/vocalist/composer Barry Adamson is releasing a much-deserved career-spanning retrospective album titled Memento Mori (Anthology 1978-2018) to document his songwriting and recording exploits with UK post-punk existentialists Magazine, Nick Cave's Bad Seeds, and Adamson's own 30-year, nine-album solo tenure. (The collection will be available October 26 on limited-edition double gold vinyl, CD, and download.)
Adamson's output consistently has reflected his interest in film composers such as John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Henry Mancini, and Elmer Bernstein. The English musician's exquisite sense of drama, mood, and tension manifests itself in pieces that touch on jazz, soul, funk, dub, and exotica. But "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Pelvis"—the lead-off track from 1995's Oedipus Schmoedipus LP—finds Adamson going all-out for the dance floor, thanks to a raucously funky rhythm lifted from Primal Scream's "Rocks" (which was inspired by Sly & the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music"). Adamson embroiders this unstoppable beat with majestic strings worthy of Charles Stepney, filthy rock guitar riffs, Dave Pike-esque vibes, backing vocals redolent of the women's choir from the Church of Unparalleled Ecstasy, and soi-disant, desperate utterances by this cat named Jarvis Cocker. "Set the Controls" may be 23 years old, but its bravura mélange of influences and ascendant jets of kundalini make it an out-of-time joy forever.