Talking of climate change I’ve been reminded of one of rock music’s frequently unavailable albums, Consequences the debut triple box set oddity by Godley & Creme which had an apocalyptic climate change theme. Routinely out of print the full version did not see a CD release until the year 2000 and even then in a strictly limited quantity which can now fetch reasonable sums on eBay whilst the better preserved vinyl box set or even cassette versions continue to be bought as the only means available for some to hear this work in full.
The album continues to divide opinion amongst music critics and fans and can probably be said to have a cult following.
If you get a chance to hear I do recommend giving it a listen if only to dismiss it as art rock claptrap bordering on pompous twiddling. In some ways it was too grandiose a project and in others it was a victim of bad timing due to this style of self indulgence falling out of fashion during the 18 months it took to record the album.
Released in 1977 it was not well received at all coming as it did in the midst of Britain’s punk movement and with some residual bad feeling from fans of 10cc of which they had been band members until asked to leave due to their own obsession with this personal pet project.
The album is essentially a vehicle for a curious musical instrument invented by the pair called The Gizmotron which was a bulky mechanical add on to the bridge of an electric guitar which then allowed a guitar player to extend the range of sounds that would normally by produced by an unmodified guitar. The reason for this Heath Robinson style modification was to make available more exotic and pseudo orchestral sounds to the guitarist without the costs or complexity of hiring an orchestra itself. Sadly the world was only a few years away from the first digital sampling instruments notably the Fairlight which came from Australia and which began to give musicians access to real instrument sounds that the Gizmo was trying to emulate. Today we take this music technology for granted and listening to the album through today’s ears you would think that many of the sounds had been made via a sampling instrument rather than laboriously via modified guitar and labour intensive tape splicing and studio inventiveness.
The album itself is, of course a concept album and centres around some kind of meteorological series of disasters that are taking place that may be natural but could also be part of a global war. Heavy stuff but the album also features vocal sections and an almost radio style play provided by British comedian Peter Cook.
Here’s a slice of Consequences that takes us from Seascape through to Wind. Due to the relatively quick deletion of this album many parts were later recycled by Godley and Creme and if you were a cinema goer in the 80’s you may recognise parts of this as having been used in a commercial that the duo directed back then and parts have been recycled or licensed out to various projects since then. A tad pretentious, certainly but remember that the sounds on this extract were mostly made with the Gizmotron bar percussion and any studio processing or tape manipulation.
Smaller 880k AAC+ version: Consequences_extract
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Lost Music Albums