When Goat’s World Music found its way out I was immediately smitten, and certainly not alone it would seem. The album has marked many lists over the years and serves as the jumping off point for Goat’s dense catalog of borderless psychedelia. Now, with a solo album of Afro-funk rhythms and psych-folk freakouts of his own on the schedule I asked the band’s shrouded Goatman to weigh in on some overlooked fodder from the past. While the feature usually focuses on one album, there are, in fact, no rules to Hidden Gems. With that Goatman unearthed two gems from his past that he found intrinsically linked in space and time and by proximity of discovery. With that in mind he explores the impact of Robert Fripp’s League of Gentlemen and Carlos Garnett’s Black Love.
Goatman gives some insight into how he sees a connection between these two particular albums, “When I got you request I couldn’t choose between two albums. Both are very important to me. And even though they might seem like two very different albums to other people, to me, they are similar in many ways and they both captured what I appreciate most in music – high energy, rhythms, and above all, playfulness. I found both before I became an adult and felt then, and still do, that they are a mirror of my own musical force and direction.
With regards to The League of Gentlemen, he explains, “For a while I was a freak for Fripp. Me and a friend went bananas on King Crimson and everything Fripp was involved in. We bought anything with his name on. Most of it I have sold now, apart from some Crimson stuff that still sticks with me. But, when I found this album and put it on it was a total knockout. I probably played the album 10 times in a row that day. This was some weird punky/new wave/dance music in lo-fi production, with Fripp’s amazing guitar all over the place. [It is] incredibly energizing and groovy. I love how Fripp and the organ player Barry Andrews work together. It reminds me a bit of Neu and Can, but on speed. I still play this if I’m DJing sometimes and it always lifts me up. I really don’t know if it counts as an “hidden gem” but at least Its one of Fripp’s forgotten albums. It sounds like nothing else he has done. The guitar work has similarities with 80´s Crimson but the vibe here is something completely different. Maybe this record is just too raw for his regular fans.
So where does that leave the connection to Garnett’s ’74 album Black Love, you might ask? “I was in Prague when I was maybe 16 or 17 years old,” recalls Goatman. I went into a jazz club and saw something boring, but the club had a small record store so i checked it out and found this. For some reason the cover spoke to me and I stole it and went out. I couldn’t listen to it before I got home but once there I couldn´t believe the music I was hearing. I had not heard jazz like this before. The music is insane, so free in its spirit. Its advanced, fast jazz with some funkier and groovier parts, but completely out there. The solos and vocals are all over the place but spot on. Its hard to hear how many musicians there are playing on the songs ’cause its quite crowded. I recommend the track “Banks of the Nile”. To play this loud freaks me out completely. This is all I need from music really. Don’t ask me why this album hasn’t gained more exposure during the years? I don’t get it. Maybe I just have bad taste or something. However, these two albums have been wake-up calls for me as a young musician and still continue to be when I need a push in the right direction or just to remind me of who I am.”
While many won’t find the connection between these two releases, there’s no denying that each is its own overlooked moment in time and well worthy of further discovery. Fripp’s album is long out of print, but still an easy find on Discogs. The Garnett album, however, can be had at a nice price via a reissue from Muse a little while back. As for Goatman, keep an eye out for that upcoming solo LP on Rocket Recordings later in the month.