This is one that a reader of this blog recommended and when I found it on Youtube and listened to it, I was amazed that I had not come across it before. I used to listen to Barney Simon a lot in the early eighties and if anyone was going to play this on the radio, it would be him. Perhaps he did play it and I just didn’t hear it or didn’t take to it back then, but if you were into Joy Division, Bauhas and that ilk, then this would also have been up there in you likes.
The song is a brooding affair starting slowly and somewhat quietly, then building with the addition of a desolate sax before the gothic laden vocals that sound like a cross between Joy Division’s Ian Curits and Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy, come in along with some urgent guitar. As one poster on the Youtube video said, ‘Amazing memories of desolate eastern cape landscapes and huge blue empty skies, with bitter aloes on the hills lining the empty roads like zulu impis marching down’. It’s a strange-ish comment, but I can see how it works as the desolation of the landscape and the vastness of the sky clashes with the bitterness of the aloes and the impending threat of the impi in the tense affair which ‘Conciets’ is. It could be a soundtrack to driving through such a scene.
It’s not a short piece either, clocking in at nearly 8 minutes, it has a similar feel to the epic 17 and a half minute ‘3rd Set’ on Sharkbrother’s 2000 masterpiece ‘Taj Mahala’. While the latter was recorded 17 years after ‘Conciets’ and draws on slightly different influences (the Tindersticks and Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares), there is that same feeling of bigness that pervades both tracks. But where ‘3rd Set’ does so in a more laid back way, ‘Conciets’ grows and hammers at your senses with an almost nagging persistency.
If you like the old 80’s goth/indie scene, then its worth checking this out. The 7 minutes 50 second Youtube clip does not feel that long because the listener’s interest is maintained throughout by subtle changes which build to a grand crescendo. A must for all lovers of this ilk. For those not turned on by this kind of music, give it a spin anyway as it is a lost SA classic.
Where to find it:
Singles bins if lucky