Following the 2017 reissue of Normil Hawaiians debut, the double album More Wealth Than Money, Upset the Rhythm continue their excavation into the group’s back catalogue with 1984’s What’s Going On?. If you want to know why Upset the Rhythm, not generally a reissue label, are quite so taken with one of post-punk’s best kept secrets, this album goes some way towards explaining that.
Normil Hawaiians contained members who were accomplished musicians and members who had little natural talent – a combination of skill and naivety that’s produced some of our best radical music. Their structures were built from heavy improv – notable here on the storming ‘Ignorance is Strength’. Aesthetically, their closest sisters were frenetic, idiosyncratic, post-Beefheart groups like Swell Maps or the Pop Group – a collage approach with an idea from jazz here, a bit of dub there, rip the whole thing up halfway through. They were early adopters too to the influence of Krautrock (check out the soaring, tribal utopia of ‘Big Lies’). This is radical collage sound music; it contains a 10-minute exploration on Hindu modes of existence. It contains a gorgeous, chiming tribute to the Paris Commune thinker Louise Michel.
Unfortunately, the Hawaiians were victims of a changing London; Canary Wharf came up and the squat scene around which the band oscillated came down. As a consequence of this, parts of the album were recorded in rural Wales, giving the record an expanse that’s absent on its predecessor. Where next? We didn’t find out; this would be their last release proper. Thank heavens, then, for this killer reissue.
Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines
As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.
Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.
If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.
It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.