The fall of Mark E. Smith

The leader of The Fall, a flagship of British post punk, has died at 60 years old...

Door Abigail Church | Video van de dag | 25 januari 2018

While post punk is all the rage right now (just listen to the debut album from Shame, our Qobuzissime of the moment), the genre has lost one of it’s greatest gurus. At 60 years old, Mark E. Smith passed away on the 24th January 2018, leaving behind an impressive discography of around thirty albums at the head of the group The Fall. While the group name is a little inappropriate, the line up of this Mancunian institution who make up this Fall have never ceased to evolve in almost four decades…

Between the social engagement of The Clash, the nihilism of the Sex Pistols and the rigidity of Joy Division, Mark E. Smith chose to go elsewhere… Since the famous Dragnet (1979) and Grotesque (After The Gramme) (1980), the mad mastermind of The Fall had injected a beautifully sick vision with atonal flavours into the British post punk scene. The music of these electric terrorists followed fairly unexpected paths between The Velvet Underground, Captain Beefheart, The Stranglers, CAN’s Krautrock and tons of other disparate influences. But this undefinable arty collage imposed a real unity that Smith’s unsteady voice and his striking prose rendered truly unique.

Spoken word reeled off like mantras, psychedelic piano, anorexic rockabilly, folk dub, muffled bass, garage rock, minimalist punk, Mark E. Smith could do it all! A sort of Joyce drunk off rock’n’roll whose echo would later resonate with Stephen Malkmus from Pavement as well as James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem… We can begin to comprehend the full extent of the influence of this gentleman on his contemporaries by looking at the eclectic list of those who had invited him onto their albums: Gorillaz, Elastica, Coldcut, Edwyn Collins, Inspiral Carpets or even the German duo Mouse on Mars… Even better still, in 2014 the kooky members of Fat White Family recorded a song called I Am Mark E Smith


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