A retrospective of GZM's Ankst releases.
Ankstmusik: 3 March 2003
Last updated: 20 November 2008
It's a bit of an odd time for Welsh music. With Ankst Records' Radio Crymi Playlist, Placid Casual's Depressed Celts collection, forthcoming Ffa Coffi Pawb re-releases and now a Gorky's retrospective, it might seem like Welsh music's donning the rose-tinted specs and getting all nostalgic.
- Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Ei Gilydd
- Bocs Angelica
- When You Laugh At Your Own Garden In A Blazer
- The Game Of Eyes
- Pentref Wrth Y Mor
- Cwpwrdd Sadwrn
- Miss Trudy
- Methu Aros Tan Haf
- Why Are We Sleeping?
- Gewn Ni Gorffen?
- 12 Impressionistic Soundscapes
- If Fingers Were Xylophones
- Moon Beats Yellow
- Lucy's Hamper
- The Heart Of Kentucky
- Sdim Yr Adar Yn Canu
Needless to say, Welsh music's currently fighting fit, but with so much cultural currency to play with, now's a good time to take a backwards look.
20 is a collection of songs from the six EPs and singles Gorky's Zygotic Mynci put out on Ankst between 1994 and 1996, including the limited edition Gewn Ni Gorffen? Featuring experimental alchemy, playful lyrics and the heartbreaking voice of Euros Childs, this is a fine starting point for anyone wanting to know more about one of Wales' most enduring and endearing bands.
Ankstmusik's Emyr Williams recently said of Gorky's: "They were one of the most talented groups I had ever seen anywhere. Musically they were really developed. Fantastic songs, arrangements, Euros' voice: the whole thing was in place before we had anything to do with them really".
Certainly the early recordings bear this out. Their 1994 debut EP Merched Yn Neud Gwallt Ei Gilydd, recorded while they were still at school, is the sound of a band that has enough raw talent to go places. The Britpop influences are perhaps a little too pronounced, but their winsome energy and enthusiasm shines though. The chorus runs: "There's no need to worry... 'cause we ain't got school in the morning". In another world they could have been the Tatu of their day.
From their humble beginnings they went from strength to strength. It's a little like growing up in public: everyone can see your spots and your bad moods, though it doesn't seem to have done Gorky's much harm. Over the years they may have lots much of their experimentalism, but they songs have got better and Euros Childs' voice is better than ever. But what's most remarkable about 20 is that the songs were all recorded in just two years - it's a fine testament to the band's productivity.
Playful bluegrass on The Heart Of Kentucky, spoken word mayhem on Miss Trudy and honking trombones on Why Are We Sleeping? all amount to a treasure trove of experimental songs par excellence. And that's without mentioning the sheer delight of hearing the wilfully barking The Game Of Eyes once again.
A few years ago Mercury released an album called Introducing, which featured some of the tracks contained on 20, plus others from the early Ankst albums Tatay and Bwyd Time. Dedicated Gorky's fans will prefer 20, particularly when Tatay and Bwyd Time get their eventual reissues.
For the first time Gorky's listener, 20 is possibly a little too left-field to fully explain why so many people covet the band. But for anyone who has already fallen under their spell and missed out on the Ankst years, it's a purchase that won't be regretted.
Words: Joe Goodden