Fake Music Review: Fetish - Twiddle Our Knobs Extended Re-Mix Re-Issue
If Brian Wilson and Alan Vega adopted a feral child at birth and then employed Diamanda Galas as a wet nurse that child wouldn’t have grown up to be Fetish, but it would have attended at least half of the fabled, forgotten synth-pop duo from Manchester’s four live shows. It would have had all its extant recordings; “Sally Stigmata” b/w “Nasal Thrones” and the indispensable masterpiece, “Twiddle Our Knobs,” a 45 originally issued on Mauve Nymph Records out of Cardiff. Sadly, that child wouldn’t be alive today. Some mishap in a Bruges bath-house would have rescued it from our material world. Anyway, at least we can enjoy this document. Let’s dispense with the formalities upfront so the online wailing and gnashing of teeth can commence while the True Believers (not the band, dummy, though I love AE) read on.
*** 8.9 / 10 ***
The only lyric being, “And all the kids sing/ We don’t want money/ We don’t want jobs/ We want to dance/ So twiddle our knobs” – Forgive me, my Montagnard is a little rusty.
Was there ever a better rallying cry for the Reagan era? And if Art speaks to its Time and to History, well then Ganymede and Rudy checked both boxes on this one. Given our current political climate, maybe Karl Marx was right, “If you forget your history, you’re doomed to eat it.” Or did Rudy say that? ….
The lyric gets extrapolated over the original single, clocking in at a precise 3 minutes in the original Montagnard. Remastered, it is even more sweatier than a Long Island Iced Tea left in the corner of the dance floor at the only bar in your small Methodist college town that had one. But wait, there’s more!
Spread out over three discs or four long-players and one mystery platter, Steve Albini kicks it off from Chi-Town, Steve Lillywhite phones it in from London (sorry Steve, sometimes it’s best to stay inside our box), Arthur Baker gets resurrected in NYC, Pharrell, Somewhere out West, spins a smooth flow R&B tip-inflected groove, DJ Bonaparte from Ajaccio (He has a regular gig at Eurydice’s Den in Ajaccio - get thee there ASAP!) keeps it all Mediterranean, breezy and real, DJ Ramen, Shinjuku’s only visually-impaired DJ serves up a piping hot and messy mix, Stevie Thunder makes Detroit proud although Union Man’s rhymes should have been run through a thesaurus first, Mikki Godwana from Kinshasa? Hell to the YEAH! And finally, Oleg Chukovskaya slices and dices the Fetish rallying cry from Mother Russia, St. Petersburg, to be exact. Too bad he wasn’t alive pre-Glasnost; the Cold War would’ve melted like a bowl of Rocky Road in a 700-watt microwave set to ten seconds. “Disc 3” is the mystery platter. SPOILER ALERT: This is epic 28-minute dance floor version remixed by late Berlin DJ Mousey Kleinfelt. One caveat being that only the first 500 copies of the box-set include a mauve flexi-disc of Mousey tip-toeing through a prelapsarian biodome of Teutonic genius. Copies are numbered. I got #497. Praise Jesus!
Each artist has a Dance Mix and a Signature Mix. Some tracks use a vocal, either sampling the original or using a local MC in their native tongue. Albini deconstructs the lyric until it practically means nothing other than exactly what it says. DJ Ramen works with...well, you’ll just have to listen to it. I’ll leave it at that. Each is unique and a piece of the Fetish puzzle. Gestalt was never like this!
How each Master and Mistress stretches and molds this one track is evidence of Ganymede and Rudy’s prescience. Think of it as the first track to cross the Bering Land Bridge and migrate south. G and R knew diaspora wasn’t a dirty word in music circles even if it was misspelled. And now you do, too.
Ganymede hasn’t been heard from in years. Some say he’s in Patagonia. Others say Tangiers. Others say six feet South. Meanwhile, Rudolph runs a jazz club and hosts game shows in his adopted hometown of Helsinki under his birth name Rudy Marx née Schwartz (a Techno Producer friend of mine has his business card! Check out my Instagram account if you don’t believe me :p). Lastly, if Ganymede and Rudy should read this, please, please, I beseech you to find it in your hearts to Twiddle Our Knobs one more time.