11 January 2012

Very Cellular Songs


Very Cellular Song
Day in the Life
Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
Carry On (half that CSN&Y record in fact)
Happiness is a Warm Gun
Band on the Run
Bohemian Rhapsody
B-Boy Bouillabaisse
No fit state

Off the top of my head. As many further examples as possible welcome.

EDIT: further examples

via Rockfort:
'Couple of v cellular songs for you - Arkansas Coal and The Game Plus several Pulp "long songs".'

via Tim Abrahams: Moss Covered Obelisk by Chrome Hoof.

plus some more in Alex Niven's comment below

EDIT 2: a few from The Impostume in comments plus some clarification of concept...

and EDIT 3: even more, from Phil Knight

(cellular album)


Alex Niven said...

Off the top of me head ...

(1983) ... A Merman I Should Turn to Be

The Hard One (Beta Band)

All of Can

Dove by Cymande

More recently ...

Wham City by Dan Deacon

Fine For Now by Grizzly Bear

Loads of Gang Gang Dance!

Alex Niven said...

Oh and The Spark That Bled by Flaming Lips

carl said...

Song Cycle by Van Dyke Parks!

It's rubbish but it is cellular (if i understand the concept)

and Surfs Up of course...

and another cellular album would be Pony Express Record by Shudder To Think.. kind of micro-cellular pop...

which is the greatest record ever made.

and Sugar Cane Fields Forever by Caetano Veloso...

you mean songs that go through multiple radical shifts right? like several songs stitched together?

carl said...


Loads of Zappa...

does cellular mean that there is no reversion to chorus/repetitition etc and that it's just straight linear switches until the song ends?

Zone Styx Travelcard said...

Yes! Like A/B/C/D/E/F rather than A/B/A/B/middle-eight-solo/B/B.

It's slightly blurry to be honest, I think a few of the examples I listed do repeat the odd section. And some are more obviously composed as suite-like structures (Carry On say), I prefer the more ruptured/ragged/collaged efforts.

I was surprised how many I could think of from classic rock - I might have expected more from post-punk onwards: jump cuts and juxtaposition, refusing pop convention etc. Maybe to do with the pressure to churn out at least an album if not two a year = cobbled-together patchworks like Suite Judy etc... and then that feeds into prog's suites/sonatas etc.

David W. Kasper said...

Mercury Rev's 'The Sweet Odessee of a Cancer Cell To The Centre of Your Heart' is one of many proto-post-rock 'cellulars' from the early 90s (see also Bark Psychosis, Stereolab, Spiritualized, Pram etc etc).

Plus shitloads of jazz fusion from the early 70s (Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Eddie Henderson etc etc)

Is this blog 'active' again, then?

David W. Kasper said...

And yeah - Song Cycle is rubbish. After years of reading about it's 'legendary' rep, was incredibly disappointing. Also a very bad influence on 'whimsical' US rock - the aural equivalent of using ice cream for gravy.

carl said...

on the corner would be a prime contender, innit

only in it for the money by zappa

but they're albums

Stars on 45! errr....

Zone Styx Travelcard said...

well, it wasn't inactive, just taking a long nap.

I'd like to be doing long detail-heavy posts, but for various reasons I don't have the time. So I'm going to start using this more for short fragments, digressions, scraps. Better than not using it at all. I think.

Phil Knight said...

"White Man In Hammersmith Palais"?

"If There Is Something" + "The Bob" by Roxy Music

"Paper Hats" by This Heat.

(Probably loads of TH, tbh.)

"I Can't Swim I Have Nightmares" by Ludus

(Prob. loads of Ludus as well.)

Almost everything on the first 3 Chrome albums.

Phil Knight said...



David W. Kasper said...

Maybe more 'Sea Breezes' by Roxy (one of my favourites by them BTW)?

Also, 'mixadelic' 80s hiphop - Coldcut, Steinski etc. and perhaps 'short sample' techno/d 'n 'b mixes, like Soundmurderer, Jeff Mills at the Liquid Rooms etc. Two-hour mixes as one long 'piece' with 'cells' of sound emerging & recurring. Blocks of sound with little motifs, bursts, mini-movements.

Phil Knight said...

Well, the finny thing is I've never really investigated side 2 of the first Roxy album - I may have been thinking of "Sea Breezes" when I put down "The Bob".

But the first side I listen to quite regularly. "If There Is Something" conjures up all sorts of childhood associations of the Seventies for me - when the world was still ineffibly mysterious. Might have to go into this in some length elsewhere.....

David W. Kasper said...

I preferred Roxy at their 'proggiest'. First album as a whole starts with a burst of exuberant energy, then seems to deliberately exhaust itself and wind down on side 2. Second album moves in a similar fashion.

jamesbell said...

Lots in Hip Hop - Ultramagnetic MCs 'A Chorus Line' (Parts 1 + 2), Gang Starr, 'I'm the Man'