Monday, June 16, 2008

‘Vena Cava’ by John Robie (1982)

It took me years to find a copy of this record. I eventually turned up a copy at the Slarn Festival on Zinnin 4. Cost me 5 lags! John Robie was Arthur Baker’s right-hand man and the programmer and musician responsible for countless electro hits such as ‘Planet Rock,’ and ‘Looking For The Perfect Beat.’
This amazing cut only appeared on the bonus record of Disconet Vol. 4, Program 9. I found the regular record (the one with the sick ‘Glad To Know You’ remix) a few times over the years, but the bonus disc with ‘Vena Cava’ proved to be quite elusive.
I have no idea what Robie’s saying through the vocoder on this song, but I don’t care much. Maybe he’s talking about the workings of the heart, the location of the superior and inferior vena cava. Maybe he’s talking about picking up his dry-cleaning. Whatever the case, Robie was a master programmer and a great musical mind. I hope he’s still out there somewhere making magic.


RealFreshBlog said...

This one is new to me; superb John Robie effort! And I thought I had everything he did ! LOL

Thanks for sharing! Keep up the good work!

Zartek said...

A friend ran into him recently in the Hamptons. He is apparently writing an opera. I guess he's still at it.
He was uninterested in discussing his early productions. At least that's what I was told. I'm sure the royalties from 'Planet Rock' set him up pretty nicely! I'd think he'd be happy to talk about it!


Michelle & Jaume said...

Thanks for posting. Awesome sounding! Hope Robie has luck with the opera

om-kundalini said...

What the bot'hell ! :D This is Ali Baba's cavern here. Great blog and rare gems. Thank you soOo much.

Take a ear right here if you dare:

Daniel said...

I thought I was the only person who knew this one!

Anonymous said...

Beethoven go home!
The moment the vocoder kicks in may very well be the finest moment in the history of mankind!
Thank you so much for posting!!!!!!!!!!!

the saucer people said...

Took me years to hunt this one down as well...once heard you just have to own it, cost me next to nothing as well :)

I don't think many of these late seventies/early eighties artists and producers who created obscure cosmic disco material realise just how revered they are amongst a certain percentage of the interweb population...Planet Rock? Tell me about Vena Cava!

You ever hear the vocal version he did a year later with Jenny Burton on her 'In Black & White' album? While there are a couple of good tracks on it like 'Rocksteady' & 'You'll Never Come Again' the overlay of vocals just spoils it completely, so much so that I have even erased what the track is called from my mental databank.

obscure cosmic disco eighties realise just how worshiped

Anonymous said...

I just found this record at a thrift store and wound up here while looking for info on it. It's definitely an awesum record, and now I know who John Robie was, so thanks a lot! I like the 'mystery beat' track too. I read on Discogs or somewhere what the original track the mystery beat was taken from but I forget, but it would be cool if you could put that full track on your blog sometime, too!