Consequences sounds at first like one of the worst excesses of '70s rock music: a triple, boxed-set concept album. And yet the combination of some of Godley & Creme's most beautiful music, the haunting sound of their guitar 'Gizmo' invention, the vocal talents of Sarah Vaughan and the comedic skills of Peter Cook make a wonderful listening experience.
Kevin Godley and Lol Creme were half of 10cc, a band they left to concentrate on the Gizmo and the album that would illustrate its versatility. They enlisted the help of British humourist Peter Cook (the former proprietor of Private Eye magazine, who died in January 1995). Cook wrote a play to go with the music, and he played almost all the parts himself.
The main action of the play takes place in the office of the increasingly drunken solicitor Mr Haig; he is negociating the divorce between Walter Stapleton and his French wife Lulu, represented by Mr Pepperman. They are continually interrupted by Mr Blint, an eccentric composer, who lives below; when the building was redeveloped he was the only tenant who refused to sell and a hole (the sound 'ahhhhh!' is heard every time the word 'hole' is mentioned) remains in Mr Haig's floor which is, technically, Blint's attic; it is through this hole (ahhhhh!) that Blint addresses them.
The litigants are unware that larger forces are at work; the world is being threatened by an meteorological disaster. Weather is possibly being used as a weapon in a global war, and eventually it dawns on them that only Mr Blint can save them, with his arcane knowledge of pyramids, music and the number 17.
A portion of the music on side 1 (which is largely instrumental) was
used in a very arty cinema ad for Benson and Hedges - another case
of 1970s excess, this time in advertising. You know the kind of thing:
lizards, swimming pools, helicopters. Nick Stuart worked with Kevin and
Lol on the edit and sound effects in this advert, all of which were done
with the aid of the Gizmo.
Nick says "
I used a piece of [Consequences] slightly doctored fo the Benson and Hedges cinema
commercial which used the house blown up at the finale of Zabriskie Point.
Originally [the music was] used on spec by director Hugh Hudson (Chariots of Fire).
I suggested taking it to Kevin Godley for an edit and some additional sound effects -
helicopter, iguana blinking, which became the final sound bed."
The 1977 cinema advert for Consequences.
The album was a commercial disaster, suffering from a eye-wateringly expensive price tag, as well as being a concept triple-album released just as punk was becoming widely popular and influential. But I love it. Explore the site to find out more about this extraordinary piece of work, the amazing story of the innovative analogue audio craft that went into its construction as well as the haunting new musical instrument - invented by Godley and Creme - that it was written to showcase.
Explore this site, Gavin Hogg's 2016 Sounds article is a good introduction, read my memoir about my relationship with the album over decades evolved, listen to the excellent Consequences podcast - or try and get your hands on a copy of the re-issue!
'In nature, there are
neither rewards nor punishments -
there are Consequences.'
R.G.Ingersoll, 1833-1899 - quoted in the sleevenotes
Just one piece of advice you might be able to use: SEVENTEEN.