Friday, June 09, 2006

Part-time producer, part-time pop purveyor

He produced singles for a wide variety of artists, including Cocteau Twins, Pale Fountains, and Winston Tong, and albums for the likes of Paul Haig and Anna Domino. And in a story many are already familiar with, helped kickstart Belle And Sebastian's career, thanks to his lecturing gig at Glasgow's Stow College and his involvement with that institution's music label, Electric Honey.

Unfortunately, Alan Rankine's production work has come to overshadow his solo music.

For three years, Rankine was one-half of the stylish, post-punk outfit Associates, layering the lush musical landscape that beautifully complemented Billy Mackenzie's renowned voice. Rankine ultimately left the band in October of 1982, while Mackenize soldiered on using the Associates' moniker.

In 1986, Rankine moved to Brussels and signed with the Belgain independent label Les Disques Du Crepuscule, which had released material by fellow Scots Josef K some five years earlier. He cut two albums for the label (The World Begins To Look Her Age and the all-instrumental The Big Picture Sucks), and a third for Virgin Records: She Loves Me Not. A handful of singles were released as well.

Hear it for yourself. Download: "The Sandman" by Alan Rankine. Sounds like a more up-tempo version of Associates' "Deeply Concerned." The track also contains some rather portentous lyrics: "Just tell me when will the sandman come/And take me for his first and final friend/When will the sandman come/And give me the sleep that never ends." Rankine's former collaborator and friend, Mackenzie, would die of a drug overdose in 1997.