The Fall, "I Am Kurious Oranj"

The Fall

I Am Kurious Oranj

Beggars Banquet

Released October 10th, 1988 (LP reissue out Oct 12th, 2018)


Format: Orange LP reissue (pre-order)

I Am Kurious Oranj is The Fall’s eleventh studio album. Released by Beggars Banquet 30 years ago in 1988, it contains some of their most loved songs including “Cab It Up!” “Jerusalem” (which takes its lyrics from a poem by William Blake) and “New Big Prinz” which Pitchfork called “one of the songs that defined The Fall and Mark E. Smith”. They also said that it “has the sort of jaunty bass line that would later emerge on Pavement’s “Two States” to Blur’s “Parklife.” When Smith utters “check the record, check the guy’s track record,” the words melt into glorious nonsense a la “Surfin’ Bird.”

The album was written as the soundtrack to an avant-garde ballet titled “I Am Curious, Orange”, produced by the experimental Michael Clark Company and performed in London with The Fall playing live. As it said in the original ballet program, replicated inside this reissue, “Mark E. Smith is a history buff and admirer of Michael Clark, and I Am Curious, Orange spawned the idea of a thematic delving into the foibles and little-known psyche of William of Orange.” 

According to Mark E. Smith in his book, Renegade,
“We adapted the title from a Swedish porno film--I am Curious, Yellow. I was trying to make the point that we all share some kind of common knowledge that’s within ourselves; that comes out in all sorts of things. Some people call it a gene pool. It’s as if you already know subconsciously about historical incidents. You don’t have to have been taught it. It’s in-built. At the time I wanted to put this across, basically as a loose explanation of what was happening in Belfast: it’s in the head and bones and there’s nothing you can do about it.
I was on a roll at the time. I’m rarely short of ideas, and I’m not into preserving them much, either. If it’s in your head and you’ve got the right people around you them there’s no better time to tell the story. You can’t be afraid of reactions when it’s like that. I think too many writers hold too much back for another time and then lose the initial spark.
The idea was that Clark would do the ballet side to it and we’d come on and play every now and again. The band was very tight at the time and I reckon we could have played anywhere and delivered. We took it to the Edinburgh Festival and it was a real punch in the face for the artistes and critics. The confidence behind the production threw people; there were no half-measures. It was all very bright and brash, and those that got it really got it. You see it a lot more in films and on TV, historical fiction depicted in a brazen way. It was never intended to be high art or low art. I don’t know what those terms mean, to be honest. It was fuck-all like anything else. That’s good enough in itself, if you ask me. I’m not saying it was perfect or brilliant, but I know for a fact that those who did hook into it experiences something special.

“[The Fall have] retained the power to surprise, to provoke and occasionally outrage that only The Smiths could pretend to possess in the ‘80s.” - NME
“Smith’s work was the manna that gave a certain cross-section of music culture sustenance for 40 years.” - Pitchfork

“Part musical hypnotist, part ranting madman, Smith was a singular figure in post-punk...Their songs were odysseys into his ever-verbose psyche, marked by repetitive rhythms and melodies.” – Rolling Stone
A. New Big Prinz 
Overture from ‘I Am Curious Orange’ 
Dog Is Life/Jerusalem 
Kurious Oranj 
Wrong Place, Right Time

B. Win Fall C.D. 2080 
Yes, O Yes 
Van Plague? 
Bad News Girl 
Cab It Up!