Friday, June 14, 2019

going underground

Here's my review for 4Columns of Robert Macfarlane's new book Underland: A Deep Time Journey - in which the renowned landscape and nature writer ventures below the surface in search of a new sublime - experiences so intensely alien they defeat his own eloquence.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

RIP Andy Gill

I was really saddened to hear about the recent death of Andy Gill, who wrote superbly about postpunk, electropop and weirdo music of all sorts for NME during the postpunk era, and later became resident popular music critic at The Independent.  It was for Q, though, that he came to New York in 1993 to interview Donald Fagen, whom as it happened I was covering for The Observer. We met at the album playback for Kamakiriad and had a long and very pleasant conversation.

Sadly we never met again, but in 2003 I did interview Andy by telephone for Rip It Up and Start Again about his time as the Sheffield correspondent for the New Musical ExpressHere is a tidied-up transcript of our conversation, with Andy providing a richly detailed lowdown on Sheffield subculture. He talked about the early days of Cabaret Voltaire, Human League, Vice Versa / ABC, as well as a number of lesser-knowns and curios from the after-punk era (including I'm So Hollow, Artery, Molodoy, The Extras, 2.3). I also asked Andy about his experiences working at the NME - heady, boozy, conflictual - during its last golden age.

EVP MVP mix by MWC

A tasty and unusual mix from Moon Wiring Club

The flavour here is "mainly 90s off-kilter instrumental hip-hop and electronica tracks" featuring the likes of Tek 9 and Luke Vibert, and generally echoing Ian Hodgson's formative love of illbient, Wordsound and Skam. MWC in head-nod, boom-bap mode - loping, lurching, swampy, spacey, texture-dolloped and droopy-lidded. 

But draped also with lots and lots of the vintage telly-derived voice-snippets that you expect and love from MWC.