Thursday, May 21, 2020

"I had tightened it, I had brightened it"

Some interesting reflections on what blogging is / was, from Bruce Sterling as he announces the closing down of his own long-running (17 years) blog Beyond the Beyond (c/o Wired magazine) ...

Bruce describes it as "a form of psychic relief...  by blogging, I removed things from the fog of vague interest and I oriented them toward possible creative use"

That chimed with my own feelings about the value of unpaid labour: writing as freeform fun, as mental calisthenics, as intellectual hygiene... the blog as public notepad, a testing space or site for the construction of thought-probes

This comment also struck a chord:

"I’m even proud and happy that I managed to spare the readers so much of my own mental compost in this blog. The chosen, curated material that made it on to this blog was maybe one percent of the vast heaps of rubbish I was overturning. I could have stuffed this blog with two hundred times as much “content”..."

One of the problems with having a blog (or blogs multiple) is that you start thinking bloggy  -  everything becomes potential "material", something that could be turned into a riff with only a smidgeon of effort, given the lax standards of the format and the tolerance of the readership.  The incontinence you see (not here these days, but still on the other blogs) is a fraction of the stuff that I have in bulging folders of scrawled notes... and there is more that never even reached paper at all. 

(Perhaps this level of mind-churn was always going on - and getting emitted in letters and later in emails - both of which tend to go copious -  or in conversations in pubs and elsewhere. I don't know. But there's something about the itch caused by having a blog outlet that is generative, for good and for bad).

So here I am in the 18th year of blogging - a little bit longer than Bruce lasted - and although most everybody on the original scene has stopped, a few haven't...  there are newer names who are prolific and copious... and now and then a brand new one gets started.

To adapt the Ivor Cutler ditty, I believe in blogs. I truly believe in blogs.

Still.

Besides, it feels like I couldn't cease operations, even if I wanted to... it's too late to stop now.

But something might have to change.



Monday, May 18, 2020

Friday, May 15, 2020

some things



!!!! Foul Play's first two EPs + "Finest Illusion" b/w "Skrewface" get reissued by Sneaker Social Club in a pristine remastered vinyl set titled Origins  !!!!

Here's the blurb I supplied:

"From the slamming science of “Ricochet,” through the jittery ghost-rave of “Survival” and the outer-space lover’s rock of “Dubbing You,” to the manic magic of “Finest Illusion,” this collection of early EPs by rave legends Foul Play tracks an astonishing evolution across barely more than a year. Some of the top tunes to come out of the hardcore > jungle > drum & bass journey? Yes, but also some of the most thrilling and gorgeous music of the entire ‘90s"



Well, it seems the vinyl is already sold out in advance, but the digital album goes on sale on the 22nd of May - and hopefully there will be a repress.




Mexican Summer's Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti reissue program, aka the Ariel Archives, reaches Cycle 2 : The Doldrums, Worn Copy, House Arrest. Each of these retransferred / remastered and deluxely repackaged vinyl double-LPs is accompanied by a liner note essay by yours truly.based on new interviews.




A few years ago I had the pleasure of participating in Donaufestival in Krems, Austria. This year's festival had to be cancelled, like all the others. But a festival reader based on the 2020 leitmotiv, Machines Like Us, has come out with a mixture of essays in German and English. I contributed a piece entitled "Desiring the machine / Machining the desire" which compares the Deleuze-delirious discourse around technorave in the '90s (perped by such as Kodwo, ccru-kru, Kroker and truly yours) with the notably less exultant way that electronic musicians and their critical champions evoke digital technology in the 21st Century: no longer as a Promethean power trip, something exterior to the self that can be harnessed, but as a insidious soft technology worming its way into our interior life, abjecting the self from within.