Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Flicking through the just-arrived new issue of the Wire, a "w000ooah, hold-up thurr a minute" moment: a massive Primer on "Texan hip hop", meaning DJ Screw and kin, from Mr David Stelfox. Lots of full-colour pix--the last time there were this many black faces in the Wire was when I did my guide to Grime a year ago. Congratulations Dave, quite a coup.

A pretty meaty issue all told. Great big cover story by Phil Freeman on the Melvins (one of those bands I always wanted to like, wanted to get into... They're quite an arty bunch right? it's all very conceptual isn't it -- indeed there was a dense piece on them in Artforum some years back as I recall that seemed to reckon they were bloody clever and playing all sorts of sharp games with rock iconography, deconstructing "heavy" and "dumb", exposing the device G04 style. Or something. From what I remember of their major label crossover LP though it sounded a bit like Mountain but without the erm melodic grace and majesty ... still i'll have to give them another go one of these years). Piece on John Surman who I remember from having been an ECM fan for some while but this is about his early days as fiery free jazzer. One on Funhouse sax-blaster Steve Mackay. And (chiming with the Cage-bashing theme of the previous Wire issue) a Cage-related book gets reviewed whence is plucked this from Stockhausen, slagging JC in 1988:

"He has no inner vision: he doesn't hear.... it is just a shock in the history of the European tradition that someone like him can be called a composer... until the middle of the 20th Century... one always expected musicianship, a very special kind of craftsmanship"

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