Thursday, August 16, 2012

What the?


"at least fifteen years" says tutorial dude, speaking in 2009....  actually, it's now, in 2012, twenty one years since the Dominator/Mentasm  hoover riff was invented, using the Roland Alpha Juno 2 / Eric Persing "What The?" synth patch

It's like a twelve-bar blues shuffle in E at this point  

Not as blatantly recycled as the tracks above but definitely Hoover-esque - finds fresh life from a seemingly stale formula

Did I post this already? I can't remember (maybe on the Energy Flash blog) - at any rate, here's "rave slime" scholars EVOL and their Horde of Hoovers mix earlier this year for FACT

105 tracks in just under 49 minutes!

EVOL's Roc Jiménez de Cisnero told FACT, “The majority of the tracks belong to a very specific timeframe, namely the golden era of European rave and hardcore around 1990, 1991 and 1992, when the hoover sound was wildly popular and its potential was being explored. Despite quickly becoming a gimmick across the scene, and one that spawned countless shit tunes, the hoover was at its peak in the very early nineties, and the productions of that time set the gold standard for years to come. Hoovers survived as a cliché but hardly evolved after that.”

Still yet to hear EVOL's Wormhole Shubz: Finitude and Homeomorphism in Postulatory Rave Synthesis, which is "a deconstruction of rave culture icons under radically different compositional strategies"  and comes complete with a CD booklet featuring an interview with Eric Persing.

Oh wait, there's some excerpts on the site if you scroll down a way - the second track sounds like the erratic flight path of a bee suffering from alcohol poisoning

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

RIP Harry Harrison

I'm not sure how many stories by Harry Harrison I read in my teen s.f. fiend phase but the two that made an impression were:

The first is a terrific bleak and gritty novel set in a near-future (our past, now: 1999) New York, when overpopulation and resource-depletion have made life pretty fucking miserable. That 1966 novel was then turned into a vastly inferior movie, Soylent Green, with absurd alterations to the plot. (In Make Room!, soylent is not "made of people", it's made of soya and lentils. That and krill and seaweed crackers make up the diet for 99 percent of the population).

The second is an entertaining alternative history set in a world dominated by the British Empire (which still controls North America - hence the NASA-level grandiosity of digging a railway tunnel to connect the motherland and the colonies).

Oddly this past year I bought and reread Make Room! Make Room! (still excellent, and it would lend itself to being made into a far more faithful movie in the current climate for dystopian and post-cataclysm film/TV: Hunger Games, Revolution, etc). And I bought but have yet to reread A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!. Odder still  I also recently wrote (briefly) about HH in an article that looks at a bunch of things including steampunk, arguing that 1972's Hurrah! (also known as Tunnel Through the Deeps) is an unacknowledged precursor of that genre:

Harrison’s counterfactual world involves a British Empire that still rules all of North America because Washington’s revolutionary army was defeated and it  features such technological wonders as steam-powered airplanes fueled by the burning of coal dust.   

Describing the genesis of the novel, Harrison recalled that he realized his “parallel world... would be very much like a Victorian society with certain material changes. This would have to be, in some ways, a Victorian novel. [But] since, early on, I had decided it would be a light book, I did not dare even touch on the real condition of the Victorian working class, child prostitution and all the various ills of society at that period. I had to ignore them. So, true to the nature of the book but not true to my own beliefs, it did turn into a Tory's vision of glory for which I do apologise to my socialist friends.” 

That remark captures—and prophesies-a large element of the appeal of steampunk as a genre: the combination of quaint atmospherics and retro-reactionary formal properties (characterization, dialogue, plots, etc that all follow the adventure-hero model of pulp fiction genres or 19th Century popular story-telling) with all of the technological gizmo thrills and marvellousness of science fiction.   

With alternative history and steampunk alike, there’s still that sense of world-turned-upside-down estrangement and disorientation that science fiction supplies, but it’s not set in the future or on some distant alien planet: it’s our world seen in a distorting mirror, made unrecognizable and slightly grotesque. 

RIP Charles Ball

[from the Rip It Up footnotes blog]

According to No Wave journalist Roy Trakin, who wrote for Soho Weekly News and New York Rocker, “a very important hidden figure, who nurtured the scene and almost singlehandedly championed No Wave back at a time no one else got it, was Charles Ball of Lust/Unlust. He was like an Alan Lomax in the swamps, documenting the scene with field recordings.” Ball had worked alongside Terry Ork at Ork Records, the pioneering New York independent label that put out Television’s first single. Trakin describes Ball as “a real heavy thinker, into French polemical film makers, a real Godard freak”.

Speaking from his home in Florida in (I think) 2003, Charles Ball told me: “I’d spent a year translating Jacques Revet’s film criticism. I was big into French New Wave. I read a lot of Adorno, Benjamin, Marcuse. Also the Situationists. And Lacan. Coming from a film and structuralist perspective, I was very familiar with Roland Barthes and all that kind of thing.

The name Lust/Unlust came from this sort of reading. Ball had left to start his own production company, which is really what Lust/Unlust was, more than a label as such. Ultimately he let the artists choose the names for their labels so it looked like he had a whole stable of different record labels to his credit. The first Lust/Unlust release was a Teenage Jesus & the Jerks single; Lunch called her sub-label Migraine. Ball appears to have been a gifted producer, like Martin Hannett, exploring the potential of the first generation of digital reverbs.

Charles Ball: “It allowed you to do things that you could do before like flanging but go much further with it--you could actually designate a room where the reflections would suddenly become being harmonized--a pitch up above what the original was. When I tried to do a mix I tried to make sure something was changing throughout.” On one Mars EP, he used binaural recording, mixed to simulate the spacing of your ears. “I also added on digital delays and reverbs so there was both the exposed physical space if you were to listen on headphones which sounds uncanily like someone’s behind you or placed somewhere in space, and then all these artificial space and unreal space added by the digital delay. Some of the guitar solos I have on that record are just really extraordinary, it would start like it seemed like you were seeing the amplifier and then suddenly you were in some kind of room or chamber that’s psychological.

Some of Lust/Unlust releases: 

Ball also told me he was sitting on an archive of No Wave field recordings, live performances he'd taped.

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's sort of reassuring Britain's gone back to being shit.

Or as FACT puts it in their run-down, "for the last two weeks Britain has been a bubble of positivity, optimism and good-will, and the Closing Ceremony helped restore the cynicism and self-loathing which oils the wheels of everyday life here in Blighty"

The lowlight, in an overcrowded (literally overcrowded) field, was surely Russell Brand's "I Am the  Walrus".

  It actually made this ---

look good.
Kitsch is the cultural Esperanto of the world. Its lingua wanca.

(The Rio 2016 foretaste interlude showed that as much as anything provided by the host nation last night). 

But let's  remember the highlights. Like this"ooh gosh" moment

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

cold act ill or get retarded

                                             plus bonus sample-spotting-saddo:

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Thursday, August 02, 2012

EDM in the USA  --   Guardian piece by me on rave's better-late-than-never conquest of America, covering Electric Daisy Carnival, the irresistible rise of brostep, rocktronica god Skrillex etc