Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The news about Brian Eno creating a therapeutic sound-and-light installation for a hospital  reminded me of a morsel excised for space from the Eno in NYC piece. One project during those years of ferment that didn't reach fruition was Music For Healing, an album he started making in 1979 with Robert Fripp (also resident in Manhattan then) but never finished.  (In some accounts, rather than just being a third Fripp/Eno LP, the album also involved Jon Hassell; Eno's projects during the NYC period seemed to bleed into each other amorphously).

The tracks that survive from Music for Healing—a  four-part series called “Healthy Colours”,  eventually released on the 1994 anthology Essential Fripp & Eno --aren't particularly soothing or convalescent, though. They're tense and restless, combining hypnotic drums, brittle jitters of rhythm guitar, warped bass and gashes of feedback  with vocal fragments from a radio program clipping in and of the groove. They actually sound like the missing link between Eno's first dabble with spoken-voice sampling ( “R.A.F.”, a Baader-Meinhof inspired collage made with Snatch in late 1977, released as  the B-Side to “King’s Lead Hat”) and what he & Byrne achieved on  Bush of Ghosts.  





Friday, April 26, 2013

Mistaken Memories of Late 70s / Early 80s Manhattan

I wrote the cover story for the first issue of The Daily Note, the print newspaper that Red Bull Music Academy is putting out with astonishing frequency during its NYC stint from April 26 to the end of  May.  The feature is a long-time pet project I was delighted to have the chance to finally bring to fruition: Brian Eno's New York Years, the 1978-1984 spurt of innovation and collaboration encompassing Remain In Light, My Life In the Bush of Ghosts, Day of Radiance, Possible Musics, On Land, and much more besides. The free print edition is widely available to locals but non-residents can check out the piece online
RIP George Jones





Thursday, April 18, 2013

Next week I'll be in Washington DC to give a lecture at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, loosely linked to their recent Pump Me Up exhibition  of DIY culture in DC (i.e. hardcore punk + go go).

Date: Tuesday April 23

Time: 7 pm (doors open 6-30 pm)

Address: 500 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20006 (directly opposite the White House!)

Admission:  Corcoran students free; non-Corcoran students $6; general public $12

More information here 

Interview I did (part one and part two) for the Corcoran flagging the event.
  BAD BRAINS "Pay To Cum" (1980 original version) from ViméWood on Vimeo.





Saturday, April 13, 2013

an interesting piece on the semantics / etymology of the term "ratchet"

basically, the latest twist in the never-ending story of  bad-meaning-good ....  also seems to function similarly in America as  "chav" does in the U.K. (although chav has yet to become positivized)

oddly the piece makes no mention of the existence of ratchet as a subgenre of rap 






Thursday, April 11, 2013


Check out the new issue of Sight & Sound  for my Spring Breakers cover essay, in which Skrillex, Britney, and Gucci Mane rub shoulders with Bakhtin, Marcuse, and Raoul Vaneigem. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013




Retro-house  at Number One in the UK!

Time travel, virtually, but slamming tune.

Ever so vaguely it reminds me of this, from '92



Earlier discussion of the house revival. House music, a genre that is a year or two shy of its thirtieth birthday.

Now this particular house revival (late 80s/early 90s template, refurbished) is competing with another house revival (late 90s model), i.e. the UK garage/2step resurgence (also discussed earlier).

When in London last week I stepped into a trendy clothes boutique off Brick Lane and was surprised by the music playing, which could easily have been a EZ mix from 1999 or a show I'd have taped off Freek FM or Mack FM back in the day.  Slinky bump 'n 'flex.

I couldn't resist asking one of the staff, "so is this what the youth are listening to these days?" Mistaking my purpose, the  lightly bearded young man patiently explained that "it's old skool garage", to which I tartly replied "yeah I remember it from the first time around". Then I asked again  if this fourteen year old sound was what the youngsters currently favoured. Looking ever so slightly startled, the young man said that "garage is having a bit of a resurgence at the moment."   "Cool," I said, and there being nothing left to say, exited the store. But really I'm not so sure it is cool.