Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hauntology Parish Newsletter - June 2018 : Moon Wiring Club stuff 'n' nonsense; Bloxham Tapes; new A Year in the Country themed album The Shildam Hall Tapes; Andrew Pekler's Phantom Islands

Celebrating the Summer Solstice tomorrow, here's a new Moon Wiring Club mix! 

Mr. Hodgson describes it as starting out as your "pretty standard hyper-soup of the usual 70s/80s audio synth nonsense with added vocal bitsy" that then veers into an unexpected "Industrial dance selection... everyone needs to have heard Soma Holiday at least once."

Mr. Hodgson also points out some related MWC action:

- a MWC interview that features in new "folk horror" book  Harvest Hymns. Volume II - Sweet Fruits

-  MWC track contributed to "3rd Wave" hauntology compilation, Present At The Terminal, on the  Modern Aviation label


Mr. Hodgson mentions in passing a new 3rd Wave hauntology entity possibly worth checking out -  Bloxham Tapes.  


A Year In the Country have a new themed album involving multiple contributors out next month, The Shildam Hall Tapes, which sounds excellently eerie on a first listen. 

Release rationale: 

 “Reflections on an imaginary film.” 

In the late 1960s a film crew began work on a well-funded feature film in a country mansion, having been granted permission by the young heir of the estate. 

Amidst rumours of aristocratic decadence, psychedelic use and even possibly dabbling in the occult, the film production collapsed, although it is said that a rough cut of it and the accompanying soundtrack were completed but they are thought to have been filed away and lost amongst storage vaults. 

Few of the cast or crew have spoken about events since and any reports from then seem to contradict one another and vary wildly in terms of what actually happened on the set. 

A large number of those involved, including a number of industry figures who at the time were considered to have bright futures, simply seemed to disappear or step aside from the film industry following the film's collapse, their careers seemingly derailed or cast adrift by their experiences. 

Little is known of the film's plot but several unedited sections of the film and its soundtrack have surfaced, found amongst old film stock sold as a job lot at auction - although how they came to be there is unknown. 

The fragments of footage and audio that have appeared seem to show a film which was attempting to interweave and reflect the heady cultural mix of the times; of experiments and explorations in new ways of living, a burgeoning counter culture, a growing interest in and reinterpretation of folk culture and music, early electronic music experimentation, high fashion, psychedelia and the crossing over of the worlds of the aristocracy with pop/counter culture and elements of the underworld. 

The Shildam Hall Tapes takes those fragments as its starting point and imagines what the completed soundtrack may have sounded like; creating a soundtrack for a film that never was. 

My memory is getting foggier as the years advance, but I think - I think - that I forgot to flag up this recent A Year in the Country release from just last month, Audio Albion

release rationale: 

Audio Albion is a music and field recording map of Britain, which focuses on rural and edgeland areas. 

Each track contains field recordings from locations throughout the land and is accompanied by notes on the recordings by the contributors. 

The tracks record the sounds found and heard when wandering down pathways, over fields, through marshes, alongside rivers, down into caves and caverns, climbing hills, along coastlands, through remote mountain forestland, amongst the signs of industry and infrastructure and its discarded debris. 

Intertwined with the literal recording of locations, the album explores the history, myths and beliefs of the places, their atmospheres and undercurrents, personal and cultural connections - the layered stories that lie amongst, alongside and beneath the earth, plants and wildlife. 

News from the parish's twinned town in West Germany - Andrew Pekler invents a new genre - hauntonautology - with the announcement of  Phantom Islands – A Sonic Atlas  - "an interactive online map that charts the sounds and histories of islands that were once found on nautical maps but have since disappeared." Part of the larger Fourth Worlds online project /  real-world exhibition + conference for "l'ethnographie imaginaire dans l'experimentation musicale et sonore". 

Release rationale: 

"Phantom Islands are artifacts of the age of maritime discovery and colonial expansion. During centuries of ocean exploration these islands were sighted, charted, described and even landed on – but their existence was never ultimately verified. Poised between cartographic fact and maritime fiction, they haunted seafarers’ maps for hundreds of years, providing inspiration for legend, fantasy, and counterfactual histories. Phantom Islands – A Sonic Atlas interprets these imaginations in the form of a map of speculative sounds from 27 phantom islands around the world.

"Explore the map by clicking on the names of phantom islands to learn the histories of their discoveries and the dates of their cartographical existence. Zoom in on individual islands to hear their musical, biophonic and geophonic soundscapes. Or, engage Cruise mode to be taken on an audio tour of all the Phantom Islands – ideal for passive listening in a separate browser window or tab. (In this mode, all the sounds, played in sequence, amount to something like my new album.) Recommended browsers: Chrome (version 67+), Firefox (version 60+ ), Safari (version 11+). Not usable on mobile devices. 

"Phantom Islands – A Sonic Atlas was commissioned by Jeu de Paume for the exhibition Fourth Worlds: Imaginary Ethnography in Music and Sound and was produced with the support of DICRéAM, CNC. "

Friday, June 08, 2018

s.f and rock

Here's my review for 4Columns of Jason Heller's book about the interface between pop music and science fiction in the 1970s - Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded.

Along with the many cross-contaminations between rock-etc and s.f., one thing that Heller's book reminded me of was that many of the very earliest rock criticism publications were started by people who had previously done science fiction fanzines. Crawdaddy’s Paul Williams had earlier published Within; Greg Shaw, founder of Who Put the Bomp, attended s.f. conventions and made mimeographed zines; Lenny Kaye self-published periodicals like Sadistic Sphinx long before he became a rock critic and Patti Smith guitarist. 

Intensely self-reflexive fields, rock criticism and science fiction share a strange mix of inferiority and superiority complexes.  Painfully aware of their marginal position vis-à-vis “proper” journalism and “respectable” literature, they nonetheless  believe that they are doing the  Most Crucial Writing of Our Time. I can remember from my own days as an adolescent s.f. fanatic being struck by the s.f. writer's culture of workshops and conventions  - by how the writers loved to write essays defining s.f. as a genre, proclaiming its unique contribution to literature. There were even a few volumes of essays by s.f. writers debating s.f. that I remember reading. 

S.f. was what I was into immediately before getting into music; writing s.f. and in particular alternative history, a special passion of mine, was what I imagined I might do in life, until I discovered the music press. During this mid-teens enthusiasm for s.f., I thought that I would never ever be one of those who grew out of the genre. But sure enough, the zeal for s.f. got displaced abruptly and entirely by a different fanatical focus, once I heard Sex Pistols and Ian Dury. Aged sixteen, I swapped one New Wave (the Sixties-onward school of experimental and inner-spacey s.f.) for another New Wave.  

But then I came back to the genre in middle age - did some catch-up with cyberpunk, which I'd missed as it was happening in the Eighties... reread old favorites...  caught up with a few that I'd somehow missed (like Lem) even during the days of taking four paperbacks a week out of Berkhamsted Library as well as buying as many as I could on my slender means...  But I never got round to any of the post-1990 giants (if giants there be). To me, it's still Pohl and Bester and Brunner who loom largest in my mind. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

visual music + colour in rhythm

Boiler Room has launched a new platform -  4:3 - dedicated to a wide range of underground film, video art, documentary, and found footage, connected by themes of "performance, identity, youth culture and anti-establishment."

For the launch, I've contributed a playlist of Experimental Animation - ten clips that provide a swift survey of the art from its dawn shortly after World War I through to the waning of the analogue era in the late Nineties. Digital, for various reasons later to be explored, is a whole other zeit I feel, and possibly a geist-less one.

The playlist is the fruit of the unexpected eruption of a long dormant obsession, one that dates back to adolescence, when for a while I fancied the career of cartoonist as a life path. The slant of my selection is less on laughs, though, and more about abstract beauty, geometries-in-motion, macabre whimsy, zany mania, psychotic Pop Art,  and a uniquely East European absurdism.

Do check out the other cool stuff in this debut edition of 4:3,  which includes curation from Ryuichi Sakomoto, Peaches, and Elijah Wood, and playlists devoted to archival rave footage,  legendary concert films, vintage grime, the early days of house club culture. queer video art, UK garage, and more, including original content.  Access is free with registration.

Here's a handful of the scores and scores of animations that easily could have made the cut..

Monday, May 28, 2018

"I think he might take us to the Moon"

My favorite film theme

My equal-first favorite film

"Somebody I never met 
But in a way I know
Didn't think that you could get
So much from a picture show"

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

burying the Hatchet - the Seventies in the Nineties

At the first Lollapalooza, in the summer of '91, Butthole Surfers played. And during one particularly raging slab of groiny boogie heaviosity  -  whose precise rock-history coordinates  I couldn't quite establish - I turned to one in our party who might know such things.

"Who does this sound like?" I entreated.

"Molly Hatchet?" he shot back sharply, in a tone I later realised had been scornful (Butthole's rehab of pre-punk not appealing to his college rock sensibilities at all) and subtly ridiculing of my very desire to know.

Unfortunately this created in my mind the possibility that Molly Hatchet might actually be worth hearing.  A fallacy cleared up for me as soon as I got the $4 dollar copy of Flirtin' With Disaster home from the used record store and dropped the needle in the groove. Sounded so puny. Nothing like the Buttholes.

This was a time - 91, 92, 93 - when I was checking out a LOT of stuff from the heavy 'n' hard early 70s. The catalyst was in large part reading (and reviewing) two books that came out around the same time: Joe Carducci's Rock and the Pop Narcotic and Chuck Eddy's Stairway to Hell. Both books cracked open the crust on a whole unknown-to-me seam of mostly American (but occasionally U.K. - Budgie!) rock that filled in the considerable gaps in my pre-punk knowledge: all the secondary-level stuff surrounding the things I already knew and loved like Sabbath, Zep, Skynyrd, ZZ Top.

The third section of Carducci's book was particularly useful, with its decade by decade surveys of rock action in North America, UK, Europe and beyond. In the Seventies subsection, Joe's rapid-fire succession of incredibly pithy and cogent descriptions of obscure rock groups  nailed the essence of a band's sound and the scope of its generally minor but still worth-noting achievement in just one or two sentences (sometimes even a half-sentence!). That aroused the curiosity mightily. But Eddy's book - a guide to heavy metal greatness heavily biased towards the first half of the Seventies - also sent me off searching the used stores in my new half-the-year home town NYC and other U.S. cities I visited. And, in those days - with people still emptying vinyl collections in favor of CDs and ebay/Gemm/popsike/discogs yet to exist - I would find things going for $1 to $8.

The other factor that made it feel timely and urgent was that grunge was in the ascendant and bringing back a lot of the heavy 'n'  hard, boogie / raunch feel of the early Seventies.  An era exactly 20 years previous, which as is well established is the optimum time interval for revivalism and revisionism to set in and take off. So drawing the dots between Soundgarden / Alice in Chains / Kyuss (but not just MTV fodder - in the lo-fi zone there was the direction Royal Trux had headed by the time of Cats and Dogs and Thank You, and there'd also been Tad and Melvins) and the source music of the Seventies seemed educational, as well as appealing for the taste-boundary-transgressing buzz factor.

The very word "boogie" had a strange allure to me at that time - those six letters crystallised the essence of a bygone era. Exploring this forbidden zone was the next logical step in contravening postpunk / new wave aesthetics from what had been mooted and mounted during the bliss-rock / wig-out years (more late-Sixties aligned).

Found plenty of things I loved and still love on these Carducci/Eddy-informed expeditions into the dusty reaches of the rock past -  Budgie! Mountain! (well, just two tracks, and one of those largely because a section of it had served as a theme tune to Weekend World), James Gang (well, just one track really), Steppenwolf....

But in truth rather a lot of these platters I brought back got played just the once or twice.

Sir Lord B actually one of the better things I checked out - this next one's a ridiculously over the top thriller

White Witch were a Lester Bangs enthusiasm - in his description, as reprinted in Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung, they sounded a bit like the Crazy World of Arthur Brown of the Southern USA. In fact I believe I bought one or both of their albums before the Carducci / Eddy phase, after reading about them in the anthology.  But they didn't quite live up to his evocations.

Another Bangs fave that was even more disappointing  - Black Oak Arkansas.

Southern Rock was probably the least productive of my explorations. Beyond Lynyrd, there's really not much to entice.

Take Wet Willie  - again, a personal touchstone for Bangs during the slack mid-70s, for similar reasons to why he loved Slade:  the people's rock, smokin' live band etc etc....

Got a tingle off the clavinet fonk of Elvin Bishop - this one's pretty darn nifty

Never got into the Allmans bar this: theme tune to Top Gear (and a girl's name I'm fond of)

Grinderswitch - the name seemed very promising. Little did I know I'd heard them already, countless times, tuning into the Peel show, where a tune of theirs was as the decidedly-not-postpunky intro theme.

The UK end of this zone I tapped into (and taped into) a little bit thanks to a Melody Maker reader I got friendly with and who lent me great wodges of vinyl. Big up ya chest Keith!

As well as old vinyl that I found or borrowed, the odd thing would turn up in the mail. For some reason Sony Columbia had me on their mailing list for box sets - the record industry was generous in those days, they could afford to be profligate I guess - and I actually received among many other inappropriate and unlikely things a box set of Jeff Beck. This Beck Bogert Appice track is just about the only thing on it I even slightly liked:

I also got an Aerosmith box - which I have a feeling I never even listened to all the way through, despite loving tunes like this.

During the later phase of this hard 'n' heavy catch-up / postpunk deconditioning project, Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused  - which ends with the kids heading out at dawn in their car to the big city to get tickets for Aerosmith - came out. With a great soundtrack almost entirely from this era. Played the shit out of that CD. Including this triffic tune:

Oh and this of course

Fond, vivid memories of playing this CD at  a friend's house in London just before we went out raving. Hearing this tune below stoned there and then is why I can never quite fully renounce the odious Nuge.

There's a fair few Carducci / Eddy heavy 'n' hard groups I never got to.

Could never face Montrose, on account of orrible Hagar being the singer.

Actually that's a good riff. But yeah, Sammy, can't go for that.

Never got to Bloodrock - not sure why (really like the name - and the record artwork alone ought to have pulled me over the line)

Nor this lot

Nor these fellows  - despite the lure of a Sweet cover

Actually flicking through Stairway, there's a lot I didn't get to from the first half of the Seventies - I guess combo of limited funds / diminishing returns setting in (and other rival interests - rave rave rave would have been demanding my dollars, as expensive imports).

Listening again to some of this stuff - where the samey-ness asserts itself - I'm freshly amazed at Carducci's diligence in wading through acres and acres of it and pinpointing the tiny differences in a band's attack and feel.

Budgie / Groundhogs / UFO / + a few others aside, the British end of it I got to later - in the 2000s, as a side thing to the prog explorations as blogged about then

Like this lot, who fascinate me

Supported by a lot of rock journalists in the Seventies, Man -  they liked and approved of the group's populist, down-to-earth, kicking out the jams vibe.

Generally, with a lot of these group, they did probably smoke stages and rock crowds (liberation through energy, post-Sixties overhang etc) but couldn't necessarily capture it on vinyl. The records are often a tad under-produced.  The texture palette tends towards brown and grey.

Still, one thing they pretty much all having going for them - great drumming.

This whole era seems to be getting a smidgeon of hipster interest again, with things like the Brown Acid compilations - but typically for reissue projects, they seem to be going for the obscure, self-released and let's be honest third-division, rather than the hiding-in-plain-sight major label fare of the era (most of which is second division anyway).

See also this reissue project for "hard rock / hairy funk" from NW England - Man Chest Hair

Revisiting this long moment of Seventies-in-the-Nineties stirs some pleasant wistfulness about my days frequenting used record stores on a several-times-weekly basis.

Nowadays I frequent YouTube, which certainly serves some of the archival-dredging purpose and does provide regular "what the ????" epiphanies.

But there's something about finding the things cheap, after having gone through that physical and tactile process of sifting and rummaging...

Paying, in itself, creates a bigger libidinal pay-off.

And then you have the thing itself to drag home, with the cover and misconceived or bizarre artwork, the yellowing inner sleeve....

Further reading:

Me on the genealogy of boogie as a word and a feel

Me on beard rock (92 / 2009)

Woebot's e-book 100 Lost Rock Albums from the 1970s

Further listening:

YouTube playlist of boogie 'n ' raunch / hard 'n' heavy

Wednesday, May 02, 2018


My piece for Red Bull Music Academy Daily on "Synthedelia: Psychedelic Electronic Music in the 1960s".

Focused on North America, it features interviews with Cork Marcheschi of Fifty Foot Hose, John Mills-Cockell of Intersystems and Syrinx, and Joseph Byrd of United States of America.  Other groups covered include Beaver & Krause, Tonto's Expanding Head Band, Lothar and the Hand People, Nik Pascal, and Silver Apples.

Congrats to Bernie  Krause for winning the 2018 Moog Innovation Award, which has occasioned the release of this ancient 1971 footage of him and Paul Beaver at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Some edge cases that didn't make it into the piece.

Check out also the related pieces in this "Synthedelia" package on Bruce Haack and on The Birth of Psychedelic London

Friday, April 27, 2018

See you in 2018!

Here's my Village Voice piece  about the return (just one year off schedule!) of The Mover, which includes an interview with Marc Acardipane.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018



Donaufestival: endlose Gegenwart (endless now)
2pm - "Absent Futures, Present Past: Temporalities in Today’s Music" - panel discussion with Jens Balzer and Christian Höller 
Location: Kino im Kesselhaus 


Vitra Design Museum

6.30 pm - talk about techno, rave, and electronic dance music
Location: Depot Deli, next to the Schaudepot 


Internationale Kurzfilmtage 

Saturday 5th – 10 pm - jury member for announcement of prize-winning music videos at Muvi Screening & Award Ceremony 

Location;  Lichtburg Cinema

Sunday 6th - 10 AM - "After YouTube: Music Video after the Internet" - panel discussion with Marisa Olsen and Christian Höller
Location: Festival Space, Langemarkstr. 22, 46045 Oberhausen
Admission: Free


publication of Retromania: ak popkultura żywi się własną przeszłością by Kosmos Kosmos

Launch event -  "a meeting with readers": discussion led by Jarek Szubrycht, with Filip Łobodziński (translator of Retromania), followed by Q+A
Time: 7pm
Location: Plac Zbawiciela (podium in front of Plan B Café


Rock 'n' Roll Book Club "My Life in Pop": video-illustrated talk on TV epiphanies + Q+ A. 

Time: 6pm to 8 pm
Location: Walthamstow Library
Tickets:  Eventbrite. 

Spain mini-tour for Como Un Golpe de Rayo (published by Caja Negra)


Primera Persona Festival 

21.00 horas - talk about glam rock and its legacy with videos + Q+A
Location: La Casa Encendida 

FRIDAY MAY 11 –  Málaga, Spain  

451: La Noche De Los Libros Festival 

21:00 horas | talk about glam rock and its legacy with videos + Q+A
Sala 001
La Térmica
Avda. de los Guindos, 48


Primera Persona Festival

21:00 horas | talk about glam rock and its legacy with videos + Q+A
Location: El Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

E17 ahoy

In a week and a half, I'm off on a long jaunt through Europe that takes in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Spain - and Walhamstow! Full details of the events on the Continent to follow here soon, but for now a head's up about the East London event.

Part of the Rock 'n' Roll Book Club series, it's on Wednesday May 9th between 6 pm and 8 pm.  The location is Walthamstow Library in the High Street.  The theme is "my life in pop" as a string of TV epiphanies - basically I'll be playing TOTP clips and videos that had an impact on me over the decades and riffing about them. Then Q + A. 

For those not slaked, conversation will then continue at a local tavern, accompanied by appropriate music. 

Information about tickets can be found at Eventbrite. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hauntology Parish Newsletter - April-May 2018: A Year in the Country book; Ghost Box releases; Emotion Wave; media dropping

The big news in the parish is the publication this week of A Year in The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields by Stephen Prince of A Year In The Country the blog and the label.

Sub-subtitled "Journeys in Otherly Pastoralism, the Further Reaches of Folk and the Parallel Worlds of Hauntology", it's an excellent compendium of Prince's musings and meditations on all things wyrdly bucolic, uncanny, and elegiac, spanning a spectral spectrum from Richard Mabey to Zardoz, Virginia Astley to Sapphire & Steel


With the possible exception of Mark F's Ghosts of My Life, it's the first tome fully dedicated to all things hauntological (as opposed to various volumes about "folk horror" or 70s kids teevee)

You can buy it here, and here - and if you must (although then again, it's effectively funding righteous scourge The Washington Post, so why not?) here (UK) and here (US)



In other parish goings-on, I have already mentioned the delightful debut album for Ghost Box from Portugal's Beautify Junkyards -  The Invisible World of... 

Fairly imminently there will be another fine album by The Advisory Circle - Ways of Seeing, out late May. 

Through his own imprint Cafe Kaput, Circle chief Jon Brooks also recently put out this album 

Neil Grant of Lo-Five - whose album When It's Time To Let Go for Patterned Air Recordings  pleasured me last year  - has set up a  collective of Liverpool-based experimental electronic musicians under the rubric Emotion Wave.  Here's Neil's project rationale .

Emotional Wave has some musical output  already under its collective belt and I believe there is a non-audio entity (printed matter) in the pipeline. And in a week or so Neil releases the Lo-Five miscellany Propagate - remixes, compilation tracks and one-off specials.

Neil also alerts me to his having put out a little while back some "super lo fi house tracks"  under the title My House Is Your House Volume One. Like Propagate,  it's a tide-you-over / palate cleanser type release before the follow-up to When It's Time To Let Go.

Love the graphic echo of Human League's "Being Boiled" single sleeve there.

(Neil informs me that this was actually unintended - he just got the figures from a Letraset pack! A nice eerie echo nonetheless)


Finally, a rather tardy mention of an intriguing my-back-pages project Meadow House by Daniel Wilson of Radionics Radio renown. It's really on the very edge of this parish, in so far as it's not particularly haunty, but the back story to Daniel's self-invented Dada-prankster practice of media-dropping - "theact of recording special homemade music and dropping it for random people tofind" -  is pretty interesting.  


The hypnagogia/memoradelia-tinged project Starblood has launched a series based around the concept of late-night TV sign-off themes.

Here's another of their tracks coming more from a dreampop / idyllitronic precinct than this particular parish but nice 'n' woozy nonetheless. 


Parish elders Boards of Canada were recently venerated here and here


Tuesday, April 03, 2018


Here's an essay by me for Pitchfork about Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children, which was released 20 years ago this month.  Including an interview with BoC brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin, it resituates the group and the album in a longer lineage of psychedelia. And it looks at this music's children, notably hauntology man dem.

On which subject, one testimonial that regrettably had to go for space reasons was from Jim Jupp of Ghost Box / Belbury Poly:

"We're always at pains to acknowledge the influence of BoC and particularly that album. They are without doubt direct ancestors of Ghost Box. It was like the first opening on to that whole world of the mis-remembered past that obsessed us. I'd say it was instrumental in turning us on to searching for the source of all that weird music from childhood TV, which leads us of course to library music.

"There's one sound for me in particular that always makes me think of BoC. It's  quite easy to set up on a fairly simple synth but nobody ever did pre-BoC. You have two oscillators both generating a simple sawtooth wave but the pitch of one is modulated very slightly and very very slowly. You get this kind of out of focus effect that is instantly reminiscent of National Film Board of Canada  / Sesame Street. Most people would  say that's because old 60s and 70s synths never had stable tuning, but I think its perhaps more due to the inconsistent playback speed on old broadcast video tape."   

Which reminds me I have been remiss in not pointing out the  loveliness of the latest release on GB, by a new signing to the label: 
The Invisible World of... Beautify Junkyards

Who share a song title with BoC

From Portugal, Beautify Junkyards definitely fit the "memoradelia" (coinage: Patrick McNally) concept, and I'd be surprised if a smidgeon of BoC DNA wasn't part of their make-up, along with traces of Broadcast

Everybody wants to...

The title comes, thankfully, not from Tears for Fears but - apparently - from a child's mumbled answer when asked about God: "he rules the world". To me "rue the whirl" suggests disoriented regret in the face of  Time's relentless remorseless onrush, the hectic ephemerality of being (aka Maya).... how each moment of the present topples 
instantly down a cliff face into an irretrievable past.  

But then there is the safety net of memory - increasingly threadbare and fragile, as the torrent of time wears away at it - but our sole defense against Loss.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

frozen futures and final sicknesses (see you in 2018)


On news stands now, the latest issue of  The Wire contains a long review by me pairing the comeback album by Marc Acardipane a/k.a The Mover with  Sick Music 2018, a compilation of contemporary drum + bass on the Hospital label that I surprised myself by enjoying much more than I'd expected.  As well as an enthused review of two fine records, the piece is an investigation of  the fate of vanguard genres (in this case, gloomcore gabba and D+B) when their accelerationist drive stabilises into a steady state.

The Mover - Undetected Act from the Gloom Chamber.

Also in the April issue, a reet treet for all nuumologists: Michaelangelo Matos's Primer to Pirate Radio Deejay Sets. He's done a fine job laying out the evolution from circa 1989 through to the post-dubstep diaspora and his forensic sifting through the messy mass of archival tapes deposited online by old skool fans has uncovered a trove of true gems. This is probably my favorite of the Matos selections that I've so far checked out.

Finally, in case you missed it, I recently uploaded the best of my own stash of pirate tapes, which I'd digitized some years ago but never got around to turning into YouTube clips.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


A very special edition of "When Mates Make Books"!

Because it's my best mate, my life-mate in fact - Joy Press - who has made a book. 

A book that's out in a couple of weeks on Atria/Simon & Schuster in America, and on Faber & Faber in the U.K. 

It's a bloody good book too. 

But don't take my admittedly biased word for it. 

Here's some advance reviews for Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television from the American trade press - where Joy has pulled off the book-writing equivalent of a Grand Slam with three starred reviews.

"Women have run successful TV shows for decades, but they still routinely face bias and unreasonable obstacles in the industry, as Press details in this powerful narrative that expertly weaves reporting, analysis, and anecdotes. ...Press’s chronicle of a pop-culture movement should inspire a new generation of women creators"  
Publishers Weekly, starred review. 

"Press draws from decades of interviews, research, and reporting to create a vibrant behind-the-scenes look at the some of the most prominent women creatives in the industry and the role they played in bringing women-focused narratives to the forefront of modern TV and culture... An urgent and entertaining history of the transformative powers of women in TV
- Kirkus, starred review. 

"The book is well-organized chronologically and is an absorbing read with some politics thrown in. There are fascinating interviews with female showrunners such as Roseanne Barr, Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), Jenji Kohan (Weeds/Orange Is the New Black), and Shonda Rhimes (Scandal). ...Highly recommended for those who enjoy reading about the entertainment industry, how their favorite TV shows are created, and women" - Library Journal, starred review

Joy has also received ringing endorsements from leading members of the punditocracy:

"Please read this book immediately. It is sharp, funny, and gorgeously researched, a satisfying blend of inside dirt and critical illumination. It also places female creativity on television exactly where it belongs: dead center in the cultural conversation.
- Emily Nussbaum, television critic  at The New Yorker

"A roaring tour of women's professional, artistic and political impact on television and on popular culture. By turns invigorating and sobering, Stealing the Show maps the progress of the expanded voice, vision and reach of women on television and behind its scenes."
- Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of An Independent Nation

"Stealing the Show is essential reading for anyone interested in women gaining power, in how edgy storytelling comes to screens, and in brilliantly talented females taking the reins of a once-derided-as-secondary-to-movies medium.... I relished their stories--and was inspired by them, too." 
- Sheila Weller, author of The News Sorority and Girls Like Us

For further information about Stealing the Show, head over to Joy's website - where you can find details of book events in New York and Los Angeles and details about the book's scope and content.

To buy the US edition go here
To buy the UK edition go here.