Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Feel a bit remiss for not writing about the amaaaaaaazing Animal Collective/Gang Gang Dance/Black Dice show of over two weeks over. Work and woe (it’s been a bit of a grim summer for the Press/Reynolds clan) is one reason, but the other one is that the gig--at least the Animal Collective part of it--was indescribably good. Literally: it scrambled my critical faculties, completely paralysed that veteran reviewer’s default-mode of influence-tagging and "sounds like X crossed with Y/missing link between Z and G" type comparison. Well almost completely: there was an element to the vocals in one song early on that made me momentarily think of Meat Puppets, less for singing style as such than just the feeling it gave off--this bliss-shattered pantheistic splayed-ness of soul and psyche vaguely redolent of things like "We’re Here". Plus the song referenced a swimming pool, making me think of the Puppets' "Swimming Ground". Oh, and yes, later it did strike me the singer (Panda Bear?) might have listened to Arthur Russell's World of Echo-type stuff a bit (an impression strengthened having now heard his forthcoming solo album Young Prayer, which is excellent). But otherwise, nothing: I spent the entire gig blissfully freefalling in an adjectival void, reeling inside a glory so (yuck, I hate this word, loathe it even more than "savvy" and "smarts") sui generis that the application of predicates, tropes and reference points would have been presumptous and petty, as well as plain inadequate. And which I couldn't do anyway, cos that part of the brain was just switched off, or flooded out. So basically I’ve put off writing about it really for fear of emitting a burbling stream of superlatives. Truly, though, one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever witnessed.

Gang Gang Dance were also really really excellent, and almost as much of a thwarter of description. There’s something about vocalist Lizzi that put me in mind of Alison from The Cranes--not ‘cos they sound alike particularly, but because of a quality of being initially grating but eventually captivating, or perhaps more accurately, being grating/captivating at the same time (it’s not like you get used to the voice, it continues to set your teeth on edge all the way through). I couldn’t describe technically what she was doing (it all seemed to be sharp, or microtonal or possibly even harmolodic) but the effect really was like vinegar to the ears. The band behind her musically moved in this strange, sidling gait--the only thing I could think of was the idea of some world where all music derived from "Birthday" by The Sugarcubes. The drummer, most impressive, often seemed like he’d only ever listened to programmed rhythm, really askew and fucked-up drum’n’bass, and had taught himself to play like that on live drums, except that sometimes the drums sounded enhanced in some obscure hard-to-fathom way (there was a similar acoustica-meets-hitech element running through AC’s sound). The keyboard player, also splendid, was one minute making sounds like coral shimmering; the next, unfurling pagoda-like jags of ceremonial bombast. Gang Gang Dance were the first band to play, and the place (Bowery Ballroom, so not small) was pretty much packed from the off, and the response was really warm and supportive. (For Animal Collective, it was almost uproariously fervent).

Only bummer was that headliners Black Dice, who I’d heard such good things about as an super-intense live experience, seemed on poor form--to me it just seemed like a series of disconnected scrapes and grackling noises. The overall vibe was like bad sex, a couple trying to get it on when neither are really in the mood. After the first two bands, literally anti-climactic.
Finally listened to Metal Machine Music last night. It's kinda pretty! All those almost-melodic swirls of upper partials. On the labels it reads:

Metal Machine Music
The Amine B Ring

[the B actually a Beta symbol as in Ancient Greek alphabet]

as if that's actually the full title of the record, which is odd cos I've never seen it rendered like that in any book or album guide, or indeed read anyone make note of this part of the title. And it's there on the front cover actually, just under the word Music.

Perhaps a neurochemist can explain what it refers to. Presumably something to do with the chemical structure methamphetamine. The whole album is a symphony in praise of Vitamin M, right? Hence the loony sleevenote with the bit where Reed mocks stimulant dilettantes ("those for whom the needle is no more than a toothbrush. Professionals, no sniffers please....").

Anyway, jolly good stuff, my ears did ache a tiny bit towards to the end of Side D, I certainly can't imagine falling asleep to it like Geeta does (whose copy of MMM this is) but still--oddly lovely. Next thing you know i'll be listening to Merzbow.
Finally heard/saw something by the Libertines (the new single I think, as discussed on NYLPM recently). Jesus, it was even more feeble than I'd imagined. Vaguely reminiscent of Bradford or Easterhouse or one of those sub-Smiths sorts. A kind of shandy-skiffle sound.
anyone care to enlighten me further on:

Donald Knaack (avant garde percussionist, interpreter of john cage and marcel duchamp)

Kenneth Gaburo (american composer)

Trousered Apes: Sick Literature for a Sick Society (circa 1970 Christopher Brooker-approved literary jeremiad)
Kpunk, firin', on Portmeirion and British indigenous surrealism.

Long wanted to go there. (Shamefully I’ve never even been to Wales.)

They’re showing The Prisoner again over here, a BBC America Friday night bloc including episodes of The Avengers (yay!) and The Saint (loved it as a wee lad, worraloadarubbish though). We taped the whole Prisoner the last time they showed it here, must have been 10 years ago, a marathon on PBS during one of those weeks when they're trying to get viewers to pledge money to keep the station afloat. Twas wonderful to see it again, but nothing has ever quite recaptured the startled wonder of stumbling by chance on the series when it was repeated for the very first time--at the end of 70s, this must have been--and as a 15 or 16 year old completely unaware of its history or even existence, just totally boggling out. The intro/credits sequence must surely be the best ever.

[The only other person I know who's actually made the Portmeirion pilgrimage: Adrian Maddox. (It all connects up). He actually had the Prisoner soundtrack with not just that most vibe-setting theme tune but all the series incidental music--quite jarring to listen cos it’s all brief bursts of staccato punctilious horn music]

Still waiting for K-punk’s report on the DVD of The Survivors (another childhood fave, although when they repeated that on PBS here ten years ago, the ropey-ness of the acting was horribly apparent. Some great scenarios and images in it though).

Monday, August 30, 2004

(an irregular series applauding well-executed sentences)

1/ Baal at Erase the World . Set-up: shamelessly ardent snoggers on a bus, prompting mutters of complaint from grossed-out passenger:
"The guy turned around 'fuck off will ya mate', and turned back to his partner, her mouth still hanging open, pink-wet like a slashed sirloin, her eyes still closed, arms limp on his shoulders. He rammed his tongue in, like a key in a door".

The fourth clause is the killer eh?

2/ Adrian Maddox, Classic Cafes (Black Dog Publishing Limited), page 30
On the Pinter-esque vibe of The Tea Rooms in Museum Street, London.
"Through the thick-rimmed fug of inertia, the reek of a raw kitchen-sink existence, the rankle of lives solidified into defeat, is palpable."

The second clause's a tad OTT admittedly, and not sure about that third comma, but clauses #1 and especially #3 are really splendid.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Clever was great. Took a little while to get going (volume too low, too, and club a bit empty). Weirdly, it was something un-Troubled Watery in vibe that got me on my feet: a relick I'd never heard of "Shadowboxing" (apparently by Jonny L, a few years old but only just released). Then he dove into full-on Troubled Waters type stuff. Wonderful to hear complex-but-swinging beats, basslines that moved all around the groove rather than just riff-riff-riffing, melody and colorsound coexisting with (controlled) frenzy and physical force. Penultimate song was something utterly mad, chopped up and backwards-sounding, an antigroove (the floor went still, gobsmacked) but groovy at the same time. I later learned it was the Sileni Remix of Actual Proof's "Maybe We'll Stay".

Then Fierce. The Lil Wayne of No U Turn. And he weren't bad at all, really. For ten minutes or so it's quite invigorating, that linear rush. Some of the basslines are getting really baroque and fiddly while still essentially doom-blare in nature. The analogy perhaps being death metal. Couldn't hack it for long though.

This Interspective freebie CD sounds like it's well interesting, if praps a little clinical. It'll be a weird sensation buying a copy of Knowledge, mind.

September 17: Chris Interspective and Clever, same bill, New York City.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Nick Cave, on David Letterman, last night, doing a weird piano-and-voice-only version of "The Mercy Seat", looking just like the cover of The Good Son (minus the little girls), in better voice than ever, incredible. And I'm a decade plus lapsed Cave fan.
woebotnik, top, on speed versus slowness. i wonder whether Screw and Eno (who complained about the excess of events per second in pop music/video) would have related. in kpunkian terms, cough syrup and all the other downers are like ingesting a small dose of death. there must be some semantic connection between "stoned" and stone, as in turning to... Caillois-style mineral kingdom awareness... On Land actually features the sounds of stones and sticks (and rooks), doesn't it... funny that Matt mentions Tricky at the end cos in some ways the extreme torpor of trip hop relates to all this.... depression of all of pop's vital signs.... the approaching-standstill of "Aftermath" and "Ponderosa"... music that gives up the ghost, releases ghosts... the DJ Vadim stuff perhaps took this arc the furthest, an abysm of skunkanoid paralysis .... ah and on the Portishead first album there's some screwed-in-all-but-name sampled vocals, Johnny Ray the Nabob of Sob slowed down into this molasses mire of melancholy....
Kpunk, great, on his holiday in Wales

Glad to see Mark’s coming off the anti-children/anti-animals trip a bit. Children, they’re mini-Lukas, true psychogeographers, virtuosos of micro-perception and being-here-now. Seeing with the wide eyes of the child is the definition of grace for me (look, i am a child of the Sixties--but then so were Deleuze & Guattari). The "inner child" is the most precious part of the self. I don't think I could relate to anyone who’s really completely grown-up. Of course, children can also be a total pain in the arse, true, little monsters of selfcentredness. But it's a childlike versus childish division. Weirdly, adults who lose touch with "child-like" seem to become more and "childish", like grotesque overgrown dis-enchanted kids. The easiest remedy for encroaching syndrome is to have kids of your own.

The latter is also a very salutary reconnection with the mammalian continuum, a reminder that 90 percent of you is animal. So when when Mark writes about how in a "step towards ILG [intellectual love of God], I can now begin to see birds and animals not as some background blur but as incredibly detailed machines .." that impulse is foreign to me. Why not reverse this and see machines as incredibly crude and clumsy surrogates for Nature, the ultimate mad inventor? Machines as botched animals? But if you call ILG by its proper name, "pantheism", then sure I’m down with the programme. For me though I'd rather identify the G bit with life/energy/animation as opposed to deadness/stillness/the inanimate.

>Under Milk Wood

been meaning to reread that for years! The record with Richard Burton reading it sounds better still from Mark's description

>And Dylan Thomas, the only Dylan whose words I have ever cared about.

Not even the third Dylan, Mr Showtime?
missed this hilarious, at times almost-hallucinatory alternative pop-history fantasy, the genre's got a lot of possibilities

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

New York massive take heed! DJ Clever of Troubled Waters reknown is deejaying tomorrow night (Thursday) at Sullivan Rooms, 10 PM til 12:30 AM. I am confident that it will be very very good indeed. Not so confident about the rest of the night, ie. headliner Fierce, which if it's the same Fierce of No U Turn aeons-ago reknown suggests a heavy dose of what drove me off the d&b floor in the first place. But hush, I must stick to my vow about not slagging off the d and the b.

If this is too short notice (and it certainly crept up on me), and console yourself with the knowledge that Clever aka Brett Cleaver (god, I never noticed the pun before!) is playing AGAIN on September 17th, this time sharing the bill with Chris from London's Inperspective Records -- one of d&B's few renegade bastions of breakage and choppage. Pencil it in your engagement books, it promises to be even better than tomorrow. Location details to follow nearer the time.
just when i was thinking ILM had gone a bit, kinda, shite, it redeems itself with this absolutely crucial thread.

the answer is: Barney stole my girlfriend (sniff)

only kidding/ look, just to set the record straight:

loves: "Everything's Gone Green", "Temptation", "Thieves Like Us" (romantic associations, that one)

likes: "Ceremony", Power Corruption and Lies, Low-Life, "True Faith",. "Regret"

dislikes: Movement (not short of company there, eh?), "Blue Monday" (actually it's grown on me over the years but at the time, found it really irritating), "Confusion" (it's basically "I.O.U" by Freez, which i hated. the "Confusion" video, though, showing now on VH1 Classic, is a great snapshot of Latin Freestyle New York clubland, Hispanic kids going down the Funhouse, New Order watching the dancefloor response as Jellybean drops dubplate prototypes of the track. Possibly the only documentation extant of this scene, criminally)

indifferent: the rest

i don't think anyone could honestly say New Order contributed anything much to rave culture apart from the endless financial haemorrhage of funding the Hac's construction (Steven Morris told me they worked out it that for every person who walked through its doors, they effectively gave each one of them 10 quid!) plus putting the line "E is for England" in "World In Motion"

and yes i was mostly just trying to wind-up my esteemed colleague Mr. Lester, but also believe there is a weird not fully warranted mystique surrounding this group

okay now that urgent business is sorted!

also have high hopes of this thread
Finney, nice, on Trax reissues. Fuckers were supposed to send me some. Not that i really need any more of the stuff.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

top darkdubstep producer kode9 gotta blogg. his lick on Wonder & Kano's 'What Have You Done'
reminding him of 'Animal Magic' with Johnny Morris made me titter. new tune 'split' s'ruff too

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

For the first time I got a CD through the mail addressed to:

Simon Reynolds

I was as startled and as weirdly pleased as the day in 1984 when out of the sheer blue a record arrived in the post box (me being the contact address for Monitor). My first freebie! (Well strictly speaking not "mine" and as the stuff started trickling in there was soon some squabbling over the currant buns let me tell you). It was Danielle Dax's Jesus Egg That Wept. (Which weirdly I listened to the other day on account of laboring over a ridiculously over-extensive--my own fault--discography). Not the most auspicious start, maybe, but the feeling of joy and anticipation when it comes to tearing open the day's arrivals has never quite left me. Cos you never know.

So in a way it's like coming full circle. Back to the (if can I say this) "purity" of doing a fanzine.

(Monitor started out with a strict policy of no reviews, no interviews, just thinkpieces and manifestos. All the stuff the music press had stopped doing by '84. That policy went out the window soon after the records started arriving. We instituted a review section pretty damn sharpish!)

Oh, the CD that arrived c/o Blissblog? Welcome to.... Brazzaville (Web of Mimicry). Your guess is as good as mine. But I shall dutifully listen to it in honour of its symbolic-ness.
old news in Britain I'm sure but in this household we love love love LOVE LOVE this show . julia davis you rock my world.

Monday, August 16, 2004

in this household we love love love LOVE LOVE this show. by some distance the most enjoyable thing on American TV at the moment. except for a British import the missus has something on, to which i'll link tomorrow

Saturday, August 14, 2004

The people at VH1 Classic are scholars. Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman" (one of the few real house records to make the US charts ever?), into Jungle Brothers' "I'll House You" (set me drifting on memory bliss, except I don't actually remember it from the time, so it must be the fact that its groove is the rhythm matrix from Todd Terry's "Can You Feel It"/"Party People"--the latter was in my Top 20 for 1988) (plus there's this woozy vocal bit--"feel the house music's steady steady pounding" that was sampled in 2 Bad Mice's "Hold It Down", so it's sort of false memory bliss syndrome I guess, associational drift) (at any rate a great lost moment when hip hoppers loved house music, a potential alternate history/parallel universe fork in time, if the track could have been more than a novelty hit and hip house really took off), then into M.A.R.R.S. "Pump Up the Volume" (weird to hear brief plumes of polychromatic feedback rear up courtesy of Rudi Tambala & Alex Ayuli) (and this time Kieran didn't freak, he danced), then into one of its sample sources, the Coldcut remix of Eric B & Rakim "Paid In Full" (or am I get it backwards, did 'Cut sample MARRS? or both sample the same rap group?) (Ofra Haza turned out be to the Yeminite equivalent of Barbara Streisand or Celine Dion, didn't she? That's one of the things that's always put me off getting into world music! That and the story about an West African heavy metal group who went "world music" when they realised they was a market there!), then into... I'm not sure, cos i had to do an errand or put Kieran to bed. But they know what they're doing, those VH1 Classic folk.
As part of the new Spinozist "joyful encounters only please" Blissblog my new rest-of-year resolutions are: stop slagging off drum'n'bass; desist from making jibes at David Keenan (respeck bruv, each to their own bliss); cease taking a pop at the Pro-Pop lot (hmmm, not sure about that one, might be hard to keep). HOWEVER I can't resist aiming one last kick at d&b's flabby arse. in case you missed it there was a thread last week called Bloggers v. Drum’n’Bass, started by Martin Clark, who wondered aloud about the anti-D&B consensus on the bloggs (or this little 'hood of them). And he made quite a sturdy case for D&B being fairly vital at the moment, listed a whole bunch of folks doing stuff. But then someway into the thread, Jack from Drip Drap Drop (who's sort of Tufluv with attitude innit) (and whose D&B rant was the spur for Martin's thread) came in like an armored division with a long comment that just slew. Case closed (I felt). Can't resist quoting it in almost-full:

"I know it's not difficult to prefer the past to the present, but i think most distaste (certainly my own) for current d'n'b stems from great fondness for jungle (and by that i mean pre-two-step beat, cut up break, ragga-influenced jungle); both the tunes themselves and what it did with music. Something like capone's 'massive' (dillinja=capone) sounds like pinsharp accurate funk. not a single sound is wasted; the beats are punctuated by tiny silences giving it a clipped jabbing impact, but it still is just drums 'n' bass and sounds perfect, finished.

Dillinja today sounds wasteful, so much energy and effort obviously in the music (time invested in the mix and mastering, getting those bass lines absolutely as chest-cavity vibrating as possible) and for what? his records today remind me of a oil rig out of control, firing indiscriminatly to all corners. No control, just pure power flooding out without control. To see this 'progression' is depressing, how is it he's seemingly immatured? has he unlearned the kind of control that many musicians would take years to learn? Dillinja is just one example of this, there are so many who, without much explanation, followed the two-step bosh pattern when it became popular (hype, zinc, shy fx...a list is pointless it's EVERYONE), but I give special mention to Dillinja because of this (from radio1 forum):

'Dillinja was Flight's show recently. In the interview he went deep, talking frankly about the D&b scene… the past and where it is now. One of the things which stood was for me, was how much he loved the music but to keep above water he has to play the game.
What's the game? Well going with the flow is the game. Making tracks the kids are into. He'd love to sit in the studio and make stuff which is gonna challenge the dancefloor but has to constantly churn club bangers in order to even be allowed to create the music he reeeeally wants to make. If he doesn't he could be seen as falling off? how sad is that, both for him AND for us? '

I've listened to the linked grooverider show and it pisses me off. It's SO annoying to hear grooverider enthuse about these tunes while i can't catch even the faintest headnod buzz off them (giving three rewinds to something or other, or like him saying one of the tracks made him cry *cue awful cymbally hyper-revved amen break*; me too mate, but for entirely different reasons). That pendulum remix of Nightbreed 'pack of wolves' is some pig ugly Pitchshifter (nottingham nu-metal/d'n'b: avoid) shite. Nu-metal and nu-d'n'b like that fucking deserve each other. Same aspirations of funk, same OTT sinisterness, same bellowing into the void. Also i hate hearing things i associate with jungle on new d'n'b tracks, the sped-up soul yelps in the middle of breaks reduced to a predictable techno-tick, the amen-break used SO much but always eqed to put the cymbals at eye-melting volume and pitch. it's annoying to be reminded of these things in a new crap context, and if two-step d'n'b is a separate type of music why should it have to borrow these elements from jungle...

. ..if 'dubplate culture' is what i think it is ie. the constant search for the new, it may be some way to blame for what has happened in the mainstreams of dnb. The search for 'progression' has lead the scene to a dead end, they are now 'progressing' in tiny technical increments; bass grains, slightly changed two bar loops. However much the 'p' word is used, i don't think a grooverider show from 2008 will be too different from one now....

i don't hate drum 'n' bass, it's just annoying. It's usurped a music i have far more affinity with by claiming that it's a reincarnation of the same."

the bit that really struck a chord was "i hate hearing things i associate with jungle on new d'n'b tracks.... it's annoying to be reminded of these things in a new crap context" -- when i went to that dieselboy tour that's what irritated me, this superelentless midfrequency blare at damn near 200 bpms and then bobbing along every so often on top these little rootical sampled vocals or slices of rap, but totally unintegrated with the music, whereas with jungle those vocal licks moved with the way the music moved, they moved the music.

The other week I actually went down to Breakbeat Science to pick up some Offshore 12's off DJ Clever and he kindly picked a bunch of recent tunes of note for me to check out. Some of the stuff was quite nice: piece on Hospital called "The Basement Track", imbued with this "warm" vintage New York house-feel to it, i guess the title probably nods to "A Basement, A Red Light, and A Feeling" by.... Kerri Chandler is it?. There was a track on Metalheadz that was kinda different from the norm (but not quite enough). Photek back in the game, after his recent hip hop dalliances, sounding much the same as '96. Remixes of "Angel" and "Sinister" on Razor's Edge (rubbish actually). With these and other tunes whose name escapes, a lot of the "dark" elements seemed really hokey, in the way a lot of DarkDubStep/Croydon t'ing sounds a wee bit corny. Like, "you're really scaring me boys". "OTT sinisterness" as Jack put it.

In the end, the only tune I liked enough to wanna take home though was Polar, some Norwegian or Danish dude. "Out of Range"/Sit Down and Dance". On Breakbeat Science's own label, but licensed from Certificate 18. The "Sit Down and Dance" side was what sold me: just very pretty in a sort of Haunted Science/Dave Wallace styleee, spidery melody-patterns, almost a bit idyllictronic actually. As the title suggests, not exactly jump up! I'm glad to have it but can't help feeling it's a bit lame to have bought a drum and bass record on account of its melody. So maybe it's time to let it go.
and good to see it hasn't interfered with the record buying one whit heheheh (encouraging sign of it's-a-doddle-second-time-around for when we go for a second)
(bit late mind, and only through a Bacardi alcopop TV ad, stillabuzz though to hear that evil wah-wah bass)

Monday, August 09, 2004

words of wisdom on Goth-garridge (haveta scroll down a bit within the post). love the bit on the ooozy B-line presha gunk in plastikman/Rinse FM type darkdubstep being like oil slicks drowning sea birds. it's true!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

words of wisdom on noise... love the idea of "motherly noise", you could map old noisenik theory-fave Kristeva and abjection-as-realm-of-maternal-horror (in Powers of Horror) onto that maybe...
words of wisdom on the new dizzee--most heartening it is indeed that Rascal and Skinner both have beaten the dreaded Tricky Jinx and come up with the goods a second time, the only suspense now remaining for what's left of the year being which of the pair shall be #1 Album of 2004 and which shall be #2 Album of 2004.
words of wisdom on d&b--drip.drap.drop's observation about the three rings on the 12 " is so mordantly accurate and OTM it's scary--the formulaic structure of the tracks actually engraved in the vinyl!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Talking about Belgian hardcore, as we were a second ago, well now seems as good a time as any to air my micro-theory of beats as fonts. One thing that struck me recently about those Belgian records is the beats. They aren’t proper house exactly, or proper techno. Perhaps "Eurorave" is the only term. They’re propulsive, machine-made, they do the job but don’t draw attention to themselves. I really like that style: modest, four-square, high-energy. They sound almost like real drums, but not quite; texturally they’re "thin" compared to programmed rhythm today. At a certain point in the Nineties the whole realm of texturhythm opened up. Darkside obviously (all those pitchshifted, timestretched, metallicized, phased breaks--sometimes even psychedelically reversed e.g. Omni Trio’s "Feel Better"). But the same thing happened across the board in dance music: Deep Dish’s remix of De Lacy’s "Hideway" is an epochal track in this regard, the drum sound becomes a presence, thick and gloopy, like dancing in molasses. This quality--"wide" drum sounds --intensified as the decade progressed: Todd Edwards, UK garage, Herbert, then getting really pronounced with the textural cornucopia of 2step and microhouse.

The analogy that struck me was fonts. If your classic rock drum sound is something like Baskerville or Times New Roman, then the drums in the Belgian stuff or early Eurohouse or The KLF is perhaps equivalent to Arial or Lucida Console or something of that ilk: streamlined, almost-naturalistic, with a hint of futurity and this-is-the-modern-world. But like your classic rock drum sound, the beat/font doesn’t really draw attention to itself, it’s functional--rhythm as division of time. Pure information. Of course rock drum sound hasn’t always been like that--think of psychedelia’s effects-laden beats: the billowing, phased drum-rolls on The Small Faces’ "Itchycoo Park" being equivalent perhaps to the trippy typography on all those Fillmore Ballroom posters for bands like Sopwith Camel and Jefferson Airplane, woogly and pendulous to the point of illegibility.

Then in the Seventies drums went "naturalistic" again; a good sound meant clear and defined. (Exceptions: dub and dub-fiends like PiL and Martin Hannett; gamelan-aware postpunkers; Eno-linked or influenced stuff e.g. the splashy drums on "Warning Sign" by Talking Heads; rock groups that used a lot of hand percussion perhaps; Arthur Russell obviously). Despite rave culture being the rebirth of psychedelia, the drums in house and early techno are for the most clean and stark, but that begins to change around 1993, leading to the current fontasia (forgive me!) of voluptuous texturhythm. So my challenge, to folks out there who actually know something about both dance music and graphic design (Matt? Julian House?), is to tabulate direct correspondences between the specific beat-signatures of auteur-producers and particular fonts. Who, for instance, is the Wings Dings of modern music? Who's really pushing it now in terms of approching the threshold of rhythmic illegibility? Alternatively, to break down the history of drums in pop music according to a similar schema. E.g. What's the equivalent of serif versus sans-serif? Would sans-serif = the postpunk fashion for not using ride-cymbal and hi-hats, because of its assocation with heavy rock?

An exquisite if pointless way of passing the time I'm sure you'll agree!
Background on LaRouche
(cheers to Mike Barthel for the tip)

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Germ of truth to LaRouche's loony worldview, sez Peter Maplestone:

"Marcuse definitely worked for the OSS (precursor to the CIA) during WW2. Dunno about Adorno but he was certainly very chummy with post war German Governments and his denuciations of Lukacs were published in the CIA journal of West Germany (Der Monat) and soon afterwards in the other CIA funded journals (like Encounter) all over the world, according to Istvan Meszaros."

I guess Marcuse is the link for LaRouche lot between Frankfurt School and counter culture. Mind you his concept of repressive desublimation could work just as well as a critique of rock/pop as massive engine mobilising libido in service of capital and keeping the whole economy juiced.
i forgot to big-up Dominic LaRuffa, also at Payback. Bigupyachest Dom.
Also in this month's Uncut, a page and half Album of the Month review of The Libertines' second album. Again, sheer disbelief that anyone could care about this document of a band falling apart. The conjunction of Alan McGee, Mick Jones (producing), and Bill Price (engineering, Never Mind The Bollocks/Guns N'Roses pedigree), enough to get K-Punk's guts writhing. I'm reading about the crack and the smack, the lines and the lies, thinking "God this was lame and embarrassing and played-out when The Only Ones did it 25 years ago" when, lo and behold, just a few paragraphs later the first song "Can't Stand Me Now" is described by reviewer James Oldham as having "a propulsive backing reminiscent of The Only Ones."
One for the Pinefox/Bellefox. Discovered while perusing the Jon Hassell website, in the section on his appearances on other records:

L l o y d C o l e — M a i n s t r e a m
The less said about Lloyd Cole, the better. JH on one track, Big Snake.

and not content with that jibe, there's:

T h e K r o n o s Q u a r t e t —W h i t e M a n S l e e p s
As a consolation for Lloyd Cole horror, The Kronos Quartet finally recorded Hassell's 13-minute string piece Pano de Costa which they commissioned in 1983....

Actually I don't mind Lloyd Cole at all. In fact (whispers) I was quite fond of Rattlesnakes and even bits of the album that followed it. Incidentally, in the new issue of Uncut, Cole declares that Kraftwerk's Computer World is his favorite album of all time (ought to earn a few brownie points with K-Punk) and nominates Lexicon of Love as his guilty pleasure, while reviling The Stone Roses (more brownie points from K-Punk!).
Great idea this (cheers to Lukablogg for alerting me). I wonder if the same could be done for New York. Somehow I think not. As much as it's a great rock'n'roll city, the rock'n'rollness seems too concentrated--in the West Village (a long time ago) and the East Village. It doesn't seem to envelop almost the entire city like London. However it's quite possible I'm talking out of my arse.
The worst album title for quite some time:

Whiskey Tango Ghosts

(Tanya Donelly)
The Radio Times of Grime!

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Nick Gutterbreaks, back from his summer hols, jolly good on noise, and he dunnarf make the Pan Sonic record sound alluring. I'm a little wounded he chose to cut out the Stud Bros piece on Front 242 but not my noise thinkpiece. I wouldn't call Front 242 "noise" --just sort of unpleasant. One of those groups it was kinda fun to write about and use as a theory springboard, but not necessarily listen to. (Although the Studs actually did listen, avidly, to all that stomping stentorian stuff-- Ben's knee would pump furiously. But maybe that was just the over the counter slimming pills). All that Euro Body stuff, I found it incredibly hard to dance too. You could only stamp your feet to it, which is incredibly tiring. Of course EBM then turned into the glorious Belgian hardcore (see below) but what they did was bring in just enough of a house feel, a kick/hi-hat swing to pull at your whole body not just your feet.

Apropos of nothing really, here's Green slagging off noise again. This could be ammunition for the pro-pop position actually:
"It's easy to end up in a kind of infantile anarchism, if you're not watchful...although it's arguably
difficult to point a way out of that...that anarchic f*** it completely attitude...But I think it's such an arid, sterile place to end up! There's a half-assed, ill-thought-out proclivity to drift romantically towards the margins, in a juvenile, narcissistic way, which you find in some quarters of the indie scene... "And having been on these margins of convention myself, I can testify that is no greater power or truth or radicalism there...which is not to say I won't revisit them, or that history might put me back there. But to seek them out and install yourself on them, amass some sort or armament of difference for yourself, mark out an identity by choosing from the catalogue of stylistic and theoretical positions with attendant aesthetic preferences..., well, it's just a trip...I couldn't make any claims for it."

Also apropros of nothing really, I must say I think it EXTREMELY ironic that Green, while making that last confused album with all the US undie-hop rappers on it, was actually living in East London, chez his sister I believe, Hackney/Dalston if I recall correctly. This is late 90s we're talkinga bout. So he would have been right in the heartland of 2step, right as it was happening. Given what he'd last been doing musically--all those early 90s tracks that melded his lover's rock voice with the ragga grain of Shabba Ranks and Sweetie Irie, covers of the Beatles and such--this must go down as one of the all-time Great Missed Opportunities, On Yer Bleeding Doorstep and Ya Missed It, in pop history. Green used to go on about how there's a "kind of criminality", a violence, to 'sweetness". 2step would have been perfect for him.
Woebotnik on proto-ardkore. Yes it's rich seam, this 1990/91 period. Matt's post reminds me of a set I heard Slipmatt do on One In the Jungle, must have been about '98--an old skool journey that went from around mid-90 to mid-92, a fantastic ride. I was amazed, and thrilled/horrified, by the number of tunes from the early part of the period covered I'd never heard. I taped it but still don't know what most of the tunes were. At one point the
sound was something you might call "bleep'n'breaks". As Matt suggests, there's a sort of pleasingly lumpen linearity to the sound--the breakbeats are looped into simple patterns emphasising a techno/house-like propulsiveness. And the basslines chug or blippit along at the same tempo as the beats. Basically there's no "rhythmic danger" yet, jungle's not even on the horizon. So it's totally euphoric and smiley with just a tiny hit of ruff underneath.

(Exception--the precocious darkcore of Eon. "Spice", was one of the things DB played that sounded fantastic on the big sound system. Really well produced).

The dirt-cheap prices of this stuff (well the non-obvious anthems) imply the retroactive subcultural-capitalisation of it hasn't taken place yet, if it ever will. It's still "trash". Which connects to this promising-looking book I've started reading, But Is It Garbage: On Rock and Trash, by Steven L. Hamelman. An academic (university of Georgia Press) but not academically-written (at times quite imagistic and post-Bangsian in fact--appropriately enough) exploration of the tropes of waste, rubbish, garbage, etc running through rock and rock writing--from the "trash aesthetic" to people getting wasted on drugs (and wasting their lives with ODs) to the perennial "is it art or just garbage/pabulum/etc". Interesting so far (Hamelman's line: it's art AND it's garbage, explodes the binary--he's a bit of a Melzerian). Mind you, there's a few startling ommissions: Bataille's nowhere to be seen, which is odd given the usefulness of his theories of a human drive to expenditure-without-return (potlatch, prodigality, ruinous extravagance, sacrifice, the Accursed Share). Also surprised there's no mention of Ian Dury and the Blockheads' "What A Waste", which is all about how Ian could have been a doctor or a teacher or something socially useful but chose to be the singer in a six piece band, "what a waste, what a waste/rock'n'roll don't mind" (well Hamelman's American so probably never heard it). Also doesn't appear to be anything on rave, which again was all about people getting trashed, massive expenditures of energy and money for no purpose whatsoever, a sacrificial economy of burning your brain cells and frittering your serotonin, etc.

The second major thing I ever wrote on hardcore, the sentence " 'Trash', but I luvvit" just popped into my head. In fact i'm not sure i even put scare quotes around "trash". The sentence was the product of a complex of mixed emotions--defiance, insecurity about my own ardour for the music versus the general informed opinionati's disdain, an early unformed impulse towards a Bangsian transvaluation of it c.f. Count Five/Troggs/garage punk.* Well nowadays ardkore is thoroughly vindicated by what it turned into, almost to the point of a kind of retroactive gentrification (in some ways that was what was so exciting about Dara's set, that he reminded me of how trashy and throwaway a lot of the stuff really was, "made in two minutes", cheeky, taking liberties). The zone of true "trash" has slipped back to the period Matt's identified. The Belgian shit especially seems untouchable. Those hard-angled stabs will probably always seem moronic, cheap'n'nasty--the Judas Priest of techno history. Whereas the cruddy sounds in early jungle--the slight distortion on the breaks and muddiness of bass in things like "Renegade Snares"--have gone through the phase of sounding non-state-of-art/cheap/dated-in-a-bad way, and now sound dated-in-a-good-way/classic/timeless, like the fuzztone in "Psychotic Reaction".

* I am almost half-tempted to go to Little Steven's International Garage Festival. Just $20 for a lineup that includes The Creation, Bo Diddley, Big Star, Chocolate fucking Watchband, The Electric Prunes, Nancy Sinatra, Richard and the Young Lions, The Pretty Things, The New York Dolls and The Dictators (neither of whom i even like particularly), Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Of course I'm sure they'd all be shit, and Randall's Island's one of those places where they confiscate your food and water before you go in so you'd end up spending 50 bucks on overpriced drink and get sunstroke. Plus the one time we went to Randall's Island (lollapalooza) there was a bizarre audience riot, a war, missiles flying at the stands, a rain of bottles and ordure and used diapers, a full bottle of water split Joy's forehead open and we had to miss Hole's set and go to the First Aid under the stage. So maybe I'll pass.

Monday, August 02, 2004

What We Did On Our Holidays
(a comprehensive account, but with everything not pertaining to music subtracted)

Two nights at Shepherd Bush hotel called--wait for it, wait for it--K West!

Morning after overnight flight, waiting for the room to be ready; feeling unbodied and translucent with lack o’ sleep. Hotel bar music, translucent and unbodied, could almost be a Junior Boys canon of Eighties (or Eighties-redolent) pop--anaemic, bittersweet, Blue Nile-y. Highlight, revelation, only tune I actually recognise: Carly Simon’s exquisitely forlorn "Why".

Fabulous BBC 4 documentary on John Martyn--the man, the music, the amputated leg. Mogul/aesthete Chris Blackwell singles out for exaltation One World’s ambient ballad "Small Hours"--recorded at night, beside a lake.

Move to Shoreditch apartment swap. Uh-oh, they don’t have a radio. The whole entertainment set-up’s satellite.

Hoxton-twat Latin-tinged house music through the wall until 2-AM. Really hope this isn’t a regular occurrence.

M&VE Soul & Dance, Notting Hill Gate, UKG section: "Course Bruv", vinyl full-length, materialises like the face of an old friend.

Storage unit, King’s Cross: picking up old, crappy radio, plus 3 Roy Harper LPs, 3 Family LPs, John Martyn’s Grace and Danger, and the complete works of The Doors.

Pirates at once amazing (so many fucking stations) and disappointing (where’s da grime? It’s all 2step and old skool UKG! A summer thing? Or is this the inevitable/imminent/impending gender-polar pendulum-Nuum swing back to sexy swingin’ groovystuff 4 da girls dem?). Amazing the number of dancehall stations. And also hip hop ones. And strange anomalous unplaceable dance genres-- weird-house, phuturistic dub-tekno-bhangra… And then, traversing the frequency spectrum, I’m halted in my marrow by the unmistakeable grackling timbre of Beefheart singing "Electricity". Turns out to be a whole show of nothing but the Captain. Only in England!

Shish, Old Street: White-haired and eerie-faced, Miles Copeland, having dinner with--at a guess--his Gothette daughters

Borders, Charing Cross Road: Clangers CD, on Trunk, materialises like a forgotten desire.

Newspaper on the tube: reading about The Libertines’s self-destructive frontman. How can punters still get it up for this particular script? Quote from NME journalist saying this guy’s the real thing, a tortured genius, driven by demons. Ah, Alan McGee’s involved.

Another newspaper: piece on how John Densmore is suing his old bandmates for their Doors of the 21st Century travesty with Ian Astbury as surrogate Jim. Journalist mentions that he is actually being called as an expert witness for the trial. Yet in the next paragraph he describes Manzarek as the guitarist and Krieger as the keyboard player!

The ghostly sax-blare of Was (Not Was)’s "Wheel Me Out" wafts out from one of the archways in the disused railway viaduct that vaults over "our" road.

Bit later--are they actually having a rave in there?

Barbara Kruger (not really music, but she did design the cover of the UK-edition o’ Sex Revolts) style posters everywhere--"Plenty Should Be Enough", "We Are Slaves to The Objects Around Us"--stark severe fonts, anti-consumerist slogans. Except they turn out to be adverts for Selfridges!

Kruger-rip-offs (or she did consent?!) jostle with unappetising flyers for Hoxton-area parties. "Dirty Disco Electro". What is that and how can I avoid ever hearing it? This area really is the Williamsburg of London. Same Logan’s Run effect; especially in the evening when young people stream out of the Old Street tube on their way to bars and clubs, staring at me and Kieran (good lord, a child! What on earth… ) on our late evening strolls.

Smallfish: Spektrum album on Playhouse, as recommended in The Wire by comrade Stubbs. And it’s good, despite faintest whiff of....... Floy Joy.

Saving grace of satellite entertainment set-up: a million video channels. Choice selection #1: "The Streets Vs Blur". Choice selection #2: From the Smiths to Morrissey. Man, he had a bad Nineties, singles-wise (a few gems on the albums, one day I will write about that astounding ambient-Mozz ballad on Vauxhall & I ("I Am Hated For Loving"?)). Is there a single coherent lyric after "Everyday Is Like Sunday"? The new stuff: "Irish Blood"’s all right, s’pose, but "First of The Gang To Die" sounds so staid and lumbering. And what’s with all the fussy microphone lead tossing?

80s flashback: Midge Ure, "Vienna", wearing a British grenadier’s hat. Wottatwat.

M&VE, Berwick Street. While handing me a Black Ops 12 inch to check for scratches, sales assistant says to his colleague "I like a bit of grimey garridge, me", then makes facetious grrr-grrr-wahn-wahn "Flat Beat"/"Doom's Night" farty-bass noises. I decide to "punish" him by not buying it, even though it’s a bargain at 2 quid.

In the vicinity, so quick visit to Blackmarket and Uptown. Black Ops EP going for 6.99! Relievingly, it’s shite: rote Jon E Cash and the sales assistant’s bass-impersonation actually not far off. Gemma Fox’s "Girlfriend’s Story" almost worth getting for the title alone of the "Silky Gangsta Mix" (by J Sweet?). Almost. Instead, get something on Aftershock, a Davinche, and the remix of "Tingz in Boots". Which sounds mad, Mover-esque, like a drunken axemurderer, limbs scything and flailing, lumps of fleshy flying everywhichway.

Victoria & Albert; Vivien Westwood exhibition. Triple epiphany in the second, post-McLaren (man, he’s pissed at her and V&A!) room: the soundtrack hits three all-time personal ab-favs in a row--that most vaseline-on-the-lens idyllic track off the first Harold Budd/Brian Eno album; Holst’s "Neptune" sequence; Vangelis’s languid sax-vaporous romantic theme from Blade Runner, the one that oozes out everytime the girl-droid love interest comes onscreen.

Exhibition of "shed art" in the V&A courtyard. One of them is by Martyn Ware and Vince Clarke. Who did an album called Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle a few years ago, on Mute. Which I actually listened to, finally, after interviewing Ware, in an act of retroactive courtesy. Not bad at all, actually. Likewise the shed.

Passing a clothes boutique, Portobello: ESG’s "You’re No Good" emanates balefully into the street. Hope this stuff stays chic until the book comes out!

Rinse FM. Sub-lo/dark dubstep/Croydon Sound is fabulous for about 10 minutes, then diminishing returns set in. One or two killer tunes though. Like "Icy Piano Reverb Chamber Tinkler" (not real title), which has definite shades of 4AD/This Mortal Coil. Quite a few other tunes boasting eerie/enigmatic/cosmic female voices. Gothick garridge innit.

MV&E, Notting Hill Gate.
---Gryphon, Red Queen To Gryphon Three. Well it was only 4 quid. 2 quid in real money with these exchange tokens.
---David Bedford, The Odyssey. Well he did do the arrangements on Roy Harper’s albums. And Madness’s The Rise and Fall. Plus it’s even cheaper than the Gryphon. Future Policeman Andy Summers plays on ‘Circe’s Island’. Love the Virgin logo from the pre-punk days--hard to describe, but something like naked Siamese twins (virgins?) with flowing golden Robert Plant locks and really intense pubic hair. Axillary too.
---Peter Hammill, The Future Now, 1978, Charisma (another classic cheesy-prog label logo!). That album where he’s grown a beard and then shaved off half of it, so his face is perfectly divided with one side hirsute, the other hairless. Always wanted to own this since seeing the full page album-cover ads in the music press at the time.
--Various Artists--Electric Muse: The Story of Folk Into Rock. Island Records, 1975, four vinyl elpee box set, all the expected suspects and a fair few unknowns-to-me.

Mid-week pirates in that muddled mode somewhere between feckless directionless and inspired eclectic. One goes from Shades of Rhythm’s "Sound of Eden" (diva-gasm!) through Nina Sky on its way to 2step.
2-step tune with great bump’n’flex inside-out rhythm. Could be brand-new 2step-resurgence or just track I missed from ’99, either way just reminds ooh what days they were.

At last! The Raw Blaze signal emerges through the ether-murk. Fuck, we’re going out of town tomorrow.

En route to Kent country hotel. When travelling in someone else's car, you're at the mercy of their music.
---Bob Dylan, "Sarah", Desire. Amazing drumming. And what a drum sound. And the rest of the song's, er, not bad at all. [grits teeth] Must-stay-resolute, must-not-succumb-to-genius-of-Dylan. Mainly cos it'd be too timeconsuming.
-- Franz Ferdinand. For some reason, despite there being a copy in the apartment-swap flat and one in this car, I never seem to manage to hear beyond the first three songs. The first one sounds like the Stranglers. I like it--the record, the band. I think.

Ashford, Kent--looking for shelter from the rain, dart into a record store! Richards Records. Despite having two mischievous four year olds in my charge, still manage to flick through boxes of "on sale" vinyl on the staircase. Wouldyabelieve it, in box marked "funky house"--an early Terror Danjah twelve, on Solid City, 2002, "Highly Inflammable"/"Fire Cracker". For 1.50! Good thing, as Kieran tips over an entire box of records later, so best to mollify the owner with a purchase.

Steam train to Dymchurch, faded sea side resort where everyday IS like Sunday.

Return journey to London:
Jay-Z, The Black Album (New Cross-Peckham)
Kelis, "Trick Me" (Elephant & Castle)

Running back and forth between the future and the past. Radio, tuned to Raw Blaze, in the bedroom; TV, in living room, showing next episode in the same series (Originals) as John Martyn doc. This week, Richard Thompson. Great footage of Fairports doing "Tamlyn". Linda Thompson, today, looks more beautiful than ever. Why no "I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight"? My problem with Mr. Thompson--great guitar, songs’re generally good, but the voice is bit characterless. And the " bleakness" shtick can get wearing.

Rinse FM. Tune that either samples or is an actual full-blown relick of "Bludclot Artattack". On another Rinse show--pure Croydon styleee--there’s a song, "Saigon", that uses a different sample of Martin Sheen from Apocalypse Now than the one used in the original "Bludclot". Other tunes include "Shivers" and "Knowledge" (by one Toasty Boy!). At one point the MC calls out to "the darkcore crew." They don’t call it a Continuum for nuttin, folks.

Bromley South--"Riot In Lagos". And two separate recommendations for the Vibracathedral Orchestra.

Choice FM, 96.9 (pirate or legal?), Mondays after-midnight--Jenny Francis "The Slowdown". The eroto-langourous mist of Co-Ed’s "My Place", underpinned with post-"Sexual Healing" 808 clave-poings and basspulse; the softcore pornhaze of Usher’s "Seduction"; Brandy’s Coldplay/"Clocks" piano sampling "Should I Stay". Slowjamz as ambient; put-you-in-the-mood music. Extremism of lushness/loveliness/luxuriance--refuting Noise-dogma as surely as Shirley Brown and The Dramatics did back in the day. Texted in, dedications to "Tulse Hill man dem."

Ravey Street. I shit you not, just a few hundreds from our temporary gaff, a road called Ravey Street!

Also nearby--the headquarters of Stuckism, the (parodic?) art movement co-founded by Billy Childish (tenuous music connection)

Dockland’s Light Railway (Kieran’s ab fav this trip) to Greenwich. Where there just so happens to be a branch of M&VE.
---Savage Rose, Dodems Triumf (Danish proggers rated by Greil Marcus in the all time rock list in the back o’ Stranded), except this album is the almost-all instrumental one which barely features tones of singer Anisette (who, when she turns up towards the end, sounds like a sort of cosmic Clare Grogan).
----Martin Carthy, Crown of Horn and Prince Heathen (the latter with Dave Swarbrick, as seen on the Fairport doc fiddling away full-tilt).

D’Arblay Street: Blackmarket basement, Uptown basement, at long last a proper trawl through the grime zone. Success rate for want list: 1 in 3. Just as well at 8 quid each. Destruction riddim, Pum Pum riddim, Fwd riddim, Wonder’s "What", more Aftershock, more Davinche, etc.

Missed connection in Toronto (home of North America’s most Anglophile rave scene, ardkore to jungle to UKG--not Grime though apparently) means one night stay in a depressing business hotel located within the vast Ballardian hinterland of the air field itself. Air Canada to the UK is just Air Canada, but for the flights to America it’s called Air Canada Jazz. Appropriately the only musical sounds I hear during the entire Canada sojourn is "biz jazz" (for all I know, could be Goldie’s faves The Yellowjackets) wafting through the breakfast parlour where guests gingerly probe animal proteins of questionable origin.

Major flight trauma--the overhead bin's really small, which means the bag with the vinyl has to be stored on its side (proper care of your records no-no #1).

Home at last. Whack on The Soft Parade, Mark E. Smith’s favorite Doors album, and possibly mine too. "Cobra on my left, leopard on my right"…
Payback, last Thursday, was great. Really good turnout (DB and Jason Jinx must be well chuffed), really good vibe, really good music on a really good system (didn't realise til I got there that Avalon, the venue, used to be the Limelight). DB played a fine set (kicking off, sweetly, with "I Need Your Lovin'"); "special guest" hardcore legend from back-in-the-day DJ Dan was excellent; Dave Ralph a bit progressive house in the original 93 meaning of the term, but he did play Nitro Deluxe 'This Brutal House". Best of all, and one of the most exciting sets I've ever witnessed, was Dara and AK 1200 spinning together in the second room. Period-wise the set was pitched just six months to a year on from where DB/Dan were situated--late '92, the E frenzy getting really manic. Squeaky voices. What they used to call Jungle Tekno: that point when the ragga samples started coming in big time--"ya bad man", "jump up bwoy". And the boys were jumping (some were actually moshing, a bit too rowdy). But so were the girls. The room was packed with them. A couple of them, weirdly, had got this slightly hardbitten, hair-tightly-pulled-back, raver girl look about them that was so period-perfect (totally accidentally, I'm sure), they could almost have been beamed in via time capsule from the Labrynth circa '92. They were
doing this writhy, almost-kinda-sinister dancing. It was mental in there, telling ya. It hurt me how many tunes I a/ i recognised from the time but didn't know or have B/ how many i didn't recognise. An endless goldmine, that era. Gradually the music inched forward through time, going into jungle proper (it was amazing how the sonics improved, the drums got cleaner and fatter, reminding you how cruddy the production values of most hardcore were) then suddenly surging right through classics like "Rinse Out" and into the latter days of jump up (when the music lost me, simultaneous with my strength failing). Danced so hard, for a couple of days afterwards my limbs ached. Big up to all involved in throwing and attending the event. Big Shout to raving cru Geeta and Andy B, shouts also to Craig Willingham aka I-Sound and his mate Dave.
Norman Mailer chips in
"There is, after all, a profound difference between corporations and capitalism itself, at least so slong as capitalism remains small business. The small businessman is always taking his chances. He leads an existensial life. He's gambling that his wit, his energy, and his ideas of what will work in the marketplace will be successful. He can be a sonofabitch, but at least he's out there in the middle of life" (from this week's issue of New York magazine)
Well apparently the Congress For Cultural Freedom was a CIA front. I wonder if Adorno knew and was on the pay roll as it were.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

something to make Ben Watson chuckle...

If you saw a free publication piled up outside your local newspaper store bearing the title Children of Satan III: The Sexual Congress For Cultural Fascism, you'd pick it up, right? Especially if half the cover consisted of a Hieronymous Bosch painting of naked folk cavorting, one with a bunch of flowers stuffed up his rectum. Turns out to be a pamplet for the Presidential campaign of Lyndon H. LaRouche Jnr. Who I vaguely recall as a fringe right wing candidate from previous elections. Perusing the magazine, though, it's a lot loonier than that. Classic autodidact paranoid delirium, that somehow connects the "Beast-Man" Dick Chenry and his "pathetic puppet" George Bush (Cheney himself, though, merely "the snarling creature" on his wife Lynne Cheney's "leash"!) to a 20th Century-spanning Anglo-American "Synarchist" conspiracy that encompasses figures as diverse as Bertrand Russell, W.H. Auden, Time magazine founder Henry R. Luce, Arthur Koestler, CIA bigwig Allen Dulles, Aldous Huxley, the Fabian Society, and, most recently, Baroness Liz Symons. This Satanic conspiracy moved to subvert the achievements of Roosevelt (a godlike figure in this pamphlet, the third in a series apparently), by secretly rescuing elements of the Nazi power structure and bringing them to America. In the post-War period they then moved to degrade Western civilisation through permissiveness and "the morally and intellectually corrupting effects" of postmodernism.

Ah, but wait, here's where it gets really good. The subtitle of the pamphet, The Sexual Congress For Cultural Fascism, comes from an essay within on a postwar, early 1950s organisation called The Congress For Cultural Freedom, which I'd never heard of, and which LaRouche & Co claim was a CIA front. The essay starts like this:

"Theodor Adorno and Max Horkhemier were two of the earliest leaders of the Frankfurt School and were co-directors of that Authoritarian Personality project of the late 1940s, that wilfully engineered the Baby Boomer drug/rock/sex counterculture two decades later. These two were brought back to Germany in 1950, to reorganise and "de-Nazify" the postwar German education system and cultural institutions... In that assigned capacity, Adorno and Horkheimer were pivotal players in the overall project to wreck European and American culture.... destroying the last vestiges of European Classical Culture and replacing it with a culture of perversity, bestialization, and pessimism. This project was known, hypocritically, as the Congress For Cultural Freedom (CCF)."

Skip a section on Bertrand Russell, an honorary chairman of the CCF, that's really nutty and there's more on Adorno, in re. one of his specialist subjects, music:

"To bring about the total disintegration of postwar European and American society--which he argued, was the precondition for the defeat of the authoritarian impulse--Adorno insisted that all forms of beauty had to be purged. Instead, he argued for a steady cultural diet of "Top Forty" pop music and other degenerate forms of "mass culture", which, he argued, over time, would trigger various forms of mental breakdown, on a mass scale". These, the essay asserts, would take the form of depersonalisation, hebephrenia, catatonia, and necrophilia! "Adorno had written his Philosophy of Modern Music prescription for producing a society of necrophiliacs, through the perversion of music and culture..." The essay then attributes the emergence of the counter culture to the Frankfurt School, part of their malevolent plan to "transform American culture, step by step, toward an erotic, perverse matrix, associated with the present 'politically correct' tyranny of tolerance for dehumanizing drug abuse, sexual perversion, and the glorification of violence"

Don't know an awful lot about the Frankfurt School but seems like there's been a teensy bit of misreading and wrong-end-of-stick-getting going on here.
in his continuing* recollections of Maker glory days, Stubbs takes retribution (16 years on!!!!) for an indiscretion on the part of yours truly that got him in deepshit with the guvnor

* instead of a new entry he's adding on new material to the original I Remember.. entry, so for the new stuff you have to scroll down past the anecdote about Paula Abdul