Wednesday, November 02, 2005

have to concur with kpunk on the excellence of the latest release from ghostbox, the mind how you go ep-or-is-it-more-like-mini-lp?, by the advisory circle (go here for preview mp3s and a glimpse of its exquisite 3 inch cd cover). the concept of the advisory circle is a sort of
benevolently paternalistic government (busy-)body, issuing guidance to the general public on every aspect of their behaviour, loosely inspired by those public safety films they used to show on children’s tv in the 70s (often quite gruesome and disturbing: i remember ones warning about playing on building sites and the unexpected dangers of the english countryside: kids on a trip to a farm coming a cropper one by one--the first tumbling into a pig pen and drowning in the quagmire of mud and ordure, another getting impaled on a pitchfork, and so on). the music, though, is almost devoid of darkness, redolent of various points of radiophonic workshop at their most positivist, ergonomic and heimlich, human league circa dignity of labour and ‘dancevision,’ stereolab's music for the amorphous body center, plus a hint of aphex twin's early euphonious side ("analogue bubblebath", bits of the first selected ambient works, and especially polygon window's surfing on sine waves). typical of this vibe is highlight track "osprey", a fragrant rhapsody of flute-wafting moodtronica that totally fits the title (which brings to mind the vicarious-transcendence-via-falconry scenes in kes, the early ken loach, movie). (digression: i’ve actually been within 30 feet of an osprey--ultra-rare protected species, cordoned off from the public, they may be in the UK, but on shelter island, off the coast of long island, they’re almost as common as crows, and nest on top of telegraph poles by the side of busy roads).

the only faintly creepy aspect on mind how you go are the voices, mingling emollience, solicitousness and over-perfect enunciation in a way that recalls the telescreen announcers in fahrenheit 451 (and did the décor and mise en scene of that movie precede or come after the prisoner?). i wonder what exactly is the appeal of that vibe of postwar planning and efficiency, of benign paternalism (maternalism perhaps more apt, given the welfare state’s associations with free milk and nursery clinics). perhaps it's just nostalgia for something long gone, or maybe it's that the idea of a nanny state doesn't seem nearly so suffocating and oppressively intrusive in this heartless postsocialist world where no one official gives a shit about you.

the advisory circle is an alter-alter-ego for jon brooks, who otherwise traffics as the king of woolworths and like the focus group and belbury poly is a library music fiend (the word 'library' itself giving off a wonderful tang of the municipal/pedagogic/edificatory). i'm not familiar with his other works but after mind how you go i'm eager to check them out.

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