Monday, January 31, 2011

RIP John Barry

original and definitive version of "Walkabout" main theme is at 6-20

another version of the main theme probably by the Prague philharmonic or something

Bob Stanley's tribute

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday, January 29, 2011

"wet, wet with tears"

I'm telling you this Blubstep thing's got legs...

"Woon's next single, Lady Luck, is, he reveals, about whinging, something he does a lot. "I do it all the time, then I beat myself up for it. It's a vicious cycle of self-laceration. Why do I put myself down? So that it's harder for other people to do it." (from the Guardian's profile of Jamie Woon)

Meanwhile elsewhere in Blubstep, it's been well weird to watch the Blake Backlash. I've only listened to the album once, it didn't strike me as so bad. Does kinda make sense though (c.f. Darkstar) that it'd be harder to make the shift from Vocal Science to Proper Songwriting than these chaps might have imagined.

Perhaps it's the physical resemblance, but I keep thinking of Steve Winwood when I hear James Blake's voice. That perennial white Brit projection to Black America. As seen also with Woon's admiration for Lewis Taylor and the fact that he went to the same school, the Brit School, as Adele and Amy Winehouse.

This blubstep/soulboy connection in turn reminded me of that line in Scritti's Percy Sledge-citing "Gettin', Havin' and Holdin'"--"wet wet with tears"--a line that provided Wet Wet Wet with their name.

(I once interviewed Wet Wet Wet, believe it or not-- not Pellow, two of the other guys. Nice chaps actually. They had just done the "take us seriously please" album where they went out to Willie Mitchell's studio in Memphis to get a proper 70s soul sound).

How interesting that this thing the Brits have for Soul Music should be so imperishable and enduring--after five decades, still intact, still productive--to the point where it's virtually a structural fixture of UK popular culture.

(i'd rather have posted "Gettin Havin & Holdin'" or "Faithless" but amazingly neither are on YouTube)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Two upcoming events of particular interest to Blissblog readers: Jonny Mugwump's Weird Tales for Winter Season 2 and The Wire's Off the Page writing-about-music festival.

Date: Friday 11 - Sunday 13 February 2011
Venue: The Playhouse, Whitstable, U.K.
Produced by: Sound and Music and The Wire

Sound and Music and The Wire present Off the Page, the UK’s first ever literary festival devoted to music criticism. Taking place at the Playhouse Theatre, Whitstable, on the South coast, this weekend-long event will feature a host of internationally-renowned critics, authors, musicians and artists discussing the current state of underground and experimental music in a programme of talks, presentations, panel discussions and workshops.


Friday 11 February, 7pm – 10.30pm
Presentation: Robert Wyatt on his favourite music
Short films hosted by BFI and introduced by Jonny Trunk: Tristram Cary on film

Saturday 12 February, 10am – 10.30pm
Talk: Ken Hollings on the post-Cageian universe
Talk: Rob Young and Matthew Herbert on the impact of musique concrète on contemporary sonic culture
Talk: Steve Beresford and John Kieffer in conversation
Talk: Kodwo Eshun on his favourite music writing
Talk: Dave Tompkins on the history of the vocoder, from its use in the Second World War to its role in the era of Auto Tune
Talk: Teal Triggs on Fanzines
Presentation: Christian Marclay
Short films hosted by Lux: Cage On Cable

Sunday 13 February: 11am – 5pm
Roundtable discussion: including Mark Fisher, Nina Power, and The Wire editors on the role of music criticism on print and the Web
Panel discussion: Salome Voegelin, David Toop, Daniela Cascella on the philosophy of listening
In conversation: Green Gartside with Mark Fisher discussing politics and cultural theory in pop culture and music
Performance lecture: Claudia Molitor, Jennifer Walshe, Sarah Nicholls on music notation

More information here

2/ Jonny Mugwump presents Weird Tales For Winter Season 2
Resonance FM 104.4 FM 29/01/11 - 05/02/11

Following the success of Weird Tales For Winter’s inaugural season - which seeped out over the airwaves during the cold early weeks of 2010 and featured contributions from Belbury Poly, John Foxx, Moon Wiring Club, Radio Joy, Mordant Music, Vanessa Daou and other lurkers on the threshold - Jonny Mugwump has built on the reputation of his Exotic Pylon radio show with Resonance FM to invite you to experience a second season of narrative peculiarity and timbral disturbance, commencing on Saturday 29th February at 9:30pm. In addition to the Weird Tales themselves, Resonance and FNOOB Underground will be broadcasting a series of exclusive mixes from Cottage of Electric Hell, K-Punk and Pye Corner Audio - sonic spells designed to further erode the membrane between our dimension and the realm beyond.


29/01/11 – 22.30
The Advisory Circle & Moon Wiring Club
The Gateway Of The Monster by William Hope Hodgson
[Part One]

31/01/11 – 0.00
The Advisory Circle & Moon Wiring Club
The Gateway Of The Monster by William Hope Hodgson
[Part Two]

01/02/11 – 01.00
From A Skip In Soho

02/02/11 – 01.00
In The Cinema Tree With Orbiting Heads

02/02/11 – 01.15
Misty Roses
The Clock by W. F. Harvey

03/02/11 – 01.00
Eyeless in Gaza
The Shadow by Hans Christian Andersen (trans. M. R. James)

04/02/11 – 01.00
Jonny Trunk

05/02/11 – 0.30
Dolly Dolly
Postmen, Porpoises And Lederhosen

05/02/11 – 22.30
Ensemble Economique & The Outer Church
The House On The Borderland (excerpt) by William Hope Hodgson


29/01/11 – 21.30
Pye Corner Audio (Resonance 104.4 FM)

02/02/11 – 22.00
Cottage of Electric Hell (FNOOB Underground (

05/02/11 – 21.30
K-Punk (Resonance 104.4 FM)

More information here, twitter feed here

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

still has that waiting-for-the-year-to-start feeling don't it?

call this a micro-feeling maybe

couple of digging-thises

reviewed this for the new issue of The Wire, excellent

you can see the official video over at Pitchfork tv

the first offering from new cassette label Brunch Groupe started by Joe Knight of Rangers and friends -- the artist/project goes by the name KWJAZ -- hard to describe...Zoviet France doing a decomposed ambient take on Smooth FM lite-jazz?... reference points apparently include Dilla and Jon Hassell circa Power Spot. Out sometime in February.


both Underneath the Pine and KWJAZ are examples of the underground's love affair with bygone slickness and luxury (a transvaluation that echoes the Scritti/Orange Juice/Prefab etc move of 30 years ago...)

one of the things i liked about the Rangers LP was the way there's all this exquisite filigreed playing submerged within the fog of reverb and FX

this tune--one of my favourites on Suburban Tours--makes me think of the wistful soundtrack music to Gregory's Girl (as played by some Scotfunk outfit) refracted through Dif Juzzy haze

coming soon, with sleevenotes by me - Absolute, a Scritti Politti anthology

covering the whole span of Scritti's existence, except for White Bread Black Beer

rescues some later phase gems and places them alongside the Songs To Remember and Cupid & Psyche stuff

of particular interest to die-hards: a couple of 2007 tracks, i.e. after White Bread Black Beer, that Green did with David Gamson, "Day Late & A Dollar Short" especially strong, doesn't look like that turned into a whole album, but still an encouraging sign for the next Scritti record, whenever that appears

i'd have left off "Skank" which sticks out like a store thumb, and substituted "Faithless", but otherwise very well done

listening to it all again reminded me of the eerie edge to Green's melodic signature that peeks out in even the most sugar-brite Cupid stuff -- fey in the dictionary sense--and also how much of a signature it is, running through the whole body...

quiet out there innit

but here's Carl with lengthy ace analysis split across two blogs/decades on Chris Petit's Radio On

here's what i wrote about it a while ago

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

fame at last!

although thinking back, this might actually have been the turning point

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

it doesn't get any better than this

it really doesn't

if they hadn't devoted the entire second side to that godawful jam "Relevation", Da Capo would be almost up there with Forever Changes

crikey i never knew this one existed, yay YouTube

Thursday, January 20, 2011

forgot to tune in for this last night - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti making their network TV debut on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

my essay for this year's Pazz and Jop--framed as a defence of chillwave, but really more an attempt to get a fix on the sensibility of the Altered Zones generation



i can't tell if the guy who wrote these two interesting posts on the spectacle of politics as a palliative cure for boredom--start with the second, and then work back to the first--is using the term "spectacle" in the Guy Debord sense of the word or whether he's just fastened upon the word unawares of its applications

still, it did remind me of something a friend said late last year, about how she'd lost interest in music pretty much and was entirely consumed by following politics: the elections here, the protests in the UK, Wikileaks, and so forth. we were in agreement that politics was kicking music's butt at the moment

but as this chap points out, you can consume "politics" (all the endless, impossibly intricate analysis, the parsing and discussion of the "optics") in this addictive, stim-buzz-snacking, distracted-drifting, more-more-gimme-more way that is nothing like actual politics as activity (which involves quite a lot of boredom, tedious graft, endless meetings, or, if it's activist, involves the physical endurance of protest)... and that conversely is extremely like the way one engages with music/popculture on the web (flitting and skimming, tldr, dl-ing-but-never-getting-round-to-listening, half a YouTube here, half a streamed track there). so "politics" does become just another option in the array of passivities, all the time-kills available to you in this wonderful webbed infosphere... only difference is that "keeping up" and "staying informed" seems vaguely more worthwhile and virtuous than obsessively downloading the latest djmix

at any rate, whether or not he meant spectacle as in "spectacular commodity society" and "the society of the ____", this fellow's thoughts made me think that:

a/ the Situationist critique of our civilisation in terms of boredom / isolation / "the poverty of everyday life" has never been more pertinent ... what with the internet, social networking, and other surrogates-for-true-fulfilment/community... digimodernism has created a whole new array of pseudo-activities, pseudo-participations.... digimodernism is Spectacle 2.0

b/ the Situationist critique is one of the best explanations for rock/pop/etc available ... as an explanation of why it came into existence in the first place, and of why it ultimately fails (ie. its rebellion against boredom/isolation/disenchantment is alway recuperated, turned into something that just reinforces boredom/isolation/disenchantment)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

can't think of any reasons not to like this

what is a "dirty bit" then? i read somewhere (but then almost immediately forgot) it's got something to do with computers, programming, code

the "good bit" (which comes in for the first time at 1.00) reminds me vaguely of Da Hool "Meet Her At the Love Parade"

the "really good bit" (at 2.44) with those swooping blocs of filtered/delayed sound reminds me of late 90s techno with a million-dollar production.... if Timo Maas was a movie this is its 3D remake

much the same applies to this offering: what's not to like?

Friday, January 14, 2011

such awful news

RIP Trish Keenan

it's been a terrible week for people being taken too young

ned raggett's memorial to trish

another lovely remembrance of Trish

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

grime defectors

when i was in Istanbul in December i watched some of the local pop channels on the hotel TV, it was all the stuff you'd expect, and flo rida and "dynamite", ... Euro hitz and Turkish takes on all of the above... and then Shakira comes on, and I'm thinking I don't really see the appeal, and then this cheeky chappy pops up all of a sudden!

i had to smile. boy's gone far hasn't he? wasn't going to Corner himself, knew there was a world out there beyond the ends and beyond the Mercury/middlebrow/stifled-by-acclaim zone...

talking of ship-of-grime jumpers, the whole UK Bass world (FACT-Dissensus-blogs etc) not said a peep about Plan B's remarkable self-reinvention. if i hadn't stopped off in HMV in Heathrow on the way back and seen the CD in the Top 40 racks on the wall jostling alongside Kanye and Tron I might well have never known that The Defamation of Strickland Banks even came out. now I read that his Amy Winehouse/Duffy retro-soul make-over's gone triple-platinum in the UK and is about to get launched in the States.

must say I never rated Mr B particularly. that whole acoustic guitar/mind-of-a-lunatic style lyric-scenarios combo (very Odd Future now I think of it, although Odd Future themselves are very Big Black if you think about it).... not convinced. not enticed either.

his new shtick though -- it's a bit like The Commitments re-directed by Guy Ritchie

christ how depressing

by which i mean: i can remember when this stuff was revived the first time around, in the early Eighties

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

christ, they're falling thick and fast

rip mick karn

... and i had this one lined up for a future "It Doesn't Get Much Better Than..."


there's nobody that doesn't dig "Baker Street", surely?

the sax, the keyboard curlicues, the little shiver and twinkles of synth, the guitar break

pure quality

#2 US, #3 UK - 1978 - a different era... when pop could be simply adult (see also Rumours) ... all craft and substance

(c.f. the "children's entertainment" (Alan Kirby) that largely comprises today's "digimodernist" (Alan Kirby) pop culture)

let's have it again, full length and stereo (with crap imagery to boot)

they don't make em like this anymore do they?

if only this were a real coffee table book! *

the cover art of Reinforced Records

the record sleeves start out thrillingly stark and aberrant, get more fussed-over and convoluted, and then start to look pretty putrid

mirroring, i suspect

a/ technological advances

b/ what was happening with the music

(via blue lines revisited)

* erratum/stop press: ah, woops, apparently it is a real coffee table book, according to FACT, it's "available in hardback (£29.95) and paperback (£19.95) editions... thanks to Blurb, a boutique web service that allows users to design their own books and have them manufactured."

See also this:
Manix mix of reinforced golden era classics plus news of forthcoming manix lp in a "new old" style (, two tracks from which appear in the mix), viz:"I wanted to mark our 20th year as a label with a special release so originally I was gonna do a 4 track EP but as I got into doing it the memories inspired a 12 track album. I dug out the Akia S950 sampler, my Atari ST1040 and a box of old breaks and focused on the real feel good factor, the 150BPM hardcore/rave sound of Reinforced and Manix. I also did two tracks inspired by the earlier Chicago house sound"