Sunday, February 27, 2011

the filth and the fury

interesting debate at the Quietus between Rory Gibbs and Joe Muggs about the future of dubstep / crossover dilemmas

well i never thought I'd type these words... but i... find myself... in.... agreement........... with ................. Muggs

see when Gibbs complains:

"It feels like with a lot of the chainsaw side of the genre, producers, DJs – and, I suppose, crowds – are after 'filth', the hardest, nastiest sounds possible. It pushes music to the point where it becomes totally sexless, totally lacking in groove and soul. And though you might say it's punk as fuck, it's pretty hard to deny that there was still something sexy about 70s punk rock's defiant posturing and anti-establishmentarianism, which then later became further manifest in post-punk's obsession with groove. That sexiness is lacking in music by someone like Borgore"

i would say well, hmmm, sexiness was never Priority #1 with rave... UKG and 2step is the aberration here in terms of its amorousness... if you look at hardcore, jungle, grime, early dubstep... it's about a lot of things... darkness and daftness, aggression and euphoria, full-tilt fierceness and spacy psychedelic production mindfuck, spiritual vibes and impertinent wit... but sexiness? that's fairly low on the list of attributes/concerns/virtues with this tradition across its two decades-plus existence... indeed one of the innovations of rave was to uncouple dancing and sexuality (E obviously a big factor here)... (and actually the same could be said for punk, it uncoupled rock and sex through muting the blues basis of the music)

now this tune is ruff, and i dig the way the switch-up between manic (and Manix-y) italo-piano-vamping happy hardcore inna 94 style and slow-and-low flatus-of-Satan wobble-vom affirms both the continuum-ness and the lumpen-ludic strain within that tends to get,repeatedly, written out of it

the slide rule!

a few years ago, out of the blue, i suddenly remembered the slide rule

(and then promptly forgot it again)

prior to that the thought of one had not crossed my mind in at least two decade

yet as phil points out in his post, this was a device that had been totally part of secondary schooling in maths

then, seemingly overnight, it completely disappeared, wiped itself from cultural memory

i can remember having just got to grips with it to the point of actually getting correct results, and then the first, in those days quite bulky calculators arriving

(imagine being Britain's leading manufacturer of slide rules, and then...)

i wonder what other ubiquitous/totally-established-and-permanent seeming technologies/techniques/artifacts there are that just completely disappeared, like that

possibly slightly too marginal to count, but i remember that hair-singeing was something a lot of barbers offered... it was supposed to prevent split ends... basically like applying an iron to your hair.... as a result barbers often had this unpleasant burnt hair smell lingering

wigs for women?

the pressure cooker?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

just a reminder to Southern California folk that the EMP Pop Conference is this weekend, starting tomorrow at UCLA and going until Sunday Feb 27... the conference theme is "Money" but admission is free... and i'll be giving a talk titled "The Selling of No Sell Out: From Hippy Capitalism to Hipster Capitalism" on the Saturday during the 5PM to 7PM segment... location is Room 156, Royce Hall...
"indecently English"--'Tume chats to 'Bot bout Chunks

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

the Panda Bear fans are getting frustrated at the lack of leaks on Tomboy

so frustrated in fact that i actually got an inquiry from a complete stranger about whether i would be up for sharing some tracks!

on a music board the subject came up of me and similar promo recipients being too "respectable" to leak the album!

sorry Panda Bear fans, no music for you, but a thought:

you know this sort of maddening itchy excited-but-frustrated feeling you're going through? really really really wanting to hear the album but not being able to, yet? that's what life was like for music fans in the not-so-distant past (the Nineties). and that was a good feeling. so try living in it, for sure it'll be an acquired taste for members of the "want it NOW" generation, like black olives, or S&M... it's called anticipation and it'll make the pleasure of actually hearing the record for the first time all the keener

Friday, February 18, 2011

Frieze piece by me on Southern California as the hypnagogic pop state, with particular focus on a Mr J. Ferraro.

No, but seriously, the way Demdike tick all the boxes--Wickerman/crate-digging/soundtracks/sampling/paganAlbion/library/Radiophonics/"we look back in order to go forward"/"lost futures"--is so thorough, it verges on conscientious... I mean, if they didn't intentionally set out to occupy the thin strip of land between Belbury Poly and Shackleton then ... it's kinda freaky how they've ended up exactly in that small spot

Their music has this spooky effect on young journalists, it casts this spell that makes them uncontrollably go on about the process of "unearthing old recordings and reanimating them in new shapes" carrying with it "an intrinsically arcane power; by passing the phantoms trapped in these records through a modern lens, Whittaker and Canty resurrect and re-contextualise the ghosts of the past".

I mean to say... it all sounds... a bit... hauntological, don't you think?

"Don't pigeonhole us...", "moving between genres", "we don't believe in categories", yeah yeah yeah ... . but you've pigeonholed yourselves. You've walked right up to the pigeonhole and squeezed your whole bodies right inside it, with barely a toe poking out.

But all that said, I find their records perfectly pleasant listening--how could I not, they push all the right buttons!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"As long as you don't mention hauntology..,"--Miles Whittaker, Demdike Stare

Demdike Stare, it has to be said, lean to the hauntological side of things. Just a bit.

How hauntological are Demdike Stare? As hauntological as a dog-eared and yellowing 1971 paperback of The Owl Service protruding out of the pocket of Jim Jupp's corduroy trousers. As hauntological as a frosty winter evening spent round Baron Mordant's gaff watching faded VHS recordings of The Stone Tape and The Changes while sipping on a steaming mug of Bovril.

Truth to tell, Demdike Stare are ruddy hauntological. They couldn't really be more hauntological if they assembled their records following the guidelines in a booklet issued by the British Hauntological Council.

Demdike Stare are hauntological by day. Hauntological by night. Hauntological at work. Hauntological at play.

Demdike Stare are hauntological and I claim my ten shillings in the old money.
here's my alternate-review of Let England Shake

here's my alternate-alternate review of Let England Shake

some nominations for Rock-Identified Chaps Having A Go At Electronic Music

(both from bloggers-turned-recording-artists-of-substance as it happens)

Gutterbreaks aka Ekoplekz mentions George Harrison's Electronic Sounds, Roger McGuinn's "Moog Raga" (McGuinn, in a 1970 interview: "It's in the can at Columbia, it's in the library and will never be released because it's out of tune -- that's the only reason."--but it's apparently on the expanded reissue of Notorious Byrd Brothers), and the Stones "mucking about with a moog", as in this:

Matthew Ingram aka Woebot proffers what may well beat all-comers, a side project by Robbie Robertson

now, didn't Lou Reed make a New Age album a few years ago? Hudson River Wind Meditations? I downloaded it from eMusic for my aunt-in-law, who's into New Age, but can't remember if it was guitar-based or electronic.

keep 'em coming

also, really interested in ideas for people who haven't but you wouldn't mind if they did/might just possibly aquit themselves tolerably well...

BTW, someone reminded me that Lloyd Cole, when asked what his favourite album was not so long ago, said Computer World. So that possibly goes some way to explaining Plastic Wood and the affinity with Roedelius
"Protesting Scott Walker"

that's my favourite email subject heading in a while

just in from The Nation magazine

for a moment there, I thought, yes, yes, a campaign petitioning Walker to stop recording angst-wracked avant-garde Masterpieces (that you never feel like playing) and write/sing/release an actual, you know, tune

but no it's about the Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker, who wants to strip state workers of their collective bargaining rights
good bits

excellent bit from Idiot's Guide on Woebot's Chunks (also enjoyed Loki's Demdike-underwhelmedment bit from recently)


talking of heterodoxy, really enjoyed this bit of branching-off-from-the-rockcrit-herd by SFJ on Let England Shake... i don't even know if i agree, it's just nice to see, and a great performance (and also good to reminded why we were so taken with PJ in the first place, back when she rocked so hard and so raw)


more heterodoxy: over at the collective 70s blog, following Phil Knight's recent-ish great bit on Free, now a triffic bit from him on Jeff Beck as a forgotten, written-out-of-history great... (What next? Rea-praise-als of Santana? 10 Years After?). The standard view on Beck is that "great guitarist who's never made a great record" line, so it's interesting to get a different take. Faint memories of digging "Jizz Whizz" by Beck Bogert & Appice made me dig out the Beckology box set (there was a time when Columbia/Epic Legacy were bizarrely profligate with box sets, if you were on the mailing list you'd just get them, which explains why I possess a Ted Nugent box, an Earth Wind and Fire box, etc). I'd almost forgotten the existence of the Yardbirds. When I was first getting into Sixties music (in 1982 or so), the Yardbirds seemed like some ultimate quintessence-of-epoch type group: "For Your Love", "Shapes of Things", "Heartful of Soul", "Over Under Sideways Down". But then later on they started to seem sort of characterless (as with so many of those British beat mid-60s combos, their frontman Keith Relf never really got beyond Doing the Job Well Enough), they seemed almost like the brainchild of some Sixties Committee.


lovely bit on Ariel Pink and the aesthetics of lo-fi from Derek Walmsley over at the Mire. Yes I must admit, as superb as Before Today is--and despite the added enjoyment factor of the record as a kind of conceptual/narrative-arc/closing-of-the-circle triumph--I still prefer the Doldrums/Worn Copy/House Arrest sound. Such a cornucopia of supersaturated, distressed,irradiated textures and tones... song-fragments... strange codas.... irruptions.. defects and detours... . The poptastic bits stick in the memory, such that you forget all the noisespace and ambient lagoons, like "Foilly Foibles/Gold", which is coming from a Twin Infinitives type place... how much of it comes from psych and noise s well as yacht rock and Henley & Oates... and just the sheer variety.... when I put on House Arrest, I'm always freshly taken by surprise by the things tucked away at the back end, like "Oceans of Weep" and the extraordinary 9 minutes of "Netherlands"...
strange dayz pt 2

it's a bit early for an Adult. revival innit

but to be honest i don't know what these are pastiching/referencing precisely

at a certain point you cease to bother even trying to getting a fix on this stuff

you just let it wash over your retina / cochlea

Geneva Jacuzzi is part of the same LA scene-let as


bonus beats

Excerpt from Ken Russell's In Search of the English Folk Song documentary from 1997

Stumbled on this quite by chance on TV several years, saved it on the cable box/DVR for ages and rewatched it many a time, then lost when the cable box went on the blink... It's a very eccentric journey through English folk, with many people included seemingly because they're mates of Ken's or he met them in his local village pub... a haunting a cappela "King of Rome" from June Tabor... an extraordinary song called "The Fawley Flame" by one Bob Appleyard, about a local offshore refinery if i recall right... the saucy Lynne Fortt... Greenham Common wimmin's song.. Carthy Waterson... a really bizarre Glastonbury performance troupe called Edward II with a cast of dozens across multiple floats ... wish there more bits from this on YouTube (the bit with Donovan below is one of the least interesting)

I must order the DVD...

here's what i wrote about it when i first saw it five years ago

analog synth epic mix from stella om source

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

here's my review of Let England Shake:

Lloyd Cole's plastic wood lp of ambient electronic miniatures (not bad at all actually) got me thinking about Rock-Identified Chaps Having A Go At Electronic Music

Two categories here:

1/ Rock-Identified Chaps who Have Actually Had A Go At Electronic Music

2/ Rock-Identified Chaps who Haven't Had A Go At Electronic Music But You Wouldn't Mind If They Did (Because It Might Be Half-Decent)

in 1/ a couple immediately spring to mind

Paul McCartney, who recently did the Fireman project with Youth


Bob Mould, who did the electronica-influenced album Modulate

(I would also mention Bowie for Earthling but then with side two of Low he was making electronica back almost in parallel with Cluster)

(Pete Townshend has a whole room full of analogue synths but did he ever do more with it than the intro to "Won't Get Fooled Again" and frilly bits in "Baba"?)

(Pete Shelley doesn't really count because he did Sky Yen before Buzzcocks and then went synthpop solo...

As for 2/ Rock-Identified Chaps Who Haven't Had A Go At Electronic Music But Might Make A More-Than-Decent Fist of It


Paddy Macaloon?

The Edge?

Kate Bush?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

strange days are these, PopTime's all twisted up like traversable tagliatelle...


the great Roedelius of Cluster etc on his alliance with... Lloyd Cole!

"At the time, I knew nothing of or about Lloyd Cole or his career as a bard on a guitar. His 2001 album, Plastic Wood, was a revelation for me in issues of contemporary electronic music-- Cole, a brother in spirit? Without asking his permission, I set to work adding in small melodies, tiny little particles of abstract soundscapes. My hope was to draw out the inner beauty of these studies while leaving their essential character intact.... I can only wholeheartedly welcome the [forthcoming} collaboration [for Hamburg's Bureau B label] between Lloyd and myelf, because we both get the opportunity to demonstrate whether we are really very much brothers in spirit, and if so, how."

via AZ

micro-feeling (slight return)

knew there was something i'd forgotten:

All Times Through Paradise - 4-disc box of The Saints collected works - released in 2004 by EMI Australia but now finally brung out by EMI Everywherelse

Sunday, February 13, 2011


if Moanad was vaguely postpunk, Chunks is not-so-vaguely pre-punk ("chunks" as in "boogie til you blow chunks" i presume), but finding in British bluesy hard rock surprisingly similar traits of fracture and angularity, clarity of form and exposed structure Pompidou Centre-style... but there's a lot more going on here than the Groundhogs/Wire nexus, tracks i'm at rather a loss to describe... his best yet I think

get the ltd edition vinyl here, the compact disque here

actually it's Woebot full-spectrum dominance this month: check out Matthew's piece on the Cambridge Scene in this month's Wire... with figures like Pete Um (Position Normal if he'd recorded for Mille Plateaux, kinda, some of the time anyway) he's really onto something, as per bleeding usual

and now the year finally gets going

also cool

definitely not the next Micachu & the Shapes album according to the press release, and not, on the face of it, a terribly enticing concept: Mica Levi + symphony orchestra + the ghost of DJ Screw. I can't decide if this is a Nico Muhly-esque move or a These New Puritans-esque move, but it's surprisingly listenable, mostly on account of Mica's always-appealing vocal texture, stretched out here in imitation of screw's slowed-down voices.

Hans Dens a/k/a the house mate of Dolphins Into the Future, would you believe... and probing similar Iasos/J.D. Emmanuel zones. Above is the cassette Future Life Reloaded, which is the Part Three and Part Four to the vinyl Future Life's Part One and Part Two (which I slightly prefer)... oh and i guess when you buy the LP the cassette comes with it... I wonder if Lieven and Hans know/like Drexciya?

before they made junglistic hardcore like "baptised by dub"/"rebaptised by dub", they were a britrap crew, collected works thereof collated on this rephlex comp

ruff beats producing the bass


Friday, February 11, 2011

Dan Lopatin talking to Altered Zones about the new label he's started with Games-mate Joel Ford:

AZ: Is there a specific sound you want people to associate with Software?

Dan: Definitely. I mean, it’s an electronic label. It’s definitely geared toward what we’re calling digi-psych, CDM (Contemplative Dance Music), and popular noise.

This relates to something I'd wanted to develop in the C****wave piece, but was pushed for space: with the Zones generation, the artists think like critics. The artists are critics.*

For better and for worse, the music coming out of the Zones (and hauntology should definitely be seen as part of that constellation)is one of our era's few candidates for a music-of-ideas (in the same way that people talk about
literature-of-ideas--which is something that lit-crits are usually suspicious of).

That quote also manifests something else I meant to talk about: the sheer genremania of this milieu. In the Zones, there's an absolute lack of fear, a non-hesistation, about coining genre terms. Neologism as a manifestation of neophiliac enthusiasm. Genre-coinage as an expression of a will-to-newness. A faith in the possibility of the new.

It's why the Zones generation feels like a significant break with Amer-indie tradition. It feels rather... British. (And of course some of the key AZ contributors are U.K. based). This whole circuit reminds me in lots of ways of the UK music press at its various peaks, in that it is all about, in a very pure sense, hype. Getting hyped up. Hyperbole.

Hype was pure, in the music press, because the people doing the hyping weren't actually going to profit by it (the bands, and the record labels were), not financially anyway (maybe paid in cred). Now it's even more pure, because not even the bands/labels are profiting from it. It's hype, completely divorced from careerism.

* and perhaps too the critics can, sometimes, be artists. Creating rather than simply commenting. Decreeing rather than describing.
inane in the membrane

two takes on the strange return to the mainstream charts of "so-called house music" (as the LA Times reporter phrases it, as if house music were not a two-decades-plus established term)

all these sounds from Euro and club music and the more commercial end of techno, it's almost like a second B-Boys on E moment, except i doubt E has anything to do with it... it's not a trend driven by the streets, it's coming from producers, from their lack of imagination and their desire/need for international sales... so it's more like a second Hip House moment... rapping figures as part of the hit-maker's arsenal in the same way as it did for C+C Music Factory

Thursday, February 10, 2011

aka Fruity Pie

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

over at Our God Is Speed Greyhoos sketches in the background to Endless House

the ace pix reminded me a bit of this book i always meant to pick up:

Friday, February 04, 2011

in the tradition of Ursula Bogner, Platinum Weird, and D.D. Denham...

Endless House

interview here
i like that "right here right now" actually, it's the only Jesus Jones song i like *

i think it really captures the excitement of watching, rapt, the unfolding of momentous events

but it also contains this irony, which Edwards doesn't seem to have noticed

in so far as

he sings "right here right now, there is no other place I want to be"

but "right here" = sat on a sofa, in front of a screen

what's changed in the 20 years since that song is that the real-time mediation of politics has been amped up so drastically that there's an even more electrifying and involving illusion of witnessing History

which is where the temptation to pontificate comes in... because to analyse and "take a position" seems active, a contribution of some kind


* of course Joshua Clover wrote a whole book about pop in 1989 pivoting around this very song, it's on my "to read" list

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A man on the internet
Blogs about revolution
When it's already passed him by
Mike Edwards didn't have this to sing about
You know it feels good to have wifi

I was alive and I tweeted, tweeted
I was alive and I tweeted about it

Right here, right now
There is no other place I wanna be
Right here, right now
Receiving twitpics of people making history

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

it's Groundhog(s) Day

Woebot: Argos from Matthew Ingram on Vimeo.

no really it is Groundhogs Day

not forgetting this amazing synth-rock solo excursion by T McPhee

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

video for the first single off the new Woebot elpee

Woebot: Argos from Matthew Ingram on Vimeo.