Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'll be guest-blogging at Bruce Sterling's Wired magazine blog Beyond the Beyond for the next month or so, with a series of Retromania-connected posts

Here's the first one, a ranty quicky on Radio Soulwax

And here's host Bruce's intro

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

just a few weeks now before copies of Retromania start popping up in American bookstores... and here's an interview with me at Pop Matters by AJ Ramirez

Monday, June 27, 2011

"time to close your eyes and reminisce - but not if you're driving though"

how about some nostalgia for nostalgia? an OLD old skool set -- broadcast in August 1997 on BBC Radio 1's One in the Jungle show but drawing on 90-92 trax, Slipmatt on the dex + Dett on the mic -- one of the absolute best old skool mixes i ever heard -- happened to be in the UK that month and taped it and the cassette has been returned to many times over the years - first half of the mix (90 to mid-91) features loads of tunes I still haven't been able to identify

more at the One In the Jungle ardkive of DJ sets

Sunday, June 26, 2011

good recent reading


amazing slab o' prose here at mnml ssgs, a critique/diagnosis of a churning sameness and stasis that's preventing the electronic-dance "soufflé" from "rising", quite a few convergences with "Excess All Areas" in The Wire and Retromania

too many quotables-

"your controller might be more controlling than you think – and who’s controlling the controller? We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us, and then, somehow, most of us become tools holding tools, tweeting each other about the latest mix tools made on our favourite tools, which we play and send to each other – on our tools. What a bunch of tools"

"no critical horizon, no contextual frame, just one big anus that a bunch of invested boosters are morris dancing around, alternating between circle jerks and high fives, waiting for the next ‘release’"

"the rate at which we churn through podcasts, and the horrible hangovers. Which is surpassed only by the thumping rate at which podcasts are released. And you’re still expected to have appetite enough to buy some music? A friend of mine confided: he can now no longer be bothered pirating. The very thought of it fills him with an unspeakable ennui. It’s so weird, isn’t it? It’s almost as if we don’t know how to operate outside an ‘economy’; without scarcity, how do you build evaluative hierarchies? And why cherish anything? This strange proliferation of simulacra, a veritable free for all... and yet, almost totally unappetizing – while it also tends to make people go on horrible binges, orgy without appetite..."

"Ennui, and anomie/goes together in perfect harmony/side by side on my midi keyboard, oh motherboard/ why can’t we?"

(when he says it's been an terrific year for electronic NON-dance music which he promises to examine in a later companion post, the PRO to this resounding and resonant CON... i guess he's probably meaning stuff on Not Not Fun/100% Silk, Spectrum Spools, possibly Laurel Halo... all enthused about elsewhere and earlier on the blog...)


Alex Niven's retroactive manifesto for late 20th Century pop music


at The Original Soundtrack, Geeta with a nice tribute to Martin Rushent


fascinating piece on lost "late postpunk/late new pop" demi-legends Sudden Sway by Phil Knight over at the Eighties blog Faces On Posters

i vaguely recall Space Mate from when I was at Melody Maker, I don't think I ever got sent a promo copy, I imagine it was such a bulky item that Blanco Y Negro publicity might have been somewhat tight with freebies, at MM someone like Jim Shelley or Andy Darling or perhaps Paul Mathur wrote a big piece on them... Sudden Sway was the kind of thing that appealed to the el records fan club... at the time I would have sniffed at it probably as "too much concept, not enough substance"... nowadays of course I'd be happy to have the concept and stuff the substance thank you very much... there's no shortage of substantial music being made in the world --plus when you factor in four decades backlog of substance sound clogging the archives... basically there's no need to ever go hungry, substance-wise... but concepts, that's another matter... we can always do with more conceptualism--context,framing, provocations--which is why the haunty and hypnagoggy crews, who together make up one of our few contenders when it comes to a contemporary "music of ideas", are so welcome (which is not to say they don't bring the substance too, often... the best of them bring both, amply).

Phil also on The Stranglers "La Folie"

(had no idea this song was about something so grim... so Odd Future-y... "La Folie" was actually the only Stranglers single I ever bought, on account of taping the first four albums off my friend Mark and taping the non-album singles off the radio... it is a great and strange piece of music, which I always think of as the 'glers's counterpart to "Atmosphere" by Joydiv)

and (this time on ... And What Will Be Left Of Them) (and getting increasingly perverse, surpassing even his celebrations of The Knack and Humble Pie) Phil again with a paean to Pete Frampton
now I said that "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz reminded me of "Day-o me say day-ay-ay-o" as in "Daylight come and me wanna go home" as in Harry Belafonte "The Banana Boat Song"

well fuck me but someone's actually made a NOW!-dance song based around "the Banana Boat Song"

i say NOW!-dance but of course the other big lift this tune is based on is the delicious frisky keyboard lick from Robin S's Nineties house classic "Show Me Love"(which fits the "party like it's 1994" vibe of LFMAO's "Party Rock Shuffle" in the previous post)

so that's 1993 meets 1957

(actually, even earlier - 1990 for the very first version of "Show Me Love" and there's various pre-Belafonte versions of "Banana Boat" going back to the early 1950s)

of Jason Derulo's "Don't Wanna Go Home", PopCrush blog notes , "Virtually nothing about the song is original"

Friday, June 24, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

dialogue between me and Matthew "Woebot" Ingram at FACT magazine

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"mapping the retroscape" on Jarvis Cocker's Sunday Service show

on my birthday


also Guardian podcast with Dorian Lynskey

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

a round up selection from the Retromania UK promo blitz:

my Guardian G2 cover story essay "The Shock of the Old"
(the 250-plus comments are well worth perusing: in agreement and disagreement alike they are unusually well argued and informative)

previous week's Times extract (a remix of Retromania's introduction) is trapped behind the Murdoch pay wall but the Irish Times piece can be found here

Herald interview is not online for some reason but can be found at at writer Neil Cooper's blog

The Quietus interview with me by Colin McKean

The Oxonian Review interview with me by Alex Niven

also at Oxonian Review, a review by Adam Harper, one of the few that conveys something of the book's full scope, with further comment at his blog Rouge's Foam. [Tendentious, moi? ;)]

another sharp review, from Sukhdev Sandhu for The Observer

and another, by Patrick Sawer, in the Sunday Telegraph

some web content generated for the online arm of BBC Radio 4's Today show (on which I appeared with grime fan Annie Nightingale)

interview with me on Radcliffe & Maconie's BBC 6 radio show

interview with me on Richard King's All Things Reconsidered show on Domino Radio

and look out for the interview with Jarvis Cocker on his BBC 6 show

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This Thursday evening I'll be having a public dialogue with Bruce Sterling at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, where Bruce is "Visionary in Residence". Subjects under discussion will include atemporality, retromania, steampunk, hauntology, Gothic high-tech, revival cults, design fiction, Frankenstein mash-ups and "the shock of the old". The event is free and open to the general public.

Date + Time: Thursday, June 16. 7.30 p.m.

Place: L.A. Times Media Center, Hillside Campus / Art Center College of Design, 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena, California

more info
atemporality / anecronesis micro-mix

(recreating a segue on kcrw this weekend)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

RIP Martin Rushent