Friday, May 17, 2019

Hauntology Parish Newsletter spring 2019 - Moon Wiring Club, Baron Mordant,The Caretaker

In the new edition of The Wire, I have an extended essay-review about the career-closing releases from The Caretaker and Mordant Music: the sixth and final installment of James Kirby's gargantuan Everywhere at the end of Time project, which started three years ago, and Baron Mordant's last blast, Mark of the Mould. The latter is an unmissable emission - like eMMplekz if the Baron handled the backing tracks as well as the verbals... the latter proving once again that Ian Hicks is simultaneously the Robert Macfarlane of built-up Britain and the Chris Morris of BoomkatKultur.

Also ruffling the parish this month - and making this newsletter a tale of two Ians - is the announcement of an unexpected, non-wintertime release from Moon Wiring Club aka Ian Hodgson

Ghastly Garden Centres is a timely swerve from the ambient-amorphous direction of recent MWC releases and a jaunty step into brisk concision. In fact, the guiding concept here is that every track is a single - making the assemblage perhaps a Now! style compilation of hits, or a chart countdown. It's MWC - so it's still creepy and manky - but it's also catchy and bouncy.

As for the ghostly-ghastly gardening theme - well, apparently this is a real thing, a subject of internet obsession: abandoned, overgrown plant nurseries and derelict garden centres.

Further raising the pulse of parishioners is the parallel release of Catmask, a collection -  styled as issue no. 1 of a glossy magazine - of Ian Hodgson's artwork: some already released, on the records or at the Blank Workshop website, but much unfamiliar and never seen. There are images from Ian's abandoned children's book project, for instance, which if I recall correctly, was the acorn from which grew the mighty oak of Clinkskell and the 21 - or 23, depending on how you count -  releases to date, including collaborations and side projects.


Catmask is a gorgeous slinky looking and feeling object to peruse and fondle. It completes the sense of Moon Wiring Club as a project of.... I won't say, world-building, as that's a cliche now... but place-making, maybe.


UK customers can buy Ghastly Garden Centres and Catmask here 

European customers can buy Ghastly Garden Centres and Catmask here 

Rest of world customers can buy Ghastly Garden Centres and Catmask here 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

linked think

Moving rapidly in our joint anti-entropy campaign Carl Neville aka The Impostume launches a collective blog along the lines of the earlier decades-blogs:  A Place in the Sun is for mulling over the Noughties, now that it has receded enough in the rear-view mirror to take on the shape of an era. Here's his inaugural announcement. Anyone can join and contribute.

Despite the convention, numeric decades rarely (perhaps never?) correspond to distinct cultural periods . Usually it takes a while for a "decade" to get going, to take on its feel, and that vibe may endure for less than ten years or more than ten years. They certainly don't end punctually with the numeric switch. Some historians talk of a Long Sixties that ended in 1973, with the oil crisis. Someone I recently interviewed (for a looking back at the 2010s article, as it happens!) argued that there was an inflection point in 2007, with various forms of technology and online / social media developments taking off, launching us into the present era in which currently languish. Or perhaps into an era whose relative blitheness ended with 2016 and Trump / Brexit epistemic traumashock.

Culture-time and chronological-time don't necessarily match up, then. And then there's personal-time, in the sense of an individual's life arc, which issomething else altogether - it might be completely out of synch with the times.  There are people who participate intensely in a decade-vibe, get right in the thick of the action. Other do so in a partial way - they join in weakly, sporadically, intermittently. Others still are actively at odds with the geist. Either out of laggardly inertia, or through a concerted stand against, they effectively inhabit a different (usually earlier) epoch than the one they happen to have been plopped into.
But all this is stuff to delve into at the collective blog. I wonder if it will turn out that we were living through different Noughties, or whether there'll be a fair amount of consensus owing to the self-selecting nature of the blog. Perhaps we'll discover there wasn't even a Noughties as such to have lived through together.


While I'm think-linking, a thought from blogger pal Aaron at Airport Through The Trees

"It may be foolish to be foolish, but, somehow, even more so, to not be."

Words to live by!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

link think

I have fallen out of the habit of linking to things.

I guess we all have.

Which makes the "we" in that sentence even more tenuous.

But I'm thinking about mounting a counter-entropic tendency. Considering getting back into the habit of linking to things I've read and liked, or read and disagreed with. Quoting them - perhaps even commenting on them, if I can muster the energy.

And here's a good place to start. The Impostume - aka Carl Neville - musing about blog nostalgia:

"On some level I am bored of and by Internet 2.0 though I am not quite sure what that means. I don't think I am nostalgic for pre- or early internet days, though some of the reflections in Alex Niven's upcoming New Model Island, on the early days of blogging, has chimed in with a way my thoughts and feelings, possibly my needs and desires have been tending for a while. I think a return to blogging, precisely because it has fallen into desuetude, precisely because no-one now is really listening or reading, appeals. What was always nice about it was partly the a-sociallity, you wrote something and then had no idea who had read it, or what anyone thought and nor did you have to care particularly. It was/is both public and private but somehow it could command an intimacy, an invisible meeting of minds, lives, semi or totally anonymously. what you wrote was out there somehow working away in the world and you never knew how. You had connected but without any of the burdens of sociality, without the need for an exchange.

"It's that particular mode of non-exchange, the lack of reaction, the idea of something going quietly out there, the message in a bottle, a misdirected letter, sender unknown that I like. a certain distance is needed for people to really meet, a certain hiddenness needed before you can really speak."

Hmm, interesting thoughtage, as always, from Carl there - although personally I feel the opposite: I miss the sociality of blogging - the remote collectivity. As exemplified by the decades blogs that Carl set up: joint projects, people taking turns to do a post, but also a lot of stimulating chit-chat in the comments. Another example would be the inter-blog and guest-contributed  commentary on "themes" that I or others would host, on things like guitar riffs, or drummige, or solos, or bass bits. And many other forms of conversation-building and ideas-pooling that took place at shared-blogs or within blog-clusters, including those from opposed camps back in those days when there was ideological friction enough for sides to be taken.

Meanwhile, Carl is taking a break from finishing up his new novel Eminent Domain - the follow-up but not sequel to the splendid Resolution Way - in an unusual way. By starting another novel, The Fullfillment* Centre,  micro-excerpts of which are being previewed at the blog, starting here. I'm already gripped, it's like reading a serial.

In the course of one chapter, Carl, or his character/proxy, drops this nice thought:

"There’s an old quote about buying books: we think we are buying the time to read them, but having been a hoarder myself when I was younger I understand it differently, we were buying the selves we imagined we would become after we had read them, the great works, the great thoughts and each one bought was a new possible self, our own future greatness, claimed, set aside, each one sold on a small grief for that self’s loss, our future diminished. The dizziness in libraries or bookshops, the circling of souls, selves, worlds. It was easy to get trapped there, enchanted, enchained."


Another online thought-bunker  I've come across recently is Modernism Unbound, which looks like a webzine but appears to be a one-man enterprise, the work of Jon Lindblom.  Here's an essay on the drug-tech interface and rave culture of the Nineties. And here's one on the drug-tech interface in more recent years, looking at anti-depression and anti-anxiety meds and late capitalist culture. There doesn't seem to be a musical angle to that essay, though, which I think misses a trick - or at least, the essay I am really waiting and wanting to read is about the sonic interface between trap / mumble rap production and drugs like Percoset, Xanax, etc. What kind of subjectivity is produced by the leisure abuse of prescription drugs like these -  and how has this manifested sonically, and in terms of vocal styling? I have yet to come across a piece that even describes from inside the specific high induced by improper, non-medicinal use of these drugs and their polydrug combination with various other substances, like cough syrup or the traditional illegal buzzes... let alone explore deeply the potentiating synergy with particular sound-textures, Auto-Tune, etc.

(This is my own contribution, but it lacks the er field research element that would really be required, if you get me).


Also on rave and the drug-tech interface (well, kinda) is this essay about the Eurohardcore continuum and gabber, by Jeppe Ugelvig at NERO Editions, which I have annotated and commentated upon already at the other place.


A nice tribute by Richard Williams at The Blue Moment to Peter Hammill, now 70 years old but  not about to stop any time soon. Indeed he has just released  In Amazonia, a collaboration with  Swedish group Isildurs Bane. Writes Williams:

"Listening to it the first time, my first thought was that this was how progressive rock should have turned out. The music is characterised by a sense of inquiry and a delight in exploring resources... while the lyrics strive for the effect of poetry.... It arrives at a place where European rock music seemed to be heading when it veered away from American influences 50 years ago."


Odds and sods:

A piece by Rosie Spinks at Quartzy arguing that the age of the influencer is dead (or should be) and that it's high time for the return of the slacker

Always a pleasure to read Mike Powell on Vampire Weekend - love the description of Rostam as the band's "Swiss Army knife" - but just like with his write-up of their previous album, it really doesn't sound like an album I'd extract pleasure listening to. But I've had that reaction with every Father of the Bride review I've come across.

Finally here's a Resonance FM show about postpunk-era Australian experimental label M-Squared - the program is the work of Superfluid, a monthly radio show and events organisation based in London.