Thursday, July 23, 2020

adventures close to home

Here's my son Kieran Press-Reynolds with a fascinating deep dive into the world of virtual raves, virtual clubbing, and virtual fashion (and it's that last one that got me feeling like a befuddled fuddy-duddy - "how's that work then?!?", "what will these youngsters think of next?!" etc) for Highsnobiety.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Relieving the gloom of this indoorsy, inside-out summer, an unexpected treat from Moon Wiring Club - a dose of unseasonal dank in the shivery shape of  Tabitha Reverb: a "re-re-remix album" of  A Spare Tabby at the Cat’s Wedding to celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

Release rationale:

"The tunes on TABITHA REVERB have been coaxed together using original MWC archive material from ASTATCW (and beyond) to include extended overhauls, exhumation of abandoned tracks, intricate reinterpretations and deftly-sinister manifestations of musickal intentions originally unfulfilled."

Ian Hodgson clarifies the concept and the constituents:  "A mixture of long-form 'dance remix' interpretations of original Tabby tracks, tunes composed at the time but unused and subsequently modified, tracks that feature elements of MWC tunes ‘across the ages’ but which originated out of  ASTATCW programming and stuff that was composed in the mind-set of the time but using better production methods..." 

He adds that "the original idea was to have them as a Nineties style 2 x 12-inch set" but regrettably the realities of the current moment in terms of production / distribution / costs etc mean that Tabitha Reverb is a digital-only release. 

This got me trying to think of 2 x 12-inch sets of the Nineties as described by Ian as his model for remix project. Mostly what came to mind was the vogue in the Eighties for putting your album out as two or three 45 rpm 12-inches (PiL, Cabs, Spands yeeuch). But then I thought of this great double-12 inch by DHS, containing the immortal "House of God".

That, however, was just two discs crammed into a normal sleeve, as I recall. But I'm sure there were others in that moment of  dance culture's apogee of design awareness / packaging excess -  releases comprising two 12-inches in a gatefold sleeve in the double-album style. In particular, I have a sense memory of a gatefold double-10-inch single in pic sleeve. 

In other Moon Wiring Club news, the old BlankWorkshop website (which dates back to 2004) had to be demolished for health and safety reasons. Check out its replacement here. 

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Electronic Folkways

Here's a piece I enjoyed doing for NPR Music - a piece I had been wanting to do for a while - on the  streak of electronic, experimental, and unclassifiably oddball records released by Folkways alongside its much larger and image-defining output of American traditional music and field recordings from around the world. The peg is Smithsonian Folkways's recent vinyl reissues of Craig Kupka's New Age classic Crystals: Music for Relaxation 2 and Ann McMillan's musique concrète gem Gateway Summer Sound: Abstracted Animal & Other Sounds.  McMillan is sadly no longer with us but I interviewed Kupka and Richard Carlin, who worked alongside Folkways founder Moe Asch in the later years of the label.


Tuesday, July 07, 2020

"living in division"

Here's my piece for Tidal on Fun House by The Stooges - came out fifty years ago today, remains the greatest rock album ever - and also on the Iggy Pop box The Bowie Years, when David persuaded his friend-hero-protégé to "sing like Mae West" but he sounded more like Jim Morrison crooning through a belch.

Not a fan of live albums generally, but the unexpected highlights of this 7-disc package turned out to be the four concerts from a single month in 1977 - the UK / North America tour Iggy (with David in the backing band) did between the release of The Idiot and recording Lust for Life.

This is an oddly slick rendition of "Dirt" (no Stooges in the backing band) but actually brings out the majesty of the song.

Even a flashy, very un-Asheton-like geetarsolo cannot mar this

Thursday, July 02, 2020



In a couple of weeks, an old and very good mate is publishing a book that has been a passion project for the last several years, involving an astonishing amount of research and trips to far corners of the world. 

That mate is Matthew Ingram, a.k.a Woebot - and although he's put out a pair of compendiums of brilliant bloggage, and a tasty monograph, it would be fair to describe Retreat: How the Counterculture Invented Wellness as Matt's first book proper. Published by Repeater on July 14, the debut does not disappoint. Here is my blurb: 

“This richly researched archaeology of the counterculture places health at its core, showing how ideas of healing and therapy were inextricably bound up with the era’s spiritual longings and erotic politics. Each chapter scintillates with surprising revelations, unexpected connections and startling insights”

More info about Retreat and further endorsements can be found at the Repeater website

As part of the build-up to publication, Matt has broken out of blog retirement to post a long and probing essay on Woebot, not so much a preview of the book as a side-bar to it - on the relationship between music, Eastern philosophy, spiritual equilibrium, cosmic vibrations, "bliss consciousness" etc. 

Read it here while also listening to this fabulous 2-hour mix of astral sounds Matt has especially prepared for your elevation. Tracklist here

Lots of revelations in the mix, here's a couple of that particularly glisked my third eye: 

Not on the mix, but the tune-writer's own version:

Met Mr. Budd a year or two ago, on the streets of South Pasadena (Geeta knows everybody)


                                                                   The author holds forth...