Monday, June 10, 2024

Futuromania events - Brighton June 20 7pm / Rough Trade West, London June 23 3pm

Two upcoming Futuromania events


Brighton, Thursday 20th June 

Dead Wax Social  - 18 A Bond Street

Hosted by Resident 

Doors open 7pm /  event starts 7.30 pm

In conversation with Fiona Sturges

+ book signing. 

Tickets here 



London, Sunday 23rd June 

Rough Trade West  130 Talbot Rd, W11

Event starts 3pm

In conversation with Günseli Yalcinkaya (Dazed)

+ book signing 

Tickets here









 

Sunday, June 02, 2024

The Deep Ark


Now here's something extraordinary... 


                            


Built by The Arkiteket - an enigmatic figure, known to some on this circuit, but for this project self-shrouded in mystery.

Years in the making,  The Deep Ark  consists of three elements. 

The core is a mix - an extended (8 hour plus) odyssey through 1990s  Electronic Listening Music (to use the term originally deployed by Warp Records).  

It's more like a remixtape than a selection of tracks segueing seamlessly one after the other. More often than not, the components have been partially disassembled - moving parts rejiggered, tempos tinkered, keys tweaked--before being jigsawed back into perfectly annealed alignment. 

Listening to the entire length and breadth of The Deep Ark, you get a powerful sense of the music of this era as a single gigantic living organism. Each track is individually distinct while also webbed within an ecosystem of reciprocal influence and mutual inspiration. The balance between genius and scenius, the auteur and the collective, is ever-shifting.

Download the whole mix here here (where you'll also find the tracklist) or listen to it at YouTube.



As the word "Ark" suggests, this ultramix is a vessel in both senses: something that takes you on a voyage, and a container. A sacred repository, a canister for the future, an archive, a memorial.

Not so much separate levels or extensions of the mix, but plateaux in parallel, the two other components of The Deep Ark are visual and textual: a website and a book.



The site contains images, commentary about each track that features in the mix, and an in-depth meditation on the whys-and-wherefores of the project, cast as a dialogue between The Arkiteket and an unknown interlocutor. 

Here's a snippet, discussing how The Deep Ark has been informed by the ideas and impulses of Romanticism:

"... I’m really thinking in the painterly sense here...  an emotive, individualist representation of landscape and memory that touches on the darker aspects of the sublime... . We see this contradiction at work within this genre as a whole; Aphex Twin, an oneiric visionary in the mould of Blake, instantiating his dream music through sleep deprivation and the induction of hypnopompic and hypnagogic states, and Autechre, with their obsessive relish for intricately detailed sound design and their construction of these deeply evocative, hymnal, hyper-textural sonic sculptures, like scribes solemnly illuminating a testament to human emotion.... I think romantic is the best description of this intensely individualistic and emotional music, full of yearning, sadness and beauty. 

Credited to The Arkonauts, the 238-page, lushly illustrated book juxtaposes nature photography with prose-poetic writing-as-reverie. 

The photographs are doctored documents of a landscape-turned-dreamscape - a real place that has served for many years as a site for ritual adventures, journeys to the end of the night.  Images have been remixed in ways that parallel the techniques applied to the musical components of The Deep Ark.  Photographs were altered, overlaid, colorized, mutated or outright generated via AI.  

The result is a form of hallucinatory hauntology - a monument to an Area of Outstanding (Super)Natural Beauty. 

 



A powerful and deep world of sound
filled with the vibrations of nature.

Music to match the wave patterns,
selected and transmitted to harmonise
with each cycle of this guiding line.

An unusual mental space where you can experience
the sweet beginnings of life itself.

To truly grasp the spirit of the dream tide




More about The Deep Ark from the Broken Sleep Books website

A psychedelic odyssey that plunges the reader into a mythic exurban world of wonder, ritual, folly & friendship, The Deep Ark blurs the lines between the imagined, the real and the invoked. Moments of tenderness, humor, grief, joy and revelatory intensity combine to form a fragmented narrative of quiet lyrical beauty, suffused with an abiding reverence for the music, memories, community and landscape that inspired it. Check the forecast one last time, put your headphones on, open The Deep Ark and get lost.

Praise for The Deep Ark

Gnarled, airy, and vibrantly psychedelicized, The Deep Ark is the kind of organic artifact that not only satisfies aesthetically, but draws you into the magical traces of its own production… a visionary and desperate bid to rediscover the animist potential still humming, even as you read in this, in the actual landscapes around us.

Erik Davis, author of High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies

The Deep Ark is an extended meditation on the periphery of the state, represented in the social unit of the collective… the actual geography of heathland, golf courses, hills, and quarries… and in the UK’s melancholic electronica of the nineties

Matthew Ingram, author of Retreat and The "S" Word




A rave review at International Times by Rupert Loydell:

"This book is a technicolour atlas, a shamanistic guidebook, an augmented mixtape, a multimedia experience, a natural high. It is primary experience mediated through photography and lyrical songs, evocative poems and secular hymns, emotional outbursts, cosmic wonder and everyday dirt. Techno-pixelations and long-exposure night photos enhance our reading of the words, just as the text changes what we see. Everyone of us is lost but together we can not only find each other but also ourselves"


And (effectively) a preview printed in The Wire about 18 months ago, by Michaelangelo Matos



And more raves from those who know: 


- Philip Sherburne, from his Futurism Restated substack 


"Mix of the week, or possibly the entire year"

- John Coulthart{ feuilleton }





^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


An (almost) completely unconnected track - hypnagogic pop rather than electronic-listening-music -  but that seems to come from a similar oneiric-psychogeographic wellspring. 




Another project without much surface resemblance but with a kinship at core





x

x

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Futuromania chat

Had a great in-depth chat with Melbourne's Charlie Miller for his 3RRR FM show Frantic Items, which airs later today (meaning Sunday, since Australia is already in the future - 6pm local time)

Update: the show is archived here


^^^^^^^^^^^

Had a really good chat with Günseli Yalcinkaya for Dazed magazine addressing "the anti-humanist tone" versus the quirky all-too-human individuals and desires that animate machine music, and much  much more besides. 

A kind of rehearsal for our conversation at Rough Trade East on Sunday June 23 (6pm)







Tuesday, May 14, 2024

remorseless writing machine (and it don't stop)

Kieran Press-Reynolds churns out some more: 

piece  on the "influencer horror videogame" Content Warning for New York Times

interview with Justice for GQ

an overview of a new genre of ambient rap for Nina 

tasters for the latter:

"iokera helped define the scene’s sound by emphasizing naturalistic elements (“rhythmic foliage”) like bug noises and ASMR sounds.... Listening to iokera’s track “vines”... it feels like you’re lying down in a butterfly vivarium, being gently nibbled by sweet insects."

"cutspace is obsessed with writing systems, from engravings and graffiti across New York to Cuneiform and ancient scripts. Online, he presents himself as something like a fried academic, writing about his work recovering “long-decommissioned audio munitions” and describing his page as a research institute dedicated to asemics, or language that doesn’t have a meaning"




A mix that juxtaposes tracks from the scene with precursors and influences


New York-based DJ & producer umru invites New York-based researcher .cutspace to present his latest findings following extensive investigations into the lurid glyphics emerging across the city, using on-the-ground fieldwork and an assessment of the existing and relevant research matter to achieve a better understanding of what’s going on. Sources referenced include Steve Reich, A. G. Cook & Moh Baretta.

.cutspace & viznode — ID

Steve Reich — It’s Gonna Rain

Alexander Panos — ID

.cutspace & umru — ID

Fatshaudi — Emptyo Heart You Love

Keith Rowe — The Room (Extract)

margo proxy — Agor; loaves

MOH BARETTA — ID (prod. .cutspace)

alva noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto — reverso

heoliene — i11: deep storage

.cutspace — ID

kindohn — DELETE malone

xang — wit my homie (prod. felix + .cutspace)

Tiago Benzinho — El Sueño Americano | Wild Swans Shall Never Be Conquered

Young Thug — RiRi

Steve Reich — Drumming, Pt. 1

Tim Hecker — The Work of Art in the Age of Cultural Overproduction

Brian Eno — By This River

Bb Trickz — Llorando en la prada

Nosaj Thing & Jacques Greene — Too Close (feat. Ouri)

Speaker Knockerz — Dap You Up

A. G. Cook — Britpop

umru & .cutspace — ID

umru & Empress Of — ID

Life Without Buildings — The Leanover (A. G. Cook edit)

bloody shield — allofasudden (500 edit)

umru — ID

blankfac3 — # _Pai (prod. o0o & umru) 

Jewelssea — _Destination Unknown

umru & .cutspace — ID

Shabjdeed — Nasheed

RealYungPhil — Can’t Hack It (Gud)

LUCY (Cooper B. Handy) — FRIDAY (umru dirge)


Sunday, May 12, 2024

mixing it up with Matos

I had a ton of fun talking with Michaelangelo Matos for his substack Beat Connection - about Futuromania, electronic music, radio, my other books - with  the chat structured around five deejay mixes,  as that is Beat Connection's focus. The selection was bookended by two Radio One classics: John Peel's legendary Punk Special from December '76, Rustie's Essential Mix of April 2012. From back-to-barebones rock 'n'roll  to maxed-out neo-prog digi-dance. 

Along the way, I got reintroduced to these old favorites: UK garage from before either "speed" or  "2step" kicked in, which I first heard via another of Matos's selections: Tuff Jam's Underground Frequencies Volume One



Matos noticed that one of Basement Jaxx had some involvement in that gorgeous, gorgeous Mutiny track. 



Thursday, May 09, 2024

No Tags

I had a great chat with Chal Ravens and Tom Lea for their new-ish podcast No Tags - talking about Futuromania and touching on topics including science fiction, the rhetorics of temporality, smart drinks, the manifesto mode, speeding up and slowing down music,  "the cartoon continuum", amapiano, my next book, and a favorite film. 

Check out their archive which includes conversations with vibes-ologist Dr Robin James, rap critic Jeff Weiss, and dancehall expert Marvin Sparks talking about Vybz Cartel. 


Sunday, May 05, 2024

"Tis no man - tis a remorseless writing machine" (1-3)

Mvuent, who blogs as Aloysius, returns - after a long silence - to his "audio animation" series Esoteric Experiences At Home and abruptly finishes it with a flurry of posts, topped by a "retrospective" on the entire series in the form of colloquy with fellow Dissensian Luke Davis

That conversation nods to the tradition of endings to books like More Brilliant Than The Sun and Neon Screams - instead of a conclusion, the author clarifies their thoughts via a more colloquial exchange with a sympathetic interlocutor (although it may actually be an imaginary exchange, a disguised auto-interview - Luke insists that he never spoke with Kit Mackintosh for their "dialogue"). 

Although the end of the blog series, this might actually be the best starting point: read the scintillating after-thoughts, then go back to the beginning and gird up thy brain for the epic series, which ranges across a vast span of music, from composers like Francois Bayle, Michel Redolfi and Laurie Spiegel to producers like Eon, Luke Slater, Trevor Horn, Sacred Tapestry, Autechre, and The Caretaker. 

It is a commitment, but one absolutely worth making - indeed it's essential reading for anyone interested in electronic music, synesthetic listening, and how to write about sound-shapes in motion rigorously, but without reduction or getting lost in technicalities. Hopefully a down payment on a book, it's a flashback to the golden age of  blog series and macro-essays by such as K-punk and Rouge's Foam. It teems with arresting images and suggestive concepts ("the sound character" -a quasi-living entity that inhabits a soundworld; "fog of war"; "a consilience of imagination").

Here are some tasters: I have separated the imagery from the pieces of music they evoke, so that you can enjoy them as pure language.  

"Passage through an area guarded by 'stone bees', whose undulating buzz reverberates eerily through the caverns"

"It's as though the bells have sunk beneath dark underground waters."

"Subtle fluctuations of volume heighten the euphoric feeling that you’re not just hearing but actually moving through them, like an airplane caressed by clouds"

"The central sound character cycles through all sorts of tactility transformations, melting, smoldering, and brightening at various stages of the journey. By the final minute, it’s charged to a triumphant energy apex."

"...  a parallel world in the uppermost frequency range. Sound characters heard in the main dimension can be faintly heard passing through the upper world. About halfway through, a rapture occurs. Every sound character shoots up one by one. After a moment of lower-world silence... the miracle is reversed: characters can be heard swooping down from the heavens." 

"It's as though the seas and birds have turned into gold"

"A kind of harpsichord machine gun is being fired off to adjust ozone conditions."

"The sounds of ballroom performance transform into gust front wind and a cacophony of unvoices"

"... reimagines its weathered materials so vividly that they're transfigured into poetic sound climates"

".... you finally set foot in this landscape of inner sublime"


For sure, there's an "ear of the beholder" aspect here, as there is with any verbal evocation of sound. But the balance of precision and poetic puts me in mind of Gaston Bachelard's inventories of  imagination and taxonomies of tropes  -  the same heightened attentiveness to movement, space, and light,  applied not to literature but to electronic mindscapes. 


^^^^^^

A playlist for the second half of the series (i.e. the April posts) - designed as a resource for readers rather than a continuous listen. 



^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


Another Dissensian - who may or not wish to be identified by the forum alias or  real-world name -  has launched a promising new blog: L.S. Trackhead


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Finally, truly a remorseless pitching machine, Kieran Press-Reynolds drops new pieces (with more to come in the weeks to come)

At the New York Times, a piece on the "influencer horror videogame" Content Warning

Talking about shitpostmodernism with Emilie Friedlander + Andrea Domanick at The Culture Journalist 

Bladee's Cold Visions as Pitchfork's Best New Music

A survey for The Face of internet rap's underground genre sprawl

A No Bells celebration of the return of Bushwick club Rash, which had been razed by an arsonist with probable hate-crime intent

Nia Archives debut album, appraised for Pitchfork. 




Friday, April 26, 2024

"jumping iz not a crime"

Kieran Press-Reynolds with a guest piece at Shawn Reynaldo's First Floor, while the main man takes a vacation.  It's a report on "the holy hell of cursed jumpstyle" - a zoomer-oriented TikTok-propelled twist to the gabber continuum.  



"vyrval’s ballistic banger is the biggest tune in a growing wave of psychotic jumpstyle music that seems made to express existential fears: technology has gone too far, we’ve broken the world beyond repair, autocratic autobots will soon seize control...  In the comments of the clips that accompany these songs, people write what’s basically apocalyptic science-fiction, imagining grim future scenarios: “Me watching an AI generated video of me doing the most atrocious War crime ever.” The visual aesthetic mirrors the freakiness: unsettling cyber graphics are superimposed on neon landscapes, with distorted limbs and objects."


"At its most baleful, these songs obliterate any and all melody, leaving listeners with no chance for reprieve from their unrelenting assault. Dj Svevsx’s “jumpstyle (1)” has over 8 million plays and it’s just a 42-second spasm of feculent kicks." 


Looks bit like the Moving Shadow logo, that silhouette. 

Weathered legend returns to youth currency 


What K calls "peak slumpstyle" - the slowed + reverb remix 


Lithuian "nu-jumpstyle Jesus" Yabujin 


And his alter-ego


"What makes this internet-addled aesthetic so addictive is the way it taps into the younger generation’s collectively fried childhoods. It’s a shitposty Tower of Babble that crosses countries and languages."

Talking of shitpostmodernism, Kieran is quoted in this Kyle Chayka article in The New Yorker on corecore and "The Dada Era of Internet Memes"

Check out also K P-R's piece at No Bells on the Bushwick nightclub Rash, which was attacked by an arsonist in what may well be a hate-crime a few years ago, but has now been rebuilt and relaunched. 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


The uglier aspects of this scene reminded me a bit of this spoof  and spoof pt 2 I concocted back in 2007 (inspired by guesswho)

Old post on hardstyle, a related genre that has some militaristic undercurrents... well, overcurrents really



Jumpstyle in simpler, happier, more innocent days. 





Thursday, April 11, 2024

Futuromania - out today!

The UK edition of Futuromania is out today on White Rabbit ! 

Via select record stores, comes with a limited edition freezine of bonus pieces! 

Check out this radio show about Futuromania I pulled together for NTS - also available at Soundcloud and Mixcloud

Here's an interview I did with Metal magazine's Lainie Wallace about the book. 

Here's a chat I had with Moonbuilding's Neil Mason. 

And here's a conversation with Bill Proctor for his electro-history podcast Spacelab 

Watch this space for news about more podcast appearances, webzine and radio interviews, and  upcoming events. 

US edition  out May 7 via Hachette

Futuromaniac playlists -  Spotify -   Spotify (long mix) -  Tidal (longest mix)







About the book: 

Futuromania: Electronic Dreams, Desiring Machines & Tomorrow's Music Today is a celebration of music that feels like a taste of tomorrow. Sounds that prefigure pop music’s future - the vanguard genres and heroic innovators whose discoveries eventually get accepted by the wider mass audience.  But it’s also about the way music can stir anticipation for a thrillingly transformed world just around the corner: a future that might be utopian or dystopian, but at least will be radically changed and exhilaratingly other. 

Futuromania shapes over two-dozen essays and interviews into a chronological narrative of machine-music from the 1970s to now. The book explores the interface between pop music and science fiction’s utopian dreams and nightmare visions, always emphasizing the quirky human individuals abusing the technology as much as the era-defining advances in electronic hardware and digital software. 

Futuromania is an enthused listening guide that will propel readers towards adventures in sound. There is a lifetime of electronic listening here.




Sunday, April 07, 2024

Mania!

Unless we count caffeine,  I've never used a stimulant - or any kind of drug - to help with writing. Not even during the most against-all-odds of all-nighters, or when facing a pile-up of deadlines.... not even in that marathon-turned-to-sprint last leg of completing a book. 

Staring down a delivery crisis, the idea of resorting to some kind of writer's little helper, a chemical crutch, has occasionally felt tempting....  but ultimately seemed strategically unwise. What if I wrote a load of drivel in a manic state? (Okay, okay, I can see the quip coming here - let's say "more so than  the usual"). What if I just lost it completely? (Certain colleagues and their amphetamine misadventures gave me a dire warning there).

Better to power through the exhaustion, jacked up on an accelerant cocktail of will and fear and caffeine.

So I read with interest these essays at Pioneerworks / Broadcast about Adderall use, and how apparently chronic and widespread it is. 

Particularly, it seems, with those who work with text - writing it, reading it. 

The piece by Amber A’Lee Frost on how an editor can recognise if a writer is "on the stuff" was especially interesting.  She says she can spot the Adderall House Style instantly and breaks it down into various categories of symptoms:

Endless revision

Fixation on minutiae, leading to paralysis

Sprawl - the piece gets too long, goes on too many tangents, the writer can't bring themselves to throw away any of the juicy bits of information, ideas, quotes, jokes they've come up with

Punchy - wisecracking tone. 

Punchiness - picking fights, a prickly, combative, point-scoring tone.

Epiphanies - bolts of illusory revelation. 

Paranoia - spotting hidden patterns, secret connections.

What I wondered, though, scanning this list of total-give-away hallmarks of Adderall-addled prose, was - aren't many of them simply hallmarks of being a writer? Inherent tendencies towards which writers are prone? 

Especially in the age of word-processing, when you can fiddle away at things endlessly, finessing a phrase or moving things around structurally (whereas in the age of the typewriter, the commitment of the key struck and the carriage return imposed a certain finitude, a propulsive thrust onwards toward the "finished" line).  

Especially, also, in the age of the internet, where the research process so insidiously and irresistibly slides into protraction, a seeping sideways into adjacent avenues. 

But I've known fellow writers, who I'm fairly certain weren't on anything except their internal supplies of obsessiveness, who produced 20 thousand word pieces when they had been asked for 4000 tops... who have delivered the copy weeks or months late... who got so tangled up in research, they never completed at all. 

A few times in my life I've been that person, or near enough.

In a sense, the unconscious motivation of writing - or one of them - is to get oneself into this "high performance" state, also known as "flow", being "in the zone", etc. 

The work itself is the drug.

Maybe you have a kind of internal-Adderall latent within you, as a potential - it's what you tap. 

The doing of the work is dopaminergic.

You get high on these self-generated chemicals, and then the symptoms that Amber A’Lee Frost enumerates emerge.

Maybe the Adderall is just a shortcut, for those who want to get "there" quicker, as soon as possible? 


^^^^^^^^^^^^


Another thought:

All these tendencies 

endless revision  / fixation on minutiae / sprawl /  excessive wisecracking / punchiness / illusory epiphany / paranoia 

These are the Zone of Fruitless Intensification stage of "the right stuff" - virtues turned to self-defeating vices...  necessary strengths that, pushed too far, become weaknesses.

Dial each of them back a bit, back into the fruitful zone, and you have:  

perfectionism / detail-orientation / fecundity / wit / polemical edge / insight / pattern-recognition

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Futuromania!


My ninth book is out in a couple of weeks time! 

Futuromania: Electronic Dreams, Desiring Machines & Tomorrow's Music Today is a themed collection about music and the future, looking at the intersection between science fiction and pop, and exploring "the rhetorics of temporality."

release rationale:

Futuromania: Electronic Dreams, Desiring Machines & Tomorrow's Music Today is a celebration of music that feels like a taste of tomorrow. Sounds that prefigure pop music’s future - the vanguard genres and heroic innovators whose discoveries eventually get accepted by the wider mass audience.  But it’s also about the way music can stir anticipation for a thrillingly transformed world just around the corner: a future that might be utopian or dystopian, but at least will be radically changed and exhilaratingly other. 

Futuromania shapes over two-dozen essays and interviews into a chronological narrative of machine-music from the 1970s to now. The book explores the interface between pop music and science fiction’s utopian dreams and nightmare visions, always emphasizing the quirky human individuals abusing the technology as much as the era-defining advances in electronic hardware and digital software.  

A tapestry of the scenes and subcultures that have proliferated in that febrile, sexy and contested space where man meets machine, Futuromania is an enthused listening guide that will propel readers towards adventures in sound. There is a lifetime of electronic listening here.


UK edition 11 April 2024 via White Rabbit

Via select record stores, the first five hundred copies come with a freezine with bonus pieces


                              


US edition on Hachette out on May 7.

For a flavor of futuromaniac music, try these playlists

Quick tour of future pop - Spotify

Extended odyssey into the future frontier - Spotify, Tidal

Finally, I've started a blog (yet another blog!) dedicated to the book: Futuromania,  which will initially be a place for news about Futoromania appearances on podcasts and in the media, interviews, and events, and then later will develop into a repository for all the "future music"-related writings I've done over the years that didn't make it into this volume. 


























x

Saturday, March 23, 2024

WHEN MATTS MAKE BOOKS / BOOKS OF NOTE


A mate of mine - a Matt of mine, even - Matthew Worley has a new and excellent book out in a week's time: Zerox Machine: Punk, Post-Punk and Fanzines in Britain, 1976–88. Via Reaktion Books.

Here's what I was happy to offer by way of an endorsement: 

"Intensely researched, teeming with insights and fresh connections, Matthew Worley’s book is the definitive study of punk and postpunk fanzine culture. If you want to know why zines mattered - why zines got people so excited - this is where you should start” 

So definitive and encompassing is Zerox Machine that there is a chapter towards the end in which Monitor is covered, with quotes from myself and David Stubbs.  

Release rationale: 

Zerox Machine is an immersive journey through the vibrant history of British punk and its associated fanzines from 1976 to 1988. Drawing on an extensive range of previously unpublished materials sourced from private collections across the UK, Matthew Worley describes and analyses this transformative era, providing an intimate glimpse into the hopes and anxieties that shaped a generation.

Far more than a showcase of covers, this book examines the fanzines themselves, offering a rich tapestry of first-hand accounts, personal stories and subcultural reflections. Through meticulous research and insightful analysis, Matthew Worley captures the spirit and essence of British youth culture, not only shedding new light on a pivotal movement in music history but crafting a unique alternative history of Britain in the 1970s and ’80s.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^



Another recent book of note  is  Switched On: The Dawn of Electronic Sound by Latin American Women.  

Published by Contingent Sounds out of Berlin and co-edited by Luis Alvarado of Buh Records, a Peruvian label that specialises in reissuing Latin American avant-garde and experimental music, this  book represents a double decentering of the received narrative about electronic music history: it focuses on the Latin American contribution, and further focuses on the role of female pioneers such as Beatriz Ferreyra, Graciela Castillo, Hilda Dianda, Jacqueline Nova, Jocy de Oliveira, and Nelly Moretto, among many others.

Release rationale: 

"The official history of 20th-century avant-garde electronic music has been predominantly narrated from the point of view of Anglo-American and Western European experiences and largely remained focused on its male protagonists. To destabilize this history, this editorial project presents a collection of perspectives, essays, interviews, archival photos, and work reviews centered on the early electronic music production by Latin American female creators, who were active from the 1960s to the 1980s. The book also brings us closer to the work of a new generation of researchers who have focused on offering a non-canonical reading of the history of music and technology in Latin America. The publication is the record of a new vision, an account of the condition of being a woman in the field of music technology at a time when this was a predominantly masculine domain.... 

"The texts that make up this publication are organized spatially and conceptually, rather than following a chronology. The selection of female composers profiled sheds light on a variety of relevant aspects: key musical contexts, experiments with technologies (such as tape, electronic synthesis, the first commercial synthesizers), diverse formats (i.e., radio art, electroacoustic pieces, installation, multimedia, theater, film, etc.), intertwined with themes, such as migration, memory, identity, collaboration, interdisciplinarity, social engagement, the acceptance of electronic music, etc. Moreover, the framework of this editorial project opened a space for intergenerational dialogue and a meeting of aesthetics, as many of the authors gathered as collaborators are composers and sound artists themselves....

Edited by: Luis Alvarado and Alejandra Cárdenas

Composers and sound artists featured in this historical account include: 

Alicia Urreta, Beatriz Ferreyra, Elsa Justel, Eulalia Bernard, Graciela Castillo, Hilda Dianda, Ileana Pérez Velázquez, Irina Escalante Chernova, Iris Sagüesa, Jacqueline Nova, Jocy de Oliveira, Leni Alexander, Margarita Paksa, Marietta Veulens, Mónica O’Reilly Viamontes, Nelly Moretto, Oksana Linde, Patricia Belli, Renée Pietrafesa Bonnet, Rocío Sanz Quirós, Teresa Burga, Vania Dantas Leite, among others.


Playlist at The Wire magazine

YouTube Playlist 




























Thursday, February 29, 2024

Bad Company

 I think I've probably played games less than 20 times in my life.  (Unless we're counting Pong, which my granny had for some reason). Despite unfamiliarity with the whole area, its idiolect and lingo, I  could understand this fascinating Vulture piece by Kieran Press-Reynolds on the outwardly mystifying appeal of the game Lethal Company. A grim, grinding parody of precarious work conditions under late capitalism, it's set in outer space, where players are peons tasked with resource extraction for a mysterious corporation. 

"Every round, the quota is raised until it’s literally impossible to succeed. There’s no Employee of the Month awards, no daily check-ins with the boss, no OSHA regulations — simply ever-escalating toil, followed by death."  

The pay-off is a cathartic displacement of the stresses and anxieties of your non-game working life:

"The faceless megacorp ejected us from the ship. We couldn’t stop giggling as we watched our bodies disappear in the ether."







Thursday, February 22, 2024

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bama

Love this video, love this song - the video made by my son Eli with his creative partner Max Schneiderman, the single is by their super-talented friend Julia Robyn.



Friday, February 16, 2024

"Divine Decadence Darling!"

I had a lovely time talking with Jeremy Gilbert and Tim Lawrence for their triffic music + politics podcast Love Is the Message. Our chat covered glam and punk and postpunk, themes of suburbia and boredom and the political economy of 1970s Britain. You can listen to the deftly-condensed and music-illustrated conversation at Apple or Spotify or Patreon






Saturday, February 10, 2024

RIP Damo Suzuki





























Not Damo-specific although he appears here and there, check out mash-up-ologist Tom Caruana's Can-tribute-via-loop-distillation release Inner Space - there's an instrumental version and then one (the primary one in fact) which uses these de facto Can breakbeats as a base for rappers to do their thing.

Jump to 40.09 for the Vit C meets MC merger (in this case Denmark Vessey)




"Vitamin C" is used in the first episode of Baz Luhrmann's early days of hip hop drama The Get Down - you see a graffiti-daubed subway train rattling along an overground / overhead track and the hypertense rhythm engine rattles and clicks along with it.  

Check out also Woebot aka Matthew Ingram's Damo-endorsed video "Vitamin C" which uses the tune as its intro and outro, but is also a lovely bit of edutainment on the subject of asorbic acid - its discovery and its properties.

Sunday, February 04, 2024

RIP Christopher Priest

 


I think have only read the one book by Christopher Priest - A Dream of Wessex. Read it when it first came out, borrowed from Berkhamsted library (almost certainly the edition pictured above). And then I  read it again in the 2010s, having picked up a hardback of the original US edition (mystifyingly retitled The Perfect Lover) at Glendale's s.f. + fantasy specialist shop Mystery and Imagination (now sadly closed but continuing as a mail order / internet operation). 






















I have had copies of Fugue for a Darkening Island and Inverted World awaiting my attention for some time now. 

Two different copies of Fugue. He revised it for a later edition, muting some of its potentially offensive aspects (the scenario is social collapse / fascism in the U.K., caused by an overwhelming influx of refugees owing to war and famine). So when I realised I had bought the 'corrected' version, I had to get the original, didn't I?  (The title itself - "darkening island" -  is questionable... but Priest was no Powellite, indeed he revised the novel because he hated the idea of being misunderstood). 

Been meaning to check out The Glamour (title allures for obvious reasons) and The Prestige  (saw the film) and others in that single-noun-title series-not-series of his 

Reading John Clute's obituary at the Guardian, I see that he also wrote an intriguing WW2 alternative history, The Separation

But yes, Christopher Priest - one of those New Wave of British s.f. writers who lit up my mind prior to the plunge into music and music journalism. I'm grateful to all these writers, and their American counterparts. They stirred my imagination (for a while, stirred ambitions too - to become a s.f. and alternative history writer). And they provided escape during a turbulent upbringing. 

Apparently, at his death, Priest was working on a nearly but not quite completed study of J.G. Ballard, his biggest influence and a mentor. Hope that gets put out. 


Sunday, January 28, 2024

Neil, continued



Tributes keep coming... 

Here's one you should really read - a loving portrait from his close friend Simon Price, full of details and stories I never knew. For The Quietus.

Update February 1st: lovely extended meditation by Cam Scott on Neil and specifically his book Eastern Spring: a 2nd Gen Memoir . Here's a mix Neil made to go along with Eastern Spring

David Stubbs directs Kulkarni fans to a classic installment of the Chart Music podcast, in which Neil rails against the turn-to-shite of Melody Maker in the final years of the '90s, late period Britpop, the infamous "Craig David" cover, etc. From about 35 mins in...  

David's Gofundme for Neil's daughters has just topped 40K - an amazing testament to the love and respect he inspired. Contribute if you can.

Neil's colleagues at The Wire have assembled a medley of his pieces for the magazine across 20 years of being a contributor.  They have also published what may well one of Neil's last bits of writing - they invited him to pick - and comment on - his own favorite pieces written by other people from The Wire's vast archives.

Apparently there are plans afoot for a Neil Kulkarni anthology. Below are a few links to classic pieces that are already online - some of them rant-mode and some just passionately perceptive about music he loved. 








Neil lays into the Ten Most Overrated Albums in Pop History - guaranteed to be something here that'll get your hackles rising. 

Neil in dialogue with Rudy Tambala of  A.R. Kane around the time of the One Little Indian singles anthology (which reminds me that I've still not read his sleevenotes to last year's Kane box A.R.Kive - can anybody help me out here?)

Neil's series  A New Nineties, about the groups that have come to be known as The Lost Generation - i.e. first-wave UK post-rock. For The Quietus:

introduction / Main

Disco Inferno

Insides

Pram

epilogue / other unmissable albums / rant about bands making music that is "unforgivably British"

He also did a follow-up Quietus series about the US end of the "New Nineties", worth looking for although some of the groups, the appeal always eluded me I must say. 

Here's a couple of pieces Neil did on Marc Bolan and T.Rex 

A piece around a Pulp reunion tour, celebrating the band and what it represented

Neil with Sleeper (and all indie) and Kula Shaker in his sights. And damning Ride with faint abuse.

Via Nick S in comments, a clip of Neil blasting Oasis on the Chart Music podcast


Neil as Coventry native remembering local boy Terry Hall.

Neil on Auto-Tune-glitzed 'n' spritzed dancehall

Finally, a bit of Kulkarni meta-talk... Neil was fierily eloquent about music journalism as a vocation, the point and purpose of criticism, how to do it right.... often this would come out by implication, a sort of photographic negative, in his tirades about the shite that the latterday NME was trying to foist on the world, famous feats of fight-picking that riled up the guilty parties no end. But here at Drowned In Sound, is one of his positive articulations of How to Do It and Why To Do It