17.7.17

Missing Nude Photo



"Hi I recently (1 day ago sold by huge mistake my husbands twelve inch record call rhythm to rhythm nude photos with a sillouette of naked women back to back on it year 1979 . I got back in touch with Allen dallison and said he’d sold on to one of you guys. If you have this in your pocession I would appreciate it if I could buy this back of of you. Allen will no longer answer me to who he sold it on too. Would really appreciate your time for this enquiry as my husband was not happy. Many thanks for your time. Sue"

13.7.17

Aphex Twin Korg Geek Out

Richard James talks to KORG's Tatsuya Takahashi via FACT.

FACT, of which my pal Dave Moynihan and I were discussing, has crossed over to a GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) styled mag. As though, like modern day troubadours, musos have simultaneously become gear-heads. Making their own music as much as consuming other people's. I'd like to think I anticipated this with my 2009 "Switched-On" music tech piece for Domino's "Loops" journal - I mean ferchrissakes you've GOT to blow your own trumpet...

The interview (is Richard really interviewing Tatsuya or vice-versa, I can't tell?) is long on very deep technological detail, but actually, if you pay close attention, really fascinating. Of course I wonder if attention to this kind of sonic minutiae can produce interesting music - isn't it rather big, simple and crude innovations that push music forward? But on the other hand I think it's very apposite that one's musical heroes are focused more on the obscure crevices of sound and not, er, PR.

Still blowing my own trumpet, I know STILL!!! I thought Richard's comment here was cool:
"I’m a secret nerd-fan of synth demos, mainly vintage ’80s ones currently! Some amazing music has been made as equipment demos, unsung heroes. I collect synth demos. Well, ones that I like. It’s kind of an unclassified music genre..."
Because I once wrote an article for The Wire magazine on precisely this.

-

Postscript - A very lonely thread I started on this at Gearslutz in 2012!

11.7.17

Rocket Cottage - Faking Folk In The UK



Tracklisting

Steeleye Span - Robbery with Violins
[Magnet - Willow's Song from "The Wicker Man"]
Kings Cambridge Choir - Seven Joys of Mary
[Peter Warlock - The Curlew]
Benjamin Britten - Peter Grimes (extract)
The Watersons - Here We Come A Wassailing
[Ron Copper - Hard Times of Old England]
Sydney Carter - Socialism In Our Time
[Davey Graham - Anji]
Davey Graham - She Moves Through The Fair
Shirley Collins and Davey Graham - Nottamun Town
[Marc Brierly - Welcome to the Citadel]
Bert Jansch - Black Water Side
Led Zeppelin - Black Mountain Side
[Tony, Caro and John - There are no greater heroes]
Donovan - Get Thy Bearings
Donovan - Mad John
Donovan - Sand And Foam
[Pentangle - Let no man steal your thyme]
Steeleye Span - All Things Are Quiet
Pentangle - Light Flight
[Incredible String Band - Koeeoaddi There]
Incredible String Band - First Girl I loved
Incredible String Band - The Minotaur's Song
Mike Heron - Audrey
[Fairport Convention - Fotheringay]
Anne Briggs - Standing On The Shore
Bridget St John - Curious Crystals of Unusual Purity
Vashti Bunyan - Window Over The Bay
[Josh Macrae - Girl from the North Country]
Jackson C Frank - Blues Run The Game
[Chrissie Quaye - The Seagulls Scream]
Nick Drake - Black Eyed Dog
John Martyn - Singin' In The Rain
[Principal Edwards Magic Theatre - Weirdsong of Breaking Through at Last]
Fairport Convention - Tale In Hard Time
Fairport Convention - Si Tu Dois Partir
Fairport Convention - Stranger To Himself
[Duncan Browne - Gabilan]
Roy Harper - The Same Old Rock
Mike Chapman - Aviator
Kevin Coyne - Sand All Yellow
[Everyone Involved - A Song for The System]
Comus - Winter Is A Coloured Bird
Gryphon - Opening Move (excerpt)
Third Ear Band - Druid
Trees - The Garden Of Jane Delawney
[Heron - Upon Reflection]
Dransfield - It's Dark In Here
Dando Shaft - Til' The Morning Comes
Renaissance - The Sea
Melton Constable - River Lane
[Tuesday - Glow of The Firelight]
Lal and Mike Waterson - Magic Man
Shirley Collins - Black Joker
Morris On - Greensleeves
[John Martyn - Eibhli Gheal Chiun Ni Chearbhaill]
Kirsty Macoll - A New England
The Waterboys - Fisherman's Blues
Boards Of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy

Some Nice Pix



Reminds me of the Gloucestershire of my Childhood.


Sydney Carter plays at Eton College.


The very beautiful Anne Briggs.




10.7.17

connect_icut: Rage Coma



Talking of all-consuming labours of love made with nary a thought of their commercial reception - Sam Macklin of The Bubblegum Cage has just completed this really fantastic album. He says it has taken him three years - dude has thrown his whole frickin' soul into this. Far be it for me to try and do justice to that endeavor in a few pitiful lines - but, trust me, this is really great. By a long measure the best thing he has ever done.

Sam, in case you didn't know is the number one My Bloody Valentine fan in the world. But rather than [inappropriately] track that obsession into a trad alley of guitar rock he's picked up the baton of beats and noise. Remember those MBV off-cuts that beguiled us - the ghostly guitars and Public Enemy beats of the single that came free with "Isn't Anything" or indeed Andy Weatherall's Gang of Four-sampling [via Westbam] remix of "Soon"? Well imagine that vein expanded into a whole universe; a glittering cosmos of hummable, excoriating basslines of star-glowing, tessellated after-trails, of loping nth generation hip-hop beats.

Certainly, if there was any justice in this world, this astonishingly well-produced record would be feted by The Wire and Pitchfork. It seems brutally unfair that Macklin may have to satisfy himself with a job well done - with having brought a little beauty into the world.

9.7.17

Vitamin C



The eagle-eyed may have noticed that I finished my Vitamin C animation - the film which took me three and a half years work. Blood, sweat and tears I can assure you!

There is now a Vitamin C Film website, with a downloadable script/storyboard and soon I'll be passing out stickers promoting it.


The good news is that the film has been picked up by STEM, part of Project ENTHUSE which was set up by a consortium of organisations who "came together to bring about inspired science teaching through the continuing professional development of teachers of science across the UK." No, they didn't give me any money, but it will mean that the animation will be promoted and find its way into schools.

One of the stipulations with my very stringent contract with CAN is that the version of the film I made with their "Vitamin C" and "Dead Pigeon Suite" can only be hosted at Vimeo, can't be embedded elsewhere and can't be available as a download. Consequently, to liberate the film and so STEM could use it, I had to create a new version and make some new music myself. These three themes will be the first pieces of music I've made since 2013's "Woebiotic EP".

I regret that I don't have more of a social media presence with which to leverage publicity for the movie. That's basically what it is all about these days isn't it? I've even managed to get locked out of my Instagram account which I had tactically set up precisely for the purpose of publicising Vitamin C. Doh! Therefore if you're reading this, and you are so inclined, please share either versions of the film. SINCERE THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO HAS HELPED SO FAR!!!!! I LUV U!!!!!

6.7.17

"Building The House" - Walden Comic


I've just finished reading Ken Goffman's excellent book "Counterculture Through The Ages".

It's really sharpened an appreciation that my fundamental interests in music stem from its ability, between 1956 and 1996, to function as a locus for counter-cultural impulses. Miraculously Goffman, for someone not primarily a music critic, zones in on precisely the movers and genres at which it makes sense to talk in terms of Counterculture.

In short: Be-bop, Rock'n'Roll circa 1956, The Beatles and The Stones, Bobby Dylan, San Francisco Acid Rock, the Ann Arbor of The Stooges and MC5, Tropicalia, Glam Rock (yes!), Punk, Public Enemy and NWA and Acid House (quoting local authority Simon Reynolds...)

What did he miss? Not much: Fela Kuti, the radical Roots Reggae of the seventies, Krautrock, No Wave, and Ardkore. Those were the other institutionally problematic musics.

Published in 2004 one gets the sense that Goffman half imagines that this ferment would continue apace. Actually what has happened is the countercultural impulse evacuated the middle-ground entirely. The music business abandoned the field. Instead radicalism and revolt became horrifically polarised and driven out of the domain of normality. From the self-inflicted personal traumas of self-harm and suicide to the political insanity of terrorism. It's possible such disparate political events as Brexit, the rise of Corbyn, Trump and Macron are an influx of the abandoned impulses once again entering from stage left and right.

I have to ask myself why someone like myself - a middle-aged, public-school educated, property-owning capitalist would be slightly interested in something like the counterculture? On the face of it it seems profoundly hypocritical, perhaps a hankering after some kind of rebel frisson? In answer to myself I have to reflect that my upbringing and childhood experiences with authority (parents, school and the state) have forever poisoned me against it. And certainly to my detriment; it would be much easier to play the game and replicate the same structures.

My dislike towards the left has certainly got its roots in the same antipathy to authority, to quote Henry Thoreau from Civil Disobedience and other essays (a quote often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson):
“I believe,—“That government is best which governs not at all;” and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have.” 
You can't square that with the nanny-state and big government. It genuinely baffles me why people believe a Socialist government is the answer to anything.

A large part of the Goffman book is dedicated to the Transcendentalists, especially Emerson and, my hero Henry David Thoreau. I read Thoreau's "Walden" in 1997 and loved it so much I took great care to make a comic of a section of it. It's a great subject for a comic, and I believe someone in 2008 subsequently made a comic of the whole book. The same solipsistic structural dynamic exists in the original text and the form of comics. Much like blogging too I guess. Never been seen publicly before!

Gold Disc


3.7.17

Surplus #3


Reminds me of "The Pack" by Joseph Bueys.

Surplus #2


Losing the snowman from Frozen and The Good Dinosaur - that'll cost ya.

Surplus #1



No home recordings alright! Keep your DIY musical efforts to yourself please.

30.6.17

Indian Classical Mix

Ok, so let's drop some fuckin' science!

I wrote about these records, as cursorily and unprofessionally as is expected of me, at the original TWANBOC blog. In those antediluvian days one couldn't simply upload mixes which people could stream. That's all changed.

Currently I have 89 mixes on my Mixcloud page. My aim is to have 100 there. 100 mixes which cover the fields of music I'm interested in. Which do justice to my tastes. None of us lives forever. All good things must come to an end.

Accordingly I've been going through my collection of records by genre; slowly picking off the important ones. And Indian Classical music is very close to my heart. It surprises me that in a climate in which the "Composer", "Neo-Avant Garde" and "Drone" are such immutable fixtures that there is almost no coverage of this massively important music. No reissues. Like for instance (to pick a random example) INA-GRM has arranged for it. And yet, of all the "out" musics this is unquestionably the most lovely.

I picked up these records in the nineties. With both my own recent travels in the sub-continent and the post-Acid musical climate in mind. I can't claim to have any gurus with regards to guiding my choice, but I remember David Toop was also "out there". I suppose Arthur Russell's influence, "World of Echo" dropping in my world like a Neutron Bomb, is also tangible.

This selection amounts to a third, the best, of my collection of this music. The whole part in itself carefully chosen. 

The things I liked were almost always on non-standard instruments. That boils down to NO SITARS. I don't mind sitars actually, but once you remove them from Indian Classical Music its "unflavoured" sonic purity is made manifest.

You may not have enjoyed this music before, you may be prejudiced against it. But cast aside your preconceptions - zone out - think of it as summertime, Ambient Music if you like - but LISTEN to the awe-inspiring breadth of expression these masters bring to but single instruments as these sonic worlds unfurl like mandalas.


Sivakumar Sarma - Rageswari

On the legendary French Ethnographic label "Ocora". The Santur sounds a little like a Harpsichord - it's a strange instrument played by hammering strings with small wooden sticks. Sarma, or Sharma, was the undisputed master. This LP was on my WOEBOT 100 list and it justifiably belongs there.


Ustad Ali Akbar Khan - Ahir Bhairav

If the Santur is like a dulcimer, the Sarod is something like an Oud, guitar or mandolin. Much lower in tuning than the Sitar. I always think this stunning recording by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan has a bluesy, almost Rolling Stones-like, quality to it. A bit like that delicious, forbidden pleasure Ry Rooder's "Paris, Texas" soundtrack, even. Notes here like birds.


Ustad Bismillah Khan / Prof V.G.Jog - Jai Jawanti

Jugalbindi as a form is something like a jam. A duet between two master musicians. Bismillah Khan is the go to man for the Shenai, which is like an Oboe with X-ray powers. Jog, a magnificent violinist.

Another wonderful thing about this recording is the cicadas which mesh with the drone of the tambura to create an ecstatic, psychedelic background. Just wait till those spine-tingling, magic moments when they dovetail their phrases...


Ustad Nathoo Khan - Purbi

Sarangi, a bowed string instrument, is another fantastic "non-standard" Indian Classical music instrument. The "late" Ustad Nathoo Khan, yep he was dead when this record came out, was a legendary instrumentalist. Another great Sarangi player is Ram Naryan, of whom I have a number of discs, but there's something particularly eerie about this recording.


Pannalal Ghosh - Yaaman

Old pal Sacha Dieu and I have a shared appreciation for the gaussian waft of flautist Pannalal Ghosh. There's an unmistakably stoned haze about this perfect LP which, like the subsequent Pran Nath LP, is unique in its "high-in-the-mix" tambura. The tambura is that constant drone which sounds like electrical power-lines.


Pandit Pran Nath - Yaaman Kalyan

OK, so here's the bridge to Western music. You like The Velvet Underground? Well this disc was produced by La Monte Young, VU-godfather and Avant-Classical Titan - John Cage's chosen heir. La Monte frickin' loves the tambura, it reminds him of his inadvertently psychedelic childhood spent zonked out on gasoline fumes lurking atop industrial step-down voltage transformers, so here that instrument is pumped way high. Cover here by his wife the gifted calligraphist Marian Zazeela.

Pran Nath was the master of the Kirana school, in some ways an eccentric, non-central body in the Indian Classical Music Cosmos. I always think this is how Dr Seuss's Lorax would have sounded if he sang, rather than spoke, for the trees.


Hiralal - Yaaman

And finally another "Yaaman" - a supposedly romanic night-time raga of which there are three versions in this mix. This Barenreiter Musicaphon LP, like Ocora a top-flight ethnographic recordings label, is curated by the celebrated ethnomusicologist Alain Danielou. As one might expect from such a survey-type recording it takes a bit of digging round in the linernotes to discover the name of the master Hiralal. Always loved the incredible intensity of the Shenai on this one.

OM!

26.6.17

Street Writing





Colleagues Heronbone and Ommmsound have been selling poetry on the Southbank. Their pitch is beside the Millennium Bridge between Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre - a cultural Ground Zero.

They wouldn't claim to be the progenitors of the idea but, in Ommmsound's words, they're the best.

The pitch is this:
a) Name your subject.
b) Name your price.

In return you get a poem typed there and then. In front of your eyes.

They look the part. Both wear trilby hats. Ommmsound has taken on a very debonair manner - looks rakish in a blazer. Heronbone's beard is another classic bohemian marker. The typewriters exude a retro style.

But equally the hats are pragmatic in the scalding summer heat. The typewriters entirely sensible too - more immediate than a printer - and the resulting typed paper page has the priceless aura of an entirely original object.

Their tango with capital is sly. An accommodating and patronly landowner who owns the strip upon which they are based has given them his blessing to work the spot. They make a decent wage on a good day (while I was with them they absorbed a non-ending stream of customers) - but I also witness them both write poems on a topic for sport (someone got a twofer on "Andy Warhol") and some poems are freely given (to two jocks from Boston).

These are bespoke lines tailored to request (the most common subjects? Love, Friendship, Travel...) but that's where the attempt to ply a trade, to capitalise, ceases. The duo make no effort to take a copy of their own works (me, I'd be tempted to snap a photo of my best efforts) and unless asked they won't sign anything. Words, it seems, are also free.

And sure, it's prosaic. It's busking by any other name, like the gravity-defying BMX-ers, curious human sculptures and music of sometimes varying quality along the length of the Thames. But knowing both of them I'm aware of the cultural background they bring to this project. Heronbone has form as the garlanded, peripatetic naturalist of Grime - he's been a street poet, oblivious of institutions since schooldays. Ommmsound a poet first - but respected musician second. I first met him outside Clapham Common Tube on the hauntological playback tour of London for the release of my Moanad disc in 2010. Fellow outsider-musicians in the street.

Both are keenly aware of, and indifferent to, the knife-edge that separates the notionally significant and insignificant. That's the game. It's an arch conceptual project disguised as frippery - or perhaps vice-versa?

-

I mention to them Baudelaire's poem "Loss Of a Halo" - cited in Marshall Berman's epochal "All That Is Solid Melts Into Air". The ordinary man meets the poet in "un mauvais lieu", probably a brothel, and is shocked to find this seemingly exalted individual in the same situation as him:
"What! You are here, my friend? you in a place like this? you, the eater of ambrosia, the drinker of quintessences! I'm amazed!"
To which the poet replies:
"My friend, you know how terrified I am horses and vehicles? Well, just now as I was crossing the boulevard in a great hurry, splashing through the mud, in the midst of a moving chaos, with death galloping at me from from every side, I made a sudden move, and my halo slipped off my head and fell into the mire of the macadam. I was much too scared to pick it up. I thought it was less unpleasant to lose my insignia than to get my bones broken. Besides, I said to myself, every cloud has a silver lining. Now I can walk around incognito, do low things, throw myself into every kind of filth, just like ordinary mortals. So here I am, just as you see me, just like yourself!"
The ordinary man then comments:
"But aren't you going to advertise for your halo? or notify the police?"
To which the poet concludes:
"God forbid! I like it here. You're the only one who's recognized me. Besides, dignity bores me. What's more, it's fun to think of some bad poet picking it up and brazenly putting it on."
Unpublished at the time, it's a fantastic meditation upon the condition of modernity, the dubious cultural authority which lesser mortals preoccupy themselves with, on what I used to call the "Avant-Yob" and, yeah, perhaps a call echoing down the ages in support of Heronbone and Ommmsound's latest project.

21.6.17

This Is Grime


This is great. Fantastic photos too.

I saw this book in Los Angeles in a boutique record shop, flicked through it there, but waited till I got home to pick up a copy. In itself quite a dissonant experience. It just shows how entirely out-of-the-loop I am that I was completely unaware of it - it looks like it came out last year too...

Actually I make no apologies for that, for being out of the loop that is, because for me it was all over in 2005. I've not heard anything since then that does it for me and if that makes me a dilettante poseur without the requisite investment to weather the highs and lows of a scene than, yeah, I'll take that. All that Skepta and Stormzy stuff, sorry but nah.

The book's soul though is definitely rooted in those years 2003-2005. And quite rightly so. It's really nice reading more about those days, and the way Hattie Collins has just pulled a bunch of interviews together, that works really well on many levels. Everyone spitting innit.

In terms of how it played out in the media, for me it was all about Martin Clark and Chantelle Fiddy - and Hattie Collins pretty much admits the debt to Chantelle. I only met Chantelle once at the playback for the Run The Road CD in Camden but she struck me as a powerful, organising force. If it had been the late sixties she'd now have her own airline or something. In the book Martin is typically self-effacing; all things considered very impressive really.

Quibbles. It was an odd decision to have no mention of Simon Reynolds at all. Simon was hugely important for turning a much bigger audience on to it. Nothing about Heronbone or Silverdollar; instead we hear a lot from the derivative John McDonnell. His remarks are territorial and grating. But then I read the whole book and found out he also trolls Crazy Titch (yikes, better be ready for when he gets out of jail!) and Wiley (which seemed a bit potty-mouthed).

I had a lot of fun following Grime as an avowed, very marginal, outsider: Going to the early Eskimo dance. Buying (masses of) records off Cameo in Soho and from Rhythm Division. Taping shows. Thanks to Martin Clark, meeting Wiley at Rinse. Going to the bonkers expo at Stratford. Writing those Grime columns for the old print edition of FACT. Working with Troy on the DVD. Getting Logan Sama on Dissensus. It was exciting!

Gimme Gimme Records Los Angeles


Mount Analog Records Los Angeles


Rockaway Records Los Angeles


$200 Raymond Pettibon Comics at LACMA





Big Star Merch



5.6.17

The Richard Klein Lost Samba Playlist Reduced



I don't know if you like Spotify? It can be pretty good fun.

The other day I linked to my pal Richard's Lost Samba playlist. It is awesome but, yeah, perhaps too massive and inclusive.

As I was going through it I made my own miniature version - only about two hours long - which I keep returning too. Very delicious.

4.6.17

We Are I.E.



Presumably I am the last person in the world to hear this the sample for Lennie De Ice's "We Re I.E"? On Factory records too no less!

18.5.17

Throwback Thursday #1

Dug from the image archives!


k-punk, heronbone and emerald daze in the comaflage (Jim's coinage that...)




Peter Schmidt prints from Eno's "Before and After Science"


The six WOEBOT.tv episodes. Blam.


Lesser-spotted.



Looks like a really shit party.



Love this! I had to remove the image attachment thing off of Dissensus to speed the damn thing up but rather than dump all the images I turned it into a gif! Witness the sickness.


My Practice Hours DVD menu. Shout out to Troy.


Lulu loading the twelve-tens with her plastic dinosaurs. Of course, innit.


Seek and you shall (still) find.




Old Skool.


Hm, a familiar looking-strategy! Ho ho. I actually wrote a post to accompany this. Thank god I didn't publish it =)



The rig.