Psycho-hippy freek festival for retromaniacs...broken toys...music box mosaic...harpsichord...Jazz drumming...sonic jigsaw pieces found down the back of the sofa...LSD & sherbet dips...sitar... saxophone...surf Beat?...fairground melodies...Hall of Mirrors sound distortion...ballroom organ loop...urbane pastoral kaleidoscope...phantom orchestration...Joe Meek musique concrète...17th century space-age pop...singing ringing echo chamber music...Julian House, I salute you...The Elektrik Karousel is a wonderful thing...
Stop right there.
You came here by searching 'courgette' but only found this (for which I apologise), but wait, there's more to you than cooking courgettes, isn't there? Yes, you're also into music, but not just any common music, no, you like John Cage - what a coincidence! Somebody must like him, although I've yet to meet that person.
Or you came here because you always do, for which I thank you from the depths of my heart, although why I'm thanking you when it should be the other way 'round I don't know. You should thank me for existing, thank my parents, their parents and the apes they came from so long ago. Talking of missing links, they can be found loping along Camden High Street most days, I swear. Not that I feel superior, being ugly, skinny, slow, frequently stupid and unqualified to do anything, except this, which you don't need qualifications for as you'll have noted when alighting upon certain blogs.
An old friend who's just started reading this blog said I'm 'already a famous, rich, artist' 'in a way', this after I'd joked about how writing to him was delaying me being those things. Bless 'im - he was being positive and suggesting I should appreciate what I've done (creatively) but I don't know that it all amounts to much.
The other night in the bath this song popped into my head...
...taking me back to school days, and viewed through the wrong-end-of-the-telescope time tunnel I looked not only tiny but, well, alien. Who is that sat behind an old wooden desk dreaming about girls? Me? 'Hey Girl' was big in those days. There was a girl who bothered me. She was in the fourth year and those girls adopted young 'uns, like me. They teased us mercilessly, knowing we were incapable of doing anything but blushing and running away, which I probably did frequently....until I was about 30...
That kid also dreamt of doing great things in Art and writing, so what if he could look forward through the time telescope and see himself sat here now? Would he consider himself 'famous', 'rich', or even an 'artist'? I doubt it. But then, in those days I saw success differently. I thought it meant making loads of money. No-one was telling me any different. No-one was saying 'success based on materialistic capitalist ideals means nothing and only serves to reinforce shallow beliefs held by those who value money and celebrity status as defined by the media above all else' - no, they weren't. Instead, my Art teacher said I'd need to pass a few other exams to get into college, so that was me doomed to dead-end jobs. And my Dad said only dead artists make money.
You didn't come here to listen to me whining about my failures all those years ago. I don't know what you want or expect but if you're new take a look around, you might find something you like. Meanwhile, here's Frank Sinatra telling George Michael to stop whining about being famous...
IPEM: Institute For Psychoacoustics And Electronic Music: 50 years of Electronic And Electroacoustic Music At The Ghent University (Metaphon)
Record, filter, decelerate, reverse and distort; such treatments suggest both an anarchic and reverential approach to sound - the search for what sounds right in a sonic universe free from rules. When is a piece finished and where to start? Of the concrete elements, there's a mezzo-soprano messed up and fused with electronics on Boudewijn Buckinx's 'Simparolo', folk whistles and log drums married with a Synthi 100 on Stephen Montague's 'Slow dance on a burial ground', and a six-piece acoustic performance warped beyond recognition on Helmut Lachenmann's 'Scenario'. Excuse the cliché but the latter, from 1965, sounds like it could have been made yesterday by the best modern exponents of electronic music.
If you want pre-Hauntology (oh, I'm sure you do), look no further than Louis de Meester's 'Incantations', an astounding piece previewed at the 1958 Brussels World Fair featuring a cut up reading of text by Isidore Isou. Isou wrote: 'Each poet will integrate everything into Everything', and this compilation demonstrates the art of musical integration superbly; disparate elements made whole by these 'poets' of the studio.
Available from Boomkat
This suits my mood right now. I'm taking a break from cutting and pasting of my own and others (in the realm of music - Pierre Schaeffer, The Tape Beatles, Christian Marclay etc) to bask in some wonderful music courtesy of BYG via the Flying Dutchman label. It's not the fire (Jazz) & brimstone righteous racket one might expect but subversion by stealth, perhaps, and the occasional Panther message.
Horace Tapscott's 'The Giant Is Awakened' pretty much seals the deal, along with Ornette Coleman's 'Friends And Neighbours'. Since it's partly called 'Spiritual Jazz', Gato Barbieri's 'Tupac Amaru' and Lonnie Liston Smith's dreamy 'Sais (Egypt)' feature. Must applaud BGP for their diverse choices since along with an old fave like Gil Scott-Heron's 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised' there's Chico Hamilton's 'Gonna Get Some Right Now', which is three-parts drum solo until the groove hits, fuelled by Arnie Lawrence's alto sax. And who doesn't like Leon Thomas yodelling?
'His life included an early and abiding interest in radio and communications, RAF service in WW2, the establishing of his home electronic studio in the 1950s, and continued writing about radio, tape recording and electronics throughout his career.
His contribution to the sci-fi puppet series Space Patrol, which first aired in 1963, is the first on British TV to feature a complete electronic score for each episode. His music and sound effects are integral to the atmosphere, and were created with tape manipulation and electronic tone generators.'
This is a Public Information broadcast.
On Interpretations On F.C. Judd Fred gets 'Wrecked' by Ekoplekz and sampled (speech), naturally, because the sound of an Englishman from the olde days of v-neck sweaters and pipes discussing electronic music is irresistibly both quaint, amusing and incongruous, isn't it?
'By the start of 1963 Fred had designed and built his own prototype synthesizer – a simple voltage controlled, keyboard-operated unit for generating, shaping and switching electronic sounds – a small but significant development in the history of the synthesizer, as it pre-dates the Synket, Moog and Buchla instruments.'
He wasn't German, American, Dutch or French, and didn't belong to a state-sponsored futurist music lab. Like Daphne, he ploughed a lonesome furrow fuelled by an obsession with the potential for new music in the popular mechanics mode of DIY space-age sound. The golden age of tape technology as techno hobbyist heaven provided work for some in writing (Judd wrote several books) and the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop, of course - all before The Future became redundant and little more than glorious nostalgia.
Ian Helliwell's devotion to ensuring that Judd is not forgotten earns him the right to remake the man's music and he does so here in fine style, providing a lovely sample of Fred directing his wife (?) on where to stand for a recording - she's out in the kitchen when Fred directs her into the living room, instructing her to talk, to which she responds 'Yeah, all right, I'm standin' 'ere talkin' to meself' - classic - the sound of tomorrow rewritten as a sitcom.
Leyland Kirby's contribution is as good as you'd expect, an electrical storm of reverb, and Mordant Music typically loops the loop until it almost disintegrates, conjuring a kind of demonic Dr Who scenario from the tomb of time. Perc and Peter Rehberg both do justice to the source, the latter evoking behind-the-sofa soundtracks to 60s sci-fi that spooked my generation. Everyone involved does a great job. It's a wonderful compilation, where past and present intermingle, as befits music from time gone by that spoke of what was to come.
Released on May 20th