'Everyone dances to his own personal boomboom'

Bring Me The Head of Morrissey / Tory Rule


"Where y'bin?"
Nowhere much. Thanks for asking. It makes me feel as if you noticed.

The cartoon panel...looks like Morrissey's head, doesn't it? Ha-ha! I listened to his appearance on BBC radio's Desert Island Discs the other day. Well, half of it, but the pretentious git got on me nerves so I stopped.

***

Welcome to post-election Great Britain. Tory rule. It makes sense. Us proles can't help doffing our caps at posh people...they were born to rule. They know how to run things 'cause they went to posh schools where they learnt to be clever. Fuck the poor. No, I mean, everyone cares about them but...well, we all want to be home-owners and...you know...own stuff...'aspirational' they call it. The posh government's good 'cause the Tories already own a lot of things so they know what it's all about. The whining Lefty liberals are always going on about the poor, but if there were none, who would we be able to look at and think 'At least I'm not like that'? And the poor can look at foreigners in their bombed-out cities...or famine victims (do they still have famines? I haven't seen one on the news for ages)...and think 'At least my life's not that bad'. There's always someone worse off than yourself. Unless you're a famine victim. 

Charles Cohen - Brother I Prove You Wrong (Morphine Records)


Charles Cohen creates more (not Pop) art on his (Music) Easel. Shapes bounce at your earballs, patterns play in your brain, magically springing from his trusty Buchla synth. Brother I Prove You Wrong is his first solo album since '88 and that's a long wait but if you treasure the handsome collection from 2014 you'll love this.

Cloud Hands starts in a style similar to the blackbird song in our back garden recently and if you appreciate the improv skills of the feathered maestro you'll know I mean that as a great compliment. With astounding skill, Cohen beautifully transforms the piece from chirpiness to sombre church organ-like tones. Visitors Of The Sacred Mountain begins with minimal but incessant quivering and grows into a deep space beast that eats into your cranium. Mankind And Mannequins captures the menace inherent in the alien figures that populate shop windows...with those eyes and that replicant flesh...where's a blade runner when you want one? There's narration to this but I've yet to work out what it says. It's outstanding all the same.

From the monumental drone of  Formation Of Matter to the layered density and drive of Cold War II, Cohen never puts a foot wrong. As the final track title suggests, Go Deeper And Listen.


Roland Kirk's Rip Rig & Panic / Shooting A Car / Snack Tribe


'Rip means Rip Van Winkle (or Rest in Peace?); it's the way people, even musicians are. They're asleep. Rig means like rigor mortis. That's where a lot of peoples mind are. When they hear me doing things they didn't think I could do they panic in their minds'. 


The album's 50 years old. Any excuse....(not that I feel I need one)............................................

***


***


Tribal affinity in 2015...'the lovelier, lighter snack tribe'...we only listen to light music...


Buying Stuff / Collage / Drexciya


I've been buying stuff...well, you have to justify Work somehow, don't you? So we buy stuff. Some people buy cars, houses, clothes for the kids and other important adult goods but I buy books, music and films. They give me as much pleasure as kids are supposed to without asking for money or needing your guidance through life. OK, they don't look after you when you're old but being a crazy beatnik I'm living for now and every day's filled with wild spontaneity, Jazz, poetry, bongo-playing and painting...

Bella Tarr's a bastard though. I love and hate him. He's the new Bergman, isn't he? If Bergman ever was the standard reference point for jokes about suffering/enduring art house film in order to appear intelligent, which I think he was. Or I imagine he was. Sátántangó is 419 minutes long. I gave up big books years ago but film's different. Even an epic of this size can be digested relatively quickly...in, say, 419 minutes...over a period of six months though, knowing me. So there it was for a fiver; irresistible. All four items only came to a tenner. Perhaps you can buy some kids' clothes for that...but they grow out of them...and I've yet to fully grow into Béla Tarr so he's good value for my money.

***

A collage by LJ. It's called 'Firecracker'. She paints too. Her work is here.


***


The Clone label has released more Drexciya. You probably knew that. If you didn't, you don't like the music. That's OK, I won't hold it against you. If we all had the same taste it would be boring, wouldn't it? Politicians, sports people, the bloke on the supermarket check out, your doctor, everyone else in the office...all raving about the new Drexciya record. You'd turn on the radio and hear Parliament, Pierre Schaeffer, Horace Silver, Lee Perry, Drexciya, James Brown, Roxy Music, Daphne Oram etc all bleedin' day. Meanwhile, Black Sea (Aqualung Version) starts so well that I've restarted it several times already today. The rest isn't bad either. Unknown Journey XI exemplifies what that Detroit techno bloke said about being stuck in a lift with Krawfwerk and Bill Clinton...I think it was Bill. And the Aqualung version of Wavejumper...go wiggle!



Isobel Ccircle~ - Asterism (Soft Bodies Records)


Welcome to space, a frankly terrifying place, as we know from tales of astronauts stranded Out There whilst rummaging around in our cosmic back yard. I regularly stand in my terrestrial one, watching the skies for signs of flying cutlery. I'm hoping that these 'subsonic elements' might, as is suggested, 'alter the chemical compositions and geological structures of the surrounding area' because our garden's a bit of a mess.

Space is a mess, or rather, a place of laws we have written in order to make sense of the universe but our imagination still takes hold, rendering anything possible. So April Larson and Matt Bower are 'translators for a mysterious entity known as Isobel Ccircle~ , not the creators of this music. And who are Isobel Ccircle~? When asked if they're human, the answer is 'Yes, but....' [audio is unintelligible, tape plays static].

Our musical interpretation of the universe has moved from Holst's suites to the lush theremin-lead romanticism of the 50s flying saucer craze and the mind-boggling reality of landing on the moon matched by mechanical music invention in the synthesizer. Rewinding in time Sun Ra, being from Saturn, could translate the signals his received into big band sounds, whilst soon after, Dissevelt & Baltan's ‎Song Of The Second Moon (1957 - 1961) set a precedent for electronic music to come. If space exploration had to follow a linear path, music did not, necessarily.

In space no-one can hear either your scream, or those beats you programmed as part of your space mythology. This may render half of the Underground Resistance catalogue meaningless, but we still love and need the mythology, don't we? Here's another but there are no beats. Instead, Astersim offers a static-filled sonic trip through dense black matter, drifting weightlessly yet something heavy always lurks on the edges. Is that voice on Event Horizon a message? If so, what's it saying?

I recently railed against somnambulistic Ambient music. Here we may dream but never doze off because despite meditative atmospherics the noise of chaos and menace of dark mysteries is ever present in these 'audio files'. Pressure Cracked Stars typically creates a mood filled with unknown forces; instability amid what appear, from our little rock, to be diamonds set in the black stone of space. We may be Here To Go, but this translation sounds a much like a warning as a welcome. Perhaps it's best to imagine outer space encounters rather than realise them and Asterism is as good a tool for doing that as any I've heard.  

There's also an excellent booklet to accompany the files. See the image below.

Buy it here






Collage / Cut-Up / Pierre Boulez / Life On Screen


***

i remember the conversation about the 
                                                             powerlessness of the artist in society 
                                                                   i know that publishers don't care much
                                                                   whether people read books just so long 
                                                                   as they buy them 
                                                           'he's dead,' she said flatly. 'i knew it.'
                                                           'knew it?'
                                                           'well, I dreamed it.' 
                                                    these detourned images are not only decapitated (authorless)
                                                    but, as a cut-up, montaged fragments, they also
                                                    metaphorically represent a body in pieces.
                                                      'we rise and descend like ghosts,' panted the leaves
                                                       in their successive service.

(Jarry, Rumney, Fuller, Raymond, Stracey) 

***

"It at first reduces you," Cage said, "to a nearly total absence of comprehension."


***

YOU'RE AT THE END OF THE LINE. 
PATIENCE? 
NO, TIME. 
MOVE ON. 
LIFE ON SCREEN
           

Music Becomes A Whore




'Using music like a drug is stupid. One shouldn't do that: music is the product of the highest human intelligence, and one of the best senses, the listening senses and of imagination and intuition. And as soon as it becomes just a means for ambiance, as we say, environment, or for being used for certain purposes, then music becomes a whore, and one should not allow that really; one should not serve any existing demands or in particular not commercial values. That would be terrible: that is selling out the music.' - Karlheinz Stockhausen

Twenty years ago Radio 3 reporter Dick Witts sent Stockhausen music by Aphex Twin, Scanner, Plastikman and Daniel Pemberton to see what he made of it. The quote above is part of his general response to what he heard. The use of repetition particularly annoyed him: 'I know that he (Plastikman) wants to have a special effect in dancing bars, or wherever it is, on the public who like to dream away with such repetitions, but he should be very careful, because the public will sell him out immediately for something else, if a new kind of musical drug is on the market.' 

'Dancing bars' - ah, bless the old master. Taking the high ground (where he naturally lived, of course, in a tower), Stocky having none of the kid's beat music is, on the one hand, hardly surprising, although it could have gone another way. He may have been the type who understood that Youth loves repetition, the Rock beat being an old invention by then, and accepted it for what it is. Yet something about his total disdain for contemporary electronica/techno pleases me. It's an almighty slap down from a God rather than an attempt to understand.

In a way, trying to understand is unbecoming in the same way that middle-aged folk try to understand what their kids are listening to, not because they really want to but because they feel they should. Why? Because they want to bridge the generation gap in order not to be like their parents and unlike the older generation they had Youth Music of their own, so they feel they should be able to relate. Parents today dread appearing 'old', whereas parents before them had no problem with it.

Whilst Stockhausen understood the principal aim of Plastikman's Techno (which by current sell-out DJ dance music standards may appear somehow intellectually rigorous) he failed to grasp that it and the other examples came from another universe to his. Perhaps it was obvious to him, yet he makes comparisons with his own music and even recommends examples that the young ones should hear. The cheek! As for being sold out by the public, yes, unless any music-maker stays on top of their game people will move on. That said, Richie Hawtin still seems popular as a DJ. Perhaps that's where the real money is, a week's residency in Ibiza and one-off appearances at super clubs. I know Scanner still has a career in music. 'He has a good sense of atmosphere' according to Stockhausen. 'But he is too repetitive again'.

From another angle we can look at Electronica circa 1995 and see that whilst some of it really was avant-garde compared to cheesy 4/4, the urge to repeat had such an unshakable hold on most of it. Detroit Techno was, after all, a sacred reference point. When shown Stockhausen's response to his music, Scanner said 'What I like about repetition is that it can draw the listener and lull you into a false sense of security.' We've heard this idea expressed many times, of course; the listener is seduced by the ancient lure of the beat and once trapped is treated to mind-blowingly advanced ideas.

Mmm, I'm not convinced it works like that. Or rather, I believe it's a dangerous game for artists to play. If the trick works, they're trapped behind bars (to the beat) of their own making, knowing that people are buying because of the beat and feeling unable, or afraid, to jettison it for free music. I suspect Scanner is one of the more adventurous with regard to this. He does play the more 'intellectual' circuit and get interesting commissions rather than playing beats on a beach.

To state the obvious, that generation didn't come from a tradition of conservatory study in neo-classicism or need to know about complex musical theory. Moving on, all that seems even more old hat today, when High Classicism is redundant in all art forms. What music today does prove is that without having studied in the classic sense, music-makers can be as avant-garde as anything that went before. The noises you can hear in abundance on Bandcamp may not have the rigid structure or finely-honed compositional skills of the neo-classical/electronic tradition, but it is free from the need for repetition, the desire to lull anyone into a sense of security.

The downside of this free-for-all is that some folk are making very long tracks without the faintest idea of how to hold a listener's attention. It might fall into the 'ambient' category, but much of it is little more than music that's 'like a drug', to use Stockhausen's phrase. The drug it's like is Temazepam and some people love to take it. Ambient in its worst sense is just a silence filler for those who hate not to have music on. That and perhaps they fool themselves (or genuinely believe) that because it refuses Stockhausen's dreaded repetition it must therefore be 'deep'.

When he's very old and regarded as a master musician (what, you mean he already is?) perhaps Aphex Twin will be handed music by youngsters and asked what he thinks. He too may warn them about music becoming 'a whore'. One thing's for sure, he won't be condemning them for using too much repetition.


In A Joe Henderson Mode


In Joe Henderson mode on the MP3 player regularly for the last few weeks. This album, Mode For Joe, hits the spot with each play and especially the way he makes his entry on the title track. Others may build an improvised spaceship in which to travel (and carry us, the listeners) but Joe starts as if he's already Out There and we've just tuned into his wavelength...special. The whole album's great...with Lee Morgan, Curtis Fuller, Bobby Hutcherson, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter and Joe Chambers onm board, how could it be otherwise?

My scene >>> Pierre Henry - Le Reine vert


So someone warned me on Twitter that I'd best pay attention and show concern because 'The Machine' would 'dumb down' my scene too. They were referring to my lack of interest in whether the Ibiza scene was heading that way having read my recent post about the Proms going Dance. I've always thought the Ibiza scene was dumb to start with. Mind you, I wasn't there when it consisted of 50 Acid heads who'd found paradise and wanted to dance in it. Um, as you can tell, I'm not familiar with the roots of the Ibiza scene. All I know is any scene sold by 'super clubs' and populated by office ravers is not for me.

Whether it's an attempt to wind me up or not, it got me thinking about my 'scene'. Perhaps the Twitterer was under the illusion that I belong to a fraternity of left field electronic clubbers, or something. Little does he know that I'm always in bed by 11 and haven't been to a club in about seven years.

Thankfully then, I've no scene that can be 'dumbed down'. When I was part of The Rumpus Room in the mid 90s it was, if not in total isolation, a unique night that was part of a wider Electronica/eclectic scene which by its very nature could not get 'dumb'. 

So to Pierre Henry, a major player on my one-man scene. This music from 1963 is for Le Reine vert by choreographer Maurice Béjart. It's notable not only for the kind of sonic excellence you expect from Henry, but also as his first foray in electronics as a sound source. 

(For the regular visitors with Good Taste. And anyone else who's inquisitive...anti-sheeple music)


I-LP-O In Dub - Communist Dub (Editions Mego)


Ilpo Väisänen deviates from the Dub manifesto as written by Lee Perry and the gang to give us the bare bones of an already lean beast. Bleached out beats skitter around amid rarefied textures and percussive patterns fluctuate lending it all the air of a broken ideology.

Is it a repost to post-socialist despair in the Western world? Or just Ilpo experimenting with space? Maybe both. The bass that anchors trad Dub is absent, aside from sub-sub-woofer type punctuations, as are trademark drops, although much of it feels like one big drop down the elevator shaft into a bottomless black hole. Many have played fast and loose with Dub in mind across all electronic genres but Väisänen's Commie variation is grittier than most. Avoiding cookie cutter traps, these tracks are an idea of Dub that got lost somewhere along the way. That's no bad thing.

Father Sun Rudealis is more in the spirit of Black Ark science than the mode, if The Upsetter can be said to have had only one. Kolyma Stoned virtually disappears around the 3min mark, remaining as a ghost rhythm whilst jagged minimalist effects take over. Whilst there are echoes of his part in Pan Sonic, it lacks their disciplined approach. Ironically, it's the opposite of regimental Red theory in history; striking strange, awkward, unruly blows for freedom from regulation. Whether that's to its advantage I'll leave you to decide.

Time: The Missing 35 Years



If you know where Time went please tell me. Specifically, the 35 years that I suddenly realised had gone whilst watching a 1980 edition of Top of the Pops on Thursday night.

Dexys Midnight Runners were performing Geno when I felt compelled to check the date. 'Time is a trick of the mind' according to Rip Rig and Panic and in one sense, they're right; I'd been tricked into thinking that 35 years couldn't have passed. That's called denial, I suppose. It's a defence mechanism against the potentially crushing realisation that mortality is not an option.

Not that I mind Time disappearing. It would be hellish if it stayed around, locking you in a moment forever, unless that moment was an orgasm. Then again, even that would become tiresome after a while (that 'while' being immeasurable, of course) because, as they say, you can have too much of a good thing, even if that thing is a Charlie Parker solo, or Anna Karina in a Godard film. So the theory goes.

So Time went, all 35 years' worth, as I stood in front of the telly, remote in hand, trying to come to terms with this realisation. 1980...what was I doing? Working in a frozen food factory. Who was I dating? A girl with a haircut not dissimilar to the one worn by Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, whose Talk Of The Town was also featured on that edition of Top of the Pops..mmm...so good. Time has done that no harm but tragically it was running out fast for two members of the band. James Honeyman-Scott would die in '82 and Pete Farndon a year later, both from drug-related incidents.

Well, Time past is measurable but how much remains for each of us is not so I won't keep you any longer.

TTFN






The Proms Goes Pete Tong


'Yes! It's about time The Proms got with the times and what better way than to have a dance night hosted by the legend Pete Tong - whoo-eeee! Can't wait. Can you? I don't go normally, not to hear all that stuffy Classical shit 'cause it's, like, old and that. But this! This'll be a-ma-zing. No, it's not dumbing down. Why shouldn't Club Music be in with Classical? I think it's classic anyway - ha-ha! I heard some stuff by Mozart once; it was boring. Classical music is boring, isn't it? It goes on forever. No beats. I know, they didn't have beats in those days, but you know what I mean. I like stuff you can dance to. I like other stuff as well, like Lady Gaga and Kanye, who you can dance to, but...you know what I mean. Pete Tong's a god, isn't he? I'm going to get so-o-o out of it. Mummy says it's a stupid idea but what does she know? Your parents don't get it, do they? They go to The Proms every year. It would be funny if they came to this night by mistake! Imagine it! Excited.'

"We do now live in a world, thank God, where you can like all sorts of music, you don’t have to be rigidly siloed. When I was a kid you did have to choose what camp you were in ... I was passionate about Dusty Springfield when I was a kid but you sort of had to do that quietly," said the director of this year’s Proms, Edward Blakeman. This obviously reveals Blakeman's qualifications for ensuring that the Proms leaps into the 21st century with cutting edge music. 

Band Bangs Things To Make Music - John Cage's Percussion Music of 1943



The concert that got John Cage noticed in New York, where he'd been a resident since late in 1942. For a few weeks he and his wife shacked up with Peggy Guggenheim and Max Ernst. Paul Bowles, writing for New York Herald Tribune, described it as 'good for the hearing...and ear massage'. The big deal as far as press coverage went was this piece in Life magazine. Among other things they played Cage's Construction In Metal, Amadeo Roldán's Rítmicas V & VI and Henry Cowell's Ostinato Pianissimo.



Plot Defender - Nochexxx (Type)


Haywired for sound, Nochexxx (Dave Henson) brings the FonkAciTechOuttaStep noise, thankfully, because I was just starting to think this was a rotten year filled with the overripe stinking fruits of already dead seeds sown by those who don't have a clue how to grow one interesting thing - yes, wit until I start making music, I'll show 'em (it's not easy, I'm sure, with the endless potential of technology...and if that's true, how come so many are producing the same kind of tired music, eh?).

Moan over. Reasons to be cheerful: 1) without bothering to try and be 'new' (avant) Nochexxx makes the most of past formulas by stamping them with his own hand, rather than the auto-bot ABC repeat pattern cliché mechanised ones), 2) Jungle Crash - DJ Hyper mode, like something (a Jungle break?) at +16, countered by a play on classic Tech Step darkwave formations, 3) Leading Bleeds - in the post-modern electronic Land Of Confusion (oh just do dark Ambient, then) a way forward, the momentum is unstoppable, brand new, it's not retro, the halfway rhythm hint then full pick-up around 2.38 is brilliant, then he adds another dimension.

3 reasons. There are more. Rusted Phoenix - throbbing gristle that cooks up yah brain. Stinson Fish - down the aqua worm hole we go...I'd love to share a track but couldn't find one streamed. Instead, imagine for now, or you're already enjoying it, or you will when you buy it. Promise.

Lose That Cultural Flab!

Everything must go - unworn shoes, shirts, jackets, duplicate files, old photos, dead documents and music from the hard drive, music downloaded months ago but never did listen to properly, some massive files, several GB's worth of what you thought might be essential, but has proved not to be and those albums you liked at the time but more time lessened their value (modern music - huh!).

Make room! make room! Clutter, it fills the years, you gain more years and clutter so you look in cupboards, behind cupboards, in draws, under desks to find stuff, useless stuff you once thought was useful but the years have proved you wrong - get rid of it! I want it gone.

Get out the black plastic bin liners and get busy with the delete button!

Scraps of paper, books, yes, those books you've been meaning to read and never have and never will, probably. Time has accumulated them and it will run out before most of them get read because it's the pile that never stops growing.

The flat is small. If we lived in a big house there would be even more clutter. So I thrill to the spaces appearing on the shelves and the decreasing length of the line that tells me how much space is left on the computer.

Clouds of dust rise up, scraps of paper fall to the carpet carrying phone numbers that are meaningless, names, business cards, the buttons in plastic bags that you get with some items of clothing but forget which ones they belong too, stuff you printed out, meant to read properly but never did and never will (maybe you will but 'maybe' is a bad word in this exercise and they catchword of all hoarders).

I have a friend who's flat is so filled with stuff that he never invites anyone 'round. I'd like to see him on that Hoarder Next Door programme and if you can suggest candidates, I will. Not that he'd thank me for it but I'd love to see him in a tug-of-war match with those strict clear-out women over duplicates of comics - ha-ha! And books. he sometimes uses me as a dump for his doubles, bless 'im. What I'd really like to do is go 'round and help him but I fear it might be the end of our relationship once I fill the skip with stuff whilst he weeps beside it, pleading.

As you know, once the decision is made to have a clear out you're forced to really evaluate what you have. I like this process; cultural dieting - lose all that excess culture now! Be a lean, mean, culture machine, an assassin of the superfluous. You won't miss it when it's gone, until you go to look for it and even then you'll shrug and say "So what?"

If books, magazines, records and music really matter to you, make sure that what you have means something.

Yours Sincerely, Clear-Out Guru
(Available for hire at reasonable prices, apply via message)
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