Digital Art / The CD Revival / Beyonce vs Aretha /

Meet Me At The Morgue (detail) full picture here


Q: What's the point of blogging?
A: I dunno


The CD Revival....

                                                                            ...a friend came 'round the other day and we chatted about music buying, him saying he still preferred CDs, me thinking 'Ah, yes, a child of the 80s' whilst feeling all modern with my choice of MP3s. Then, as I was compiling my 10 Essential Jazz Albums, listening to Thelonious Monk on YouTube, fucking adverts came on after every track. Now, I could set about trying to download Monk but instead it struck me that I really should get more of him on CD. We know the sound's better. So I did; a cheap box set containing 9 albums. That's better. Although ideally I'd rather have the individual albums I think more of space-saving, these days. In Fopp the poster proudly proclaimed: 'Vinyl Is Killing MP3s' - well how about 'CDs Are Killing Vinyl'? I love vinyl, of course, but was reminded of its failings by a hi-fi buff at a party last year who said he was totally digital now. I'm not about to go on about that particular subject. Enough's been said. 


Q: What's the point of Beyonce?
A: I dunno

                                                                             ...she annoys me. Am I the only person on the planet to feel that way? The Guardian has been promoting her like she's the new Aretha Franklin-meets-Marvin Gaye circa What's Going On meets-Stevie Wonder...such genius! Bollocks. I watched some of a new video. She dances in it - you know - that sort of choreographed shit, but here I must bite my tongue instead of making derogatory comments about her 'ass' seems to be a feature she's keen to promote. Mostly it's the posturing I can't stand...those faux 'street' gestures, the high gloss 'attitude'...and as loath as I am to come on like an fart enamoured only with old music, if you watch Aretha performing in her heyday...

...I rest my case. I only put the case because having heard a fair bit of music context is inescapable, history is inescapable, for those of us belonging to a certain generation. We can't help but make comparisons. Sometimes I even pity those young YouTube commentators who, regarding a classic piece of reggae, Funk, Punk or whatever, say things like 'Music's shit today, I wish I'd been around in those days'. I was. It's some consolation for the ageing process...

10 Essential Jazz Albums

Inspired (provoked) by this list here, I foolishly felt compelled to create my own. It is folly to attempt to offer a mere ten albums from a universe of music but there you go. I've seen too many stupid lists purporting to name 'essentials' which actually omit what anyone with an ounce of knowledge would include. Since I have at least five ounces worth of knowledge about Jazz, I present this lot...

Ornette Coleman - The Shape Of Jazz To Come  (1959)
Harmolodic neo-Bop, pre-Free masterpiece of unique strangeness guaranteed to mystify and mesmerise for many centuries to come. The shape of nothing other Ornette Coleman's 5-decade career in it's infancy.

Charlie Parker And Dizzy Gillespie ‎– Bird And Diz (1952)
Be-Bop, the hot, happening hipster soundtrack, complete with it's own language, as loved by beatniks and disapproved of by mouldy old figs; total revolution in hyper-Jazz dexterity, pranksterism in putting on the squares and atomic sonic reconfiguration of the Jazz template.

John Coltrane ‎– "Live" At The Village Vanguard (1962)
Spiritual messenger of Jazz from a higher place, here Coltrane transcends mere technical virtuosity to carry us through the time/space/harmonic/melodic continuum on a starship co-piloted by players equal to his talent on New York nights during which, it is said, the sounds could be heard by extraterrestrials, who were too stunned, vowing never to land on such an awe-inspiring planet for fear of being completely overwhelmed to the extent that that may forget their coordinates home. Fact.

Sun Ra And His Myth Science Arkestra ‎– Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy (1967)
Coming from Saturn to enlighten earthlings, Sun Ra created a total uni(omini)verse of other-worldly music whilst embracing terrestrial Jazz forms in the process. Understanding the potential of Jazz is impossible without Sun Ra in your life. The real tragedy of humanity's eventual extinction is that Sun Ra's music will no longer exist on this planet but we can console ourselves by knowing that it will be Out There, somewhere.

Duke Ellington ‎– The Indispensable Duke Ellington Volumes 5/6
Pretending, as this list does, this is still the age of vinyl (not the revived version) picking Ellington from his classic first-half period must result a comp and any one will do the job, broadcasting into your life big band music so joyous and smart, so brilliantly arranged and played as to knock all other orchestras for six whilst inducing a big smile as your toes tap and gradually, over the years, your brain comprehends why he is regarded as a legend. 

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (1970
Miles went electric, got a gold record and set the standard for Fusion which no-one has since matched, thus continuing his track record of creating genius music through the changes since Be-Bop, making him the pre-eminent player of the 20th century.

The Horace Silver Quintet ‎– Song For My Father (1965)
A Blue Note record par excellence, Silver always blows the blues away and this is the perfect place to enjoy mainstream modernism at its best.

Charles Mingus ‎– Blues & Roots (1960)
Baddest bass player on the planet, Mingus drew blood, sweat and tears from his bands, filling every groove with these substances which, as your needle ploughs through them, evoke the agony and ecstasy of life to such an extent that you can hardly believe your ears. Fact.

Thelonious Monk ‎– Genius Of Modern Music (1952)
Ostensibly categorised as 'Be-Bop', Monk's music actually came from the singular planet of his own unique mind from which came warped yet melodic tunes, like dreams from creatively advanced, incredibly hip children. 

Louis Armstrong And His Hot Seven – The Louis Armstrong Story, Volume II
Not originally an album artist, of course, too early for that and early, also, for pioneering 'the Jazz solo', Louis may appear dust-covered and 'uncool' to the untrained ear, but that doesn't belong to you, does it? No, not after hearing this whole list and realising the mind-boggling scope of this thing called 'Jazz', the total breadth of which I have not been able to cover but have attempted, in an objective yet personal fashion, to present in various forms, even ancient ones such as this, the genre known as 'Trad', which has become another word for 'old-fashioned' since the mod era, only to be properly appreciated almost a century later as the brilliant early expression of a suppressed race giving their often hostile white citizens one of their country's greatest art forms.

Jack Kerouac & All That Jazz (Writing)

Long-Player, RTomens, 2014

It's Jazz Appreciation Month, so I hope you've been dutifully appreciating it. Once May comes, you can stop. I wrote the a book on Jazz once. That makes me an expert, so you'd better listen. There are lots of books on Jazz written by experts but none of them are like mine. Perhaps no books are really like one another, so the authors hope. Otherwise, what's the point? In retrospect (and I may have even thought it at the time) my book is akin to a Jazz solo. In case you don't know, the point of those is to improvise, thus charting a course through territory for which you have no map and you're travelling very fast. Unless it's a ballad. Even so, quick unthinking is required and you're dependent on an ability to arrive somehow without getting lost. A bit like writing, only you have no opportunity to return and edit.

Much of my writing was unedited because I wanted to capture the 'sound' as I made it, rather than a cleaned-up version of that sound. The benefits are enormous, not least in the 'energy' transmitted. The downside is some people will think you're a little mad. And can't write 'properly'. People said Free Jazz players couldn't play properly, thus missing the point entirely. The point being total self-expression unfettered by musical rules. Jack Kerouac famously emulated Jazz musicians in his writing. As he wrote in Essentials Of Spontaneous Prose (1957): 'sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image.'

Kerouac is closely associated with the Be-Bop era, having been around in the mid-40s when it blew up, written those experiences into books and been inspired, prose-wise. What's probably less well-known is that by 1960, when Bop was over and had been replaced by Hard Bop, as personified by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Kerouac saw the importance of the New Thing. In The Last Word column of December 1960 he wrote: 'I think the first breakthrough since Charlie Parker has been accomplished by Ornette Coleman and Donald Cherry with his little cornet and that it will lead the way, like Parker's way, into a whole new era of jazz.' With hindsight, that's shows a smart, forward-thinking appreciation of new developments as opposed to the more common reaction of outrage and disgust. Whilst history tells us Coleman went on to earn his place as a bona fide legend, it's easy to forget the hostility towards him coming from many quarters at the time. The other point is that whilst he was a key figure in the evolution of freer forms he remained a totally singular player throughout his whole career, as distinct as Thelonious Monk's piano-playing during the be-Bop era.

Jazz is still a mystery to many who think they might get into it, or should really try, so next I'll be posting my Essential Jazz Albums. Because I'm an expert.

Digital Art / Kane Ikin - Modern Pressure

The Big Smear, RTomens, 2016
More art over here


The Type label puts out some good stuff, like the Nochexx, Shapednoise and Basic Rhythm albums - here's another - we want good stuff, don't we? Trouble is, you know, it's hard to find, unless you're of a particularly generous spirit, or the kind which is easily pleased, in which case, 'good' is everywhere - like all those 'good' albums we come across which aren't actually that good, but we look at the comments and see that a lot of people say it's not just 'good', but 'stunning!', er, 'brilliant!' etc - and you realise that you have different ears to them, the kind for which yet another 4/4 Techno beat with token FX isn't really good enough - yes. Still, it takes all sorts to make the world a more simple place and they work hard at it, every day, supporting mediocrity because their simple ears tell them it's 'good'. Have you noticed? That's how we get superstars, you know. Of course you know. The world's full of 'em - half-talented, fully-ambitious go-getters grabbing people's money. 

Meanwhile, Kane Ikin is starving in his Melbourne bedsit, chewing on three-day-old crusts of bread, drinking sour milk and staring at his music equipment thinking 'I should sell it off - this can't go on!'. At least, according to FACT (so it must be true) he was 'forced to sell off equipment to make ends meet'. I've been there. Well, a similar place; starving on dole money whilst surrounded by albums, a lot of which I had to sell in the 80s. It was eat or listen to another Hank Mobley album on Blue Note - sorry Hank, no disrespect intended, but...

So here's Ikin's Hard Pressure for Type and I should say straight off that it's not a classic - but - remember when idiot journos used to bemoan the lack of brilliant electronic albums because although it was supposed to be 'happening' and 'progressive' and even 'hip' no-one had yet made a 'classic' album (I'm think the early 90s here, when the inky music press still existed) then Orbital were suddenly It - ooh, a proper album! Then they became Glastonbury stars and like The Chemical Brothers thrilled millions of part-time cheesy quavers, clean shirts and crusties...

...since then a lot of very good electronic albums have been made but no-one (except you and me) noticed (I may even have missed a few, yes) because the DIY atomic explosion ensured that everyone could do it to an extent which made Punk look corporate, what with all the available platforms and digital distribution the floodgates opened, drowning listeners and music-makers alike in an ocean of releases. 

Hard Pressure has been on my drive for a few weeks, not causing much trouble, sitting quietly, admittedly, hardly played until the other day when I woke it up - yes - it's interesting, this. Why? Partly because it doesn't quiet know where it's going or what it wants to be - ambient? Dark? Techno? Industrial ruffage? So it's all of them without fully committing to any, which should, really, make it a failure, yet it's far from that. The opener, Partial, is therefore appropriately titled. Its steady tempo, moody beat, gruff machine wheeze works very well, as does the bubble and hiss of Haze Shimmer, an atmosphere constantly interrupted by the suggestion of a sampled melody (or two) yet shrugging them off in favour of melancholic drift implying the fag end of a Summer's day when the stench of nearby dog shit ruined your picnic, you were stung by a wasp and the drugs didn't work. I know nothing about drug-taking, but...

Tap Tap Collapse nag, nag, nags at you with a persistent rising riff like the machine ascending only to be consumed by rhythm then decapitated with a circular saw and Smoke Hood gets the motorik thing just right; its autobahn groove a pure sound/vision of that night-time drive through Babylon (Tottenham) that we've all made, in our heads, at least. If Ikin felt hard pressure when making this, at least the resulting sounds proved worthwhile.

On The Corner In Kentish Town With Miles Davis

'Caution, back  end swings out when turning' says the sign on the back of the lorry carrying rolls of turf down Kentish Town high street whilst I sit drinking coffee - reminding me of the fact that Joe Tex's Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman) was a recent earworm - then it turns and damned if the end didn't swing right out whilst the cab passed a corner on which nobody was standing, unlike Corky McCoy's cartoon depiction of On The Corner types for Miles Davis's album - the gallery of stereo-types (hustler, whore, jive hipsters and liberated brother parody) - this ain't New York, this is London Ta-a-hn - still, I think of Miles Davis having listened to the BBC documentary about him gone electric...

...just because someone posted this photo on Facebook last night...

...MD with ELP - christ - who said he sold out? Keith Emerson having killed himself recently I won't speak ill of the dead - suffice to say ELP's music has never meant anything to me. Where was I? On The Corner. You know MD went electric and you know that some said it was a sell-out, right? Bitches Brew? Of course, any Jazz 'purist' would wrinkle their nose at someone electrifying their acoustic world but Davis didn't just plug it in, he wired it totally weird, creating a writhing amplified monster that crawled up the purists' collective backside and chewed them alive from the inside. Boys, if you must, in your self-appointed holiness, stick the Sell-Out-label in anyone try the smooth Fusion mob that came a few years later and tell Freddie Hubbard he should have still been doing what he was doing ten years ago instead of playing half the notes and earning ten times the amount of money.

The idea of MD wanting to somehow get in with the Rock crowd always amuses me - to think that his aim may have been that but his methods were anything but ingratiating. So Bitches Brew sold huge amounts - with what? Cheap easy R&B riffs and a Funk-by-numbers-back beat? Not exactly. Not at all. Turns out, as the witnesses in the BBC doc testify, most of what went on when MD entered electric crazyland was directionless, other than the occasional cryptic command from Him. Get the right heads together, free their asses and their fingers and lips will follow; none of which really explains how MD was able to get what he did out of John McLaughlin, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland and the rest. After all, get most musos to 'jam' and the results would be awful, your worst 'supergroup' nightmare blues riffing for an hour, perhaps (who shouted "Cream!"?).

Now Don Cheadle's biopic, Miles Ahead is about to open in UK cinemas he's doing the publicity rounds, turning up on The One Show the other week, of all places (well, they (the common herd) know Don from his Hollywood hits so he's actually less of a stranger to them than he is to me). Even so, I nearly choked on my dinner when they showed a clip of MD playing 'live' and electric - blimey! What went wrong there? Doesn't the producer know that this is prime time TV and thousands of families are gathered in front of the set wanting to be entertained (and, yes, informed of certain social problems) - not made to endure that noise! "Is that Jazz?" A bemused viewer asks herself. "Oh, it's not what I thought it was, then." Funnier still than my imaginary-but-surely-real-too scenario was co-host Matt Baker expressing surprise that the man depicted in Cheadle's film could be difficult yet play so beautifully...

...well, come on, you wouldn't expect Matt to be familiar with MD's total output, would you? 

So MD lands in UK living-rooms...also on the street, assuming there are film posters around. I know one was seen at a tube station. But what would a Jazz ignoramus make of that poster? Who's the black freak dressed like...what...I dunno. Perhaps DC's name will be enough to get some of them into the cinemas. I haven't seen it yet and don't hold up much hope for anything other than the novelty of seeing someone do a good impersonation of Him. That'll do. Then I want to see Forest Whitaker as Sun Ra...

Jazz Cliché Aspirational Wire Magazine Reading, My DJ Fame & Stewart Lee

Clutching the latest copy of The Wire I cross Kentish Town High St, head into The Renoir cafe - how bourgeois! - what? - no, it's not, but for three seconds I thought so - The Wire (sofistication) The Renoir (ooh, I say, how artistic!) - cappuccino! well, everyone drinks that nowadays....but not necessarily from The Renoir, which charges £2.60 for a small one, which is a bit steep but it is good and besides, the proletariat never use the place and I'm keen to distance myself from them, being aspirational to that extent if not in actual serious life matters such as a career or house-buying - I joke and have to make that clear in case you really think I mean it - but who knows? subconsciously, am I actually doing that? distancing myself from my class? no!

In my roll-neck sweater reading The Wire - 32 years ago that would have made for a stereotype - the Jazzy type - since The Wire used to feature typical Jazz material (as shown by the cover above) and that would make me a roll-necked-wearing-Jazz-loving-cafe-culture cliché - wouldn't it? perhaps I was, once. But The Wire evolved away from all that, thankfully (for their sales) and so did I - but not always with the latest Wire in the flat because I've had an on/off affair with it - on for the first 15 years, off for about ten (christ, how many years is that? am I really that old?), then on again until now - it's great that it's changed otherwise it'd be just another Jazz mag. Note, the cap 'J' is important in case you think of the slang term, 'jazz mag', for rude publications, although there is a woman on the cover of the latest copy - Marissa Nadler, who I've not heard of (looks inside), apparently she sings 'haunted songs' and funnily enough in one of the photos she does wear a somewhat 'come hither' look whilst laying on a sofa although perhaps that's my dirty-ol'-man imagination. I'm sure the (male) photographer didn't encourage her in a swinging David Bailey style to 'Come on, baby' whilst aiming his phallic lens at her - but there she is, on a sofa, looking....I suppose it's fine for a female songwriter to look like that, these days, even the 'alternative' type - very womanly, lipstick and - it's a feminist issue and I don't know what's right or wrong regarding that, nor am I qualified to say, being a man, last time I looked.

In the mid-90s we (Merry Prankster DJs) used to play events organised by The Wire so I saw Rob Young (current contributing editor) quite a lot - once he mimicked playing trumpet whilst I span a Miles Davis tune at The ICA - funny, the things you remember, isn't it? I played their night at the Spitz club in '97 on stage alongside Derek Bailey, which ended up in the '60 Concerts That Shook The World' (see cover above) and yes, regulars, I'm dining on that one until I go, sorry. I had to tell comedian legend Stewart Lee about it whilst we pissed at the 12 Bar Club Sleaford Mods gig - in the toilet, mind, we weren't that drunk - to impress him because DB is a favourite of his - I don't know how impressed he was but I told him how impressed I was that he answered questions on Bailey for Mastermind. Stewart Lee is the best comedian around bar none; the only one capable of using Miles Davis as an example of timing during a routine, convincingly, if you know about Jazz and if you don't, pointlessly, but that's one reason he's so good, not dumbing down for any potential dimwit in the audience, even an audience of Guardian readers, as he regularly jokes about. Funnily enough, in the last episode of his recent BBC2 series the theme was piss-related, thus reminding me of our meeting in the toilet.

I'm off now to read that Wire. So be good. 

There Was A Time...

There was a time...sometimes I'd dance...Bats In The Belfry at The Belfry Hotel, 1976, outside of Oxford, middle of nowhere place, we'd drive the 27 miles on a Saturday night...James Brown's There Was A Time was one anthem - came to me cycling home today...

...there was a time...folks wearing mohair jumpers and plastic sandals, the pre-Punk Punk look - Northern Soul was fine but the way it's talked about you'd think it was the only Soul scene in the 70s - us Southerners know better...

...there was a time we'd queue in the corridor of the building joined to the main hotel, hearing music coming from the hall, get in, see who's about, the rush of some Funk tune, buy drinks, stand on the edge of the small 'floor, blokes playing pool at the back to the right, sometimes things got out of hand, the cues used as weapons but mostly it was a peaceful scene - girls - they played slow tunes back then, a chance to dance, perhaps, as I did once until she said she had to sit down, which I took as a refusal but later found out she was just tired so that was all right...

...none of us found proper girlfriends was as if the music and dancing meant more...Gil Scott-Heron's The Bottle...some kids got into the military look, perhaps that cue came from Bryan Ferry, or he nicked it from the club scene, I don't know...boys in smart khaki, ties, hair slicked back - style pioneers - get the look, it didn't matter that you couldn't dance like James Brown, no-one could...

...there was a time - seems like a lifetime ago, a lifetime of Saturday night fever before the term was known, before it gave birth to countless bad Disco dancers on TV, the big sell of a Disco lie which said 'men can't dance, here's how you do it' as if we were all stuck in some 50s ballroom, as if Mod never happened, as if no-one but us had gone to Soul clubs in the early 70s...

...there was a time...I recall, thanks to James Brown...

Outsiders & The (un)Social Network

Have you noticed how some of the most interesting people don't get on well with the internet? Or is it just the ones I know? Interesting people have trouble being very sociable on the sociable network. Perhaps some of them are socially inept. They make interesting music and put it on Bandcamp; just a few albums, perhaps, which are far too interesting to be noticed by many people. They're on Facebook, but not frequently and tend to disappear for long spells, realising that there isn't much to 'like'. They don't have many FB friends, having unfollowed the time-wasters. They're on Twitter, perhaps, in an effort to be 'sociable', but it's one long painful trawl through utter nonsense so they rarely use it. They have neither the time nor the inclination to exploit the potential of the network because, in truth, much of it disgusts them. The trouble is they are creative, in fits and starts and this creative urge takes the form of words, images and sounds which will never be very popular. Yet somewhere they read that the network can make them well-known, if they use it properly, but they don't, so it's largely a pain in the arse and, if truth be told, the prime example of what's wrong with a world seemingly devoted to utter tripe, insignificant frivolity and egomania in overdrive. They could contribute a great deal towards making the social network more interesting but prefer to abstain, thus increasing their feelings of isolation and despair. 

Next time: Etsy and Existential Despair

Tom Knapp - Mophoc Rez

Mainlining this in the ' demands it - you know, just the other day I was listening to Bernard Parmegiani on the hi-fidelity CD contraption across the room and it struck me, not for the first time, that it wasn't until sound got portable that we could easily appreciate the effort put into some music, which begs the question why I bothered wearing huge headphones in the 70s to hear Alan Freeman play Blue Oyster Cult on his Saturday afternoon show - BOC hardly being enhanced by close listening - then again - I remember now, we only had one music unit in the house (note, unit, now, since we'd gone upmarket having ditched the portable mono through which I actually did start discovering music such as Bowie etc), which was in the living room and Dad always watched the horse racing on a Saturday afternoon... I was listening to Parmegiani but it felt distant, you know? Too much space between me and the sound, the air that carried on it subtle sounds from outside (wind, rain, workman's tools, servants bickering about how much I pay them etc) - not only that but have you noticed how the air, even in an otherwise silent room, disturbs sound? It just wasn't right. So I vowed to get the BP box transferred onto a medium that would allow me to plug 'em in and then really hear it...

Tom Knapp's Mophoc Rez is music to meditate with, rather, meditate on, perhaps, for despite the presence of sometimes course textures and occasional disruptive modulations there's an underlying...calm? Assurance, his, gives that impression. Knowing what to do, rather than winging it...and yet, somehow, improvisatory, as if throwing the mechanical dice sometimes, seeing where it lands, what happens, how it can be incorporated into the whole. I don't know how he works. Where do these sounds come from? Meaning, are they composed? Surely not. A feel...the way modern electronic music-makers work...through the sounds, layers, textures and tones...what might happen, what could happen if this is introduced and tweaked?

Around the globe folks are pre-setting sound and just tinkering, sprinkling sugar (not even sugar, sugar substitute) on top for the delectation of pop music-lovers and fans of other electronic music alike. But I praise Tom Knapp for continuing the tradition of the avant-garde as exemplified by the likes of Parmegiani. I'm listening to Mophoc Rez again on a Saturday afternoon, coincidentally, but Alan Freeman is dead.


Bass Is The Place: Charles Mingus' II B.S

Visiting Our God Is Speed recently I learnt that back in February whilst I was hibernating (mentally), surely, because I missed it, Simon Reynolds started a bass poll, inviting contributors as well as throwing in his own nominations. Not that I would have bothered, but playing Mingus' II B.S. at the week-end I was struck for the zillionth time by the magnificence of His intro. I don't know if any Jazz was involved in the Blissblog thing, probably not. This isn't the start of my big trawl through classic bass moments either. I just wanted to post it and listen again, not only to what must rate as one of the Greatest Bass Intros In Jazz, but the whole storming track, during which He keeps it moving as only Mingus could, as if wishing to tear off every string. The percussive colour during the intro is the icing...

Imaginary Forces - Visitation (Fang Bomb)

A close mechanics of Imaginary Forces abducting your soul, probing it, rearranging molecules, inserting data...all in time for the pre-New World Order party taking part in the heads of all those who know we are doomed (the others can carry on dancing in ignorance) as discussed with a friend at the week-end...we could only conclude that the forces of ultracapitalism & globalisation will result in Them living securely in gated communities whilst the rest of us tear each other to pieces over water, food and the few remaining books, which will probably be 50 Shades of Grey, so don't bother...meanwhile, Enlightenment from this EP is the perfect soundtrack...brutal but honest proper technoid sound...

Fang Bomb label

Matthew Collings - A Requiem for Edward Snowden

Still eating the hot cross buns I bought two weeks ago, washed down with coffee - nothing wrong with them! - because they're packed with enough preservatives to outlive humanity....I should stock up the nuclear bunker with them...

...what's that got to do with music, specifically Matthew Collings' A Requiem for Edward Snowden? Nothing, except to say that you know as well as I do that unlike Gilson's Bakery's fine buns, most modern music is indigestible to start with, never mind lasting for over two weeks... first I thought the art critic Matthew Collings had made an album, although with this title it seemed unlikely. No, it's not him. It is a fine album though, the kind Pierre Boulez might have been proud to make, if I may be so bold...back when he was exploring the orchestral & electronic, which was the 50s, I think. I may be wrong. Here the soloists, strings, vocal snippets and electronic textures interact in perfect unison. Clarinettist Pete Furniss' work on Cinncinatus is particularly good, giving the impression of a Free Jazz/Electronic workout more than a 'classical'/synth fusion. Rapid Pulse is great too, riding as it does a kind of Steve Reich/John Adams 'train' with the bonus of Hollings' brutal interruptive pulse. Tasty.

K. Fenrir - Drifting Towards the End / Harry Knuckles - Tónmennt (FALK)

[FALK0A] - Tónmennt cover art

Fuck Art Let's Kill - no, that's not my statement, but what the acronym FALK stands for - nice, innit? Fuck art? Tut-tut, these Icelandic nihilists...two suitably devilish releases here from Harry Knuckles and K. Fenrir. Tónmennt is especially brain-scrambling, in a good way, a way that makes you think 'There's more to this than just a bloody noise', which is the claim made for many Noise releases yet one I'm seldom capable of investigating because I can't get past the noise. Noise annoys. OK. Noise with some 'art' involved is better. Harry Knuckles' blasts are broken into slabs; bite-sized if you've got a big chops and strong teeth. A scrambled collage of smashed beats, abrupt breaks, loopy loops and screwed samples, Tónmennt may drive you insane, but right there on the razor's edge exists a kind a lunatic ecstasy.                 

K. Fenrir's Drifting Towards the End sets the controls for the heart of darkness, NASA samples and HP Lovecraft included but so submerged as to avoid the pitfalls of blatant reference. Fantastic textures to the first track, Floating Amongst Giants; it feels like the ebb and flow of primordial ooze whilst simultaneously being sucked in a black hole somewhere Out There. The screwed Lovecraft text of Night-Gaunts works brilliantly, that unearthly tone as omen for thing to come, or things that are already crawling into the black mountain cave of your soul. Submerged too Low is a stand out track. Listen below to hear why. Both albums are beasts. Enter at your peril.

Pulp Fiction: Stranger Than Life - R. DeWitt Miller

Haven't posted a good book cover for here's this...from Ace Books, 1955. Chapter 13: 'What Is Your Brain?' And 15: 'Sex, Yes'. Irresistible! Many mysteries investigated. 'Should Interest Every Thinking Person', according to the L.A.Herald Express.

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