This is what I mean...not buying more worthless shit...
.........................................................track 1: Enlightenment feat. Justin K. Broadrick.......bring the noise! (again) - yes, that beloved-by-those-of-us-old-enough-to-remember it mid-90s Techstep 'hoover' (not cheap shit, like Henry, but proper, like Miele which, coincidentally, is based in Germany, as is Shapednoise)
sound is upon us, fully, like the middle of a No U-Turn 12" but all the way through - yes! it's that good! But such delightfully dark dronefuzz bass would be nothing without a proper surrounding...and this has one...
nuclear destruction of Western civilisation - thrill to the sound of empires (remember them?) crumbling! crunch!
.................here's an Intruder and it's an iron robot with fists the size of football stadium and eyes that fire deadly beams pummelling & burning everything in site, including you - war of the worlds, only this time no virus is going to stop it...no...
............Dream Within A Dream? your worst nightmare
christ, how much of this can anyone take? more! come on - harder! your Well-Being is not guaranteed. this fellow means you harm. perhaps he means to dismantle EVERYTHING. I wish him luck. he's doing well......
What Is It Like? (track 6) - when you think the weight cannot increase it does, not that the heaviest noises
are necessarily the most effective but here, duck and cover! cry like a baby, ask for your mummy but it's no good, no-one can save you......if there's something rotten at the heart of Western civilisation (there is, isn't there?) with it's political schemes & capitalist nightmares, treachery, poverty (still!), homelessness etc etc - Shapednoise and Different Selves as akin to retribution - we brought this on ourselves!
up against the wall muthafuckers!
you hands-in-the-air happy
lazer light shiny plastic disco sheeple!
you moron-electric superstar DJ-sucking imbeciles!
yeah. get them first. obviously.
this feels like music made in spite of them, aimed at them, at retarded repetition for the sake of not challenging the conservative normality of funfunfun entertainment.
then the politicians.
I need a lie down....
'CUT / A tsunami of bad vibes hits the Vatican..."Communists! Heathen cunts!" shrieks the pope...'
.......................................inspired by the recent Jürgen Ploog cut up recordings I went in search of any books containing his work and found this, Cut Up Or Shut Up, also featuring Jan Herman and Carl Weissner.....
................................the cover's by Wolf Vostell...........................................................
................................'Tickertape' intro by William Burroughs...................
.............................and best of all, unbeknownst to me when buying because the seller didn't mention it (!), it's one of the few (26, according to Reality Studio) signed copies. Only 100 had this dustjacket too..........
................................................on the subject of cut ups, here's a book which includes three of mine, but that aside, it's also an incredibly good collection...get it here.........................
...apart from the sound of the postman dropping a package over the gate...
(over the gate? you may wonder. well, we don't have a letter box, only a letter hole, in the outside gate, so everything falls to the floor and if it doesn't fit through that the postman chucks it over the gate, as he did today and that excited me because it was a book I've been awaiting for some time, all the way from America and I might share some of it with you if you're good....................)
So...ASURA, which is Air Protection Office and Servadio (no, those name meant nothing to me either, but I'm assuming you don't know them when, in fact, you may be clued in to the Berlin/London underground, or even a member of either Air Protection Office and Servadio, in which case, well done).
It's a great noise!
Or noises, actually. Not horrible noises. Good noises. Horrible to some, though. Even you, perhaps. Figures...such a thunderous ecstatic rumble! It should bring us down but elevates me to another level, so deftly organised are the sounds...sonic booms at irregular intervals & intermittent beats - most wholesome - a sharp electronic storm
Disfigured - hear the shredding of your own brain tissues! before it calms down to a pulse with evil goblins strafing you from spitfire jets - tremendous tension between the minimal thump and turmoil from bursts of noise
Disfigured some more - you can't take it? Yes you can! like:
spiked beats broken into slabs
senses deranged, totally, disfigured and dismembered
the ghost of a regular beat struggling through only to be strangled & mangled....
...........cosmic tones for eyeball therapy - yes - new book from Art Yard, Omniverse, an updated version of the one that came out in 1994 (now priced at slightly less than it would cost to build a rocket ship)...chapters by Hartmut Geerken, Amiri Baraka, Chris Cutler and Salah Ragab amongst others...the records, films and books are all here, as is the meaning of not just Sun Ra's omniverse but Life itself...previously unpublished photographs by Hartmut Geerken and Val Wilmer, a fully revised discography by Chris Trent...hundreds of full colour album covers, rare hand drawn sleeves and ephemera...so what you waiting for? Here are some snaps I took of my copy...
Film soundtracks have inspired much modern composition, whether it be the eternal electronic blueprint of Forbidden Planet or obscure 70s European horror. Lucrecia Dalt works differently, inspired not so much by the music of film but the mysterious ways in which all cinematic sound and vision can suggest other music and spark a creative direction. So to Ou, not typical widescreen music but imbued, instead, with the most subtle nuances in composition. I've played the album several times and constantly found something new. This is a pleasant relief from most music which, as you're well aware, can be 'known' within a minute or two.
Scenes within scenes unfold, each section within the main title having its own...the apparently open nature of OVER UNITY (Meontic Voice / Taquión), tethered in stages to subtle rhythms, one of which sounds like a needle trapped in a groove, another, soft, insistent bass gently driving loopy FX which give way to another rhythm and so on, so the music captures the attentive listener. IOT (Roto / Quebrado / Suelto) moves through a light mid-tempo mood into mysterious murmurings, twisting and turning, evolving as it goes, with presumably Dalt's wordless treated voice providing patterns of sound.
This understated but beguiling album is not one that will leap out of your speakers but does ensnare you all the same, luring you into a dialogue with its many dimensions in the same way, perhaps, Dalt engaged with cinema for her influence.
Release date: December 8. Care Of Editions
Six of my vispo pieces have recently been posted at MinXus-LynXus, a great mail art site. They're not adverse to work being emailed to them either, hence my inclusion. The one below is from a triptych called There Is No Real, the others on the site are from a larger project called What Does It Actually Mean? They've made the effort to actually discuss my work, which in this age of just-post-images is a minor miracle. A highly recommended site to bookmark.
|R. Tomens 2015|
In other news this week...
I was given two mince pies
by a guy delivering them in
a van, the rear door of which
was open, as I told him when
we stopped at the traffic lights and,
having assured me the door was OK,
he offered me mince pies, holding up
the cardboard box, saying what sounded like
because I couldn't understand him
he picked one out with a grin, which prompted me to reach through the window
and take it before he offered another, saying "Very good me-e-e-npi-i-i!" so I
took that one too, placing it delicately alongside the first, in my pannier, by which
time the lights had long since turned green but we didn't care, being too busy
exchanging favours, grinning at each other as I noted his beard and complexion,
wondering if he was a Muslim, perhaps on a goodwill mission and,
in this instance, it certainly worked
because they were the best
mince pies I've ever eaten.
All That Jazz...Charlie Parker Art / Miles Davis Number 1 / Kurws - All that is solid melts into air
|Long Playing, R. Tomens, 2014|
...Miles Davis reaches Number One - yes, in a poll from listeners of BBC Radio and Jazz FM (the latter having stopped being a proper Jazz station since, um, Day One, I think) - so a respected bunch of voters, eh? Maybe. Where was I when the BBC were asking? Anyway, His dominance got me thinking 'Why?', which lead me to muse that it wasn't his electro-psychedelic-free-funk that won him so much love, more likely Kind Of Blue, which everyone loves, yes, everyone, which is good but...
...I wish his electronic era would get the respect it deserves as an ear-shattering, mind-blowing, peerless example of live-evil-magical-music extrordinaire - yes! It is. You know it, but do they? Sorry, promise not to go on about my favourite passage of music by anyone. There's Bitches Brew, of course, but the 'live' material before and after up to '75 is something that I keep returning to and, vainly, trying to 'understand', as if within lies the Meaning of Life, the universe and everything...
...I think he got where he did in the poll through Kind Of Blue, the Cool, Bop and to some extent, his modal E.S.P band. But that's just me, musing on the motives of voters. Which is stupid. Louis Armstrong at 2 (pop-pickers) is no surprise, other than the fact that he's not Number One. Ellington is rightly up there. Coltrane above Charlie Parker? Ella above Charlie Parker? That's the Jazz FM vote right there, ditto Billie Holiday's ranking. The inclusion of two great vocalists reflects a mass fan base for The Song, rather than, say, the compositional/playing craft of Charlie Mingus or the pioneering individual genius of Ornette Coleman. Here's the Ten anyway...
...are they burying Jazz? Stop! It's not dead, it just smells funny (Frank Zappa). It's the cover to All that is solid melts into air by Kurws - who? Yes, quite, they were unknown to me until a couple of hours ago when I was sent the album, which came out to deafening silence, probably, but that's the world's loss because it's a cracking record, a cracked record, even; a blast of Punk Jazz, Jazz-Not-Jazz, or whatever The Lounge Lizards got called. They're debut from from '81 seems like a spark for Kurws, that and James Chance...the spirit of all that No Wave NY Jazz blasts out of this, with Oskar Carls' tenor and Hubert Kostkiewicz' guitar leading the line - charge! Bury the mouldy old figs! This is fun, frisky, spiky, spunky, mad and inventive. I particularly like the conversation between sax and synth on There was no wheel in the Inca empire. Colossus with feet of clay is choice too with it's free-range piano.
Please fasten your seatbelts. Writer and spiritual brother to William Burroughs, Jürgen Ploog also happened to be a pilot for Lufthansa for 33 years. That fact alone makes him fascinating to me. I'd never heard of him until this album arrived but sadly, looking for his written work, there seems to be little in English.
Like Burroughs' tape work in the 60s, Ploog's plundering of worldwide noise offers a fascinating aural collage of radio and TV (?) voices, street noise etc. It's all selected and edited here by Robert Schalinski. Unless you speak German, much may not be understood, but that doesn't detract from this enjoyable disruption of the senses - bursts of radio music, chants, a discussion about Jimmy Giuffre (that, I did pick up), noise interference, Trad Jazz - turn the dial - flight details end Side One.
Side Two starts with noise, a siren's extended wail, American voices, English voices, Japanese (?), flight safety instructions (should cabin pressure drop), a whole world of sound. Ploog's pilot time adds a particular 'meaning' to all this sound-hopping, of course - as he flies, we fly with him, via jet engines and scissors. It's almost Schaeffer-like at times when unidentifiable sounds form part of the tapestry - musik beton! Buddhist rituals are given more time than anything else, not to the detriment of the two pieces, but as a calm passage of relief amid all the disruption, along with the sound of the sea lapping the shore and more chanting, a joyous "who-o-o-h!" ends the journey. We land on silence.
What was that all about? Whilst Burroughs saw great potential for social disruption by playing recordings he'd made at various events, putting the sonic hex on 'enemies', perhaps; destroying the narrative of everyday life, Ploog's recordings offer a more benign pleasure. Field recordings are interesting up to a point, but I find the construction, the collaging of these snippets far more interesting. Burroughs asked 'who decides what tapes play back in present time?'. You can, thanks to Jürgen Ploog and Robert Schalinski's splice of life.
More info and product here
Found this today for £3 - not bad, even though half the pages are falling out - but more importantly the 3D glasses were inside - whoopee! I don't do 3D cinema...in fact, I'd go so far as to say I detest cinematic trickery that lures numbskulls who always fall for The Latest Effect because they're the types who always have to have the 'updated' version of technology and gain great satisfaction from cinema which is void of old-fashioned values like brilliant dialogue, acting, direction, artistry, characterisation and all that in favour of surroundsound 4D smellovision shit on screens the size of a wall, a very large wall - huh! Where was I - yes, Jim Steranko's illustrations for The Illustrated Harlan Ellison...this book...look, the glasses...
...now some slightly blurred photos...
...but I feel bad that you too cannot share the wonder of seeing them through 3D glasses so...
...how was that? What do you mean, "Rubbish"?
Where to start? How about here, at the beginning. Volcano The Bear might be 45 years old...they're actually 20 years old, but I thought they might be 45 years old when I first heard them, which consisted of a quick YouTube visit once I knew Miasmah had put together a compilation. It didn't make sense, Miasmah releasing stuff that old. The music didn't make much sense either. I wasn't impressed. I was dumbfounded and, actually, disinterested. Then I got sent this compilation...
...I've been playing it ever since, not because there are 64 tracks, but because suddenly, as the old penny dropped, I realised Volcano The Bear were brilliant...and they were only 20 years old...
...intrigue..we all feel it when discovering a new band...are Volcano The Bear really a band? Do they exist, or are they a dream concoction the way dreams often are...of Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Faust, AMM and Tribal Music from...Leicester...
...electric folkways...eclectic folkways...from Secret Museum Of Improvisation...? art Bears...the polar opposite of Rock'n'Roll Bears...genre-free range Bears...
...what are they going on about?
...Art Rock? No...NO! Not that...
...anti-music...PRO-Music...unprofessional music...music as it should be, perhaps, wants to be, was meant to be...a folk music...so who's crazy? The Volcano Bears? Or all the conformists? Joy and pain are like sunshine and rain, so someone said...TVB are the joy, the sunshine...and their spirit makes most of what the world accepts in the name of music sound like a torrent of pain...
...Strausshand's dark riff dirge, Botticello's beautiful simplicity, Fat Monarch's 'motorik' (M1) lost highway drive, Hot Rat Piano's unprepared piano dark echo chamber music, Cond's saxophone (nod to post-Mod Jazz Freefall), Strange Dreams Of Invisible Girls' alien interference invasion of fifty-foot B-movie (invisible) monsters, Tremendo's rip, rig and panic percussion/melody juxtaposition...
...all over the place, the spaces Volcano The Bear inhabit, armed with all manner of instruments, traditional, tape and electronic...an assault on the sensible, the conservative, the bland, regimented, genre-bound restrictions...the art ensemble of Leicester...ancient to the future...
I'm not keen on long tracks, unless they're by Herbie Hancock's Mwandishi band...or Miles Davis' electric outfits...or Pierre Henry...or Stockhausen...or Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza...or...OK, so I am keen if they're good, but they're rarely good, these days; like most ambient stuff, the sonic equivalent of someone waffling on in the pub for ages and saying nothing...quietly...
So here's Colin Potter, starting Rank Sonata with A Wider Pale Of Shale, which is 19mins 40secs long...oh no! Oh yes. And I like it....I like it despite the regular beat. Regular beats driving long tracks usually annoy the hell out of me, signalling, as they frequently do, that some Techno bod's got a big idea, one far above his station, so he's called it Quantum Theory Of Nothingness, added strings and, er, that's it. Colin Potter's better than that. He's got ideas, probably loads since knocking around on the independent electronic music scene since the early 80s...working with Nurse With Wound, Organum and Current 93 along with others. It's not that A Wider Pale Of Shale pushes boundaries or consists of complex ever-changing components...it simply works...and elements do evolve and change, but not dramatically...motorik? - whatever, it moves, takes you along with it until it swoops onto another plain about halfway through, which is beatless but hardly calming, getting more distressed until the beat comes back...
...track 3 is Knit Where? Geddit? He's not joking, though...fabulous atmosphere to this...the hiss and crackle, a stuck needle, perhaps...the distant, foreboding synth, but more interestingly, what whips and rattles across the forefront...finally, Beyond The Pail, doing what Kraftwerk's Metal on Metal did for Trans-Europe Express, sort of, but instead of stripped Klang funk, intensifying, making it heavier. Without trying to sound 'modern' and having been around so long, it's a miracle that Potter avoided offering something stale. Rank Sonata certainly is not that.
You can have a listen and buy it here