'Everyone dances to his own personal boomboom'

My Death Waits For Me (in Poundstretcher) / Orquesta de Instrumentos Autóctonos y Nuevas Tecnologías/ & CD Bargains

Before contemplating my death whilst standing in the queue at Poundland I'd been rummaging through the cheap CD shelves in Oxfam. I mean really cheap. I mean £1.49 for three. I don't normally look there, being obsessed with books, but for some reason I was drawn to the shelf. It looked like nothing would tempt me, even at that price, until I found Aphex Twin's Ventolin, which encouraged me to continue. Then I found Good Looking's Points In Time...yes, good, now I only need one more...flick...flick...what's this? Orquesta de Instrumentos Autóctonos y Nuevas Tecnologías? Eh? Well the sleeve looked quite interesting...open it up...CD and DVD...mmm...why not, I could afford to gamble just-under-50p...

Turns out the Orquesta make very interesting music. I'd direct you to a site but they're all in Spanish and I don't think you'd bother. So I hit the 'Shopping' tab, out of curiosity, having typed in a search title...

...OK, but I did find it on one site for $130 (!). 

The sleeve notes are in English as well as Spanish, which helps. It's a long time since I bought music without knowing what to expect and the unexpected is what I got here. It's hard to describe the music without going some way into the philosophy espoused by the orchestra's leader, Alejandro Iglesias Rossi, to do it justice. Don't worry, I won't do that. Suffice to say it's very minimal in approach, extremely restrained, both modern-sounding and ancient, utilising tape along with, say, violin. Weirdly, via a completely different route, much of the sound is akin to the kind of Dark Ambient made by Demdike Stare or Haxan Cloak, that kind of thing, minus the obvious modernist touches which bely the influence of rare VHS Euro horror tapes. Grimorio de Fuego by Luciano Borrillo is absolutely the kind of thing an audience-in-waiting would love. I found it on Souncloud, being uncertain how much the orchestra's version differs, if at all, from the original. Either way, both are stunning...

...the only photo of Orquesta de Instrumentos Autóctonos y Nuevas Tecnologías I could find is this one, which suggests to me something like a cross between Sun Ra's Arkestra and a gathering of the True Detective (first series) fan club...a good look...

...the YouTube clips I've found show the orchestra livening things up for the stage; lots of drumming and showy performance antics, but the CD I got today is better than they suggest.

LTJ Bukem. Drum 'n' Bass. The Good Looking comp livens me up after a while spent with the dark orchestral manoeuvres. - yep, sounds good after all these years, in which I've spent more time replaying No U-Turn and Metalheadz rather than Good Looking, but to my surprise I'm enjoying the label's classic 'sophisticated' sound, by which I mean, in case you didn't know, they aimed to be classy and distance themselves from either the roughneck roots or Techstep trend of the day, both of which were right up my alley. 

And Aphex Twin, whose music I haven't bought for years either. This is the Sire release, featuring all the mixes of Ventolin. I particularly like mix 2 with its 'laughing by mum'. Most of the mixes are good, if dating ('95) obviously, they remind me of a time when Electronica was progressive, throwing up new angles every week, seemingly, with twisted takes on everything from techno to Breakbeat etc.

So, yes, I'm in the queue at Poundstretcher, watching a little (they all are, aren't they?) old lady leave the shop, thinking 'She looks a bit like my mum', then pondering The Big Sleep, would you believe, since that's what she's sleeping. A pile of bones...is that it? "There must be life after death", I imagined a believer whispering in my ear, to which I replied: "No, there isn't", somewhat gloomily, for although my belief should, theoretically, enhance every minute of the day, it also loads each one with unbearable significance if our aim is to make the most of Life. Then I tried to imagine what it was like to sleep The Big Sleep...the light goes out...and never comes on again. I was glad to be served in the shop. Having to pay for the bird seed snapped me out of such gloomy thoughts. 


Photos, Hey Ladies!

.........hello, sorry, I'm in a hurry...got meatballs to cook...isn't that fascinating? Photo ^ 'Man At Work' - ha! People post photos of themselves all the time nowadays, don't they? Seems weird to me, my generation being one which hardly photographed itself, although as I was saying to LJ the other day, it would be brilliant if I had photos of myself in a Budgie jacket...starry jumper...or earlier, boots 'n' braces...! But it wasn't to be. I took the photo above on the way back from The Rose & Crown, which I'm happy to publicise because it's a good place...unpretentious but, you know, a bit...'funky', as they say. Here's a photo I took in the pub...

...which I can't help looking at recently without thinking of this...Hey Ladies, by The Beastie Boys...and the video in which The Bump is executed...that's an old dance we did before cameras were invented...

Musique Concrète in What A Whopper! (1961)

Mr Slate is unimpressed with musique concrete

Adam Faith and musique concrète don't appear in the same sentence too often, do they? You read it here first (probably) - ha-ha. When Clive Dunn as Mr Slate comes to serve an eviction order he gets more than he bargained for, including an eyeful from the artist played by Charles Hawtrey (!), whom he later accuses of being a beatnik. That's funny enough, but we laughed out loud when he encountered the resident would-be Donald Judd. Turns out the sound recordist proves essential to the cause of faking a Lock Ness Monster appearance. As you know, strictly speaking musique concrète was not 'electronic music' to start with, but we'll let them off. If you can't endure the whole clip (it's worth it for Hawtrey as the artist) Mr Slate encounters musique concrète at 4.50.

Miles Davis At Newport 1955-1975: The Bootleg Series Vol. 4

Yesterday's dead, man. - Miles Davis (1973)

What about yesternow? Eh? Miles fucking Davis - not more Miles Davis - we got the studio albums, the bootleg live sets, the complete album sessions, the live albums and all those clips on YouTube - enough Miles Davis...

Yesterday was dead in His head when Stephen Davis interviewed him for The Real Paper in 1973 - dead - right? Of course, the man who never looked back, hated cliché, kept moving until his ageing chops/brain couldn't keep up with the times, but tried - tragic, to me, who believes he should have stayed retired from '75, not that when The Man With The Horn rode back into town in '81 he sounded awful, just...the albums get worse, a  painful decline - and it pains me to say that though I'm only echoing what a lot of fans feel, except for the Revive Late Miles contrary squad who, to prove how ahead of everyone they are, stake claims for those 80s albums, big claims, because they've been on the internet for too long and, brain-fuddled, they need to 'outwit' every other ordinary Miles Davis fan in order to feel better about themselves...

In '85 He played a pimp in a Miami Vice episode called 'Junk Love'. 30 years earlier, after five years on junk, He turned up at the Newport Jazz Festival to play with Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Zoot Sims and co, a sort of all-star pick-up band, if you will, only to complain, legend has it, that Monk played the wrong chords on 'Round Midnight - the nerve of this guy! The set makes up the first half of Disc One. Context: this comp spans 20 years and you can hear how dead yesterday was by the time you get to the end - the yesterday of  'Round Midnight, Hackensack and Now's The Time (the irony!), now was the time then, but no more. Now was the be-bop inferno Miles got baptised in ten years earlier (45) when he got with Charlie Parker - that was the time. Not Newport in '55 on stage with West Coast players doing yesterday's music - it must have killed him inside, in there where the seeds of something altogether more amazing might already have been starting to grow. He'd been post-bopping for Prestige and Blue Note; not my favourite Miles Davis things but no-one can say they're bad records...suffice to say my reaction to a lot of them is, like his horn sometimes, muted.

So three years later He returns to Newport with a band, a proper band, his band, which included Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley who, as you probably know, had the chops to blow away at least some of the Bird Is Dead blues; a fine player. And Coltrane. The irony of the Prestige years is that Yesterday still seemed to hang around, meaning the band played a lot of standards and show tunes, even - it wasn't the Miles Davis we think of now, not the ever-progressing fast-forward change, change, evolving Miles Davis. Only Coltrane, to these ears, is signalling things to come in some of his playing at Newport. Only he is pushing, searching - the start of the search that never ended can be heard. Me, I'm all excited about the future, the appearance, on this comp, of the second great band in '66...

Disc Two...Gingerbread Boy...BOOM! Tony Williams carpet bombs the stage and Miles Davis is ablaze, is blowing the walls down as if out to prove something, perhaps the boy behind the kit is lighting fires up his backside...something...Wayne Shorter...and Herbie Hancock, around the 6min mark, seems to dicate that they glide into a mid-tempo walking bluesy mode for a while before he ignites the whole thing again...this band...they take All Blues, that mainstay of new Cool and boot it right up the backside...hyper-fast...impossibly fast...again, Davis is on it - BANG! They charge through, then walk...then charge again! This gets me hyped, gets me high...Shorter's solo on RJ, spiralling on and on and almost as if to lose control but never doing so...Hancock's pretty, complex, melodic, smart, quick-witted...oh to be as good on these keys as he was on his. The second set here, from '67, is even more intense, dynamic, in-yer-face...Footprints on your face, or, actually, in your ears...the classic tune gone all spiky...Hancock's playing behind Davis's solo - phew - take a breath, deep breath...So What, like All Blues, played mad fast, manic fast, so fast you wonder how Ron Carter can even keep that famous bas line in tact...they totally rip it up. But look what's coming...

Disc Three, it's 1969 OK?...really...Chick Corea almost sounding...what...soulful? as Miles Runs The Voodoo Down...Yesterday is well and truly dead and here's a broadcast from The Future that only Miles Davis would really know although a lot of Fusioneers tried....but didn't get close...here He is sounding angry, as if spitting/blowing down all the critics - yes! I think of Hopper as the photojournalist describing Kurtz, for some reason...'You listen to him. The man's enlarged my mind.' Why would music journalist/critic and so-called fans want to kill Miles Davis just because he was wa-a-a-y ahead of those who couldn't hear? 'Why? Because they told you he was crazy?' It's About That Time...it was...for when you listen to Jack DeJohnette and Dave Holland alone, they know it's time, they know time and become masters of time, even though DeJohnette packs it, he knows he going back to base and just where it is, like Holland...double time, Funk time...excuse me, I need a break for my brain is truly about to explode...

Turnaroundphrase...1973...christ...a wha-wha...what? An electric fuzz-tone blizzard of noise, predicting Noise, predicting chaos, being chaos, predicting Metal, thrashing metal, metallic Fusion - insane - who can keep up? Who can hang on in hear, at the eye of the storm - hang on to nothing, there's no centre, melody, harmony, Yesterday isn't just gone, it's burnt to cinders behind the thrust of this supersonic jet, left for nothing - sound barrier? SMASH!

Where am I? 1973? '75? I'm lost in time...it seems irrelevant...1971', go back...Directions...have you heard anything as funky that wasn't by Miles Davis? I mean...funky...but...funky butt Out There, In There...Michael Henderson's bass here and on Bitches Brew...for starters...for endings, actually, for although I could talk for hours, if I had the energy...but here's a calm place, comparatively...Directions...Miles Davis was all about directions...where would he go next? Into oblivion, retirement, tired or what? Writing about and listening to this stuff is exhausting, never mind playing it; thinking it...and directing the band...the band that, on Disc 4, dig into a spaced-out place where Funky Tonk, for instance, melts the clock, your mind, the core of what was called The One - some holy hybrid of Sly/Bootsy, even Su Ra's Lanquidity - the space-time continuum...Yesternow and forever because it's beyond fashion, fads, and musical trends despite being a product not of the times but of His mind at the time and those he conducted, taught, bullied, coached, re-modelled and re-made in his own imagined sound. 

That's What I Say about Miles Davis at Newport. Over and out.

Composition With Len Deighton's The Ipcress File

Taken this morning outside a Bloomsbury Street cafe. Deighton describes seedy Soho of the early 60s brilliantly. I've had the book on the shelf for ages but only just got 'round to reading it. I use a notebook, not a Smith & Wesson - ha-ha.

Film: Who Killed Teddy Bear? (1965)

Sal Mineo plays tortured soul Lawrence Sherman in Joseph Cates' walk on the weird side of sexual frustration and damage. I'd known of this film for some time but only got 'round to watching it the other night. Lo-fi sound suggests a minimal budget but Cates makes up for that with a combination of street feel and some trippy scenes, creating a suitably odd cross between indie underground 'art' and psycho exploitation B-movie. It seems that Norah Dain (Juliet Prowse) can't trust anyone, even the detective who befriends her whilst allowing his 10-yr-old daughter to hear tapes of his research into sexual deviancy. 

Here's Lawrence walking streets... 

Mmm...a book shop...

Look what's in the window... 

Yes, Naked Lunch makes another cinematic appearance, the same year as it did in John Boorman's Catch Us If You Can (stills of that here). So I'm starting to think it could be a hobby, searching 60s films for sightings of Burroughs' book. Perhaps not, although it wouldn't surprise me if someone's done it and compiled a comprehensive list online. Nice paring here, though, with Hubert Selby's classic, Last Exit To Brooklyn. Although the film doesn't strike a moral stance (there's even an attempt to gain some sympathy for sexual psycho, Lawrence) it points to a nation's worst fears about deviant behaviour in the sexually liberated decade. Lawrence, despite having been damaged by abuse, might also represent the frustrations of many youths who were supposed to be having so much fun with the opposite sex. Good film.

Available on YouTube

Disco Fever

Went to Margate's Dreamland the other week and found this Saturday Night Fever slot machine...

Acre / Filter Dread - Interference (Codes)

Good to see that the tradition (a-hem) of replacing 's' with 'z' on track titles is alive and well, as on the first track, Drumz. Blame Goldie. Perhaps there's further evidence of his footprints on these six tracks, in the cracks, but you have to look (listen) hard to spot them. I don't know what this is, genre-wise, because I'm an old fart who thinks that wearing your baseball back to front is a criminal offence. Not that Acre or Filter Dread necessarily do that. I hope they don't anyway. That's why I haven't looked for any images of them. And because I'm an old fart, I really shouldn't be listening to this, but what I do in the privacy of my own home is my business, right? At least I'm not trying to dance like The Kids do. Honest. I don't think they'd be dancing to this anyway. Perhaps some moody head-nodding. That's probably what it inspires. 

More than just beats, though, Interference is packed with points of interest, which is probably why PAN have taken the label, Codes, under their wing. That said, Flash Speed is a monster, the kind that I presume would go down well in the kinds of clubs that play what used to be known as Dubstep and may still be called that, I dunno (is Dubstep still alive?). Anyway, BOOM! There's some of that bass-heavy stuff. Some (un)happy clapping too. In fact, the more I listen, the more I hear things from the past leaking out...80s-sounding things rebooted (hobnails) for now. I also hear what I think is a bit of Wendy Carlos's Clockwork Orange score in Life, which I like because the drums are off-kilter and there's a little hyper-Rave-type vocal snippet drowning in the Dirgestep. That and the fact that (possibly) sampling from one of the greatest movies ever made wind me over, easily.   

M.E.S.H. - Piteous Gate (PAN)

On repeat all afternoon and meshing with my head whilst I throw words into the concrete mixer - ha- ha! James Whipple (M.E.S.H., an acronym for what, I don't know, but how about Murderous Electronic Sound Head? No?) may well have influenced my visual work what with the razor sharp dicing 'n' slicing he performs in sound. Not in a plunderphonic sense, you understand, but more like taking a scythe to all manner of genres, most imagined by me, such as Trip-Score, Blade-Hop and Hip-Cut...yes. Walk through the Piteous Gate; it's a portal, perhaps to LA circa 2019, although Ridley was a little off in his predictive powers because as far as I know the City Of Angels is not populated by renegade replicants. No matter, an Oriental feel seeps through here, melodically, at times, then again from the kind of Source Direct-style Samurai sword slashing sound. The trick is to offset cinematic, sweeping melodic (under)statements with brutal, fractured sonic wallops. Add smart details and thoughtful arrangements for good measure. Ace. 

Concrete/Field - Hidden Workings / We Saw Human Guinea Pigs Explode - Various

The final Concrete / Field release? In Mark Chickenfish's own words, due to: 'temporal austerity measures' - ha! That would be a real shame. Hidden Workings exemplifies all that's good about the Other Electronics world, that little place, fit for free minds, alternative schemes, lo-key but resolving not to swim in the same stagnant pool as most practitioners of wired sound. A Galaxy Of Sewers is apt, we're lying in one, but staring up at the stars, at least for the duration of that track's ecstatic sound. Mark crafts many moods, from the hard-edged Suppressor to the likes of Crisis and Resolution, which actually features a traditional drum beat (shock!). A Child's Vision of Hell brilliantly rinses your brain with the tortured strings of an infernal orchestra, the likes of which Bernard Hermann dare not imagine. 

The time's right for a Punk and Electronic music to form an axis power in the spirit of '78 and the pre-Thatcherite busted Britain of cheap techno kits blossoming in the bedroom of dustbin-bred dreamers, isn't it? Back then a whiff of the white (Rock) riot was still in the air along with sparks of newly synthesised things to come. So here's the next breed, born for this Tory Britannia of food banks and the class war culling cuts, a brilliant comp for a good cause, London's homeless support group The Simon Community. 26 tracks for a fiver minimum fee, great value considering the quality. The quality, as you might guess by the cover, being the rough-edged type; raw power attitude from gobby Punk to course electronics. There's a nod to the Ragga Twins on Warehouse Liquidation's chopped breakbeat gem, Jungle Owes Me £5. Oi! The Spambot's Crown Court remakes Warm Leatherette. Ekoplekz, Ship Canal and Libbe Matz Gang are also on board, the latter's Hackney Vandal Patrol / Rabies Suspect being one highlight. Come the revolution, here's the soundtrack, but failing that it puts fire in your belly. Get it here

The Music Has Died - Shock!

"Music has officially died", according to Sinead O'Connor, who isn't happy with Rolling Stone for featuring Kim Kardashian. Ah, Sinead...never mind...what are you doing looking to Rolling Stone for your musical coverage? You should be reading Include Me Out...ha-ha! But really, does she think that what Rolling Stone says or does actually matters? I like that she said "What is this cunt doing on the cover of Rolling Stone?", though. That made me laugh. 
She also said "Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh can no longer be expected to take all the blame. Bob Dylan must be fucking horrified." Er, well, who's seriously blaming Cowell and Walsh? For what? Providing light entertainment and giving the numbskulls what they obviously crave? If they didn't exist, would the idiots be listening to Black Mountain Transmitter? You may as well moan about snow in the Arctic as bleat about musical talent contests...it's a square world, now enjoy your own. I know, it's good to get things off your chest. Or in the case of Kim Kardashian, have things on your chest...two big things...which are presumably one the reasons she's so popular with airheads. 
I dunno...that world, her world, the world of those who care what the hell she does is a million miles from mine. In mine, 'the music' died decades ago, if Sinead means the kind covered by Rolling Stone. Suge Knight? Mumford & Sons? Eh? I know Rolling Stone had a reputation for in-depth reporting and, you know, good writing by the likes of Lester Bangs. Unlike Elton, I'm not old enough, quite, to remember when Rock was young, but when I was young I did listen to Led Zeppelin's new album enthusiastically. I read Melody Maker, not Rolling Stone. I've never read Rolling Stone. Or bought anything by Sinead O'Connor. I don't think she's read anything by me either. So we're equal.

Time Attendant - Vellum Generator

Here's a first - (not) reviewing (plugging!) an unfinished album. Well, not many are made week-by-week with each new track posted online. What a wag Paul Snowdon is and what a great artist (that's his cover). Vellum Generator is taking shape before our very eyes (and ears). If you know Time Attendant's work, you'll be as keen as I am to hear what comes next and just as pleased with what we have so far. The usual attention to detail which elevates him above the pack has been fully applied, down to the sharpest sonic detail, without loss of focus or feeling for man-machine interaction that typifies his work. Yes.

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