Thursday, August 31, 2006

God I Love Scritti Politti
Just recently got White Bread Black Beer on Wax-As-I-Call-It and my sealed copy of Cupid and Psyche 85 just showed up in the mail ($2.99 on eBay). To celebrate, here's a short video of Green and his hired hands playing "Wood Beez" this year, in Japan.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

On the Other Hand...
Carl reminds of the need to keep music evil in the coda of this post, basically a thorough character assassination of St Etienne. I certainly agree with the general anti-Popist, pro-imperfection sentiments here but I have a few problems with the specifics.

(i) Carl takes St Etienne to task for being, essentially, "politically-correct" pop. My guard always goes right up when someone plays the PC card. It almost always turns out to be some embittered right-winger, bashing an outdated academic trend in order to discredit anything politically to the left of Ghengis Khan. Which obviously isn't the case in this instance but...

While I can see what he's getting at, I can't help feeling that - in some sense - it's particularly inappropriate to describe Saint Etienne as PC. Political Correctness, to me, is inextricably linked to multiculturalism and St Etienne could hardly be more generically non-multicultural. Indeed, having an almost fascistic desire to bleed pop white is probably the worst charge one can level at St Etienne.

(ii) Carl also takes St Etienne to task for what he perceives as their bland childishness. Well, you know I'm a huge Jonathan Richman fan so...

I'd argue that most blandness in pop has far more to do with "adultness" than "childishness". Children are fascinating precisely because they are "imperfect " - unfinished, messy (both figuratively and literally)... It's this, as much as the supposed innocence and wonder of childhood, that J-Rich plugs into and it's this that gives him an edge on your run-of-the-mill twee pop. Whether St Etienne have this edge is open to debate.

(iii) I've always had a slight soft-spot for St Etienne. Have to admit, though, that this is mainly because I once interviewed them and they turned out to be shockingly friendly, considerate and not at all snooty. Have to agree with Carl that their music is largely quite unappealing but I'd just like to assure him that they are not twats.

Anyway, another great Impostume post that reminds us of the treasures to be found in the dollar bin. Carl's going to love my "UK Post-Rock Volume Two" mix CD (coming soon!)

Monday, August 21, 2006

More and More Again Soon
Very jealous that Woebot got to experience the Green Man festival. I've always wanted to go.

At least I can comfort myself that the Not Me project is going from strentgth to strength. You can stream a new version of the Value Village People mix from their new website.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What Am I To Do?
Carl's concept of Ascetic Bohemianism has led to a lot of introspection in my little corner of the blogsphere. (By the by, has anyone else thought of using the term AsBo as an acronym for this - hilarious if you read the English papers. ) My soul-searching/navel-gazing has led me back towards an old quandary: how do you reconcile a life of quiet self-improvement with a love of Dionysian, bonkers or downright unpleasant art?

Let's back-track to the early 90s, when I went through my major rap music obsession. I loved hip-hop passionately at that time and the music opened my mind to a lot of interesting, worthwhile lines of thought. Still, I always had to take rap music/hip-hop culture with more than a pinch of salt because I found so much of the content morally and politically objectionable.

I guess I only had so much salt to hand because, some time in the last few years, I started to find the whole shebang distinctly unpalatable. Nowadays, I hardly listen to any rap music at all and am honestly made queasy by overt displays of affiliation with hip-hop culture. The other day Kris forced me to watch an episode of MTV's My Super Sweet Sixteen in which people kept describing things as being "off the chain" and yelling "let's get crunk!" It was sickening.

Anyhoo, just recently, I had a similar experience, albeit within a shorter time-frame. This time it was the industrial underground centering around Coil/Current 93/Nurse with Wound that got me open. Delving deep into this peculiar sub-scene led me into a treasure trove of entirely unique and extremely meaningful music. At the same time I was always a little put off by scene's rather adolescent obsession with sex, death and "magick". Once again, I find my figurative salt cellar running low. I've seen a couple of Myspace "favourite music" lists recently that place connect_icut alongside awful, awful Nazi/Satanists Death in June and Non. I've started to wonder what I've gotten myself into.

And yet and yet... Here's the catch, the central paradox, if you will: I realise now, that the elements I find most objectionable in hip-hop and industrial music are essential to the appeal of said genres - at least they are for me. That's why I prefer Black Moon to Black Star and Coil to Nurse with Wound.

I've always admired the way Nurse's Steven Stapleton scoffs at the more ludicrous excesses of his industrial peers. But, honestly, isn't it ludicrous excess that makes Current 93 and Coil so much more satisfying than NWW? It's the excess of imagination, sincerity and wonder what makes this music great. Likewise, its the terrifyingly cold and hard acceptance of late capitalist "reality" that makes the music of Mobb Deep and their ilk so compelling.

So where does that leave me? Sitting at home, listening to Jonathan Richman and wishing we could all be nice and reasonable - or, at least, wishing things could ever be that simple.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Not Me - A Call for Collaborators
I've been working on a new musical project, which I've given the loose working title of Not Me. It basically consists of five sets of four one-bar musical loops created in Reason. There's also a Max patch that I've made to sequence the loops into live mixes/songs.

So far I've come up with two rough mixes from each of the sets of loops. The mixes are broadly somewhere between Basic Channel/Rhythm and Sound-style dub-techno and the avant-dubstep of the Hyperdub label. Did I mention dub?

What I'm looking for now is musicians/vocalists to add there own contributions to the existing mixes and also musicians/producers to create their own mixes from the loops. Max hackers are also welcome to screw with the Max Patch.

I can provide whatever you need via Yousendit or the snail mail - loops, mixes, the Max patch... even the Reason files I made the loops with.

I'm not sure where this is all going, though my fantasy would be a series of 12" or 10" singles. Right now, I'm trying to keep it as open as possible. So, if you want to get involved, shoot me an email to the usual address.
Today is that most glorious of days.

Roxie is five.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I, Wyatter or My Fear of the Square World

Shortly after publishing this post, I decided that it was far too personal and revealing. Therefore, I have now censored it to remove any unsuitable language and conent.

I'm not to first person to point out that The Impostume is the best thing to hit the blosphere in quite a while, but I thought it was about time I gave it a big-up. This post, in particular, struck a chord with me. Carl's concept of "ascetic bohemianism" is XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX for this here XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX. Of course, it's hard not to declare oneself a XXXXXXXX (or indeed an XXXXXXX) without feeling like a XXXX, but what else is an XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXX to do?

XX XXXXXXXXX, the XXX XXXXXXX XXX "XXXXXX" XXXXX XXX XXX "XXX" XXXXX is massive and seemingly XXXXXXXXXXXX. This is X XXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXX for me as I'm XXXXXXX XXXX-XXXX in a XXXXXX XXXXX while I XXXX XXX X XXX with - y'know - XXXXXXX XXXXXXXX and stuff. I actually XXXXXX XXX XX X XXXXX XXXXXXXXX for a seemingly decent enough XXX XXXX XXXX because I couldn't XXX XXXXXX being able to deal with XXX XXXXXXX'X quarterly, compulsory XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX (this is almost entirely true!) So, it's XXXXXXXXXX to me when Carl says...

"it just needs a certain amount of hunkering down, taking a deep-breath, letting the shackles of opportunity rust right off you until, hey presto! you'’ve condemned yourself to the life you always really wanted"

But I've never really XXXX XXXXXXXXXXX with the idea of XXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXX. XXXXXXXX and XXXXX (or their contemporary equivalents) are about as XXXXX XX XX XX XXXXXXXXXXX and XXXs. More to the point, I've always XXXX XXXXXXXXX the fact that the only thing holding XXX XXXXXX and XXX XXXXXX together in some kind of XXXXX XXXXXXX is their shared XXXXX for XXXXXXX cheap XXXXXXX XX XXXXX, XXXXX and - gulp - XXXXXX XXX. So, again, I really feel XXXX X'XX XXXX XXXX when I read that someone has written...

"What we might be aiming for is a kind of systematic re-ordering of the senses within a culture that generally wants/needs us to be as maximally sensation-hungry as possible."

Two thumbs way up, mate. Keep up the good work.