Monday, June 16, 2008

Biz-E. This will be my last post for a while because we're about to go on our holidays and we're moving house pretty soon after we get back. Two of the highlights of the trip will be going to see My Bloody Valentine play in London and Manchester.

Apparently, this MBV reformation is actually happening: the remastered CDs seem to be out in the UK and the Valentines have already played two "secret" shows at the ICA. By all accounts they are as punishingly loud as they were in the 90s. Can't wait.

To top it all off, They Showed Me the Secret Beaches will be officially released on July 1st. In actual fact, you can already order it from Scratch so - to all intents and purposes - it's already out.

Oh yeah... AND I'll be launching the album by opening a show at Blim on July 11th. Some details of said show are at the bottom of this post. Times and prices nearer the date.

So, anyway there probably won't be any posts for the next few weeks. Check back in mid July for more. In the meantime, satisfy yourself with the available responses to my Seven Songs tagging spree:

Expressway to My Skull



Updateable Mixtape

Here are the details of that show:

Friday, July 11, 2008
@ Blim
, Vancouver
"a little night music"

Hataken (Tokyo)
Gunshae (Vancouver)
Connect_icut (Vancouver)

The Konspiracy Group presents "a little night music" for your summertime listening pleasure. In anticipation of this years Powell Street Festival (the longest running community arts festival in the Lower Mainland), we open a cross cultural dialogue between Vancouver and Tokyo. Join us for an evening of electro acoustic collaboration with Pacific Rim ambienteers, Hataken, Gunshae, and Connect_icut.

Making his debut in Canada, Hataken is an improvisational musician, composer, and DJ. As an electronic artist he has worked with musicians across a broad range of styles (ambient jazz, psychedelic, techno, trance, chill out) and has been a force in the Tokyo underground scene for over a decade. Hataken is straight off the heels of a show at South by Southwest, where he performed with Tokyo-based saxophonist Fujiwara Daisuke and their project Quartzhead.

Joining Hataken in conversation, is Vancouver's
panambient duo Gunshae. "The sound of stuff and things" describes what happens when you bring together a classically trained oboist and a dub afficionado, for a trip through time via sonic vibrations.

Rounding out a full evening of ambient
experimentation, is Connect_icut, (Sam Macklin) an English abstract electronic artist living in Vancouver, Canada. Sam is also involved with free-folk ensemble The Bastion Mews. Sponsored by Blim and Powell Street Festival 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Seven Songs
I managed to bully Carl Impostume into tagging me for this m*m*.

"List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they’re listening to."

Obviously I don't have time for this kind of nonsense but I did rather bring it on myself, so - without further ado - here's my hastily-typed-and-poorly-proofread contribution:

Oren Ambarchi - "Bleeding Shadow"
From Destinationless Desire, Ambarchi's contribution to the admirable Touch Sevens series. "Bleeding Shadow" samples a fair chunk of Fairport Convention's "Quite Joys of Brotherhood" (I think) and weaves all manner of electro-acoustic abstraction around it. The folks at Touch have a policy of not putting any playing speeds on their 7"s, in the hope that listeners will experiment interactively with the RPM settings on their record decks. While I'm not all that into the whole concept (preferring to respect an artist's opinion on how a record is supposed to sound) it does work rather well in this case. The Fairport sample sounds distinctly "right" at 45 and "wrong" at 33 but there are these little snatches of dialogue dotted throughout the track, of which the exact opposite is true.

American Music Club - "If I Had a Hammer"

In my late teens I really felt that American Music Club front-man Mark Eitzel understood my pain, maaan. As an adult, I can't imagine how I thought Eitzel's tales of romantic failure, AIDS, bereavement, alcoholism, depression and AIDS related to my trifling adolescent "woes". I hadn't listened to AMC in years but recently pulled Mercury from the shelf on a whim. Turns out that Eitzel really was a phenomenal singer-songwriter, with a truly brilliant line in gallows humour. AMC's secret weapon, though - what Grown-up Me really likes about the band - is the astonishing three-guitar line-up: Eitzel's plaintive finger-picking, Bruce Kaphan's diaphanous pedal steel and Vudi's feedback pyrotechnics. The Mitchell Froom-produced Mercury was the band's most experimental record and therefore the most okay-to-like from my current perspective (although United Kingdom was probably their masterwork). "If I Had a Hammer" is not that "If I Had a Hammer". You can listen to it in the DivShare player at the bottom of this post.

Basic Channel - "Quandrant Dub I (Edit)"

A kick drum and two-note bass-line filtered to a dull thud, keyboard figures like a couple of narcotized mosquitos copulating, a soft pillow of hiss filling the frequencies in between and... not much else, to be honest. For seven minutes. And it's beautiful. I'm stating the obvious when I note that Basic Channel reduced the sound of techno to pure, intangible radiance. No one else has ever come close. Genius.

The Fall - "Is This New?"
At first I agreed with Carl's claim that side A of Imperial Wax Solvent is far more interesting than side B. Not so sure now. Side B does initially sound like a collection of garage rock ditties in the Country on the Click vein but it reveals many hidden depths upon repeated listens. "Tommy Shooter", for instance, could almost be something from the band's John Leckie-produced heyday. "Is This New?", meanwhile, is a classically Fall melange of the mundane and the magical. Like "A Past Gone Mad" it mixes sci-fi narrative with a bunch of sniping about minor TV celebrities.

Fennesz - "Live in St. Michel and St. Gudula Cathedral, Brussels"
This massive sidelong testament to the transcendental powers of digital time-stretching comes from Spire Live: Fundamentalis, a double various artists LP on Portland's Autofact label, which forms part of Touch's ongoing investigation into re-fixed church organ music. The whole album is great. It's basically a massive expansion of the recent Fennesz/Jeck split single that I wrote about here. With a little extra room to breathe (five inches, to be precise), Fennesz really comes into his own. Fantastic to see that the great man is on such fine form but where where where is his new solo full-length?

Angelika Koehlermann - "Where Are You?"
When Angelika Koehlermann's Care was released by the Tomlab label, back in 2002, its numerous charms alluded all but the most attentive segments of the record-buying public. To be fair, the album was deliberately shrouded in mystery (the nom-de-rock Angelika Koehlermann was taken from the name of a record label, for which the artist had recorded under a different pseudonym). Still, can't help feeling that Care's odd mix of Casio beats, granular synthesis, found sounds and miniaturized song forms should have found a wider audience. The whole thing sounds like it was patched together in someone's dreams, using bits of old cassette tapes that never really existed. "Where Are You?" is just one song of 25 on the album but it's a particularly lovely one. You can listen to it in the DivShare player at the bottom of this post.

Pluramon - "Turn In"

Another slice of sugar cake from Markus Schmickler and Julee Cruise. You may remember that I've already written about my love for Pluramon's 2007 release The Monstrous Surplus (from which this tune is taken). I still think Monstrous is a delicious confection and have been listening it so much that I'm beginning to fear the onset of tooth decay.

I tag:

Expressway to My Skull



Please Keep Dancing

Sell Your Landspeader

Tower of Sleep

Updateable Mixtape/The Year of Spaghetti

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Busy busy. I do hope to get at least one substantial blog post done before the holiday but don't count on it. The nearest thing I've done to proper blogging recently has been posting comments on Sit Down Man You're a Bloody Tragedy.

The thread in question has to do with The Fall's "Leckie Trilogy", which I previously wrote about here.
I'm intrigued by Owen's comment about Smith's disdain for Leckie. I assume this is based on comments in the ghost-written MES autobiography Renegade, which just came out in Canada.

I have a copy of Renegade and I've tried to read it but I just found the tone insufferably mundane and - frankly - a bit depressing. Imperial Wax Solvent is really great and all but the time has clearly come to admit that the Mark E Smith who changed my life so profoundly back in '87 is no longer among us.