29 January 2005

Millions Living Will Never Sleep


After some initial research funded by a generous, though time-spatial, loan from TTSB inc. (Those That Stain Blue) we have come to the following conclusions:

1) There is no way to find or define the 'You' in the sentence: 'That cardigan suits you.' It now has to be assumed missing and dead.

2) That the long-sought, seldom investigated so-called Secret of Immortality is indeed a malfunction of the Sleep-Wake cycle, as first suggested by Krunk et al (1988)*. Specifically, the secret appears to lie in the behaviour of what has been termed 'sleep denial' or being awake for ever.


Sleep and Death lifting Sarpedon

While there has been a little research in this area - see for example the account of Peter Tripp and world record holder Randy Gardner - our investigation concluded that these experiments failed in one important aspect; they discontinued before the final barriers had been swept aside. Even Randy, surely a pioneer in his field, only managed to stay awake for 11 days, by our reckoning at least 8 days too short.

After some initial testing, we concluded that only one factor is responsible for the current crop of failures in sleep deprivation exercises, namely: people don't have enough things to do that keep them awake. The most successful candidates were seemingly able to motivate themselves into action by going outside, changing long-player records, splashing their faces with cold water, making up poems, writing etc. Sleep Denial is therefore seen as a function of effort / willpower and not biology. The key to immortality then can be summarised as this:

You need to find enough reasons to stay awake indefinitely

Of course, the corollary to this is: you need to find enough things to do in full consciousness forever because, once the 20 day limit has been exceeded, any subsequent sleep has a tendency to result in cerebral haemorrhaging and/or bodily temperature malfunction, both of which result in fatal internal injuries and/or permanent damage to the organs. While sleep appears to be unecessary, and ought now to be regarded as the main determinant in re-setting the Bio-Clock's Death Function, sleep deprivation appears to accelerate the death-drive process if it is subsequently replaced by (even temporary) loss of consciousness.

In 14 subjects, all of whom exceeded the 20 day sleep deprivationb limit and then slept for between 1 and 56hrs, only 2 have survived, one of them with the loss of an eye.

On the other hand, of those 18 patients who have exceeded the limit and not subsequently fallen asleep, only 1 has showed any signs of physical imperfection or illness.


It is our conclusion that, after 23 years of collecting what is quaintly become known as things to do forever in the AllNow (preparatory listings to follow) and in collaboration with the kind people at SleepDeath Consolidated, we are now ready to begin the final stages of our experiment. We're turning the lights on.

Ladies and Gentlemen: millions now living will never sleep.

Sleep - Inside The Sun

Sleep - Wall of Yawn

Both taken from Stonerrock.Com

* Krunk et al (1988) The Everlasting Pulse: an investigation into Fuselian Sleep Entities, Hank & Storey, New York

27 January 2005



Hippopotamomus was released in 1991 and received this review in the NME:
It now seems beyond all reasonable doubt that Nick Currie is a perv; if not in deed, then certainly in mind. Taunted from the deeper recesses of his imagination by the voice of his (recently deceased) idol Serge Gainsbourg, he provokes, in his soft-spoken, bedsit-poet way, musing on forbidden lusts in a wholly gratuitous catalogue of titillation.

Currie with his Momus head on is obsessed with talking about sex, for it seems (as he describes in 'A Dull Documentary') that he witnessed the act of copulation at an earlier age than he would have preferred, this having a profound effect on him. Momus, it seems, wants us to snigger at his lust, and to consider this: when private, illicit thoughts are made public, is it pornography?

'Hippopotamomus', as Creation's press release kindly points out, nicks its puns from an LP made by Gainsbourg in 1973 "revolving around the unsavoury theme of 'popo' or shit." Which is no doubt of great interest to anal retentives. Momus' hippo vision has him as said large mammal copulating with the last remaining of the species, being petrified in lava and displayed for posterity in flagrante delicto behind glass in a museum. It's oddly endearing in a nursery rhyme way; Momus, the original murmurer, telling his story in a deep, deadpan English whisper to an incongruous acid house bloop.

So far, so ironic. But then we must suffer 'I Ate A Girl Right Up', Momus' response to American Psycho, a sort of polite sicko, a very English have-a-cuppa cannibal. "I don't know what came over me," he recites tweely. "I'd do it all again, it was yummy". Imagine Neil Tennant as Jack The Ripper and there you have it. Sorry. Not funny, not ironic - violence against women is not a subject for humorous treatment.

Hero Gainsbourg also had a bit of a 'thing' about sex with minors, so Momus starts bringing little girls into his stories. In 'A Dull Documentary' he has sex with a babysitter in front of the telly and carries on when the little girl comes into the room. The 'Marquis of Sadness' looks forward to entertaining his students who will bring him 'bad but intimate poetry' in his little office with its sofa and its key. 'Bluestocking', he imagines, is a well-read Eng Lit student who has studied the entire body of erotic writings from Ovid to Georges Bataille, and, being a clever-clever sort, he lists every author, including his own 'Lusts of a Moron'.

The best track is 'Ventriloquists and Dolls', which forsakes the amusingly alienating electro bleeps and becomes a dramatic sweep, like the Pet Shops at their grandest, the story featuring a wooden-legged psycho worthy of a Ruth Rendell novel.

The rainy day soliloquies continue, with more Wiggly Noise, monkeys that play with themselves, languid thoughts on 'Pornography' being "the stuff of every young girl's dream" rendered into photography, until you reach his concluding paragraph, 'Song In Contravention', acknowledging that 'to sing this song is a crime', begging the question of whether, indeed, his private thoughts should be subject to suppression.

There is something oddly compelling about Momus' tawdry little fantasies, but something equally repelling, dressing them up, as he does, in sweet packages when all that is within is rotting fish. Momus is a bit like a mussel: it tastes good when swallowed whole, but examine it too closely and it looks as disgusting as a shrivelled, unidentifiable piece of sexual organ. Spit it out immediately.

This is Art Wank with the emphasis on the Wank. As Danny Kelly says, why can't he write about football like the rest of us?


Needless to say it's one of my favourite albums for almost all the reasons the NME hated it. As a decidely normal 18 year old, wanting to delve into a little seediness, it made the perfect introduction and, in the track Bluestocking, Momus comes up with a neat checklist of literary depravity so you can delve a little deeper... I remember being stupidly pleased when I first heard it and realised I had most of them.

Momus - Michelin Man

This was taken off the re-release because I'm assuming Michelin didn't want their rubber tainted with Momus' bodily fluids.
courtesy of Poptunes

Momus - I Ate A Girl Right Up

This is one of my favourite tracks, mostly because it circumvents the old anthropological / psychological theories about cannibalism - cannibalism as ritual, as taboo, as soul stealing, as contested oral behaviour, as introverted aggression, as oedipal dependence - and replaces them with cannibalism as good old messy, tasty fun... which seems to fit the motives of modern German cannibal Armin Meiwes in a more satisfactory manner.

I Ate A Girl is a yousendit concoction and therefore available for a limited time and a limited amount of downloads - just click on it and see where it gets you

26 January 2005

AK Momo & Thanks


I know I shouldn't but I can't help getting ridiculously over-excited when free stuff appears in the mail. The latest is an album by AK Momo on the Hidden Agenda label coustesy of those nice people at Parasol Records.

It's a sex-wooze kind of record, reminiscent of Felt Mountain era Goldfrapp: lilting vocals, mellotron flushes and oodles of scratchy Optigan (seems a lot of this instrument around at the moment...where do they all get them?)

I feel somehow soiled mentioning this, for reasons I can't quite place. Perhaps this is the first tentative steps towards corporate whoredom. Hope so.

Thanks also go to Marc for his time and patience (sorry for being crap re: ftp) in getting the Jack The Tab album to me; weirdly it sounds better than I remembered. That never happens does it?

And lastly, thanks to
for her kind offer of a hi-tech frisbee. Looking forward to it...

AK Momo - Women to Control

Bugger, just noticed that Mystical Beast has got there before me on the Ak Momo thing...

And I thought I was so special.

24 January 2005

Steve Ovett & The Mekons


Years ago, in a moment of pure, white-light clarity, I realised that the chief distinction between me as a child and me as an adult was my shift in allegiance from Sebastian Coe to Steve Ovett. As a child, I wanted Coe to win, thinking Steve Ovett looked like the kiddie fiddler baddy in a Public Information Film and then...

I realised that somehow I'd got it all wrong. Coe seemed to morph before my eyes into a V lizard, a seething Cthulhu tentacular with an hypnotic programme that kept small children in a trance, though had the side effect that his hair would never move.

Ovett, meanwhile, seemed to have a grown a luminous grey halo and I realised for the first time that his face is spectacular; a wizard's face, a face that has seen Death and laughed at it. It was suddenly difficult to understand how I could have been so wrong, the differences between the two men seemed like the differences between the World:

Coe: accountancy, smooth, slick, Phil Collins, smarm, corporate capitalism, dead-eyed money thirst, sound-biting, faked eye twinkles, structure, concrete thought.

Ovett: astro-physics, angular, unkempt, The Stooges, spiky anarchism, falling graces, dissolution, the quest for knowledge, black elf chatter, toothless grinning, chaos theory.

It was then that I realised how my life would begin to unravel; I'd always seen glimpses of the other side, thought perhaps there was life beyond the charts in music, for example but the Ovett moment seemed to crystallise these thoughts absolutely, sending me spiralling towards the counter-culture (vaguely) and independent music (definitively).

That day, I bought my first NME - I think The Triffids or The Mekons were on the front - and began my descent towards Camden Underworld...

The Mekons - Hole In The Ground

The Mekons - Empire Of The Senseless

22 January 2005

Blue Cheer



'thing is, everyone keeps getting hit by buses...tearing holes.'

'...when they should be realising there is no bus.'

'mmm...or at least stop trying to wave it down... or catch it up...'

'that's anxiety... who's on the bus... who's off the bus... where's the bus going ...'

'and especially stop worrying about sitting next to a stranger if you do get on...'

'...i think if my children... got hit by one.... even much later... God.'

'But you just keep pulling them out the way... or making the bus invisible...'

'Yes. But then... it can just reappear when you're not looking and drive right at you...'

Blue Cheer - Summertime Blues

19 January 2005

Acid Tablets


The Jack the Tab album, Genesis P Orridge, Dave Ball, Richard Norris et al's fake acid house compilation came out in 1988 and, while hailed as innovative (though not at the time and, actually, not in retrospect either by the majority of critics...bugger), it set a trajectory for acid house and electronica which never quite took off.

The album has a DIY amauterish feel to it that seemed to reflect the initial idea that Acid House would become the new punk; meaning that previous structural/ musical limitations would be taken apart or ignored, leaving a clean slate for new forms to slime over. Even the fact that it was Psychic TV pretending to be various other bands - 'Alligator Shear, Pearl Necklace (ho-hum), Wolves of the Sun, King Tubby etc' - reflected an unconscious intent to establish the illusion of an ever growing pulsating worldwide network of synapse-spunked musicians, scrabbling for acid tabs amongst the Ballardian wreckage of abandoned geetar-band studios, broken Roland drum pads and swapped oscillator coils.

We didn't believe. But we wanted to. This might change things.

And in a way, it did. The bedroom musician was being born again all over the place, science nerds abandoning their home-made radio cube sets and CB radios for the sancity of bended circuits and thumb tacked synthesiser patches. Aphew Twin's digeridoo was just around the corner and Orbital were already preparing their own freakbeat spin on Techno by sampling The Butthole Surfers on Satan...

For a while, it looked like everything would merge. Rock, acid, house, techno would open up and come apart. Maybe these categories wouldn't even exist in a few years time - the music would just keep fragmenting, finding new ways to settle briefly before being shaken up again.

Some people even attempted to add Acid to Jazz.

But the opportunity got lost somewhere. While the Jack the Tab record lurched from the fairly straightforward party acid of Meet Every Situation Head-on to the odd, almost bluesy Only Human, taking in frazzled 60s psych pop (this was late 80s PTV after all) and electro-gristles along the way, the other 'acid house' artists seemed content to ride the wave and produce sub-Chicago house standards with uniform bleeping and cursory glances towards words like 'Energy' and 'Flash'.

And, of course, there was money to be made. Aciiiieeeeeed!

From here, we got the sometimes interesting, often formulaic 'ambient' house (which opiumed for the masses) and the patronising Intelligent Dance Music (and it's retard cousin Thick Dance Music / Gabba). Many of the artists adopted a smililar multiple identity syndrome to the Jack the Tab boys and girls with the main difference being that most of the chosen names now often related simply to matters of tempo, while the Jack the Tab monikers seemed to relate to matters of intention or form; each track on Jack the Tab is by a different artists because they're attempting to explore the different directions which 'Acid House' might take.

Jack the Tab didn't really sound like the rest of the late 80s Acid House but it sounded like the music I imagined when I first heard the term 'Acid House' as a power-drained skinny dip of a 16 year old Somerset lad, excited because the music seemed to relate to, gulp, drugs and because it meant I could do my stupid hand waving, spirit fingered, spazz march dance without anyone phoning the St John's Ambulance and asking for a epileptic trauma crash-kit.

For a long while, pretty much every Acid House record I bought was disappointing. None of them seemed to be taking Jack the Tab ecelecticism and hyperdelia on. The covers seemed to hint at mysterious amalgams - remember that Balearic Beats compilation, the one with the Psych-Eye? - but never really delivered past a fairly trite take on 4/4 slap-bassing and dry squelches (and even PTV later when on to make the frankly uninspiring bass-nasty epic Towards the Infinite Beat)...

I only half remember Jack the Tab, having lost the album many years ago now in some Swansea pit, and these memories may be rose-tinted and schematically reworked according to a latent post 30 miserablism / nostalgia but somehow it seems that Acid House was an opportunity missed. I remember it sounding hopelessly disorientating, cluttered with Freak(s)ish movie samples, skewed rhythms, half-spent voices, stuttering beats, brass stabs, psych-fuzz and obscure attempts at real songs...

Isn't that what Acid House says to you?

Two questions: 1)Anyone have this album and like to post a track? I'd love to track it down. 2) Anyone suggest any other music which actually sounds like a combination of Acid and House?

16 January 2005

Inner City Unit


Sometimes, all you really want after an few hours spent with small children feeding horses and throwing large rocks in muddy puddles is a sax-heavy surf rock version of Wagner's Ride of the Valkryies blown out by some guy who used to be in Hawkwind.

I swear I saw this guy playing at some benefit at Westland Helicopters Sports and Social Club but I'm never sure of anything these days until I've seen the flyer / Western Gazette article posted by Kidshirt

Inner City Unit - Paradise Beach

Anyway, on the way back home, drenched in mud and animal residue, my 7 year old turned around and said:

"You know everyone was a baby who comes from a tummy?"


"Well what about God? Was he a baby as well? I know about Jesus."


After his awkward questions re: God's utter inaction in the South East Asia crisis, I think he's headed for some Theological unpeeling any day soon.

15 January 2005

Fruityloops : Strangeness and Charm


Reading Gutterbreakz Guttertech fun n frolics made me pine for my old Windows laptop and the copy of Fruityloops I had before the little fellah imploded and I switched to Macs. It was a seriously underpowered little guy and it could hardly stand the pressure that Fruityloops 3 put upon his circuitry, regularly giving up the ghost and sending my tracks into endlessly repeating frazzles and fissures that nearly always sounded better than the tracks I'd meticulously programmed. Sometimes, if I'd overdone the effects and the delays (i.e. every time) it'd just start looping the last few bars, sending them echoing out for quarter hours, continually morphing the sounds and occasionally even sputtering out samples that I swear I'd never put into the tracks in the first place. One time I remember it crashed and spent a good seven or so minutes making up it's own version of 2001's Hal doing Daisy Daisy... as if the technology itself was attempting some kind of po-mo sleight of hand. If I'd worked out how to record these mutations there could've yet been a genesis of a new genre of (literally) broken beats - spazztech? aspergeronica? hiccuppertronics?

Those Oval boys were pussies compared to my old laptop ( I claim no credit for it's creations).

Now, I've got the bug again, the plate in my head is starting to pick up Radio transmissions - right now, it's Wogan - and I need something to play with. Anyone any idea of any comparable Mac software which I could get for free? I tried to get some from work but the Music Tech guys keep rattling about dongles, which I've taken for a term of abuse and am therefore not talking to them anymore.

There must be a decent free music making software package for the Mac out there somewhere?

And for the Mp3 huggers, here's some tracks from the first Bourbonese Qualk album


Virgin Ears, Virgin Eyes

Idiot Pain

God With Us

God knows what equipment these boys had back in the heady days of 1983 but I'd bet it was from the gutter.

Next week: no puns.

14 January 2005

Clock DVA's Buried Dreams


Clock DVA emerged from the North on the vapour trails of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, forcing their way past the steel machine dreams of the early Industrial Scene and into the metaphysical, Deleuzian, broken backed psycho-mysticism that eventually saw the members fragment into the Haflerish Anti-Group.

While many of their contemporaries seemed happy to explore and transcribe the sounds of the everyday in all it's prosaic beauty and scummy splendour, Clock DVA wanted to explore sounds that we hadn't yet heard, perhaps picking up the gauntlet from Chris Watson's Cabaret Voltaire defection. Adi Newton went down a slightly different path, one similar to the Hafler Trio but altogether more musical, as if he felt the need to hinder himself within the boundaries of beat in order to expand sideways into the psychophysical exploration of sound.

Buried Dreams is their masterpiece. Even the packaging managed to dig up a host of references: Girogio de Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, the grinning face of John Wayne Gacy, Appollinaire and Walerian Borowczyk...


Released at a time when the Rev-Co / Ministry industrial-dance axis was just about full throttle and forcing a New Beat, A Grumh physicality onto the industrial map (thus following the lead of Test Dept and the earlier, more muscular Neubauten), Buried Dreams was marketed in much the the same way - play it in your industrial nightclubs folks! - but transcended that genre in two ways: firstly by u-turning into the inner realms and the unconscious, leaving the body behind as a passive machine for the mind and, secondly, by forcing a more singular version of the non-linear song form into the arena, so that the album sounded like an album, rather than a collection of floor fillers and tub-thumpers surrounded by putty-faced filler.

It's almost a concept album, albeit more Kinks than Yes. And there's a real attempt to sing, even if the vocals can occasionally weave their way towards Gothic murk. At the time, this seemed like a real shock; us Industrial fans had been used to a few years of shouting and sampled steel smashing ( it was getting on our tits), but we were hardly prepared for singing (a similar shock came with the Nine Inch Nails first album - I remember several grumpy Goth kids staring at it, then at me, trying to work out when the nails bit was going to start).

Clock DVA - Buried Dreams


Buried Dreams takes legendary proto-vampire Countess Elizabeth Bathory as it's starting point, mapping on a Bataille self-destroying angel fixation or two and then mixing in cello rumbles, piano stabs, drones and orgasmic sighs which seem to summon the ghost of de Sade... it's the most soundtracky of the songs on the album, beat-driven but ponderous, the vocals lying low and growling in the mix...

Clock DVA - Velvet Realm

Velvet Realm opens the vocals out a little, taking the fetishism theories of Krafft-Ebing's psychopathia sexualis as a starting point for a machine clicking, Exorcist-evoking tongue-lick, complete with references to velvet kinkiness and human drains.

Clock DVA - Sound Mirror

Sound mirror sounds not unlike The Shamen circa Phorward (always my favourite album of theirs) with drums all over the place, electronic squiggles and spoken word samples diving in and out. There's mroe than a little of John dee's scrying mirror in there somewhere, though this might just be auto-suggestion or fatigue.


Clock DVA - The Hacker

The Hacker rattles along on propulsive drum patters while secret machines try to bust in from the outside like an early Matrix rehearsal. In the light of Aronofsky's Pi, this makes perfect sense.

Clock DVA are bleak, pervy, pataphysical, studious, mystical, portentous and they slightly remind you of the geeky science boy with the popping eyes and the tub of ketamine but somehow they stew all this into music which has been very both innovative (you hear the joins beginning to unravel into glitch electronica) and, they'd hate me for saying this I'm sure, fun.

Clock DVA: jumping beans in the aether.

13 January 2005


i don't understand why they can pull a multi-million pound Pepsi advert featuring footballers and a tidal wave and yet in 2 years time they can release a Tsunami: tide of terror in multiplexes around the globe...

won't all those people still be dead in 2 years time? or are their families supposed to have gotten over it by then?

i don't understand how the BBC can have a 'legalise drug' Newsnight discussion without a single interesting point being made on either side (and as for that 'what if?' show...jesus.). Let me get this straight, your main argument is that drugs are bad and yours is that criminals are bad and Afghanistan is FUBAR?

Oh right...

i think the pro-Legalisation lobbies (find a better spokesman, guys) should have used the 'pie' argument: would any government seriously even think of deregulating something as relatively innocuous as, say, steak and kidney pies, and letting them be manafactured and distributed entirely by a criminal fraternity who couldn't care less about hygiene / safety standards?

and please stop using the ridiculous tu quoque argument that we should legalise drugs because alcohol and cigarettes are legal and they are much worse... other than reducing crime, the only real argument for legalising all drugs is that they are dangerous...

Finally, after the Prince Harry debacle, can someone tell me why if you dress up as a Nazi you're supporting the Nazis but if you dress up as a Pakistani / Native American / Arab etc you're taking the piss and are probably racist to boot?

I just don't get it...

Hoffman Hi-Jinks


Reading this and this (I've appropriated Dave the Head's name for a script based on the Yeovil acid/slacker scene that I currently have in 'pre-production' - more on this later, when it's nearer being actually shot) reminded me of the First Annual Yeovi-Ley Anniversary of Albert Hoffman's LSD Bike Ride, which happened on a misty March evening sometime around the back end of the 80s.

The event starred myself and M, on our second ever acid trip (the first just featured a Big Train style staring competition, which M won with a devastingly sustained eye wag), attempting to circumnavigate the centre of Yeovil on bike's borrowed from K's sister (who was otherwise known as The Fruitbat, for a reason I forget now - I remember that the "The" was important, though).

The event was ostensibly a race and we got off to a decent start heading down Penn Hill towards the Police Station. M was in the lead; my gears were all wrong - they seemed to have reverted to their original state, just nuggety twists of metal that appeared to have no relationship to kinetic energy.

At the roundabout - pavements were strictly off limits; the dissolution of the Highway Code is the first sign of a depraved and Godless country - M was still in the lead, pedalling like an Eco-Energy convertor at Glastonbury Festival (9 hours of pedalling; one lightbulb twitch) and all looked lost when, inexplicably, he made his first and fatal error: hand signals.

The roundabout was almost empty of cars but M stopped and put out his hand, indicating a hard right, up past The Johnson Hall and The Butchers Arms, and into town. The race was almost over - the finishing line being decided at a later date - and M seemed to have blown it, radcliffed. I was gaining fast. Still he didn't move, perhaps struck dumb by the Monolithic splendour of the Avon and Somerset Police HQ (this was where, after all, he'd been arrested for drunkenly singing a frankly sick and ill-advised rendition of the popular children's classic 'PC Blakelock's got no head, doo dah, doo dah' - don't worry, he was rightly beaten about the head and shoulders without a hint of a law suit from his parents).

Something was holding him there and he was suddenly older than his 17 years, turned into that shaky old gent who used to be on the bike safety Public Information films, teaching us to turn right. I passed his grimly determined, though motionless, face and headed towards town; the fire's of victory already burning. On the grassy knoll above us, L and C and K shouted their encouragement but even from that distance they seemed to understand that all was not right.

I stopped. This was no way to win.

I called out to M, ready to concede defeat, anything, if he'd get off the bike and cut the hand signals but he seemed to look right through me, his eyes thousand yard staring (he'd definitely have won the Staring comp now - blinking seemed lost on him as an idea).

"What are you doing?' I yelled. I knew the others on the hill were echoing my sentiments, knew instinctively that they understood that a tragedy was unfolding before our eyes. By now he was clogging up the roundabout. People were beeping. Cars weaving around him, fists shaking. I was getting what Burroughs called The FEAR.

"M! Come on..."

Nothing. Any minute now the police statiom, just a matter of seconds away was going to open up and retch out bad tidings.

Behind him, cars zig-zagged crazily across the race track. A Sunshine Bus stopped like a Cuckoo's Nest impression. All seemed lost. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a squad car pulling out of the Police Station and heading Ms way.

"M! M!"

The Police car was just coming around the roundabout... You could almost see the yellow of their eyes...

"For God's sake..."

And then M, with all the stately grace of an well-oiled Tourer, completed the best right turn I've ever seen.

Autechre - Bike

Note: if anyone's got the Pelican Daughters song "The Bicycle Ride", you should probably play it...now.

10 January 2005

V for Vendetta Movie


Thanks to The Movie Blog for picking up on the new V for Vendetta movie due in 2005 which is bound to pull at comic lovers' heartstrings, already taut from the Alan Moore spazzes of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell - both of which spin towards the eternal: is it okay to just be alright on their own terms?

Can V not be a disaster?

How, for example, will The Matrix clan deal with the lack of physical action - where's the opportunities for wired kung-fu, the slow-mo spread eagles? How will they deal with the original's main pleasures - the minor characters, the grey shady dealings and political machinations of the bit part players?

You can see how 'The Shadow Gallery' scenes will succeed on screen but how are they going to approach the comics palette? David Lloyd's artwork always seemed to capture the mundane horror of as British Totalitarian State perfectly - are we going to get anything even approaching that?.


And how are they going to deal with a lead character who's always in a mask?

I see the Judge Dredd movie... I see V taking off his mask early on... I see him and he's, my God, he's...

V's anonymity goes beyond Dredd's (which was always a geek's mystery anyhow: you knew he had a Napolean Dynamite perm under there); taking the mask off destabilises the plot and leaves V simply another freaky super-hero, destined to twirl capes and tip hats to the ladies...

And isn't V a terrorist? And aren't they, like, bad? Will they let him blow up public buildings? Let him murder people? Post Sept 11th how is that gonna play?

Let the bitch fest begin!

09 January 2005

Afrika, Calvinism and Hobbes


I've mentioned Afrika Bambaataa in passing through so many previous posts I figured it was time to give the old guy some screen time all on his lonesome...

His music runs like a thick seam through 'dance' music: bringing together the machine fetishism of Kraftwerk and the pop-eyed sneer of Lydon with the 'street' sounds of the Bronx.

Bambaatta seems to have a Calvinist approach to music - it is music that seems to reject the 'mysteries' of cultural difference, forsaking the genre based name-calling (wonder what he makes of the current Dubstep, Grime, Techstep, Bashment etc fixation with title?) and it's associated rule-based formulations re: BPM, timestretching and so. Instead, he sees everything as grist to the mill; material to be merged and assimilated, Borg-like, into the Bambaatta Space-Time Machine.


Where Calvinism presupposes that the goodness and power of God have a free, unlimited range of activity, Bambaataa seems to think the same way about multi-culturism in music - that genres are made to be broken and twisted out of shape because that is what was always intended. Equally, the Calvinist idea that God is implicit in everything (and equally present in work as in prayer) seems to be echoed in his approach to music, with the result that, like mush of Jah Wobble's output, his music is an instantly recognisable stew, seemingly independent of his collaborators, transcending individual voice(s) to open up daisy chains of racial utopianism.


Thomas Hobbes comes in here too - I sense that Bambaataa views the world in a similar way to Hobbes "war of all against all" and is simply attempting a cicumnavigation of this bleack world view by way of dissolved racial/cultural boundaries. Just look to the sci-fi trappings, the Bootsy Collins futureshock specs... he's trying to write himself out of this misery, attempting a heave at social division, heading towards a grand Sun Ra S.M.I.L.E.

Hobbes, of course, put a firm focus on the role of the State in developing a 'saving' Social Contract and challenging individual determinism, and I'm hardly claiming for Bambaata the social-state supplication inherent in Hobbes writings but still, this differentiation seems to me more a difference of opinion with regard to the nature of the State rather than a difference of opinion as to the sanctity of the social contract.

Listen to how Bambaataa co-opts Gary Numan and Blondie in this track:

Metal (link opens the Better Propaganda page - download from there)

Everything is dissolving in a similar, though perhaps less explicity Nubian, way to the late period Miles Davis albums where he appropriated the motifs of Rock, Funk and Soul into his Jazz meanderings and started naming albums after Ancient Racial Utopias...

This brings me to the problem I have with Bambaataa's stuff: the fact that the immersion of cultural artefacts is so complete that the music seems beyond change. I'm hardly an authority (someone out there will be) but everything I hear from Bambaataa seems somehow transfixed by his initial experiments at the dawn of House. The musical stew, established so totally in Planet Rock and the Timezone collaborations, now seems complete: everything he's added subsequently seems to follow the same ley lines towards the same power source. Nothing I've heard since has significantly dragged his sound onwards and thus his later stuff sounds pleasantly nostalgic, a time-capsuled memento of a time when musical genres began to wretch on their own memes and schemas and starting searching for the synergistic unions that, facilitated with Ecstacy, eventually opened up into the new World vistas of Acid House.

That doesn't mean it isn't a fun place to go every now and then, just that you always know where you're gonna end up. Maybe Bambaataa's still got something up his sleeve and he's just waiting for the numerology to kick in...

And yeah, of course, this all started out with a stupid pun. How could it not?

Who By Fire


This is less about Gavin Friday and more about the song itself.

Gavin Friday - Who By Fire

I first heard it in it's orignal Leonard Cohen version when I was about 13 and it sent my along some dark (and sometimes dead) pathways into metaphysical singer songwriting... Subsequent versions by Coil, and now this one, seem to find new ways to stretch the meaning...

It's based on a prayer recited at the sacred time of atonement and seems suffused with the expectation of judgement, ontological enquiry and trial. Cohen seems to allow some ambiguity here: the 'who shall I say is calling?' is intonated in such a way that everything is left open. Self-determination (as well as divine intervention) appears one possibility amongst many.

Or maybe I've got it all wrong?

And who by fire,
who by water,
who in the sunshine,
who in the night time,
who by high ordeal,
who by common trial,
who in your merry merry month of may,
who by very slow decay
and who shall I say is calling?

And who in her lonely slip,
who by barbiturate,
who in these realms of love,
who by something blunt,
and who by avalanche,
who by powder,
who for his greed,
who for his hunger,
and who shall I say is calling?

And who by brave assent,
who by accident,
who in solitude,
who in this mirror,
who by his lady's command,
who by his own hand,
who in mortal chains,
who in power,
and who shall I say is calling?

Still, the Gavin Friday live version is excellent... the simple instrumentation creating whorls of circular sound underlaid by a ticking Man Ray metronome and piano tickles... anyone know is there's a studio version of this? Or any other versions of the song?

07 January 2005

The Game of War

Reading this:

and I'm only about 20 pages in and it's already invoked
Throbbing Gristle,Maldoror, Michel Houellebecq, Foucault and The Surrealists...

Cool as kingcumber or alt-cultural trainspotting?

I'll let you know.

06 January 2005

Non / Boyd Rice


Boyd Rice is a difficult man to like. Last time he came round the house he insisted on demerara sugar and I have it on good authority (all authority is good) that he never washes behind his knees.

That said, he wears hats well.

Boyd's multi-groove, drill yer own holes Pagan Muzak 7" album remains one of the premier noise artefacts from the Industrial era - from this spawned all sorts of filth, most of it terrible, most of it missing the point.

Non's early Physical Evidence takes sound apart, it's like the Hyde to Philip Jeck(yll); impossible to listen to at anything less than immersive volume. I'm sure headphones don't work; the sound needs to be everywhere, needs to be vibrating the air.

It's not the kind of thing you listen to often. It's musical irrigation.

Sometimes, if you listen really carefully, you can hear the sound sources coming throught the walls: organ bursts, tiki lounge, surf music, porno soundtracks. You're never sure if any of these sounds are really there.

Has he always been following the Blood of Christ? On Embers that could almost be what you're hearing: a close-miked rush of blood to the head, the roar of white blood cells as they try to find the source of the wound.


If this doesn't jangle your pop-belt then I ought to tell you that Embers is one of early Non's more musical pieces.

One day he could be President.

02 January 2005

More Steinski!!

Bah. Not only does he throw a party and not invite me, but now Loki seems intent on moving in on my territory by writing about artists that I've been championing for some time (Marty Rev, Shitmat, cLOUDDEAD etc). He'll be doing a Cabs post next, the blood-sucker!

Well, I feel perfectly entitled to draw inspiration from one of his previous posts by taking another look at the wonderful world of Steve Stein aka Steinski.

One of the nice things about deliberately 'resting' one's own blog is that it gives me a chance to muck around doing other things, like finally transferring a few more vinyl nuggets into MP3 format. Ever since Loki linked to that version of Steinski's "The Motorcade Sped On", I've been meaning to post another version of it, which comes from an old NME 7inch from 1987. This is the version I'm most familiar with and I think it's a better, tighter arrangement that really displays the brilliance of the concept to full-effect. It's almost like a pop-song structure, with the sirens and "Mrs Kennedy Jumped Up, she called 'Oh No'" section acting as a chorus. I think it's one of the finest examples of the early Hip Hop cut'n'paste montage approach ever. And it still gives me goose-bumps every time I listen to it.

Steinksi & Mass Media featuring D.J.E.T. - The Motorcade Sped On

Then of course, no Steinski post is complete without his most famous tune, "We'll Be Right Back", released on Fourth And Broadway and reaching a semi-respectable #63 in the UK charts back in January 1987. A superb collage of TV commercial sound-bites that acts as an eloquent statement on the mind-numbing overkill of modern-day consumerism that we're force-fed on an hourly basis. True, the world of TV advertising is a slightly more subtle one now (in the UK at least) but the message still hits on a few home-truths: they're still selling us more useless crap that we don't need, getting us to buy into a lifestyle in an endless cycle of bullshit, and the only ones who benefit in the long-run are the credit card companies. We don't need all these choices. Western/capitalist society is a bit disgusting, don't you think?

Steinski & Mass Media - We'll Be Right Back (Re-Edit)

This track comes from the remix 12 inch and also features an 'acappela' with just a selection of samples from the main track. Now, I bet there's plenty of amateur remixers and producers out there, so how about some of you try doing a new version using some of these bits of dialogue? You can e-mail your mix to me (keep it down to three or four minutes) and I'll post your efforts here at a later date. The best one will get a prize (the judges decision will be final). Good luck!

Steinski & Mass Media - We'll Be Right Back (Acappella bonus voices)

If I get one single response to this idea, I will be amazed....

New Year

New Year: Psychbloke'saccount is probably enough but...

He and Mrs Psychbloke certainly frightened my earnest glitch-electronica friends with their crazed table dancing antics and Sugarbabes fixations. Mrs Psychbloke more than freaked me out with a demise that went from all to nothing in an instant as if somehow someone had told a joke that managed to completely switch off the human central nervous system...

In another room, my old mate T is playing game after game of International Master level internet speed chess with Mongolians and Moldovan Grand Masters, separated only by the odd trip into the kitchen to pour himself another pint of vile cocktail juice...

Outside the rest of us are standing in the street watching the firework Blitz come down as we come up... I'm getting Pompey pixellations: "the man i saw becomes a bird. All the sky is filled with fountains. My head falls back so far it hurts..."

...there's a few arguments about what music we should be playing...someone's angling for Rachel Stevens, someone else keeps insisting on the Wurzels.

Rachel Stevens vs Depeche Mode - Your Own Personal Rachel

I'm glugging tequila sunrises and trying to keep everyone happy: The Venetian Snares are doing my head in so then Clouddead (cheers for the new Cd Kempernorton) come on but seem too skewed somehow so then I try to dance myself out of the delirium by putting on Coil's AYOR and meditating on the odd Jhonn Balance funeral card that came through the post that day (Did anyone else get one of these? Beautiful picture of Jhonn)...

Venetian Snares - ICHIDH

Clouddead - Velvet Ant

N is sitting in a room full of balloons, holding an inflatable bird and talking to a
cat on the telly...

D is panicking because M is trying to light rockets in the back garden...nothing is helping the astral communication pathways...

...but AYOR (or maybe my dancing) is scaring people so we switch to some Plant Mucomplilation that Gutterbreakz will no doubt know and then it's only about 2 o'clock and some of my friends leave for their B&B taking their beautiful blonde nippers with them and this causes my wife and into 15mins of hippie depression until L puts on the largest shoes ever made and cracks everyone up...

Shitmat - stickthespamupyourasstillithurtsbabylon

4 o'clock comes and my wife talks me out of getting the kids up - I need some small people (i'm calling them munties) around me, all these adults are freaking me out...

At 6 it's pretty much just me and a few others left and by then I'm already in a mad cleaning mode... i think for a moment of starting up a Zen Cleaning Business...

T is furious about some Serbian who's just beaten him at chess...he mumbles something about how weird it is that Miss Universe is always won by Earthlings and then downs another pint of Martini mix...

At 7 o'clock I realise with horror that the time to sleep has passed because the kids have come down and are requiring their Weetabix/ Sugar Puffs fixes...I put on Cloudead again and hope for the best...

In the morning, just the one dialysis machine was needed; Kempernorton is about to spend the duration of Football Focus re-investigating his Martini Cubensis via the perfectly turned surface of the guest loo.

Happy New Year, folks!
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