22 September 2006

The Owl's Map



...through a mangle of dire-hard prog, French guy Jordi ("Dur Dur D'Etre Bebe") sings up, dancing like Vanilla Ice, hair spun up into a Douglas Hurd ice-cream cone, eyes scanning the net to download Death To Careless Kids Summer Holiday Specials, featuring a very tired looking Peter Purves (Hyacinth Bucket?)...

A fluttering synthroll on the driveway, A Casiotonic, a FZ-1 with bells on it, modulating its way down the road towards the New World, towards a man in an old TV repair shop, ripping the innards out of old organs and rewiring them to play Wicker Man midi files with bossa nova beats and iceblock synth settings...

...Jordi flops down (still can't control his limbs, they're growing too fast for his mind to keep up with the spatial coordinates), throws the draft excluder across the room and flicks down on the ancient video machine; he's trying to record the soundtrack to Children Of The Stones through an old condenser mic but it's not playing ball... he rubs at the mic head like it's a White Worm and dreams of being eaten by Amanda Donahoe...

In the den, made of old beds and iron, his half-brother is practising Legs Eleven routines and repeating the mantra:

The 80s are more like the 70s than the 70s
The 80s are more like the 70s than the 70s

over and over again, trying to find a rhythm in the text.

...bend, stretch, bend, stretch... he looks out the window from between his own legs; everything inverted, the sky a bubbling red lawn, the grass a stormy sky on which Arthur Machen and his White People are lurking around, fingers on noses, candles at arms length, wishing for night and stalking Pan...

...pipe musick in the near distance, across the hedgerow; Pan is sitting on an artificial hill with a 2 foot sewage pipe through the middle of it in a vague confabulation of a kids sandcastle. Pan is reading the Collected Short Stories of Saki and smiling his tail off: this boy can schmooze...

Ah, Io...

...inside the pipe, rain expected, a small child in a Kids Of Degrassi Street tartan lumberjacket is flipping Top Trump Horror Cards, marvelling at the High Priestess of Zoltan and invoking a time-space shift where suddenly, without warning, the whole era will be condensed into a single Bank Holiday Special Edition of Look Around You...

Under his breath, you can just about hear:

Wake up in the morning, gotta shake this feeling,
I gotta face a day of school.
What's to be afraid of?
I can ask a question, or maybe even bend a rule.
I'm looking for a way so I can fit in,
If there's a way if I can look, then I can win.
I can see I'm not alone, I can face the unknown.
Everybody can succeed, in themselves, you must believe,
Give it a try at Degrassi High.


Degrassi kid grins - he's one of the last of his generation to have bad teeth.



...Pan's piping continues; taken in by Jordi's mic and then played back through a CopyCat and then sent forwards in time to be oscillated and straightened (all the fur stripped off) by Thighpaulsandra, dressed in Mao grey and wearing a Norris McWhirter mask...

Jordi turns the Tv off but finds that even when he unplugs it it's still playing: an endless Mcluhan stream of fastcut Quatermass, Lost episodes of Dr Who and the Tomorrow People episodes, mixed together so fast only the beats are audible; the pauses inbetween frights, the gaps between the language of the characters, between the gulps for air... and through these gaps a little of the future is starting to leak through...

...from nowehere the sound of laughing - the laughers from Coil's Anal Staircase (never a tape of the Hindley-Brady murders, despite what Peel thought) all grown up but having no 'where' to go...

The idea of a Polytechnic seems older than the Sun. What arcane devices might have been activated there?

Yeah, I'm speakin' to you, PCAS boy...

Belbury Poly - Lord Belbury's Folly


A Yousendit Imaginary Spangle Taste

And, yeah, there's probably nothing here that takes you away like Caermaen, on The Willows but then now this sounds less alien because we've come to expect a certain set of soundfiles from Ghost Box and they don't like to disappoint us.

Still, everything about this package - the cover, the sleevenotes (the way they teeter on the brink of parody but never fall off) - warms your buns like a good CDR should. Even the paper feels nice.

And it sounds like other people seem to hear early Boards Of Canada.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

great album. I actually like it more than The Willows. this is looking to be one of my faves of '06.

archigram said...

Just received my copy from them the other day. It is more consistent than The Willows, but I love it all. My least fave Ghostbox album is the Eric Zann one, but I bought it anyway! Gotta have 'em all.

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