28 May 2009

Gola Trance (Screen Test Degradation) Redux

With [] to the likes of Kek, Doppel[], K-punk...
The secret of Hauntology lies in the corners, the liminal frames of the photographs. No, it's not what you're thinking; nothing remotely Ligotti or even The Dark Is Rising about it.

Nothing Green Knowe.

Memories from the Haunted Ballroom is a series of soft-focus delirial-oneiric versions of Twenties and Thirties tearoom pop tunes, the original numbers drenched in so much reverb that they have dissolved into a suggestive audio-fog, the songs all the more evocative now that they have been reduced to hints of themselves. Thus Al Bowlly's 'It's All Forgotten Now'

It's no surprise that[ ] hid at first because it's only [ ] you suddenly understand where they are coming from. The critics who argue that hauntology is nostalgic are missing the point entirely; this is not at all about looking back fondly but rather the desire to reanimate SOMETHING [ ]; a kind of rose tint in reverse.

To understand, you need to look at the(ir) trainers.

The picture of [ ] (etc) in the June edition of The Wire [ ]; Gola trainers, even now partially hidden.

The Caretaker - what a world, what a life, what a love

Simple, classic styling with a nice bit of suede or canvas, possibly a gum sole here or there and you won't go far wrong. If they look like they've been stolen from a school gym circa 1979 then you've hit the jackpot. We've been campaigning for Gola to introduce some retro "heelies" but we don't think they're gonna deliver the goods. Bottlers.

Yeah, now they've found a way to be cool; even made a virtue of their [ ] (instead of the Adidas Littbarskis you were after). Everyone living in the hinterlands of the 70s and 80s, the upper reaches of the classic 'Ghost Box era' (from Gutterbreakz) will recognise The Gola trance, the slipped disc look [ ]. It's something that would have shaped most kids* around the classic [ ] Steel, Children Of The Stones, Screen Test era and it's not surprising that it's these sounds that find themselves worthy of excavation. By reclaiming these sounds, The Caretaker, The Ghost Box boys et al, can also reclaim the false consciousness that pretended that these [ ] were okay, had something about them, were somehow non-conformist.

((([ ] non-conformity didn't have the same allure then, did it?)))

And this angst runs deep; keeps wrecking dreams way after the individuals have come to terms with their own status, keeps haunting....

If the Anterograde sessions used Kubrick’s The Shining as their conceptual kick-off point, then the Death of Rave series occupies another sort of haunted ballroom. Kirby wiped rave music of its musical signifiers to create something that sounded hollowed-out and spectral, a sort of MDMA-depleted snapshot of a 1990 Leeds warehouse party. And, somewhere along the way, he managed to make ambient music sound cool again.

Cf; Burial - the lost spaces being the music. Burial hid like hell because of the Gola Trance he found himself remembering... you hardly need mdma-depletion...

And anyway ---- MDMA damage is neurologically aligned to STM rather than LTM i.e. the inability to create new memories rather than the loss of exisiting ones... a theme which was mentioned in the liner notes to The Caretaker's first collection but then gradually, ironically, degraded into a whole other beast...

A shame, because anterograde amnesia explain hauntology as a theory better than anything (of course people are looking at reinventing the past; they've forgotten that the present exists - a kind of awful reversal of that John Peel dictum:

"People ask me, ‘what was the best year for music?’ I always say, 'This year is the best year for music. Prior to that it was the previous year"

I also get a little twitchy re: the nuum(b)ness that seems to be pervading the blog hallways these days...

And as for (often the same) people wishing for the heady days of the early 1990s... when rave crossfired into jungle.... well, in my experience that's when music also started to reassert it's masculinity again; the early days of Jungle round these parts saw girls heading for the hills while the boys spasticked along to the beats in sweaty, disconcerting waves...

I'm not saying that these boys had difficulties with girls and were grateful when they all left and started listening to happy house and psytrance but...


(((maybe not))) - i'm still stuttering; at the unfortunate My Generation stage of development; can't feel that the past needs to be better because i had Puma and, annoyingly, I still have Puma.... though once they were black and white and now they are pink and purple... the analysis of that shouldn't be too difficult...

Rave didn't die, perhaps?

Yeah, Sapphire and Steel was scary, for a zeitgeist [ ] hugging child [] slow for slow's sake []

We shouldn't be [ ] unknown here (((((((())))))))) isn't ontological, it's just logical; an extension of the way TV worked back then. S and S is creepy and unfinished, a real stare into the abyss... [ ] 3-2-1's arcane symbolic systems meant to be - Levi-Strauss would have struggled with Ted Roger's semiotic ((((())))))

The conceit of The Caretaker's Memories from the Haunted Ballroom has the simplicity of genius: a whole album's worth of songs that you might have heard playing in the Gold Room in The Shining's Overlook Hotel.

Being in a Gola Trance [ ] those savage Green Flashes a while back [ ]

You go round to Ghost Box HQ and look at their trainers, you know what you'll find.


21 May 2009

The Great Escape

My eyes open. Nothing. Last thing I remember I'd been in The Great Eastern off the North Lanes, Brighton and on the way to the floor, still clutching some Corn Whiskey (in the jar)and dimly remembering some kind of A Hawk And A Hacksaw accordian leanings. Now, the place is empty and in white light and on stage there's a band that seem to be called The Burned Fuses, all dressed in white suits and Residents-style eye masks. Everyone else seems to be at the bar and strangely fixated on a bottle of Rum Elixir that has found itself embedded between the hairfolds of the bartender.

I hear only fragments:

"...he's always been here; right Goat Lad... of Mersey..."

"I've talled people worse than this..."

"For us, there was something of a sixties feel to it. Some of the Dads still.."

But I get the gist: these Burned Fuses are just way off and the crowd are loving it, in their way. I look more closely at the band; it seems like the cavernous sounds coming from the stage are the result of every person in the band playing Bass guitar, which reminds me for a second of the time I had pneumonia.

"This is... Flipper!" I managed to yell at the stage before a guy who looks vaguely like a shaved Kris Kristopherson taps me on the shoulder and points to a sign above the stage that says: The Honeyclub.

"No good just dry heaving up front, keep towards the back, try to blend in..." says Kris.

"Blend in? Like Larry you mean?" I say, indicating a friend of mine who I've just remembered is stumbling around on the other side of the stage, attempting to engage some rather disaffected girls with some experimental Cosack dancing.

"Ah, he's been here before," says Kris. "He understands. For you, I think you'd be better heading West, towards The Arc."

It seems like a reasonable suggestion and I'm bloated by Bass anyhow and so, with just a flicker, I breathe cold air and find myself, as if by auto-suggestion, in a cramped Sun Room, watching a band who everyone else calls Hoover but I know to be The E.P. Stimulus, from Yeovil.

The guy guessed right: I needed a little West Country hoedown to keep my going. I look at my watch; it's still Friday, tea-time.

EPS, as they're known, play a brand of minimalist electro punk, inspired by Gui Boratto and Frank Tovey, tinged with amplifier regret and the inability to pass on Casio keyboards. They play with their heads down, shoegazing in all but name.

While I'm ordering a triple sambuccolic at the bar, a man who I sort of recognise from a TV sitcom I used to watch, starts jabbering:

"You could say it was a put-on and on some levels it was but you could also say it was a kind of put-on put-on, because there were several people in the colony that really did believe things could change because of what they'd started. I mean, for one thing, everyone had to change where they slept each night. Who you slept with wasn't really an issue - some people took advantage of the loose system, others settled down with their regular families and girlfriends and lived quite normally. There wasn't any sexual thing to any of us, despite how the media seemed to want to see us. There were the odd orgies, I guess, since the worst of the drugs sometimes took you that way, but I guess if you want to make a comparison to some of the suburbs, well we were nowhere near..."


"And you can print all of that, for starters," he said.

I'm less than two drink in, and already feeling a little, when the lights go off and a low, Pauline Oliveros (Everytime I see a picture of her I can't help imagining that she speaks like Jennifer Tilly) style drone starts up; an air-raid siren for the Drones, a call to prayer. Christ, these people, it's like the seaside leaks Bass...

"Ladies and gentlemen," someone announces but is quickly drenched in feedback and squalls.

This is, apparently, The Ticker Tapers, a duo from Ohio.

As they get into their set - two hunchbacks, one semi-exploded laptop - The Ticker Tapers sound a little like something you might find on Cold Meat Industries back in the day only with the added semi-coherent Grouperesque siren mumbles... great stuff and easily the best thing on at the moment.

Adi Newton from The Anti Group / Clock DVA etc is moonwalking at the front of the crowd. The crowd clap in all the wrong places but someone close-mics them against their will and sends the sound backwards onto the stage to be recycled.

I look at my crumped map and decide to head towards Number 9: The Engine Room, feeling the need to go out before I start thinking about going up.

The Engine Room is built to last from chewed girders and 19th Century efficiency. Inside, there are various head-nodders, listening to a DJ play old Technotronic records at half speed... Some people have clearly been misinformed that this is a silent disco and are bobbing around with over-size headphones and wraparound shades that make them look in a certain light like the lizards from V.

I order a drink, with a side order of Chef's salad which turns out to be some daffodil shards, laced with walnuts and some kind of rasperry couli.

This seems like the right kind of music to chew by.

Time passes; I look at my watch again and it's still only 9.30; people keep telling me the night is young but I try to resist. I look around and realise that I've lost my friends. I think a little harder about this and realise I didn't come with any. I wonder why.

I can't face any more Technotronic so walk back into the centre, heading for Number 13: The Hope, which sounds promising, accompanied by a girl with green hair streaks (which might once have been blonde but for the lashings of the sea air) who insists on giving me the History of Mr Punch (as in Judy):

"Mr Punch is the shortened form of the English Punchinello taken from the Italian Policianelo or Pulcinella, and the French Polichinelle, a character in the Italian commedia dell'arte..."

At some point she dives into a bar and I'm left alone with my thoughts outside The Hope, wondering whether or not that really could be the chinese girl from Grey's Anatomy sliding down the walls.

Inside The Hope, there's isn't any. People leave, shaking their heads.

I remember dimly that tomorrow I'm supposed to be a keynote speaker at the Business Etics And Teleology (BEAT) Conference in The Brighton Centre but can't for the life of me remember the title of the paper I'm supposed to be presenting.

Think I might start with a joke about a capella singing.

I go instead to The Prince Albert or The Cock Ring as the locals call it (I say locals, I mean the guys with bare-chests and angels wings on the door of The Angelic Staircase). Inside, there's a guy dressed impressively as an Auton from Spearhead In Space, doing some kind of tribute to Masonna, hitting himself with a contraption that seems part microphone, part kitchen appliance. Impressive stuff, except that afyter only a fw minutes the power gets cut and everyone gets thrown out. I'm not exactly sure what's happening but I hear something that seems to indicate that The Prince Albert is not hosting any of The Great Escape gigs and people have come here purely as a result of a printing error.

Onwards to The Barfly, where----------------

My eyes open. Nothing. Last thing I remember I'd been in The Barfly, Brighton. I look at my watch and it's Saturday; that crept up quickly. I still have my Great Escape map clutched in my hand and my wristband is still attached, though now my hair is stuck to the pavement, glued with Friday Night Ectoplasm (TM), perhaps as a result of bad time keeping (or so it says, much later, on my appraisal forms).

I get up, shake myself down (this has the appearance of experimental street theatre through the gauze of Delirium Tremens - I get cold stares and a little spare change thrown at me) and head towards the North Lanes again and the Komedia, where it's rumoured that Soisong are playing a breakfast set.

Soisong are nowhere near the Komedia, so I duck into the CyberDog rave shop where a guy I once knew from school is dancing on the podium, apparently attempting to illustrate the primary motor dysfunctions of Amphetamine Psychosis. I stand and watch him for awhile, my eyes still trying to adjust to all the UV, and retroscend through some childhood memories:

I remember Shittypants Kerby, and the terrible eczema of Krusty Katy. I can still see Lee Piltdown taunting the remedial children with punches to the kidneys and heart-breaking chants, ‘Come on you R-ems! Come on you R-ems!’ If you could only see old Broady just waiting to be run over by the other kids or the beautiful but dim Drayne twins who’d sleep with you at eleven and not understand until thirteen (unlucky for some), then you’d understand why children just have to be the nasty buggers that they are. There’s nothing malicious about their malice but it’s calculated to succeed; they understand the boiling point of their own gene pool, they don’t want to be left behind with the ectos.

I can't remember the name of the podium guy but I go and tug on his sleeves anyway and grin like an idiot. I feel the need to explain, thinking that perhaps I might have bullied him slightly.

"Children are ruthless because they are pragmatic; if he Craig is called Pizza Face then the names used up, it can’t hold for two people in the same year, it doesn’t matter how much pus can fill up your face, he’s still the main man. You won’t be the one. You get that now, don't you?"

Whateverhe'scalled shrugs and says nothing, hardly misses a beat. I leave, heading for The King And Queen where a band called ArcLite are playing Spacemen 3 covers without a hint of irony. I stay here for the whole set, swaying with the hair of the rhythm guitarist and squealing like a stuck pig when the first few bars of Suicide.

Blissed out but still worried by the burst of nostalgia stimulated by podium boy, I crash out upstairs in The Mash Tun, leaking slightly over two girls who seem to be dressed for a Strawberry Switchblade look-a-like competition (as it turns out, they are).

Staring out the window, trying to make my lips stick to the glass, I keep seeing old people who look vaguely like my old School teacher Mrs. Plum (no relation to the Professor), who taught Religious Education and who let us draw pictures of Indian demons in our books and who played apocalyptic music while we copied down Hindu sayings or Tribal songs.

It strikes me that the jukebox has played the whole of Mayhem's Wolf's Lair Abyss album; I think there's a group of mischievous Wyatters out there, roaming the streets.

I can't shake Mrs Plum. No longer want to. For the first year at school, RE was my favourite lesson. I loved to hear about how the Veda played on the minds or how Buddha became Vishnu or how Nanak overcame the roster or how the Ganges will never dry. She taught us how to conduct the Ten Commandments to Ravel and made us draw a picture of The Wicker Man, alight and full of tiny people, screaming.

I decide to follow Rose and Jill out of the pub and end up in Po Na Na, where I watch.

At this point, my notebook runs out and I write the rest on beermats and paper tablecloths, which i subsequently lose.

I think I missed Kasabian.

See you next year Great Escape Festival.

12 May 2009

Psytrance / Goan Wurries

...I can feel it coming; the Sun... I'm as cursed as a werewolf...

The Sun is rising; there's nothing I can do. Soon, i'll hear the drumming, the squiggles, the flipping 303s, the Terence McKenna samples, the spaaaace noises...

Hallucinogen - Shamanix

My Mind Is Going

With the Sun comes Psytrance, comes Goa... putting my Shame in Shamanic...

Here they come; faster now, crawling over the sunlit hills, through the woods, dragging everything out of the shadows, making everything gleam...

I'm gasping for breath just thinking about it, almost in tears as the Sun outside starts to burn, starts to drag the light from my computer monitor...

I'm listening to dubstep, honestly - that Spatial, great stuff, love it, degraded cybermen, Maldoror rising, sine wave speech, surbanity, profanity; a Burial for Rave, a requiem Mass... i'm there, as Catholic as the rest of them; stretching all the way from Delia Derbyshire (fuck that, from Pierre Henry, from John Cage) to Astral Social Club (actually, it's not that far), to The Caretaker (still not that far...), to...

Shpongle - And The Day...

I've tried the usual deprogramming techniques, tried the methadone programme of woozy, wonky post-everything Rave: stuff The Wire says is okay, even dipped all eleven toes into the mechanics of Zomby, trying to get a fix before it's too late.

Sublime Frequencies? Hell yeah... proper TRANCE innit? And I can see the linearity between, like, Tinawiren and Tuung, course I can, I'm Duchamping at the bit... it all makes perfect sense, slots together, makes new connections and drives things forward...


I can hear the drums, the rising synths, the breakdowns over the Blackdowns...

I can hear the samples calling:

From 2001, Blow, Star Trek, The Matrix, Excalibur, Merlin, Blade Runner...

Shpongle - A New Way to Say Hooray

The Sun is opening up another badly mistimed third eye. I want to resist. I want to.

(I've seen Eat Static more than I've seen any other band)

I've never paid. I've never seen them deliberately. <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>

It's more abduction than capitalism; forced exposure, intimate haggling with my neurochemistry, a Burroughsian brain rape...

It's happened before and will always happen.

My reptile brain is churning.

Those female vocals...

Orbital - One Perfect Sunrise

The Sun comes out and my finely honed winter musical earbone get cracked. I'm gonna be blissed out with Psytrance and Goa; it's gonna happen. The more I resist the more I find myself in a field, confused, disorientated and drawn towards the tent with the little animated mushrooms... it doesn't matter what Festival I end up at, it's always the same - Marquee as Alien Abduction; the light will tear me apart.

Soon, I will be unrecognisable; dancing like a spastic in time, making my own Masonic Distres signals, a bag of elbows and pointy fingers...

1200 Mics - Salvia Divinorum
Related Posts with Thumbnails