Friday, August 25, 2006

Sucked Empty

Just one mp3 this week - been busy with tings an ting. It's off an old Pete Tosh tape that I've had kickin around since I came across it while going through a dead man's things about eight years ago. Dunno what the album's called cos the inlay's missing and the print on the tape was faded, but I've seen an LP called 'Bush Doctor Live' which has a very similar track list to side A, which is the 'live' side of this tape. This is the third song on side 2, a dubbed out studio FX-ed recording called 'Vampires'. Spose I could go to discogs and have a dig, but I'll leave that to you, it'll give you somethin to do while you listen to...

It's a bassy half-stepper, pure dubstep-roots vibes, with some crisp skipping-triplet hi-hats in the left, a snare crack that phases left to right each bar, and some zoned-out reverb catching and throwing some of the vox (esp. "fire burn-burn-burn-burn-burn..."). But what guarantees this track a deservedly central place in these dubstep times are the noisy atmospherics - not only has it got white-out noise fanflares, but it's also laced with wolf howls and eldritch screams from the get go.

The 'vampire' theme came to mind following South Africa's dogged reassertion that garlic and lemon juice are satisfactory sources of protection against (and CURES for) AIDS and HIV.
unnu fight against morality
you fight against integrity
fight against everything good for the younger generation

unnu old vampire
only trod upon creation
with your bloody meditation
unnu set of vampire

/ / / / / / / / / / : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : : \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \

[also, got some feedback from certain parties sayin they couldn't ever find the mp3s - here's the deal: click on the track name, and it'll take you to a download site. They stay up for about 7days after posting, but I can renew any anytime you like - gonna sort out so they stay up longer soon]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Great Leveller

I met up with Jesus, the singer and songwriter of Polar, when I was in Valencia at the end of July. While his English is much better than my Spanish, we share a language of listening, both being into the Secretly Canadian / JagJaguar / Drag City school of geetar - Songs:Ohio, Mountain Goats, Palace anything etc.. On that strength, I can recommend keeping an ear out for the Original Soundtrack for 'De Espaldas Al Mar' that he's currently working on - even though Polar aren't at all lo-fi, there's the passion in there.

But I gotta say, and this is happening more and more, that it was a relief to discover that Polar had a website-website, instead of relying simply on a mice pace site [we know that the repetition of a noun changes its referent if we emphasise its first occurence: if I'm going home then I'm going to where I sleep at the moment, and if I'm going home home, then I'm going to where I came from (origins, roots, family's residence); if I intend to have a drink then I'm probably thirsty, but if, yes, I'm going for a drink drink, then I won't be driving home, or home home, later].

The problem is analogous to the plight of street theatre. [Should I leave that statement hanging rather than qualify it, just to see whether this is a commonplace intuition?].

I mean that for a while, if not many long years, there's been a sort of international tradition of people doing some sort of improvised entertainment in public places, and it's died a death. Yeah, busking still sort of goes on - in our city it's either vain young men peacock-strutting their pubsescent voices and conceited covers, or it's earnest willowy girls with rabbit-in-headlight eyes struggling through baroque violin concertos. But while universally loathed, the traditions of jugglism and mime (and associated clowning) seem to have started to die out. [This is empirical claim is justified on the grounds of some localised anecdotal evidence: London's Covent Garden and South Bank, Barcelona's Ramblas, Prague's central pedestrian areas, Parisian and Brussellian plazas]. And the reason is down to the fact that it's simply easier to copy all the other unimaginative ARTISTS who paint themselves a shade of grey and stand still for a living.

I've no doubt that there are people who go to imaginative and extravagent lengths to make themselves statue-like (while only rarely being statuesque).

But the point is that for the most part you get someone who says 'oh right, all I gotta do is put some sort of costume on, and then if I stand still enough all the tourists'll give me money'.

No one should claim that these guys are doing a great job of contributing to a rich and varied historical tradition - they're cashing in, they've seen a few people get some moderate success from doing something that's easily emulated and they do the same cos it takes less effort (street theatre with no thinking required). Outside the National Film Theatre I saw a dude in a fancy-dress-hire-shop Tellytubby outfit...

So yeah, there's something similarly lame about myspace. You meet a bunch of talented individuals, or you hear some track that someone sends 'round to you, and you wanna go look them up online, and the only way that they've decided that they'll use the internet is to get a myspace site.. Well, some people have had some moderate success from using it, so hey, why try harder?

Alright, I'm purged. Hypocritical philippic finished. Have some music.

from their 1993 LP 'Ultimate Alternative Wavers' on C/Z records (an authentically grungey label out of Seattle that put out Melvins and proto-Pearl Jam records before SubPop even existed) - buyable

Itch Scratching / Temper Your Allergies / Urge Your Controls

Straight in with three mp3s for y'all.

#1 - Guilty Pleasure
In discussion with Sam Atki2 about the origin of his Guilty Pleasures EP, it seems that a taste for bouncy 2steppy garagey tracks is never far away. I've come here to confess the following indulgence, a white label that came my way in 2000, but which is probably older, and which I've had on heavy rotation when there's no-one around.

unknown - text me (white label)

Yeah, that's a killer vocal I know. Sadly no instrumental on the flip, just the same vocal with a less-interesting r'n'b loop instead of this cheap'n'genuis UK garage riff. Steal it somebody please.

#2 - Le Plaisier du Bounce
If any of you've been following the beat research going on over at the riddim method, you'll probably have heard or read about Dj C et al's Boston Bounce. If you haven't, I hereby encourage you to head here and then listen here. But this here next track ain't no Boston Bounce, it's a Brixton thing. And while the research centres might be geographically and even motivationally distinct, there's this methodological norm in common: Make The Accents In Your Rhythm Flip And Bounce, Snap Head Nodding Beats Like An Off-Centred Cam.

Actress - Mentor (Werk Discs)

#3 - Pleasures of the Night
Great recommendation from Juliun, but I ain't allowed to make confessions on anyone else's behalf, so for any eavesdropping deity, let's get the score clear.
His sin = leading into temptation.
Mine = acoustic avarice.
The Temptation = Goth Trad.

Goth Trad - Acid Steps (off his Mad Raver's DanceFloor on PopGroup Recordings)

Goth Trad makes sounds using his own 'music effector', which is sort of like a big nasty ball of springs and electricity. Einsturzende in a TV repair shop instead of a scrapyard. Acid Steps is a great example of the temptation - yeah, those first 4 bars got you expecting some Wiley beats: string stabs that shout 'preset' at you. But in rumbles a rhythm from a different age altogether, more 2badmice than mo'fire crew.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Interesting action packed weekend, no photos simply as a result of the sheer interesting action packed-ness. In between welcome visits from ma mere and Neil I headed to go_shef's SoD Renegade Flea Market, a great opportunity for shifting thirty or forty of my hundreds of crappy CDs (and managed to offload another handful to some guy in a pub later) and 80% of the crappy continental philosophy books I took along.

Speaking of things continental, there's been some discussion about how us enlightened northern brits see our relationship with mainland europeans. Our philosophy department here in sheffield's getting a healthy turnover of fun young european philosophers, and it's been interesting to work out how best to play the good host. But both Albert and Pepé (who've recently returned to Spain) commented how refreshing it is to be in a place where other people tend to leave you alone; under the title of 'respecting privacy' it seems that british reservation can be a welcome quality. I was left wishing that I'd been more engaging / inclusive / gregarious around these guys, but perhaps (it transpires) that's just a misplaced desire to emulate what I'd perceived to be a closer and more fraternal continental style of relationship. And it's probably a false conception, coming from a sort of mistaken and romantic idea I have about cultures with better cafes having better conversations/alists.

Still, convinced that I don't merely mistakenly fetishize foreignness, I went and delved through a stack of records I bought at various markets around Normandy four years ago. Aznavour 'as solutions, duetting with a mate (or himself?) about how he doesn't ever want to forget his amies, his amoures, nor his emmerdes.

Charles Aznavour - Mes Emmerdes

No opportunity for many emmerdes with Glemor as I can't even get more than a few words at a time out of him, his accent's a bit too strong for my peasant-French. But this is a record about which I have no conceptions, and so no misconceptions, and about which I have only the slightest romance, given I bought it on the strength of the cover alone and was happy to discover that the photo is an accurate representation of the sound within.

Glenmor - Vous Donne
It's a unified and enigmatic package. Serious eyes in a face that droops wearily (wisely?) Is Glemor smiling? Is Glenmor friendly? Does Glenmor tell the truth?

Friday, August 04, 2006

More Mego

Followin up from the informative and generous mego post over on the wirewool recently, I figured I'd make mention of a couple of favourites.

MASSIMO - from 2001's "Baby Let Me See Your USB (And I'll Show You My FireWire)"

massimo - fierce sailor
[First stumbling block: how to get a 3" cd in and out of a mac cd drive?]. It's amazing what this man can do with just a trumpet and some sort of infernal noise machine. I'd thought about including this track as part of my on-going ever-evolving Compilation of Pieces Using Dot Matrix Printers until a glance inside the sleeve revealed the claim that "this +20db session was done by massimo with just one trumpet". Hmmm.

But yeah, that ain't no trumpet you're looking at, it's a firewire. A little while back there was some sort of internet hi-jinx over at the site: a search for "USB and Firewire" included the 'pornographic' image above in the results. (The humanity! Never before has the innocent internet user been so besieged by explicit content).

Next up, ILSA GOLD - Trashcan Session [live from the Funkhaus] - from 2003's "Regretten? Rien!"

Ilsa Gold - Trashcan Session
The whole of Regretten? Rien! totally caught me off guard. At the time I'd been reading staalplaat's "Vital Weekly" newsletter...

(Now available as a podcast, a great idea, except that the audio format means that I started to stop reading Frans de Waard's et al's thoughtful, slightly detached reviews, which often finish with phrases like "A very nice compilation" and "But overall this is quite a nice release, although, like many others these days, maybe a bit too lengthy for my taste")

... and while I was in Amsterdam I visited the staalplaat store (now in berlin) with the express intention to check this out. The first (4second) track "Intro: Dreimal Roggenbrot" is just a three-note casio keyboard motif and a couple of heavy bass kicks (those which appear later on #7's "New York") and then you're into 'Silke' - with a german welcome to the rave cave. But I was standing there listening, leaning up against a wall covered in european arthaus 'zines, expecting this to be a double CD full of acid squiggles and 909 kick drums, when it hits into a whole load of german language talk radio. As | don't share the tongue, I can only report that I'm just vaguely aware that there's some messing around in the radio studio, but I guess I miss out on most of what's going on. So yeah, Trashcan Session is a great example - snippets of german radio, a voice interrupts and changes the track, and all the while one or other of the Ilsa's has got his hands on some midi triggers, pushing pads to get a kick bouncing and a handclap beating along under the AOR / pop records. That track they're singing with at 4m44s keeps coming back throughout the double CD, ultimately blending into the final raveup that is 'Eggs They See', their (original?) version of that riff wot underworld used in that 'born slippy'. "Overall" as FdW would say "a fine tradition. It's good to see people doing this again."

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

rollercoasting pt1.

Sometimes you can be too busy - that's kinda obvious. But the trick is being too busy doing not-enough: that's rollercoasting. I've been flat out kickin my heels for a fortnight that I can't get down to anything. I'm full time doing nothing now.

So wha'gwan?

Valencia (more to follow):


- where James Turrell sets up new churches in and out of doors to provide contemplative spaces for today's rushed and anxious art audiences.
- where Kenny Hunter takes artworks out of the city and puts them in a gallery.

And other frivolities as yet undocumented by available .jpegs.

Earswise, I finally got round to grabbing some of the other tracks off Xinlisupreme's Neinfuturer LP from their site - submergence for free.. Also picked up some magda mixes live at technique in leeds 2005 through the powah of ggl which I'm feeling immense about.

Herbert's Scale is smoother than I'd expected - really diggin the way he's using the big band now: subtle and charming, with some on-the-money production that lets it sound really (for want of a better word) authentic. Dani's vox are the best she's done on a Herbert release, with the possible exception of the 'drop like this' Akufen remix. More listening than can mention, as ever. Back wit more soon.