Sunday, 1 December 2013


I'm going through something of a Rawax obsession at present, sparked initially by Daniela La Luz's excellent - and Rawax's first - LP Based On Electricity. Eight solid tracks, mixing the Rawax tool aesthetic with proper 'songs', or hints of. La Luz's vocals grace a few - most? - tracks, her voice kinda patchy, but perfectly suited to the music. Songs like 'Read My Mind' and 'Your Mother Told You' are fucking great:

The LP came after the also excellent 12" Pistol Star:

More recently, I've been enjoying Môme, real name Bertrand Lacroix, specifically his Tikka EP on Housewax. Heavier than the La Luz but just as bouncy, and it's generated quite a bit of enthusiasm on the usually quiet Discogs - "Dude is spitting hot fire!". No shit:

I'm yet to make sense of what the various prefixes mean but jeez, what fun music it all is.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

We Call It Acieed!

I'm back on 3 Triple R 102.7 FM's Max Headroom this Thursday 21 November with "We Call It Acieed", an hour of music featuring the Roland TB 303.
Expect a pretty condensed summary.

Stream it here.

This comes after an excellent live acid set by Hieroglyphic Being at the Residence for Melbourne Music Week. Jamal Moss played a kind of free-improv house, starting with heavily tweaked 303 riffs before adding drums and going predictably berserk. It was noisy, oddly funky, and riveting, and he had a pretty big crowd dancing. Here's an excerpt from a comparable set in September:

More acid that's got me hooked of late is "The Future" by Innershades, with the 303 banging out a basic bleepy bass riff, but jeez its good:

And acid maestro Tin Man's latest for Acid Test "Mystified Acid" is good too:

But perhaps not as good as "Devine Acid" from last year:

And this old clip of Mike Ink live is super:

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Jacuzzi International - continued

The Max Headroom feature on Jacuzzi International for RRR aired Thursday 26 September 2013, thanks Dan and Lorne for their input, and for such golden times. It can be streamed here.

Given the paucity of information on Jacuzzi International and the bands under its umbrella, I thought I'd post a few links to what scraps exist.

Mandogalup films has posted a number of Jacuzzi related and otherwise Perth band live shows up on Youtube. All videos are of interest but highlights include...

a Bing show at the Palmerston Street Witch House, where Myles used to live and where many a good time was had. I'm seated in the middle:

A Still gig, the first ever I believe, at a party in the backyard of the West Perth apartments where various pals lived. Dark but sound is great:

Bluetile Lounge at the Paddington Ale House, 1996:

Jacuzzi instigators Mustang at the Old Melbourne in 1990, well before my time:

Plenty more on there including O!, Molasses, Mukaizake, Adam Said Galore...

Literature of the period is equally scarce but David Gerard's Party Fears Zine is a goldmine. Of particular interest are the live reviews from 1993, featuring review of a Jacuzzi gig at the Jacuzzi venue par excellence the Shenton Park Hotel. Here it is:
Party at Club 96, then down to the rock awards show where everyone’s a winner, baby.
Chris Hann of the Wooden Fische gave a short solo set to start, and it worked fine. Blue Tile Lounge are a band I’ve never gotten into a whole lot. Actually, I can’t stand ’em. REM as slackers. Not my scene. I was in the front bar. (Let’s just pause for a moment and thank the front bars of this world.) Lots of people I know disagree, though lots of people I know agree.
O! were bound to be interesting, seeing as Nick seemed to have been alcoholically transported to another world prior to this show (you shoulda seen him on the verandah of 96) and Bill was on his way there ... they kept it together fine ... ish. “Outskirts” (first on the tape) is my favourite O! song, by the way.
The Feends are not quite the greatest band in the world, but they know it so that’s okay. Cheat-markers-on-the-keyboard rock’n’roll is the new apocalypse. Remember: it’s just a thin line between ninety-nine percent pose on stage and the full one hundred. I’ve thought Samantha Wilson was a natural-born pop babe star since I’ve known her, so it’s good to see it coming true.
Mustang! played their second show since John Campbell rejoined and they were a lot more together. Took till the third song or so (second was one of John’s anal one-chord art-rock numbers that requires absolute precision timing and probably sheet music ... but you could tell it was a great song), but they cooked from then on. The new songs are killers. Three working vocalists is great too. The performance wasn’t one hundred per cent, but it was certainly at least ninety and that’s enough when the songs are this good.
Also interesting is the Perth News #19 bit in which Ross Chisholm writes bios for Perth bands of the time, including all the Jacuzzis. Mention is made elsewhere in party fears of Chisholm reportedly working on his next Perth band family tree, being the Jacuzzi family tree. Sadly to my knowledge this never saw the light of day. Plenty more at Party Fears on earlier Perth music.

Of related interest is this interview with Kim Williams of House of Wax, originally published in Uzurlikzurli #3, February ‘98. 

And some of the music played on the show remains available for download via Guy Blackman's Chapter Music. Particularly check the Kill Yr Idols cassette, the earliest Chapter release with available downloads. Also available on the Double Figures comp is Bluetile Lounge's excellent 'Concrete Tunnels'.

Feel free to add any other vital Perth links in the comments bit.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Jacuzzi International

Thursday 26 September at 7pm I'll be joined by Lorne Clements (Baked, Bing, The Good Band) Daniel Erickson (of Bluetile Lounge, Mukaizake and Still) to present Jacuzzi International for Max Headroom on RRR. Blurb below:

Before the internet, before the mining boom, before $6 coffees and $15 pints of super, Perth had Jacuzzi International.

In the early nineties, Jacuzzi International was a loose collective of Perth-based underground rock bands who shared the bill on a number of gigs which were followed by after-parties featuring jacuzzis.

Encouraged by isolation, international indifference and $1 middies, the Jacuzzi bands attracted strong, well, decent local support, favoured insular cross-band collaborations and created a (small) number of strange and largely forgotten musical experiments. With Jacuzzi International guests Daniel Erickson (Bluetile Lounge, Mukaizake, Still) and Lorne Clements (Baked, Bing, The Good Band), tune in for some Jacuzzi doozies and peripheral Perth hits from before it all went down the toilet.

We'll be playing music from the main Jacuzzi bands but with only an hour, and a limited collection, won't make all of them, so apologies in advance for those we miss.

While no recordings of Bing exist Lorne kindly sent this recent 'where are they now?' image (L-R Myles Durham, Lorne and Mark Richardson):

... and Bluetile Lounge from back in the day:

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Schweiz Rec

This track is an understated and under-appreciated gem that's been banging about my head for ages. Nothing special but everything fits just perfect. Surprised more hasn't been made of it, as I love it:

Schweiz Rec is who done it, only other thing to his credit is this for Workshop 10, also splendid:

Schweiz Rec is Patrick Harz, of which little is known, but a couple of credits in discogs dating back to 1995. In 2004 he produced 'Acid Love' with Peter Grummich, which Boomkat describes enticingly as harking back to classic Donna Summer. Grummich is an old Kompakt stalwart responsible for some early scorchers. This is one:

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Scarlatti, K34

Finally found a Scarlatti sonata that's within the realm of my modest abilities. Even so, it will take me some time:

Guitar transcriptions work well too:

Here's Horowitz, a Scarlatti master, in Moscow, 1986, on the preceding K33:

Note the 'hushers' in the audience. Interestingly just read this about this concert:
In 1986, Horowitz announced that he would return to the Soviet Union for the first time since 1925 to give recitals in Moscow and Leningrad. In the new atmosphere of communication and understanding between the USSR and the USA, these concerts were seen as events of political, as well as musical, significance. Most of the tickets for the Moscow concert were reserved for the Soviet elite and few sold to the general public. This resulted in a number of Moscow Conservatory students crashing the concert, which was audible to viewers of the internationally televised recital.

The recording was later released and became a bestseller. Here he is playing my favourite, K466:

And to end by fucking it all up, this Lady Gaga-Scarlatti Echojam/mashup thing, actually pretty good:

Monday, 9 September 2013

In the wee small hours, with DJ Jus Ed

I recently had the pleasure to go out late at night and see DJ Jus Ed playing records. I had fun, but the 2am start time meant I caught little of Ed’s performance. The Liberty Social is a fine small venue, with a good sound system, a not-too-reverent approach to DJs (i.e. not placed on too high a pedestal, although on this night Ed was a good foot or two higher than Patrice Scott, Portable and Vladislav Delay’s ground level performance on my first visit), a friendly audience and good cheap beer on tap. Located in the basement of heritage listed Tomassetti House.

Best of all was the small room out back, an old catering fridge converted into alternative dancing space, with DJ (at ground level) playing records (slowed disco/Balearic stuff) to a maximum audience of 10. No photos sorry.

Doors opened at 10, so we delayed our arrival to midnight, and still hardly anyone there. At 1am the warm up DJ was playing Omar S’s ‘The Shit Baby’, a killer, to an empty room.

I told him it was killer and had a quick shimmy, but scarpered to the Fridge where a handful were dancing, and kept at it. By the time of Jus Ed’s arrival, I was too drunk and tired, and not long afterwards hit the road.

Why can’t nights like this start at 10pm? 11pm? Midnight even! At 2am, what hope is there.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Mark Fisher: Ghosts of My Life

Soon on Zer0 books, Mark Fisher's Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures . Excerpt below, but more here.

The slow cancellation of the future

It is the contention of this book that 21st Century culture is marked by the same anachronism and inertia which afflicted Sapphire And Steel in their final adventure. But this stasis has been buried, interred behind a superficial frenzy of ‘newness’, of perpetual movement. The ‘jumbling up of time’, the montaging of earlier eras, has ceased to be worthy of comment; it is now so prevalent that it is no longer even noticed.
In his book After The Future, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi refers to the ‘the slow cancellation of the future [which] got underway in the 1970s and 1980s.’ ‘But when I say ‘future’’, he elaborates,

I am not referring to the direction of time. I am thinking, rather, of the psychological perception, which emerged in the cultural situation of progressive modernity, the cultural expectations that were fabricated during the long period of modern civilization, reaching a peak after the Second World War. These expectations were shaped in the conceptual frameworks of an ever progressing development, albeit through different methodologies: the Hegel-Marxist mythology of Aufhebung and founding of the new totality of Communism; the bourgeois mythology of a linear development of welfare and democracy; the technocratic mythology of the all-encompassing power of scientific knowledge; and so on.

My generation grew up at the peak of this mythological temporalization, and it is very difficult, maybe impossible, to get rid of it, and look at reality without this kind of temporal lens. I’ll never be able to live in accordance with the new reality, no matter how evident, unmistakable, or even dazzling its social planetary trends.
After The Future, AK Books, 2011, pp18-19)

While the background is of less relevance, I was reminded of the final episode of Quantum Leap, where Sam, after completing his final mission, disappears within - or outside of? - time:

Given that this was 1993, as futuristic thinking was beginning to close down, this seems strangely relevant and portentous. More here.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Oneohtrix Point Never: R plus Seven

Oneohtrix Point Never is one of the few artists these days whose new releases I eagerly await and R Plus Seven, his latest and first for Warp, is impressive right off the bat. The Wire describe it, and indeed all his music (using 'Describing Bodies' as the perfect example), as sensual, and I'd agree, in a highly contemporary, fractured and digitised way. Trite and overused cliches perhaps, but it does seem to evoke the sexiness of shiny mass produced contemporary objects: plastics, silicone, chrome; shapes and forms that could only be generated by computer.

These ideas have been the subject of his cover art and concert visuals, both in his solo 'free from' show in Melbourne last December, and in <i>Reliquary House, the MOMA commissioned modern-sculpture-soundtrack work he produced with Nate Boyce (also performed in London last October). In the former, he began by focusing on static shots of humdrum household objects - chair, teapot, hammer - these remaining on screen for far longer than expected, developing a kind of Dadaist absurdity and charm through prolonged repetition. It didn't stay like this, but Ive forgotten how the rest went. Maybe like this:

With Reliquary House, absurdity and humour, again through repetition and prolongation, was even more prominent, the music seeming almost secondary. Many in the audience got up and left throughout the show, some within the first moments, and the music was noisy and harsh, glitched shards of white noise, a seasick, woozy low end, and skipping voice samples, all of which could be perceived as irritating. I thought it wonderful, a beautiful pitched dialectic between grand portentous dread and silliness, never quite resolved.

Something present in all his music, especially the Echo Jams.

Not much to say about the new album, seems similar to his December live show, but it is extremely immersive. His synths have always been thick, viscous things, and here they're massive. Even lighter passages seem to pierce like shards, with jittery samples like echoes reverberating around your head. Again cliche, but does seem to accurately reflect our era of pervasive capitalism, the all-sensory-overload of malls and business parks. That it does so with such frightening seduction is a telling comment on the workings of our modern world.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Klassikal Kompakt

Despite a few golden moments, can't help but be disappointed by the recent Gregor Schwellenbach Kompakt chamber instrument remix project. With Voigt's clear interest in classical music one hoped for better, but it comes off - for the most part - limp, like so much techno played by neo-classical types on real instruments (Hauschka, Brandt Brauer Frick, etc).

But - couple of standout tracks, particularly Closer Musik's 'Departures', which with the bleeps stabbed out on high-low piano, works a treat. Kinda like Mazulis. The tension doesn't really go anywhere with the cello however... No sign of embedding, and can't beat the original:

I saw them play it live in Hoxton back in 2002, they were very humble in a small under-populated dive. Were shaking everyone's hands and getting appreciative backslaps after their show. 'Departures' was the finale.

Also reminiscent of Escape From New York on piano:

The masters of classical techno, and more, are Zeitkratzer:

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Music for Merce ... continued

This is dragging on, but who cares! Now something that lives, unattended to for the most part, on the portable digital device, in its own playlist, where related pieces of long abstract drone / pointillist composition get filed (currently Feldman’s Trio and CM von Hausswolff’s 80,000 Over Harrar), but it's comfortable and it belongs, and offers a particular kind of listening focus/respite for when I’m so inclined (and/or jaded, exhausted and sickened by the flowing digital stew which I usually listen and seldom pay enough attention to).

On my last session I heard the highlight of the set so far: Cage’s Inlets from 1977. It’s the quintessential Cage piece, and the work I always imagined Cage wrote without ever having heard it – long, slow, placid, all sounds made from the elements.

Some great notes on the work here from James Pritchett:

Cage's Inlets (1977) is for three performers, each with four conch shells: small,
medium, large, and very large. Water is poured into the shells so that they will
gurgle softly when the players tip and turn them about. Each begins with any
shell, then, after a short time, changes to another one. A somewhat longer
time is spent playing the second shell before changing to the third one, which
is then played for an even longer time. The rest of the performance — the
longest time period of all — is spent playing the final shell. The watery sounds
of the shells are at the heart of the piece. Their unpredictable outbursts and
soft burbles are mesmerizing and relaxing; the gradual slowing down of the
performance mirrors the setting of our own minds. About midway through the
piece the shells fall silent and the sound of fire — of burning pine cones —
emerges from loudspeakers. The water gurgles pick up again, and, a little later,
the sound of a blown conch shell trumpet is heard. That is the whole piece:
water, fire, air. The materials are elemental (only earth is missing . . . I
remember, though, that when Cage performed it he used a box of sand to catch
the dribbles of water). They do not need Cage's assistance to become powerful.
What they need is for him to leave them alone. Each of the elements is
presented so plainly that its identity shines brightly: the splashing of the
water, the crackling of the fire, the wailing of the conch trumpet.

And here it is (as an excerpt) performed in 2008 by Inagaki Takashi, Takemura Nobukazu, Nishijima Atsushi and Miyajima Saikou:

The following Weatherings by David Toop ain't bad either. But more on that another time...

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Smith N' Hack

Smith N' Hack mad at present, spurred on by playing 'Falling Stars' for Lost in the Stars' finale, and what crackers they all are!

Individually as Soundhack / Soundstream & Errorsmith / MMM they aint' bad either. After listening to plenty of Boiler Room sets I've just discovered how good they are as videos. This is wonderful!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Lost in the Stars

Retro Futurism returns to the airwaves this Friday to present Lost in the Stars: Futurist Electronic Music. Here's the blurb:

Stockhausen and Xenakis on laptops, jamming futurist utopias from Jupiter. Modernist composition meets post-Techno abstraction for a waltz around the geodesic dome.

Lost in the Stars follows developments in experimental electronic music, from the pioneers of the postwar avant-garde, through the advent of consumer devices in the 1970s and 80s to the a-historical digitalia of today.

Broadcast Fridays midnight - 2am Melbourne time on Triple R 102.7.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Music For Merce - 2

My intention to restrict myself only to Music for Merce failed miserably, but progress is being made and I'm enjoying every - scattered and dispersed - moment. And a number of surprises have been uncovered, not least the live recording of David Tudor's Toneburst for Merce's Sounddance, perhaps the least forgiving piece in the set so far, to have been sourced from Perth, West Australia. What the fuck was David Tudor doing in Perth in 1976!? Turns out performing for a number of Merce Cunningham dances for the Perth International Arts Festival, a festival the troupe have been part of a number of times over the years.


Also enjoyable is Takdshi Kosugi's S.E. Wave/E.W. Song for Cunningham's Squaregame, not least for the clarity, a welcome contrast to the (intentionally) murky, fizzing swamp which defines the majority of the set.

A far more detailed analysis of the set can be found at Hollow Earth Recordings blog, complete with images, links to dance performances and myriad information, and contrary personal views (they don't like the Kosugi piece). There's also the recent release of the The Art of David Tudor box set on New World Records which will add much to part of this picture. So, as always, more and more to be lost in...

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Listening Limits: Music For Merce

Given the sorry under-played status of most of my boxsets, in both physical and digital formats, and my ongoing disenchantment with digital listening, I’ve decided to introduce a listening project of sorts: listening to the entirety of a digital box set, closely and carefully, before listening to anything else. This only applies to headphones with the portable digital device, but I may try and do something similar with CD boxsets, as there are plenty of those lying about under-appreciated.

So, prompted by rereading - and thoroughly enjoying - a review by Ian Penman of the 10 CD Music For Merce boxset, and given I'm presently reading two John Cage biographies, I'm going to listen to all of Music For Merce. I'll do so chronologically, as presented, from CD1 through to 10 1952 – 2009, but having started and already failed to listen only to Music For Merce, I'll enjoy it slowly, alongside other things but not removing it from the player until it's all properly digested.

And so far so good. I'm up to CD3, and the following have been highlights:
Earle Brown: For Magnetic Tape – Interesting, pockets of primitive electronic tones, surrounded by much silence. First ever electronic dance piece apparently
Earle Brown: For Piano I – Heard just after some Sun Ra it sounded remarkably similar, but slower, with more space, and not as enjoyable.
Morton Feldman: Ixion - a chamber work realised here with two pianos, the restricted tonal palette - all sparse high notes - is welcome after such chanced all-over scatter.
Gordon Mumma: Mesa - David Tudor on bandoneon processed to sound like electric guitar feedback
David Behrman – …For Nearly An Hour… [Excerpt] - Beautifully enunciated female voices reading from Duchamp's writing on his The Large Glass
Pauline Oliveros – In Memoriam: Nikola Tesla, Cosmic Engineer - confusing, flute tones heard throughout an auditorium beside granular electronics, but overshadowed by Tudor and flautist Jean Rigg conversing over how and where such interjections should take place
Christian Wolff: For 1, 2, Or 3 People [Excerpt] - featuring Tudor on baroque organ, processing it into spat bursts of drone

The 'multi-media' approach I've taken to this - listening alongside reading the Cage books and the liner notes (and Penman's review) - I'm finding really helpful, ,as without explanation, much of this can be difficult to penetrate. Perhaps despite Cage's ideals, an understanding of the process and means behind these works' realisations adds much to their reception. Penman is dismissive of the early piano stuff and it is pretty cold and dry, but as historical documents from that ... confused period of composition, furthermore as live performances, there is much to intrigue.

What's missing of course is the dance - aside from those moments when dancers' feet is all we can hear - but Cage and Cunningham were committed to keeping the forms independent. Nonetheless I'm finding myself drawn to youtube for stuff like this:

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Contemporary Obfuscation

'Hauntological House: From Sturm to Stott' appeared in radio form on RRR 102.7FM Thursday 2 May, 7.00pm Melbourne time under the title Contemporary Obfuscation:
Despite advances in technology enabling easy manipulation of sonic data in high fidelity audio, a number of contemporary electronic musicians opt to intentionally obscure their music into a dirty, hazy, slowed down moire of low-fi noise. Contemporary Obfuscation looks at the work of a number of contemporary UK artists working in this manner - Burial, Actress, Andy Stott, The Caretaker - tracing their roots back to 1990s glitch. Contemporary Obfuscation examines some of the moods and effects this music evokes and looks at possible motivations behind this approach.

Here's what was played:
Burial - 'Forgive' Burial (Hyperdub 2006)
Pole - 'Berlin' 1 (Kiff SM 1998)
Andy Stott - 'Intermittent' Passed Me By (Modern Love 2011)
Actress - 'I Can't Forgive You' Hazyville (Werk Discs 2008)
Sturm - 'Untitled' Sturm (Mille Plateaux 1999)
Miles - 'Rejoice' Faint Hearted (Modern Love 2013)
Samuel Kerridge - 'Auditory System' Auris Interna (Horizontal Ground 2012)
Lee Gamble - 'M25 Echo' Diversions 1994-1996 (PAN 2012)
Tuff Sherm - 'Claw Worlds' Canal Cloaking (Reckno 2012)
Rechenzentrum - 'Parabolid' The John Peel Session (Kitty Yo 2001)
Anthony Child - 'The Space Between People and Things Part 2 (excerpt)' The Space Between People and Things (NNA Tapes 2013)
The Caretaker - 'Persistent Repetition of Phrases' Persistent Repetition of Phrases (Install 2008)

It can be streamed here.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Listening: 24 April 2013

Quickly checked the Krake compilation this morning. Started with Thomas Koner's 'The Weary Seer', originally from 2010 and typical Koner - all amorphous grey mist. Then my first hearing of Dadub so no idea whether the Koner-esque drone of 'Synchronic Pattern' is representative of his sound, imagined he was a techno producer. Pole's 'Wipfel Dub' was the most pleasing, from the first of his Waldgeschichten 12"s on his own Pole label (a rebranding of Scape?), which I'd missed until recently hearing Waldgeschichten 3. These show a real return to original form, crisp and spacious dub patterns which could have come out on Scape 10 years ago but they're unusually well crafted and effortlessly enjoyable:

Given the appearance of Kid606 too, Krake seems a real throwback to the glitch era where compilations like this were rampant. Its status as an accompaniment to a festival reveals modest aims: a take-home souvenir of sorts. However parent label Killekill describe Krake's aim as presenting 'strictly challenging artists, no bullshit, no boredom.' In which case their decision to release as their first product a compilation of many old artists and recent offcuts is problematic.

After this played all of Lubomyr Melnyk's Corollaries. Melnyk's been around since the 1970s and is famed for his 'continuous music', ceaseless arpeggios and rapid flurries played by human hands. Given the reviews and blurbs I'd expected something more jaw-droppingly frenetic a la Nancarrow, Mazulis or even Charlemagne Palestine but it's rather subdued, bucolic even, certainly more 'musical':

Most pieces spring from Glass/Reich like patterns before branching out into lush emotional vistas. In this sense Melnyk seems more influenced by Franz Liszt and the virtuosic romantic tradition.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Listening: Sandwell District Fabric 69

I don't listen to much Techno these days but the Sandwell District Fabric mix is hugely enjoyable. Played in near entirety on the commute to work (still have the closing minutes to hear), with the listening situation - in motion on public transport, Autumn sun intermittently peering through the windows, listening crisply on headphones to which techno is well suited - worked in its favour. Not too much of the dull grey Berghain-post-Basic Channel sound - which tends to bore me - but it's definitely represented, and well, with strong linear chug from Mary Velo, JPLS (sounding very Basic Channel), Rrose and Markus Suckut.

But these work best due to timbral detours via Untold, Mark Ernestus doing BBC, and Plastikman, these strung together beautifully.

I can't help but find far more time for Rrose than others of their ilk due solely to the name. It retains enough 'concept' to provide faceless Techno with a hint of face, and it being Duchamp's, it's a cheeky, playful one.

But one needs an 'in', anything, to make choices in today's music marketplace.

And Rrose's work with Bob Ostertag provides further interest:

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Listening: 13 April 2013 - Mille Plateaux

I came of age with Mille Plateaux, discovering it as a recently converted former electrophobe, turned on through the usual club means, but craving an exploratory angle I'd missed through the indie-alt-country twee I'd hitherto enjoyed and the banging UK Hard House I'd been introduced to (and didn't much care for). Mille Plateaux, and their functional brethren Force Inc and Force Tracks, did the trick, bringing invention, rhetoric and experimentalism to the - for me - new field of electronic and dance music.

I was going to write more on this but no time, so will stick to what I've recently revisited. None of this fueled by a specific nostalgia, but somehow was curious to hear how Random Inc's Walking In Jerusalem sounded. It was one of the late Mille Plateaux releases I never properly heard, also coincidentally among the first records I bought through the internet. Could be a factor, lacking the in-person connection of buying in real shops (a petty plug for Saturday's Record Store Day). Anyways, its patchy now but by no means irrevocably dated, couple of pretty good tracks which could work in today's deep house environment. Walking In Jerusalem was released in two versions, I got the more rhythmic vinyl but there was the more abstract CD release (which I've never heard), with some cross over but generally distinct tracks and agenda. (This multiple versions-multiple aims release strategy seems to be quite unique, and doesn't happen much today.)

Only audio link to it I could find available is this, using a track I can only assume is CD only as I don't have it, for a video I know nothing about:

The vinyl release comprises mixes of sorts, each track titled 'Random Inc meets...' so and so '... in ...', location in Jerusalem, based around wherever Random Inc's Sebastien Meissner did the field recording. Collaborators are mostly the glitch-Microhouse artists of the day, of which the 'Random_Inc Meets Anton Kubikov @ Moscovia' track is pretty good, a glitched up version of Kubikov's 'Erusalem' off his Move Your Body Boogie' EP on the forgotten Freizeitglaubben label.

That track is now credited to SCSI-9:

Also great is 'Random_Inc Meets Greenhouse Fx @ King David', but of Greenhouse FX there is nada.

So it's an internet void for listening to Walking in Jerusalem aside from unhelpful Last FM links, like much of the lesser glitch bulk of the day. Random Inc's Sebastian Meissner does more as Klimek these days but not since 2009's Movies is Magic (which was magic).

Also DLed and listened to Vladislav Delay's Entain. I'd only had it on a copied Mini Disk before but its worth hearing again; like all V Delay's work it holds up. Mournful dubby trails with trademark bass pulses. Youtube is kind:

Something of Slowdive's Souvlaki in this:

Now have a hankering to hear Tim Hecker's Jetone album again, something I dig out more often than most Mille Plateaux releases. I've spoken before of my boredom with Hecker's own-name work, even the acclaimed Ravedeath and Piano Drop were mere updates on a decade-old sound, good as that is. Now he's touring with Oneohtrix Point Never which would be fun...:

... But I'd like to hear him revisit rhythms:

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Listening: 1 April 2013, Giegling

Spent the early hours of the beginning of April playing records, primarily the Giegling Futur II collection and various records in a similar guise. Mnmlssgs raved about the label, especially Kettenkarussell and their outstanding long mix (that seems no longer to be available...?), and Giegling remains incredibly consistent, not rocking any boats but doing a steady thing very well indeed. There seems to be a few sides to their sound (granular-ambient hip-hop, granular-ambient techno) but what I favour most is the granular-ambient house, an early-Dial-esque subdued minimal deep hazy thing typified by Kettenkarussell, and of which there's great examples on Futur II:

Traumprinz aka Prince of Denmark is a Geigling regular and just put out Say or Do, his third 12" for his own Traumprinz label, and it's a doozy. The title track is fine, indeed they all are, but none better than 'Changes', which would have me gloriously melting if heard in discotheques:

He's doing similar things on 'Freedom' from Traumprinz 1 though not quite so euphorically:

And here's a fine mix from Traumprinz as Prince of Denmark from the Giegling website:

Monday, 1 April 2013

Listening: 30 March 2013

I loved shoegaze as a teenager and recent re-discovery reveals I still do. Slowdive especially, almost nothing sounds quite as sad. Played Souvlaki in the shed through the tinny little portable CD player I keep out there and it sounded amazing:

Listening: 26 March 2013

The home stereo plays more ambient than most forms of music. Recently enjoyed the following:

Sawako (pictured): 'Tsubomi, Saku'

Northerner: 'The End of December'

Brian McBride: 'Several Tries in an Unelevated Style'

Akira Rabelais: 'With the Gift of Your Small Breath'

Listening: John Cage

Reading two books on Cage presently so have been playing as much of his music through the stereo as possible. He is not at all conducive to portable headphone listening. Not always conducive to the strict demands of the home stereo either but there's been sufficient time and place to hear the following:


John Cage: Perilous Night and Four Walls, Margaret Leng Tan

Perilous Night is, as the title hints at, rather rackety, while Four Walls, apparently depicting Cage's fraught emotional state before settling down with Merce, is gloomy, with less use of vocals than I expected. Typically with Cage moods are hardly straightforward and 'gloomy' is quite freely drawn. An old Harold Moores relic, pleasantly listened through from start to finish.

John Cage: Early Piano Music, Herbert Henck

Bought cheap off the HMR rep, restricted to playing The Seasons and In A Landscape, the latter more for comparison with Lubimov's version below. Ophelia which follows provides a shocking contrast and is far from Cage-does-Satie.

Alexei Lubimov: Der Bote

A home stereo staple from Wesley Classics, bought for In A Landscape which is how I always hear it.

John Cage by Zeitkratzer

Promo and features great sustained droning chamber orchestra performances. Only listened to in part.

John Cage: Thirteen

HMR relic sans case (stolen), features two versions of Thirteen, like the above but even better. Again played only in part.

John Cage: Short Pieces for Prepared Piano

I love the sound of the prepared piano. DLed recently, burnt to CD and heard only in small part.

Victoria Looseleaf: Harpnosis

DLed and burnt to CD, now a home staple. Cage's In A Landscape sits comfortably alongside Satie's Gymnopedies (of course), Claire de Lune and Pachelbel's Canon, all played on harp. Featured on this blog before and just read that a sequel Beyond Harpnosis is available, on casette only but the original you'll find easily on the web and in fine shape.

All these In A Landscape's have prompted me to try and play it on the piano, which is proceeding slowly. Not very difficult but long, and my reading is crap. I first heard the piece on a Mini Disk given me in Japan by Velvet Hands, in the pre-download MD trading days, and was a sucker immediately. It was aural balm between all the Autechre and Skam discoveries.


John Cage Shock

Doubtless these sound and look great on vinyl but music is lost on mp3 through headphones. Not quite all, there's some delightful and very live setting recordings here, where the novelty and 'shock' does translate and is audible, but the grubbiness and chaotic sense of space is poorly suited to commute listening. I ought to whack it through the mixer and hear it proper like but time and energy will prevent it. Good review in The Wire and elsewhere.

Music For Merce

Mammoth set of recordings by mostly Cage associates but again, plenty of haze and fluff and misses the extensive notes, images, packaging etc. that came with the proper release. Great Wire review for this too and worth spending much time with, but not on headphones commuting.

John Cage: Ryoanji

Odd music this, defined by a repeated percussive bang which persists throughout, around which other elements dart about, very Japanese-like. Very interesting and the restricted tonal palette works just fine through headphones. Fourteen appears on the Zeitkratzer CD and not yet played Ten.

John Cage: 12‘55.6078

Wonderful box set this, 12 CDs covering the Donaueschingen Festival - 75 Years: 1921-1996, picked up gratis sans cases. A regular Dead and Alive staple, I played this early recording on the portable digital device, a piece for piano and trinkets (?) filled with humorous whirrs and pings, with good input from audience in the form of laughter and jovial heckling, which Cage doubtless enjoyed. The old recording does no wonders but the mirth is palpable.