Monday, June 28, 2010

i like bob dylan and i smell like a witch

photograph by don snyder: human mandela in the berkshires, massachusetts.

I stole this one from One Base on an Overthrow. Straight up. Just walked in there and blagged it.

Anything this good ought to be flayed on repeat. And immediately purchased.

Sadly, you can't buy it. It comes on one of those 'split' 45s; a four track EP featuring four bands, which adds up to value for money. No tedious filler. It appears "WLWI Vol. 3" has sold out. Alongside virtually everything else on this label operating out of Attleboro, Massachusetts.

Maybe they put something in the water. Maybe it is something left out. Well. I confess. That Republican Party sticker threw me a little. Maybe there is elephant shit in there somewhere. Seeping into the domestic supply.

NOBUNNY: HIPPY WITCH from "World's Lousy With Ideas Vol. 3" EP (Almost Ready Records) 2008 (US)

Nobunny - Justin Chaplin - is credited as originating in Tucson, Arizona. There is possibly as much truth in it as in a David Seltzer screenplay. Active on the Boston club scene, vaccine against Myxomatosis is dwindling. A version of "Hippy Witch" appears on "Raw Romance": a cassette issued through Burger Records. Nobunny does not accept bookings for children's parties, functions at Mcdonald's or Burger King. Nobunny may not be vegan.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

frank c and the cubic capacity for ushering in the quiet

fire inspectors examine a loft. fritz goro, NYC, may 1961.

A dog was barking when I prepared my second coffee of the morning. Thank god for the rain.

I like to smoke a cigarette and watch the seagulls wheel below me as I look out onto the car park. The rain keeps the junkies out of our little Rose Garden. Keeps their shirts on at least.

There is a new car park for residents of the last block standing. They threw out the polythene sheeting and shoveled on the tarmac. The old one has been swallowed up by the demolition crew.

Plant hire. The night watchman's silver Astra.

It is the telecommunications masts which keep us up, a cash cow for the Ghetto Housing Authority. Or my inadequacies as hunter gatherer.

Everybody was still asleep as I watched the seagulls and drank up a few inches of rain. It is only a drizzle at ground level, but up here the windows wash over as if in the middle of a storm. A downpour. By the time I get to this part my wife is stirring. The children have been up late into the night and the bathroom is still vacant. Enough empty space for me to get in there and go about things at a leisurely pace.

It has been hot all week. Football from South Africa on the 'idiot lantern', in homage to my pal, Löst Jimmy. My wife has shown more interest than me, but I have marginally better taste, I feel; decades of honing an appetite for latin play.

I appreciate the din of the vuvuzela too. Like something out of Cypress Hill.

This post, in no small part, is provoked by thoughts of Frank C. I have no idea what has become of him, I have not asked around. Frank posted quite a bit. Before it all fell quiet. It was his habit to store up the minutiae of his life on parole and let it out in the public library when he got the chance.

A diary in the legitimate sense.

Beer N. Hockey contributed a poem at Frank's request; Jon; ib too, although my own effort felt suspiciously close to gatecrashing. Despite the invite. Frank had an enviably active circle of readers. Regulars. Occasionally he would stop by here to comment. I have wondered what became of him. I like to think he simply outgrew the need to keep it rolling, that the process of catharsis outlived itself, but I don't know. I hope that is the case, at least, I don't like to dwell on the possibility that some government stooge might have revoked his probation.

I don't want to think the worst.

Still. Given that it troubles me enough to write of it, I feel I ought to have at least enquired. The same inability to lay ghosts to rest plagues other aspects of my day to day living. I do not like to pick up the telephone. I detest mobile handsets. I lose momentum easily. When no ringtone interrupts the hum of demolition, I am often at my happiest. Or surliest.

Of course. This is by no means some kind of formal apology - for what, I'm not certain - but it is as close as you will get.

That photograph by Goro reminds me a lot of a painting I did when I was fifteen or sixteen years old. The intention, if nothing else. More figurative than it might be hip to admit, the perspective was questionable, clumsy; the end result laboured. Yards more laboured than is forgivable. As to colour, and my method in employing it, the less said the better. It pissed me off no end. I should have quit there and then, but I am a stubborn kind of fellow. The Orange Walk is passing as I type. I am off to spit out the window.

Pour down a glass while tapping one foot. Aberrant. Deviant. Compromised.

THE RAINCOATS: LOLA from "The Raincoats" LP (Rough Trade) 1979 (UK)

Friday, June 25, 2010

readings, drivel and turbulence

photographic source: taxi pickup service, washington DC, 1942, by thomas. d. mcavoy. Life.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

AMM | every noise has its note

keith rowe's guitar rolled out over jackson pollock's lavender mist x 3. montage by ib.

I stumble into a crash-course introduction to AMMMusic not through any intellectual aspiration to po-faced theory, but through a far more immediate appreciation of El Syd's Pink Floyd and the visceral living walls of Paul Jackson Pollock. I am slow witted and often require a prompt.

From the outset, let it be said, Rob Chapman's hugely illuminating addition to the mountain of words bandied over Syd Barrett, "A Very Irregular Head", throws out some unique perspective; probably the most painstakingly researched and unadorned document on the Floyd I have ever come across. You may be familiar with Chapman as one-time vocalist in the first incarnation of Bristol based punk outfit Glaxo Babies, or through his contributions to Mojo magazine; not least his 5,000 word obiturary for Syd in 2006.

Twelve-years-old when Barrett's preliminary excursions into otherwordliness - through an all too brief reign of singles - transported him to a realm only hinted at previously, the ambition to catalogue the missing parts to the jigsaw has infected Chapman for more than forty years.

The story of Syd Barrett and the band he coined needs no embellishment, but given the proliferation of so many received inaccuracies the record screams to be set straight.

A former contributor to Terrapin before it went into hibernation, the sheer weight of detail Chapman unearths in pursuit of that end is astonishing. Almost securing an interview with Barrett in 1971, his best intentions came unstuck when Syd promptly set down the phone and left him dangling there for the next thirty minutes. Chapman may have hung up then, but he refused to let go.

That surviving members of Pink Floyd refused to grant him postmortem access is largely irrelevant.

Where Chapman scores heavily is in not just joining those dots that connect Barrett's childhood in Cambridge to his migration to Camberbwell Art College and Ladbroke Grove and back, but in setting out the vivid recollections of those with whom he came into contact. Observations both casual and intimate. While their memories of him prove indelible, neither was he the centre of their universe. Or they his. For the vast majority, the Pink Floyd phenomenom was merely the popular adjunct to a more entrenched underground which very nearly succeeded in overturning the status quo for a few weeks between 1967 and 70.

Or not, as some are equally keen to protest.

And that is where AMMMusic enters stage left. The fruit of a deconstructionist movement led by English artist, Keith Rowe and Eddie Prévost.

W11, London in 1966 was a Dickensian wasteland of slum tenements and bricked up shop fronts. A "plague spot" and "a square mile of squalor" itching to be concreted over in the trend to establish whole sections of flyover and motorway, most notably the Westway, ten years later immortalized by The Clash.

A Peter Rachman haunted warren of woeful rented rooms referred to by whites as "The Gate" or "Rotting Hill"; "The Grove" by its vocal Afro-Caribbean population.

It was here that The Notting Hill Free School was established, a politically motivated experiment partly rooted in Alexander Trocchi's "The Invisible Insurrection of a Million Minds". And here - between the comings and goings of Kate Heliczer; R. D. Laing; and sundry activists - that AMM sought to employ the same precedents in making music that visual artists like Pollock pulled out the hat in moving painting away from the easel and its static window.

If there was magic in evidence, there was a bucketload of perspiration too.

Rowe's singular vision in deconstructing the traditional guitar in response to Pollock's laying the canvas directly on the floor clearly had an impact on Barrett. Between March 1966 and February 1967, Chapman records, AMM played "several significant gigs with Pink Floyd": the 'Spontaneous Underground' events at the Marquee Club in Wardour Street, and performances at All Saints Hall in the heart of Notting Hill.

The Spontaeous Underground was a series of Sunday afternoon events staged by Steve Stollman, brother to the Bernard Stollman who founded ESP-Disk in New York, home to Ornette Coleman and Pharaoh Sanders; crow's-nest to The Fugs, The Godz and the great Sun Ra.

Rob Chapman's "Syd Barrett: A Very Irregular Head" ? Buy a copy if you can. Decamp to the nearest public library if you can't; before the very concept of public lending, too, becomes a distant curiosity.

The original LP - the sole release on Peter Jenner's DNA label - comprises just two pieces, spread over each side: "Later During a Flaming Riviera Sunset" and "After Rapidly Circling the Plaza". The following piece is one of six related experimental segments recorded during the same sessions in 1966, unreleased, so far as I can gather, until the CD repackage was made available through ReR Megacorp in 1989.


Keith Rowe: electric guitar, transistor radio;
Eddie Prévost: drums, xylophone, bells, cymbals;
Lou Gare: tenor saxophone, violin'
Cornelius Cardew: piano, cello, transistor radio;
Lawrence Sheaff: celo, accordion, clarinet, transistor radio.

Recorded at Sound Techniques, London.
Produced by John 'Hoppy' Hopkins; Peter Jenner; Ron Atkins; Alan Beckett.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

coming soon | ib dribbles before he shoots

you read it here first, now thrill to the glottal stop.

Ever wondered what a slacker Scot with a poetic bent itching like an ingrown toenail sounds like ? Peter Mullen on Prozac ? Taggart on Tamazepan ? 

Well. Torture yourself no more.

Since the seed of polite interest was first sewn on these very pages, the idea has been percolating down through the top soil to where exhibitionism lies buried. The drawers are full to bursting. The undershorts are sullied.

The performing monkey might be rusty, but the organ still grinds.

The motivation is thus. If the distance between here and an open mic event is unconscionable, I might as well dig out a loose leaf of poetry or two and record it at my leisure. Break out a bottle and inflict some lines on unspoiled flesh. I know. Remote villages and slave factories around the globe idle in anticipation of that first instalment. The moneylenders shut up shop.

Exhausted spinsters fend off those last advances and demand a little hush.

Well. If it is not your bag, my advice is go f@ck yourself. A free gig is a free gig. And who knows ? While it might not float your boat, this punch-drunk fool may still raise a wry smile between now and the bigger curtain whispering down.

Of course. I am as woefully unprepared as always. I have not even begun to engage with the logistics of orchestrating such a monumental event. The inbuilt microphone on the PPC remains untested.

Stay tuned. Or detuned. Whatever gets you off.

Monday, June 21, 2010

never mind the replacements

shut up or we give u tav falco's panther burns.

Or carpet abrasions at the very least.

Enough has been written on Alex Chilton - here and elsewhere - to pad out a toilet roll of tissue thin observations. And a couple of refuse sacks worth left over. Weeping at the seams.

Alex Chilton did what he felt served him best at any given time, regardless of familal advice or power of attorney. Whatever impulse or gravitational pull guided him, the reluctant Memphis son was possessed of a mercurial tendency to dismiss every standing ovation; wandering out from the wings into foul smelling cul de sacs often blacklisted by the ticket buying public. Box Top or Westerberg referred Big Star obsessive alike.

If the sometimes damning reviews ever bothered him at all, he repented at leisure. Behind closed doors.

That he was felled by a heart attack while mowing his lawn is blackly appropriate. Alex Chilton thumbed his nose at every civic instruction from 'Keep Off The Grass' to 'Stay True To Your School'.

So. I was half listening to "Take It Off" from 1987's "High Priest" when I stumbled on the following on the ever informative Probe Is Turning On The People!, a nod to the less familiar EP released in the same year as Chilton's Fun Records sponsored Thai holiday. Produced by Connecticut born Jon Tiven, neither "All Of The Time" or this revisiting of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" - taking its cue from "Live At Leeds" as much as any hayseed Oklahoma prom hop - made the cut on the New Rose issued "Alex Chilton's Lost Decade" for some inexplicable reason.

Just remember. When the beautiful heartache of those Chris Bell collaborations collapsed in acrimony and recrimination, Chilton limped off to deconstruct before he partied. A refugee, almost, from the set of Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show"; bruised and nursing misdirected hostility.

First out the blocks here is a Chilton and Aldridge number. Recorded in NYC.

As Jonderneathica rightly observes, the Ork Records EP release was itself culled from those NYC sessions produced by Tiven between 1975-6; recorded immediately in the aftermath of Big Star's demise. Those same sessions were compiled in full for the LP release of "Bach's Bottom" in 1981, subsequently reissued on CD with both sides of his 1979 (Memphis recorded) 45, "Bangkock" featured as bonus tracks.

Additionally, the 'Obscurity' website notes that Memphis band Prix recorded "Everytime I Close My Eyes" and "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It" in sessions which bore a single and EP in 77/8. Both Chilton and Bell are credited as playing on the sessions, with the latter sitting in on production duties.

The band "centered around singer Tommy Hoehn, guitarist Jon Tiven and bassist Rick Clark", Hoehn himself providing back up vocals for Big Star's "Third".  Tiven went on to form both The Yankees and The Jon Tiven Group - releasing two albums worth of material in 1996 - while Tommy Hoehn flirted with succeess as a solo artist. The Prix recordings were retrospectively issued as "Historix" for those of you with an unswerving devotion to Big Star, The Scruffs and all things Power Pop.

ALEX CHILTON: ALL OF THE TIME from "Singer Not The Song" EP (Ork Records) 1978 (US)

ALEX CHILTON: SUMMERTIME BLUES from "Singer Not The Song" EP (Ork Records) 1978 (US)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

are we there, yet ?

If you are resident in the UK, you may be familiar with Stefan Girardet's scores for prime time television. "Keeping Mum" for the BBC; the Melvyn Bragg executive produced "This is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis".

Of course. If your life is blighted by an untempered diet of "Britain's Got Talent" and Katie Price unleashing her breasts in an antipodean outback where even sugar gliders line up patiently for their screen test, you will almost certainly have missed "The Fundamental Gilbert and George". Obsessing over bodily functions and trouser creases in the East End's Spitalfields for almost half a century, Gilbert and George are plausibly the closest relative to San Francisco's The Residents this tiny island has fostered.

Myopic cousins, at the least. With a keen eye for the grotesque underlying the banal or merely repressed.

While Pascale Bussy argues in his book "Man, Machine and Music" that this odd couple partly inspired that mannequin rigidity adopted by Kraftwerk in their "Autobahn" phase, Gilbert and George maintain unbending distance as "living sculpture". Though their relationship with music stretches all the way back to their performance of Flanagen and Allen's "Underneath the Arches" - unveiled at Nigel Greenwood Gallery in 1970 as "The Singing Sculpture" when the pair were students at St. Martin's School of Art - their forays in making sound remain an adjunct to their Tate collected prints: "The Nature of Our Looking" through to the more recent (2005) "Fates".

1977's "Cunt Scum" and "Red Morning Trouble" every inch as provocative as anything produced by Jamie Reid during Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee. Ambivalent.

As curiously detached as always.

"We oppose collectivism," George stated in an article reported by The Independent in 2007. "Being Italian, Gilbert doesn't have a vote but I always vote Conservative."

Girardet redressed this reluctance to engage the ear emphatically in his collaboration with the pair on an electronic piece included on the Candy Records collection released in 1999, "We Love You". A concoction bringing together fine artists and musicians including Brian Eno and homicidal biochemist, Hugh Cornwell. The result, "Bloodlines", was understatedly celebrated in a Time Out review as the "sexiest slice of art ever". An unfettered moment of purple prose; the kind of partisan outpouring more commonly vilified as representative of bloggers. Blaggers.


Since then, Stefan Girardet has upped the ante. Graduating from television to the bigger canvas afforded cinematic release. The list of films he has been recruited to score is impressive, if not wholly exhausting. Co-writing and recording with Adrian Utely of trip-hop heavyweights, Portishead - among others - along the way. Generating more than his fair share of awards.

That he has created enough space in this schedule to accomodate his move into traditional songwriting testifies to an appetite to underscore the score. Essentially an out and out solo effort, "Are We Here, Yet ?" allows Girardet full reign on vocals, keyboards, guitars and programming. Only one track, "Move", resists the intention to brave it alone; a joint composition with Ian Dench, formerly of EMF.

The production on "Move" is undoubtably sumptious. On other tracks, too, Girardet balances the overlapping layers to good effect: the fidgeting intro to the album's opening number, "Chemical Sky" and its closing counterpart, "Reprise", especially. An ambient collage dripping with photogenic hooks.

There are moments when one is transported back in time through an ornate looking glass. Paused comfortably on "Born Slippy. NUXX" circa nineteen-ninety-something before the rewind button digs deeper to deliver one's oiled body into an indoor pool.

Hyde and smith's "Doot Doot" underpinning a cicada chorus.

Intoxicating as it is, there is the nagging sense at times of something amiss. A necessary tension, perhaps, or clear invitation to move past the itch. To work up a little sweat.

Regardless, "Are We Here, Yet ?" is a voice from the back seat of a luxury sedan. Something definitively European and well upholstered. For most of the journey the allure is hypnotic. To travel in comfort is sometimes an end in itself.

Churlish aficionados of Gilbert and George, in the long run, may prefer to arrive by bus. To do so negates a beguiling trip by way of a wildly scenic route.

"Are We Here, Yet ?", the debut album from Stefan Girardet, is available on general release from July 6th, 2010 through Unsound Records.

STEFAN GIRARDET: REPRISE from "Are We Here, Yet ?" CD (Unsound Records) 2010 (US)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ACME | i submit

Recorded July, 1976, Denmark Street, London.
Mixed & overdubbed at Riverside / Decibel Studios.
Produced by Dave Goodman.

SEX PISTOLS: SUBMISSION (DENMARK ST. DEMO) from "Spunk" Bootleg LP (Blank) 1977 (UK)

making marx | in the ghost room

Some three years after Harrison Speck convened a party of one in his bedroom in Austin, Texas, One Hundred Flowers are decorating The Ghost Room with frail blooms.

The product of seven songs, "Some Summer Falls" - the EP - germinated into something necessarily more resistant. Speck calculated he required assistance if he was to adapt his material to withstand the hydroponics of live performance. Buoyed through association with Austin artists' collective, Stem & Leaf, the resulting group threw itself into reshaping the sound to suit a revolving circuit of warmly received appearances. From Fort Worth to Denton. Houston to San Antone.

From little shoots acorns do grow.

In close to two years, One Hundred Flowers never once threw down the opportunity to play. That perseverance in promoting community harvests its own reward.

Their music has been described as "complex, weird, and beautiful". Jangling, but seldom slight.

The following song is one of three released ahead of their debut LP, "Mechanical Bride"; recorded at Cacophony Recorders and engineered by Erik Wofford. Veteran producer of The Black Angels; Voxtrot; and Okkervil River.

It might be short notice, but if you're in the area, One Hundred Flowers will be shredding silence in The Ghost Room this Saturday, June 19th, ably abetted by Holywood Gossip and Sally Crewe & The Sudden Moves.

ONE HUNDRED FLOWERS: MAKE MARX from "Mechanical Bride" LP + CD (Stem & Leaf) 2010 (US)


Thursday, June 10, 2010

post-haste | with immediate effect

illustration ™ NIBE AIR.

one more time. for the hard of hearing.

PINK FAIRIES: DO IT from "Never Never Land" LP (Polydor) 1971 (UK)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

well oiled | BP free zone

That Star Folk Band's latest outing on Old 3C Records is strikingly reminiscent of Zuma era Neil Young in places is cause for celebration. On "Ghost Man", it even wanders joyously onto open blacktop like Luke Askew thumbing a lift from Dennis Hopper or Peter Fonda.

Brady Burkett and Ryan Shaffer have been recording together for over ten years, studiously ignored by the kind of corporate tomfoolery which makes me want to spit every time somebody mentions the IFPI.

Their unburdened passion for making music is self-evident. Tempered from a decade's worth of home-recording; untampered with by A&R intervention, or marionette string pulling.

Seven years ago, the pair financed the release of a two-disc compilation of their early material, "A Landscape Yesterday, for Seasons". You almost certainly will not have heard (of) it. You may, however, be familiar with Electric Magnolia Co.. Mike Brenner, contributor to that collective, slides in unannounced to underplay his hand on "Well Oiled".

Acoustic lay-bys negotiate the asphalt two lane here, on "Look At This Mess (The Ballad of Deep Green)" and "Looks Like a Bailout", but the opening 53 seconds of "See the Light" - a stuttering tribal chant redolent of a certain immigrant song - is a fitting prelude to something harder wearing and more permanent. Burkett and Shaffer absorb the familiar and throw it straight back out there to sweat like road kill.

A clatter of hubcaps and radiator grill, unselfconscious; inviting.

Four sticks in, the unabashed "Down to Dust" blindsides in a welter of unmistakable Stooges riffing and vintage Crazy Horse. Pretense be damned. All the more alluring for its liquorice effrontery.

When I rolled out this blog two years ago, there was no fixed agenda beyond simply sharing my enthusiasm for music; writing; imagery. If the process of sharing were not restricted to sight and sound, I may well have added a pinch of my favourite smells to the mix as well. Petrol and melting tarmac. Turkish soap.

As it is, my hands are tied. I will continue to inflict my poetry on the unsuspecting visitor. The odd illustration, or digital scribble. A ghost from the past. Or two.

I will continue to do it my way. "Do It", as Pink Fairies were prone to incite.

When I started in on it, I made it my habit to include direct purchasing links to the material sampled. It is quite ironic that on those occasions when I have fallen afoul of complaint and deletion - when the SibLING has been SHOT at from the bleachers - it might have been wiser to desist from the prompt to buy.

Some of you may be aware of Blogger's decision to integrate with Amazon. To persuade its subscribers to climb into bed with a Scythian partner. Well, that turned out badly. It is well to be suspicious. I have no appetite to turn this site into a mere adjunct to corporate markets. Let's leave that to those far eastern scammers who merely copy and paste; steal and run.

My awareness that too few artists seemingly benefit from sales punched through the virtual warehouse bothers me too. That argument is redundant.

"Well Oiled" is avaible to purchase direct from Old 3C.

Support Independent Music. Support the artist. Buy directly from source when that option presents itself.

Thank you, Totem Pole Media.

See what looks like a little china figurine up there atop the refrigerator ? That is no tchotchke, it is a man's hand cradling a smoke. I like that.

STAR FOLK BAND: SEE THE LIGHT from "Well Oiled" CD + Vinyl (Old 3C) 2010 (US)

STAR FOLK BAND: DOWN TO DUST from "Well Oiled" CD + Vinyl (Old 3C) 2010 (US)


Sunday, June 6, 2010

rozenblit incident

The partnership which bore the short-lived Satwa was a collision of seemingly disparate identities from the same north-eastern coastal territories; Lula Côrtes from the old Portugese state of Paraíba, and Lailson from the resettled Dutch colony of Pernambuco.

Both, though, were very much a product of an idealogical optimism which flourished in spite of the third military government under Emilio Garrastazu Médici. Each traveled freely. Côrtes to Morocco, Lailson in the United States. On their return home in 1973, the "economic miracle" fostered by seven years free trade was in collapse.

Côrtes and Lailson parted company soon after the resulting LP was issued on a private press.

While Bernardo Rondeau* documents that Lailson subsequently drifted - eventually concentrating on a successful career as a newspaper satirist - Côrtes went on to collaborate with fellow Paraíban, Zé Ramalho on a more ambitious project.
Where "Satwa" bristles with a raw dynamic, "Paêbirû" is considered and cerebral. Determinedly apolitical. The contrast is striking.

Just one year separates the two, but it as if the gentle unrest which saturated those earlier sessions has been burned away. The ashes interred. The memory of Morocco crystallized into something opaque and distant.

Ironically, given the material is presented in four distinct acts corresponding to the elements, all but a handful of copies were allegedly consumed by a river flood which bankrupted the label.

The story has never been convincingly authenticated.

The first piece is one of three gathered under 'ar'. The second, the last of four stained by 'água'.

Produced by Hélio Ricardo and Katia Mesel.
Recorded at Rozenblit Studio,
Recife, PE. October - December, 1974.

* Review of "Satwa", Dusted Magazine, 2005.


Saturday, June 5, 2010

a fair weekend

I have not written a word while under the influence of amphetamine for quite some time. Or scribbled on a white sheet with lysergic acid diethylamide lapping at my brain. Nor have I worked on a drawing for ten uninterrupted hours while the psilocybin pumps up from where my feet are rooted to the floor.

I don't know why I mention this.

Blame it on Tillie. The refugee from Asbury Park, now retired and residing in the armpit of a tattooed man in Santa Rosa. And The Pep Boys. The one resembling Himmler, in particular; or Dr. Josef Mengele on vacation by the sea.

I woke up fairly early this morning and plugged straight into the mainframe. I did not light a cigarette. I did not plumb in the kettle or fill my little china cup to the brim.

I checked my mail. The sort which does not drop through the letterbox in a brown envelope stamped 'this is not a circular'. I huffed and puffed and hummed along to the white collar noise of the fans starting up. I startled the mouse and stroked some keys.

Then I made some coffee.

I have not visited my bus-driver pal for a while. Released at last from the routine of rolling on and off the Golden Gate Bridge. He has not been posting lately.

His account of shore leave back in New Jersey - a reminiscence of the now defunct Palace Amusements - stirred my own memories of the funfair. A photograph from Coney Island of beehived women eating a hole in candyfloss without a safety net; a Glasgow Fair weekend on the Isle of Cumbrae circa 1970.

Millport is a tiny little island anchored in the southwest coast. A grassy knoll the approximate size of Alkatraz.

I typed:

"You can cycle right round the place in a couple of hours or less, I am told. They had a little fairground with bumpers cars; the dodgems, we call them here. I went on them one bleak Saturday night. Not only was I the only kid there, I believe I was their sole customer. I drove around in circles for the duration of my ticket, vaguely humiliated at persisting with the routine of negotiating nothing but empty space."

The New York photograph and my memory of the string of lights reflecting in the spectacles worn by my grandfather, my gandmother too, have merged in those intervening years. I seem to recall Engelbert Humperdink crooning over the tannoy, but the recollection may be unsound.

My grandparents silently watching me as I went round and round unsettled me. Their faces pinched, bent sinister.

"Are you enjoying yourself, ib ?" they wordlessly enquired. "We hope you are having a good time".

A kind of anxious telepathy.

Of course, every second out there on the hardboard polished deck was excruciating. The evening was not so warm that my grandfather forwent his cardigan. The roaring houndstooth sports jacket.

Later, we returned to the guest house. My grandparents sat drinking whisky. Toasted by what may or may not have been an open fire. I do not remember if there was a working television in the visitors lounge; nor if it was tuned to snow.

I remember my grandfather's face beginning to redden. His voice turning louder. Slurring. Lingering near the ceiling before drifting onto the hearth rug like ash.

The following fragmentary pieces can be listened to - or downloaded - as was originally intended @ The Free Music Archive, curated by WFMU. Chronicling the Virginia based experimental scene between 1970 and 1976, when this compilation was first issued on flexi plastic,
the whole is "transcribed directly from one of the earliest two-sided EvaTone Sound Sheets (pressed on translucent red plastic)" on a limited imprint of 1,000 copies.

TITFIELD THUNDERBOLT: ON THE CAN from "Artifacts Vol. 1" EvaTone Sound Sheet LP (Artifacts / Yclept) 1976 (US)
RODNEY MAYNARD & THE HUNDRED DOLLAR BAND: SITTIN' ON A STOOL from "Artifacts Vol. 1" EvaTone Sound Sheet LP (Artifacts / Yclept) 1976 (US)

LITTLE LACY & HIS TREMBLING LIPS: COCKTAILS FOR THIEU from "Artifacts Vol. 1" EvaTone Sound Sheet LP (Artifacts / Yclept) 1976 (US)


Thursday, June 3, 2010

industrial music for damaged people

Most definitely not a cover of Jordan & Loney's doctoring of Jagger & Richard - a spasm inducing paean to withdrawl - this is a Jonas Almqvist composition.

The Leather Nun was officially excommunicated in Gothenburg in 1979. Loosely a quartet, the collective drew on input from a number of musicians. Their first release - the 12" from which the following is culled - was issued on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records; home to Thomas Leer and Robert Rental among others. The label folded in 1980 following TG's documented collapse. Appropriately, given their manifesto to "mutate and collage sound"*, IR0016 - the last of the vinyl pressings - was allocated "Nothing Here But the Recordings" by William S. Burroughs.

The label was ressurected in 2008 to announce Throbbing Gristle's Thirty-2nd Annual Report.

"Slow Death" was subsequently reissued on Criminal Damage and Wire Records in the UK in 1984. The Leather Nun finally lost its habit in 1994 after flirting with a small receptive circle of pallbearers for close to fifteen years.

THE LEATHER NUN: SLOW DEATH from "Slow Death" 12" EP (Industrial Records) 1979 (Sweden)

* Genesis P. Orridge,

straight edge | a slow return

He turned and looked straight down the road. There was a broken picket fence, a corral of rusty wire and paint, and he fumbled the wheel on his lighter.

His eyes were green and blue and black, glittering, and he seemed half dead.

"None of it is linear," he said. "The best of us travel interrupted."

He sucked in and blew out and I followed his finger. Loose bridges and unstrung keys. The memory, just, of playing straight and upright.

"Everything swims in and out. The slow ones idle."

He was smiling. A razor's edge between a gentleman's embrace and remorse.

"Some of them lose the will to bite. The luckiest ones slip out the womb with teeth."

The hollow points in his eyeballs appeared touched by lunacy. Phosphorous discs writhing on a match.

Everything else seemed not quite there.

The above is a reedit of a short piece originally published on November 14th, 2008. I never felt that it properly caught the flame of the unsettled dream which preceded it. The following slice of The Groovies - a Cyril Jordan & Roy Loney composition - appeared there too; the link since dead as the result of my decision to silence DivShare. They still owe me $10. Debited from my account weeks after I closed my account. My decision to more or less rekindle the original content was prompted by a recent conversation with Holly and her account of Leather Nun on a 3 AM repeat. For those of you with an abiding interest in all things Groovy, their United Artists sessions were reissued on Skydog, and Norton Recs. in 2002. The original EP was produced by errant Rockpiler, Dave Edmunds.

FLAMIN' GROOVIES: SLOW DEATH from "Famin' Groovies" EP (United Artists) 1972 (US)