Friday, April 29, 2005
posted by dubversion at 1:39 pm
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Apparently it’s odd – if not embarrassing – that before last night I’d never heard 23 Skidoo’s FUGI, or the album it’s from, Urban Gamelan.
I only downloaded it because of a reference to it in Simon ‘Ardkore’ Reynolds’ Rip It Up & Start Again, which is fast becoming the best music book I’ve read in a long time (since Lloyd Bradley’s Bass Culture, I suspect). What’s great about this book is that rarely has such a volume been so necessary (as Reynolds points out, there’s a huge gap in collected music writing or journalist overviews for this period, ironic because it was the period when music journalism was probably at its most febrile and essential) and also that Reynolds has kept his tendency to lapse in rather arcane theorising to a minimum compared with his previous books (which isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed them all). I suspect this is – at least in part – because bands like Scritti Politti and The Pop Group have already done all the theorising for him, and then some….
What’s interesting so far (and to be honest I’m only about 1/3 of the way through – as a book to read on the bus it makes a pretty good housebrick) is Reynolds’ insistence (rightly) on redrawing a lot of the accepted lines of chronology and influence for the 70s, his attempt to demonstrate that punk was an aberration, a blip, rather than any kind of Year Zero, and that what came after punk was unavoidably related to a lot of the stuff that came before (Reynolds smartly pivots this on Lydon / Rotten’s Capital Radio appearance in 1977 where he played or namechecked all manner of heretical 70s prog/art rock artists alongside the expected reggae).
It’s one of those books I want to devour in a rush but at the same time I’m trying to pace myself and take it all in, sat there downloading madly, with my new mp3 player spooling out all manner of new-to-me and exciting stuff – 23 Skidoo, This Heat etc – that I just hadn’t got round to before, because I’d found it too dense, or too unwelcoming, or too obscure, or something….
Which is, I believe, where we came in.
“Fuck you, GI”
posted by dubversion at 2:25 pm
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
I finally gave in and ordered the above mp3 player last week - 20gb for about £160. I justified it with the forthcoming Unsound-On-Sea and Glastonbury trips... Anyway, the-supplier-who-shall-remain-nameless were supposed to deliver it to my work address last Friday. No show. So I arranged with my colleagues who were in work on Saturday to sign for it and keep it safe.
It didn't arrive on Saturday but on Monday i 'tracked' my order online and it had been signed for - in my name - and definitely wasn't in the building, so I assumed it had been stolen. I rang the courier company who said they'd check it out, and the vendor, who said they were terribly sorry to hear this and would send me another straight away. Which made my jaw drop, to be frank.
30 minutes later a guy from the courier company delivered the original and today the second one arrived!!!!!!
No scam there - I can clearly prove the order things happened in - but unless something goes horribly awry, I'm up one mp3 player! (My suspicion is that the original courier took Saturday morning off, filled out all the receipts himself and hoped he'd get round on Monday before anyone noticed there orders were missing).....
So that's nice. Trouble is, I've filled the first one already. So this is obviously going to involve some 'thinking about', an idea which fills me with revulsion. I also committed the sin of 'shuffle' this morning, something I promised myself wouldn't happen.
So far I've rediscovered the Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot album by Sparklehorse - still a contender for the greatest record I've ever heard - and realised that although Bobbie Gentry's songs all sound the same, that's OK.
posted by dubversion at 12:54 pm
Monday, April 25, 2005
One of the most curious, imaginative and subtle pieces of subvertising I've seen yet. Photo taken April 25th, Ambleside Avenue in Streatham.
posted by dubversion at 1:42 pm
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
to make it easy for you, i've highlighted the important bit of this news item on the Warp website....
APHEX TWIN: PLAYING AT RUSSELL HASWELL-CURATED ATP EVENT IN JUNE
Russell Haswell - electro-acoustic artist, HDJ, and longtime Merzbow/Autechre/Aphex Twin/chapman brothers collaborator - has been invited by ATP concerts to curate an event in London on June 2 2005, taking place at the SE1 club, scene of the recent devastating Autechre london show. Aphex Twin and more are confirmed already, with many more guests to be added over the next few weeks. This is sure to sell out, so get in there quick! See you there.
SATANSTORNADE (HASWELL & MERZBOW) ON BLEEP
yasunao tone & hecker on bleep
RUSSELL HASWELL'S EASY TO SWALLOW / SERIAL ATP.1
To take place at the SEOne CLUB on June 2nd, 2005
Mark Stewart & the Maffia
DJ Aphex Twin
+ more to be announced
Curated by Russell Haswell
Tickets are £15 available at See Tickets
So I'll see you there, then!
posted by dubversion at 8:51 pm
i'm ashamed to admit i'm actually getting quite nervous / stressed about the whole Glastonbury thing now. I mean, our tent is likely to be the default main attraction in that corner of the site every night, as stages close down and people stream out of the various dance tents looking for fun.
we've done a lot of weird PROD stuff, and i think we're all fairly good at keeping things together even if we're falling apart, but this is turning into a big production number (video screens, bespoke computer software, the works). I'm sure it'll be fine but it'll be a big ole empty tent if it goes wrong. It's enough to make you hope it rains so people look for the warmest dryest shelter they can, which is surely us!.
If you care about all this, we've knocked up a webpage here and we seem to be getting quite a lot of attention on various Glastonbury-related bulletin boards and the like..
One of the nightmares preparing the thousands of tunes for the PROD Jukebox is the whole question of what to include. Anything in the hip-hop, soul, reggae, funk, big beat end of things and i'm fine. But jungle is proving tricky - most of the best jungle i have is on vinyl, and most of the jungle CDs i have are all bloody mixed... ditto techno/dance stuff (plus i've been RIGHT out of the loop with proper techno since about 1998!).
Ah well, we'll manage....
posted by dubversion at 7:16 pm
Thursday, April 14, 2005
see that? that's what we've got at Glastonbury!!!!
after last year's mini-People's Republic Of Disco backstage at Glastonbury Festival, this year we've been moved in to the newly revamped Dance Area - the huge dance tent of old being replaced by a myriad of smaller and more eclectic tents (including, at last and thanks to my man DJ Badly, a Roots Tent. Sound system dub at Glastonbury. Finally!)
That beast above - all mirrored walls, banquette seating and chandeliers - will fall into PROD hands at 12.30am every night (after the stages shut down) and with the help of our brand new PROD Jukebox In A Shoebox (a database-driven interactive tune selection gizmo) we can provide tunes for the muddy masses who didn't bring anything.
This is going to be mighty!
However, since I'll be getting back from almost 3 weeks on an Italian beach helping run the Sunbound Unsound out there just the day before heading for Glastonbury, it's all going to be a little hectic.
posted by dubversion at 1:26 pm
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
apparently Junior Delgado passed away at the weekend. Which is a damn shame.
posted by dubversion at 12:07 am
Thin Lizzy are better than anyone you like.
Just thought I'd clear that up.
posted by dubversion at 12:01 am
Monday, April 11, 2005
i'm on an email list from a guy called Lance Hahn, mainman of the very excellent but far too prolific J Church, one of my favourite US punk bands, a band that somehow seem more English to me somehow - they're almost part of the Wat Tyler / Leatherface / Broccoli lineage. More thoughtful than some American hardcore, less purist than Fugazi and the like.
Anyway, Lance's emails are always interesting when they're not downright depressing (this is a man who lost his home, his studio and everything he owned as well as the masters for his entire label in a house fire; and this a year or so after he nearly died.... ). And in the latest one he has this to say:
In the midst of my madness, I did get back into writing my book. For
those of you who don't recall, I've been working on a book for the
past several years now documenting the British anarcho-punk bands of
the late `70s and `80s. That means I'm writing about everyone from
Crass to Thatcher on Acid. I've stopped kidding myself that I'm going
to get every band. There were just too many. But I'm at least covering all of the main points and Sean ex-Rugger Bugger/ex-Wat Tyler is sorting out the complete discographies for me. In the mean time, Maximum Rock N Roll has been running the chapters as articles. At the beginning of this year, I polished off Antisect, Dominant
Patri, Anarka and Poppy, Toxic Shock, The Apostles, Faction, Chimp Eats
Banana and Amebix. I'm currently sorting out Stalag 17, Disrupters, Lost
Cherrees and Chumbawamba. I'm still trying to track some folks down, so any
help would be greatly appreciated.
So i wondered if anyone out there - Eden, for example, and others - might want to help. You can email him at honeybearrecords AT hotmail DOT com.
posted by dubversion at 11:30 pm
Thursday, April 07, 2005
a version of Cameo's 'Word Up' in Chinese. a big gay disco version of Leonard Cohen's 'There Is A War'. A collision of 'Suicide and Peters & Lee'.
these are the things I hear through my bedroom walls on a regular basis. Which isn't a complaint. It's one of the peculiarities of sharing a flat with Morton Valence.
I haven't as yet mentioned the mighty Morton Valence in this blog, so I need to make up for lost time.
I need to tell you how as Florida - 2 boys, a girl, some fucked up wheezing analogue machines and an ear for a melancholy melody - they won me over with a variety of gigs (from the cool to the chaotic) and a marvellous debut album - Bob & Veronica's Big Get Away.. how Hacker and Annie's vocals blend wonderfully over straining synths and strummed flamenco guitar...
They're Morton Valence now - expanded to a multi-national 5-piece line up and named after somewhere nobody's ever been, probably. There are probably several reasons why they're not famous, wealthy and having cocaine blown up their arses by the Camden shitterati, but those reasons are nothing to do with the band and everything to do with the failings of the music scene at the moment. They don't quite fit, which should be a marvellous advantage in these days of me-too clones. Apparently not....
But nevermind, they're going to make it anyway because sometimes the good WILL overcome.
In an attempt to escape the drudgery and repetitiveness of the Camden toilet circuit, and to give themselves more control over their supports and their presentation (something they take seriously), they're staging a series of Morton Valence Fairs at the marvellous Soho Arts Club, a brilliantly seedy old school Soho drinking club. With handpicked supports, a very distinctive vibe and every effort to go just that little bit further, it's a cracking night.
The next one is on May 3rd, and the People's Republic Of Disco will be lending a hand in some capacity or other.
Because Soho Arts Club is members only, you HAVE to be on the list if you want to go along. Just email them here and ask to be put on the list for the night - it'll only cost you a couple of quid on the door and the place is open well past EVERYBODY'S bedtime.
They've also set up an MP3 of the month club - this month's offering, If You Are The River ("It's kind of somewhere between Lee Hazelwood and William Shatner") can be found here.
So. You've been told.
posted by dubversion at 6:51 pm
recently posted on the message boards on Steve Albini's Electrical Studios website, in a discussion about the merits or otherwise of the recent Slint comeback shows :
I may not be the first to point out that all this shit, and it is truly shit
(Playing at corporate venues, high ticket prices, the veneer of
"professionalism" provided by the cadre of facilitators, hand-holders and
officiaries) is precisely the shit people like me detest about the mainstream
music business, and "the $40 hoodie" is merely shorthand for it all.
To see a genuinely great band like Slint wallowing in it is truly, deeply,
personally depressing. They were conceived and originated apart from all that,
and that was (and is) one of the best things about them, their peers and the
whole underground community.
I don't generally complain about these things, but they depress and disgust me. It is no accomplishment for a band from the underground to behave in the same crass, corporate, exploitative showbusiness manner that mainstream bands do -- it is a capitulation to the basest impulses of a sick mentality, and it is a negation (if not a refutation) of many of the things that made them valuable in the first place. I didn't
attend these shows, partly because of shit like this. My memories of Slint are
fond and lasting, and they involve none of this shit.
They didn't have to behave this way. They chose to. That choice is a legitimate topic of discussion.
Slint are a great band. They are good people and genuine. In this incarnation, they behaved like any other band trying to "make a buck," and "put on a show." That is so far away from the things that were unique and brilliant about them that there isn't really language to describe it.
I'm sure it sounded great. I'm sure the lighting was appropriate. I'm
sure the music is as good as ever. I'm sure it was no worse an experience than
going to see Evanescence, and not much more expensive. I don't think I am wrong
not to be a party to it.
sa at electrical dot com
I meant to Blog this a while ago, but seeing Albini's thoughts reminded me.
I was at one of the London shows, and I was appalled, disappointed and fucked off. A lot of that may be down to my own expectations being rather high, and if I'd have thought things through in advance maybe I'd have seen it coming. They've not existed in any real sense for over a decade, they have barely two albums worth of material, they'd already clearly stated that this was going to be it: no new material or releases, just a handful of shows around their ATP performance/curator stint.
But it was just dire. After the initial thrill - "fuck, that's Slint" - and the initial appreciation of how good the sound was, and how precisely they were replicating the songs from the albums, that was it. To my knowledge - and I admit I fled to the pub before the end - they exchanged not a single word with the crowd. It was just a museum. Five guys with hoodies looking sullen and disinterested playing note-perfect renditions. I don't know what irked me more - the sheer futility of it or the fawning adulation of the crowd, eager to rain down a torrent of 'shhh's on anyone foolhardy enough to mutter a word.
In the end, it was when the guitarists came to the front of the stage armed with stools that I knew the game was up.
So what did I expect? Certainly no ironic covers, no heavy metal endings, no new material, no drastic reworkings of old material. But something , surely, to justify the ticket price beyond a live experience exactly akin to standing up in a particularly draughty lounge looking at a photo of five miserable bastards while playing Spiderland...
And yet.. And yet...
I love Albini - what he's about, what he's achieved, and of course the music. But sometimes his purist stance rankles. What he seems to forget - or chooses to ignore - is that Shellac, whilst being in my mind the finest rock band in the world, are his hobby. By which I mean they're not how he makes his living. That is done through his well-regarded studio and his recording/production work.
Which means that he doesn't need to tour, certainly doesn't need to sell merchandise and can operate at a level of artistic/uncommercial purity completely beyond the reach of most bands, Slint included.
An oft-reprinted article, The Problem With Music, that he wrote about the perils of signing to a major label is brilliant, accurate and depressing. But beyond that, he often seems too keen to pour scorn or derision on bands who've taken a less purist route.
I remember the insanity of the billings at the Shellac-curated All Tomorrow's Parties 3 years ago. Because 'there are no headliners' and because Shellac didn't want to be perceived as in any way grandstanding it, they played first. Every day. In the smallest room. I know people who didn't manage to see them all weekend. It also led to fairly popular acts playing this smaller room (with a one-in, one-out policy even if you needed to piss) whilst upstairs in the enormous ballroom unknown acts played to the interested few and the disgruntled punters locked out of the show downstairs.
Now I can see what Albini was trying to do with this - encourage people to take chances, get some great new bands some excellent exposure. But to enforce this to such a degree just seemed perverse and led to a lot of pissed off people who'd shelled out £100+ for the weekend.
So - in summary - whilst I had my own problems with the Slint shows, and whilst I accept all Albini's criticisms, I just think he has a tendency to an idealised/puritan stance which is practical for him precisely because he can afford it. I have no qualms with him producing albums by Bush or Page & Plant if he doesn't, and god knows he charges such people enough. But is doing that really any more artistically pure than flogging a $40 Slint hoodie to someone stupid enough to buy one?
posted by dubversion at 12:23 pm
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Bela Lugosi's Dread makes #132 of the Soundclick reggae charts. With a bullet, probably.
posted by dubversion at 4:44 pm
Monday, April 04, 2005
whilst looking up a gorgeous doo-wop number called Goodnight My Love by Jesse Belvin, I came across this fantastic site. An interesting read, and somehow it warms the few remaining sentimental bits of my leathery black heart that somewhere on the web there's a society for everyone.
And remember, 'I Only Have Eyes For You' by The Flamingoes IS the most beautiful song ever written. Accept no substitutes...
posted by dubversion at 11:20 pm
Well it's taken a while but I've finally got round to hosting the top pop hit Bela Lugosi's Dread, by myself - Dubversion - and by much more talented fopping cohort, The Mighty Vacuum. We're called E War Woo War Sound System these days, which shows JUST how seriously we take all this.
Every now and again we have a conversation about pressing a few hundred up - Dub Dada has offered a DJ version, months ago Aphasic offered a remix - but god knows if we'll ever get it together.
So till then, just download it. Sadly you have to sign up for the Soundclick site to do so, but it's worth it. Probably.
I must add that the file is compressed to shit in order to get it hosted - if you REALLY like it, send me fawning emails offering love and dirty sex and I'll get a better quality copy to you.
posted by dubversion at 10:08 pm
fuck it. Bangs is the man. this, on the relationship between Kubrick's movies and Emerson Lake & Palmer's absurd music:
..Everybody knows Classical Rock Fusions never really work. Perhaps what really
paved the astroturf for ELP was 2001, that dopey cozzed collegiate smoker flick:
not only did it star a computer that could kick ass on Keith E(merson)'s in a
microsputum, but crafty Kubrick also saw sure the soundtrack was fattened with
all the glorioski Classicorn any rube could swallow. "Also Sprach Zarathustra"
and Keith Emerson heard the word just like he was Joseph Smith shovelling off
the tablets. By the time Kubrick got to Clockwork Orange, thereby installing
Beethoven in the prostate projection chamber of next-up fad of trendy
androhoodlum the insidious befoulment of all that was gutter pure in rock had
been accomplished. It's worse than eclecticism, it's eugenic entropy by deisgn,
and Emerson and cohorts were more than mere fellow travellers.
"installing Beethoven in the prostate projection chamber of next-up fad of trendy androhoodlum".
Jesus, that's cool.
posted by dubversion at 8:52 pm
it's taken me a surprisingly long time to get round to reading this 'other' Bangs collection, and it's pretty damn good. Of course, there's a lot wrong with Bangs and his writing, but his passion and his bitching and his honesty win you over...
There's a flawed but fantastic piece in this book called 'Innocents In Babylon' about an Island Records-funded press junket to Kingston in (I think) Spring 1976. This makes it about the earliest 'in the field' piece about the Jamaican reggae scene I can recall reading - as opposed to dry histories or accounts of reggae / ska in the UK.
Bangs' piece is part travelogue, part history, part gonzo (something he sends up very well ) and part political/social account, all framed within a week being ferried around Kingston on Chris Blackwell's budget.
There are some parts of the text which make for slightly uncomfortable reading - Bangs veers from being patronising to inappropriately pitying at points - but it is at least a frank account of one (recently converted) reggae fan's first encounter with the music's source. Bangs is good on the corruption and danger of 1970s Jamaica, and on the parlous and unequal structure of what passes for the music business. And, in meetings with the likes of Marley, Burning Spear, Ras Michael and others he manages to be by turns scornful, awestruck, amused and embarassed. His description of Marley's reasonings as
"kind of a third world cross between John Sinclair and Jehovah's Witnesses"
amused, and he captures brilliantly the sheer awkwardness of most of the encounters - particularly when one of Marley's crew and a Jewish hack get into a confused confrontation about the Twelve Tribes. And there's no way Peter ('Carly's brother') Simon could read an account of his behaviour at a Ras Michael grounation without experiencing a sphincter-clenching embarassment. Unless he's as much of a tool as Bangs paints him. But the section that struck me most - which summed up the piece's tricky mix of insight, enthusiasm and smattering of condescension - is this, also taken from Bangs' trip with some other hacks to what they believe is a full rasta grounation but turns out to be just a rasta music class for schoolkids:
Older rastas from the neighborhood came wandering up to the house, some of them
ragged, and I looked at them and then at Tom Hayes, who was wearing a pair of
pants that probably cost $50, a Billy Preston t-shirt (I was in my Grand Funk)
and a razor cut, and the irony turned to an absurdity so extreme it became a
kind of obscenity. It was, at the very least, embarrassing, for me and for these
people, and I seriously doubt if for all the talk of brotherhood of Rastafari
there is anything beyond that embarrassment which they and I will ever be able
to share. What I mean to say is I've been on lots of press junkets before, but
this was the first into Darkest Africa. What I meant to say is that a whole
bunch of people were flown, all expenses paid, to Jamaica, so that we could look
at these people, and go back and write stories which would help sell albums to
white middle-class American kids who think it's romantic to be black and
dirt-poor and hungry and illiterate and sick with things you can't name because
you've never been to a doctor and sit around all day smoking ganja and beating
on bongo drums because you have no other options in life. I know, because I am
one of those kids, caught in the contradiction - hell, man, my current favourite
group is Burning Spear. But I wouldn't want to organise a press party in that
village they come from in those hills they sing about. And not because I don't
want to pollute the "purity" of their culture with Babylon, either - because
there is something intrinsically insulting about it.
posted by dubversion at 6:18 pm
Nuff respeck' to a man like Tim Westwood paying his respects to the demise of the Pope by following up the BBC's confirmation of JPII croaking by playing not only 'Tha Crossroads' by Bones, Thugz & Harmony (guffaw) but also - wait for it - Puff Daddy's '(I'll Be) Missing You'.
Yeah... this right here (tell me why)
Goes out, to everyone, that has lost
That they truly loved (c’mon, check it out)
Westwood, I hate to break this to you but you're a gimp.
posted by dubversion at 12:10 pm
Friday, April 01, 2005
further investigations on the Outlaws site throws up a list of all the music they used for the show.
In just one episode this included
'Return of Django’ The Upsetters
‘Rat Race’ John Lunn
‘East Of The Nile’ Augustus Pablo
‘Strangers On A Shore’ Acker Bilk
‘Decimal Currency’ The Blenders
‘Ghost Town’The Specials
which, Bilk aside, is pretty cool. And every episode stuck to the same pattern - lots of lovely old ska, roots and two-tone.
posted by dubversion at 12:42 pm
meant to blog this last week, excellent Nick Cohen piece about what a fucking disgrace ASBOs are.
Or the story of the 18-year-old who was ordered not to congregate with
three or more people. The order was meant to stop him hanging about on street
corners and joining a gang. He went to a youth club instead, where there were
more than three people and was duly arrested.
No other democratic country
imprisons people for carrying condoms or going to youth clubs because no other
democratic country has anything like Asbos. The police say they are necessary
because thugs like the Bridges terrify witnesses into silence. Sceptics believe
they are a bureaucratic short cut around the police's long-standing indifference
to minor crimes which don't get detective superintendents on Crimewatch.
Sunday March 27, 2005. The Observer
ASBOs also came in for a kicking on Outlaws, which for my money is the best domestic TV programme since Shameless. And it's a crying shame that not only did BBC2 bury it in a terrible slot, but they're not going to recommission it. The fucking dullards.
posted by dubversion at 11:07 am