Wednesday, 21 January 2009

m u s i c b y w h i c h t o w r i t e

a short list of sounds which i currently use when writing.

buddha machines i & ii.
brainchild of ambient noodling masters fm3 the buddha machines are small plastic electronic boxes that play 9 different ambient loops; drones, plinks, plonks and oddnesses. the mk.ii machine even has a pitch bend facility (rejoice o inner geek!). endless and hypnotic.

'extended play (triptych for the child survivors of war and conflict)' -cd- by janek schaefer.
more stunning mucking about with vinyl from mr. schaefer, this time combining cello, piano and violin in shifting patterns, each in their own track and then together in the 24:00 'accoustic emsemble'. plaintive and oddly calming. for a short video detailing the exhibition this recording sprang from (shown on the cd cover) have a gander here.

'kulmakia' -cd by angel.
angel (a.k.a. Ilpo Väisänen of Pan sonic with Dirk Dresselhaus of Schneider TM) produce bottomless waves of guitar, of violin, of electronic tones and drones. played on the wrong (faster) speed this would become a cacophony, as it is it's kind of like drowning; but in a good way.
i'm guessing the following discription has been translated from finnish:
"kalmukia is vast epic sprawling through guitar riffs spanning deep electronic canyon overlooked by a melancholic grey sky. a journey leading to discovery and a final mutation. all players involved delicately playing off each other creating a mesmerising work that sounds like nothing they have done before yet still retaining the audio signatures they have become known for."

and last, but by no means least, 'the dying submariner (a concerto for piano and reverberation in four movements)' -cd- by andrew liles.
put simply, this is like listening to the sound of a thousand pianos dropped from great heights, played slow-motion at the bottom of the sea. and yet there is composition here, rather than pure chaos. the sound of mozart drowning maybe, a thousand mozarts. a huge and unfathomable sound; the word vertiginous comes to mind. -if you can get the limited edition with the bonus disc of 'the dead submariner (a concerto for bowed guitar and reverberation in three movements)' do so, it's equally impressive.

Monday, 19 January 2009

a d r o p p i n g o f e a v e s

to set the scene:

christmas eve, the slipper room, new york.

an evening of burlesque, somewhat sparsely attended.

our host for the evening is an italian "3rd generation acrobat", quite the worse for wear due to alcohol or any number of illicit substances consumed when he disappeared downstairs earlier in the evening with a man dressed as elvis.

the acrobat decides to balance head first, on top of a basket ball, on top of a bar stool; which incredibly, considering his inebriation, he succeeds in doing. he teeters worryingly.

a voice behind me:

"if he dies, we're leaving"

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

b e s e e i n g y o u

unmutual to the end.

i n a p p r o p r i a t e

something tells me that starting the coursework for my autobiography class with the quotation:

"in the sixty year history since the development of cephalometric radiology, literally hundreds of methods of analysis have been proposed."

from robert rubin's making sense of cephalometrics, is both inappropriate and possibly deleterious to my future academic career. such as it is.


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

t o d r e a m t h e i m p o s s i b l e d r e a m

g o i n g d o w n ?

"in most elevators, at least in any built or installed since the early nineties, the door-close button doesn't work. it is there mainly to make you think it works. (it does work if, say, a fireman needs to take control. but you need a key, and a fire, to do that.) once you know this, it can be illuminating to watch people compulsively press the door-close button. that the door eventually closes reinforces their belief in the button's power. it's a little like prayer. elevator design is rooted in deception-to disguise not only the bare fact of the box hanging by ropes but also the tethering of tenants to a system over which they have no command. "

-from 'up and then down -the lives of elevators' (full article here) by nick paumgarten (video of the case of mr. nicholas white found here)

Saturday, 10 January 2009

w h e r e s w e e t m e e t s h e a t . a p p a r e n t l y .

sweet baby moses. clicking this link might make your day... or give you nightmares; i know which it does for me.

Friday, 9 January 2009

m o t h e r t h e r e s a i n t h e w i n n e r ’ s e n c l o s u r e

thought i'd post this little fella that, believe it or not, won me £200 in the university creative writing anthology. no one was more surprised than me. they even asked me to read it out at the launch evening, despite it being about mother theresa being something of a cunt. for those of a technical bent, it's in the form of a terza rima sonnet.


mother theresa in the winner’s enclosure

behind velvet ropes, a wrinkled rosebud sits,
beatified, in white spent glow of prayer,
despite a lack of faith her god acquits,

the death of right and wrong, of fair, unfair.
so many bodies through her fingers fell,
so many times a lost duty of care.

a room reserved, a suite, in god’s motel,
a room reserved, right at the very top,
furnished antithesis of lowly hell.

palliation substituted with gumdrop,
pain,” she told “is jesus kissing you,”
a patient begged that christ be made to stop,

ignored by her, the saccharine guru,

that sanctity and cash she might accrue.

d i s c s o f d i s t i n c t i o n

cds acquisitions of late:

arab on radar - 'queen hygiene ii' / 'rough day at the orifice'
arab on radar - 'the stolen singles'

easily what could be described as my new favourite band, i came across arab on radar whilst surfing last after wondering whatever became of deity guns. o the circuitous routes to musical pleasure... anyhoo, arab on radar turn out to be a huge find. equally aggressive, spastic, repetitive, hilarious and frenziedly driven, i cannot recommend these highly enough. hyperbole be damned!


liars - 'they threw us all in a trench and stuck a monument on top'

their first album, this is already pointing in the direction of their later gloomy, disjointed experimentation and is worth the purchase price alone for what i can only describe as "that kind of purring sound" on track 'nothing is ever lost or can be lost my science friend', and of course the last track 'this dust makes that mud', clocking in at a mighty 30:07, the final 20 some minutes of which is an almost seamless loop.


services - 'your desire is my business'

these people used to be the great flux information sciences, but split to make something "poppy - because it's hard to do". if this is pop then it's the most obsessive, mentally retarded pop i've ever heard, and all the better for it. get on your dancin' shoes and prepare to do yourself an injury.


shit and shine - 'cherry'
shit and shine - 'küss mich, meine liebe'

a motley crew from various bands (including the now defunct / re branded todd) and often involving driving, distorted percussion; nevertheless the cornerstone of shit and shine is experimentation. there are full-on noise tracks, short tracks, ridiculously long tracks, little girls singing. two collections of beautiful, utterly disconcerting grimy chaos, some of which you can even tap your foot to:
"the band has been known to employ up to 16 separate drummers and 12 feet of vertical bass amplification, so they are no strangers to erecting long standing brown waves of sound known to induce wild ass humpery and free standing grope-a-thons. you, dear listener, are powerless in this onslaught of bass boomed rock totality."
you have been warned.

Monday, 5 January 2009

o x b o w v s . h a r v e y m i l k

a review of oxbow and harvey milk live at the underworld, left over from last year...

(image stolen from -go there now, buy fucking everything)

always a treat to see the might of oxbow live, we arrived and were made positively tumescent by the prospect of a surprise support slot by part chimp. the somewhat bewilderingly friendly eugene robinson (right) sold me a couple of t-shirts and a cd, because of course i need more of both of these things.
part chimp came on and made a noise. a big fucking noise. we winced, we nodded out heads, we applauded. goodgood.
everything was going swimmingly until harvey milk came on. a somewhat inappropriate addition to the bill, if harvey milk were a short film then it would concern pot-bellied middle aged men striding bare-chested across mist-swathed mountain tops conversing with ancient and unknowable gods; if oxbow were a short film it would concern a man lying alone and naked in a shitty motel room in his own filth, screaming. hostess elisabeth: "harvey milk look like presenters from the open university". rock on. harvey milk appear to be the sort of band that are legendary in certain circles and if you haven't heard of them, as i hadn't, you clearly haven't been smoking enough dope or gagging for a pale, pseudo alternative, middle aged imitation of black sabbath and their ilk. perhaps that's unfair. but then perhaps it's not unfair enough.
anyhoo, finally oxbow come on and all is forgotten, and i do mean all. in an aggressive avalanche of cathartic ejaculate, their sound grabs us by the throat, body slams us and then proceeds to violate our most private areas. but in a good way. really.

n e x t s t o p c e l l b l o c k h

actually, this whole entering into the 'official' blog thing reminds me of a news story from last year:

civil servant charged over 'obscene' girls aloud blog

" walker is accused of posting a comment on a fantasy pornographic website which allegedly described the kidnap, mutilation, rape and murder of girls aloud... it was headlined "girls (scream) aloud"... he is due to appear at newcastle crown court charged with publication of an obscene article in coming weeks. "

now explain how this isn't retarded thinking. prosecuting someone for 'obscene publication' on a blog? really? what kind of daft cunt comes up with this kind of thing? do people really get paid to simply sit in an office and fire off these kind of imbecilic edicts? explain to me how that's a justified or worthwhile thing to do with the tax payer's money, or the court's time, and while you're at it, explain to me where this dangerous kind of thinking stops.

it makes me wonder if i too might not fall foul of this kind of thing, considering my heartfelt belief that ainsley harriot should be kidnapped, mutilated and (hell, why not?) raped to within an inch of his worthless and irritating existence. i await the bobbies and the knock at the door with baited breath... you'll never take me alive copper...

Sunday, 4 January 2009

s t i l l b o r n . a g a i n .

let's see if this is a more useful, accomodating and less time consuming home for my inane ramblings and long harboured excess of bile.

expect shorter, more piecemeal postings. yes ellis, finally.

as if anyone is listening.