Thursday, August 17, 2017

There Will Come Soft Rains

by Malcolm Clarke of Radiophonic Workshop

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hillage Green Preservation Society

Deeply Vale - wish i'd been there!

i'd have had to have been  a very different 15 year old than the just turned fifteen year old i was in July 1978

As I've noted before,  one thing that's striking - and surprising if you had preconceptions - about Hillage’s music from 1977’s Motivation Radio onwards is its sheer funk -  the hot rhythm section of Joe Blocker and Reggie McBride shimmy and strut on a par with the Blockheads.

in a mini-interview he told me that he was mad about Parliament-Funkadelic which can hear on "Unidentified" for sure

Friday, August 11, 2017

the Ash and the Melon

read the most fantastic thing the other day, can't remember where, gist of it was that - far from dub being the one thing that united the members of Public Image Ltd, it was actually a shared love of Wishbone Ash!

it was from the horse's mouth too, Johnny R himself...

their one moment of moderate sublimity

(he says having not listened exhaustively to the discography in all honesty)

(but i'd take a small wager that was and is in fact their one moment of moderate sublimity)

studio is even better - so fresh and so clean

listening to it now for the first time in a while I feel increasingly certain it was a source for Blind Melon when they came up with this (their one moment of moderate sublimity)

earlier post on the Ash and their great gatefolds 

wigwam bam

a Finnish Caravan

blanding out


track six of that was sampled by DJ Shadow for "Midnight in a Perfect World" (it sez here)

with Oldfields (Mike and Sally) and that chap from the post-Aellen Gong... on Virgin... in '77

pumping pumping bass

they once did a cover - rather a good one - of this tune (for a Peel session I believe) so Jean-Jacques must be where they got the pumping thugly bass thing from

"I love the feel of the bass guitar between my legs"

"the ebony embittered souls of children"

robot music

Frank Garvey's OmniCircus from Vincent Tremblay on Vimeo.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Μουσική στο στόμα

Anastasis Teil 2 von Anestis Logothetis - Fernsehaufführung 1971 mit Claudia Brodzinska-Behrend und Siegfried Behrend.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

forgot about ra

should always be mentioned in conversations about the synthesiser

feel like he is Rev's lost brother, especially  here

Disco 3000 is still my favorite, taped off Stubbsy back in the day

do you know, I've seen Sun Ra and the Arkestra twice?

once in  late 1985 at the Fridge, Brixton...  just amazing... the full procession of the band through the audience in all their finery

and then, once again, in 1989  at the Knitting Factory - not quite as amazing, but still a grand sight and sound

and then - pinch myself in disbelief at the thought - around about that time I actually had an audience with the great man

it is really rather unbelievable to contemplate - i mean, it's a bit like having interviewed Miles Davis or Coltrane, or - in non-jazz terms -  Stravinsky or Stockhausen  -  these would be equivalent figures in terms of 20th Century modernist out-there-ness....

but there I sat for a couple of hours, in a New York hotel, listening and taping, and I do not believe getting in so much as a word edge-wise

and - what's truly absurd - then having to edit it down to be a third-of-a-page featurette for a section of Melody Maker called Sidelines generally dedicated to up-and-coming bands.

an outrage!

(although in mitigation, I'm not sure NME or Sounds or Select would have given him any space at all by that point - MM  was pretty much alone in holding fast to the cover-everything spirit of the golden-era music press)

(still, in the early 70s, Melody Maker would have - and in fact did - give Sun Ra a double-page spread)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Polskie analogowe epiki elektroniczne


hard to work out what he's launching off from - Tonto's Expanding? Zawinul?

Or Time's Encomium?

that one is a tiny bit Magma

the whole thing in one bloc 

Czeslaw Niemen had major prog form 

so the synth excursion seems to be a detour from the main proggy path

have yourself a buchla buchla christmas

"San Francisco Bay Area: 1969  - I'd been playing Buchla music in various galleries for openings, as well as MOMA openings. They liked them enough, since the music gave a good time, was infectious and totally new to people. So MOMA asked me to provide music for their annual Christmas party for Children on a Saturday morning. 
So I took off one evening for Mills College where the Buchla now was kept to take up my usual time time slot of 8pm. At the time use of the Tape/Buchla room was very loose; I could stay as long as I liked after the building closed at 10; sometimes I would be there almost till dawn. There were times, however, when I'd go back home at midnight dejected at having found nothing exciting. 

This night I was already across the Bay Bridge when I realized I hadn't brought any Christmas music, no carols! I was going to have to remember what I could. Turned out I knew enough of them to play with. 
The Buchla doesn't' have a keyboard like a piano (with twelve notes to the octave), just slits in a metal plate with two tuning knobs to give each slit a pitch or a pair of pitches. I didn't have to reconstruct all twelve notes of a scale, just the notes needed in the song. Tuning what few notes I needed for each tone was fairly easy. But one carol sounded like church bells because it one of the notes sounded out of tune as some church bells because their tuning doesn't fit with a tempered tuning so goes out of tune with the other notes. At first I thought this a problem, but since it did resemble church bells it decided it added to the charm. Other sounds reminded me of lighter caroling bells as I imagined in old Germany or the Alps, at least, as I remembered hearing them. 

The most pleasure came when I incorporated the sequencing module that gave a tune rhythm that it never had nor would have, since it came from a synthesizer with a different kind of creativity that a human wouldn't have. The unusual rhythm added a kick to the carol.

I didn't have enough carols to make a long enough session so I added here and there, especially at the end, some synthesizer music that I'd previously made on the Buchla that sounded shimmering and might evoke a starry sleigh filled night" 

- Warner Jepson

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

digital kitsch (Hubert & Harald)

actually pretty wacky stuff, missing link between Art of Noise and Ferraro's Far Side Virtual

a Fairlight fantasia

the full album

this one really is kitschtastic though

ooh they had prior prog form (bit like Vangelis with Aphrodite's Child maybe)

from Austria, Hubert and Harald also recorded -  later on -  as Blue Chip Orchestra

their kitschitude recognised no borders

Harald still going,  quite recently, at least

Friday, July 21, 2017

a load of schütze

he do have a way with a title, that Paul

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sunday, July 9, 2017

mouth music (creaksqueaksquawkscape)

bonus mouth music

Αυτό ήταν αύριο

only and only concrete composition by this Greek-born composer-ess

shame as it's superb

in fact it appears her only composition at all  - even bigger shame then

another one-off out of the GRM stable
(but someone with a more extensive non-electronic / non-tape oeuvre)
is this lovely piece of music which would be in my Top 10 electronic works i think

so magical

delusion fields

(via droid mix)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

frog prog

okay not french this one

flute of fantasy

there's no business

"Showbiz for showbiz's sake more than anything. I think I'm just taking it back to cabaret" - Gary Numan

listen for the Avalanches sample

not much sadder than a Kid Creole album after they left ZE

free your Ascione

an electroacoustician i've never come across before

Thursday, July 6, 2017

musique de bouche + de concrete

henri P

then and now


both from 2017

(the second one is actually by Mr Foetus, aka Thirlwell, funnily enough)

i feel that we have reached peak electronic

so much - it turns out, as the reissue / archival-exhumation industry is showing on multiple fronts from avant-garde composition to New Age  - was done already, in the sixties, seventies, eighties

so much is currently being redone - the same ground endlessly criss-crossed, exacerbated and amplified maximalism style

what's odd is the current product still manages to trigger the faintest of future-shock feelings

musique de bouche (breathscape)

Zanesi does it, does it every time

Archive du pere

ecriture feminine


i could care a fig / candy and a Curran bun

(also file under 'mouth music')

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

ardizzone you know the score



musica bocca viva (howlscapologists)

UK friendly version of second one (via Bollops)

Monday, July 3, 2017

Spoerri of destiny

odd beguiling combo of the out-there and the once-was-"with it"

digging these warmly amusing electronic miniatures

this next one, really, rather eerie





need to give this a relisten one of these days

the man tells his story

john cage goes to the circus

Thursday, June 29, 2017

wide-brim hat music (Bad Music Era slight return)

There is this mid-Eighties Brit-indie sound that I think of as wide-brim hat music

I would have fingered Dream Academy as absolutely archetypal except I can't seem to find much evidence of them wearing hats

They do have headgear of varying kinds on the cover of this though

The wide-brim hat seems to go hand in hand with a non-rocking, wussy innocuousness, combined with an over-layered, slightly florid thing

It's these fine fellows I think who are the actual archetype - and again I'm not sure if it's even "wide brim", it's just hat-wearing - that was a real  thing on the indiepop scene 1984-85-86

Ha! Look! I was right - in this TV clip from the show Wired, the presenter who's introducing Martin Stephenson and the Daintees is wearing one of those hats, and he stops right in front of a hat shop, and he says "they'll be banning hats next" (in reference to some Thatcher government measure against homosexuality).

Who else had hats?

The Woodentops!

Who - at least for the duration of the first four singles - are not Bad Music Era at all -  in fact I really liked them.

Interviewed them around the (disappointingly wussily-produced) debut album Giant, which did have a few lovely dreamy tunes like this one -

- but overall got a bit sickly and spoiled by overproduction.

You can forgive any hat-wearing tendencies when it's muscular driving trancebop like "Well Well Well", "Move Me", "It Will Come" - but when it gets all wispy and wimpy, the hats start to seem like the problem...

Who else then?

I might have fingered Microdisney as culprits, but on quick glance can't see much hat-wearing evidence and I'm not going to start poring through old videos, that's for certain (never cared for their supposedly subversive-MOR sound)

James (like the 'Tops another group I liked then - but only for a moment) appear to have gone bare-headed

Aha - Virginia Astley had a big old hat in the photo sessions around her second album, 1986's Hope In A Darkened Heart, as you can just about see from this cover.

I am not sure that a woman wearing a hat of this kind is so potentially culpable as it is when a man does it, though. However it does go hand in hand with some wispy, florid, non-rock-instrumentation-bedecked music, though, in Ms Astley's case.   The strawberries-and-cream dove-toned Englishness of her music would have been something I'd not have been able to stomach at the time - but nowadays, an aging expatriate pining for the rolling hills and horse chestnut trees of the motherland, I have developed a fondness for it. Perhaps it can even be considered part of the proto-canon for hauntology.

The Blue Nile put out an album actually called Hats, of course - with a chap on the front cover wearing a hat -  but I don't think they took to going hat-clad onstage or in photo sessions. The Nile didn't really have a look as such - nor would I be able pick any of them out of a police line-up.


Lots of good suggestions coming through in the comments, e.g. Fairground Attraction

Andrew Parker sent through some thoughts:

Michael Stipe (yes, even before the early 90s)

Andy Prieboy (Wall of Voodoo) - the 'western' style was in vogue for a while in the mid 80s.

Tracy Pew (a bit earlier) 

Blixa Bargeld (a bit later, circa The Weeping Song, 1990)

Fields of the Nephlim

Wayne Hussey


I think with Pew and Bargeld the hats have a more macho evocation than the wide-brim thing I'm talking about.

Pew's whole image was a sort of Texan shit-kicker, a sartorial foretaste of the Southern Gothic direction that the late-period Birthday Party and early Bad Seeds would plunge into. 

My favorite Pew quote, about the early skinny-tie art-pop of Boys Next Door - "we made the unpardonable error of playing to thinkers rather than the drinkers"

And yeah with the Mission / Nephs and with G'N'R, it's definitely something else than the Daintees / Woodentops idea

(the Nephs went so far as to put "desert dust" on their hats for the full spaghetti western wilderness look - actually flour, which made them the butt of endless Melody Maker jokes about Mother's Pride)

Perhaps what is needed is a typology of Eighties alternative music millinery! c.f. the leather cap look mentioned in the comments.

Bit more from Andrew

Another nomination: Lindy Morrison (Go-Betweens) on the cover of Liberty Belle ...

Slash's hat could have been worn in the late-60s Haight-Ashbury scene, which was an inspiration for the paisley underground scene of the mid-80s. 

Not sure goth should be eliminated as the bands were intentionally evoking the distant past (Victorian era lace and boots).

Other nominations: Mike Scott (The Waterboys), and moving further from alternative music Boy George, the woman from The Thompson Twin

I was going to mention the Waterboys and then forgot, although their sound is a bit more epic and windswept (the Big Music - cf. the hatted tendency of U2 circa Joshua Tree)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Malcolm the hitmaker

never saw that video

single got to #3 in the UK charts

never saw that one either

single got to #32

implausible but true: one of the most important records in hip hop history (nd still being sampled to this day)

single got to #9

single got to #54

A Malcolm believer right up to this point (although never bought Duck Rock - funds were tight) but I got off the boat with this next project

a number 13 hit though

by the time he was vaunting a "return to romance" he seemed a very silly individual

but it still got into the UK Top 40 (just)

as did this (#29!)

He must have been so galled by Madonna's much greater success in coopting vogue

(only got to #89)

another single (and flop) off of Waltz Darling

(peaked at #75)

His last real almost-hit (#42)

from this project which I believe in conception dated back to his Sixties art school years

a thief, a scoundrel, a mis-manager - but hard not to think fondly of  McLaren, for the ideas, the rollicking music paper interviews, for the Sex Pistols, Bow Wow Wow (and Adam Ant, effectively), for "Buffalo Gals"

Here'a striking fact - out of the ex-Pistols, and yes I include him as a member of the band - Malcolm McLaren has had more hit singles than Glen Matlock or Jones + Cook, and more or less an equal showing in terms of success as John Lydon *

Which corresponds to my own post-Pistols apportionment of interest: Malcolm and Johnny's later exploits I followed obsessively, deep into the Eighties; the other three, not so much, not so much....

I.e. the lure was the vision + attitude, rather than the sonic substance, per se

* Lydon's hits are "Public Image" (#9), "Death Disco" (# 20), "Flowers of Romance" (#24), "This Is Not A Love Song" (#5), "Rise" (#11) and there's a dribble of semi-hits with the name-shaming later PiL of Happy? and 9. If anything, MM has the edge over JL with the hugeness of "Double Dutch" and "Buffalo Gals".

Matlock, with Rich Kids, had just the #24 "Rich Kids" **

Jones + Cook, as The Professionals, got to #43 with "1-2-3" and had a novelty Xmas minor hit "A Merry Jingle" as part of the Greedy Basstards (with Thin Lizzy), a punked-up medley of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and "Jingle Bells",

** a mystery worth pondering at a later point: how come there's no Matlock melody as immortal or potent as the tunes he wrote while in the Sex Pistols. The mystery of group energy. Something about the way the notes Glenn wrote interacted with the properties (limitations / powers)  of Rotten's voice and also what Jones was doing to generate magic. Reconstituting a group of able and compatible talents in a later situation, and in presumably a much less frictional setting, led to nothing like the same results - despite it being the same core musician with the same melodic and harmonic traits.

Saturday, June 10, 2017


euro-kitschadelic disco-glam

reminds me slightly of this

and there is a connection with this

there's a story that Cozy supplied the drums on "Venus" but elsewhere it says it's man-machine superdrummer Keith Forsey


the best disco was the commercial successful disco

boogie men

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

the other stuff rated by some going on at the time #2

many of the smartest pop minds of our time would disagree, vehemently....  probably scornfully

but the truth is I have never really seen it / heard it / felt it with the PSB...

 "West End Girls", very nice, yes (what's it about though? I don't really care actually)...

Introspective, I liked a bit, for half-a minute...

 "Being Boring", bit boring

Overall, as sound it seems thin, as expression it feels mild...   the other elements (lyrics, image, framing, interview) are clever (-clever)

pop without the !POP!

for his comments about Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ("sounds more like a rave record than rock") and for inventing the concept "imperial phase", Neil T deserves a knighthood, or at least a CBE

but otherwise

file under "music journalists who should have stayed music journalists"

Saturday, May 13, 2017

flamenco glam and kraut rumba

via Marcos Gendre of Rockdelux magazine in Spain, word reaches me of the phenomenon of glam flamenco!

also rumba glam

not sure where the glam is in this

this is postpunk flamenco (says Marcos)

acid rock flamenco (although to me it sounds more blues-rock - good drumming though)

also rated by Marcos, although I'm not sure if there's much flamenco or any glam here (again neat drumming)

and a contemporary band he rates highly - purveying "post-punk kraut-rumba"

bonus suggestion from Fernando Ramirez Ruiz in the comments - "a song to glam, "The King of Glam", who is forever in 73 with Bowie and T-Rex according to lyrics"

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

independent fellers - independent ladee

Eno said Donna's "State of Independence" was the best single of the year.

I wonder if he'd have said the same of Jon & Vangelis's original, if he'd have heard it.

I think I might prefer the original

Both have that odd loping, chuntering groove.

What is the lyric about then? If it's Jon it's probably something New Agey or hippy-dippy.

I have never properly "done" Yes  (I've done a cursory whizz through the famous albums, surprised to find some of it rather rhythmically dynamic and groovy, but never returned)

but I do have this on vinyl and rather like it

Sunday, May 7, 2017

rockism on the rocks

"verses and choruses... they all sound the same... no computers... Herman's Hermits"


release irrationale:
"Visions Congo is yet another moniker from Discrepant’s head honcho, Gonçalo F Cardoso, taking Africa as a starting point to evoke the memories and re-imagined experiences of his 6-month stay in the region back in 2015. Most of the recordings and compositions were done in the great lakes of Africa region of Uganda, Congo (DRC), Tanzania as well as the island of Zanzibar. Meshing impromptu in situ compositions with old dusty samples and his own field recordings is the go to modus operandi of Gonçalo F Cardoso's various monikers (ie Gonzo, Papillon), creating deep layered 'exotic/alien' soundscapes of various moods and feels. Here’s another series of surreal and augmented field recordings that try to brace the listener with fresh alien authenticity before toying very pointedly with antiquated constructs by mixing avant-garde dustbin synth music with concrete field recordings and humorous, tongue in cheek intersections - not to ‘ever’ be taken too seriously."

Friday, May 5, 2017

the other stuff, rated highly by others, that was going on at the same time #1

the next level of nostalgia: when you start taking an interest in the stuff you didn't care for much at the time

there was always something a bit... not-pulled-off about the Style Council's attempts at being funny

like the deep true British soul of Weller is his humourless fanaticism

the very thing that is worthy of respect

that made the Jam powerful

whereas Style Council felt like an attempt to move beyond those real strengths (earnestness, stiffness, urgency, gawky intensity, uptightness, sour vision) into zones of actual weakness (jazz - come off it mate! funk - pull the other one)

moments of getting there, of almost-love

this first one was the one that I really liked, unreservedly

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

njálbmi musihkka (only yoiking)

Sami as it ever was...

"The yoik is a unique form of cultural expression for the Sami people in the North of Sweden. The songs are not merely descriptive, but yearn to capture the subject in its living sense. It is not about something, it is that something. It does not begin and it does not end. Like the wind."

Monday, May 1, 2017

Miệng nhạc

full album

"Since the end of the 90s, Laurent Jeanneau, also an integral Sublime Frequencies contributor, has been recording the music of mostly endangered minorities of South East Asia. Alongside his relentless pursue of remote exotic and unpublished musical traditions, he also started creating electronic versions by combining raw recordings with natural sounds, archive material and electronically treated sounds. 
For Voices, Laurent based his alternate re-versions around the extensive voice recordings he made on location in the southern regions of Yunnan and Guizhou in China as well as in Sapa, North Vietnam and Phongsaly, Northern Laos. 
The compositions contain unedited acoustic recordings, computer modified parts, sound collages and acoustic recordings of people and instruments. All tracks were recorded on location and re-arranged by Laurent Jeanneau in Dali, China."


"Erhai Floating Sound" is a spatialized live sound performance which took place on Erhai lake in Dali, Yunnan, China in may 2010, involving Laurent Jeanneau aka Kink Gong and Julien Claus. The electronic sounds were produced on a small fishing boat inside the lake connected by underwater cables to other four boats, each of them carrying a speaker.
This tape is a stereo version of the quadraphonic performance of Kink
Gong and it's about an hour long.

Laurent Jeanneau is an electroacoustic composer, ethnomusicologist and Sublime Frequencies contributor, who has released more than 150 cds concerning recordings of ethnic minority music, mostly from south-east Asia taken in more than 15 years of activity. The electroacoustic activity of Kink Gong is based on the deconstruction of the original recordings, which focus mostly on vocal and local instruments like gongs, mouthorgans and string instruments, into soundscapes and cut-ups. 

shroom music

"bioelectrical recordings of living plants and fungi"

the secret soniferous life of plants


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

oi liked it

a bit. for a while.

As I recall it, the Angelic Upstarts insisted on playing this single completely live in the Top of the Pops studio

At the time it felt like they'd totally blown their chance  of a breakthrough hit through sheer bloody-minded obstinacy (commendable in a way)

However listening to the recorded version (first track on the album below) i can't really hear that much difference -  the vocal is a little clearer than the groggy roar of TOTP, the sound is a smidgeon clearer and tighter, but overall it's darn close to the pummeling crudity of  live-in-the-TOTP-studio

I don't think this sound was even called Oi! yet... indeed punk / postpunk had yet to fully go their separate ways (Stiff Little Fingers were on Rough Trade, after all)

So at this time, only a year or so into being seriously awake to rockmusic, I would have been as excited about things like "Teenage Warning" and "California Uber Alles" and "Babylon's Burning" (or in a different way CRASS)  as I was by PiL or Slits or The Fall... it was all hitting my sixteen year old ears as a an attacking rush of newness

The blackmail-letter style cut-out newsprint typography a la Bollocks!

Now I remember at the time finding the tautology of "if the kids were united they will never be divided"  facile  - and the music a simplistic insult - but listening now Sham's big hit sounds pretty exciting

That first revving-off riff is basically a  "No Fun" a bit faster, isn't it

But then and now I would draw the line at "Hurry Up Harry", it's all a bit gorblimey guvnor

I don't think I came across this Sham doc on YouTube last time I brushed against the topic of Oi!

By the time it got to things like  "The Greatest Cockney Rip Off" I'd have been a card-carrying postpunker, so anything Oi! would have been looked down on - seen as only a notch  higher on the reactionary-scale than NWOBHM stuff like Saxon and Maiden

The Rejects are punk if it had only consisted of the Jones-Cook element (even that title - "Greatest... Rip Off"  is a nod to Swindle)

Oh but look at this -  glam-Oi! with a psych-era Stones cover