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



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Glintshake (or, the Fishbone perplex)

Recently I was in Estonia for the Tallinn Music Week. Saw a bunch of interesting bands  - this is the first in a series of posts (probably) on them.

Probably the most pure entertainment-!wow! was this Russian outfit Glintshake.

The video above is the best of the ones I could find on YouTube and it doesn't go anywhere near to conveying their force-of-personality live - although you do get a glimpse of singer / guitarist Kate Shilonosova's charisma and her repertoire of facial expressions and hand gestures.

That shortfall reminded me - even though they have nothing in common musically or in terms of stage presentation – of Fishbone: an astonishing entertainment onstage but they never seemed able to bottle it on record.

Live, Glintshake was obviously a lot louder and in your face (it was a small space in Old Town Tallinn, astonishingly crammed - there's a big buzz about the group - and hot, steamy, and actually a bit smelly). But also the band's wiry punk-funk sound just jumped and writhed and swerved and sparked so much more. Shilonosova's arch "startled" expressions and steadying-my-balance body-moves conveyed perfectly the feeling of being jolted and tumbled by the music. It looked like she was perpetually skidding on an icy pavement and only just managing to stay upright.

The name "Glintshake" puzzled me a bit and that minor mystery was revealed when I went back to check out their earlier material from 2014, which is shoegaze-derivative both sound-wise and image-wise. Thankfully they seem to have chucked all that in the bin and embarked upon intensive studies of the works of the Fire Engines, Contortions, possibly Big Flame, maybe even Stump. But  all that antipop angularity and friction is sluiced through New Wave aesthetics (little bit of Lene Lovich in the mix, maybe, but without the operatics) and the result ends up very pop: catchy, boppy, fun. 

Kate Shilonosova also has a solo career bubbling away and was given a mini-profile in the New Yorker recently, would you believe.

The approach couldn't be further from  Glintshake -  21st Century hip eclectronica with a pop finish.

The dainty/dinky/airy quality is almost Japanese in sensibility.  Those breathy buttery Sarah Cracknell/Sally Shapiro vocals. Nice, but I much prefer her rolled r's and more jagged delivery in Glintshake.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

once upon a time my favorite band #3

Yes, I'm a Bob Mould man more than a Grant Hart man. Both great, though - but the Mould melodies cut a little deeper, ache a little keener.

(Never got into Sugar, though).

No, I don't really rate, don't really dig, New Day Rising. Dunno why (I know it's some people's favorite). Prefer Flip Your Wig far more, and even Candy Apple Grey is better I reckon.

No, never really got into the early hyper-speed amphetamine-blur records.

Here for historical curio interest is the first single, though, when Du were PiL-damaged, before they saw the hardcore light

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

go get fluxed

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

turning Jaapanese

off of

s/t cover art

scion of Utrecht's Institute of Sonology

from this name-your-price memorial release

the blurb / bio for the Recollection GRM retrospective 
(must say, I do wish they would make their reissues available as compact discs, or even as FLAC downloads - cannot be arsed with the bulk and inconvenience - nor expense, frankly  - of the vinyl releases, and i don't think this kind of music is especially enhanced by vinyl's alleged warmth. Ironically you can get it digitally but only if you buy the vinyl - which gives you access to the download codes. which probably means that in practice most purchasers listen to it digitally anyway!)

The Institute of Sonology in Utrecht has earned its international reputation mostly for pioneering work in the field of computer-assisted algorithmic composition and digital sound synthesis by composers such as Gottfried Michael Koenig, Werner Kaegi, Paul Berg and Barry Truax. Anyone familiar with the music of these composers would have to admit that even within this ‘genre’ there were no stylistic dogmas. The stylistic range of Sonology’s artistic output becomes even broader when the work of other staff and frequent guests is taken into account, for example the compositions based on field recordings and audio-visual projects by Frits Weiland, the radiophonic works and pieces for tape and instruments by Luctor Ponse, the cybernetic tape compositions by Roland Kayn, or the experiments with computer graphics by Peter Struycken, to name just a few. And then there was Jaap Vink.
Jaap Vink (Den Helder, 1930) studied engineering at first, but then became interested in electronic music. He attended courses in electroacoustics at Delft University of Technology and installed a pedagogical studio for electronic music in 1961 at the Gaudeamus Foundation in Bilthoven with the help of the Nederlandse Radio Unie (NRU). He was a staff member at the Institute of Sonology as a teacher in analogue studio techniques from 1967 until his retirement in 1993.
Jaap Vink always tried to break out of the periodicity of the sounds so abundantly available in the electronic music studio. Although his music was entirely produced with purely electronic sound material, its textures resemble the richness of orchestral sounds, or large natural sound-complexes, as a result of recursive processes. The density of this sound material increases and decreases by careful control of feedback networks with configurations of analogue tape recorders (delay lines), filters and modulators. It should come as no surprise that his work is being rediscovered at a time when a new generation of musicians has conquered the stage with modular synthesizer setups and ‘no-input mixers’, in which feedback of audio and control signals plays an important role. And although Jaap Vink’s music wasn’t performed live but produced and recorded on magnetic tape in the studio, it is exactly the human interaction with feedback processes that connects his work with the current generation of live electronic music performers. To some extent Jaap Vink’s pieces are indeed recorded live improvisations, and extending his patches and ‘rehearsing’ with them was an ongoing process. To see Jaap Vink at work in the studio was to hear the studio coming to life. After his composition Screen (1968) had been performed at concerts and released on the famous Electronic Panorama LP-set (Philips 6740 001), Jaap Vink was asked regularly to contribute to Sonology’s concerts in the Netherlands and abroad. It was for these occasions that his recorded studio improvisations were brought to the level of fixed compositions and given titles. The selection presented here gives an overview of Jaap Vink’s works made in Utrecht, ranging from his first composition Screen up to Tide 1985, produced during the Institute of Sonology’s last year in that city.
Kees Tazelaar

Monday, March 27, 2017

jumping & parping

"the most important band in the world" - Eno

"I suppose there is some kind of nebulous central core of ideas, which may to do with us all having come out of systems music and our interest in foreign music but actually we are influenced by Frank Zappa, James Blood Ulmer, Bach" - Orlando Gough, Man Jumping keyb.

the precursor group, the Lost Jockey - much more Nyman-y

"and I'm Ian"

the last pretty-decent thing they did?

well, the lyrics are good on this

otherwise the album is a desert

and then Dury solo... i can't even remember if I checked it out once or not, but if I did left little impression, except for this

such a tragedy that he and Chas couldn't keep it together

that was supposed to the Important track on his solo debut album, the one with the message - a self-conscious epic at just shy of 15 minutes long - and as i recall rather different on the original LP than this contemporized edit...  As music quite urgent and driving, but you can only imagine how  it might have sounded with a commanding Dury vocal rather than Jankel's subdued and mousy effort

when it all went on the turn... turning back into pub rock (Wilko was never right for the Blockheads)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

m'oceanic (un)rock

Liquid Nights and Desert Sands

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

music-maker maker

on vinyl -

4th world

release rationale

"Optimo Music presents "Miracle Steps (Music from the Fourth World 1983 - 2017)", a 2 x LP compilation of Fourth World music compiled by JD Twitch & Fergus Clark. Also available as a digital release.
This compilation had been on the label’s to do list for ages but it was only when Twitch and Glasgow’s Fergus Clark started crossing swords over what actually constituted Fourth World music that the project really got going. Twitch decided that co-compiling the release with someone who had a slightly different take on things might make for a more interesting finished release, and so it came to pass that a cohesively thrilling compilation quickly materialised as each of them drew from a wealth of different artists and eras.
For the uninitiated, here’s an extract from Fergus Clark’s sleeve notes honing in on how the term Fourth World (an idea conjured up by Jon Hassell in the early 80s) might be defined -
“What we have attempted to gather across this compilation is a body of work which we feel directly resonates with both the literal definition of ‘Fourth World’ music and indeed our own interpretation of this unique sonic vision; from the work of the late Jorge Reyes, a Mexican musician who combined pre-hispanic instruments with synthesisers and digital sampling, through to the work of organic ambient ensemble O Yuki Conjugate. There are tracks which utilise custom, home-made instruments and there are tracks built from scratch using the latest in digital technology, but the undercurrent tying each piece together is this deeply personal feeling of intrigue and mysterious elation. Strange and unparalleled, this feeling manages to eschew geographic borders and rigid genre movements in favour of something which manages to evoke an inner sanctum, a musical private place for both reflection and assessment. This is music grounded in nor the past nor the present, music which manages to sound futuristic yet remarkably nostalgic. “
JD Twitch is one half of Glasgow’s Optimo (Espacio) and runs the Optimo Music and Optimo Trax labels.
Fergus Clark is a writer, occasional DJ and avid music fan. He is a founding member of the music and art collective 12th Isle."

Monday, March 13, 2017

ancestral invocations

"Luis Pérez was born in Mexico City on July 11, 1951. Since 1971 he has dedicated much of his time to the research of pre-Columbian musical instruments. He has traveled over the years all over the countryside of Mexico in order to study the living musical traditions and learn directly from the living sources while collecting samples of musical instruments, music and songs. His collection of native Mexican instruments include archaeological artifacts representative of the different cultural groups in the area known as Mesoamerica, some dating more than 2000 years ago.

"His early work while still in Mexico, was a mixture of sounds from his vast array of pre-Columbian and ethnographic wind and percussion instruments which he managed to blend with electronic devices such as; tape based delay units and analog synthezisers; in 1981 his work was heard and described in the U.S. by Archie Patterson as, "perhaps the ultimate fusion of ethnic and modern music, a stunning effect as the two different styles merge superbly into a mystical musical tapestry". Luis simply called it: Musica Experimental Mexicana. During that year the Mexican government became interested in his work and sponsored the production of what came to be the first recording of this type entitled: Ipan In Xiktli Metztli ( En el Ombligo de la Luna ) which made a big impact among the media and established Luis Pérez as a precursor in this field followed by a new generation of Mexican musicians" -  Sacred Summits

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Electronic Music From York / ICES '72

strangely unCreeled as yet...  a holy grail for electronic / tape collectors, this 1973 triple LP box of pieces made at the University of York Electronic Music Studio ..  so I had a bash at virtually reconstructing it in its entirey, using the riches of the internet - and didn't get very far

A1Andrew BentleyMoan

No luck
A2Martin GellhornCompression ICES '72

No luck
B1John CardaleDionysus

No luck 
B2Richard Orton (2)

No Luck
C1Richard Orton (2)For The Time Being

No luck
C2Richard Orton (2)Clock Farm

No luck

however I do have a copy of this

D1Martin Wesley-SmithMedia Music

No luck, but did find this other work of his

D2Richard PickettLight Black

No luck at all
ETrevor WishartMachine Part 1

F1Trevor WishartMachine Part 2
F2Trevor WishartMachine Part 3

the whole of Machine at the Other Minds archive

so that is in fact - Wishart aside - a complete bust

if you've got one, do us a burn will ya?

HOWEVER bits and bobs from Electronic Music from York are said to be part of

this long mix (int two parts) called Epsilonia Mix: Trevor Wishart and Friends
It's an excellent listen (includes things from Trev's Journey Into SpaceRed Bird
Mouth MusicSing CircleBeach Singularity, etc + stuff from another incredibly
 rare release from York Electronic Studios, the more song-oriented 
All Day - York Pop Music Project.

 But be warned: nothing is identified or in discernible sequence so who knows
 how much or which components of the elusive triple LP are in here.

in my search for properly tagged and identified Electronic Music From York tuneage

 i did find a few other  Wishart odds 'n' sods that i'm not sure
 i've got (i have nearly everything that's available on compact disc and a few files besides)

oh and here is an extensive obituary of Richard Orton

Andrew Bentley, Martin Gelhorn, John Cardale, Richard Pickett and Martin Wesley-Smith are, however, so obscure that they don't even have entries in Ian Helliwell's Tape Leaders book  
(Wishart and Orton do)

Wesley-Smith seems to have left the most traceable spoor of compositions behind him

Martin Gellhorn's piece "Compression ICES '72" is partly named after this event - International Carnival of Experimental Sound aka "ICES 72", an avant-garde music festival held at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London, England, 13-26 August 1972,

poster design is by Gee Vaucher - later of Crass!

Oh, for a time machine!

The festival is discussed here at Other Minds

"Charles Amirkhanian talks to Harvey Matusow about the International Carnival of Experimental Sounds (ICES ‘72), an avant-garde music festival, based on the theme of myth, magic, madness and mysticism, that was held in August 1972 in London. Featuring 46 concerts in 14 days, including marathon performances in an refurbished railroad roundhouse, a music train to Edinburgh, films, happenings, and performances by avant-garde artists, dancers, and musicians from around the world, ICES ‘72 could be considered as a spiritual progenitor of such extravagances as Burning Man. That it was the brain child of Matusow, (with help from John LIfton and the editors of “Source Magazine”), is of little surprise as the man was part clown, part con man, and full time promoter of all things weird and wonderful. Once known as the “most hated man in America” for his role in informing, or misinforming, on Communists, including Pete Seeger, during the McCarthy Era, Matusow was a consummate show man and artistic visionary. In this interview he describes the Carnival, and introduces a number of recordings from it, including two works featuring the electronic music of Takehisa Kosugi as well as a sort of classical muddley by the Portsmouth Sinfonia. The Sinfonia was formed by group of students at Portsmouth School of Art in Portsmouth, England, however, unlike most student orchestras this one required that all the participants either be untrained or at least playing an instrument with which they were unfamiliar, all with very predictable results. A further description of ICES ‘72 and a recording of many of the pieces performed at the Festival can be found at"

a thorough account of the event and its participant performers by Dave Thompson

1972 Rolling Stone piece on Harvey Matusow, ICES organiser - and former McCarthy-ite!

Ices ‘72 (aka International Carnival of Experimental Sound) (1972) by Anonymous