Tuesday, April 28, 2020


So doggone funky this Elvin Bishop tune - love the way it twirls and sashays in the gtr-solo-y sections

I expect if I trawled through the Struttin My Stuff album and his other records of that period I might find one other gem at least 2/3rds as groovy and charming

But "can I be bothered?" is the question (so far, the answer is "no")

The references in "Struttin'" to the girl in Atlanta who "ain't nuthin but a Georgia peach"  got me thinking of this other rock / funk / boogie beauty. which starts with the lines  about a Georgia woman suffering from a mysterious ailment and in dire need of remedial rhythm

That drummer with the pointy little beard looks coked out of his mind - unless it's just the itchy-itchy funk that's making him twitch

"Two degrees in be-bop, a phd in swing"

Now what this got me thinking of again is how the date of these recordings / performances - 1975 for both Little Feat on Old Grey Whistle Test and "Struttin My Stuff"  - is just a few years distance in time from punk-funk moves like Go4's "Damaged Goods" or various songs on Talking Heads's first two albums

Begging the question so why was that move such a big deal?  Wasn't it a bit after-the-fact?

I mean, sure, the postpunk rending of funk is "tense and nervous and unrelaxed" -   a different, uptight feel

It's less "black" - more suburban stilted stiff-jointed neurotic white-geek

So more striking - potentially leading to a new sound, new direction - rather than simply replicating (and reinforcing ye olde muso values of slick lickmanship that Old Wave white bands shared with their soul and R&B counterparts)

New Wavers doing it themselves and slight wrong versus  Robert Palmer actually recording with The Meters (and Lowell George)

Still, with Old Wavers routinely adopting funky modes all through the mid-70s , it remains odd that "we like funk and disco and what do you think of that, eh?" was such a powerhouse postpunk rhetorical stance to make

As I observed on an earlier occasion, talking about "nifty groovers"

"You almost wonder what the point of postpunk's vaunted embrace of funk and disco etc was as a gesture -  given that the funk was already so deeply imbricated with mainstream rock music. It didn't need to be added or restored, it's there. "

Take this Al Green cover - for which Talking Heads got a lot of praise and even achieved a modest chart hit in the US -  this is just a standard sort of Old Waver who loves black music move isn't it?

 (A wonderful and clever version of course, with the Jerry Harrison aqueous keyboards)

Robert Palmer learned to do the whiteboy-funky thing in the New Wave mode of doing it eventually

It's not even a question of amnesia of recent musical history - pre-punk seeming on the other side of Year Zero -  because you had Old Wavers doing their funky-disco move at more or less the same time as the New Wavers like Blondie

This one below by Paul McC actually sounds a bit like Talking Heads - or ACR's cover of "Shack Up" (at least until the goofy chorus)

Old Wavers disguised as New Wavers (but still Old Wavers at bottom) doing the funky-disco move

The Blockheads used to be called Loving Awareness!.

Of course the intersection point between rock and disco is the word "boogie" which in music history is polysemous - as I explored in this Guardian blog

Another version of the sublime "Rock and Roll Doctor"  (wish they'd done a whole album in exactly this vein)

Live "Struttin"

Bishop on the box

Sunday, April 26, 2020

years of exile (1 of ???)

<iframe style="border: 0; width: 350px; height: 470px;" src="https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=433972828/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/" seamless><a href="https://lofivemusic.bandcamp.com/album/tonic">TONIC by Lo Five</a></iframe>


update: suggestions from Down Under Man Andrew Parker

i know this one - it's on the Junkshop Glam box I reviewed last year, All the Young Droogs  - didn't realise they were Aussies

this one sounds more like Status Quo to me crossed with the Romantics maybe

more aussie glam via Andrew via this this list

口の音楽 (breathscape)

suu muusika

munmusik (pionjärerna inom textljud)


uninvention of the guitar (2 of ??)

on the same record as this (as featured earlier in the Uninvention of the Guitar series)

mouth music (interview portrait)

mouth music (earsay)

seaspeed remixes

the same film rejiggered with different commentary

Went on a hovercraft once - it felt strange.

(via Treffynnon19's channel)

mouth music (bare pork and skyface bear)

that last one sounds like crimping

In the words of Stephen Kent:

"Furious Pig was a group that emerged out of the High School experiences of a group of friends and relations in Totnes, a little town in South Devon, England. Influenced by listening to an eclectic mix of early Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, The Beatles, Ethiopian Polyphonic chants, The Doors, Stravinsky and Edgar Varese, among other things, we moved to London in 1979 a year after reaching the final of the National 'Melody Maker' Rock/Folk Contest - an event at which the judges included Bob Geldof, Justin Hayward [of the Moody Blues] and Ray Coleman [editor of Melody Maker]. Needless to say Furious Pig didn't win with their stirring renditions of 'I'm Going Round the Bend' and the jarring 'In Order of Height' but Bob Geldof said we'd 'Gotta Lotta Bottle'[Nerve] playing what we played. Squatting in houses around North London we developed a form of intense acapella vocal chanting, highly orchestrated with choreographed passages. It became a cult sensation on the London and N.European club scene. We toured on the bill with bands like This Heat, The Raincoats, Pere Ubu, The Slits, The Fall, The TV Personalities. We played on the streets, in clubs, pubs, schools. At the Comic Strip in Soho we were a regular music act - playing alongside all the comedians who became 'The Young Ones' and 'Absolutely Fabulous' on TV. We scored a live soundtrack to a William Burroughs book, 'The Wild Boys'. Our session on Radio 1 DJ John Peels show so divided the listenership between those who loved and those who loathed our music that it was repeated in record time. We'd spend 8 hours a day for months working on extending our vocal ranges, often in grotesque and hilarious ways - we had fun! Rough Trade Records got us into the studio and we recorded a vocal set including versions of 'I Don't Like Your Face', 'Jonny So Long' and the 'Kingmother'. I always regretted not recording 'Frozen Tarzan' with its alternating Shouting Through Cardboard Tubes and simply Shouting choreography and its Rolling On The Floor section. However, tapes do exist......

Furious Pig came to an end when I left to become MD of Circus Oz in Australia. However all the other band members continued recording careers: Martin Kent aka Martin Pig with a series of singles on Rough Trade and Dominic Weeks and Cass Davies with two full length LP's on Recommended Records: Het - 'Lets Het' and another with french chanteuse Hermine."

"This is an ensemble of male vocalists from England who created their own eccentric concept of experimental music using only voices, even though there was a fair amount of existing work in this vein, mostly in the academic world (e.g. Joan LaBarbara), but also stuff like Linda Sharrock and Jeanne Lee.  This has a grass roots punk/cabaret/comedy aspect and offers both fun and musical substance. They clearly worked out a lot of creative, rehearsed parts for these maniacal songs, so it's not just some guys acting goofy. I'm a big fan of this general area of music involving unusual vocals and this is pretty awesome, but it's not an elite classic in my book because some of the vocals are a bit annoying and harsh (as in yelling). Also, there's other stuff in the same vein that's a lot better, particularly Five Men Singing (Blonk/Makigami/Dutton/Minton/Moss) and the Tatsuya Yoshida stuff. "I Don't Like Your Face" has a large section based on Balinese kecak, which is always a good thing!  There are connections between this project and other important early 80s creative music from England like Het and Hermine Demoriane. They played on bills with This Heat, etc.  It's a fabulous slice of underground music history.

"When I first heard this, my initial thoughts were WHAT(THE FUCK) IS THIS I DONT EVEN. Like seriously, can I even consider this music. Or is it really just a bunch of drunks making random sounds and passing it off as music knowing that there's pretentious faggots out there who will praise it for being "something different" and call it art. Whatever the case, I made it through its entirety and had my mind blown repeatedly. I'm still not sure what I think of this. it all and wasn't sure what to think. But what the hell, I'll give it a 3 just because. I'm not even sure if I like or hate this or if I'm indifferent to it.

"A friend said upon hearing them for the first time:

"...it’s like The Manhattan Transfer went insane and recorded music in the plough of the sicker Fugs, dis-harmonizing cries and yelps in a studio with windows left open toward the farmyard."

mouth music (mushbrain)

mandible music (it's not just crickets)


His Master’s Voice (1985)
for 2-channel tape

Length: 4:55
His Master's Voice is a collage of the "macho voice" as it appears in all walks of life: on the street, in the media (AM/FM radio), in the political and religious realms, in the contexts of popular culture and of high culture. For His Master's VoiceI have disconnected the macho voices from their settings and have re-contextualized them with each other. The message of the piece is as blatant as the voices themselves which penetrate our lives. The difference is that in daily life we often are numbed to them and we internalize their message with little resistance. His Master's Voice makes them audible in all their blatancy. Perhaps it also makes us look more rigorously at what it covers up


uninvention of the guitar (3 of ??)

ústní hudba (gossiptronica)

release rationale:

Lyra Pramuk’s debut Fountain explores a post-human, non-binary understanding of life

Lyra Pramuk fuses classical training, pop sensibilities, performance practices and contemporary club culture in what may best be described as futurist folk music. While the American operatically-trained vocalist and electronic musician is perhaps previously best known for her work with musical collaborators such as Holly Herndon and Colin Self, she is set to release her debut album, Fountain, via Iceland’s Bedroom Community label in March 2020.

Created entirely from her own voice, although often shaped and structured by electronics, Fountain is an emotional, sensual, and devotional journey. The title is derived from her family name, Pramuk, which translates from Czech as ‘well spring’ or ‘fountain.’ Often wordless, these songs evoke a new wholeness sustained by the ritual force of drowning, immersion, cleansing, and bathing – also referred to in the album artwork by acclaimed visual artist Donna Huanca. Fountain plays with the perception of music, rhythms, speech, body, and the relation between technology and humanity, exploring a post-human, non-binary understanding of life and the fragile ecosystems it depends on. The work documents a healing that is still in process, and a full circle-moment that reunited Lyra with her sound engineer twin brother, Ben, for the final mix, which they completed in tandem.

As a vocal activist and member of the queer community, Fountain’s creation also coincided with a personal rejuvenation for its author. Its completion culminated in the live premiere of the album material at Unsound Festival in Krakow in 2019, where she performed through a multi-channel array designed by Ben Frost, opening for Sunn O))) and Roly Porter. A closer collaboration with Frost on a soundtrack for a new film project will be announced later in 2020. Her performance at Berghain on 30 January for CTM Festival in her hometown of Berlin promises an even more confident and joyous realization of the album’s song cycle.

Lyra moved to Berlin in 2013 as a DAAD postgraduate study scholarship recipient, following her degree at the Eastman School of Music in New York. Since then, she has also been awarded residencies at Elektronmusikstudion EMS Stockholm, Open Port Club Residency in Tokyo and Sapporo, and Future Music Lab of the Atlantic Music Festival in Maine. Her interests also encompass writing, poetry, and fashion, where she is sometimes called upon as a model. As a performance artist, she has collaborated extensively with Donna Huanca and at events such as Glasgow International and the Rochester Fringe Festival.

mundmusik / chimescapes ( gibbon i glas)

release rationale:

Two of Henning Christiansen’s tape works from the 1980’s, 'Peter der Große op. 174' (1986) and 'Gudbrandsdal op. 178' (1987), are now released for the first time by the Institute for Danish Sound Archaeology. Originally composed for different contexts – 'Peter der Große' as the score for a German radio feature and 'Gudbrandsdal' for a performance in collaboration with Joseph Beuys and later Bjørn Nørgaard – the two works stand out in Christansen’s extensive and many-faceted oeuvre by employing almost entirely electronic sounds. Peter der Große involves electronic instruments like synthesizer and a crackle box, while Gudbrandsdal employs a more minimal approach and aesthetics through the heavy use of echo effects and manipulation of the tape speed. Both of the tape works carry a heavy atmospheric tone and are set in a largely electronic sound world. Two absolutely enthralling and immersive pieces of tape music, now available for the first time.
released February 22, 2020

Composed and produced by Henning Christiansen, 1986-1987.

Text by Magnus Kaslov
Digital transfer by Claus Byrith
Mastering by Andreas Pallisgaard
Cover design by Kasper Vang

A great thank you:
Thorbjørn Reuter Christiansen, Helmut Kopetzky, Bjørn Nørgaard, Mark Harwood, Claus Byrith, Lars Mørch Finborud, Henie Onstad Kunstcenter, Eva Havshøj Ohrt, Edition·S, Åse Hedström, Henning Christiansen’s Archive.

Published by Institut for Dansk Lydarkæologi 2020
IDL 17 · All rights reserved.
With support from KODA Culture.


Friday, April 24, 2020

dream debased boys

So what's with this here Disney obsession, Fall-folk?

Let's go to the horse's mouths...

[from my interviews with The Blue Orchids for Rip It Up]

SR: And what was the flipside to "The Flood" -  “Disney Boys” -  about?

Martin Bramah: “I’ve often wondered! Una wrote those lyrics.  It suggests things. It was really about drug dealers, in a way.  It seems to be about going to someone’s house and they give you something and it’s great until the effects wear off and they put you through the mangle.  It’s like the love affair with drug culture. But Una had this thing that Disney was an American Nazi creating propaganda for the American dream. But the lyrics are really about paying money for drugs and getting ripped off!” 


SR: You did ‘Disney Boys’  - that was one of your lyrics. What was that about?

Una Baines:  Well funnily enough, that was written when I had run off with that guy to Chorlton [circa her departure from The Fall], so it was written there.  It was about illusions, it was about drugs as well -  taking drugs and thinking that everything is so real when you’re taking drugs but then that’s also kind of an illusion.... My thoughts on it  -  when I got older, when I stopped getting involved in drugs, which was a conscious decision - was that drugs can only take you so far....  they show you what's possible, but you have to achieve that yourself without drugs. It can only show you the potential of what you yourself can actually develop. So it is a bit of an illusion, although it can be like an opening of the doors. So, a double edged sword.

It was also about guys and stuff -  it was about superficiality in a lot of ways, men as illusions, full of shit! 

SR: Is that where Disney comes in?

UB: Cartoon characters, yeah. 


(quotes on "Disney's Dream Debased" via The Fall Annotated)

"Mark got off this ride with tears in his eyes he was so frightened. This ride is a mountain, 100 ft in the air, a replica of The Matterhorn; you ride at sixty miles an hour. Ten minutes after we get off, a woman fails out of her sleigh, gets trapped and decapitated by the oncoming one. They couldn't get her out, there was fire-engines everywhere coming out of the bushes, and all these Micky Mouse characters rushing out to distract people. It took them seven hours to get the body off. Everyone was pretending nothing had happened, they were all going 'Disneyland is wonderful land'. Mark was saying, 'Whaaat??? There's a woman up there with no head on', but Micky Mouse was just laughing away. Mark thought it was like a bad trip." (Brix Smith quoted in Jamming, November 1984)

"I convinced Mark to go to Disneyland with me and my grandfather. Mark thinks he's psychic...We went on this ride called the Matterhorn...It's huge, you can see it from the freeway...it's a scary bobsled ride that goes through tunnels of the Matterhorn. We got off the ride and I swear to fucking God Mark was crying, I asked what was wrong and all he could say was that the ride was evil. I said it was ridiculous as I'd been going on it since I was eight. To calm him down I took him on the 'It's A Small World' boat ride which is the cheesiest, old-school baby ride with dolls. We're walking back from it and a rectangular shaped bush parts, and a mini-fire engine comes out, and on the back is a nurse. It drives to the Matterhorn. The whole ride gets cordoned off and people with walkie-talkies and clipboards are running everywhere, it was panic. Mark was right - something just happened on the Matterhorn. They closed the whole place down. We went home and saw the news: it was all 'death at Disneyland.' Someone had either jumped out of the Matterhorn or fell out, and was trapped and decapitated by the oncoming bobsled and it took mountain climbers, like, six hours to get the body off there. And that was Disney's Dream Debased."..."The person who died was Dolly Regene Young. Which was even more bizarre because my nickname from my grandparents was Dolly. " (Brix Smith quoted in the booklet accompanying the re-release of The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall (Beggars Banquet, 2010)

Well I have to say there's something to be said for not knowing all this knowledge that internet nerds archive and annotate for our edification

The Blue Orchids's explanations are vague enough not to interfere, but the Fall one is awfully specific isn't it?

Won't be looking there again no sir

Still the way my memory's going I'll have forgotten soon enough

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

the buttermilk of human kindness

10,000 Maniacs seemed the epitome of worthy, earnest, wholesome fare  - not quite "Bad Music Era" because never less than palatable and well-made, but just part of the filler of the time

Except, they did have two Moments -  perhaps two-and-a-half

A possible reference point here - Patti Smith in she-shaman mode - Natalie dancing barefoot, literally, on stage in those days, often (albeit not here)

A certain gamey aroma to the persona at this point

But the music of "My Mother the War" is coming out of postpunk  and into a folky American-ness - a path paved by R.E.M. (the Gang of Four traces in "9+9") and Violent Femmes

postpunk residuals on this song  being the high-toned melodic basslines (quite frilly), the slashing guitar

Natalie M as the distaff Stipe is the main thing that comes over  - the vaguely mystical vibe, the abstract-leaning imagery, the aura of  invocation

(Stipe also a big fan / influencee of P. Smith)

I think also of Golden Palominos and that unexpected intersection between John Lydon and Richard Thompson

Then a shift towards a wholly (and wholly wholesome) American frame of reference (fellow travelers would include Camper Van Beethoven, Maria McKee, Throwing Muses etc) -   a shift discernible across the board in college rock (although Anglophilia remained a stubborn persistence - the cult of XTC, Robyn Hitchcock solo etc )

College towns make up this sound's prime geographic constituency, not just the coastal states and the N.E. liberal bastion, but blue enclaves within Southern red states ... Athens, archetypal in that regard...  Austin, also...  Chapel Hill

Natalie's voice at its most buttermilk-pancakes here

Video directed by Ade Edmonson (!)  and there is an attempt to glam up Natalie (not so gamey, the aura now) and focus entirely on her (the band appear only momentarily, as silhouettes), with the  record company possibly already envisioning a breakaway solo career

And then the "half" that makes it "two and a half" moments of gorgeous glory

When they did this unexpected cover version, my awareness of Cat Stevens was limited to the "Matthew and Son" 1960s 'character song mini-boom' phase - and then the much later
 "(Remember The Days of the) Old Schoolyard" which I found poignant as a boy (still at school). Oh and there was "Morning Has Broken" of course.... But I had had no idea he'd been a huge star in America in the early 1970s,  riding the singer-songwriter boom, with tunes like this -

I found this an oddly touching song to re-present, earnestly, to the Alternative Nation - at the risk of considerable scorn from your S. Youth / Forced Exposure types

But the other songs of this phase were issue-and-cause oriented, caring 'n' concerned in a way that didn't play well with us Young Gods fans - and lyrically too blunt and literal for us Kristin Hersh fans either.

proto-Lilith Fair fare

If they never did anything quite as mawkish as "Everybody Hurts", they never did anything as perfectly pitched and piercing as "Losing My Religion" either

Aha! Talking of Patti Smith

And then the solo career, about which the missus wrote a sarky piece for the NY Times

The post-Merchant Maniacs carried on without her! And did that thing of replacing the singer with as close a facsimile as they could find.

An unlikely cover - and with a thumping 4to-4loor kick drum underneath, perhaps trying to have an Everything But the Girl meets Todd Terry "Missing" style hit?

Sunday, April 19, 2020

space theatre



Toru Takemitsu / Yuji Takahashi / Iannis Xenakis ‎– Space Theatre (RCA, 1970)

–Toru Takemitsu Crossing
–Yuji Takahashi Yéguèn
–Iannis Xenakis Hibiki Hana Ma

The Takahashi piece includes use of "musical sculpture" played by François Baschet

Friday, April 17, 2020

the weasels

weasel occurs at 1.36

one of the most embarrassing moment in musical history, that -

 "you stole someone's record and you looped it you looped it", erm, chaps, what's that cycling annoyingly underneath your rapping, why it's a chunk of Peter Gabriel "Sledgehammer"

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

they call them manic yello (quite rightly)

the missing link, or a missing link, between Kid Creole & the Coconuts (retro-nostalgia) and Laibach (Mittel Europa belch-buffoonery)

but with synths

Propaganda, if their cinematic touchstone was not Fritz Lang but Luis Buñuel 

despite the consummate videography, and the sustained cleverness and inventiveness of the sounds (such a copious, consistent sequence of albums), despite the passionate advocacy of Stubbs and Morley,  Yello never really clicked with me.

this was my attempt to make it happen

listened to the entire uuuurv in chronological sequence on Tidal and it is all sort of very impressive yet excessively fidgety with cleverness, and ultimately bit-silly

the gentleman as aesthete-entrepeneur

in the tradition of electro-duos making film follies (Pet Shop Boys, Daft Punk)

pre-synth Dieter

Morley's mash note / fan-fic version of Yello

a sleek little tune - probably more down to David Morales mixology than Boris B brilliance

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Electronic Easter

(via Cuneiform Records)

On Easter 2020,
Cuneiform Records celebrates the 50th Anniversary of
a landmark work in the
history of electronic music and in 
contemporary classical & minimalist composition, 
created by
composer/ keyboardist/ electronic music pioneer
David Borden,
with a stream
of his 1970 recording of "Easter"

"Easter" was recorded in 1970 by 
Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company
- the World's First All-Synthesizer Ensemble -
and Released by Cuneiform Records on the album: 

Friday, April 10, 2020

the greenius of Peter

Every decade or so, I have another go with the Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, to see if I can hear what Greil Marcus hears in that incarnation of the band.

Well, the soloing on e.g. "Love That Burns" is uncommonly piercingly lyrical, but there's an awful lot of twelve-bar trudge.

Overall, it's not my bag, unlike the later Buckingham-Nicks Fleetwood Mac which is supremely my bag and has been since nearly forever (which reminded me: I'm shocked, shocked, by the non-appearance of "Beautiful Child" in this list).

However the Green-FMac relistening ritual reminded me of something that I always forget, which is that the band were vastly more successful as a singles act in 1969 than they were circa Rumours. 

Vastly more so in the UK, I suppose I should add. But even in the USA, as Rumours was selling multi-plat, and the songs were on the radio constantly, only "Dreams" got to the top of the charts and "Don't Stop' got to #3.  There's nothing like the 1, 2, 2, 10 sequence Green's Mac scored in the UK (and "Albatross", rereleased in 1973, got to UK #2 for  a second time). 

check it out
(first vertical row of chart placings is UK, second is US)

"Albatross"[b]/"Jigsaw Puzzle Blues"
"Man of the World"/"Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked in Tonite"1969210023513non-album singles
"Oh Well (Parts 1 and 2)"2551954551
"Rattlesnake Shake"Then Play On
"The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)"19701016146non-album singles

Over My Head"20329
"Say You Love Me"4011123829
"Go Your Own Way"[f]38104520111195123 Rumours
"Don't Stop"32322301414
"You Make Loving Fun"459286572226
"Tusk"19796835715104 Tusk
I guess rock values and "heavy" were so in the ascendant in 1969-70 that "Oh Well" and "Man of the World" and "Green Manalishi" were hit material, unlikely as that might seem to contemporary ears

shows how "pop" as a notion is very context-determined and historically fluctuates 

but then again, Iron Maiden would have to be deemed one of Britain's most successful pop groups, if you go by the chart placings of singles

talking about heavy-as-pop, this is pretty undeniable

but generally I like the pretty slow stuff with the Green Mac