Monday, September 27, 2004


Utterly fantastic piece on Robert Rental by Nick Gutterbreakz. I was totally gobsmacked to find out he was was dead (Rental, I mean, not Nick.). Another pioneer of electronic music gone.

Saw Robert Rental and The Normal supporting Stiff Little Fingers at The Locarno, Bristol, I think. There was a small group of 30 or so people huddled round the front of the stage watching them play, while hundreds of conservative rentapunks stood at the back talking and drinking, pointedly ignoring them. There was a vast, almost symbolic gulf between the two groups of people: it was like The Red Sea had parted Adverts stlye, or someone had dropped a particularly nasty fart.

Trucked down to the front to join this fascinated little troupe of onlookers and was immediately engulfed by fractured sheets of electronic noise and a heady blast from what felt like a bank of ion-generators. Or maybe someone had just left a stage door open. Either way, the air down the front felt like pure mountain-range oxygen; it cleared my mind and opened up my ears. No one was dancing as such, but people were shuffling and twitching along to the ragged beats, hisses and layered drones... remember: there were no rules at this point...all this shit was new to us; no one really knew how to respond to this stuff yet. It wasn't dance music; it wasn't punk; it was...

Looking round, I saw people grinning at each other, incredulously, high on ions and white noise. For a brief moment we had a glimpse of a possible future, of where Punk's white-heat would transport us next. Total strangers were passing each other looks that said: this is a special moment and it's ours.

Looking back, I feel sorry for the idiots stood at the back in their high-street M&S bondage-gear glancing at their watches; muttering and heckling. But I wouldn't be surprised if every one of those 30 or so people at the front that night ended up buying a cheap monophonic synthesiser and making electronic music in their bedroom or in a band.

And there can be no finer legacy than that.