Saturday, August 05, 2006


Big up Loki for picking up the Angus MacLise baton and runnin' w/ it...

I picked up a copy of "Astral Collapse" 3 years, Acorn, my local record shop was able to order in a copy of the Quakebasket vinyl release. The warped opulence of the cover looks like an Ira Cohen, don't it? The typo and design (espec. the photo inset w/in a detail of itself) reminds me of Vaughan Oliver/23 Envelope designs for 4AD in the 80s...I wonder if Cohen was an influence on their artwerk?

Anyways, I kno nuffink about peyotry, bein' a philistine/stein, but I really love Maclise's Beat style prose-ry pieces here...his words drip w/ mescale-dipped imagery and carry the zen brain-punch of a heavy-duty mystik, but there's a physical weight to his words; he understands how to juggle and twist rhythms and cadences a peco-second prior to delivery...he shifts and blurs, phase-shifting inbetwn the mind of a poet-mystophilosopher and the body of a drummer. Sorry, but I never really got over Burroughs' smack-magickal hyperqueer SF and Kerouac's benzedrine prose-riddims, 'cause I find this strangely moving (too much E E 'Doc' Smith as a child, probably):

"Immense harbours of unsullied light...jamming signals; rainbows dripping messages in delirium...golden spires glimpsed in avenues of what had gone before: it is present now, all of are not limited to one room; there are many rooms..."

Loki is spot on: there are ominous/threatening drone-blasts here reminiscent of PTV's human thighbone did Gen & Sleazy check MacLise, or did they check the same inspirations/sources as MacLise checked...?

And there's a ten minute+ organ meditationpiece that takes you deeeeep in/side the same throbbing chord. On the other side, MacLise manipulates Buddhist temple tapes and kicks up a serious racket w/ some primitiv electroniks, sounding at one point like a buzzsaw jamming w/ some oscillators...on another track, he sounds like he's climbing round inside a piano: notes bend and streeeeetch, wires hummmmmmmm and dark chords bounce around an echo-box...this is the soundtrack to "Forbidden Planet" played live by beligerent machine-elves...he may be searching for The Omniversal Drones that link all physical objects together via vibrational myth-physics (forget hyperstring theory; this guy's already found the next octave up), but a one trick pony, he's not.

And all this stuff links in perfekly w/ what's happening now...Sunburned's connection w/ Cohen has forged a direct link back to the 60s NY loft scene and threatens to open a floodgate of old/new thinking...psychik rocketfuel to propel the music into new astral strato-pastures b/yond cliched 'Free Folk' journospeak...

"The Cloud Doctrine" is a double CD of frazzled mystodrone Buddhissst refusnik prose n handdrum concrete/tape workouts...the stuff dates from 1963 to 1976 and features John Cale and Tony Condrad, amongst others; apparently it comes from a cache of 50+ analogue tapes that were found a couple years after he died in 1981...

I bought it in Imperial Records, Bristol (RIP) after I'd heard a solo electric gtr piece by MacLise that blew me away; this was back when I was writing comics regularly, so overnight stays to trade conventions and meetings w/ editors got charged as business expenses...(these days I stay in flop-houses and crack galleries)...I remember waking up in a Bristol businessmans' hotel full o'sub-Ikea bleached pine furniture w/ a headache of macrocosmic proportions after a late bar sesh w/ various comicfolk and slapping this on the nice little CD-player that came courtesy of the hotel chain; Angus and a full engleeeesh breakfast soon sorted me out. Totally recommended to all heads everywhere.

And if anyone out there is aware of a vinyl version of this, then clue me in and I'll send ya my CD copy as a reward.


"For Arthur Lee" by Kid Kid Kid Shirt:

Arthur, lost now in the endless egoless ergotamine haze of LA sunshine, 1967 eternal. Arthur, gone now into Memory along w/ everyone else who ever left us: lacking physicality, they now occupy some sort of optimal, self-editing/self-evolving benign quantal memory-dump where space/time is open-ended and all possibilities are possible. The coolest fucking place to be. Arthur in a Cadillac convertible, under perfect, endless bright blue need to straighten your hair any more.

Rezzzisted the temptation to get maudlin drunk last nite and play Love's "Forever Changes"...instead, me and Chris sat on the step talking about how brilliant our kids are, playing The Monkees and looking at daft pictures of Jesus. And when she went off to bed, I pulled this out and slapped it on:

See, everytime a door closes, another one opens. When something ends, something else starts; it's basic (meta/pata)physics...The Law of Conservation of Cool. Scored a vinyl copy of "A Letter to Katherine December" a couple weeks back, but hadn't got round to listening to's a reissue, of course, 'cause a mint copy of this babe'll prob. set yeh back a couple hundred quid, plus the rest...the guy in the record shop, who's a bit of Pysch-head, sed: "Oooh, yer gonna love that one...Jake Holmes was like a one-man band version of Arthur Lee's Love..."

Last nite seemed a fitting moment to check it out. Yeah, getting the comparisons to Lee/Love...tho' the vocals aren't as icecream melty soft as Arthur and it lacks the quirky, ee-zee/breezy, almost Bacharachesque arrangements of prime-time Love, but has its own strangely-difficult-to-nail-down vibe. There's a smidge of early Scott Walker in places...there's a few delicate folky passages and some swirly orchestral bits, then elsewhere he comes at ya w/ a full-on Garage Punk sneer and some varispeed psych-concrete backflippery, mad trumpet flourishes, circus-tune interludes, while his vocal persona veers from flip street-punk cynicism to touchingly gentle sincerity:

"A weeping willow laughs out loud/No one's alone in a crowd/Unhappiness is not allowed/For I have found your eyes..."

The strange story of Jake Holmes is here, incl. how Led Zep ripped "Dazed & Confused" off one of his tunes.

"Leaves Never Break" is my favourite; it eases its way out from a slowburn beginning thru dissonant blasts of multitracked fuzz guitars out into a full-throttle psych thrashjam that keeps collapsing into sullen chamber-orch breakdowns, with the lyrics "People never die when they're told" sounding especially poignant right now.