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Friday, January 22, 2010

KEMPER NORTON: "TO IRON JOHN" EP

It is here.

You are there.

1) It's a rave outside the old deserted brick factory: soot and four-on-the-floor smoke-plumes puh--puh-puffing their way up into the sky, the shift-whistle sounding, rusty ghost-trains delivering coal to a 2am siding.

It's Neu! with a skipping-rope; Harmonia riding on a tandem, feet furiously pedalling - pedalling! - against an implausible gear-system.

It's The Tomorrow People dematerialising.

2) There's a piano coming up the road now, its lid wide open. And then everything slooows down and goes all sparkly, like Pandora's Box being opened. We remember...

My memory is like an old telephone exchange: a wire patch-bay made from misconnected party-lines.

3) It's a banjo stuck on pre-set; it's tangled up in its own wires, trying to play a song it once knew. A song that someone once played on it.

But it no longer knows how. It only remembers the rave.

4) It's a quick pep-talk: he...he's briefing the troops somewhere out in the wilds. Out in the woods. Something beautiful - beautiful and sad - sails over the treetops like a silver teardrop; you can hear its motors humming now, see the strange little people inside it talking, chanting, singing...

It's good, this, we decide. Good for morale.

So we walk towards the light to join in their song.



I asked Mr. Norton to pen a few word-thoughts on the EP and he kindly responded. He says:

1) [It's] an occasionally inarticulate conversation with the men's mythopoetic movement.

2) Robert Bly's influential and macho self-help text "Iron John" adapted and utilised a German fairytale about a boy's journey towards self-discovery and opened the door to a world of new warriors, weekend retreats, mistrust of the feminine and the desired end of the "soft male".

3) A necessary response and complement to the female Gaia movement and a valuable tool to aid the crisis of the Western male, or a terrified and reductive cult looking to to rearm and re-assert male authority in practical and spiritual matters?

4) The music (perhaps misguidedly) attempts to mirror this conflict by including warped and faded military brass, penetrative 303 riffs, male genital percussion, motivational synth themes, as well as the feminine wash of shoegaze and ambient. Whether classifying sounds as "male" and "female" in this way is helpful, or is a further way of solidifying and increasing the divide between the sexes is another matter, and we'd like to thank Simon Reynolds and Joy Press for their fascinating and informative 'The Sex Revolts', which was read during the long and occasionally exhausting production of the e.p.

5) It's a free download, with hopefully a CD release to follow: hope you enjoy it! We have a paypal link for any contributions if you so desire. Feedback and contact welcome.

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