Friday, January 08, 2010


Many thanks to my good friend Hellvete for throwing this 'lil ali_fib compiled beaut in my direction.

It comes via Three:Four Records.

"Chambre 1" is a v. lovely 4-track piece by Theirry Muller performed on an old piano and filters, w/ a provenance that dates back to the late '70s: it reminds me (just a bit) of the Durutti Column ep "Deux Triangles" where Vini Reilly switched from gtr to piano. I'm a complete sucker for that whole slightly-hestiant-minimal-pieces-done-on-damaged-pub-pianos type thing. What's that mean, do you think? - what does that say about me? - I'm not sure I'm entirely sure. Is this micro-piano-genre not some sort of Post-Satie shorthand for something? Piano miniatures that are shorn of frippery and surface charm, dry-cleaned of quirkiness...look! the notes are hanging in the air, persisting like motes of dust, as if suspended there by will-power alone...

The music is elegaic, damaged in some way; it intentionally presents - by virtue of its stucture and form - the idea of something that's partially broken, yet which still continues, persists...

What does it say about us as people - as a species - that we would want to be made to feel this way, to remember...? What evolutionary advantage is there is allowing ourselves to embrace something that hurts us so? Why do we respond so readily to music like this? Is there an error in our bio-wiring that lets us wallow in melancholy - or the idea of melancholy (the letting go of responsibility, of aggression and drive...) - or is that just part of what makes us human: our ability to empathise and feel? To remember.

Ben Nash's (untitled?) track is a darkly luminous swirl of sound - a voice coming from the end of an 18th century corridor; a wing of the house that doesn't exist - the soundtrack to an indolent malaise; slow-motion delirium. Everything is turning so slowly now - it's rotating, as if inside a metal drum - everything sounds so distant, so far, far away. Yearning, churning. An over-medicated Raga.

Duane Pitre's "Study for "The Carpenter"" is a chamber-piece for sine-waves - Forcefield's "Lord of The Ring Modulators" shrunk-to-fit in the wash (with extra softener/fabric-conditioner) - tone-generators in a zero-g salon. Shifting, shifting...

On "Osschaart's Kiste", Helvete ("all hail! all hail!") rises from a medieval smoke-pit on a throne of hissing, spitting pig-fat and furry overdriven guitar fuzzzzzzzz. The sky darkens, turns a bruised-plum purple as the night ripens with expectation. There's wood smoke everywhere. Drums beating. The priestess lets her red gown fall away...and on her breasts there are...there are a pair of grotesque little mouths with razor-sharp teeth. There are boils all over my face now. Women wail. I scream.

His new album is a total fucking blast; more on that soon.

I like the Mike Wexler track ("Nomadic"); it sounds like a distant lost cousin to some Joe Boyd thing, but sharper, more, uh, modern. He sings like a young Marc Bolan. I wish he'd sung more on this. Nice strings.

Sir Richard Bishop goes all kinda Spanishy on an acc-gtr and I feel like I should be coming down a mountain somewhere. Heat haze streaming off the road. The smell of straw. High-end string n plectrum-klinker dancing in motes of sunlight on a camera-lens. (Nylon strings?) Unflashy, but v. effective, yeah.

Now, this I really like: Liberez. Dunno's modulated gtr-crackle? No, a voice breaking-up thru malfunctioning baby-monitor. A gtr sooo far away that it sounds like a chicken-loop, cluh-cluh-clucking to itself in the next village. A baby crying three or four miles away that turns out, possibly, to be a grown man wailing. A slow, slightly ominous double-bass thruuuumnb. So (for the most part) understated, so unexpected.

Later a 'Jazz' drummer from the local Working-Men's club joins them, thwacks the traps and things heat up for about, oh, all of 40 seconds, then the whole thing disappears dn the road on the back of a flat-bed lorry. WTF? An unexpected joy this one.

el-g: not really a fan, I'm afraid - met him briefly in Belgium; nice guy, etc, but - still, "Forgiftad Gava" kinda won me over w/ it's meanderingly absurdist alt.cabaret lilt; a song that trundles along like a Gyspy caravan with a broken wheel; part singalong curse, part trapped-in-a-cupboard lupine love-song. Echoes of James Toth if he had been spiked with some Balkan hypno-drug and forced to sing falsetto in a 1930's side-show. Kinda catchy, if you're borderline psychotic.

Ah, and Jakob Olaussen and Sus are on this too. Ah, riiiight.


Christian Chill-Out Music. For when you've been partying like a motherfucker for weeks and you just have to, y'know, bring things down a notch or two.


So, it's like minus-10 degrees in Yeovil and my wife and I are trudging back from town, bloated and out-of-our-minds crazy on cah-cah-caaaaffffeine and charity-shop shopping - me shuffling forward, zimmer-like, in me pensioner's orthopedic zip-up woollen boots and we pass Brian the Gravedigger (he of Mobile DJ Infamy) in shorts and a he's strolling on the fucking beach in Jamaica.

"Brian! You mad fucker!" I yell at him.

"No bike today, then?" he laughs, striding down the rink-like road as I fall over for the 86th time that morning. I'm thinking of hiring a stuntman, you know - a fucking stand-in to take over my basic day-to-day duties. A body-double.

Speaking of Brian:


"Proper job".