Posts from September 2002

Sep 02

Towards an essay on John Cage

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Reading a book on American Avant Garde music, i finally saw a picture of the inside of a prepared piano. There were the nuts and bolts I expected, but also near the bass end of the instrument-some where between the B and F Keys were two Dairy Queen parfait spoons standing like sentries.

I have a friend who studies music at the University, and he always tells me that Cage was a better theorist then he was a musician. He Introduced me to Cage- so I thought he was right.

I have seen a few scores, and their squiggles, lines, patterns and maps disagree with the standard staff notation- but they are more beautiful, like the aesthics of scores are important.

Listening to Sonatas for Prepared Piano and the Summer Works again, I am mystified. They are not noise- they are too careful and elegant to be noise.

Randomness appeals to me-in that a butterfly waving its wings in thailand causes typhoons in Florida way-its a nice way to think that you are making change.

I hate Metal Machine Music but admire it, because it makes me think. I love Cage, as a writer, as a musician and as a person. More Importantly the music is lovely, it seduces me..

Another friend once taught me the word aleatory, and told me it meant chance and some of Cages work is like that, I mean playing along to a fish , or four radios or the infamous 4:33

I used to go through life being annoyed by sounds. But now I find myself saying- oh i like that, oh thats a nice sound.

When I was a kid I loved the sound of Scratching Records or Cassette Tapes Starting.

Most of Cages work seems instinctual, going back to the place where any sound is comforting.

For a long time I thought of getting Noise is Music; Music Noise tattooed on my arm, i am still thinking about it.

Sep 02

Passing Through

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Jerry the Nipper on broken hearts, epic soundtracks and the immortal majesty of Baxendale

When your heart is not so much broken as subject to a spectacular compound fracture… When the plans you conscientiously drafted for months now seem as grandiose and daftly ruined as, yes, a cake, left out in, yes, the rain… When you find yourself cut adrift and washed ashore on the out-of-season seaside resort of your mid-30s… Well, when all that happens, there is nothing to do but to work out which pop song is going to soundtrack the latest scene in that long-running fiasco, your life.


Sep 02

THIS IS THE BEAT-NIK HORROR – Frazer Irving Interview

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Bastion paper of This Island Nation, THE FREAKY TRIGGER, can at least Reveal the Mind-Bending Atomic Terror of the BEAT-NIK and his Filthy Ways. We have the facts and can tell you exactly how many Young Minds have been irredeemably Warped by the terrifying FRAZER IRVING and his sinister Cult Of Personality – and the answer is “too many to count enow!” This modern-day Rasputin’s shameless yet shameful Influence is felt among the Youth People the world over – SEE THEM SHAKE TO THE HYPNOTIC BEAT OF HIS TOM-TOMS in a SPECIAL PHOTO COLOUR SUPPLEMENT – NOT FOR THOSE OF A GENTLE DISPOSITION it can be yours for a mere two and six. HURRY HURRY. Do not wait. THE BEAST IRVING inspires raptures akin to Bacchus with his ‘op-art wood-cuts’ AS YOU MAY SEE. “His art has no equal” say those under his Spell while they divest themselves of their garments BY FIRELIGHT. Anger him not for his rage burns like A HOT TORCH as was noted by Our Reporters during an Audience with the Awesome Figure.

Even now his Wicked Genius may be found within the pages of Teen-Age Periodical THE 2000AD, but shield the eyes of your Daughters and Sons from it lest they become Shrieking Maenads. Only those of an Iron Decency could abide his latest Art-Work, ‘FROM GRACE’, without tearing their clothes away and dancing around a standing stone, while his ‘JUDGE DEATH’ work for THE MEGA-ZINE is used in Bedlam to put a Righteous Fear into those poor souls imprison therein for reasons of immodest temper.



In Search Of Squirrel

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Adventures In Eating, Part One

It was possibly the tastiest piece of meat I’d ever eaten. Seasoned, seared on all sides, and roasted in the oven for 25 minutes. After resting for a further 15 mins it was carved, a nutty brown on the outside and a juicy, tender pink in the middle. Once in the mouth the meat had a taste not unlike beef, but it was sweeter, and yet gamier at the same time. The accompanying gravy was glossy and a deep brown. This was my first taste of horse, and it was fantastic.



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This is my kind of competition. Play “Spot the Pint” and win some beer. Lovely.

Sep 02

Neko Case

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Neko Case-Bonus Track on Blacklisted
The album is over and you almost take it out of the player, and then static, crickets, the rushing of water are all heard, so you listen. A guitar starts in, then Nekos voice, then a Wurlitzer playing an old fashioned waltz. The sound cuts in and out though and static interupts the flow, every so often you hear spanish ballads or southern preachers. She has made an experimental country song, where found sound and noise are more important then her voice. It’s a drama, one that features a place in Southern Texas where the signal is rarely found and you settle for what you got.

EMINEM — ‘Lose Yourself’

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‘You can do anything you set your mind to, man’: positivity, from the man who brought you ‘Kim’? As curious a concept as emotional maturity from the man who bought you ‘Drips’, but this is Eminem in filmland and normal service doesn’t apply. Of course Shady’s negativity and immaturity are part of what makes Em as infuriating, compelling, tiresome and exciting as he all-at-once is, so ‘Lose Yourself’s more wholesome stylings are mildly disappointing as well as mildly heartwarming.


Sep 02

The Dedbeat Festival

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The Dedbeat Festival – more backpacker and IDM names than you can possibly imagine playing live and sets over 5 days but from our perspective this is mostly interesting for hosting the debut live performance of MC PITMAN!

Sep 02

grave robbing never sounded so profitable

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grave robbing never sounded so profitable: i read this news – about another round of tape and EP raking by jeff buckley’s label (is it right to call it a “former label” when they’re still pumping out the product long after he’s cold in the ground?) – wanting to write some scathing attack on the sorry state of major labels, cultural/capital necrophilia, and the risible notion of bending the man’s fans over and dicking them for all they’re worth. but…it’s just exhausting, even to think about. jeff buckley’s one studio album (and previous collections of mixing desk farts and live tapes) had a far more sizeable impact than one would have expected back in 1993, appearing a coffeehouse-step too far out of the kick-time routines of alt-rock proper. he blossomed, darkly after his death, on the other side of the atlantic where his falsetto, garbled emoting, and a penchant for non-verbal frippery that would make robert plant blush made him a star to people like coldplay and travis. in america, he spawned a cult amongst those who idolize tossers like nick drake (who at least had the dignity to off himself rather than drown like a rat.) unlike his father, his gift was never some presupposed supernatural endowment (far too studied, too faux-masculine in an attempt to run from his old man), nor did he tweak it or his music (a vaguely pleasant alt-AOR concoction of folk-pop, Television-like jangle & chime, and strangely emasculated blues) in any way that might upend it into areas of disquiet or unease or revelation.

no, buckley made his album, and was about to make another before he died. if he had continued, obviously his star would be markedly different, perhaps with a large, stable fan base, but certainly less of the Worship he enjoys now. to say that this 5 CD boxed set, not one of which contains more than 4 songs, many of which are either live or alternate takes of songs already released, all of which are available as highly collectable EPs is anything other than a fast cash move on a waning property — well, you’d have to be a LOT less cynical than I. (I say — a bit more sloppily — what I wanted to say here, just replace the notion of indie labels with majors. not hard, these days!)

josh blog is back

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josh blog is back, hurrah. It seems to have been back for ages, hurrah. My ISP wasn’t picking it up though, boo. As casually insightful as ever. He quotes me about Dexy’s and yes Josh I remember saying that and no I don’t know where either but it sounds smarter this time round.