interpretive dancers, gratuitous violins, extravagant hair… it could almost be a eurovision performance, sadly no horseheaded figure up a step ladder but you can’t have everything can you? Spectacularly grainy old black and white footage here from Riverside in which two members of the royal ballet accompany a version of The Cure through ‘Siamese Twins’. I have to admit to being stubbornly ambivalent about the merit or otherwise of the dancing but the violins work well. (it can also be found in much higher quality colour without too much exertion but for some reason, this is just better) I’ve ended up here on account of The Quietus hymning the wonders of the ‘Pornography’ album and trailing the paperback of Lol’s book. The description of events it includes put this performance about a year after a tour ending fight between Gallup and Smith I guess, explaining Steve Severin’s appearance on bass. Weird to be looking back from today’s perspective where several years pass between releases to see that despite the all consuming, band destroying, conflagration of ‘Pornography’ Smith hardly sat on his hands moping. By this point ‘Let’s Go To Bed’ had been a hit and he spent the rest of ’83 making the singles that became ‘Japanese Whispers’ as well as a Banshees album and The Glove record with Severin which seems remarkably productive, I’m a bit tired just thinking about it. It’s not the piece the record deserves but it’s not bad – a few insights tempered by some John R(ent-a-g)obb and poor old Lol, whose name would become quite literally synonymous with laughter, getting his due for a change. I can’t honestly say it’s made me mad keen to read his book, but I don’t often need much encouragement to listen to the album again.
In other vaguely cure related news Mogwai tease their next record with a lovely track ‘Coolverine’ which finds them sounding more than ever like instrumental outtakes from ‘Disintegration’. No bad thing to be honest. They’ve come up with another terrible, terrible title as well. I picture them sat about after finishing the record with a bag of cans and a bottle of Bucky daring each other to come up with stupider names for the tunes. It’s a hit and miss business – sometimes they’re gold but ‘Coolverine’ is definitely on the ‘you wrote this lovely piece of music and then you called it what?’ pile . . .
If you need a little more high-culture-meets-goth theorising in your week then tomorrow there’s this. A Goldsmith’s event remembering Mark Fisher and featuring Gazelle Twin, a reading of his ‘for your unpleasure’ essay . . .
K-PUNK – FOR YOUR UNPLEASURE
on the evidence of this new video clip it looks like the boys had quite a bank holiday. Nonetheless amidst all the woodland capering there’s a stern warning to us all, and that is – snorting unicorn glitter leads to morris dancing and death. Just Say No kids. New album ‘The Guillotine’ arrives next month when every Englishman will be looking around and wishing we had a strong and stable Guillotine. If you want you can preorder it by clicking on this cover image.
We’re pretty excited about Kevin Martin and Justin Broadrick’s new project launching at Supersonic . . . Joking aside, Kev ‘n’ Justin have made so much remarkable music together and apart over the last 20-30 years it makes my head hurt to think about it and my ears feel old and beaten. Their various aliases could probably fill the whole festival bill and they’re going to be kicking off another one Zonal. Having officially ended Techno Animal, Zonal is whatever comes next although so far there’s no hint what it might be I can’t help think it’ll be loud and intense, even if it’s ambient. Last time he was at Supersonic The Bug played live with Dylan Carlson for the first time launching the now world beating The Bug vs Earth project. A bonus tune here from the album features, guess who? JKB putting some vocals over ‘Snakes Vs Rats’ for ‘Dog’. By the time this performance rolls around Justin will have just put out a second album from his own trans atlantic collaboration with Sun Kil Moon, while his JK Flesh stuff has abandoned the guitar altogether for dysfunctional industrial techno. So, probably not like any of that. Maybe they’ll try their hands at electro swing or something.
I don’t get much time on here these days, so props to Thee Monkey’s Claw for keeping things ticking along. I don’t get time to do the Panic & Carousels blog for NARC. magazine at the moment either, although people keep sending me good stuff. I get what I can in the mag itself, and I listen to it all. But hey, here’s a mix – all either not long out or not even released yet.
Some of this stuff might just contain enough rage to give you some sort of release as this whole fucking island topples into the abyss.
Here’s what’s on it:
- Jac Berrocal, David Fenech & Vincent Epplay – Alienor en Aout (Pt 1)
- The Cosmic Dead – Psych Is Dead
- USA Nails – Play It Again, Johnny
- Ho99o9 – United States Of Ho99o9
- The Bug Vs Earth – Snakes Vs Rats
- El Mahdy Jr – Time To Sell The Golden Teeth
- The Pessimist – Peter Hitchens
- pHarmerz – Sheena Is An Acid Casualty
- Basic House – Janet Terminal Blue
- Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Icon (Chlorine Remix)
- Pye Corner Audio & Faten Kanann – The Darkest Wave
- Portland Vows – Applications
- Nicholas Britell – Chiron’s Theme (Chopped & Screwed)
- Sophie Cooper & Julian Bradley – Love Letters
- Gnod – Bodies For Money
- Temple Ov BBV – What Happens To Memories When You Die?
- Part Chimp – Lies
- Bad Guys – Dickhead For Love
- Petrol Girls – Phallocentric
- Fret! – Surf
- Hey Colossus – Experts Toll
- King Champion Sounds – Fool Throttle
- Oxbow – The Finished Line
- White Hills – Attack Mode
- King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizards – Hot Wax
- Mary Ocher ft Your Government – Zah Zah Pt 1
- Phantom Dog Beneath The Moon – All I Meander Even Ever
- $un $keletons – Winding Down The Gramophone
Seems a good day for a listen to this fine collection of recordings from Syria. The country seems set to continue filling news broadcasts for a while to come as a gaping open sore of humanity’s worst failings, an ongoing war in which everyone loses. In Gergis’s recordings it’s everything else . . .
A jaw-dropping expose of music, news, interviews, and field recordings from one of the least-known quarters of the Arab world. The country of Syria has been politically and culturally exiled for decades by the western media, leaving little known of its rich heritage of art, music, and culture. Recorded and surgically assembled by Mark Gergis from two trips to Syria in 1998 and 2000, the first 25 tracks feature recordings made in Damascus, a virtual documentary of sound from the legendary capital including street scenes, a wedding, a mosque interior, spontaneous live music and interviews with citizens, radio broadcasts, a song about Saddam Hussein, and the mystery of an underground city called “Kazib.” The final 15 tracks extend to Greater Syria with the same approach, capturing live musicians, political opinions, radio excerpts, an interview with an anonymous homosexual, and unique sound documents from this small but highly influential corner of the Middle East.
Sunday morning liturgy and pause for quiet reflection. Not sure how this slipped under my radar on the recent round euro jaunt, new on Low Point (and new to me too), Swedish duo Thet Liturgiske Owäsendet’s third album ‘Hafvet’. The title means ‘The Sea’ but there are no crashing waves or nautical drama contained within, rather four 10-20min long drones of stately, meditative calm. I thought this might perhaps suggest they were from way up on the Baltic where the sea gets frozen over for half the year, deep waves and currents beneath a deceptively static surface (this would be perfectly complemented by that 10 hours of an idling polar icebreaker that’s been doing the rounds). However, their hometown of Arlöv is just north of Malmo, making it pretty far south in Swedish terms. Not that geography is everything of course but it often plays a more prominent role in this kind of music. About that music then, it’s subtle and slow moving, beautifully layered and crafted out of the holy trinity of modular synth, processed electric guitar and field recordings melting into one another. As I mentioned at the start, it’s not eventful stuff, you do have to sit with it and give it attention to get to its hidden depths, otherwise there’s the perennial drone curse of it sounding like the white goods in the kitchen humming in the back of your mind. Still, if you make that effort it repays your attention and, let’s face it, who doesn’t need a little ocean of calm in their day? I guess, if we want to have another crack at the title as metaphor, staring out at a fairly calm sea, constant but never still, makes more than enough sense. If you want something with more going on they seem to be fairly prolific on the pod-castery business too, here’s a new one coming by just now, cloud of gulls trailing in her wake. . .