Tuesday, May 26, 2009


The evidence is piling up. Here's even more.



Man Meets Dog - Konrad Lorenz
Doctors, Drums And Dances - Andras E. Laszlo
Conquest Of Pain - Peter Fairley
Men, Women And Chainsaws - Carol J. Clover

Acid In The Style Of David Tudor - Florian Hecker (CD)
Tight - Incapacitants (LP)
Lives & Privacy (94-89) - Mr. Maxted (LP)
Crowd Pleaser - Consumer Electronics (LP)

The Girlfriend Experience
August Underground's Penance
Nanking Nanking
The Cranes Are Flying

Monday, May 18, 2009


I'm not quite sure that really happened. There are moments in life that, if forewarned of their imminent occurrence, would seem so impossibly unlikely as to invite incredulity. To have a ten-piece orchestra of professional classical musicians play six pieces of my music in front of a refined audience of three hundred or so at the venue Friche La Belle de Mai in Marseille is one of them.

Berlin-based outfit Zeitkratzer (led by Reinhold Friedl) and myself were invited by the venerable GMEM for Festival Les Musiques - an annual fortnight of mostly highbrow contemporary music and dance. Intertwined with my own pieces were four early works by Morton Feldman, and the juxtapositions were predictably dramatic, and for my perspective, worked surprisingly well. The musicians did an enormously impressive respectful job, and were a total pleasure to work with.

other than to say that it was emotionally moving and humbling, the experience was so unusual that I could do with more time to reflect upon it. But it certainly helps in the schizophrenic personal struggle of a preposterous, intolerable superiority complex versus a sense of shameful fraudulence.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I've never trusted Dispatches - the long-running current affairs series on UK's Channel 4. Nearly every edition is full of factual inaccuracies, deliberate distortions, and downright bias - all with the unprincipled aim of provoking deliberate alarm for the reward of increased journalistic impact.

The first manifestation I noted of its shady deceitful methods was in the early 90s - a programme focusing on activities of Genesis P-Orridge (or whatever people call him these days) and cohorts. Normally, P-Orridge is so full of shit about how he founded The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys; invented LSD, the wheel and the internet; and redefined popular music as we know it; yet this is one rare occasion that I've found myself sympathising with him. He and several of his associates were scandalously stitched up by this disreputable team on the Satanic Ritual Abuse episode, to the extent, as I understand it, that he was forced into exile for his own safety.

Since it's presented under the aegis of a respected TV channel that receives state funding, the credibility of Dispatches is rarely questioned, and is therefore taken far more seriously than would be say an article in the rabid Murdoch tabloid press (News Of The World, The Sun), thus resulting in an even more insidious impact.

Interestingly, there are transparent concessions employed that can, upon further analysis, be identified as giving more cause for suspicion. For example, the studiously solemn voice-over of the narrator and melancholy creepy soundtracks, are both typically employed to give extra gravitas to the topics, eliciting an emotional response from the viewer of deep concern. Also, the frequent use of the word 'story' to describe the topic of each edition cunningly presupposes that what we are being presented with has a genuine narrative - the metasignificance of which is the implied notion of something happening that is interrupted by an event. In the context of current affairs therefore, something existentially bad interrupted by the force of good. Furthermore, having recently seen the documentary Helvetica and noting Dispatches' use of said font, it points to a subtext of the triumph of presentation over content.

Below is a handful (from a long list) of other examples of the Dispatches team up to their dirty tricks.

It almost goes without saying that a middle-aged middle class white male evangelising Christian 'saving' children in Africa should not be trusted. The fact that the Englishman in question is condemning the use of Christ's name in identifying witch children in Christian Nigerian communities would be like Gary Glitter warning kids not to join the Cubs. The poor kids in question don't stand a chance. Dispatches is guilty of a form of demonisation and imposition of 'superior' Western beliefs that wouldn't have been out of place in the 19th century, and all without any questioning whatsoever of the suspect motives of the would-be 'saviours - either way, the poor kids in question don't stand a chance. The great irony here being that the real issues at its heart are the twin legacies of the beliefs of the very same Christian zealots in conjunction with the West's ruthless exploitation of the country's natural resources.

Far be it for me to be defending radical Muslim preachers, but once again this was a disgraceful episode where secretly filmed speeches in mosques were carefully spliced together to portray the clerics in as bad a light as possible: distortions for which TV journalists are only too expert in creating, both in small subtle ways and others more obvious (as exemplified here) provoking serious consequences.

Timed very carefully to affect a government debate on the timing of abortion interventions, Dispatches screened some highly shocking graphic footage of aborted foetuses in a blatant attempt to create disturbed emotionally charged responses. The programme's virulent anti-abortion agenda became clearer when it was discovered that said footage was provided to them by an extreme 'pro-life' group.

Ironically when considered in relation to the aforementioned Abortion episode, the Dispatches team once again were guilty of blatant scaremongering aimed at promoting their questionable and reactionary ulterior motives. The science of 'proving' that video games are harmful to youngsters is entirely spurious at best (the converse is likely to be nearer the truth) - but it's the hysterical paranoid fear of books, of pornography, of horror films, of television, in a shiny new wrapper. As far as I'm aware, Hitler and Stalin were never into COD4, Halo 3, Killzone 2 - nor indeed Super Mario.

Sunday, May 03, 2009


My Bloody Valentine 3-D (**)
apart from the occasionally pleasing novelty of the 3D effects, this is as generic a slasher as they come

S. Darko (*)
however awful this boring sequel to the ludicrously overrated Donnie Darko is, and it really is awful and boring, it does serve as a valid reminder of the comparative genius of David Lynch

City Rats (*)
dear oh dear oh dear, quite possibly the worst film I've seen in (at least) a decade - it's high time I learnt the lesson that contemporary UK films are ALL RUBBISH

Fanboys (*)
I'm intensely proud of never having seen a Star Wars film - unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Fanboys, a completely unmitigated mess of an attempt at 'comedy'

He's Just Not That Into You (**)
Sex And The City without the tiresome materialism - female cast is uniformly excellent, whilst the male actors let the side of their gender down badly

Saturday, May 02, 2009


A plea to visitors? Seeing these ugly pictures of those fat fuckers riding donkeys, and all the ugliness that symbolically represents, has only served to further enrage my already misanthropic sensibilities.

Friday, May 01, 2009


There's always been a sense of mystery around avant-garde group The Residents, mostly to do with the members' identities. However, the biggest mystery for me is how they and their label, Ralph Records, lost their way so badly and so quickly after the release of their last great album Eskimo (1979): their dozens of efforts since have been throwaway rubbish. The music and its presentation, where once it had been lavishly and lovingly created, suddenly became crude and slapdash; and it's even sadder the way the superb 70s albums were so shoddily reissued on CD: poorly mastered audio and embarrassingly sloppy artwork/liner notes. One can only assume there was a critical parting of ways in the group's formation for such a schism to have occurred.

While I consider Meet The Residents (1974) a classic of its time, and one of the first albums that truly inspired me to make music, I consider Fingerprince (1976) to be their greatest; indeed I have a lot to thank it for - it was my passing mention of it to Lora Logic in an audition that ultimately allowed me the chance to do music as a career.

The Residents : Fingerprince (1976)

Although there's since been the usual Cryptic Corporation nonsense about this originally being a 3-sided release blah blah - after listening to the 'complete' CD reissue, it seems pretty clear to me that the extra tracks were rightly not included on the definitive original vinyl album.

But enough bitching about that - the original Fingerprince is an exquisitely conceived and perfectly balanced album. It manages to be simultaneously challenging yet accessible - I know I must have played it hundreds of times and never tire of listening to its subtleties, discovering new intricacies even now.

Side A consists of eight perfectly sequenced delightful tracks each of short duration, full of The Residents' trademark eclecticism and dadaist sensibilities. The opening bars of bossanova rhythms on You Yesyesyes initially seem fairly ordinary, yet once the idiosyncratic chanting and discordant melodies join in, you are induced into the band's strangely delicious creepy universe. Side B's gorgeous Six Things To A Cycle is a surreal twisted baroque suite with some incredibly inventive use of instruments such as gamelans, basses, violins, brass, kettle drums, along with odd sound effects, trademark background chants, and god knows what else. The bizarre elusive melodies, rhythms, and swirling leitmotifs captivate you from beginning to end.

Experimental music that would subsequently attempt to imitate this dadaist style was never able to replicate the inherent musicality, the originality, the economy of expression, and the pristine sound quality that all combine to make Fingerprince such a special achievement.