Saturday, October 06, 2007

Loose Ends Tied

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1) An interesting video from They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them - affiliated with the mighty Xylitol and Staffordshire's The Emperor Machine - which, apart from the cameos by Autechre, Le Couteau Jaune and Kevin Rowland (! (and yes, I know he's not that good these days, and Dexys' could be a bit... trying... but as far as white soul goes, you really can't beat Searching For The Young Soul Rebels and the MKII line-up's singles before Too-Rye Ay)), is interesting primarily because it represents a rather odd strain of retro-pop: wondering what might have happened if Harmonia had moved in the same direction as The Human League did between Travelogue and Dare, a weird exercise in bouncy Kraut-electro-glam-pop. It reminds me of a remark David McNamee made about Robyn in the new Plan B - that she's like something "that 'we' made up when we were drunk... exactly like the kind of thing we'd invent": the self-consciousness, the feeling of the weight of the archive that burdens so much postmodern pop seems actually, instead of preventing good, uplifting music (and by 'uplifting' I don't just mean 'happy': Joy Division are 'uplifting', whereas something like Girls Aloud are just plain depressing) it seems to possibly be spawning some of it. Examples would include Los Campesinos!, Bearsuit, Robyn herself (yes, like every other person in the world, I do love 'With Every Heartbeat'), The Emperor Machine, Lindstrøm and Prinz Thomas, Hot Chip (to a certain extent), The Blow, the Italians Do It Better bands (Chromatics, Glass Candy, Farah, Mirage, etc.) What seems to be the crucial difference between these bands and time-serving, copyists like The Rapture, Editors, Bloc Party, etc., is that these guys are actual pop fans, immersed in the music, and trying to make music that creates the same (or, indeed, a slightly different, unique) rush that they themselves got from (pop) music, a (re)creation of libinal and emotional effect rather than sonic surface and tics. You have to *heart* pop music to make it.

2) You'll hear more about it here, but Saturday night was an evening of music at St. Aldhelms Church in Branksome, East Poole, put on by Blandford Forum's Dirty Demos label and Weymouth's Dead Sea Liner, both specialising in drone, noise and improv, and generally selling lovingly packaged CD-Rs (though Dirty Demos does also put out occasional 7" and sometimes even 12" vinyl releases). This is just to attest to what a capital evening it was, and to how good the CD-Rs I obtained are. The Doors Of Dorset Is The Doorway To Norway (DirtyCDR 024, in a limited edition of 40), a fundraiser CD-R for DirtyDemos, is particularly to be recommended for the quite beautiful packaging - a handsprayed CD, simple cardboard sleeve, lovely elemental design - and the work contained therein, particularly the spangling, twinkly drone of Anders Gjerde, a surprisingly mature, bubbling piece from Jason Kerley (certainly far better than his slightly, uh, less engrossing performance on Saturday), and an astonishing excerpt piece from Norwegian noise sorceror Sindre Bjerga (who wreaked utter mayhem with nothing more than an egg-whisk and a contact mic on Saturday - Ice Bird Spiral, take note!) In addition the tour CD from Bjerga, Gjerde and Sten Ove Toft, though I haven't listened to it all yet, is quite marvellous as well, despite possessing no better packaging than a picture of a sloth. Hm. Anyway, it carries an absolutely gorgeous 11-minute piece from Gjerde, and an unfortunately shorter (only 6 minutes! Aww, no fair!) piece from Toft, who played a 20-minute set of sub-bass rumble and face-scraping noise eruptions on Saturday that threatened to shake the church apart. There's many more CD-R and vinyl releases at the DirtyDemos Myspace (including a brilliant collaborative CD-R between idyllic glitch composer Thee Moths and Germlin, and some incredible meditative drone releases from label owner Dead Wood), the Dead Sea Liner page (see sidebar), Toft's Roggbif Records (which includes releases from the mighty Birchville Cat Motel and Lasse Marhaug), and Bjerga's uber-amazing Gold Soundz label (which has put out releases by United Bible Studies, Christina Carter, Monotract and Blood Stereo.)

3) Recently got a copy of Boy In Da Corner, and yes, I'm 4 years late, but bloody hell! I honestly can't understand why he decided to change from this to the Def Jam-isms of Maths + English, except for the purposes of stacking paper. And it's actually saddening to listen to 'Pussy'ole' now, given Wiley's pretty good performance on '2 Far', and Dizzee's shout-outs to "da one and only Wileykat" and "every pirate radio station who supported this movement from the beginning." Hopefully in a couple of years he'll be bumming fags from punters outside Dirty Canvas nights, and realise the error of his ways.

4) A note to Oliver: it wasn't a mocking snipe, I actually do take pictures of animals (as above). I'll get round eventually to replying, don't worry.


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