Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Local Apocalypse

A piece of info that will interest only local types (and possibly not even them), but should interest everyone: as you can read from the above poster, Acoustic Ladyland (a bunch of horrific East London poseurs, whose second album (however) was the best jazz-punk record since, I don't know, the first Skill 7 Stamina 12 release) will be playing The Gander on the 31st.
More importantly, it's the final show of True Swamp Neglect, whose drummer, Barney, is moving out to pastures, uh, warmer (e.g. Bali). Their two albums - 2002's Sleep Function Lost and this year's Cloud Cloud Cloud (which I can assure you will be in my top five records of the year) - are magnificent, disjointed confections of warped, melancholic indie-rock, shot through with the spirit of Pavement, The Magic Band, Aphex, Eno, Sonic Youth, Pink Floyd and Fela Kuti & The Africa 70 (OK, I may partially have made that last one up, but can you blame me?), and who have given me more moments of affirmation - no, not a term for derision in this context - than I care to count. The shows I've seen, sporadically, since last July, frontman Chris' untiring commitment to the music community in Bournemouth, through the Reckno night and his other bands, and unfailing warmth and friendship, have been a real source of strength for me. The door charge and bar prices are reasonable; be there.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Boiling, Boiling

There are some 'proper' posts cooking away on the back-burner at the moment - I find actually getting shit down on virtual paper difficult enough when I'm forced to, let alone when I choose to do it of my own free will - but for the moment I'll direct your attention to a rash of interweb goodies that have come onto my radar recently:

1) A belated column at Pitchfork on the Ghost Box phenomenon, almost on the point of convincing me I need to get the entire GB catalogue (I possess not one album, not from hatred so much as apathy and terminal stinginess.) I'm still not completely sure to what extent Pitchfork is allied with the evil forces of Williamsburg, but it certainly seems appropriate that a bunch of joyless, irony-bound ruling-class cunts should be so late in coming to Ghost Box (and we should note that it's Mike Powell, a decidely non-evil (and potentially British - am I wrong?) writer (and former Stylus associate editor) who's brought this to the evil world's attention) - the time-scrambling textures, structures and signifiers of Ghost Box have an effect that's as much political as it is aesthetic, as we may well know: converting the base linearity of neo-liberal historical narrative into the spinning, out-of-joint time of the record. Which brings me onto...

2) A magnificent two-post run at Fangirl (and we'll quietly thank the Lord I've been left out of this meme - no fucking way I could compete with this). There's also a post from a while back - the end of March, if you can believe it - that I've wanted to respond to for a while, but haven't gotten round to (bizarrely, despite being one of the most beautiful pieces of personal writing I've read in ages, it has only one comment.) Reading Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook I've been finding it more and more necessary to acknowledge the political and the personal in my writing; the sheer difficulty in doing this is one of the reasons why nothing much has turned up here in a while. The confused interplay between various things which I find difficult to write about at all - my history of depression, my tentative anarchism (currently waning towards an increasingly melancholic socialism), the working-class identity that I sometimes feel I've simply more or less invented for myself, the ghosts that drift around in my own and my family's past (my black ancestor, my grandfathers' experiences in the two World Wars, the occult significance of the New Forest, where my parents grew up) - make these issues inextricably difficult to either negotiate or get myself out of. Emmy's doing all of this for me, and far better than I ever could.

3) A slightly disturbing post from Owen Hatherley almost a week ago, partially concerning the somewhat sickening rhetoric of the walking-troll reactionaries who seem to rule the south coast. Living in a part of the country where almost every person you meet - even people who've been in the working class (ex-labourers, retail workers) all their lives - whilst carrying the most apparently nice manners, is revealed as having a total contempt for human life at the first mention of politics. That's what it comes down to: the Nietzschean dismissal of socialists and anarchists as "soul-sick" remains incorrect, because the right are the ones with the largest levels of insidious hatred in their veins, a poisoned loathing for human beings in general. Working-class conservatism as neurotic disorder; now that's a notion I can understand.

4) Not words, as such, but Il Canto Sospeso has had a remarkable run of albums free to download (as long as you have .rar decompression software.) I know I'm not supposed to publicly support internet downloads, but it's not as if you'd be stealing from independent artists - it's Deutsch Grammophon, for fuck sakes. In any case, most of the composers involved are dead. The Messiaen Edition Vol. 4 CD is very much appreciated, and massively beautiful, as if the Bartok Concerto For Orchestra/Music For Percussion, Strings And Celeste and Glenn Branca's Symphony No. 1. Not so recent, but make sure to download the Il Canto Sospeso/Kindertotenlieder CD, by Nono and Mahler (now out of print, so don't feel guilty). And leave comments!