Categories
Electronic Music Experimental Hauntology Philosophy

Ruptures In The Fabric Of Everyday Life

So many dreams of collectivity have died in neoliberal London.

Now they are incarcerated in hospitals, or languishing in the gutter.

‘territories of commerce and control’.

Once those spaces are enclosed, practically all of the city’s energy is put into paying the mortgage or the rent. There’s no time to experiment, to journey without already knowing where you will end up. Your aims and objectives have to be stated up front. ‘Free time’ becomes convalescence. You turn to what reassures you, what will most refresh you for the working day: the old familiar tunes (or what sound like them). London becomes a city of pinched-face drones plugged into iPods.

No Pedestrian Access To Shopping Centre.

a bombed-out city, full of chasms, caverns, spaces that could be temporarily occupied and squatted.

The struggle here is not only over the (historical) direction of time but over different uses of time.

The whole city is forced into a gigantic simulation of activity, a fantacism of productivism in which nothing much is actually produced, an economy made out of hot air and bland delirium.

The eroticism here is not primarily to do with sexuality,

Fugitive time, lost afternoons, conversations that dilate and drift like smoke, walks that have no particular direction and go on for hours, free parties in old industrial spaces, still reverberating days later.

the city as a site for drift and daydreams, a labyrinth of side streets and spaces resistant to the process of gentrification and ‘development’ set to culminate in the miserable hyper-spectacle.

Cool Britannia. Old joke. ‘Space’ becomes the over arching commodity. Notting Hill. New Age cranks peddling expensive junk. Homeopathy and boutiques, angel cards and crystal healing.

ruptures in the fabric of everyday life.’

A new kind of human being was supposed to live here, but that all had to be cleared away so that the restoration could begin.

Haunting is about a staining of place with particularly intense moments of time,

trapped inside the drearily glossy spaces imagined by advertising and regeneration propaganda, sometimes free to drift.

Perhaps it is here that the space can be opened up to forge a collective resistance to this neo liberal expansion, to the endless proliferation of banalities and the homogenising effects of globalisation. Here in the burnt out shopping arcades, the boarded up precincts, the lost citadels of consumerism one might find the truth, new territories might be opened, there might be a rupturing of this collective amnesia.

Words by Mark Fisher &/or Laura Oldfield Ford

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Electronic Music New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): New Order – Temptation

Day 6.

Not really much to say about this one. I’ve been listening to New Order a lot recently & YouTube throws this one at me randomly quite a lot. It’s one of my favourite, if not my favourite, New Order songs. I recently shared this video on Facebook & posited the question, ‘does a more beautiful blending of melancholia and joy exist?’ If it does I’m yet to find it.

Heaven, a gateway, a hope
Just like a feeling inside, it’s no joke
And though it hurts me to see you this way
Betrayed by words, I’d never heard, too hard to say
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home

Each way I turn, I know I’ll always try
To break this circle that’s been placed around me
From time to time, I find I’ve lost some need
That was urgent to myself, I do believe
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home
Up, down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
I’ll find my soul as I go home

Oh, you’ve got green eyes
Oh, you’ve got blue eyes
Oh, you’ve got grey eyes
Oh, you’ve got green eyes
Oh, you’ve got blue eyes
You’ve got grey eyes

And I’ve never seen anyone quite like you before
No, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go
Bolts from above hurt the people down below
People in this world, we have no place to go

Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, it’s the last time
Oh, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before
Oh no, I’ve never met anyone quite like you before

Categories
Electronic Music Indie Rock New Wave Pop Post Punk Song of the Day Synth Pop

Song of the Day (Chaotic Neutral): The Church – Under The Milky Way

Day 4.

Okay, okay. I missed a day (or 2) & I’m sorry. This song came on randomly after I was listening to New Order on YouTube the other day. It’s stunning, cinematic Synth Pop from the end of the ’80’s, with just enough Indie cool to keep it in the company of bands like Echo & The Bunnymen & the aforementioned New Order on many a mixtape. Also a great song for a movie soundtrack, as evidenced by its appearance in a pivotal scene of madcap time-travel yarn Donnie Darko.

Sometimes when this place gets kind of empty
Sound of their breath fades with the light
I think about the loveless fascination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Lower the curtain down on Memphis
Lower the curtain down all right
I got no time for private consultation
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

And it’s something quite peculiar
Something shimmering and white
Leads you here despite your destination
Under the Milky Way tonight

Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find
Wish I knew what you were looking for
Might have known what you would find

Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight
Under the Milky Way tonight

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Categories
Electronic Music Metal Nu Metal Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Movie Soundtracks): Rob Zombie – Dragula (Hot Rod Herman Remix)

Day 8. Another one from The Matrix, Dragula by Rob Zombie was another Alternative night classic at the kind of nightclubs I used to frequent in my teenage years. The version used in The Matrix was the Rod Herman remix but for the video I have opted for the original version, not least because it has a really good video. I also failed to find the remix on Spotify, so the original version will be on the SPotify playlist too. I’ll include the remix YouTube link here.

The remix adds layers of electronic production to the track which nicely brings the song in line with the late ’90’s cyberpunk visions of The Matrix. I’m not sure but I also think our local Alternative Rock DJ’s played this version too, presumably The Matrix OST was a useful CD for any Alt/Rock DJ to own.

Superstition, fear and jealousy

Dead I am the one, exterminating son
Slipping through the trees, strangling the breeze
Dead I am the sky, watching angels cry
While they slowly turn, conquering the worm

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Dead I am the pool, spreading from the fool
Weak and what you need, nowhere as you bleed
Dead I am the rat, feast upon the cat
Tender is the fur, dying as you purr

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Do it baby, do it baby
Do it baby, do it baby
Burn like an animal

Dead I am the life, dig into the skin
Knuckle crack the bone, twenty one to win
Dead I am the dog, hound of hell you cry
Devil on your back, I can never die

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Do it baby, do it baby
Do it baby, do it baby
Burn like an animal

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Dig through the ditches
And burn through the witches
I slam in the back of my
Dragula!

Looking for some great music? Check the Song of the Day (Movie Soundtracks) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Ambient Art Pop Electronic Music Experimental

‘Wrong Way Up’ – Brian Eno/John Cale and ‘Spinner’ – Brian Eno/Jah Wobble (Reissues)

Check out my review of the two new Brian Eno reissues over on With Just A Hint Of Mayhem.

‘Wrong Way Up’ In an expression of purest irony, the collaborative efforts of two of the most experimental musicians of the 20th century has led to …

‘Wrong Way Up’ – Brian Eno/John Cale and ‘Spinner’ – Brian Eno/Jah Wobble (Reissues)
Categories
Electronic Music Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Covers): Meat Beat Manifesto – Asbestos Lead Asbestos

Day 2. The original version of Asbestos Lead Asbestos, by World Domination Enterprises, is punishing Post-Punk Noise Rock. A super heavy, low frequency rhythm section keeps it together while guitars plunge into chasms of industrial noise. It’s sinister & terrifying, lyrically portraying anger at being on the wrong end of the Thatcherites class war.

By contrast, the Meat Beat Manifesto version utilises Trip-Hop type drums & bass alongside a soundscape of sampled organs & claustrophobic synth sounds to create a thick atmosphere pitched somewhere between the narco-dystopia of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World & the witch hunting, “reds under the bed”, snitch culture of Cold War paranoia. It’s difficult to decide which version is scarier.

Well he might say yes, but he might mean no
Asbestos lead asbestos
Sell him the coffee table, go boy go
Asbestos lead asbestos
It’s chipboard quality, easy instalment scheme
Lead asbestos
And Patrick lives under the roundabout
Nobody told him different
Blows out the break dust behind the caravan
Asbestos lead asbestos
If they’re lucky they get put in White City
Lead asbestos
Times are hard and the kids ain’t learning a thing
Asbestos lead asbestos
Except stealing and fighting
Asbestos lead asbestos
So they offer him a salary
Asbestos lead asbestos
National Health and a pension scheme
Asbestos lead asbestos
So he can lie in his bed while he bleeds to death

Lead Asbestos (x7)
Happy fun tune

So we hand them rich women coffee party handouts
Asbestos lead asbestos
Fill it full of sick cause someone’s gotta eat it
Asbestos lead asbestos
And it won’t be us cause we’re the smart ones
Asbestos lead asbestos
Motivated, public school, we live on the west side
Lead asbestos
Equal opportunity, except if our pedigree dogs
Don’t like the smell of your children

Lead Asbestos (x7)
Happy fun tune

They’re stealing and fighting
But we live on the west side

Looking for some great music? Why not check the Song of the Day (Covers) Spotify Playlist

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Electronic Music Indie Rock Song of the Day

Song of the Day (Covers): Primal Scream – Some Velvet Morning (feat. Kate Moss)

Welcome to a new series of Song of the Day I may return to The Chain for a later series (possibly starting up from the previous entry, The Prodigy’s Firestarter), but for now I’m introducing a series of covers.

Day 1. Primal Scream’s heavy electronic version of Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood’s psychedelic lounge duet, featuring model Kate Moss, was recorded for their Evil Heat album & features many similar sonic touches. I remember it playing in every Indie or Rock club night for years & it seemed like a big deal commercially, so I’m surprised to see it actually only made it to number 44 in the UK charts. MAybe it’s time for a rerelease.

Some velvet morning
When I’m straight
I’m gonna open up your gate
Some velvet morning
When I’m straight
I’m gonna open up your gate

Flowers growing on a hill
Dragonflies and daffodils
Learn from us very much
Look at us but do not touch
Phaedra is my name

Some velvet morning
When I’m straight
I’m gonna open up your gate
Some velvet morning
When I’m straight
I’m gonna open up your gate

Flowers are the things we grow
Secrets are the things we know
Learn from us very much
Look at us but do not touch
Phaedra is my name

Some velvet morning
When I’m straight
I’m gonna open up your gate
Some velvet morning
When I’m straight
I’m gonna open up your gate

Some velvet morning when I’m straight

Flowers are the things we grow
Secrets are the things we know

I’m gonna open up your gate

Learn from us very much
Look at us but do not touch
Look at us but do not touch
Look at us but do not touch

Looking for some great music? Why not try out the Song of the Day (Covers) Spotify playlist.

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Categories
Electronic Music Industrial Punk Song of the Day

Song of the Day (The Chain): The Prodigy – Firestarter

Day 40. The connection between Close (To The Edit) & Firestarter is that Firestarter prominently uses a sample from The Art Of Noise’s tune. The female vocal “Hey!”

Firestarter was a huge commercial hit in the UK when it was released, topping the charts & fusing Dance music & Rock music in a way that was entirely original & fresh. Sampled, mangled guitars (from The Breeders), ultra-heavy drum breaks (Ten City) & the late, great Keith Flint’s John Lydon influenced Punk vocals combined to create something truly thrilling indeed.

I’m the trouble starter, punkin’ instigator
I’m the fear addicted, a danger illustrated

I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter
You’re a firestarter, twisted firestarter

I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter

I’m the bitch you hated, filth infatuated, yeah
I’m the pain you tasted, fell intoxicated

I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter
You’re the firestarter, twisted firestarter

I’m the self inflicted, mind detonator, yeah
I’m the one infected, twisted animator

I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter
You’re the firestarter, twisted firestarter

I’m a firestarter, twisted firestarter starter

Keep up to date with the Song of the Day (The Chain) Spotify playlist.

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Electronic Music Experimental Indie Rock Overlooked Classics

Overlooked Classics: Ian Brown – Unfinished Monkey Business

Overlooked Classics: Ian Brown – Unfinished Monkey Business

Music journalists writing about Ian Brown’s solo debut in ’98 made a huge deal about two points. First, they waxed lyrical about the acrimonious bitterness between Brown & Stone Roses guitarist John Squire. Many of the snarkier, angrier lyrics were assumed to be about him. One of the track titles, Ice Cold Cube, was said to be a nickname Stone Roses drummer Reni had for Squire. Secondly, all of the reviews mentioned the Lo-Fi production of the album. Recorded & produced by Brown with just a handful of collaborators, Brown recorded the majority of it at home, playing most of the instruments himself, learning to play each instrument as & when he needed to for the production.

The Lo-Fi production is, in my opinion, one of the albums key strengths, after the excellent songwriting. Placing Unfinished Monkey Business in context, we see that, around the time it was released, unconventional & experimental music was taking British subculture by storm. Radio One’s Breezeblock, hosted by Mary Anne Hobbes was promoting & breaking everything from the sampled smorgasbord of breakbeats & funk of the Lo Fidelity Allstars, the proto-Post Rock of early Mogwai & the frazzled alt-country of artists like Scott 4. In a year in which The Beta Band could release a song like Inner Meet Me, Unfinished Monkey Business fit in just fine.

The broken drum machine sound collage of the opening track Under The Paving Stones: The Beach, with its distorted toy noise & allusions to the Situationist International slogans, it was a perfect fit in the contemporary morass of underground experimental music. Its segue into the sampled sitar & Sci-Fi shenanigans of lead single My Star is truly thrilling. Psychedelic soundscapes fused with solid, low frequency rhythm section which owes as much to Dub as it does to Indie. Can’t See Me is a leftover Stone Roses tune (they played it live in their later shows) in the same vein as the funk-enthused singles like Fools Gold or One Love. Stone Roses rhythmists Reni & Mani guest on this, lending the album feeling of continuity with his precious band. Ice Cold Cube is Psychedelic, Sergeant Peppers stomp with snarky lyrics taking aim at John Squire. Sunshine is a kind of Psychedelic folk strum along, likened in the ’98 NME review to ‘60’s hippy troubadour Donovan. Lions, employing the vocal talents of Denise Johnson (of Screamadelica fame), is rough & raw Synth Pop with distorted noise bursts & jagged edges which a “professional” producer would have probably smoothed out.

Corpses In Their Mouths is slow burning Psychedelic Pop with guitars that morph between rhythmic & ambient, rock steady Dub rhythms & atmospheric harmonica blasts. Its title is another reference to Situationists International sloganeering. What Happened To Ya Part 1 is upbeat Folk Pop while Part 2 is the kind of Funk-infused, Psyche guitar jam that John Squire should have been making. Nah Nah is fuzzy Folk with handclaps, melodic lead guitars & echoing handclaps. One of the most memorable choruses of the ‘90’s too. Not sure why it wasn’t released as a single. They’d still be playing it on daytime radio today. Deep Pile Dreams is the most blatant of the anti-Squire tunes here. Its caustic lyrics attacking his alleged drug issues (“I only ever wanted the one with the flag/all you ever wanted was a $60 bag”) over a downtempo, Lo-Fi drum machine & synth soundscape. The closing track, Unfinished Money Business, is the deepest into Dub territory that the album dares to go. Bold, heavy drum machine patterns, subterranean bass lines & echoey analogue synths create a moody & atmospheric sonic terrain.

I found that these videos of Top Of The Pops appearances were charming & help to place the Unfinished Monkey Business into temporal context, so give them a watch. I especially like the guy “playing” eggs in the My Star performance.

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Categories
Electronic Music Experimental Folk Hauntology

Intermission – Ghost Box Recordings

Ghost Box is as much a parallel universe, or an alternative present, as it is a record label. It’s music, the achingly niche Hauntology, is a cross-dimensional transmission from a world where the postwar consensus of democratic socialism was never subjugated by the negating homogenisation effects of Neoliberalism. Instead, the warm, parental powers of a benevolent bureaucracy would have carried us forward into near-utopian levels of prosperity & comfort.

Hauntology, & Ghost Box particularly, is the sound of musicians & artists mourning the loss of that particular present. It’s a futuristic sound which hearkens backwards to the last time that futuristic sounds actually sounded ahead of us, chronologically. It is a sound which is equally steeped in warmth & stasis. A nostalgic cry for a better world in this age of stillness.

from O.E.D.

Intermission, the new compilation album consisting of new material from many of Ghost Box’s top tier artists – The Advisory Circle, Belbury Poly, Plone, Roj to name a few – comes during an intermission forced upon us by the global Pandemic, & as a result of it. It’s songs draw from both forthcoming Ghost Box releases & ones which were specially recorded/produced for this compilation.

The record starts with reverb soaked drums, a ’70’s style TV ident melody & the following reading by writer Justin Hopper over a shifting, warm soundscape:

What are the dimensions of a memory? What is its square footage? And where do its boundaries lie? We speak, sometimes, of gaps in our memories, as though our past exists only in what we can still see in our minds eye. But what if there are no gaps? What if they are, instead, memories themselves? Memories of a pause. Let’s experiment together. Let’s take a moment to forget all the actions and events of our lives, and gather up instead all of the gaps, string them together into one long memory of intermissions. And if we do, will it be silent? I don’t think so. I think it will sound of a hum. A hum that slowly builds until it begins to buzz, and eventually, quietly, to roar.

It’s both comforting & unsettling. The warmth of the soundscape is undercut with a sense of foreboding that it’s hard to place. It’s also pleasant to think of intermissions, pauses, as being important enough to form together into a buzz, a roar. It’s a welcome reminder that banal balance of pandemic lockdown is important. You might not be able to do what you want to do but you are still living your life, & time at rest in the age of Neoliberalism is a rarity we must treasure while we can.

Melancholic beauty abounds on Intermission. The Advisory Circle’s Airflow is downtempo analogue synth lines & Lo-Fi drum machine loops bubbling away deep beneath the comfort blanket of the nostalgic melodies.Woodbury Vale by The Hardy Tree is bucolic beauty & sugar sweet analogue synth tones. Beautify Junkyards (excellent name) is adventurous synth Folk, drenched in atmospheric reverb & whimsical, slow motion tropicalia percussion. Sharon Krauss’ Tell Me Why is gorgeous droning, folk, infused with recorder & melodic bell tones.

Justin Hopper delivers another spoken word on soundscape track in the middle of the album. An intermission in Intermission, I guess. A brief, relaxing walk through the Recreation Park. A macabre story of walking home from school after some momentous event involving an explosion.

The Animal Door by Roj (Stevens of Broadcast) is somewhere between a mangled tape experiment & warped ’60’s Psychedelia. Jangly guitars & winding organ melodies set against a backdrop of electronically manipulated drums, it’s as upbeat & relentlessly happy as it is druggy. ToiToiToi, with two songs, utilise simple, percussive melodies looping over library recording style found sound collages & Lo-Fi beats. It’s very lowkey & subtle.

Modern Reels, by Pye Corner Audio, is spectral, dubby, minimal techno while Photon Dust is the analogue sound palate of Hauntology applied to the downtempo heaviness of Hip Hop. If DJ Shadow had room full of analogue synths rather than a pile of Vinyl & an MPC. Plone’s Running And Jumping is manic depressive video game music which reminds me of the wonderful soundtrack to the fictional videogame Petscop.

The Focus Group, with Focustone 1 & Focustone 2 offers a couple of short but sweet electronic sketches. Belbury Poly’s They Left On A Morning Like This, the penultimate track, sees widescreen, cinematic synth strings juxtaposed against analogue arpeggios & lowkey drum machine patterns. The whole song is enveloped in a kind of slow, graceful melancholia which seems to encapsulate the tone of the whoel album.

The album ends on another Justin Hopper reading, this time with sounds from The Focus Group. Intermission Conclusion has more than a hint of The Twilight Zone about it.

Memory isn’t boundless, and it isn’t perfect. We all know that. But is it even on our side? Maybe it’s closest to right when we remember the unmemorious. The gaps, the ice glare, the sheet wind, the circuits and ash. Maybe the gaps are where memory comes into its own, when its partisans join us in the struggle, in those in-between hours. Maybe it’s at its most accurate when it joins us, here, in the intermission.

Intermission is out now on Ghost Box.

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