Explanation of Artist

Sorry about the lack of updates folks, but I've been too busy hyperventilating in a corner since I found out Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti are playing Whelan's on May 15th.  Ohhh mmyyyy goddd.

Also coming: Grouper and Mi Ami. They say missing out on an Animal Collective ticket will come back to you threefold, and it has.

On my recent trek through the annals of DIY/lo-fi, I've been turned onto the mind-blowing R. Stevie Moore, bedsit recording extraordinaire. You couldn't write this guy if you tried.

He released Phonography in 1976, and it's the kind of album David Byrne couldn't have dreamed of writing at his peak. You'll notice some serious similarities between Moore and Ariel Pink (who've collaborated by mail), not only the obvious DIY roots, but a strong likeness between songs such as "Alecia" (former) and "Alisa" (latter). I like the idea of homage and constant exchange between the work of each throwing creative ownership into question. 

[[Somewhat appropriately, Phonography will be the last full album I'll offer for download here. I don't feel great about doing so and to be honest I could do without being hunted down by KGB-esque industry 'bots.]]

Do download this, though. It's a fucking epiphany. One of the best sounds I've ever heard.


Your Talk Won't Walk No More

It took me a while to get into this E.P. It's been swimming 'round my ipod for a month or so and I'm not really sure when my opinion went from 'meh' to 'hmmmm'. Isn't it weird the way certain albums will totally pass you by as unremarkable until a certain moment when it all seems to fall together because of some shift in mood or atmosphere? My case in point: Black Dice. I have no idea what changed, but now I'm crazy about Repo [2009] where before I was using it as an excuse to reprimand myself for filling my hard drive with irrelevant, pretentious shite.

As you may have already guessed I am not a natural music journo, in fact I don't read the printed music press at all, so I will provide you with this tiny, vague amount of non-information about Cold Cave:

- his name is Wesley Eisloid, from Philadelphia.
- Xiu Xiu love him [I swear to god these XX favourites I tend to hit on are total coincidences -it's kind of flattering to the ego...]
- this E.P. sounds a lot like Gary Numan pursuing Ian Curtis down a sewer. 
- the cover is so dreadful it's practically genius... the guy looks like he's battling his way through the most boring dinner date in history. Boasting a history of dating gamers, academics and Satanists, I can relate.


Doo bee doo

Darling Blogspot, I am *this* close to moving to Wordpress.

If you know anything about me, you also know that I poo my pants at anything that sounds vaguely like Boards of Canada. Early, mid, late period, it doesn't matter. I know a few of you are also BOC fans, so this post is bringing two BOC-like or inspired acts to your attention. While the first, Casino Vs. Japan is quite derivative of later BOC, I would suggest that this doesn't necessarily mean that his work is bad. What's more, Whole Numbers Play the Basics (2002) sounds more like Trans-Canada Highway (2006), so perhaps BOC 'derived' from CVJ? Who knows... whatever the case, let it be known that Pitchfork is (surprise surprise) wrong about this artist.

I like that sometimes we stumble upon something really brilliant, totally by accident. This is true in the case of Bibio, or producer Stephen Wilkinson from Mush Records (Thavius Beck, Busdriver, Daedelus). I believe I read this described as 'folktronica' once. Think of early lofi BOC with acoustic guitars and old pianos thrown in. This is a truly elegant, overlooked album which I play pretty much every day:

Bang Boong

Apologies for the delay in updating kids, I've been too busy with a shitload of other, unfortunately more pressing things. 

My society at college is hosting a Rape Awareness week, so naturally I'm bursting at the seams with righteous feminism. What better time, then, to introduce yet another White Denim labelmate, and "Australia's most confusing act",  Menstruation Sisters. They are a project of the noise legend Oren Ambarchi's, proof to me that not all Australians deserve my total disdain. I've been listening to Dead at Slug's on a loop. This year I think I finally 'got' what noise rock is about. Not that I could tell you in so many words... that ain't the point of noise, babygirl.     

Click below and download the album, or I will cry.


Aphex Twin vs. Stockhausen

From Aphex Twin's Wiki page:

In November 1995, The Wire published an article titled "Advice to Clever Children." In the process of producing the interview, a package of tapes containing music from several artists, including Aphex Twin, was sent to Karlheinz Stockhausen.

He commented:
I heard the piece Aphex Twin of Richard James carefully: I think it would be very helpful if he listens to my work "Song of the Youth," which is electronic music, and a young boy's voice singing with himself. Because he would then immediately stop with all these post-African repetitions, and he would look for changing tempi and changing rhythms, and he would not allow to repeat any rhythm if it [was] varied to some extent and if it did not have a direction in its sequence of variations.[37]

Aphex Twin responded: "I thought he should listen to a couple of tracks of mine: 'Didgeridoo,' then he'd stop making abstract, random patterns you can't dance to".



This is the jam session you wish you'd had

Thee More Shallow's first verse for "Freshman Thesis" goes:

Before I spoke in riddles, I was worried someone would hear me
Now I know that no one really listens so I will just speak clearly
I don't have private thoughts, just a lyrical worksheet
For mangling my observations on the meter and the beat
And in the process of it, on every line
Sooner or later I'll have to change the meaning to fit the rhyme.

I am writing an undergraduate thesis and similarly struggling with having to dilute my opinions on a topic into chapters and paragraphs. Form: something I've never been good at. I'm toying with the idea of submitting a 12,000 word tape-recorded thesis of nothing but stream-of-consciousness, in-character wailing. Yeah, so it would fail, but then at least the next four months wouldn't signal nothing but an endless pit of futureless gloom. All this, for a grade that doesn't guarantee me a job. January's fun, isn't it kids?

Speaking of stream-of-consciousness wailing, here are MP3s from Mi Ami, my favourite experimental/noise rock band from the excellent White Denim label. This is their best work by far, the African Rhythms 12'' [2008] which has promptly sold out. One of those albums I downloaded and forgot about, only for itunes to cough it up months later as I'm lying in bed, causing me to wonder what the fuck it is and why I haven't been listening to it on a loop until now...

MP3: Mi Ami - "African Rhythms"
MP3: Mi Ami - "Feel You"
MP3: Mi Ami - "Clear Light"


How long can you hold you breath?

I am not doing well. This post will be an example of how music can help express these things going on in your head, or how it can bring you out of a mindset. Really good music can. Ten years ago, my cd player wasn't so much a cd player as an IV drip I hauled everywhere with me. There had to be something else, some meaningful soundtrack to every journey. It would block out the noise of my family, my friends, my life. These days, music is more of an indulgence than a necessity. I suppose my life is much stronger and fuller than when I lived up North in an unhappy situation; nothing needs to be a religion any more as I am enough, for the most part. 

I say for the most part, because today I am not enough. At times like this I hang on to certain noises, the most basic sensory pleasures. My faith in making music is alive because I know that a lot of people value their albums on a personal level. A certain album or song reminds you of a certain time: that bad breakup, that essay you were writing, that little room with the busted sofa and fairy lights where you lost your virginity.

When my mum was pregnant with me, she would sit close to a radio. She had read that Mozart was soothing for the baby.  I still listen to Mozart and other music as a kind of therapy, essential to my alone time when I need to think or regroup. Years ago, when I was obsessed enough, I knew albums as intimately as if they were close friends or lovers. They echoed anger or sadness back to me in a way that no relative or friend was capable of doing for me at that time. In a lonely environment, certain albums were essential to me. You could read this as slightly pathetic I suppose, but my problems aren't the point. The point is that music is often more important than one wants to let on. Why is there an entire culture (and sub-cultures within those cultures) dedicated to the worship of one intonated note played in front of another? Why, if music doesn't affect world politics or social problems, do we think, talk, blog about it daily? It is a spiritual, soothing experience. We are not robots yet. 

My hands shake as I type this. I have had experiences through music that haven't been equalled in my personal relationships. When I was eighteen, I played pieces like The Rite of Spring and Ein Heldenleben in large youth orchestras. There is nothing quite like that feeling of a hundred people playing something beautiful in unison, each person contributing his or her different but equally essential role. In between concerts, we stumbled our sentences, had clumsy romantic encounters, but for a 40 minute piece we were there in the moment, for once our bodies working in sync with our minds. (It's never the same being in audience; even now I get restless watching a performance.) The aftermath of the concert was saturated in the unused adrenaline - a lot of musicians will tell you that they drink to get rid of it as quickly as possible. 

I need music. It bridges the gap between the personal and the collective, expressing something I am untrained to articulate in a stark everyday reality. Maybe, just maybe, you know what I mean.