Sunday, October 14, 2012

Retromania tour Mittel Europa updated information

Oktober 16 to 26, the Retromania tour takes in 11 cities across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. Here's the schedule with more information on times and venue addresses. Please note the Munich event has moved to a different venue.
The events involve a new talk + readings from the book + Q/A with the audience.

16. Oktober: Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzber, 20-30 Uhr 
skalitzerstr. 130, 10999 berlin
tel  +49 30-61656003
17. Oktober: Hamburg, Golem, 20.15 Uhr
Große Elbstraße 14, S-Bahn Reeperbahn (Ausgang Nobistor)

18. Oktober: Köln, King Georg Klubbar, 21 Uhr 
Sudermanstraße 2, 50670 Köln, 
with Olaf Karnik
19. Oktober: St. Gallen, Palace St.Gallen,20.00 uhr doors/21.30 event 
Zwinglistr. 3, 9000 St.Gallen, 
tel: + 41 71 222 21 23
after the talk, the Nightingales perform

20. Oktober: München, Milla, evening (info tk)
^^^^note: event at a different (and larger) venue than previously listed^^^
Milla, holzstr. 28
with support from  a band comprising ralf summer (zündfunk), didi neidhart (skug/vorwort der deutschen ausgaben) und christos (optimal-records)

21. Oktober: Wien, Phil, 20.00 Uhr 
Gumpendorfer Straße 10-12

22. Oktober: Wels, Alter Schlachthof Wels, evening (info tk)
Dragonerstraße 22, 4600 Wels
Tel: +43 (0) 7242 67284

23. Oktober: Nürnberg, Musikverein,einlass: 20 uhr / beginn: 20:30 uhr 
festsaal im künstlerhaus (k4), königstr. 93, 90402

24. Oktober: Marburg, Trauma, evening (info tk) 
Affoellerwiesen 3a

25. Oktober: Frankfurt, Orange Peel, 8.30 uhr
Orange Peel
Kaiserstraße 39  
talk + dialogue with Klaus Walter
26. Oktober: Luxemburg, Exit07,  evening (info tk)
1, rue de l'Aciere

Retromania translator Chris Wilpert will be present for all but the last date of the tour. 

Retromania is out now on Ventil Verlag 


Thursday, October 11, 2012


The German translation of Retromania is out now on Ventil Verlag. And next week I start a book tour taking in 11 cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg.

Lesetour zu Retromania

16. Oktober: Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg (Skalitzer Str. 130,
17. Oktober: Hamburg, Golem (Grosse Elbstr. 14,

18. Oktober: Köln, King Georg (Sudermannstr. 2, 
19. Oktober: St. Gallen, Palace (Zwinglistr. 3,

20. Oktober: München, Optimal-Records (Kolosseumstr. 6)

21. Oktober: Wien, Phil (Gumpendorfer Str. 10-12,

22. Oktober: Wels, Schlachthof, (Dragonerstr. 22,

23. Oktober: Nürnberg, Musikverein, (Königstr. 93,

24. Oktober: Marburg, Trauma (Affoellerwiesen 3a,

25. Oktober: Frankfurt, Orange Peel (Kaiserstr. 39,

26. Oktober: Luxemburg, Exit07 (1, rue de l'Aciere,

The events take place in the evening (more info to follow). Most events involve a new talk + readings from the book + Q/A with the audience, but the Frankfurt event is an onstage dialogue with autor und DJ Klaus Walter. Retromania translator Chris Wilpert will be present for all but the last date of the tour.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What the Future Sounded Like, part 6749

further to the last post, Our God Is Speed points to another doc about early electronics

Greyhoos mentions the Mordant Music reissues of Todd Dockstader's electrono-library music ...

People keep digging more and more of this stuff up...

There's the ongoing Laurie Spiegel program (the super, super-expanded Expanded Universe being just the first of string of reissues, or more accurately, issues-of-never-before-issued stuff)

Public Information have loads of stuff in the works, with a collection of Canadian library music out in a few days-- Tomorrow's Achievements: Parry Music Library 1976-86 -- you can get a taste and see a video made for the title track here --  plus that Ernest Berk fellow coming soon

Every other month in The Wire, Ian Helliwell shines the spot on some forgotten or never-known electronic auteur -- Terence Dwyer recently, in the new issue a piece on Stuart Wynn Jones and the whole amateur tape recording enthusiasts subculture

Apres FC Judd, pedagogical electronics (Dwyer-style books on concrete in the classroom) and the hobbyist electronic/tape/radio nexus seem to be the hot new areas of interest, on the "scene"

Also electronic and tape music done for post-WW2 animations and computer graphic video in the Norman McLaren / Lillian Schwartz vein

At the more institutional / state-funded end of things, there's Mego's series of INA-GRM vinyl only reissues on Recollection GRM

I'm sure there's more i'm forgetting

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The New Sound of Music, 1979 TV doc on history of electronic instruments

[via Mounds and Circles]

Meanwhile (as MoC notes) the BBC Radiophonic Workshop is relaunched as The New Radiophonic Workshop

maybe with Matthew Herbert as Director, this isn't such a bad idea as it seems



hark, what's this then? another speck of lost radiphonic treasure on YouTube -- an early BBC radio piece involving Daphne Oram - Private Dreams and Public Nightmares (1957)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

It is tempting to say that no greater proof of the exhaustion of the concept of the remix  could be found than the news that Nineties dude Beck has been working with Philip Glass on an album of remixes of the latter's work.

But hey, for all I know the versions (by the likes of Amon Tobin, Tyondai Braxton et al) are just brilliant. Maybe this record will defy the fate of all previous "Icon Gets Remixed by Admiring Descendants" albums that now clutter the bargain basements of M&VE and its equivalents worldwide.

Unmentioned in that piece is the fact that Glass himself did a club remix -- S'Express's "Hey Music Lover"-- back in 1989. "The Glass Cut" came about because a friend of Mark Moore's--journalist Louise Gray--had become friends with Glass. Gray was one of the original Shoom acieeed crew but also a long time fan of Minimalism and that whole New Music / New York downtown zone, and she spotted the affinities (repetition, trance, euphony, pulses, etc) between Glass/Reich/et al and house music very early.

A historical bridge between the two realms -- downtown minimalism and downtown postdisco-protohouse -- occurred earlier in the form of Arthur Russell. Who does crop up in the article as having effectively remixed a piece by Glass to the point where it became a new composition:

Glass: "I was doing a theater piece for the Mabou Mines, it was some Beckett piece, and I wrote him a cello piece, and he liked the work and was playing it. And I came back about three months later, and I heard it and I said, “Arthur, that’s beautiful, but what happened to the piece?” And he said, “No, no, that is what you wrote,” and I said, “Arthur, it’s no longer what I wrote, it’s your piece now.” And he thought I was being upset, he apologized and I said, “No, no, no, I think we should put you down as the composer.” He had reached the point of transformation. The incremental changes had turned it into this other thing. I love the fact that he did that."

Friday, October 5, 2012

In Slate today, a piece by me on  "recreativity" -  a critique of the emerging orthodoxy of "everything is a remix" / "originality is a myth" / "no such thing as genius", in terms of its relationship to digital culture and to dance music ideas that are frankly a bit stale at this point. 

(Reading some of the arguments being made these past few years from critics, academics, artists, etc you can't help wondering if these dudes heard a Girl Talk CD and had their minds blown.)

Or, old fashioned modernism versus what is now equally old fashioned postmodernism.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"The once futureshapers have become custodians of a heritage. Like the computer, techno may have lost its most revolutionary connotations, but traces of the old promise remain: one must still override the present, if not solely for the sake of the future".

A probing and wide-roving review of Polysick's Digital Native  by Reed Scott Reid over at Tiny Mix Tapes, touching on many facets of the futurepast utopianism of techno, from the launchpad of  Polysick's debt to Underground Resistance.

And along the way achieving a Wire-writers tetrafecta of referencing (Kodwo Eshun, Mark Fisher, Rob Young, yours truly) plus redeployment of theorems from  Vincent Mosco, Georg Simmel, and Robert Farris Thompson. 

But what, prithee, is "an acid-moiled jounce"?

(It's a good record actually...  and I like the title/concept of "digital natives")


Some other ace TMT stuff from recently: James Parker's contributions to the debate about vaporwave, and Jonathan Dean's takedown of Gatekeeper

 must admit (talking of retrofutures) that my very soul did yawn when the 303s wibbled their way out of the mix on Exo .... other aspects of the sound made me flash on Front Line Assembly, seldom a good thing

shame as they are very interesting to think about / read about and one can only salute Adam Harper for using them as a canvas to genre-coin upon: "Distroid" – the muscular music of hi-DEF doom

of course as per the Concept-Music thesis, you could say their music is their own canvas... the Sounded Word c.f. the Painted Word

From youngsters with a great future to a group of young men who get their inspiration from the past....”

At the Guardian, Jon Savage digs out of the British Pathé newsreel archive this awesome little item on the Original Downtown Syncopators, a trad jazz outfit who modeled themselves on the Original Dixieland Jass Band and their "hotted-up marches"

Detailed description of the action at the Pathe' website

That's Ron Geesin on the piano there...
You can here him tinkling the old ivories on this

Only the other day I was chatting at the other place about the links between trad jazz, the Brit comedy/satire boom, "absurd nostalgia", Goons-y/Cutler-esque Anglo-Dada,  psychedelia...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

all yesterdays parties

Angus Finlayson on how dance music's neophiliac tendencies are counterbalanced by
"an ever-present appetite for the old over at FACT

"Recently, though, it feels like this habit of retrospection has gone into overdrive. House music, in particular, seems to ache for its past – although precisely which bit of it isn’t quite clear. Re-pressings of long-coveted twelves, extensive reissues of label and artist discographies, and selectors carving an identity out of the bricolage of lost classics ensure that youngsters are more clued-up than ever about every obscure corner of their lofty inheritance. The internet is central to this: the fact that a forgotten Roy Davis Jr. production is no longer consigned solely to dusty bargain bins in necrotic record stores – that it is, in fact, just one “related videos” click away – makes cultural archeology a more viable and accessible pastime than ever before.

"The effects of this shift on the creative output of the present are, frankly, mixed. Of course, the ways in which old records are revived and recontextualised can feasibly cause fresh sparks to fly, and an aesthetic focussed on the past isn’t necessarily moribund... It feels like the scales have tipped somewhat. And while I love early 90s New York house, jacking acid tracks, primitivist 808 workouts and the rest as much as the next dance music anorak, the proliferation of homages to, and watery imitations of, these styles made by young producers today is both fatiguing and depressing.

 "It’s almost as if, confronted with the genius of their forefathers at every turn, young artists are struggling to imagine novel forms for house music beyond the boundaries already drawn. Instead, intuiting the house music mantra that not every stylistic break needs to be a radical one, they settle for variations on a shrinking pool of themes, trying on past genre-configurations like so much costumery, reinforcing old, safe values rather than attempting to forge new ones....

 "My gut feeling is that house music, in the broadest sense, could do with a sturdy voltage to the chest right now."

Angus then goes on to praise Mark Fell and Vessel for going against this retro-reverential tendency.

Certainly on the reissue front it's striking that you have had in just the last month or two:

curatorial repackaging and re-presentation of the unjustly forgotten: Strut's This Ain’t Chicago anthology of early UK house  (check out compiler Richard Sen's oral history over at Neufutur magazine, an in-aptly titled publication in the case of this particular story!)

individual artists giving themselves the Legacy Treatment as regards even relatively recent output: DJ Q's The Archive, Pinch's MIA 2006-2010 (both great, by the way)

while hipstahouse seems to be going from "strength to strength"


For a more optimistic reading of dance music nostalgia check out Michaelangelo Matos's piece on "permaretro" from 2010.