Saturday, March 19, 2016

a genre-less generation

"Last summer, a survey by “millennial insight agency” Ypulse surveyed 1,000 young adults. When asked about their favourite artists, many respondents couldn’t answer, not through ambivalence but because, it was concluded, “this generation is interested in so many music genres and artists”.

It found that while millennials are passionate about music (76% within the 13- to 17-year-old bracket said they wouldn’t be able to last a week without it), 79% of 13- to 32-year-olds said their tastes didn’t fall into one specific music genre. Just 11% said that they only listened to one genre of music. “It seems,” Ypulse noted when it published its findings, “that millennials are a genre-less generation”

--- from Guardian article by Peter Robinson, "Pop, rock, rap, whatever: who killed the music genre?", March 17 2016

(via Rubberdingyrapids at Dissensus thread on what the generation after millenials are into and whether music matters to them)

Robinson also writes:

"The 1975 have just scored a transatlantic No 1 with an album whose influences range from Yazoo to David Bowie. If you look at and key in, say, Lana Del Rey, you’ll find her listed under “pop, indie R&B, indietronica, chamber pop, synthpop”; she’s all of those, a bit, but at the same time not completely any of those. All are representative of a strain of artists who are post-genre. They now straddle, or exist beyond, genres that seemed set in concrete as little as 10 years ago. They represent a cross-pollination that makes it harder than ever to definitively state that you like or dislike one genre or another."

The founder of the pro-pop blog Popjustice, Robinson concedes:

"Clearly, different styles of music continue to exist. Fleur East’s blood-curdlingly bombastic Sax is clearly not the same thing as Slaves. You cannot argue that grime isn’t a scene, or that Little Mix aren’t a pop band. But the days of pitting one against the other, or dismissing one because it’s not the other, are coming to an end. Different styles of music still exist but, increasingly, nobody cares."

But argues that music, no longer to subject to the costs of financial investment or psychological investment, has become unshackled from identity-formation:

"It’s obvious, but still curious, how much more likely one is to try out a new album if the cost of doing so is zero pence.... in 2016, there is no financial imperative to stick to what you know you like. Perhaps, in the age of endless ways to express yourself, it’s also less necessary to define your identity in your teenage years by clinging to genres."
Missing from the piece is costs-benefits/ costs-downsides analysis of the death of genre and identity-formation through music. 
"What we’ve seen in the past 15 years is that consumption methods have broadened attitudes, music has changed to reflect that, and attitudes have then changed even further."
When you "broaden attitudes" that much, though, what disappears is attitude - the idea of taste-as-stance, choice-as-statement. 
"Music scenes may historically have appeared, disappeared and reappeared in a regular cycle, but it’s hard to imagine music fans moving on from this new sense of freedom."
Poptimism's victory = the End of History.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Come On Baby Light My Pyre, or, "this person's had enough / of useless memorabilia", or, Fire It Up and Start Again

Via Pitchfork  (and just about everywhere) comes news of McLaren & Westwood's son Joe Corré's
vow to  burn  his 5 million quid personal collection of punk memorabilia in protest at the Punk 
London events celebrating 1976's very own Jubilee (four decades of ye olde punke rocke)  

"He's also asking other dissatisfied punk fans to join him in burning their own punk stuff. The ceremonial burning will take place  in London's Camden district on November 26, which will mark the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols' "Anarchy in the U.K." ...  Punk London, a series of events celebrating the 40th anniversary of punk  [is] sponsored by British institutions such as the BFI, the British Library, and the Museum of London. "The Queen giving 2016, the Year of Punk, her official blessing is the most frightening thing I’ve ever heard," he said in a press release. "Talk about alternative and punk culture being appropriated by the mainstream. Rather than a movement for change, punk has become like a fucking museum piece or a tribute act." ... Corré added, "A general malaise has now set in amongst the British public. People are feeling numb."
I wonder whether he will go through with it? 
As a gesture, there's a weirdly impressive honor to it, I suppose.  But it also does seems like shutting the stable door long, long, LONG after the horse has bolted.
For even in 1986 - the 10th Anniversary -  when Jamie Reid's punk-era artwork for punk (+ work before + work after it) had a retrospective exhibition in London (the Monitor crew attended and Hilary Bichovsky wrote  up a great piece critiquing punk from a feminist / non-combatant angle) - even then it didn't feel the least bit surprising or even really especially lamentable that punk should be "institutionalised" in that fashion. That didn't stop a clutch of Situationists from half-heartedly protesting about punk's "recuperation" outside the art gallery, of course! 
Corré s proposed immolation - which is destroying his parents's inheritance in literal financial terms as well as in terms of the artifacts they created - also reminded me of the KLF setting fire to the million pounds.... 
Also it did made me think of the first chapter in Retromania which is about museums and the heritage-isation of rock. It starts with me going to the British Music Experience and their reification of punk relics and me walking past a giant cut-out of Johnny Rotten... and then a day or two later visiting  Mick Jones's Rock 'n' Roll Public Library, and then  moves to discussthe Sex Pistols's non-induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame c.f. Jones & the Clash's meek acceptance of the award..... with some references along the way to Julie Burchill's Rock's Rich Tapestry. Much of  the chapter turns around Punk (or similiar cultural irruptions/insurrections) and whether it / they should be or can be assimilated into the museum space.  
But even as I wrote it I was quite consciously suspending for the time being the thought - the understanding - that of course it was always going to be recuperated/assimilated/institutionalised/cooopted/monetized...   Just like Dada, like Futurism, like whatever outrage or seemingly un-assimilate-able anti-movement you could mention....  Every irreverence inevitably becomes reverenced....  every act of cultural patricide is destined to be respected and accepted .... every corrosion, cordoned off safely...   every participatory situation turned into a nostalgic spectacle....  every delinquency turned to edification..

And finally - putting aside for the moment, the evident sincerity of  Corré's intent, the honor to it, etc - putting that aside, it's perfectly obvious that behind his promise is a deeply nostalgic impulse, a hankering for the lost purity of non-compromise. 

Those images literally are BritRockPop's Rich Tapestry.... or rather BritRockPop's Rank ScreenSaver

Monday, March 14, 2016

Hauntology Parish Newsletter - March 2016 - eMMplekz; Mark Leckey; Hintermass; The Quietened Village; Auscultation

Freshly seeped, the latest batch of sour silage from eMMplekz Rook to TN34.

Their best yet, I reckon.

And my favourite album of the year so far.

Danktronica by Ekoplekz aka Nick Edwards; rhythmatised verbals from Mordant Music aka Baron Mordant aka Ian Hicks... sordid pyscho-surreal effluent bubbling up from the UKid of the 2010s.

It's a gas gas gas gas

Choice matter from the platter -

 videoclip for "Hastings"

and my personal fave - "Gloomy Leper Techno" a/k/a "Cheers Mate Bye". - ODTS for the ears.

Cheers mate, buy


New album from artist Mark Leckey, the "follow up" (not really) to his Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore OST (which I described as "a remarkable piece of sound art in its own right")
 - Dream English Kid 1964-1999 AD, on The Death of Rave label

DoR press release:

The Death of Rave are dead chuffed to present the OST for Mark Leckey’s autobiographical film installation, Dream English Kid 1964-1999AD, arriving nearly four years since the Turner Prize winning artist booted off the label with his much-loved and inspirational Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore soundtrack - which was subsequently parsed by IVVVO on Mark Leckey Made Me Hardcore, and also provided a sampled backbone to Jamie xx’s In Colour LP.
In Leckey’s own words: “Dream English Kid began when I found on YouTube an audio recording of Joy Division playing at a small club in Liverpool. A gig I’d been present at but could barely remember. As I listened I wondered if, through enhancing the audio, I could actually find my fifteen-year-old self in the recording. That led me to think would it be possible; at this point, with so much imagery available in the digital archives, to reconstruct my memoirs through all the DVD re-releases, eBay ephemera, YouTube uploads and above all the resource of the internet itself; the way it can actualize half-forgotten memories and produce a niche for seemingly every remembrance.”
Twice as long as Fiorucci… (1999) and cleft over two sides of wax, the film Dream English Kid 1964-1999AD and its soundtrack expand on its conceptual precedent by dilating its focus from late ‘80s casual and ‘90s rave culture to reflect and refract Leckey’s 35 years on earth before he became a mainstream, world-renowned artist.
Over seven parts, he employs the ubiquitous filters of contemporary culture, the internet and editing software, to traverse a timeline reaching from his birth in ’64 - against a backdrop of The Beatles and astronauts landing on the moon - to end up in the pre-millenial, pre-digital tension of ’99, signified by news reports and licks of Azzido Da Bass’ Doom’s Night, before spiralling into a reverse edited blur.
What occurs between those points forms a mixtape-like reverie of half-cut memories and abstracted, e-motif flashbacks gelled together by swooping, plasmic subs, smoke-clogged filters and uncannily psychoacoustic detail that really comes to life in headphones or with proper amplification. 
In case you haven’t already witnessed the film installation, we really don’t want to spoil the surprise any further: but trust that the coming-of-age passage is memorably affective, and his coverage of the post-punk and rave epochs - particularly the MC chatting license plate numbers - are expectedly choice. 
Referring to the original sense of the term, nostalgia-as-illness, the piece has a deeply miasmic, febrile sensuality, which, when separated from the visual content, provides an oneiric side-effect all of its own, one which pays testament to the most subtle, psychedelic aspects of Leckey’s genius and broad appeal. 

Out on Friday from the Ghost Box label is a pleasing LP by Hintermass  (aka Jon Brooks + Tim Felton) entitled The Apple Tree.

Listen to the title track here
and other clips from the album here

Blurb from the Ghost Box site, where you may purchase the album:

THE GROUP: The Apple Tree is the first LP from Hintermass following their Study Series single for Ghost Box in 2011. The duo comprises Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) and Tim Felton (formerly of Broadcast and Seeland).
Both are multi instrumentalists, lending the album its rich texture of electronics, guitar, keyboards, percussion and exotic acoustic instrumentation. The sound is completed by Felton’s rich, warm vocals and Brook’s immaculate production.
SOUND: The Apple Tree is primarily a pop album; mannered and serene with strong electronic and folk sensibilities. This is balanced by expertly handled abstract sketches and instrumental pieces.
INFLUENCES: Both artists cite the kosmiche music of Ash-ra and Popul Vuh and their simultaneous re- discovery of the music of Nico as strong influences on the album. The songs also have clear roots in both traditional and psychedelic folk.
ALBUM: The CD and LP come lavishly packaged with artwork by JulianHouse. The heavyweight vinyl LP comes with a free download code.

Coming next month April via the auspices of the A Year in the Country project: The Quietened Village, featuring contributions from Howlround, Time Attendant, and other parishioners. 
Press release: 
"The Quietened Village is a study of and reflection on the lost, disappeared and once were homes and hamlets that have wandered off the maps or that have become shells of their former lives and times.
"The album travels from quietly unsettling electronica and tape manipulation via exploratory folk tales and far distant soundscapes; featuring contributions by Howlround, The Rowan Amber Mill (The Book Of The Lost), Cosmic Neigbourhood, Sproatly Smith, The Straw Bear Band (The Owl Service/Rif Mountain), The Soulless Party (Tales From The Black Meadow), Time Attendant, Polypores, A Year In The Country, David Colohan and Richard Moult (both of United Bible Studies).

"Inspired in part by images of sections of abandoned, submerged villages and the spires of their places of worship re-appearing from the surfaces of reservoirs and lakes, alongside thoughts of dwellings that have succumbed to the natural erosion of the coastline and have slowly tumbled into the sea.

"Some of the once were and lost villages which were seedlings for this body of work still stand but their populations are no more, those who lived there evicted at short notice and never to return so that their homes and hearths could be used as training grounds for those who would fight during great conflicts between nations.

"Such points of reference have been intertwined with possibly more bodeful reasons for this stilling and ending; thoughts of Midwich Cuckoos-esque fictions or dystopic tales told and transmitted in times gone by and imagined/re-imagined in amongst the strands of The Quietened Village.

"The album is released as part of the A Year In The Country project - a set of year long journeys through and searching for an expression of an underlying unsettledness to the English bucolic countryside dream; an exploration of an otherly pastoralism, the patterns beneath the plough, pylons and amongst the edgelands.

"It is sent out into the world in two different hand-crafted Night and Dawn editions, produced using archival giclée pigment inks; presenting and encasing their journey in amongst tinderboxes, string bound booklets and accompanying ephemera."

Beg pardon, what is giclée when it's at home?



And finally a lovely track by Auscultation - "haunted house", a literally elegaic ambient-dance piece inspired by a personal loss. From a late last year release on the 100% Silk label. 

the dawn of reissue culture

For the last ten minutes or so...  in which the reissue of major label back catalogue (Atlantic) by two plucky British independents is enough of a notable event to be, er, noted and commented upon (by Tony Blackburn, Morrissey, George Michael)

83-84, from memory, does strike me as when reissue culture went into overdrive.... from being an irregular occurrence to a steady flow

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

queen of retro

"James’ new solo album, The Price of the Ticket, ticks all the musical credibility boxes with a line-up that includes Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols on bass, Lenny Kaye from the Patti Smith Group on lead and rhythm guitar, Bad Seeds drummer James Sclavunos, and Stooges Steve Mackay and James Williamson on baritone sax and guitar: a roll call that endorses the calibre of James’ song-writing and voice.

“Glen I have known all my adult life because my boyfriend for many years was Mick Jones from The Clash, so when I needed a bass, I thought Glen can do this. Lenny I met being neighbours in the East Village – we were born to work together. James Sclavunos I met in the bar of The Bowery Hotel and we always said let’s do something together.”

"If Transvision Vamp were high energy, teen fun punk, three decades later, James’ album is a much more grown up affair. Complex and confident, James’ vocals are simultaneously spiky and soft, while her band provides a dark New York underbelly of sound. There’s the 1960s Georgy Girl pop vocals of Indigent Blues, through the legacy of the New York Dolls, Stooges and MC5 in the evocative You’re a Dirtbag Lester [inspired by music journalist Lester Bangs], to a cover version of It’s All Right, Ma."

- from the Scotsman

That image is alarming

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Thursday, March 3, 2016

uncanny persistence of the H - part 34 - t/e/u "to rescue things beyond recall..."

to​ ​rescue​ ​things​ ​beyond​ ​recall​-​soon​-​when​ ​the​ ​reaper​-​time​-​has​ ​garnered​ ​all​-​the​ ​ears​ ​that​ ​hear​ ​now​-​and​ ​the​ ​feet​ ​that​ ​stand​-​yet​ ​in​ ​​the fields​ ​where​ ​once​ ​in​ ​fold​ ​and​ ​hall​-​echoed​ ​the​ ​voices​ ​of​ ​our​ ​fathers'​ ​band (version) - by t/e/u

"The Pennine Range, upon the western slopes of which the ancient town of Burnley is situated, has been called the backbone of England. It stretches in an almost unbroken series of high peaks and lofty moors from Scotland to Derbyshire, and in the shadow of Pendle Hill, which is a detached spur almost in the middle of the range, lies the town of Burnley. To the south, beside the Brun, from which the town takes its name, is the hamlet of Hurstwood" – Memories of Hurstwood, tales and traditions of the neighbourhood (1889) by Tattersall Wilkinson & J. F. Tattersall


Originally released as part of Folklore Tapes' Lancashire Folklore Tapes IV - Memories of Hurstwood​. 30x Hard Back Cassette Books & 60x Envelope Edition. Each edition comes with a fragment of wall from Extwistle Hall and D/L. Presented here in the form of an alternative mix and master. Recorded,​ ​edited​ ​and arranged​ ​in 2015. Analog master, transferred to​ ​16​ ​bit Wav​ ​by​ ​Optimum Mastering,​ ​2016.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

uncanny persistence of the H - part 33 - Folkore Tapes / Occultural Creatures Vol. 1

press release -

Folklore Tapes / The Lost Tapes Record Club

Occultural Creatures Vol.I - Black Dog Traditions of England Folklore

Deluxe embossed, hand-numbered and hand-stamped boxset containing:
§  80-page research book Black Dog Traditions of England by Ian Humberstone
§  DVD film and accompanying vinyl LP by Ian Humberstone & David Chatton Barker et al.
§  Two risograph posters and a printed postcard
§  One time press of 500 copies only

Folklore Tapes head activists Ian Humberstone & David Chatton Barker unveil one of the label's most exquisitely haunting releases yet, Occultural Creatures Vol.I - Black Dog Traditions of England. Consisting of a deluxe, eighty-page book written by Ian Humberstone that spins tales of Black Dog shadows from around the moors of England plus an accompaniment film DVD and a soundtrack album. Having been performing this piece at folklore nights around the UK in recent months there has been much anticipation for Ian's research to be committed to paper. Consisting of site-specific photographs and original transcripts of accounts of locals' brushes with the phantom hounds on the moors they roam, this is deeply unnerving stuff. 

Coming accompanied by an LP of original recordings spun into a mixture of acousmatic sound compositions, site-specific field recordings and original audio of local storytellers all composed by Ian and featuring extensive composition by David Chatton Barker that's as cinematic as it is chilling.

Much like the labels highly lauded Theo Brown and the Folklore of Dartmoor boxset, Occultural Creatures Vol.I is a beautifully packaged and well-researched item that expands on the label's remit for releasing hand packaged artifacts and creates something that stands out as much more than an LP with a story behind it. Much like similar LP's from this world such as Finders Keepers lost library spooks Supernatural Lancashire to The Lost Tapes Record club's Conet project referencing radiolore, this book/LP/DVD boxset is full of imagination and wonderment that will educate as well as celebrate tales of black dog horror from long lost times. 

Massive recommendation for the occultists, Summerisle residents and anyone looking to get lost in some of the most fully immersive world of Black Dog traditions of England.

The Lost Tapes Record Club EP-1

   §  First-time vinyl edition of long sold out Folklore Tapes cassette, limited to 250 copies worldwide

The Lost Tapes collective follow up two private press 7"s with this vinyl reissue of the group's library funk and balearic folk(lore) tapes EP on the Exquisite Corpses label. The original cassette release of this appeared and then disappeared in a flash with many collectors and library enthusiasts hounding them for copies, and from listening to this eight track mini-LP you will easily see why. Based around ethnographic radiolore surrounding the Dorset town of Symonsbury the tracks shed a lighter side on the folklore they are themed around whilst in keeping musically with the groups close ties to the Liverpudlian psych group Clinic. The sounds within are split somewhere between the very best Kosmiche mixtape's from Andy Votel and Jonny Trunk's Ghost Box jazz mixed with a slice of Conet project number station eeriness. 

Highly limited pressing and a chance for those who missed the original cassettes to own some of these wonderful sounds at last.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

uncanny persistence of the H - part 32 - Kate Carr

#32 - Kate Carr

press release:

Kate Carr
It Was A Time Of Laboured Metaphores
The Helen Scarsdale Agency // HMS 035
release date : 2/26/2015

The field recordist and lucid-dream composer Kate Carr conjures a liminal art, seeking to articulate the remembrances, the concrete fact, and the deliberate exaggerations of detail, all in the pursuit of addressing the human interaction with the environment. Psychology, history, politics, geography, storytelling, fantasy, the notion of the self, and the disintegration of these rigors at their transect all come into play in her ongoing work. She has set herself on path to make these investigations, relocating herself from her native Australia to Northern Ireland, followed by innumerable detours. Hence, It Was A Time Of Labored Metaphors. 

This album from Carr intertwines the lugubrious wash of environmental detail with the dissolved songwriting described in the distant past as 'rural psychedelia' rendering an aesthetic in the orbit of :zoviet*france: or as the dub of a dub of a dub abstractions from Dome. For example, a guitar swollen with ethereal blight cycles in soft whirlpools of drone and thrum as the gloom of an irish rainstorm pours down a sewer drain. Electricity proves a nobel tool as well, as she tapes into telephone wires to extract deadtones of unanswered calls. It is as if Carr is peeling back the layers of history to uncover the ghostly stains of human existence at a particular place. The dead may not be talking but the soil and its occupiers still do. 

Carr on the album:

"This album comes out of a series of travels and artist residencies I did over 2014 and 2015 not long after I had moved from Australia to Belfast in Northern Ireland. It was a time of great instability and unease, with a precarious new home, which I had trouble making much sense of, and a great deal of travel for my artistic work on trips across many parts of Europe, also to South Africa, and back and forth to Australia. And this experience of living many places, and nowhere, of constantly meeting phalanxes of new people, of stumbling and drifting, connecting and disconnecting, arriving and departing was one I found incredibly disorienting and powerful. I had a constant feeling of unease, of not belonging, and I found this infused both the physical and emotional landscape of these experiences in ways which seemed both astonishingly vivid in the moment, but somehow untrustworthy. My relationships with people, with places, with landscapes were either far too much or too little, by turns profound and mundane, life changing and pointless. I was so radically unmoored I began searching outside of myself for signs or some sort of solidity which might help to make sense of such a disorienting flow of people and places, languages and landscapes. And in such a feverish and heightened place it would seem to me that the landscape, the weather, street signs, sounds, music and architecture would conspire in the most overblown and astonishing ways. When I said goodbye to people it snowed suddenly in places it shouldn’t have snowed, hunting signs suddenly materialised warning me of dangers I didn’t know existed. I recorded a throbbing windmill branded at the top with a sign reading ‘climax’. I watched vultures while heart breaking songs in foreign languages wafted from tinny petrol station PA systems, and even in the most isolated places cars with creeping bass prowled my nights. And I found myself thinking ‘If this was a film, and it cut from me to these images with these sounds, it would be so overblown and laboured no one could take it seriously’.  I couldn’t quite trust or believe in this maelstrom of experiences, of feelings, but I could not escape them either. "