Archive for December, 2010

A Year In Lists and Numbers and Graphs

December 29, 2010

Favourite Albums
Top Twenty (In Reverse Order)

Flying Lotus
20. Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

Balmorhea
19. Balmorhea – Constellations

@C
18. @C – Music for Empty Spaces

Oneohtrix Point Never
17. Oneohtrix Point Never – Returnal

Chris Abrahams
16. Chris Abrahams – Play Scar

DM Stith
15. DM Stith – Heavy Ghost Appendices

Toshimaru Nakamura
14. Toshimaru Nakamura – Egrets

Fennesz Daniell Buck
13. Fennesz/Daniell/Buck – Knoxville

Alva Noto
12. Alva Noto – For 2

Food
11. Food – Quiet Inlet

Four Tet
10. Four Tet – There Is Love In You

BJ Nilsen
9. BJ Nilsen – The Invisible City

Nils Molvaer
8. Nils Molvaer – Hamada

Third Eye Foundation
7. Third Eye Foundation – The Dark

Robert Curgenven
6. Robert Curgenven – Oltre

Caribou
5. Caribou – Swim

Owen Pallett
4. Owen Pallett – Heartland

Emeralds
3. Emeralds – Does It Look Like I’m Here

Various Artists
2. Various Artists – Cold Wave and Minimal Electronics

Sun City Girls
1. Sun City Girls – Funeral Mariarchi

Honourable Mention
Mark Van Hoen – Where Is The Truth
Matthew Dear – Black City
The Sight Below – It All Falls Apart
Swans – My Father Will Guide Me…
Abe Vigoda – Crush
Viernes – Sinister Devices
Royksopp – Senior
Supersilent – 10
Pantha du Prince – Black Noise
Autechre – Oversteps
Dollboy – Ghost Stations
Actress – Splazsh
Alex Smoke – Lux
Philip Jeck – An Ark for The Listener
Max Richter – Infra

Books Read (Fiction and Comics)

The Night Sessions – Ken Macleod
The Glass Books of The Dream Eaters – G W Dahlquist
The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K LeGuin
The Blade Itself – Joe Abercrombie
Grandville – Bryan Talbot
Before They Are Hanged – Joe Abercrombie
The Last Argument of Kings – Joe Abercrombie
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – John Le Carre
The City and The City – China Mieville
The Genocides – Thomas M Disch
Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days – Alastair Reynolds
Music of Chance – Paul Auster
A Quiet Flame – Philip Kerr
Consider Phlebas – Iain M Banks
Empire of the Sun – JG Ballard
Super Cannes – JG Ballard
Black Hole – Charles Burns
Crash – JG Ballard
In Praise of Shadows – Jun’Ichiro Tanizaki
Kingdom Come – JG Ballard
The Savage Detectives – Roberto Bolano
Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan
Berlin Parts 1 & 2 – Jason Lutes
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
The Crystal World – JG Ballard
Light – M John. Harrison
If On A Winters Night A Traveller – Italo Calvino
Inspector Imanishi Investigates – Seichico Matsumoto
Imaginary Magnitudes – Stanislaw Lem
Cocaine Nights – JG Ballard
Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
Cerebus Vol 1. – David Sim
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol.3 – Alan Moore
The Unlimited Dream Company – JG Ballard
All The Pretty Horses – Cormac McCarthy
Luther Arkwright Vol. 1 – Bryan Talbot
Who Killed Palmino Molero – Vargos Llosa
Beijing Coma – Ma Jian
Non-Stop – Brian Aldiss
Good-bye – Yoshihrio Tatsumi
Epileptic – David B
Nomad of Time – Michael Moorcock
Collected Ghost Stories – M.R.James
It’s A Good Life, If You Don’t Weaken – Seth
The Black Butterfly – Mark Gatiss
Chasm City – Alasdair Reynolds
The Murders In The Rue Morgue and Other Stories – Edgar Allen Poe

Books Read (Non Fiction – indicative only)

Bad Science – Ben Goldacre
Wild Places – Robert McFarlane
Leviathan – Philip Hoare
Sun Ra: The Lives and Times Of – John Szwed
Letters From America – Alastair Cook
How I Escaped My Certain Fate – Stewart Lee
Map Addict – Mike Parker
Art Worlds – Howard Becker
The Clubcultures Reader – Steve Redhead
Gender Trouble – Judith Butler
The Post Subcultures Reader – David Muggleton
Consumer Culture and Postmodernity – Mike Featherstone
Else/where Mapping – Janet Abrams
Music and the Creative Spirit – Lloyd Peterson
The Consequences of Modernity – Anthony Giddens
Music Scenes: Local, Translocal and Virtual – Andy Bennett
Resistance Through Rituals – Stuart Hall
Subculture: The Meaning of Style – Dick Hebdige
Lifestyle Shopping – Robert Shields
Goth – Paul Hodkinson
The Time of the Tribes – Michel Maffesoli
Writings on Music: 1965-2000 – Steve Reich
Bring the Noise – Simon Reynolds
Lipstick Traces – Greil Marcus
Clubcultures – Sarah Thornton
Haunted Weather – David Toop
Bad Book Club – Robin Ince

Writing

Short Stories
The Vacant Eyes of Minas (7700 words)
The Narratives of Perverse Fiction (7300 words)
The Dark Party (10080 words)
The Box (8200 words)
(all written for a potential compendium called In The Nothing of The Night, with the exception of ‘Vacant Eyes’ which is more of a creepy short in the style of M.R.James and Algernon Blackwood)

Subject Matter
Elderly cryptozoologists, mutes, transformative fiction, drug induced visions, fog in a box, Tangiers, whale bone architecture, Muslim libraries of North Africa, Surbiton, Edward Treehorn, a war 300 years away.

Longer Fiction
The Last Night Tree (15000 words added to draft, 65000 words total)

PhD
Introduction (9000 words)
Literature Review (12000 words)
Methodologies (5000 words)

Total Words Written in 2010
74280

Short Fiction Planned
Script of some variety, provisionally titled Thomas Brain
6645
Betsy Head Municipal Swimming Pool
Dawn of The Dogs
In The Nothing of The Night
The Abominable Lieutenant
Torn Gently, Limb from Limb

Music Recorded

The Provinces Project – Silk and Dogs
Election Special – Creeping Jaw Society
7 Misc. Unreleased Tracks – Creeping Jaw Society
Sky Attack Soundtrack – Creeping Jaw Society
Cimmerian EP – Heroines of the U.S.S.R
Orpheus and Eurydice – Heroines of the U.S.S.R
May 8th 2010 – Garcia Dances The Jttrbg

Weight Loss
Negligible

Pints Consumed
170 (as of Nov 15th)

Money Per Pint (Average)
£2.80

Money Wasted on Pints
£476

Games Played
Mass Effect
Fallout 3
Banjo Kazooie Nuts and Bolts
Guitar Hero World Tour
Blue Dragon
Fallout: New Vegas

Live Music Witnessed (Considerably Down on Last Year)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Deerhoof
Tim Hecker
White Magic
The Ex
The Dead C
Black Dice
Francisco Lopez
Growing
Bardo Pond
Emeralds
Charlemagne Palestine
Maher Shalal Hash Baz
Keiji Haino
Flower/Corsano Duo
Borbetomagus
Oneida
Philip Jeck
John Butcher
Chris Watson and The Bee Symphony
Nils Lofgren
Neurosis
Daniel Menche
The Berg Sans Nipple
Tindersticks

Live Music Planned For But Subsequently Missed
Autechre
Caribou
Throbbing Gristle (the loss of Sleazy, and Genesis leaving)
Rangda (I was sat at Charlemagne Palestine)

Favourite Performance
John Butcher (despite the location)

Planets Not Viewed Through Astronomical Binoculars
Mercury
Mars
Saturn
Neptune
Uranus

Maps Purchased
4

Maps Used
0

Items Added to The Universal Index
19

Jobs Started This Year
3

Things Attempted For The First Time This Year
Making chutney
Lighting and maintaining a fire (intentionally…not like last time)
Programming effects in MaxMSP
Teaching

General Activity

Doing Some Form of Work Breakdown

Attitude Towards Work (My Attitude Should Be Off The Scale)


New Years resolutions
7

Initial Predicted Likelihood of Completion
Medium-High

Last Years Resolutions
Compile a hauntological archive – complete
Start a universal index – complete
Listen to the radio more often – complete
Read a work of fiction every week – complete
Write more than 1 short story – complete
Produce an album of dance music – complete
Lose weight – fail

Regrets
Not seeing more live music this year
Not changing my work pattern to something more constructive

Favourite Post-It note on office wall
‘Heavily pregnant Chinese girl hit by falling scaffolding’*

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* The girl that lives opposite, who I believe eventually had twins, used to walk up and down the street for hours on end for an unexplained but possibly pregnancy-related reason. The house next door to her’s had some roofing work done, and their scaffolding was shit. My imagination reached for the obvious answer.

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The Festive Grid

December 22, 2010

Tron Christmas

For Christmas, a new track called The Festive Grid; it is the first I’ve made using Max/MSP. It’s a vague celebratory tie in for Chris finishing Sky Attack prior to the release of Tron Legacy. Best listened to with your speakers up loud.

A year in numbers, lists and graphs is ‘coming soon’ as well as the January review.

December WDT/VSTM Archive Update

December 14, 2010

Heroines of the U.S.S.R - Winter
The second item added to the WDT/VSTM archive is WDT002: Heroines of the U.S.S.R – Winter. More information on the release can be found on the archive page. The next update to the archive will take place in February, following the 2010 Review in January. The Febraury release will be WDT003: Creeping Jaw Society – Remixemedial, a highly embarrassing collection of failed remixes circa 2004.

ATP: Nightmare Before Christmas

December 9, 2010

Nightmare Before Christmas

This review of ATP is constructed from notes written by my numerous companions at the event (credits given in text). They were almost exclusively written at the performances they discuss, usually in the dark (this may or may not be noted in the text). My favourite three acts have hash numbers next to them eg. #1. Photos are a mixture of those taken by Chris and myself (the good ones are Chris)

Additionally, Chris has compiled a 41 minute video of our exploits, featuring the likes of Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Keiji Haino, GY!BE, Berg Sans Nipple and others. It can be seen here

‘A collision of music the likes of which we’ve never seen…in a three day period’ – Deerhoof

General
Considerably better than last year; crowds were much friendlier and more mixed, fewer ‘hipster’ dickheads knocking around. The diversity of the lineup allowed from some interesting and unexpected moments of crossover and juxtaposition. Again, the Pavilion stage, which has the largest capacity, was completely underused (4 acts over 3 days). Godspeed, who had three hour long queues on the Centre Stage should obviously have been on the larger capacity one. Oh well. I look forward to the same mistake next year.


Growing ‘Very loud’ – Lee, Age 26
Big crowd, zero movement. Analogue gear largely, and they are somewhat self involved. Guitar on later tracks, though this and vocals were largely lost in the mix owing to the perennial sound issues on the Centre Stage.

The Berg Sans Nipple
Bonnie-Prince Billy lookalikes with an over reliance on delayed vocals. Pretty run-of-the-mill folktronic sounding, though the constant switching from keyboards to drums was enjoyable.

Black Dice
Classic noise/rock cross with ridiculously punchy drums and interesting variations.

‘-Listening mainly to my earwax vibrate
-One song they played made me think of Born Slippy
-That is a song by the band Underworld
-It was on the Trainspotting soundtrack
-It was fairly unavoidable 1997-2002’ – Tom

White Magic
A brief singer/song writer argument before hand. Lee suggested a Pretenders comparison.

Re: Tom relays Liam’s Joanna Newsom related assertion, writing the account in the notepad on a pool table in Reds
‘I didn’t cry!* I’m not a faggot like you! There are other ways to deal with trauma than than**sucking milk from ya own breast!’


Philip Jeck
The Anti-DJs DJ. Vocals struggling to get through the crackle, a distinct and visually apparent separation between the technical practice and the intended outcome (the needle falls slowly on to the record). The crowd are filling gaps with pointless claps.

GY!BE – Friday
Room is too hot and smells like a hotdog took a shit. In for the last 30 mins, for Slow Riot’s entirety. Muddy sound, but good drums. Interesting film loops over the top. Crowd is compact and unpleasant. Probably because they’re sweaty. Performance will perhaps improve day on day?

Tim Hecker
Played material from Ravedeath 1972 I think, as well as fragments from Rainbow Blood/Blood Rainbow, Sea of Pulses, Springheel Jack Flies Tonight and The Inner Shore and something that sounded like a song from the Mos Eisley cantina if it was situated at the bottom of an ocean. Lots of low end (at the back, sitting down – Liam slept – the chairs are shaking) and static. Performed in complete darkness. Pulses rising and falling. Vacant, distant voices.

ATP Cinema, Saturday Morning
The Last Days of Contrition by Robert Kerr, 1968?
Palm trees and a solitary umbrella. Swings looked after by a lonely looking black dude. Video aracde, out there, welcome to the eternal.

‘Being sleep deprived may not be conducive to enjoying the cinema experience of short, black and white polemic films. However, the raw visuals and soaring dissonant soundscapes left my bowels and armpits a-trembling’ – Liam

‘The millions of tanks passing by reminds me of the opening to Spaceballs. American Patriotism of the 60s/70s seen from this vantage point is quite hilarious’ – Lee (potentially inaccurate, as some of it is written over the top of itself in the dark)

In the next war, we shall carry the dead. Say ‘I do’. Air raid sirens, fighter aircraft high up, joshua trees.

Two films by Paul Sharits: 1 – t,o,u,c,h,i,n,g (when asked how to spell it, Lee said ‘I can’t be bothered with commas) and 2 – Epileptic Seizure Comparison (30 mins too long)

1- Destroy! After a while, this phrase sounds more like a man yelling ‘Jarvis’ or ‘It’s dry’. Looks a bit like Russell Kane, the shit comedian, trying to tear his face off and cut his tongue out. Lots of flashing…an epileptic’s nightmare

2- An actual epileptic’s nightmare. Two epileptics having seizures induced. Black/white flashing.
‘Owl, train, backwards laughing, colours, feeling sleepy, brain fuck, William Shatner having a seizure’ – Lee

Flower/Corsano Duo
Would have worked better if I’d been down the front. Difficult to appreciate Corsano’s skill from a distance, but apparently competent as ever. On at the wrong time of day.
‘Too intense, I’m not feeling it’ – Dan


Bardo Pond
Set mixing old and new songs. Heavy, deep, well rounded sound for once on the shitty Centre stage. Sludgey, dark, mellifluous like stoner treacle.

‘Sexy front lady with presence, unrelenting intensity, heavy, melodic, discordant’ – Chris

Maher Shalal Hash Baz – #3

13/14 members, including a small child on miniature drums and a middle aged man on maracas. Grand fun, though a song that could have been titled ‘I’m Not Afraid of You’ had a similar chord sequence to Imagine and ‘However’ sounded identical to Come Up and See Me by Steve Harley, to the extent that the man behind me started singing it.

Oneida’s Octropolis (Joined by The Dead C when I saw them)

Organ looping, improv loving, headset wearing, klangbad sporting fun, with detuned guitars and frantic off kilter drumming that occasionally headed in to a krautrock groove. This formed part of a 10 hour performance, where Oneida were joined by various guests. White Hills worked better than The Dead C, who in turn worked better than Thee Oh Sees, as Tom explained.


John Butcher – #1
A curious range around perambulations of scale. His style makes it seem as though he is forcing the music out from somewhere other than the instrument, like it is a conduit, contrasting this with subtle melodic passages. Three mics, the first normal, the second delayed for playing short notes, the third used for resonance from the instrument, the keys, breathing and the room itself. Sound spread varied as he move away from the mic and toward the audience. One piece is all keys and feedback. An honest and genuine performance.

Borbetomagus

Shrill, all high end, and interesting follow up to Butcher. E-bow guitar and piercing sax. Tom said they spent the first 20 mins arguing with the sound engineer.

GY!BE (Saturday)

Sound much improved. Played unrecorded early stuff, Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls and East Hastings I think. Drunk man behind Liam asks him about liking onions, whispers in my ear ‘What’s it like to be in Ellen’s head…I bet it’s a lot of tasty cake’, before ruffling my hair. I move away, offering vague threats of violence for no reason.

The Ex
More straight up than I expected, but then it is just one performance amongst many, rather than a solo gig for them. Atmosphere up the front seems better. From the back it seems…ok.
‘The most fun I’ve had with my clothes on’ – Danny

Marissa Nadler
Fairly heartbreaking opening. Songs about loss and lost love and being spurned.
‘Haunting, tits, sultry, melancholic, glacial, lady in red, mounting girl, mournful, folksy, stark’ – Lee, Dan, Liam

GY!BE (Sunday)
Their best performance of the three. Drums and bass nicely balanced, though the xylophone was way too loud. Played the entirety of Static from Lift Your Skinny Fists… which was most enjoyable as it is my favourite song of theirs.


Francisco Lopez – #2
Hallucinatory. Sitting in a rough prism with numerous others, all blindfolded, whilst a larger audience watches us. Tom finds it disconcerting. Eye plasma swirls about in an odd purple/white narrative throughout the piece, punctuated by distant shapes looming in and out of light sources. Sound changes as I move my head, as people move in and out of the noise.

Charlemagne Palestine

Shamanistic, he’s travelling his own path and we’re not necessarily on it yet. Guttural in places, forceful, primal but also tender, gesturally tentative. Samples of sheep, kids playing and tangled piano innards. Tones develop slowly but purposefully.

Cluster (fuck)
KOSMISCHE! Or two old guys pulling sounds out of various boxes. Blending all sorts of bits from their career including 90s techno beats and bleeps with 70s washes of analogue synths.

Keiji Haino
A Boss Pedal fan. Playing low end and amp buzz via pedals. He’s reminiscent of Sadako from Ring. Occasional vocals along a similar line to Palestine, though less pronounced or vital. Walls vibrate with the sound of it. Afterwards, I’m pretty queasy.

Emeralds
Dedicate ‘Passing Away’ to Sleazy. They’re like Garcia, only better. Majority is vocal drone with occasional guitar lost in the mix. Later, nice synth stuff from the Prophet. Guy on the far left treats each song like a techno masterpiece. Odd.

Daniel Menche
It’s his birthday! Drones created via effected singing bowls, whistles, a small flute type thing and some kind of ouroborian throat singing. Beating himself in the throat with a contact mic on a stick, then playing the stick with a variety of percussive implements. Crowd expands significantly during the performance. A nice noise round off.

Deerhoof
On classic form, tightly structured off sync poprock hybrids, with the drummer rambling as ever. This was one of the first acts I ever saw at an ATP (2004 in Camber Sands), and despite not being dressed as fruit this time, it seems like the perfect way to round off the experience.

‘Having deliberately stayed oblivious to the additions to the line up for eight months, and being genuinely thrilled when I arrived and found out what I was in for, by Saturday afternoon I had come to an understanding that the festival and line up operates almost like each act has witnessed some humanitarian atrocity simultaneous with each of the other acts and this gives the impression that the peculiarities of their own particular sounds serve as interpretations, or contributions if you will, of the personal emotions each act experienced as a result of witnessing said atrocity’ – Danny

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*in reference to two performances of Ms. Newsom’s where Liam allegedly cried
**sic – intentional repetition


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