Robert Penn Warren reads his poetry. I very much enjoy hearing poets read their own work. This is one of my favourite recordings. I bought this vinyl years ago in one of the best record shops I’ve ever known - ‘Charlie’s Orbit’ in Brighton, England. The shop sadly closed years ago, but the selection he had in there was really excellent. It was a hand picked choice of avant sounds across all genres on vinyl, cd and cassette. I was always guaranteed to find something interesting I’d never heard of before in there.
Being a big 2000AD fan, I loved the new Dredd film. Kudos to Karl Urban, Alex Garland et al for making a great film for the fans. I know it didn’t do so well at the box office but who cares, the film’s reputation is secure.
Got to give this Scanner mix for Secret Thirteen a mention. In an internet bulging full of free download mixes, this one really stands out. I’ve liked a great deal of Scanner’s musical output over the years, he’s a real suvivor - crossing genres and outlasting many others. I think it’s because his work consistently demonstrates strong ideas, genuine musical content, plus he is willing to take risks. These things always come across as the vital elements. He seems to ignore paying lip service to ephemeral musical fashions of the day and continues mining his own motherlode regardless. In this respect he reminds me of Coil, Nurse With Wound or somesuch experimentalists who plough on regardless of the temporary stylistic niceties and passing critics. Anyway, this is an excellent little mix. I particularly liked the use of “A Scanner Darkly” dialogue from the recent film adaptation and a great clip of a BBC Radio4 newsreader collapsing into giggling!
The days of my Atari STe and those awesome Psygnosis cover designs.
CV313 - Standing Still (Reduced)
I really dig deep dub techno. Stuff like Echospace, Basic Channel, Fluxion and so on. Two of my prized recent purchases here - a lovely yellow coloured vinyl of Quantec’s ‘Ray of Hope’ 12inch released on the Echocord Colour label and the awesomeness of of CV313 ‘Standing Still’ released on Echospace [Detroit] on 160 Gram crystal clear vinyl. Rod Modell and Steven Hitchell really excel themselves on this one, in particular the 20 minute ‘Reduction’ mix is a piece you can get lost in for hours on repeat. I see Rod Modell as one of the missing links between noise music and techno, his deep layered productions are extremely impressive. Sadly this kind of music is hardly ever played in clubs or venues in England. It seems to me that it somehow falls between the cracks - not really weekend dance music and dismissed as too techno for avant/ambient affairs. Shame really as it’s wonderfully satisfying experimental music. Difficult to find in the shops too - when I was in Osaka earlier this year I was on the prowl for some Echospace related stuff on vinyl, but the few music shops (e.g.: King Kong) I tried had never heard of it, despite large and decent selections of dance/avant/experimental music in the racks.
Tangerine Dream - Quichotte (1980) (Live @ Palast der Republik)
Gleefully mined from the archives at a large outdoor flea market in Berlin. This is a German edition wiith no English text on the cover, so it makes it a somewhat nice little rarity of a find for me (the album wasn’t originally released in the UK in this edition?). It also finally represents the appearance of an appropriate citrus fruit on their album sleeve. Overall, I prefer 70s TD and like them less as more blatant melody come into use and the atmospherics reduce. This album is about halfway between the 2 periods, still containing elements of the ‘Rubycon’ or ‘Encore’ albums, but moving closer to the more compact and cleaner 80s sound. Still, Quichotte Part One is pretty wicked and it still never fails to impress me just how tight they were musically considering the synchronisation limitations of the pre-MIDI equipment back then.
Having enjoyed ‘Haunted Weather’ by David Toop and generally enjoying his music, I thought I’d try this too. The stream of consciousness style of writing suits the subject matter well and fits with Toop’s whole ‘Ocean of Sound’ hauntological conception of music’s setting in the modern world. ‘Sinister Resonance’ is focused on the phenomenological experience of the listener in hearing sound and takes in a much wider scope of historical material, in particular discussing descriptions of and attitudes towards sound phenomena in works of literature and philosophy. This subject is at it’s most interesting when discussing attitudes towards sound in the time before recording equipment was invented. It’s easy to forget in this day and age that our appreciation and consumption of sound and music has been completely revolutionised by technological advances. So much so, that the ephemeral and fleeting nature of sound itself has been sidelined in a sense, because of the ease with which it can now be reproduced and stored. The text is quite dense but very rewarding, with a mulitude of obscure vignettes and digressions, plus some nice segments on the ability sound has for unnerving the listener.
For experimental and avant-garde music in Berlin, check out Gelbe Musik in the Wilmersdorf area. At first, the selection of music appears small, but it’s because only CD sleeves are on display in the racks, like a library. This allows for a large catalogue to choose from in a small area. I always go there if I’m in Berlin and can always be assured of finding something interesting. They quite often have a mini installation in the corner of the shop or some new artwork on the walls. Previously I have bought music in here by Paul Schütze, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Shinjuku Thief and Ikue Mori.
Yituey ‘Sonadores’ (2003)
I got this EP from the now defunct ‘Locus of Assemblage’ label around 6 years ago. The label specialised in limited edition 3 inch mini CDRs of avant drone/noise/ambient and had some really good releases including Fabio Orsi’s ‘The bird’s are smart but they cannot speak’ EP. However, the Yituey ‘Sonadores’ release was my favourite and listening to it again recently it still sounds as fresh and original as ever. As it says on the CD insert, the concept of the piece is related to Yituey returning after an absence to his birthplace of the Dominican Republic. Beyond that there is no further explanation of the piece. The CDR is one longform 20 minute work of field recordings mixed with other mysterious sounds, most notably resonant vibraphone-like bell sounds. Traffic and tropical street noise plays a big part in this piece as it builds and swirls around in a deep multi-layered sonic texture. Throughout the whole piece it consistently sounds vital and full of colour but also retains something fundamentally blurred and enigmatic all the while. Amongst the large amount of ambient/drone music around, this one really stands out.
If you’re in Paris, ‘Bimbo Tower’ is an excellent music shop for experimental sounds. It’s rather difficult to find, hidden on a back street but once found, I spent an hour or so in there browsing blissfully.
I got Ami Yoshida’s “Asian Beauty - Endless Loop” in there, which is a great CD of recordings she made as a teenager on pretty basic equipment (I’m guessing). It’s essentially (just) Ami multi-tracking and looping her voice mixed with some field recordings too, but the range of atmospheres she creates with such limited tools is really impressive.
[the photo is not mine btw]