Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mix plug

My new mix is done. It’s being sent out to ‘grateful recipients’ now and is online here, the first time I have decided to clog the already glutted online space with 70MB or so of music. Reach for it here.

The title ‘Winter mix’ denotes only the time of its preparation; the main aim was to build as many beatless (if not necessarily 'ambient') moments into the ensemble. Relative to that are little snatched moments of dialogue dotted along the route like blair @ chilcot and several bridges between longer tunes. Thematically, a hectic dance introduction gives way to pastoral moments, setting the scene for a variety of mood-changers. ‘Dancey’ tunes drop in, to be displaced soon after by different elements. It’s very post-rave in flavour while still acknowledging the pull of a floorfiller. It is far from being genre-specific or specialist in flavour.

Though I did not actively dig through every record or cd for hidden gems, an archival trawl thru the mind is harder to resist so older gems such as Spin Spin Sugar or Link’s Amenity that could fit were worked in. There was also an effort to get a little tribute in for Trish Keenan.

This self-hype is getting all very wanky, so I’ll add that probably 75% of the 30 or so of the tunes are from digital, media with only a handful from records or CDs. There are many free downloads (the modern equivalent of you being given a tape of stuff and then you putting a tune on a comp of your own), but all seemed to be from legal hosts acting in good faith. The pictures are Photoshop treatments of Twyford Down. Please get in touch if cease and desist measures seem appropriate! But otherwise begin your search for the sonic essence here, after which we can get into why i am so keen to impress people i hardly or do not even know.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Marx returns to bail out finance capital

A film by Jason Barker
Broadcast date: 11 April 2011, ARTE TV

Truth makes only selective forays into film but rumours of a new Terrence Malick flick have been clagging the twatosphere for some time. So when I got the chance to review this ARTE culture doc it was fait accompli. Is Malick involved? The producers are keeping tight-lipped, even though the director is a co-conspirator from days. No UK release date yet confirmed, but I daresay this could make waves on the 2011 festival circuit on both sides of the pond.

First off: don’t be alarmed by the portentous muzak on the trailer, there’s more than one monster teaser on the circuit, this one featuring the new tune by Belgrade electro combo Ljubavnici. It’s been many moons since I visited the Serbian capital but the club scene there is your homegrown organic variety, not some tourist penthouse of superstar DJs lording it over sunset backdrop. If you want all that then go to Exit.

Back to the film. If, like me, Matrix-style cod-philosophy leaves you cold then have no fear: prize charlatan and walking evangelical self-parody Cornell West is not involved here. Only the real philosophers get a look in. On the face of it the ubiquitous Slavoj Zizek, Peter Sloterdijk (the Hobbit-like sage with his own TV show in Germany), French anarchist and icon pour les soixante-huitards Jacques Rancière, Messers Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri of Empire fame, Albero Toscano and Nina Power are all rolled out to pontificate on capitalism’s imminent demise. Is the relentless global financial crisis the final or penultimate pit stop before The Crash to end all crashes? Could it even be The One?

Cut to, er, Matrix-themed cartoon adventures of Karl Marx, lost in an Alice-style commodity-induced nightmare with only one way out. Or is there? The final chapter of the witty and informative film left me wondering whether the point was to debunk the myth that capitalism alone is destroying the world, not that we need to do something about it.

Unlike irritating conspiracy movie Collapse or the aimless Big Ideas waffle of Examined Life the ideas get a serious treatment here. The basics of the differences between the return or “reloading” of Marx-as-cultural-icon and Marx’s philosophy itself are explained and placed in the broader context of our financial crisis-ridden times. And by no means is there just one brand of ‘Marxism’ on offer here. To his credit, director “Lacanian Maoist” (it says here) Jason Barker has resisted the temptation to knock down straw men with “radical” soundbites. Clearly there’s as much distance between Toscano, Rancière and Negri as leftist critics as between all of them and Thatcherite headbanger Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute.

And is my mind playing tricks on me or did Sloterdijk really describe himself in this film as being “on the left”? Surely this Heidegger lover, who makes parallels between ontology and air-conditioning systems is a closet conservative to put it mildly.

But will Reloaded be a trilogy?
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Thursday, January 13, 2011

A type of top 10 for 2010

*****update; added a few more that i promised myself i wouldnt forget
‘BRAVE NEW DIRECTION’ OF THE YEAR – well I agree with the frothing journos on Darkstar’s North album. I would have taken an album of Need Yous and Aidy’s Girls happily but history will be kind to their decision to dump the formula and the beats to let the synths (and the new vocalist) emote. A lonely but lovely listen. The League cover was seen as genius too, and we all liked the industrial pipes on the cover.

MIX OF THE YEAR – how many mixes do you download? Did u bite on Wiley’s free mega Zip? Are you the type to say hell to your laptop’s storage and happily chew up 60-120MB on the latest hot mix? Not me, the days of regular computer dumps are still fresh in my mind so I pick and choose. But there was none better than the Black Dog and Regis’ High-Rise Living 78-86 with their great selection of typical and not-so-typical synth excursions from the era.

MOST PANT-WETTINGLY HILARIOUS STADIUM-INDIE ABORTION - actually last year wasnt too bad in terms of keane/foldclay etc but we were all worried when Super Hands said 'I just wanna mong out with a tuna sandwich and some Snow Patrol'. It's still out there, kids, so stay vigilant! But maybe the Cardle-Clyro has done for it for good.

VANITY TRIP OF THE YEAR - yes 2010 was when i finally convinced myself that i must press a few of the low-fi and low-grade tracks i make onto vinyl (a few, Hardcore Downroar and The Rattle, are here). But to be fair, it's only £50 at the Carvery for the basic package, fifty quid for a quirky topic of conversation with people who dont really give a shit about my music, or vinyl, or independent spirit etc etc.

BEST CHEESY DUBSTEP-TRANCE WITH A GOOD MEASURE OF AIR THROWN IN OF THE YEAR - that'll be Magnetic's I Need Air {somewhat obviously}. Kids love it too, which brings me on to...

LEAST HATED TRACK THAT MY KIDS LIKE - they've taken a strong liking to M.I.A's cod-reggae with funny voice It Takes a Muscle (but i bet they wouldnt like Pearson Sound's further infantilisation). I've also been singing all the tunes from the nursery nativity play, so chuffed was I with their contributions. Altogether now ... 'No rooms left, all the other rooms are full etc etc christian indoctrination'.

MUSICAL CONVERSATION OF THE YEAR - there was a short but enjoyable bond of selective insider knowledge with the girls doing Electrik in Chorlton over their playing Pretty Things' Baron Saturday.

NEW GENRES OF THE YEAR I CHECKED OUT BUT THEN LARGELY AVOIDED - footwork (one Dj Roc tune aside), witch house (I like reverb and haze as much as the next man but...), synthwave (cheap and old stuff desperately repackaged), electro-swing, I could go on.

80S POP-GOTH REFERENCES OF THE YEAR - dead heat between The Drums' Me and the Moon and The Soft Moon's Circles, oh and Castles with Robert Smith wasn't bad either. But it's disqualified as they didnt have 'moon' in the title or act.

POTENTIAL MATE-IN-A-BAND BREAKTHROUGH OF THE YEAR - The Pre-New (go on sticksman George!).

CORKYESQUE TRACK OF THE YEAR (even though it was probably released in 2009) - Factory Floor's Lying.

FAVOURITE TRAD-HOUSE TRACK OF THE YEAR (even though it was probably released in 2009) - WBeeza's Hurricane. 808s, bouncing Detroit bass, then the synth-rushes, ja danke! the female vocalist could be singing anything by the time she comes in, such is the track's hold, and she pretty much is.



MOST ALGERIAN CLUB RIDDIM OF THE YEAR - Breach's Fatherless (Doc Daneeka mix).

MOST CHECKED ARTISTS OF THE YEAR - if 09 was Instra:Mental and Untold, then Actress grabbed my post-techno attention early in the year and I'd say Falty DL has consistently impressed with a range of styles.

LOSS OF THE YEAR - Guru Keith E.

LATE DISCOVERY OF THE YEAR -got to be Jam City's 2 Hot off his Night Slugs ep, lovely slice of film-score industrial noir. Where are we headed on our nightdrive? To Babylon, mate!

FEAR FOR THE NEW YEAR - a fucking Britpap revival.
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