hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Part of the way round my fairly regular lunchtime power-amble (It's like a walk, but it's accompanied by skronky music so as to drown out the idling shitboxes, both vehicular and human, that clutter the place up) the scrot-o-pod presented me with FUSE vs LFO, which was jolly nice of it. The sun was out and I had something of a Tyres moment.

If I ever get to write a screenplay with in-atmosphere AG vehicles, the instructions to the set/model designers will be 'All the vehicles should look and sound like Pro-Mod or Nascar.'

Earlier, it had played the German version of 'Neon Lights'.

I first came across that track on a luminous 12" that was sold to me by someone in the upper sixth. He had a haircut and may or may not have been in a punk band, so was treated as some ultra-cool arbiter of taste. That he would sell an oik like me a Kraftwerk record was clear evidence that Kraftwerk were completely over and everyone should buy Pigbag records. Crip Russell, who fancied himself a somewhat temporally-close arbiter of taste (not in a punk band), crowed at some length in the loud, confident and wrong manner that teenage boys of all ages can manage so well (see half of twitter) about it all. He was especially pleased that I had paid like a pound or something for a record that had sellotape on the sleeve and had been thrown down the school bus at some point. Clearly it was a terrible object, I had no idea about music (which at that point was probably true) and was probably a communist who hated fun. (It was the seventies. I was not yet in a punk band.)

At one point, everyone I knew was in some sort of unpopular beat combo. It was a source of regular astonishment in later years to meet people who'd never spent all their money on a drum-machine. What was wrong with them? Didn't they like music enough to want to make some of their own?

(I also like SF and computers, so I made my own. I don't quite understand people who don't have that sort of passion for a thing.)

Crip and haircut-the-sixformer had got their punk-rock semiotics the wrong way up. Which was not unexpected, given words like that weren't allowed in the North Cotswolds then.

The point of the sodding record was that it contained 'Neon Lights' by Kraftwerk, which even through the pops and scratches and poor quality luminous alleged-vinyl, is a transcendent sort of noise. The weird and good music is the stuff that stays in your head for years, even if you only hear a few bars on the Peel programme when you're nodding off.

In 1990, Peelie (although it could have been a pirate or Kiss-FM when they had the two hours of 'acid house' on a Wednesday evening) played a track called 'I believe' by Sensomilla. I wrote down the name in (oh god) my rather new micro-filofax and then life went a bit weird. Much later in the decade, I was at a record fair in Cheltenham town hall, digging through a box of random old techno records. I found that Sensomilla 12", couldn't remember how it went but did remember that it was just a lovely thing, which is why it's in the record box behind me. It only took a few years to find.

A couple of nights ago, the last ever PoI featured something that sounded like a minor-key Boards of Canada. I poked at the phone during an ad-break and found the wiki where people had collated all the music featured in each episode. That track was called 'Bunsen Burner' by some mob or chap called CUTS.

CUTS turns out to be a Bristol mob or chap and I think I am mildly annoyed that I've managed not to find out about them until two days ago.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Once every few months, the punk rock imp of the perverse will remind me that there used to be zines and that I would sometimes buy them at gigs. Out on the floor (Porky Jupitus the showbiz mate of tiresome singing bloke, IIRC), Catch-22 (Kevin from Cheltenham, who I never met. Wrote him some stuff though, which was beyond awful), Vague (Impenetrable g*th meandering. Featured a drawing of a mushroom cloud, as did many zines, SDC lyrics and what may have been an account of following same while under the influence of different mushrooms) and probably many others scattered through the head-height stack of NMEs that was against one wall of the room where I kept the home recording kit and computer(s).

There's a picture of Jon-who-was-also-hostile-implant swearing at a drum machine on the bench/rack I fabricated from ersatz dexion. There's a Three Johns poster on the wall (free with 'Atom Drum Bop' and the lyrics to 'Bela Lugosi's Dead' because neither of us were yet old enough to think that sort of thing embarrassing enough to rip down. Out of shot, on the other side of the big open fireplace, there was a typewriter upon which I would sometimes write Thoughts that I considered Important about Music. Kev of Catch-22 had written to me on the back of old dole forms, which in what was probably 1983 I found impossibly 'cool' and 'street'.

I lived in a thumping great farmhouse with my Mum & Dad. Anything more 'urban' than the British Farmer & Stockbreeder was 'cool' and 'street'.

One of bands featured in one of the zines was named 'The great bone and the four-a-day men'.

As you might imagine, given the existence of this piece, that name still haunts me. However, as seems common with my life in that time-period, the internet considers it all non-notable and there is no other record of any of it being anything other than me making stuff up.

I should see if I can (re) find that damn photo. Unless it's already on FB.

[Update: speaking of FB mix. http://www.discogs.com/Great-Bonebacked-by-Four-A-Day-Men-Those-Days-Of-Yorg/release/3069578 found by Jon-as-above. Hurrah for the collaborative nature of the internet! No doubt I am doing this wrong because there are no pictures of mildly famous people with self-righteous captions or 'screen' 'shots' of allegedly contentious opinions. ]
hirez: (Lomo)
In one window - copying a pile of [redacted] MP3s onto a Pi so I can build a radio that only plays [redacted]. It will have a switch marked '[redacted] session' because of $reasons.

(An idea I have stolen from clever people)

Outside - the 9000. Some of the oil is outside the engine, which is mildly unfortunate.

In another window in a different kitchen - a thing called touchnote. Postcards generated from pics on yr telephone. Which is ideal if you're me and yr Aged P. doesn't do technology. Postcards are also fun and I've always rather cared for mail art.

Although I'm sufficiently not down with the Old Street fixie-pilots that I only discovered this via the means of the television. Old old old.
hirez: (posing)
Oh. Yeah. The other thing.

Since I'm from the time before fashionable trousers and every electronic device in the home having a 1G ethernet port and IPv6, it's only just become apparent that actually I need to be able to run data from the fileserver into the back of the downstairs amplifier because not all the things I wish to listen to originated on silver beermat. Indeed some of them are 'gram-o-phone' 'records' which is even more of a data-translation problem.

The answer's going to be a Pi or a Beaglebone-Black, isn't it?
hirez: (dissent)
This weekend involved a night at the Columbia and a few hours in the Borderline feeling like something of an outsider.

It was all a bit oh-god-how-long-ago, really. On the upside, the Columbia has lost next to none of its character, the breakfast still sets you up for the day good and proper, and it was lovely to bump into Maria.

The gig itself was a psych/prog all-dayer jointly organised/sponsored by An Record Label that sold actual records and, er, Record Collector magazine. For reasons that seemed blindingly obvious at the time, I spent quite a while talking about the NSA and Dutch hacker culture with one of the artists. After a while, I wandered out to discover that several of the bands were all about large and unwieldy organs. Mind, if that's the sort of thing that sinks your boat then I'm sure a Hammond or a Mellotron would be most efficient.

Meanwhile, back at the record stall next to the bogs, terrible discoveries were being made. The carrier bags, supplied by Record Collector magazine, and you could tell that because they had 'Record Collector' printed on them in big white-on-black letters, which would leave you in no doubt that the primary interest of the people who wrote the articles and paid for the adverts was likely the buying and selling of records, weren't quite big enough to fit an album inside. An album is a 12" record. The sort of thing that you might find written about in Record Collector magazine. Who had supplied the carrier bags. The carrier bags with 'Record Collector' printed on them. That were just too small to slide a record inside. I could see the middle-aged blokes on either side of the stall staring at the bags with a mixture of disbelief, resignation and failure. I certainly found it hard to believe that physics wasn't just having a little drunken laugh and soon the bags would become the right size, as we all remembered from when we would collectively emerge from our different local record shops with carriers filled with a 12" on Chapter 22 Records, a Big Black LP or perhaps a Peel Sessions EP. However, it was not to be. It seemed we had arrived in a rubbish universe where carrier bags were actually the size of an unknown manner of consumer durable and our mistake was in wanting a thing from our past, rather than wanting what we were told to want which was the thing that fitted in the carrier bag. This is the subliminal message from the military-entertainment complex - you will want the things we will sell you and they will be the size that is most convenient for manufacturing and shipping, rather than your own desires or utility. (See, for instance, Ikea mugs)

In the end, there was a burst of punk rock as the bloke behind the stall slashed two carriers open and gaffered them together round the double LP set. Sticking it to the man, as it were.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Ha! Record player!

The replacement drive elt finally arrived from Germly, so I slung part (a) at assembly (b) and made the entire edifice suffer for its trouble by playing the first 7" out of the box. Which was, er, ELP.

Since the poor animal hadn't been run for a while, the lube on the trunnion shafts and grunge-wheel subframe had gone a bit sticky, but giving it some nice long records to warm up with seems to sorting it right out. Such is the wonder of modern technology, you can print out strobe discs for free off the internet in order to be sure about these things.

I would just like to pause for a moment to consider what's happened since the last time I dug out the vinyl properly, which would have been at Humblebee. Even then, I'd more or less migrated to CD because it was simpler to bung on 'Dummy' or 'Snivilisation' as a soundtrack to an evening of beer, hackery and getting wasted.

I have been able to find and download the user and service manuals for the record player, confirm that the drive-belt was likely past it's sell-by, order same from a posh hi-fi shop in Germany and become mildly narked that it took a week to arrive. The last time I listened to this LP (I am listening to a(n) LP!) - 'Give peace a dance III', a CND benefit compilation - the things that I knew were on the internet were the Usenet, various Sunsite FTP archives (src.doc.ic.ac.uk?) and maybe a demonstration 'home page' at the NCSA in IL. Wherever that was.

The unexpected thing is that vinyl really does sound 'better'.

The rather tiresome thing is that last.fm/audioscrobbler doesn't work.

The not-tiresome thing is that the brief hack with Cucumber and Watir-webdriver worked as advertised. Dunno that it'll lead anywhere, but it was right simple to lash up.
hirez: (Q-309)
I'm becoming more and more convinced that there's some magic at work within the combination of Poweramp (MP3 player) and the Last.FM client that is able to generate things I'd rather like to hear.

I mean, I don't actually remember copying any Wah! tracks to the thing, yet there it is, following along from Gina G and A Place to Bury Strangers.

Lord alone knows what's next. A Fall session, probably. Or some random MP3 playing at the wrong speed through the magic of wonky physics.

(Talking Heads!)
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Because of, oh I don't know, learned idleness, shit life and record-player hidden under pile of crap (and needing its belt changed I suspect), of late it's been easier to have the internet deliver terrible skronking noises direct to what passes for my scrot-o-pod (It's actually a phone) so I can hoot my trap off in the privacy and comfort of my own vile emanations.

Thus it is pre-packaged soundproduct(tm) individually tailored to my personal wants and needs. (Actually, Belbury Poly, Y Niwl, Sevs and Horace Silver)

In the old days, before I accepted the notion of the CD into my life, the thought of piecing together a discography from the jigsaw of Peel programmes, record fairs, the gaps in indie label catalogue numbers and small ads in the NME was a jolly one. A kind of scruffy-guitar codebreaking and psycho-cartography at the same time.

Psycho-cartography. Unconscious maps, hacks and hidden levels. (Which is why the 'UK entrances to hell' site is so fascinating) Post-industrial priest holes. The hidden seams and fault-lines in the built landscape.

Um. Anyway.

So you may imagine the irony in discovering a band (Factory Floor, who make the sort of racket I would have liked to have made myself some two decades ago, only I'd have more guitar in the Albini style) who've released mostly vinyl on a random selection of labels. Some of it's available via the Amazon MP3 shop, but quite frankly Jeff B doesn't need my money. The interesting stuff appears to only be available on the modern equivalent of Factory Benelux. In the old days, that would just be an excuse to go and pester Roger Driftin'. Now? Look, I know what's going to happen if I end up in Rise Music and it's going to be expensive.

Mind, I never did get the thing about buying comics and could only be arsed with Trades.


Dec. 27th, 2011 05:05 pm
hirez: (Object)

The narrator's a bit um, yes, well and one can't help wondering what the programme might have been like were it narrated by someone who discovered Peel in oh, I don't know, 1982, but there we are.
hirez: (Q-309)
Exhibit A: http://webofevil.livejournal.com/704190.html

Naturally, I went in search of 'Plingplong, Blippblopp og Datamusikk'.

This is what I found. It is utter utter genius and resolutely Not Music.

(See also http://www.youtube.com/user/epo98#p/a/u/2/0quq96TA4uA which is ideal for the sort of person who finds Merzbow or Pan Sonic far too melodic to put up with.)
hirez: (Q-309)
At the tail end of the week, I managed to bootstrap myself into the more recent present and stuff enough memory into my phone such that it would hold a third of my MP3 pile rather than its previous pitiful fraction. I'd also not bothered using the Android as a music player because the installed effort is by and large hateful, and I had a lumpy-creditcard Creative, er, thingy already.

On the other hand, the Creative, er, thingy doesn't do scrobbling (because it is just so important that I can bore other people with whatever Peelist malarkey the random function chooses to lob in my direction) and is only 8G in size.

8G meant that I had to fairly carefully curate what went on the thing. In the beginning it was mostly thumpy techno; misc, Futureshock, Akufen. After a while, I found myself poking the 'oh just sod off' button more often, so the more frantic stuff was replaced by Boards of Canada, Belbury Poly and, er, Motorhead.

Having a lot more storage than that means that the nature of the curation has changed, I think.

Among the sensible grown-up albums, I have quite a pile of what-I-guess-passes-for-the-equivalent-of-singles - odd MP3s that fail to fit into any sort of order. Indeed, they're in directories named 'Indie, Goth, Odd Music, Loud Music, Shiny Pop and Random Techno' which covers quite enough bases thank you very much. Some of these media-objects are at least a decade old. because I remember listening to them A Lot during the tail-end of the second London adventure. I was listening to a lot of MP3s because that was the six month period when I left the house but rarely. As one might imagine, that's a painful set of things I don't particularly want to remember.

Thus curation now seems to be 'Fill MP3 device. Listen on random. Delete things that make you cringe and go 'oh fuck no'. When enough space has been reclaimed, fill it with Krautrock or psychedelia.' Or something like that. Y'see, records just used to go to to the back of the box(es). Perhaps because I thought I'd be able to re-evaluate them in the future, or perhaps because I'd not experienced anything quite psychically damaging enough yet.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
The gnomes all come from broken homes
Their eyes are narrow slits
To cross them means some broken bones
Or a head-butt in the naughty bits

The pixies are an evil breed
They kidnap pet chihuahuas
Then hang them by their plastic leads
And torture them for hours

The leprechauns like casual sex
And pulling kittens to pieces
Collecting love-bites on their necks
And spreading foul diseases

Beware Beware The Little Folk
Heed my warning well
If some dark night
By pale moonlight
You spy elf, troll or sprite
Don't linger in that leafy dell
Stomp the fucker
Then run like hell.

Seething Wells, obviously.
hirez: (Box Frenzy)
Sudden Sway
Sudden Sway
Sudden Sway
Sudden Sway
Sudden Sway

I had forgotten just how much Sing-song sounds like a Jesus Jones from the RetroFuture, which is a bloody good trick given it's about four years too early. Thus we discover the perils of running a time-vehicle calibrated to an insufficiently accurate master clock source. A schoolboy error there.
hirez: (Challenger)
I blame [livejournal.com profile] pir for this.

I don't generally poke about on the TG webshite.

(The middle-aged person's TG, rather than the disco one. I'm the wrong shape for any of that malarkey. And too Peelist. After about twenty minutes of 'banging' and/or 'tunes', I'd be bothering the gramophone-wallah going 'Surely it's about time for some Melt Banana, 70 Gwen Party or perhaps a Fall session?')

Anyway. I tend to avoid the TG website because I find that looking at bits of $content served from whichever content delivery network edge server is electrically closest a lot like being at the seaside in the off-season. The donkeys have migrated south for the winter, there are angry clowns squatting the beach huts and all the good pubs are packed out with surly goths demanding keg lager.

However, in my not-poking through yon webshite, I discover Mr. May sounding off like a motoring Peel and reminding me that I'm not the only one who shouts at other drivers from behind safely closed windows.

I'm not convinced about waving to Ant & Dec, mind. I think there are limits.
hirez: (psyche-out (ii))
Carrying on from the previous entry...

[Poll #1583810]
hirez: (safety chicken)

From Ken Garner: kgg@gcal.ac.uk

I am giving a paper early next month at an academic conference on radio
and TV archiving, in Madison, WI, USA, all about what I believe is the
extraordinary phenomenon of John Peel show tape documenting and sharing
online that has grown exponentially in the past few years. To this end I
have set up a short survey online on the listening/taping practices of
Peel's R1 listeners then and now. Whether you taped then or not,
download archive off-air tapes nowadays or not, if Peel was important to
you at any time, I'd really like you to do the survey. It takes 10
minutes. All you have to do is tick boxes. It's completely anonymous. I
am not even tracking IP addresses. And please pass it on to any other
once-Peel fans you know. Here's the link:


ken garner
senior lecturer in media and journalism
Glasgow Caledonian University
author, THE PEEL SESSIONS (2007)
hirez: (Box Frenzy)
I've been listening to old Peel programmes (late 80s/early 90s) in search of wobbly old proto-techno records. Obviously, I could just go and grovel in the relevant record-box because I bought many of the ones I cared for at the time, but tastes change and ears mature.

... Which is why I'm listening to the likes of Fudge Tunnel and Godflesh instead.

I'd better find the Grindcrusher LP.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
Possibly the best weblog in the world, ever: http://thrustvector.wordpress.com/

Seems like the cool kids are dissing Joy Division. We'll have none of that, thank you very much.

The interwebs are pretty snappy since half of London's suffering from over-damp string, too. Well played that fire-brigade.
hirez: (Cooper-Clarke)
I are recently discovered quite a large pile of Peel programmes on that there internets. This is a happy thing, but made me wonder about stick-waving at young people and the inevitable hatefulness of modern music.

I don't actually think that whatever-it-is that scratchy indie combos or people prodding at cheap synths on the kitchen table are calling music these days is utter pish. Although landfill-(schm)indie didn't help, and given modern modes of living, there is no kitchen table.

However, I think I'm missing a decent curator. It seems obvious to me that the combo of the NME and Peelie had a massive influence on what I care(d) to listen to. No-one else is going to get the job quite right, so I'm going to be sitting there thinking 'Christ this stuff's all hateful. I'm going to dig out the DJ Scandy CD instead.' Also, when I were a lad, we didn't have the internet and the telly was shite (and I lived in the middle of nowhere, etc) so stopping in and listening to the wireless most weekday evenings was a sensible entertainment option.

I may well have written one of these every year.

I suspect so, in fact.

hirez: (psyche-out (ii))
Oh, very good. Shame you didn't use the LP artwork, really.


hirez: (Default)

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