Archive for the 'music' Category


w a l k i n g i n d r e a m s . . .

the following tracks are from the forthcoming unsong project ‘a blue rose for black bob’.

all tracks are inspired by the work of david lynch; however, no Lynch films or soundtracks were sampled to make these recordings. anyone familiar with previous unsong output (yeah, right) will notice a marked difference in the new material, a greater attention to rhythm, even musicality, as befits the remit of the project and inspiration for the pieces; however, as per usual,  none of these tracks exhibit any conspicuous musical technique or talent.

created for sale at, play at, and use in promotional material for, the double r club.

‘i love you in fire’ (appearing on the showreel for this year’s twin peaks uk festival)

‘click your fucking fingers’


‘a pretty girl is like a threnody’


You (not) the living…


very late in the day for a tribute, i know, but i think i’ve been stymied by just how much i don’t like this whole ‘everyone who has ever meant something to you artistically is dying’ thing. unforgivably childish as a reaction but there you are. anyway, seemingly out of the blue, peter ‘sleazy’ christopherson is no more. it’s difficult to quantify just how big a loss this is to the world of electronic music, or just how many incredible releases this man had under his belt (as part of throbbing gristle, psychic tv, coil and more). for me coil were always the gold standard of the industrial / electronic / experimental, whatever you want to call it. they clearly seemed not to give a shit what others expected of them, they did what the fuck they wanted when they wanted. this is a rule to live by as any kind of artist. the following quote from kafka seems to sum up their m.o.: 

“don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”   

excerpt from ‘in my head a crystal sphere of heavy fluid’ – by peter christopherson
(not coil as stated) from the v/a cd  foxtrot)

so first jhon balance, now sleazy, are dead. and yet simon cowell walks the earth; “i swear, it’s not a world of men.”

thanks to jon, and to matt, who he persuaded/cajoled/threatened into trekking out to photograph sleazy’s resting place and tribute in a bangkok temple:

more pics here.


” m a n w i t h t h e w o r l d ‘ s l o n g e s t p u b i c h a i r , m e t t h e w o m a n w i t h t h e w o r l d ‘ s l o n g e s t f i n g e r n a i l s … “

“…they made the world’s worst fairy tale”

apparently plans are afoot for them to visit europe… quite,  q u i t e  excited.

in other news, a documentary is available concerning their first incarnation:


f l y f l y t h e d e v i l ‘ s i n y o u r e y e s h o o t s h o o t


‘we fenced other gardens with the bones of our own’, from the 2004 album they were wrong so we drowned, by liars; the cd single of which bears one my favourite covers of all time:


f l o a t i n g l i k e b l a c k a s h

‘we want war from the album hidden, by these new puritans


o n e ( n o w ) i n s h a d o w

“i ate the knife,
 and the knife won.
 it’s all over.”

2009 ends badly.

i reckon pretty much everyone since the 80s that has picked up a guitar with an eye to making their audience wince and draw back, everyone who has used the instrument as a vehicle of noise, feedback and thoroughly disturbed bluesy melody, everyone that has sung whether they could actually make a pleasantly acceptable sound or not, everyone with an interest in the musically sharp, angular and oppressive owes this man a significant dept. all you latterday nick cave fans take note: cave wouldn’t have been the man he is today without howard, any more than howard would have gone on to be the musician he was without his former bandmate. wikipedia: howard’s birthday party bandmates reflected upon his death; nick cave told wenn, “this is very sad news. rowland was australia’s most unique, gifted and uncompromising guitarist. he was also a good friend. he will be missed by many.” mick harvey remarked, “sometimes people are ready to go because they have been sick for a long time, but rowland really wanted to live. things were going well for him outside of his health and he wanted to take advantage of that, and he was very disappointed that he wasn’t well enough to do so.” i was fortunate to be at a bad seeds gig some years ago when howard came on and they did three birthday party songs. it was incredible. howard’s solo output, though sparse, was equally impressive. both these immortal souls albums should be bought if you don’t already own them, as should his collaborations with lydia lunch and his later, truly solo album ‘teenage snuff film’. his latest, ‘pop crimes’, which has so far been released only in australia (and on itunes) is reportedly another career highlight and, so it turns out, his swan song. exit everything indeed.



t h e t r i u m p h o f t h i e v e r y

so then, the illegal downloading of music. it’s here, it’s unsurprisingly popular, there seems to be little, if  a n y t h i n g  at all that anyone can do about it; but what, precisely, does it represent? what is it heralding?

an egalitarian world of tomorrow? an artistic, utopian orgy of access and horizon-broadening freedom?

or a sad, sordid den of button pushing thieves? a plague of greedy, instant gratification junkies, with no more attention span than they have appreciation for what it takes to create  a n y t h i n g .

i’d like to say i think it’s the former but i’m afraid that case is getting harder and harder to argue.

let’s get one thing straight, i’m no musician. this is not something i claim, nor do i seriously entertain any musical ambitions. i dabble from time to time and enjoy doing so. if i give away an ‘album’, be it cd or download, then i have very little to lose. but i have a number of friends who are musicians, who try (or indeed barely manage) to make their living making music.

the most successful of these has worked tirelessly for a decade or more and has achievd a great deal in their genre. this person is known world wide in their field and very respected. they have played live around the world (though not stadium sized rock gigs or anything) and they get by financially selling cds and lps from their home, which means they can just about scrape by. or they had been until this year. sales are plumetting and it’s for one reason only. e v e r y t h i n g  they have ever released is available to download for free on the internet. everything. this is of course because people or persons who bought a copy have uploaded it for everyone else to steal.

yes, sorry, should have warned any young people reading this that i was going to use that word. i’m well aware that using the ‘s’ word when discussing this upsets downloaders and makes me look like a terrible old fart. i appreciate that i come from a generation that prized (perhaps even fetishised) the artifact. we bought lps, we bought cds, we liked the artwork, the packaging, lyrics sheets, and we knew this place when it was all fields, blah blah blah. the demise of the artefact is a red herring and only the entry level problem i have with illegal downloading, being as it is a problem with downloading in general, illegal or otherwise. you don’t want the artwork? ok. you don’t mind your downloads being compressed all the way to fuck and back in mp3 format? fine. you want to be like one of those pikey little cunts you see playing their shit music through their even shittier mobile phone speakers? ok. your loss. you have officially singled yourself out as something other than a music fan. but if you don’t care about that, i certainly don’t.  but again, the squashed mp3 is a concern with (practically) all downloads. this really isn’t an argument about age or about fogey-ism. there never was a golden age and change is a good, if not great thing.

this is an argument about stealing, plain and simple. and while i know that using the ‘s’ word allies me with thoroughly punchable moaning millionaires like metallica, this misses the point utterly.

you don’t get people scanning in novels and uploading em because A) it’d take too long B) the recipient would either have to pay the cost of printing themselves,  or read the whole bloody thing on screen, and C) reading a book takes too long maaan, like, who reads anyway dude? (i think i just threw up a bit in my mouth)

see, this is all conducted under the guise of a kind of hippy “music’s in the air, maaan, art belongs to the world, you can’t, like, own a feeling” avalanche of steaming shit, but it’s a smokescreen thrown up by the embarrassment that, in fact, they  k n o w  they’re in the wrong. people roll their eyes sheepishly when asked if they download, mumble about major record labels.

one art form is seen as more legitimately stealable than another. it’s bizarre. music is now seen as stealable as, say, the image of a famous painting was seen about a decade or more ago. take the mona lisa, make it into a t-shirt. technology has made the theft of music equally as easy. the only difference is that the art world has a seemingly inexaustable supply of rich patrons / investors, so why should damien hirst care if i make a split cow t-shirt? he might fall over a pile of money on his way to sue me and break a nail. but music is immediate and populist and so has no such safety buffer. mona lisa t-shirts are raining down on the streets, all you have to do is pick one up and put it on.

someone told me something about theatre years ago that think applies here. he said don’t give away too many complimentary tickets to a performance. the less people pay to see it, the less they will appreciate it and value it.” the excuse for illegal downloading of course, or one of them, is that it’s developed a ‘try before you buy’ culture. if i’ve heard “if i like an album, i buy it” once i’ve heard it a million times. and it’s bullshit. i see no evidence that ‘getting your stuff out there for nowt’ is anything like a stepping stone to ‘getting your stuff paid for’ unless maybe you’re already famous. radiohead gave away their album for fuck all, then loads of people bought it. but they’re radiohead. bob tit-monkey and his incontinent syncopators do the same thing, d’you think they’ll sell even a minute fraction of the cds? no. they’ll be downloaded, swallowed up and forgotten. they’ll be flipping burgers before you know it.

my musician friend was asked in an interview what he thought about illegal downloading and he replied it was theft. the interviewer reacted like he’d just told a racist joke. the interviewer seemed to view the person who uploaded my friend’s life’s work as something approaching a hero. “so many more hundreds of people will hear your music” he said. but will they?

well maybe. maybe. but the transaction between the musician and the listener is an important one and it’s changed. the listener who pays nothing is no longer invested in the product and so anything that takes effort, anything that’s not immediately satisfying or easily digested will suffer. a shopper on the hunt for free music might return with a hundred albums. a thousand. the album that’s a ‘grower’, that takes a little thought, is less likely to be given a chance. this so called democratization of music consumption will very likely also become a dumbing down of the medium itself.

recently trent reznor, that perennially angsty teenager, posted sobering advice to young bands which effectively said ‘give your music away for nothing’: “music is free whether you want to believe that or not. every piece of music you can think of is available free right now a click away. this is a fact – it sucks as the musician but that’s the way it is (for now).” similarly, though with somewhat more cynicism, william bennet posted a blog justifiably ridiculing david tibet‘s threat that illegal downloaders would be cast into the lake of fire, and suggesting that while illegal downloading really does “impact how much you’re able to commit to invest in making your music”, still the message seems to be the same: this is happening, it has happened, it will go on happening, and there’s fuck all you can do about it.

i have to say i think messrs reznor and bennet are probably right. the thieves win, a few millionaires whinge, but ultimately the musician suffers.