British, up-and-coming

Tuesday 29 January 2008

So I saw something about a call for live electronic music for a gig opening for Christian Marclay and Elliott Sharp this Thursday; so I quickly sent off a piece; so they say no thanks to the gig offer, but would I like something of mine on a compilation CD they’re handing out on the night, “showcasing up-and-coming British artists”? Yes! I said. I’m British! I’m up-and-coming! I’m an artist (Macquarie University once said so)!
It says on the website they’re giving the CDs to punters at the end of the night. Is that to incentivate the punters to hang around to the end, or to prevent the punters from frisbeeing them at the talent?
Note to self: name on the door? or risk getting turfed out into the cold streets of Kilburn?

Dear University of Wales Press,

Monday 28 January 2008

If you really want my permission to use a photo of a statue of Jeremy Bentham in one of your books, don’t ask me to reply to a nonexistent email address. Also, if you really want me to find out what said book is about, don’t direct me to a placeholder web page written in Welsh. Yrs, etc.

The Magic Listener Advisory Board Top and Bottom 5 for 2007, as voted for by people like you. Well, me really.

Sunday 27 January 2008

If you’re on the New Magic Listener Advisory Board, you’ll have had the chance to rate over 300 easy-listening, MOR, AOR, mouldy oldie, and long-forgotten novelty hits. As suggested before, Magic listeners have excellent taste in judging what people really want to hear, not what dickhead hipster ironists think people want to hear.

The Top 5:

1. “Runaway”, Del Shannon
2. “Then He Kissed Me”, The Crystals
3. “Ramblin’ Rose”, Nat King Cole
4. “Spicks & Specks”, The Bee Gees
5. “El Paso”, Marty Robbins
Anyone who would not be stoked to hear any of these five songs on the radio is an enemy of music. Bonus points are in order for bigging up a Bee Gees single the rest of the world would find hopelessly obscure.

The Bottom 5:

1. “Since I Fell For You”, Kate Ceberano
2. “Jolene”, Olivia Newton-John
3. “Ben”, Michael Jackson
4. “Please Don’t Ask Me”, Johnny Farnham
5. “Route 66”, Natalie Cole
It’s not explained whether this list is counting up or down, but still a clear picture emerges of what your average Magic listener does not like: ageing pop stars trying for second careers as lounge singers, off-brand cover versions, or pedophiles singing about rats. Take that, ironists.
In these troubled times, at least one corner of the world is in safe, sensible hands.

Please Mister Please

Saturday 26 January 2008

Conlon Nancarrow, “Study for Player Piano No.36 (Canon 17/18/19/20)” (1965?-77?).
(3’49”, 3.29 MB, mp3)

Brockley Nocturne with Effect of Dormobile

Saturday 26 January 2008

“The Age Demanded” (forgotten post from December)

Monday 21 January 2008

Difference between London graduate art show and Melbourne graduate art show, 2007. Neither were hugely interesting, but for different reasons. The art presented by Melbourne students was sketchy, unfinished: they were still working through concepts rather than making fully-developed work. The British students were showing artworks which were complete, finished objects, but which functioned mostly as decoration or superficially imitated other artists’ ideas.
Nowadays peripheral countries like Australia are artistically affected less by the isolation from the circulation of cultural ideas, than they are by the isolation from the circulation of money.

The mummified corpse of Jeremy Bentham reads inter-office emails.

Monday 21 January 2008

You've gone porko-sporko!

Please Mister Please

Saturday 19 January 2008

Telly Savalas, “If” (1974).
(3’12”, 3.07 MB, mp3)

Filler By Proxy LVIII: Bobby Fischer for the last time

Saturday 19 January 2008

This blog has a small, unfortunate reputation for giving anti-semitic nutbags an easy ride, so I should mention the death of Bobby Fischer, who was the subject of the first ever Filler by Proxy way back when I was desperately scratching around for subject matter.
There are plenty of detailed obituaries to choose from. Andy McSmith in The Independent manages a concise survey of his madness and his brilliance:
It looked like a petulant blunder by the challenger, who had become more fussy and prone to complain about the conditions under which he was forced to play chess which each passing year. He had repeatedly accused the Russians of cheating, and lying. Now he had thrown a match.
In retrospect, it looks much more like a clever ploy in a psychological war against Spassky and the Soviet apparatus. From then on, Spassky never knew what Fischer would do next, but he hung on gamely as the American repeatedly beat him.

“You’ve been in the house too long,” she said.

Wednesday 16 January 2008

What’s on top of the pile?

Monday 14 January 2008

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Your Funeral… My Trial
I know it’s wrong to say this, but listening back now he sounds a little bit retarded on those earlier records. Was it just the drugs, or that the Eighties are now a foreign country?
A bunch of “The Wire Tapper” sampler CDs
Along with a magazine subscription as a birthday present. Thanks babe!

(Last time on the pile.)

Darts, darts, darts, darts, darts, on the television

Sunday 13 January 2008

I’m beginning to get a sense of the shape of the year in London. The year truly begins with the concurrence of the composer weekend at the Barbican and the world darts championship on the telly. For various reasons I’m giving the Barbican a miss this year, but I still look in on the darts now and then.
Two years ago I wrote:

… it dawned on me that I was watching one of the great endangered species of popular culture, a type of television that the next generation of children will never know: the professionally-produced, relatively major television event that is completely unphotogenic. I cannot imagine that in ten years’ time a large, Western television network will be making any shows where fat, balding men in polo shirts and sovereign rings are watched by a clubhouse full of attentive smokers.

In fact it lasted only one more year; the smoking ban introduced last summer took care of that. Now instead of anxious women huddled next to their kids with a fag in one hand and a pint in the other, you see anxious women chewing furiously and dashing in and out of the hall between legs.

The fat blokes with the gold bracelets and prison tatts are still on camera offering their insights into the game while standing in the middle of what is obviously a bar; but if the reports that the game’s popularity has never been higher are true, then the homogenising influence of corporate money cannot be far from banishing them and their world.
Speaking of the photogenic new face of darts, I would like to apologise on behalf of my country for the hairstyle of this year’s Australian finalist, Simon Whitlock. He can’t help it, he’s from Queensland.

Last year’s new year’s resolution, or Is Music Art?

Saturday 12 January 2008

Someone reminded me that it’s Morton Feldman’s birthday today, so here’s a little bit from a talk he gave in San Francisco in 1986, ruminating on whether or not music is really an art form. (5’58”, 2.5 MB, mp3)

Please Mister Please

Friday 11 January 2008

Carl Stalling, “There They Go Go Go” (1956).
(5’24”, 3.49 MB, mp3)

He’s not going away in a hurry

Thursday 10 January 2008

Jodru at ANABlog imagines how Stockhausen would describe riding the subway in New York:

“Through a process I invented of experimenting with the New York City subway system, I have discovered a new borough called Queens.”

What follows is a useful introduction to the peculiar musical and theatrical world of Stockhausen’s LICHT, complete with photos and musical examples. A world still shrouded in mystery.

Despite being chock full of astonishing music, the ultimate strangeness of the staged opera obscured the continuing quality of Stockhausen’s writing. If Gesang der Junglinge, Hymnen and Mantra were wrapped into some cosmically trashy concept album (say, Kilroy Was Here), their aura would certainly dim.

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