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VIDA DE-sign by Michael Buckingham, aka Mick Muttley

Dear friends (yeah really, one of those) I have become a women's wear designer for VIDA! http://shopvida.com/collections/voices/ ...

Sunday, 27 August 2017

289: Pseud's Corner

The preservation of an idea, musically, succeeds, for me at least, when it has become ambient music, with leaning to the flagship phrase "ignorable as it is interesting" counterbalanced with the thought that, when I listen to music, "it doesn't really matter". That means, basically, that it's an aperitif, not a main meal in the spice list of life.

Do you agree?

Friday, 18 August 2017

Tinsel Town In Scene Of A Crime

Poem – mrb

Tinsel Town In Scene Of A Crime; August 2017

Those woolly mammoth machines

The tanks on the horizon

Firing shells over the seashores

We’d hope they were extinct by now

Why won’t they let us be?


Bees in a hive of sweet honey

Those furry sloths

Those tinsel town furries

The cuddly truth – life, lived and huddled

The negating slurry pile outside

We must avoid the drab somedays

To mention the futile is a nun day

Few like none say

Tiles on the church floor are all splintered

Let us keep our resistance, friends

Keep the resistance of machinery

And the warmth of the natural world

It’s tinsel town in scene of a crime

Roll up boys and girls!

Father Christmas has come to play with you

Sit on his lap for a present or two

Chuckle with mince pies and mum’s cookin’ stew

Far away from the mammoth tanks

And the slurry pile of everyday life.

Tinsel town in scene of a crime.

Life beyond feeling like a lost dime,

Thrown into the sea like a shell off a soldier;

Relaxing from conflagration of aggressive boulders;

A rolling bauble gathers no moss .

And a child of the world no unkindness to throw over the trenches

Why won’t they let us be?

We knew...

We lied to father Christmas once...

We didn’t put tinsel round the tree

We lost our faith in humanity.

Bandcamp and its editorial coverage of new artists

Bandcamp have been kind to me, Muttley SV, over the years, so I thought I'd do a little post on what SC forum regular DIB has alerted me to in my Ambient Lovers (search: FTAL) thread...The Best New Ambient Releases article, said to be a new monthly affair by Aurora Mitchell for the time being.


Starting to listen through the music, I'm impressed by its auteurship. But Bandcamp has always been "the best new music" for me since it started in 2008, because it represents DIY projects wholesale. Gone are the commercialisations of content, the trimming of untidy strands of hair, like the throwing away of the prog solo, and most of this music is ambience and ambient based, ignorable as it is interesting, so I'm satisfied. And most of it is pay-what-you-want, so the wider public are, too.

An extra good thing with BC now is they (read: most artists) got rid of the cap on plays, which would then bring up a screen reading "now is the time to open thy heart/wallet". Fuck that - I've disabled that function on my BC site. I want people to have the freedom to stream freely, especially when we become older and realise our music on this site is reaching any kid with an internet connection who, even if they have grown up a spoilt millennial, most of the time are riches impoverished because they are not as rich in mind due to life experience. Experience is perennial to being happy with oneself, a feeling we need to generate a bit more.

The easiest way to establish yourself a fan base these days, though I'm naturally biased, is to sign up to a forum like SC, get involved, don't spam the forum with any old crap, just get involved with quality posts, and slowly over time you'll be allowed like the chump writing this to post on the main forum regularly about all your music obsessions. Music talk is free debate on Subvert, but for the sake of content interest, money is removed from the equation. Making money doesn't really exist for artists these days, you get your wage from wherever - said as a true working musician - and you go buy your Maccy D. But it never changes. Only your costs reduce. It took me a while but due to the right mentoring, at under 30, I have now built a sustainable future for my music and as an advertisement from being a featured artist on Bandcamp, over 20 accounts have subscribed.

It was only natural for Bandcamp, as well, to render its content with the Bandcamp Weekly radio station, which I think is still going, and which I've listened to a couple of times. The editors have every angle covered, they keep the site grass roots with the fifteen percent revenue share - which is fuck all if you think of all the free web hosting and nicely boxed and ribboned promotion we all get.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The annihalation of life

Think of that a bit, just a bit. The annihilation of life. This is something I have been thinking about for the last few years. Keeping it all inside. Not even speaking in the comfort of my own four walls for fear I'll be heard by the neighbours who don't really care. And why should they? It's all my inane bipolar bullshit, the residue of my pre-schizoid diagnosis. What sets life apart from annihilation is the actual process of speaking about what is going on in the world. And that's what's been bugging me, not being able to do it. Well enough of that. Understanding I need time to expand and contract verbally day to day, and that life differs from day to day on our progressive evolution, I feel more in need of expressing myself than ever before. If I can't do it through one medium, I will do it through another. So if it's not music, it's training. If it's not writing about music, it's watching fights on TV. If it's not family meetings, it's journaling like this. And so this cycle will continue. Let's start it today, Mike.

Friday, 4 August 2017

285: Goldie - The Journeyman 3 CD Synopsis (Metal Heads / Cooking Vinyl Ltd. ) by Andy Popin

...official SubVersion review of Goldie - "The Journeyman 3CD", by Andy Popin

It's fine to comment on whole triple albums...and if you are reviewing for publication purposes other than self, it is just the kind of sheet you do, implicitly. But for me, there's something extra extra special about the closing (read: not bonus) third CD that concludes Cliffy 'Goldie''s best work since "Timeless" in his triple disc mother lode, "The Journeyman" on Metalheadz. Not only did it manage to make this hefty rockhead shed a few tears at recent exterior memories on my favourite piece of his whole album, the totally friggin terrific "Run Run Run" piano focused piece (yes it has piano, go figure) but "The Instra Suites", as this ascending journey disc spanning nearly eighty minutes and no less is titled, confirmed to me what I love best about Goldie - when he "actually finishes a tune".

Insult? No way. 

For anyone who knows Ciiffy, whether it's just journalistically from afar like me and the average Joe, the ethic of putting the kitchen sink in good and proper - on each tune - is clear, and that dialectic genius he has of one of the precious few which too much weed didn't mess up musically from the 1990s is as clear as day on, for me personally, and to agree with Goldie for once, a better opus effort than "Timeless", the album that garnered so much acclaim. 

Let's dispense with the long-winded verbals for a moment, and just appreciate the scene. Goldie has been around. God, is that an understatement? James Bond's assasin in The World Is Not Enough; the two left-footed Dad on Strictly Come Dancing; faux-thug on soapy depressant Eastbenders (pardon no pun); first-year psych workout Celebrity Big Brother glam points on a career spanning over three decades from the foundations of B-boy graff, Reinforced Records graft and London street seller grit and grime. It really shows on the closing dnb-turned-Detroit-tech cut "Redemption" at the end of disc three, a fiercely inventive swipe at the hangers-on of Jeff Mills, Frankie Knuckles Chicago-an House, Laurent Garnier acid techno Eiffels; his 'ardcore Rufige Cru life. Meanwhile as on the opener to this journey, "Natalie's Truth", "tomorrow lies in a sculpture", which points towards the Body Of Songs project "Electric Abyss" paradox-psychology of concept construction. 

Speaking of more close-to-home, hearty influences, the sounds of "Timeless" engineer Rob Playford (Omni Trio) are dotted all over the analog bass balm and early club warming up sounds of "Horizon". The bass pattern plays a simple trajectory; minor 7th addition to major 7th subtraction but the drum counterpoint reverses and kaleidoscopically explodes the flow. In addition, musically so, glimmers of light piano and Rhodes points to roads untravelled by liquid funk since Lincoln Barret and Dom of Calibre subtracted the stepper breakbeat multi-match and doused in the rinse-and-repeat club putty of rolling percussion. These sounds speak of the unspoken divide between the liquid funk sub genre and atmospheric techno, rotating their influences like a heart-on-sleeve pallbearer passing out pamphlets of multi-faith worship at a parish. In lesser terms, that does not normally happen. 

The next chapter takes us down into a Massive Attack and Portishead style meander - and a great one, with utmost focus - called "Mountains". It's too heavy for a strictly chill station; too light for a jungle tearout station. The best kind of description for stuff like this is "saturated hip hop", that Photek tune of the same name. This to me is better, and not just because it's more musical, it also has production balls, not saturated fat. "Ballad Of Celeste" takes that blueprint and adds violin, reducing (or rather transducing) the overall granular convolution that comes with forgetting memories on a journey as they start to happen. The album is low on lacular amnesia, to borrow from The Caretaker's titles; everything fits into place nicely, and is recollected as a memory pure, as it should be. Nice rice-grained harpsichord irons out the attention tenets of the time listening to "Celeste", which is "Mountains" romantic candour and counterpoint suggestion, also bookend with baby chuckles and samples of twinkling Poinsetta prettiness. "Castaway" ups the pace to around 162bpm by my internal heartbeat. 

For the first time in this CD, wind instruments are ferociously introduced, darting all over the beat like a moth caught in a circus lightshow. Echoes of the synth used on Seal's "Killer" ("solitary brother, is there still a part of you that wants to live? Soiitary sister, is there still a part of you that wants to give?") sprinkle in the background like a kind of confetti-coloured moss; a disguised past. And that's exactly what "The Journeyman" feels like, on the whole...and a "glorious future past". The transition from hardcore to dnb reimagined for a less nascent, more grown up audience. It's an absolute mind killer of a journey, to use that dnb buzz word; it takes me to spiritual and heavenly palaces of the eye andear without moving a finger, except those on the hand to put this in the CD player with. Everything fits into place, as I have stated throughout. 

It's like "The Journeyman" just came to show us that in tomorrow, and even yesterday, lies a sculpture of optimism...and that the journey of life never ends. 

Andy Popin

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

284: Pseud's Corner

There is a horrible projection in all of us, yet we do not always see our own faults as the worst cracks in the mirror at that particular time.

283: FR Retrograde Reviews - Mick Buckingham - Chihei Hatakeyama - Mirage (Room40, Kranky)

Chihei Hatakeyama, after a healthy decades good exposure in the ambient field as a torchbearer of peaceful drones and sibilance should he strike the strings of his delayed electric guitar, presents “Mirage”, an album in the vein of classics like “Saunter” from 2003 and “Light Drizzle” from 2009. Generally focussing on the possibilities of decay trails, Mirage moves with an unearthly abandon. Field recordings of industrial action and children’s play recalls Chris Dooks, while the ambience is alike to Tom Honey’s Gòod Weather For An Airstrike project.

A summary does never do Chihei Hatakeyama due justice. For all this time I have spent collecting his albums, since his major label releases (Room40, Hibernate, Nomadic Kids Republic I believe were sent demos when BVDub picked up the wings of underexposed drone exports and jet-packed them into real ambient consciousness). Wherever you picked up on Chihei – maybe even as mainstream as Wire magazine and Fluid Radio on the web...I have to assert he’s one of my top 10 droners. That list includes big names like Hakobune, Liz Harris (Grouper), Oophoi, Steve Roach, Stars Of The Lid, Simon Scott (Slowdive), Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Hammock...mmmhmmm...some of my fave “others”.
Opening with the bereft breath of “Sad Ocean”, one immediately realises this is simply breath taking music set to scenic views of ambient scenes. Car windows being opened; cool breezes blowing in; or an early morning 5am walk. Thus quality is athletic styled lather, and the soft emotional heft is rendered like real leather interior design, here lies the elasticity principle of Chihei’s sound. What is supple and you get lost in it just as you would the focus of this sentence if it curved into discussion about fabric only. I’m to question how this music collection is so important that it will soundtrack my entire life comfortably. And it does, it will, it can. This sense of comfort and familiarity one feels when taking a listen to these serene wafts of new ago atmosphere is the opposite of new age kitsch.
The answer to why “Mirage” works so well, lies in a somatic response slowness yet paradoxical freedom. Attitudinal its an escape from life’s stasis field – take the lighthouse beacon sound of “Starlight And Black Echo”. Chihei sounds like he was searching deep within when making this. The strange echoing surfeit calms the nerves and puts pay to the hauntological idea of our memories being captured and left to bounce between the speaker system. Like ghost code, it is an aural monologue...is that the meaning of the mirage, we wonder? Pulsing tones reach a refrain then ebb away into comparable dark matter. It is time to see the light, the gut feeling, the mirror; of really belonging.

Indeed this is an lp conjuring mainly lighter shades on the colour wheel of life. With a fine Eton Mess of strawberry creamed texture cranking the cooker DC until the electronics have buttered us up completely, “Distant Steam Train Whistle” introduces a atmospheric harpsichord to lay the table and create a conversation portal for less hazy, more smoky guitar. The whole thing stands up to criticism of going on too long, as to me about an hour is the perfect length for a drone fest. Given the subtle placations throughout, it is amazing the music sounds so peaceful. I’m truly in awe of its warmth.
When I consider drone benchmarks, I think Budd & Eno – The Pearl is comparable here. Nothing borders on creating non-environmental tuning – the music is subtly weaved, controlled, and never totally knockout visceral. The pastoral essence is bottled and releases in places like a effectively placed land mine...a gaseous land mind, excellently perfumed and fighting the bad odour of cheap petrol-heavy streets where everything gets recorded (unless Chihei really lives far out). Indeed, if made in the 60s, hippies would be getting high around a bong to sounds contained here.

With most of the morass a lost-phase, a haze-dream, a bushy-nature-reserve of ambient logic, the ambience throughout “Mirage” is ripe when viewed through the first year psychology topic of reverse psychology. Why is this? Because the drones are: dense, thick, organic, unfiltered, healthy and extremely nutritious in the context of the drone music lovers palette. Like the aforementioned comparison of Tom Honey’s work, “Anatolia Mirage” hums a short poem of tones – tone poetry, a melodic haiku, with drones that are rather not long-winded, instead they are carried by the wind.
The a plus transcendental introspection created by the soliptic stress-straining slipstreams cajoles the listener’s expectations like kale being filtered through a sieve. Or pillows before bedtime laid out for a siesta or long snooze. Perfect for night and day time, but cornerstone logic is for weightless contexts, in a nutshell. There needs to be music like this made, for certain. I would not mind betting Hatakeyama has a third life from production and field recording for nature program music.

If there is any weakness of “Mirage”, it is as such that it is not very energising. Some would say it is too samey. To me though, when you have mood music as classy as this, sideswipes like that become irrelevancies. It becomes meaningless. When the music is this inspiring and meaningful, on the other hand, your perspective changes. The little man in your head vanishes. At least it does mine. I’m tired of half-assed critics who don’t know what a good opus sounds like. Mark my words, there is no way any educated listener of taste could describe this music as bland.

May we see more fantastic mirages from Japanese artist Chihei in future. The lps on the Kranky repped Room40 imprint after all – it had to be something special. This to me is Chihei Hatakeyama’s most realised work to date – never disappointing, never ghostly...this time, the mirage is permanent.