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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/ ...

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.

Friday, 16 June 2017

282: Pseud's Corner

Express something to its literal end. Fluidity is crucial, and capturing things only makes us long term keep them.
The great thinkers of the world have always been critical of self, and i like to imagine genial concepts running through from person to person, like an olympic torch.
In philosophy genius has always been seen as a fluid not mathematically minded construct. It lives and breathes on whats happening, on the moments spur, on creativity.
Blink and you miss it, capture and its lost. This is my point for discourse. The memory is the only place i keep lots of experiences, they can be forgotten, so what!

281: Boxing Retrospective By Muttley - Audley "A-Force" Harrison

Audley 'A-Force' Harrison, the 6 foot 5 black athlete turned boxer from London, UK, often became dismissed as a novelty celeb act by armchair journalists, but as a prizefighter champion after his olympic gold and holding the european title against, lets face it, always outclassed opponents, it was inevitable. Growing a nascent worrying fascination for picking his fights before frank warren picked them for him, he is known inside the ring to real boxing pugilists for a ramrod jab and staggering power in his southpaw-stance left hand. Notable wins for audley:
1. Obv. Olympic gold. And like all olympic athletes, nicola adams right now on bnation etc, they rely on boxing rather than volume and/or punching power. Science. Its hard to pick notable clips from "a - force" harrison in the olympics, because the best fights are boxer vs. Fighter, as shown in harrison's crippling (but not catastrophic) defeats against david price (ko1), david haye (stoppage r3, for the wba world title) and the most brutal; deontay wilder's wild head shots in the first round for the commonwealth title which probably ended his career at the right time. These losses stopped audley in his tracks specifically; more on that later.
2. Danny Williams KO r3. The man who knocked out Iron Mike Tyson in 4 rounds creating his descending 2000s spiral into early retirement, and lennoxs best comparison uk wise at least out of the limelight (is meant to shred leather in the sparring drills). Cuts ensued against audley and audley it should be noted took williams out of there six rounds earlier than wladimir klitschko in 2002.
3. Michael Sprott Ko 12. A very memorable fight this one, the underrated domestic titan Sprott causing audley early adversity mentally but gave the old sorcerer enough time to suck up the punches and press on with outscoring- and finally- knocking out, sprott.
These excellent wins are the reason i rated audley up there with the 21st century greats like the klitschkos, haye, fury, and deontay, the problem is with audley technically is he has a suspect chin - hit right, he quickly collapses- and like an articulated lorry takes ages despite usual early covetous sharpness to get going.
I never liked the "fraudley" and mocking of him back then and i still dont now, yes he can talk, but he has not lost his marbles, hes just content and hes opinionated. Id rather have a gentle giant like him on my bbc tv in the formative years of training as a middleweight muaythai fighter than some crap spouting rubbish role model. As much as i love david haye he does come out with some bollocks before his fights, in fact i have him down as one of the founders of noughties trash talk...sadly, because hes always great to watch, one of my faves of all time.
I will never forget the aspects of scale and ratio, volume and size, power and precision and paradoxical entertainment - over sheer blitzkrieg novelty - that an audley harrison fight brought to me as a teenager.
i have no idea what im doing out of bed

Saturday, 10 June 2017

280: FTAL, FTEL, FTCL June 2K17 Round-up (Rapture Witney Oxon CD Buys, Last 6 Months)

FTAL, FTEL, FTCL (explanations of the acronyms at http://www.subvertcentral.com by inputting these terms in the search engine) records round-up, June 11th 2017. By Muttley.

Ez, hey, wassup all readers, fans, acolytes (don't set fire to my sofa!). Thought I'd do a little SV Recommends compendium, because I've been saving ravenously to spend on therapeutic gold as ever.

Here are my CDs bought from Rapture, Witney, Oxon UK In the last 6 months.

M83 - Junk
Ministry Of Sound - The Chillout Session 2CD Mix
This Is Chill 2CD Mix - Various Artists
Warpaint - Heads Up
Cigarettes After Sex - S/T
Slow Club - One Day All Of This Won't Matter Any More
Goldfrapp - Silver Eye / We Are Glitter (Import)
Ministry Of Sound - Oldschool Anthems 3CD
Xiu Xiu - Forget
Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm - Trance Friendz / Loon OST
Mala - Mala In Cuba

Generally all good stuff, well written and interesting. The Goldfrapp material is some of the strongest stuff I've heard from Alison and Will. The MOS CDs are welcome additions, full of classic proper electronica. Mala is cool. The real winners for me though are the art rock of Xiu Xiu, M83 French synthpop, and the very Slowdive-y Cigarettes After Sex. Slow Club's newest does not touch "Complete Surrender" personally, and the Nils Frahm collab is kinda stilted, but I love them all. Go and explore will you.

Mike xoxo

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

279: Half Sycophant Half Narcissist

Half sycophant, half narcissist
you'll find the wasters raising a fist
they don't have anything else to say
so they get frustrating, grating
taking the heart rate off the spectrum
playing the sycophants heart with a plectrum
also becoming a narcissist in their own right
"I am right and I use my might to talk you down"
hey, at least the sycophantic narcissists have
something in common?
Seems that way, doesn't it.
Oh well, you're a red blooded spanner and you
put your foot in it, didn't you?
That's a way to destroy a relationship
for people who are sycophantic and narcissistic
like you and me, it would come to find out you blew it.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

278: Drumfunk Opacity

Here's one for ya. Drumfunk, the buzzword for drum-driven drum and bass, percussive dance of sorts, as Chris Inperspective of the Technicality label would like to term it, once upon a time (2007). How does it gain its environmental opacity? By opacity I imply the “right ambience”. The right ambience is something we look for heavily in gentrified “mood music”, specifically music for setting a scene. Indeed much “mood” in shorthand is ideal for scoring films, movies, whatever you call them.

Much success, I would think, comes down to the “time bomb ethic” of the drums. The “timbre” of the track. These two things, qualities, et al, are not separate, rather they compliment each other in the “right ambience”. You see where I'm going with this? What I am simply saying is “drumfunk needs the right ambience for its potential to be fully realised, and I think we can all agree what we once hated can turn into things we love”.

Take Paradox Music. To some the drums might sound like washed out cardboard rolling down a hill. To the trained ear crunchy crisp percussions are the order of the day, and for once there's no unnecessary filler side salad; flights of fancy. The discombobulation Nucleus & Paradox turn on the “Fuzz and the Boog” drum hit on the piece “Fuzzy Something” is a timeless, riotous wonder.

To understand is to understate, always. Hence the adjectives, because I will never truly so “get it”.