December 1st, 2009 | music
Discovered Xela just the other day. If you come across an EP by Xela called THE DIVINE, grab it. This is from the album THE DEAD SEA:
November 30th, 2009 | music
Third in a possibly infinite list of music wot I liked this year:
"Love Is A Wave," Crystal Stilts: I don’t care what it’s derivative of, I don’t care what you think, I loved this and I consider it one of the great pop records of the year. You can disagree with me, but at the end of the argument I will be Right and you will be Severely Bruised. There is a Narrative Purity to this record. It says: what if the Libertines, that great music-press delusion of the 00s, that band that only made one great single and it was their last one, that band who became invited into the Rock Canon because they had a great story… what if they had, one time, tried to get the rush they gave people down onto a bloody record. Then it would have been this one. But ultimately they were a bit shit at being a band, so the Crystal Stilts did it instead.
THE TRANSACTIONAL DHARMA OF ROJ, Roj: you really need the CD of this, not least because of the gorgeous booklet written by Ken Hollings and designed by Julian House. This is a Ghost Box record, and as such has its roots in the cosmic hauntological weird. DHARMA, however, is a lot more about rhythm than most Ghost Box records. And it’s frequently absolutely gorgeous. It’s still coming out of that box of strangeness, don’t get me wrong. But it’s less concerned with building a sonic fiction and weirding you out than it is with conjuring an interplanetary drum seance. And an interplanetary drum seance should first be beautiful.
November 30th, 2009 | brainjuice
On my internet shithole today:
* REMAKE/REMODEL: Mysta Of The Moon – return of the artist game thread, all are welcome
* Changing SF Magazines’ Business Theory – I didn’t start this, I swear
* 2009 Music Retrospective – your favourites, this year?
November 30th, 2009 | Work
TOTW is basically a joke that Ariana and I pull each week in our joint guise as the International Electrophonic Unit. Basically, we take some of the stupider things I’ve said on Twitter and elsewhere, often in a state of extreme alcoholic refreshment or severe sleep deprivation, and put them on a t-shirt. Ariana set up a Cafe Press store (because this is a joke and engaging with a serious maker of t-shirts would be less funny to us), and… well, once a week, here we are.
Through this website and this Cafe Press store, we’re going to release one t-shirt a week. It’ll go live on Monday… and it’ll die Sunday night — midnight UK time, more often than not. Each one lives for a week, and then it’s replaced by the next week’s shirt. Until I either run out of dumb ideas or Ariana’s brain explodes.
So, every Monday, I’ll post the new shirt here, and you can peer at it more at http://www.cafepress.com/electrophonic.
Anyway. I present to you T-Shirt Of The Week #006: STAB&STAB:
(remember those band "anti-tshirts" of a while back? Well, I had a shit week, and this is the only music I was interested in hearing.)
We also offer a couple of perennial items. Mostly because I wanted one of these for myself:
(And also a MAN COOK MEAT WITH FIRE "splatter-shield", because Ariana’s crazy)
Thank you for your kind attention.
November 29th, 2009 | brainjuice
November 28th, 2009 | people I know
November 28th, 2009 | brainjuice
Testing Zoundry Raven, a desktop blogging client. Using an image by Emma Vieceli to do so. You can find the print for sale here. Post2Blog never did drag and drop very well. I’d like a desktop client that was as smooth and easy as Tumblweed for Tumblr, to be honest, but there doesn’t seem to be one that clever and slick for WordPress.
If the bumf is to believed, then swiping this image of Emma doing a bookstore PA should just paste in here:
(Sorry, Em, I’m using you as an experimental animal, but I had to google the link for your print shop and this was right underneath in the search results.)
Tumblweed is a clever app because it matches the intent of Tumblr: fast, easy scrapbooking for the internet. WordPress clients tend to match the intent of WordPress, as a place to write long blogposts. No matter how the theme of your WordPress site actually changes that supposed intent. This site has gone through its tumblelog phases, but it’s hard to tumblelog in a big complex client, and bookmarklet apps don’t seem to work so well any more.
Anyway. Let’s see if this actually works.
EDIT: the Flickr image broke within moments, and on a subsequent post with four images in, it only posted one of them. Windows Live Writer, which has also been suggested to me, is currently refusing to post any entry containing an image, using any of three different methods.
November 27th, 2009 | brainjuice
I don’t normally do this, because it usually turns into a clusterfuck. But the fine little Thinkpad X61 that Avatar Press picked up for me when my main computer died horribly last year… well, it’s been worked very hard, and is starting to cough a little blood. It’s also buzzing intermittently, after the last wave of Windows over-the-air updates made it do a fainting goat impression and then turn itself off.
I have, however, quite quickly gotten used to working on a laptop rather than the big desktop machines I’ve been using since the 90s.
(And I have to say, for a tiny machine, the Thinkpad is a terrific device. Its single real drawback has been that its recovery system will steal the entire hard drive if you let it.)
So I’m looking at new laptops, speculatively. I’m not going to have the spare money for one until next year. But, as much as I also need a new phone (the Nokia N95 8GB keeps randomly shutting itself off, which is not useful in a mobile device), a work computer is going to have to take precedence.
Being in the UK, I don’t have the selection of cheap and lovely things available to my US readers. But I would appreciate some suggestions for a big, powerful laptop that is unlikely to start jetting blood and asking for mummy in eighteen months’ time.
No Macs, no Linux: I have a lot of Windows-specific software and function that I need to maintain. Don’t even talk to me about partitions and Windows emulators and whatever, I’m a working writer who can’t programme a VCR and I Do Not Have The Time.
November 25th, 2009 | brainjuice
November 24th, 2009 | brainjuice
November 24th, 2009 | music
Continuing my list (and yes, there will be more of these posts to follow, so don’t tell me what I’ve left off this list):
MONOLITHS AND DIMENSIONS, Sunn O))): the more I listen to this immense album, the more I think of it as four movements transitioning from the pagan to the organised church through an apocalyptic collapse into some awful, barren post-civilisational doomspace that fades to become a weirdly sylvan, almost innocent place. Of course, that could just be me. Never discount the possibility that I am a mad old man and completely full of shit. Anyway, yes, it all sounds a bit prog, but they pull it off as far as I’m concerned.
BROMST, Dan Deacon: perhaps not as gleefully mental as SPIDERMAN OF THE RINGS, but still a greatly entertaining record and a working-playlist staple for me over the summer. Very beautiful in places, and, I think, curiously revelatory of his conservatory background. It’s a record you can just spazz around to that also rewards a close listening, just to hear how he really builds that stuff.
"Skeletons," Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Off the album IT’S BLITZ. Honestly, much of the album left me cold. "Skeletons," though, approaches the heights of "Maps" (and if you don’t like "Maps," then you’re dead inside). Love as a long winter march.
"Dog Days Are Over," Florence And The Machine: similarly, I thought LUNGS was a weak album, and I suspect "Dog Days" will prove to be their One Great Song. (I have a half-arsed theory that 95% of bands have One Great Song in them, and I can prove this using an abacus, Manhattan Love Suicides’ "Veronica," and my right fist.) This one is the one: brilliant structure, some beautifully written lines, she sings like she knows what she’s talking about (which I didn’t get from "Kiss With A Fist, oddly), and she opens up her pipes and blows the door off.
SYMBIOSIS, Demdike Stare: this was a marvellous thing. World Hauntology, if you like: Middle Eastern musics, lo-fi drone and the hideous Arctic menace of Scando exorcists like Elegi, all whacked together with stark rhythmic instinct and crazed machine intelligence. I get the impression this record went way under the radar this year, and it really shouldn’t have.
More in a while.