December 1st, 2011 | daybook
December 1st, 2011 | daybook
November 30th, 2011 | daybook
Years ago, I blogged some notes by Matt Webb & Jack Schulze, back when they were Schulze & Webb, on the notion of a “social letterbox.” Later, Schulze & Webb and Matt Jones fused into the creature known as BERG, and became a company that did all kinds of interesting stuff, including publishing SVK.
And in 2012 it’ll be a thing you can have in your house. It comes with a cloud-based control system to allow you to precisely control what’s printed – therefore, what enters your home or office – and when.
Little Printer, a thing that makes the vague and numinous ideas of the papernet concrete, would appear to be just the start. BERG Cloud, the thing that makes it go, is scaleable and adaptable:
Our technology means we can focus on great design for connected products, rather than programming chips to make them work. We have a list of products we’ll be making next, but if you have a need for anything from prototype Web-enabled clocks to smart infrastructure for a new city block, we’d love to hear from you.
And that is all kinds of interesting to me.
My friends amaze me.
November 21st, 2011 | music
Colleen Nika says:
An update on Nightvision for the curious reader: I am about to announce a series of new editorials and guest mixes; (hint: Moon Wiring Club, Felix Kubin, and John Foxx fans take note). Plans for the Nightvision radio hour are also nearing completion; details on the main show have to remain a secret for now, but I can announce I’ll be doing some XFM cameos again soon, as well as something special on London Fields Radio in January. The live project kicks off in March/April in NYC!
For annoying, (but honest and unavoidable) reasons, I’ve been a bit delayed in rolling out the initiative. Basically, I’ve been traveling, drama-seeking, working my arse off at my daytime magazine job, and ‘dealing with a bunch of boring life-altering shit’ etc. But hold tight, because a lot is about to happen very quickly, starting this week. And luckily, some worthwhile musical osmosis has transpired in the mean time; so many amazing new (and rediscovered) tunes have emerged on my radar, some of which you’ll hear below in a new mutant pop mix I just brewed up. It’s called (Super) Novecano, a nod to various November modes: nihilistic, volcanic, numb, the beautiful decay of a supernova. I stuck a photo of Vivien Leigh on the ‘cover’ because she’s the queen of extremes, and just about everything else.
This is a schizoid pop mix filled with twists and turns; it’s restless, distracted, bipolar, blissful, bratty, leering, contemplative, tragic. A post-genre jumble of sounds with a few thematic tricks at play. There are moments of euphoria and lust and moments of no return. Pop neurons crosswired with something scarier: manipulations from a mindset hellbent on Xenomania and Richard D. James creating a disjointed masterpiece together.
The tracklist, detailed on the Soundcloud page, is filled with a few exclusive and obscure songs, including unreleased gems from Grimes and Maria Minerva, some custom edits, and a deliciously rare (and amazing) Aphex Twin remake of Saint Etienne, as well as a reimagining of James Holden and Bodyrox as one warped entity. May I also recommend the incredible Irmin Schmidt (of Can) and Kumo number? It might be my favorite song of the year and it’s actually three years old.’
November 20th, 2011 | Work
Back in 2006, I wrote a flash fiction thing called “There’s That Goddamn Sun Again.” Molly always loved it. So I gave her permission to make a print out of it. And I love it.
You can buy it at this link here. It’s a signed, numbered, limited edition, on 13" x 19" semigloss paper.
November 18th, 2011 | spektrmodule
Fire Axes In Space
38 minutes and 11 seconds
2. “Sea Of Rains” - United Bible Studies (album: “The Lunar Observatory”)
4. “AIUIA (apparently blast knot tangle)” – RxRy
5. Me. Recorded on phone. I’m fine with degraded audio for spoken pieces.
6. “Sofia” – A Grave With No Name (album: “Mountain Debris”) (comes up a bit loud)
7. “Elq Milq” – Black Moth Super Rainbow & The Octopus Project (album: “The House of Apples & Eyeballs”)
8. “Baby Don’t Go” – Dum Dum Girls (album: “I Will Be”)
9. “Rainbow Illness” – Wolves In The Throne Room (album: “Celestial Lineage”)
10. “Du Meine Leise / Altmix” – Gregor Samsa (album: “Over Air”)
11. Me again.
12. “Sunrise in the Third System” – Tangerine Dream (album: “Alpha Centauri”)
13. “Viking 1” – Moondog (album:”Moondog: The Viking of 6th Avenue”)
14. “Song About a Bird, excerpt” – Gizra People: Traditional Song from New Guinea (album: “Global Celebration: Earth Spirit (Cycles Of Nature)”)
15. Me again.
16. “Downtown” – Cosmic Jokers (album: “Gilles Zeitschiff”)
18. “UFO End Titles Theme” – Barry Gray
Consider this a practise run – still getting used to the new tools.
November 10th, 2011 | Work
This is the ten-minute talk I stuck together at the last minute for BERG’s “Tomorrow’s World” event in London last night. Thanks to BERG and the audience for putting up with me, sorry it’s not very good:
When Jones talked me into doing this, he stuck me with the title “the near future of pop.” Which is just one more reason why I would very much like to kill Jones.
The near future of pop. Does he mean pop music? He must do, because Pop Art was dead before Rauschenberg started tracing comics panels.
I love pop music, because I come from the deep dark twentieth century, where we understood that popular music was a broad church, because it was the music on the pop charts. Laurie Anderson could sit in the top forty next to New Order, The Exploited, Lene Lovich, The Teardrop Explodes, Iron Maiden, Tom Tom Club and Elvis Costello.
Of course, today, the singles charts are just an extension of bad tv game shows, and the album charts trace little more than the buying habits of people without the internet. Your aged mother-in-law popping down to WH Smith to buy the Tony Bennett collection.
The near future? The future of anything is like some massive weather system on the horizon, pushing out thunderheads all over the place, and it’s impossible to predict where the lightning will strike. And in 2011 it’s worse than ever.
In 1987, the weather was much smaller and slower, and when the lightning struck, it set off a creeping wave that took a year to crawl all over the world. It took international travellers with their ears to the ground, listening for the future, to catch the new sound. Which is one reason why one of the central early acid house releases was by Genesis P Orridge. Today it’s happening everywhere, all the time. And the landing points have names.
Witch house, ghost drone, drag, dubstep, sublow, eski, grime, jungle, indie dance, rave, acid house, house. Footwork, juke, Chicago juke. Wonky, bassline. Chillout, chillwave, new wave, No Wave, lo-fi, glo-fi. Dreampop, hypnagogic pop, baroque pop, electropop, perfect pop, indiepop, power pop, pop will eat itself, pop-punk, ska pop, technopop, yacht pop, pop metal, glam metal, Ambient doom metal, regular doom metal, death metal, black metal, symphonic metal, viking metal, metalcore, grindcore –
– the hardcore continuum, which Kode9 calls “a way of understanding the evolution of music,” drawing a wobbly line through hardcore techno, garage, 2step, funky house, speed garage –
– I’m barely even started. I haven’t even touched jazz. Good old jazz. The original punk rock. Hasn’t done anything in years, jazz. Jazz, trad jazz, cool jazz, swing, hard bop, free jazz – let me back you up there, because in 1940 jazz spawned jump blues, and jump blues spawned rhythm and blues, and therefore rock and roll, and therefore donated genes to pop –
– And I’m not even getting near jazz musician Anthony Braxton, who invents a new kind of music annually, with names like Echo Echo Mirror House Music, Ghost Trance Music and Falling River Music.
You may think that some of the things I just mentioned aren’t pop. But, you know, a power metal band won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006, which is as pop as shit gets. Lots of this stuff is popular enough to fill huge venues. All of it shares a few genes with the pop song.
And pop theorist Simon Reynolds is saying that Pop Will Eat Itself were right all along, because pop is eating itself, pop is now almost completely self-referential, not least because we live in this weird period of atemporality where a century of pop music is available wholly and freely and we’re trapped in a time loop of retromania.
But Amanda Brown of the Not Not Fun label says that’s the least modern attitude you can have towards the near future of pop, because, “There’s been almost no era when art hasn’t been hugely about the past – whether reacting to it, recreating it, destroying it.”
She also said this: “Of course I’m inspired by the past, but I’m not trying to re-live it. Styles don’t die; house music isn’t just about the era of its “golden years.” The history of it is still being written.” Which speaks directly to the hardcore continuum theory – tracking the evolving, mutating genestream of dance music through twenty-odd years. The history is still being written. The continuum continues, as continuums tend to do.
And as much as I might want to romanticise the dark days I came from, there was a 50s revival in the 70s, a 60s revival in the 80s, a 70s revival in the 90s and an 80s revival this year.
Punk came to kill the hippies, indie music came for the crimes of punk’s descendants, rave stomped on the bones of undanceable guitar misery. But they all traded bits of themselves. The world encircled by musical genestreams, information streams, as myriad as 1987 flightpaths. Crisscrossing, trading bits of themselves, spawning off new streams. The genetic soup gets awfully murky as it pours out of our speakers, sometimes.
All of which is to say: everything and nothing has changed.
Pop Will Eat Itself, sure, but the band Pop Will Eat Itself played something called Grebo, which was both a music and a shit haircut, and which traded genes with indie-dance and grunge and Britpop, and the lead singer and guitarist of that band, Clint Mansell, now creates film soundtracks, including that of Requiem For A Dream.
Which is kind of what we’re talking about. In even asking after the near-future of pop, you’re almost steeling yourself for bad news. It’s common knowledge that pop’s coughing blood and stopped taking fluids. There was a dream of pop, a constant signal of The New Sound, the noise that said we were in the future. Nik Cohn called it the “glorious burst of incoherent noise.”
What happened to that? You don’t hear it now. Even supposedly innovative acts like Lady Gaga produce utterly inoffensive pop pap. It’s what everything in what we think of as the current pop world sounds like.
Not that my sixteen year old daughter knows anything about that. The thing about an early-stage networked culture where everything is available on demand means that you have to know about it to demand it. It’s why companies like last.fm, and most social networks, have always put “music discovery” towards the top of their priorities. They know that common culture has been fractured by the internet and the remains bought and paid for by scum. But my daughter has a t-shirt that reads OF COURSE I’M NOT ON FUCKING FACEBOOK. She uses YouTube playlists, and her friends’ tastes, and even music magazines, and plots her own course through pop.
And she doesn’t know, or care to be told, what her favourite pop bands owe to the Pixies or Bowie or Velvet Underground. Atemporality means nothing to her. This is hers, and that’s how it should be. And pop, in relation to the wreckage of mainstream media, has gone underground, and perhaps that’s how it should be too. Underground and everywhere, at the speed of light.
It’s on YouTube and net radio and Soundcloud and Bandcamp and pirate radio and mixtape files. And occasionally a pop movement with a big enough count of healthy genes will put escape velocity to a couple of proponents, and all of a sudden Dizzee Rascal’s an actual pop star.
The near future? Pop will go down into the tube station at midnight and have sex. Lots of sex. And all those genres I listed earlier? Every single year will generate a list of new genres like that. Then every six months. Then every month. Then every week. Pop will fuck and mutate and survive. The new sounds will be everywhere, in too many places for us to notice them all at once. A million glorious bursts of incoherent noise.
November 8th, 2011 | brainjuice
November 6th, 2011 | photography
Niki re-homes ex-battery hens. This one was thrown out of the factory this morning. If she makes it through the night, then, all other things being equal, she might last eighteen months. If she can regrow enough feathers to make it through the winter.
November 5th, 2011 | about warren ellis/contact
My name’s Warren Ellis. I write comics, graphic novels, books, journalism and anything else that people pay money for. Sometimes I even go out in public. I live in south-east England.
I’m the writer of the graphic novel RED, the film version of which (starring Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman & Helen Mirren) came out in October 2010. (RED 2 is due in 2013.) I’m the writer of the GRAVEL graphic novels, under development for film by Legendary Pictures. I also wrote the novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN. I have an Amazon.com page here. (Ignore anything it says about LISTENER, that book was lost and cancelled years ago.)
My next novel, GUN MACHINE, is due from Mulholland Books in autumn 2012.
A collection of the writing I’ve done here and elsewhere on the internet, SHIVERING SANDS, was published in 2009.
Sometimes I speak at conferences, or do other kinds of talks and appearances.
The easiest way to contact me in the first instance is probably to message me on Twitter.
I have an Official Warren Ellis Page on that Facebook thing , which mirrors this site as well as my Tumblr and a few other things.
You can also find me on Instagram as warrenellis.
If you need to contact me about writing for print or web, please contact my agent Lydia Wills using the link in the righthand menu bar.
If you need to contact me about anything involving film, tv, games or other things that move and make noises, please contact my agent Angela Cheng Caplan using the link in the righthand menu bar.
Okay, that’s more like a fight. I wish that many of the New 52 DC comics were more creatively compelling and less editorially pissed-in, and I wish DC had dealt Marvel a nutpunch right out of the gate, but I do really like this performance by DC.
It’ll make Marvel work harder. And then, maybe, just for a short while, commercial comics will be less ugly and stupid.
This on the same day that Marvel are letting a bunch of TPBs go out of print just-because.
November 1st, 2011 | people I know
I don’t want to be That Guy, but Xmas is in seven weeks and my friend Eliza Gauger is selling prints of her wonderful work via dA.
November 1st, 2011 | microlog
I’m going to podcast again.
I apologise in advance.