Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lemme find some damn inspiration before I start a-spurtin' off at the mouth with this blog. Real life is becoming too much of a blur of late for me to bother. I feel like I can never satisfy everyone all of the time, and sometimes that feeling has me stumped. Ya got me? If I talk about some old hardcore disc, I feel like I'm too much caught in the past... and really, I rarely ever listen to HC at this point in my life, so I don't really like to hit upon it too much. If I touch upon an avant-jazz platter, I know freakin' well I'm alienating a good portion of folks who may tend to read this on a semi-regular basis. How do I know such a thing? They tell me so. SST? I'm sounding like a broken record. I could talk about some recent things, but you know what? Outside of items I have a hand in, err, getting out to the public, I don't hear much of anything else, so it feels too self-indulgent to bother w/ those things. I could tell you about the John Cale performance I witnessed just last Saturday night, but really, it wasn't very good. Dreadful sound quality (too loud and clunky in general, the kick drum dominating everything in the mix), too many recent songs (an admirable trait if said songs are any good, though Cale's recent tres moderné material sounds like it fell off the back of a truck at a Laurie Anderson gig ca. 1985), and the slick-dick hotshot muso backing-band hit every note perfectly, though lacked any guts or soul whatsoever. Oh well, I will go to this grave saying one thing: I saw John Cale in the flesh. Wasn't very good, mind you, but he was there... The new William Parker CD is pretty OK, though it hasn't set my world on fire as of yet. And that's a pity, coz he is one of my dead-on fave musicians currently inhabiting planet earth, and has been so for nearly ten years. It's entitled Raining On The Moon and is released on the Aum Fidelity label. There's some regulars involved (Rob Brown, Hamid Drake), though he has vocalist Leena Conquest on board, attempting a kinda soul-goddess avant-jazz croon a la June Tyson, and for me it doesn't work 100%. Some of the vocals are a tad clunky, and the band doesn't break out quite as much as it should. Nice 'n' all, though I wanted my head expanded by such a disc. Better yet is David S. Ware's latest, Renunciation, also on Aum Fidelity. Recorded live last year in NYC w/ Matthew Shipp, Guillermo Brown and William Parker on board, it's Ware going back to a basic '66 Coltrane quartet sound. Giving the band room to breathe and the chops to pull off the occasional blast into outer space, the man has hit paydirt once again: one of the year's best, of course. Northwestern Black Metal trio, Wolves In The Throneroom, have a new CD on the usually-rather-good Southern Lord label, and I guess you get what you pay for: nice-as-pie oversized hardboard digipak packaging housing yet another fucking Black Metal album. Actually, this is pretty good. Four long songs, suitably necro in approach and not in any way rewriting the book of BM as we know it. 's OK if you're feeling kinda grim, but for top-shelf BM entertainment, I'll probably be sticking w/ my Leviathan, End and Darkthrone discs. Still, looks good on the shelf... One of my favourite labels on earth, Belgium's Sub Rosa, has struck gold w/ their latest release, a double CD entitled Persian Electronic Music: Yesterday and Today 1966-2006. Yeah, Persia, as in Iran (or Eye-ran, as you Yanks like to call it). Prior to the Ayatollah taking over in 1979 and rescuing millions of Iranians from the tyranny of a corrupt, Western-friendly regime willing to tolerate mini-skirts and rock 'n' roll, in the meantime dragging the nation back to the Dark Ages, the country was no mere cultural backwater. Witness the wonders of this exquisitely-packaged 2CD set and you will likely agree. One disc is made up of electronic pieces by electro pioneer Alireza Mashayekhi, spanning the years 1966-'82, whilst the other is made up of more recent works by Ata Ebtekar, AKA Sote (he has some stuff available on hipster UK electro label, Warp). No mere excercise in simply making a bunch of whacky noises for the sake of it - much like a lot of early electronic and computer music sounds in the year 2007 - there's some very fine (and listenable) tunes going on here. Some of it sounds like Arabic drones filtered through a Commodore 64; some of it sounds like a John Carpenter soundtrack; and some of it sounds like it shoulda been released on Industrial Records back in '79. It all sounds good, and thus I recommend you investigate. Speaking of Industrial Records, the one band in Australia who "musically" speaking remind me of Throbbing Gristle, that's Castings from NSW, I mentioned a few entries back. They really do have many fine things on their own Spanish Magic label, and perhaps when I have more time I'll tell you about 'em all. I am so goddamn impressed w/ Castings' most recent effort, Punk Rock Is Bunk Squawk, that I shall be releasing their new album on Lexicon Devil some time early in the new year. Funny, eh?


Mrow said...

I'm not sure why now, but I once saw JOHN CALE live too - as a teen in London, in '87. He was playing shit off of Artifical Intelligence and Caribbean Sunset - insipid pop slop that was just freaking dire. BUT occasionally he'd launch into one of those solo piano or gtr slammers of his - like "Fear" - no apologies, just rage, screaming, and temporary insanity. And for a few minutes it was totally FOR REAL. Did he do anything like that at the performance you saw? Those few songs made it all worth it for me.

Dave said...


The answer is, unfortunately, "No". Cale finished off w/ an OK cover of "Venus In Furs", and he did some of the nice ballads from the '70s albums I dig, though nothing too dirty and angst-ridden, which is probably a good thing, as I don't know whether he would've pulled it off too well this late in the game. The guy LOOKS great for a 64 year old and is amazingly preserved considering how many chemicals he put into his body in the '60s/'70s (perhaps that's the secret: witness the also-well-preserved physiques of Bowie and Reed), though his idea of "avant-rock" in the year 2007 seems peculiarly outdated and antiquated.