Monday, August 14, 2006

In ascending order:

The Locust:

Spazz-rock Supremos, the bastard offspring of Devo and Napalm Death. Incredibly bracing in a thirty second blast (the length of an average song) utterly tiresome over the course of even a very short LP. Rather like locust themselves, I imagine they soon outstay their (heavily qualified) welcome. Did release a blinding remix album “I’ll be a Monkey’s Uncle” however which contains not only a top Kid 606 redo but a totally blinding kind of electro-pulse pummelfest by “I am Spoonbender”.

Halo of flies:
Interesting post by Sam over at the Blogglebumcage re the “ethical” dimensions of one’s record collection, and the extent to which really unpalatable content both repulses and attracts. Interesting that he should have posted it now as I was mulling over just that set of concerns with reference to this one, by Halo of Flies, a song of such pathologically glowering misanthropy it actually makes me laugh, while at the same time thrilling me and inciting my contempt and incredulity. The choicer lyrics go like this, just in case (quite understandably) you can’t be bothered to actually listen to it:(shouted) “This ain’t no heartfelt shit, this is Halo of Flies!”“Burnt fucking chasm is my thoughtThese are ugly times and that gets me off!”“You can take your emotional banner and put it away‘cause I don’t want to hear that crap again.”“Don’t want no feelings or other useless thingsyou think your weakness is a higher being.”“Get a way, you fuckers, you’re so, fucking weak, fucking ..I ain’t got no time for love… it’s as useless as your emotional flood…(followed by Iron John style militaristic chanting and strangled screams)Question is, should I allow myself to listen to such pointedly anti/illiberal sentiments? Answer, well, for better or worse I enjoy them, they don’t excite merely my contempt as they might in other loftier, purer souls, they just excite me. I enjoy the apocalyptic levels of cold disgust and anger, and not in any kind of detached/analytical way (“what a fascinating glimpse into the male psyche, ahh… see how he relates emotionalism/ femininity to a swamping excess etc.. we must tolerate it for the insights it brings.") to paraphrase the song: these are ugly sentiments and that gets me off!One of the most wearying and galling things about liberalism (do I actually mean Popism here but don’t really understand the term? Is there a Popism primer somewhere?) is the fact that it denies the deep attraction of violence and hatred. I personally have ugly thoughts, bad moods, moments of rage, enjoy coming out on top in arguments, indulge in all kinds of grotesque fantasies. None of this, however, makes me a bad person, ( I’m polite, considerate, even affable, if a bit of a self-important, long-winded, old gobshite) it simply makes me a person who, like everyone else struggles to be as reflective and honest about his own shortcomings/motives/behaviour and as patient and understanding with others as he can be given the combustible admixture of elements that is the human psyche, (oh, for the pure souls of those neutered angels of liberalism!)I think there is a large extent to which music is/can be a release valve for all those sentiments that daily life requires us to repress, offers a catharsis, a vicarious indulgence. Though I don’t say this is its main or only function. It can also unite people under a common political cause, provide solace, exalt us etc … the fact is that music, as our creation, is as “incorrigibly plural” as we are. Unless by listening to/buying it you’re specifically propagating some kind of ideology/supporting a political group then I think it’s fine; bitterness, hostility, rancour and misanthropy (to name but a few of the things that make life worth living) have just as important a place in art and as stubborn a toehold in life as any of the “ nobler” sentiments, I guess.
The Birthday Party:
The first band that I really just didn’t understand but felt like, deeply attracted to. Something I hadn’t seen before, some new, rawer, darker muse was being hymned!
Speedy J:
Equal doses Neubauten and Nasunbluten Speedy J made a great big Gabba-concrete meisterwerk with "A Shocking Hobby" and last year's “Collabs" was a wire-wool-on-the-stylus Industrial techno treat. Dutch, obviously. Hey Shpeedy, letsh get naked and shmoke!
The Young Gods:
Another band that challenged my sixteen year old ears to understand them, and are still rewarding the effort twenty years later. They do a weird, minimal techno version of “Requiem…” y’know. Actually it’s rubbish, but never mind, they were great at the Scala a few weeks back.
Age of Chance:
Well, I really liked them, I confess. Are they shameful? So be it! Admittedly, watching the video memories of EMF and Jesus Jones kept surfacing (shudder) but Age of Chance at least pre-dated them and were certainly one of the first bands to make a serious attempt to integrate house/techno and noisy guitar shenanigans. I mean I was fifteen or something, what did you want me to be into? Morton Subotnick? The Close Lobsters?????
I had this ( “Bush of Ghosts) on a nasty, very sticky cassette in 1987 and it made no sense to me whatsoever. Actually I think it just frightened me (I was yet to discover Throbbing Gristle etc) yet was strangely compelling. Another after-which-the-world-was-not-the-same type affair.
The Associates:
Is “Q Quarters” the greatest song ever written? Or is it “ White Car in Germany”? Or is it “Q Quarters”? repeat ad nauseum.
Serge Gainsbourg;
It seems that the entire “Melody Nelson” LP is on You Tube ( how I love thee!) along with lots of other great Gainsbourg footage. This is clearly from some movie I know nothing about but must immediately track down and see, even if all the shops are closed, its half past eleven on a Monday night and I have work in the morning! Pah!Let there be no impediments to the reception of Genius!


Samuel said...

Ah-ha, so that's what all those videos were about. Lots of my guilty pleasures covered here: Young Gods; Age of Chance; even iamspoonbender.

Here's a link to the related Blogglebum Cage post...

owen hatherley said...

'tell me easter's on friday' is best, sorry ;-)

Anonymous said...

why is I Am Spoonbender a guilty pleasure? they're friggin' geniuses!