Music and music-related blog


Tunes of the month – July 2015

It’s been a great month for the new music. Well, new to me.

Marco Bernardi – nasty nice electro with that oddball touch I love so much.

Kamikaze Space Programme – beautiful sound design makes bangin’ music.

Liam Weldon – pure poetry to stand all your hairs on end.

Other people’s words

The cry goes out. ‘Jobs, jobs, jobs! Rejoice!’

Some of us are unconvinced.

While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing and maintaining things; through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper-pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves, not unlike Soviet workers actually, working 40 or even 50 hour weeks on paper, but effectively working 15 hours just as Keynes predicted, since the rest of their time is spent organising or attending motivational seminars, updating their facebook profiles or downloading TV box-sets. David Graeber, ‘On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs’

Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, req­uisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it. By giving the inner life (in whose precincts we are most ourselves) its due. Which is precisely what makes idle­ness dangerous. All manner of things can grow out of that fallow soil. Not for nothing did our mothers grow suspicious when we had “too much time on our hands.” They knew we might be up to something. And not for nothing did we whisper to each other, when we were up to something, “Quick, look busy.” […]

Increasingly, it seems to me, our world is dividing into two kinds of things: those that aid work, or at least represent a path to it, and those that don’t. Things in the first category are good and noble; things in the second aren’t. Thus, for example, education is good (as long as we don’t have to listen to any of that “end in itself” nonsense) because it will presumably lead to work. Thus playing the piano or swimming the 100-yard backstroke are good things for a fifteen-year-old to do not because they might give her some pleasure but because rumor has it that Princeton is interested in students who can play Chopin or swim quickly on their backs (and a degree from Princeton, as any fool knows, can be readily converted to work).[…]

Leisure is permissible, we understand, because it costs money; idleness is not, because it doesn’t. Leisure is focused; whatever thinking it requires is absorbed by a certain task: sinking that putt, making that cast, watching that flat-screen TV. Idleness is unconstrained, anarchic. Leisure – particularly if it involves some kind of high-priced technology – is as American as a Fourth of July barbecue. Idleness, on the other hand, has a bad attitude. It doesn’t shave; it’s not a member of the team; it doesn’t play well with others. It thinks too much, as my high school coach used to say. So it has to be ostracized. Mark Slouka, ‘Quitting the Paint Factory’

July 2015

‘So….what are you up to?’

I will admit, this question usually stumps me. What *am* I up to?

Is it… (the stereotype looms)… a particularly Irish reticence to be shiting on about all these fab things you’re doing? Like what you’re doing is so thrilling and important. But I guess, deep down, even the Irish like shiting on about these fab and interesting thing, and they probably like listening to others talk about their own ‘stuff’ as well.

Hence that wretched question!

So, I’ve been partaking of the brilliant and extensive resource of Ableton tutorials online. Now they are fab and interesting. STILL trying to learn how to actually produce sound. Trying to stop going for the easiest trick in the book (if you’re a female vocalist) – female vox. God knows, even I like a bit of female vox from time to time, but still.


Can’t be coasting on that. It is just not cool.

Anyway, apparently, when you hear or think of a sound or a tune, your brain processes the soundwaves and sends a message to your inner-ear to reproduce the sound using tiny hairs inside your ear, one for each frequency. So, regarding production, I think pretty often I hear what I want to hear, filling in the blanks with the magic of those tiny hairs.

Another amazing online resource are Erik Friedlander‘s cello videos. More work, more discipline, so satisfying.

Hot ‘n’ sunny

Hot ‘n’ sweaty, hot ‘n’ sultry, hot ‘n’ sulky, or all of the above. As they say round here, it’s well hot. What with moving house around a million times in the last ten years, I’ve lost a lot of my CD collection. So it’s Youtube again for this tasty number from Siouxsie and the Banshees.


As I said earlier, I’ve started a separate project of more floory, beat-driven music. For dancing, like.

It’s probably the most fun to do (to work on), or at least I’m trying to keep it that way. None of those depressing/earnest lyrics to worry about(!) and I have less to lose, because it’s something new that I’ve never done before.

Going for a dance is such a nice buzz, and I always get so teary and emotional at the…’purity of intent’ in propah hard & nasty dancefloor tunes. (Imagine!) Or nice & nasty tunes, or those with just loads of fun and funk and character. There’s something so positive and giving about dance music in general, I find. It’s not trying to ‘say something’ or emote too much, but in that, it says and is so much.

Frankie Knuckles died last week. ‘Godfather of house’, ‘pioneer’ and ‘legend’ were the sort of things being said, quite rightly. I’m not a huge fan of house as it is today – a little bit too tasteful and not exactly edgy – but the looped and extended snippets of pulsating disco tunes, and the kind of trancey simplicity of early house has a really different energy about it. And sure without that, there would have been no techno, and where would we be then?



Possible opener

A new set is in order I think. You get bored of the same ol’ same ol’. 

Some new tunes

Just ideas….

The Charnel-House

From Bauhaus to Beinhaus


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