Once more, it’s the point of the year where I write a usually-lengthy post about the things I’ve enjoyed this year. I write a bunch of stuff about the cultural bits and pieces I’ve consumed through the year and figure out what was good and what wasn’t, in the hope of providing something of a portrait of my entertainment consumption over the past twelve months.
I guess we’ve reached the point where, traditionally, I put up a post detailing what it is that’s taken my fancy in 2018. It’s become a bit of an annual thing, and far be it from me to disappoint the couple (?) of people who might nose through this thing in its entirety. So here we are: my wrap up of what’s been taking up my time.
Relatively accurate, though he swims more than I do.
A group I’m part of on Facebook wanted to make an album of vaguely game-related songs. The idea was you had to write it in a week or so. Obviously I’m not very organised. So, this is a track I came up with in an afternoon.
Most of that afternoon was spent dicking around with Logic Pro X in an attempt to figure out how to make it actually record things. So it’s not a particularly brilliantly inventive tune, but it’s vaguely spaghetti western in feel, largely because I was playing a fair bit of Red Dead Redemption (of which, more later) at the time.
Yes, there’s about three chords.
Yes, it’s a baritone guitar.
No, I can’t really play.
But at least now I know I can record my abilities, so that’s something, eh?
It’s a nice reminder: two guitarists busily strumming away is a jam; a hundred playing for dear life is a fucking movement.
That quote is something I came across a couple of days ago. It’s Tristan Bath writing in The Quietus about A Secret Rose, a piece by Paris-based composer Rhys Chatham. The whole review is worth reading because it bears some resemblance to a piece I took part in, A Crimson Grail.
As Malcolm Young would have said, hit the bugger!
The piece, performed as part of this year’s Sydney Festival, is pretty enormous. An antiphonal piece, it generates a huge sound – though not as loud as you’d assume – with elements passing around the audience, who sit in the middle of the performance space. Players can’t really get a sense of how the whole works – not the way the audience can – because they’re so close to their particular section. But for those in the middle, it’s epic, to say the least. (more…)
I’m just back from a couple of days in Melbourne at the Supersense festival, and am kind of exhausted but mostly happy. So I figured while it was fresh I’d note some thoughts on the whole shebang.
Stage and stalls
The festival bills itself as an examination of the ecstatic experience, and that pretty accurately covers the couple of days I spent in the phone coverage-free bowels of Arts Centre Melbourne. Like other festivals it’s run to a timetable, sure. But this one saw performances enacted in familiar venues seen from unusual perspectives: foyers, rehearsal rooms and, notably, viewed from an enormous stage (and not the stalls). Throughout, I saw and heard a dedication to pushing music somewhere that transcends the idea of mere performance – sometimes unsuccessfully, but often brilliantly.
This is an older review, rescued from the internet ether. I wrote it for a site I was involved with at the time, and I’m prompted to put it online as I’ve just listened to the band’s album and it still holds up OK if you’re keen on the whole garage-rock kinda thing. Excuse the writing: a lot has changed in 12 years – including lead singer Abbe May, who’s now out of the garage and into the spotlight.
After two well-received EPs, Perth quintet The Fuzz has upped the volume (and the dirt level) with their debut album, 100 Demons. What results is an album that’s got the sound of hunger nailed. With young bands, this keenness, this eagerness to rock isn’t unusual, but what marks this bunch of noiseniks out is the strength of vocalist Abbe May’s cords. They’re phenomenal, and bring to mind some kind of scientific experiment wherein Bon Scott and Adalita from Magic Dirt are somehow combined to create the Ultimate Rock Throat.
I suppose it’s the case that there’s no such thing as a bad PJ Harvey show. But it could be that there’s such a thing as an indifferent one. One that hits the right notes, but doesn’t have the emotional resonance you’d expect.
That was the case this evening. It wasn’t phoned in – not by any measure – but there was something curiously distancing about this evening’s show. (more…)
WELL HERE IT IS. Once more it’s time for a recap on what I did during the year, stuffwise. Previous versions are here, here and here, if you need an origin story.
Once more, I’m unsure who would actually read this all the way through, given the self-indulgence herein, but don’t worry – I’ve found an image that reflects both the world’s 2016 and my thoughts on writing the thing.
Take that, ya lousy fuckin’ year. And you too, ya lousy fuckin’ typing guy.