Music

Duh. Nuh. Nuh nuh nuh. Dunna nunna nun nah nuh nah nah.

Book review: The Parsifal Mosaic

The Parsifal Mosaic by Robert Ludlum.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Airport novels. They’re the ideal way to defrag your brain. It took me years to deprogram myself from the literature degree belief that everything I read had to be worthy, had to be a classic.

Sometimes, you just want some brain-popcorn rather than multi-clausal comedies of manners.

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Book review: Doomed to Fail

Doomed to Fail by J.J. Anselmi.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

Doom? Doom. DOOOOOOOOOOOOM. It’s a good word. One of those multiple-vowel words that have a plasticity turned to enjoyable goop by repetition. It’s also a type of metal music, though it furcates into numerous equally heavy (though to outsiders, often similar-sounding) strands.

Doom music is an unmitigated bummer, a reminder that Life Is Hard So Why Bother sung from basements at brain-rattling volume through equipment that smells like spilled bong water and hot dust. It’s a release in only the way realising you’ve reached the bottom of the barrel can be. It’s about [dis]comfort with horror, and in its original form emerged as a reaction against post-war austerity, industrial isolation and the general Shittiness of Living. It’s something you’d expect to be extremely un-fun, which it is, but luxuriating in that precise bummedness is, well, if not fun, enjoyable.

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Book review: Louder Than Hell

Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal by Jon Wiederhorn.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

METAL.

It’s a genre that’s only bound together by a spirited fuck you. Its denizens run the gamut, from church-burning nihilists to hairspray-supported hedonists; from kvlt blackness to tits-out stupidity. From funereal dirges to brain-freezing speed runs. The sublime to the ridiculous. Speed to heroin. True to poser.

It’s got it all. It just adds studs and unreadable logos.

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Book review: Hell Is Round the Corner

Hell Is Round the Corner: The Unique No-Holds-Barred Autobiography by Tricky.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars.

I’d been looking forward to reading this for a long time. I’d sweated on the ebook availability of Tricky’s autobiography, as it wasn’t clear if there’d even be one, and when I finally checked back and there was one, I hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed with the book.

(I mean, I was, but that’s unsurprising for an autobiography: they’re rarely the documents we desire.)

However this one begins as it means to go on:

My first memory is seeing my mum in a coffin, when I was four years old.

That’s a better opener than I’d any right to expect, so I was hooked.

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2019 consumption: a look at some stuff I liked

So here we are again.

I remember not to answer the phone, though.

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.

Previous versions are here, herehere, here, here and here if you need an introduction.
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2018 consumption: a look at some stuff I liked

Well shit.

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.

Previous versions are herehere, here, here and here if you need an introduction.
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So here’s something.

By ‘something’ I mean a tune.

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?

One week, one hundred guitarists

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.

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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…)

2017 CONSUMPTION: A LOOK AT SOME STUFF I LIKED

Oh, look at the time. It’s that time again: the time I write about the stuff I liked or consumed this year, briefly, for the edification of myself and nobody else, most likely.

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Previous versions are here, here, here and here if you need an introduction.
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Supersense, Melbourne: August 18-20, 2017

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.

TLDR version? Goes orright, mate.

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