Music

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

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?

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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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The Fuzz: 100 Demons (2005)

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. 

d74a214_4563After 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.

She’s that good. (more…)

A compressed month of memesongs

So I was farting around on Twitter – what else do you do on there? – and I came across this image.

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So I figured I’d do it. I worked the first post up and someone commented, saying you could crank out the whole month in a day, if you had a mind.

I don’t have much of a mind, but I do have bookshelves requiring filling that I desperately need distraction from, so I did all 30 days (why not 28 or 31?) in one go.

And here they are.  (more…)

PJ Harvey: ICC Sydney Theatre, Jan 22 2017

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.

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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…)

2016 consumption: a look at some stuff I liked

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.

giphy

Take that, ya lousy fuckin’ year. And you too, ya lousy fuckin’ typing guy.

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Opera Australia’s My Fair Lady

I spent some of last night watching a dress rehearsal of the new production of Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, as performed by Opera Australia, and thought I’d cobble together some thoughts.

The musical, based on Shaw’s Pygmalion, tells the story of Henry Higgins, a self-involved phoneticist who enters a bet with a military colleague to turn a Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, into someone with the carriage – and diction – of a princess. All of which is carried out to a soundtrack you’ll know, even if you think you don’t(more…)

The Brian Jonestown Massacre: … And This Is Our Music (2003)

The Brian Jonestown Massacre: ...And This Is Our Music (2003)

This is an older review of mine, presented here for archival purposes. The writing is undoubtedly different to the present, and the review style may differ between publications. Enjoy, if that’s the right word.

First things first. …And This Is Our Music is an album created by people who’ll probably want to kick in the heads of reviewers everywhere. Scope out the liner-notes and you’ll see that self-serving critics make a list of people officially put on notice that they’re “Officially uninvited to our party!!!” – replete with three exclamation marks.

That’s not very hippie, is it? In fact, it probably qualifies as a freak-out, baby. But that’s fine, because the music recorded here overtakes any attitude-based party exclusions that The Brian Jonestown Massacre (Anton Newcombe, boss man and chief sonic wrangler) could hurl. (Of course, the fact that elsewhere in the same notes – couched in a track-by-track commentary, revealing musical inspirations, drug information and touching rave-ups of guest vocalists – lies a thoroughly shameless attempt to pick up BJM-fancying ladies weighs a little in their favour, too.) (more…)