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.
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…)