Web-based videos.

Kraftwerk: before they were robots

I’ve often shared this video on Facebook and thought I’d give it a whirl here: Kraftwerk in 1970.

If you only know them as the nattily-dressed man-machines or mocap-outfitted dudes apparently checking email in front of outstanding 3D visuals, you really don’t know them. (more…)


This pretty much describes the attitude I’m going to force myself to take. Even though I may not be producing Death Bed: The Bed That Eats People, I have a couple of projects I Don’t Want To Let Slide.

And so, a reminder. No high-fives from God. Just a bunch of not-pissing-about.


(Hear the rest of this Patton Oswalt show here.)

In the beginning, back in 1955…

After forty years of life dedicated to AC/DC, guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young is taking a break from the band due to ill health. Malcolm would like to thank the group’s diehard legions of fans worldwide for their never-ending love and support.

In light of this news, AC/DC asks that Malcolm and his family’s privacy be respected during this time. The band will continue to make music.

And like that, AC/DC is over.

Well, perhaps not over. They’re not saying that. Malcolm could well recover and come back to the stage, chunking out those riffs pretty much everyone knows so well. After all, it is his band, no matter how much adulation the frontmen (and I’m a Bon guy all the way, thanks) or the hyperactive brother may receive. It’s Malcolm’s outfit, and he’s the power behind the juggernaut. But without him – well, it wouldn’t really be the same, would it? In the same way Mick Jagger admits that without Charlie Watts, there are no Stones, without Malcolm there really isn’t an AC/DC.  (more…)

It’s a man’s world

You’ll be listening to some Charles Mingus through this – the jazz giant and composer who’s easily as cool as Miles ‘Motherfucker’ Davis – because my dander’s up thanks to this Esquire list. (Also largely because when it comes to sick bass riffs, Mingus is the shit.)

The list – and I’m uncertain how old it is – purports to detail the 75 albums that every man should own. Which in itself is a bit of a shithouse premise, and leads me to assume there must be a list of the 75 albums that every woman should own, and they’re mostly going to be Kate Bush and Ricky Martin.  Because you know, chicks like chick stuff and dudes like dude stuff and you should never cross the streams, as continually evidenced by lists like this other one, which claims that liking synth-pop ensures you’ll never get laid, and what’s wrong with you anyway? (It’s from 2009 but was in the recommended links section, so y’know.)

I suppose Esquire tries to shoot for the Like A Sir market, constructed upon What It Is To Be A Gentleman, closely related to the How To Dress Like You’re In Mad Men and How To Get A Six Pack In A Manner Totally Different To The One We Printed Last Month market, so the sort of scattershot commentary within is to be expected, but I’m pretty surprised at how some of these shake out. (more…)

A brief shakuhachi break

I recently went to a shakuhachi ‘blow’ – a group playing event. I’d not played my shakuhachi – and trust me, I’m not very good – for almost a year, and so it was a little intimidating, especially as the only other attendees were accomplished players, including the first non-Japanese grandmaster, Riley Lee. We weren’t playing this piece, but playing with others reminded me how good it feels to share a musical experience with people, even if you’re not on the same level.

This video features the legendary Katsuya Yokayama playing ‘Tsuru no Sugomori’ or ‘Nesting of Cranes’, a sort of sound-portrait. Another performance of this piece (played by Goro Yamaguchi) was included on the golden disc that went into the universe on the Voyager probe. (You can hear that version here, should you wish to.)

I include this video today because it’s been a day of stress, and though I find it difficult (sometimes) to maintain focus through a shakuhachi piece, I really like this one. It’s a pretty popular piece, or at least there’s a lot of different takes on it.

The different versions show how much scope there is for interpretation, and give me the hope that someday I’d be able to play a version, however flawed, of it. Or, let’s face it, of any honkyoku.

Have some High Rise…

The original psychedelic speed freaks. High-volume, icepick-in-ear insanity.  Everything good about Japanese rock in one tasty package.  A caveat: this track is much less restrained than their usual stuff.

Just the thing I need after dropping an ungodly amount on two tyres for my roadbeast.

I’m pretty braindead at this point, so read some of Julian Cope’s fanatical ramblings on the dudes. It’s worth clocking.

All right, some more. Because you deserve it.


Hermetic rumblings

For your consideration: a pipe organ improvisation performed by John Zorn. Drones, throbs and horrific stabs. Good stuff. Zorn’s claimed that the pipe organ was his first instrument, and the soundtrack to Lon Chaney’s silent films was deeply influential. Easy to see that here, though there is a form of weird meditation amongst the clusters.

Fun fact I discovered this morning: from the 1700s, the pipe organ was the most complex human creation until the invention of the telephone exchange. From singular communication to conversation.

Zorn speaks about the performance here: