writing

Oxbow: An Evil Heat (2002)

Oxbow: An Evil HeatThis 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. 

Once in a while, a record comes along that makes you question the sanity of the people who made it — or a CD makes you feel that there’s something, at a basic level, terribly wrong. An Evil Heat is one of those recordings. Try taking the big guitar sound that was found on some Rage Against The Machine tracks, and giving it to the Birthday Party. Pour them full of crack and paranoia, and then make Nick Cave slur more, utilising a vocal technique that varies between the squalling of newborns, the ranting of mental patients released into the community, and demon wails.

Like The Jesus Lizard after a stay in prison, Oxbow‘s music is dangerous, in-your-face and utterly compelling. Their live act is described as “live cock fun”, which is pretty much what you get here: demonic cock-rockin’ riffs, corralled by someone who sounds like he’s working through some serious problems. It’s truly oceanic. (more…)

Advertisements

Written in the WordStars

“I actually like it, it does everything I want a word processing program to do and it doesn’t do anything else. I don’t want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital letter. I don’t want a capital. If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key.”

I was pleased to note that George R. R. Martin (whose mammoth tomes I’ve just begun to read) is fervent about something other than wearing that cap. He is one of a dying breed – the DOS user! More particularly, he uses WordStar to crank out his lengthy bestsellers. Not for him the (now Clippy-free) white screens of Microsoft Word or its free replacements. He eschews the fancy writer-friendly face of Scrivener. Instead, he spends hours facing this:

Mmm, chunky.

I said ChKWord, goddamnit.

Nice.   Of course, this isn’t the first time he’s mentioned this method of working. (more…)

What Is Music? @ Annandale Hotel, Sydney, 13/02/2004

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. 

Experimental or avant-garde music is occasionally referred to as “difficult listening”. It’s probably a phrase that was coined by someone after they survived a Fushitsusha gig. Don’t get me wrong – there were many moments of crystalline brilliance – but this was a gig that was always going to require a bit of perseverance.

Fushitsusha are, is, essentially, Keiji Haino. He’s a gargantuan figure in the Japanese music world, though he’s probably got more in common with JD Salinger in terms of his willingness to meet the press or press the flesh. This band is basically his excuse to be the loudest man on earth. From behind wraparound sunglasses, dressed head to foot in black and sporting a haircut so severe that it suggests a goth Ramone pixie, Haino would spend most of this evening playing through a wall of amps pushed louder than any I’d ever heard. (more…)

John Hudak & Jason Lescalleet: Figure 2 (2001)

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. 

Take one NY-based sound artist (Hudak) and one New England-based composer (Lescalleet). Give them a load of recording equipment, an audience and place the whole shebang inside a Massachusetts chapel in the middle of a snowstorm. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Thankfully, such preparations have resulted in a recording of such incredible beauty that it will make you believe that there are benevolent gods watching over those who explore what constitutes music. (more…)