The cueball-sized eyes have it

typed for your pleasure on 6 May 2011, at 3.51 pm

Sdtrk: ‘…da beißt ein Goldfisch an’ by Brigitt Petry

So I’d recently come to this shocking revelation:

You have singer-songwriter Kate Micucci:

And here’s silicone sexpot Miss January:

Hmm. And has anyone ever seen them in the same room together? Hmmm.
The plot thickens (not really)

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‘You said you wrote a page about me / In your diary’

typed for your pleasure on 14 January 2011, at 8.06 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Valerie’ by Broadcast

It is with great sadness we announce that Trish Keenan from Broadcast passed away at 9am this morning in hospital. She died from complications with pneumonia after battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care.

Our thoughts go out to James, Martin, her friends and her family and we request that the public respect their wishes for privacy at this time.

This is an untimely tragic loss and we will miss Trish dearly – a unique voice, an extraordinary talent and a beautiful human being. Rest in Peace.
Warp records, 14 January 2011

1997 was when I first learned of Broadcast; their debut Cd ‘Work and non work’ had come out on the Drag city label. I’d read about them somewhere — can’t recall where, but it was a case of ‘if you like Stereolab, you might also like Broadcast’, recommendation and similarity being the way I find a good number of groups. ‘Work and non work’ was really a compilation of their first three 7″ releases; the three-year wait until ‘The noise made by people’, their first proper release, would be excruciating, as I found myself listening to ‘Work and non work’ far more than I thought I ever would, and was eager to hear new material.

The comparison to Stereolab is actually a bit tenuous — sure, both groups traffic in retro-Sixties-sounding music, but whereas Stereolab’s basis draws from motorik, tropicalia, and easy listening, Broadcast took their influences from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, avant-garde pop groups, and Eastern European film soundtracks. Admittedly, one of Trish’s favourite films was the dreamlike Czechoslovakian entry ‘Valerie and her week of wonders‘, and having seen it for the first time a couple of years ago, it totally made sense why she loved it, and why both Jaromil Jireš’ direction and Luboš Fišer’s soundtrack were such a heavy influence on their sound. Stereolab overall are brighter and poppier, but Broadcast projected a mood akin to a year-long autumn. Their music and images complemented each other, but the thing that tied it all together was Trish’s voice — vulnerable, but simultaneously strong.

Broadcast were one of those rare groups where each successive release was better than the previous one, going from ‘The noise made by people’, to ‘Ha ha sound’, to ‘Tender buttons’, to their collaboration with The Focus Group’s ‘Investigate Witch cults of the Radio Age’, from 2009. They can quite literally be said to be the originators of a new genre of music: hauntology. Groups like Moon wiring club, Research Laboratory of Electronic Progress, Mordant music, and every artist on the Ghost box label create nebulous sounds, couched in the past, like soundtracks from déjà vu experiences from places you’ve never personally visited and occurrences you’d never personally witnessed. We’ve all been there. But do you recall that voice you’d heard in the background of nearly all your dreams? That whisper like a familiar but slightly chilling breeze? Naturally, that was Trish.

I’d say she’d be missed, but she’ll always be with us. Especially in our dreams

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The cheapest of filler

typed for your pleasure on 20 March 2010, at 4.27 pm

Sdtrk: see below

I am writing! Which may seem like a silly thing to announce, but Things have been going on with me as of late, and they’re the sort of Things that I want to keep under wraps until they’re very close to finalisation, cos I’m cautious coy like that. But there’s been so much stuff going on that it’s kept me from writing; in fact, one of the articles I’m tackling would be this month’s ‘Any Synthetiks-related etc etc?’, which is probably going to come out next month instead, as it’s feckin’ bloated. It’s another example of ‘there’s so much I need to impart, where do I begin?’ But it’ll be done, nevertheless…
Remember the days back when ‘Shouting etc etc’ actually focussed on topics other than Synthetiks? Heh, neither do I!

In the interim, however, this is killing me: it’s a piece by Marc-André Hamelin, a 20th century composer, for two player pianos. It’s titled ‘Circus galop’, and it will rip your mind open. If Venetian snares wrote music for player pianos, it’d be rather like this:

More later!

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A subset of what, exactly?

typed for your pleasure on 23 May 2009, at 10.00 am

Sdtrk: ‘Cries and whispers’ by New order

About a week ago, the Missus had to stay in bed, so she could recuperate from a minor tear she somehow received behind her knee. As she was bored — apparently she’s read every book and magazine in the flat several times over — I suggested she occupy herself with something constructive. As Shi-chan pondered the idea for a couple of minutes (and I surreptitiously hid her Hello Kitty vibrator), she snapped her fingers, and asked me to retrieve a box of C90s that were on a shelf in our closet, as well as a pen & notepad, my four-track recorder, and my headphones. ‘I think I’ll finally have a go at mastering those Inorganiksubset tracks,’ she said with a smile. ‘Ah!’ I replied, and wandered off to the livingroom to play some more Warriors Orochi 2.

Back during the mid-Nineties, when she lived in the north of England, Sidore was the bass player and backing vocalist in a band called Inorganiksubset. Well, they were technically a band, but they weren’t pursuing it professionally or anything. The other three members were Sabrina (guitar, samples), Gia (drums), and Emma (lead vocals, synthesisers, rhythm guitar): Sabrina was a friend, Gia was a fellow student from Maitland College of Fine Arts in Leeds, and Emma was Shi-chan’s girlfriend at the time. As they each had a metric ton of effect pedals, they were pretty much a shoegazer group, but they were leaning towards the more discernible-vocals end where Slowdive and Lush reside.
They had fun when playing and whatnot — they even managed to score two successful live performances at a Goth night at their local club — but Inorganiksubset dissolved under the combined pressure of Gia having to return home to Florida, and Sabrina’s increased workload at her office job effectively forcing her to quit. Over the course of nine months, though, they managed to finalise a handful of songs, and committed them to tape. Yes, tape; remember, these were the heady days before .mp3s.

Now, Shi-chan had been holding onto the masters for years, as she just hadn’t gotten round to mixing them down, but her newfound spare time gave her the opportunity to finish the lot up. So she did! She’s signed out with a website called Figment, which caters specifically to music groups like hers, and you can check out the profile she created for Inorganiksubset here, which also showcases their one and only release, ‘Die Sonne im Nebel’. It should go without saying that if you have an account there, she’d love a review from you!

The first time I’d heard those tapes was maybe a year into our relationship. I was really impressed, and I have to say that their sound was familiar, yet like nothing I’d ever heard before. I asked Sidore if she thought that, provided there was a chance the four of them ever got back together, that they’d reform the band; she shook her head resignedly. ‘It’s not like it was an accrimonious split or anything, but the way things are these days, we barely even keep in touch with each other. I’ve really not heard from Gia or Sabrina since the middle of the decade, and it’s been even longer since any of us have heard from Emma.’ She smiled though, pulled her headphones back on, and pressed the Play button. ‘It’s alright, though, cos it’s like these songs trap everything in amber. Now I have a proper soundtrack to my memories’

Technorati tags: metafiction

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18 May 1980

typed for your pleasure on 18 May 2009, at 12.23 am

Hangman looks round as he waits,
Cord stretches tight then it breaks,
Someday we will die in your dreams,
How I wish we were here with you now

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Gloom, guitars, synthesisers, samples, and sarcasm

typed for your pleasure on 20 March 2009, at 11.40 am

Sdtrk: ‘Farmland, freeland’ by The Advisory Circle

Yes, another meme (pronounced ‘meh-meh’), courtesy of Veach (pronounced ‘vee-ack’): in no particular order, twenty albums that warped me into the tosser I am today. Ready GO!

+ My bloody valentine Loveless

+ The Human League Dare!

+ The Smiths The Queen is dead

+ New order Power, corruption & lies

+ The Velvet underground and Nico s/t

+ Echo and the Bunnymen Porcupine

+ The Cure Standing on a beach: the singles

+ Joy division Substance

+ David Bowie Changesonebowie

+ Sex pistols Never mind the bollocks

+ Throbbing gristle D.O.A

+ Laibach Macbeth

+ Stereolab Transient random-noise bursts with announcements

+ Broadcast Work and non work

+ Merzbow Great American Nude/Crash for hi-fi

+ NON Easy listening for iron youth

+ the soundtrack to ‘A clockwork orange’

+ The Jesus and Mary chain Psychocandy

+ Pulp Different class

+ France Gall Greatest hits

Granted, my choices for the Cure, Joy division, Bowie, Broadcast, NON, and F.Gall were compilations (o, the shame!), but those were the first releases by those artists that I’d bought, which subsequently hooked me and reeled me in, so I’d consider them to be just as significant in my personal history as the actual albums that the other artists on my list put out. Usually I’m a music snob about compilations — are they albums? No, not really — but I can’t apply that sort of thinking here.

As always, the Marquess of Queensbury Meme Rules apply: I don’t infect people with these, so if you’re keen on it, you’ll have to infect yourself by leaving a comment in the usual area. But then, with the exception of Quentin Crisp, who doesn’t like music?

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typed for your pleasure on 24 December 2008, at 7.08 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Turritopsis’ by To kill a petty bourgeoisie

Links! It’s like likes, it’s like licks. It’s even a bit like lax!
I, ah, don’t know where I was going with that.

+ Having recently popped round the forum on Broadcast’s official site, hoping to find some news of a new album, cos with each release they lose a member, and soon, the band will be reduced to just Trish playing a theremin by herself onstage, there was a thread concerning groups that sound similar to Broadcast. Two bands that struck my fancy: To kill a petty bourgeoisie, which are kind of a more dissonant and soundtracky collision of the Sixties-era BBC Radiophonic Workshop sound with Shoegazer, and The new lines, which is headed by Hewson Chen, formerly of the late-lamented indie-synthpop duo Vitesse. I’ve been playing the hell out of ‘dc1’ and ‘th case fr public organisation’ on their Myspace player. And soon, you will be too! I guarantee it

+ Almost twenty years ago, David Lynch filmed a perfectly normal little television series called ‘Twin Peaks‘ in Snoqualmie Valley, Washington. Recently, some obsessive has undertaken a project to photograph various locations that were used in the series, to show what they look like now. If nothing else, you have to admire his determination

The Double R Diner, then

(Not quite) The Double R Diner, now

+ People with more time and scissor dexterity than myself are rather keen on papercraft, which is a hobby centred round cutting out pre-printed shapes, folding them up, and slotting them together, resulting in all manner of amusing objects. A prime example would be what you can find on cubeecraft. ‘Download, Print, Cut, Fold’ as they say there. They boast a growing array of characters in .pdf form as well, such as Number Six from The Prisoner, or Oh Dae-Su from ‘Oldboy’, or Brock Samson, or the Prince from Katamari Damacy, just to give a few examples. So why not fire up the ol’ dot matrix and assemble a couple of your favourite characters, instead of sitting on the Internet all day… o, wait

+ Have you considered the humble tetrapod lately? Have you??

photo by kana_m

Hit the beach anywhere in Japan, and you are likely to see endless piles of tetrapods — enormous four-legged concrete structures intended to prevent coastal erosion. By some estimates, more than 50% of Japan’s 35,000-kilometer (22,000-mi) coastline has been altered with tetrapods and other forms of concrete. Critics, who blame the tetrapod invasion on decades of excessive government spending designed to bolster the construction industry, argue that in addition to posing a danger to swimmers, surfers and boaters, tetrapods actually accelerate beach erosion by disrupting the natural processes that shape the coastal environment. Meanwhile, others have developed an aesthetic appreciation of the tetrapod landscape, as evidenced by a host of stunning Japanese tetrapod photos on Flickr.
from a post on Pink Tentacle

I’ve always thought tetrapods were cool, but then, I would. Frankly, I’m surprised that there aren’t like significantly scaled-down versions that you could buy to use as home accents or whatnot. Think of it! Toy tetrapods! I’m hoping someone will take that particular ball and run with it

+ For nearly a decade, I’ve always gone on public record as being in love with the city of Toronto, Ontario, and wanting to eventually move there. But lately, I’ve been reconsidering. For instance, with the weather being as polar as it’s been in Michigan, what godforsaken arctic winds would I have to put up with the further north I were to go? So these days, my party line is Bye bye Toronto, Hello Milwaukee! And after viewing this informative video, I’m thinking I won’t be the only one to want to relocate there!

+ Finally, anyone who’s aware of my manias interests knows that I like squirrels. Not as much as cats, and certainly not on the level of one of my ex-coworkers who loved pigs and had about a billion pig-related pieces of ephemera all over her cubicle, but I think squirrels are endearing little critters. To that end, I give you (not literally) a purple squirrel.

STEP ONE: soak squirrel in bucket of grape Kool-Aid

Purple squirrel baffles experts | 12:38AM GMT 22 Dec 2008

A purple squirrel which appeared at a school has baffled experts who are unable to explain its colour.

Teachers and pupils at Meoncross School in Stubbington, Hants, were amazed when they saw the creature through the window during a lesson.

Since the squirrel, now nicknamed Pete, was first seen, it has become a regular fixture at the school but no one has been able to say whether the animal has fallen into purple paint, had a run-in with some purple dye, or whether there is another explanation.

Dr Mike Edwards, an English teacher, said: “I was sitting in my classroom and looked out the window and saw it sitting on the fence. I had to do a double take.

“Since then it’s been a bit of a regular at the school – everyone’s seen it.

“We thought it might have been paint or something but then when you look at it up close, it’s an all over coat, not in patches like you’d expect if it had been near some paint.

“Its fur actually looks purple all the way through. It’s an absolute mystery.”
the rest of the article is here

Looks a bit Photoshopped to me, but anything’s possible in this day and age, really. *coughthatcatwithtwosetsofearscough*

So you lot can keep yourselves busy with those! I might try to pop off one more post before the end of the year, but I’m going to give upgrading to the latest WordPress a go, so wish me luck that it doesn’t turn out like the last time I tried upgrading without proper adult supervision. Man. *shakes head*
In the meantime, Happy (belated) Festivus, and Happy Holikwanzimasnukkah! Hope it’s enjoyable for you all! And don’t forget that the Doctor Who 2008 Xmas special is on tomorrow, for those of you who have access to that sort of thing. Allons-y!

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