April 2008 Archives
Stephen O'Malley & Atilla Csihar: 6°FSkyquake (EditionsMego) - CD
Its original scope exceeds the limitations of the CD format: eight hour running time, narrative structure through Csihar's lyrics / text and elaborate playback model (3 seperate systems, 18" subwoofers, PA tops inside large rooms). But somehow, the brief 30 minute extract on this release manages to preserve all of this. Ok, I don't think I could stomach the entire thing and at times Csihar does sound like a drunk rugby fan lost inside an empty pub. But the shifts from high-end drone to speaker-troubling low end are welcome and the occasional howling screams of O'Malley's guitar are genuinely unsettling.
Willits + Sakamoto: Ocean Fire (12k) - CD
With two artists working in such neighbourly fields, it's difficult to tell who contributes what. Tokyo's Sakamoto is reknowned for pairing up with numerous artists from the electronic field. Whilst San Francisco's Willits has made some impression with his regular link-ups with 12k boss Taylor Deupree. Sure, it's dark, brooding and filmic like you'd expect, but it's nothing more. There are no suprising twists or turns to elevate this from what I was expecting. The better tracks appear near the end of the album, when elements of drone creep in and shift the mood away from glitchy activity. As an album of ambient music though, it works fine; background / wallpaper / music to compliment furniture....just don't expect anything challenging.
Ersen: Ersen (Finders Keepers) - CD
Part of Finders Keepers' Anatolian Invasion series of releases, which has so far given us welcome re-issues from Selda and Mustafa Ozkent. From tales of LA Hip-hop producers discovering his material buried in antique record stores to corporate British shoe manufacturers using his work to soundtrack global advertising campaigns merely lengthen his already productive 40 year career. Despite being a compilation, it's stylistically tight, hand picked from his mid-seventies 'Anadolu rock' period. Where thick gloopy funk basslines, catchy clearly defined riffs and ridiculously tight percussion provide impressive backing to his impassioned delivery.
Whitehouse. Click here to view flickr.
Saturday 5th April 2008
Electrowerkz, Torrens Street, London
For reasons that I'd rather keep to myself, I ended up accompanying a friend to see the music documentary 'Shine A Light'. Showcasing two talents who should have really fucked off years ago: the film director Martin Scorsese and The Rolling Stones. Admittedly not a Stones fan by any stretch of the imagination, this slickly made ego trip did nothing to convince me to add any of their back catalogue to my collection....legal or otherwise. It seemed overblown, pompous and self-indulgent.
Similar criticisms could be leveled at Whitehouse. Not quite having a career as long as the Stones, but still impressively operating since 1980. William Bennett's 'Power Electronics' outfit is one of those acts that you have an opinion on very early on. There's no "oh, maybe some of their earlier stuff is different" approach to their previous works. Or even appreciating it over time, letting age and attitude alter your perception of them. It's a simple case of you either love them or hate them.
When discussing Whitehouse, I often find myself speaking in an almost apologetic tone. Trying to make sense of why a well-heeled Asian lad from Islington would want to listen to something so....'horrible'. But I do like Whitehouse. I'd never stopped to think that their lyrical content could be seen as offensive. I was just glad someone was out there doing this. Whilst I think that extremes in music are limits that can always be re-defined, Whitehouse did initially prompt such questions as 'How much further could it go?'.
So it comes to pass that William has tired of touring and decided to rest the project, whilst co-conspirator Philip Best will continue on in a similar vein as Consumer Electronics. Tonight kicked off a farewell tour and the crusty stronghold of London's Electrowerkz (that place needs a good hosing down...with disinfectant) seemed an apt way to say goodbye to the capital.
So for one hour: Sony Vaio / Toshiba Tecra spat out a constant stream of white noise, pink noise and collapsing drums. Philip licked his personal diary dry whilst emitting his unique brand of obscene venom. William interjected with his curiously humourous monotone delivery. And by the end of it all, they'd stripped off to the waist, engaged spit with nipples to trigger excitement and feverishly simulated sex with each other. Can't really see the Stones doing that on stage.
On the way back from the bar, I overheard one guy trying to explain Whitehouse to his unitiaited friend and clearly exasperated, summarised them as "The Spinal Tap of Industrial Music....only not as bad."