Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

RIP Captain Beefheart


Some footage (quite a lot of it, in fact) of the last Pennyblackmusic night in conjunction with GoodnightLondon, at the cosy environs of the Half Moon Herne Hill...amusing to see how stressed we were at the soundcheck in the first clip.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Sad to hear that another London gig venue bites the dust...and RIP Peter 'Sleazy' Christopherson. So definitely no Throbbing Gristle or X-TG at ATP this weekend, sadly.

Monday, November 22, 2010

So looking forward to another ATP – my sixth one, I believe - this time curated by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, whom I saw live roughly ten years ago at the Scala and voted one of their albums on as the last decade’s best ever.
This ATP looks especially interesting, given the curators and some truly unconventional selections. The presence of Throbbing Gristle should be interesting, except that the pandrogynous Genesis P-Orridge (or Genesis P-Breyer Orridge, or Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, or whatever he/she/it is calling themselves these days) has decided not to continue with the latter. Therefore the remaining Throbbing Gristle members will be playing under the name X-TG, which remains a baffling prospect.
It’s easy to take ATP as a regular occurrence these days, conveniently forgetting that there was not a huge amount of alternative festivals beforehand (except in the back pages of The Wire). The idea of getting a curator – usually a band or bands, but they’ve had some eclectic choices before (Vincent Gallo, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Matt Groening) – who chooses the whole line-up has become commonplace now, but was less so before ATP began. Much less still was the idea of a festival at Butlins (or Pontins, where it was when it started, and which has not gone into administration) that featured experimental line-ups that melded avant rock, jazz and electronics, not to mention bands with names such as Berg Sans Nipple, Pissed Jeans, Jackie O-Motherfucker, Fuck Buttons and 16 Bitch Pile-Up. Looking at the Godspeed ATP line-up, there’s only a handful of other festivals in an intimate setting – Supersonic is one – which can mix such an eclectic line-up that includes ambient drone (Tim Hecker), full-on free jazz (Borbetomagus), Eastern European idioms (Boban I Markovic Orchestra), metal (Wolves In The Throne Room), modern composition (Charlemagne Palestine), and, well, “Weird Al” Yankovic to name just a few, as well as all manner of strange sounding movies hosted by various Montreal film collectives in the Butlins cinema programme.

But anyway, in honour of ten years of ATP, my favourite moments of the festival from memory:
  • buying food at the stall next to the Reds stage while Prurient was unleashing his maelstrom of noise, and seeing the tortured face of the person behind the counter
  • passing people playing crazy golf and go-carting while the sound of 16 Bitch Pile-Up raged in the distance (admittedly you had to be there for this one)
  • David Yow of The Jesus Lizard crowdsurfing through practically their entire set
  • the procession of people playing pots and pans, dressed in white sheets, at 5am in the morning
  • hearing about the member of bar staff who was in tears and had to be comforted after a whole day of Boris, Earth, Sun O))), and other assorted heavy noise
  • the look of pain on the security guard’s face as Sunburned Hand of the Man played a three hour jazz-freakout rock set, filling the stage with assorted weirdos including one member dressed in a pink wig, sunglasses and a Victorian suit, who proceeded to blow bubbles at the audience
  • Glenn Branca’s mini guitar-orchestra and the look, once again, on the security guard’s face
  • Julian Cope’s rant about stage times, ‘the X in Exmoor’, and ‘rodgering’ his wife
  • the look of bafflement by security guards during the performance of Stockhausen’s Kontakte, with various space noises bubbling for half an hour
  • stoned, throwing chairs around the room, while My Cat Is An Alien performed a two-hour austere drone in the background
  • Lydia Lunch’s profanity-strewn reading from her book ‘Will Work For Drugs’ and the looks on the bar staff’s face
  • Electric Wizard’s audience smelling to high hell
  • Jah Shaka Sound System’s bass system, which practically took off the roof
  • getting freaked out by the creepy accappella grunts of Blood Stereo
  • the combined masses of The New Blockaders and The Haters (or was it the Skaters?) dressed in radiation outfits revving up power drills. At 2pm in the afternoon
  • watching terrifying footage of Hair Police live on ATP TV…who were due to play live that day
  • watching a double-bill of Ichi The Killer and Tarkovsky's Solaris on the ATP TV channel, then watching equally weird bands
  • drinking vodka in our chalet and then watching Einsturzende Neubauten at 2am, with Blixa Bargelt onstage even more drunk than we were
  • the party in our next-door chalet, which apparently was The Damned playing (Captain Sensible of said band took down his pants onstage, but I wouldn't call that a highlight)
  • the contrast between watching a band called Porn (you can probably guess their sound from that moniker) one minute and Os Mutantes the next
  • and finally...this person. Need I say more?

Friday, November 05, 2010

Truly surreal and possibly piss-taking interview posted on Brian Eno's website here, hosted by the implausibly-named Dick Flash from Pork magazine (whatever that is), who looks, frankly, creepy as hell.

Eno must be one of the few people to have gone from the dissonance of No New York - still a brilliant distillation of NY No Wave - to minimalism, to Bowie's Berlin Trilogy, to Nico and Devo, and on to incredibly moving ambient works such as An Ending (Ascent). Indeed, his work with Talking Heads and David Byrne (particularly My Life In The Bush of Ghosts) even prefigures Western obsessions with 'world music' - a terrible term in itself - and what Vampire Weekend are doing today. At the same time, on the other hand he's also worked with U2 and Coldplay (whether you enjoyed the fruits of such labour depends on your point of view). Despite that fact, I would argue that his influence on modern music is equal to The Beatles. No other musician/producer has manage to transcend low and high culture with such ease.

Yet who does the British establishment choose to knight? Alan Fucking Sugar, that's who.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A reminder that tonight GoodnightLondon will be hosting together with Pennyblackmusic a night at the Half Moon Herne Hill...details here. Should be a corker!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

There have been some great Private Eye covers over the years, but this has got to count as among the best...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Checking out Berlin’s bar scene again last weekend, as I’ve done a few times, I couldn’t help but think of the contrasts with London as the hour gets late. This has been especially confirmed when walking around the West End (of London I mean, not Berlin), a truly bereft place beyond midnight, whose peculiar licensing laws (imposed by Westminster Council) ensure that every pub is shut by 11-12pm flat. The net result, of course, is that the only places to go for a drink subsequently are in expensive clubs (with the exception of indie disco After-Skool Club at the Quad in Holborn, and metaller hangout The Crowbar), where you are more often than not packed like cattle into a club playing bland crap far exceeding conversational level, and subjected to a grilling from bouncers.
Of course, the area in London that corresponds most to where we were in Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg – is not the West End, but possibly Shoreditch. But even in the East End of London, the licensing laws still seem somewhat ridiculous considering that London brands itself as a 24-hour city (well, Time Out does at least). Just walk down Kingsland Road where it meets Old Street, and where the inevitable stragglers congregate outside Catch/Jaguar Shoes/Prague Bar, etc. Half of bars are closed by twelve o’clock, with only a handful still operating and inevitably policed by a group of bouncers (leading to bafflement by Spanish tourists, many of whom are probably used to a culture of siesta followed hitting bars much later in the evening).
It is incredible that in 2010 there is still only a handful of pubs or bars in such an area still open after midnight. It seems to me that this is still part of a culture in Britain that emphases drinking straight after work, so as to compete with the absurd 11 o’clock curfew – an archaic law put in place in the first World War. The Sun and The Daily Mail’s instant opposition to the last Government’s admiral stab at liberalising the country’s drinking laws were always going to influence the course of events; the reading figures for The Sun and The Mail are astronomical compared to The Guardian, so the Gruniad’s broad support for liberalised drinking laws meant little. The Government is influenced by what the tabloids say, not by any of the leftie broadsheets, and has always been thus.
As a result, the traditional British ritual of being told by a miserable-looking bouncer/pub owner to drink up at 11 o’clock look set to continue unabated, leading to another ritual, that of fights outside the pub as everyone congregates. This kind of culture has become ingrained, exacerbated by tabloid scare stories about the ‘dangers’ of longer drinking hours, how British society may collapse as we know it in an instant, and how it might affect the impressionable public, accompanied by stories of halfwits – you know the ones, you’ll usually see them in Wetherspoons pubs (or The Elbow Rooms), louder than anyone else - in a coma from excessive drinking. Of course there is club scene in London open all hours – Fabric and the 333 are just two that come to mind - but trying in vain to find a decent number of bars beyond the 1am point has become a surprisingly regular, and frequently frustrating, experience.

It doesn’t have to be this way. London could be like many countries in Europe, where bars open late to the point that people leave at different times, and conversation is invariably more relaxed rather than dominated by having to drink quickly so as to meet looming closing hours. The bar scene in Prenzlauer Berg was a case in point. There were no fights on the street and little need to engage in binge drinking because of doors shutting early. Hypothetically, if the Government was ever to truly liberalise the pub/bar laws – which seems distinctly unlikely under the Tories – what would happen would probably be an initial surge of idiots having to attend hospital after being carried away, but then a subsequent period where the novelty of liberalised bar laws would wear off. What would follow could make London’s pub/bar scene among the best in Europe. Sadly, the tabloids simply don’t want anything of the sort, which leads to us all treated as children, expected to tuck into bed at midnight, duffing our cap to the Queen along the way.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Apologies for the lack of many posts, but have been sorting out this out...the next edition of GoodnightLondon Presents on behalf of Pennyblackmusic. Click on the flyer above for a bigger picture.

The Willard Grant Conspiracy
The Monroe Transfer
Altai Rockets
Adam Donen

Preview of bands here
Plus DJs till late

Friday October 29th 2010
Doors 8pm
First act on 8:15
£7 in advance from here
£8 on door
The Half Moon Herne Hill
10 Herne Hill Lane, London, SE24
Nearest Overground: Herne Hill (and 15 minutes walk from Brixton Underground)
Bus services and map are here

This is gonna be one heck of a night, suckas!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Been wanting to check out the recent screenings at The Cineroleum, a converted petrol station in Clerkenwell, yet they’ve all sold out straight away, unfortunately. Metropolis is one film that deserves to be shown on the big screen, with its dystopian vision of future Berlin still incredible looking today; ironically, of course, the huge 'ivory towers' of upper-class city financiers that the film satirises are not too far from the petrol station's location when transposed to London.
In the same spirit of DIY, Upset The Rhythm’s recent second Yes Way event in a warehouse in deepest Peckham, along with Boat Ting’s experimental nights on Bar & Co boat moored at the Thames, were events well worth the time and effort to check out. At a time when there are arts funding cuts left, right and centre, it’s still vital to have some kind of left-field music worth celebrating. The quality of some of the acts at Yes Way may have been variable - Hype Williams sounding like bad 80s porn film soundtrack music (though maybe that’s the point) and Pheromoans’ wackiness beginning to grate – but there was also some interesting explorations into drone (The Haxan Cloak, Time, Gentle Friendly), brilliantly executed thrash (Ultimate Thrush), noise (Temperatures, Blood Stereo) and dub/electronica. Along with Café Oto, The Hackney Pearl/Elevator Gallery Hackney Wick scene, and The Others, it makes a change for once too to go to a venue that has a different approach to food and drink than any homogeneous Carling-owned franchise of music venues. It’s vital that this kind of DIY spirit still exists now more than ever, with the Foundry and Barden’s Boudoir now closed.

Monday, August 09, 2010

So, RIP The Foundry (and Bardens Boudior and The Cross Kings while I'm at it). The last real bastion of anything truly left-field on Old Street has been replaced. Goodbye to the sense of individualism, of a semi-unregulated place full of strange and weird things going on, where there’s multiple TVs bunched together showing weird stuff, where people snog under banners saying ‘I SH*T’ and where bands prance around with people dressed in Roman toga gear dancing to the sound of saws being bowed and transvestites singing about No:ID cards (see picture below), backed up by women mummified with tin foil covering their heads stumbling blindly around the stage.

Goodbye to a place that serves lots of local ale (*) as opposed to only cans of Carling at £3:75, and that has a sense of anti-corporatism. Goodbye to a place that shows local artwork, weird improvised theatre/music hybrids, drawing classes and ranting poetry. Goodbye to the notion of being able to go to an interesting place that doesn’t have a half-witted security guard instructing you what to do (see also: the demise of the Spitz). Goodbye to that big sign that said “Awesome: I Could Fuckin’ Do That”, or some-such. Goodbye to memories of playing in an analogue synth orchestra for three hours and watching people bash huge metallic pipes that stretch to the ceiling in the name of art. Hello to mediocrity and another hotel, most likely anodyne and exactly the same as the one around the corner, sponsored by Hackney Council (authors of the Hackney Ocean and Stoke Newington Sports Centre - remember that? - no less).

Hello to no atmosphere and zero character – or a PA playing Zero 7, if you like.

(*) admittedly you can buy the locally-brewed beer at the Flea Pit, Café Oto etc. too, but still...

Friday, July 16, 2010

'In C' (live at the lexington: 11/7/2010) by monster bobby

For those who were too hungover/already had plans last Sunday, here is our performance of Terry Riley's In C (see below) in all it's ragged glory. Bear in mind that this was the first time some of us had ever played it (me included). I'm on keyboards - well, one of the keyboards. One of the many keyboards, in fact...

'In C' (live at the lexington: 11/7/2010) by monster bobby

Friday, July 09, 2010

This Sunday at 'The Hangover Lounge'...

Now that I'm safely ensconced back in London, and if anyone fancies coming down, I will be playing part in 'A Little Orchestra' this Sunday (11th July) at The Lexington, near Angel tube, north London, performing In C by Terry Riley along with other musicians. The event is from 2-9pm and we will be playing early (so you can get to the World Cup final with plenty of time to spare - what musician would play at the same time as that??). Guest DJ is none other than Bob Stanley from Saint Etienne. Deduct ten points if you thought I meant the French city there rather than the band.
Details (including directions) are here.

Monday, July 05, 2010

One of the weirdest things I saw while in Los Angeles was a version of the Eiffel Tower (above) in the Americana shopping area that brought to mind Baudrillard’s obsession with both simulacrum and his quote that “Los Angeles [is] no longer real, but belongs to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation”. While that may be a pretentious way of putting it, LA most definitely does feel hyperreal, especially when suffering from jetlag: there is something strange in the city’s postmodern random juxtaposition of architecture, including one of the main Scientology buildings – or rather, castles - which looks like something out of a magical Disney film (only in LA would you also have a street called L. Ron Hubbard Way, devoted entirely to Scientology buildings).

The endless neon signs informing you of Jesus’ presence seem designed paradoxically to inspire epilepsy in their drivers. Driving down its endless freeways towards Downtown feels like something from Blade Runner (which ostensibly depicted the Little Tokyo district of Downtown LA in the future) or the Terminator films, with its endless spaghetti junctions branching off in all directions and corporations on all sides (you could almost imagine Skynet Cyberdime Systems being the next building up). Yet despite its skyscrapers, Downtown doesn’t really feel like the centre of the city: LA doesn’t really feel like it has a corporeal centre as such, just endless cities existing almost autonomously, encircled by the mountains at the edge of the desert, the whole place only really navigatable by car (despite the presence of a public transport system). London’s ordered rows of semidetached houses seem boring and quaint in comparison.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"There's nobody here"...

In honour of the discussion at Cafe Oto a few months ago on 'Hauntology' in music, the above clip - mentioned during the talk - is Oneohtrix Point Never's strangely hypnotic rendering of Chris de Burgh's 'Lady In Red', the 80s schmooch classic remixed to haunting, ghostly effect.

One of the interesting points made in that talk was the fact that photography is changing from the format of photographic film to digital photography, thus losing in some respects the ghostly feel of old photographs which are tied down to a pre-digital photography area. Indeed, it can't be long before traditional photographic film, much like obsolete formats such as the floppy disk and DAT tapes, will become phased out. The unmistakably dated sepia feel of old photos will be an experience forgotten, as digital photography essentially renders all pictures pretty much the same quality, whether now or in ten years' time. It will therefore become increasingly difficult in the future to pinpoint when pictures were taken.

Indeed, a similar point could be bought up regarding analogue vs digital recording equipment. With the preference for digital tape over analogue tape (except for die-hard analogue purists such as Steve Albini and Toerag Studios in east London), even cheaply-recorded material will increasingly have a digital mid-range sheen to them, which could lead to a difficulty in twenty years time of placing songs from the previous two decades. This is in marked contrast to even records from the late 80s, which sound - twenty years on - dinsinctive of their time (the JAMC's "Psychocandy" and New Order's output, to give examples). It's interesting to note that artists such as Ariel Pink (at least in his older material) have embraced the hiss and low-fi noise of 4-track tapes as essentially an intentional, aesthetic choice in this day and age (given that digital music equipment is practically as cheap, and in the case of - now expensive - old analogue tape machines, cheaper). Much of Lee 'Scratch' Perry's dub recordings from the Black Ark days now sound utterly fixed to their time and space, analogue recordings filled with ghostly wooshing sounds, echo, and reverb; indeed, during the talk the point was made that dub was the first genre to remix songs into haunted instrumental versions where the vocals, if they did still remain, became essentially a ghost-like sound, one more instrumental in the mix alongside primitive samples of birds singing and water flowing.

Not only does the analogue nature of these recordings bind them to a certain time and place (the late 60's/early 70's, Jamaica), but dub can also be considered a huge influence on hauntology and the first wave of post-rock (Seefel's Quique, Tortoise etc.), along with the whole methodology of 'remix' culture, which has become increasingly superficial (I loved the story of the Aphex Twin being offered to remix a Lemonheads song, and him giving a CD of his own gabba music that happened to be lying around to the biker person who came to pick up the remix at his house). In it's own way, dub remains just an important an influence on 'hauntology' in music as the BBC Radiophonic Workshop/Delia Derbyshire does.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

If George Orwell was alive today, I'm not sure what he would have made of the new London Olympic mascots, who go by the frankly creepy names of Wenlock and Madeville. The fact that Britain has more surveillance cameras than anywhere else in Europe is reflected in the CCTV cameras embedded in the eyes, ready to observe any nasty comments about the Olympics in 2012 going way over budget. Big Brother is watching us now from behind the facade of two pseudo-friendly distinctly phallic giant eight-foot walking penises (one of whom appears to have pissed himself). More than that, though, they look genuinely terrifying rather than cuddly: a cross between Cyclops; something from Akira or Tetsuo: The Iron Man or the endless slew of manga cartoons that Japan produces; a London parking meter; and a vision of aliens from another planet distorted by bad acid; while underneath possibly lies two out-of-work actors wondering how their lives ended up this way. Perhaps it's possible that they are a clever, undetected dig at Cameron & Clegg (one representing each) and Britain's morphing into 1984-style Surveillance Society? I think we should be told.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hello all, and sorry for the delays in posting...without further ado, you may wish to enjoy The European's session on BBC6 Music from last week. Keep listening and you will also be rewarded with a wonderful version of Joy Division's "Insight" from their Peel Sessions (remember Peel sessions? Ahh, it all seems so long ago...then again, it was quite a while ago now).

Saturday, April 03, 2010

GoodnightLondon MixCasts Volumes II & III

00:00 - Esmerine - Quelques Mots Pleins D'Ombre
07:15 - Liquid Liquid - Optimo
9:54 - This Heat - Paper Hats
15:31 - Silver Apples - Seagreen Serenades
18:18 - Land Of Kush - Iceland Spar
32:23 - Lau Nau - Kuljen Halki Kuutarhan
36:00 - Sheila Chandra - Shehnai Song
37:52 - Fairport Convention - A Sailor’s Life
48:58 - Do Make Say Think - Dr. Hooch
56:45 - Nico - Nibelungen
1:00:00 - End

00:00 - Hildur Gudnadóttir - Elevation
05:17- Tower Recordings - Harvester
13:50 - Vetiver - No One Word
20:00 - Brian Eno - An Ending (Ascent)
23:00 - Windy & Carl - Through The Portal
28:52 - The European - The Settler
31:40 - Yo La Tengo - Spec Bebop
41:40 - Broadcast - Hammer Without A Master
45:50- Spiritualized - Shine A Light
52:00 - Nels Cline, Wally Shoup, Chris Corsano- Lake of Fire Memories
54:00 - Stars Of The Lid - Requiem For Dying Mothers
1:00:00 - End

April is the cruellest month, as someone once said. In the spirit of mix cassettes treasured long ago, here's some music for those long Easter nights, or what's remaining of them...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The new play Shunt Money from the folks at Shunt - taking place in a huge tobacco warehouse (apparently once owned by Fidel Castro) down the road from their normal premises in the cavernous, catacomb-like railway arches underneath London Bridge station – is certainly visually spectacular in a way that can rival even interactive performance collective Punchdrunk’s mindblowing theatre productions (which GoodnightLondon has covered elsewhere on this blog).
Without wanting to give too much away, let’s just say that inside the panopticon-like warehouse, you feel like you are on the set of Brazil or an updated version of 1984, with dry ice in the darkness and ludicrously dressed riot police (unsurprisingly played by actors/volunteers rather than real police – or at least I’m assuming so) guarding a bronze, huge three-storey Victorian-looking metallic engine structure, replete with steam pulleys, pistons, levers, engines, and dials, resembling something that you might find in an underwater submarine in World War II, or from the set of Metropolis. Towering in the centre of the warehouse and belching out smoke like some being that’s alive, it’s certainly a site to behold, and is even more spectacular when you are trapped in it’s belly inside, with it’s transparent flooring revealing chambers, rooms and saunas below and above, while a bald figure all in white resembling Caliban in Greenaway’s Prospero’s Books descends from ceilings, scurries spider-like through the rooms below and around the opaque roof, and does somersaults around the audience at intervals. Who is the voyeur, the audience or the actors? It’s difficult to tell who is really spying on who, just as the seamless visuals can’t quite hide the handling of the story, which bases itself around Émile Zola’s L’Argent – a novel in the late 1800s prophetically inspired by the collapse of the French bank Union Generale, who went under as a consequence of dire financial management, greed, speculation and over-investment. The relevance is obvious when placed within the context of the current financial crisis (particularly the collapse of Lehman Brothers) and the mismanagement that has took place on Wall Street and the Square Mile, yet the dialogue was so cryptic and obfuscated and the script so impenetrable that it became difficult to really know what was going on half of the time when observing the interaction of the characters as they span their baseless pyramid schemes to each other. Perhaps this impenetrability was deliberate, intended to approximate or signify the Byzantine nature of the doomed dealings and wheelings – grounded, as it turned out, on nothing - that was being depicted, just as we now know that much of the financial dealings of business moguls in the real world was based on an illusion.
Regardless, Punchdrunk’s performance of Faust as a contrast somehow made complete sense even if you weren’t following the story closely, simply because the set design and themes explored in each room captured the story so perfectly and expertly. Still, like watching cities being engulfed by tidal waves and storms in The Day After Tomorrow while ignoring the schmaltzy Hollywood character plotting, the visuals alone made it worthwhile. After attending this and the Punchdrunk performances of Faust and The Masque of the Red Death, it seems obvious where the next location for an interactive theatre performance of this kind should be: Battersea Power Station, a venue that would truly make for an incredible backdrop (which is did, tantalisingly, in Children of Men, and which has at least hosted a couple of exhibitions). Yet, with depressing inevitability, the status of that stunning monument, just as with the handling of the banking system by those responsible that led to the current financial meltdown, remains mired in staggering mismanagement and negligence. Even if Shunt Money’s script was flawed at times, its central message has never been at a more prescient time.

Shunt Money image: © Shunt Money website/Christopher Sims.
Battersea Power Station photo: © Saatchi Gallery website/2006 Parkview International

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Slightly late to post this, but...RIP Mark Linkous and Alex Chilton. 3rd/Sister Lovers will never quite sound the same.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

I will be taking part in a photo exhibition on the theme of water, accompanied by live music, on a boat on the Thames. It'll take place on Thursday 18th March at Bar & Co, Temple Pier, Victoria Embankment, WCR2. Nearest tube: Temple.

Kaparte Promotions presents:
The Sound of Water
A visual & sonic event
The symbolism of water has a universal undertone of purity and fertility. Symbolically, it is often viewed as the source of life itself as we see evidence in countless creation myths in which life emerges from primordial waters. 11 artists photographers and four music acts celebrate the relationship between the element and the surroundings, showing with their images and sound their personal vision of water, simply on a boat, on the Thames.
Thursday 18 March
Bar & Co, Temple Pier
Victoria Embankment
Robert Allwood, George Bush, Sophia Dawson, Kelvin Hayes, Ben McDonnell, Angela Last, George Koutsoudopoulous, Poison Creeper & Andrea, Karoliina Hujanen, Grahame Rockhill, Dominic Simpson
Gagarin, Platform Five (5), Adam Donen, Will Connor (Vultures)
Plus a selection of tunes from opera to post-industrial and special visual effects...
Curated by Klarita Pandolfi
Doors 7.00pm
Entry £5 on the door

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Recluse will be returning to The Flea Pit on Columbia Road E2 Thursday 4rd March 2010.

Live acts:
Tom White - Floating surround-sound textures from the smallfish/Hibernate artist.
VLK - Textural noise using max msp processed cello,
found objects and electronics.
Burning Zoo - Guitar noise loops and primordial electronics.

£3, 8pm. DJ sets from Hybernation, visuals from
FBox Records >

EDIT: This was cancelled due to venue issues

Monday, March 01, 2010

Me on the latest Sunburned Hand of the Man album - though given that they did twelve albums alone in 2009, it may not be their latest any longer...perhaps with the increasingly cheap access of music technology and production these days, there's just too much music? Then again, Sunburned are simply following in the DIY ethic espoused by Merzbow, Sun City Girls, The New Blockaders, etc. and other underground artists in the 80s, in which their standard practice would be to release an enormous amount of mostly improvised music, no matter how lo-fi the sound; the only difference now is the format - a cornucopia of CD-Rs rather than tapes.
What's interesting with that Sunburned album is the way they approximate something similar to the early 80s focus on drums and funk in (mostly) white guitar music, with heavily rhythmic bands such as Liquid Liquid (whose 'Optimo' track - or at least what sounds like it - I'm pretty sure Sunburned sample at the start of A), 23 Skidoo, A Certain Ratio, and even This Heat, as well as very early 80s Eno - which may, of course, be down to the presence of Keiran 'Four Tet' Hebden in the producer's chair. For a band often derided (with some justification) as a shambling jam band, Sunburned can actually venture into some pretty original and innovative places.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And speaking of last November's gig, the next installment of the GoodnightLondon in association with Pennyblackmusic will be at the Half Moon Herne Hill in south London.

Television Personalities (album launch)
The Pony Collaboration
Of Arrowe Hill (album launch)
The Rebel
and compère Spencer Robertshaw
Preview of bands here

Plus DJs till late and record stalls

Saturday March 20th 2010
Doors 8pm
First act on 8:15
£5 in advance from
£7 on door
The Half Moon Herne Hill
10 Herne Hill Lane, London, SE24
Nearest Overground: Herne Hill (and 10 minutes walk from Brixton Underground)
Bus services and map are here

Be there or be square

Monday, February 22, 2010

After his performance at the Pennyblackmusic (in conjunction with Goodnight London) gig night last November at the Brixton Windmill, The European returns...

According to TFL's website, on the Underground this weekend no less than eight lines were either at least partially suspended or completely closed, leaving only three lines with a fully running, non-interrupted service. Those tourists eager to visit Camden Town and those dreadful, never-ending shops selling “I Went to London and Got Ripped Off for this Crap T-Shirt” or somesuch would have been perturbed to find that the Camden Town station wasn’t in action at all this weekend. The result must have led to Mornington Crescent station nearby resembling the gates of Hades. Likewise Brick Lane, now a tourist mecca and affected by the Circle Line (even if other lines serve Liverpool Street, and Aldgate East and Bethnal Green stations are relatively nearby).
There’s no doubt that modernising needs to take place on the oldest system in the world, given that the Underground infrastructure appears to be as riddled with holes as French Gruyère cheese. But when it does so, it means that people are forking out money to use a non-existent service. The Bus Replacement Services may be fine for travelling short distances; but long ones can be excruciating experiences, involving much gnashing of teeth and mounting feelings of dread as said bus trundles through never-ending weekend traffic, your eventual destination ever further off.
Yet at the same time, we endure tube fairs rising, which makes a mockery of the idea that the most expensive transport system in the world* should only charge what it does if it’s able to provide an equitable and appropriate service. And with only two years to go towards the Olympics, the prolonged closure of the Victoria line every other weekend means that visitors will find it difficult to see other parts of the city when 2012 rolls on - this on top of all the other line's closures.

*yes I know that link is three years out of date, but it still stands as far as I know...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A short message to say that if anyone fancies coming down tomorrow night (Sunday 14th), I'll be playing analogue synth in 'The Synth-Off' at the Foundry, 86 Great Eastern Street, EC2, alongside members of NOW, The Stella Marris Drone Orchestra, The Rude Mechanicals, and others. Free, 8pm.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Goodnight London MixCast Vol I

More posts will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, here's the first of a number of MixCasts that will appear on Goodnight London via those folk at

00:00 - Alejandro Jodorowsky - Trance Mutation
03:30 - Hangedup - Go Let's Go
08:05 - Out Hud - This Bum's Paid
13:00 - Fursaxa - Alone In The Dark Wood
17:20 - Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Pussy Head Man from Outer Space
24:50 - Black Ox Orkestar - Toyte Goyes in Shineln
28:24 - Piano Magic - Theory of Ghosts
32:00 - Wooden Shjips - Clouds Over Earthquake
36:40 - Clear Horizon - Distortion Song
40:20 - Tim Hecker - Blood Rainbow
43:40 - Keith Fullerton Whitman - 2nd Early Monolith
46:08 - Sunburned Hand of the Man - Too High To Fly No More
1:00:00 - End

Sunday, January 10, 2010

RIP Tim Hart

In honour of the Steeleye Span guitarist who passed away recently, here's the band in their prime - a favourite of mine as a kid. Reminds me of those long car journeys on holiday...

Watching that video, it's funny to think that for a long time folk-rock was considered by the indie cognoscenti as deeply uncool, with it's obsession with beards, flutes, Morris dancing, ridiculous clothes, et al. Yet somehow in the last decade, the presence of Devandra Barnhart, Espers, Tunng and tons of others have brought focus to the genre again and made it passably trendy - something that's obliquely addressed in this article by Simon Reynolds on the return of the beard in guitar music. Many of these artists (even if some haven't explicitly said it) have seen their music as essentially a reaction to the blandness of MTV pop music, which is somewhat ironic given that folk rock was essentially the pop - as in popular - music of it's time; the music of the people rather than the ruling classes or the monarchy. As such, it had the potential to be a truly revolutionary medium in feudal Britain and elsewhere, which is easily forgotten when viewing with cosy, rose-tinted ironic amusement videos such as above or other 70s footage of bearded folkies (and let's not even mention The Levellers...oh damn, I have).

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Christmas may be over and dusted, but the winter chill and darkness still bites in I invite you to enjoy a seasonal cover from The European, one of the performers at the Pennyblackmusic (in conjunction with Goodnight London) bands' night at the Brixton Windmill last November. Eat your heart out, Aled Jones.