Sunday, 21 June 2015

"This Is My Machine" Leon Michener interviewed for Thump

Read the full interview with Leon Michener about his Klavikon project over at Thump.

Gagarin, interviewed in The Quietus

Read my interview with Graham Dowdall, drummer to Ludus, percussionist to Nico, keyboardist to Pere Ubu, about his solo electronica project Gagarin, at The Quietus.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Giant Lizards on High: Blurt in the Quietus

Little feature with Ted Milton of Blurt at The Quietus. Blurt will be performing with Graham Dunning & Colin Webster plus Far Rainbow at the Fiddler’s Elbow, Camden, on April 21st. Declare your attendance here.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Future… starts this Saturday on Haggerston Radio

Image courtesy Sheroes tumblr

Welcome to The Future. The year is 2359. We are broadcasting from the basement archives of the former State Institute for Futurology. For the next two hours we will be sifting through the ruins of yesterday’s dreams for tomorrow. Everything is in disarray. The filing system is corrupted. But somehow, somewhere amongst the dust and the rubble we will – we will – we – w –

Haggerston Radio. This Saturday, the 21st of June. 18:00 – 20:00.

Still Life (Betamale), Jon Rafman + Oneohtrix Point Never, 2013 from jonrafman on Vimeo.

Piercing Brightness (extract) from The Wire Magazine on Vimeo.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Border Patrol: Eva Fàbregas at Kunstraum

A bright pink t-shaped lump of styrofoam has got stuck. It stutters uselessly, shunting back and forth against the feet of a desk. It’ll need a helping hand to get on its way again. “Some of them are more intelligent than others,” the woman occupying that desk informs me with a sigh as she picks up the plucky wedge and turns it around, setting it merrily scuttling forth across the floor once again.

Untitled (2014), a work by Barcelona-born artist Eva Fàbregas, sees a small hive of mysteriously animated chunks of packing material loosed upon the floor of the Kunstraum in Hoxton. Concealed within each brightly coloured hulk are miniature sensors and ambulating motors, giving each one an uncanny sense of robotic autonomy.

For all their perky, gaily-coloured cuteness, there is something faintly terrifying about Fabregas’s styrobots. We have spent so long disregarding this stuff, packing foam. It’s everywhere. What if it were to rise up and take over, like kipple? “No one can win against kipple,” as Philip K. Dick warned in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.

“Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around kipple reproduces itself. … Eventually everything within the building would merge, would be faceless and identical, mere pudding-like kipple piled to the ceiling of each apartment. And, after that, the uncared-for building itself would settle into shapelessness, buried under the ubiquity of dust.” 
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Of course, this stuff, this styrofoam, this kipple, already is moving, and was moving, long before Eva Fàbregas came along. Hardly anything on earth is more mobile. It is the hidden remainder of modern capitalism. Hidden, that is, in plain sight; rendered oblique by sheer ubiquity.

Coupled here with works by British artist Andrew Lacon – which see a photocopy of a photocopy of a photograph of the folds of the skirts of Saint Theresa (from Bernini’s famous Ecstasy of…) re-coloured by the red, blue, and green gels placed over the gallery skylights, their uncertain hues shifting with the time of day – Fàbregas’s autonomous packing bots raise a question of framing, of the surround that shapes the content we perceive and consume.

People sometimes moan about ‘style over content’, but what is content without form? It’s kipple, that’s what. Just kipple.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Music + Moog = Control

“Because the Buchla and the Moog opened up the possibilities of controlling sound across its entire spectrum in so many diverse ways,” synth pioneer Bernie Krause explained to me via Skype, “– well, for me, it changed the whole idea of music.

“There are a lot of definitions of music. But for Paul [Beaver] and me, when we wrote the Nonesuch Guide to Electronic Music, we were asked at that time to define what music was. And it was very clear, with the synthesizer, that music was control of sound and that made the change for us. We then understood what it was. Finally.”

I spoke to Bernie Krause, former west coast dealer to the R.A. Moog Co. and synthesizer consultant to groups such as The Monkees, The Doors, and The Byrds, for this article at The Quietus, The Stradivarius of the Synthesizer: Fifty Years of the Moog. You can also hear me chatting about the Moog on Tom Robinson’s 6Music show this Sunday evening, Now Playing, between 18:00 and 20:00.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Pioneer of the Stars: The Bad Angel’s Early Career


The above song, a hit for the Ohio-born Wilson in 1968, was written by a then 55 year-old Frank Stanton with a much younger man going by the name of Andy Badale.

At the same time, this Badale was also working with ondioline maestro Jean-Jacques Perrey, co-writing and producing large chunks of Perrey’s two solo albums for Vanguard, The Amazing New Electronic Pop Sound and Moog Indigo. Earlier, Badale was credited as co-composer on two Perrey & Kingsley tracks, ‘Visa to the Stars’ (from The In Sound From Way Out) and ‘Pioneers of the Stars’ (on Kaleidoscopic Vibrations).

After that, however, Badale’s trail starts to go a little cold. He wrote a few songs for Shirley Bassey, and for the Ossie Davis movie Howard’s War, and even wrote all the backing music for this children’s story.

But that was not the end of Badale’s career. Far from it. For you can see Badale playing the piano 7 minutes and 53 seconds into the following clip, having been offered the part by the film’s director after being hired as a vocal coach to the film’s Italian star.

By this time, Badale had started using the name he was born with, Angelo Badalamenti, and with that name, of course, he went on to work on many more films, notably with David Lynch.