Sunday, June 19, 2005

More Grumbling About Year-Old Rubbish...

Mark Morgan (Sightings/TLASILA/Sightings Tom Smith/Cocaine, etc.) and I were reminiscing a few nights ago about certain of the critical barbs To Live and Shave received in the aftermath of No Fun 2004. As some of you may recall, we employed jungle motifs (some programmed by me, some sampled/looped/altered from vinyl sources) both as a rebuke to the moribund noise ethos and as a device to drive the audience into a goddamned frenzy. We were successful in the realization of these modest goals, but a fistful of dissenters quickly voiced their displeasure. Mark recalled a gripe he'd overheard: "Why, it's just nightclub music!" (As if Brooklyn's tawdry Northsix were a fucking mosque.) In fact, this complaint emerged, in doleful iteration, across a wide range of blogs and boards.

Stupid cunts.

Well after the fact, I aver and unwaveringly maintain that the best of drum 'n' bass (that is to say, those recordings held in highest regard by yours truly) effortlessly blows the entire ouevre of avant-fucking-whatever, Whitehouse, Merzbow, Boredoms, AMM, Nurse with Wound, Throbbing Gristle, Harry Pussy, Mars, DNA, Kongress, Wolf Eyes, To Live and Shave in Arkadelphia 99 or Pierre Motherfucking Henry, right out of the wading pool and straight into surburban strip mall parking lots of the Kuiper Belt. Call me Bug-Eyed Stu, I don't care. It's hardly a controversial claim.

I crave total loss of motor function, but I (increasingly) abhor the phony-ass transgression of fundamentalist genre clods. Thus, I have always preferred a Russ Meyer-esque route. Gas up the dune buggy, cut to the fucking chase, and blow my mind already!

Of course, I have FAILED UTTERLY in this regard more times than I care to remember, but I nonetheless prefer to brush the shit off my gorgeous mug and trudge ever onward into the radioactive fog.

(Yes, I know, I know - I've been moaning about all this for far too long. I'll concede the floor to Norah Jones in a minute, but in the meantime, while I'm still white-knuckling the dias, one multi-part question: Do we really need new product lines of Emerson, Lake and Palmers? Can't someone just stand next to a lamp for three weeks and do nothing? Must we engage on any level? Would someone please refrain from referencing Essential Logic?)

Not that I have an exclusive jungle fetish, mind. ("I'm ecumenical to a fault," he tells himself.) The larger point? Well, despite my oft-stated aversion to the codified (and knowing full well that D+B is just as hidebound as any other g**re), I must now offer a recommendation.

Track down this new release and give yourself over to PURE COLOR:

Seba & Paradox: Frost/Sound on Sound (Bassbin Records BB 1214).

Even within ignoble parameters, it eviscerates Eno, Immortal, James Chance, Metal Boys, etc. (But probably not Frampton-era Humble Pie... Okay, fuck Humble Pie. What about Cochise? Pirana? Stackridge? Redbone!!!!!)



The kicker: there are scads of these things released every month. Many are inert, but more than a few wipe the slate clean. Those, oddly enough, are the ones I enjoy.

The moral: process is OBSOLETE. The palette should be broad enough to encompass all hues, and sufficiently configured to accomodate all widths of brushes. Genre doesn't matter. Your tools don't matter. Analogue is just as lame as digital. Macs are PCs. Nothing is cool. Everything is right.

All that fucking counts is the quality of the high.

TS

"Waltz of the Water Puppets"

Listening to Billy Bang's most recent album, Vietnam: Reflections. It's hitting me just right for Sunday, 8:27 AM. Henry Threadgill's flute solo on "Reflections" evokes a mental image of a mother lovingly placing a C4 vest around the shoulders of a soon-to-be-martyred son or daughter. (Of course, I'm mixing conflicts, and my evocation might not meet with the artists' approval.) A warm, stabbing sound... If only John Kerry had stood up to dissenting goons with a straightforward recounting of post-Vietman radicalization. Christ, tens of thousands of GI's returned pissed-off and fucked-up by the experience. His actions on returning were hardly atypical... (Sorry, I'm rambling.) Anyway, Bang's new music really gets under my skin, an Agent Orange salve that softens hands and lightens the bags under weary eyes, at least before one's skin melts into a yellow-green puddle of goo. I'm doing it no justice, but take my word for it.



Forgiveness trumps anger, and begets empathy. (Wish I could remember this lesson.)

Re Bertolucci's La Commare Secca: every frame makes me want to deliver a basket of fruit (or cash, or Kentucky bourbon) to a shut-in. Rent or buy for yourselves. You'll understand immediately.

From David Thompson's accompanying essay:

The title La commare secca comes from a quotation that appears at the end of the film—“E giu la commaraccia secca de strada Giulia arza e rampino,” which can be translated as, “And already the skinny gossip of Giulia Street raises her scythe.” It was used by Pasolini in his novel Ragazzi di vita and was taken from a sonnet by the nineteenthcentury poet Giuseppe Giocchino Belli, who wrote his blasphemous and obscene verses in Roman dialect. The story is essentially a police enquiry into the murder of a prostitute, whose abandoned body by a Roman highway is revealed in the opening shots. An off-screen police officer interrogates a series of men present in the park where the prostitute was waiting for a client—a petty thief trying his luck in the city, a smug pimp under the thumb of his aggressive fiancé, a naïve soldier from the south killing time, a smooth-talking waiter from Milan, and a couple of awkward boys looking for money to buy food for a dinner with their would-be girlfriends. As each of them tells his version of events, we see the truth behind (and often in contradiction to) their verbal testimonies through extended flashbacks covering the day and night of the murder. (Bertolucci has denied the direct influence of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon [1950], which he had not seen, though he was certainly aware of it.)



Now, go and fuck up the life of someone you love!

Happy Father's Day,

TS