Monday, June 21, 2021

New album

My latest album, Plate Spinning, has just been released. It is available via Bandcamp in digital form, and in a very limited physical edition of 25 only.






Saturday, February 27, 2021

Dirty Blue Cheeseburger




I've put together a playlist of all the 139 song fragments used in my recent post-punk tribute, Dirt Behind The Daydream. It was fun putting the piece together (lots of work too, of course - best part of a month in total). Only a fraction of the over 1500 edits were used in the final piece. Some only about a second long.. I think I did manage to capture that post-punk spirit of experimentation and DIY.


Like the other tributes, some unintentionally uncanny moments: after The Fall's Mark E. Smith says "Friday.." early in the piece, I realised that the Associates song just before it was called Tell Me Easter's On Friday... The Fall track is called Gramme Friday. Various melodies from different songs coalescing in surprisingly tuneful ways.. especially when a moment of Joy Division's 24 Hours is superimposed with The Fall's Kicker Conspiracy - Hooky's bass harmonising with Hanley's ! Hugo Burnham's muscular, inventive drumming on Gang Of Four's Cheeseburger accompanied by Captain Beefheart's Dirty Blue Gene is another favourite among too many to mention.



Initial notes/ideas Nov/Dec 2020


Edit list with working title, Post-Punk Pearls, Jan 2021.


PLAYLIST:

23 Skidoo:

Porno Bass
Mary's Operation
Vegas El Bandito
Quiet Pillage
Last Words


A Certain Ratio:

Abracadubra
Waterline


Associates:

Kitchen Person
Tell Me Easter's On Friday
The Associate


Au Pairs:

Set Up
Pretty Boys
Headache For Michelle
Love Song
Unfinished Business

Black Uhuru:

Shine Eye Gal

Buzzcocks:

No Reply
Nothing Left


Captain Beefheart:

Dirty Blue Gene
Best Batch Yet
Run Paint Run Run
Sue Egypt
Hot Head
Sheriff Of Hong Kong

Cabaret Voltaire:

Silent Command
A Thousand Ways
Red Mask
Touch Of Evil
Jazz The Glass
Landslide

Clash:

Janie Jones
Career Opportunities


DNA:

Lying On The Sofa Of Life
32123


Dome:

Cruel When Complete
Breathsteps
The Red Tent


Ian Dury:

Sweet Gene Vincent
Blackmail Man
If I Was With A Woman
My Old Man
Reasons To Be Cheerful
Clevor Trever
What A Waste
Inbetweenies
Blockheads
Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Eyeless In Gaza:

Three Kittens
Dreaming At Rain
Before You Go



The Fall:

Frightened
Gramme Friday
Music Scene
Live At The Witch Trials
Two Steps Back
US 80s-90s
Kicker Conspiracy

Flying Lizards:

Another Story
Cirrus


Gang Of Four:

Cheeseburger
Not Great Men
If I Could Keep It For Myself
Glass
Ether
Paralyzed
Anthrax

Bruce Gilbert/Graham Lewis/Russell Mills:

Extracts from MZUI album

Joy Division:

The Only Mistake
Atrocity Exhibition
Wilderness
Day Of The Lords
New Dawn Fades
Autosuggestion
Isolation
24 Hours
Disorder

Ludus:

The Escape Artist
Unveil
Box
Sightseeing


Magazine:

The Light Pours Out Of Me
My Tulpa
Feed The Enemy
Cut-Out Shapes
The Thin Air
Stuck
Because You're Frightened


Pere Ubu:

The Modern Dance
Life Stinks
Heart Of Darkness
Over My Head
Sentimental Journey
Non-Alignment Pact

PiL:

Theme
Bad Baby
Annalisa
The Suit


Pop Group:

Trap
There Are No Spectators
Don't Call Me Pain
Don't Sell Your Dreams
Thief Of Fire
Blind Faith
Amnesty Report
She Is Beyond Good And Evil
How Much Longer

Rip, Rig & Panic:

Need (De School You)
Those Eskimo Women Speak Frankly

Slits:

Newtown
Ping Pong Affair
Instant Hit
Shoplifting


Steel Pulse:

Handsworth Revolution

Stephen Mallinder:

Temperature Drop

Talking Heads:

Warning Sign
I Zimbra
Drugs
Stay Hungry


Television:

Marquee Moon

This Heat:

Triumph
Horizontal Hold
Music Like Escaping Gas
Independence
24 Track Loop
Paper Hats
A New Kind Of Water

Ultravox:

Saturday Night In The City Of The Dead
Distant Smile

Virgin Prunes:

Sandpaper Lullaby
Abigail
Sad World
No Birds To Fly


Wire:

12XU
Former Airline
Once Is Enough
Mercy
Reuters
Too Late




White Noise In My Old Man's White Room



It's a no-man's land in the Forbidden City








Friday, February 05, 2021

Dirt Behind The Daydream





It's 5.45pm, so time to reveal the fruits of my recent labours. 5.45 was the time Andy Gill once mentioned the 'red spot in the egg' which confused me (I've never seen any red spot Andy, watcha tawkin' abaht ?). I've done another tribute piece, even though I'd kind of decided I wasn't going to do any more after spending two and a half months on the Bowie one last year. However, this one's not about any band or singers but rather an entire clutch of bands and singers in my attempt to capture the spirit of post-punk and the excitement of first hearing it as a teenager. I've built a plunderphonic pot-pourri of forensically scalpeled song segments, sliced and diced and overlaid in surprising new configurations, moving swiftly via various tempo matches and shifts and uncanny harmonies with disparate melodies. It's post-punk pinball, bouncing manically between multiple points along the '77 - '81 timeline.



Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Deeper into the archive

Digitized slide film photos of a performance in Dunlaoghaire School of Art & Design (DLSAD, now IADT) courtyard, 12.5.86, with fellow students, Ian Conroy, Sean Kelleghan and Ken Hardy. A somewhat shambolic affair despite a few rehearsals of a sort in the basement of the derelict remains of the yet-to-be-developed 'old building' as we used to call it (a former training centre for Christian Novitiates). Rain came down at one point but didn't didn't stop play. There is a recording but it's not great quality due to wind and rain on the mic, and not particularly great playing as I remember it.























Photos by Sheila Gorman

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Disinterred from the deep vaults

Rooting around the archive recently and gave this a spin for the first time in a very long time and was pleasantly surprised.. decent quality, and the playing ain't 'alf bad either. Improvised performance for my DLSAD (IADT) graduate show opening in 1987 with local friend and bass player Michael Mullen (who went on to play with Dublin bands Tension and Wheel). I made these contraptions with salvaged metals that were crudely welded together. They use a mixture of hubcaps and other small metals, flat steel, oil drums, car suspension springs and beer barrels which have been sliced in half and hung from a scaffold (heard at end of performance). These were purloined under cover of darkness from a nearby watering hole and set to the next day with an angle grinder. I still have them. I had seen the Bow Gamelan perform with Bob Cobbing at the ICA in London the previous summer and was completely fired up on my return and wanted to explore metals in a similar manner. I was also taking a leaf or two out of the work of Test Dept., Einsturzende Neubauten, Tools You Can Trust and z'ev, whose music I found exciting and inspiring.





































Photos by Sheila Gorman








Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Another new album

My latest album Unsound Fictions, has just been released. It is available via Bandcamp in digital form, and in a very limited artist's physical edition of 25 only, with unique cover and on-body artwork.








Sunday, September 27, 2020

Spectral Vectors


Chelsea Wharf, August 1986


Rainham Marshes, April 2017






Spectral Vectors was created for Come Hell Or High Water, a monthly series of live events on the Thames foreshore at Poplar, organised by Anne Bean, Hayley Newman, Harriet Latham and others. It takes as its starting point the idea of ghosts of the Thames; river revenants in the form of lost sounds of previous times from the river's busier industrial past, such as ship's horns, tugboat horns, foghorns and other industrial sounds.

Expanding on this theme, the idea of things lost/buried/hidden/removed came to mind. Documentary radio footage relating to sunken unexploded WWII ordnance and tragic drowning was combined with recent field recordings of mine made with contact mics attached to cabling beneath Millenium Bridge at St. Paul's, amplifying sounds hidden to the naked ear, when the bridge is animated by foot traffic, wind coursing through it and sun warming it.

Hydrophone recordings also capture hidden sounds – various vessels passing, sounding thin and insubstantial as wind-up bath toys from a submarine perspective. Delving deeper, recordings made inside Greenwich foot tunnel feature; resonant metallic sounds buried beneath the river itself echo along the tunnel's length.

Municipal greed and acts of resistance also form part of the documentary material with Bob Hoskins enlightening Barry Norman in 1982 about various development scams along the river, Malcolm MacLaren talking about the Sex Pistols' 1977 riverboat gig, and riverboat men going on strike. This footage is animated by the addition of lost ship's horns, populating the river with a lively, boisterous presence.

My first forays into field recording began whilst on summer work in the 1980s, when I bought a secondhand recording walkman, and my first recordings were made on the Thames at Vauxhall, capturing, amongst many things on a busy summer river, the sound of a speedboat whizzing past, dopplering downriver. This can be heard later in the piece, just after Hoskins says, “...regenerating the river.. bringing it back to life..making it a playground for the wealthy.”

The piece ends with recordings I made on a visit to Rainham Marshes in Essex in 2017, as the pace slows down and distant perspectives come into view. Sounds from the far shore can be heard, lending a widescreen feel, with the low hum of industrial barges drifting languidly past. Larks enter the frame, endlessly improvising metres above me as I sit on landfill overlooking the Thames estuary, while pigeons flap busily around the concrete barges, sounding like distant handclaps.

These concrete barges were the site of a particularly memorable TV appearance by Bow Gamelan (on Channel 4's Alter Image in 1986), playing on and in the barges and in advancing tides (up to their necks at one point). Invoking the spirits of Paul Burwell and z'ev, whose ashes are scattered in the Thames, I improvised on a large cylindrical metal item on site near the barges. An extract from this enters low in the mix, panning back and forth across the stereo field, before quietly exiting.




The main intention of my trip to the barges was to record myself improvising inside them. Traveling out from Battersea, I timed my visit at low tide. Despite this however, the exposed ground around the barges was way too treacherous to negotiate; I would've sunk up to my knees in squelchy sand. So near and yet so far...

The piece opens with a pitch-shifted combination of older ship's horns and foghorns, which hove into view, as though summoned from the depths. These reappear to close out the piece, very low in the mix, as though already departing and quite distant; sinking back into the depths.

In memoriam:

Paul Burwell 1949 – 2007

z'ev 1951 – 2017

Many thanks to Ian Rawes for directing me towards freely available and immensely valuable BBC archive recordings.

The piece is freely downloadable for transfer to other listening media.