Life Just Bounces don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Song of the day: #24 Ben Butler & Mousepad – "Super Motion"

Originally wrote this preview of my pal Joe's new act for Never Enough Notes, where there's a Soundcloud player with more material and so on. This tune's deffo my favourite BB&MP tune tho, at least at the moment. Some of the greatest awkwardfunk i've heard in years.

Ben Butler and Mouse Pad is the new project of Joe Howe (previously known as Germlin, or one half of gay against you), in which cardboard castles and adult hyperactivity disorders take a backseat to freeform synthesizer solos and extremely geometric pullovers.

Joe's long-standing synth fascination shines through, but this time there's much more of an emphasis on playing. It's still dancefloor-friendly but more reined-in and richly melodic than before, recalling the warm ooze of the Weather Report or Zappa's Waka/Jawaka and Grand Wazoo albums, as well as a sense of pushing synth sounds as far as they'll go that's akin to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (another stated influence). Or, as one user neatly describes them, "like Prince and Stevie Wonder on your favourite arcade machine".

As well as the laudably unfashionable likes of prog and jazz fusion, BB&MP identify with the Scandinavian skweee scene, and have released one side of a 7" named "Future Tent" on the genre's spiritual home, Norway's Dødpop label. As well as that record, there's a mini-album of "Future Tent" remixes by the likes of oMMM, The Niallist and Tangles, and a 5-track compilation of early stuff named, fittingly, Early.

So far, gigs have been largely conducted in Europe, but North American audiences will soon be able to get their first taste of BB&MP in the flesh, as they play 22 dates across the US in January and February in  support of indie stalwarts Deerhoof. Any of our transatlantic readers would be well advised to take a look.

28 Jan 2011 US San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
29 Jan 2011 US Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex
01 Feb 2011 US Austin, TX – Mohawk
02 Feb 2011 US Dallas, TX – Palladium Showroom
03 Feb 2011 US Memphis, TN – The Hi Tone
04 Feb 2011 US Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
05 Feb 2011 US Athens, GA – 40 Watt
06 Feb 2011 US Raleigh, NC – King’s
07 Feb 2011 US Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
08 Feb 2011 US Brooklyn, NY – Ridgewood Masonic Temple
10 Feb 2011 US Cambridge, MA – Middle East
11 Feb 2011 US Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts
12 Feb 2011 US Pittsburgh, PA – Altar
14 Feb 2011 US Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom
15 Feb 2011 US Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
16 Feb 2011 US Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
17 Feb 2011 US Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club
18 Feb 2011 US Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose
19 Feb 2011 US Omaha, NE – Waiting Room
21 Feb 2011 US Denver, CO – The Marquis
25 Feb 2011 US Seattle, WA – Neumo’s
26 Feb 2011 US Portland, OR – Holocene

mp3: Ben Butler & Mousepad – "Super Motion"

Monday, 22 November 2010

Song of the day: #23 Prolapse – "Deanshanger"

Do you remember the 1980s?
I was there too...

Tory government, strikes, riots in the street, papal visit and now a Royal wedding to boot. Yep, at the moment, comparisons of the 2010s to the 1980s are just serving to confirm the cliché that clichés are clichés because they're true, in that they're both clichéd and true.

With that in mind, a revival of Prolapse's 1997 not-quite-anthem "Deanshanger" might well be in order. Formed "under a table" at the University of Leicester student union, Prolapse stated their intention of becoming "the most depressing band ever" and set about the task by mashing up krautrock rhythms, punk rock and massive swathes of brutalised grey shoegaze feedback, topped off by twin vocalists "Scottish" Mick Derrick (psychotic, Glaswegian) and Linda Steelyard (sarcastic, deadpan, English Rose) enacting fearsome psychodramas over the top.

The music... was crap
The claise1... were crap
The hair... was crap
Everything... was crap

Opening with a blast of haze before a rhythm section like a wired descendent of "Yoo Doo Right" kicks in, layered with snaking guitar lines and – yes! – bagpipes, "Deanshanger"2 then lays out a laundry list of grievances against the '80s, from a time approximately equidistant from their end and their 21st-century revival. The Royal Wedding "wasnae worth the paper it was written on". The papal visit "promised much but didn't deliver" (i'm always amused/baffled by this bit: just what were you expecting, Mick?)

Meanwhile, Steelyard (now a reporter for the Leicester Mercury) enacts the part of someone "trapped in a room" and fruitlessly trying to work out how to escape ("even if I could build a door, I couldn't reach the wood because my feet are strapped to the floor"), the wall of noise around her voice isolating her even further, her tone resigned. By the end she has given over to Stockholm syndrome ("well I feel quite at home here now...")

"I'm glad it's all over, wrapped up in a box and put under the bed," proclaims Derrick at the song's conclusion, but the circling spiral of drums and feedback loops after he's finished seem almost to acknowledge that it's not over, it's never over, and no matter how hard you shout it's only a matter of time before it's all back again.

mp3: Prolapse – "Deanshanger" [YSI]

1 Whoever reviewed this in the NME at the time had never heard the word "claise", and proceeded to make a right tit of themselves when their quip about Prolapse condemning the "theatrical productions" of the 1980s rather undermined their knowing-condescension schtick.
2 Lord knows, what, if any, connection all this has with the Northamptonshire village of Deanshanger.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

#7: The Burns Unit — "Side Show" (Proper)

The word supergroup has been bandied about, but happily “Side Show” swerves the usual pitfalls of ego and bloat that the term suggests. The amount of disparate talents actually works in their favour: as each song is penned by at least two band members, it seems like the songs’ streamlined nature must have been necessary just to fit everyone in... 

i review The Burns Unit's rad debut album Side Show for Never Enough Notes.

mp3: The Burns Unit – "Send Them Kids to War"

Friday, 12 November 2010

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2010 edition)

Synopsis: After the breaking of the Fellowship, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli join up with a small band of Rohirrim warriors and mount a valiant defence of the fortress at Helm's Deep against the massed forces of Saruman's Uruk-hai army. Soon they are joined by a band of Elves of Lórien, Huorns and 2,000 riders led by Éomer, who proceed to stand around with their noses in the air proclaiming that a fortress is a privilege, not a right.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

#6: Chinese Church — "Hallowe'en 2010" (Stone Lion)

Hallowe'en is dead, long live Chinese Church!

Would you guys kill me if i coined the term "witch noise"? You would? Oh well, never mind then.

Former Glitch City man Tim J aka Wingus aka Chinese Church, now operating another label, Stone Lion, has released a 5-track web-EP "recorded, compiled and released on Hallowe'en 2010" with all samples, oscillators, effects, artwork and photos by himself.

Aptly named Hallowe'en 2010, the result is a bit like if the Scarefest rides at Alton Towers weren't set in old science research facilities or scary circuses but in a network of abandoned, haunted abattoirs. Its whispers, shrieks, howls and all-round mechanical clanking also occasionally recall the claustrophobic lost-soul squalls of the denser early Third Eye Foundation records.

"They're Driving the Hovering Castle" is probably my favourite initially, both because of the way it develops from a hissing digital thunderstorm into something both disjointedly melodic and weirdly rhythmical, but always slightly beyond the listener's grasp in both contexts. Could the title refer to "The Last Hovering Castle" by Warcloud, who Tim got me into in the first place? Or Jonathan Swift's floating tyranny Laputa? Or the Hiyao Miyazaki anime inspired by it? Maybe all or none of the above.

"Ganesh Particle Conjured from the Eternal Lattice" is also really good, sounding like a bit like a 60s radio commercial being imprisoned by an electric fence made of whistling, churning feedback, but it's all worth a look. Get the whole EP here and check for Stone Lion's other holiday release We Wish You Are Happy New Year.1 They also have other releases which are neither holiday-themed nor downloadable, so you will have to pay Australian dollars or the equivalent thereof for them.

— Download Hallowe'en 2010

mp3: Chinese Church — "They're Driving the Hovering Castle"

1 Title now fixed, hat tip to Ben

Back. / Ascending mixtape

Hiya! So sorry i've been away un-blogging for so long... i actually have a fairly good reason - done 8 weeks of an NCTJ diploma to become a, like proper journalist and everything. If i also told you that course is a mere 20 weeks till full qualification and therefore somewhat intense, and that to get there i wake up at 6.45am daily and don't get home till 7pm, and the fact that there's also 30KB, label administration, writing for other blogs, sleeping and some other stuff i also have to do, y'can probably why the blogging's dropped off a bit.

i promise to get more done soon, but in the meantime: a) you might wanna catch me instead as @diss1 on Twitter [HA! you hypocrite! caught you! etc.] where i now find communicating in sub-SMS chunks to actually be useful, manageable and actually kinda fun [yeh yeh i was wrong in this article i admit it, but hey in the last week or so Charlie Brooker's come out and basically admitted that the last several years of his work was nihilistic gallery-playing so i think i'm allowed one].

Now, a brief return to mix-making. i used to do a load of mixes before Google started summarily shutting down music blogs for copyright infringement. i still make them, but now i just don't post them up any more. Maybe i should start a separate blog just for mixes! That'd actually be a pretty good idea. OK, just realised my stream of consciousness is now conversing with itself, this is no good. Anyway.

According to Windows Media Player i currently have 1344 hours of audio on my laptop hard drive. So what i've done is yam all that into a playlist, order it all in track length order (shortest to longest) and then made a mix of the first 80 minutes1 of that. As bewildering sound collages go, i think it's a pretty neat one!

i've edited out some repeat artists at my discretion (basically so it doesn't start off with an entire JAPSHITFUN album) but otherwise the whole mellifluous mess is verbatim.

Track listing

Oh Yes, By All Means - To Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany 
Atma - Minterlude Universal Enlightenment
The Watts Prophets - The Meek Ain't Gonna
Lil' B - Soulja Boy Checks In
Oh Yes, By All Means - Sentry
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - ...
Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Neotropolis Euphoria
Alan Tew - The Detectives (Link 2a)
Unknown - power chord [C#]
Unknown - drum loop 7
Alan Tew - The Detectives (Link 4a)
Alan Tew - The Detectives (Link 1)
Daisy Cutter - NTERNAL GUTTERAL RAPE (Rorikiller cover)
Four Tet - Pablo's Heart
The Watts Prophets - Listen
Vague Terrain Recordings - Coming Soon
Atma - Interlude
Santiago Gómez Cou - Pedro Y El Lobo
Phil Dirt - An Introduction By
Reflection Eternal - Black Gold Intro
La Gringa Inga - Inglés En Un 2x3
Unknown - drum loop 01b
Nicki Minaj - I Was First
shorthand dications, 60-70wpm
Formosa Tiene Su Hechizo - Formosa Tiene Su Hechizo
Human Skab - Phone Goof Off
Scissor Shock - Johnny Merzbow Psychic Contact
Apples in Stereo - The Code
The Watts Prophets - We Must Love Black People
Jaga Jazzist - The Thing Introduces...
Formosa Tiene Su Hechizo - Formosa Tiene Su Hechizo [2]
El-P - Wacky Interlude Is Back
Sage Francis - Commercial Radio Advice Intro
Lucky Dragons - Cleanhouse
The Watts Prophets - Instruction
Laura Huxley - Introduction
Spektrum - Shall I Jump?
Boards of Canada - I Saw Drones
The Deep Freeze Mice - Untitled
Spektrum - SP-Spektrum
Circle Jerks - Deny Everything
Retribution Gospel Choir - The Last of the Blue Dream
Spektrum - Spek-t-t-t-trum
Wire - Field Day
L'Homme Fatal - Murdah On The Dancefloor DAISY CUTTER REMIXXX
Spektrum - New Sound Word Power
Frank Zappa - Theme from "Bonanza"
The Magnetic Fields - Experimental Music Love
Atma - Insterlude Earthlings
Lexie Mountain Boys - Stop and Discuss Part Four
Frank Zappa - "Godfather Part II" Theme
Indian Jewelry - Sirens
R Stevie Moore - Explanation of Artist
Yola Polastri - Los Niños Y Su Mundo
Clint Mansell - Dreams
Sam Cooke - 8 Bars of Soul
Lil Jon - What is Crunk Rock (Interlude)
Lucky Dragons - Haley Chaser
Spektrum - Release the Sugar
Spektrum - Ikerlude
Lexie Mountain Boys - Stop and Discuss Part Two
Nervous Cop - Setting the Bushes on Fire
Audrey Saint-Coeur - Diddlage
Scissor Shock - Codeine Dream of Sunset Eyeball
Boards of Canada - Energy Warning
Richard Pinhas - Short Transition
Circle Jerks - Don't Care
Burial - Untitled
Nervous Cop - Rice Precipitation
Bus - Intro feat. MC Soom T
Sax Ruins - Zurna Taksim
Saccharine Trust - Mad at the Co.
Frank Zappa - I Left My Heart in San Francisco
Sin 34 - Not
J.G. Thirlwell - Brock Graveside
Nervous Cop - Get Wolf Boy and Get in Context
Boards of Canada - Beware the Friendly Stranger
Scissor Shock - Let's Foot Fuck!
Scissor Shock - Codeine Dream of Sunset Eyeball [again]
Spiritualized - All of My Thoughts (Strings)
Burkhard Stangl & Christof Kurzmann - Las Hijas de Nieve
Analog Rebellion - North Korea and Kim Jong Il's Fat Fucking Face
Eels - Apple Trees
Nathan Johnson with the Cinematic Underground - Laura's Theme
Notorious B.A.C.H. - Gimme the Lute
Gordon Easton - The Drunken Piper
The Roots - Tunnel Vision
Men's Recovery Project - Get the Fuck Out of My Office
The Deep Freeze Mice - Bottles reprise
Wire - Brazil
The Watts Prophets - They Shot Him
Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen (original oratone ideas)
Dick Limerick Academy - Fazakerly
Circle Jerks - Waster
Retribution Gospel Choir - '68 Comeback
JAPSHITFUN - this is the only song that scrobbles so you can stop listening after this
Smog - Hole in the Heart
Wire - Different to Me
Walls - Gaberdine
Revo - Fuck the School
R Stevie Moore - The Voice
Clint Mansell & the Kronos Quartet - Dreams
Santiago Gómez Cou - Pedro Y El Lobo
Wire - Straight Line
Lärm - Pigeon
TUMBLEWEAVE - Pornstars Built the Pramids
Sick of It All - Braveheart
Burial - [untitled]
Scissor Shock - Piranha (I Wanna)
shorthand dications, 70-80wpm
Mugstar - It was too cold to go looking for Brancusi
Frank Zappa - When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Nik Bärtsch's Mobile - Modul 4 II
Yo La Tengo - Tijuana Taxi
Scissor Shock - No Scissor, No Shock
Scissor Shock - Know Scissor, Know Shock
Nia Ben Aur - Chi Sydd Ar Fai
Da Stupids - Allen
Aspects - Rev. Soul
Foals - Fugue
John MacDonald - Strathspey/The Reel of Tulloch
R Stevie Moore - Explanation of Listener
Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 - ...
Low - Untitled
XharoldshitmanX - Open You'r Card
Tommy Gunn - Lilting With Fiddle, Guitar and Bones
Guilty Simpson - Preacher's Wife Interude
Micachu & the Shapes - Sweetheart
Credit to the Nation - Honey
Nervous Cop - Pow Strikes Pow Implosion
J Dilla - Digi Dirt feat. Phat Kat
Burial - Untitled
Lucky Dragons - Unkefriend
J.G. Thirlwell - No Vacancy
Tom Waits - Let Me Get Up On It
Jetset - Tot Hier En Niet Verder
J Dilla - Kaklow (Jump On It)
Lexie Mountain Boys - Hairy Rainbow
Chrome Hoof - Core Delusion
Human Skab - Guitar of Africans

1 It's actually 75 minutes so, if for some bizarre reason you want to, you can put it on a CD.