A Raw Power trip - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #54

A lot of people, and sometimes me in the dark hours of the morning with nothing but a beer jacket between me and locked-out hypothermia, wish that Hendrix had lived. Joplin didn’t have to leave us, Lennon had faster reactions (or Chapman had worse aim) and that Cobain had been able to see it through to the end. I frequently wish HST hadn’t typed ‘counsellor’. As if, by remaining alive instead of departing this world in a firework flash all these geniuses would have been able to nail the beauty. We have always been scratching at the door of perfection and there was a feeling that with just a little more time one of these cats could have nailed it. Personally I’ve enjoyed the ride too much to see the ‘greatest rock song of all time’ be written and end the whole farce. Death is every bit as much a part of rock and roll as the cars in the swimming pools and the drugs and the music. A lot of people wish rock stars back to life, I wish Iggy had died right after Raw Power got nailed in the studio.

Force Majeure - Tangerine Dream - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #42

Tangerine Dream is probably one of the most uncool bands I’ve ever admitted to liking. Couple of German dudes messing around with some early analog synthesizers and electronic instruments whose music sounds like outtakes from a Pink Floyd album or the soundtrack for Blade Runner? Not exactly music for a house party. But they’re a band I’d enthusiastically insist all of my friends should listen to because Tangerine Dream, at least in their 70’s period, were forerunners, pioneers and visionaries.

A conversation with Hisko Detria - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #53

“We just wanted to play kind a music we like and have fun. And in Hisko Detria we have no musical limits, so we can do whatever we like.”

Let me indulge in the pettiest critique yet. The cover art for the Static Raw Power Kraut demo by Hisko Detria (hand drawn by Rajanovitch - axes, vox) had me on board before I even heard the music. Before I even leapt joyously into this beautiful scathing rock genius that takes that Holy McGrail Shake Appeal cover and applies it to EVERYTHING like a small child given free reign over a paint roller except the paint is steady hard-rock concrete smeared haphazardly across your walls, ceiling, living room and all of your record collection! Even before I discovered that this may well be underground record of the year, I took one look at that artwork (and I’ve got a specially massive copy just so you gorgeous motherfuckers can clickety click and enjoy it too) you got your trippy highway rolling right out to meet with the very nice psychedelic concentric circles that y’know are going right into the centre hole in the vinyl edition of this. Can’t wait to get ahold o’ that and line it up with the sun (divergent rays motha’fucka’s); oh and what, what’s that off to the left? Dear Jesus god it’s the Earth. Clearly this spacial highway is going the way of Sputnik, Enos and Uri Gagarin, but also be steaming along that same desert highway as Kowalski. I’d go as far as to say never before has cover art been so indicative of a record’s trip... except that Grand Funk red workout that sure as shit did work out the redline in every meaning of the phrase. Of course this first-rate album artwork is only the beginning of the journey. Total post-Hawkwind groovescapes are the engine that’ll take you across these beautiful vistas, the destination? A town on the outskirts of perfection.

Steven's top five - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #52

Okay. 52 articles. Hasn’t quite been a year of this blog but a yearsworth of what are ostensibly weekly articles. Well mo’fo’s I got something special for y’all today if you’re interested? You are? Great. Well recently somebody asked me what my all-time top-hole top-notch top-drawer top five bands were... The fucking nerve! The righteous sociopathy of the dude who just fucking asks a question like that. Rather like straight-up demanding to know how much money I earn, or how many women I have had the pleasure of. It’s just one of those things an honest chap doesn’t ask another honest chap unless he knows the duelling glove has been left at home. I like top five arguments. Top five side one, track ones? No sweat. Top five Rolling Stones tunes? Cutting it close but okay. Anyway, I figured I’d dedicate my 52nd article of what is supposed to be a weekly series exploring my own top five bands (guesses in a hat kids) and exactly how one comes to such a momentous decision, like being at a voting booth except with something that actually matters.

Come Out - Steve Reich - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #41

I don’t know if you’ve ever stopped to ask yourself what appears to be such a basic question but: what is music? Is it compositions played on instruments? Can it be improvisational? Does it have to have purpose? Is it simply the subtle alteration of tones, rhythm, melodies, something to fill the silence, controlled, programmed noise? What is music? As in all art forms and walks of life, I believe this statement is an important one to keep asking ourselves because it will spur people on to push the definition to the very limits; challenge the preconceptions and go on to do radically different things. If you (like me) see music as simply sound with a thought behind its creation, then you’ll be prepared to accept Steve Reich’s 1966 piece Come Out as a legitimate piece of music.

I want you right now - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #51

Well I feel pretty good and I guess that I could get crazy now baby 
You know what the worst part of being a member of Generation (wh)Y? It isn’t that we’ll all be killed in the fallout from Blair’s oil wars if we don’t all go broke paying for them, it isn’t the shitty music or the commercialisation or the fact that I am significantly more closely acquainted with my iPhone than with the more remote parts of my anatomy; it’s that a great number of my friends, and as far as I can tell this phenomenon is not exclusive to the self-important media barfly pricks of the Leith area, seem mentally unable to just get together and fuck normally anymore. Nobody can just stand up and say “I like you and you are physically attractive, I’d like to be a very close friend of yours with the additional under-duvet benefits”, no fucker would get caught reciting choice lines from Wild Thing, it has become taboo to tell someone you make my heart sing. Honesty is the enemy of the modern dating game, straightforwardness his swarthy comrade. Everyone’s gotta take the vicissitudes and vagaries of the human heart and politicise it. We approach the act of finding yourself a friend you can share a bed with the way a general approaches a battle, or the way an account approaches an unbalanced ledger, or like we are acting a part in a bullshit rendition of Eastenders or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Motherfuckers, you’ll all have someone you like, whether you’ve successfully navigated the courting labyrinth without meeting any minotaurs, or if you know there’s someone you just love to see, or if there’s just that one person in the bar you’ve always been too afraid to talk to; ask yourself why you don’t just drop all the pretences, forget that you’re pretending you don’t like songs to seem cool and forget that you’re keeping down this air of passionate excitement in their presence and just go to them and tell them exactly how you feel, you make my heart sing. Seeing as rock and roll has always generally been about getting with people or breaking up, I present to you the perfect album to drench out all that bullshit and soak back into a warm bath of straight-talking and honest loving. The spectacularly wonderful Kick Out the Jams, by the Motor City Five. 

Amour & Discipline

[Special post, don't get too excited.]

I'm just writing to inform all you hipped cats that you should probably take this opporchancity to scoot over to Amour and Discipline and read their detailed manifesto. Amour and Discipline seek to revolutionise music financing in the age of the infinite, giving artists more money than ever while allowing unfettered access to their creations. It is the future if we support it.

The Nightfly - Donald Fagen - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #40

Well, this could possibly end up being the most idiotic thing I’ve ever said on this blog, but here goes. It does kind of illustrate my point, I think. You know internet memes, right? I’m quite a big fan of them, I think they’re quite clever and particularly funny. Well, there’s one featuring that guy Xzibit from Pimp My Ride. The gag is that on the show he’ll frequently put in ridiculous things such as Jacuzzi’s and fireplaces in your car when he’s doing up your car, so there’s a meme exaggerating this trait somewhat. It features a picture of Xzibit laughing and saying something like “Yo dawg I heard you like cars so I put a car in your car so you can drive while you drive.” I told you it was pretty idiotic. But this analogy sort of works when talking about Donald Fagen’s album The Nightfly. Made in 1982, it echoes some of the characteristic sounds of that era with its synthesizers, back up singers and polished production. But the album is something of a throwback to the 50’s, if not in sound then certainly in attitude. Fagen’s liner notes state: “The songs on this album represent certain fantasies that might have been entertained by a young man growing up in the remote suburbs of a northeastern city during the late fifties and early sixties, i.e. one of my general height, weight and build” So with its retro sound and even more retro feel, one can’t help but thinking of Xzibit saying “I heard you like retro so I put some retro in your retro so you can reminisce while you reminisce” Or maybe it’s just me.

Interview with Dylan Carlson of Earth.

The good man Dylan Carlson, frontman of Earth. He’s a very quiet talker so here’s the Soundcloud clip. It’s raw audio, and I’ve had to amplify it so you can hear him. Unfortunately its also amplified the sound of beer bottles hitting the table on which my recorder was resting, the soundchecking going on in the next room et cetera. Might be a bit loud. I thought you’d like to have the raw audio. I’ve also got the interview transcript in full down the bottom there, but there ain’t no more of my weirdness. So click for more if you can’t make out the audio clip or if your computer inexplicably doesn’t like Soundcloud. Heeeeeeres... Dylan!

DylanCarlsonInterview 8-3-2012 by Steven Dinnie - Interview

Edited highlights – Dylan Carlson will be working on solo projects for different labels including English-Scots fairy songs this year. There’s an Earth tour of Japan and Australia in the summer and a full U.S. Earth tour in November and he likes the Smoke Fairies. He’ll also be doing some sort of solo tour soon hitting smaller cities and venues. We discuss the Earth live show, the support and connections, connections to Sunn O))).

Click below to get the text of the transcript but there's no more madness from me. If you have any problems with the Soundcloud let me know immediately by leaving a comment and I'll get to fixing it.

Safety in numbness - Earth live, again - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #50

So today I saw Earth again. I’d seen them once before. I also interviewed Dylan Carlson. That’s right, me, some snotty blogger from der interweb managed to get an interview with the man who bought Kobain that shotgun. I hate to use that term to describe him and I bet he isn’t too keen on it neither, but to express in one sentence exactly what this man has meant to modern music, that one sure is a doozey. Without further bullshit from me, I’ll let you hear from the Ur-deity, Carlson. People on the tape are aforementioned rock royalty, me and Vee Nye, from whom we also get all this photography.

Masterology: the Pioneers of New British Funk - The New Mastersounds - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #39

This release has taken me somewhat by surprise. We Brits are pretty good when it comes to making most music, but funk music? That’s not really our area of expertise - well, so I thought. The New Mastersounds are just that – a new band (formed in 1999, still touring and making albums as regularly as ever) masters in their sphere, pioneers in this relatively small and unknown field of British funk.

Excuse me while I kiss this guy - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #49

[NOTE – last night I saw spectral nightfighters Earth for the second time, got a cracking audio interview with Dylan Carlson too, that will be on next week’s post because I have been so busy. Sorry folks for neglecting you a lil’ but this week you get my collected Hendrix failures. I’ve never been able to sufficiently explain myself when I hear Live at Woodstock, just an hour and a half of mad kaleidoscopic genius. I’ve written on the album many times and always tucked the result away, so here I’ve pasted them all together for your dereliction. It’s long, lysergic and hopelessly flawed but I’ve just been so busy it may be some time before the misery finally abates. I shall return, in the meantime, stick on Live at Woodstock for me y’all.]

On the earworm - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #38

Although the title of this piece may be misconstrued as a kind of zoological study, I can assure you it has as much to do with music as any of my previous posts. Basically, an earworm is a song that gets stuck in your head; it’s just a fancy name for it. It happens to us all; we get a song embedded into our minds and it just won’t let go under any circumstances. Now, I’m not inclined to take any particularly strong position on the matter. I’ve had songs stuck in my head that were incredibly annoying; what’s more, they’ve been while I was in the middle of a 9 hour shift at work so I couldn’t go and listen to something better to remove it from my consciousness. On the other hand, I’ve been so in love with songs that I don’t want to listen to anything else, and I know it’s only a passing phase and that I won’t want to listen to the song half as much the next day, so I indulge my little song addiction for as long as possible. It usually happens every few months, but it’s happened so frequently recently I thought it was worth mentioning.

Puttin' paid to post-rock - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #48

Wow. Just a fuckin’ monosyllabic wow is all I can contribute to proceedings today. I was writing a column about drumless music, and had been hipped onto Julian Cope fronted L.A.M.F. for their prestigious connection to Stephen “hotdog” O’Malley’s contemptibly superb dronerific duo Sunn O))); their first and only record titled Ambient Metal in the same way Lou Reed casually dropped Metal Machine Music, the cold clinical moniker giving no indication of the sort of sonic bliss that lay within; certainly not for the layman and capable of, at certain volumes, making you melt like the German officer from Raiders of the Lost Ark. So I finally got this thing in the post and set the thing to spinning, laying back in an ee-zee lounger with an ice-free ice-cold mixed drink and a Cuban cigar rolled on the thighs of a virgin and a head full of half a tab of sunshine acid, a stomach full o' Wild Turkey and veins pulsating an inch above my epidermis all over with the finest quality hee-hee and hooboy did L.A.M.F. make Sunn O))) sound like the most dreary monosludge duo you ever did laugh at, and take all interpretations of recording quality and snap them deftly over one knee; and make the lethal cocktail of chemicals in my system seem like sherbet. Wow.

Bluer, Cheerier - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #47

“Cybernetic wah abuse and non-stop intensity are their trademarks, tonal domination their goal.” – sleevenote manifesto

For years, hard rock has been asking one question. It is a deep, powerful, burning question and every time it seems to have been satisfactorily answered, someone comes along who changes the whole landscape, or the game changes. That question: What the hell do we do with all these amplifiers, all this volume and all this distortion? One of the best answers to this question was offered by Japanese serial mind-blowers High Rise, and Live is the definitive slab around which we all may gather and worship. A stunning, visceral, honest, rippling powerful rendition of their best taken live, with the recording equipment under incredible duress.

Bizarre Ride II - The Pharcyde - LICK MY DECALS OFF, BABY! #37

Do you remember in school there was always a joker in the class? A real joker, usually a guy, who just loved to make a fool? Playing pranks, clowning around, being obnoxious and immature? (They were annoying, but I know as a quiet nerd in school I was secretly quite envious of their confidence and humour) Wacky but loveable, know the type? Now, imagine getting 5 of these guys together and letting them loose in a recording studio. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, doesn’t it? It certainly doesn’t sound like the products of this wacky collaboration would yield one of the finest rap albums of the 90’s, but reader, it did just that.

"It also has to do with large doses of LSD" - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #46

I have tinnitus. That probably comes as a shock to absolutely none of the people who daily have to put up with me asking “what?” repeatedly, but probably would come as a shock to my parents if they read this fucking blog. Well, the main reason I’ve got noise-enforced deafness is because I’m a true music addict. Not long goes by before I’m needing sick grooves and basslines dropping down like fucking bombs on my head. I’m also a volume freak, with my iPod barely ever dropping below the 75% marker. The only reason I don’t have the super-decibels nailed at home is because I live sandwiched between office drones and I might blow their minds enough to call the pigs, hey look everyone, it’s our tax dollars protecting us from ourselves! Because I’m a distortion volume freak, a lack of these things genuinely puts me in a state of hysterical angst; like car sickness, even once the horror ends it is some time before the angst lifts and I can function again. The BRIT awards threw me into a self-destructive spiral when I genuinely thought that the world was at rock bottom and getting worse; scratching out a basement at the bottom of the barrel... It prompted a period where I couldn’t bear to look at anything produced in this or last year, and had to focus my attention on the opposite of pop music. Music so dark and heavy and violent and mean-spiritedly wonderful that these frets dare not show their face on any broadcast of any kind. Sexual deviant music of the sort that probably keeps those insane Republican hopefuls awake at night quivering with paroxysms of Jesus-based rage. It brought you a piece about Randy Holden, you got one about High Rise and one about L.A.M.F. and now I’m going to go a bit more relatable to all the doom-heads and get to grips with the band most directly responsible for my tinnitus. Blue Cheer.
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