on life, music etc beyond mainstream


Fleshmarket Close is a temporal escalator miraculously aligning fast spinning neutron stars, whole decades and eras slide down your psychic windscreen red orange yellow green blue indigo violet tartan gloss

And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless

And you can hardly move in Old Trafford because of the pyrotechnic detection dogs. The fuckers roam in large packs, chasing rockets right into the sky, higher than Orion. Boom.

And it’s August and it’s hot and muggy and the world seems sleepy with the heat, but it’s Xmas in Salford in August it’s Weihnachten Vibe in Salford in late summer. Happy Fuckin Xmas Already!

And the DLR at Shadwell is so fucking beautiful it makes my heart burst. Then onto Canary Wharf which in this light looks like tinfoil as if there’s a massive KitKat inside it.

Aphex Twin on Brick Lane. „Brick Lane’s too commercialised innit“ „Hackney’s not as cool as it was mate“. The magnetic pole of cool has moved. Where’s it gone? Bermondsey, Brixton, Brighton, Birmingham? Boom. It’s back. It’s living above a kebab shop in a side street some place between Stoke Newington and Dalston. It’s been time travelling and has temporal jetlag, sitting on the low sofa in the kitchen under a bare bulb, playing Wipeout on a PS1 on a box shaped portable television with stickers on the side and a plastic kebab carton above it. Then the future started happening, the caps of the temporal telomere began to break and suddenly it’s 2016 and the PS1 ended up in landfill in Essex, metres under a mound where, right this very second, a seagull is walking with that odd mix of poise and total violence, hoping to find a snack or two among the garbage.

And the moon over rooftops in the Scottish countryside is saying something but the encryption service is buggy and its message is out there but undefinable – cotton in a blizzard. I hope it is saying „Listen, the cosmos is alive, can’t you feel the electricity in your marrow?“


L. Pierre „Gullsong“
L. Pierre „Weir’s Way“
Babyshambles „Nothing Comes To Nothing“
Pink Floyd „Pigs on the Wing“
Led Zeppelin „Bron-Yr-Aur“
John Foxx w/ Harold Budd „Long Light“

Like a dead bird in the dirt
Like a rusty can on the ground
I don’t believe in stardom
Machinery in action

Full of experts
Full of experts
Same old order
Same old order
Same old order


So sang Vini Reilly on the powerfully melancholic/weird/lovely/otherworldly Durutti Column album LC back in 1981. The record’s title was always a mystery to me. My (admittedly daft) guess was that LC stood for listening comprehension. But the initials stand for something far more interesting than that. I eventually read someplace that they stand for Lotta Continua – either graffiti on a wall in ancient Rome, or the name of a far-left organisation in Italy from around the same time that Paris was undergoing a short wave of prescient Banksyisation: „La beauté est dans la rue!“ „Sous les paves, la plage!“ „A bas le réalisme socialiste! Vive le surréalisme!“ etc.

I don’t know that there’s a beach under the flagstones. But beauty is definitely in the street. If you set your psychogeography filters before leaving the house, the city holds a limitless amount of interest. I believe this is why JG Ballard chose to live in Shepperton – it was far enough away from all the mental static to allow him to describe its effects.

Can artforms have experts? They can have practitioners and appreciators, I guess. The loftiest classical or pop critic at a broadsheet may be an expert in setting thoughts down on paper, and on the cultural specifics of the space-time that the art is projected onto. But the art itself? I don’t think so. Art is democratic* – just go back in time and ask your 3 year old self and the answer won’t be anything other than that art is democratic.

Everybody’s A Fuckin Expert by Shit and Shine is a good listen. The label (Editions Mego) uses the interesting phrase „inverted tranquility“ in the blurb. I like this phrase but I don’t know what it means. The record isn’t tranquil but it is controlled, and its sonic textures don’t have really the kind of ‚ardcore vibe the title suggests. I’d be reluctant to try and guess what this record is saying. Music For Real Airports by The Black Dog had a kind of „this is the way things are“ thing going on, which didn’t work for me. I don’t want to fetishize airports anymore than I want to fetishize their tedium. Everybody’s A Fuckin Expert seems (maybe) to be describing London in 2015 – but there’s no social realism here, and also no ghost of dubstep. The dark humour of the record is its principal weapon – biting cynicism’s like so 2012. This is the present.



*For the appreciator of art. The next time you bang your head against a brick wall, ask yourself who the bricklayer may have been and once the pay cheque was cashed how much he cared what happened to that wall – whether it was people banging their heads against it, or doing a spraypaint stencil of a rat on it, with dollar signs for eyes.


Me? I didn’t initially like Paul Buchanan’s Mid Air. Being a Blue Nile fan I’d pre-ordered the deluxe CD edition, then when it finally got released in late spring/early summer 2012 I was like „yeah, it’s alright“. Fast forward to about two months ago and the record started making perfect sense. What seemed like Blue Nile -isms were in fact painstakingly crafted crytpic crossword clues. And like with all the best cryptic crosswords, the answers ain’t accessible immediately.

You might know „Public Face, Private Face“ by Quiet City. I didn’t when it was released sometime in 2002. It was only through a (now long gone) link to Quiet City’s (presumably also now long-gone) website on Wikipedia’s Blue Nile entry that led me to the record, about six years after its release. Even then, it took a bit of tracking down. It finally arrived through the letterbox, ages later. Mint condition CD but with a jewel case that had seen a fair bit of life. It had a Tower Records (Dublin) price ticket on it (an ‚on sale‘ one, no less, with the previous prices on stickers underneath, like a dendrochronology of ever-thinning market prices had been in action. But this album won in the end. It surfaces on Amazon Marketplace now and then for £100 a pop, and has a median sale price on Discogs of £59).

Paul Buchanan is obviously the draw here, the reason people will part with so much money for the record. And yes, PB’s contributions are worth the price of admission alone. „Due North“ is a killer track, and I’ve only just checked its running time which is almost nine minutes. That’s a lot of minutes for a pop song, and every second is gloriously accounted for: from the electrolyte atmosphere, maritime town railway station vibe opening and lyrics:

Is the seabird scared in the cold stone air
The flags, the light, beat out a fanfare
And the engines start to pound
Beneath our tired feet
Then we slowly inch away
And my heart begins to beat

… to its closing moments of elongated vocal whoops, sweeping ocean strings and seagull noises.

The rest of the record, it has to be said, is very unlike this. A lot of it sounds on the face of it like accessible jazz-influenced easy listening Radio 2 gear. Which I guess it kind of could be, except that it takes phenomenal skill – not populist intention – to construct stuff with this depth and sense of space and dimension. Not just the composition either – the arrangements, playing and production make you feel like you’re in a brand new car. Take the intro to track nine, „Goodnight, My Baby“. It’s all there. This record is a classic. And few come more lost than this one.


2015 7 Sep

The Football Temperance Train

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2015 28 Aug

New Brighton, Merseyside

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Welcome to New Brighton, says the metal mammal that looks like something out of a Russell Hoban novel.

Welcome to New Brighton. It looks fuck-all like it did in the Michael Head documentary from 1992, that’s for sure.

Turn up the colour volume and it could be 1973.

Here’s not really that far – as the crow flies – from Prestatyn, Rhyl, Llandudno or even Dublin. Your Celt aerial picks up no static here. This is somewhere.


It’s Immaterial (New Brighton)

The Strands (Loaded Man)

The Beatles (only kidding)

2015 10 Aug


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Celadon by MAJA S.K. RATKJE, JON WESSELTOFT, CAMILLE NORMENT, PER GISLE GALÅEN will definitely be appearing on my 2015 list. Maja S.K. Ratkje’s vocal on this is nothing short of genius. Celadon is a recording of transcendental, mediumistic power.

According to the record label, Celadon was „Recorded in Norwegian sculptor and painter Emanuel Vigeland‘ s (1875 -1948) mausoleum in Oslo in 2013. A recording space that is famous for its acoustics and its long and full-sounding reverb. These three tracks utilize both the delicacy and the power of acoustic instruments and human voice in relation to the unique recording space“.

There’s a lot to like here – Celadon is beautifully recorded, the compositions wear their complexity lightly, sometimes the timbre seems ancient and Eastern, sometimes it seems like right now (or 2013 in a mausoleum in Oslo, at least). The vibe of invigorating displacement you get from listening to this isn’t unlike the one you get when you visit Neolithic burial mounds. About 21 minutes and 55 seconds into the final track Afterglow, something genuinely special starts to happen. Listen to it and see (hear, feel) for yourself.



2015 7 Aug


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„One day, it may be possible to predict the possibility of life anywhere in the universe from the chemical composition of the cosmos.” [Life: Stupendous, Churning, Steampunk]

Moo. Oink. Baa?

„The multifarious narrative flow develops inside a ‘black box’, which will open a time window of 55 minutes, suddenly transporting the spectator back to the Anthropocene era following a perfectly timed fractal logic of entirety and self-repetition.“ []


„I really liked this record on first listen. Maybe it’s an effect of concision, but I went straight back for a second listen immediately, and loved it. Let’s leave it to professional reviewers to contextualise, compare, value. To do these things I am unable. It had until today been a week/month where the preoccupation was breakfasts rather than music. Don’t underestimate breakfasts. Don’t underestimate music.“ [Me]









2015 6 Jul

Free from all the chaos

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Beside the poplar trees
Where I like to go

Away from busy rhythms of the city
To the languid river Mersey

Beneath the rain-filled clouds
The wind carries a song

Away from all the chaos
Into Fletcher Moss…


2015 3 Jul

Cheshire beer garden

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