Thursday, 27 November 2008

AMMON DUUL The most hated Krautrock band

Even before I knew anything at all about Krautrock, I knew to stay away from Amon Duul (as opposed to Amon Duul II). Friends of friends of friends who had heard that big bongo sound were quick to warn me to stay clear of this awful group. Today, I still hear this sentiment. Indeed the most common clever slam for Amon Duul is to refer to their third album Disaster as appropriately titled. So, as an unbiased observer, I had to conclude that Amon Duul in truth had nothing to offer, and out of that great body of music called Krautrock, Amon Duul had just been a big mistake.

Contemporary (industry controlled) music speaks to some elevated level of rationality while this music I speak of communicates somehow to our more primitive animal past.
Clearly, these tribal-like improvs/jams serve an entirely different function than the majority of music released today which I refer to simply as 'product'. Amon Duul was originally a commune of 10 to 12 musicians committed to creating political art. And perhaps this is why I hear the commonality between the meeting of artists locally and Amon Duul. Above all else stands a commitment to art, not profit or product. And so, it was probably because I had been to this art-gathering that I grasped how great Amon Duul was, but for whatever reason, I found them very exciting and experimental.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

SESSIONS: Cargo Recording Studios, Rochdale

I' ve always belived in the karmic way. After a good rant, there's always something good about something bad. The Cargo studios (House of De Ocampo) has good room acoustics and the overall sound for a four track recording is almost releaseable by EP standards. We were able to scrounge for available instruments and equipment and was able to fit everything in our hearse of a bat-mobile. Skipping lunch (sleep for me) and was there as early as 11pm only to be met by sleeping bandmates or even someone more interested in his CD collection or so. Well, I'm not the owner of the house. It's not my gasoline in the car. Anyway, I ranted like a cunt long enough (which is 20 minutes) and I'm moving on. Ah yes, the second session. Who would be in-charge? It's definitely not me. I'm retiring my engineering hat right here and giving it to the Martin Hannett wanna-bees. By all means, y'all. That was a 12 hour grind for me through nagging headache and sleeplessness. And believe me it was all worth it. Except for the delays and the stand-up comic sessions, the Manchester band trivia brought to you by crepuscle records. "Remember, if it's not crepuscle it's not even a record". Sarcasm aside, the groundwork is already there. We got a smoky window view of what the "band" sound really is. As they put it, it sounded like "A Certain Ratio". I take credit for that. It's the only thing that went good that night. And for the shit that went through that day it's an achievement of sorts. It's just breaking the surface. We ain't there yet perhaps we could never get there. The future looks so scary. We could end up as a cult band who almost made it but didn't and because we chose not to. Scary thought. I'm liking it already. I won't delete the previous blog. It would serve as a reminder to me. But fook, I like the cult status already.

A Life in Bands (continuation)

I don't fuckin' know how band politics work. I'm the new guy so I have to prove myself, right? Who else is in charge? That's what I'm askin' because after a botched recording session, right now I don't know where I fit. Do we really need a dictator in the band? Do we value respect? Or we just don't give a shit because we are rockstars. Are we getting swellheaded because we think we are a re-incarnation of those ye olde Mancunian bands. Right now, I just want to lay all the tracks on a fuckin tape and play music. I don't give a rats arse on how much useless Manchester trivia are there on my wee brain. I don't care what's playing on my MP3 player. I don't care now how much time searchin for a fuckin rare CD in a garage sale or how extensive my record collection are. Which is a few actually. Very few by rockstar standards. Right now, it's all about music. It's sounds a bit syrupy for a guy with battle scars from playing in different bands. But, I've been in the trenches for so long I don't know which is which. Which direction a band should take. I might been overreacting because respect is often earned and you don't need to say fuck you upfront to actually know it's been thrown at you. Just like fuckin' mustard gas, baby. Thank goodness for a massive headache that saved me from further embarrassment from a recording session where people wanted to be stand-up comedians and post-punk trivia wizards instead of shutting up for 6 minutes or so and just play the goddamn song. I shouldn't be blabbering like a cunt because it ain't my house we're using, not my food I'm serving, and last but not the least it's not my fuckin' money. Maybe we don't deserve to record because our minds are all fucked up. We are a good live band. Bloody, Finger Lickin' Fuckin' good. Probably too good for ourselves. Am I giving up? Fuck, can't wait for the whole new bloody session to start. Next time, without the bear necessities. No food, no aircondiltioning. The trenches. We've turned to fat ego-tistical rockstars. We need to get shittied-up. and yes, I'm not from fuckin' manchester.

I'm from fuckin' Salford. It makes a fuckin' difference.

RIP Martin Hannett, I wish I had a gun too...

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Gang of Four

First official song played on bass. Damaged Goods. May 1988. All chords no scales. Was able to play the whole scale three years later but by then the song was overplayed in 105.9 the home of pathetic rock.

Random Noises (Shameless Promotion)

Have I given up on normal forms of music? Perhaps.
And watch your eardrums.....

Battle Royale takes place in an alternate time-line - the government of Japan is a police state, known as the Republic of Greater East Asia (大東亜共和国 Dai Tōa Kyōwakoku). Under the guise of a "study trip," a group of students from Shiroiwa Junior High School (城岩中学校 Shiroiwa Chūgakkō) in the fictional town of Shiroiwa (Kagawa Prefecture) are sleep-gassed on a bus. They awaken in the Okishima Island School on Okishima, an isolated, evacuated island south-west of Shodoshima, also in Kagawa Prefecture. They learn that they have been placed in an event called The Program, also known as Battle Royale. Officially a military research project, The Program is a means of terrorising the citizens, of causing such paranoia as to make organised insurgency impossible. According to the rules, every year since 1947, fifty third-year junior high school (fourteen to fifteen years old) classes are isolated, and the students required to fight to the death until one remains. Their movements are restricted by metal collars, later identified as Model Guadalcanal No. 22, around their necks which contain tracking and listening devices; if any student should attempt to escape The Program, or enter declared "danger zones", a bomb will be detonated in the collar, killing the wearer. If no student dies in any twenty-four-hour period, all collars will be detonated simultaneously.
After being briefed about The Program, the students are issued survival packs which include a map, compass, flash-light, food and water, and a random weapon or other item, which may be any thing from a gun to a paper fan. During the briefing,
two students anger the supervisor, Kinpatsu Sakamochi, who kills both. As the students are released onto the island, they each react differently to their predicament; delinquent Mitsuko Souma murders those who stand in her way using deceiving tactics, Hiroki Sugimura attempts to find his best friend and his secret love, and Shinji Mimura makes a failed attempt to escape the Program.
In the end, four students remain:
protagonist Shuya Nanahara, Noriko Nakagawa, Shogo Kawada - a survivor of a previous instance of the Program - and antagonist Kazuo Kiriyama. Following a car chase and shoot-out between Kazuo and the main characters, Noriko kills Kazuo by shooting him with a revolver. Shogo then takes his two partners to a hill. After telling Shuya and Noriko that he will kill them, Shogo shoots in the air twice, faking their deaths for the microphones planted on the collars. He then dismantles the collars. When Shogo is on the winner's ship, Shuya and Noriko board the ship. On the ship, Shogo kills Sakamochi and a soldier while Shuya kills the other soldiers on board. Shogo tells Shuya how to escape, succumbs to his wounds and dies. The two remaining students return to the main-land and find a clinic belonging to a friend of Shogo's father. From there, they make plans to escape to the U.S., facing an uncertain future as they run from the authorities.

Merzbow (メルツバウ, Merutsubau?) is a noise music project created in Tokyo, Japan in 1979 under the direction of musician Masami Akita (秋田 昌美, Akita Masami?). Since 1979, he has formed two record labels and has contributed releases to numerous independent record labels. As well as being a prolific artist, he has also written a number of books and has been the editor of several magazines in Japan. He has written about a variety of subjects, mostly about art, avant-garde music and post-modern culture. His more renowned works have been on the topics of BDSM and fetish culture. Other artforms Akita has been interested in include directing and Butoh dance.

The name "Merzbow" comes from German artist Kurt Schwitters' artwork, Merzbau. This was decided upon to reflect Akita's dada influence and junk-art aesthetic. In addition to this, Akita has cited a wide range of influences from various progressive rock artists such as Frank Zappa and King Crimson to Japanese bondage.

In 2000, Extreme Records released the 50 CD box set known as the Merzbox. From 2004 onwards, he has been a supporter of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) which has influenced a number of animal-themed releases as well as Akita becoming vegan.[5] Akita's work has been the subject of several remix albums and at least one tribute album. Akita is a prolific musician and has produced over 200 releases since 1980.