Thursday, August 22, 2013


I'm heading to Australia next week! I'll be doing a whole bunch of events at the Melbourne Writers Festival and at the Brisbane Writers Festival. In between, I'm visiting Sydney and participating in a panel discussion at the University of Sydney. 

MELBOURNE WRITERS FESTIVAL - Thursday 29 August to Sunday 1st September

Friday 30 August 
02.00 pm - 5.00 pm 
The Wheeler Centre - Boardroom 

Saturday 31 August 
10.00 am 
 Iwaki Auditorium

"Join Andrew Ford, Presenter of ABC Radio National's The Music Show as he broadcasts live from the Melbourne Writers Festival. Hear conversations and performances from: music historian Simon Reynolds; publisher Nicholas Spice; author and pianist Anna Goldsworthy; Torres Strait Island singer-songwriter Seaman Dan; music producer Karl Neuenfeldt; and author Andrea Goldsmith".

Saturday 31 August
01.00 pm
NGV Theatrette at Ian Potter Centre:NGV Australia

"Rock culture has always had a profound ambivalence about its potential for art-ification. Often it's the seemingly most arty figures in the music's history who have been the most conflicted about this issue, fearing the terminal gentrification of a music originally considered the opposite of high culture. Simon Reynolds looks at the history of this ambivalence, as voiced by musicians like John Lennon, Malcolm McLaren, John Lydon, and Sonic Youth, and by critics such as Lester Bangs, and explores how this has changed in recent years with the emergence of 'curator rock' and 'concept music'. Introduced by Penny Modra".

Sunday 1 September
11.30 am
NGV Theatrette at Ian Potter Centre:NGV Australia

"Music writers Simon Reynolds and Chris Ruen explore the punk ethos of do-it-yourself and explore the ways people have seized the means of production to open new frontiers. Analogue or digital, DIY is back on the cultural agenda: find out where its taking us next. chaired by Jon Tjhia".


Sunday 1 September
 04.00 pm 
ACMI Cinema 1 

"Music historian Simon Reynolds asks: is pop music's addiction to its own past killing innovation, and if it is, how can music it get its mojo working? Can we regain a hunger for risk, originality and adventure? Chaired by Ben Birchall."

SYDNEY -  Monday 2 September to Wednesday 3 September

Tuesday 3 September
6.00pm - 7.30pm
Presented by Faber Academy  and the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney  
Law School Foyer, New Law School, Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney
Free and open to all (with registration requested)

"Writing about music was never a route to riches, but the digital era has made it an even tougher livelihood. Yet there are more public spaces for music discourse than ever, thanks to webzines, blogs, message boards, and other online forums. At the same time, analogue forms of music criticism are also thriving: specialist and small-run print magazines proliferate, while we're living through a golden age for serious books about music, from weighty macro-narratives mapping eras and genres to micro-studies that focus on individual albums or even single songs. What to make of this paradoxical situation where it’s never been easier to voice your opinion about music, but never harder to make a career out of it?  Join author Simon Reynolds, critic Anwyn Crawford, journalist Craig Mathieson and cultural historian Rebecca Sheehan for a discussion about the past, present and future of music writing."

BRISBANE  WRITERS FESTIVAL- Thursday 5th September to Sunday 8th September

Friday 6 September
CULTURE VULTURE (music writing masterclass / workshop)
Bank of Queensland Heritage Collections Learning Room, SLQ


Friday 6 September
Maiwar Green,State Library of Queensland

"‘Juvenilia’ (stories we wrote as teenagers) set featuring Kevin Kwan, Clementine Ford, Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Kimberley Freeman (Kim Wilkins), Stuart MacBride and Benjamin Law reading work they scribbled in their youth. A special ‘Juvenilia’ deejay set by Simon Reynolds will wrap up the night."

Saturday 7th September
Queensland Terrace, State Library of Queensland

"Simon Reynolds has chronicled electronic dance music, postpunk and rock. James Griffin is a songwriter, radio producer and critic. They talk to Simon Groth about why we write about art and culture".

Sunday 8th September
Title Books & Music, 133 Grey St, South Brisbane

"Simon Reynolds muses on his top ten most influential moments in 20th Century popular music".

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The idea of something from Bristol that's influenced by dub does make one reflexively yawn a bit...  but this Young Echo album Nexus is something else.

The way sounds trickle and levitate reminds me more of INA-GRM, your Rissets and such, or perhaps a latterday concrete-mixer like Christophe Charles (of Mille Plateaux). Monolake's Hongkong also sprang to mind.

At least until -- with both these tracks -- the vocals kick in and we're back in familiar Bristolian emotional landscapes: Martina Topley-Bird in a fugue state,  Robert Del Naja with seasonal affective disorder.  Living in one of England's prettiest cities, you'd be a lot more chipper, I'd have thought.

Luckily most of the record is instrumental.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My friend Pat Blashill - photographer and journalist - is building an online archive of his work, called Poison.  Pat currently lives in Vienna, but he started out in Austin, Texas, documenting the local postpunk / posthardcore scene, and then moved to New York, where we first met through doing some assignments for Melody Maker. Which included a profile of George Clinton

While looking for a photo of Pat's to post here, I stumbled on this.


Fuck me, if this isn't Galaxie 500, posing in  Joy's apartment on East 12th and Broadway, where we lived for most of the Nineties. A well located building, but a fairly drab and poky apartment,  one of whose sole redeeming features was those blinds, which in a darkened room during daylight hours would create mesmerising Op Art patterns, ever-shifting perpendicular bars of light and shade of differing widths, as they rippled very slightly in the eddying updrafts from the air conditioning unit.  You can't see this effect in the photo, obviously, but trust me it was entrancing. Made me come over all Eno-ish, it did, or rather like one of those becalmed, drained-of-will, washed-up/washed-out characters in the slower songs on Another Green World and Before and After Science. This is what one had to do  for amusement before the Internet, kids!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Passing my local health food store, my eye is grabbed by the epigram  on the front of the freebie health/green/new-agey magazine in a rack by the entrance -- Vision  (a "Catalyst for Conscious Living" and "A Green And Holistic Resource")


Okay, feels like something's missing from that sentence, an "about" -  cut for
space / graphic reasons?-- but pretty profound stuff, eh?

Curiosity piqued, I pick up and flick through to the mid-section pages marked at the top of each page with the legend SACRED SOUND...

Only to find...

Profile of Paul Oakenfold

Profile of Sasha

Profile of Armin Van Buuren

Mini-profiles of Dinka, Phaeleh, EPK. Kurty, Aerotek, Shakti Bliss, Blank & Jones, Divinity, Cascadan, DJ Lakshmi....

That whirring sound is Victor H, rotating rapidly in his grave

Monday, August 05, 2013

summery emissions from the Blank Workshop

"After a prolonged period of wandering off, the sun this year has never been more actively malevolent. Seventeen notable cities have evaporated, and numerous picnics have been slightly postponed due to an overwhelming demand for decorative parasols. Simply the perfect time for Gecophonic to release Down to the Silver Sea, a special compendium on a glittering new sub-label ~ Gecophonic Audio System Productions. GASP!

"GASP!01LP almost certainly has the potential to accompany all of your extensive Summertime activities. Whether flower-pressing in the garden, hallucinating in the summerhouse, fainting inside stifling sites of historical interest, pirouetting along the promenade, or even sea-cruise thalassophobia complications, barely a moment will pass that isn't made all the sweeter by obsessively listening to Down to the Silver Sea

"Naturally, Gecophonic favourites, the Moon Wiring Club, feature on this Summer Special LP, providing enchanting melodies and foot-flapping rhythms that ensure a familiarity of confusion to sooth the fervid attentions of their kindly listeners. Joining them on Down to the Silver Sea are a magical gaggle of talented musicians, each flourishing a trio of delightful compositions that thematically compliment each other in a varied seasonal bouquet of charming sound!"

Available 33/07/1923 !

Initial concept of Mr Hodgson's was apparently the musical equivalent of "a British comic Whizzer & Chips/Buster summer special where they all go to the seaside", with sonics "somewhere between Coil's solstice EPs and Kanye's Cruel Summer. Or nowhere near."

More information on the contributions of the guest musicians, which include  Time Attendant, Jon Brooks, Sarah Angliss, and Howling Moss, can be found here.  

Check out Moon Wiring Club's "visual splicing" for one of the tracks: Knö ~ Morgane (aka Jon Brooks)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

meerkat panda

"a meerkat awareness of what's happening around them" .... "like asking a panda not to be a panda"

- some great zoological tropes in this riveting interview with David Stubbs, holding forth on  music, football, Mr Agreeable, the Nineties, hip hop, music journalism, why great bands go shit, etc, over at The Work Trials