Week from Monday 2nd November 2009

I've no idea what possessed me to attempt such a thing RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW - yet another example of things that bubble to the surface, after years of lurking in the subconscious - but I suddenly took it upon myself to construct a new 'remix' piece using some bits of music recorded by RABBITHOLE SAM and I, about twenty five years ago! "THE VIBRATING UNDERPANTS SALESMAN" was an instrumental suite, 'inspired' by the period RHS spent working in a LEADING GENTLEMEN'S OUTFITTERS, with parts entitled "The Aggressive Hard Purchase", "The Stupid Gentlemanly Approach" and "The Ultimate Sale". I used guitar parts from the first movement, and built loops out of the DRUM-BOX & BONGOS interplay of the second (the third section didn't really lend itself to being sampled), to create a lurching, skanking little number which still sounds curiously psychedelic. I've sent it off to "THE COMMITTEE", we'll see what they say...

The rippingly gothic HBO TV show "TRUE BLOOD" has made such an impression on wee Minty, that I've started to seek out the novels that inspired it - the Sookie Stackhouse stories of CHARLAINE HARRIS. Since the show first aired on FX over here, the books have been [re]published in paperback, so one can usually find a couple of them on the shelves of charity shops, if not the public libraries. Of course, there is a flipside:- If I read TOO far ahead, or read the novels in the wrong order, I'll spoil any LITTLE SURPRISES that the TV show has to offer! Already, having dipped into one of the later books in the library, I learnt about things I DON'T WANT TO KNOW YET!

I immediately leapt upon this week's downloadable concert from the DGM LIVE! - 'cos it's a 1973 KING CRIMSON set, in this case from a Bill Graham-promoted Berkeley concert headlined by The Eagles(!). As I've mentioned before, ALL Crimson gigs between October 1972 and July 1974 are worth hearing at least once, regardless of recording quality. This one falls well within the bootleg category (established by The Gold Lamé Skeleton) of "R.a.a.B.A.b.T.a.L." - Rough As A Bear's Ass But Twice As Lively. There is some cracking music in there, but you have to RETUNE YOUR HEAD to the soundworld of THE BOOT. Still, I've heard a LOT worse - it's not as hard-going as that Portsmouth Guildhall bootleg!

Week from Monday 9th November 2009

Autumn has crept up on us again, marked by the spotting of the first BRENT GEESE! The fact that the pavements are a-slick with leaf mulch is also a bit of a giveaway...

Always one for MOVING THE PROJECT FORWARD, I recited another bit of Shelfy's "Blue Wails On Blit Street" and set it to music, thus giving the 'new' GearBox a bit of a workout. I opted for his 'Jan Kerzinsky' poem about spreading Red propaganda to the little green men, and backed it up with something suitably bleepy and space-age. It [eventually] got a favourable reaction - except that Shelfy doesn't actually remember writing it! I had to mail him with the chapter and page numbers, so that he can see for himself! 

Meanwhile, THE HUMAN NAIL has returned to active service after pulling a sicky for a few weeks, so 'work' has resumed on the next CHRISTMAS TREES epic. Yesterday we recorded a couple of tracks that were, in equal parts, dark'n'gothic yet childishly naive - Sounds like a good mission statement to me! I'm also considering maybe doing another spin-off project with some of this material, to create a sequel to the previous PPvXT 'collage' "CHTHONIC BOOM".

We shall see... 

Meanwhile during the meanwhilst, Mr RABBITHOLE SAM has approved of the 'remix' job I did on his "Underpants" and has suggested that I try to construct a finished piece or two from his current "WORKS IN PROGRESS". Like me, he has lots of little half-finished ideas lying around looking for a place to go.

We shall see...

Week from Monday 16th November 2009

I've been digitising some more proggyjazzy radio tapes:-  HENRY COW-related, GEORGE RUSSELL, CLEARFRAME... that sort of affair. So with a weekend spent filling my head with DARK AVANTGARDERY, I'm now in the mood for, and need of, something a little SUNNIER... Not that there's a lot of chance of THAT outdoors. The south coast has been constantly buffeted by gales and BIG rain. When the working day demands that one has to venture out, it is under several layers of oilskin that one must do so, JUST IN CASE. One beam of sunshine and most of the moisture comprises of SWEAT condensing on the INSIDE of the 'wetsuit'. When you come indoors, you are breathless from the Marcel Marceau-style WALKING AGAINST THE WIND. (Now if I can only master the "SHUT IN A GLASS BOX" routine as well, it's off to the Pompidou Centre for me!)

EARWORM UPDATE:- It took just one item on the news about problems with television reception in the Bodmin area and, through some sort of subconscious associative suggestion, I had Harry Shearer's "DIGITAL WONDERLAND" jingle lodged in my brain for several hours! I was able to chase it away with a blast from the "WORLDPOD" on the bus home (now I will probably have something jolly and Nigerian stuck in there instead!)

It is a fair number of moons since I let my subscription to the "WIRE" magazine expire. They gradually stopped writing intelligently (and intelligibly) about the kind of music that first drew me to the magazine in the first place, and they became obsessed with unfathomable genres such as HIP-HOP and the kind of artists who inflict on the planet teeth-gratingly extreme noise frequencies with no discernable musical merit. A glimpse at this month's issue informs me that they STILL are, sadly - but as I spotted the magiKc words "KING CRIMSON" on the cover, I just had to hand over my £3.90, didn't I? Joseph Stannard's "PRIMER" article gives a fair [re]appraisal of the Kcrim throughout its various incarnations. It seems that the FICKLE style-gurus of the music press have decided that, at least for this week, IT IS NOW COOL to show an appreciation of THE PROG. With the release of the "40th Anniversary" editions, a number of poptastic periodicals have jumped on the bandwagon and put the Crimson name on their covers. Next week, who knows? Who cares?

I've just managed to achieve my goal of re-writing  - before Christmas! - our play "THE PEDESTAL" and turning it into an electronically-distributable format, SO THAT OTHER PEOPLE CAN READ IT! Before setting about this task, our "ELLIS BANOONOO SHAKESPEARIENCE" only existed as forty-odd photocopied pages (on blue paper!) from typed and handwritten originals. Needless to say, given OUR track record, it was never actually performed, except as taped rehearsal readings at early-'80s "CLUB NIGHTS". I don't know if any the tapes still exist anywhere. A complete album's worth of incidental music DOES exist however:- MERVYN PURVISS and I, under the guise of THE EMINENT CELLISTS churned out a whole bunch of semi-spontaneous stuff of a renaissance bent. It largely consisted of variations on the ever-popular PACHELBEL CANON (a handy little ostinato to improvise on, and no mistake!), Merv on guitars and me on the trusty Roland SH-101 synthesiser. Shelfy came up with a limping waltz tune which suited the "THRICE-LEGGED HOG" theme, and which I 'arranged' for a synthetic village band.

Today, I bought the new remastered edition of TONY BANKS' first (and only truly essential) solo album "A CURIOUS FEELING", made available by the good folks at Esoteric Records, Purveyors Of All Things Prog. It still sounds gorgeous, its layered orchestral textures and jangling twelve-strings making it the best '70s Genesis album that Genesis didn't make! "Suitable For Sailing" indeed!

Apparently, according to this week's BBC 6Music mailing, the 4th of December is supposed to be "WEAR YOUR OLD BAND T-SHIRT TO WORK DAY". But then EVERY day is that as far as I'm concerned!

Week from Monday 23rd November 2009

Honestly, where DOES the week go!? It's now Wednesday and I haven't yet got around to the all-important task of posting THIS HEEE-ER... We have nice weather this morning, for once. The sun is out, the sky is blue and the wind has finally dropped below GALE FORCE.

A little piece of our VIDEO ART from the last century has been dusted down and spruced up by the good folks at the ODD POP concern. Maybe I'm having a Shelfy-like SENIOR MOMENT, but I don't remember the 'performance' AT ALL! So it was most refreshing to see it, even if I do appear to be sporting a pudding-bowl haircut that wouldn't look out of place in the line-up of BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD. Shelfy's own favourite bit of art-video - which largely involved us shoving a VHS camera (as well as an angle-poise lamp for illumination purposes) inside the vicarage piano and recording the innards in action - has also turned up on the same tape. I've passed a whole bunch of other videotapes on to our Binky, to see what else he and the "Children's Film Foundation" can come up with.

Ah... it looks like I spoke too soon about the weather!

Week from Monday 30th November 2009

Groan... make it go away! No, seriously, enough's ENOUGH! I concede that down here on The Coast, the weather hasn't been as bad as in some places, and that some people have even taken advantage of it to do really cool things, like jump over Worthing pier... But, still, ENOUGH already! It seems like the wind has been blowing galeforcewise for a whole month now. And I'm getting fed up with drying my boots and trousers out, just to make them wet again... ENOUGH, I said!

My secret "KCOLLISIONS" project is a secret no longer (Kcollisions = The principles of XENOCHRONY as applied to several things FRIPPOID), insofar as I've written an 'article' about my explorations over on the LiveJournalBlog. I've also told the folks at DGM what I've been up to. But the music itself must remain FOR MY EARS ONLY, because the music is not mine to go public with. Schtumm... we shall speak of it no more... 

I shall turn my attentions instead to gathering more material for the "PPvXT" thingy (just as soon as I can venture out to visit The Human Nail). The reductive nature of the digital processes I have been using on the material, have so far resulted in tracks of an extremely short duration. At the moment, I have about a dozen 'tunes', making a grand total of just over ten minutes! 

EARWORM UPDATE:- On Thursday, I awake with one of me 'graines, thus incapacitating me for the rest of the day. I did notice, however, that the earworm activity intensifies in moments of excruciating, nauseating pain. So, at those times that the room was spinning out of control behind a blaze of blinding light, I had a couple of lines from a "FAMILY GUY" number stuck in a mental tape loop - indicating that there is definitely a neurological as well as psychological basis for the wriggly niggles.