Aug 23, 2007

There's an erroneous glitch in the space / time continuum, and it just so happens to be in Cheltenham

Glitchbelt logo

So I've been a smidgeon busy with things and stuff and that, but normal blog action will be resumed when the holiday season is over in September.

Meanwhile, the flood-hit plains of Cheltenham are next in the Fat Roland diary. I will be hosting Glitchbelt, an hour of electronic musing at the Greenbelt Arts Festival, in the New Forms cafe this Sunday from 9pm.

Glitch is a sub-genre of electronica / IDM. Wikipedia describes it as "comprised of glitches, clicks, scratches, and otherwise 'erroneously' produced or sounding noise". So expect me to get erroneous with the likes of Gescom, Pole and The Books, as well as new material from the Vector Lovers.

Must go. I'm counting the pockets n my new rucksack, and I'm up to four so far.

Edit: You had better read the next post...

Aug 13, 2007

Gentlemen in their mid-thirties shouldn't wear tiaras: my totally official state-funded birthday post

Tell the world, tell the world, today is my birthday!

And like a more famous Queen than I, the urge to give a formal address to the nation is a little too self-indulgent to avoid. So please allow me to offer you a little snapshop of my life at 34. Right here, right now, sitting at a computer surrounded by streamers and cake, this is what comprises my life:

>a long to-do list on my mobile phone, a sore little finger, beer, black clothing, candles by my bath, Bleep dot com, broken decks, Chris Moyles' autobiography, debt free for the first time, designing a blog for my company, F1 Losers League, friends that I love dearly, Glitchbelt, Greenbelt anticipation, Heroes, jacket potatoes for lunch, lots of lovely electronica, looking for a way back into the hustle and bustle of the city, more CDs than I can count, my 18-year-old cat, notepads, new trainers, occasionally writing letters for Amnesty International, on the cusp of needing a hair cut, Piccadilly Records, piles of neglected paperwork, planning an art project with the working title Trash, radio presenting, Sanctus 1, slow computers, some rarely used studio equipment, Squeaky Productions, still feeling the benefits of a brilliant shrink, thinking I need a new mattress, this blog, travelling to Cheshire daily, trying to moderate my time on Facebook, waiting for a reason to drink the bottle of champers I got for a previous birthday, and wondering about using the Oxford comma more often.

So there you go. I'd better press 'publish' before midnight...

Aug 11, 2007

RIP Tony Wilson aka "Mr Manchester" 33AD to 2007AD inclusive

Tony Wilson RIP

BBC News website: "Anthony Wilson, the music mogul behind some of Manchester's most successful bands, has died of cancer. The Salford-born entrepreneur, who founded Factory records, the label behind New Order and the Happy Mondays, was diagnosed last year. He died on Friday evening at the Christie Hospital surrounded by family."

I only managed a third of Anthony H Wilson's egobiography 24 Hour Party People before I flung it across the room. That'll learn that self-obsessed narcissist, I thought. You can only go so far when someone constantly refers to themself in the third person, as though they were some separate entity, like a god or an ancient spirit.

Fat Roland was not impressed.

But Wilson has a right to be arrogant. Today, the netosphere will be full of talk of his greatest achievements, including working with Richard and Judy, starring in the hilarious Cock And Bull Story and, of course, living with a former beauty queen.

Apparently, he also set up a club and a record label or something. I might have to google that one.

My iconic image of Wilson will be his early television career, hacking for Granada Reports then fronting the punktastic So It Goes.

My radio co-presenter (and now producer) Lee insists the role of a "mike jockey" is simply to be a talking box for the producers' genius ideas. He's right, of course. But Wilson held his own (oo-er) and you knew he was never an autocue slave.

I'm not sure of my Manchester credentials. I am a Mancunian, but I live in the posh bit. I was into Madchester, but at that time was just as likely to rave on to Candy Flip. I never loved the Hacienda; I only really hooked onto the place in its dying days.

That said, Wilson's passion created the Manchester I know, with its minimalist record covers, ill-fitting clothes and awkwardly placed pillars in clubs.

Rest in peace, Anthony H Wilson, Manchester's modern-day Jesus H Christ. Generous blog readers can give money to the Christie hospital by clicking here.

Aug 8, 2007

This is the future: some pilled-up nutter going wild as a retro dance-rock beat combo plays a dead festival

I think we all learnt something from this year's DPercussion.

The demise of this fabulous festival has taught me Manchester is no longer a place that wallows in past glory. We have slain Maine Road, consigned Factory to history, hacked the Hacienda to pieces. The Warehouse Project at the doomed Boddingtons brewery was as much of a goodbye as a hello (although the Project is back soon).

And now the live music extravaganza that rose from the IRA explosion of 1996 has at last imploded. The drum has ceased beating for DPercussion. The band has put its instruments down. The dancing is but a shuffling memory. The metaphor has stretched far beyond the field of flogged horses.

So good job then I got round to discovering The Whip. They remind me of Underworld, Lo Fidelity Allstars and, yes, even Apollo 440. Fresh from their appearance at Manchester International Festival, they rocked the roof off DPercussion, which is damn impressive in an open air arena.

Above, there's a video of The Whip performing Trash, my highlight of the DPercussion set, although this particular show is in somewhere called "Bris-Tol".

And below is a fellow raver at the DPercussion Whip gig caught on the Fat Roland mobile phone. I suspect some wag swapped his Nytol for battery acid.

It ain't what you've got, it's how you shake it.

Aug 3, 2007

It was written by Pal Waaktaar you know, and not the good looking one

Super_Collider's Message Coming EP

One of July's most significant electronic releases was Chromeo's Fancy Footwork, their follow-up to 2004's She's In Control.

She's In Control passed me by, like a fart in a strong breeze, but this new album hit me square in the face like a juggernaut full of crap, and the juggernaught itself is made of crap too, just like the whole metaphorical street scene which is made entirely of crap.

If I wanted uber-cool 80s electro funkdaddy disco, I would screw my eyes up like that Japanese guy in Heroes and transport myself to a multi-coloured disco floor full of bad mofos robodancing to the break-down bit of A-Ha's The Sun Always Shines On TV.

Please forget that last paragraph; I never said it.

If faux-retro Prince-wannabe lifeless post-Mika pap is not your bag, then let's move on to look at Night Of The Brain's debut album Wear This World Out.

This leftfield rock album earns its place on an electronica blog because it's the brainchild (geddit?!?!) of Cristian Vogel from Super_Collider (Messagesacomin artwork pictured).

The Theme, puked out as an EP a few months ago, owes a debt to tight post-rock, but much of the rest of Wear This World Out is Pixies-style noisiness with brave side-steps into odd neighbourhoods, such as the disco guitar in Dark Lady.

Vogel's weedy vocals, in strength and drug effect, make this record all-the-more likable.

While I'm doing a bit of catch up, it's worth a skip and a hop back to May's releases and my mobile phone alarm, which is Apparat's Not A Number.

Every morning the drip-drop insistence of that track shoe-horns me into the real world. It's a shame then that Walls, the album it's from, is liable to send you back to the Land Of Nod faster than you can say "quick let's fill this blog with antiquated literature references".

Walls is a hugely listenable album. My ears have even sent me a thank-you card. But it works as backing music for movies, not as a huge artistic statement.

TV and radio producers take note; you need Apparat in your collection. And if you use it in a programme as a result of reading this, make me look really smug and leave a comment.