Sep 30, 2010

Reminder: Manchester Blogmeet

It's the Manchester Blogmeet tonight, as mentioned on my previous post.

I should point out that if you don't come, there'll be trouble. The monster hiding in the artwork of Flying Lotus' new EP Pattern + Grid World is watching you. DON'T LOOK INTO THE EYES.

If you don't come, the monster will sidle up to you while you are not looking, rear up into your surprised face, open its slobbery chops as wide as it can and suck your sodden head like a lollipop.

And if the monster doesn't do that, I certainly will.

I'm being silly, of course. I don't mind if you don't come. I may still try and suck your face for fun though. The hosts, Umbro, have pointed out that if you are attending, come to the Newton Street entrance opposite the Captain America film set (it will make sense when you get there). A Google map can be found on the blogmeet website.

If you were in Manchester last night and you found yourself in Sandbar, you would have seen my second Gospel According To Aphex Twin. Thanks to all those who came. It's nice to get some new, um, converts to my derranged witterings.

Sep 24, 2010

Manchester Blogmeet: 30th September 2010

The humongous social media event of the universe, the Manchester Blogmeet, will happen again this Wednesday Thursday - oops.

If you are a blogger in Manchester, or you vaguely fit that description, the Blogmeet is a chance to kick back with other bloggers, whether their blog is about being a writer, a single mum, a movie buff, a crochet enthusiast, a DJ, or a prog rock fan - or like many people, their blog is about nothing much and everything else besides.

It would be smashing if you could come along. See the details on the Manchester Blogmeet site. What I would like even better is for you to help me publicise it.

Why not pop some information about the Blogmeet on your blog? It would seem appropriate, after all. You can use the text on the Manchester Blogmeet site to your heart's content. Thanks for the plugs already given by Social Media Manchester, Go See This, VUI Design and others.

Or if you are a twit like me, do tweet about it. Manchester Blogmeet, September 30th, a link to the site and the hashtag #mcrblogmeet. (See what people have been saying already...)

Manchester Blogmeet. Probably the best meeting for Manchester bloggers called Manchester Blogmeet in the world. With free beer. Oh, did I mention the free beer? The wonderful guys at Umbro's Manchester studio are sponsoring us. See you there!

Sep 17, 2010

The tractor thing

This is the place where you go to get the latest music news, yeah? It's like a news ticker but it's straight into your brain, yeah?

Eminem's gangsta-Geppetto Dr Dre is going all Aphex Twin on us by promising an instrumental concept album. He's going to make the sound of each planet in the solar system.

How did you like that news? This is like MTV with Tim Kash and all the stuff on the bottom of the screen that disappears before you have a chance to read it.

Sweat-drenched pill-thrilling Manchester club Sankeys Soap is going all global, like Cream, Ministry Of Sound or the recession. They're setting up in New York with a resident DJ called A-Luv (probably from Yorkshire).

I'm so up-to-date, I'm future. Like Perez Hilton. 50 Cent's appearing in Eastenders, yeah? Massive Attack will revive the War Child charity franchise, yeah? The Gorillaz' Jamie Hewlitt is exhibiting beautiful watercolours at the Contact Theatre, yeah? First thing in the morning, Lady Gaga smells of tractors and not in a good way, yeah?

I'm going to get Bill Turnbull to present my blog from now on. I will have an outside broadcast unit permanently positioned in a street with no-one in. I will constantly remind you of the time. IT'S TEN PAST TEN! SIXTEEN TO THREE! WELL PAST TEATIME!

Of course, everything in this blog post was true apart from (a) this being the place to get the latest news, (b) Bill Turnbull and MTV and (c) the tractor thing.

Sep 12, 2010

Homoerotica *and* analogue ambience: my levels of internet presence

The delightfully named Fat Roland's Shit Drizzles [update: link now broken] is my new secondary blog for all the little things I see on the internet that don't deserve to sully this main website.

The title comes from a Facebook conversation in which I inexplicably commented that "I dream in shit-drizzles", and then pretended that's what Snoop Dogg means when he says "shizzle", as in "shizzle my nizzle you mizzle-fizzling wizzle-pizzler."

My internet presence is a bit like Inception, with different layers. This blog is like being on a plane and remains the most important place from which everything else extends. Level 2 is my Shit-Drizzle site, which is a bit like a chase in a battered old van. My Twitter feed (which appears in the column on the right of this page) is an anti-gravity fist-fight in a hotel.

I wouldn't recommend you go any deeper. My Facebook account, which is mainly for real-life friends, is pummeling down a ski slope on the snowy fourth level. 'Down' being the operative momentum. The final level is internet limbo, which includes my rarely-visited nightmares of MySpace, Disqus, Digg, YouTube, Delicious, StumbleUpon and varous forums.

Just so you feel you aren't missing out, here is a selection of recent tweets of mine. Meanwhile, jump on Fat Roland's Shit-Drizzles where you'll find a stream of Gold Panda's debut album and a brilliant track from Squarepusher's new project.

Recent slightly-edited-for-the-blog tweets:

- It's not called the Mercury Music Prize, is it? It's the Mercury Prize. They omitted the object of their hate.

- Mussunt drunktweet. Th consekwenshes cud be mbarrassin. (I actually don't remember tweeting this.)

- I am *not* going to see The Expendables. It is an anagram of Elephant Sex Bed, and I don't fancy THAT.

- I had no idea Brian Eno did the music on Sebastiane. I might watch it some time. Homoerotica *and* analogue ambience... what's not to like?!

- And the Boyz. Heavy D and the Boyz. They never get credit. Like the Nu Power Generation, the On-U Sound System or Katrina's Waves.

- Mary Anne Hobbs: "My final guest may be Burial or Madonna or Sting or Adamski or Bowie or Lennon or Elvi--" oh it's Burial.

- For the second time today, a passing sheep has stopped still, looked me straight the eye, then taken a massive piss.

- All the greatest people are born on August 13th. A. Hitchcock, F. Castro, R. Hull. All the greats.

- I shouldn't have read The Road while I'm camping at a festival. I've been hiding under my groundsheet hiding from rapey cannibals.

Sep 10, 2010

The Mercury Music Prize is the best prize in the history of EVER

The Mercury Music Prize got it exactly right this year with The xx, which just proves what I've always said: the Mercury is the best prize in the history of EVER.

Its judges were spot on in noticing The xx's chilling and moving eponymous debut was the best album of the year. The decision panel is erudite and wise and every member deserves to be rich, to be creatively fulfilled and have extremely enjoyable sex lives.

I have been blogging about the Mercury since 2006 (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009/2009 and 2010) and I have been nothing but positive about it. The bit where I said "we need a new Mercury Music Prize for people that give a crap about electronic music" and the bit where I said the short-list "was chosen by a bunch of beered up old men with bellies poking out of their bermuda shirts and tofu caught in the straggly bristles of their jazz beards, whose net contribution to world music is the noise emitting from their farty bumholes, and whose critical faculties have long since been pensioned off due the fact that every single one of them has a fading poster of Avril Lavigne in their rancid toilet"? I never said any of that. It's just your imagination.

I do love The xx, but back in Fat Roland world, the Mercury Music Prize holds as much relevance as Piers Morgan giving blow jobs to CNN executives behind a photocopier in a rat-infested Atlanta newsroom.

I mean, would Tristan Perich's new album make the cut? It sounds beautiful even though it is emitted 'live' from one microchip and is controlled by algorithms on a circuit embedded into a jewel case. I can't imagine the Mercury judges discussing this album at the back of a Mumford and Snooze concert. Have a look:

Tristan Perich: 1-Bit Symphony (Part 1: Overview) from Tristan Perich on Vimeo.

Sep 8, 2010

None An Island: on and on 'til the break of Lorn

Lorn is releasing an EP this month. Headed by his cut None An Island, one of the more straightforward Hudson Mohawke-style tracks from his Nothing Else album, there's plenty of lazer-guided adventureness here. A filmic fuzz bass, intermittent angelic chords and a sneaky reggae line.

But proper worth a look-in is one of the other tracks on the EP, Samiyam's take on Lorn's Brainwaves. Starting like a malfunctioning alarm on the Flight Of The Navigator ship, this is two parts hip hop and twelve shots of terror.

The track is understated, almost nothing really, but you imagine that dropping in a cavern like the Warehouse Project and we have some serious trouser-drenching excitement going on. Here's a clickable plaything: give it a tickle.

Lorn - Brainwaves (Samiyam x Lorn) by BRAINFEEDER

Picture: by me, spotted in the Precinct Centre, Oxford Road, Manchester. I also saw one on the back seat of a bus, but it would have been inappropriate to take the picture when someone was sitting on it. I'm weird, but not creepy-weird.

Sep 5, 2010

Who do I hate more? Morrissey or Axl?

Regular sufferers of this blog know I like to have a public enemy number one: a Moriarty to my Jeremy Brett; a Joker to my Adam West; a seven evil exes to my Michael Cera.

Things have been plain sailing so far, whether I'm comparing Sean Paul to a malfunctioning karaoke machine, calling Chromeo faux-retro Prince-wannabe lifeless post-Mika pap, or poking Prince, or calling James Blunt a Milli Vanilli imposter or suggesting James Blunt be castrated or wishing James Blunt be hit by cluster bombs calling James Blunt the son of a dead cat and another dead cat or blaming the Beatles for James Blunt or saying Bono is more boring than James Blunt or comparing James Blunt to a vagina and Alexandra Burke.

But now I am torn between two new enemies: Morrissey calling a fifth of the world a subspecies or Guns N Roses' Axl Rose treating his fans like crap in Dublin.

One one hand, Mozza's flirtation with racism is a well-trodden groove he should have stepped out of more quickly. On the other hand, Rose is demonstrating a basic failure to do his job: turn up on stage and sing.

First, the flower-fondling fop. Morrissey seems to think himself untouchable, ignoring the press and replying to everything everyone ever says to him with a swooned "well, aren't we all?" He once draped himself in a flag and the liberal media has drawn daggers against him ever since. It was okay, however, for Geri Halliwell to dress in the same flag a few years later because, I s'ppose, she was well fit and that.

It's hard to know whether Simon Armitage took his quote out of context in the recent Grauniad article, but Mozza certainly seems to treat issues of nationalism with a clunk-handed carelessness that compromises his integrity and makes it difficult for his fans to love him. I think history will judge Morrissey fairly though: in the words of Armitage's poem Poem:
Here's how they rated him when they looked back:
sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that.
And now to the cat-squeezed voice and the kilt and the hair. Axl Rose is in such a stratosphere of rock glory, he will have no idea what it's like to live on beans and dust for a year to save up enough money for a gig. He disappeared for forty days and forty nights before turning in an album called Chinese Democracy (are you reading, Morrissey?) which sounded turgid and confused and, even worse, boring.

Whatever went wrong with the Guns N Roses shows, who didn't wake up who and who was supposed to play until when, Rose's protestations at the organisation of the Reading and Leeds festival seemed shallow in the light of the later shambles in Dublin. But when you're in awe of bands like this, don't you expect a bit of diva nonsense, for them to over-use the illusion of the emperor's new clothes?

Both artists are living off former glories - try and find any of their fans that *don't* like their older work - and the bolt-gun of retirement hangs heavily over the old heffers. At least the Smiths frontman can still turn in a tune or two. Which brings me to my conclusion.

Axl Rose makes substandard music and presents it by snoozing in a hammock made out of his massively big head's bandana instead of hitting the stage on time. Although Morrissey can't match his past brilliance, Davyhulme's most famous quiff knows how to perform, how to write a song and how to do his flipping job.

If, instead of writing this blog, I just did a giant poo on your computer screen, although I'd be improving the quality of your user experience, I wouldn't be fulfulling the most basic element of my job description: tapping on my keyboard while hoovering a quart of Talisker then smashing 'Publish' with my forehead.

If Axl Rose can't do what he's meant to do, then he's nothing more than the anorexic bastard child of Mick Hucknall and Mickey Rourke squealing like a cat kazoo at a barrage of drunkenly-hurled bottles of piss.

Yes, Morrissey, shut up, please, just shut up, but Axl is my new public enemy number one and James Blunt can rest easy.

Ultra-funkulent new band from Squarepusher

Squarepusher's got his funk on with his new project, Shobaleader One.

This ultra-violet super-funkulent video gives us mortals a taste of the eternal bassmasher's new sound  A mini-album with nine tracks (d'Emonstration) is due for release in mid-October. He won't tell us who's in his new band other than to say they are "a bunch of kids" who are "pretty frightening players".

Meanwhile, he has hopped over to Ed Banger Records to release the first track from d'Emonstration: Cryptic Motion is a Daft Punk work-out backed with a sharp-as-hedgehogs Mr Ozio remix.

'Pusher wanted this project to be a "clean break" from his past sound, which may be a relief to some concerned at his inexorable decline into terminal jazz. See what you think. Here's the track list, and snuggled below that is an album preview along with clickable play-bar of Cryptic Motion.

1. Plug Me In
2. Smash Unreason
3. Into the Blue
4. Frisco Wave
5. Megazine
6. Abstract Love
7. Endless Night
8. Cryptic Motion
9. Maximum Planck

Sep 4, 2010

Greenbelt 2010: thronging bowels and fibs from the elderly

My annual pilgrimage to Greenbelt Arts Festival was plagued by being ill from head to heel, but I still managed to fit in a few hours of DJing.

I promoted the second set, on Sunday, with these posters around site (pictured). Most of them were quickly whipped down by anxious cleaning staff, but this one (pictured) survived next to the mens' loos for at least 24 hours.

You'll notice the stickers in the bottom left corner. They appeared thirty seconds after I put the flipping thing up. Without me noticing. As I was standing there. Very odd.

Other posters were the same bar the name at the bottom, which varied between different levels of stupidity (Susan Papp, Timothy Fishwhip). This poster is the only one that used someone's real name (Aaron Funk is Mr Venetian Snares).

This particular set went brilliantly, and thank you if you are one of the people that made it down. I didn't actually play any Venetian Snares, but only because the venue manager specifically told me "no Venetian Snares!". Which I don't expect happens much at Gatecrasher or Ministry Of Sound, and so is testament to the wonderfulness of the venue.

Anyhoo, back to the poster next to the loos. While I was stalking the men's toilets, which was constantly thronged by people of all ages and bowel states, I heard this very cute conversation between a seven year old boy and his grumpy younger sister:
BOY (reading): Ha! It says 77 and a half.

GIRL: That's stupid.

BOY: 77 and a half!

GIRL: They're probably 76.

BOY: It says 77 and a half. It's funny.

GIRL: It just someone having a laugh. There's no way they're 77.

BOY: Well, I think it's funny.

BOY skips off. GIRL takes one more look at the poster, then shouts after him:

GIRL: Anyway, everyone knows you never put your real age at the bottom of a letter.
I don't think they came to the gig.