Apparently (I read in the press release, in a rare fit of journalistic research) The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings refers to a project to record the sound of deep plate tectonics, which is rumoured to have accidentally recorded Hell. I would imagine that plate tectonics sound a lot lower and slower than this, and as for Hell, I imagine it to sound a lot more like Perry Como. These sounds are pretty damn harrowing however. They are, by turns, angry, dark, ominous and brutal; they are however far more complex and considered than most sounds that visit those places.
I get a lot of visual clichés when I listen to this album. I get sunset, Mr. sleeper’s weatherbeaten face, eyes hidden by the brim of his hat, battered boots on the rail of the porch as he plays, wonky rows of telegraph poles marching off across a flat, parched landscape. I get dust: dust in the air; dust on the pots; dust on the needle. It’s all rubbish. The Pennsylvania landscape of olds sleeper’s patrimony is probably pretty similar to the green, rolling Suffolk I walk the dog in every day.
It seems to be an automatic attribution nowadays to describe any use of a historically located pop-cultural style as ‘ironic’. I caught myself on the verge of unreflectingly starting off about The Bandana Splits’ ‘ironic appropriation of 1950s pop tropes’ or some such bollocks, and then I thought, actually what’s so ironic about it? I think they just like it. I don’t get the impression they’re historical re-enactment geeks, with their houses all done up 50s style, but they clearly enjoy the sounds and sights of that era…
I’ve decided to devote this edition of Monday Musings to talking about Steve Jobs. You may wonder what a recently deceased technology corporation executive has to do with the sort of things I usually write about, other than iTunes, obviously. The short answer is that I’m not too sure, but I felt the need to write about Jobs at some length as soon as I heard he was dead. First, a brief chronology of my early encounters with the man. I suppose the first time his work impinged on my consciousness was when I started at secondary school…
Two deaths loom large this week. The first is of a seminal figure in the history of the acoustic steel string guitar, folk innovator Bert Jansch. First coming to widespread attention as a part of folk/ jazz fusion pioneers Pentangle, his playing was influential on more than one generation of guitarists, starting with his contemporaries such as Jimmy Page. Here’s his obit in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/oct/05/bert-jansch and here’s one from The Quietus: http://thequietus.com/articles/07121-bert-jansch-obituary
Marley Butler makes music of remarkable clarity: his soundscapes are usually clean, open affairs, in which the boundaries between sonic elements are clearly defined; his rhythms are regular, precise and simple; ideas have room in which to breathe, and although he does not overuse spatialising effects such as reverb and delay, the worlds he creates are three dimensional ones. He’s not bucking the trend with this two track release, and why should he?
Most people will remember a cheeky kid at school, one who can’t be reasoned with, but just continually mouths off in the most disgusting fashion, while giggling uncontrollably. Everyone wants to thump him, because he’s so annoying, but no-one ever does, because he’s actually really funny, although most people would never admit to being amused. That’s Grem!i da Muke. He raps, with a sometimes brutally funky flow, and has absolutely no idea of, or interest in, when his lyrics cross the line between dangerously funny and decidedly off colour.