Monday, July 6, 2015

hauntology afterbirth

This lot seem to bear the same relation to eMMplekz / Clinksell, as Public Service Broadcasting and Scarfolk do to Ghostbox / Advisory Circle/ Clinksell

Imaginary Yorkshire villages, grottily-sensuous recitative (touch of Exotic Pylon  Weird Tales for Halloween too), retro-futuristic, nostalgie de bureaucracie...  etc etc

Owls, for fuck's sake! This is flashing me back on that Goldfrapp album.

 And witches - a bleedin' concept album about the Pendle Coven!


from a review of their latest album at Quietus

"Johnny Rocket, Narcissist and Music Machine... I'm Your Biggest Fan is the fourth album to land from The Eccentronic Research Council. It finds them now masters of their initially uncertain style - a blend of proto-electronic poppy synths, darkly gothic themes, confusing psychedelic atmospheres, and spoken word storytelling, for the most part spewing from the powerhouse of Peake. Adrian Flanagan, Dean Honer and Maxine Peake's first album, 1612 Underture, was a series of loose knit chapters following the story of the Pendle Witches along with the modern day North, while The Dreamcatcher Tapes strung together retold dreams from a series of uncredited guests (including a certain "John") in near-Blue Jam-esque style. Last year's self-released Magpie Billy & The Egg That Yolked (A Study Of The Northern Ape In Love) explored the goings on in a house inhabited by two 'apes'. The themes and tales have all been potent, yet at times, only roughly sketched. Johnny Rocket however, plays to the all of the ERC's strengths, and ties it all together with a single cohesive, and oddly compelling story. According to Adrian Flanagan in the ERC's recent tQ interview with John Doran, with Johnny Rocket, he "wanted to write an LP for the music fan in us all".
For the opening scene we find ourselves dropped in Valhalla Dale, a (fictional) town on the outskirts of Sheffield. We're welcomed by Maxine Peake's demonic narration atop blasts of synthesised brass and choirs, a snare heavy beat, and distant notes phasing like detritus from theForbidden Planet soundtrack picked up by extra-terrestrial lifeforms and beamed right back at us. 'Introducing The Moonlandingz' has a jaunty melody lifted straight from Look And Read school of murky synth wizardry. The angry meeting with Rocket on 'You Ruined My Chippy Thursday' has Flanagan and Honer rust up an aging pre-war big brass band sample and blur it into a slow-moving synth march. At times, it sounds akin to the likes of Pye Corner Audio and the Ghost Box Music camp, but the trippy journey the album takes, as the narrator grows increasingly disturbed, takes in a vast range of sounds. 'I Spy On J. Rocket & Other Lame Attempts At Leaving Him Alone' again contextualises those primary school synths with a mimicked techno beat, while several abstract instrumental interludes seem to mirror Peake's madness, with distant mellotron flutes, or the buzzing bleeping Radiophonic synth modules of 'Claptrap Dreams'....."

Sunday, July 5, 2015


A piece at the Wall Street Journal about lifelong collectors discovering that nobody wants to be bequeathed their collections - their grandchildren, digital natives, do not have the same feeling for the tactile and the solid-form

"For younger people, collecting seems to be less of a priority. Online pursuits take up much of the time once given over to baseball cards or sea shells, and the hunt for that rare Beanie Baby is less interesting now that it can be found instantly on eBay, said Dr. Montana Miller, an associate professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University."

Do wonder what if anything my kids will make of my lifetime's lumber...  There may not be anybody left to sell it to even,  anyone who cares about a 2 Bad Mice 12 inch or a Prospective 21e Siecle LP.

the future that failed

Nicholas  Carr at rough type on how "Progress turns everyone into a nostalgist sooner or later ", riffing on an Atlantic  article by David Weinberger titled “The Internet That Was (and Still Could Be)”, in which an old net-utopian refuses to give up the dream that went so wrong:

Carr: "What the Triumphalists mistook for the one true architecture was merely a foundation, it turns out, and that foundation could support many different kinds of media structures with many different “values.” And so the net gave rise to, for instance, private content distribution networks, or CDNs, which, despite the underlying democratic protocols for information exchange, allowed big companies to distribute their informational wares with greater speed and reliability than the rest of us could afford. On the net, as elsewhere in society, some equals turned out to be more equal than others. “The architecture itself has been distorted by the needs of commercial content creators and their enabling pals,” Weinberger laments. “Paradise has been well and truly paved.” So much for inevitability....
"Weinberger, like the other Triumphalists, has invested much intellectual and emotional capital into the net over the years. And now he arrives at his moment of crisis: the dreaded moment when he has to write off all that investment and declare bankruptcy....  At the moment of accounting, Weinberger loses his intellectual nerve. Rather than offer a critique of the net as it is, he gives in to nostalgia for the net as it was and should be

....As Weinberger makes clear, his work, dating back to The Cluetrain Manifesto, has argued that the “openness” of the net’s protocols would inevitably dissolve traditional sources of economic and political power. Everyone on the net, whether an individual or a corporation, would inevitably act as equals. Rather than pursuing their own interests, they would act as the technology demanded. By suggesting that the net’s democratic future was a fait accompli, a technological necessity, Weinberger abetted the kind of commercialization of the web that he now rues." 

the privatisation of outer space

A review of Margaret Lazarus Dean’s Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Michael Rymer at the Los Angeles Review of Books

The strength of the book, Rymer says, is its focus not on the astronauts but the lower level  technicians, people like "orbiter integrity clerks"

"Omar [Izquierdo] and his father Francisco, who joined NASA at the inception of the shuttle program after graduating from engineering school in Puerto Rico, become the emotional fulcrum of Dean’s book. Their years of labor in the service of spaceflight have made them, if anything, more awestruck about the business of sending human beings into space. Dean asks Francisco how many space shuttle launches he has seen; he “pauses modestly for a moment” before answering that he has seen “all of them” — a total of 154 at that point.
It’s through these men that we feel most acutely what it means that, as Dean puts it, “we have been flying American spacecraft in space for fifty years and now have decided to stop.”...  Many of these workers have nowhere to go; certainly it seems unlikely that the private sector will absorb them. SpaceX, one of the private companies with which NASA has partnered in the new, post-shuttle era, doesn’t hold much promise for long-time space workers, who, Dean reports, are being overlooked because “the company doesn’t want workers who have been steeped in NASA culture” — a culture perceived as having a retrograde “extreme concern for safety.”.... 
.... Dean herself is skeptical about the new era of privatized spaceflight. “[G]etting to space as cheaply as possible with an emphasis on catering to paying customers only serves to rob spaceflight of the things I most love about it,” she writes, fretting that “the type of big, grand, daring spaceflight projects I’m interested in are, by definition, not good investments.” With private companies controlling spaceflight, she fears we’ll lose access to “everything — images, films, discoveries, crew chatter” that NASA has always made public. And if space travel becomes a “privilege of the incredibly wealthy,” children may no longer dream of becoming astronauts, losing “motivation to do their algebra homework or serve in the military, knowing that their only hope of earning a seat lies in getting rich.”