Wednesday, March 14, 2018

frozen futures and final sicknesses (see you in 2018)


On news stands now, the latest issue of  The Wire contains a long review by me pairing the comeback album by Marc Acardipane a/k.a The Mover with  Sick Music 2018, a compilation of contemporary drum + bass on the Hospital label that I surprised myself by enjoying much more than I'd expected.  As well as an enthused review of two fine records, the piece is an investigation of  the fate of vanguard genres (in this case, gloomcore gabba and D+B) when their accelerationist drive stabilises into a steady state.

The Mover - Undetected Act from the Gloom Chamber.

Also in the April issue, a reet treet for all nuumologists: Michaelangelo Matos's Primer to Pirate Radio Deejay Sets. He's done a fine job laying out the evolution from circa 1989 through to the post-dubstep diaspora and his forensic sifting through the messy mass of archival tapes deposited online by old skool fans has uncovered a trove of true gems. This is probably my favorite of the Matos selections that I've so far checked out.

Finally, in case you missed it, I recently uploaded the best of my own stash of pirate tapes, which I'd digitized some years ago but never got around to turning into YouTube clips.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


A very special edition of "When Mates Make Books"!

Because it's my best mate, my life-mate in fact - Joy Press - who has made a book. 

A book that's out in a couple of weeks on Atria/Simon & Schuster in America, and on Faber & Faber in the U.K. 

It's a bloody good book too. 

But don't take my admittedly biased word for it. 

Here's some advance reviews for Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television from the American trade press - where Joy has pulled off the book-writing equivalent of a Grand Slam with three starred reviews.

"Women have run successful TV shows for decades, but they still routinely face bias and unreasonable obstacles in the industry, as Press details in this powerful narrative that expertly weaves reporting, analysis, and anecdotes. ...Press’s chronicle of a pop-culture movement should inspire a new generation of women creators"  
Publishers Weekly, starred review. 

"Press draws from decades of interviews, research, and reporting to create a vibrant behind-the-scenes look at the some of the most prominent women creatives in the industry and the role they played in bringing women-focused narratives to the forefront of modern TV and culture... An urgent and entertaining history of the transformative powers of women in TV
- Kirkus, starred review. 

"The book is well-organized chronologically and is an absorbing read with some politics thrown in. There are fascinating interviews with female showrunners such as Roseanne Barr, Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), Jenji Kohan (Weeds/Orange Is the New Black), and Shonda Rhimes (Scandal). ...Highly recommended for those who enjoy reading about the entertainment industry, how their favorite TV shows are created, and women" - Library Journal, starred review

Joy has also received ringing endorsements from leading members of the punditocracy:

"Please read this book immediately. It is sharp, funny, and gorgeously researched, a satisfying blend of inside dirt and critical illumination. It also places female creativity on television exactly where it belongs: dead center in the cultural conversation.
- Emily Nussbaum, television critic  at The New Yorker

"A roaring tour of women's professional, artistic and political impact on television and on popular culture. By turns invigorating and sobering, Stealing the Show maps the progress of the expanded voice, vision and reach of women on television and behind its scenes."
- Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of An Independent Nation

"Stealing the Show is essential reading for anyone interested in women gaining power, in how edgy storytelling comes to screens, and in brilliantly talented females taking the reins of a once-derided-as-secondary-to-movies medium.... I relished their stories--and was inspired by them, too." 
- Sheila Weller, author of The News Sorority and Girls Like Us

For further information about Stealing the Show, head over to Joy's website - where you can find details of book events in New York and Los Angeles and details about the book's scope and content.

To buy the US edition go here
To buy the UK edition go here.


Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Haighest of Haighs

It was a pleasure and a privilege to speak with Robert Haigh for The Wire a few weeks ago, for a feature - out any minute now in the March issue of the magazine - that takes in the whole arc of his career: from a surprising early start, through postpunk and the esoteric UK underground of the Eighties, onto rave and the Moving Shadow golden years, then the 21st Century return to solo piano that culminated in last year's lovely and limpid Creatures Of the Deep

At The Wire website, here's a playlist chosen by Rob of some piano music that's influenced and affected him. 

Below is a pictorial journey across Rob's career (including a couple of rare photographs of the man himself) followed by a few of the less obvious gems from his discography.





it's been a year and a bit now

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

RIP Tango

Tango interviewed by Droid five years ago and written up for Blog To the Old Skool 

three years of nuumvolution across three remixes - 91 - 92 - 93

on the ones and twos with Ratty

Monday, January 29, 2018

rollin' Haigh-ts

love that liquid smoky piano

Sunday, January 28, 2018

lord of the universe

Acen's "River Deep, Mountain High" *

The second-best version:

The best of the rest

The best version again - i.e. the first video, the one at the top with the amazing female dancers - the "Monolythikmaniak Mix"  - only this time without the annoying hiss and the abrupt too early cut-off

* in the earlier Blissblog post I nominate "Window in the Sky (Kingdom of Light Mix)" as the 300th best hardcore tune of all time (this being an unfinished, indeed barely started project - the #300 tune entry was the only installment of it, I'm ashamed to admit).  Having already planned for "Trip to the Moon" to be #1 (ah, but which mix, which mix, eh?), and "Close Your Eyes" at #150, the circularity would place Acen Razvi at the centre of the Canon, its spine). 

At that point I'm not sure I'd heard the "Monolythikmaniak Mix" - or if I had, it hadn't really registered with me - but if I was to re-embark on that lunatic List, I'd be placing that mix high, much nearer the top. Which would mean that "Window in the Sky" appeared twice. (Not a unique occurrence, actually - three, possibly four, mixes of "Renegade Snares" would have to feature, obviously...  and at least two of "Open Your Mind").  

Somewhat unusually - given rave's general tendency towards the purely sonic, its downgrading of the visual component in pop's audiovisuality - this was a dance track whose glory was opened up for me by that promo video when I came across it a few years ago. (Who knew there were actually a fair number of rave promos made back in the day?) . Above all  it was those astounding dancers....  the chaste frenzy of their movements transmitting and incarnating the sheer ambush of rave -  its "something new under the sun" quality -  just as forcefully as Acen's beats and vamps. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


I'm in Geneva this Friday 19th January to talk about retroculture + retropolitics, as part of the Innervision lecture series hosted by the bookstore Beckbooks and the record shop/record label Bongo Joe. 

Entrance is free of charge - swing by Le Pneu at 7pm to watch some retrolicious videos and ask tricky questions.

I'm also giving a longer retro-themed video illustrated talk in Lausanne at the Haute Ecole de Musique. Titled 'Everything Isn't A Remix' it starts at at 2pm on Saturday 20th and is open to the general public. Info here

The finest in Swiss antiretro!

The second finest in Swiss antiretro!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Here's a piece I wrote for Frieze about Mute's 40th anniversary  - pegged to the recent and  graphically sumptuous book Mute: A Visual Document from 1978 → Tomorrow - and focused on the label's sustained commitment to futurism and Europeanism.

Just some of the futurism and / or Europeanism emanating from Mute and its affiliated subsidiaries (Product Inc, Rhythm King, Blast First, etc) over the years: