What better way to usher in the new decade than to watch the Black Sheep’s Acoustika perform his brilliant debut single ‘Bespoke Lovesong’ from atop Woden’s mound, overlooking the Vale of Pewsey, Wessex.
Happy New Decade Motherfuckers,
I hope we’re ready for what the next years will bring. Personally, I’m bristling with opinions and ideas for 2010CE, after a huge December Marlborough Downs Vision of Multiculturalism and where it’s heading. Brothers’n’sisters, it’s gone wrong wrong wrong simply because we’ve not been nearly rigorous in demanding to understand precisely what the fuck Multiculturalism is. Multiculturalism cannot successfully be forced upon the indigenous population as though it were Communism or Socialism: it ain’t just another stupid Ideology to be wielded against those who refuse to concur. Instead, it’s an exceptionally beautiful concept that, unfortunately, runs contrary to the animalistic self-preservation instincts in all of humanity. Cynics may wield this “unnaturalness” as evidence that Multiculturalism is not worth the effort, but I say that its “unnaturalness” is precisely what makes it worth the effort. Try harder, I say, through understanding and education NOT through all-out legislation and Alienation of the Population. For this “unnaturalness” is not part of the Human Condition: it IS the Human Condition. Merely by making a clearing in the woodland, Humanity began its ascent into “unnaturalness”. In his book SARTOR RESARTUS, Thomas Carlyle pointed out that humans are generally so unconscious of this “unnaturalness” that, whilst recognizing themselves as tool & implement-makers, they have long ago forgotten that their first tools were the clothes on their backs – those clothes that kept them warm enough to go about their daily business in the first place. Shivering naked in a cave stalls being busy somewhat. “Unnaturalness”. What could reek more of “unnaturalness” than these past 2,000 years of Christianity, as hordes of brutal Saxons attempted to follow Christ’s instruction to ‘Turn the other cheek’. Did Christianity’s “unnaturalness” make the high morality expected by its practitioners not worth the effort? Of course not. In fact, the “Unnaturalness” in Humanity may be just about the only thing we possess that is natural to us alone. So let’s just go for it with Multiculturalism on a whole new level of understanding and education. Militant Multiculturalism must be wholly inclusive, ragingly inclusive and dialogue obsessed. Nothing in this Western World should remain purely because of tradition: everything must justify itself and stand up to inspection. Fox hunting? We banned it. Smoky pubs as cancer traps? We banned it. Next up comes Honour Killing, but even more important is educating the institutionalized sexism out of newcomers to these islands. It took us long enough ourselves: it's a constant process for us even now. But if we must demand of ourselves, then so we must not blanch from making equal demands of those who have come here to benefit from the West’s Liberal Democracies. To those cultures whose men have no traditions of daily work, we must educate them and apprentice them. We must also demand all-change from stupid fascistic Old Prick religions-in-the-dust such as Catholicism, whose so-called holy men still achieve their outward illusion of saintly celibacy through simple child rape. Furthermore, now that Islam is so clearly here to stay, we must demand visible change in some of its frankly medieval attitudes. Such suggestions as I’ve listed above would surely help to thwart the dummies of the BNP, whose simpleton lowbrow policies invoke a Golden Age that never existed. Ultimately, however, all of these aforementioned agencies are male-dominated, rearguard Patriarchal obscenities of the Biblical variety. We must destroy the Homosocial Hordes with a Militant Multiculturalism that is strictly Inclusive. Homosocial? You know the types: they hate the company of women and gays but they only wanna hang out with other guys down the boozer, down the mosque, down the rifle range. Perhaps it's been the postwar British way to turn everything of political importance into an Ideology. Perhaps it’s time to stop.
OMAG by Nu & Apa Neagra
Okay, I’m gonna commence this new decade’s reviews section with the extraordinary OMAG, a wild sonic journey performed by Romanian quintet Nu & Apa Neagra. Recorded in Berlin with an arsenal of exotic instruments – reeds, sitars, clarinets, Jew’s harps and cozas – this stupendous record effortlessly achieves the heights of early Faust and Plastic People of the Universe, without once resorting to sonic plagiarism. Perhaps it’s the canny combination of field recordings, ring modulators, samples and real instrumentation that so keeps listeners on their toes; or maybe it’s the overtly psychedelic and ever-shifting Dieter Dierksian mixdown. But whatever the answer is, the most exhilarating aspect of this whole album is the manner in which stunning new sounds just keep on unfolding and unfolding. Like Ace Ventura’s mythical rebirth from the asshole of a plastic rhinoceros, all of Nu & Apa Neagra’s outpourings on this record are vigorously tidal, charmingly far-fetched and highly novel in a catchy bastard manner. So do please search out this remarkable sonic beast or access the band themselves at www.nu-apa-neagra.ro.
BLACK GOAT by Black Mountain Transmitter
Talking of tidal music, check out the weird, strung-out emanations of BLACK GOAT, the sumptuously-packaged new album from Black Mountain Transmitter: it’s like standing on the banks of a great fjord, watching solemn spectral processions of passing ancestral death ships, some elegant antiques with dragon’s head at their prows, but mostly just the rotting hulks of forgotten wars, all trotted out to impress some mysterious underworld administration. Like much of the best so-called Dark Ambient music, the sounds created by Black Mountain Transmitter gives the impression of having been set in motion long ago by some remote force. Check out these druids via myspace.com/blackmountaintransmitter, and do your best to access your own copy for personal use.
HYPNOTICON by Teeth of the Sea
Also search out Teeth of the Sea’s excellent new E.P. HYPNOTICON, which – in the wake of their excellent debut LP OCEAN – takes this Drudion’s Vinyl of the Month award. Released on Bristol’s excellent Rocket Recordings (www.rocketrecordings.com), HYPNOTICON showcases twenty-four minutes of highly transcendental space rock of the extremely non-clichéd variety. However, unlike too many Krautrock-obsessed contemporary bands, Teeth of the Sea score their triumphs precisely because of their couldn’t-give-a-fuck attitude towards so-called Authenticity. Instead, this band inhabits its own mythological mind map – the kind of burned out Zoroastrian terrain that perfectly unites early Ash Ra Tempel with Serge Leone trumpet one minute, then giddies your branium with stereo FX and ring modulators the next. Perhaps it’s their ability to appear monolithic and definitive at all times that makes Teeth of the Sea so attractive; there’s certainly nothing better than exploring the pot scene, then chillaxing pole-axed’n’safe in the hands of artists you know you can trust.
MURMURATIONS by Urthona
Hey, Urthona’s back with an excellent new record that probably shouldn’t be recognised as Urthona 3, as it’s a collaboration with London’s technoboffins The Asterism. At first glance, I was a bit frit of the consequences of such a radical union, but knowledge of Urthona’s early demos reminded me that there’d always been the occasional electro-pulse at its ragged heart. Anyway, whatever fears I’d harboured were soon scorched away by the sheer weight of Urthona’s overdrive. Indeed, the presence here of the Asterism acts as a useful anchor at times, facilitating even more heady broadsides of amp motherlode from Urthona his-self. Released on the Further Record label, you can contact the artistes via www.urthona.co.uk, or simply score this sucker from our Merchandiser.
FOR SARDINES SPACE IS NOT A PROBLEM by the Movements
Meanwhile, from over in Sweden comes the fascinating and beautiful Folk Space-opera FOR SARDINES SPACE IS NOT A PROBLEM by the collective known as the Movements. Dedicated to Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang, who made his first journey into space last August, this delightfully singular and highly Thomas Carlylean example of useful hero worship follows precisely the same kind of Folkish route that Hawkwind’s Bob Calvert attempted back in the mid-70s with such ‘collective’-driven solo works as CAPTAIN LOCKHEED & THE STARFIGHTERS, i.e.: the Movements set out loosely to illustrate musically different phases in Christer Fuglesang’s life, but never foist on to listeners so much that it gets in the way of their hefty and inspiring sonic excursions. Unlike much of the current crop of so-called space rock bands, this record exhibits none of the typical 21st century Hawkwind parody evident in much contemporary ‘Festival Music’: quite the opposite in fact. Instead, The Movements present us with an emotional and sonically inspiring work, replete with sounds inspired by everything from Joe Meek to Boards of Canada by way of Amon Düül 2, Neu, Vincent Crane, Chrome and Alrune Rod. Released on Austria’s Sulatron Records (www.sulatron.com), the Movements can (and should) be accessed at www.themovements.com without further ado.
WOMAN by Alan Clayson
Next, I need to discuss a strangely deformed little work entitled WOMAN by Alan Clayson. Claiming to be a biography of Yoko Ono, and published by Chrome Dreams for the not inconsiderable price of £12.99, WOMAN is a despicable underachievement, a grotesque and patronizingly patriarchal account of a little woman awaiting the arrival of her Great Man. Everything everything everything is shown in that same light. It’s as though Yoko was a teenager and spent many decades with Lennon. In truth, Yoko spent just fourteen years on the planet together with John Lennon, before Hell’s Own Stalker removed him from her. Nevertheless, Yoko’s first thirty-three years without him are accounted for herein in under 50 pages and – worse still – in a chapter excruciatingly entitled ‘Before John’. Kiddies, take even a perfunctory look at Yoko’s early Japanese actions as dutifully recorded in my JAPROCKSAMPLER, and you’ll encounter precisely that Ur-spirit that so captivated the biggest pop star of his age and sent him spinning off his axis. Nothing about Yoko was awaiting completion by the arrival of John Lennon: it was entirely the opposite way round. Dwell for more than a few moments within the dank, evidence-less pages of WOMAN, however, and you’d be puzzled why Beatle John even necked such a wet blanket, let alone feminized his own name to incorporate hers. Clayson’s book is an abortion in a bucket awaiting ejection into the sewers. That a World Artist of Yoko Ono’s stature should be forced to endure being presented as a Beatles Groupie, in her own (sic) biography AND so very late into her illustrious (and highly achieving) career… well, this is surely evidence of the continued rampant sexism present in the Arts. Don’t just Not Buy this book, brothers’n’sisters, seek it out on the heaving’n’bowing Beatles-related bookshop shelves, take out your lighter or matches and incinerate its sorry half-ass.
THE RAPE OF NANKING by Iris Chang
Anyway, let’s take a look at a real book now, Iris Chang’s extraordinary THE RAPE OF NANKING, which blows the whistle of the Japanese army’s war crimes during their 1937 insurgency into China. It’s a story to curdle your blood and have you howling for revenge, as Chang unveils a tale of six weeks of atrocities unleashed upon the innocent Nanking population, during which time 260,000 are believed to have been murdered. Strangest of all, Ms. Chang discovered that much of the photographic evidence came from post sent to family members, for whom these gruesome photos were often displayed as war trophies.
Even worse, smiling Japanese army officers posed for Tokyo newspapers, whilst engaged in beheading competitions (one champion despatched 106 in one hour) and communal incinerations, while over 20,000 Nanking women were systematically raped, many photographed, some with sticks rammed into their vaginas (the photographic evidence in this book is not for the squeamish). Tragically, this ultra violence was not the product of recent times, but of a resurgence in reverence for Japan’s Samurai past, a past time of such hierarchical values that a peasant could be beheaded merely for bowing to his overlord with his head at the wrong angle. Unlike modern Germans, unfortunately, the postwar Japanese have, rather worryingly, chosen to ignore this sick part of their past, considering it a useless psychic appendix with which they would rather not deal.
LIVE AT READING DVD by Nirvana
And so I’ll conclude this review section with the LIVE AT READING DVD, Nirvana’s legendary 1992 performance throughout which Black Sheep drummer Antronhy Øh takes centre stage in the guise of a dancing long-haired Nutter, nay, thee dancing long-haired nutter. Knowing little of his dancing past, it was fairly eye-opening for me to view Lord Øh (as he’s know around here) as his uber-longhaired young self, especially as the new Black Sheep album involves a drum-heavy meditational piece entitled ‘Crazy Horse’, which we are in the process of filming with Antrohny Øh … dancing! Yup, he’s dancing again. So all would be well if Lord Øh had merely fetched up shaking his booty on some archaic Stone Temple Pilots video or maybe in a Jesus Lizard DVD. However, centre stage at a Nirvana show renders him a genuine cultural phenomenon. Better still, it’s given me an excuse to get back on a Nirvana trip: dammit, motherfuckers, from the evidence contained on the DVD, they weren’t half great!
Right, with that little lot out of the way, here’s a reminder to please look out for David Wrench’s forthcoming Black Sheep album SPADES & HOES & PLOWS sometime in late January, and do have another look at the Acoustika film. In the meantime, I shall wish y’all the finest of new decades, the sweetest of New Years, and hope 2010CE treats us all with dignity and compassion.