Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

April Drudion

April 2010ce

Several anarchist armoured car models - the first fruits of the Black Sheep Art & Craft Division - await despatch. Based on a 1959 Dinky Toy, these AEC Dorchester models were boxed by Common Era and painted by the Archdrude himself.

Hey Drudion,

In light of Belgium’s heroic decision to ban the burka, I’d just like to return to that plea that I made several Drudions ago for a much more rigorous Multiculturalism to be adopted here in the West. Like the swastika and the Gary Glitter t-shirt, the highly contentious burka is just too fetishistic and downright creepy for Joe Public, and would – in my own Vision of the Rigorous Multiculturalism – be proscribed, i.e.: banned from view if only because it is to we Westerners nothing less than a symbol of Enslavement. I don’t mean we British should proscribe the burka through legislation, as the Belgians have felt forced to do. No, proscription in the UK should be a natural thing because it ‘feels’ morally wrong. Moreover, practitioners should be informed of how uncomfortable it makes the rest of us feel. Nobody blasts Gary Glitter records anymore and nobody wears a swastika because it renders wearers instant social pariahs. That’s how it should work with the burka: “Let people do what they want, it’s a free country” is often the Culture Coward’s Code for Can’t Be Arsed, and so-called Liberal Western women who argue on Islam’s behalf that the practise of be-burka-ing hinders men from viewing them merely as sexual objects should remember how recently Female Suffrage was achieved even here in the West. We have to keep pushing pushing forwards – it’s too late to go backwards now. As I sung on 2008CE’s ‘Preaching Revolution’: “My grandma, she was 28 when women got the vote.” Besides, Islam’s plea for people to dress with ‘modesty’ may be in direct contradiction to the practises of the West, but Muslims still deserve the opportunity to express their wishes through Dialogue, even if said wishes are subsequently rejected as too restrictive for the Western Mindset. Dialogue, brothers’n’sisters. In the new Rigorous Multiculturalism, deploying such Westerner concepts as Freedom and Freedom of Speech must involve addressing problems we Westerners do not wish to address. Furthermore, writing as an atheist and as an Odinist, I suspect Islam’s fiery presence here may well be the making of us, here to wake our sorry asses up at last. Unfortunately, Western liberals as so fucking cosy in their white supremacy they don’t even notice when their freedom is being threatened. And those are not my words, but the words of a female Muslim friend of mine. Ho-hum.

SYD BARRETT: A VERY IRREGULAR HEAD by Rob Chapman

Okay, let’s move to the reviews section where there’s cause for a huge celebration due to the impending release of the very excellent 400+ page biography SYD BARRETT: A VERY IRREGULAR HEAD by Rob Chapman, whose impeccable research herein is nothing short of that of a Culture Hero. Again and again, Chapman trawls up specific poems and children’s rhymes whence came Syd’s endless lyrical plunderings, until you begin to groan at your hero’s Muse being so spectacularly outed. Specifically? Well, I’m not sure I wished to learn that this section of ‘Octopus’ was a direct lift from Sir Henry Newbolt’s 1931 poem ‘Rilloby Rill’:

‘Madam, you see before you stand, Heigh ho! Never be still! The Old Original Favourite Grand Grasshopper’s Green Herbarian Band, And the tune we play is Rilloby-rilloby…’

Eventually, Chapman traces a large proportion of Syd’s lyrics to, get this, THE LAUREL & GOLD ANTHOLOGY, first published in 1936. Shit, there goes the charabanc! I’ll not let you down with any more mythbusters: read the book – it’s compelling. Better still, after you’ve finished this book, you’re gonna hate the rest of Pink Floyd even MORE than you already do. Many conspiracy theorists had long suspected (and since before Punk, you young’uns) that R. Waters, N. Mason and R. Wright had railroaded Syd out of his own band because he was no longer capable of ‘playing the game’. Author Rob Chapman, however, presents us with four cynics with such a taste for pop success (and such a fear of impending architect futures should they lose their success) that they arbitrarily changed the rules of the group without informing their leader. So Syd’s one-note-freakouts and refusal to play ‘See Emily Play’ at provincial gigs – an anti-commercial attitude regarded so positively throughout 1967 – are turned against him as evidence of madness when he performs similarly on their US tour. The spineless Richard Wright even admits to sneaking out of the flat he shared with Syd in order to play Pink Floyd gigs. With the abortion that is ‘Wish You Were Here’, these energy vampires demanded that we should feel sorry not for Syd but for THEIR loss of Syd, after it was their goalpost-changing and hiding from him that precipitated his slide into oblivion. Read this book and you’ll agree that Syd’s increasingly plaintive yearning for lost love in the BARRETT and THE MADCAP LAUGHS collections were directed not at some ex-girlfriend but at his former musical partners. “I’m trying to find you”, sang Syd on the MADCAP-outtake ‘Opel’. But his cohorts were actively hiding from him, even his organist flatmate: each so suffocatingly English and proper, so ingrown and unconfrontational that their betrayal became Syd’s only Muse. Read the book, just read the book. Rob Chapman, Sir Rob Chapman, you’re a heartbreaker, sir, but what a heroic piece of Cultural Retrieval. Kiddies, file this sucker next to Paul Drummond’s equally heroic 13th Floor Elevators biog EYE MIND and get trawling eBay for a copy of THE LAUREL & GOLD ANTHOLOGY … The torture never stops!

Chi'en by QA'A

I’d also suggest you check out the fabulous and gigantic Chi’en by Barcelona quartet QA’A. Released on Spain’s Màgia Roja label (www.magiaroja.net), Chi’en is a vast post-post-Krautrock (not Postrock, too much self-confident use of avant-clichés) achievement whose horizon-wide sonic parameters extend seemingly effortlessly from the stentorian percussive outer reaches of Agitation Free and Can to the fully chimped-up ambulence of Sunburned Hand of the Man, Amon Düül and ‘Wahn’-period T. Dream, via some truly magnificent guitar burn-ups of the glowing Freerock variety. It’s a trip, kiddies, and a highly useful one at that: buy this record and you get several useful zone-outs for the price of one. Running at close to 80 minutes in duration, Chi’en delivers us the deal of the month in these cash-strapped times.

PAKT by Detritivore

I’ve also been steeping myself in the intense Black Metal Drone of PAKT, the 34-minute debut album by Norwegian duo Detritivore, whose effortless soundscapes, cut-up Sor’chenn-like sampled meditations and chorale mindtrips are interspersed with more trad visions of munted brainiac Doom and post-J. Div./post-Swans monumental ramalama. In a culture more used to 70-minute-plus EPs (please stand up, Reverend Bizarre), this short debut is so refreshingly succinct that I’ve just been rotating the sucker instead. Search out these gentlemen via Lyderhorn Records (www.spolmask.net/lyderhorn), or score your disc directly from www.allthatisheavy.com.

FAGS by Drumcunt

Now what can I say about FAGS, the delightful new 3” EP from Drumcunt, except that coming on like Wolf Eyes soundchecking in Excepter’s doorway, or This Heat’s Charles Hayward jamming over Kabalist’s ‘Schamane 262’, is always gonna get you reviewed round this neck o’the woods. Herein, Drumcunt offers the listener four pragmatic solutions to meditation in the spectacular ‘Fishlicker’, the sonic wading through Adrian Sherwood’s flooded basement of ‘Old Cunt’, the spine filing Gaz Chambers-esque electro-barf of ‘Bonnie Tyler/Snow White’ and the sidelong epic ‘My Head Feels like a Chemist’, a huge overloaded Mung Worship of its own making. Catch this mini-gem by hassling www.bunkland.blogspot.com, or see if Rough Trade still stock them at www.roughtrade.com. And get on with it cause this killer is a highly limited ed. Awl-right?

VESSEL OF THE EARTH by Anji Cheung and Sequences

I’ve also been meditating and losing it to VESSEL OF THE EARTH, a single 23-minute collaboration between London-based Anji (Angie) Cheung and Belgian Doom Dronemeister Sequences. Weird thing is Stephen O’Malley, Holy McGrail and I conjured up a similar sonic stew five years ago with the intention of putting it out as L.A.M.F.2. I never felt it was ‘deep’ enough to work properly. Yet this superbly static-yet-unfolding piece evokes the same icy lakes, glaciers, sawing cellos, analogue drones and glissando guitars, and I adore the fucker. How it was achieved I know not, but the results permeate my permafrost every time and invoke within me the wildest caniptions. Yup, VESSELS OF THE EARTH is a beautiful thing, and it can be yours also simply by accessing www.myspace.com/anjicheung.

MANIFESTO ZERO by Gunslingers

It’s surely a measure of Gregory Raimo’s artistic richness that Gunslingers’ second LP MANIFESTO ZERO, despite being barely a shadow on the wall of its infinitely superior prequel, is still an exhilarating and compelling piece of work. No, none of the satanic mania of the first Gunslingers album remains, this new work occupying instead a slithery sonic hinterland somewhere between early Shockabilly and Raimo’s own G.R. & FULL-BLOWN EXPANSION. That Raimo has chosen to co-opt his own power trio for the purposes of furthering his solo sound is disappointing to we jonesing Gunslingers obsessives at Head Heritage. But while true GR addicts may have to wait for Raimo’s inevitable Nihonese collaboration with Friction’s Reck in order to receive their necessary hotshot, enjoy this reduced calorie version of Gunslingers. Better still, invest in the vinyl versh if yooz buying at all!

THE SHEPHERDESS & THE BONE-WHITE BIRD by Stone Breath

But Vinyl of the Month most serpently goes to THE SHEPHERDESS & THE BONE-WHITE BIRD by Pennsylvania’s Stone Breath, whose alternative incarnation Crow Tongue gave us the wonderful GHOST EYE SEEKER (Album of the Month #95, April 2008CE). Led by the pagan Gnostic Christian tiMOTHy and accompanied by his immaculately named guitarist Prydwyn, Stone Breath herein delivers to our back door one of the most brutally heathen sonic experiences in a long age, as twin Middle English finger-in-yer-ear voices intone over stirringly austere combinations of hand drums and 4-string baritone guimbri and/or low strung banjo. Every Stone Breath offering puts me in mind of some bloody Armenian Christian sacrifice enacted at the edge of the village boundaries, but the sonic austerity of THE SHEPHERDESS & THE BONE-WHITE BIRD lowers the bar to limbo dancer levels AND simultaneously increases considerably tiMOTHy’s already high expectations of his audience by doing away entirely with his previous safety net of warm acoustic chords. Search out this marvellous item at www.somedarkholler.com and allow yourself time to sink into its mystic.

Right, before I conclude this month’s prattle, I’ll forewarn you of my intention to release a Julian Cope/Black Sheep record of sorts in the near future. Untitled as yet but already bulging with such reet-catchy cantankerous gems as ‘Cromwell in Ireland’, ‘As the Beer Flows Over Me’, ‘Because He Was Wooden’ and ‘Kill Yourself in the Head’, I figured it was a useful offering to bring forth in anticipation of our held-up Scottish tour. Yes, that’s still happening and we’re attempting to play up in the Orkneys. However, the weather has been so bad that my promoter and dear friend Rob Ellen has suggested to hang fire until June. In the meantime, the promised David Wrench album SPADES & HOES & PLOWS – despite being mucho held up – is on its way as we speak. And, believe me, it will be worth the wait, all you crypt kickers!

Right, I’m off back to the Underworld.

Let the Sunshine in, Motherfuckers!

JULIAN (Lord Y)