A day out….

October 31, 2008

Came across some amusing signage/odd juxtapositions on a day out sightseeing in…… erm… Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo.

A quaint mix of ancient and modern to begin with

A quaint mixture of ancient and modern to begin with...

throw some political history into the mix...

Throw some political history into the mix...

C is for Customs House. The cuddly face of officialdom.

'C' is for Customs House. The cuddly face of officialdom.

Now I feel like climbing something...

Now I feel like climbing something...

a bit small - and dammit, I cant play my trumpet at the top.

A bit small - and whatdayamean I can't play my trumpet at the top?

ah well, I couldnt have gone anyway

Ah well, looks like I couldn't have gone up there anyway.


Now I'm getting a bit peckish - but some shitehawk's had my sandwiches.

Ill just have the curry, thanks...

Erm... I'll just have the curry, thanks...

and some pea flavoured ice cream to follow please.

and some pea flavoured ice cream to follow.

After that little lot, the crapper should be particularly fragrant

After that little lot, the crapper should be particularly fragrant. Oh...

No, you book off!

Nice, but no - you book off!

just how much nuisance could one be on a wall?

Just how much of a nuisance can one be on a wall?

but standing still while you puff is apparently okay.

Thought I'd stop somewhere for a cigarette after all that.

When will I be able to get home?

When can I go home?


Josh Keyes – Guardian 1 screenprint

October 31, 2008

Some good news (for me at any rate)…

I’ve been a fan of US artist Josh Keyes work for a while, and was lucky enough to get hold of the two small screenprints that were sold through Tiny Showcase (see earlier blog post).

But not so lucky in trying to secure larger, limited edition pieces through the Limited Addiction Gallery website – demand was simply waaaay too high, and days of fruitless ‘F5’ing in pursuit of his last two prints produced no joy whatsoever.

So I was well chuffed to discover that my participation in the Josh Keyes Forum has apparently been enough to land me ‘pre-approved’ status for purchase of his most recent screenprint, ‘Guardian 1″. How could I possibly refuse? And not an F5 key in sight. Bliss.

So, in the next couple of weeks I hope to take delivery of this beauty…. (I really hope LAG won’t mind my ‘lifting’ this low-res image from their website, I couldn’t find it on Google images or elsewhere….)

Guardian 1

Guardian 1

From the forum…

The artist statement on the “Guardian” series:
“Some of the new paintings I am working on titled “Guardian”, are branching along the idea of stewardship and conscious action. They are both a self portrait and are also intended to be a portrait of human action. Each one of us can have a positive or negative indirect effect on preserving the worlds fragile ecology. We can do this by being mindful throughout our daily routine of shopping, eating, and choice of transportation. I wanted to express a sense of empowerment and also caution and fragility, The basic idea being that the preservation of a sustainable future is in our hands.”

October goodies

October 27, 2008

This month’s audio delights….

TUJIKO NORIKO/Lawrence English/John Chantler – U – Tujiko brings sung melody to electronic sound-beds by English and Chantler. Lovely.

BURNT FRIEDMAN/JAKI LIEBEZEIT – Secret Rhythms 3 – More of what you’d expect, and damn fine with it.

MERCURY REV – Snowflake Midnight/Strange Attractor – a pronounced electronica direction on this album and its freely downloadable counterpart. The best I’ve EVER heard them, an absolute gem – and yes, the free download did encourage me to later buy the main album. I wasn’t disappointed.

NURSE WITH WOUND – The Continuous Accident – A single hour-long ‘ambient’ track only available with a limited edition of 50 photographic portfolios in collaboration with Julia Kramer.

HAUSCHKA – Ferndorf – ‘new classical’ piano-based workouts.

STRANGE ATTRACTOR – Mettle – featuring Winston Tong and Graham Lewis amongst others, lovely dubby song-jazz that calls to mind the excellent Ginman/Jorgensen sets I’ve been raving about recently.

STRANGE ATTRACTOR – Everything Is Closer – 2006 album which sets the template for ‘Mettle’. More ambient and jazzy and perhaps less coherent than the follow-up.

23 SKIDOO – Seven Songs, Urban Gamelan and Just Like Everybody – a package of reissues on Les Temps Modernes that I have to admit I’m struggling to get to grips with. Too much all at once.

MACHINEFABRIEK – Dauw – Boomkat seem to love this guy’s stuff and have waxed lyrical over this particular release, so thought I’d check it out.

NINE RAIN – vi – Steven Brown’s Mexican combo’s new state-funded album, more abstract and experimental than previous work and all the better for it. I wonder if this is them ‘limbering up’ for their highly anticipated (by this viewer/listener anyway) new scoring of Eisenstein’s lost classic ‘Que Viva Mexico’.

SAROOS – Saroos – A couple of years old now, but heard snippets of this on the Alien Transistor website, and since I love The Notwist, Chronomad, 13&God etc… German left-field electronic pop – ye cannae beat it!

LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY – Scratch Came, Scratch Saw, Scratch Conquered – His third (!) release this year, and more immediately accessible (read – poppy) than either ‘Mighty Upsetter’ or ‘Repentence’, but amusing and engaging nevertheless.

LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY – The End Of An American Dream – Don’t know how this Grammy-nominated album from last year managed to pass me by. As ever, the rants are amusing, but I prefer any of the three releases this year.

Yokohama Triennale

October 25, 2008

We’ve recently come back from a holiday in China and Japan – Shanghai, Tokyo and Beijing (more on that later, in piecemeal fashion as and when I can be bothered).

Whilst in Tokyo I spent the day with an old friend trawling around the distinctly underwhelming Yokohama Triennale.

a poster design classic?

a poster design classic?

Titled ‘Time Crevasse’, it was a haphazardly and largely humourlessly curated amalgam of video art sequences from over the years, onto which a smattering of contemporary pieces had been grafted.

Of interest for me were the Cerith Wyn Evans/Throbbing Gristle sound sculpture (shame there was no audio souvenir).

Evans/Gristle sound installation

hanging audio baubles

Also Matthew Barney’s video recreation of an Egyptian embalming/mummification ceremony using an old car, and my first encounter with artifacts created during one of Hermann Nitsch’s ritual weekend blood-baths in his Austrian castle.

A real shame that seemingly little or no consideration had been given to sound ‘bleed’ between exhibits, rendering each less effective as they all competed for audio space. The CWE/TG piece particularly suffered from this, I felt.

The highlight of the day, though, was nothing to do with the lame duck Triennale, but the view from the balcony of our bargain hotel room in the Pan Pacific Yokohama Hotel that night, overlooking the psychedelic ferris wheel.

Also my first experience of a Japanese ‘luxury’ toilet –


nice symbols

– mercifully, no video available.

Cold Chillin

October 25, 2008

Just taken delivery of these two screenprint beauties, bought at an unfortunate but reasonable premium from flippers on eBay since I’ve never yet managed to figure out when to visit Shepard Fairey’s ‘Obey’ site at the right time to buy direct. I guess his stuff just moves way too quickly….

Can’t say that I like all of Fairey’s stuff, and the further he strays from political/social commentary into the world of popular culture (the rock star screenprints), the less interesting I find him.

That said, these prints really hit the spot for me, and I found his gorgeously produced doorstop monograph ‘Supply And Demand’ an absolutely fascinating read. Might also check out his wittily titled ‘E Pluribus Venom’ book – a phrase that I’ve already ‘appropriated’ as providing fitting comment on the rabid fishwives who regularly trawl my Kickback stomping ground.

They’re both gorgeous. Only enough wall-space and framing pennies for one of the two though. Which (no answer required)? Winter and summer rotation?

September listening

October 12, 2008

A fair bit of stuff this month, most of it not getting the listening space it deserves due to my being on holiday in China and Japan. Still, the resultant financial shitstorm generated by that little trip should see me housebound for a good while – at least until traveling (budget class all the way) to Stockholm to see The Residents at the end of November.

HASYMO – Rescue cdep – another trailer for the upcoming album, released before The City Of Light as far as I can gather.

HASYMO – HAS/YMO – a not inexpensive Japanese double DVD release of a live television concert from earlier this year (or last year, my reading of sleeve notes in Japanese leaves everything to be desired)

HECTOR ZAZOU/SWARA – In The House Of Mirrors and HECTOR ZAZOU/KATIE JANE GARSIDE – Corps Electriques – both reached me posthumously, since the mighty Zazou died in early September at the tragically early age of 60. RIP, Mr Zazou. ‘Corps’ is one of his more mellifluous pop collaborations, beautifully produced and electronically textured – but unfortunately largely forgettable. ITHOM though, is a triumph, Zazou visiting his talents on the Indian subcontinent for the first (and now, sadly, last) time to gorgeously melancholic effect.

CLUSTER – Berlin 07 – erm… still not listened to this, but imagine that it’s exactly what I’d expect.

THE RESIDENTS – The Bunny Boy – their best ‘regular’ album outing for a while (though I wish they’d get around to releasing an album of lengthened instrumentals from The Sandman Waits set). Should make for a good live show, where apparently there’ll be a ‘companion’ album available from the merchandising stall. Am enjoying the Bunny Boy web series on YouTube too.

ROOTS MANUVA – Slime & Reason – UK hip-hop ‘veteran’ on form. Nice mini-album of dubs attached.

FUJIYA & MIYAGI – Lightbulbs – is it just me, or does the law of diminishing returns apply here? As the band hone and simplify their sound towards more ‘commercial’ territory, they’re getting less and less interesting. Damning with faint praise, this is ‘okay’.

VARIOUS ARTISTS – Basic Replay – finally got around to buying this little treasure, a Basic Channel label reissue of some dub classics.

SNORKEL – glass darkly – yet another (when will I ever learn) album bought on the strength of comparisons with Can’s classic Ege Bamyasi album. Which, I do realise, generally tends to mean any collection of tracks on which instrumental meandering is underpinned by adventurous but highly rhythmic percussion. This isn’t at all bad as this ‘genre’ goes.

LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY – Repentance – better and more adventurous than I’d expected, producer Andrew WK explores some of the techno/dub territory Perry’s previously delved into – but to much better effect.

Picked up a few more goodies in Tokyo, including reissues of two old CLUSTER cds, Curiosum and Grosses Wasser, AFRICAN HEAD CHARGE Visions Of A Psychedelic Africa, three of the Staalplaat MUSLIMGAUZE limited reissues – and YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI‘s classic Neuromantic album, which has been getting an insane amount of play since a friend burned me a cdr of it a few months back.