Thursday, May 6, 2021

Music Thrombosis _ Episode 2

Well, it's somehow taken seven months, but finally finished episode 2! I started it in February but had some hassle with recording the spoken parts (using a new set-up in a different room), and then I got fed up with it/was busy, and now it's May. But here it is at last!

I have tunes ready for the next two or three, so hopefully they'll come a bit sooner... if I can just manage to say some simple sentences in one go without the need of drastic post-production/editing! (Radio hosts and podcast pros who can say stuff well, I have a newfound respect for your speaking skills!)

Music played:

future star - xXxKISS THE MIRRORxXx remix by DEVOURS
Ohama - The Drum (intro) / My Time
Phern - Excavator
Aigue Morte - Staring At The Sun
Lost Creatures - Leave Me Alone
Musique Chienne & ZOMBIE-CHANG - Google Traduction
OLAibi -「germs of grasses」
Merlin Nova - living life in love
Post Moves - Anna's Balm for the World
Pictish Trail - Dream Wall (Good Dog remix)
落差草原 WWWW / Prairie WWWW - 貝殼 Shells
RAMZi - coeur dodu
Scarlatine - t.e.x.t.o.
Blue Tiger - Alone With You
Borusiade - Lament (Fortunate Isolation)
Lean Logic - Man-Made
Charmpit - Bad Attitude (Kluster Rooms Sessions)
Goat Girl - Day Lown
Solidarity Not Silence - This Is Sisterhood

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Music Thrombosis _ Episode 1

A wee mix to clear my mental hard drive (with a focus on Bandcamp releases -  appallingly, I stole this idea from these people and their podcast series: Two versions, first with talking, second is just the music. Confusing!

Music played:

Minea - Aomame (excerpt)
YoshimiOizumikiyoshiduO - #1 (excerpt)
Calabashed - Ode To Jazzman John Clarke
Mike Ladd - Feb. 4 '99 9 (For All Those Killed By Cops)
Stacey Juritz Ravens Keller - Like The Grass (excerpt)
* This last track is only on the non-talking version of the mix *
Andal Sukabe - Toy Wadaabe
Tomutonttu -  (Luulin että tiesin mutta) vähänpä tiesin
Astra King - Silver (Live at Appleville)
(all proceeds go to Mermaids and Black Cultural Archives)
Cry Out - War Aesthetic
Katy & Nick - Unwilling
Galen Tipton - Wet Light
diana gruber - pixie ring
Ilana - Mild Girl
Die Letzten Ecken - Vakuum
Xylitol - Crazy Frog (all proceeds benefit Black Fem Defence, Baltimore)
D.M.S. - Can't Stop Drawing
Gay Against You - Pencils

So What's The Jatz?

Well, Bandcamp has been doing these fee-free Fridays, where they forego their cut, so all money goes directly to the musicians. It's meant that musicians and labels - who are obviously struggling, with many having lost most if not all of their immediate income - have been inspired to dig deep into the archives, or else record entirely new music to take advantage of these fee-free days, but the result has also been a tidal wave of new music for fans to try and keep up with (already a struggle these days!). My Bandcamp Fridays usually end up with me melting down at my keyboard, 34 Bandcamp tabs open simultaneously in my browser, and an ominous hollow echo coming from inside of my bank account. 

The plus side to these (honestly, for me, quite stressful) days has been a ton of new music. Usually I am fortunate enough to get to DJ once or twice a year at Lost Map events, which provides a great opportunity for me to vent my perverted & niche musical interests on a wider audience, but that has obviously not happened this year. Last month, I noticed that a bunch of the tracks I'd downloaded would work well together in a mix. A friend or two had put together podcasts of their Bandcamp Day recommendations, and so I decided to nick this idea for myself. 

I also decided to try presenting this in a podcast format - with my own actual speaking voice (urgh). It felt like there was extra information to convey, but it's a new thing for me, so this has been an experiment. I'm not sure it's been a successful one, but not having to worry so much about songs mixing/flowing directly into each other has actually been helpful in getting me over my mix-block (I have three or four unfinished years-old mixes on my hard drive).

After recording the "radio version", and pronouncing every single foreign band name/song title wrong, I realised that I could still use this freer radio format but just using the little jingles and cheesy-DJ-noises I'd made for it as ways to bridge transitions. So I made another version, with none of my stupid voice, and an extra track (the audio levels between songs are hopefully a bit better balanced too). So I might just stick with that format in future. But I dunno. Maybe my voice sounds less irritating and boring to people who aren't me? It seems improbable. But do let me know, in the unlikely event that you care or have an opinion! And in any case, I hope you enjoy some of the tunes, and perhaps discover some new gems.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Fresh ~ ME REX ~ Tea Leaf ~ Blue Tiger at Leith Depot

Saturday, October 13, 2018

National Album Day 2018: In praise of Bodenständig 2000 - Maxi German Rave Blast Hits 3 (Rephlex Records, 1999)

For all of the speculation back in the '90s about Aphex Twin purchasing submarines or roundabouts, you'd have to imagine that at least some of those braindance millions went towards propping up Rephlex Records, the label he and Grant Wilson-Claridge ran, given the heroic amount and sheer eclectic breadth of records the label released during its lifespan. Invariably, many of these were works of incontestable (if damaged) genius that would nonetheless be just slightly too weird to meet immediate acclaim, and were often to be found heavily discounted in HMV warehouse-clearance campaigns a year or two later (five Rephlex CDs for a tenner?), but have inevitably become collector's items in the years since.

One such serendipitous bargain purchase for me was Bodenständig 2000's Maxi German Rave Blast Hits 3. As well as the ridiculous title, it had an incredible beyond-good-or-bad cover, even by Rephlex's standards (they always did a good line in reductionist Atari-generation graphic design), which was somehow only improved by the presence of the £1.99 sale sticker. But it was the music contained within that really blew me away, back at the turn of the millennium. A compilation of work by the titular Germans, it plays like the greatest (admittedly slightly odd) party album ever, moving from epic 8-bit chiptune anthems to euro-party-rap, to random-sounding audio collages (the one with the pig samples may give you nightmares. The eerie electroprog tune about the small boy disappearing inside his computer definitely will).

It's almost all incredibly melodic, danceable and fun. In short, like so many of the fabulous oddities released by Rephlex, it's that record digger's dream, that lucky-find holy grail that's weird and obscure and sounds a million miles away from anything in the mainstream, but is, crucially, also incredibly good (if you had a copy of it on a tape, you'd probably quite fairly assume you'd never in a million years find another copy and just rip that to the internet instead). In fact, one track did reach a much wider audience, with In Rock 16 Bit being used for a TV commercial, and the acapella track Saureschnauze became more widely known when Bjork cited it as a major influence on her Medúlla album. If you want an album to remind you of how imaginative, fun and without boundaries (there is a Christmas song) electronic dance music can be, then try to give this one a listen. The band would later move away from music somewhat, focusing for a while on a new type of motorised skateboard instead, but this collection captured a snapshot of unique musical minds at their most unfettered.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: Matias Aguayo & The Desdemonas - Sofarnopolis

Still from Cold Fever video, by Matías Aguayo and Céline Keller.

It's the 14th of September 2016, an unwelcoming Wednesday night in Edinburgh, and I've forced myself up from the comfort of my sofa to go and see Berlin's Matias Aguayo and The Desdemonas at Sneaky Pete's. "Is this how you dreamt it would be?" asks Aguayo at one point, between songs. It turns out to be the central lyric of the next number, in which he's seemingly talking about the dystopian future-present our childhood selves would find themselves living in today, but the question could equally apply to our expectations of the gig. Best known as figurehead of the flawlessly-cool Cómeme label, and as a producer making infectious, highly-imaginative, personality-filled house music, what drew me out tonight was the promise of hearing that creativity translated to a traditional rock band line-up. But in truth his band, The Desdemonas, create an even fuller, more complex sound than I had expected. The noirish edge I had anticipated is there, in the heavy b-movie creep of the basslines, and a guitarist ringing out reverb-spooked tremolo strums that would make Robert Rodriguez weep. As well as singing, Aguayo sometimes plays a bizarre-looking homemade keytar, or percussion. Another guy plays synths. Did I mention the synths. The unexpected element for me are the occasionally epic, teutonic synths, creating a collision between a cold wave front from Berlin, and the warmer atmospheres of Aguayo's Chilean heritage, the latin dance rhythms underpinning it all (the drummer is kept very busy).

Aesthetics aside, from track to track we're treated to a bewildering array of song types, from seductive sex jams to apocalyptic synth pop; it's hard to categorise at all. Fortunately this is not a weakness, as Aguayo himself is a natural performer, with the personality to hold something so potentially chaotic together. The venue is not very busy, and I find myself at the front of the stage, Aguayo, who has been dancing throughout, undulating sensuously before me. In tight trousers, smartly-heeled boots and a polkadot blouse, he looks for all the world like a ghost from the heyday of '80s or early-'90s indie. Entranced by his dancing, all of my feeble hetero passcodes are unlocked one by one, and within no time, I'm his. I'm by myself and he's close enough that it feels like he's dancing for me, with me. Fortunately, at this stage I've only had one beer.

Later, whilst performing the previously mentioned song about our dystopian present, he will body pop and footslide with some of the best dance moves I may have ever seen from a live performer. Admittedly, I've never seen Justin Timberlake live. Perhaps he would have been better. But in a small, intimate club on the Cowgate, in the gutter of the city, to watch something like this is just joyously incongruous and fantastical. I think these might really be some of the moments I live for: in a small, unassuming venue, seeing something genuinely not quite like anything I've seen before - the true wonder of pop music. It's still out there, somewhere, as we once dreamt of it, in naive childhood wonder, FM dreams beamed beneath duvets via walkman radios. In a gig that feels, at different times, like a bar band from an unknown, superior South American remake of The Lost Boys, or the first genuinely good band to play at the Bronze (apart from Cibo Matto, obvs), or Chris Isaak's little-known midlife breakdown post-punk vampire-biker-themed jam band, we find, finally, simply, transcendent pop wonder.

Fast forward to November 2017, and the album the Desdemonas were teasing last year (they toured it across Europe, without any of the material having been released) has now finally arrived. Is it how I had dreamt it would be? Not entirely - it features some mellower numbers, and ambient interludes, and perhaps more smoke machine than the gig did. It's dreamier, and darker, whlst simultaneously lighter in other places. If anything, it seems to show an even broader collision of influences, is even harder to adequately describe. And the song about the dreamt-of future seems to be missing. Perhaps it was me who dreamt it? Much like the gig, the album is entirely its own thing, not quite like anything else out there. Titled Sofarnopolis, it's apparently a conceptual narrative, with clues filled in by Aguayo's accompanying comic strip art. Perhaps it was never about what we dreamt it would be after all, but about Aguayo's dreams; and they seem to be wild, intriguing, oblique fantasies of a different, more exciting time. In this parallel world, perhaps a young Aguayo is laughing to himself as he foresees his future self on the cover of the NME and Melody Maker, the biggest latin-indie-synth-goth pop star of a decade that never was... whoever's dream it is, it's a future past that's a joy to visit.

Sofarnopolis by Matias Aguayo is out now, via Crammed Discs.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Quick poster for a gig I'm hosting next month. Amazing line-up!

Glasgow's league-topping indie five-asiders, Spinning Coin (Geographic), bring us Permo! Support comes in the form of an ultra-rare appearance from London-based lo-fi legend Keel Her (Critical Heights, O Genesis) and her band, plus a full-band set from Glasgow's best-kept secret Rocky Lorelei.

Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
Saturday 18th November

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas but-not-Christmas Cards

A mysterious and generous benefactor has kindly let me use some of their complimentary greetings card printing order. It was a short notice thing, so I whipped up some designs based on posters I did for Braw Gigs and The Gentle Invasion.

I've decided to try to sell 'em, with all proceeds going to Re-Act Refugee Action. I don't have a huge amount, and it's stupidly near Christmas, so I'll be selling them in person this weekend, like a gorilla in the mist - I'll be at Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles in Pilrig Church tomorrow night (Saturday 19th), and the all-ages Re-Act Rumpus fundraiser at Leith Dockers Club on Sunday 20th. And, quite possibly, at the Song, By Toad xmas gig at Henry's after that (if I'm still standing).

If I can infiltrate a merch desk/cake table/quoits arena at any of these events I will, otherwise, sorta assuming that anyone that's in Edinburgh and reads this will know what I look like? Come and give me a festive prod. Unless I'm DJing. Which by the way I am, at the Rumpus on the Sunday. Please be warned that as it's an all-ages thing, I'll be playing Fraggle Rock records exclusively - please see Uncle Travelling Matt postcard-shaped 7" photo example below.

Okay. Oh, and if you want some of these and won't see me this weekend, I'm sure we can sort something out... just drop me an email... perhaps they'd make good Easter cards?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

These Winds Are In My Heart

Things have been a bit quiet at Peanut Snake this year, but don't worry, I've just been working and reading a lot of books. And last week I drew this poster (plus upsy-downsy variant) for the Lau Nau gig at Summerhall in Edinburgh next month, a joint promotion between Braw Gigs and the Nothing Ever Happens Here series.

I haven't seen Lau Nau play live since the Homefires festival ten years ago (!), but that was a wonderful set, so I'm really looking forward to the gig. She seems to have moved towards the audio-visual in the intervening years, with her new album for Fonal an instrumental soundtrack, so not really sure what to expect, which is fine by me!

About the same time as I finished this poster, I started reading The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany, which I'm really enjoying, and includes a couple of scenes, with a tumbling troll, and a drifting princess, which were weirdly synchronous with my poster image.

"And at that moment a wind came out of the northwest, and entered the woods and bared the golden branches, and danced on over the downs, and led a company of scarlet and golden leaves, that had dreaded this day but danced now it had come; and away with a riot of dancing and glory of colour, high in the light of the sun that had set from the sight of the fields, went wind and leaves together. With them went Lirazel."

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Braw As A(n octopus's) Craw

So, it seems that Record Store Day is once more just around the corner. And I'd just like to suggest that you might wish to add James Yorkston's "The Demonstrations of the Craws" to your panic-list.
I know exactly what you're thinking: "But Pual, you know I can't even begin to think about buying that, or anything else, not even the "Shirley Inspired" Shirley Collins tribute album, not when all of my mental energy for this next month will be expended purely on worry over how I will get my hands on a copy of the original Graeme Miller & Steve Shill "Moomins" theme music on 7" from Finders Keepers with fuzzy felt cover."

And I understand, completely. But this JY 12" contains demo versions of songs from one of last year's best albums, and I did the artwork, and it has a sort-of Shaking Stevens octopus on it, and there are only 500 copies being pressed, so just take a deep breath and scratch it onto your list, as I'm sure it will only bring you relief once you've done so.

And if you find you're still hyperventilating, perhaps trying watching a few episodes of the original Moomins animation on this wonderful archival site; should calm you down in no time.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fossil Records

Whilst going through my flat and burning old clothes, I happened upon a hole leading into 2007, climbing through which I was surprised to at once discover Hardsparrow's long thought lost OLO Radio mix! Although the waves of time have naturally acted to erode this artefact, degrading it to a mere 96kbps, it still contains recognisable objects and forms which I hope will bring delight to both the amateur and semi-retired researcher.

Hardsparrow - While My Stylus Gently Weeps (OLO Radio G32) by Peanut Snake on Mixcloud