Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Iamamiwhoami-Blue



The magic ingredients of iamamiwhoami are mystery, innocence, nature, nakedness, hooks, familiarity and indecipherable melody. There’s nothing so clever about iamamiwhoami that it cannot be called mere escapism. In Bounty, we saw Jonna Lee lying on toilet rolls looking like she’s having a shag (while singing), hanging out her washing naked, (obviously left it a bit late to put that wash on), coming out of yoni shaped hole in a tree, and then in Kin, dancing with yeti in a car park or dressed as clown dancing in a box.

This is all wrapped in the gift paper of ‘project’ or ‘episodes’. It’s good music to listen to if you want a bit of a break from reality. This album has M83 haunting it in places, like a little mischief.  There’s an iamamiwhoami army of devotion wanting to decipher every video and track, and a bunch of electronic nerds trying to pause from wanking to break down the synth arpeggios.


It’s simple and basic, a naked collision of nostalgia from what they’ve already done ‘Tap Your Glass’ to  staring at the sky, the sea,  forests…but eventually it’s programmed music and performance to pull you in. There’s nothing natural or lacking in self consciousness going on here, it’s all carefully constructed performance and the only experiment is who and how the attention is held. I love it. It’s escapist pop music with the visual stimulation tricks that are used on toddlers to keep them watching Cbeebies; beautiful, simple and stimulating with lots of repetition. 


If you want to really see iamamwhoami, go see them performing live. I love 'Chasing Kites', it reminds me of Mary Poppins and I love the typewriter tapping out the beat.

I think my favourite is Shadowshow, its formulaic seduction with a glitter body suit, the demons/aliens/mythical creatures of the forest, and Jonna on a rock about to drown them all. The idiots.  On a backdrop of a good tune.



There’s super limited editions of this with carefully thought out ‘clump’ or you could just buy it the regular way. However you do, this is the way it’s going for music. And Jonna Lee realised this before many others had when she did ‘Bounty’. That is the clever part of all this. 


Sunday, 18 January 2015

20, 000 Days On Earth and Push The Sky Away.



Hello blog, I'm trying to fall back in love with you. I've started to sleep like a normal human (reads as ‘at night’). While applying for a job I wasn't sure about, ‘him indoors’ was made redundant, serendipitous I hear you say, then someone edited a poem I wrote rather madly drunk and my heart didn’t break; I actually liked what he did. I decided to try Spotify which led me to listening to ‘Push The Sky Away’ properly. It was on the ‘to do vinyl list’ after watching '20, 000 Days on Earth' and leaving a bit I wrote on it in drafts. So here’s a mash up.


'20 000 Days on Earth' was made during the recording of Nick Cave’s 2013 album ‘Push The Sky Away’, yes it’s taken me a while to catch up but 2014 was a funny old year. Anyway, enough of the excuses, this is Nick Cave in a fictional day in the life of Nick Cave. Okay.  What stood out in the first few minutes for me was the reference to ‘crooked versions’, for me it was like a walk through a house of distorted mirrors. There’s flashes of reality but a little obscured, caricatured and confused. Nick talks of cannibalised marriage, tip tapping away day and night on a typewriter in Brighton where it is mostly cold and raining…but at times is shot beautifully through a soft lens looking glass?

There are snippets of the music he’s recording in reality, most notable ‘Push The Sky Away’ and an epic ending with ‘Jubilee Street’ which when I watched the film initially, looked a little concert DVD-ish, but having listened to the album now and listened properly, it’s showing his interaction and picking out of that all important front row (as discussed with Kylie Minogue, his only passenger that sits in the back of the car, make of that what you will).

We see Nick talking to a psychologist. Being asked about the first time he saw a naked woman, being dressed in women’s clothes and the biggy, his father. The silent witness that read him ‘Lolita’ as a child. Ick. He’s only acting though isn't he?  He talks to Ray Winstone about wanting to change or not change yourself. There’s some amusing anecdotes about a Nina Simone gig, god knows if it really happened or not but it’s all quite interesting and they look all look so swish in their suits. Here's 'Jubilee street', the gruffalo 'Ray' himself co-stars with a prostitute. Nick sashays up and down the street looking non-commital.


Quote time: “It’s your limitations that probably make you the wonderful disaster you are”. Yes, this made sense. We all need collaborators, to be edited; sure as hell some of my blog posts could do with it. My favourite passenger was Blixa Bargeld, and the tension in that car at that point. How their songs should have been halved to the back drop of ‘Higgs Boson Blues’.

Next up is the Nick Cave 'museum of shit, important shit'. This is his childhood, his teen years, his early band days, all in a decade of which he has little memory due to the drugs and the church going that he is warned will kill him by his beautiful wife, Susie. A woman that caught him by embodying every erotic fantasy he’s ever had, no bloody wonder she spends so much time in the cannibalistic marriage in Nick’s cooking pot (jumping back to few first minutes of the film) Reminds me a little of a cooler version of my jar of happiness.


It all ends on the beach at Brighton. No Fatboy Slim, thank fuck for that. I did say I was going to mention the album. Its bloody good, every song. My favourites are in no particular order, ‘We Know Who U R’, ‘Water’s Edge’, ‘Mermaids’ and the title track ‘Push The Sky Away’. I think I’ve said enough now. Here’s ‘Mermaids’: killer lyric “I was the match that would fire up her snatch”. Kills me every time. How does he get away with it? 






And in VERY exciting other news, I have Morrissey tickets! Cross all your fingers and toes for me that he doesn't cancel. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

King Crow: Michael Stewart (teeny tiny spoilers in this)

You know when you try and get all social media discerning because if you have a creative bone in your body, THAT is what you do to sell your art, whatever it is. Or told you have to do. I've been doing just that since August, picking at the bones of people (like a Condor *goth face*) and trying to work out creativity, be inspired and connect. And consider the notion of 'outsider'.

There are so many great writers and poets out there on smaller indie press that I've bumped in to via the likes of twitter and Facebook, it's not all foodies and kittens, it just depends how you use it. Anyway, 'King Crow' is a story with a lot of bird references in it. It gave me a flashback to school and 'Kestrel for a Knave' or 'Kes'. Barry Hines is brill, I loved 'Threads' too and there's a similar gritty working class theme in Michael Stewart's writing, a very straight forward depiction of the grim reality, matter of fact violence and crime. Or so it seems in the first two thirds.



My personal experience of  bird references start with The Omen (was it a crow or a raven?) and the pecking out of Billie Whitelaw 's eyes, Hitchcock being a bit birdy about stuff via Daphne Du Maurier and the classic school series 'Look and Read', 'Sky Hunter' where everyone is chasing a Peregrine Falcon. Re Billie Whitelaw, RIP of course, I watched The Krays thinking of her and loved it, the women were fab in it.  And then rewind to ravens in King Crow and Coopers search for them. You read this book and go, shit birds are a biggy, the most violent of all of them is on a Christmas Card every year. I was told Robin's carried the spirit of dead relatives, which is why when one came in my kitchen once, I assumed it was my Grandad and not about to attack me. Anyway...

My point? Michael Stewart's story is of a young boy growing up neglected and losing himself in nature and birds and wanting to fly. I felt sorry for him carrying his dad's photograph and and I felt sorry for his mum grabbing a knife and holding it to his sister's throat. Sheer bloody end of your tether stuff. And we cope by constructing fantastical mechanisms, for some, it's magic, for others, it's nature and for all too many it's drugs. You can't read this book and look at a bird the same ever again.

Seriously though, without giving away the twist: The Human Race is a bit tricky and the imagination keeps us going. And when I read the last chapter, I thought 'oh god of course'. Normally I go 'yeah guessed that'. I haven't read anything like it so that's got to be good.


Michael Stewart has also done a poetry compilation called 'Couples' which is dark and brilliant and has a new book on the 5th March called 'Cafe  Assassin'.

http://www.michael-stewart.org.uk/

Friday, 2 January 2015

Gazelle Twin: Unflesh.

Well happy festivities to you all. This will be a bit of a mishmash blog post as I've been a bit dreadful at updating again. I got a very cool Christmas present and it was a signed copy of Gazelle Twin's new album 'Unflesh'; an electronic music menagerie of industrial storminess and the darker side of living. It's an anxiety driven challenge to listen to. I love it. Thank you to Oliver and Elke who are absolute darlings with great taste in music and gift giving.



So at times, 'Unflesh', could be accused of working too hard, but isn't that universal when trying to be creative? It's very different to the debut 'The Entire City', which was a gentler listen, sort of The Knife in dreamy soundscapes, though if you've listened to 'Shaking the Habitual', The Knife have also gone a bit scratchy too lately. I also love that, nothing wrong with a bit of glitch.

Elizabeth Bernholz uses her voice as a distortion instrument, screeching, chirping and teasing with haunting echoes of  the ethereal soprano of her debut. With titles on this album like 'Belly of The Beast', 'Good Death', 'Guts', and 'Exorcise'  how could I not fall in love instantly?

It's like Elizabeth climbed into my mind and stole my weirdness then made music out of it. But in all seriousness, 'Premonition' has a Bat For Lashes feel to it, and 'I Feel Blood' very Fever Ray. I would say the 'must listens' are 'Anti Body'  and 'Good Death' so I'm linking a different track all together  here. Boom!



Iamamiwhoami also have another 'project' ongoing, I've seen them/her twice and the show is stunning. You would think it might be gimmicky when watching the videos but Jonna Lee is a beautifully natural performer, the coming together of technology and nature with a bit of fearless, experimental Swedish thing that perhaps we mythologise a bit. To whom it may concern: a mirror onesie, a forest (of course) some shadowy figures, a lake, playing an imaginary instrument while nude (but arty of course). This is so good. As good as KIN.




See what you think. I would link to other posts I've done about both of these bands but you can just search on it here. I'm done with promoting it you lazy fuckers. Click the labels.