Wednesday, May 02, 2018


My piece for Red Bull Music Academy Daily on "Synthedelia: Psychedelic Electronic Music in the 1960s".

Focused on North America, it features interviews with Cork Marcheschi of Fifty Foot Hose, John Mills-Cockell of Intersystems and Syrinx, and Joseph Byrd of United States of America.  Other groups covered include Beaver & Krause, Tonto's Expanding Head Band, Lothar and the Hand People, Nik Pascal, and Silver Apples.

Congrats to Bernie  Krause for winning the 2018 Moog Innovation Award, which has occasioned the release of this ancient 1971 footage of him and Paul Beaver at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

Some edge cases that didn't make it into the piece.

Check out also the related pieces in this "Synthedelia" package on Bruce Haack and on The Birth of Psychedelic London

Friday, April 27, 2018

See you in 2018!

Here's my Village Voice piece  about the return (just one year off schedule!) of The Mover, which includes an interview with Marc Acardipane.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018



Donaufestival: endlose Gegenwart (endless now)
2pm - "Absent Futures, Present Past: Temporalities in Today’s Music" - panel discussion with Jens Balzer and Christian Höller 
Location: Kino im Kesselhaus 


Vitra Design Museum

6.30 pm - talk about techno, rave, and electronic dance music
Location: Depot Deli, next to the Schaudepot 


Internationale Kurzfilmtage 

Saturday 5th – 10 pm - jury member for announcement of prize-winning music videos at Muvi Screening & Award Ceremony 

Location;  Lichtburg Cinema

Sunday 6th - 10 AM - "After YouTube: Music Video after the Internet" - panel discussion with Marisa Olsen and Christian Höller
Location: Festival Space, Langemarkstr. 22, 46045 Oberhausen
Admission: Free


publication of Retromania: ak popkultura żywi się własną przeszłością by Kosmos Kosmos

Launch event -  "a meeting with readers": discussion led by Jarek Szubrycht, with Filip Łobodziński (translator of Retromania), followed by Q+A
Time: 7pm
Location: Plac Zbawiciela (podium in front of Plan B Café


Rock 'n' Roll Book Club "My Life in Pop": video-illustrated talk on TV epiphanies + Q+ A. 

Time: 6pm to 8 pm
Location: Walthamstow Library
Tickets:  Eventbrite. 

Spain mini-tour for Como Un Golpe de Rayo (published by Caja Negra)


Primera Persona Festival 

21.00 horas - talk about glam rock and its legacy with videos + Q+A
Location: La Casa Encendida 

FRIDAY MAY 11 –  Málaga, Spain  

451: La Noche De Los Libros Festival 

21:00 horas | talk about glam rock and its legacy with videos + Q+A
Sala 001
La Térmica
Avda. de los Guindos, 48


Primera Persona Festival

21:00 horas | talk about glam rock and its legacy with videos + Q+A
Location: El Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

E17 ahoy

In a week and a half, I'm off on a long jaunt through Europe that takes in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Spain - and Walhamstow! Full details of the events on the Continent to follow here soon, but for now a head's up about the East London event.

Part of the Rock 'n' Roll Book Club series, it's on Wednesday May 9th between 6 pm and 8 pm.  The location is Walthamstow Library in the High Street.  The theme is "my life in pop" as a string of TV epiphanies - basically I'll be playing TOTP clips and videos that had an impact on me over the decades and riffing about them. Then Q + A. 

For those not slaked, conversation will then continue at a local tavern, accompanied by appropriate music. 

Information about tickets can be found at Eventbrite. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Hauntology Parish Newsletter - April-May 2018: A Year in the Country book; Ghost Box releases; Emotion Wave; media dropping

The big news in the parish is the publication this week of A Year in The Country: Wandering Through Spectral Fields by Stephen Prince of A Year In The Country the blog and the label.

Sub-subtitled "Journeys in Otherly Pastoralism, the Further Reaches of Folk and the Parallel Worlds of Hauntology", it's an excellent compendium of Prince's musings and meditations on all things wyrdly bucolic, uncanny, and elegiac, spanning a spectral spectrum from Richard Mabey to Zardoz, Virginia Astley to Sapphire & Steel


With the possible exception of Mark F's Ghosts of My Life, it's the first tome fully dedicated to all things hauntological (as opposed to various volumes about "folk horror" or 70s kids teevee)

You can buy it here, and here - and if you must (although then again, it's effectively funding righteous scourge The Washington Post, so why not?) here (UK) and here (US)



In other parish goings-on, I have already mentioned the delightful debut album for Ghost Box from Portugal's Beautify Junkyards -  The Invisible World of... 

Fairly imminently there will be another fine album by The Advisory Circle - Ways of Seeing, out late May. 

Through his own imprint Cafe Kaput, Circle chief Jon Brooks also recently put out this album 

Neil Grant of Lo-Five - whose album When It's Time To Let Go for Patterned Air Recordings  pleasured me last year  - has set up a  collective of Liverpool-based experimental electronic musicians under the rubric Emotion Wave.  Here's Neil's project rationale .

Emotional Wave has some musical output  already under its collective belt and I believe there is a non-audio entity (printed matter) in the pipeline. And in a week or so Neil releases the Lo-Five miscellany Propagate - remixes, compilation tracks and one-off specials.

Neil also alerts me to his having put out a little while back some "super lo fi house tracks"  under the title My House Is Your House Volume One. Like Propagate,  it's a tide-you-over / palate cleanser type release before the follow-up to When It's Time To Let Go.

Love the graphic echo of Human League's "Being Boiled" single sleeve there.

(Neil informs me that this was actually unintended - he just got the figures from a Letraset pack! A nice eerie echo nonetheless)


Finally, a rather tardy mention of an intriguing my-back-pages project Meadow House by Daniel Wilson of Radionics Radio renown. It's really on the very edge of this parish, in so far as it's not particularly haunty, but the back story to Daniel's self-invented Dada-prankster practice of media-dropping - "theact of recording special homemade music and dropping it for random people tofind" -  is pretty interesting.  


The hypnagogia/memoradelia-tinged project Starblood has launched a series based around the concept of late-night TV sign-off themes.

Here's another of their tracks coming more from a dreampop / idyllitronic precinct than this particular parish but nice 'n' woozy nonetheless. 


Parish elders Boards of Canada were recently venerated here and here


Tuesday, April 03, 2018


Here's an essay by me for Pitchfork about Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children, which was released 20 years ago this month.  Including an interview with BoC brothers Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin, it resituates the group and the album in a longer lineage of psychedelia. And it looks at this music's children, notably hauntology man dem.

On which subject, one testimonial that regrettably had to go for space reasons was from Jim Jupp of Ghost Box / Belbury Poly:

"We're always at pains to acknowledge the influence of BoC and particularly that album. They are without doubt direct ancestors of Ghost Box. It was like the first opening on to that whole world of the mis-remembered past that obsessed us. I'd say it was instrumental in turning us on to searching for the source of all that weird music from childhood TV, which leads us of course to library music.

"There's one sound for me in particular that always makes me think of BoC. It's  quite easy to set up on a fairly simple synth but nobody ever did pre-BoC. You have two oscillators both generating a simple sawtooth wave but the pitch of one is modulated very slightly and very very slowly. You get this kind of out of focus effect that is instantly reminiscent of National Film Board of Canada  / Sesame Street. Most people would  say that's because old 60s and 70s synths never had stable tuning, but I think its perhaps more due to the inconsistent playback speed on old broadcast video tape."   

Which reminds me I have been remiss in not pointing out the  loveliness of the latest release on GB, by a new signing to the label: 
The Invisible World of... Beautify Junkyards

Who share a song title with BoC

From Portugal, Beautify Junkyards definitely fit the "memoradelia" (coinage: Patrick McNally) concept, and I'd be surprised if a smidgeon of BoC DNA wasn't part of their make-up, along with traces of Broadcast

Everybody wants to...

The title comes, thankfully, not from Tears for Fears but - apparently - from a child's mumbled answer when asked about God: "he rules the world". To me "rue the whirl" suggests disoriented regret in the face of  Time's relentless remorseless onrush, the hectic ephemerality of being (aka Maya).... how each moment of the present topples 
instantly down a cliff face into an irretrievable past.  

But then there is the safety net of memory - increasingly threadbare and fragile, as the torrent of time wears away at it - but our sole defense against Loss.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

frozen futures and final sicknesses (see you in 2018)


On news stands now, the latest issue of  The Wire contains a long review by me pairing the comeback album by Marc Acardipane a/k.a The Mover with  Sick Music 2018, a compilation of contemporary drum + bass on the Hospital label that I surprised myself by enjoying much more than I'd expected.  As well as an enthused review of two fine records, the piece is an investigation of  the fate of vanguard genres (in this case, gloomcore gabba and D+B) when their accelerationist drive stabilises into a steady state.

The Mover - Undetected Act from the Gloom Chamber.

Also in the April issue, a reet treet for all nuumologists: Michaelangelo Matos's Primer to Pirate Radio Deejay Sets. He's done a fine job laying out the evolution from circa 1989 through to the post-dubstep diaspora and his forensic sifting through the messy mass of archival tapes deposited online by old skool fans has uncovered a trove of true gems. This is probably my favorite of the Matos selections that I've so far checked out.

Finally, in case you missed it, I recently uploaded the best of my own stash of pirate tapes, which I'd digitized some years ago but never got around to turning into YouTube clips.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


A very special edition of "When Mates Make Books"!

Because it's my best mate, my life-mate in fact - Joy Press - who has made a book. 

A book that's out in a couple of weeks on Atria/Simon & Schuster in America, and on Faber & Faber in the U.K. 

It's a bloody good book too. 

But don't take my admittedly biased word for it. 

Here's some advance reviews for Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television from the American trade press - where Joy has pulled off the book-writing equivalent of a Grand Slam with three starred reviews.

"Women have run successful TV shows for decades, but they still routinely face bias and unreasonable obstacles in the industry, as Press details in this powerful narrative that expertly weaves reporting, analysis, and anecdotes. ...Press’s chronicle of a pop-culture movement should inspire a new generation of women creators"  
Publishers Weekly, starred review. 

"Press draws from decades of interviews, research, and reporting to create a vibrant behind-the-scenes look at the some of the most prominent women creatives in the industry and the role they played in bringing women-focused narratives to the forefront of modern TV and culture... An urgent and entertaining history of the transformative powers of women in TV
- Kirkus, starred review. 

"The book is well-organized chronologically and is an absorbing read with some politics thrown in. There are fascinating interviews with female showrunners such as Roseanne Barr, Amy Sherman-Palladino (Gilmore Girls), Jenji Kohan (Weeds/Orange Is the New Black), and Shonda Rhimes (Scandal). ...Highly recommended for those who enjoy reading about the entertainment industry, how their favorite TV shows are created, and women" - Library Journal, starred review

Joy has also received ringing endorsements from leading members of the punditocracy:

"Please read this book immediately. It is sharp, funny, and gorgeously researched, a satisfying blend of inside dirt and critical illumination. It also places female creativity on television exactly where it belongs: dead center in the cultural conversation.
- Emily Nussbaum, television critic  at The New Yorker

"A roaring tour of women's professional, artistic and political impact on television and on popular culture. By turns invigorating and sobering, Stealing the Show maps the progress of the expanded voice, vision and reach of women on television and behind its scenes."
- Rebecca Traister, author of All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of An Independent Nation

"Stealing the Show is essential reading for anyone interested in women gaining power, in how edgy storytelling comes to screens, and in brilliantly talented females taking the reins of a once-derided-as-secondary-to-movies medium.... I relished their stories--and was inspired by them, too." 
- Sheila Weller, author of The News Sorority and Girls Like Us

For further information about Stealing the Show, head over to Joy's website - where you can find details of book events in New York and Los Angeles and details about the book's scope and content.

To buy the US edition go here
To buy the UK edition go here.


Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Haighest of Haighs

It was a pleasure and a privilege to speak with Robert Haigh for The Wire a few weeks ago, for a feature - out any minute now in the March issue of the magazine - that takes in the whole arc of his career: from a surprising early start, through postpunk and the esoteric UK underground of the Eighties, onto rave and the Moving Shadow golden years, then the 21st Century return to solo piano that culminated in last year's lovely and limpid Creatures Of the Deep

At The Wire website, here's a playlist chosen by Rob of some piano music that's influenced and affected him. 

Below is a pictorial journey across Rob's career (including a couple of rare photographs of the man himself) followed by a few of the less obvious gems from his discography.





it's been a year and a bit now

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

RIP Tango

Tango interviewed by Droid five years ago and written up for Blog To the Old Skool 

three years of nuumvolution across three remixes - 91 - 92 - 93

on the ones and twos with Ratty

Monday, January 29, 2018

rollin' Haigh-ts

love that liquid smoky piano

Sunday, January 28, 2018

lord of the universe

Acen's "River Deep, Mountain High" *

The second-best version:

The best of the rest

The best version again - i.e. the first video, the one at the top with the amazing female dancers - the "Monolythikmaniak Mix"  - only this time without the annoying hiss and the abrupt too early cut-off

* in the earlier Blissblog post I nominate "Window in the Sky (Kingdom of Light Mix)" as the 300th best hardcore tune of all time (this being an unfinished, indeed barely started project - the #300 tune entry was the only installment of it, I'm ashamed to admit).  Having already planned for "Trip to the Moon" to be #1 (ah, but which mix, which mix, eh?), and "Close Your Eyes" at #150, the circularity would place Acen Razvi at the centre of the Canon, its spine). 

At that point I'm not sure I'd heard the "Monolythikmaniak Mix" - or if I had, it hadn't really registered with me - but if I was to re-embark on that lunatic List, I'd be placing that mix high, much nearer the top. Which would mean that "Window in the Sky" appeared twice. (Not a unique occurrence, actually - three, possibly four, mixes of "Renegade Snares" would have to feature, obviously...  and at least two of "Open Your Mind").  

Somewhat unusually - given rave's general tendency towards the purely sonic, its downgrading of the visual component in pop's audiovisuality - this was a dance track whose glory was opened up for me by that promo video when I came across it a few years ago. (Who knew there were actually a fair number of rave promos made back in the day?) . Above all  it was those astounding dancers....  the chaste frenzy of their movements transmitting and incarnating the sheer ambush of rave -  its "something new under the sun" quality -  just as forcefully as Acen's beats and vamps. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


I'm in Geneva this Friday 19th January to talk about retroculture + retropolitics, as part of the Innervision lecture series hosted by the bookstore Beckbooks and the record shop/record label Bongo Joe. 

Entrance is free of charge - swing by Le Pneu at 7pm to watch some retrolicious videos and ask tricky questions.

I'm also giving a longer retro-themed video illustrated talk in Lausanne at the Haute Ecole de Musique. Titled 'Everything Isn't A Remix' it starts at at 2pm on Saturday 20th and is open to the general public. Info here

The finest in Swiss antiretro!

The second finest in Swiss antiretro!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Here's a piece I wrote for Frieze about Mute's 40th anniversary  - pegged to the recent and  graphically sumptuous book Mute: A Visual Document from 1978 → Tomorrow - and focused on the label's sustained commitment to futurism and Europeanism.

Just some of the futurism and / or Europeanism emanating from Mute and its affiliated subsidiaries (Product Inc, Rhythm King, Blast First, etc) over the years: