Thursday, March 27, 2008

Saddleback - Night Maps

Saddleback - Night Maps (Inertia)

Not so long ago, I heard slow-motion instrumental playing on FBi which blew me away. It remains the only time I've had to phone up the station and get them to identify the track. It turned out to be from Night Maps, the new album by Saddleback, an Australian musician responsible for the haunting Everything's A Love Letter (which had been recommended by TG). As for which track it was: I forget.

Not that it matters, because every song is of part of the same marvellously expressive atlas of creaking strings, airy woodwind and rusting beats. It's like a forgotten piece of sepia Postgate cranking itself into life, a clockwork orchestra playing by memory. Gorgeous.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Fugitive Pieces

Perhaps the single most luminously beautiful book I've ever read, indeed the first book I can remember that made me cry, Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels (a poet by trade) has been made into a movie starring Stephen Dillane.

Whether they can do justice to such a haunting, powerful novel remains to be seen. But the fact they made a damn good fist of Atonement gives me hope.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Rest is Noise

I've been waiting for The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross, music critic for the The New Yorker, for at least a year. I finally got my hands on a copy a week ago, and it's magisterial, a wonderful, heady sweep of a century's music and how it effected, and was effected by, political events.

His site has an extensive range of samples which accompany the text, which makes the whole experience vastly richer.

But I have to say, I couldn't resist the temptation to trigger them all at once and turn up the speakers.

You try...

Forensic Entomology

from the LRB:

"There is something reassuringly democratic about the maggot nurseries our bodies become if they are left in the open, or in a shallow grave. The insects make no distinctions of race, rank, sex, age or wealth. We're just a place for them to grow up and feed. It's more than humbling: it's heartening - we're organic, too, and in the end nature recovers the meals we've taken from it, by eating us back. Strictly speaking, of course, we're not entirely organic, and some of the hidden chemicals we contain can have the strangest effects on creatures which consume us. A forensic entomologist was baffled by the unusual size of some of the maggots on the corpse of a 20-year-old woman found stabbed to death by a logging road. It turned out that the big maggots, which had grown more than twice as fast as they should have done, had been feeding from the victim's nose, which was suffused with cocaine from years of drug abuse.

"The maggots thrive on Ecstasy, too".

Amazon reviews

From the hilarious world of reviews. Read this review of Carol J. Adams's The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist Vegetarian Critical Theory. and remember to feel bad, WIFE-BEATER!

I was so moved by this extraordinary text. Interrogating the assumptions of white male Women beaters/meat eaters, this important work examines how the white dominating and oppressive culture dictates that the eating of meat is 'good' and even 'necessary', subject Peoples of Color to dietary regimes alien to their own subjectivities. As the writer notes, there is considerable resistance among patriarchal-dominated discourses to vegetarianism. This resistance is a form of textual rape, to be combatted by a 'taste of their own medicine': "A vegetarian writer may express feelings about textual violation by referring to images of butchered animals and raising the issue of dismemberment." A wonderful book, highly recommended.


Jeff Goldblum

I love Jeff Goldblum, and face it: so do you.

Here a quote from an interview with The Guardian:

"I meditate and I read and I just think... well... what are you going to get if you win? You know? Whoever's back you're planning on sticking a knife into, whatever mountain you're desperate to get to the top of, you won't win. There is no winning. And there is no winning because winning is a lie."

A god amongst men.


Enormous Yes yields to no man or woman in its love for Kate Bush. When the Yes was but a callow nipper making its way in a big bad world, her song Cloudbusting nestled and shone amid the drek like a tiara in a toilet.

"I still dream of Orgonon," she sang, and we wondered what on earth Orgonon might be, before being distracted by the mmmmmmm knowing something good is gonna happen bit.

So: what was it? And why were the Government interested?


Thursday, March 20, 2008


Tricks and tips for exploiting your brain

I need this. My brain has been exploiting me for too long.

The Rip | Portishead | Third

This is the only song I can listen to at the moment. I should stop, I’m going to wear it out. But I just can’t. It’s a beautiful and creaky guitar figure, a four-note arpeggio shape entwined around a lovely long chord structure; a similar hushed but hopeful vibe to the Out Of Season album. And then it’s insistent and electronic, synths erasing the guitar: but still those same ever-cycling notes; and over it all, and within it, like a ghost, Beth, keening, mournful. It's a wonderful song on an album full of wonders.

Worth the wait and then some.