Tuesday 28 December 2010
Sunday 26 December 2010
OK, here goes the annual round up of everything I've bought, downloaded, borrowed and been given music wise in 2010.
I tend to judge what I consider to be the best on the amount I've returned to things throughout the year. On that basis, Liars' 'Sisterworld' and These New Puritans' 'Hidden' have got to be up there, as has Sufjan Steven's 'All Delighted People' EP. Massive Attack's broody 'Heligoland' also became a repeat player at various points throughout 2010.
On the pop front, the Gorillaz album and Momford & Sons were on constant replay in the car for a while but I haven't gone back to either since the summer.
Some albums have grown on me the more I've left them alone. For example, I thought The National's 'High Violet' hugely disappointing compared to the first single and having given it several goes after buying it, it was confined to the bottom reaches of my iPod until a few weeks ago when I gave it another go. I'm now really getting into it. Similarly Gil Scott Heron's 'Im New Here' (particularly New York Is Killing Me).
Bonny 'Prince' Billy continues to disappoint (has he peeked?) and Grinderman equally failed to impress with their second release, just as they did with their first.
I've been loving the Crass reissues, which were remarkably well timed to coincide with the student anti-fees demos and the word 'anarchists' being bandied about the news again. Spooky. Two other conjunctions included buying the first Big Audio Dynamite CD and some of Elvis Costello's back catalogue. This first was prompted by a visit to the Mick Jones's Rock & Roll Public Library and the second by visiting Process, the Barney Bubbles exhibition; oh and the fact that the new Elvis Costello release was Jools Holland fodder, (that's an insult by the way, in case you couldn't tell).
However, if nothing else, 2010 for me was the year I 'got' jazz. First up was going to see The Ex with Brass Unbound in Tufnell Park which is definitely up there with one of the best gigs I've ever seen. The melding of frenetic choppy riff laden and African rhythm influenced punk with an amaziningly chaotic freeform brass jazz band blew me away. Then came Jerry Dammer's Spacial AKA Orkestra in Brighton which was a joy from start to finish, particularly hearing the reworkings of Ghost Town and Man at C&A. And then, what has got to be the best release of the year for me, the one I keep returning to the most, is Polar Bear's 'Peepers'. Prompted by reviews and bored with many other styles of music, I gave it a punt. Truly astounding musicianship constantly on the verge of falling apart. Organised sonic chaos indeed. Thoroughly looking forward to seeing them when they play Ipswich in April.
These three events alongside gifts and purchases of The Ex's jazz collaborations past and present prompted a borrowing of selected CDs from a jazz buff work colleague (thanks Dave). The Bad Plus and Esbjörn Svensson Trio's 'Leucocyte' have both been big hits for me (although on borrowing other EST stuff, Leucocyte seems to have been a lucky break). And now I'm the proud owner of a box set of DVDs about Jazz courtesy of a Christmas present from Claire that I'm sure will influence my musical tastes for 2011.
Ian Dury - New Boots and Panties
Heavy Trash - Midnight Soul Serenade
Vampire Weekend - Contra
Radiohead - In Rainbows Disk 2
Radiohead - These Are My Twisted Words
These New Puritans - Hidden
The Imagined Village - Empire & Love
The Maccabees feat Roots Manuva - Empty Vessels
The Ex - Double Order, Maybe I Was The Pilot
The Ex + Tom Cora - Scrabbling At The Lock
Massive Attack - Heligoland
Seasick Steve - Man From Another Time
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - Kollaps Tradixionales
Gil Scott-Heron - I'm New Here
BangStick! - Ring of Salt
The Selecter - Too Much Pressure
Gorillaz - Plastic Beach
Dans Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip - The Logic of Chance
Autechre - Oversteps
Liars - Sisterworld
Bonnie 'Prince' Billie - The Wonder Show of the World
Opa Hey! - Kottarashky
The Upsetters - The Upsetter
Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths - Young, Gifted and Black
Harry Js All Stars - Liquidator
Lou Reed and John Cale - Songs for Drella
Micah P Hinson - All Dressed Up and Smelling of Strangers
Dave Formula - Satellite Sweetheart
Polar Bear - Peepers
The Fall - Your Future, Our Clutter
John Eden - RSI Radio 4
Konono No. 1 - Assume Crash Position
The National - High Violet
Pavement - Quarantine the Past
These Are End Times - We Have Come So Far, It Is Over
The Bundles - The Bundles
LCD Soundsystem - This Is Happening
Various - Too Old To Be New, Too New To Be Classic: DFA Gets Cheap with Bleep
Big Audio Dynamite - This is…
Stornoway - Beachcomber's Windowsill
Neutral Milk Hotel - On Avery Island
Jon Langford & Kay Ex - KatJonBand
Television - Marquee Moon
Wire - A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck
Chemical Brothers - Further
The Ex Guitars Meet Nilssen-Love/Vandermark Duo, Vol 1 - Lean Left
Colin Newman - A-Z
Electricity In Our Homes - We Agree Completely
Four Tet - There Is Love In You
Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son of Chico Dusty
Autechre - Move of Ten
M.I.A - /\/\ /\ Y /\
The Ex - Dizzy Spells
The Ex & Guests - Instant
Ex Orkest - Een Rondje Holland
The Books - The Way Out
Ornette Colman - The Sound Of Jazz To Come
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Skream - Outside The Box
UNKLE - Where Did The Night Fall
Various - Randy's 50th Anniversary Reggae Anthology
Niney The Observer - Roots with Quality Reggae Anthology
Micah P Hinson - Pioneed Saboteurs
Mogwai - Special Moves
Grinderman - Grinderman 2
Roots Manuva meets Wrongtom - Duppy Writer
Esbjörn Svensson Trio - Leucocyte
Bojan Zulfikarpasic - Solobsession
The Ex - Catch My Shoe
The Ex & Tom Cora - And The Weathermen Shrug Their Shoulders
The Ex - Too Many Cowboys
Swans - My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Tricky - Mixed Race
Sufjan Stevens - All Delighted People EP
Various - Around Robert Wyatt
Belle and Sebastian - Write About Love
Everything Everything - Man Alive
Wyatt/Atzmon/Stephen - For The Ghosts Within
Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz
Lee 'Scratch' Perry - The Black Ark Years, The Jamaican 7"s 1974 - 1979
The Bad Plus - Give
Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, National Ransom
Various - Producers: Lee Perry vs Niney The Observer
The Jim Jones Revue - Burning Down The House
The Beat - Wha'ppen
Wire - The Drill
Maximum Balloon - Maximum Balloon
Crass - Stations of the Crass, Crassical Collection
The Fall - The Marshall Suite
This Mortal Coil - Filigree & Shadow
That Petrol Emotion - Manic Pop Thrill, Babble
Polar Bear & Jyager - Common Ground
Brian Eno - Small Craft On A Milk Sea
Ninja Tune XX Vol 1 & 2
As many people opened their presents on Christmas morning, the good people of Ipswich, in association with McDonald's, gave me the gift of allowing McJunk to turn 500. As Claire and I walked Timmy over our local park my trusty camera phone was put to good use documenting this monumental occasion. Check Flickr for images (link right).
Wednesday 22 December 2010
It is with this in mind that it is very sad to hear the death of Kitching's long-time partner Celia Stothard. The design community has lost one half of a creative partnership that produced many iconic posters. I particularly like the story of the two of them blowing their pension on a huge collection of theatrical type. As Celia wrote of their finding the collection in Eye 74:
"Alan climbed up a ladder to check a range of condensed letters stacked on the barn wall shelves. Some had become damp and infested with woodworm. They would have to be dried out and treated, but first the make-ready (random bits of printed paper, glued to the underside of letters to bring them to type height) would have to be removed. As I logged, measured and photographed cabinets and randoms of type around the barn, I heard a shout of ‘Schwitters!’ and joined Alan, looking in amazement at the first of many examples of the Wrington pressmen’s unconscious ‘make-ready’ art, reminiscent of Dada collages.
Alan already had enough type in his ‘palette’ but the prospect of working with this range and scale was thrilling. In June that year I had up-sized from a two-room flat in SW7 to a former alehouse in Kennington SE11. I had envisaged Alan and some of the Typography Workshop in the covered rear yard, but almost an entire print works? Still, there was plenty of room on the ground floor, the joists could take the weight and the old beer cellar was dry. Who else would or could do it?
Perhaps it was the full moon over the horseshoe atop the Organ’s barn door, or the sweet Somerset air that added to the feeling of fate, but I turned to Alan: ‘Pension payments or this?’ ‘This!’ we chorused and returned to London to make the bid."
Celia Stothard - 'Buy a pension or…' Eye 74
Fine words article, Eye
Vauxhall Society Obituary
Monday 20 December 2010
Sunday 12 December 2010
I'd become used to strange menus appearing every time I hit the wrong keys as I retrained my fingers for a Dell keyboard.
Now I'm working at home on my Mac desktop, I'm trying to unlearn in order to relearn!
Friday 10 December 2010
I'm hearing it everywhere; at work, in the press, in meetings, online, in interviews.
But without context it is meaningless—moving forward from what and to what?
On its own, moving forward equals standing still.
Thursday 2 December 2010
Last night Claire and I attended the Private View of Russell Walker's exhibition at University Campus Suffolk. There is some fantastic, well crafted and iconic work on display, and I'm not just saying that because Russell is a work colleague and friend of mine.
Unfortunately I didn't manage to take any photos of what was an amazingly well attended private view, considering the weather conditions, but Russell and I returned this morning with students where I took these shots.
Titled Friends & Acquaintances, the exhibition showcases 30 years of character based work that according to Russell, "capture either a time or illustrate an emotional attitude experienced through my engagement with literature, the arts and fascinating individuals".
The exhibition poster and catalogue cover (above) was designed in a collaboration between Russell and typographer/designer Jonathan Barnbrook, and on display are musical influences, working materials and books that have inspired his work.
This free exhibition comes highly recommended and is on Monday to Friday until 23 Dec at the Waterfront Gallery, Ipswich.
More photos to follow on Flickr.