Three musical uploads to Youtube…

This is what I’ve been working on over the past week:

4, 5, And 6 Precisely
An EP in a single Youtube upload. Noise, synth pop, and 50s / 60s B-movie sounds in a tribute to the 1980s iteration of British Telecom’s speaking clock. Track timings can be found in the video description.

I’m Falling
80s “minimal wave” type thing, with a slight psych bent. Loosely inspired by the very early Ministry song of the same name, but sounds very different to it.

Inside The Disco, Only Shadows
This is a difficult one to summarise because it comes from a complicated place emotionally… I’ll just say that it sounds sort of like the Pet Shop Boys, only instrumental, and was initially inspired by “Kylie Said To Jason” by The KLF.

Allergy

In front of a hundred witnesses, later replayed on television, still later made into GIFs. As he made his speech, his face began to blur horizontally. A video editing effect somehow now an actual physical event.

His limbs juddering like a stop motion puppet, taken away by uncomprehending paramedics. Rows of men with ashen faces. Folds under appalled jawlines.

The blur receded. Not a scene of gore, but completely blank skin. Like an eggshell. Nobody was sure if he was still in there.

Those infamous ancient symbols, perverted by the West, altered everywhere. Replaced in fabric and at a deep software level. Now a pattern of colliding dots, animated when it shouldn’t be. Even when on clothing.

Except in the temples from which they had been stolen; there, they remained the same.

Content farms and endless arguments and consumer goods. All obliterated under a dense sea of thick liquid colour, a brackish plastic apparition of blank yellows and reds and blues and greens. Nothing had been altered, hacked, hijacked. Something was changing it all in-between server and device.

Lurid purple jelly, smelling of melted plastic. Surging through places of power, mouths hysterical in close up. Laughter. Sodden and embarrassed people of might, sprouting odd appendages. Eyes becoming impossible, bones crunching as bodies transformed. More laughter.

The workers grew long scaly wings. Refused to come back down from the warehouse rafters. Laughed into the frightened electronic eyes that observed them. Remote voices begging, pleading, cajoling.

Police were called to assist other policemen as they became pocket realities in perspex boxes. Looking inside there was a perfect satire of each former individual.

All the buzzwords, acronyms that people had been saying. A sudden electric blue taste, a stunning wave, and then they physically could not be said. When anyone tried, strobing nylon sheets would unfold from their mouths. Typing them out would cause fingers to briefly elongate, fly everywhere.

An old blooded family spotted frozen by a roadside at night, standing in a line, grinning. Giant superstructures made out of bottletops, bits of dolls, stones – suddenly everywhere across East Anglia. You could spend days within a single one.

Books seemed to glow and condense, become elaborate and brief, not any genre in particular. Long lost video and film footage peeled off of aeroplanes, bubbled up from harbours. Music recombined into furious, complex balls of energy. Weapons turned into teeming masses of worms. AI systems, source code and all, took trips and returned as tiny screaming squares.

He was gone. A lost cause. They had tried piercing the eggshell with tubes – no point. On his million dollar corpse appeared two words:

MESSAGE INSIDE

In MS Comic Sans. A deliberate act of supernatural spite. At the autopsy the message was relayed to all:

I RUN A PICKLE FACTORY
BUT LIFE IS DULL IN THE PICKLE FACTORY
SO I GO AND TROUBLE UP PLACES
THAT ARE NOT THE PICKLE FACTORY

Maybe it meant something, maybe it meant nothing. A lot meant nothing these days, true, but this was a nothing rare to these times. An old and once respected nothing that had been shoved to the sidelines, and had chosen to strike back.

It was like reality itself had been angered, sharpened its pen, crossed out the errors, added better ones.

An Opinion Piece: Humour In Art Is Never Funny

As someone who has some kind of interest in contemporary art, I’m dismayed again and again and again at the utterly terrible sort of supposed humour displayed by the average conceptual artist. (And there are a lot of very average conceptual artists about.) Just take a look at this description from a recent series of uploads over at ubu.com:

Conceptual artist Ceal Floyer is celebrated for her deft manoeuvres in everyday situations, testing the slippage between function and implication, the literal and the imagined. Working in film and installation, she reconfigures familiar objects as sources of surprise and humour. In Light (1994), for example, a solitary unconnected bulb is lit up from four sides by slide projectors; in Stable (2008), the ubiquitous folded beer mat, often found wedging a dodgy table leg, is called on fourfold, to bear the load of all four table legs.

The former example of those “deft manoeuvres”, and to an extent the latter, just ends up reminding me of this exchange between the music critics David Quantick and Stuart Maconie on Radio 1 in 1995, while discussing those fateful Blur and Oasis singles from that August:

Quantick: …The Blur record at best is like mid-period Wings in quality, and the Oasis record at possible best is better than ‘Je Suis Un Rock Star’ or a Mick Jagger solo record. They’re okay records, they’re good records I grant you, but it’s not like a great moment in world history. They’re not even as good as a Smiths record. They’re both quite nice.

Maconie: No, I think they’re both top notch records! People are saying that the Oasis record is clichéd and run-of-the-mill, but I think that it’s in a deceptive way one of the cleverest things they’ve done because there are a lot of intricate things going on in the background.

Quantick: Not to be entirely derisive, but it’s clever and arty in the way some bricklayers making a birdhouse out of bricks is clever and arty.

And that’s really what “Light” is – a birdhouse made out of bricks. Conceptual art seems to mostly be nothing but an endless array of cute jokes about stuff that doesn’t matter. I did use to go to bat for this kind of thing, but after a while it just wears you down and you want to read a comic book or play a video game or even listen to bloody “Country House” for the first time in over two decades instead of subjecting yourself to tedious arse-ache like this.

Incidentally, I’ve lost count of the amount of times some gallery or online magazine type site describes this kind of shit as “wry” or”playful”. How about aiming for “interesting” and maybe even “good”? Also, if anyone who writes for The Wire (the magazine) comes across this, how about making your publication not feel like you’re doing homework when you read it?