Monday, December 14, 2009


Been rather quiet here lately, due to all kinds of outside factors. Mostly, however, I am extremely busy with getting a new Fourth Dimension/Adverse Effect website ready to launch in the New Year, plus the Lumberton Trading Company one is also about to be given a complete, and long overdue, overhaul as well. Both labels have been commanding such attention for a long, long time now, and both will finally have fully functioning Shop facilities and shall be maintained on a regular basis. To state the situation regarding these websites has been embarrassing this year would be an understatement...

Otherwise, as the year draws to its inevitable close, I should also make use of this opportunity to point out what else is happening. Firstly, more Theme recordings are on the cards for the very end of this month (hopefully amounting to the first towards a double-album set) and, secondly, Splintered will finally break away from their hiatus to set about some new recordings, too. At this stage, it's difficult to say exactly how these latter recordings will take shape, but I personally anticipate our taking ideas from the last collaborative album with RLW somewhere further, possibly with the aid of several guests.

Beyond this, plans for next year include releasing a CDEP by Steven Severin, on LTCo, and a new album by Tabata on FD. There are, of course, other things afoot, but it's probably best I don't jump the gun just yet.

Just keep watching this space for further news.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Exit Wounds

Around 18 months ago, I began sketching ideas for a book devoted to Punk's transition into post-punk; an area itself extremely wide given its dovetailing with industrial music, art-rock, synth-pop and so on during the early '80s. However, since then the idea's simply been smouldering away at a standstill due to my not knowing exactly which direction to push it in after my own account/introduction. The only thing I was clear about was not dwelling on its becoming increasingly sanitised pop music (think: New Romantics) and, instead, focusing rather more on its sprawling into the '80s underground (exceptions aside, no less)...

Whatever, mulling over this during more recent weeks has led me to return to the premise of interviewing a large and diverse number of people who were either involved (whether musicians, writers or label owners, etc.) or simply were old enough to both experience it and be inspired by it (akin to myself). Although it will be mostly based on what was happening in the UK, I hope to also include some impressions by others from elsewhere.

I am in the throes of arranging interviews at the moment, but I'd also welcome, at this stage, anybody simply contacting me with accounts of their own experiences surrounding Punk becoming, I feel, far more progressive around the same time people such as Rotten and Devoto left their first groups.

If you feel that you have something to share, please contact me. Thanks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

First Impressions

Never fails to be busy around here, to be honest, but besides having just seen Circle's 2CD reissue of my Triumph release into production for Fourth Dimension, and still overseeing matters surrounding the Autumn Blood (Constructions) compilation CD release on Lumberton Trading Company last month, I have just begun a collaboration with a chap here in Poland, Rafal, who has dedicated a few years so far to putting together a book, The Encyclopaedia of Industrial Music. My role is simply to proofread the translated text (from Polish to English, no less), but I must confess that it's quite an undertaking. The book amounts to an 'A to Z'-type reference book, similar in style to The Crack in the Cosmic Egg one published by Ultima Thule several years ago that itself was devoted to 'krautrock'. My own interest in industrial music doesn't actually extend so far, though. I like several groups associated with it or who themselves were motivated by it but, beyond this, what generally passes for it or its cousins in 'noise' and 'power electronics' or so-called 'dark ambient' these days does extremely little for me. All the same, because of my deep interest in music's corpulent underbelly, and the fact Rafal's research has delved deep into other realms related to the genre, I'm happy to be involved. No idea when it will be completed, unfortunately. I received the 'A' section two weeks ago (now proofread and returned to Rafal) and this alone was 40 pages on a regular Word document. If we're lucky, the book will be ready to publish late next year, but it's going to require a lot dedication to the work. Watch this space for developments, anyway.

Otherwise, Theme's Valentine (Lost) Forever CD is now out (on HCB Recordings) and has so far garnered two reviews. These can be found at: and (edition 697)

As noted on a blog not long ago posted on Theme's MySpace page: "The idea with Theme, as with Splintered beforehand, is to keep trying out different approaches and push ourselves as much as possible within our limitations. Some of these approaches may well be bound to those we've explored previously, but from a different angle, and some might spiral completely elsewhere. I have personally never considered Theme an 'industrial' group, either. Very little such music has motivated me, and even less so Stuart (who is mostly a post-Revolver Beatles/'60s psychedelic rock fan, believe it or not). Theme is simply a continuation of an interest in exploring sounds whilst simulaneously keeping things both personal and able to translate beyond. The idea of pushing Theme into more 'song'-based territory was touched upon on the first album and, of course, by Splintered. Within this framework, however, we set ourselves new challenges. We will never compromise this."

Whilst I can fully understand the rudimentary 'need' for crutches (reference points) in reviews, I
would still contend those responsible for writing them (myself included, given that I also do this on the Adverse Effect blogspot) should look beyond the surface and exercise a little research. It's very easily done with the help of the internet these days, so there's little reason not to.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Those Factors Behind

Something I got asked by a close friend a few nights ago was why I am doing everything that I do. Neeedless to say, it's a question I have addressed myself plenty of the times over the years too, but it's one that rarely comes from either anybody around me or from somebody who may actually give a fuck about my response. The stock answer to the latter, although partly cemented in truth, is that I do everything to ultimately please myself. And by this I don't simply mean that all the music I either put my name to or help to realise exists solely for the purpose of pleasing me. Without wishing to bore you with all of the details behind a release, I do honestly personally enjoy the whole process of seeing something through from beginning to end, and playing a creative part in it. When I released all these singles back in the '90s, for example, I truly felt like I was a real part of them through my physically assembling them to order. Not only did I print the covers and inserts myself but I'd also spend hours sweating it out putting everything together before attending to the orders and promos and suchlike. The satisfaction from this has never waned since, regardless of how inconvenient things may be when weighed next to all of those other huge demands life throws our way. Yes, spending time slaving over a few orders with old jiffy bags and parcel tape may not be 'fun', but I do derive a certain modicum of pleasure in getting these same said packages sent out to people who may well then, in turn, appreciate them. A simple pleasure, perhaps, but enhanced much further by my being active in the previous proceedings.

Returning to the original question, however, and answering it without the need for those crutches afforded by being physically involved, I'd say that I'm very much interested in relationships. With Theme, the group I'm presently involved in with Stuart Carter, this concern is draped in metaphor and allegory (at least for me, in my writing...Stuart may well derive something completely different from what we do). I'm interested in those bridges between the subjective and the objective, the 'artist' and the listener, the areas I'm exploring and their 'context' or 'meaning' and their perception, and so on. With my labels, I'm essentially interested in the same thing. Relationships, in this instance, between artists I feel are doing something interesting and people who may be interested in their work. Once more, there are a number of levels attached to this, though. And, of course, I'm pleasing myself along the way.

Next time somebody asks me why I am doing everything I do, whether music, releasing records or (occasionally) writing, I have a new stock answer. It all boils down to relationships. And I firmly believe this is what I have strived for since first publishing my Grim Humour fanzine in 1983. I don't care so much about noumena or phenomena. I am far more interested in those areas that join them...

Productive Pay-Offs

Out this week, finally, after months and months of varying hurdles and struggles, arrived both the LTCo compilation CD, Autumn Blood (Constructions), and the new Theme CD, Valentine (Lost) Forever, on Israel's HCB Recordings. Although this news in itself brings with it the reality of much work for me via packing orders and endless trips to and from a Post Office some 15 minutes walk away (I could get a bus, but I am neither lazy or afraid of getting the locals to wonder who the hell this flame-haired guy is with all these mysterious packages as he struts past, mind doubtlessly submerged in abstract nonsense), I'm still ultimately pleased that all this toil during the past year or so has come into fruition. Beyond this, I'm satisfied with both releases completely. And, if the response, so far, is anything to go by, I feel I'm beginning to turn a corner with my endeavours. Not that I've ever once been concerned with turning corners in the first place, but it's certainly a welcome, and wholly refreshing, addition to the proceedings.

If interested in either release, you should be able to find them easily enough by using the usual channels.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In My Blood

Some news...

The compilation CD on Lumberton Trading Company, Autumn Blood (Constructions), will be ready for production this week. It, like all compilations, has taken an eternity to assemble and even hit a few last minute hitches before now finally being ready for the manufacturer. As with practically everything else in the present climate, the music industry has been hit quite hard by the recession, resulting in it being more difficult to secure the kind of deals I've been luckily afforded during the past two or three years. Whatever, a jolt or a hurdle of some kind right now will be reduced to the semblance of an already faded blemish over time. Very rare that I've pulled out of any commitments to anything. I beg and borrow if necessary, and that's that. Anyway, the artists on the compilation are: Lawrence English, Peter Christopherson, Birds Build Nests Underground, Steven Severin, Volga, Theme, Andrew Liles, Zenial/Banabila, Formication, Sion Orgon, Human Greed (with LeeDVD) and Colin Potter. Most of the contributions are exclusive and, if I say so myself (and as somebody who doesn't actually like compilations much, generally, if I'm honest), add up to a rather nice whole that flows perfectly, with just enough contours and elements of surprise to keep it positively charged. As an insight to some of the worlds LTCo is personally concerned with, I'm extremely pleased. The CD should appear in about two or three weeks time anyway and, meanwhile, the website itself should be given a long overdue overhaul and feature more information about this.

Otherwise, the third Theme album, Valentine (Lost) Forever, is also going to appear around the same time. Next to the collaborative album between my old group, Splintered, and RLW, released back in 1996, I would contend this as being the one I've felt the happiest about too. Not to slight anything else I've been involved with either, as it's only too easy to pull apart one's own work with the benefit of hindsight, but V(L)F has taken a considerable amount of time to put together and much attention has been paid to the details and overall feel of the album. Following two Theme albums that have seen us exploring different ideas, collaborating with other people, etc., it would appear we've finally found our foothold. Despite presently feeling somewhat over-exposed to the material on the album (which leads to an overwhelming sense of jadedness virtually impossible to untangle oneself from, unfortunately), I feel incredibly proud and, indeed, comfortable with everything on V(L)F. And my collaborator, Stuart Carter, has especially dedicated a lot of effort and man hours to the cause.

Outside of releases, the LTCo website, as already noted, is due to be given an overhaul soon enough, plus the existing Adverse Effect website should shortly be replaced by one focussed on my Fourth Dimension label. A space there for AE matters will operate, and I may then pull down the present blog for this and move everything there. At present, I feel like I'm spread a little too thinly over the internet. Too many profiles, too many pages. Whilst that in itself may serve a purpose, I think objectives can get lost. One of the downsides to the current internet age is the dilution of information, although I still see more advantages than negative points...

Listening round here lately has amounted to dusting off Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Angels Of Light and Ralf Wehowsky albums mostly, but I've also been savouring Pauline Oliveros' The Wanderer, The Plastic Ono Band's first LP, some Tindersticks, a little Eric Cordier, SSAB, Can and an album by a rather sprightly and energetic band called 2L8, whose work makes me think of Radiohead's before they went into Warp Records territory. Am not averse to a little decent pop, if infused with some fucking intelligence.

More soon, I am sure...

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I just posted the following blog on my personal MySpace profile, as I am beginning to feel anything I place here is swathed in a rather cumbersome and wholly overwhelming pointlessness...

"Yes, yes, I said I'd never write anything here again but my promises are evidently going to be kept in the same way as my dear and rather battered old ticker: broken. Ultimately, should anybody be paying attention to such matters, just don't fucking listen to me when I'm having a whinge here. If I feel like jotting down a few thoughts here (as I do right now), I will do so. Just as I always have. Besides, it's nice to actually get the occasional drop of feedback, or see that, yes, people actually visit this place (even if I don't fully grasp why...). My posts at Blogspot seem to mostly go out to a void; a vast chasm of nothingness completely at odds with the sweat, blood and red wine I've put into the damn things. You know, I've an Adverse Effect blogspot, for example, with I think nice 'n' interesting interviews with, so far, William Bennett and Michael Begg of Human Greed (the latter conducted by the wonderful Kate MacDonald or, rather, Katred, no less), and it's hard to fathom whether anybody's even fucking bothered to check in on them. It's not, however, as though I do any of this to simply ride the waves of discourse, but I'd be lying if I declared I didn't enjoy knowing my own little stabs weren't just going out for any other reason than to keep myself occupied. It's not as though I don't have anything else to do or have a social whirlwind of dinner parties, cheap dates and private functions to maintain.

Ever since I first entered the (very much underground) publishing world, I have always, always actively encouraged response. Even though my magazines helped forge my reputation as being an opinionated bastard unafraid to speak his mind or accept idiots (and the music world is teeming with the fuckers, believe me - never has such a place outside the world of filmmaking attracted so many egocentric, pumped-up little cunts who are so deluded they fail to grasp what they're doing is precisely the same thing as countless others), I never once ventured that anybody should bite their fucking tongues. For, believe me, doing exactly that is what most people do anyway. In every respect.

So, to go back a little, yes yes yes, I crave discourse, ideas, opinions and suggestions. Like hearty meals, the good music itself that I mostly find myself pinning thoughts to, my desire for the woman who'll forever stay just out of reach, a roaring fireplace on a winter's snowy evening, and that one little nip of absinthe too many, it keeps me going.

Justifications over...

On another note, if so inclined, do visit my Theme, LTCo (MySpace as well as the website), Splintered, etc. pages for updates on the various developments on my endeavours. Likewise, of course, the BlogSpot pages.

Despite whatever some victims may say, my bark is definitely worse than my bite..."

I think it says everything I feel like saying here at this moment in time...

Thursday, July 9, 2009


All plans to have new releases out by this summer have been curtailed for all manner of reasons beyond my direct control. To declare this frustrating would be an understatement. On top of this, a lot of writing I had on an old iMac may well have just been lost too as it will no longer work...

...and of course I didn't back it up!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Movements: Part One

True to form, all notions concerning my getting posts here regularly these days are proving themselves to be hurdles created by the presence of so much else going on in my life. Partly due to the fact another friend has stepped in to help with such matters, the Lumberton Trading Company label is gaining a modicum of momentum, whilst elsewhere I’ve either recently been embroiled in William Bennett’s Cut Hands appearances in Poland (see review at my Adverse Effect blogspot, if interested), caught up with affairs relating to the imminent release of the third Theme CD, Valentine (Lost) Forever, on Israel’s Heart & Crossbone label, or snagged either on more Fourth Dimension releases or the Grim Humour book I’m still (slowly) working at. Whilst I hope to continue with more posts here shortly, the best I can do in the meantime is furnish you with both the news the LTCo website will shortly be given an overhaul and that there are new links added here to its MySpace profile and Facebook group. Without any doubt whatsoever, and in spite of all appearances to the contrary, movements are constantly, and rather joyously, afoot.
I have no intention of doing otherwise just yet, believe me…

Saturday, April 18, 2009


As the group I'm involved with, Theme, are about to unleash a third CD album (via Israel's Heart and Crossbone label), Valentine (Lost) Forever, upon the world, it seems only fitting that some footage of us live finally got posted on YouTube. There's not much there yet, actually, but an ex-flame of mine (and excellent fine-artist/photographer), Maria Husarska, has at least put together a rather exquisite short montage culled from our support slot to Colin Potter in Krakow in Spring 2007. If interested, please visit:

Saturday, February 28, 2009


A subject that occasionally rears its head is the one concerning favourite albums, groups or music. An ultimately futile exercise, of course, but fun because it can lead to discourse, a clash of opinions, shared epiphanies, anecdotes and excitement, or a sense that one might not be alone in the belief that some obscurity is of far more ‘value’ than the very records, passions and interests which may have led to its being unearthed from anywhere ranging from a record shop’s dingy basement to a dead uncle’s attic in the first instance.

Whatever, music that remains at the core of your very being does so for a whole gamut of different reasons. Nostalgia, the idea of looking back to certain records or more especially songs in order to return to moments long dissipated, and the feelings it can quickly dredge up like a sugar rush, may well make for a huge and significant underpinning, but objectivity can play an equally important role. Better still is when the thrill and excitement of a certain record not only stirs up the very same emotions as ever but has the added bonus of objective opinion kicked firmly into the black too.

For me, it’s always hard to truly pinpoint favourite records without considering the original effect they had on me, the feelings they can still evoke, and whether or not, outside of this, they are actually ‘good’ in the first place. Perhaps the latter point negates the subjectivity of the former two, but I’ve now spent almost three decades attacking so much of the crap we’re surrounded by I’d contend my intuition is now finely honed. Yes, what constitutes a ‘good’ record for me likewise lays itself open for debate, but there have always been outside factors governing my decisions.

When I first heard ‘Public Image’ at a local disco held every Friday night in a village outside of Canterbury, aged 13 or 14, it sent such a rush through me that it had a far more profound effect than all the ‘punk’ I’d heard prior to it. Those very same emotions are still stirred every time I hear Rotten’s opening cascade of hellos and Wobble’s mighty bass rumbles, and yet – outside of this – the song itself is everything the Pistols had promised: a glorious suckerpunch of molten rock drenched in negative-to-postive energy and barely contained cynicism; and all within the framework of a 'pop' song! Three years later and Public Image Limited’s Flowers of Romance impacted on me in exactly the same way. Partly, I was at an age where I could generally only afford 7” records, so this was one of the first LPs I bought (taking its place alongside some Blondie, Stiff Little Fingers, The Cure, Crass and suchlike, I faintly recall). Secondly, the album’s title song, cut for a single, blasted my consciousness apart like so little else that I simply had to have the album. An album that then proved itself to be unlike anything I’d ever heard or even imagined before. Only Rotten’s voice and some occasional stabs of noise were akin to the ‘punk’ I’d long become used to. The rest of the album just threw me so hard towards a place I’d never previously visited that, as with ‘Public Image’, I knew I’d never recover. Not even if I’d actually wanted to, that is. And, again, the revisits I’ve paid since have never failed to reward me. On many counts.

So, when I am asked about my favourite records, I’m drawn towards those that not only mercilessly seeped through my very being, or indeed ripped it apart, but those that can hold their own when placed alongside anything else. The moments they captured, and can still capture, plus their rightful places on a map I personally believe in, intertwined so well that it’s completely and utterly irreversible.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Fine Art of Giving a Damn (Expanded)

Here’s a slightly expanded version of an entry I placed several weeks ago when only half-formed (and now deleted...). (Note to myself: learn to stop placing posts when they are not ready and, indeed, learn even from the sentiments in this one!)

Reflecting on how I have changed towards the music I'm personally involved with recently, I realised that the attention paid to everything now is not only greater but radically different. With my old band, Splintered, we'd invariably rehearse once or twice a week and then record at a local studio once we felt some songs were ready for it. There'd always be a certain amount of room left for improvisation and new ideas during the recording sessions, of course, but we'd at least get to the stage we felt we were ready to go there before parting with our money for the sessions themselves. And because we played live regularly, it was imperative we got together frequently to ensure we still had some chemistry between us as much as go over or expand on old songs or see if any new ideas would bubble up. At certain points, there wasn’t even a guarantee we’d get on together still, never mind commit our time, energy and money to much beyond.

Theme, on the other hand, do not generally rehearse and, in turn, spend far longer labouring over ideas and sounds. We get together and record ideas immediately within the confines and comforts afforded by a home studio. Afterwards, we spend months, or even years, returning to these ideas and tweaking them into a shape we are finally content with.

Ultimately, despite this shift in demographics, a lot of time has always been spent working away at the recorded work I’ve been involved with over the years and teasing it to the point it was felt ready to unleash on those who may be even vaguely interested.

Although the approach to creating music, and tackling its inherent problems during this process, has changed as much as the music itself over the years, I strongly feel a vast number of groups and artists operating elsewhere within this field could learn a thing or two from all of this.

I have always failed to see the point of putting one’s name to anything if the sense of pride or achievement ranks a second place to either a simple spurt of ability or the many dubious motives spiralling from this…

The lack of effort I continue to hear in most music these days almost makes me wonder why the fuck I care so much about this most communicative of art-forms.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Making the Right Noise

As somebody responsible for having released a lot of other people's music since the early 1980s, I have been on the receiving end of countless demos and bids for approval or even some kind of acknowledgment over the years. Whilst this in itself has furnished me with a tremendous ego-massage during those many times of need, I must confess that I have generally been put off at the very first hurdle by these little bursts of anticipation simply because they always amount to something fairly ordinary and, indeed, expected. At best, there would have been a cassette (back in the 'early days') or a CDR (these days), an extremely dry and rather stultifying biography intent on magnifying the truth about the said artist or group so that they may seem sufficiently 'interesting' enough to work with, and possibly even a photo. Then there'd always be the letter. The begging letter, intent on convincing me that the work of the artist/group concerned would 'fit in' with my label and that they, of course, 'love' and 'respect' everything else I have already done. Which is why, nine times out of ten, the music was either so bad or inappropriate that it, needless to say, did not come close to approaching my actual (admittedly broad, but refined nonetheless...) tastes.

Barely a week has gone by since I began to release music where one or two, or far more, of these little stabs at catching a dream has not ended up in my grasp. Nice and, again, perhaps ego-massaging, on one hand, but likewise generally amounting to nothing more than a nuisance eating into time I don't really have spare for such matters. Of course, I fully understand the nature at work here but, to be extremely blunt, I'm ultimately residing in a highly privileged position (of my own making, I hasten to add). I've written about music since 1983 and, as a result, have always been in contact with an infinite tide of people involved themselves. Because of this, I have even actively discouraged people sending me demos or whatever for as long as I can recall, but I suppose those dream chasers are every bit as ignorant about my background as their music only too often indicates.

Nonetheless, it always got me that that one simple glimpse of one of these packages could tell me so much. A soulless, colourless biography attached to an equally benign letter exuding nothing more than the 'right noises' has almost always reflected the nature of the music within these packages...

I had an email a week back from somebody claiming to have had "a dream" whereby he could "see" a 7" record with a silver cover emblazoned with a gold saxophone. He also said he could recall a "discussion" with "somebody from the label" in this same dream, although admitted he didn't know what this "signified". Then the punchline arrived in the form of him explaining he had some music to send me if I was "interested" and, well, it is on its way to me now. Whilst even the dream angle isn't entirely original, I just liked the fact that this approach was at least a little different to the usual.

The music may well still not amount to much, but my interest has been piqued. And, right now, that actually adds up to something which stands head and shoulders above what I normally receive.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Premature Spring Clean

Anybody who has bothered with my own musings here in the past will, I daresay, now notice that I have deleted all thirty-eight previous entries. Principally, this is because I have never been entirely satisfied with them, either because they've been written and posted impulsively (something I'm otherwise extremely comfortable with when dealing with music) or have remained half-formed due to various reasons. Whatever, the fact remains. I have long considered the idea of simply starting anew here with a hopefully more rounded agenda underpinning everything. Whilst I am simultaneously contemplating the idea of beginning an Adverse Effect blogspot, I feel the space here would be better reserved for material which may dovetail with it more sufficiently, such as (for example) extracts from a book I started writing that's presently entitled Exit Wounds or news on various matters relating to my endeavours. Of course, there will still be room enough here for catching various other stray thoughts along the way, but I want to exercise more care with them from now on.

Whilst I'd be kidding myself if I didn't admit to generally feeling embarrassed or uncomfortable with most things I have written before, I remain at the mercy of the paradox afforded by my forever feeling inadvertently compelled to continue exposing my lowly opinions and thoughts in this manner.

I hope that there will be more postings here from now on and, in the meantime, would like to thank everybody who has commented on the previous posts. I hope you will continue to visit.