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.