Alchemists of Sound

I just saw an amazing documentary about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the creators of spooky soundtracks for BBC programming. Anyone who grew up in the seventies remembers the scary sound effects and haunting theme song of Doctor Who.

The doco charts the history of the workshop, its prolific output, the incredibly tedious but wonderfully creative work they did with tape loops, the amazing music and some of the incredibly talented people working there.

It's called Alchemists of Sound and was on BBC Four and will be repeated over the next few days. I imagine it'll make it to Australia soon enough. Keep an eye on the tv schedules.

Critically listening to The Beatles

I've recently been listening in some detail to the more structurally complex Beatles songs such as Happiness is a Warm Gun and the Abbey Road medley (You Never Give Me Your Money/Sun King/Mean Mr Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The Bathroom Window/Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End). This has been greatly aided by Alan W Pollack's Notes, particularly his very detailed analysis of the Abbey Road medley.

The Beatles really were amazingly disciplined while being amazingly creative when they had their shit together. The Abbey Road medley contains a series of songs (more than just the named ones) that could each have been developed into workable songs in their own right, but the guys were just overflowing with ideas and keen to try new forms after all the years of fairly straightforward songwriting.

Paul's inherent sense of the catchy tune coupled with John's playful technical and structural hacks just blow me away. Every additional listen brings out new details. This may seem a rather academic exercise but I would recommend it to any music lover, particularly those who like music with deep structure but appreciate pop.

Next one to look at will be Paul's Boutique by the Beastie Boys, possibly the best hip-hop album ever. For this I will be aided by Brad S Benjamin's excellent analysis.

Glastonbury 2003

We got home from Glastonbury last night and wow, was it a great festival! Musical highlights were Ozomatli's brilliant, energetic morning set on the Pyramid Stage and Asian Dub Foundation's lively set. Billy Bragg, REM, Lemon Jelly and The Delgados were all good.

Of course, Glastonbury is about more than music. The vibe was great. Very relaxed and friendly. Weather was brilliant. A bit of rain on Friday morning and then blazing hot the rest of the weekend. Perfect!

I'll have some photos up once I get photos developed.

Sub Bass Snarl playing this Sunday

Sub Bass Snarl (and Kerrii) arrive in town tomorrow. They're playing on Sunday night. I finally managed to get details out of them. Apparently playing on laptops these days, due to problems with equipment earlier in the tour.

Sunday 22.6.2003
Moon Palace @ The Strong Rooms
120-124 Curtain Road
(nearest tube Old St.)
4pm-12 midnight
special live guests:
dDamage (planet ?u/tsunami addiction)
Carthage (pause2/irritant)
Crunch (mas) dex and laptop set
guest DJ:
Sub Bass Snarl (Australia)
Phil Summit

New Bowie tour and album

David Bowie is touring again this year! London gig will be at the Wembley Arena on 25th November. Tickets on sale this Friday, apparently, though already available to Bowienet suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hmembers.

Info from here and here.

Also, new album in September.

Ooh great Meltdown!

This year's Meltdown is being curated by Lee "Scratch" Perry and the lineup looks a doozy! According to NME it includes Public Enemy, Tortoise, Michael Franti and Spearhead, DJ Spooky, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Asian Dub Foundation and Ozomatli. Ooh ooh ooh!

Annoyingly, some of the acts clash with Glastonbury again, just like last year. Fortunately it's only Asian Dub Foundation and Ozomatli who are both strong rumours for Glastonbury anyway.

I wonder if there's a ticket to the whole festival?

Mash-up pop madness

In case you haven't heard, dsico does crazy mad cut-up pop shit. Currently I'm listening to his remix of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart with Missy Elliot's Get Your Freak On. Yes that does sound bad but here's the rub, it actually works. So without further ado, go to the site and download some examples.

Apparently, coming to London this Summer.

Glasto sells out

Yeesh, tickets to this year's Glastonbury Festival have sold out, 24 hours after going on sale. That's 112,500 tickets or about 78 a minute. I guess I can forgive them for having a slow website yesterday morning.

Fortunately we managed to get some and it sounds like Liwood House and Jules did too. Hope everyone else who was planning on going got theirs!

The rumours are pretty good: Sigur Ros, Jurassic 5, Asian Dub Foundation, REM, Moloko. Cool! Regardless of the eventual lineup, last year's lineup was pretty crap but we had an amazing time. Just being camped in a field with 100,000 people is pretty amazing in itself.