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art sex music (with a bit of Hull Time Based Arts)

29th Dec 2017 0 Comments

Cosey Fanni Tutti’s  new book art sex music has received widespread acclaim in 2017. It has coincided with Hull’s UK City of Culture title and a retrospective at the Humber Gallery in earlier in 2017. This review aims to show connections and links, in the area of English experimental art, although the book deserves some in depth consideration aside of this. Mostly, this has been done elsewhere.

The book has its title embossed as a red block banner across the author’s mouth mimicking the Dymo tape embossing processes of the late 1970s. The words art sex music are displayed lower case and the letter-spacing closed up (unlike the Dymo tapes that produced relatively poorly spaced letters in upper-case text). The …

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Spanking – Matmos at QEH, London – August 2012

17th Dec 2017 0 Comments

Matmos have played twice in London in the last year or so. Firstly, a show at a make-shift space on the Old Kent Road (now a large quantity of flats) and most recently at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, as part of the Meltdown Festival. They are savvy, self-mocking and cool enough to make incisive commentaries on where their work appears – ultimate space perhaps an underground club in Berlin. So, to see the show at the QEH is of course funny because this is a proper, grown up space for ‘real’ music (whereas the London show last year was literally in an empty car servicing unit).

For Meltdown they pull together a band with drums and electric guitar and, although …

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Improvisation Rites: From John Cage’s Songbooks to the Scratch Orchestra’s Nature Study Notes

17th Dec 2017 0 Comments

stefan szczelkun

Stefan Szczelkun has published this new book under the Routine Art imprint, due in early 2018. Having read David Toop’s ‘Into the Maelstrom’ in mid 2017, Improvisation Rites offers some thoughts and personal memories of the late 1960s improvising scene, but is largely given over to a comparison of John Cage and Cornelius Cardew’s two works – Song Books and Nature Study Notes. It does not however take an historical approach but mainly describes how, over a period of time, a fresh line up of people devised both works in different spaces (since 2011).

While Toop’s book is often dense and penetrating into the tributaries of music and sound improvisation, …

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Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom [David Toop]

31st Jul 2017 0 Comments

IMG_5363Musician, writer and improvisor, David Toop has written this most insightful book on the history of improvised music. The book, as one might expect, subverts any ready discourse on this area of sound and music culture. It is not authoritative, avoids chronology and skips from the author’s recollections – as a key figure of the experimental music scene since the 1970s – to cut up assemblages and portraits from other texts. At first it is a slow read and the initial pronouncements make it clear to the reader that this is not to be caught up in theory or ‘dogmas of improvisation’. The heart of the book is Toop’s admission that …

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Burning Bluray on Mac

16th Jan 2016 0 Comments

I have had some success today burning a Bluray on a Mac using a Samsung SE-506AB/TSWD BD burner. The workflow was relatively easy. The Samsung was plugged directly into the Mac (running OSX 10.7.5). No drivers were necessary at all, it just connected.

Using Final Cut Pro 7, we dropped the H.264 mov file onto the timeline and then went to SHARE. At this point you can see the Bluray option and select the device itself. You can set up some rudimentary menus, ie auto play on start up or a menu.

Then just burn the disc. If you don’t have a Bluray hardware player, you can test it in VLC on the Mac. All in all a good route with no …

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Tom Crabtree

24th Dec 2015 0 Comments


At the end of the Nineties, I was invited by Watershed to develop some projects at Southmead Youth Centre in Bristol. I worked with the inspirational youth worker and self-acclaimed anarchist Jeremy Brent. At the time there was interest in working with young people and digital media and Watershed provided various Apple Mac computers for us to lug to Southmead. Things didn’t bode well and I was told I’d be lucky to visit the area and come away with all the wheels on my car. On my first visit to the youth centre I was mocked and torn to shreds by the boys at the centre who …

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Marcel Duchamp – given the same [compte tenu de la même]

13th Nov 2015 0 Comments

Roto Reliefs Roto Reliefs

The Pompidou put together a fantastic show of Duchamp’s early paintings and related ephemera. The show set out to open up some new thinking on Duchamp’s impact on painting and seeing. It also invited investigation of surrounding works and references, such as the development of cinema in the early 1900s. A key theme of Duchamp’s work is the process of seeing and the erotic acts of making and viewing implicit in an age of increased mechanisation.

Marcel Duchamp. La peinture, même

24 September 2014 – 5 January 2015

Marcel Duchamp rapidly absorbed painterly styles and approaches, seemingly with the specific intention of assimilating what could be achieved …

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Attention Deficit Could Be Good For You

5th Apr 2015 0 Comments

Each day we attend to our lives through a series of sequential choices, patterns and behaviours. Many of these are adopted from an array of inputs that arise from family, education, economic performance, sustenance, health or interaction with others. Many of them will be quite banal or might in turn be quite fundamental to the direction our lives might take. Some of these decisions or directions might appear as ‘sliding doors’ moments, a mix of volition and indeterminacy. Technology or techne has propelled the outside or phenomenal world further into our lives. Techne, derives etymologically from Greek meaning making or doing and as such is to do with the world outside.

The world outside now competes relentlessly for our attention. This …

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Dr. Feelgood

21st Sep 2014 0 Comments

Stand and watch the towers burning at the break of day
Steadily slowing down, been on my feet since yesterday
Gotta get a move on tryin´ to find a man I know
Money in my pocket, looking for a place to go

(from ‘All Through The City’ – Wilko Johnson – Down By The Jetty )

Earlier in the year I went over to Canvey Island to meet with Chris Fenwick, original Dr. Feelgood manager and holder of most of the bands estate. Sean McLoughlin, with whom I work at Metal, had urged me to come as he knew I was a fan of the band back in the Wilko Johnson era. In fact I was such a big fan when I …

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Joe Stevens

4th Sep 2014 0 Comments

Joe Stevens spent much of his creative life working in Weymouth and West Dorset. Sadly, Joe passed away in July 2014.

Joe was a talented artist and creative, able to move across media without effort. I worked with Joe on various occasions in Dorset, as we developed the PVA MediaLab project. He was excited about the digital age and the possibilities of using technology to reach audiences and be creative.

More recently Joe seemed to find his niche in sound art and field recording, with a particular fascination for water (he lived in Weymouth). Joe recorded podcasts, hunted sounds and maintained a web site at 51 Degrees North.

Joe will be missed by all who new him on the sound …

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Viral Projects

15th Jan 2014 0 Comments

This link takes you to recent writing on creative media.

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Lol Coxhill

27th Jul 2012 0 Comments

On a blisteringly hot day in July an unlikely group of people emerged from the overground rail line at Manor Park. Turning left, they formed a slow and jovial walking chain heading towards the crematorium. Men in their sixties in ‘pork pie’ hats with silver ear-rings and gangly fifty-something punks with anarchy symbols emblazoned.

The topic on the steady trudge towards the funeral – how did you know Lol, then?

I first encountered Lol Coxhill at the Oakhayes Albion Fayre on the borders of Norfolk and Suffolk in the late seventies. As a young man, excited by the do it yourself aesthetics of punk, I had never heard such a sound emerge from an instrument. Lol Coxhill, standing beneath a tree and …

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