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Give me music and give me noise....

Monday, 27 April 2015

Stalin! Get your ass on the dancefloor ...

 ... and meanwhile, in a parallel universe where Stalin is a keen fan of twerking and other bootylicious activities, I discuss ... er, Stalin, Putin and twerking ....

Monday, 20 April 2015

People who say something 'rocks' do not rock

When did people start saying something or other "rocks"? And more importantly, when will they stop? God, like an ever-expanding universe, people always seem to find new ways to be annoying.

OK, it's no big deal. Even I don't care really, but still ... why?

It's probably AC/DC's fault, or Aerosmith, or one of those bands. Or perhaps that massively-unfunny-looking Richard Linklater film. I dunno.

Anyway, things have obviously come to a critical pass when my not-at-all-popular-culture-orientated girlfriend uses it in an email to me. Seems she got it from an old friend of mine. Hmm. This NEEDS TO STOP.

No, along with all that two-fingered rock saluting and cries of "rawk" - which at least had the excuse that they were supposed to be ironic (not that that didn't mean they weren't still as boring as hell) - the use of rock as a way of signifying approval is about as clever and entertaining as ... oh, your average rock song. 

Yeah OK, I should get over myself. Leave music pedants corner and go out to a gig or something. True! I might even go to see Allo Darlin'. Because well, unlike Angus Young's well-past-their-sell-by date "rockers", Allo Darlin' actually do rock ...  

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Moderately-driven cars

... so you're probably looking for (ahem) another music in a different kitchen. Say no more. Just go here. Where you'll also find courteous drivers who never exceed the speed limit ...

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Why the heck would anyone bother with a film about Nirvana?

They're really not one of "my" bands. Not a group whose music I've ever taken to my crabby old heart, listened to intently or been in any way particularly moved by.

No, Nirvana really weren't able to transport me to any state of otherworldly bliss. Nevermind! Still, they had their moments. I recall that voguish-at-the-time unplugged thing they did - not bad. And I do like a few of their songs.

But actually, I enjoyed the Cobain: Montage Of Heck film just as much - more, perhaps - than the blown-out rock stuff from the band itself. Here we're in Control-type territory - a film about a supposedly cult band (ie an excessively venerated outfit who are talked about incessantly) which sensibly focuses not on the music but on the complexity of a key figure.

I normally hate films about music, especially biopics, but just as Anton Corbijn's dramatisation of Ian Curtis's increasing unhappiness in Joy Division worked because it devoted serious time to his relationships, I reckon Brett Morgen's documentary succeeds because it dwells on Kurt Cobain's childhood and his key relationships. I can't pretend to judge how fair a representation of his life it is, but certainly the Heck film's account of an insecure but driven person struggling to cope with the pressure of fame, masculinity, fatherhood (he seems OK in this area actually), of being creative and of not being a sell-out - well, it all seems convincing enough. MTV-hyped, stadium-filling mega-success never seemed a very sensible option for such a self-doubting person, but ... he also seemed to crave it.

Morgen's film is particularly good, I thought, in its more out-there sequences - rapid-fire clips of post-war regular America (square-jawed fathers, shopping malls), biology stock shots of intestines (to denote Cobain's stomach problems), the animated scenes showing a super-bleak Aberdeen in Washington state, the repeated (and surprisingly not-at-all-boring) shots of Cobain's journals with his scrawled lyrics and self-hating scribblings. I didn't so much like the over-lengthy home movie stuff shot by Cobain and Courtney Love with their baby daughter. Kinda overdone, I thought. (Yeah, OK, I get it. Postmodern self-ironising of their drug-addled rock star personae. Fine, fine).

So yes, an interesting film regardless of whether so-called grunge music - stadium-sized or otherwise - is in any way your thing. And if the ICA's screening of it is typical, the clips of Nirvana blasting out some of their music is mixed extremely high in the soundtrack - it must be the loudest music I've ever heard in a cinema. I have to say, it sounded ... good, Krist Novoselic's surprisingly heavy bass especially.

As it happened I only saw the Nirvana film by chance, having actually intended to see Thom Andersen's The Thoughts That Once We Had. Sorry Brett! Andersen's film is billed as the "meticulous product of years of reading and lecturing about Deleuze’s CinĂ©ma" - yes, delirious Deleuzian cinema, a montage of Von Sternberg and bits of Godard. Great! Here and there Cobain: Montage Of Heck has some of this near-delirious inventiveness.

Being the dull, Nirvana t-shirt-wearing clone you probably are, you might go to see this film for the music but you'll ... stay for the sad story and the cinematic playfulness. Or, er, you'll probably go to see Fast & Furious 7 instead ...

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The great Easter iTunes meltdown disaster

Erasure. Meltdown. Utter collapse! Never mind the Great Hatton Garden Easter bank vault heist, my own Easter disaster was stupidly destroying all my iTunes playlists in a Natalie Bennett-like brain-fade moment. A moment of utter madness ...

Yeah, in case you were thinking of quickly uninstalling and then re-installing iTunes because ... well, if you were thinking of doing it for any reason whatever, my advice is: don't.

Losing a few playlists in your crappy iTunes library on your computer. Big deal. Why does that matter? Well, it DOES! Five years of patiently (read: obsessively) assembling ripped CDs and downloaded albums into their iTunes playlist equivalent - this is a veritable labour of love. Devotion. I've slaved at the noisy musical coalface of playlist engineering for ... oh, for about 193 hours.

And not just on the albums playlists. There are all the Niluccio on noise monthly compilations (what, you don't know about these!), the dub and noise comps, the miscellaneous download categories (Sociopath Recordings take a bow), the country music samplers for my Stetson-wearing brother-in-law.

And there's a lot more to this digital carnage which I won't bore you with. As I pick up the pieces (yes the last few evenings have been spent almost entirely in the dark rebuild tunnel ...) I'm noticing annoying quirks with iTunes which are only intensifying the pain. The programme fails to consistently identify downloaded albums (it does with some, not with others) and it fails to even give names or titles to certain tracks on an apparently random basis. Oh what fun I'm having ...

But hey, Niluccio on noise is not daunted by such setbacks. No! I've previously weathered the Great CD Shelving Collapse of 2012, the Warped Records Stupidly Placed On A Sunny Shelf Debacle of 2013, and ... well, through it all I soldier on. In a word the struggle continues. Music must be borrowed, downloaded, recorded, bought (well, very occasionally), and it must be systematised, filed, stuck on shelves, copied onto my iPod and deposited in my car.

To state the obvious: music isn't a casual matter - it's a lifetime project. And who knows. I might even get round to playing some of it one of these days ...