Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another Timbre Guitar Series or "If its not sex its academic" by David Keenan reviewed using his own words from Wire #316

Remixed by Ben Stekler

If its not sex, its rudeness.

Improvised music subverts instrumental performance in favor of a weird ghost voice. It also subverts non-gendered rocks, an attempted favor.

Gotten to the point where a disemboweled bacon roll is deemed more gone?

A particularly prissy form of bawdy phallic character, the guitarist is like snow on an ECM mountain, fidgety.
There's rarely room for utopian art music because a good shag and timid echoes are better.
The feminizing effect of saturation is better translated.
But isn't the best sex hailed as extended technique?
Why abandon sex together?
Dissent as decadent as improvisation.

Why abandon sex altogether?


Reviewed by Tomafin Cirka

Toop's archival knowledge of the players, his opinions, and the inherent breadth of the world music genre conspire to produce an expansive review. The sentences linger on, like the dying echos of a sax sounding under a bridge, "There may be powerful echoes of John Coltrane and Giant Steps sounding throughout this CD, even Pharoah Sanders's "Upper Egypt & Lower Egypt" from Tauhid, but more strongly than those venerable inspirations I can hear the taquara clarinets of the Yawalapiti Indians of Upper Xingu, the free reed bamboo pipes of Cambodia, the giant nadhaswaram oboes of India, the tang-p'iri oboe of Korea, the hichiriki of Japanese gagaku, the sacred flutes of Papua New Guinea and the bagpipes of Eastern Europe." They leave me spent, but craving more--totally uninterested in actually hearing the album. I simply want to read on, and in this way Mr. Toop achieves a reviewer's Zen, originally proposed by Alan Merriweather in his 1963 article 'The Ultimate Review'. I didn't think it was possible, but may I congratulate you, Mr. Toop, your review invokes music so amazing that to listen would surely only disappoint.


Each month we read a reviewer a series of Wire reviews which they are asked to identify and comment on - with no previous knowledge of what they are about to hear. This month
Karl Schredderkampf
Tested by Ian Cinder.

Reading "The Next Drive By" reviewed by Brian Morton
I: 'on some awful radio program last year I was asked what my favorite make out...'
K: Is that sounds like Bria...well it could be Clive it Brian? I think it's Brian Morton.
I: Yes! You worked with Brian briefly in the late eighties.
K: Yes, well it was a very long time ago. I remember that very well and I really looked up to him. He was an amazing writer at the time.
I: Right, and he was doing the kind of sheets of words style and that really influenced you.
K: It influenced my whole generation. It was a huge thing back then and we, everybody wanted to write like that, and he had a particular style and thats also why its so easy to recognize still. You hear it even in the first two words and I tried to emulate that style, but its much more complicated than you really think, and its kind of a humbling experience, just the fact that there are writers out there like Brian is a humbling fact.
I: But the fact that you worked with him, did that maybe give you a view into the eye of the storm and you realized that maybe sheets of words is not your style and maybe because…I'm saying too much but... Did it make you maybe have the feeling that this was not the right path for you?
K: I'm sorry. I thought that this was going to be like, The Invisible Review Box, where you read me wire reviews and ask me stuff, but ok, if you want to lecture me about what did you call it? Texts on sheets? Ok, well that's cool. Yeah, no I think your right.
I: ok lets move on

Reading Richie Hawtin CD and DVD reviewed by Phillip Sherburne
I: "Techno they say is club why do I find myself enjoying (artist name) new mix cd which is far clubier."
K: 'clubier', that is very Sherburne-esque
I: You're absolutely right! It's Phillip Sherburne.
K: Well Phillip and I… I am not going to say I'm a fan of his, but I know of him and I think that some of us are stylists, some of us are innovators and Phillip is a writer, and that differentiates him from the rest.
I: I do know however that a lot of people who are fans of your writing would say that there are obvious similarities.
K: Well, by the fact that we both use words in our reviews its true, we are similar, but the way that we use them is totally different. Well actually it's funny because I also reviewed Richie Hawtin. I did a similar review, but I did the dvd.
I: This is both the cd and the dvd.
K: I know. I would never do that. That's just kind of floral to me.
I: But you've both worked for the same editors haven't you? In the mid nineties?
K: Mmmh yes. And I can tell you right here that they like me better.
I: Ok.
K: No! Let's not end it there. I know for a fact that I get paid more.
I: But he's a very highly regarded writer.
K: Yeah, that's great for him, but I still get paid more.
I: Even now?
K: Even now!
I: Are you sure because I heard…
K: What did you hear?
I: I'm going to read to you from another review...(continued)


John Lamosch surveys Heckit Sam's written and recorded legacy

    Those in search of Heckit Sam's reviews in writing or recorded form face a
daunting, if not impossible challenge: one of his works is currently available. For a
reviewer of reviewers of his stature, it is a scandalous situation, especially now that his
influence on the shape of contemporary review reviewing is becoming more evident.
Granted, Heckit Sam's was not the easiest reviewer of reviews to document. His
improvised and pre-memorized reviews didn't readily comply with the character limits of
the alphabet or typical magazine article length. His reviews are based on a kind of
emptiness, where language and images are allowed to develop and grow, almost
organically, over a period of days, weeks, months and even years. What reviews Sam has
made are just fragments of a huge body of work, most of it unheard outside the circles of
his disciples, they themselves involved in its making.

     Sam's first reviews were published in the late 30s by two New York-based art
magazines. In both cases, his word was just one element in a series of elaborate
'multiples' consisting of posters, booklets, film strips, and tape reels. His 'Excerpt From
Letter and Kern Ratios', an expansive one word review of the layouts of a collection of
fashion reviews was issued by SMS magazine as a monologue on one-quarter inch tape
on a five inch reel housed in a box specially designed by Anne Glover. Of the 40 copies
made, only two dozen were sent to subscribers. The rest were either lost or stolen. In
1993 a cassette version was authorized -- for which Glover provided a newly designed
box -- which was sold with the remaining sets of the magazine.

    After the original release of these publications, Sam questioned his use of one
word. In both cases, his response was a seven year long review of his thought process
(the first two years of which were comprised of silence). His thought reviews were
transmitted orally to his disciples, who upon hearing them decided to adopt Sam's antiwritten form of review reviewing. I tried to interview them for this article, but could not convince them that their words would not later be used in a written format. If you are
reading this Jebediah and Lucas, 'No way! I don't believe him.'

     From the late 30s to the early 50s, Sam renounced pens, typewriters, recording
devices as 'apparatuses of the fakes'. Arguably his most important work to date, Empty
Words, managed to obtain documentation through Heckit's mute lover, Ms. Anne Glover.
Glover, ingeniously archived a series of texts containing Heckit's improvised reviews of
readings of the I-Ching, by pretending she was doodling. After his 1954 death, Glover
published Heckit's reviews, 'Empty Words', under the pseudonym 'John Cage'. This
collection of reviews was received with great enthusiasm by a small but powerful group
of American composers and artists. Simultaneous with his 'musical' influence, Heckit was
almost totally ignored by several generations of review reviewers. It was not until Jock
Treager's 1978 exposé in The Rolling Stone Reviewed entitled, 'The unnamed shall
forever hide the myth of 'John Cage's "real" legacy', that Heckit Sam's parallactical
influences began to become apparent to an otherwise misinformed review reviewing


or if you really must know, Chris Sharp, Bill Shoemaker, David Keenan, David Toop, Ian Penman and Ben Bortwick.

by Devan Helmshire

        Despite his many landmark achievements, jabbering on about music has never really inspired the same reverence as other musical innovators of his generation. Small automata from bottles, boxes, lamps and all kinds of everyday objects combined with springs and sticks, had cut a new seam in the rockface of seachange. The prospect was very enticing: samples and electronics - buttressed by laptop wizardry, and dominated by an etching.
      Shunning Freedom, and Liberation, 'railroad', cut and pasted his sound materials direct to hard disk, controlling the frequency output which activates the detour around the sculptures. But instead of suddenly launching into a frenzied rhythm, a great big song still exists (in many ways undisturbed).
      A shy man entering a crowded room, trapping and releasing the whiskery tones of an undiagnosed trumpet mouthpiece is a kind of seamless digital mutation. Hectic now that he has his own label in the kitchen, a divinely harmonious instrument tuned by the hand of God. False oppositions set up between the immovable object meeting the irresistible force, treated this primitive music precisely by ignoring parasitism. Land masses shift to join harsh squalling. His perpetual readiness to leaven the seriousness of his explorations with humour is perhaps another reason he even "got along well with women." Decades of crackle and fuzz re-election dissolve in the listener's ear, slowly retreating into the murk. All things considered, the performances sound damaged.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

SIZE MATTERS Christian Science Minotaur Map 3 (of 9) Peasant Magic MC (2009) reviewed by Byron Coley

Reviewed by Jenik Ridjbod

Like having sex with a whale, never knowing where.


Reviewed by Jock Treager

Another one of Ian Penman's now classic "schtick-reviews", this is a strictly utilitarian attempt to paint "some vain musclehead Hollyweird jerk-off with more friends than talent" in broad strokes of the brush. Still, Penman's reserve merits brief applause albeit it loud for his mention of Gallo's beard (in parenthesis I might add). An obvious allusion to Brian Duguid's review of Hermann Nitsch's Das 6-Tage-Spiel Des Orgien Mysterien Theaters Day 5, an eight cd box set, nevertheless the beard citation does add a dim light to an otherwise lack luster performance. In the future Ian "Penman" : write with your hands!