Monthly Archives: April 2015

Close, but no (Have A) Cigar

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This is my first encounter with Andy Jackson as a musical artist in his own right, though I’m previously familiar with his work as sound engineer with latterday Pink Floyd and on one of my favourite albums of all time, Fields of the Nephilim’s Elizium. As recordist and de-facto sound designer on the latter, he realised the – progressive – potential of a band whose originality and seriousness of purpose is too often sidelined beside ‘Goth’ clichés revolving around liberal application of flour and swathes of dry ice. Frankly, it’s a fuckin’ masterpiece.

Signal To Noise isn’t that. It’s very much of a piece with Jackson‘s work with latterday Floyd and, to an extent, Fields of the Nephilim, albeit significantly different to either.

Jackson plays all the instruments and sings. His vocal style perhaps most resembles Richard Wright when he takes the lead on Floyd cuts such as Wearing The Inside Out (from The Division Bell) and the latter’s solo album Broken China. Musically, he’s more than competent – sometimes very good. What’s missing is the character, the yearning, tortured depth of a Gilmour or a McCoy.

Much like The Verve‘s Richard Ashcroft, or Johnny Marr, one is left with the impression that his best work is to be found within collaborations – his real skill, with due respect to his day job, is embellishing (or teasing the best from) the ideas of others. STN is good – a propulsive, atmospheric, reverb-drenched thrum that draws the listener in – but it’s not great. What it shares with TER – in contrast to Elizium – is it’s unrelenting, mid paced, monochrome tone. Sure, there are ebbs ond flows; but no gnarls: nothing explosive or grating, such as …At The Gates of Silent Memory… or Submission to shock us out of easy-listening torpor.

There’s surely an element of pastiche/homage which, whilst it perhaps suffers by comparison to the best of Floyd‘s work, acquits itself somewhat favourably next to the warmed-over ramblings of The Endless River. That Jackson conceived these tracks as songs rather than mere instrumental atmospheres is the key factor here. There is a focus that TER lacks, and his voice is possessed of a certain grit that neither Gilmour nor Wright can (could) manage.

As much as I enjoy the album I can’t but help feel that a certain something is missing, if only by a hair.

But therein lies the separation between talent and genius…

 

 

 

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Ali Bee: “New World’s Dawning”

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Ha ha! Oh no that’s awful – kill her!! Ha ha!!! Damn, am I allowed to laugh at this? Kaveney, please give me a sign…

Bllleurrrghthhmmmthgrrtg. My brain just melted, please find me a soft cell (with others who share my gender identity, of course)…

GenderTrender

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Pop shots Fader

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Why is pop still so scared of the vagina?

Why indeed?

And it’s not just pop per-se: popular cultural morés in general often present as being at odds with female biology even whilst commodifying (female) sexuality embodied therein…

e.g.

Pornographic representation of in-vaginal ejaculation is so novel it occupies its own, minority-interest ‘kink’ category (‘creampie‘, if you’re interested): the converse ubiquity of ejaculation on faces and/or breasts (as far as possible from the vagina, note) and anal sex.

Public breast-feeding remains a matter of consternation and misunderstanding, despite those practicing it having ‘enjoyed’ http://www.maternityaction.org.uk/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/breastfeedingpublicplace.pdf since 2010; restrictions on its portrayal via social media. Showing breasts is only a (moral, if not actually legal) crime it seems, when they’re actually functioning as breasts; rather than as a sexual fetish.

The increasingly visible recourse to accusations/diagnoses of Transphobia/Cissexism within public discourse, with the tacit purpose of disabling such discourse: embodying the increasingly-fashionable Post-Modern notion that female-ness is a psychosexual ‘identity’ divorced from reproductive biology, and that any suggestion to the contrary is offensive, albeit to a small minority.

The longstanding trend towards employing girls/women with ‘masculine’ (i.e. tall, lean, not-so-curvy) physiques as models in fashion.

What is it ‘we’ don’t want to see? You’d think femaleness were a terrible thing indeed, that we might be blinded by the light of it. ‘This little wound women have… it frightens me.’ spoke the artist-seducer Reynolds in Anaïs Nin’s A Model’ . Seems it frightens a lot of people. Maybe it should?

From The Fader article:

‘Why is pop scared of pregnancy? Aside from the fact that women are so often presented as objects not subjects available for consumption in their own music videos—an illusion that’s broken by the sight of a pregnant bump—perhaps it’s something to do with that old nightmare of “having it all.” Ever since the sexual revolution of the ’60s and ’70s—when sexual morals shifted, independence celebrated, and more women began to enter the workplace—women have been split into workers and nurturers.’

Having it all‘ is a phrase once often deployed to knock down women who dared to step outside of their male-prescribed, supposed limitations, especially if they performed too well. Overt, incontestible evidence of female reproductive power is an affront to those of us who claim to have the red telephone to woman-central at our fingertips. Whilst some of us non-females show aptitude as both workers and nurturers, there’s still that one thing we can’t do. And it’s no coincidence that artists such as Cherry and Björk who unashamedly bare – and revel in – their femaleness are also high-achieving and indisputably icons. Bjrk writes of

‘”(the) “biological” process of heartbreak: “the wound and the healing of the wound.” But, let’s be real: it also looks like a vagina! Which is, of course, the anatomical source of the family unit that she mourns on “Family,” following the breakdown of her relationship. Where do I go to make an offering, she sings, To mourn our miraculous triangle: father, mother, child.'”

(Which the Po-Mo set might seize on as homophobic, unjustly: even Elton in full indignance is grounded enough to realize he can’t have his kids without female participation. There’s good reason to interrogate the wisdom of IVF and other ‘reproductive technologies’ but that’s a debate for another day.)

She knows.

When Marillion‘s Steve Hogarth wrote the words for The Wound he was in the same metaphorical space, I think; albeit from a necessarily incomplete, male perspective:

Finally, here’s a good – and apposite – one from the vault: