23 Jan 2009, 21:02 by steerpike

    Thu 22 Jan – Netmage Festival

    With the best will in the world, the sight of three individuals standing in a row behind a stew of wires and gadgets is not the most compelling visual experience. Yet when those three individuals happen to be at the cutting edge of underground noise-electronica its worth paying attention to the sound they create. On stage, they were, from left to right, John Wiese, Pete Swanson and Liz Harris. John Wiese is a mainstay of the LA scene and occasional member of Sunn 0))), Pete Swanson was one half of the sublime Yellow Swans duo while Liz Harris is the artist still currently known as Grouper.

    They performed a single improvised piece for around half an hour which developed into a dense mass of impenetrable noise before gradually evolving into something gentler. A babble of jumbled voices added a human dimension and when Liz Harris took up a microphone I thought she was going to add her otherworldly vocals to the mix but sadly that didn't happen.

    Wiese and Swanson looked to be just passing through as they were dressed in chunky outdoor gear while Harris in black t-shirt and legging looked in a sportier mood. She'd been active beforehand too as the visuals displayed on the monitors were all her own work, a piece called 'Mirror Hall' which featured an organic kaleidoscopic flux and digital rainfall. This added a welcome counterbalance and distraction to the sound collage the threesome concoct.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, they never reach the transcendent peaks they have achieved as artists in their own right but they set the tone for a fascinating evening of what the Netmage programme describes as "a sonic cloud of weird-impro-psycho-noise" combining "vernacular and hybrid" elements .

    Netmage takes place in the heart of Bologna in the splendid setting of the city's Palazzo Re Enzo. The medieval arches and towers and faded renaissance murals are in marked contrast to the now-ness of the music being showcased.

    Next on the bill were America's great white hopes of drone -Emeralds- whose recent releases show such great promise. These three young guys from Cleveland go about their business efficiently but in fairly uncharismatic fashion and the live performance doesn't really add much more than you get on record.
    This criticism cannot be levelled at the evening's main attraction - the enigma that is Tokyo's Keiji Haino ( Keiji Haino).

    There are no words to adequately describe the brilliance of this show. I only know that I felt immensely privileged to witness an artist who, in his mid 50s, is still pushing the boundaries of how we define music and performance art.
    For nigh on two hours he switched between tortured vocals, frenzied guitar abuse and contorted blasts of electronic noise. With the bank of huge speakers, the amplification was deliberately pitched to hit the pain barrier; not since a mid 70s encounter with Hawkwind have my ears burned so much at the end of a concert. At one point the screech of his voice was of such an acute pitch it made me reel with shock.

    Despite the aural mayhem he conjured up, Haino, wordless and in sunglasses throughout, remained impassive and seemingly without emotion. Only the jerky movements and the tossing of his mane of long greying hair gave any hint of his state of mind.

    There were no catchy rhythms, no words to sing along with, no songs at all in the accepted sense of the word - there wasn't even space to applaud. Yet for its shear intensity and for its uncompromising assault on the senses I would rank this as one of the best performances I've ever seen. I don't expect to see its like again this side of the grave.

    This rough video hardly does him justice but gives something of the flavour of the show:
  • Fantasy Set List

    23 Jan 2009, 13:52 by tim_flatus

    I'd like to see Here &and Now play this set:
    23 Skidoo
    Love Thing
    Nearer Now
    Surgeon's Knife
    Little Things
    Nude Temple Dream
    The Only Way
    Ways to be free
    Love of this world
    Fire in the sky
    Telly Song
    Jaques Cousteau loves anchovies
    Last Chance
    The end of the beginning
    What you see is what you are
    With lots of Jamming in between. Wouldn't that be great?

    25 Oct 2008, 06:52 by steerpike

    Fri 24 Oct – Paul Metzger
    According to the free dictionary online, “the modern American banjo typically has four strings and often a short fifth string plucked with the thumb”. According to the bizarrely bearded free folk maverick Paul Metzger, the conventional banjo is sixteen strings too few.
    His impressively modified instrument incorporates what look like the cogs of bicycle gears and radically extends its possibilities to become like an old time folky remake of the harp or kora. He plucks, strokes, cradles and caresses this object with fingers, plectrum or bow. He plays one improvised piece for around 40 minutes interspersing drone and dirges with manic foot stamping and frenzied strumming. The response from the 20 or so onlookers is enthusisatic enough for him to return for a 5 minute encore :
    Metzger looks like he could have stepped out of a time tunnel from early in the past century where you could imagine him jamming contentedly with Dock Boggs or haranging to get his tunes added to Harry Smith’s Anthology.
    The venue in the back end of beyond in a town starved of cultural stimulation seems curiously appropriate for this eccentric and primitive music that straddles old and new weird folk to exist in a no mans land peopled only outsiders and lost souls.
  • Halloween at the Palace

    22 Oct 2008, 19:55 by Pixieguts

    The Halloween edition of the blog newsletter for the Pixies Palace independent artists and listeners group has arrived. Click the banner to get to it...

    This month's news includes voting info for the 2008 'Festive Fifty' initiated by John Peel back in 1976, a great music tradition now carried on by net station Dandelion Radio and well worth the once a year participation.

    You'll also find submission/participation info for the big upcoming live Xmas radio and chat party on DJ UKRed's 'Neon Beatz' electronica show at Scrub Radio, a collaboration between Neon Beatz, Pixies Palace and EI Network at Ning.

    Artists mentioned in this edition: 4our5ive6ix, Subliminal Attraction, Titee, Sicilian AV Project, Dj Blush, yodashe, Adrian Carter, Northcape, Dementio13, Pixieguts, Electromagnetic Impulses, Crimson Death, Dementio13 Feat Pixieguts, Deepspace, Remergence, VFSix, The Peach Tree, HealeyIsland, Phillip Wilkerson, Renato Ventura, Qubenzis Psy Audio, Oxygene, Kirt, Keinzweiter.

    Here's where to read all about it.

    Happy Halloween to all!

  • Mr Collie remixes D13 ft Pixieguts

    16 Oct 2008, 09:24 by Pixieguts

    New house remix by Mr Collie feat Pixieguts vocals...

    Clearview (Mr Collie's Deep Mix)

    Released through Ground Zero Records and also available as a high quality mp3 or wav download from Juno.

    The original trip-hop track by Dementio13 Feat Pixieguts is here...


    with another remix by Dementio13 here...

    Clearview V2

  • iannis loumakis rmx Adrian Carter + Pixieguts

    11 Oct 2008, 14:59 by Pixieguts

    new funky dance remix by iannis loumakis featuring my vocals...

    Pixieguts - Line by Adrian Carter (Iannis' mo'money mix)

    The original minimal techno track by Adrian Carter is here...

    Pixieguts - Line (with Adrian Carter)


    27 Sep 2008, 08:10 by steerpike

    The new album by Boduf Songs on Kranky is darky wonderful - read why I think so on my Whisperin' & Hollerin' review.
    I've also posted an interview with Mat Sweet from February 2007 on my BLOG
  • Videomakers and Musos Group Project

    23 Sep 2008, 11:49 by Pixieguts

    Call for videomakers and musos to come and get involved in a cyberspace collaboration project with a network of alternative electronic indie artists...

    Let's get together and make some audiovisual!

    Click on the image to join us and feel free to pass this on...


    15 Sep 2008, 16:20 by steerpike

    Sun 14 Sep – Julia Kent, Barbara De Dominicis

    The show tonight comes under the title Intermittenze and is described as "a performance which is totally open and unique, free in every sense of the word and which follows the logic of dreams"

    This is the ambitious task Italy's Barbara de Dominicis and Canadian, Julia Kent set themselves for a one hour improvised set in the idyllic setting of Villa Torlonia midway between Cesena and Rimini.

    Barbara De Domincis describes herself as a "lyricist, singer and sound manipulator" and is drawn to avant folk pop or jazz orientated projects.

    Whilst she likes to build her performances around spontaneous improvisation her words are not wholly improvised for this show as she takes her cues from A4 sheets strewn across her work station.

    She sings of silence, mountains and dreams but for the most part the voice is a wordless instrument pitched someway between the primal wails of Carla Bozulich and the more spiritual yearnings of Christina Carter. Apart from these vocals she rummages within what looks like a digital pink handbag to produce the kind of fuzzy static noise you might get trying unsuccessfully to tune into a radio station.

    This on its own would be hard on the ear but fortunately she has by her side the sublime and inspired cellist Julia Kent. The beauty and poetry of Kent's playing provides a lyrical contrast to the harsher electronic crackles and bleeps produced by De Domincis.

    Kent's résumé speaks for itself, being part of Antony and the Johnsons as well as playing with artists like Angels of Light, Devendra Banhart, Rufus Wainwrightand Ryan Adams. She also released a superb solo album last year called ‘Delay’ and I last saw her on stage as part of another Italian-Canadian collaboration, the drone orientated Blind Cave Salamander.

    With an intensity and looks reminiscent of Patti Smith, Julia Kent plays with effortless grace and by her side De Dominicis looks like she's working harder to conjure up some magic. The third piece they perform comes off best, managing to marry waves of breaths and wailing with a shimmering cello backing and Fennesz-like electronics.

    A third element of the show is Davide Lonardi, who supplies effective visuals throughout, merging organic-abstract collages with well chosen images of the two performers.

    The result overall is, perhaps predictably, a little uneven. The balance of synthetic and acoustic sound demands a unique chemistry between the performers which is not fully realised here. Nevertheless, theirs is a bold and worthwhile project and one that can only get better with each performance.

    Capturing a visionary moment or the atmosphere of dreams is like chasing rainbows – you embark on it not with any real expectation of total success but the process is still rewarding for its own sake.
  • Contact with friends and listeners at the new Last.fm

    6 Sep 2008, 03:50 by Pixieguts

    Last.fm has now effectively blocked most means of communication between independent artists and their friends/listeners. Even group leaders are no longer able to message members. There is now another way to stay in touch with me...

    join the new Pixieguts mailing list

    Bulletins will be sent out no more than once a month to update friends and listeners about my news and releases and to recommend special new discoveries and releases by other independent artists. This will also now be the best way to stay in touch with the independent music activities around Pixies Palace at Last.fm and its extended network at the Ning site.

    Hope to be (re)connected with you soon!