Monday, May 29, 2006

Finnish Artists & Record Labels @ MySpace

Despite nay-sayers, the success of MySpace seems not to be waning. Here's my list of some Finnish acts, record labels etc. (emphasis on electronic music) who already have a presentation on MySpace:

Aavikko (official)
Aavikko (unofficial)
Abflug Records
Acid Kings
AD / Acción Directa
Aleksi Eeben
Amen Brothel
And The Lefthanded
And Then You Die
Autobahn Kommando
Bangkok Impact
Bad Vugum Records/BV2 Produktions
Black Audio
Bomfunk MC's
Boy Novice
Captain Heroin
Tero Civill
Citizen Omega
Cleaning Women
Dead Combo
Deep Root Soundsystem
Desert Planet
Dharma One
Discemi (Tuomas Salmela & Jori Hulkkonen)
DJJP a.k.a. Juho-Pekka
DJPP a.k.a. DJ Street Kobra / Uusi Fantasia
Don Johnson Big Band
Echo Is Your Love
Ektro Records
Es / Sami of Fonal Records
Exogenic Records
Exogenic Breaks Records
Father Chaos
The Five Corners Quintet
Frozen North Recordings / J-P Parikka
Harrison Fnord
Rasmus Hedlund
Helsinki Ghetto Bass Patrol
Herman Prime
Hetero Skeleton
Hidria Spacefolk
Hot Guitars
Jori Hulkkonen
Hurricane Mitch
Husky Rescue
If Society
I Was A Teenage Satan Worshipper
James Reipas
Jimi Tenor (official)
Jimi Tenor (unofficial)
Juho Kahilainen
Karkia Mistika Records
Karri O.
T.A. Kaukolampi
Samuli Kemppi
Kevyt Nostalgia
Tapio Kotkavuori
Kris Kylven
Kuusumun Profeetta / Moon Fog Prophet
Lauri Leino
Artificial Latvamäki
Le Futur Pompiste
L'go Pistooli
Juho Liukkonen
Luumu Recordings
Mac Mavis
Magenta Skycode
Magyar Posse
Matti P.
The Micragirls
Midnight Sun Recordings
Mono Junk
Monsp Records
Mr Velcro Fastener
Musta Paraati
Musti Laiton
New York City Survivors
Niko Skorpio
Nine 2 Five Recordings
M.A. Numminen (unofficial)
M.A. Numminen & DJ Sane
Onyxia Records
Opel Bastards / Op:l Bastards
O Samuli A
Ovali Virta
Pasilian Savut
Pepe Deluxe
Aleksi Perälä / Astrobotnia / Ovuca
Phonogenic / Tuomas Salmela
Plastic Passion Records
Henri Puolitaival
Putsch '79
Randy Barracuda / Imatran Voima
Tuomas Rantanen
Rico Tubbs
Roberto Rodriguez
Romantic Vision
Samuel Meri
Shade Factory
Shogun Kunitoki
Lauri Soini
Star You Star Me
Sound Safari
Symptom Records
Ibrahim Terzic
Tes La Rok
Them Shepherds
Tuomas Toivonen
Tomutonttu / Kemialliset Ystävät
Track 'N' Field
Trio Tetris
Pekka Tuppurainen
Twisted Krister
Two Witches
The U.F.O. Kings
Unidentified Sound Objects
Unidentified Sound Objects [2]
Uusi Fantasia
Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators

Clubs, events, festivals, etc.:

Bar Päiväkoti
Bass and Beer Party
Black Box
Club Robot Rock
Club Fag You
Monsters of Pop
Schöne Welle
Solid Gold
Sounds Like Suomi
Uusi Aalto
Yes Please


Dave X
DJ Burdock
DJ Ender
DJ Infekto
DJ Orion
DJ Sakke
DJ Sire
Les Gillettes DJs
Kovalevy DJs
Mr. A
Suomen Moroderit DJs

Magazines/fanzines/music Webzines:

Syvällä pelissä DVD Magazine


Epe's Music Store
Platta Record Store

Radio shows:




And of course:

Urho Kekkonen
Markku from Finland
Spede Pasanen
Jean Sibelius
Sleepy Sleepers
Olavi Virta

See also:

FinnDiscog @ pHinnWeb

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Proust Questionnaire

Inspired by Momus and because I've got nothing better to do now, I decided to fill in my own answers to the Proust questionnaire:

  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

    Lacking decent toilet facilities.

  • Where would you like to live?

    In a peaceful place with enough room for my records, books and other stuff.

  • What is your idea of earthly happiness?

    On a general level: The end of war, greed and the destruction of ecosystem.

    On a personal level: To love and to be loved in return. Being able to sustain myself with the things I love to do.

  • Who are your favourite heroes of fiction?

    Captain Nemo of Jules Verne, Emil of Astrid Lindgren.

  • Who are your favourite characters in history?

    Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, Alexander the Great, Urho Kekkonen.

  • Who are your favourite heroines in real life?

    Chicks on Speed -- they showed me the way.

  • Who are your favourite heroines of fiction?

    Barbarella, Pippi Longstocking, Octobriana, Sapphire of Sapphire & Steel, Yoko Tsuno.

  • Your favourite painter?

    Giorgio DeChirico.

  • Your favourite musician?

    Scott Walker.

  • The quality you most admire in a man?


  • The quality you most admire in a woman?

    A combination of external & inner beauty and mental balance.

  • Your favourite virtue?

    Being able to help other people without asking anything in return.

  • Your favourite occupation?

    Sleeping, reading, listening to music, watching good movies and other works of art, creating things, daydreaming.

  • Who would you have liked to be?

    A science-fiction astronaut when I was a kid, but these days I have to stay content with being just myself.

  • Your most marked characteristic?


  • What would you like to be?

    Someone who can make a living with the things he loves doing.

  • What is your favourite colour?


  • What is your favourite flower?

    Black orchid.

  • What is your favourite bird?


  • Who are your favourite prose writers?

    Paul Auster, J.G. Ballard, Jorge Luis Borges, Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick, James Ellroy, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka, Leena Krohn, Thomas Mann, Edgar Allan Poe, Hunter S. Thompson.

  • Who are your favourite poets?

    Charles Baudelaire, William Blake, Jean Cocteau, T.S. Eliot, Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Rimbaud (not too original, I'm afraid).

  • Who are your favourite composers?

    J.S. Bach, Beethoven (see the previous question).

  • Who are your heroes in real life?

    My grandfather Aarne Rautio: a gentle, almost saint-like man.

  • Who are your favourite heroines of history?

    Catherine the Great, Emma Goldman, Tarja Halonen.

  • What are your favourite names?

    Everything that start with "X".

  • What is it you most dislike?

    The current political and economical mindset of greed and social Darwinism.

  • My own worst qualities

    Self-centredness (well, you see, I'm a Leo), delusions of grandeur (ditto), laziness, moodiness, angry temper, fear of people.

  • What historical figures do you most despise?

    All Big Brother-type (as in Orwell, not as in a fucking reality-TV show) dictators and most right-wing politicians.

  • What event in military history do you most admire?

    My brief stint in Finnish army (obligatory in this country, unfortunately; either that or a punishment-like "civilian service" at some hospital etc. -- or going to prison) made me a life-long pacifist, so I can't really answer this. I prefer peacetime.

  • What reform do you most admire?

    All revolutions, though not necessarily their aftermath.

  • What natural gift would you most like to possess?

    Perfect pitch.

  • How would you like to die?

    In the arms of a lovely woman after I've given all I can give in this life -- not before.

  • What is your present state of mind?

    Anxious, impatient, wary.

  • What is your motto?

    Nothing is impossible unless it is made impossible.
  • Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Kompleksi's Album Finished and Looking For A Good Home

    Kompleksi's album Sister Longlegs Dances In The Disco is now finished and making rounds at certain record labels and with some selected people. Our goal is to find ourselves a record deal to get this one officially published. If you think you can help us with this quest of ours, please take contact. We can promise it's a strange electronic trip of both comedy and tragedy through the rainy streets of Porno Tampere where you meet some sad Gothic Robots, menacing Spiders in the Sky, take a nostalgia trip to the Moscow Olympics of 1980, from innerspace to outerspace and much more. You can see here the sketchy artwork and credits with which we have sent out copies of the album.

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    Lordi and Finnish Musical Madness

    Lordi from Finland: this is what harsh weather conditions and light deprivation do to our complexion (the axe is reserved for such little late-night snacks as music critics).

    I'm not a fan of Lordi's Kiss-inspired hardrock myself, but I think it was a great prank to send this pizza-faced heavy metal devil with his plastic armour and battleaxe and his similarly-attired cohorts to the Eurovision Song Contest, this traditionally sad campy Pan-European fest of plastic starlets and lame disco anthems. And lo and behold: the scam worked out even bigger than anyone could expect, Lordi winning with 292 points, the highest total in the whole Eurovision history.

    This could only lead to the inevitable conclusion that maybe it's time people, record company executives and media, understood that international audiences find interest in Finnish music only with those local artists who are something else than mere copycats of current musical trends and fashions. Think for example about such people as Pan sonic, Jimi Tenor, Kemialliset Ystävät (and all that "New Weird of Finland" stuff, even though I just expressed being less than enamoured about all of it), Cleaning Women, Eläkeläiset or Mieskuoro Huutajat: whether you were into them or not, they are all personal and different acts with their own idiosyncratic styles positively representing that unique Finnish madness.

    Of course Lordi's success is connected to that of Finnish metal in general (HIM, Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Stratovarius, Amorphis, etc.): that's not my cup of tea either, but maybe another indication of Finnish music being more on its own when we are not trying send abroad any lame Madonna/Britney/Shakira/Christina/R&B clones or bloodless Britpop copyist bands as it has happened in the past. Our neighbouring Swedes understand better than us the secrets on how to produce and internationally market slick and easily digested pop acts (such as Abba or Roxette), so I think music-wise we'd better concentrate on our unique world-champions-of-sitting-in-the-piss-ants'-nest madness instead.

    Sunday, May 21, 2006

    Would You Love A Monsterman?


    My mother sounded better when I just called her to the hospital, so we can assume the worst is over by now. Obviously the blood clot was caused by the hormone treatment she had been having. She should be home in a week if there will be no surprises.


    I talked with Tuomo of I Was A Teenage Satan Worshipper at Yo-Talo. I was embarrassed on hearing that the Tigerbombs guys had been checking this blog and noticed my remark on their vocalist's looks at the Tampere POP entry. Aargh, me and my big mouth again. My flippant comment was out of line -- my apologies. I don't want to appear as any cyber-bully or anything, since bullies are people whose target I also was when I was younger. Besides, I tried to emphasize the fact that I've actually learned to like the music of the Tigerbombs more as I've seen more gigs from them.

    I guess I'm always surprised by the amount of people actually reading this blog, since I rarely receive any feedback from them. I think keeping that distance is largely intentional on my part since I can live without any wise-ass remarks from snotty-nosed 15-year olds; therefore I've never set up a guestbook for pHinnWeb, for example.


    I was truly flabbergasted by Lordi, Finland's candidate winning the Eurovision Song Contest and found it hard to believe when I heard about it from some people last night. Well, what a laugh: another proof that Finland is the village idiot of Europe. Which is not such a bad thing.


    Saturday, May 20, 2006

    A Blood Clot/My Mother

    My mother is in hospital: a blood clot in her lungs. Yesterday, when she and her man Rauno were on their way to practise with their amateur theatre group, her pace had slowed down as they were walking and she had started to breathe heavily, so Rauno had called an ambulance. The paramedics put an oxygen mask to her, and hurried her to the emergency from which she was moved to TAYS, the general hospital of Tampere.

    She called me this morning and, still breathing with some considerable trouble, told me they had been having tests on her, found the blood clot and put her to medication. She has to stay in at least a week, she told me. I was relieved that her condition was not so bad that she couldn't have been able to call me herself. Still, some worry remains somewhere at the back of my mind even though I keep telling myself everything will be fine.

    My mother will be 60 in November and she has suffered from heavy overweight for years, so it's understandable she has all sorts of ailments, but I suppose it's not easy for her or anyone else to get used to this new situation, to accept that she has to move at a slower pace now.

    She has always been a very temperamental person -- heavy both physically and mentally, I'd say -- both prone to moodiness and angry outbursts affecting everyone around her when things do not go her way (unfortunately I seem to have inherited these sharp edges of her) and a tendency to introspective brooding and a care for her close ones which may show itself as endless worrying; also being quite impulsive at times, to the extent which can make life a rollercoaster ride to her close ones who want things being more secure and stable.

    Well, she is far from dumb but being from the North of Finland she obviously is more a "nature child" than the people of the more steady temperament here in South; not able to beat around the bush or having much understanding towards some people's innuendo and stealthy behaviour. She's like a big bear, capable both of great anger and great tenderness.

    She hasn't always made life easy for me, and I consciously have had to keep some distance to her sometimes because she's a kind of mother whose presence can be just too overbearing (to prove that I'm not some "Mama's boy", for chrissakes). But I suppose that's one part of everyone's growing up when you are going to find your own identity, something that makes you your own person and not a replica of your parents. I worry and care nevertheless.


    Friday, May 19, 2006

    I Don't Live In A Forest

    The mystical forests of Tampere for you

    Talking about hivemind thinking. As I've already written in this blog, lately international music fanzines have gotten hold of Finnish avantgarde-folk-improvisation scene (one example here). What especially has amused me has been hearing the Yankee critics in their reviews spouting freely such ridiculous phrases as "the mystical forests of Tampere". The emphasis here is apparently on Finnish "exotica" style of idyllic rural landscapes, forests, elves and stuff, as imagined and fantasized by someone who has never been here. (Hell, I've heard in this context even some talk about fjords -- those exist in Norway, not in Finland!) Well, I guess there are as many different Tamperes as are people there. I used to live in its suburbs of Kaukajärvi and Hervanta, which were both a combination of concrete blocks of flats and forests. Now I live in mid-town, and the most I see during its long dark winters and rainy summers is dirty snow and slush, factories spewing out vapour trails, porno shops, white B-boys and hooded teenagers strolling around with bottles of beer in their hands, goths, senior citizens in their garish shellsuits, winos bumming money, darkness descending mid-afternoon during winters, and general bleakness amidst the yearly seasons of sub-arctic hysteria. Maybe I should relocate to suburbs, double my Prozac intake or drink more elf's pee.

    Anyway, this new folk craze is clearly a product of the post-9/11 shell-shocked mindset. People obviously want escapism, a retreat from the ugly world of power politics, numbing mass culture, globalisation on the terms of the rich people only, general alienation and blah blah. I can detect a sort of regression to childhood in this scene, in its music and artwork on the records. People sitting on the floor playing acoustic guitars and toy instruments, creating noodling improvisations (now, musical improvisation is one of the hardest games there is; only very few musicians can do it with some skill: otherwise it will become only pointless free-for-all and disappear up its own rearhole). All very lo-fi, acoustic, "authentic", "natural" and "free". The days of hippiedom are here again. Everyone so sweet and innocent. All this reeks to me of a sort of cosy self-indulgence, which was mercifully kicked out by the late 70s punks. Perhaps we would need in music something like punk; not "punk" as it is presented to us by such pathetic retro-style bands like Green Day, but a similar attitude that the original punk had, which would have the 21st sound (not boring three-chord guitar sounds), would fit to and reflect the current mental landscape.

    I used to see some of these artists and their gigs, clapped my hands politely, but for me "forest folk" has worn out its welcome. (And what the hell is "folktronica"? A monster obviously invented by trendy music critics, a contradiction in terms!) It doesn't speak to me about the world as I see it, things I can detect happening around me. I've got nothing against escapism: hell, I retreat to it myself all the time, but it makes me guilty too, since I believe (though are far from living these ideals myself) in such old-fashioned concepts as social conscience and even the responsibility of artist's social commentary. You can hide in your little circle of people like Finnish forest folkers do and pretend the global ugliness doesn't exist, but I don't want to and I can't run away from the world, and live in some mythical twilight fantasy forest.


    Some Google search results with the words "forest" + "folk":

    1 | 2 | 3

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    Milinkito's Index of 80s Videos @ YouTube

    A kinky sex ritual in Finnish way? No, it's an Armi & Danny video from the 80s!

    It's the mullet hour! has created an index of 1980s music videos on YouTube, with lots of interesting clips included. Finland is also represented there -- by Armi (RIP) & Danny's "immortal" 'I Wanna Love You Tender' (which has already sent out shockwaves of horror to Net surfers around the world). Lordi and Eurovision, eat your heart out -- this is the real Suomi horrorpop!

    And if this was not enough FinnCheese for you, you masochists may also check out Bogart Company's (a chart-busting pop act from Turku, Finland) 'Princess' (ca. 1985).


    (Sorry, I never got to made that 1990s-the present YouTube list I promised. Blame it on lazyitis and my disillusion with the whole thing...)

    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    Tampere POP II

    Tampere POP Class of 2006: I Was A Teenage Satan Worshipper, The Tigerbombs, Regina

    Part I

    I always thought Tampere's POP scene in the 90s was a bit like some sort of hivemind, but isn't this the same with all scenes? Closely-knit, in-bred, people anxious to belong and to be part of something. I suppose I'm a bit of a chameleon myself, so I had no problem mingling with these people and even to buy some records and listen to these bands at home (my record collection has more closet skeletons than you can ever imagine). But I always thought the 90s Britpop bands were in essence quite derivative; it was too easy for me to recognise their influences since I had already been listening to the "original" artists myself. Glamrock-era Bowie for Suede, mod bands from Small Faces to The Jam for Blur, Big Star for Teenage Fanclub; The Beatles, The Byrds, Love, The Stones and Can for Stone Roses; then the first album of Oasis was really a laugh riot for the "Spot That Tune" fans, a total rip-off of just everything from T-Rex to the ancient Coca-Cola ad tune 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing'. This was my ongoing gripe with the cutie-cutie Britpop fans, but my recommendations to listen to the original bands fell on deaf ears, since these acts were so "old", unfashionable, uncool and not heavily hyped weekly on the pages of NME like Elastica, a total Wire rip-off.

    Well well well. I guess I should say something about last Friday's "Valotalo" night of Aamulehti that I mentioned earlier. All the Tampere "faces" (as they put it in the days of mod) were naturally there, the new generation of POP, and also some of those belonging to the earlier class: some people I hadn't seen in ages. Probably there inspired by Tero Kartastenpää's story, hoping to get something back from those good old days, in Ye Goode Olde Tradition of Tampere POP. I sat at the bar sipping my beer in my shamanic solitude, surrounded by some members of the kurrent ultra-kool Tampere POP kontingent. One of these girls, obviously a student from TTVO (a local art school) handed out flyers for their exhibition to all the young dudes and dudettes but skipped yours truly since I apparently didn't exude enough New Fresh Young Generation POP Kool. Hey, "don't you know who I am?", etc. But who cares. Gladly soon Minna-Elina arrived, this pocket-sized Princess Leia-lookalike I hadn't seen for some time. In fact she saved my night, being the only person there I exchanged some words with, in the way of an actual conversation.

    The showtime. First was I Was A Teenage Satan Worshipper with their memorable name, a trio of two guys with guitars and one specs-wearing lady dressed in Goth-cum-Japanese-schoolgirl style with keyboards and drum machine. I know Tuomo, the lanky bespectacled bassist, with whom I have earlier exchanged some words at Yo-Talo and even donated Kompleksi's demo which he seemed to be into. Tuomo played earlier in Suruaika, a local goth band which Kompleksi's Mike Not has produced, but suffice it to say Tuomo is obviously happier with this new band. IWATSW's music is a sort of new wave stuff with synth flourishes. You can hear their song 'Tampere Kicks' -- written especially for this occasion -- here. I don't know if it was a stage fright or what, but at times Tuomo stopped playing and joined the audience, only to be persuaded back to stage. I didn't ask him afterwards why, I guess he had his reasons.

    Then Tigerbombs, the band playing a sort of 1979 new wave-Farfisa organ stuff, headed by this guy with a reddish face which makes me think somehow of a Finnish Christmas ham. But I think this just gives additional sympathy points to the band and positively adds to their image. Anyway, if a guy with a face like this can make it work and even look good on stage, it's a considerable feat, and I have to say I found myself slowly warming up and was even jamming to the music of Tigerbombs, which I have earlier thought a bit too retro and "heard-it-before" to my own tastes. There were humorous speaks between songs and a leather-jacketed guitarist posing coolly like one of The Clash in late 70s. Tigerbombs are considered one of the next big Finnish rock imports, so you non-Finns might catch them before soon at a venue before you. Just tell them pHinn sent you (or then, maybe not).

    The last act of the night was the feted Regina, two guys on electronics & synthdrums and Iisa, their chanteuse. Regina's music is a sort of sympathetic neo-synthpop with homely lyrics in Finnish; sung with Iisa's girlishly untrained-sounding voice, which undoubtedly is an essential part of Regina's allure. This time they were joined on stage by a bunch of uniformly-dressed American-type cheerleaders, doing their dance routines behind the band. I found these accompanying little pom-pom girls funny -- for five seconds. Anyway, Regina obviously fulfilled the fans' expectations, and at the end of the night everyone went home happy -- even me, when I found I couldn't drink my last beer without getting nauseous, and had to leave -- behind them another essential Tampere POP Experience.

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Tampere POP

    Two generations of Tampere POP: Iisa Pajula of Regina and Minna Joenniemi of Super

    Last Friday Valo, Tampere's morning paper Aamulehti's weekend supplement ran a cover story on this town's pop scene, written by Tero Kartastenpää (a guy I somehow know through Juri). Not "pop" as in Britney Spears or Metallica or anything in Top 10, but more specifically as pop has been defined by a little group of local hipsters (or hipster wannabes): indiepop, alternative pop or Britpop. (That same Friday night there was also an Aamulehti-organised club at Yo-Talo to showcase three bands of the current Tampere pop generation: I Was A Teenage Satan Worshipper, Tigerbombs and Regina.) And what the heck: even yours truly was there as a small footnote as the story's illustration featured a flyer for our own Electric Pleasures club, back in 1998.

    The local definition of POP: bottle-black moptop hairdos, jangly guitars, cheap tinny-sounding keyboards, a bit mod-inspired and/or second-hand clothing (60s, 70s and 80s styles recycled with a combination of irony and the retro cool-worshipping) and general Anglophilia (with a bit of Swedish, French and Japanese flavours maybe); attitudes ranging somewhere in between irony, lacony and child-like innocence and naivety. Musical heros: Morrissey and The Smiths, Brett Anderson of Suede, Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, Stone Roses; with some Depeche Mode, The Cure and a hint of goth thrown in, too. Effeminate and limp-wristed, vaguely androgynous but not actually gay; more like enjoying the sexual ambivalence of it all, but too shy to ever actually have sex with any members of either gender (a famous quote from Brett Anderson: "I'm a bisexual who has never had a homosexual experience"). This has been the hermetically-sealed world of Tampere POP from the late 80s to its mid-90s heyday, and the influence of it can still be felt in today's local music scene.

    My hometown Tampere has been called "Finland's Manchester" since the early days of industrialization. This has something vaguely to do with its traditional textile factories and the general grim red-brick look of the proletariat town than it really reminiscing this Northern England town, but as it always happens with any myths, they keep generating themselves until no one can be sure of their real origins. Perhaps some wise-ass in the 80s decided: "Aha: Tampere is Finland's Manchester -- so we need here our own counterparts of Morrissey, The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order, Factory Records and Hacienda Club". Tero Kartastenpää's story accounted this history from the early No Go clubs at Laterna to Yo-Talo's legendary(?) Pop-Disko nights of the 90s to the diaspora of Tampere pop scenesters to the fleshpots of Helsinki, and the 21st century new generation of POP wannabes.

    I should know something about this since I was there too. Never as an insider, though, but observing it somewhere on the fringe of the scene. Actually I've known quite a many of these people, if only on a superficial, giving-a-nod-when-we-meet basis. All these bands created out of the scene: Happy Ever After, Super, Coo, Romantic Vision a.k.a. Kinetic, and so on. I was never actually interested in being a part of any scene, but I was often attending local club nights whether they were (Brit/indie)pop, rock, techno/rave (or whatever subgenre -- at some point drum'n'bass became really big in Tampere, fuelled by the efforts of such people as Riku "DJ Infekto" Pentti), industrial or even Gothic (for the latter two there were Laterna's Frantic clubs and magazine and Cyberware label): in a small town there was (and is) always a lot of overlapping and everyone knowing everyone else. Basically the same core group of people doing their own music and playing in bands, working at record stores (or even running them), DJing and organising parties, writing for music magazines, and so on. Everything very inbred and clique-y; on the other hand quite loose to allow also the "tourists" to mingle in freely with hardcore members. I guess the hardcore are still there when the tourists have moved on, to Helsinki or to their cosy middle-aged people's family lives.

    And here the nerve-shattering Part II!

    Monday, May 15, 2006


    Julian Cope: Head-On/Repossessed

    I've been reading loads of music biographies during this spring: Joe Meek, Hawkwind, Syd Barrett, Hasse Walli (Finnish guitarist with Blues Section, etc.), Bob Dylan, Marc Almond, Suicide... plus Rip It Up and Start Again, Simon Reynolds' book on postpunk of 1978-1984.

    The latest in line has been Julian Cope's Head-On/Repossessed, which covers the artist's years from his birth in 1957 to 1989. (This edition is actually two books in one, Repossessed starting off immediately where Head-On stops.) Cope headed the UK postpunk band Teardrop Explodes (whose manager was Bill Drummond, better known from the prankish KLF duo) before embarking on a solo career in early 80s. In these books he gives own personal, often bittersweet accounts of rock'n'roll life and its stoned madness, the bitter fights within the band and between record labels, etc., how he met his muse and future wife Dorian in New York, with some excursions into his growing interest in mysticism; all in the best "never take yourself too seriously" Spinal Tap/Cheech and Chong tradition, which he describes with a combination of self-irony and surprising lucidity (considering the fact that he spent a lot of this time in constant drugged-out stupor, the reputation of which made him the laughing stock of UK music press) but always with unbridled enthusiasm. It's somehow touching also to read about Julian's obsession with the Corgi and Dinky toy cars of the 50s and 60s, which he collects obsessively as if to retreat back to his private and safe world of childhood, away from the backstabbers of music business. Julian Cope comes off as a freak but a likable freak with some real insight and conscience.

    I have to say that I am perhaps a bigger fan of Julian Cope as an artistic character and personality than of his uneven discography (OK, his albums Peggy Suicide and Jehovahkill are some real gems). He has all the right influences: 60s psychedelic garage rock of the Nuggets compilations bands, Syd, Love, Scott Walker, The Doors, Krautrock (of which he even wrote a book, Krautrocksampler of 1995), Iggy Pop & The Stooges, MC5, Blue Cheer, Sly and the Family Stone and Funkadelic. Then Lester Bangs (the late great rock writer), Gurdjieff, John Sinclair, C.G. Jung... Julian Cope must be one of the coolest persons living on this planet.

    An excerpt on Julian Cope's Head Heritage site

    Panels from Daredevil comics which gave Cope's band The Teardrop Explodes its name

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Consumer Feedback

    "remove yourself at once from the goggle [sic] images of Our Lady of are an emotional and mental cripple and spiritually bancrupt [sic]! please go back to the hole you crawled out of and STAY THERE!"
    - someone obviously on a spiritually heightened level, via e-mail, 2 Jan '06

    As you see, this "consumer feedback" on my 2003 triptych Our Ladies of Pleasure, Pain and Tears was already sent me soon after last New Year, but I didn't think then it would be worth mention. It's interesting that someone actually bothers to comment my silly little works of "outsider art" (for the lack of a better word), if even in such a harebrained way. Amazing -- I didn't really believe that someone would actually care. Obviously there are people who live in a very different world to us Scandinavians in our cosy little and totally secularized laissez faire society. Now I wonder what would have happened if instead of the iconography of Christianity I'd have used those of Islam here...? Probably I would now live in a secret location safehouse under a 24-hour police security.

    If someone asks my own position as to religion, I always just answer them I'm an agnostic. My own argument remains that us human beings with our limited sensory skills and ultimately lacking resources of observation can't really prove the existence of God, neither the non-existence of God. Either answer would really be intellectually unsatisfying, because in either case there would always be too much room for doubt. All attempts in either direction would be totally futile, and since I'm not that inclined to any deeper philosophical thinking in such a way that I would love to struggle for hours on metaphysical questions like this, I just bypass this question. Lazy? Perhaps, but at least more pragmatic. You can't fool me into argumentation about this. I consider people's religious (or non-/anti-religious) views personal and private, as their sex lives, and likewise really no-one else's business -- until they themselves want to be exhibitionist about them.

    And as a definition of any sort, I find "agnosticism" ultimately not satisfying either. Perhaps a sort of "Zen-pantheism" would be closer there to describe my own worldview. Go figure that out.

    Anyway, you don't find any great love for any sort of bigots and fanatics from me. I don't mind anyone calling me an "emotional cripple" (or a mental one at that, heh heh), but if a person making those sort of claims implies thus being somehow superior and in comparison on an advanced "spiritual" level, you don't really know whether to laugh or cry.

    I can't claim to be any great expert in the matters of religion but I think all monotheistic religions deriving from the Middle East area -- Judaism, Christianity, Islam -- are all more or less against idolatry, the worshipping of images; the basic reasoning being that the Divine, God, Jahve, Allah, whatever name you want to use, is something far beyond and greater than any man-made imagery can convey. Therefore I can't understand how an image of a naked woman on a cross (or Serrano's figurine of Christ in a tank filled with urine) could really be blasphemous, since they are only making use of temporal man-made iconography; which is only a finger pointing to the Moon, not the Moon itself. Jesus was not afraid of the darker and seedier side of life, mingling with prostitutes, criminals and other people considered pariahs in his time. Sex, lust, violence, death, drugs, diseases, madness and the general ugliness of life were all there as a backdrop. His quest was to find a way to the "other side" (call it "salvation" if you want) despite all these things, to go beyond all this. I hate having to interpret my own works, but perhaps this was something I tried to come across with when I created my "triptych". Therefore I can't find myself guilty of blasphemy or feel that I owe apologies to anyone (only for the crummy artistic style of mine, perhaps).

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Détournement & Politicszzz

    If I can, I consciously avoid wasting the space of this blog to political topics. Alongside newspaper commentators around the world, tons of other blog writers with greater argumentation abilities than yours truly (or then not) have already commented such things as Dubya's politics, Danish Mohammed cartoons or the Mayday night riots at Helsinki's VR-Makasiinit (or the burning down of said Makasiinit), so I don't feel I've got anything to add there to those discussions already filled with enough banalities, finger-pointing, mindless bigot attitudes on both sides; not to talk about downright idiocy.

    Of course, I read two newspapers daily (editorial columns of the biggest newspapers in Finland seem to be filled daily by the sermon-like scribbles of 60-year old men pushing insistently such topics such as why Finland should join NATO as soon as possible, and why neoliberalist economics and employment politics benefit everyone) and try to keep up with BBC's World News and Euronews on TV, but I really don't feel I could add any worthwhile comments there that would somehow open up any new points of view or add beneficially to the ongoing discussion.

    However, this little news item from Ken Knabb's Situationist Website Bureau of Public Secrets caught my eye, so I feel it's somehow appropriate to reprint it here (again, apologies to all copyright holders, etc. etc.) [You might try to find more information about Situationism from Wikipedia, provided any related info pages there are not yet ravaged to death by pedantic Wikiwankers and Wikidiots]:

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Wed, 3 May 2006 09:57:13 -0700
    From: Bureau of Public Secrets

    Subject: Colbert skewers Bush

    [NOTE: Yesterday I sent out the message below to a few dozen friends. The response was so enthusiastic, and so many of them said they hadn't even been aware of the event, that I am sending it out to my larger, more general emailing list. Apologies for duplicate mailings. --Ken Knabb]

    [NOTE ALSO: The fact that much of the mass media did not even mention this astonishing event, or dismissed it with a few contemptuous sentences, is one more demonstration of the media complicity Colbert was satirizing. And the fact that online video clips of his performance have now been seen by several million
    people is one more indication that the Internet and other alternative means of communication are in the process of making the mass media increasingly irrelevant.


    Comedian Stephen Colbert's keynote speech at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner last Saturday may represent a new stage in the crumbling of the Bush regime's image from within the dominant spectacle itself. The following link gives a Windows Media clip of the last 15 minutes -- . The entire
    talk (about 25 minutes) can be viewed in three parts here --

    It's a bizarre experience because most of the audience was decidedly not sympathetic. Not only was Bush himself sitting a few feet away at the same table along with various other political bigwigs, but the major portion of the audience was the very journalists who with rare exceptions have treated the Bush regime with kid gloves over the last five years, and who were satirized almost as scathingly as
    Bush himself. So some of Colbert's funniest remarks are received with a deafening silence, and the rare moments of laughter are brief and uneasy, the audience obviously not having expected such a scandal and wondering how they were supposed to take it.

    The following article, which originally appeared at the website, gives some information and commentary on the event, but is also of interest because the author makes a somewhat dubious and confused, but not totally inappropriate, link between Colbert's methods and the subversive tactics of the situationists.

    On the latter, see:

    "A User's Guide to Détournement"

    "Détournement as Negation and Prelude"

    "The Situationists and the New Forms of Action Against Politics and Art"


    The Truthiness Hurts

    Stephen Colbert's brilliant performance unplugged the Bush myth machine -- and left the clueless D.C. press corps gaping.

    By Michael Scherer

    May 1, 2006 | Make no mistake, Stephen Colbert is a dangerous man -- a bomb thrower, an assassin, a terrorist with boring hair and rimless glasses. It's a wonder the Secret Service let him so close to the president of the United States.

    But there he was Saturday night, keynoting the year's most fawning celebration of the self-importance of the D.C. press corps, the White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Before he took the podium, the master of ceremonies ominously announced, "Tonight, no one is safe."

    Colbert is not just another comedian with barbed punch lines and a racy vocabulary. He is a guerrilla fighter, a master of the old-world art of irony. For Colbert, the punch line is just the addendum. The joke is in the setup. The meat of his act is not in his barbs but his character -- the dry idiot, "Stephen Colbert," God-
    fearing pitchman, patriotic American, red-blooded pundit and champion of
    "truthiness." "I'm a simple man with a simple mind," the deadpan Colbert announced at the dinner. "I hold a simple set of beliefs that I live by. Number one, I believe in America. I believe it exists. My gut tells me I live there."

    Then he turned to the president of the United States, who sat tight-lipped just a few feet away. "I stand by this man. I stand by this man because he stands for things. Not only for things, he stands on things. Things like aircraft carriers and rubble and recently flooded city squares. And that sends a strong message, that
    no matter what happens to America, she will always rebound -- with the most powerfully staged photo ops in the world."

    It was Colbert's crowning moment. His imitation of the quintessential GOP talking head -- Bill O'Reilly meets Scott McClellan -- uncovered the inner workings of the ever-cheapening discourse that passes for political debate. He reversed and
    flattened the meaning of the words he spoke. It's a tactic that cultural critic Greil Marcus once called the "critical negation that would make it self-evident to everyone that the world is not as it seems."

    Colbert's jokes attacked not just Bush's policies, but the whole drama and language of American politics, the phony demonstration of strength, unity and vision. "The greatest thing about this man is he's steady," Colbert continued, in a nod to George W. Bush. "You know where he stands. He believes the same thing Wednesday that he
    believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday."

    It's not just that Colbert's jokes were hitting their mark. We already know that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that the generals hate Rumsfeld or that Fox News lists to the right. Those cracks are old and boring. What Colbert did was expose the whole official, patriotic, right-wing, press-bashing discourse as a sham, as more "truthiness" than truth.

    Obviously, Colbert is not the first ironic warrior to train his sights on the powerful. What the insurgent culture jammers at Adbusters did for Madison Avenue, and the Barbie Liberation Organization did for children's toys, and Seinfeld did for the sitcom, and the Onion did for the small-town newspaper, Jon Stewart discovered he could do for television news. Now Colbert, Stewart's spawn, has taken on the right-wing message machine.

    In the late 1960s, the Situationists in France called such ironic mockery
    "détournement," a word that roughly translates to "abduction" or "embezzlement." It was considered a revolutionary act, helping to channel the frustration of the Paris student riots of 1968. They co-opted and altered famous paintings, newspapers,
    books and documentary films, seeking subversive ideas in the found objects of popular culture. "Plagiarism is necessary," wrote Guy Debord, the famed Situationist, referring to his strategy of mockery and semiotic inversion. "Progress demands it. Staying close to an author's phrasing, plagiarism exploits his expressions, erases false ideas, replaces them with correct ideas."

    But nearly half a century later, the ideas of the French, as evidenced by our "freedom fries," have not found a welcome reception in Washington. The city is still not ready for Colbert. The depth of his attack caused bewilderment on the face of the president and some of the press, who, like myopic fish, are used to ignoring the water that sustains them. Laura Bush did not shake his hand.

    Political Washington is accustomed to more direct attacks that follow the rules. We tend to like the bland buffoonery of Jay Leno or insider jokes that drop lots of names and enforce everyone's clubby self-satisfaction. (Did you hear the one about John Boehner at the tanning salon or Duke Cunningham playing poker at the
    Watergate?) Similarly, White House spinmeisters are used to frontal assaults on their policies, which can be rebutted with a similar set of talking points. But there is no easy answer for the ironist. "Irony, entertaining as it is, serves an almost exclusively negative function," wrote David Foster Wallace, in his seminal 1993 essay "E Unibus Pluram." "It's critical and destructive, a ground clearing."

    So it's no wonder that those journalists at the dinner seemed so uneasy in their seats. They had put on their tuxes to rub shoulders with the president. They were looking forward to spotting Valerie Plame and "American Idol's" Ace Young at the Bloomberg party. They invited Colbert to speak for levity, not because they wanted to be criticized. As a tribe, we journalists are all, at heart, creatures
    of this silly conversation. We trade in talking points and consultant-speak. We too often depend on empty language for our daily bread, and -- worse -- we sometimes mistake it for reality. Colbert was attacking us as well.

    A day after he exploded his bomb at the correspondents dinner, Colbert appeared on CBS's "60 Minutes," this time as himself, an actor, a suburban dad, a man without a red and blue tie. The real Colbert admitted that he does not let his children watch his Comedy Central show. "Kids can't understand irony or sarcasm, and I don't
    want them to perceive me as insincere," Colbert explained. "Because one night, I'll be putting them to bed and I'll say ... 'I love you, honey.' And they'll say, 'I get it. Very dry, Dad. That's good stuff.'"

    His point was spot-on. Irony is dangerous and must be handled with care. But America can rest assured that for the moment its powers are in good hands. Stephen Colbert, the current grandmaster of the art, knows exactly what he was doing.

    Just don't expect him to be invited back to the correspondents dinner.

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    Gabba Gabba Hey!

    Shejay's review of Electronic Bible Chapter 2:

    "Kompleksi (Finland) are the Ramones on synths".

    Still gaping with my mouth wide open...

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006


    One section of Momus' MySpacecide article deserves further attention:

    "Imagine dying for real, dying physically, but lingering on as a digital ghost, a presence on a MySpace page collecting obituaries and tributes. It's already happened to quite a few MySpace users. A website called MyDeathSpace, for instance, collects dead MySpace users' pages. It has over a hundred, and adds more each day."

    A virtual graveyard, what a great idea! I have to confess I always check through death announcements from daily papers. It always interests me to see how old people were when they left their mortal coils behind. If a person was very young, it always makes me wonder what was the reason behind his/her demise. Was it a suicide, fatal disease, traffic accident, drug overdose or even a violent death by someone else's hand? You rarely can detect the reason of death from those announcements, and if the person died by his/her own hand, you always have to try to read it between the lines, from the adjoining poems and so on.

    I have to admit that when I was younger, I contemplated suicide a lot (a long story why, but let's say it was a typical case of teenage depression of a young person feeling totally misplaced and without worth and meaning, and blaah blaah.), but obviously never got to commit it (about which some people probably feel honestly sorry for now, heh heh). (Seriously, if you ever feel that way, seek help as soon as you can, and think seriously about the amount of pain and guilt you leave to your close ones: you don't want to do that to them.) I don't feel that way any more, obviously (fuck happiness, sometimes you just want to live for the hell of it), and I can be sure that my body will take care of it for me one day, any way. Of course, I'm curious to know how it will eventually happen, and my own guess is that my heart will fail, in one way and other (judging by the amount of heart diseases in our family). Of course it might be cancer (after all I lived in an area which received its share of radiation from Chernobyl nuclear disaster in April 1986), or will involve some sort of vehicle like car, bus, airplane, or spaceship. Or I may be shot down like John Lennon by a deranged "fan", when I'll be rich and famous. There are so many delicious possibilities to exhaust, but I can't really bother about it now; only try to eat (relatively) healthy and do my exercises, despite my chronic lazyitis. At the moment of writing this, I'm not really afraid of dying, I might say; I only worry that all those things that I've planned would never come into fruition if I had to die young.

    I always find it curious that death is such a taboo in our culture, something that people want to sweep aside and put out of their view. It's as if the whole culture is based on the illusion that we will all be eternally young and live forever. I remember when my grandma died in December 2001, it was relief that I felt more than sorrow; that the woman, virtually the matriarch of our family, who had been so determined and strong in her heyday was gradually becoming demented and losing her memory, and that she got away before she would be totally unaware of this world and even family members' presence. And when my uncle suddenly died in September 1999 of heart failure at the age of 53 (post-mortem showed that his heart had been so badly deteriorated that he would have have not more than two months to live in any case), what I was feeling was more shocked surprise than sorrow. I hate funerals myself and do my best to avoid them if I can. I can't stand that sight of weeping people, their faces distorted and red of crying, talking platitudes and (outright lies) about the beloved deceased, priests with all their holier-than-thou righteousness and so on. Despite that I've got a (morbid?) curiosity about the subject, which I have often wondered. Anyway, I might die tomorrow hit by a car or live to be over a hundred years old. That's how life is. Anyway and undoubtedly, I'll see you one day on the graveyard. Till then, ta ta!

    My death is like
    a swinging door
    a patient girl who knows the score
    whistle for her
    and the passing time

    My death waits like
    a bible truth
    at the funeral of my youth
    weep loud for that
    and the passing time

    My death waits like
    a witch at night
    and surely as our love is bright
    let's laugh for us
    and the passing time

    But whatever is behind the door
    there is nothing much to do
    angel or devil I don't care
    for in front of that door
    there is you

    My death waits like
    a beggar blind
    who sees the world with an unlit mind
    throw him a dime
    for the passing time

    My death waits
    to allow my friends
    a few good times before it ends
    let's drink to that
    and the passing time

    My death waits in
    your arms, your thighs
    your cool fingers will close my eyes
    let's not talk about
    the passing time

    But whatever is behind the door
    there is nothing much to do
    angel or devil I don't care
    for in front of that door
    there is you

    My death waits
    among the falling leaves
    in magicians, mysterious sleeves
    rabbits, dogs
    and the passing times

    My death waits
    among the flowers
    where the blackish shadow cowers
    let's pick lilacs
    for the passing time

    My death waits in
    a double bed
    sails of oblivion at my head
    pull up the sheets
    against the passing time

    But whatever is behind the door
    there is nothing much to do
    angel or devil I don't care
    for in front of that door
    there is you

    - Scott Walker: 'My Death'

    (originally by Jacques Brel, English words: Mort Shuman and Eric Blau)

    And on a brighter note to conclude this:

    Yesterday has come and gone
    you've got to try to carry on

    - Jim Pembroke: 'Semi-Circle Solitude'

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Momus Bashing MySpace

    The problems of political correctness:
    "To join MySpace or not to join MySpace...?"

    You can read Momus bashing MySpace here. Gee, I guess now I'm supposed to feel guilty about having our own presentation there. Mike Not's and my friend Sakke called MySpace "social ring porn". I suppose it's another fad like iPods now and hula hoops in the 50s.

    I don't know about this, then. Face it, the sad fact is that the whole world is these days owned by megacorps and greedy oligarchs like Rupert Murdoch. It has an effect on everything: what you read on papers, see on TV and movies, what you eat and drink, how you spend your leisure time. And so on. Everything bears a corporate stamp in these glowing halcyon days of neoliberalism and market economy. Politicians keep flapping their gums about the virtues of entrepreneurialism and free enterprise, which is a big joke when corporations do their best to swallow the small fry (that is, private entrepreneurs with their own small businesses) in the end, and we are eventually heading for one McDi$neySoft megacorp ruling it all. You can do your best to put your filters on, but mostly there seems to be no running away from that.

    Then, could we also see a positive side too here? Sociologists keep talking about New Communalism (as opposed to old-fashioned Communism), which has its various incarnations everywhere where people put their collective efforts together to create something benefitting all, and -- this is important -- not necessarily gaining personal profit out of it: Linux operating system and Wikipedia as some of the most obvious examples. Could it be understood that even corporate-owned communities like MySpace could potentially create similar links to empower people: for example, in MySpace's case connecting private citizens, musicians, artists, fans and so on, in putting them into direct contact with each other, and letting also those voices to be heard that might otherwise be shunned, making people aware of those? Browsing MySpace I've noticed it's far from any homogenous community: everyone seems to have their own little slots there in the sweet spirit of anarchism -- alongside music and arts people already mentioned the whole political and religious spectrum and all possible mainstream and fringe and hobby groups represented from American gung-ho Republicans and Jesus freaks to Greenpeace, gays and Satanists. There are also loads of spoof pages doing nasty parody of people like Murdoch, Bush and their ilk. There's no way to put a lid on or control all that motley crew.

    Well, before you get me wrong, I don't want appear as any MySpace apologist (or a Murdoch fan, vade retro!), just trying to weigh both the positive and negative sides here. OK, I know I'm naive. And us with our little Kompleksi duo, we do have our own selfish and opportunistic reasons involved here at the end of the day: to promote our music, which happens by creating contacts and also possible fanbase. Damned if we try, damned if we don't?


  • DJ Orion (in Finnish)
  • PCL Link Dump

    Oh well (blows a raspberry). Why do I get a feeling that people are taking these things far too seriously? We can live with MySpace, we can live without it. For us it's just the icing, it's not the cake.
  • Dabbling With Lyrics In Attention Deficit Era

    Critics giving their own comments on pHinn's song lyrics

    [Warning: the following one is a totally subjective, self-obsessed rant (probably familiar to people who keep reading this blog for morbid reasons of their own). If you don't like that type, skipping it now is warmly recommended.]

    "A song is like a dream, and you try to make it come true. They're like strange countries you have to enter. You can write a song anywhere, in a railroad compartment, on a boat, on horseback – it helps to be moving. Sometimes people who have the greatest talent for writing songs never write any because they are not moving."
    - Bob Dylan: Chronicles Volume One, p. 165

    What Dylan says here can sound oversimplified, but as for me, I've found it very true. Potential phrases for lyrics come to me any time when I get up from my sofa and leave the apartment, am walking on the street, on my way to eat or back home, and the hardest thing is to write these words down before I forget them. They come and go on their own will, I can't force them, and the most important thing is to catch them on paper before they vanish forever.

    I guess I've got some sort of attention deficit disorder. There's no other way to explain my short attention span otherwise. But our culture doesn't exactly do its best to make us learn to be more patient, does it? It's a culture of soundbites, TV commercials and music videos with rapid edits; talking and thinking in shorthand. Fast food for thought, anything not to get bored. The trick, I guess, is trying to accumulate these little pieces somehow and try to make something larger out of them in time. That's how I write my own lyrics anyway.

    I collect these little phrases (which more often than not have nothing to do with each other) in my notebook; these tiny fragments and expressions coming out of the blue, without me even understanding what the hell they are all about. Then, when I start writing new lyrics, I browse through this notebook of mine filled with little fragments, phrases and separate couplets to find if there’s anything useful for this particular song. It's like a process of alchemy of trying to create something out of this disjointed heap of verbal junk.

    As far as the style goes, I think my favourite lyrics always retain an element of unexplainable, a subconscious element, like in the movies of Buñuel or Lynch. Even though superficially it might make little sense, you feel you are really struck by something, even if you don't exactly know what. At its best it may stay to haunt you.

    I also like the short "telegram" style of lyrics where things are put brief and the listener is supposed to fill the gaps in his/her own head. It's a style of lyrical shorthand, I think. Some examples might be Marc Bolan of T-Rex's lyrics, Sigue Sigue Sputnik's 'Love Missile F1-11' (which we covered with Kompleksi) or Syd Barrett at his most elliptical and enigmatic. There are so many ways to get the end result, but these are the styles I like the best at the moment.

    One thing you have to understand is that my style is more based on instinct than on technique. A lot of my work – whether it was text or images - is created by acting on impulse, without any premeditation. As if creating first some single pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, only then trying to find a way to make them fit together somehow. Somehow that way of working is a form of meditation too. Surrealism made me understand that everything is in fact connected (or interconnected) even though single pieces would seemingly have nothing to do with each other. We create totally new associations as we go along.

    I’m a great believer in intuitive, "natural" technique. All learning is basically an imitative process. For all my life I've lived in this culture of ours: soaked in and absorbed words, catchphrases, buzzwords, images, melodies, rhythms, compositions; all transmitting a sort of unworded understanding on how relations between people and things work. I still don't know which is more important: consciously studying or just absorbing everything around you as you go on.

    I can't read notes but I think I've got some sort of intuitive understanding of music and rhythm, learned only by years of listening. And if I can't just create my own music exactly "by the book", to hell with that (something which has probably created a certain amount of frustration in Mike Not - who's more professional in his musical approach - as we have created our own stuff). Just don't confuse my head with numbers or having to count beats. I was never good at maths but I somehow liked geometry because it was visual; I could see the numerical connections in my eyes and in that way understand them. - In a way, this takes us to synaesthesia, the mixing of senses (e.g. sounds as colours, geometrical patterns, etc.) Bach's music, for example, I can hear/see as cosmic constellations of stars (basically, complex mathematical equations; if only my maths classes at school would have been based on Brandenburg Concertos!)

    All in all, I suppose it is only some sort of gut feeling on which it is all based with me: a sort of magic carpet which I can ride only as long as I don't start pondering too much about the technique which keeps it in the air. If I do, only then it is bound to fall.

    As far as music theory goes, I'm aware of being somewhat an idiot savant. I barely understand such things as diatonic and pentatonic scales (the latter is a "Chinese-sounding" thing, played with black keys on keyboard, isn't it?), or telling twelve-bar blues from waltz (stuff like 4/4, 5/4, etc.), or Schönberg's twelve-tone system, or atonality ("horror film" sounds, sounding like a mental patient fiddling around with instruments, aren't they?), but I'm eternally grateful to my father who always played classical music at our home when I was a child. These were a major part of my unformal musical education, and I'm still familiar with how a certain piece of music goes, even though I couldn't exactly name it or its composer.

    Time to return back to earth. As to the more practical and day-to-day concerns of pursuing this trade, often I worry if my musical ambitions are just a pipe dream after all. For all my life I've tripped, stumbled and fallen to find something that would be "me", gotten exited about various things only to desert them sooner or later (or to be more precise, they have deserted me).

    So, I couldn't have helped thinking if it all only ends up like thousands of other hopefuls who tried their luck in music business (and face it, business it is in the end of the day, whatever the pretensions of "art" or doing it "just for the love of music") and never came to anything. If it is only hubris on my part, and "the harder they come, the harder they fall". I do my utmost not to think about that. Whatever, me and Mike Not are not becoming any younger, and it's better to try now than to spend our old days regretting about the lost lifetimes. From the feedback we’ve received from around the world so far, at least we think we are on the right track.

    I believe work itself is its own justification. "Work is the thing, work is everything", Andy Warhol said. I think with Mike Not we have created something worthwhile, a small body of work already, which will last whether it was a big "hit" or not. Something I'm sure people will find sooner or later –- one only has to have some faith, really.

    When once asked who else he would like to be if he wasn't Andy Warhol, Warhol answered: "I would like to be Donald Duck". And why not. Our feathered hero keeps on trying, pushing, however hard the knocks. I will never forget this Donald Duck comics I read as a kid where Donald fails in a running competition only to be reminded by his little nephews, wise and mature for their age, that it is not the most important thing to win but that you do your best.

    pHinnWeb Chart May 2006

    It's here.