Friday, July 28, 2006

Massaccesi Goes Disco



Enter the mad world of Massaccesi!

I received a package today from my American friend John Fanning, also known as Massaccesi, a musical and visual artist working mostly on the experimental field (his works has been released by such labels as Phthalo of USA). I wrote last year this text about the origins of pHinnWeb where John was very instrumental too. This package included some of his latest works, a Massaccesi CDR and two CDRs of unpublished material of his new project Massakiss (which John calls his own take on gay disco).

I had time to listen to the first Massakiss CDR and a bit of the second one before I left for Net café. I can't say much about the sound politics because I'm not an expert there like Kompleksi's own Mike Not (you can always do things with mastering), but for me the overall Massakiss sound is very energetic and relentless; maybe "testosterone-filled" would be the right expression here; even though as another boring breeder I can't really tell if this sound is especially "gay" or what. Maybe this would fitting material for such German labels as Bpitchcontrol, Lasergun Recordings or the innovatively-named Shitkatapult (also home for Tampere's own Sami Koivikko).

So I think this stuff would be best suited for a series of 12"s, since as home listening it's quite heavy, but I know this is made for dancefloor. My own favourite so far is the over seven minutes long 'Problèmes d'Amour'; I suppose this is a remix of the Alexander Robotnick track? [Addition: No, it isn't.] I'm always a sucker for this sort of minimal, monotonous, heavy and brutal stomp beat. OK, gotta give this more listenings before further comments.

I'll listen to the new Massaccesi record later. I noticed this cardboard tent project of John's but unfortunately I can't contribute now because I don't own a digital camera. (Perhaps if I did a contribution myself there would be a lot of dead Matchbox plastic toy soldiers lying there among the tents, with all that plastic burning and melting; maybe also a couple of Barbie dolls there doing the naughty! See: Toy Holocaust.)

As a further idea I suggested to John combining the sounds of Massaccesi and Massakiss. All those cut-up & noise sounds to that testosterone disco beat: might be interesting? And how about adding also some vocal and speech samples of John and his own text snippets, perhaps in the "spoken word" style...? I'm interested in a collage of different sounds myself: dance beat will always be more interesting if there are some abstract and/or noise-y sounds there (I can't really concentrate on "pure noise" myself), and perhaps some snippets of vocals/texts to give it another dimension.

John also features on his site some new artworks of his which I also find quite nice. Somehow those make me think of Chicks on Speed's trash/recycling aesthetics but John works definitely have a specific style of their own, with comments on consumerism and politics. And this fascination with the imagery of childhood (according to kitchen sink psychology the era from which all our traumas, fears, fascinations and obsessions always derive from) is interesting: toy animals, bright colours, naivist styles, etc., but with a somehow dark, twisted edge. As John tells himself:

"Yeah, I love stuffed animals, I never stopped loving them from childhood. Actually, when I was young I had a ton of stuffed animals and I would use my parents bed and set up a little city full of them, and then have a big 'bomb' go off and throw the animals around and destroy the 'city', haha... I did a lot of crazy things with them, so I have been doing that for years."

So obviously he was into installation art very early on.

***

Listen to Massaccesi/Massakiss at his MySpace site

  • Massaccesi: the official site
  • Massaccesi @ Wikipedia
  • Thursday, July 27, 2006

    Rubber, Latex, PVC, Horror Movie on TV



    Whaddaya mean, PVC? Do I look like I'm going to Gay Pride Parade, huh?

    Following the tips from Liina and Jani the Sonic Temple Assassin to check out "Jesus thrift stores", I dropped by to a nearby Salvation Army store, just around the corner from where I live, to search for a replacement for my stolen leatherjacket, and hey presto, got this substitute looking enough like the lost one, for 17 euros. OK, it's really only PVC, not real leather, but it will have to do at least until I've got enough energy to delve seriously into other thrift stores (I've never been really into buying clothes; even as a kid I hated shopping for those with my parents). So finally even Jesus freaks proved their usefulness -- Hallelujah!

    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    Happy Fuckin' Birthday To Me








    [large image]

    It's the 26th of July, my birthday. All the skeletons in the closet have been invited to celebrate. Tonight, encouraged with plentiful of fine drinks, we will dig out all our fears, sadness, petty jealousies, aggressions and the latent insanity for everyone to see. The cake is filled with cyanide and razorblades. This could be the end of a beautiful friendship.

    A well-known music business professional and promoter, Mr. Super Manager harasses all the women present and insults everyone. Suddenly the place is full of bleary-eyed but rowdy professional alcoholics, all-round parasites, people you don't even know, always a friend of a friend of a friend, who drink all your booze, empty your fridge and express their gratitude by stealing the silverware before leaving and urinating in your rose bush on their way. So many VIP guests around, what a sight to see. The rats in the cellar must have their feast too. After the guests have passed out, the rats sneak out of the darkness and start to gnaw at the guests' faces, too oblivious in their drunken stupor to notice anything.

    The rattle of garbled, undecipherable conversations everywhere. Gravity has betrayed this guy who wavers around dangerously before sweeping all the glassware on the shelves down to the floor. Well, you should understand, always understand. There can be no party without someone fucking it totally up. Everyone is trying to separate these two guys before they kill each other. Your mother's 56-year old friend is feeling all amorous, the sickening sweet perfume mixed with that unmistakable odour of a woman in heat, and tries to make a pass on this 20-year old tall guy. Her bald, potbellied husband lies passed out on sofa, drool dripping all over his face. Girls cry and scream hysterically to their boyfriends, pouring out all their pent-up bitterness and rage that's grown inside for months, their make-up a black, smudged blur all over their faces, while your best friend and your girlfriend have passionate sex in your bedroom.

    Someone throws up all over your valuable Persian carpet. There can be no party without that piquant smell of vomit lingering in the air. The sweltering heat and alcohol has softened up everyone's brains, making them collapse hysterically or ready to jump to each others' throats. Everywhere there are drunken confessions, and the relieving of hearts. "I'm so lonely, boo-hoo." "No-one loves me, boo-hoo." Come on, pour all your emotional dirt over me, drench me in it, rub it all over my face, fill me with nausea and fear; because that's exactly what I'm here for.

    Someone's face is bleeding badly, stitches are probably needed, but he just rambles on all oblivious. Someone tries to jump out of the window. Blond-haired rastas with weary eyes are rolling joints on livingroom's glass table while grime, dubstep and crunk blare on in stereo. Irie, mon. Lush. You could cut the air with a knife. Someone's popping Temazepams like they were candy. Someone's got their eyes large as plates. Someone shoots up heroin in the bathroom, leaving blood stains all over the towels. Better to put your rubber gloves on before touching any of those. Someone's lying on the floor, turning all blue with no pulse feeling.

    Happy birthday to me.
    Happy birthday to me.
    Happy fuckin' birthday to me.

    Monday, July 24, 2006

    A Cool Movie Poster Gallery




    Here: cult flicks, trash, classics...

    [via Dadanoias]

    Goodbye Leatherjacket





    My leatherjacket was stolen on Saturday night. This was mostly because of my own carelessness, of course. As usual, I had left it to Yo-Talo's unguarded VIP space for jackets (where you do this on your own responsibility), not to the regular cloakroom, just to save one euro or so. So my own stinginess is partly to blame. I felt safe about this because nothing has happened to my jacket there before, but these things always happen when you are unprepared for them. Bouncers told me that I might report it to police but I doubt this would be much use.

    I got this jacket, originating from the 70s, a couple of years ago from my mother's man who had outgrown it. It was really cool then, not an actual trenchcoat (I'm not any goth, for chrissakes) but its length almost to my knees and with a belt, giving it some dark mafia or Gestapo style, nevertheless. The jacket has not been in the best shape in ages, having been ripped open at seams in several places, and I had given it countless repairs myself. Still, it had a lot of personal value to me, so I felt really sad and angry about this. And my birthday will be on Wednesday, so what a great birthday gift this was. I put a curse on the unknown wanker who took it -- whether in a bout of drunken idiocy or as a more premeditated theft -- so I hope there's someone out there dying very slowly and painfully on an internal bleeding before too long. Well, probably now I've got nothing else to do than to start searching to purchase a new leatherjacket (hopefully a used one or at a bargain price since my budget for these things is still somehow limited). Any tips welcome, especially in Tampere area.

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Kiss Me, Deadly



    (Click here if you can't see this film trailer of Kiss Me, Deadly.)

    The controversial American crime writer Mickey Spillane just died this week. Known for his extreme right-wing opinions and the violence, nihilism and misogynism of his books, the very persona of Spillane paints a bleak picture of the post-World War II American psychopathology. Though I've never read any of his books (and probably never will until I shall ever become even more cynical, jaded and vengeful than I already am), I've found Robert Aldrich's aptly hard-boiled 1955 adaptation Kiss Me, Deadly one of my favourite pieces of film noir. Reflecting the 1950s Zeitgeist of atomic paranoia and anti-Communism, and with its suitably apocalyptic climax when the nuclear(?) Pandora's box will finally be opened, this nihilistic journey of Spillane's sadistic and truly dislikeable anti-hero detective character Mike Hammer (played by Ralph Meeker) reveals something really fundamental about the mindset of this era. Va-va-voom!

    There's hardly a more suitable director for this one than Robert Aldrich (1918-1983), known for his controversial films often verging on nihilism; the star-studded war movie Dirty Dozen (1967) probably the most famous of them. Aldrich's films are often about a group of tough, masculine men trying to survive in a harsh, violent environment but he also directed melodramatic (though not less cynical) psychodramas featuring women in such works as Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962), Hush... Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964) or The Killing of Sister George (1968).

    Back to Mike Hammer, a totally different Spillane adaptation is Richard T. Heffron's I, The Jury from 1982, with slick Armand Assante as Mike Hammer and one-time Bond girl Barbara Carrera as the female protagonist. In my teenage video nasty years I actually found this one quite entertaining with all its fast-paced gory action and sordid sex scenes (the plot involves a sex clinic with prostitute-like characters offering an interesting form of "therapy"). But then, the film was scripted by Hollywood's bad boy Larry Cohen, known for such cult shockers as It's Alive, with some social agenda full of satirical picks on consumerism and corporate values, so Cohen probably well understood the garish sleaziness hiding behind Spillanean gung-ho patriotic worldview. I haven't seen this film for years, though, so I can't really assess any of its worth now.



    (Click here if you can't see this clip.)

    Incidentally, the apocalyptic destruction scene at the final climax of Kiss Me, Deadly (with its ghastly screaming sounds) makes me somehow think of the infamous slow-motion ending of Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point (1970) where Daria Halprin's character imagines the destruction of a luxury villa, being simultaneously the symbolic demolition of the American bourgeois way of life, with all the exploding fridges and flying Wonderbread packages. While Pink Floyd's 'Come In Number 51 Your Time Is Up' (a reworking of their 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene') plays in the background -- what a beautiful scene: one of my all-time favourites, absolutely. (Too bad the film itself is considered one of Antonioni's worst.) -- Anyway, I wonder if the makers of Koyaanisqatsi ever saw this one?

    Other Mickey Spillane-related video clips @ YouTube + some with keywords 'Mike Hammer'

    Juri on Spillane:

    1 | 2 | 3

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Jodorowsky's Cult Films Finally To DVD!



    After years in circulation only as bad-quality bootlegs, El Topo (1970), The Holy Mountain (1973) and his 1968 debut Fando y Lis, the controversial cult films of Alejandro Jodorowsky will be finally available on DVD, as Allen Klein's Abkco Films now announces.

    Klein, who has a reputation of a mean operator, is no stranger to controversy himself: as his capacity as the manager of both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles (after the death of Brian Epstein), Klein eventually managed to alienate both bands and their inner circle. Court cases ensued. As for Jodorowsky's films, Klein has sat for years on them, refusing to give rights to their distribution in any format. (And I heard that he also owns the rights to ? & The Mysterians' music, which is the reason their classic '96 Tears' won't be heard on CD!) Apparently, an agreement has now been made.

    As for the films themselves, it's quite hard to give a comprehensible description of any of them. Think of Luis Buñuel's surrealism combined with the exuberance of Federico Fellini, with some David Lynch thrown in, and you are not nearly anywhere close. El Topo could be faintly called a psychedelic spaghetti western with mystical, occult and grotesque overtones. This cult film gave an initial spark to the "Midnight Movies" phenomenon, receiving praises from such people as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. The Holy Mountain is even a deeper mystical quest, featuring at the end of it an example of the Brechtian "breaking of the fourth Wall" when the protagonists find out they are characters in a movie: "Lights -- camera -- this is Maya". Fando y Lis, Jodorowsky's first film incited a riot at Acapulco film festival 1968, and the director was nearly deported from Mexico for his troubles, echoing the experiences of another lover of controversy, Luis Buñuel.

    Jodorowsky also worked for the planned mid-70s version of Frank Herbert's sci-fi epic Dune. H.R. Giger, best known for Alien, was supposed to create film's designs. This version eventually fell through, and Dune was finally filmed by David Lynch in 1984 -- becoming the biggest flop of his career. Alongside his film career Jodorowsky is also known as the scriptwriter of Jean "Moebius" Giraud's Incal comics, another feast for the fans of Jodorowsky's psychedelic-mystical style.

    And finally, here is info about Jodorowsky's planned "metaphysical spaghetti gangster film", King Shot, starring Marilyn Manson and Nick Nolte and to be filmed in Mexico.



    (Click here if you can't see the clip above)

    More Jodorowsky @ YouTube:

    1 |2

    Thursday, July 20, 2006

    Marx Sisters




    Vivien Goldman, a British journalist/musician writes for August's Wire about Chicks on Speed's gig at New York's MoMA on 24 June 2006:

    "... seeing Chicks on Speed perform at New York's Museum of Modern Art. Effervescent, capricious and blessed with a Marx Sisters lunacy, the Chicks reminded me that some three decades had in fact passed since I first wrote about Women In Rock, back when a chick with a guitar was as noteworthy as quintuplets. (They hadn't yet invented IVF.)


    The Chicks channelled the girly musicians I used to write about and sometimes also jam with, like The Slits, The Raincoats and Delta 5. Wearing a frothy skirt of multicoloured netting and what looked like rather painful black duct tape on her nipples, one Chick launched a programmed beat that seemed oddly familiar. Right before the vocals came in, I realised it was a speedier, electro take on Delta 5's agreeably stroppy vintage single, 'Mind Your Own Business'. Despite the shift in groove, Chicks on Speed stayed faithful to the original's insistent assurance. The expression had changed; but the rebel girl stance remained. It hit me like a drumroll that the change wasn't just in the drum pattern, but in our lives.


    Chicks on Speed owned the stage with an assurance that also comes from knowing that, freaky and free as they are, their business operation is sound and functions independently. Their gig is viable. Most of the 70s/80s 'typical girls', including The Slits, Lora Logic and X-Ray Spex, were always marginalised as volatile novelties by the record industry.


    While they played, the Chicks screened footage of themselves and friends cavorting naked on a rooftop, with the impish insouciance of a Dick Lester-era Beatles flick. Even in today's quite prudish New York, no MoMA guard came rushing to pull the plug. It was art, after all, and also an elated pagan, pan-sexual Bacchante frenzy flickering behind a giant sculpture by Rodin. At a moment when when pole dancers, strippers and hoes in general dominate so much hiphop discourse, without controlling the conversation, it was refreshing to see females get naked because they want to, filming themselves and controlling the use of their work. Definitely different from the reaction I got from my editor at Melody Maker when I rushed into his office in 1979 waving the first Slits album, Cut, with its sleeve of the trio naked and daubed in mud, and begged him to let me review it. The editor looked at the sleeve, blanched and gagged. "But they're so fat!" he finally exclaimed of the three regular-to-slender young women. "How could they do it?" Although they only got to make one more album, The Slits had clearly pressed a button marked ESCAPE -- and 30 years on, the door had swung open for Chicks on Speed. Their different drums marked a flightpath."

    Tuesday, July 18, 2006

    Drexciya Research Lab





    Through Wikipedia's Drexciya page I found this blog called Drexciya Research Lab giving in-depth analysis to all things Drexciya, Dopplereffekt and their various offshoot projects.

    Drexciya was a widely acclaimed Detroit techno/electro/ambient act headed by James Stinson (who sadly passed away in 2002), with some classic releases for such labels as Underground Resistance, Rephlex and Clone. Stinson was assisted by Gerald Donald, familiar for his own Dopplereffekt act, whose minimal electro sound emulated Kraftwerk and early synthpop, with some controversial song lyrics varying from the joys of being a porno star to the sterilization of human race. Both Drexciya and Dopplereffekt were shrouded in mystery, with any photographs of group members being virtually non-existent (or at least extremely rare). There are such further Stinson/Donald acts in existence as Glass Domain, Japanese Telecom and Arpanet, keeping any collector perfectionists constantly on their toes.

    Drexciya Research Lab also has a mother site of the same name, giving a namecheck to pHinnWeb at its links ("The classic and much read Phinnweb page" for Drexciya).

    ***

    Some related videos @ YouTube here and here.

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    Syd Barrett's Sister Talks



    Some mid-60s artwork by Syd Barrett

    Here you can find a recent interview by the late Syd Barrett's sister Rosemary, deconstructing some of those popular myths in circulation about Barrett's post-musical life, but still probably only adding some more to the enigma of Syd Barrett.

    It seems, for example, that one could not actually diagnose Barrett as mentally insane but more likely suffering from some sort of autism which made him quite awkward with any social contacts and rather to revert to his own inner world. Also, it becomes all the more obvious that Barrett's late-60s breakdown had far more complicated reasons than his reported huge LSD use; the strains of music business and heavy workload of extensive gigging and recording further contributing to the shattering of a sensitive, introverted mind. And one can speculate endlessly what effect such crucial events reported in most biographies as Barrett's father's early demise, for example, had on Syd's mental balance.


    "He always had an extraordinary mind, bordering on the autistic or Aspergic. He had a rare talent to exploit ambiguities in language and also experienced synaesthesia -- the ability to 'see sounds and hear colours' -- which was to be a huge influence on his music in his psychedelic phase."


    So Syd Barrett was also a gifted visual artist, and here you can find an art gallery dedicated to his works.

    Friday, July 14, 2006

    Old Jallu Magazines To Be Reprinted




    Obviously, there's some larger interest in vintage Finnish men's magazines at the moment, since there will now be a series of reprints of the issues of Jallu magazines from 1950s to 80s.

    On A Brighter Note



    The Zombies: 'Time of the Season' (1969)

    MP3

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Syd



    Roger Keith "Syd" Barrett, 6 January, 1946 – 7 July, 2006


    Syd Barrett, the founding member of Pink Floyd (who also gave the band its name), has passed away. Barrett's history and the early days of Floyd have been well documented elsewhere, so I'm not going into them here; just follow the links below if you're still a neophyte and want to find out why this is so much of importance.

    It's hard to describe my feelings at the moment because along the years Syd's influence has been enormous on me (probably you can hear some Syd traces here and there in Kompleksi's stuff), and also on numbers of musicians: David Bowie (who covered Syd/Floyd's 'See Emily Play' for his Pin-Ups) and Julian Cope only a few among them.

    After Syd had left Pink Floyd in early 1968 troubled by his ever-increasing mental problems (thought to be caused by his gargantuan intake of LSD, though many historians consider the truth must be far more complicated here), Floyd became by the mid-70s the dinosaur band admired by the masses of "classic rock" fans and loathed by punks.

    However, Pink Floyd never totally managed to escape from under Syd's giant shadow, and he still remained a cult favourite loved by everyone. Even Sex Pistols initially wanted Syd Barrett to produce their debut album, even though (or just because) Syd had badly lost marbles by this era and had totally left music after 1974, living as a recluse in his native Cambridge until the end of his days.

    Pink Floyd's debut Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967) is still my all-time favourite album, and I must have given countless plays to my personally custom-made MiniDisc featuring the album plus Floyd's first singles with Syd, unreleased bootleg rarities like 'Vegetable Man', 'Scream Thy Last Scream' (a crying shame that EMI still keeps these gems locked in their vaults), and 'Jugband Blues', Syd's swansong with Floyd, from the band's second album (1968). These songs -- full of trippy strangeness, playful whimsy and mystique but also deep humanity -- always take me to some other dimension beyond time and space, remaining a source of endless inspiration.

    Thank you, Syd: you will never be forgotten.


    "Won't you miss me?
    Wouldn't you miss me at all?"


    See also:

    Syd Barrett's Sister Talks

    Links:

    Syd Barrett @ pHinnWeb

    Syd Barrett videos @ YouTube

    Syd Barrett @ Wikipedia


    Syd Remembered:

  • ABC Australia
  • Associated Press
  • BBC News
  • David Bowie
  • Brain Damage
  • Cambridge Evening News
  • CNN
  • Julian Cope
  • E! Online
  • Guardian
  • LA Times
  • Momus
  • MSNBC
  • Neptune Pink Floyd
  • New York Times
  • NME
  • Pitchfork
  • Rolling Stone
  • Slate
  • Spin
  • Times Online
  • Uncut
  • USA Today
  • Washington Post
  • WFMU
  • Wikinews
  • Tuesday, July 11, 2006

    La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc / The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)



    (Click here if you can't see the film.)

    80 minutes. Directed by Carl Th. Dreyer. Starring Maria (Renée Jeanne) Falconetti and Antonin Artaud.

    Read more @ Wikipedia

    Harri Teikka In Holiday Mood

    Friday, July 07, 2006

    Raumpatrouille Orion: German Star Trek from the 60s


    Raumpatrouille - Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffs Orion (a.k.a. Raumpatrouille Orion) was the Germans' own take on Star Trek, a black & white seven-episode sci-fi TV series, the first episode of which was aired in 17 September 1966.

    Here you can see some video clips from these episodes on YouTube, with subtitles in English. Witness some hilarious dancing styles ("Dirty Dancing", indeed) and several cool 60s-type überbabes, among them a character called Commander Lydia Van Dyke... and of course some nifty futuristic set designs and spaceships. I can hardly wait to see this series myself.

    The music was composed by Peter Thomas: there's a 2-CD called Warp Back to Earth 66/99 which includes Thomas' film and TV music, Raumpatrouille among them, plus remixes of his compositions by such people as Stereolab, Saint Etienne and John McEntire. Recommended if you can get this to your hands.

    (Click here if you can't see these video clips.)



    The series intro in colour.

    And the infamous "Dirty Dancing" scenes -- these dancing styles have to be seen to be believed!





    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Swaeg - pHinn's Contribution



    Here is my contribution to Swaeg's street art gallery, to be held here in Tampere this July. Swaeg is a local audiovisual organization, run by Joonas Toivonen (a.k.a. Toiminto) and his cohorts who have had excellent underground electronic music parties, where I have also DJed a couple of times.

    [video] M.A. Numminen & DJ Sane: 'Kirkko rakkaani' @ Provinssirock



    Here is the video of Finnish underground legend M.A. Numminen performing his track 'Kirkko rakkaani' at Provinssirock 2006 festival with DJ Sane. Sorry, image & sound quality are quite bad here, but hopefully you'll get an idea what the track is like.

    Incidentally, this is the same track we have remixed with Kompleksi, the version which should be out next October on a planned M.A. Numminen remix album (expect delays, though, as is always the case with these release things).

    Saturday, July 01, 2006