Monday, July 28, 2008

The Emperor Machine: "What's In The Box?"

J. Saul Kane's DC Recordings announces a forthcoming release from The Emperor Machine a.k.a. Andy Meecham, known for his excellent analogue-Kraut-disco-funk sound, and announces more live gigs by The Emperor. You can also check some Emperor Machine live videos @ YouTube.

Artist: The Emperor Machine
Title: What's In The Box?
Label: DC Recordings (UK)
Cat. No: DCR91
Format: 12" / digital download
Release Date: 1 September 2008


1. What's In The Box (5:26)
2. Box Dub (6:42)
3. Non-Functioning Apeman (5:31)
4. Functioning Apewoman (6:20)

Written & produced by Andrew Meecham.
Recorded and mixed at Lipstudio 2 UK.
Mastered by Mike at The Exchange.

Press release notes:

The recent appearance of The Emperor Machine Live across the UK and Western Europe has created alarm and intense interest in this previously obscure and highly degenerate entity. What has previously existed as a mere audio recording is now a fully realised live experience that appears to be spreading virally across the continent -- already reported in the UK, France and Belgium and predicted to reach Ireland, Spain, Italy, Germany and even Russia by the year-end.

All attempts to contain The Live Emperor Machine have so far proved futile so here at the DC lab we felt it opportune to issue a cursory sample -- "What's In The Box?" This track forms part of The Emperor Machine's Live show and so will allow listeners to prepare for an outbreak in their area. The second supplementary track "Box Dub" features variant strains of echo, delay and reverb that have currently been observed in live field tests.

Third and fourth supplementary tracks on this disc are "Non-Functioning Apeman" and "Functioning Apewoman", titles that allude to the phenomenon observed during live performances of simian characteristics amongst dance floor specimens. As is suggested by the titles of these tracks, it has been noted that the female displays a greater tolerance to The Emperor Machine at this time, maintaining basic functionality through pelvic movements, whilst the male exudes a tendency towards random vocal outbursts, uncontrolled drooling and, extreme cases, a hitherto unseen form of disco-fied torpor.

We recommend detailed studies of these samples and appropriate public notification in all available forms of broadcast and printed media. We thank you for your cooperation on this.


The Emperor Machine Live: July 26th London - Cargo; Aug 8th Zurich - Lethargy Festival: Aug 9th London - Field Day; Sept 19th - London - Fabric; October 3rd - Dublin - Venue TBC; October 25th - Barcelona - Nitsa; November 28th - Brussels - Recyclart; November 29th Antwerp - Petrol. More dates TBC...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blog House Is The New Punk

Justice: 'Waters of Nazareth' (2005)

Or then, maybe not. After barely coming to terms with the new electronic dance music genres such as skweee and nu-rave (OK, the latter was a bit of a joke), lately I've encountered the expression "blog house" every now and then, so here are some pointers to you fellow old pHarts who don't have a clue, either... But somehow I again get the feeling as The Who would have put it -- "Meet the new sound, same as the old sound"?

  • Blog House: The deleted Wikipedia article
  • Blog House @ Urban Dictionary
  • Blog House @ Trash Menagerie
  • Blog House @ Hipster Runoff
  • FiftyOneFiftyOne: Save Blog House

  • And more on new genres by KynyNasty
  • Saturday, July 26, 2008

    My Birthday with Aldous, Mick, Carl Gustav and Stanley

    Sugarcubes: 'Birthday'

    Been having my birthday today and ate cake together with co-celebrants Aldous Huxley, Mick Jagger, C.G. Jung and Stanley Kubrick. After the cake and tea we sampled some soma with Aldous, Mick ran away with a 6'5" supermodel, Carl Gustav gave us a lecture on mandalas, archetypes and about those 2,500 points in the theories of Sigmund F. where Vienna's good Doktor got it all wrong and Stanley filmed the whole proceedings with his emotionally detached and ironic wide-angle lens.

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    More Mechanical Fruits from A Clockwork Orange Tree

    Karenlee Grant's collage art for the alternative version of A Clockwork Orange soundtrack (1972)

    A Clockwork Orange -- a 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess and its 1971 film adaptation by Stanley Kubrick -- has stirred controversy and both positively and negatively influenced people in ensuing decades since the original conception. The movie was released in 1971, the same year as two other notoriety-gaining film studies on violence, Don Siegel's Dirty Harry and Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs, indicating that something had perhaps gone sore in the aftermath of the 60s liberal revolution.

    Probably Burgess and Kubrick's intentions were not exactly ACO becoming such a pop phenomenon and starting a life of its own, inspiring countless artists in music (from David Bowie to Sigue Sigue Sputnik; punk movement being in general another reflection of the ACO ethos), fashion, and naturally other films (Oliver Stone's sensationalist Natural Born Killers lacked the philosophical depths and ironic nuances of Kubrick). My own take on ACO is as a sister work to Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), perhaps depicting the sinister, seedy and violent circumstances of those unfortunate left on Earth while Dave Bowman and Discovery crew were on their more spiritually heightened, universe-embracing cosmic pursuits.

    Here are some new-found interesting alternative takes on the phenomenon.

    Feuilleton, the blog by British visual artist John Coulthart always worth checking, recently featured an entry on A Clockwork Orange and sounds & images connected to it.

    Switched-On Bach was a 1968 album of Johann Sebastian Bach adaptations for the Moog synthesizer, painstakingly created by the electronic composer W. Carlos together with Rachel Elkind as a sort of sonic animation movie with multiple tape splices, when with early Moogs one could only generate one monophonic sound at a time. The album was a huge success in the days synthesizer was still mostly considered an expensive gimmick only good for creating spooky or funny sound effects for sci-fi movies and radio jingles, as is chronicled in Analog Days (2002) by Trevor Pinch and Frank Trocco. Or to be used in avantgarde music, allegedly with not too much commercial potential there.

    Rock bands such as The Doors also had experimented with a Moog synth but the instrument was considered only good for creating weird psychedelic sounds, to spice up a bit the usual rock instrumentation, and not something one could create whole albums with. Switched-On Bach changed all that, and tons of more-or-less cheesy copycat Moog albums followed in its wake: there were some exceptions such as the works by Dick Hyman, but at this moment Moog felt like another passing craze.

    Nevertheless, thanks to the album's success, Wendy Carlos was subsequently commissioned by Stanley Kubrick, planning his film version, to basically do the same thing for Ludwig van Beethoven, the favourite composer of Alex, in the book the devilish leader of his gang of "droogs".

    Alongside the official film soundtrack, Wendy Carlos published in 1972 another album featuring also Carlos's compositions for the film that remained unused. On her page Carlos shares more information on her film music.

    Allen Jones (b. 1937) is a British sculptor who came into prominence with his notorious "Chair, Table and Hat Stand" -- the jury is still out whether this is a misogynist work of glaring pop art verging on pornography or an ironic, even feministic comment on sexism. In a Guardian story Allen Jones tells Kubrick wanted to use his designs as props for the film but Jones refused, instead offering to design BSDM-type rubber costumes for the Korova Milk Bar waitresses (it's interesting Jones calls himself a feminist in the Guardian story). Kubrick didn't use the outfits by Jones but still emulated the artist's style for the bar's now-infamous forniphiliac furniture.

    Some unused Clockwork Orange designs by Allen Jones

  • A Clockwork Orange search results @ YouTube
  • Electronic Music History Links @ pHinnWeb
  • "I Want To Take You Higher..."

    Sly & the Family Stone: 'I Want To Take You Higher' (live at Woodstock, 1969)

    Just watched again the concert film Woodstock, on the biggest counter-cultural event of 1960s. The worst excesses of drug-driven lifestyle and rampant commercialism ever more affecting the "underground" had clearly taken their toll by this time and some performances appear no more than self-indulgent hippie dross now; the film's sole highlight for me being Sly & the Family Stone's energetic live take of their 'I Want To Take You Higher', showing the band still at the height of their powers, unlike e.g. Jimi Hendrix who was already at decline during the time of the festival, despite his controversial, electrifying and Zeitgeist-defining guitar improvisation of 'Star-Spangled Banner' being there. Too bad Sly would also lose it on drugs before too long.

    (As a technical side-note, it's interesting to notice Sly uses here a "rhythm box" in the song, being probably one of the earliest examples of "machine-driven" funk; Dick Hyman's 1969 Moog version of James Brown's 'Give It Up Or Turn It Loose' being another one.)


    Unrelated: Musex (Music Export Finland) also has a blog now --" -- but I seem to be unable to update it to the blogroll for the time being. Blaah, can't think clearly, it's too damn hot...

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    Neil Young: Trans (1982)

    The heroes of the late 70s/early 80s futu-pop: Kraftwerk, Ultravox, John Foxx, The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire, Gary Numan, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Soft Cell, Visage, Depeche Mode... and Neil Young? Yes, so it seemed when Young released in 1982 Trans, a synth and vocoder-laden (Moog 16-Channel MBVO Vocoder, to be exact) album featuring futuristic paeans to electronic age in general.

    This happened way before ZZ Top added synthetic sounds to their own boogie rock on albums like Afterburner (1985). Old Young fans more accustomed to his earthy singer-songwriter style were baffled, to say the least, the reviews were mixed and this remained Young's only foray into electronic pop. Young's interest to vocoder may have originated when he found out using this device it was easier for him to communicate with his son who had a cerebral palsy. Also hearing Kraftwerk's now-classic Computer World (1981) seems to have inspired Young to explore this sort of sound.

    Tracks such as 'Computer Cowboy' preceded the mid-80s cyberpunk craze: "Ride along computer cowboy / To the city just in time / To bring another system down / And leave your alias behind: Computer syscrusher". (I think some echoes of the part-utopian/part-dystopian songs of Trans can be found on the postrock band Trans Am's 1999 album Futureworld -- Young also has a track called 'Trans Am' on 1994's Sleeps With Angels.)

    Some commentators tell Neil Young later disowned this record, though a page at Human Highway dedicated to the album claims: "Contrary to most people's opinion, Neil Young says that this is the one of his best two albums. The other was Everybody's Rockin'". Anyway, something about the difficult reception to the album is revealed by the fact that Trans has never been re-released on CD in the US. Nevertheless, as an electronic curio diversion to its creator's usual output and representing the era of early home-computers and futuristic dreams still prevalent in pop those days, I find the album quite enjoyable: Neil Young, the original cyberpunk cowboy?

    Some fan-made videos of Trans songs at YouTube:

  • 'Computer Cowboy'
  • 'We R In Control'
  • 'Sample and Hold'
  • 'Computer Age'


  • Trans @ Rolling Stone Reviews
  • Trans @ Shelf Life
  • Trans @ Line Out
  • 1983 reviews in Finnish by Markku Into and Pekka Koskivaara
  • Sunday, July 20, 2008

    Erkki Kurenniemi: Electronics in the World of Tomorrow (1968)

    Erkki Kurenniemi: Electronics in the World of Tomorrow (1968)

  • More Erkki Kurenniemi search results @ YouTube
  • Erkki Kurenniemi @ YLE Elävä Arkisto
  • Erkki Kurenniemi @ pHinnWeb
  • Electronic Dance Music: Where Next?

    Trips Festival, San Francisco, 1966 - an early "rave" with Donald Buchla sounds

    Some food for thought by Philip Sherburne for electronic dance music artists, DJs, clubbers and fans:

    Well, I have no answers or solutions. Personally, at the moment the past and origins seem to be more inspiring than the current state of club culture, as just finishing Analog Days (2002) on the early days of analogue synths (Moog, Buchla, ARP, EMS) proved.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Mad Lindell: 'Grandmaster Klaus' (1988)

    An addition to the 80s synthpop dept. of pHinnWeb... Tommi Lindell was one of Finnish electro pioneers with 'Grandmaster Klaus', a humorous electro-funk take on Klaus Järvinen, the über-critical musical educator member of TV's Levyraati (Finnish version of Jukebox Jury) in the 1980s, sampling the show's jazzy theme music to the comments of Mr. Järvinen on sundry musical performances seen at Levyraati. You can hear the track and see its video at YouTube.

    Mad Lindell: Grandmaster Klaus A
    Mad Lindell: Grandmaster Klaus B

    Mad Lindell
    Grandmaster Klaus (7")
    KRÄKS 138
    A. Grandmaster Klaus (3:32)
    B. Karjala (3:04)

    Written by Tommi Lindell.


  • The official Tommi Lindell site
  • Tommi Lindell @ FinnArctic
  • Lindellandia @ YouTube
  • Tommi Lindell @ Discogs
  • Tommi Lindell interview @ Selvis 1/2001 (in Finnish)
  • Tommi Lindell @ Riffi 2/2002 (in Finnish)
  • Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Erikoisdance 9 review @ The Wire

    Helsinki's Erikoismies gets a mention at The Wire:

    And also something related...

    DJ Müsta Kirahvi
    "Müsta Kesä 3008 Megamix" (28:52 min)

    -Chuck Norris
    -Black Devil
    -Goat Dance
    -Jorma Kalenius
    -Dave Powell
    -Link Wray
    -Panjabi MC
    -Loudon Wainwright III
    -Depeche Mode
    -James Cotton
    -Vesa Enne

    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    Meat Beat Manifesto: 'Mindstream' (Orbital Remix)

    Meat Beat Manifesto: 'Mindstream' (Mind The Bend The Mind mix by Orbital) (1993)

    Another golden oldie... a dazzling Orbital remix of a Meat Beat Manifesto song. "Things aren't too clear, and the more I see / things disappear, momentarily." (The original as video version: check the superior (IMHO) album version from their classic Satyricon of 1992.)

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    BadFrench (GER): 'My Parisian Friend' video + The Debut Gig

    Bad French: 'My Parisian Friend' (2008)

    News from BadFrench, the new project of Germany's Kiki Moorse (ex-Chicks on Speed) with Andreas (Kreidler) Reihse:

    The Institut im Glaspavillon (@ Volksbühne Berlin, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin, Germany) is glad to welcome BadFrench at 9 pm on Saturday, July 12, 2008, for their premier performance, a lecture and a video presentation.

    BadFrench is a new music project by Kiki Moorse, former member of Chicks on Speed, and Andreas Reihse, member of the Düsseldorf band Kreidler. The duo's music is electronic, inspired by French chanson, Kiki invents herself as a D.I.Y.-diseuse. The work of BadFrench is characterized by a commitment to style, but also by a certain melancholy. The duo's first single, "My Parisian Friend", will appear in September 2008, including remixes by Jason Forrest and Toffeetronic.

    At the Institut Kiki and Andreas will introduce the project, talk about their concept and give a small concert. They will also introduce their first video (directed by Elsa Okazaki).


    And talking about Chicks on Speed, there's a new songstream called "The Feminasty Factor", created for Sonar '08, with tracks selected by Alex Murray-Leslie and Melissa Logan; also featuring a new CoS track 'Vibrator' (with Fred Schneider of The B-52s):

    Wednesday, July 09, 2008

    Cybernetic Broadcasting System Calls It A Day

    Sad news for the electro fans from Holland's Cybernetic Broadcasting System, a stream radio run by I-f (a.k.a. Ferenc van der Sluijs) and his cohorts:

  • pHinnWeb's ancient I-f page (not updated for years)
  • Tuesday, July 08, 2008

    White Light Circus: 'Break The Circuit'

    And yet another release from J. Saul Kane's DC Recordings...

    Artist: White Light Circus
    Title: Break The Circuit
    Label: DC Recordings (UK)
    Cat. No: DCR87
    Format: 12" / digital download
    Release Date: 11 August 2008


    A. Break The Circuit (5:00)
    B. Up To Rot (5:47)


    Written & produced by Dean Meredith.
    Vocals on 'Break The Circuit' by Jonny Spencer.
    Recorded & mixed at Rogue Cat Sound.
    Mastered by Mike at The Exchange.

    Press release notes:

    'Break The Circuit' is another burst of blinding light from White Light Circus, the astronomical nom de plume of Dean Meredith, also known as half of Chicken Lips alongside Andy Meecham (a.k.a. The Emperor Machine) and Goat Dance.

    We aren't sure what has occurred in the control room of Meredith's White Light Circus since the last burst of discoid energy -- 2007's 'Interrupted Time' (DCR79) -- but things seem to be increasingly crazed up there.

    Title track 'Break The Circuit' features a slow-paced swagger of disordered analogical funk accompanied by a delirious monologue from Jonny Spencer, whose breathy invocations and deranged thrills echo the dysfunctional bleeps and chatter of the out of control machines in the background.

    B-side 'Up To Rot' is by comparison a less volatile cosmic phenomenon. With no human voice in sight, the machines seem synchronous once again; their misfiring circuits strangely harmonized allowing the listener to drift into a familiar state of analogical dementia, tinged with sci-fi-psych-osis.

    This new cosmic event is the fourth in the White Light Circus constellation, following on from the nebular 'Interrupted Time' (DCR79), 'Rocket Ride' (DCR71) and 'Marching Orders' (DCR62).

    Sunday, July 06, 2008

    Mark Stewart Is Back

    Mark Stewart: 'Loner' (2008)

    ON/OFF trailer

    UK's Mark Stewart, an influential pioneer of electronic industrial/experimental/funk/dub/hip-hop sound who influenced everyone from Meat Beat Manifesto to Massive Attack to grime, returns with a new album called Edit (his last release was Kiss The Future compilation in 2005), a documentary film ON/OFF dedicated to him and his legendary post-punk band The Pop Group, plus a cover story in The Wire magazine of July 2008 (an unedited transcript of his interview here). Stewart also tells in the interview he's going to collaborate with Adult., which certainly makes it pretty interesting for pHinnWeb!

  • Mark Stewart & Maffia @ MySpace
  • Tuesday, July 01, 2008

    Jorma Elovaara 1970 Radio Show For A Limited Time

    Jorma Elovaara in 1968

    An April 1970 episode of Jorma Elovaara's legendary psychedelic/counter-culture radio show Vesimiehen Aika ("The Age of Aquarius") can be heard for a limited time of one week (sorry, Finland only, it seems) at:

    (Thanks for the tip: J.H.)

    pHinnWeb Chart July 2008...

    ... can be found here.