23 August 2016

Aquarius Records.... Bites the Dust.... RIP

 Many years ago I was in San Francisco (year 2000 Nov/Dec). Besides being the capital of US Psychedelia back in the 1960s at the Haight-Astbury area, it has been one of the most important musical capitals of the world: the punk, post-punk and industrial scenes of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the home to one of the most vital countercultural publishing houses, RE/Search which introduced the world to the wonderful but sometimes scary insider peeps into Industrial culture, West Coast punk, William S Burroughs/Brion Gysin, JG Ballard, tattoos and body art, feminism, and so many more. It also housed one of the oldest and legendary record shops in the US:Aquarius Records. The shop which was old enough to drink, in terms of its years of existence on this planet. It was on Valencia Street. But after two hours of frantic walking around and asking, I did not manage to locate it. I thought to myself, oh well, I would come back again to S.F. and I would find it the next time round. I guess I cannot fulfil this now. RIP Aquarius Records. You can find this if you go to their website:

ATTENTION DEAR CUSTOMERS. Sorry to say, we're no longer in business - our pals at Stranded/Superior Viaduct have taken over the shop at 1055 Valencia St., and will have a new website up soon. Please read our most recent "in-between list" (link below) for more information on this big change. Thanks everybody who has been a friend or supporter over the years, we'll miss you all!! Wish we could have kept going forever, but things change. Five hundred and two lists, though, that's not bad... And local folks, don't worry, you'll still see many of your favorite aQ staffers at work behind the counter at the new Stranded store!

17 July 2016

BANANAFISH: Seminal Noise Rag got a concise historical treatment


Lo and behold, it came as quite a surprise, or actually maybe not, after Red Bull Music Academy, has so far hosted Keiji Haino, featured writings from ex-Volcanic Tongue honcho David Keenan, and other Underground icons and heads.

Nonetheless, it is a good read of one of the most important fanzines/noise zines in the 1990s and 2000s.

Go read here.

Alan Vega, Suicide, R.I.P.


Another month in 2016, another bites the dust.

Now it's Alan Vega of Suicide. Arguably one of the most important bands post-VU.

My post on Suicide and more...

09 April 2016

Tony Conrad R.I.P.

Tony Conrad passed away on 9 April 2016. His music was amongst the first foundational influences on me to embrace new, experimental, challenging avant-garde arts & musics almost 20 years ago. His solo works throughout the years, his contributions to La Monte Young's pieces, his collaboration with many contemporaries & younger generations like Faust & Genesis P-Orridge established the canon of adventurous music in the late 20th & 21st centuries. May his works reverberate on.

23 March 2016

Let's help Z'EV through this

Z'ev, one of the pioneers of Industrial Music was involved in a serious accident recently. Please go HERE for the details as well possible financial assistance to his hospitalisation and medical expenses so that he can recover and create great music again soon.

11 March 2016

P.S.F. Records is back... via Black Editions

"It is with great excitement that we announce the formation of the Black Editions label and the return of Japan’s revered P.S.F. Records catalog. Starting in 2016 Black Editions will begin to issue P.S.F.’s lost classics in high quality, definitive editions; Most of these albums will be released on vinyl for the first time ever."
For more details, go here. http://ww

09 March 2016

Beyond Jazz: Plink, Plonk & Scratch by Trevor Barre & A Story of Free Improvisation

While reading this sorely needed book on the history of British Free Improvisation, I came across the section where Barre discusses about the much debated issue on the "record-ed-ness" of Free music on vinyl and other physical media. Derek Bailey, being the gnomic himself, had consistently griped about the meaninglessness of recorded Free music. You can do yourself a favour and buy this book and read about this and more but I am not going to discuss about that here. Instead I am going to make a point about me, and some friends of mine who live in this small island which is like thousands of kilometres away from London or Britain, and our experience with Free Improvisation. 

In the 1980s, apparently, Goethe Institute locally brought in Peter Brotzmann but alas I was a bit too young and uninformed and also unschooled to know about it, let alone attending the gig. Besides that, my experience, which I would safely account for the rest of my friends who were at least curious or even keen to find out more about Free Improv had virtually no contact point with it. When the music megastores (Yes, there once existed, in all their full glory, then) arrived here in the late 1990s, the few titles from AMM, Derek Bailey and Evan Parker available in those stores were our sole connection to the mainline of Free Improv. Hence the debate about to record or not to record, or record or live, and other permutations of arguments along those lines were non-consequential to us. We only had the records/CDs then to allow us the access to Free Improv. Is it the privileged vantage point of living in a developed country then which gave permission to such seemingly ideological discourse, well ,there is another potential can of worms waiting to be spilled.

But let me come back to Barre's tome. I love it so much that I am reading it the second time and I am seriously considering the third time round after I am done with the last page of my second run of it. So I hope the above scenario is self-evidenced enough.

Let me return to my friends and I on this island again.. Well, we did not have the chance to see Bailey, Parker, AMM live so what did or have we done? We tried and have tried to create our take or understanding of Free Improv here by playing it. Musician types and non-musician kind alike, events were organised and venues hijacked and we happily plinked, plonked and scratched away. It was like Punk, here at least.

What I like about Barre is his open-mindedness of his musical taste and non-preciousness in his writing. His cross reference to My Bloody Valentine, Merzbow, Alternative TV and many more which one would NOT expect in a book more on the jazz side of things on print connects me to him, thousands of kilometres away. 

Perhaps there is the power of music and culture, after all. 

Let us not forgetting the implicit and explicit community spirit and human interaction which have been so embedded in the making and perpetuating of Free Improv which Barre went at length to account and plot in the various chapters.

Idealism be damned, the world today needs more of that then the last century...

Go buy the book here and NOW, and no, I am not joking.