16 April 2017

Mika Vainio RIP

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Mika and Ilpo of Pan Sonic (or Pansonic before the Japanese corporation threatened to sue and they had to effect a name-change) came to Singapore 16 years ago. My friends and I took up the challenge which they posed and posted in the The Wire magazine about a world tour to little-travelled-to places around the world, which we guessed then Singapore, qualified.

So the whole hassle of emailing and finalising the logistic side of things like lodging and venue and marketing and what have you started once they gave us the ok about 10 weeks before the actual gig date at a dodgy little second floor venue called Insomnia in Bugis.

Stoic and often just in his own zone, Mika came across as deep in thought or introverted or maybe just trying to get over his jet lag after flying hours from Europe to Asia. But I remember a conversation outside the gig venue after they had checked it out before the gig the next day. We were just talking about the usual music geek talk when Ilpo, his partner in Pan Sonic, and the tour manager more so, were yakking away. However his eyes lit up when we mentioned Keiji Haino. He became more animated and he and Ilpo showed keen interest to meet him and possibly collaborate with Haino-san in the near future. The outcome was released a few years later by Blast First Records. 

He is still a unique artiste, solo or with Ilpo or with other collaborators during his life or after. RIP.

27 February 2017

PSF Records founder Hideo Ikeezumi RIP

One of the greatest record labels of all time, PSF Records, lost its irreplaceable founder,Hideo Ikeezumi.

Without him, I would not have discovered the world filled with Keiji Haino/Fushitsusha/Nijiumu/Aihiyo, High Rise/Musica Transonic, Acid Mothers Temple, Kaoru Abe, Masayuki Takayanagi, Ghost, Gaseneta, Kan Mikami, & so many more.

Went to PSF Record Shop in 2012. Tucked in a old building, knocking on the door before I was let in. It's like a door through a secret pathway to a cosy club away from the big bad world out there. But the big bad world got to it though, barely a year later.

Junko, by the way, was in the shop when I was there. Still remember what I bought there and Hideo gave me a bit of discount. Though we could not really communicate much with his limited spoken English and my even more little Japanese.


14 January 2017

Mark Fisher RIP...

A very important thinker, writer and educator had decided to end his life- Mark Fisher. An ex-editor of The Wire magazine and one of the main movers behind acclaimed new publishing imprint, Repeater Books, he has influenced many with wit, passion, intellectual rigour and insight about the contemporary conditions of the much dreaded neo- liberal capitalism. I just wish he were still around to fight on and inspire more with more of his writings and presence. Let us honour his life, his ideas and his convictions by fighting on. RIP.

29 December 2016

REWIND 2016...

2016 has been a bad year for music, politics, and many other things. With David Bowie's last opus a great back to form and topping many year-end charts, it smacks of necrophilia somehow, though no disrespect to the man who dropped a platter which, in many ways, provided a grand and apt coda to his life as an artist for the past half-century. The corresponding bleakness of the state(s) of the affairs around the world across especially the two big areas which mean much to me (music and politics), is perhaps a sign o' the times (RIP, Prince). Mayhaps, music might not be a force to change and shape the zeitgeist like some earlier foregone eras, but at least, it reminds us of the situ we are in and will be in for quite awhile...

Here are my top releases of 2016:

26 November 2016

Pauline Oliveros R.I.P.

Another one of the most important 20th century composers passed on...

25 October 2016

Pussy Riot Trumps Donald Trump with a music video....

More details of the origin of the video here:

Pussy Riot

My only response to that little man, via Pussy Riot.... Enjoy....

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!