Saturday, October 31, 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

thoughtful review of a new book on Arthur Russell
Russell allowed himself, helplessly, to be consumed with the process of music making, indifferent to the product. He recoiled from any final version of a composition for fear it would preclude all its other potential manifestations. As Lawrence puts it, a final version of a song “would become static and therefore experience a form of death.” According to the composer and writer Ned Sublette, Russell “couldn’t turn his back on the beauty of unexplored possibilities.” There’s a nobility to that, but it also helps explain the lack of recognition beyond his cult...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

came across this review of the great Mary Heilmann show, which I was lucky enough to see (& sit down at!) in New York this time last year...

Free for the sitting—and for the scooting around, on speedy casters—they are rectilinear, with wooden frames, in a direct steal from the punitively strict furniture designs of Donald Judd. But their inserted bottoms and backs, of interwoven cloth straps in typically surprising colors, are canted at body-welcoming angles. To sit in one is to feel, physically, a quiddity of the Heilmannesque...

more on the collected Manny Farber reviews--
“All physical matter seems to be coated: buildings are encased in grids and glass, rooms are lined with marble and drapes, girls are sculpted by body stockings, metallic or velour-like materials. A subtle pornography seems to be the point, but it is obtained by the camera slithering like an eel over statuesque women from ankle across thigh around hips to shoulder and down again. Repeatedly the camera moves back to beds, but not for the purposes of exposing flesh or physical contact. What are shown are vast expanses of wrinkled satin, deep dark shadows, glistening silvery highlights. The bodies are dead, under sedation, drugged, or being moved in slow-motion stylistic embraces. Thus, there’s a kind of decadent tremor within the image as though an unseen lecherous hand were palming, sliding over not quite human humans.”

to celebrate the new issue of Capilano Review I'll post my poem from the last one:


for Lary Bremner

Here and there between the pages a skeleton leaf conjured up those lost woods
    --Patrick Leigh Fermor


The phylogeny of sleep
vs. the ontogeny of waking up

bunnybeard blankets
dewdrop the sleeping slutswool

drooled voices skitter
from the back of a tent (circus)

useless user fingers pinch
filched bodega grapes

awake in sheets so soft
you devour them in a dream

goosefeathers knuckle
a wet November no-hitter's

bloody stucco,
horseradish breezes

curl brown paint from gray lumber
in soft curls--

an August half-moon
teething at sixes & sevens,

in sheets so soft they squeezed
phantom pain out of real pain,

excuses thumbed a map's wet fold,
a ghost train fringe marked with

misty rivers, chenille fingers, flutter gulches,
cross-digging legends out of anthracite

shaded parks bunted for cornerboys
that flap & tumble & shamble.


All is Loch Elsewhere,
Arcadian pancake & parkade,  

chewed venue, through potash
& slough

eelgrass aftertaste
past castle & ledge

where the blue bus humps
up & left, past the twinkling figurines

of a presumptive distance
even darker closer in & thickened so with

baronial fences & colonial hedges that
only from overhead can

the security corona be glimpsed
when cat-like you trip its cricket senses.


All is Cantaloupe Causeway
a shrubbery of near attainments

half-rendered blossoms
a spider's tincture grown over

a monkey puzzle half-hardened with honey--
lichen overhangs the wavy cavy air

dream-flies sip hat-salt & eye-salt & sea-salt,
& in the inky truffle shade of a giant oak

plotters tip cordials, toast
Lost Illusions, lost dogs, lost wages--

a bubble is a mighty fine thing!
For about three months & change

the tulip was worth more
than the picture of the tulip!

& that tapioca backwash
wreathed in strawberry quik

was like childhood in reverse,
open to the nourishment but still

popping the air's envelope,
brakeless on a banana cruiser.


The state couldn't catch a fucking cold
too cheap to keep the flow of piping hot

up just ask the bus stations
& movie theaters--

no fresh towels for popcorn paws
& foam alone won't disinfect

the coughed-on loonies & toonies
that insist into our minty mitts--

thus later asleep, drop in throat
half-lodged (eucalyptus), I missed it

when the Matrix dropped his
crystal set into the toilet tank

& so soap-bombed the Italian fountain
that the concrete fish

crested the foam all over downtown
scales glinting off the pebbles

in the giant bowl of the casino's
outdoor loser ashtray.


In sleep so thick
the panels of the trucks

pivot through the birds & bricks
that flap above the viaducts

on downs as soft as poplar fluff
graders scrape off mossy stuff

revealing projects never needed,
zombie gardens never weeded

& ragged couches burning fleece
prompting no visit from police--

a hermaphroditic order
in the standing water

a kind of turbid flux
flaps above the viaducts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Elly Ameling - Schubertiade

A wonderful record I had on vinyl, Ms. Ameling's first, containing my first & favorite version of Schubert's last song "Der Hirt auf dem Felsen" (The Shepherd on the Rock), the loveliest music I know of...

preparatory to watching "Vendredi Soir" tonight, a 2002 Claire Denis Interview
You know, I was twice asked to make films in the United States. I was even offered Boys Don't Cry. That was six years ago, but I didn't like the idea of making that film. I had just done J'ai pas sommeil (I Can't Sleep, 1993), I got the impression that they were offering me yet another news-in-brief item: “Oh her, she likes news items, that's her thing.” What further bothered me was to be forced to proclaim at the outset that because I was a foreigner I was going to see things more clearly. As far as that's concerned, I don't believe in it at all. I think that you can only feel yourself an outsider if you are part of a community. The outsider's view, I don't believe in it… Me, if I'd done it, that's how I would have seen these little Americans, these tragic communities, everyone is unemployed, people are living in caravans, girls of 14 committing credit card fraud, brawls every day and first babies being born to girls who are 13 years old. To come along in black jeans and make a compassionate film, I could not have done that...

Patti Smith's review of Todd rundgren's _A Wizard, a True Star_
I know, here is where I got caught. Not prepared for a transition like "Neverland." Brutally nostalgic. I got that era under my belt. All about toyland. Once you leave no turning back. Well, why did Todd pull us back? The terror of beauty makes one momentarily bitter. First star to the right and straight on till morning. "Neverland" permanently poisons and sweetens. Gives a subconscious aftertaste. Tinges the whole record with Walt Disney. Also torments and slides you into journey a little weak above the belt. As side one progresses you age. There's hair on your fingers.

Tic tic. Like the crocodile alarm that pleasantly ticked away Captain Hook's lifeline, goodie good is wearing off. The move is maniac. Screeching monotone which eliminates mouth, limb and crotch but exalts in brain power. MIT science fiction. The next religion.

Even more ear-itating is "Rock'n'Roll Pussy." Autobiographic as a brainiac. "I'm in the Clique" comes back as "Shove it up your ass, I'm the clique myself." Sexual power is moving up the spine into the skull. It's manic it's magnificent.

Am I getting abstract? It doesn't matter. Music is pure mathematics. And what is more abstract than trigonometry? Todd is further mystery than Greek. You can't plot out his journey so easy. Marco Polo was a natural. Electric exploitation is never predictable...

todd rundgren's "runt" lp

The runt in any good litter or legend always manages to rise up and above the limits imposed on him. Like Mozart, Todd Rundgren never wanted to be born; his mother labored hard to put him here and he's fought hard to singe his musical autograph in the progressive pages of rock & roll...

Monday, October 26, 2009

the music's as good as the graphics--Ghost Box - Belbury Poly

Ghost Box had a defined aesthetic from formation; Julian House commenting "...the best way to put our stuff out was to start a label.. There was such a richness to the references we both shared, not just musical.. It made sense that we could put releases out which had this complete world attached to them.. A set of things united by a design identity, fragments of real or imagined books, collections of images, films, links... Something people can become lost in and want to be a part of.."[2]The Focus Group, Eric Zann, Belbury Poly, and The Advisory Circle, and a rerelease of a Mount Vernon Arts Lab album) tend to share a common design aesthetic - all record covers so far have been by Julian House, with an acknowledged debt to the iconic design of sixties Penguin Books paperbacks[3]. There are shared elements in sound, too; Ghost Box artists tend to draw heavily on influences such as musique concrète, library music, and 1970s soundtracks...(wik.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

hey kids, wanna score some free Zuk?