Showing posts with label Philip Brophy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Philip Brophy. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Australian Post-Punk Update

I used to write about music quite a lot here on me blog and Australian Post-Punk was a favourite topic of mine. The real stuff, I mean, that happened in the late 70s and early 80s. None of this faux shit from the last 20 years. Anyway there has been some activity over at Jonny Zchivago's legendary Blog Die or DIY? with some posts of stuff that's never been reissued since those olden days ie. Philip Brophy's Tsk Tsk Tsk. I've never been able to find their records in physical form or in a file format. So go here to find the Venitian Rendezvous EP, Nice Noise EP, Caprice EP and Spaces LP.

While you are over at Jonny's site don't forget to check out some other choice Antipodean post-punk. He has posted a bunch of Sydney stuff including a stack of seminal compilations on the Terse Tapes label, a coupla things from the M Squared label, some primo Slugfuckers, a Negative Reaction tape and miscellaneous Systematics releases.

There's also some other seminal Melbourne experimental post-punk but those records have been reissued in the last few years so you've probably got those Essendon Airport, Asphixiation and Primitive Calculators LPs/cds.

Speaking of The Primitive Calculators they have released a new LP On Drugs and it's here.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Horror Movie Soundtracks Need No Transformation

I've only just noticed this article from late last year where it is claimed that perhaps soundtracks are mere memorabilia and the vinyl reissue boom of horror soundtracks is not necessarily based in "the music's stand alone appeal." It is also claimed that the vinyl resurgence of OSTs of horror may have led to the live revival of certain acts.

Using me as an example lets have a look at these claims. DRG Records had this series of cds in the mid 90s Classic Italian Soundtracks. I have the first two volumes of the Goblin compilations, one on  Ennio Morricone's  trilogy of soundtracks for Dario Argento and 4 volumes of  of the Spaghetti Westerns compilations. Of the 17 soundtracks featured on those 2 Goblin comps I'd seen one of the films, Patrick, at the time. Since the mid 90s I have collected 9 individual scores by Goblin and even a couple from the solo Claudio Simmonetti. Now over 15 years later I've only seen one more of the movies that they scored Suspiria and I'm not even sure if that's worth watching. Three of my all time favourite Morricone scores (sure, I like a few others too) are the 3 he scored for Argento The Bird With Crystal Plumage, The Cat O Nine Tails and Four Flies On Grey Velvet. I've never viewed the movies and probably never will. But this music is some of the all time great music of the Twentieth century.

Now I will pick 10 of my favourite horror soundtracks off the top of my head not including any of the aforementioned.

  • Christine - John Carpenter & Alan Howarth
  • Maniac - Jay Chataway
  • Zombie Holocaust - Nico Fidenco
  • Porno Holocaust - Nico Fidenco
  • Halloween - John Carpenter
  • A Lizard In A Woman's Skin - Ennio Morricone
  • Chopping Mall - Chuck Cirino
  • La Coda Dello Scorpione - Bruno Nicolai
  • The Wicker Man - Paul Giovanni
  • Eraserhead - Alan Splet & David Lynch
These ten soundtracks I have listened to a zillion times (but only seen three of the films) and think the music is fantastic just as much as any other genre of LP I would listen to. In fact surely there is a case for John Carpenter to be considered one of 20th centuries great composers. I don't need some deluxe reissue for this terrific music to be transformed beyond memorabilia, do I Mr Reed? Perhaps your attitude to movie music needs to transform more than anything. I often think a lot of movies don't deserve the brilliant music they get to soundtrack their films. This all fits in with my 'music is a much more successful cultural artform than film' argument that has been mentioned previously on my blog. Sure you might think I'm just a music guy, so of course I'm going to say that. Once upon a time however I was a definite film guy and was going to go into professional movie reviewing.

For how serious and intense people are about soundtracks and sound design you may want to check out the three volumes published from Philip Brophy's Cinesonic conferences in 1998, 1999 & 2000 by The Australian Film TV and Radio School. Brophy also published the excellent 100 Modern Soundtracks which was part of the BFI Screen Guides series in 2004. Perhaps someone should publish (er... maybe me) a book on soundtracks that stand alone as musical artefacts considering I've just come up with 25 of them in this short article.

The live return of people like Alan Howarth, Fabio FrizziGoblin (Goblin have always been around in one form or another as far as I can tell) and another Goblin was inevitable as their cults grew bigger and bigger by the day. More than likely the internet has served as the main reason for these artists' growth in popularity. Having said that, if someone was cluey and cashed up enough in the 90s to promote these artists live I'm sure they would have sold out shows in capital cities across the world.

Don't get me wrong, beautiful new shiny packaging, special artwork and the fetishization of vinyl are all fine things but it's still all about the music innit? I mean Blue Jasmine is an excellent film but I'm not about to rush and buy that OST if its released with a bunch of extra bells and whistles on chunky vinyl am I?

Love the soundtrack & the poster.
I wonder what the film's like?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Zoo Is Cool

Couch Flambeau
The Zoo Is Cool

Great stuff from Nowheresville USA in 1985. Pretty unique I guess and a little bit funny. Saw this on the interweb about 5 years ago when I'd never heard of em.  Like J Mascis's  funny dork of a cousin  who was into MX80.

Peter Shapiro and Philip Brophy contribute to this months Wire. Shapiro does a primer on US Hardcore. It's one of those scenes that's got a lot of naffness and Shapiro isn't shy in pointing that out. It's the stuff with a bit of wit that really stands out. I mean Black Flag embody the scenes good/bad qualities. On the same record they would have something funny in a trashy yob rock stylee like TV Party then a woefully whingey track like Depression or Damaged II. Shapiro is one of my favourite music writers of all time but I have to pull him up on one sentence where he claims Husker Du didn't "devolve into emo's woe is me whining." Hmmm.... I'm not so sure about that. No Angry Samoans in the feature either, were they a little too homophobic? Not hardcore enough?

That previously mentioned Nuts & Co. LP from France in 1982 has been getting a fair airing around these parts. Kangourou is a lost treasure of post-punk. Young Marble Giants minimalism crossed with The Residents warp factor and you're about half way. Towards the end it goes into an almost communal demented exotica zone that you wouldn't have expected at the start. This record has had me going back to post-punk and experimental stuff like the label M Squared's a Selection and the Innocent Label compilation New music 1978/79 which have definite parallels as well as Der Plan's Geri Reig, Minny Pops' Drastic Measures, Drastic Movement,  2+2=5's Into The Future and Duck Stab & Eskimo by The Residents.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Primitive Calculators - Primitive Calculators

Glaring Omissions III

"We were suburban filth from Springvale"
Stuart Grant

Glaring Omissions started as a series of records that deserved to be in The Top 100 Australian albums book and the Age's Top 50 Australian Albums list. This is the 3rd installment with perhaps another 4 or 5 to come. This record came into my life as a teenager living in er....Cardross. For those who don't know that's like 15 KMs out of Mildura and over 600 ks from Melbourne. My bro was living in Melbourne and would often bring back strange and interesting things for me. This was pre JJJ National Radio/ pre internet etc. This record probably reached me pre Rage era perhaps. BeatBox and Rock Arena were probably the only 2 shows on tv at the time where you could hear the weirrd, wonderful and independent. So sometime in the mid to late 80s I first heard The Primitive Calculators. The LP also came with a postcard and a 7" single and was recorded in 1979 in a Melbourne pub. Many years after leaving home I asked my Dad where were the records I left behind? he said I gave them to the op shop. Anyway I still had a Sony C90 tape of it in some kind of working order until that reissue on Chapter came along in the 00s.

Me and my little sister used to put it on and go what the fuck is this? It was so anti social and noisy we thought it was hilarious and a bit frightening. Were they for real we wondered. Or were they just havin' a laugh. The music was a harsh onslaught of electroncly fucked with guitar, 2 keyboards and drum machines with what seemed like no regard for recording technique or er.. melody. Were there really people like this living in Melbourne? It was great music for a teenager because it was so obnoxious and fuckin funny. Mum didn't like hearing that one comin out of the bedroom.  Anyway over time it seemed to never leave me and never get old. It sounds just as great now as it did over 25 years ago. This was no fuckin' Clash record. This was beyond punk, what punk should have been, sonic violence for the demented. So over time I have noticed the chaos is more controlled than I used to think and just maybe there were some great pop songs hidden in there somewhere. It is not a record I expected to still be diggin at my age. I think I love it more than ever actually!

So maybe they are pop songs. Stuart says he saw the band as an Australian Boogie band in the vein of The Purple Hearts, The Throb, Chain and Billy Thorpe. It starts to make a lot of sense they were an electronic version of a one chord Aussie boogie band with a bit of Stockhausen chucked in. My favorite track from the album bake in the sun was so funny and had great lyrics. These are some I randomly recall probably not in the right order. This could be our national anthem.

I'm bake in the sun
I wanna spend my life down by the sea
I wanna shrivel up
I wanna smell some seaweed
I wanna peice of cake
I wanna go home
I wanna revolution
I don't wanna do another days work in my life
I want some food from the kiosk

"If their intention was to be hated then they certainly acheived that.....on a personal level as well"
Rowland S Howard (Guitar/Saxaphone/Vocals in The Birthday Party)

Back cover to Primitve Calculators LP

"Nothing else in Melbourne influenced us. We were such obnoxious little shits, we didn't give anybody a chance to like us" Stuart from Primitve Calculators.

Stuart Grant (guitar and vocals) in the We're Livin On Dog Food doco and RadioNational's Hindsight: Do That Dance radio show has been incredibly insightful and articulate about what circumstances, theories and attitudes shaped the band and that entire Melbourne Post-Punk scene. He really enjoyed the idea of punk and the fact it was saying something truly antisocial. He thought the anger and disillusionment of it just seemed right. He thought with the Ramones arriving there was a strong sense that his culture had arrived. Stuart aknowledges the legacy of the Whitlam Government and their making the dole liveable with my favorite quote of his."The State Paid us to Reject it!"

Stuart is eminently quotable. I could quote him all day but here is one last one that sums up the bands ethos.
"What we realised when we started using the drum machine and we got electronic (was that) we sounded much nastier. We started to actually try and make music that would hurt people. Making the sounds as brutal and horrible as possible. Making the drumbeats as repetitive and fast as possible and tried to get it ugly"

I Can't Stop It-The Primitive Calculators
Their one and only film clip I think.

"The Primitive Calculators were a completely unreal band and there's no 2 ways about it! Live and on record."
 Quote from Natioal Treasure Philip Brophy.

*One cool thing I've just noticed that I'd forgotten is that this record was recorded at Hearts in North Carlton where my brother's band did some gigs and even my old band played there once,

**Here is where to download that podacast Do That Dance about the Melbourne Post-Punk scene.

***Many quotes taken from Richard Lowenstein's doco We're Livin' On Dogfood. Thanks Dick I'm sure you won't mind anarchy and all that.