Thursday 31 December 2020

BEST of 2020


Duma - Duma
Rock Sutra - Sun Araw
Tonic - Lo Five
The Most Unusual Cat in the Village/Jass Of Thun - Moon Wiring Club
Black Sarabande - Robert Haigh
Laying The Ghosts To Rest - Nick Edwards
The Art Of Living - Lo Five
Rec And Ruin Ep - Howlrownd
Songs From Another Life - Steve Kilbey & Gareth Koch
Playing - Busy Microbes
Unit Signals - Ploy
Esoteric Healing: Friend Or Foe? - Her Majesy's Coroner For Wirral
Chryse Planitia - Steve Kilbey & Gareth Koch
After Hours - N Chambers
Loom - Katie Gately
Music For Psychedelic Duelling - R.E.E.L.
Beginning To See The Light - Nick Edwards
Hill, Flower, Fog - Emily A Sprague
Sabbatical - Rangers
Temporal Bandwidth - Nick Edwards

2020 was beaut as we all know. I was lucky that the four members of my family who contracted COVID-19 survived. I'm sorry for everyone else's losses. It's fucking tragic!

*To avoid reading anything about the end of Western Civilisation and the regressive politics behind it, don't read the GREEN PRINT!

I think I've become too obsessed with society/civilisation or lack thereof to give much of a toss about music or anything else for that matter. I'm going to be more critical here of the left because seriously giving the far right any more words is a waste of webspace but the insanity is across the board of the political spectrum. So much nonsense is being espoused I'm flabbergasted. I mean I've been monitoring it on youtube, twitter, 4Chan and other servers since 2013. For all this nonsense to become mainstream is a disgrace. The bloody QAnnons, Pizza Gaters, The neo-racism masquerading as anti-racism, the insane child abuse of the trans-zealots at the Tavistock Centre, the science deniers,  the world health organisation, the maths de-funders and every dickhead in between are here to make your world a much much worse and horrifying place! Why aren't we we discrediting these twats en masse and keeping them as far away as possible from healthcare, education, children and me?  

But once you track it all back through a 30+ year history it's not that surprising though. A lot of people don't actually understand that an idea such as "White Privilege" just doesn't arrive organically by some kind of osmosis. Some numskull has to come up with that piece of rhetoric in an academic essay by flipping an underprivileged classes critique, getting rid of poor white Americans as underprivileged by tossing them into the trash so that it was then only just people of colour could then be underprivileged or oppressed in the USA and 30+ years later after its gained some traction through some mental intersectionality my nephew thinks it's a fact because he learnt it at university. My nephew also learnt I'm a racist because if I deny it it's true. "It's all written down at a university Uncle Tim so it's true!" 

Governments mean absolutely nothing now as the authoritarian lunatic fringe have got hold of governance through Big Tech, Big Pharma, Education, Media, Multinational Corporations, whoever you work for and now your children. It's a sideways revolution and if I hear another narcissistic sanctimonious zealot espouse anymore bullshit I'm going to explode. I'm not allowed to show concern over the unquestioned rising authoritarianism in my home state of Victoria, Australia. I can't even ask Do you reckon Dr Fuckin Fauci is perhaps a bit dodgy? Why will race-baiter Barrack Obama not denounce critical race theory (which is weird and shameful considering his rich kid background and he's half white like that's a fucking race now, and his dad was a government economist for the Nigerian government. So he's not even part of the oppression game...) or ask Whether trans women (that's biological men for those not keeping with the program, not that I can bloody blame you) should be allowed to compete in women's sports? or What's in Hunter Biden's laptop? or Why do you think so many more minorities voted for Trump in 2020? No, No, No! How very dare you? The far left illiberals, blm and baby tantrum anarchists have it all worked out in their condescending racialised minds. This was perfectly illustrated by Chelsea Handler, a white American celebrity, saying to her ex-boyfriend 50 Cent, an African American, that she had to remind him that he was black and that he needs to be voting on the left. She may has well have said "Know your place boy!" 

Anyway music-wise I didn't check out any pop, rap or anything that didn't really come straight to me via my bandcamp ie. My best of new music list isn't anywhere near as adventurous as last year's as its mainly full of old faves although there are a couple of new artists to me Duma, Ploy & Her Majesty's Coroner For Wirral.

Lo Five deserve a special mention for continuing their consistent run of British underground esoteric electronics with occasional hints of psych, ambient and whatever else can be found in the dank countryside of music's memory. This year Lo Five served up two terrific slabs of wintry post rave comedown that is fresh in a soggy déjà vu kind of way today even though we all thought Mordant Music wrote the final chapter to that story with his brilliant Dead Air in 2006. There's still some glow in the half-life of rave's radioactive transmissions on these paranormal Lo Five recordings. 

I did listen to some other stuff I quite liked but I just haven't given them enough time for them to sink in yet like Carl Stone's Stolen Car, Lamentations from William Basinski, Emperors New Clothes by Duckett, The SIGN and PLUS LPs from Autechre and Myth Of Equilibrium from C Lavender. 

All my previous champs who have been there since the start of my blog are present and accounted for ie. MoonWiring Club, Sun Araw, N Chambers (aka Panabrite), Nick Edwards (aka Ekoplekz) and Rangers. All with stellar records. I know I say it every year but MoonWiring Club is the most under-appreciated musician on the planet. As for Sun Araw nobody seems to have given a damn about him for like 8 years since he did that LP with The Congos. Rock Sutra though is a goddamn masterpiece in Sun Araw's genre of one!

I wanted to like the Charli XCX record but I think i'm just too old and have heard it all before a lot. I get kiddie ravers diggin it though because it wasn't bad just like say a Tame Impala LP isn't either but Ive just been in these sonic zones too often.

I don't even know what any of 2020's old trends were apart from adding Neo or nu to an existing genre. I did notice some Death Metal & Shoegaze but fuck me these genres haven't been good or innovative since the early to (and this is pushin it) mid 90s!

I missed past favourates The Flaming Lips, The Weekend, The entirety of Atlanta rap and Oneohtrix Point Never The only thing I missed that I'll probably check out is the Clipping record.

Anyway I'd say I missed a whole lotta good music just so long as I didn't miss any great music!

Talking about music seems trivial but there were some special things that need attention because they were immensely helpful during this stressful time. For a start music this year was all about instagram for me. Not long after releasing the amazing 70s tropical psych cumbia jamz of Ranil y su Conjunto Tropical by the mysterious Ranil, Analog Africa, the fabulous reissue record label, kept posting these great sometimes totally unknown tunes every day during the initial fully paranoid panic days when you didn't know if you were actually going to come back alive from the shops or not. It was a new delight to listen to everyday. It seems like a small gesture now but at the time it meant everything. Analog Africa even issued a special digital Ranil compilation for a small donation to a Peruvian health org. So that was really fucking cool as his music has been so rare to Western ears up until recently. I mean Raúl Llerena Vásquez aka Ranil was from Iquitos in the Amazon, one of the most remote cities in the world, you cannot get there by road.  Sadly though after everyone discovered Ranil's Cumbia Amazonica records 40 years after they were recorded, he died due health issues complicated by Corona. RIP. 

If 2020 was about one musician it was Steve Kilbey. It was about his love and generosity. He's been around for over 40 years and is the singer-songwriter-bass player for legendary Australian neo-psych rock band/pop group The Church. They influenced The Smiths and The House Of Love amongst hundreds of others. The Church had international hits and most of you people under 40 probably know him because The Church's Under The Milky Way was featured during the party scene in the 2001 movie Donnie Darko. You also hear The Unguarded Moment, Almost With You, Metropolis etc. every time you enter a supermarket, in Australia anyway. Their LPs Of Skins & Heart (1981), The Blurred Crusade (1982), Seance (1983), Heyday 1985), Starfish (1988), Priest=Aura (1992), Hologram Of Baal (1998), Uninvited By The Clouds (2006) & Untitled #23 (2009) etc. are absolute classics not just considered so here in Australia but in America, Europe & other international territories. 

Steve's done a million other projects too including a bunch of terrific solo LPs as well as collaborative duos like Hex (with Donnette Thayer), Jack Frost (with Grant McLennan), Gilt Trip (with his bro Russell) plus many more. His more recent efforts in the last decade have been a fabulous spate of collaborative LPs with either Martin Kennedy or Gareth Koch. One of my favourite  records of the 10s is his solo masterpiece Sydney Rococo (2018). His creative well has never ever run dry! I think he released at least 4 LPs this year alone including one with unlikely collaborator Kate Ceberano.  

He gave us all a gift this year though when the fear was so strong. The strain was exhausting. We were scared, lonely, cabin fever crazy, discombobulated and just gone weird. Steve was a bit glum as his American "Indie 80s Revue" tour with the likes of Morrissey was cancelled. So his income became unstable like many others throughout the world. I think it was the first Monday night of Lockdown in Australia that he decided to do an hour long concert for his instagram followers. You could pay if you could or just take solace in the generosity of his artistry. He was in his eastern suburbs Sydney seaside apartment gettin stoned, being a card and giving us the tunes. Not just from his own pen but from his favourite influences like Bowie, Lou, T-Rex, Cockney Rebel, Bob, The Boss etc. 

It developed over the months and became very ambitious as he took on doing entire Church LPs just on his acoustic guitar. Bear in mind he wasn't the guitarist in The Church he had incredible masters Peter Koppes & Marty Wilson Piper for those duties. Somehow he even sometimes made the tricky bits work for him but sometimes it all went humorously awry. He also did his solo LP classics Remindlessness (1990) & Sydney Rococo (2018). It was fun, rough around the edges and at times incredibly touching. I've never cried at a concert but he had me in tears several times. As restrictions lifted then went back into place then changed again sometimes he would have his mates join him such as George Ellis, Barton Price, Stefan Horlitz (via computer file) and probably a few I've missed. He even did a Bruce Springsteen tune, I didn't know, Racing In The Street that moved me so much because it was about living life to the full but we had all become the people in that song not living due to a fucking virus but hey we're here to tell the tale while many sadly and tragically aren't. It wasn't just that he was spitting in the face of this abyss with love and sometimes hedonistic abandon but also with hopeful humorous spirit that made these Monday night i-phone shindigs so essential and intoxicating! 

He reached his ambitious and creative zenith when at one stage that he promised to write 10 new songs for the next week's show. He did it! When some restrictions were lifted he even managed to record these songs for the critically acclaimed album 10 Women. This was recorded with his posse Garth Koch, Barton Price, Roger Mason & George Ellis. He's long been a hero of mine, since I was a teen in fact, but I never imagined I'd spend such an intimate year with this psych pop poet guru at this stage of my life. Monday nights at 6 o'clock during the pandemic lockdown of 2020 will forever be remembered as the best hour of the week. We got to go and have a great time at Steve's apartment. Strange days made great by Steve Kilbey. Thankyou!

*I've noticed many other artists cottoned onto this idea during the pandemic like Nick Cave, Patti Smith, Dave Graney, Dean Wareham etc. Whether or not SK invented it is a moot point. He utilised it at an incredible moment for humanity and for all of us who experienced it, it was a gift where you could give him a gift back. 

Origins - Foul Play
Black Riot: Early Jungle, Rave & Hardcore - Various 
Join the Future: UK Bleep & Bass 1988-91 - Various
Frankfurt Trax Vol. 1: House Of Techno - Various
The Most Famous Unknown: Expansion Pack 1 - Marc Acardipane
The Most Famous Unknown: Expansion Pack 2 - Marc Acardipane
The Most Famous Unknown: Expansion Pack 3 - Marc Acardipane
The Primitive Painter - The Primitive Painter
America Invertida: Leftfield Pop & Experimental Folk From 80s Uruguay - Various
Ranil y su Conjunto Tropical - Ranil
Stay Safe & Sound: Ranil Selection!! (SHARE IT !!!) - Ranil
Cadence Revolution 1973-1981: Disques Debs International Volume 2 - Various
Under The Influence Volume 8: A collection of rare Boogie & Disco - Various
Love Saves the Day: History Of American Dance Music Culture 70-79  - Various
Soul Brother Records Presents: Groove On Down 3 - Various
The Sound of the San Francisco Christian Center - San Francisco Christian Center
Sign O' The Times (Remastered) - Prince
Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip: Heavy Rock From The Underground Comedown - Various
The King Of Sudanese Jazz - Sharhabil Ahmed
Maarifti Feek - Fairouz
Venus - Logic System
Jazz Rock - Tadao Sawai, Kazue Sawai, Hozan Yamamoto, Sadanori Nakamur, Tatsuro Takimoto & Takeshi Inomata
Gohan Ga Dekitayo - Akiko Yano
Danzindan-Pojidon -  Inoyama Land 
#Notes of Forestry - Motohiko Hamase
Nick Luscombe Presents Tokyo Dreaming - Various
Pacific Breeze Volume 2: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1972-86 - Various
Wamono A To Z Vol. I: Japanese Jazz Funk & Rare Groove 1968​-​1980 - Various
Gateway Summer Sound: Abstracted Animal and Other Sounds - Ann McMillan
Crystals: New Music for Relaxation 2 - Craig Kupka
Wrekage 2011-2019 - Ekoplekz    
Tabitha Reverb - Moon Wiring Club

It's funny that the first 8 reissues listed here are the most modern music written about on this entire post. They were recorded between 26 and 32 years ago! When music was future and future was music. The kids don't even care now. I played some Marc Acardipane to my 30 something friend and he just said he hated it. He's was a hip-hop kid in his youth now he'll just go for country or whatever neo is going. He's probably loving some neo-soul right now.

Frankfurt's Marc Acardipane's gabber, doom/gloom-core, breakbeat science etc. still rules sonically so much I really can't think of anything that betters it. 4 LPs of this stuff reissued in 2020 is almost enough but don't worry there's more remasters on the way! 

Foul Play's elegant, sparkly yet still deliriously darkside 'ardcore jungle is as fresh as the day it was recorded just like lots of the stuff on the Soul Jazz Hardcore/Rave/Jungle comp which has an odd & perhaps somewhat misleadingly divisive title (So 2020!). Don't forget where this nascent scene kicked off, that music is put together on the brilliant UK Bleep & Bass 1988-1991 compilation.

Primitive Painter's armchair /chill-out room electronica is a top notch obscure outlier. It should accompany your Ultramarine and Global Communication cds. The sorta stuff both techno-heads and rockists could agree on. It got lost in the mid 90s glut somehow but it's here now and well worth a listen.

America Invertida: Leftfield Pop & Experimental Folk From 80s Uruguay was the surprise archival comp of the year. It was like if 4AD, dreampop, ye olde psych folk melded with music indigenous to South Americas. Of course it has an 80s alien Uruguayan vibe all of its own and its exquisite stuff. Thank you Vampi-Soul. Strut & Analog Africa released gold from Central & South America too.

Then there was all the disco, jazz-funk, soul jazz, gospel disco and boogie that keeps coming from Japan, America, Britain and wherever else for all your good vibe needs. Disco was my go to 2020 genre as it was last year too. Plus the line of history where it originated from ie. Latin, gospel, soul, funk, Afro-Cuban, European electronic music pioneers etc.

There were so many terrific Japanese reissues and compilations of archival material this year (and the last 4 or 5) I'm starting to think it needs its own category: BEST JAPANESE REISSUES! Tokyo Dreaming is worth singling out as a supreme slice of Japanese, synth pop, ambient, jazz funk, soundtrack and city pop Japanese stylee. These tracks were taken from the cult label Nippon Columbia and its subsidiary Better Days, most of which were issued outside Japan for the first time. Classic. 

But then there was Gohan Ga DekitayoAkiko Yano's visionary classic 1980 double LP epic with backing from various Yellow Magic Orchestra alumni. It might very well be her finest record. I've seen ignorant people online compare her to Kate Bush but Akiko had LPs released several years before ole Kate debuted so it the other way around. Kate Bush is the British version of the wonderful Akiko Yano with the bonus of cooler musicians plus not a David Gilmore in sight. I know this is sacrilege but one does wonder if Kate did ever hear Akiko in her formative years?

I could keep going but I'll just give one more special mention to a Japanese reissue even though they all deserve it. Jazz Rock by Tadao Sawai, Kazue Sawai, Hozan Yamamoto, Sadanori Nakamur, Tatsuro Takimoto & Takeshi Inomata! Did these guys oppose band names or something? Anyway this piece of esoterica which I think bypassed Julian Cope's book Japrocksampler is gold. The title while tangentially thematic is totally misleading. Perhaps in Japan at the time though these sounds may have been considered very western or rock? I mean there's no guitar on Side-A at all. Maybe pastoral spiritual funky jamz with some ye olde atmospheric Japanese instrumentation would have been a better title. Anyway it's hard not to say this is a unique meditative sonic palace and if so inclined you will find yourself back here again and again. Glorious!

Habibi Funk continue their great run of killer releases with this year's The King Of Sudanese Jazz from Sharhabil Ahmed! Don't let the title fool you this is just good old fashioned Rock'n'Roll/Boogie Woogie/Rhythm & Blues from er... Sudan. This is so infectious it hard not to just keep reeeewinding and playing it all over again. 



John Cooper Clarke is so clever and funny. He's honed his craft to beautiful poetic perfection. Don't read it! Have him read it to you. After all he is a performance poet of the highest order. One of a kind!

The Crown
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Inside No 9

Tofu Chan aka Tofu Pudding Jones aka Toff Pupper aka My personal spiritual Guru! He can be found on instagram & youtube spreading his love via cheese & bread spirituality!

Moon Wiring Club Mix


The first hour here is a classic mix from Moon Wiring Club. I was just alerted to this in his newsletter today. His Mixes are always essential and make great companion pieces to his LPs Enjoy! 

Happy New Year People!

Akofa Akoussah ~ "La Lem"


La Lem Akofa Akoussah from the album Akofa Akoussah.
Check out the psychedelic charms of fabulous Togolese singer Akofa Akoussah. I think she only made this one solo LP from 1976 which was reissued by Mr Bongo, I think, a coupla years back. Those vocals & that guitar! What more do need? I've got the record somewhere and it's ace! 

Saturday 26 December 2020

Akiko Yano - ごはんができたよ - 6 Dogs Awaiting

Love this tune. This was reissued this year, I think, by a company who put out reissues. If you love this tune, like I do, you should definitely get it. Can't be bothered going to the record room to find the details-

*Oh fucking youtube here it is!

Thursday 24 December 2020

Tuesday 22 December 2020

The Jackson 5 - Forever Came Today


The Jackson 5 - Forever Came Today (1975)
I love how avant-gardists & no wave type rockers seem to think they had a monopoly on bizarre, unorthodox & mutated forms of popular music. This track right here here is more subversive than a thousand records made by artists of those aforementioned sub-genres. This is the real deal where the mat is pulled from beneath pop music's feet. Forever Came Today is an astounding piece of experimentation that is innovative, strange and yet still compelling pop music. This bass-line is something else. It feels like it came from another planet! The song structure is really luxuriant, rapturous and free. The term mutant-disco has always annoyed me as it was a fallacy. Disco & Dub were ahead of that game as they had already deviated from normality all within the confines of their genre. They had already severed, sliced and reconstructed their genres to make the music even more pleasurable than previously imagined. Disco had deformed before any such notions of conforming to deform. This tune still sounds fresh today!  

Saturday 19 December 2020

DJ Zirk - 2 Thick + DJ Squeeky - Hog Killin'

Dj. Zirk feat. Tom Skeemask & Buck Shotz - 2 Thick (1993) 
This was the best 27 yearz ago & even better now. This scene was so DIY & regional they didn't give a fuck about what the outside world wanted because it didn't want them. Artists just wanted to be just as good or better than the other local Memphis artists. There was no internet file sharing so things were kept pretty insular and local. Sure Memphis rappers had heard west coast, east coast and Texan shit but none of them apart from the southern contingent had heard the Memphis stuff. It was all about killing it with the beats, verses & flows. Playing at the peak of your creative powers. This is surely what made the scene so strong and unique.

2 Thick is DJ Zirk's seminal and most sampled track. Zirk and DJ Squeeky were good friends. I have always assumed Zirk learnt his production chops from Squeaky but I might be wrong. DJ Squeeky is credited with creating the original trap beats around 92/93. He was also using rappers such as Tom Skeemask, Criminal Manne, Gangsta Blac & Yo Lynch who did the "double time flows & triplets"* People incorrectly now call this, 20+ years after the fact, the Migos flow. Anyway Squeeky & Zirc, the Memphis beat masters, often used the same pool of rappers I guess like Zaytoven, Metro Boomin and Sonny Digital did in Atlanta in the 10s. 

Hog Killin' one of the classic DJ Squeeky productions from I guess 94 (?) featuring Lil Grove, Outlaw & Criminal Manne. It's not on discogs that I can see but hey it's right here on the youtubes!

* Lucas Foster. See his 2017 DJ Squeeky article here.

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Kingpin Skinny Pimp - Good To Go (1994)

Before Position Normal & Ariel Pink there was zero budget hazy lo-fi 90s Memphis Hip-Hop! Kingpin Skinny Pimp was the godfather of the Gimisum Family, one of the city's best posse's during the 90s. Due to the Weirdest Hiphop Cover Art account on Instagram unearthing all the worst album cover art of regional 90s & 00s hip-hop, I've gone back to listening to 90 Memphis rap big time. I might be here for some time because I think this is just about the best music sub-genre ever. It just doesn't fit neatly anywhere putting it on the outside of everything in hip hop at the time. I guess some of this stuff got played in cars and clubs but it really feels like music for being wasted at home either on the couch or at a bbq. I'm still waiting for a book to be written on this amazing DIY cassette culture scene. It's not just the eerie recorded in their mum's toilet aesthetic that is appealing. An entire different creeping rapping flow was invented but who originated it is a contentious issue. Memphis rap themes were innovative too. They added horror, psychosis, suicidal depression, the occult, devil worshipping and apocalyptic paranoia to the criminal, pimpin & homicidal gangster game. There were also stacks of bad-ass lady rappers which was unlike most rap scenes at the time that I know of. The selling of the tapes was different too. They were often sold from stereo & car retailers. Details on the scene are still pretty sketchy with loads of wrong infos on Discogs and other sites.      

Anyway this Skinny Pimp tune is pretty out there with it's no fi psychedelic singing amongst the rapping & laid back beats. Then there's that crazy clunky sample intrusion at the 3.17 mark. What an insane trip. What year this was released is anybody's guess. It might be 1993 and it's possibly from 1995 but I'm gonna go for Memphis Rap's crowning year 1994.  

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Brook Benton - Rainy Night In Georgia


This was on in the background until the deep soul engulfed me at 3.07 then he continued to take it to fucking church for the rest of the song! Oh my I've had to replay it another seven times! This is performed over 10 years after Brook Benton topped the charts with with this gorgeous Tony Joe White tune and he is in fine form! This version kills his original. He is a showman and he's feelin it and the Lord's feelin it and he's feelin God back and it's smile-time! Halle-fuckin-luh!

"Yes...Raining over here...Raining over there...Raining over here...Raining over there...RAINING ALL OVER THE WORLD!"

Monday 14 December 2020

BETTY GRIFFIN - Free Spirit (1980)


Get Free! Put Funky Peace in your synth soul. Betty got the FUNK! & the FREE SPIRIT! Whoever the band is here I would like them very much to play at my next BBQ. If only it was still 1980. Free Spirit is so in the damn funkay pocket, It's astounding! Then wait for the synth break. It is synth delicious or is that synth-a-licious?! Thank You Betty Griffin & band & Greg Belson's Divine Disco: American Gospel Disco (1974 - 1984) compilation and the Cultures Of Soul people for releasing it. 

Thursday 10 December 2020

You - Gloria Griffin (1978)



 Gloria Griffin - YOU (1978)

This is soo good! So infectious. So DISCO JESUS! It makes me wanna go to church in the 70s! The rhythm is craazy awesome. The break at l.50 is classic then the bass kicks in, noice! I first heard this on the Cultures Of Soul Records comp Greg Belson's Divine Disco: American Gospel Disco (1974 To 1984) that came out in 2016. Get Down or Get on Up ah! On the Jesus juice!

"There have been lots of people
 No one like you!"

Monday 30 November 2020

Mo Movies 37


I'm not in my usual rhythm for watching movies for some reason. Since my last movie post I've watched a hell of a lot of telly & listened to loads of music though. This includes the entire 80 episodes of Schitt's Creek plus the debut seasons of Ratched and The Queen's Gambit as well as seasons 3 & 4 of The Crown. These tv shows are all highly recommended but you know that already.

Then there is the politics of the authoritarian far left that are insidiously usurping fun, reason, liberty, civilised discourse and freedom of speech. They are disguised as people doing good by using slogans (& co-opting causes) that you agree with but when you look at the fine print of what they are doing and what they want, it's usually the opposite of your core values. Keeping track of Orwellian 2020 is absolutely concerning and consuming me. It's frightening. I think because this ideological revolution doesn't look the same as past revolutions ie. people revolting in the streets, rebels in the hills, military overthrowing Governments etc. but is coming swiftly through institutions (big tech, media, retail giants, schools, universities, corporations, probably the HR department for whoever you work for) people are not taking it seriously, if they know it's happening at all. Just have a quick look at The BBC, The Guardian, Oxford University, Google, Scottish Parliament, Chicago University, Patreon, The New York Times and you will soon realise these people are not following what regular rational working people think and value. They are espousing absolute nonsense while discrediting common sense à la Foucault. You must bow down to their zealous illiberal ideology or you will not get paid or get to do your PHD & ultimately you will not get to have a differing viewpoint. Sorry but this is REAL and it's happening and it's alarming!

Also Ive been listening to a lot of music instead of being in the mood for late night movies. Disco, Funk, Spiritual-Jazz, Funky Lebanese Pop, Gospel-Disco, Cumbia, 80s African Boogie, Latin/Tropical Disco, New Wave Funk, Sudanese Jazz, 80s South African Funky-R&B-Disco-Pop, Somalian Disco, Japanese Soul-Funk-Disco-Boogie, 70s Soundz of The French Caribbean and more. Listening to a lot of records from labels such as Habibi Funk, Ostinato, Analog Africa, BGP International, We Want Sounds & Cultures Of Soul. Then there's my dark side where 80s Industrial and Scandinavian 80s/ early 90s Black Metal are all I want to hear. Prince also rules as usual: Controversy, 1999 & Originals now being the platters du jour.        

Anyway telly though...Ratched was my big surprise this year. I didn't even wanna watch it but Emma kept putting it on. By episode four I was well and truly hooked. The direction, cinematography, period detail, colours and plot were all gloriously over the top. Sometimes it felt like Hitchcock, Kubrick and Paul Thomas Anderson were directing this cinematic telly extravaganza all at once! The director/show runners were definitely channelling their spirit. There was not one weak link in the astounding ensemble cast. I find it hard to comprehend a lot of people giving it a lukewarm response. Then again who cares? I fucking loved it so that's all that really matters! I didn't realise episode 8 was the final one so I was so disappointed to be whipped up into this delirious excitement to then not know when or if ever there will be another episode. I did see somewhere that there is going to be another season. 

I've now reassessed season three of The Crown. I now believe it to be nine mini-drama film masterpieces and one very good one. Getting over the casting choices for me was the biggest hurdle. In the first two seasons I only knew John Lithgow and he was so ensconced into the character of Winston Churchill I couldn't recognise him anyway. 

Season 4 of The Crown is also some of the highest quality telly ever made. The thing is I really didn't know these stories until Lady Di & Maggie Thatcher turned up (I became a teenager in the 80s). Even then I only knew the headline but rarely the story behind it. So it's all fascinating to me. The makers of The Crown have finally become quite unforgiving and sometimes scathing of these characters we all know and hate (and many love). Whilst Charles had previously been quite sympathetically portrayed now his scoundrel is unveiled. Kudos must to go to the continuing outstanding portrayals of Philip, Charles, Margo & Anne by Tobias Menzies, Josh O'Conner, Helena Bonham Carter & Erin Doherty. There is however a new contender for most outstanding acting performance in The Crown and that goes to the surprise packet of the year Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. I've always found Scully to be a bit of a sleepy actor to the extent I thought she must have been addicted to Oxycontin whilst filming the excellent series The Fall (2013-2016). Anyway when she turned up here as The Iron Lady I almost fell out of my chair because I didn't know it was coming. I went from "Oh this is just sleepy Scully doing Maggie!" during the first episode to "That's Margaret Thatcher! I can no longer see Scully!" during the second. 

To people who have not been converted to the splendiferousness of The Crown I am recommending one episode. Fairytale is episode three of the fourth season and if it was a theatrical release it would sweep the Oscars and win eleven. Fairytale is a fairytale in the truest sense of the word ie. it's horrifying! This is the story of how fucked up everything was for Lady Diana at the palace and inside her own head before the wedding to Prince Charles. It's absolutely harrowing and brilliantly executed by all involved. I was a bit "whatever" on the portrayal of Diana by Emma Corrin but after watching several documentaries about Diana's life I'm getting that Corrin's depiction is actually pretty close to the enigmatic real life Diana.    

I've been listening to some movie podcasts and watching some movie you-tubers. I'll discuss the state of this often perplexing milieu in my next post. For now here are some lil' reviews of some movies I've recently watched. I know I've missed over 50% of the flicks I've watched but hey life gets in the way sometimes.  

JD's Revenge (1976)
For a blind buy this was a wicked and wild ride of the finest kind. In the 90s I became obsessed with 70s African American movies and particularly the tunes and soundtracks. I never heard anyone ever recommend JD's Revenge so I didn't bother checking it out until this recent blu-ray release. I mean if Arrow are releasing a movie it's like a 94% chance that it will be bloody good and I was not wrong. This is a blaxploitation flick with a difference. It fits into to the Blaxploitation-horror sub-genre and the sub-sub-genre of Blaxploitation-possession movies. First of all you get all the good stuff: The 70s threads, the cars, the vernacular, the youthfully fit beautiful bodies, the afrocentric interior design, the jazz-funk, the soul, the hair, the night clubs, the strip joints, the bars and the bloody violence. One of the best things that sets this movie apart from the pack is that it's set in New Orleans and not only that we get some amazing vision of what I assume is Tulane football Stadium, some spectacular fevered evangelism and flashbacks to 40s gangster shiiiite. Two couples go out for a night on Bourbon Street and are coaxed into a hypnotist show by a spruiker. Isaac (Glynn Turman) volunteers to be hypnotised which is a mistake that causes a crazy spiral of strange, disturbing, violent and confusing events. This ensemble cast (including Lou Gossett, Joan Pringle, James Watkins, Earl Billings etc.) are all in stellar form and the film craft is class sending this straight into my top Blaxploitation top 10 with the bullet. My favourite film discovery of 2020 so far!

Onibaba (1964) 
I knew nothing about Kaneto Shindō's cult classic of 60s Japanese horror going in and that was a good thing. So you can stop right here and go watch this film which I highly recommend. I guess to say an arty cult Japanese film is weird is a bit cliche and perhaps culturally off point but here it is definitely warranted. A film set in 7 or 8 foot high grass is probably unlike anything you've ever seen. Two women, a wife (Jitsuko Yoshimura) & her mother in law (Nobuku Otowa), are living in a hut amongst the giant grass surviving somehow through a brutal wartime famine. They are visited by Hatchi (Kei Satō) who reveals to the wife that her husband Kishi was killed after they both deserted the army. Sex, violence and horrific shenanigans ensue. For 1964 this is pretty racy stuff! Onibaba is one of my cinema (well telly) events of the year. The acting and highest calibre film-making coalesce into one of the best Japanese films period. This year I've seen a hell of lot of Japanese movies so that's saying something. Now I'm excitedly on the lookout for whatever else Kaneto Shindō directed.

Seconds (1966)
Terrific haunting sci-fi identity change story with a twist. Stars Rock Hudson directed by one of the all-time great film directors John Frankenheimer. What more do you need?

Life Is Sweet (1990)
I haven't revisited 90s Mike Leigh films, well, since the 90s. I've watched his early BBC Plays Of The Day Abigail's Party (1977) & Nuts In May (1976) several times this century. They remain brilliant & hilarious, absolute classics. When I put this blu-ray on however I thought geez this hasn't aged well at all. It took until about a third of the way in for me to start to engage and stop thinking about switching it off. Women with mental illness and shit men doing shit things is the order of the day here. Worth watching for the cast although Jane Horrocks really over acts her character Nicola letting down the rest of the amazing ensemble cast of Claire Skinner, Jim Broadbent, Alison Steadman, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis, Stephen Rea etc. This is hardly my favourite Mike Leigh movie but it's another stellar performance from Alison Steadman so...

Threads (1984)
Devastatingly realistic portrayal of WW3 and the following nuclear winter. The tone from Barry Hines (Kes 1969) & Mick Jackson might be pitch black but you cannot look away. This is film-making at its most compelling. If you thought last year's Chernobyl was a barrel of monkeys, your eyeballs ain't seen nothing yet. A MASTERPIECE! 

Titanic (1997)
This was a first time watch for me as I would have thought I was way too cool for overhyped hollywood blockbusters back in the day. An unsinkable ship hits an iceberg then sinks. Aw no! Chuck in a love story involving Leo DiCaprio & Kate Winslet's boobs. Also never trust Billy Zane on a boat. It's pretty spectacular particularly the second half when the ship finally hits the iceberg. James Cameron could have dropped the entirely unnecessary device of the story being told by Rose, a survivor, to a bunch of current day Titanic investigators and it would have been a great film instead of "Pretty good...a bit of a slog though".

Anti-Christ (2009)
This contains the most fucked up scene I've ever seen in a film ever and I've seen a few. Arty psycho-sexual Euro horror of the highest calibre. Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are outstanding as the two stars of this utterly compelling Lars von Trier shocker. Enter at own risk.

Friday 30 October 2020

Wild Fire ‎– The Dealer


Prime pimpin' 1977 synth-disco-funk from from The West Indies. They had the mighty cricket team and music scene! A heyday, a golden era, the good times...

Saturday 24 October 2020

Wave Of Rave (Countdown In Cold Bass City) - Wonderboy aka Marc Acardipane

When the future was the future. Another 90s compilation of gems has recently been released by the hardcore techno gabber gloomcore maestro. It's the most modern thing you'll hear this year! What happened to the future, forward momentum and innovation? I've gotta stop asking myself that boring question and just come to terms with the fact that the thrilling accelerated mid-late 20th century music innovation era is over! 

Another classic from The Most Famous Unknown - Expansion Pack 1. Acardipane was on such an unstoppable roll in the 90s. Nobody put out as much quality music as he did. What a fucking legend.

Thursday 24 September 2020

Thursday 17 September 2020

Lo Five - The Art Of Living & Her Majesty's Coroner for Wirral - Esoteric Healing: friend or foe?

Another terrific album from Lo Five. It's influenced by family tragedy, the ever present threat of COVID in 2020, lockdown blues & Stoic philosophy. Their LP from last year Geography Of The Abyss was so fucking good it placed high in the end of year Space Debris charts.

Then there's this which I think is a Lo Five side project. You definitely gotta check this out. It's one of the best eerie experimental electronic things that the people have heard in ages. If The Caretaker has actually really retired I'd be happy if Her Majesty's Coroner for Wirral took up the slack of his workload & did like 80 LPs of this gear. Esoteric Healing: friend or foe? is just way too short! I want way way more! 

Monday 31 August 2020


REVIEW — The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981) | Ruthless  Culture

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Miss Osbourne (1981)
For starters electronic music pioneer Bernard Parmegiani does the soundtrack here. Don't worry he really gets there in the final fifteen minutes. Walerian Borowczyk was a polish porn, animation and surreal film director. This is a fairly mental plot that I cannot even begin to describe. It surprisingly had element s of gialli (black gloves), slasher (body count) and a whodunnit? (everyone in a mansion trying to figure out who the killer is). Bestest thing though is a bow and arrow murder. Even though it is in Victorian times but they had guns then so it's still an archaic murder weapon. Delirious demented transgressive fun. A must watch for Polish Art film enthusiasts

Nurse Sherri (1978)
Well when you have zero expectations the only was is up. I fucking loved this. It's an Al Adamson movie and after watching the great documentary Blood & Flesh: The Real Life & Ghostly Death Of Al Adamson, I was sure that I'd always avoid his product. Out of the blue though I bought this at the Vinegar Syndrome sale. I didn't want anything challenging or intellectual or political so I thought well tonight's the perfect night for Nurse Sherri. For a start this is an amazing document of the the times, the cars and streets. Imagine if Langdon Clay took film footage of the cars he photographed in the 70s. This would be it! This really is an eyeball treat for mid/late 20th Century cars and streets. I wouldn't have cared if there was a plot or not, they could have just driven through these streets in this array of vehicles and I'd have been happy. Don't forget the hair, fashions, architecture and interior design: A feast. I was looking at one building in total admiration building thinking it must have been some kind of funky club or bar but no it was a bank! The story here is wild. A cult leader dies but he supernaturally lingers on throughout the movie. There's some T but not really any A. We get dudes in business suits in the middle of the desert, a car chase, a car doing a spectacular tumble down a cliff with mucho pyromania, possession, chanting, saucy nurses, digging up graves, dudes with no eyeballs, sleazy doctors, psychiatrists quoting Yeats what more could you ask for? I really enjoyed this. If you like outsider art this is the real deal but done with aplomb. Late night movie of the week.

Hollywood Horror House aka Savage Intruder (1970)
Psych-sploitation meets Baby Jane histrionics meets slasher with all round good performances and quality cinematography and editing. Exploitation films never cease to amaze me with their sometimes high quality craftsmanship. An ageing ye olde Hollywood actress is living the retired life in a mansion in the hills after a successful but tumultuous career. She has a large staff and the temptation of alcohol is never far away. Enter her new wheelchair assistant Vic who seems to have quite the bad attitude. If you love shenanigans of the wrongest kind like relationships between a young man and someone who's old enough to be his grandma, phoney drug scenes, psychedelic-slasher flashback sequences, demented mannequin scenes etc. this is for you. This absolute curio is surprisingly watchable. Late Night Movie Of The Week.

Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso (1972) 

Seven Blood Stained Orchids (1972)
Umberto Lenzi had a great run of Gialli. He's my favourite Italian film-director of all time, you may think that's outrageous but he had a bloody good strike rate. This film starts out of the gate with a burst of murders. At the five minute mark you are thinking this is going to be the highest body count in a film ever but they slow down a bit as the plot focusses more on the search for the murderer. One of the best things is that the murderer is called The Half Moon Killer. As far as giallo go Seven Blood Stained Orchids is right up there as one of his most conventional before Lenzi really went totally balmy with batshit crazy classics Eyeball (1975) and Spasmo (1974). Here is where the tropes were coalescing and consolidating into hallmarks of the genre, a peak era before it all got a bit tired. Anyway we've got shiny knives, beautiful and incredibly fashionable prostitutes, a murderer wearing black gloves, sensational mens fashions, belligerent/bad cops, gorgeous women being killed in various states of undress, dial up telephones, priests, amateur sleuths, spectacular cars, POV Kill scenes, interior design to die for, phoney drug addicts, even phonier hippies, odd pop culture, tape recording machines, an absurdly convoluted plot, a score from legend Riz Ortilani, stunning cinematography and don't forget the hairdos! 

Solamente nero (1978)

Solamente Nero aka The Bloodstained Shadow (1978)
Classic Giallo! You gotta love one of the best giallo tropes: The murders are all connected to a dodgy painting. It's also got the other good stuff: Priests, wheelchair bound old people, J&B, OTT gay characters, hidden away adult simpleton children, dodgy psychics, red herrings, doll violence, a body count, backyard abortionists, childhood trauma...all that's missing is a blind man! One of the aspects that sets this Giallo apart is the Venice setting. There's boats, including a spectacularly thrilling action sequence but no cars. The grandeur is dilapidated. 1978 is further from the 60s than most films in this genre so the fashion is more beige, less outrageous but some we do get some splendid knitwear and hair. The psychedelic pop art and kitschy interior design is pretty much non existent. We do get ye olde churches, homes that are more like museums with way too many spooky artefacts, knight armour, weapons, sculpture and paintings everywhere. A classic 70s love scene ensues between the two main protagonists where they make sweet love on a rug by an open fire. The soundtrack is fantastic! I mean how could you go wrong with Stelvio Cipriani composing with Goblin members performing. I nearly forgot there's a shonky peadophile too. It's got the lot! Solamente Nero is directed by Antonio Bido who made that other wonderful and atypical giallo Watch Me When I Kill (1977). He seems to be undervalued in the general scheme of things in Italian cinema which is a shame because he made at least two classic films. 

Lily Tomlin and Art Carney in The Late Show (1977)

The Late Show (1977)  
Charming 70s neo-noir. A mis-matched pair of misfits end up embroiled in a series of crimes. The duo of Lily Tomlin as Margo and Art Carney as Ira do tip top awry chemistry. These two are glorious fun with Ira being the ex-detective old codger and Margo as the off kilter but witty cat lady. It all begins when Margo's cat is catnapped. Shenanigans and hi-jinx ensue in this low key yet bloody gritty crime caper. If you love your 70s neo-noir, Altman, Allen etc. but you've never seen this, then you are in for a real treat.  

What Have They Done To Solange (1972)
This was the first Giallo I ever saw that was set outside of Italy. This one gets right to the gruesome point with the victims being stabbed in the vagina. The doctor shows us some graphically grim X-ray evidence post-mortem no less. What Have They Done... is set in a posh all girls Catholic senior college somewhere in picturesque England. Male teachers are sleeping with the students although it's pointed out at one stage "at least they're 18." Giallo staples like Glistening knives, black gloves, red herrings, sleaze, amateur sleuths plus an outfuckingstanding Ennio Morricone score are all present and accounted for. We also get naughty catholic school girls, row boats, bikes and a slice of quaint England. This flick is beautifully filmed, pretty cohesive plot-wise and put together elegantly. An almost classy Giallo! We get an early appearance from I Spit On Your Grave's legendary Camille Keaton along with Fabio Testi, Christina Galbó, Karin Baal etc. Late Night Movie Of The Week.

The Pyjama Girl Case (1977)
Strange, strange, strange! That's really saying something for a Giallo film. Well this flick is in that interzone of Giallo and Poliziotteschi. Once again we get the Giallo taken outside of Italy. This time it's Australia with the story being loosely based upon a famous unsolved Aussie murder. It's set in Sydney but it's almost like a post-apocalyptic film as the metropolis' streets are almost always deserted. They must have filmed it on Sundays. In the 70s everything shut down on Sunday in Australia. So city streets were empty. Sunday was for home, mass, junior football, roast or fish & chips if you were lucky.

The score here is Riz Ortilani at his most cheesy, disco and best. There are several hippy psych glam songs however performed by the mysterious & enigmatic Amanda Lear, who I thought was a man until I looked her up, that are fucking fabulous. So we get loads of empty, oh so empty, Sydney captured wonderfully by the cinematographer. Pyjama Girl Case is not full of your usual Giallo genre tropes. We do get the occasional red herring and a retired detective (Ray Milland) doing the real sleuth work for free as the actual cops have no idea what's going on. Much is made of the generational gap between the old timer and the trendy new detective's techniques. This is a pretty sophisticated film but while it does have a complex narrative structure it's actually fairly cohesive. This is more like a really bleak, brutal and nihilistic art film. You might need to give it a second watch too, just to get a handle on the nuances. Quite the surprise packet of a film. An absolute curio for adventurous film viewers.

Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, LaKeith Stanfield, Jaeden Martell, and Katherine Langford in Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out (2019)
Excellent, if a little slow, 10s update of the Whodunnit in a mansion genre. This is set in America and really could have been a four or five part prestige television series for FX or HBO. This star studded cast all put in sterling performances. Although I must admit to not being a Daniel Craig fan (can't fucking stand him) so it was a struggle to get used to him doing a southern American accent but hey I got there. Why didn't they just get a southern American though? Minor quibbles aside yes Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Collette, Christopher Plummer etc. are terrific. The real star here though is Ana Celia de Armas Caso who plays Marta the deceased multi millionaire's personal nurse. Was it suicide or was it foul play?  Don't expect a fusty old stuck in the house investigation. This is more like a modern tv crime drama dressed up as a whodunnit. Enjoy the ride that doesn't get too convoluted although perhaps the final explanation plot device could have been dropped to make this film more lean. 

Nude per l'assassino (1975)

Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975)
Edwige's Fenech's Hair!

That was going to be my review. All a Giallo enthusiast would need to know is all right there. Edwige is in it! She has amazing hair! This would also imply there is more amazing stuff like great fashion, glamorous 70s interior design and that Fenech probably gets naked at some point. The title then implies much more nudity & death Giallo style. See how 8 words is pretty much enough to tell you about this film. That would have been sufficient if I was in a certain mood but there is so much more to discuss here. This is a high point in nasty macho Giallo. Surely this was the lofty batshit crazy peak and the genre could only go down from here. 

It starts out with an abortion that goes awry: Let the nasty, sleazy and murderous shenanigans begin. Over-poured J&B, lots of nudity, lots of great 70s underwear, splendid swimwear for women, dodgy 70s swimwear for men, so much sleaze, fun phoney paint splattered gore, the fashion, OTT campy homosexuals, sleazy photographers, the bars, the pools, the saunas, the men who don't take no for an answer, the women who put up with it, violent lesbians, so much fluff muff, implied consensual incest, a killer in full black biker leathers complete with black gloves & helmet, darkrooms, photographic proof, a body count and more.

Strip Nude For Your Killer was really pushing the boundaries of good bad taste but it somehow got away with it with colourful charm, incredible cinematography, absolute audaciousness and flashy direction. God knows what a bunch of kids in their early 20s would make of this today. I certainly would like to be in that viewing room and for the discussion afterwards.

Over the past 8 or 9 years I've been trying to figure out what film the following scene was from as it is an unforgettable moment in the history of cinema.

There's this sad fat guy Maurizio (Franco Diogene) married to the lesbian Gisella (Lia Amanda). One day Maurizio basically kidnaps a female colleague Doris (Erna Schürer) and speeds through the streets of Milan in a spectacular and quite lengthy set-piece of crazy driving through busy city traffic. He finally gets the woman into to his flat to try and have sex with her but she says no. Then he forces himself some more upon her so Doris says ok. But by the the time the obese Maurizio gets down to his giant white underpants he's already done his business. He cries that he's never been able to actually get to do it with a woman like he's some kind of sad victim. Doris who is unharmed and unfazed just laughs it off and says it happens to all men as he cries in a pathetic tantrum. She leaves while Maurizio is still having an episode. Next he's crying into and talking to his deflated blow up sex doll saying she is the only one he can do it with. This historic scene is only comparable to Joe Spinell in Maniac (1980) for a portrait of the sheer delirious lunacy of pathetic sexually dysfunctional men.

While Maurizio is vile he has tough competition with perhaps the sleaziest protagonist in a film ever Carlo (Nino CastelNuovo) the photographer for The Albatross Modelling Agency. Carlo starts out the film sexually harassing a woman he doesn't know and his bad behaviour is relentless right up until the final scene. This dude has absolutely no redeeming features and yet he wins. He's an accessory after the fact, for a laugh he strangles his girlfriend fellow photographer Magda Edwige Fenech who just laughs it off and then they have some more sex.

This film comes highly recommended but be prepared this was Italy 1975 style.