Tuesday 30 November 2021

Richard H Kirk 1956-2021

I've only become aware of Kirk's death in the last week as I'm no longer following media or going online on a regular basis to protect my brain from nonsense. You can thank the morons on both sides of the political spectrum for that. That in turn means both media teams who toe their narrow radicalised party lines. Name calling is what politics has become and you don't even realise you're doing it. Funnily enough this is the sort of subject matter Richard H Kirk, who died mysteriously on the 21st of September, was interested in from the early days of Cabaret Voltaire up until his final recordings. Cabaret Voltaire's paranoid vision was straight out of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, Ballard, Boroughs and other futuristic and dystopian novels, movies and current affairs. He had a deep distrust of government, and if I recall correctly he thought all politics was corrupt. So his concerns were more relevant than ever in 2021 with the rising tide of authoritarianism in democratic countries, twitter's thought crime, mass psychosis, the surreptitiousness of big tech, The Great Reset etc. Kirk's visions of dystopia are almost fully realised in Western Civilisation today.

I've written about my love of Cabs before so I'm just gonna post some of his music that I've been listening to recently. He had something like 40 solo aliases such as Sandoz, Dark Magus & Al Jabr plus a bunch of collaborative projects like Acid Horse & Sweet Exorcist. He was part of at least three distinct music movements: Industrial (Experimental electronic post-punk), 80s conform to deform alternative dance music and Bleep & Bass (A distinctly British Variant of Techno). His music appeared on labels such as Industrial Records, Rough Trade, Factory, Virgin, Some Bizarre, Wax Trax, Blast First, Warp, Mute, Touch etc. Plus he had his own label Intone.

Sweet Exorcist is Richard H Kirk's groundbreaking project in collaboration with Richard Barrett aka DJ Parrot. They became the first act to release an album on WARP Records.

Thursday 25 November 2021

John Murphy: Drums, Screams, Trumpet, Guitar, Electronic FX, Songwriter, Vocals, Gong, Samples, Gamelan, Timpani, Synth...

Speaking of John Murphy, who played drums on peak era Associates records from 80-82, here he is along with with Ollie Olsen performing Rooms For The Memory.  Whirlywirld never officially released this song unfortunately. This audio is apparently taken from the desk at The Crystal Ballroom in Melbourne's beachside suburb St Kilda in 1979. This was Whirlywirld's first ever live show. Michael Hutchence would later record this tune for the film Dogs In Space (1986).

The first time Michael Hutchence collaborated with Ollie Olsen. Their musical partnership would later blossom into the Max Q project, that would also include John Murphy, a few years later. The drum programming is credited to Olsen here but there is a dude playing drums in the clip but I can't make out if it's Murphy or not.


The best incarnation of Whirlywirld recorded this EP in 1978 and disbanded before ever playing live. This line up included John Murphy, Andrew Duffield (Models), Dean Richards (Equal Local, Hot Half Hour), Simon Smith  and Ollie Olsen


Signals was co-written by Murphy & Olsen and appeared on the flipside of the Whirlywirld EP which was recorded in 1978 but released in 1979. Wicked bleak minimal electronics.

John Murphy formed this noisey Melbourne group in 1985. They are a little known obscurity of a subterranean scene compared to the cult underground groups he worked with like SPK, Lustmord, Death In June, Current 93, Whitehouse, Shriekback, Nurse With Wound, Box The Jesuit, Hugo Race's True Spirit etc. God knows what Murphy's contribution is here. He was playing guitar, drums, effects and even singing by this stage. 

Murphy continues his musical partnership with Ollie Olsen with Orchestra Of Skin & Bone. Their one LP was released in 1986 and pretty much dropped all synthetics for acoustic instrumentation played with an intense hard edge. Sometimes would later be revamped by Max Q into an unlikely dance-rock tune to become a top 40 hit in Australia.

Speaking of Max Q this Todd Terry remix from 1989 of Ghost Of The Year is fucking awesome. 

Max Q was an Australian underground/overground crossover supergroup sensation. The Band consisted of John Murphy, Gus Till, Bill McDonald, Michael Sheridan, Arnie Hanna, Ollie Olsen and Michael Hutchence. Murphy is in fine form with this rhythm. If you stripped the vocals off here it would resemble a Basic Channel/Chain Reaction style of minimal tech many years before it even existed. Tuuuuune! 

This 1990 EP was improv avant-noise-metal inspired by Hendrix & Chrome apparently. It pretty fucking choice. Murphy on drums, Michael Sheridan on guitar and David Brown on Bass. They were mind-blowing live!

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Crashing Cars In Germany

Quite possibly my favourite Bowie songs (as opposed to his instrumental trax) along with The Bewlay Brothers, Five Years, Life On Mars &...

When i first heard this on Melbourne radio as a 15 year old in the 80s I couldn't fathom what I was hearing. I knew it was music that I'd been waiting for. I mean i knew The Model as it was a top 40 hit when I was in primary school but subconsciously that was filed along with great synth-pop like Soft Cell, Human League etc. and the Euro new wave of Plastic Bertrand, Falco et al. but Autobahn was a whole other type of beast altogether. 

This was around the same time I first heard The Velvet Underground as those brilliant archival records VU & Another View were getting loads of airplay on underground Melbourne radio. It was a similar thing too as I'd heard "Walk On The Wild Side" as a pre-teen and was then a staple of classic FM radio but tracks like Ocean, Foggy Notion, Rock'n'Roll etc. were totally something else. The connections between these two acts wouldn't reveal itself to me until a few years later. 

Two revelations that would grow, stay relevant and stick with me forever. Anyway back to cars.

As I've said many times before New Wave was the best music for pre-teens and this great song left an indelible impression on me.

I never heard this until I was in my 20s. The Scottish Associates didn't have hits or appear on pop tv in Australia so they were a group you had to discover on your own somehow. I think I got into The Associates because legendary Melbourne drummer John Murphy of Whirlywirld, Orchestra Of Skin & Bone, Max Q and The Dumb & The Ugly fame joined the band for their peak chart era. Anyway tuuuuune! 

Oh I was meant to write something tying all these records together with road movies in some kind of meaningful way mentioning journeys and destinations and how that line is blurred blah blah but er... I forgot. Sometimes writing about music is pointless and dumb anyway. Just listen to these fabulous tunes! 

Marc Acardipane - The Most Famous Unknown Expansion Packs 6 & 7

Many more remastered classics here. Still the most modern music you'll here this year!