Thursday, January 03, 2008

Re: "Nothing Happening There..."


Just back from two and a half days in Atlanta with the Blossoming Shave crew. New Year's Eve at Eyedrum was fun, but mostly low-key. It was good to be with Graham, Bobby and company; their unforced conviviality and genuine decency are a constant source of delight. Didn't drink that much at the party, just a couple of glasses of bourbon... I didn't feel the urge to indulge, but others weren't so reticent!

Still perplexed by the comment posted by Phil Todd (he ran the admirably eclectic Betley Welcomes Careful Drivers imprint for a number of years, and records and performs to this day as Ashtray Navigations). TLASILA Blog received his post at 5:30 AM; of course, at that moment I was a bleary-eyed wreck. I later typed a polite response, but at the time of receipt I groused about the comment with Graham and the party that had gathered in the basement of the Moore manse. I eventually passed out, sleeping soundly for the first time in months... During the morning I dreamed I'd been carrying on an affair with Julie Cafritz, for fuck's sake (must have been triggered by the conversation I'd had with Don Fleming on the drive up to Atlanta); Mr. Todd's remarks had passed to dim cerebral redoubts by mid-afternoon.

Now, I'm viewing the text for a second time, and it makes as little sense as before.

"BURIAL, Tom? Ha ha - 'tis this years Portishead/Moby, i.e. music for (Brit) Guardian readers to pretend to dig so they can be down wit da kids...NOTHING HAPPENING THERE... oh well happy new year (and new ears?) to ya from an old mucker who can recall you waxing lyrical about Humble Pie Live At The Filmore..."

I'd not read the Guardian's review of Untrue, but now that I have it hardly seems a primer for the sad stereotypical twit Phil evoked:

"Where Burial's widely lauded debut evoked a lonely wander through a washed-out, night-time London, the dubstep enigma's follow-up glows a little brighter, finding company in out-of-joint R&B vocals. Over corroded two-step beats, crooning come-ons ("I can't take my eyes off you") loom strange and distorted, like faces materialising out of context in a dream. Swathed in blurry synths and vinyl crackle, Archangel's refrain of "Tell me I belong" is gorgeous in its desperation, while Raver has a kind of ruined euphoria, like a dance anthem dimly remembered a lifetime later. As addictive as its predecessor, Untrue confirms that Burial possesses not just the keen ear of a Lee Perry or Martin Hannett - the album teems with unplaceably familiar noises which might be the hot click of a lighter or the cold scrape of metal on metal - but a capacious heart."

A tad on the stiff side, but no clarion for liberal Knightsbridge 30-somethings to buy Hyperdub hoodies en masse.


I have suggested in interviews that our tastes in music are mediated as much by biology as by culture, socialization, or aleatory operations (i.e. pure dumb luck).

To that end, I totally vibe with Burial.

One wouldn't necessarily associate Han Bennink with, say, Alphonse Mouzon or Gene Krupa
. Why then would Phil drag Portishead and Moby into Daft Comparison Alley?

(Because P and M are "soft." Thus, Burial is soft. And stodgy old boogie monsters Humble Pie seal the deal!)

Phil, my friend, your construct is pure ad hominem, and its text speaks at least one rather sizable volume about your biases. (Which nonetheless have a certain atopic allure.) And hints toward -- if I may be bold -- a tightly-clutched valise of anxieties.

As for me, I could give a toss what anyone thinks/writes/speaks about my listening habits.

We should be insanely ecumenical. There should be no forbidden sounds.

Cool is for cunts.

Love to all, especially future Tory MP Todd,


*(Phil was an early supporter of To Live and Shave in L.A. - he was kind enough -- or, sufficiently addled! -- to issue three of our releases way back in the mid-90s on his BWCD label. Gracious to a fault, genuinely talented, prodigious in his oft-sterling output, Herr Todd remains a damned fine fellow.)

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