December 19, 2012 § 4 Comments
The Caretaker – Patience (After Sebald)
Laurel Halo – Quarantine
Alexander Tucker – Third Mouth
Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland – Black is Beautiful
Bass Clef – Reeling Skullwards
Gary War – Jared’s Lot
Burial – ‘Kindred’ 12″
Raime – Quarter Turns Over A Living Line
Actress – R.I.P.
Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
Lee Ranaldo – Between the Times and the Tides; Helm – Impossible Symmetry; Lone – ‘Crystal Caverns 1991’ 12”; Jam City – Classical Curves; Traxman – Da Mind of Traxman; Blawan – ‘His He She and She’ 12”; Oren Ambarchi – Audience of One; Tuff Sherm – Canal Cloaking CS; Champion – ‘Crystal Meth/Speed’ 12”; Trim – ‘Confidence Boost (Harmonimix)’ 12”; Pelt – Effigy; Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!; Kinlaw – CHORUS+MYSTICUS CS; Ital – Dream On; Lee Gamble – Dutch Tvashar Plumes/’Diversions 1994-1996′ 12″; Holly Herndon – Movement; Oneohtrix Point Never/Rene Hell – Music For Reliquary House/In 1980 I Was A Blue Square; DJ Spinn – Teklife Volume 2: What You Need; Heatsick – ‘Déviation’ 12″; Various – Touch. 30 And Counting; Atom TM – Wintereisse; Carter Tutti Void – Transverse; Pete Swanson – ‘Pro Style’ 12″; Kyle Bobby Dunn – Bring Me The Head Of Kyle Bobby Dunn; Gate – Damned Revolutions; Madteo – Noi No; Richard Youngs – Core To The Brave; Kuedo’s FACT mix
Gareth Williams & Marie Currie – Flaming Tunes; Rolf Julius – Raining – Small Music No. 3 / Small Music Vol. 1: White – Yellow – Black; A.R. Kane – The Complete Singles Collection; Various Artists – Time To Go: The Southern Psychedelic Moment 1981-1986; Various Artists – This Ain’t Chicago: The Underground Sound Of UK House & Acid 1987-1991; Black Rain – Now I’m Just A Number: Soundtracks 1994-5; Marvin Gaye – I Want You; Leroy Hutson – ‘All Because Of You’; Outkast – Speakerboxxx/The Love Below; Various – Pennies From Heaven OST; Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure; Adam & The Ants – ‘Stand & Deliver’; Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out of This Country; Gregg Wagstaff – ‘The Sound of Lewis & Harris’; Talking Heads – The Name of this Band is Talking Heads (side 4); David Bowie – Station to Station; Sandy Denny – Sandy
I didn’t much enjoy reading this year. Read lots of film writing/theory, very little of it from this year, not a lot of it very good. Frances Morgan’s Sight & Sound columns have been consistently good; Pauline Kael’s collected reviews from the 60s & 70s have been invigorating & make clear (as do David Thomson’s later books – there seems to be almost nothing in terms of volumes collecting his journalistic work, before his transformation into the sententious Ruskin of film history – for different reasons) just how impoverished cultural journalism is at present, a condition that has a lot to do w/ its domination by those who can afford to do internships/get parachuted in from Oxbridge & UCL; Laura Mulvey’s short 1992 book on Citizen Kane sparked off a lot of fevered trains of thought; Thom Andersen’s BFI piece on Ozu helped me think about a filmmaker I’m just starting to get acquainted w/. T.J. Clark’s pieces for the LRB (to wh/ I have subscribed & unsubscribed twice in the course of the year) have made wonderful reading & something to aspire to & Adam Mars-Jones is maybe the best writer to start working for them regularly in a while, his work deliciously uneven. David Toop’s Wire pieces are increasingly looking like the best writing of his whole career, & maybe the best music writing being done in the British press at the moment full stop. I got most pleasure & frustration – ah, the twin states of academia! – from reading a lot of Benjamin & Adorno: the former’s memoirs, writings on photography & film, on Proust, the ‘image-thought’ pieces of the 1930s & bits of The Arcades Project; re-reading, from the latter, quite a bit of Minima Moralia & finally getting round to Aesthetic Theory. Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood. This year: Douglas Murphy’s The Architecture of Failure, Phil Jourdan’s Praise of Motherhood, Carol Watts’ 3rd installment of When blue light falls.
I seem to have spent most of the year going to bed early. The paucity of memories I have – apart from those I mentioned in my Wire round-up – has a lot to do w/ that (by wh/ I mean my now-finished degree, as well as my general sense of inertia), but also the encroaching sense of political (&, ergo, personal) despair. But what’s evaded the net of discourse, of funnelling into thinkpieces? Lying down listening to Chris Watson’s soundscapes & sitting up to watch Philip Jeck at the Market Hall, Kingston w/ E. & N. Seeing M. down from Newcastle. The Ashmolean’s room of Dutch still-lives; wandering round the Pitt-Rivers after-hours, trying & failing to work up the nerve to talk to David Toop. Eating lunch in St. James’ Park in summer & then walking to The Robinson Institute at Tate Britain. Walking through the Isle of Dogs – vast office buildings translucent in the fog & dusk, barely discernible as squares of light, streetlamps catching the undersides of the browning leaves – to see The Master (& leaving just as baffled as I went in). ‘Since I Had You’ on loop. Seeing Vertigo at the BFI w/ J., a week before I started writing about Sans Soleil. Tea, curry, stuffed animals & glassy sunlight in Glasgow. Eating some pretty memorable quiches. Weeks in fug of loneliness & mental exhaustion. The inferno of watching Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me for the first time.
December 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
For someone as obsessed with the mechanisms of nostalgia as myself, Google street view is both a weird comfort & a neutralising force. I have no photographs of the house I grew up in, nor of the houses I lived in at university, except for very early film photographs taken & kept by my parents, in wh/ I not infrequently feature. In my memory I’m struck, though, by the sense of repetition, at once vivid & hazy, of architectural space & atmospheres, as if sampled by the processes of Freud’s dreamwork: growing up in a neighbourhood too close to the town centre to be suburb, too neglected & preternaturally quiet on long afternoons to be ‘built-up’ (still net-curtains, kitsch figurines, Vienna blinds at mid-day); living in the same neighbourhood in different towns. As Brian Dillon notes in In The Dark Room, architecture formed the guiding metaphor for the ‘art of memory’, going back to Cicero’s De Oratore: what was to be remembered was imagined existing in a pattern in space, each memory in a niche (a theory that oddly anticipates Saussure’s conceptualisation of language), the imagined building of memory giving expression & coherence to the figments of experience. But this isn’t that easy: the specifics of space itself blur; details & contours become fragments whose arrangement, it sometimes seems, would yield a different, hidden meaning. Return in street view & the world is laid out, stark & still like a miniature train set w/ tiny plastic figures, their features painted small & haphazard, as solid & boring as it was when you left.