So what’s it like, doing live tracking in the age of Covid? Here’s some footage from Church Road Studios a couple of days ago…
Masks, hand sanitizer and tape on the floor – also, I’m not allowed to touch an amp or mic stand myself, which makes it feel like we’re filming at the BBC in about 1970 (quite fun, actually).
These are preliminary recordings for an album due out sometime next year… not yet clear exactly when… The first track featured is called Schooling, the second’s Derision (which is meant to be about 4min of freeform… we got nearly half an hour, so I look forward to the edit).
It’s a strange new situation all right – but not impossible, thankfully.
A surprise lockdown bonus, courtesy Safehouse… I’m on 3 tracks (10, 12 & 13 – guitar, synth and effects, respectively), but I’d recommend the full immersion. Here’s the blurb:
A system of 23 trios were created, whereby no one player could play with the same person more than once. Cards with the 23 players names on were shuffled and depending on the order they were drawn, each player was given a number. These 23 musicians sent in a recording of themselves playing, between 4 and 6 minutes long. This solo performance/recording was sent to the player “below” them to play along with. This recorded duet was then sent to the player “below” them to play along with.
Players were invited to record whatever they wanted, whilst listening to and accompanying the track “above”
The final trio of each unique group is what you are listening to here!
(Full list of personnel on Bandcamp… Thanks to Iain Paxon for dreaming it up/organising.)
This was lots of fun to be involved with – which, at the moment, is the most important thing: something worthwhile to focus on, and some form of connection, however remote. And it sounds marvellous, possibly.
pic(s) by Dexter Bentley
Here’s the live session & interview we did for Dexter Bentley’s HelloGoodbye Show on Resonance FM – it’s very close to the start of the show, and is four uninterrupted songs (including a brand new number) followed by some chat:
(That was our afternoon. Later on, we went to Biddle Bros in E5 for a very loud gig. An ideal day.)
There’s a B-side – Stroke of Noon – and a bonus track on the Bandcamp release – Fair Question.
It’s taken from an album called Vanishing Island, which is due Fri 3 May.
more info to follow…
Here are two free downloads, moved across to Bandcamp from Soundcloud:
a BBC Introducing: South session with my previous live band…
…and a studio track recorded at the same time as Lilith and In The Evil Empire
Please, feel free to pig out on all of the above.
Here’s a live performance of an unreleased song for Agony Magazine – there were 3 tracks recorded that day, so maybe more to follow at some point. It was super-efficient and lots of fun, which hopefully comes across on video.
I’ll probably be playing this number at my late-December gig:
A remastered version of the Self Possession EP is on Youtube. It features some truly diseased noises, now louder and in sharper definition. If you want a download, it can also be found on Bandcamp.
Some new details on Thur 20 Oct gig at the New Cross Inn, London – event page here:
The Asif Outlaws
Hard rocking foursome from London
“Pushing the idea of one-man and his guitar to its limits. With a noticeable Lou Reed influence, his songs move between gentle laments to attacks on his guitar that teeter on a knife-edge. Matt pulls all this of with a suave cool and a voice that echos Jeff Buckley and Nick Cave.” – CMU
£3 Entry / 7pm Doors
Mon Oct 12th: am playing a live session for Pete Jones on Radio Reverb 97.2FM tonight, which can be heard on the wireless or streamed live here. It goes out from 6-8PM, with a repeat on Friday at noon (see above). I’ll be doing songs old & new, and probably chatting a bit.
yeah, this is my fucking “critic” face
Just for a change, and because everyone loves a pundit, I fancy writing about local bands encountered recently who didn’t make me want to puke.
Well, not so much “writing” like a reviewer, more listing them in no particular order, without spoon-feeding – so you can discover their brilliance for yourself. Also, lists are how we communicate nowadays:
Man Ray Sky – incredible layered guitar/electro soundscapes and vistas
Lutine – spooky anti-folk from the dark, dark ages (their debut gig in a church was stunning)
Thee Bald Knobbers – absolutely indescribable. This link is live footage. It’s terrifying.
Shonalika Tilak – a superb singer with some extremely dark, absorbing music
Stevie and the Nobodies – crunchy guitars, smart tunes, humour
Prissy Lips – utter fucking exotic trash glam
Plurals – drones and transcendence
Broken Ears – punchy, hard-edged acoustica (fairly new outfit, but already very strong)
& the marvellous Junkboy
An interesting mixture, and that’ll do for now – apologies to any I’ve missed out, although doubtless there’ll be more… There were three very good acts at my recent launch gig, for example – check them out too. In fact, check em all out.
Seasonal fear! Here’s a new song from me at 6min26 called Dead Men Sing Us To Our Rest – very apt for the dark, hushed mortuary time of year it was shot and broadcast…
This is episode 4 of StageUp Unplugged, which went out on local TV & Virgin 159 just before Xmas, now archived to their Youtube channel. Do check it out – there’s other good stuff on there, plus it’s an interesting and worthwhile outfit: a Social Enterprise involved in mental health.
More news (and hopefully, gigs) soon.
This is the lyrics video to forthcoming single In The Evil Empire, due to be released on The Animal Farm in 2014.
sneak preview: live readings
Something different… In a week’s time I’m back on Nigel Staley’s programme Under The Table on Brighton & Hove Community Radio, Thursday 27th June, 6 – 7pm. (Not bad going, considering the last occasion was only a couple of months back.) This time I’ll be performing eight spoken word pieces, with ambient interludes from Susumu Yokota’s album The Boy and the Tree. The pieces will include three extracts from this novel, Leland Poet – which I’m re-releasing onto Kindle the following week, on Monday 1st July.
It’s quite a step away from strumming guitar, but there’s many hooks to grip you with.
A track of mine can be heard on Container Drivers Radio, Fri April 13th:
Playlist – Part 1
- The Beat – Stand Down Margaret
- Edwyn Collins – Carry On, Carry On
- Matt Finucane – Degenerate Son
- Rollor – Minority of the Opulent
- Spacemen 3 – Take Me To The Other Side
- Jaguar Love – Up All Night
- King Khan and The Shrines – Land of the Freak
- Flies on You – Spain
- Woodpecker Wooliams – Sparrow
- The John Knox Sex Club – The Devil’s in Your Hands
- Monoganon – Eternal See You Soon
- Pokey LaFarge – Mr. Nobody
- 3th Floor Elevators – Levitation
- The Fall – Spinetrak
Playlist – Part 2
- Dengue Fever – Glass of Wine
- Young Marble Giants – N.I.T.A.
- Netarine No 9 – Found Things
- The Donkeys – Lower The Heavens
- True Widow – Duelist
- Trapped Mice – Arthur’s Seat
- Battery Face – Pugsley
- The Monochrome Set – Ici Les Enfants
- King Tuff – Wild Desire
- Holograms – Apostate
- Cowboy 78 – The Wiseguys
- Richard Swift – Dracula (Hey Man !)
- Roberta Flack – I Told Jesus
…The programme’s up on their site for a while, so give it a listen. Apart from my song (a live acoustic track & B-side to Nemesis), there’s loads of cool stuff on the playlist – as you can see.
Sadly the Edinburgh gig, Tuesday 16th with Rollor, isn’t happening. Such is life…
It’s been a while, but then this time of year’s rarely very dramatic.
Lately, the focus is on improvising, found sounds and field recordings – for instance, a spoken word piece I just did with a sound artist named Jamie Sturrock.
He’d produced a very eerie soundscape called water ghosts, based on noises obtained by dangling a mic into an underground cavern in Scotland. I wrote a response after sitting in the dark with it, then recorded this with him. The results, when finished, may be released at some point – but that’s out of my hands, and part of a larger ongoing project. More news on this if/when I have it.
Anyway, it’s very exciting so far; Jamie’s website (with water ghosts toward the bottom of the page) can be found here.
2012 was bipolar – but I’d do it all again
Well, that was a… colourful year. And who could ask for more? Rather that than the alternative, which is a dreary thought. Death!
So what happened? (I’m still asking myself that, so this summary is as much for my benefit as anything else.)
1) Released 2nd album. Got more, and better, reviews than #1 – which was kind of the idea.
2) Did a brief and eventful tour after release – pretty much broke even: another first. Played a fair few other gigs, mostly solo, some with…
3) A band, which orbited around the songs for roughly 8-9 months and then exploded. With hindsight, it was never going to last, but during that time we played…
4) Live on BBC Introducing: The South (and the single got a little air-time too). This was exciting.
…Besides these bare bullet-points, I’ve just kept on doing it, “it” being more songs. Met some potential collaborators in the last couple of months, had a few tantalising overtures; again, I’m not going into detail yet for fear of The Jinx; in this game, so many promising set-ups tend to evaporate without warning.
But it’s promising just the same. And it’s been a blast – on a gross venal level, the trickle of royalties makes filling in an income tax Self Assessment form such a thrill.
Joking aside, I’m still fuelling off the highs and regret none of the lows – hope you (whoever you are) likewise. Happy New Year.
Below is a piece I wrote some years ago for a fanzine (on actual paper, yet). Explanation follows.
I arrived at 221B Baker Street to find my friend Sherlock Holmes deep in consultation with a well-to-do lady of middle years, her pale worried features a sad contrast to the richness of her dress. ‘It’s my son Francis,’ she said in a voice cracked with weariness. ‘Ever since he joined this.. “rock band”, he’s been like a perfect stranger. He comes and goes at all hours, refuses his dinner, and seems to detest my husband and I – but worse yet…’
Here Holmes interrupted with a brusque gesture of his nervous fingers. ‘This band. What do they call themselves?’
‘I blush to tell you, Mr Holmes, but they are known as The Fucking Cocksuckers.’
‘Quite so. If you will permit me – ?’ Holmes stretched out a long arm and reached into the jumble of documents and periodicals on the mantelpiece. ‘Hmm. Yes, here we are – this week’s New Musical Express.. Watson, what a catalogue of horrors is here! The lubberly scum of London, the very dregs of the opium dens.. Where was it.. Ah! I quote: “spotted by yr excited reporter picking their noses in a darkened toilet with the Damp Socket Scuzz Collective (formerly We Luv Public School Records) – anti-music – anti-quotes – they wipe their arses on the smug corpse of the Old Previous Cunts – doing it for The Kids, man – tired rhetoric – I play guitar like I’m flogging my old PE teacher – drums like a scotch egg full of Iggy’s spunk…” Enough!’
‘But Mr Holmes, this is not the worst of it!’ the good lady interjected. ‘I listened to some of their.. music.. only this afternoon, and my own Francis was,’ she coughed with embarrassment, ‘..singing, after a fashion, about “snorting bones”. In somebody’s garden shed.’ Her face was ashen with horror. ‘Bones, Mr Holmes!’
Holmes looked grim indeed. ‘Mrs Glendinning, I shall be most glad to rescue your son from these villains. Watson, I would be grateful if you’d pass me the inhaler of benzedrine cough remedy.’
‘Why, have you a cold, Holmes?’
‘Just do it.’
Suitably refreshed, my friend bade the dowager Lady goodbye and stepped out to hail a cab. I found him prostrate with nervous exhaustion a few feet from the porch, his athletic frame splayed on the cobblestones. ‘Quickly Watson – the brandy,’ he croaked, gesturing feebly toward the inner pocket of his greatcoat, ‘and you’d better have some too if we’re to stand a chance of surviving the ghastly work that lies ahead of us. I trust you’ve brought your revolver.’
‘Holmes, you surely cannot anticipate any danger from these noisy children?’
My friend smiled thinly as I helped him to his feet. ‘No. But I might feel like shooting someone.’
We arrived in a swirling fog outside the lowest kind of tavern. The noises from within are beyond my power to describe – and over it all a nasal, tortured yelp as of a man crying out in mortal crisis.
We pushed inside through the heat and throng, eyes watering in the murk, minds assaulted by the din. My cheeks burn as I write it, but the music began to work within me in strange ways – my moral fibre was shaken – my resistance wavered.. I plugged my ears and pushed on, seeing the lithe form of my friend leap onto the stage!
What a scene I beheld: the preening figure that had once been Francis Strathbogie Glendinning, beloved heir of a respectable family, twitching and cursing in language that must not – must not – be repeated. Surrounding him were a group of haggard, perspiring louts, sneering in practised ennui as they mishandled their instruments; a glassy-eyed stare and a shrug was their only reaction to Holmes’ appearance. He grasped Francis’s skinny shoulder and pushed the repulsive figure aside, seizing the microphone – howls of protest rose from the crowd – with his other hand Holmes picked up a guitar and lifted it high above his head, then dashed it to the floor!
I felt a thrill of fear as he snarled, ‘Right you lightweight little shits.. I’ll show you something..’
TO BE CONTINUED
(Except it wasn’t, nor was it intended to be. It was a dig at the then-prevalent mid-00’s fashion for bands made up of crackheads and public-school wankers pretending to be ex-rent boys, weird as that seems now. Anyway, I rediscovered it by accident and thought it might be a laugh to stick it on here.)
notes from waaay underground, Sept 2012
It’s hardly an original observation, but we’re in an unprecedented place with music right now. And that’s leaving aside the hopelessly blurred question of illicit downloads.
What we’ve got is an ever-more-entrenched top tier – the trad music biz – with a chokehold on all outlets still, despite everything. Shrinking but sucking up all the gravy, digging in, skimming off as much short-term profit on karaoke, lukewarm EDM and career-path indie as possible… (The money nowadays is in being a middleman – a 360-degree platform, or whatever… basically smoothing a load of unexpected bumps out of this level playing field, or claiming to.) And then there’s practically everyone else. Okay, there are exceptions when someone interesting somehow gets over the fence, but you know what I’m saying.
“Everyone else” being the huge semi-pro DIY mass, squashed in a corner, playing the long game. Doing it for the love of it, waiting for a break, gambling on longevity – or persistence – or bloody-mindedness… (If the volume of ever-accumulating stuff out there on the internet hasn’t made a nonsense of ideas like “back catalogue” and “posterity”, for unknowns anyway.) This in itself isn’t a new thing; it’s the extent of the lower tier that’s new. There simply aren’t enough outlets that pay – either in terms of making a living, or the finer commodity of sustained visibility. Of course the situation could eventually stabilize, even improve; something unexpected might come along and change the game again. Until then, though…
They believe in what they’re doing, these hidden musicians, so they roll the dice and carry on regardless.
As will I, despite the discouraging recent experience of having a band blow up on the launchpad. Discouraging, not fatal – with 20/20 hindsight it’s best in the long run, for reasons I needn’t go into here. Gave me ideas on how I’d like to continue, which is something; time now to get on with it.
Another year, another gamble: thankfully, the work is its own reward. Clearly lots of other people feel the same.
The 13th August update of Unpeeled has very positive things to say about Glow in the Dark – “once in a blue one, you come across something of genuine interest”, for a start – and I’ve taken the liberty of quoting the entire review somewhere on here. Go to the site, though, it’s all good writing (and they clearly have excellent taste).
Wish me luck – or a gloriously messy death. x
GLOW IN THE DARK – album #2 – is now available from Bandcamp, Amazon, Spotify & iTunes. And the rest. My advice is get it from Bandcamp, where it comes with extras.
It’s been reviewed by Whiteboard Project, here. (Scroll down, it’s the second or third item.) It “will infuriate some and delight others […] Highly recommended”. Amen to that.
On top of this, I’m part of a brief tour from 15th – 19th August.
the past: cobwebs or stardust? discuss
- A Certain Ratio – Do The Du
- Joy Division – Warsaw
- Hawkwind – Death Trap
- Adrian Sherwood – Boogaloo
- The Lovely Eggs – Watermelons
- Monkeys In Love – I’m Alan
- Can – And More
- Sky Architects – Cave In
- Gespenst – The Bloodline
- The Fall – R.O.D.
- Althea and Donna – Uptown Top Ranking
- Power Switchblade – Keep it Light
- Jake Bugg – Taste It
- Empty Vessels – Monkey
- Stanley – Obstacles
- There Will Be Fireworks – Harmonium Song
- New Order – Vanishing Point
- X – Johnny Hit and Run Pauline
- Kingsley and Perrey – Unidentified Flying Object
- Bauhaus – Spy in the Cab
- Human Don’t be Angry – Asklippio
- Porcelain Raft – Put Me To Sleep
- Mugstar – Serra
- Ennio Morricone – L Estasi Dell Oro
- Signalsundertests – Kapelle
Thanks, as always, are in order. The song was recorded live at Rooz Studios, nr Old St in London, as part of an EP/album thing (it’s complicated). I’m told it was available in shops, back when that sort of thing mattered. Anyway, it’s a blast from the recent-ish past; my principles are unswerved, my delusions intact. If nothing else, it’s a nice fit with Hawkwind and The Fall.
Okay, the live session on BBC Introducing: South is going out this Sunday, from 7 – 9 pm. We’re playing 4 songs and doing an interview. EDIT: 1st song goes out at 7:05.
Link to their webpage here. Info:
BBC Introducing: The South, 7-9pm Sunday evenings
BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey & BBC Radio Solent
Listen in Brighton on 95.3 FM
Listen in Sussex & Surrey 104-104.8 FM
Listen in Solent & Hampshire on 96.1 FM
Listen in Dorset on 103.8 FM L
Text during the show on 81333 your normal rates apply, but you must start your text with the word ‘radio’
…I can promise the unpredictable, the colourful, the atom-smashing. Give us a listen, do!
Here’s a nice write-up for the upcoming album at indiebandsblog.com …
And here’s one at withguitars.com
Appreciated, as ever. Live, the gigs are gradually pencilling in, circling like corner-of-the eye spectres… Also, just been offered a BBC radio session, so more news on that soon.