Wednesday, October 19, 2011

jim o'rourke: old news #5 (editions mego)

In 1995 Jim O’Rourke was just 25, and he was already being referred to as “the da Vinci” of experimental music. God knows what that makes him now. The intervening 16 years have seen a famous and productive stint in Sonic Youth along with countless other all-star collaborations, a clutch of critically acclaimed solo albums, and an ever-expanding portfolio of film work (see here for the mind-bogglingly long list of credits). And even that, apparently, was only the merest tip of the O’Rourkean iceberg.

As if their street cred in the field of drone and experimental electronics needed any further cementing, back in April Austrian label Editions Mego (home to Fennesz, Hecker, Mark Fell, and Oneohtrix Point Never, among many illustrious others) announced a “nearly regular series of vinyl albums documenting analog synth and tape works (both studio and live) from the depths of Jim O’Rourke’s archive.” That series goes by the name of Old News. If you’re a real O’Rourke nut, the title will already be familiar to you. It began in 2002 as a series of cassette-and-CD-R-only releases put out in extremely low numbers while on tour in Japan and got as far as volume four before being picked up by the wise folks at Editions Mego. There are no plans at present to reissue the first four, meaning that we begin here with Old News #5.

And what a good way to start...

Oh and here's some video of O'Rourke noodling in Tokyo. Look at him. He's like experimental music's very own answer to Santa!

Monday, October 17, 2011

jonti: twirligig (stones throw)

Twirligig. It could almost be the name of a character in Pok√©mon, couldn’t it? It’s cute-sounding: silly; sub-‘tween,’ if you like; ‘kiddie.’ It’s not often you can say that about an album title, least of all one that’s meant to be respectable. 

This is no surprise, of course. One of rock’s most consistent gestures over the years (and I mean rock here in the broadest and most irresponsible sense — from Elvis to electro) has been a ‘rebel misogyny’ of one form or another. It’s about fleeing the nest, usurping the mother, the discovery of the body and desire. Rock, in other words, takes place after puberty. It’s frequently juvenile, but almost never pre-teen. Where teeny-bop is ‘light,’ rock is ‘heavy’: it’s of consequence. Even when it’s dumb, it’s serious...