PJ Harvey’s The Hope Six Demolition Project at first appears to be the distant and colder cousin of 2011’s anti-war masterpiece Let England Shake. Despite this initial impression, a deeper examination of Harvey’s motivations and approach – along with a comparison of her previous record – reveals more going on under the surface. Continue reading
Here’s a bunch of things I’ve done written for Echoes & Dust over the last few months – including one of the best and most in-depth pieces I’ve ever written.
I interview a series of musicians, from Zappa alumni like Robert (Bobby) Martin and Mike Keneally through to Thighpaulsandra, Matt Stevens and …probably too many others, asking them about what Zappa record they’d recommend as a starting point.
I talk with Kavus about the (then) upcoming Knifeworld tour, as well as Guapo, Gong, new music and raves.
This is the piece I’m most proud of – it also took me fucking forever to write. A look at the role of revolution in the music of Fela Kuti, as inspired by Albert Camus.
I review The Display Team’s latest record and all the crazy prog-punk insanity therein.
It’s been a while since I posted here due to moving to London, but I have been busy! Here are the plethora of album reviews, gig reviews and interviews I’ve done since the move. Continue reading
“Project/Object is a term I have used to describe the overall concept of my work in various mediums. Each project (in whatever realm), or interview connected to it, is part of a larger object, for which there is no ‘technical name.’
Think of the connecting material in the Project/Object this way: A novelist invents a character. If the character is a good one, he takes on a life of his own. Why should he get to go to only one party? He could pop up anytime in a future novel.”
“…In the case of the Project/Object, you may find a little poodle over here, a little blow job over there, etc., etc. I am not obsessed by poodles or blow jobs, however; these words (and others of equal insignificance), along with pictorial images and melodic themes, recur throughout the albums, interviews, films, videos (and this book) for no other reason than to unify the ‘collection.’”
– Frank Zappa with Peter Occhiogrosso, The Real Frank Zappa Book
“Like Mandelbrot’s fractals, every Zappa grotesquery springs from some tiny detail in previous work (the celebrated sex yarn ‘Dinah Moe-Humm’ was heralded by a phrase in the sci-fi story inside the booklet that accompanied Uncle Meat).”
– Ben Watson, Frank Zappa: The Complete Guide to His Music
“The official Zappa discography is often an unreliable indicator of chronology; therefore, one cannot necessarily assume that the composition of a given piece is concurrent with its first official release on an album.”
– Brett Clement, A Study of the Instrumental Music of Frank Zappa
tl;dr version: I made an interactive map of Frank Zappa’s conceptual continuity, and you can see it here.
A somewhat in-depth analysis of Frank Zappa’s “The Evil Prince” from the 1984 album Thing-Fish.
I wrote an article for Echoes and Dust, looking at songs by progressive rock groups that are 4 minutes or under to see if they can still encapsulate the sound of the bands. Plenty of bands and music lie herein, so check it out!
I wrote a feature article for the website Echoes and Dust on a band I thought could use a little more attention, the avant-garde Belgian group Univers Zero. I look over some of their key albums over the years, and it was a lot of fun (albeit an odd, creepy bone-chilling sort of fun) going back through their discography.
You can read the entire article here.
Originally written for Prog Zone Magazine in April 2013.
While many progressive rock bands owe a debt to the classical and jazz music that came before, few were as successful at combining both styles simultaneously as the French band Magma. Their unique sound arose from the brain of drummer, vocalist and main composer Christian Vander in response to the death of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. Coltrane’s themes of spirituality and transcendence (most obvious in his later albums A Love Supreme, Ascension and Meditations) persist throughout all of Magma’s works, even as their sound changed to further incorporate classical and operatic influences – those of Carl Orff in particular. Vander unified these influences with an ambitious sci-fi concept that lead to the most controversial aspect of Magma’s sound. All the albums (excluding a one-off flop in the 80s) are sung in Vander’s invented language: Kobaïan.