i've just had the best feedback wank ever. it must have lasted over half an hour (not including actual playing on either side), and now i feel completely cleanesed and ready to sleep. for about an immeasurable time, i was just sat back in the chair with the guitar in my lap, full distortion and reverb, tuned to e-g-d-g-b-e, just fiddling with the three band eq, at first to get to a point where there were several audibal overtones without getting any louder, and then i found a sequence of twists that could make the feedback switch between two pitches a semitone apart - the crossover was awesome.

what i'd do, is it'd be on the first pitch, with only the mid-band up. then i'd slowly bring in the high-band, until the higher pitch just slowly forced it's way in, for a few seconds creating some beautiful friction as the pitch raised. once it settled, i brought the mid back in and brought the high out, but that didn't make it change pitch back down, so i'd have to raise the low-band up a bit, until the bass feedback was just starting to kick in, which affected the high feedback, and then i'd bring the bass down again, somehow leaving the feedback half a pitch lower than it was. and so i'd do it again and again. now i feel lovely.

i'm free

and freedom tastes of reality.

it's interesting playing a computer game when you're playing against the computer - not just the baddies, but against the whole thing. i had to finish kotor, to get it out of my system. which made all the references to 'giving in to the dark side' in the game more pertinant. if i was strong, i would have just unplugged the console and put it back in it's box. if i was really strong, i'd have left it right there in plain view, ready to go at any minute but i'd be choosing not to use it. we have to test ourselves sometimes. one way to not give into temptation is to avoid it, but then we'll never know if we'd be able to resist it when it strikes. but i was weak; the only way i could get out of kotor was to go through it. i played over thirty hours in a week. i've felt like a complete junkie, and i'm not sure if that's because i think of myself as one or not.

the best thing in the game, for me, as a new games journalist, was when i killed the annoying heads of the sith academy, i really enjoyed it. i felt they really deserved to be cut down. and that scared me.

but now it's over and i can get back to my life.
but there's more out there.. i saw kotor 2 for a tenner in fobidden planet. halo's sitting right there.

so yesterday i didn't leave the house much. upon returning from the front door, to see 'what that ruckus was about', someone was putting up a paper sign pointing to their flat, with 'eurovision 2006' printed on it. having faith in coincidence, and no-one else to watch it with (i imagine i could have gone 'home' this weekend, but i don't know, because i haven't spoken to my parents for.. a while, and i'm frankly too embarressed about my life to call them), and the only alternative being to go out to chorlton to watch a spacemen 3 tribute band (friend of a friend), i went along. what a party. the guy, a slightly camp irish, was obviously a complete euro-fetishist, and i made up the numbers to a convienient 25. there was booze, a large flat screen digital telly, and enough people to make up the £2 sweepstake (i drew bosnia-herzogovina, and for a moment early on in the voting, it looked like i might have been in with the 50 quid jackpot). it was lovely, but after it finished, the 'eurovision classics' cd (possibly compiled by the man himself) went on, and i think it became a little too camp for comfort i left and went three doors down to my place, listened to eels and re-read animal man again.


animal man

grant morrison is the messiah. he won't admit it, but it's clear from his work. hopefully seven soldiers will be similarly revelatory, instead of just 'a good read'. animal man 5, the tale of crafty cayote, blew my mind and made me laugh out loud. you just know that whenever characters in a g.m. (games master?) story go out to the american desert and stand on a mesa, something magical's going to happen.

and then there were three fascinating stories about animals on bbc today - humans and chimps swapped dna even after the species diverged, a hybrid polar/grizzly bear was found (and shot), and monkeys can string 'words' together to distribute more complex messages, like 'loitering leopard' or 'hovering hawk'.


new boyfriend e.p.

is there anyone who is reading this who's not going to get the cd? you can download the songs now, or wait for the cd to arrive, but here's the rundown

1: gold top
this was written ages ago. well, the music was. before/during dovedale joints. when i was compiling my thoughts for 'go home and be a family man!' this was going to be there, but it was cut out in the excision process. then i was going to put it on purple milk e.p., but that happened so fast, and felt so complete in it's four tracks that i didn't want to bother starting to record it, especially as i didn't even have any verses or structure written (they were going to be about how much i hate the nme and music industry in general). but yesterday, after recording the synth/guitar melody instrumental for on benefit, i decided to give this a go, just as a one-minute interlude. i recorded one guitar bright and chorused, and the other mellow and clean (right and left channels respectively), two vocal takes and a bit of reverb and delay - voila. not sure of it's place in 'on benefit' yet, but i don't have to be.

update: so now i decided that it didn't fit on 'on benefit', what with the planned acoustic version of 'purple milk' going on there. so it takes up it's rightful place on 'new boyfriend ep' as first track. i experimented with a mix extended by 8 bars, but it just didn't feel right. this version is as complete as i will make it. any extention would simply be dilution.
here i am
pushing a hash brown up my arse
music isn't milk
it's a hard water kettle
and the scum floats to the top.

2: new boyfriend (part one)

this song was inspired by.. i can't say it. those who know, know and they know it was inspired by a person and not written about them. but it's important not to decontextualise that feeling. so i won't.

the origins of the song go to my year out, way back to 'dovedale joints' territory, enjoying the structure of pink floyd's 'atom heart mother', although i've now bolted on some of the post-core of bands like cult of luna and mogwai. this little snippet is old guitar with impromptu keyboards, tin whistle and percussion. i'm going to use a lot more live percussion in the future, what it lacks in perfect timing it more than makes up for in spontineity and sound quality.
i was told
that while some streets are paved with gold
some are paved with good intentions

and i know he really wanted you
but wanter is only one letter away from wanker

i think your new boyfriend's a wanker
i think your new boyfriend's a fraud
he's always ken and never blanka
iand i just want to be adored.

3: haarvark (take one)
my first release of a synthesis experiment. i've got a square lfo on a full octave, to give the funky bass effect, while i'm using frequency modulation to create an odd harmony over the top, a different note depending on what note is played. resonance and low pass filter are also used. the synth is on a monophonic setting, which for my synth means the envelopes and the lfo are not triggered anew with every keypress, but because every new key over writes the old one, it contiues with the same pattern, meaning it is completely rhythmical, allowing me to record percussion over the top as well.

4: dooce the mf already
er.. i don't wanna get dooced.

the music happened very quickly out of a guitar playing session that resulted in the catchy melody over the chords i was coxoning up.. i'm really happy with the synth sounds on this track - that's me actually playing the keyboard live (okay, it's a loop but if it wasn't for drop-outs, and stilted, unimprovisable tracking and i've have done it live) and a tone i created to go with the melody, similarly with the chords. the synths are on the left and the guitars on the right, so fiddle with the balance to listen more attentively. sorry i can't scream. i should have looped the really grating chorus lines but that's unethical. but it would have sounded better, so i still should have done it. but i can't go back now. not now that you know.
btw, the intro strings/harp are fruity loops, not live.

lyrics not fit to print

5: we fit together like two 'halves' of a badly cut bagel:
to contrast with the punk-pop of the last song, what better than some psychedelic janschian folk? well, the tune is in 7/8 and the lyrics are all but improvised, but they're never *that* improvised are they? no, this is a very honest song, expressing the kind of love for someone that can only happen after someone else has dumped you. and it felt so genuine at the time. i like the sequenced sounds, piano and modified pulse wave in respective stereo channels, although they over power the guitars a little (can you hear them reversed near the end? ah..), and the delayed vocal reverb - i hadn't planned on using any vocal reverb any longer, but on this track it's partly removed from the actual vocal line and just gives a big sound to the song without being attributibal to my voice.

i love the title - i love how no matter how badly you slice a bagel in half, the two 'misfits' always match together into one complete whole. it kind of gives me hope.

ad lib
~we're two lonely people
we should be shagging~

6: haardvark (take two)
the track fades in later of the same recording as part one, but by this point, the lfo speed has gone up a lot (it now feels like we're operating in 1/8 time), the note is almost constant, and the modulation is being tweaked, leading to an effect not dissimilar to fret tapping, but as the high pitch goes up, so the low pitch goes down. you're welcome to the raw 8-minute recording of haardvark for remix purposes, people.

general notes:
this has to be my shortest average song time for a release ever (6 tracks in under 12 minutes, and if it hadn't been for newboyfriend's guitar parts being a few years old (i reckon about as old as 'kinky friedman crime club', maybe more), it'd have been almost on a par with 'purple milk ep' for short recording times - gold top in an hour, haardvark one and two in 8 minutes, 'dooced' and bagel in a weekend.

especially strange for me, i've just noticed the amount of dishonesty on this release - i'm refusing to tell you the subject matter of three out of the four vocal tracks, and yet, to balance, those songs themselves are remarkably, lyrically, honest. i feel really bad about that, but this shit can't just fly about with names attached. relevant people are within reading distance. that's all i can say. i hope this at least gives it that instant and immediate and open feel i like, and as andy says, i'm just singing my blog, including those deleted posts you had to be on your toes to read.

this release is really another apology for the tardiness of 'on benefit', and it's piece of resistance, new boyfriend. this release refers to sfa's ice hockey hair e.p., with it's title track as the second song; to mansun's 'being a girl' ep, for it's use of the first two minutes of an epic song as a single; to the jazz greats, for their use of multiple takes with a cryptic common theme. this release is a way to get gold top (sitting around) and a weekend's work (not strong enough to survive on it's own) out into the public domain, while giving an interesting perspective on a song fragment which you will soon hear in a completely different light.


i'll tell you why we're doomed. well, i can't tell you why, but i can tell you the most basic illustration - when people walk on the grass.

am i the only one who can see the bigger picture here?

everyday, in the centre of town the tiny scrap of grass is eroded a little further by people bending the rules. they don't think they're doing anything wrong, indeed they wouldn't be, if they actually just walked straight over the grass. but they never do. they always just walk exactly on the bit of grass that's being eroded right now, oblivious to the obvious consequences when you scale this behaviour up. the grass gets completely killed, and we're all left with a big patch of boring ugly dust. the worst thing is that it stems from mis-good intentions. people think walking on the grass is bad, so they try and avoid it.. but just want that little extra shortcut (not like the concrete paths aren't already the most direct route, which makes the whole exercise even more insane), so they tread over the bit that's just dying now, because, you know, like, what can you do? how can i give a fuck about these people they're so stupid? even worse, how can i ignore them when their stupidity is going to encroach on my welfare? ultimately, one has to take a stand. but we can't lock ourselves away in social centres and anarchist collectives. all these awful people will still ruin the world even with the people who care closing themselves away. so you have to get out there and preach. but they won't listen to preaching. and you can't win through stealth tactics, not with the media so strong. WHY DON'T YOU, YES BUT, WHY DON'T YOU, YES BUT. everyway i look at it, we're fucked. there's nothing anyone can do. it's an entirely closed system of being fucked. it was written from the word begining; it's in our nature. we are negative feedback; the more we grow, the more we destroy our life support system. it'll all fall down. how can i not be a solipsist when these wankers are destroying the world? do you see my problem? solipsism doesn't scale up to be a workable system. i can't join in and i can't not join in. who thought that this would be what i'd learn from science?


i opened up the bag of curry from last night in the fridge and found four packets. there were four curries, one with chicken in. ah. despite mitri indicating the veggie ones to the waiter to be bagged up, they'd given me all of them. in the darkness of the restuarant, it was difficult to distinguish between meat and veggie (and i know you're probably thinking 'it doesn't matter' but bear with me), but maybe it was going to be easier now. so i open the first container - chick peas. right then, that's the chana, that means there's a one in three chance that the next one is the chicken. i open it - no, that's saag aloo. right then. one in two chance the next one is chicken. i open it. more potatoes - they're really potatoes, not potato-like chicken. well that's all the veggie ones. what's in the fourth one then? it's got to be the chicken. i open it anyway... rice. they'd obeyed the instructions to the letter, with disconcerting but ultimately accurate speed. our hope doesn't lie in the proles, but in the curry.

i will put the new boyfriend e.p. up presetly.

chance and neccessity

well, it's been one of those very interesting evenings. it started with the loose plan to see my father this evening, and went on from there. so i went with him to the metropol, that old stalwart of didsbury social life, and then went to the newer bar next door to meet his old friends les and ged.

it was like a meeting of the original grumpy old men - not least when mitri was complaining about 'last of the summer wine' moving into hdtv (like the picture quality is the problem with that show). we started inside, until they turned the lights down and the music up. then they moved outside, and complained about the noise from the glass chute. then they moved over to the fire, and back again, because as les predicted, it was actually warmer just outside the door. then a wierd couple turned up who they knew, and everyone knows everyone, and talked very excitedly with us about everything, and i tried to reinforce my belifes about everything onto them. i told them about hoftstadter and gave them a mix cd. les didn't know that 'mad' rita had died, and i didn't know that els, our old next door neighbour, had died a couple of weeks ago. i was surprised to learn that les's mother, a jew (i have recently com eto think of myself as jewish, but not 'a jew'), had died recently too, and it was his first jewish funeral. always an interesting perspective, not that i've been to that many myself. then i went for a curry at the kathmandu with mitri, which we couldn't finish, so i brought it home. it was already late.

so i was listening to 65 days of static's 'hole' ep on the bus and reading jaqcues monod's 'chance and necessity: on the natural philosophy of modern biology', which i picked up in the great bookshop in ashbourne. an excellent book. i felt a tap on my shoulder. a fellow traveller wanted to know what it was because it looked fascinating. i would have given it to him but i really need. it so then he asks me: 'do you take any drugs?' i say, 'not much,' of course i mean, 'not at all, but i'm open to suggestion', and he says, 'have you ever done dmt?'


i first came across dmt when jeffry rowland introduced us to the idea of self transforming machine elves. i found the idea so exciting i just had to investigate. you may remember my trip down south a couple of weeks ago, i was asking everyone, even my mum, about this drug - no-one had heard of it. i would have thought that rach or some of her friends might have heard of it, but it turned up blanks.

so this stranger i've just met on a bus into town is suggesting that this book i'm reading would be a great prep for a dmt experiance. can you imagine? a drug for molecular bio-chemists?, based on first hand experince? i find myself quoting neil innes/the bonzo dog band more and more often -

There are no coincidences
But sometimes the pattern is more obvious

like when i read two things in the same day that referred to karl popper's 'the open society and it's enemies', (including monod) clearly indicating that it should be my next read. but dmt sounds fucking serious. and i know we can talk about coincidences until the cows come home but shit man. but this isn't bumping into an old friend in a bar, that you both go into because you're the kind of people that like it, this is a stranger on a bus. like when a person in the bell asked anna if she lived on a house boat, because she looked like a 'boaty type'. she didn't, but that very day she'd been talking to someone who did and had been convinced of the house boat arguments.

i tried to impart hoftstadter to him to - well, it was fresh on my mind, and if we're talking about meaningful books then that's where i would start, without trying to be preachy about it - but i'll guess i'll have to text him.
and now it's gone half one on a school night and i'm boiling hot.

btw, i put loads of photos up on flickr, and found this great article on this interesting website.


heat exhaustion

and so it came to pass that i missed ephel duath twice in a week. once my fault, once theirs.
but it was ok because andy was here. at least, until he found i had a copy of star wars:kotor. then he was off on his own. this is very nice. remember, rancors have special devices in their stomachs to trigger frag grenades in case they ever accidentally eat one. now we've fallen off the wagon together, it's almost like playing computer games compulsively is acceptable.

i finished new boyfriend e.p. and i'm very happy. andy informs me that i've started singing my blog*, given the improvised nature of the newer songs on the flipside. i'll put the mp3s up later, in the meantime i'll be getting out cds to those who need them. on hearing his harmonies at the end of the first track of the death of a salesman mini-album, i insisted he do the same thing to the bits of new boyfriend that i was planning on using fruity loops choir sounds for, which you can tell right now was going to be a shit idea. i'm sure we went out somewhere at some point, oh yeah, that's right - 'free comic books day' at travelling man. an utter waste of time. the drastic underpromotion turned out to not be that at all, since the 'free comics' was a bunch of dc crap - two issues of inifinte crisis - that would have made no sense to the casual reader, and was hidden behind the counter. i wanted free comics, but i didn't have the cheek to ask for them. i thought they'd be 'available'. what a way to grow the industry. - but all i can remember is sitting on the sofa, variously discussing our creative endevours or breaking in andy's role-playing side. speaking of which, who's up for bal-sagoth roleplay?

*didn't morrisey say something like "why does every want to know about my private life? i've already sung out my diaries"?


free will

i want to throw my keys down the drain. something pointless and meaningless, and something that will cause a huge amount of hassle for absolutely no reward. i want to do this because what freedom do we have, but the freedom to behave incorrectly in a situation - to do the thing that does not reflect our influences?

but this want is just a consequence of the determinism meme. i wouldn't want to do it if i believed i had free will.


this weekend was made possible by mobile telecommunications

i've got over a week of awesome tales to tell you.

let's start on the saturday before last. i had planned on making some plans for the weekend, but when that fell through, i was delighted to get a call from pops asking if i wanted to go to the plaza in stockport on a saturday night. there was an alistair sim double bill - 'an inspector calls' (what a needlessly wierd twist ending) and 'the happiest days of your life' (oh, joyce it was hilarious). the cinema is a time box, full of the usherettes had those funny fans on their heads, they showed adverts in the interval for lyons maid ice cream, and other things they don't make anymore, and an organist! that went up and down! i don't know how it will survive.

monday i went to see richard james with ewa. i would have gone it alone but she was only round the corner in the ox (the best pub in britain? must be something to do with the very very expensive food. but the dickhead staff and rubbish music put me off a bit). it was at the king's arms - where i'd seen euros childs and pre-met marion. she wasn't there for this gig though. did it slip under her radar, did she not care, or because she supposed i would go? where the fuck even is she? anyway, ewa had her own cross to bear, who was present, but i'm not going into that.
then it was cult of luna. i should have just sat back and rocked gently instead of trying to shuffle to it (they do have some beats sometimes you know). suprisingly the great revelation for me was enjoying the support band atavist. they played two songs in their set, totalling possibly around seven different notes. i was glad i went alone, molecular biology book in hand. it's amazing the similarities between dna and turing machines. i really, really wanted the light brown cult of luna t-shirt with the roses on, but i figured i'd spent enough on music for one day/week. so i just bought a couple of cult of luna cups instead.
it was a wierd gig. they're a completely different band now. was the singer not there? is that it? last time i saw them they had a wall of fog lit by a single blue light for the whole gig. it was amazing, you could just make out the outlines. this changed that whole image for me.

and then, the big weekend. i went down to neil and leslie's on friday, had a lovely dinner by neil, and introduced him to my world of interesting time signitures (spurred on by his fascination with a david gray track in 7/4), garden, and my own recordings. he reccomended an interesting-sounding female singer. well, we'd all like that, wouldn't we?
the next day i went down to brighton and found it seemingly deserted of people i knew, like jess, who'd gone up to manchester. if only i'd realised that by staying up here on friday night i could have seen her. not even steph was around, and no-one in dave's recognised me. so i went down to the beach and read, and it was beautifully sunny, i got my feet wet in the spray. and then i needed lunch. so where did i go? when you've got one day in brighton, you might as well go somewhere special. but they were all too expensive, so i went to offbeat and then to rach's for tea and also tea. but planet india was fully booked out! heartbroken, we all sloped off to china china across the road. i had a fully tasty malaysian-style curry. i'm the best at choosing food sometimes. i noticed, laurence, that planet india now does a lunchtime buffet too.

god, then what happened.
er, i went off to see robin and anna and kate and we sat around for a bit and went to the pub and then i went back to rach and robin's house party. i was not being a control freak, but someone needs to put songs on at parties and everyone else kept wiping the playlist. it was a charity shop party, so everyone was decked out in nice klobber from robin's five pound rag bag. nice to see you. at about two o'clock, a bit later than planned, i walked over to robin and kate's to sleep, but i didn't have the heart to knock loudly enough to wake them, so i wandered back again. that took an hour. sometimes i'm the best at committing to things.

in the morning, i got the fuck out of brighton, via the completely obligatory dumb waiter build your own breakfast - sausages, hash browns and cheesy bubble and squeak. it was all the same colour so an egg could have come in handy. but darn it was delicous. the following six hours were spent getting to, and then waiting for people to get to, hampstead. it was great, people just kept dribbling in. who'd expect to find such a disparate bunch of tenuos artists in a pub like this, growing by the hour? we went off for our picnic, i supplied beer and delicious chevda. this may not have made up for the amount of other people's houmous i consumed. we played and sang songs, and then luke got a fire going with very little stress. we stayed out in the woods until about ten when it started pissing down. i lost my self harmy knife. i was gutted.
but you know what? i've had the tool over ten years. it's amazing i've kept it this long, and the morning after, walking in finsbury park, i saw some lovely, relatively inexpensive multi-tools, and they even had nail files on! feels better now.
the day after thom and i went out to meet dan, who i am very sorry to say i didn't see for long enough, but we both seemed to be having such a good time with everyone else. it was merely a matter of hours we spent together. he got some japcore food, wandered a little, then headed back to his for a cup of tea. mistake! that's a long way to go for a cup of tea. got stuck into the fabulous horse riding sim 'shadow of the collosus'. what a beautiful and sad game. but we where late, and the northen line was mungged up, and the queue was long. and we completely missed ephel duath. i suppose god got me back for the time i wandered around leeds for an hour looking for joseph's well, and they started just as we came in. anyway, fantomas/melvins were incredible. i recognised two pieces, one of which was 'low rider'. not one song title, never stopping (okay, so everyone got a rest now and again while one of the band members was doing something stupid on their own). it was a perfect performance - and for only one gig, not even a tour (i suppose that would be to much of a strain for these guys delicate perfectionists). thom went off with his cousins back to bournemouth and i went back to ed&jez's and watched consolevania and the colossus outro.

so now i'm back and i've been challanged to 'do' my dad's photo website. here we go..

i've got over a week of awesome tales to tell you.
don't but i don't got you, and you're the thing i need the most.

click it to see exploding pregant zombies.

even better than that, there is now an unbelievable fifth episode of triangle and square. you know where it can be found.