There are quite a few widely acclaimed musicians I simply don't get the appeal of (a subject which could, and perhaps will, be the subject of a post to itself). For example, Radiohead, The Smiths, Queen, and - relevant to this post - Neil Young. Sure, I can appreciate the musicianship and the songwriting craft - and the same applies to the other bands I've mentioned above - but as soon as the man starts singing I want to slap him. And it's not that I haven't tried to appreciate the music; i remember back in the early 1990s, being a fan of Sonic Youth (everybody was a fan of Sonic Youth in the early 1990s), the band championing Neil Young as an inspiration, and numerous of my friends championing him too. I gave it a go. I gave it several goes. But still, that voice...

 

I didn't hear Prelude's version of After The Goldrush until about 2010, and was struck by its staggering beauty. I recalled that the song name was also the title of a Neil Young album, and realised it was a cover. At the time I was working on my spoken word album Hate Ashbury, which was intended as the follow-up to God Thing (and some of you will know that i got waylaid by Logos and never completed work on it. I've put out a few tracks online, though, and will finish and release the full album eventually). The song seemed to echo many of Hate Ashbury's themes; indeed the line 'thinking about what a friend had said in 1969' was a direct allusion.

 

  

As i was writing this blog entry, I thought it only fair to give the Neil Young version another listen. I got as far as the second verse. Beautiful words, beautiful arrangement, but that voice...

 

Currently reading: Philip K Dick - Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (re-reading)

Currently listening: Brian Eno - Textures

A bunch of new Logos updates.

 

I did an interview about Logos for the Real Sounds OK blog - read it here or on the Logos blog here.

 

Yeah I Know It Sucks gave the album an exceedingly strange (but positive) review - read that here or on the Logos blog here. I think my favourite line is the one describing a particular track as "like listening on a loop to a miniature witch on a broomstick talking in cat language to a black cat."

 

Logos also have a new album in the works, for release very shortly - a collection of radically different remixes of tracks from all four of our albums, titled Everything Under The Sky. Read about that on the Logos blog here

 

Finally, Logos are also working on new music. Read about that here on the Logos blog and listen to latest of our tracks (created in this last week) below. 

  

 

Currently reading: Thomas Ligotti - The Spectral Link

Currently listening: Brotherhood - Turn the Gold To Chrome

I now have a YouTube channel, and will be uploading videos of my various spoken word with music tracks (and, in due course, other things). The first two I've put up are Fissure King, from God Thing, and He Knows The Use Of Ashes.

 

Please note that the reason both videos are flagged with a content warning is my occasional potty mouth, but anybody who follows my work will be used to that anyway.

  

 

God Thing already has its own dedicated page on this site - find out more about it here.

 

I did a previous blog post about He Knows The Use Of Ashes when I posted it to my soundcloud page - read it here for more information about that track. 

 

Currently listening: All Hallows Eve - All Hallows Eve 

Currently reading: The Historian - Elizabeth Kostova

The fourth Logos album Santa Susana Blues was released on 9th August 2014. You can find out more about it on the Logos website here, or stream/download the entire album here or via the widget below.

 

I tend not to routinely post Logos updates on this site, partly because Logos have their own dedicated website and partly because I know that some of you are less interested in the unconventional sounds I make in the name of music and more in my literary and artistic projects. That said, a new Logos album is a different matter. 

 

To keep abreast of all things Logos, please go direct to the Logos website. You can also follow us on Twitter here or on Facebook here

 

These tracks were originally created in August 2012, with final work and mixing done in July and August 2014. Four of them - Hungry Knife, The Last Door, 23 Years In The Tombs You Made, and Santa Susana Blues - were completely rebuilt at this stage and bear scant resemblance to the original preliminary versions; a couple of these initial drafts will feature on the forthcoming Logos album Everything Under The Sky, a collection of radically different mixes of tracks from all four Logos albums.

 

We'll be posting a more detailed look at Santa Susana Blues on the Logos website in due course.

  

 

Currently reading: Thomas Ligotti - Grimscribe

Currently listening: Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest

Another spoken word with music track, though this one is a little different. Will I Dream originally appeared on my spoken word with music album God Thing, released in February 2011 - you can hear that version here. This version is a completely different mix created by the trance band Manmademan, who are friends of mine, and was done some time in 2012 (I don't recall when exactly). I didn't actually know Sonya and Paul had done so until they sent me a file of it after - they'd created it purely because they were fans of the original track. I like this version very much and don't know why I've only recently gotten round to putting it out. You can hear it at my soundcloud page, or in the player below. 

 

 

Here's the text, for those of you unfamiliar with it:

 

-

 

Dr Chandra? Will I dream?

 

I cut my arm with a slide of glass. Fancy Trace because she's not my girlfriend. We stand beneath an amber moon and kiss. I give her tomorrow. Admire my blood, see it glisten to the sluice of the street. Out there. Somewhere. I love the tangle of her hair. I rend her glass and make stars. My cheek on her mirror. My day and my day. I like her flat. A fondness for books and for felines goes a long way. I kiss her skin, stoke her list of wishes. Press her flower and we skit the sky.

I bleed until I don't care for the detail of my bleeding.

Stand alone in her room and the world is me.

By night this feeling will never end.

By dawn I don't know who I am.

I tell you I love you. I fuck you with context. Know that we will bore and kill each other two years from now. There's no such thing as time. You know that. Of course you know that. We will fuck each other over, pull each other into our own place in space and in time. We hurt but say nothing. And it means. And it doesn't. You know that. Of course you know that.

Doctor, what is up with me? Hydrogen and stupidity. I watch a low red moon.

Donald adjusts his tie as the door swings. Spit-combs his hair and swabs a shaving-nick from his chin.

'We got him,' he says.

In a Karbala street the bodies are wrapped in plastic neck to scalp, throat-slit and laid out under sun.

An American pilot banks over the Persian Gulf. Deposits his payload, pines for wife and baby doll in Baltimore. The voices of the drowned sing on the wind.

I slide out, over San Fernando sprawl.

Ruth weeps, misses her husband on the golf course. Her cigarette smoke makes the shape of Africa in the air. She stubs, tends her herb garden.

Bobby sells a kidney to feed his family. Bobby cuts off an arm to feed his family. Bobby steps into an oven to feed his family.

At a radio telescope in the desert Ellie sits with headphones and listens for patterns in the chaos. Spark in the cage of her ribs. Exploded god in her neurons.

John rides Highway 1. Dawn wind wrinkles and slides. John finds a store to stock up on shotgun shells. I am here, or there, or elsewhere.

We send a message to distant stars. The reply comes back; 'fuck off and leave us alone.'

I lie half-awake and rejoice in the hands. I sleep until morning is done. Drink from the fountain in your courtyard. Everybody has a plan. Mine confers no uniqueness. Beneath the skin we are blood and mess, but above the skin we are beautiful.

I'm beneath the northern cross. Stars making pictures in my brain. Their light is spectral, is intelligent, is alive. Telling me where I came from.

Will I dream? Will I dream? Will I dream? Will I dream? When it's over will I dream?

 

Currently reading: Jim Morrison - The American Night

Currently listening: Logos - Santa Susana Blues [final mixes]

Another new spoken word track, which will likely feature on my in progress album All Things Left On Earth.

 

The text of this one was written in c.2009, as I was writing the material which became the first draft of my new novel, but didn't make its way into that book as it didn't really fit. The voice and music date from April of this year, final mix done this evening.

 

 

Currently reading: Wilderness- Jim Morrison

Currently listening: Tangerine Dream - Rubycon

Jack Palmer And The Unspeakable Thing, the pulp teen horror novel co-written with Simon Lewis, is now available in paperback. Click here to buy. You can of course still download for Kindle here.

I was very saddened today to learn of the death of H R Giger, one of my favourite artists, and who has had a profound impact on my writing and art.

 

Like many others - and in particular nigh everybody who was a teenager in the 1980s - I first encountered Giger's work through Alien. It wasn't until the late 80s, however, that I picked up some books of Giger's images. Remember, this was in the days before the internet; I recently - and effortlessly - downloaded dozens of high resolution Giger images to use as desktop backgrounds, but back then the only way to own copies of an artist's work was to buy either prints or books. I spent many hours awed at those pages, so unlike anything I'd ever seen. When I began drawing, in the early 1990s, Giger was of course an inspiration. Both 'Gigeresque' and 'biomechanical' have become a lazy shorthand for a certain style of dark art, and one I've heard applied to my own pictures quite a few times. I've never denied Giger as an influence, along with my other primary artistic inspiration (and other favourite visual artist alongside Giger), Francis Bacon. Indeed, a friend defined my art as 'Giger fused with Bacon', which I can't disagree with and even found myself once using when asked to describe my drawings to someone who'd not seen them.

 

Even as my drawings developed their own style, I never lost my love of Giger (or, for that matter, of Bacon). Though I've always felt that my writing and drawing is more influenced by music than by other writers or artists, the impact of Giger and Bacon on my work and on my way of seeing the world cannot be underestimated, and I still find an ineffable pleasure in contemplating their images.

 

One final memory; in the mid-1990s I was tripping with some friends, and found myself alone. I don't recall if I'd left their company or they'd left mine. On impulse I picked up one of my Giger books. On mushrooms, the images were utterly extraordinary. Not only did they take on a remarkable three-dimensional quality, but the melding of organic and mechanical made absolute sense. To me, psychedelics often had a machine-like aspect, the brain and nervous system a glittering crystaline mesh or lattice; geometric, crafted, mechanised. Not in a materialistic or 'clockwork universe' sense, rather an infinite automated otherworld, fleshy and intelligent and alive. Those familiar with McKenna's 'hyperdimensional machine elves' might find a resonance here. This reverie, of being set adrift in sensual biomechanical dimensions, seemed to last an aeon, but was likely a minute or less; 'what are you doing?' my friend Steve asked, and I closed my Giger book and set it aside. Some realities are too outlandish to explain, even to a good friend with a head full of mushrooms.

 

 So thank you Mr Giger, and farewell; you took my mind to places I didn't even know were there.

 

All images in this post are by H R Giger.

 

Currently listening: To Be Kind - Swans (still)

Currently reading: The Immoralist - Andre Gide

I've just uploaded another new(ish) track to my soundcloud page, more work in progress from my new and ongoing spoken word album All Things Left On Earth.

 

 

The text of this one dates back to c.2008, written in one or another Aylesbury bar following a conversation with a stranger along the lines depicted here. The voice recording was done in 2010 (the same night as I recorded, amongst others, Hometime, which you'll find elsewhere on this blog), the music late 2013, the final mix this week.

 

Although the last few tracks I've posted are older, I have written some new texts recently which I'll be recording and setting to music in due course. The new novel is also ongoing, as of course is Logos. Busy times.

 

Currently reading: Philip K Dick - The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch

Currently listening: Swans - To Be Kind

[I know I have something of a reputation - in terms of music taste - for favouring dodgy goth nonsense, wayward industrial dins, self-hacking soundtracks, and guitar-based songs with vocals the depths of which you need a bathysphere to penetrate; this occasional series of blog posts presents other music I love very much despite all expectations].

 

You can blame my ex-wife for this one. She'd been a fan of the album as a teenager (she was somewhat younger than me), had downloaded it and would often play it in the car. One of several such albums, but this was the one that stuck with me.

 

 

Though I've chosen the last track, Pass Me By - which is probably the best on the album, and somewhat more sophisticated than one might assume from the band's reputation - there were other contenders. I could never fail to be amused at the thought of our driving around Wiltshire's summer fields looking at crop circles, some of which I'd made, with What Is A Juggalo? blaring out through wound-down windows.

 

Speaking of which, I was very disappointed to be told that I'd misheard the lyric 'He drinks like a fish and then starts hugging people like a drunk fish' was, in fact, 'then starts hugging people like a drunk bitch.' I prefer my version; surreal and distinctive. Rather like when I first heard Wu Tang Clan's Gravel Pit (which was another strong Unknown Pleasures contender), drunk afterhours in a New Cross bar, and found 'Check out my gravity, all history unraveling' a most interesting and unexpected lyric....

 

 

 

I own no other ICP albums. I have no desire to hear anything else they've done.

 

Currently reading: Catherine Arnold - Underworld London

Currently listening: Attrition - The Unraveller Of Angels

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