Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Gay Gardens

So I'm Melbourne, at Alex's house, listening to Standard Fare. The weather was great on Sunday and Monday, but today I got rained upon as I ventured into the city centre for the first time. Out here in Brunswick it is very different, a bit like K'Road but more upmarket. The first day we went to Dixons and this was the start of quite a successful record shopping spree. I was surprised at the ease of finding Widdershins releases - I bought one of their 12"s and two 7"s. I also found The Palisades (pre-Rainyard!) A Month Too Soon and a copy of The Jasmine Minks' Another Age. Charlotte's Web is another 80s Aussie group, whose "Big Letdown" single I found.

The next day we headed out to Licorice Pie in Prahran (is this what the The Sugargliders' "Ahprahran" refers to?). I agree with Alex that this seems to be the best second hand store in town, and I found plenty of great stuff there as well - including two singles by Swedish garage-revival groups The Backdoor Men and The Playmates in the 'uk indie' section! The best find was probably Club Hoy's second (double-) 7" "Da Da Da Da". Previously I'd only heard "On and On" but this gatefold sleeve ep has two brilliant a-sides on it. Other finds where The Hoods' "You Won't Take Her" single and Delta 5's "Shadow", the latter of which I had to leave unfortunately.

On Sunday night we went to see one of Alexis' bands, called Oblako Lodka. This was at the Wesley Anne here in Fitzroy and it was an impressive venue that reminded me slightly of Cottiers in the West End of Glasgow. They too served food and I had a delicious portion of fettuccine. The first band that night, Tiny Little Tiny Things, was actually the one I enjoyed most. It was just one girl, who looked criminally young, playing a looped and reverbed guitar along to her simple yet charming songs. The headlining act Flying Scribble were perhaps more impressive than captivating, but I really enjoyed them while marvelling at the the two girls' skills at drumming on the one hand and playing multiple organs, accordion and singing on the other. With the same setup as Mates of State they managed to create something much more refined and operatic.

On Monday, the gig I had been looking forward to for a while finally came around. I was going to see The Motifs! Alexis had managed to add themselves to the bill of one of Patinka Cha Cha's gigs at The Empress. The first band Pop Singles really impressed us all and reminded Alex of early Go-Betweens and me of old Summershine outfit Tender Engines (who of course recorded "Ex-Pop Song"!). Looking like an 80s jangle/powerpop group (Winter Hours anyone?), having the taste of playing a 6-string Rickenbacker through a huge Vox amp and head and sporting a female drummer and a bass player who knew to turn up the treble - how could they go wrong?

As there were four bands, they all got a bit pressed for time and Alexis thought she'd only be able to play ONE song. So I got to request "TN". But after general outcry they carried on with "Backwards", "Secret Address" and one more I can't recall. So the setlist above is a bit misleading. But at least I got one! I also spoke to Neil for a bit, who plays drums and is also in Crayon Fields. It was great to hear how much they'd all enjoyed Sweden.

Today I've been to another record/book store called Title, which had lots of great stuff, but I'm even more hesitant to buy stuff now. In Polyester (which Nils-Martin has recommended to me) I bought the new and brilliant Crayon Fields single "Voice of Paradise", but nothing else despite the great selections of new releases. A short trip on the tram took me in to Swanston Street and the impressive State Library. I'd come for the exhibition Type, but it turned out to be more about Australian publishing and printing than typography. It was funny seeing the call numbers for all the exhibited items though! Tonight I'm heading back into town to The Toff for Guy Blackman's regular DJ night.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Down For the Count

After doing my top ten, and thinking about The Postmark's By the Numbers album, I decided it might be a good idea to apply that concept to the top ten. So here are my favourite songs with one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten in the title!

CLOUD 93 V/A - Top One to Ten

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So Documentary

Here's a mix I made for the workbook I had to hand in for the photography course. It's not like other mixes I've made, and it may not be a good. But it could be interesting for people who watched the slideshow, as this is a sample of the songs I considered for the soundtrack.

CLOUD 92 V/A - Building Fabrics

Monday, June 22, 2009


So here it is, the last podcast broadcast from Fleet FM! Markie, Michael and the others will keep the same slot, so tune in at fleetfm.co.nz every Saturday night at 9 pm (local time) to keep up with the Auckland scene. This one has new music from Veronica Falls (ex-Sexy Kids), The Relationships (ex-Anyways), The Motifs, The Dreamers + Mr. Wright, The Lodger and Let's Wrestle. Also, I've just fallen in love with new Swedish group Leaving Mornington Crescent. As Anglophilic as they sound, they play great, simple pop in the Swedish tradition of Fibi Frap and Free Loan Investments. Buy their first split ep from Cloudberry now!

In other news, the shortest day of the year (on this latitude) has passed, and so Top Tens have been compiled and played through. Mine is already posted - hopefully the other will follow suit presently.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Body Isn't Me

If anyone's interested, I just completed the complex grid assignment, and I'm quite happy with how it came out. It was such a pain redrawing all the graphs and figures of the 6 spread we had to do, in vector form, but they look so much better. Besides the 6 spreads from the book, we also had to redo all the preliminary pages and the index. They're all here, and you can compare them to the original pages in the book here. I made the format larger, but the area for text is basically the same. Still I've managed to get three pages down to two, in most cases. I think the publisher would have liked that! No more plastic deformation of metal for me now... God, I must have typed the word 'dislocations' a hundred times over by now. Hope I can still listen to Dislocation Dance without wincing.

Like Cake In the Rain

Claude (Popsong Romance) just made us this brilliant flyer! God knows I wouldn't have time to do one. I've been working on this one below - for Still Flyin's first gig in Hamburg. The photo is an old Vogue shoot, that I came across thanks to My Vintage Vogue.

But it could also have looked like this, with Richard Harris in Lindsay Anderson's 60s classic This Sporting Life. We found out recently that Richard Harris the actor and Richard Harris the singer are the same person, which makes it even funnier!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Love Makes the World Go Wrong

Yes, Je Suis Animal are playing in Auckland! Thanks to being signed by Lost & Lonesome they are now coming to Australia and New Zealand. On Friday 26th they are playing Cassette #9 and I will be playing records before they come on (Guy Blackman takes over after the gig, so people can actually dance).

The DDOMD night went great and there are a bunch of photos over here. I went along for the exiciting (but tiring) Treasure Hunt the next day as a photographer, so those pics will be there soon as well. It was basically a busking tour of Auckland in one day, with Andrew of Cheese On Toast driving us between the 20-or-so stops! 3 News and Radio New Zealand tagged along for a bit, and apparently I ended up in the background of some shots on the 6 o'clock news. Lucky I didn't see it, or I would've been shocked indeed. (Just found it here - not sure if it's the full story.)

The gig she did on Friday, at Matthew Crawley's MUM club night was ace as well, but she had to follow a murderously bad support act. Unfortunately I missed the other support act, called The Hairdos, but I had a good excuse. Namely watching The Chills! They did their first gig in Auckland for many years - in celebration of the 25 years that have now passed since the release of "Pink Frost", which they played of course. As well as "Heavenly Pop Hit", "I Love My Leather Jacket", "House With a Hundred Rooms", "Rolling Moon" and many other classics. In fact, the whole setlist is here, pn their amazing new website which was launched just recently, as we all learnt on Friday. Phillips also insisted on announcing that Chris Know had suffered a stroke and was in a poor state.

I forgot to bring my camera but the Montecristo Room turned out to be very photo-unfriendly. The crowd was predominantly male (and tall) and the room became so full of steam they didn't even need a smoke machine. So no photos of the topless bass player... I've been trying to find some pics or videos online, but no luck so far. Maybe the people who managed to capture the event are too old for Flickr and YouTube. It was a very good gig I thought, well rehearsed, with decent sound, and as inspired as in the 80s (I guess). We missed the support band (didn't know there was one!) but it didn't really matter since it was only Paper Planes, and not The David Bains (which I misheard Phillips saying).

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Design to Kill

Building Fabrics (2009)
digital projection with sound
1280x800px, ca 3min
(click to view fullscreen
or get the avi file)

The slide show is inspired by Le Corbusier's Vers une architecture from 1923 (or Towards a New Architecture, which it has been translated to) and in particular its first chapter, called "Argument". Here Corbusier outlines his purpose as architect, his manifesto if you will, and many notorious quotes have been lifted from it.

That choice had its background in photographs I have taken as a tourist in New Zealand, many of which depict modernist buildings drawn by the likes of Miles Warren. Warren was, of course, directly inspired by Brutalism and he himself undertook journeys of architectural tourism to France, England and Sweden (where I am from).

I wanted to create a slide show similar to one of Fischli/Weiss' works, with superimposed photos combining to create images of luminous and saturated colours. I decided to superimpose pictures of textiles over of the buildings I had photographed in Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington. The textile photographs were taken 'by stealth' in the giant op shops of Glen Eden, giving them a haphazard, transient look. There was no other way to take them, just like the architectural photos were taken like snapshots. I like to think that they are "the authentic impression of a passer-by experiencing architecture" as it is said in a Rodchenko exhibition catalogue, about one of László Moholy-Nagy's pictures.

The sequencing of the buildings is purely chronological, reflecting the traditional use of slides at family gatherings. It gives the work some coherence, as buildings from the same city are adjacent and sometimes a neighbouring couple of shots of the same building give the viewer another clue about the 'draped' structure.

Corbusier propagated the 'mass-production house'. Houses, like clothes, should be mass-produced. At the time they were being drawn according to 'styles' that changed wistfully like seasonal fashions. Houses were ornamental, like carpeting, like patterned dresses.

Having determined the order of the architectural photographs it was simple overlaying the fabric photos, to create variation in hue and luminance. It all came together like a puzzle. The 'double exposures' were made digitally, using the layer blend option that created the most satisfactory result. Sometimes I sought an alignment of the lines and textures of the two layers, sometimes a jarring contrast.

The music the projection is set to is a 1979 piece by James White & the Blacks from New York. "White Savages" could refer to the urban jungle of central NYC, or Paris in the 20s. Fittingly, James Chance, as he is also known, in the same year recorded "Design to Kill" which is exactly what Corbusier claimed the architecture of his times was doing, if only mentally. Houses shouldn't inhibit our lives. Like the car, which was the ultimate solution to transport of small groups, the house should be streamlined for the family unit's needs. The house should be 'a machine for living in'. Without architecture, there would be revolution Corbusier predicted.

The soundtrack matches the pictures' radical change in texture, hue and rhythm with wild fluctuations of pitch and density of sound, underpinned by a steady beat just as the images relentlessly move onwards to the next. If the music of 60s mod group The Creation was "red with purple flashes", James White & the Blacks cover the whole gamut of the humanly visible colour spectrum.

The slide show ends in white noise and a black void. Which is the shortest way to anarchy: building with fabrics (style) or fabricating buildings (mass-production)?

Sunday, June 7, 2009


This is not the last, but one of last at least. And it's a great set, with new music from Spectrals (best find of the year?), The Girls At Dawn, Stolen Hearts, Land of Ill Earthquakes, Mika Miko, Male Bonding, BlackBlack, California Gold (Uni & Her Ukelele plus friends!) and the brilliant Tyvek. Coupled with plenty of classics of course. I'd also like to mention that The Orange Peels are back with their first new recordings in four years! I played an old one of theirs instead, cause "Birds of a Feather" is only available from iTunes - and we all know that sucks. Give me a one-sided 7" any day! No podcast next week, but I plan to do at least one more. Get this one here, and check the playlist for the post-podcast show here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Architects That Do Not See

I'm using the first chapter of this ("Argument") for a current school project in photography. It's where the famous quote "the house is a machine for living in" comes from. I couldn't find this online anywhere, so here's a pdf of the first eight pages.