As I suggested in my previous post, I've been sort've busy as all get-out these days, a fact which largely renders these Currently in Rotation posts a bit moot. For example, I have a couple of brand spankin' new DVD's sitting here on my desk, notably Bad Brains Live at CBGB 1982 and Kissology: The Ultimate Kiss Collection Vol. 1 1974-1977. They're both very pretty, and very cool and I'm sure I'd thrill to the contents of each -- but I'll be damned if I know when I'll ever get to watch either of them. Honestly speaking, my days are spent at work, and then I race home, help Peg feed and bathe the kids and then put them to bed. Then Peg and I eat, and by the time we're done with dinner, we're usually too zonked to concentrate on anything on our television screen. Moreover, subjecting my wife to hours of either the Bad Brains or vintage Kiss might very well fall under her definition of "cruel and unusual punnishment." So, ideally, she'll go out with the girls sometime soon (maybe in the next few months), and I'll stay home and babysit, and watch these DVDs with the sound turned way low so as not to wake up the kids. There's something vaguely pointless -- if not sacreligious -- about waching a live Bad Brains show or a full-scale, pyrotechnical Kiss spectacle with the sound turned low, but it's probably the only choice open to me. Otherwise, I should just go return them.
Likewise, I just went out for a neighborhood stroll by m'self, with the intention of buying a new pair of sneakers. While I didn't manage to accomplish that task, I did stop into my favorite bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. on Broadway. More often than not, this place boasts at least three or four titles that I didn't even know existed which I'd love to voraciously read. Thing is, I'm already three books behind. I just don't have the time and energy these days. With Oliver still sleeping in our room, it's fairly impossible to sneak in a couple of pages before we crash without waking him up. Similarly, weekends sprint by with only fleeting opportunities of quiet time (in those increasingly rare moments when both children are napping). In any case, I honestly cannot justify spending any more money on books until I find the time to finish the ones already gathering dust on my side-table. Otherwise, the only books I'm reading these days are "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish" by the Dr. Seuss and "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter. Often. And out loud. Hell, by this point, I could probably recite both of'em to ya. Verbatim. And lately, I've taken to reading them both in the voice of Sean Connery just to keep myself amused.
That all said, I have managed to soak in some stufff, so herewith a quick rundown.
MUSIC: It took me a great, long while, but I finally managed to pick up a copy of Beyond Light by Transmission. Far from a household name, Transmission is a supergroup-of-sorts, consisting of Paul Ferguson, Martin Glover and Simon Tong (and some other no-name gent). For those of you who haven't already connected the dots, Glover and Ferguson also go by the names of Youth and Big Paul Feguson, a.k.a. the original rhythm section of Killing Joke. Transmission marks their first collaboration since Big Paul briefly played with Youth's post-`Joke band, Brilliant back in the mid-80's. Filling out the ranks is guitarist Simon Tong, ex of the Verve and currently serving in another new supergroup, The Good, The Bad & the Queen (featuring Damon Albarn of Blur/Gorillaz and Paul Simonon, ex of the mo'fuckin' CLASH, for cryin' out loud!)
In any case, despite what the layperson might think, Transmission don't sound even slightly like Killing Joke. More along the lines of the ambient trance music Youth has been dabbling in with Dragonfly Records and Liquid Sound Design in the 90's, Transmission make instrumental "soundscapes" rather than pop/rock songs. The only factors that honestly prevent Transmission from wandering into the perilous realm of "New Age" (pronounced like sewage) is Big Paul Ferguson's live drums and Tong's guitar. Sounding a bit like a beefier version of Disintegration-era Cure, Beyond Light is steeped in moody, sprawlingly cinematic pieces that come across as surprisingly melodic and even melancholy. There's also a degree of subtlety here that was largely lost on the last Killing Joke album. As a die-hard fan of that band, I can't help wondering what Transmission would've sounded like with the `Joke's Geordie Walker on guitar detail instead of Tong. We'll never know, of course.
Regadless, I didn't expect Beyond Light to be anywhere near as compelling as it's turned out to be. I strongly recommend it. You can pick up your own copy here.
TEXT: As I lamented above, I haven't really been able to sit down with any books for a great amount to time, lately. That all said, I did recently pick up "Fanatic" by Henry Rollins. The book is basically one long playlist of songs Henry played on his short lived radio program on Indie 103.1, "Hamony in My Head." I never got a chance to hear the show in question, but it doesn't matter. Reading Henry's strenuously earnest and detailed takes on countless tracks (most are pretty obscure punk singles, but there are several "who'da thunk he'd like that" selections) made for pretty entertaining reading (and yes, there's even a Killing Joke track cited). Even if you think he's completely out to lunch, there's some interesting stuff here for fans of relatively esoteric music.
WEBSITE: I'm sure the person who designed this website takes it very seriously, but I cannot help but laugh. Please avail yourself to Ace Equals God!, the Website!
OLD TIMEY VIDEO CLIP OF THE MONTH: Evidently, YouTube have started to tow the line in terms of copywright law ever since they were subsumed by Google, so I should probably roll this shit out now while I can. A lot of my favorite clips have already vanished. So, before this too goes the way of all flesh, I give you a song by a band I've been inexpicably listening lots of lately, New Model Army. I first heard this song when I was a sophomore in college, around the same time I was developing a healthy skepticism about our nation's foreign policy. I used to play this track with irritating constancy, much to the pronounced chagrin of my then-roommate, Dave -- who very justifiably gave me a great deal of grief about it. New Model Army are still around, by the way, although all that long hair is gone, and drummer Rob Heaton has since passed away. In any case, get your groove on to "51st State"!