Sem nomeTHE NEGATIVLAND STORY : Since 1980, the 4 or 5 or 6 Floptops known as Negativland, a performance and recording group based in the San Francisco Bay Area, have been creating records, CDs, video, fine art, books, radio and live performance using appropriated sounds, images, objects, and text. Mixing original materials and original music with things taken from corporately owned mass culture and the world around them, Negativland rearranges these found bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to.
In doing this kind of cultural archaeology and “culture jamming” (a term they coined way back in 1984), Negativland have been sued twice for copyright infringement.

Over the years Negativland’s “illegal” collage and appropriation-based audio and visual works have touched on many things – pranks, media hoaxes, advertising, media literacy, religion, the evolving art of collage, the bizarre banality of suburban existence, creative anti-corporate activism in a media-saturated and multinational world, file sharing, intellectual property issues, wacky surrealism, evolving notions of art and ownership and law in a digital age, and artistic and humorous observations of mass media and mass culture.

While it is true that, after being sued, Negativland became more publicly involved in advocating significant reforms of our nation’s copyright laws (more recently finding themselves being brought to Washington DC and Capitol Hill as citizen lobbyists for
copyright and art issues), Negativland are artists first and activists second. All of their art and media interventions have intended to pose both serious and silly questions about the nature of sound, media, control, ownership, propaganda and perception in the United States of America. Their work is now referenced and taught in many college courses in the US, has been written about and mentioned in over 150 books (including “No Logo” by Naomi Klein, “Media Virus” by Douglas Rushkoff, and various biographies of the band U2), cited in legal journals, and they often lecture about their work here and in Europe.

Since 1981, Negativland and an evolving cast of characters have operated “Over The Edge,” a weekly radio show on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, California. “Over The Edge” continues to broadcast three hours of live, found-sound mixing every Thursday at midnight, West Coast time, also streamed online. In 1995 they released a 270-page book with 72-minute CD entitled “Fair Use: The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2,” documenting their infamous four-year long legal battle over their 1991 release of an audio piece entitled “U2”. They were the subjects of Craig Baldwin’s 1995 feature documentary “Sonic Outlaws” and created the soundtrack and sound design for Harold Boihem’s 1997 documentary film “The Ad And The Ego,” an excellent in-depth look into the hidden agendas of the corporate ad world and the ways that we are affected by advertising. In 2004 Negativland worked with Creative Commons to write the “Creative Commons Sampling License,” an alternative to existing copyrights that is now widely used by many artists, writers, musicians, film makers, and websites.

In 2005, they released the elaborately packaged “No Business” (with CD, 15,000-word essay, and custom-made whoopie cushion), and debuted “Negativlandland” – a large visual art show of over 80 pieces of their “fine art” works, videos, home-made electronic devices, and a life-sized animatronic Abe Lincoln robot, at New York City’s Gigantic Art Space. That art exhibit continues to change and evolve and has traveled around the country, showing in Los Angeles, Seattle, Minneapolis, Houston, and Richmond, VA.

In 2007, Negativland released “Our Favorite Things,” a feature-length DVD collection of their many years of collaborative film work, and in 2008 they surprised themselves and everybody else by putting out a toetapping all-songs project of one member’s compositions called “Negativland Presents Thigmotactic,” and they continue to occasionally visit Washington DC as citizen lobbyists.

More recently, Negativland has been performing a show of radically new audio-visual versions of many Negativland fan-favorites that have never before been heard live. Negativland’s current performance project, entitled “Content!,” finds them teaming up with electronic musician Wobbly, and “live cinema” video artist Steev Hise, to create a visual and sonic performance that reinvents favorite past and present dialog cut-ups, while showcasing Negativland’s homemade electronic noise-making devices that they call “Boopers,” and relying heavily on group improvisation.

And in 2014, for their first new audio release in six years, “It’s All In Your Head” finds the group tackling their biggest subject ever: God. This ambitious and densely-crafted double CD is packaged inside an actual King James Holy Bible which has been appropriately repurposed into a “found” art object. Negativland mixes found music, found sound, found dialogue, guest personalities and original electronic noises into a compelling and thoughtful musical essay on monotheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, neuroscience, suicide bombers, 9/11, colas, war, shaved chimps, and the all-important role played by the human brain in our beliefs. The audio is presented as a live radio broadcast
(modeled after the “Over The Edge” radio program).

This theater-of-the-mind project has been assembled from basic tracks recorded live in front of blindfolded studio audiences, and documents the unique style of live collage performances that Negativland has been presenting on stages, and on radio, since the formation of the group in 1980.

Negativland is interested in unusual noises and images (especially ones that are found close at hand), unusual ways to restructure such things and combine them with their own music and art, and mass media transmissions which have become sources and subjects for much of their work. Negativland covets insightful humor and wackiness from anywhere, lowtech approaches whenever possible, and vital social targets of any kind. Foregoing ideological preaching, but interested in side effects, Negativland is like a subliminal cultural sampling service concerned with making art about everything we aren’t supposed to notice.

About “It’s All In Your Head”: Negativland’s new album, “It’s All In Your Head”, finds the group tackling their biggest subject ever: why humans believe in God. Millennia-in-development, this ambitious and densely-crafted double CD is packaged inside an actual Holy Bible which has been appropriately repurposed into a “found” art object.

“It’s All In Your Head” intends to entertain, inform, and provoke. On the CDs, Negativland mixes found music, found sound, found dialogue, guest personalities and original electronic noises into a compelling and thoughtful musical essay that looks at monotheism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, neuroscience, suicide bombers, 9/11, colas, war, shaved chimps, and the all-important role played by the human brain in our beliefs. Reading the attached Bible is optional.

The audio is presented as a live radio broadcast, modeled after Negativland’s weekly “Over the Edge” radio program on KPFA-FM in Berkeley, CA. This theater-of-the-mind project has been carefully crafted from basic tracks recorded live in front of blindfolded studio audiences, and documents the unique style of live collage performances that Negativland has been presenting on stages, and on radio, since the formation of the group in 1980.

Since its previous album release six years ago, Negativland has kept busy with its weekly radio program, lectures, art gallery shows and live performances in the U.S. and Europe. Currently in the works are several different studio albums, including Negativland’s all-electronic “Booper Symphonies,” two brand new “Over the Edge” album releases, more art shows, and a new touring live show called “Content!” with upcoming performances at festivals such as Bumbershoot, All Tomorrow’s Parties, and Moogfest.


Albums and EPs
1980 Negativland
1981 Points
1983 A Big 10-8 Place
1984 Over The Edge Vol. 1: JamCon ’84
1985 Over The Edge Vol. 1 1/2: The Starting Line with Dick Goodbody
1986 Over The Edge Vol. 2: Pastor Dick: Muriel’s Purse Fund
1987 Escape From Noise
1989 Helter Stupid
1989 Over The Edge Vol. 3: The Weatherman’s Dumb Stupid Come-out Line
1990 Over The Edge Vol. 4: Dick Vaughn’s Moribund Music of the 70’s
1991 “U2” (EP)
1992 “Guns” (EP)
1993 Over The Edge Vol. 5: Crosley Bendix: The Radio Reviews
1993 Over The Edge Vol. 6: The Willsaphone Stupid Show
1993 Free
1994 Over The Edge Vol. 7: Time Zones Exchange Project
1995 Over The Edge Vol. 8: Sex Dirt
1995 Dead Dog Records (as part of the “Fair Use” book)
1997 “Truth In Advertising” (EP)
1997 Dispepsi
1998 “Happy Heroes” (EP)
1999 “The ABCs of Anarchism” [with Chumbawamba] (EP)
2002 Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak (Book and CD)
2005 No Business (Book and CD)
2008 Negativland Presents Thigmotactic
2014 It’s All In Your Head

1989 No Other Possibility (as part of A Big 10-8 Place reissue)
2007 Our Favorite Things

1995 Fair Use:The Story of the Letter U and the Numeral 2
2002 Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak
2005 No Business

Compilations and Remixes
1984 Yogi Cometbus Audiocassette Magazine – “Seventy Dreams”
1985 Local International – “One Through Twenty”
1987 Northern California Is A Noisy Place, Indeed – “Paul McCartney’s Penis”
1987 Objekt 3 – “Radio Advertising”
1987 Zamizdat Trade Journal – “General Cavendish”
1987 Unsound Magazine “Play It Again”
1987 Potatoes – “Perfect Scrambled Eggs”
1987 Mashed Potatoe – “A Mashed Version Of Potatoes”
1990 Live At The Knitting Factory Volume Three – “You Must Choose”
1992 Bob’s Media Ecology² – “Tribal Mandate”
1997 Resonance Magazine – “Fast Talk”
1998 Staalplaat’s “The Sound of Music 3” CD – “The Weatherman’s Big 10-8 Doof”
1999 Knitting On The Roof – “Tevye’s Dream”
2000 Hate People Like Us – “What’s Music?”
2001 Yo-Yo A Go-Go 1999 – “The Immortal Words Of Casey Kasem”
2002 Tracks From The Best Dance Albums Of All Time – “Christianity Is Stupid”
2003 Ikebana: A Tribute to Merzbow – “An Actual Attack”
2003 Dubtometry – “Asphalt”
2006 Musicworks – “No Business” / “Favorite Things” / “It’s All In Your Head FM” (Rehearsal)

Retrospective Art Shows
2013 “Our Favorite Things” Ghost Print Gallery, Richmond, VA
2012 “Our Favorite Things” La Luz De Jesus, Los Angeles, CA
2010 “Our Favorite Things” Nau-haus Gallery, Houston, TX
2006 “Negativlandland” Creative Electric Studios, Minneapolis, MN
2006 “Negativlandland” Consolidated Works, Seattle, WA
2005 “Negativlandland” Gigantic Art Space, New York, NY

Other Art Shows in US and Europe
2010 “Thigmotactic” Sean Pace Gallery, Asheville NC
2010 “Dead Fingers Talk: The Influence of William Burroughs” IMT Gallery, London, England
2009 “Motion Graphics Festival” Chicago IL, Boston MA, Atlanta GA, Austin TX
2007 “In Appropriations” Gulf Coast University Museum, Ft. Myers, FL
2007 “Madonna and Child” Madison County Arts Council, Marshall, NC
2007 “Homegrown” Southeastern Center of Contemporary Arts, NC
2007 “System Error” Siena, Italy
2007 Sonar, Barcelona, Spain
2006 Scope Art Basel, Miami FL
2006 “Illegal Art” Art & Culture Center of Hollywood, FL
2006 “Illegal Art” Pacific NW College of Art, Portland, OR
2005 Projections on Side of World Intellectual Property Organization Building Geneva, Switzerland
2004 “Co-lage” Matthews Gallery, Tampa FL
2004 “Illegal Art” In These Times, Chicago
2004 “Illegal Art” Resource Center for Activism and Art, Washington DC
2004 “Illegal Art” SF MOMA, San Francisco, CA
2003 “Illegal Art” CBGB Gallery, New York, NY
2002 “Version 2.0” Chicago MOMA, Chicago IL
2002 Shack Obscura Van De Griff-Marr Gallery Santa Fe, NM
2002 “Deathsentences” Cornish College, Seattle, WA
2002 “The New Gatekeepers” Columbia University School Of Journalism, New York, NY
2001 “Pixelplunder”, 2001 Toronto Canada


PFFullThe Endless River, é o primeiro disco da banda em vinte anos, chega no dia 10 de Novembro. David Gilmour e Nick Mason terão começado a gravar o disco em Novembro de 2013, contando com a ajuda do guitarrista e produtor Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music). Nesse disco será possível ouvir gravações originais de Richard Wright (no orgão), que foram registadas em ensaios em Junho de 1969.

Endless River, será o último da banda. A confirmação foi dada por David Gilmour.

O físico britânico Stephen Hawking participa em The Endless River , o novo álbum dos Pink Floyd, com edição agendada para 10 de novembro. Hawking empresta a sua voz, gerada artificialmente devido à doença esclerose lateral amiotrófica, ao tema “Talkin’ Hawkin'”, um dos 18 temas do disco.

Maioritariamente instrumental, o álbum contará com a voz do cientista, que já tinha servido de narrador no tema “Keep Talkin'”, integrado no álbum The Division Bell , editado há 20 anos pela banda.

Numa entrevista à BBC, David Gilmour revelou que este será o derradeiro álbum dos Pink Floyd: “o Rick [Wright] já cá não está. Esta é a última coisa que vamos editar. Tenho a certeza de que não haverá nada depois disto”.


ng3618781Os Pop Dell Arte em 1995

A celebrar três décadas de vida, os Pop Dell’Arte são paradigma de uma busca de personalidade e diferença que animou a geração que inventou uma cultura alternativa no Portugal de meados dos anos 80.
Depois de normalizada a vida política e de criada uma cultura jovem no Portugal de inícios dos anos 80, o passo seguinte para muitos foi o que procurou aprofundar o gosto pela busca de novos desafios, estimulando a criatividade para além dos limites normativos. Da música à moda, a Lisboa de então acolheu novos vultos e ideias. Diferentes entre os diferentes, os Pop Dell’Arte surgiram em inícios de 1985 com o (mítico) Concurso de Música Moderna do Rock Rendez Vous na mira dos seus primeiros objetivos.


pistolaA peça de Joana Vasconcelos, uma gigante pistola Beretta composta com mais de uma centena de telefones fixos pretos de disco, foi montada na passerelle do Pátio da Galé e integrou o desfile da coleção de Filipe Faísca.

Call Center’ de Filipe Faísca foi a sensação do segundo dia da Moda Lisboa quer pela coleção leve, sofisticadamente despretensiosa e pelo facto de contar com a presença inédita de uma peça da artista plástica Joana Vasconcelos, chamada também ‘Call center’ e que tinha o formato de uma pistola Beretta dos anos 70 feita de telefones pretos. As modelos criaram momentos de interação com a peça, tendo alguns dos convidados e jornalistas uns auscultadores topo de gama da Samsung nos ouvidos durante o desfile, para poderem ouvir o som dos telefones.

A peça de Joana Vasconcelos e a coleção de Filipe Faísca foram criadas “ao mesmo tempo”, contou a artista plástica à Lusa momentos antes do desfile.

“O Filipe visitou o ateliê, expliquei-lhe o que estava a pensar fazer e ele falou também do que ia fazer. Avançámos com os projetos ao mesmo tempo”, disse.

‘Call Center’, que dá também nome à coleção do criador de moda, é também “um instrumento”.

“Foi uma ‘joint-venture’ também com o músico Jonas Runa”, que compôs uma sinfonia eletroacústica para os 168 telefones que compõem a obra.Esta não é a primeira vez que a artista trabalha com criadores de moda, no entanto é a primeira vez que tal acontece com um português. Além disso, das outras vezes, a colaboração da artista plástica com criadores de moda “não passou por intervir na passerelle”.

Trabalhar com Filipe Faísca foi “facílimo”, já que os dois são “amigos há muitos anos”.

“Estivemos sempre juntos a fazer a obra”, reforçou.

O desfile começou com Sofia Aparício e outras manequins a atenderem alguns dos telefones que compõem a obra. O que ouviram foi audível apenas para alguns dos presentes, a quem foram distribuídos ‘headphones’.


ng3605230Morrissey passeou no Chiado em Lisboa, antes do concerto de hoje há noite no Coliseu dos Recreios, em Lisboa, com a sua digressão mundial de apresentação do álbum ‘World Peace is None of Your Business’.
No sábado foi fotografado a passear na zona do Chiado.

A fotografia que mostra Morrissey a atravessar a rua perto do Largo de Camões foi publicada na página de Facebook “Mozzerians of the world, unite and take over”.

Ao fundo, na imagem, um dos típicos elétricos de madeira amarelos lisboetas.
‘World Peace is None of Your Business’ foi gravado nos La Fabrique Studios, em Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, no sul França.

Natural de Manchester, no Reino Unido, Morrisey, de seu nome completo Steven Patrick Morrissey, liderou os The Smiths, banda ativa entre 1982 e 1987.


1687807Swans lançaram em 2012 o LP, The Seer e este ano os pioneiros experimentais confirmaram a reedição me vinil o album, Filth 1983.

O projeto foi remasterizado por Doug Henderson, que trabalhou com a banda nos dois LPs acima mencionados e ajudou a re-master álbum do grupo de 1988 Feel Good Now.
Créditos anteriores de Henderson incluem, Devendra Banhart, Antony and The Johnsons, e System Of A Down.

Com apenas Gira e Kane transitando, da formação do primeiro EP, a coisa verdadeiramente bizarra sobre a primeira versão completa dos Swans ‘é que, com a sua própria raiva além de toda forma de raiva, pode-se realmente dançar em breves pontos( Gira atacou fisicamente um membro do público num show na época do lançamento deste álbum). Mas o ponto é que a angústia e morte é esmagadora nas canções, como em “Big Strong Boss ” com letras como “Corta a minha garganta, mata a cobra, faça o que eu digo, você é o chefe”.

Falando sobre a re-edição, que será a primeira vez que Filth será prenssado nestes notáveis 24 anos, a banda de Michael Gira emitiu um comunicado. E ele diz:”This is all slabs of sound, rhythm and screaming/testifying. What more do you need? In a way, it was a reaction against Punk (and just about any other music you can think of), and the conservative notion that 3 chords were somehow necessary. I used to deny it vehemently at the time, but No Wave (I “hated” that scene too, for some reason I can’t remember now) played a big role as the germ from which this music grew, along with The Stooges and Throbbing Gristle, of course. I wanted Swans to be “heavier” though – I wanted the music to obliterate – why, I don’t remember! I think it just felt good.”

Filth será re-lançado a 27 e 28 outubro.No início deste mês, Swans anunciaram o que será o maior show da banda no Reino Unido, a ser realizado a 21 de maio de 2015 no Roundhouse, em Londres.


robert y.Robert Young, conhecido pelos amigos e fãs como “Throb”, morreu na cidade de Hove, na Inglaterra.Músico tinha 49 anos e foi encontrado morto num apartamento durante a madrugada da passada terça-feira, dia 9.

A informação foi confirmada pela polícia e pelo ex-colega de banda, o baixista Gary “Mani” Mountfield, ao jornal “The Guardian” e à rede BBC.A sua morte não está a ser tratada como suspeita”.

Robert ‘Throb’ Young, ex-guitarrista dos Primal Scream, fez parte da banda de Glasgow entre 1984 e 2006.
Com os Primal Scream, do qual foi um dos fundadores, no início dos anos 1980, Young gravou álbuns como Screamadelica (1991), misturando rock e música eletrônica. Bobby Gillespie e Andrew Innes, membros do Primal Scream, divulgaram comunicado conjunto no qual lamentam a morte do ex-companheiro de banda. “Perdemos nosso camarada e irmão Robert Young. Um homem lindo e cheio de alma. Ele era um talento insubstituível, muito admirado pelos companheiros.”

Os ex-colegas de banda publicaram a seguinte mensagem: “perdemos o nosso camarada e irmão Robert Young. Era um homem lindo e profundamente nobre. Era um talento insubstituível, muito admirado entre os seus pares. Nas palavras de Johnny Marr: ‘o Throb com uma Les Paul goldtop – imbatível'”.

Músicos como Mani, seu ex-colega nos Primal Scream e atual membro dos Stone Roses, Liam Gallagher ou Tim Burgess, dos Charlatans, e o escritor Irvine Welsh escreveram mensagens de pesar pela morte de Robert Young.

“Robert Young, AKA The Throb, faleceu neste fim de semana em Hove. Notícia verdadeiramente devastadora”, postou Mani, em um fórum dedicado ao Primal Scream.

O ex-Oasis Liam Gallagher também lamentou a morte do músico. “Viva para sempre”, comentou, citando a música de seu antigo grupo, “Live Forever”.


zapa1966-Freak Out!
1967-Absolutely Free
1967/1968- We’re Only In It For The Money-Lumpy Gravy
1968-Cruising With Ruben And The Jets
1968-Ahead Of Their Time
1969-Uncle Meat CD 1
1969-Uncle Meat CD 2
1969-Hot Rats
1970-Burnt Weeny Sandwich
1970-Chunga’s Revenge
1970-Weasels Ripped My Flesh
1971-200 Motels CD 1
1971-200 Motels CD 2
1971-Fillmore East – June 1971
1971-Swiss Cheese and Fire (CD1)
1971-Swiss Cheese and Fire (CD2)
1972-The Grand Wazoo
1972-Just Another Band From L.A.
1973/1974-Apostrophe(‘)-Overnite Sensation
1974-Roxy And Elsewhere
1975-One Size Fits All
1975-Bongo Fury
1976-Zoot Allures
1978-Studio Tan
1978-Zappa In New York [CD1]
1978-Zappa In New York [CD2]
1979-Joe’s Garage (Disc 1)
1979-Joe’s Garage (Disc 2)
1979-Orchestral Favorites
1979-Sheik Yerbouti
1979-Sleep Dirt
1981-Tinseltown Rebellion
1981-You Are What You Is
1981-Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar (Disc 1)
1981-Shut Up ‘N Play Yer Guitar (Disc 2)
1982-Ship Arriving Too Late To Save A Drowning Witch
1983-London Symphony Orchestra
1983-The Man From Utopia
1983-Baby Snakes
1984-The Perfect Stranger
1984-Them Or Us
1984-Thing Fish (Disc 1)
1984-Thing Fish (Disc 2)
1984-Francesco Zappa
1986-Jazz from Hell
1986-Meets The Mothers Of Prevention
1986-Does Humor Belong In Music
1988-Guitar (Disk I)
1988-Guitar (Disk II)
1989-Broadway The Hard Way
1991-Make A Jazz Noise Here
1992-Playground Psychotics
1993-The Yellow Shark
1994-Civilization, Phaze III (Act One)
1994-Civilization, Phaze III (Act Two)
1996-Frank Zappa Plays the Music of Frank Zappa A Memorial Tribute
1996-LATHER (disk 1)
1996-LATHER (disk 2)
1996-LATHER (disk 3)
1996-The Lost Episodes
1997-Have I Offended Someone
1998-Mystery Disc
2009-The Lumpy Money Project/Object (Disc 1)
2009-The Lumpy Money Project/Object (Disc 2)
2009-The Lumpy Money Project/Object (Disc 3)
2010-‘congress Shall Make No Law…’
2010-Hammersmith Odeon

Frank Zappa-You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 1
Frank Zappa-You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 2
Frank Zappa-You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 3
Frank Zappa-You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 4
Frank Zappa-You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 5
Frank Zappa-You Can’t Do That On Stage Anymore Vol. 6

39 rarities songs !

200 Years Old (long version 1975)
America Drinks (1966 studio session)
Ancient Armaments
Anzoh Ay
Black Napkins (orchestral 1975)
Bognor Regis (acetate)
Cheepnis (orignal mix)
Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus (Mono 45 Version)
Confinement Loaf (1988)
Dead Girls Of London (w-Van Morrison 1979)
Deseri (45 Version)
Dog Breath(45 Version)
Elektronik MuZik (1991)
Help I’m A Rock (45 Version)
How Could I Be Such A Fool (45 Version)
I Don’t Wanna Get Drafted (single version)
I’m The Slime (From 45)
Jelly Roll Gum Drop (45 Version)
Junior Mintz Boogie (From 45)
Lonely Little Girl (45 Version)
My Guitar (45 Version)
My Name Is Fritz (unedited 1969)
Revenge Of The Knick Knack People- True-Speed Version
Revenge Of The Knick Knack People- Vari-Speed Version
Rollo (orchestral 1975)
Sharleena (acetate)
Solitude (Ed Palermo)
Son Of Suzy Creamcheese (alt mix 1967)
Tears Began To Fall (Mono 45 Version)
Tears Began To Fall (single mix 1971)
Tell Me You Love Me (From 45)
The Adventures Of Greggary Peccary (alt version 1976)
The Adventures Of Greggary Peccary (studio chat 1976)
Uncle Bernie’s Farm (alt mix 1967)
Valdez Score 1 (1990)
Valdez Score 2 (1990)
WPLJ (From 45)
Willie The Pimp Part Two (vinyl)
Would You Go All The Way (From 45)


pere ubuThe art-rock godfathers, Pere Ubu release their fifteenth studio album, Lady from Shanghai.

“I’m no expert on dance. I think it’s a disaster. I mean, if you want to look at what’s destroyed music as a creative force, you should look at dance. Nothing’s happened since 1990. Well, that’s an exaggeration, of course there’s pockets of things that have happened, but substantively not – black culture is bankrupt, white culture is scared and cringing in the corner, and it’s all basically down to dance.”

So says David Thomas, the front man of Pere Ubu, who are just about to release a dance album, ‘The Lady From Shanghai’. Well, the band call it a dance album, but it’s more like deconstructed dance, as if the band smashed ‘dance music’ to pieces and put it back together with sticky tape, without checking which bits went where. The music is more electronic than the band has ever been, and although it’s fairly tightly wound, as you would expect a Pere Ubu album to be, it feels like the band has loosened the screws a little. It’s certainly avant-garde, but the songs maintain a distinct pop sensibility, albeit some distance away from the sort of stuff that troubles the charts.

“As I said, I’m no expert on the damn thing, but I suppose there’s a certain amount of deconstructing of the elements, if you want to use these fancy terms,” Thomas says. “I’m sure my notion of dance goes back to the early 80s or something, and that’s really where we started this quote unquote deconstruction process, basically because I was using an emulation of the Korg M20s, which was pretty much the standard machine for that era. So yeah, I wouldn’t use that term of deconstruction, but we definitely make use of the elements and try to, uh, I don’t know if subvert is the right phrase, but the only dancing that’s really possible with it is really goofball dancing. It would force your body to do things on the dancefloor that the girls would not like, would not be attracted to, so that was certainly on my mind.”

To create dance music that it’s almost impossible to dance to?

“Yeah. One of our superfans who had an advance copy just points out that really the intention seems to be to subvert anything your body means to do and turn it all internal. There’s a huge amount of detailing on the record. If you follow any one strand of some sound, the thing takes on a different perspective and different look to it. That was something I spent many months working on, the detailing of it.”

Thomas’ apparent irritation with dance music should, of course, be taken with a pinch of salt. If he has a genuine problem with anything, it is the way in which pop music has become referential, rehashing old ideas.

“It’s one of those things that I really hate to talk about too much, because you just sound like an old fart. But one thing that’s really evident, and I pick on 1990 as just a date, it’s not written in stone, is that fashions in music used to cycle through pretty damn quick. In the 1960s, three years, two years was a really long time and whatever fashion or style of music really didn’t last much longer than that. Stuff was coming or going quicker than you could spit at it. Now, if you just look around, the TV weatherman is doing hip hop, your grandpa is doing hip hop. What kind of world is this? When your grandpa, when your parents have their baseball caps on sideways? You think they’d be able to come up with something other than a damn baseball cap on sideways, which was a cliché 20 years ago and it’s still a cliché. So I was just sort of getting mad about the whole thing.”

So is it perhaps the absence of danger, of controversy, in pop music today? Since the 1950s, pop and rock was synonymous with rebellion, a way in which teenagers could annoy and outrage their parents, give themselves an identity. Now youth identity is a pastiche of those of previous generations, both in fashion and music, and parents are also likely to embrace the new, which isn’t a million miles away from what they have listened to before.

“What you have is basically just fear,” says Thomas. “It’s a fear of in any way standing out from anything. The main fear is a massive, paralysing fear of saying something that someone might take offence to or disagree with. I mean gee, what a terrible monster you must be if you say something that somebody takes offence at. Gee whiz! I find that distressing. And of course, dance promotes that attitude because there are no words in dance. That’s another exaggeration, but effectively yes; there are no words. What words there are, are meaningless. And by dance, I now extend it out to anything you’d see in pop music. They’re all the same route. The fear is paralysing everybody into not saying a damn thing. And I’m not talking about supposedly ‘controversial’ things; that’s baloney.”

As he rants, Thomas’ voice gradually loses its irritable energy fading out into a tired sigh: “I don’t like sounding like an old poot. But I mean, you know, I am an old poot. What the hell do I care? I’m free now. Nobody’s going to like what I do, and I don’t have to do anything, so what the hell does it matter.”

His entertaining bolshiness returns as he attempts to explain his current view of the world. “You get into this Clint Eastwood mindset, of – what was that movie? The one about the car.”

Gran Torino?

“Gran Torino, yeah. You get into that mindset of wanting to go out and say things that offend somebody just for the sake of it. I look forward to the day I say something that offends somebody so that I can refuse to apologise for offending them. That’s not a good mindset. That’s really a sidetracking sort of thing. I’ve got better stuff to do than looking forward to the day I offend someone so I can say: ‘I’m not apologising’. I’ve got meals to cook. I’ve got to sweep the floor. I’ve got stuff to do.”

His words are timely, with more and more instances of people being arrested for their offensive comments; for example, Matthew Woods, who made offensive jokes on his Facebook page about April Jones while the story of her disappearance played out in the newspapers, or Barry Thew, who made his own T-shirt celebrating the deaths of two police officers in Manchester. Though clearly not nice people, there has been some debate as to whether these people should be arrested for their insensitivity. There is no question as to what camp Thomas is in.

“I can’t believe this. Why people aren’t outraged that the police get involved because you’ve said something offensive? It makes you despair.”

Thomas’ argument is simple: you can’t arrest someone for being an idiot: “And I don’t want to defend somebody for being an idiot, but you know, hell, that’s my taxpayer money that’s going to waste by bothering to arrest somebody because they’re offensive. Gee whiz.”

Freedom of expression is a hot topic in media at the moment, predominantly due to the fact that, in the wake of the Leveson inquiry, the press themselves believe their freedom is threatened if their regulatory body was underpinned by statute. Thomas is less animated about press freedom, but he feels that the solution to the problem is simple:

“With this whole hacker thing, you don’t need a whole bunch of new laws. You just enforce the laws you got. There are plenty of laws that can apply to this. Why we have to have a whole other tranch of unelected prunes because of this issue, I don’t know. Why can’t we just enforce the law and put somebody in prison? There’s a radical idea for you.”

The band has described ‘The Lady From Shanghai’ as a radical idea, that “marks a new era of the history of Pere Ubu. In some ways, it is shocking.” But Thomas has been toying with electronics and synthesizers for some time, now, whether with Ubu or with side projects such as David Thomas and Two Pale Boys. Is Thomas using synthesizers because they’re fun to play around with?

“Obviously they’re fun to play with, but it’s hard to build an entire career on the whole notion, the premise that it’s fun to play with. I wanted to do something that involved a lot more synthesizers,” he chuckles, which, for an allegedly surly man, he does often.

“There are a number of trends that are going on that are interesting in the realm of computer music, where you’re running some jpeg through some sequencer that turns it into random sound, all that sort of stuff, which on it’s own, and separated from reality, is really kind of dire.”

The problem, he explains, is the lack of connection between the artist and the listener, the tendency for distance and coldness in electronic music. There has to be a human connect at some point, he explains, and you have to put it into a context of real emotion and real life and saying something.

“I like all that stuff in a really platonic way, but when you go see it, it’s ‘Eh alright, fine.’ So I was interested in it and Keith Moliné (Pere Ubu’s guitar player-Ed) is rabid about that tuff and always has been. It’s interesting to use the techniques musically, instead of a laptop performance or something, which I would go to, but like I said, I’d come out of it going: ‘Eh, alright, fine’.”

It was important, says Thomas, to give the process an element of danger (“and I use the word ‘danger’ in the loose, crappy way that it’s used these days.”). He cites the drums as an example. None of the songs, according to Thomas, make rhythmic sense. That is not obvious to the casual listener, but it would be a hell of a job for a drummer to learn to play them.

“You don’t sit there and go: ‘they dropped a beat and a half!’ or ‘there’s a measure missing there!’ and that stuff’s all over the place. I think there’s one song that makes sense, if you had to sit there and chart it out, like a drummer would have to do, if you were learning the damn thing. But again, there’s not big, neon signs pointing at it. I really went to town on the sort of organic sense of time stuff that I’ve been working on for quite a while, now.”

A lot of these ideas are explored in ‘Chinese Whispers’, a hundred-page book of what Thomas calls liner notes – the story of how the album was made, the methods and thinking behind every song, the recording process, the title, even the choice of artwork.

“I figured: well, nobody’s done a hundred-page liner notes to an album before, so I’m going to do it, damn it. Just because it’s there. In it, I describe the methodology for this record, which was Chinese whispers, where no two musicians were ever in the same room – I don’t count myself as a musician, I’m the producer.”

Thomas stuck to this rule religiously – throughout the writing and recording, no member of the band played together.

“There was one time that any two were in the same room at the same time, and that was for 37 seconds,” says Thomas. “I counted it, and I got them out of there as quickly as possible. No two people were ever together in the recording of this.”

During the writing process, all the band members would pass Thomas ideas for songs. Thomas would work on them and pass on the ones that were clicking to another member of the band. They would add some new ideas and pass it back and so on, until the band had put into the song.

“It’s a very complex system, which is why it takes a hundred pages to explain it all, but in the end I wanted to remove composition from the provenance of rehearsal.”

In a way, this brings an element of improvisation to the recording by removing the unsaid communication between musicians. ¬

“Clearly for a long time, I’ve been exploring the problems of improvisation and how to get improvisation to work in a human way, as opposed to a plinky-plonk ‘Oh Jesus, Ok. The bus is coming soon,’ sort of way. So this album is essentially improvised. Now you have to go a round about way to achieve that when you’re working with a traditional band, but I went round about, and it’s been achieved. Nobody knew what anybody else was doing, and when it came time for performance of your part in the composition of the song it was done live in one take, two takes, and generally I would lie to the musicians about what they were supposed to do and mislead them, move the goalposts at the last minute, so they were always uncertain but determined.”

“It’s rather complex how I went about it, but that was the intention. I’ve been moving towards this with Pere Ubu for quite a while. It’s quite an accomplished band now, capable of this sort of activity, where it’s just: well what the hell, let’s just do it. They’re all disciplined and creative.”

That method must require a lot of mutual trust in order to pull off. Thomas chuckles again.

“They don’t have any say in the matter, you know. They’ve just got to trust me. And to their credit they generally do. When you work with people who are exceptional, you want them to be exceptional, and basically you trust them.”

When Keith Moliné gave Thomas the closing track ‘Carpenter’s Son’, it was basically a laptop guitar track. Thomas’ reaction to the track was: “Oh god, what the hell am I going to do with this thing?” After studying the piece for a long time, he decided to trust Moliné. “Eventually, I realised that it was just a 12-bar blues without any bars, so then I had to weigh in and offload from that. Michele (Temple-bass, Ed) presented this demo on which nothing happened. It was this short little musical thing, but then it was just three or four minutes of this synth bell thing, and she just hadn’t bothered to cut it off. She was working on the front part, and she had laid that long bells thing on there just to work across until she was done. She submitted it to me and I thought, ‘Well, we’re going to keep the bell.’”

All of this, including the album’s running order, is included in ‘Chinese Whispers’. Every time he starts talking about an element of the recording, Thomas mentions the book. He laughs at the idea of it.

“Everything about this is covered in a chapter of the hundred-page liner notes. It really is a magnificent achievement. I’ve worked longer on that than I did on the record. Well, not really, but it seems like it. Yeah, I cover that issue in a chapter. I cover the artwork, the connection to the Orson Welles thing.I describe the Chinese whispers. Then there’s a long essay called ‘Drums and the Modern Man’, which analyses the evolution of drums, which was part of a longer piece that I abandoned, which was involved with the significance of signal compression ratios on FM radio in the 1970s, and what that did to drums, and the change in the vocabulary of drums because of that. I was never going to finish that, so it’s in there and a bunch of other stuff, I can’t remember, some other crap. A hundred pages.”

‘Long’ is certainly a key adjective when it comes to ‘The Lady From Shanghai’, with the album’s long gestation period and the book-size liner notes, to the length of the tracks themselves. Everything about the record has been painstakingly constructed. It is also diverse, with overtly electronic tracks alongside those that are closer to Ubu’s avant-garage sound. Tracks such as ‘Musicians are Scum’ are indeed rhythmically strange, with drum parts that work in a way completely contrary to normal expectations. Others, such as the drums on ‘Free White’ sound almost like 4/4 disco rhythms, but closer listening reveals something off about them that you cannot quite put your finger on. It’s a fantastic record, one of the band’s best of recent times, and one of the first notable releases of 2013, thanks to the challenge Thomas set himself and his bandmates.

“I’ve decided, by the way, that the next record is going to be all two-minute songs,” Thomas lets out a long chuckle. “Two-minute singles. What the hell else am I going to do?”


annik honoreAnnik Honoré, the inspiration for “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, dies aged 56.

Annick Honoré / Joy Division – “A verdade atinge todo mundo”.

Annik Honoré, a promotora musical belga e jornalista, morreu aos 56 anos. Honoré era mais conhecida pelo seu relacionamento com Ian Curtis, que conheceu em Londres, 1979.

Nascida em 12 de outubro de 1957, na Bélgica, Honoré mudou-se para Londres em 1979, onde se tornou secretária na Embaixada da Bélgica.

Mais tarde nesse ano, Honoré e o jornalista Michel Duval começam a promover shows no Plano K, em Bruxelas. os Joy Division tocaram na noite de abertura do clube no dia 16 de outubro.

Em 1980, Honoré e Duval fundaram a Factory Records, marca Factory Benelux, bem como o selo musical independente belga Les Disques du Crépuscule.

Les Disques du Crépuscule lançaram registos de Michael Nyman, Josef K, Cabaret Voltaire, Gavin Bryars, The Pale Fountains, e a cassete, From Brussels With Love, que incluía contribuições de John Foxx, Thomas Dolby, Bill Nelson, Brian Eno e Durutti Column.

Honoré deixou o mundo da música na década de 1980 e trabalhou para a União Europeia, em Bruxelas.

Falando sobre seu relacionamento com Ian Curtis, em 2010 Honoré disse: “Era uma relação completamente pura e platônica, muito infantil, muito casta … eu não tive uma relação sexual com Ian, ele estava a usar medicação, tornou-se num relacionamento não-físico, estou tão farta que as pessoas questionem a minha palavra ou a sua: as pessoas podem dizer o que quiserem, mas eu sou a única pessoa a ter as suas cartas … Uma das suas cartas diz que o relacionamento com a sua esposa Deborah já tinha terminado antes de nos conhecermos uns aos outros. “
Ian e Deborah Curtis separaram-se antes de ele cometer suicídio. numa série de entrevistas a proposito do filme, “Control”. falou sobre o relacionamento do casal dizendo “durante o meu casamento eu estava completamente alienada dos meus amigos e da minha família”.

Os dois casaram-se em 1975, quando Deborah tinha 18 anos e Ian 19. Quatro anos mais tarde uma menina Natalie Curtis, nasceu, justamente quando os Joy Division se separaram.

O sucesso não foi bem-vindo, o casal tinha problemas de dinheiro, e a combinação da vida de um artista pop, a epilepsia de Ian, o seu temperamento e as depressões não aliviaram uma união estável.

No mesmo ano, quando a sua filha nasceu Ian começou uma relação com Annik Honoré, uma jovem trabalhadora na Embaixada da Bélgica.

We’re looking to give the world a truthful view of who Ian really was … Given his suicide, there’s so much concentration on the dark side of his life. We want to also concentrate on the energy that made people love Ian and Joy Division in the first place, while putting difficult elements such as his epilepsy into perspective. It will be a balanced approach – this isn’t the rock and roll Shine.”

Honoré morreu a 3 de julho, de 2014, depois de uma doença grave.
Ian Curtis morreu a 18 de maio, de 1980, aos 23 anos.