Saturday, August 25, 2007

Attention Flatlanders

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Uh, we jus cum to get th uh facks...

Here be the actual Ray Off Australian tour dates. Many palms to Mark Leacy for being far more organised than i could ever possibly be and putting this info into a comprehensible format for me....

[Wednesday the 16th of August]
live-to-air on 4ZZZ fm, 11pm - 2am

Antony Milton
Joel Stern
Ray Off

[Thursday the 17th of August]
@ The Globe Theatre, Fortitude Valley

Live soundtrack to 1922 Danish film "Haxan" - Witchcraft Through The Ages. Soundtrack provided by:

Ray Off
Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood

7-9.30pm $7

[Friday the 18th of August].
"Beamathon". @ Jugglers Gallery, Fortitude Valley.
7pm till late

EEE (eye ear ensemble),
Sue Harding
Tina Blakeney and Danni Zuvela
Ray Off (9pm or so)
Point Source.

[Sunday the 20th of August]
Master Bedroom Session 8 with Ray Off
4:00pm – 5:00pm :: Visible Ink, 54 Berwick St, Valley
Jim Currin of Ray Off hosts a master class in, uh, something or other.... music, revelation and the gastric arts...

[Thursday the 24th August]
Yvonne Ruve' 104a / 342 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills
8-ish start?

Ray Off (nz)
Marasmus (half of castings),
Bad Tables (matthew NOTV),
Cabaret Callado (brazil)

[Saturday the 26th August]
Annie Street Warehouse, NEWCASTLE

Will Guthrie,
Ray Off
Joel Stern+Yusuke Akai,
Adam Park+Daiji Igarashi

Unbelievable, eh? Well, to assuage any confusion, go here for a photo that explains why Ray Off is drawing kudos and respect from folks all over the shop....

blessings and crashings,

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Eyes Have not Quite got It

The creeping crackle of spring cometh to Dunedin ssslowly. So as we wake to the first few handfuls of heat for many a moon, activities aboundeth. Eth. Firstly we had the spectral and sublime Other Lives, a new devising by Agent Spree held in the King Edward Court carpark a few weeks ago. In dark twilight we saw the death's night dance of plastic bags and cardboard boxes, propped up on a couple of sets of stilts (the amazing, amazing Nathan ManBat and Ray Off's Katrina Thomson) and music by Jim Currin (guitar) and Miss Morse (accordian). It was wet and cold as hell but seemed like a fitting farewell to winter.

ManBat gets up on it

Let's run through some upcoming shows. There was meant to be some sort of Eye/Ray Off double bust-up happening at Circadian Rhythm, but probably this won't eventuate at least not for a while. Fingers crossed! What IS happening this Friday at Records Records (upper Stuart St) is Ray Off/Rory Storm badd action. Ray Off, THIS time, will be Currin and drummer Lee Noyes. Yes, that's his real name. Start about 6pm. Then on Saturday night DO NOT MISS Sweaty Betty and Haunted Love at C-Rhythm. $5, 9pm start. Sweat Betty are sounding fucking incredible at the moment - I know, they rehearse in the ceiling above my bed. Ok, that sounds weird. But it's true! Anyway, once you've seen 'em on Saturday, come on down to None (24 Stafford St) for another blast at the BIG MUTANT show, featuring also the talents of....

Now, what else is happening in Dunedin over these upcoming few weeks, I couldn't tell ya, because I'll be touring Australia. That's right you heard me. Dates as far as I understand 'em:

- Aug 17th, The Globe Theatre, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. Myself (Ray Off as I wanna be), Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood and Castings will be performing live soundtracks to the silent films Haxan and L'Inferno. See otherfilm for details.
- now.... um... either the 18th or 19th in Brisbane. Ok, I know this sounds lame, but really, there is a show. The Beamathon on the Friday sounds great but i dunno if I'm part of that. Maybe the next night? Better smarten this up quick....
- um... maybe on the sunday too in Brisbane? (oh Jasus...)
- 24th of Aug at Yvonne Ruve, Sydney, with Marasmus and possibly some other cats.
- 26th of Aug in Newcastle at... um... this guys' warehouse... with Will Guthrie, Castings, maybe ALPS and god I dunno....
- maybe another show in Newcastle at a fort or in a moat or something...

Well, glad I cleared all that up.... now for new releases!!!!! Goshes these are some goodies! From Sinking Infinities we have the long promised 'The Life Of Riley' and from the indomitable CJA there's 'Ponds', a sensitive collection of songs that flew at us out of nowhere and knocked us silly. Further into the future, the incredible, incredible Anomie Ensemble gig the other night was recorded and will be out shortly after I get back, as will the Mixxxtape (provisionally titled so) compilation. More on these shortly.

Also when I get back a big rundown on what we all up to for the Dunedin Fringe Festival. Later to that, then. xxxxx

Thursday, July 06, 2006

To craunch a marmoset

Anyone else out there - spekkers de angalais - enjoy spending idle minutes applying the Google translator to random foreign-language pages? I sure do. And what egocentric joy to play so, when it comes to descriptions of ones' own work! This - quite plainly - lovely review from the Spanish language site Microphones In The Trees:

I like very many Ray Off. two discs, “I'm not in the racing sky” (united fairy moons, 2005) and “Ghost Wolf of Thunder Mountain” without hardly promotion… and is a pain because I take listening to them all the morning and they have to me more and more enamored. it is what happens with these seals so so small, its music sinks in that unjust world of the talent nonappreciated, until a good day somebody rescues them of there. Ray Off makes music hipnótica to leave to walk by the forests and to embrace to the trees… a perfect sound track for histories of betrayed friendships of Wild Group. much dust, many stringed instruments and only five “songs” that oscillate both between the twenty and minutes, that have the enchantment of old vinyls of Morricone. sinister whistles, short sound, desert fits of distortion, landscapes, acoustic guitars a little desafinadas and absolutely irresistible, and a special ability to manipulate the topics of country with the most disturbing and trembling sounds than I have been able to listen, once again, in much long time. a man, the one that hides after Ray Off, special really.

GORGEOUS!! It also says that United Fairy Moons 'is the stews of one James Currin...' which I couldn't have possibly put better myself. I'm just a man, the one who hides after Ray Off....

Mats Gustafsson and his Broken Face is at it again with a choice review of 'Clean & Dry...' (the first!). I also really enjoyed reading his and others' reflections on the recent Terrastock 6 fest, at the excellent Deep Water. And cop the beards on some of these fuckers! Anyone thinking of downloading some of the sets (damn, have lost the link...) might try one of my top 3: Larkin Grimm, Fursaxa (ask my flatmates if they're sick of hearing 'Lepidoptera' yet...) and Brothers Of the Occult Sisterhood. Plenty of others beauties too.

The organisatorors of the biennial Lines Of Flight festival have got a blog up and blogging; check back for relevant details as they come to hand. We're all on a fat buzz that Crude is back in the lineup this year; anyone who saw him steal (or was that crush?) the show at the inaugeral 2000 event will definately want to get on back for more. Or will it be even less this time???

Raddio plug time again: my show is called Spit In The Cracks; it broadcasts on Sundays, 9-11pm (GMT+12); and on the 16th of July (not this week, as planned) will feature a live-to-air by none other than His Jolly Crankingness, CJA. 'Nuff said.

Wellington readers might wanna keep an eye out for an all-too-rare-these-days performance by Rory Storm, sometime in the next week or two. Yep, that's the complete extent of the information.

Plenty of Ray Off shows have been happening - Dunedin, Wellington, Greymouth... will post details of upcoming Christchurch and Dunedin joints very soon.

Like everybody these days, I've been wasting far too much time on My Space, and kinda digging it. UFM be at here, or, um, there. Check the blog section for far more tragic examples of my usual waffling.

Ok! Anyone for tofu and mung beans for tea? Yum!!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sometimes the name really does say it all - Jo Jo ef Steve

One radio live-to-air. One gig (described by one of the six people in the audience as a 'catastrophe'). One jam in a basement on a harmonium and bits of concrete. One recording session the night before one-third of the group relocated to Australia ('morning-after' photo above. The balloon illustrating the popular expression 'my muff has tusks' had just been sucked out of the window by a wind vector and blown 300 metres across the city until we lost sight of it). And now - their debut album.

UFM 014 Jo Jo ef Steve 'A Quiet Night In With...' cdr
Each cover is hand-drawn by Dunedin graf maven Agent Spree

But people it is no joke! Take the tape/radio drop-in genius of Spit, the rock-solid repetition and resonance of Rory Storm, and the hyper melodic scattergun texturalism of Ray Off and what you've got is not only surprisingly coherent but also a damned compelling listen. Marvel at the way Storm adjusts a heart-rending two-chord riff to fit in the shifting plates of random sound! Swoon to Currin's lonely and tender balloon solo! Gasp at how Cockburn snatches exactly the 'right' piece of opera/talkback/pop trash from the airwaves at JUST the 'right' time.

Catastrophe in progress

This is one of my favourite UFM's for the sheer chutzpah and 'uh...what? how?...' of it all. It's pretty, it's stupid, it's deep... it's... ummm... stupid again... Beautifully recorded in vivid 2-track stereo, we dare you to spend a quiet night in with Jo Jo ef Steve and not get a jazzed feeling in your bones. If the Dead C had kept making records in the vein of 'Operation Of The Sonne', but ditched the drums and the electric guitars, they might have ended up here. If the Clean got incredibly lazy and started forgetting to finish songs or turn the radio off or sing properly... 'One out of the box', as the puzzling NZ expression for something unusual goes. And, as for the name: there is no explanation; but somehow it does say it all.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Give us more Skull!

Here's a wee bit of up-to datings: the Ray Off gig at Circadian Rhythm is ON for the 11th of May. CR is a neat new cafe on St Andrew St opposite the Rock Shop - check it out. There'll be solo sets from Pamela and Jim as well as ze Ray Off; there'll be cheap beer ($3 Macs Gold) and only $2 entry so, no excuses chaps. I'd say about a 9pm start.

The Wolfskull/Sweaty Betty gig at the Crown this past Saturday was the ultima shizzle and no joke. Sweaty Betty's a new outfit that drags the knuckles in all the right ways; got some members of the Shut-Ups and International Telepaths in there, so yeah, primal! Excellent rousing choruses like "I'M YOUR DEAD SCUBA DIVER!!!!!" and "Fliesfliesfliesfliesfliesfliesflies....she eats FLIES!!!!". Love it. Wolfskull's set was the performance of the year so far, in fact I've not seen its' like since the last mind-mashing Eye show. ISO 12 - what a singer, what a showman! Duane Zarakov - them drums were SINGING. CJA and Mandroid - their churning riffage sounded like the propeller of a boat made from solid absinthe. So, locals, step up and see these cats at one of their TWO remaining gigs this week. For the Wednesday one you might have to pretend to be a friend of Rory Storm's to attend (it's his birthday party, at None) but the Friday at Arc, supporting Thought Creature from Wellington, is open to all.

Also, this is the last week of the Peter Stapleton-curated 360degrees sound-art exhibition at the Blue Oyster Gallery, Moray Place. Features works by Antony Milton, Richard Francis and a host of other NZ filemunchers and tape-tiddlers.

AND look out for upcoming in-store gigs at RECORDS RECORDS, Upper Stuart St. Apparantly the inaugeral one by Crude last week fuckin' went off (his last gig at Arc two weeks back was pretty awesome). And of course check out RR for mad bargains! got a nice 1977 Willie Nelson LP there the other day, myself....

Oh, and the Rory Storm track has moved up one place to number three. Up yours, Zan Batman Circus!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Number Four With A Bullitt - Rory Storm

It did not take a genius to predict it - if you had heard the material in question, you would've said the same - but the new Rory Storm album 'Fuck the Memescape' has taken over the Dunedin airwaves. Evidence here (for this week anyway). Why is this? How could this happen? Because this album fucking ROCKS.

It's stupidly simple. When you hear a record, it either rocks or it does not. There is an in-between, but really, who gives a fuck. It's gotta ROCK. I love how 'Fuck The Memescape' starts - the big opening electro beats are so cheesy, so dodgy; I've observed dropped jaws on many faces, including my own, when the bip-bop starts up. But hang on because in 3 minutes time Dr Storm's going to have you in the palm of his hand. It's so insanely catchy, so mesmerizingly static; the time-warps-per-second ratio is staggering. Once you get to the track that's blasted through to number four on the Radio 1 charts, 'Valerie Solanis Space Station' (track three) you will be as gripped by the vortextual pull of these electronic beat paddocks and massive electric guitar riffs as a bunch of zoned-up Russkies once were by the Sol-Anus.

The connections with his previous, and gaining-in-legend album 'We Are Superior Beings' are remarkably few. Think of that albums' 'No Full Attempt On Lightening Robot'; but with vocals (and lyrics!)... and just a general all-over songliness. The main connection is in the precision with which it's all put together, and the superstrings of guitar arcing like electric meltdown. Not sure who I'd compare it to in the modern pantheon, but I would like to call attention to the occasional resemblances, via the use of numbing repetition; and a healthy mixing of the vivid and the vague, to the early Fall. And anyone knows that early Fall is as good as it gets.

Rory's threatened a recorded version of his acoustic live show for the next record - an experience which resembles a slowed-down rendition of Palace Music's 'Arise Therefore' album as sung by Ian Curtis, but less life-affirming - so until that brain-batterer comes down the tube you better get yer kicks while you can. This is an outstanding rock'n'roll record in any arena - maybe even, g_d forbid, a stadium arena. It's just got it. And it's coming to you from an improv/weirdo label at the bottom of the world. I dare you to argue with the logic in that.
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