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.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

"....a superior musical organism..."

Just discovered these out-of-it reviews from the Deep Water site - wow! Also check out Lee's other superior musical writingisms at the Womblife blog.

On a less-than-superior note, I'd like to publicly apologise to two customers who have had to wait forever for their orders due to nothing other than the scattered contents of my so-called brain. They will be receiving extra discs at no charge; and I thank them for their patience.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ray Off

Writing this the night after a total blessing of a Ray Off performance (at the new None Gallery opening, Shadow Boxing, with constructions by Agent Spree, Iso 12, Racula, Eddi, Rachel Taylor and meself), featuring the nth-times-X line-up we've had over the past year-and-a-half or so (with me, that is, Jim, on cello and Toki and Franco on echo cellos and cellphones) leads me to muse on what the hell is a band, is this in fact a band, where is my band, etc...

I started the Ray Off schmozzle over two years ago as a pressure vent against the then not-jamming Three Forks. At first, I mucked around some on the computer and produced hours of electronic mishmash, which I then mixed onstage with cd-jays and portables and tapes and whatnot while working on that so-special Ray Off "stage presence". It sounded vile - excellent, mission accomplished - and was pretty fun. But it wasn't enough; solo is fine, but not ALL the time. So after Three Forks split others came in: first Jon Chapman otherwise known as Co.,Inc; Mr Rory Storm; and the grouping captured on the out-of-print cdr 'I Am Not In The Racing Sky', with Jon, Katrina Thomson on harp, Pamela Poppins on voice, guitar and keyboard, and myself. "Ray Off" played Melbourne and Sydney, with Eamon Sprod helping out; then throughout the second half of last year a heaping of big-band "compositions" got played with the help of the abovementioned locals, with Ryan Cockburn and the Forks/Sandoz genius of Tim Cornelius added in as well. I think the most we had on stage was 7 - good times, crazy times. But was it really a band yet? Not quite.

UFM 015 Ray Off 'Clean & Dry Area Before Application' CDR

This new record is pretty much a solo record, however. Time constraints on the various players have meant that only a select few can make it to regular jams. And that is what has started to make us a real band over the last couple of months - hanging out, drinking fine alcohols, playing, regularly. So at the moment the group seems to be Katrina, Pamela, Tim and me, and it's us you'll hear (possibly with another newcomer, drummer Lee Noyes) on the next record to be released on the Austro-Japanese imprint Black Petal.

So yeah, as for this disc, I took the oppotunity to try out a few things and so it is a lot more varied than the previous two. A lot of piano playing; some thick music/sound-collaging; some outright pretty stuff. Pamela, Katrina, Jon and Rory all make appearances. If you liked Ghost Wolf... I'm sure you won't be disappointed, but it is quite a different trip. To see if it's for you, why not check out our track 'Middlemarch Hop' on the just-released MYMWLY compilation Sound Surrounds Us 4. I think that one track is my favourite of all the Ray Off stuff thus far.

Locals, look out for us playing next month at Circadian Rhythm and Arc, as well as making a bit of atmospheric whatever for the upcoming Mid-Winter Carnival in the Octagon. As for Toki and Franco... I think this might end up as a different band altogether, if our explorations in pop music are anything to go by... keep ya posted.

Friday, April 07, 2006

We Rule

That's right, you heard me. After elephantine delays and a rain of shit so thick you could swim in it, all our new releases are finally on the blocks; Ray Off's Clean & Dry Area Before Application, Rory Storm's incredible Fuck The Memescape and of course the Jo Jo ef Steve CDR we discussed earlier. This lot, without doubt, is as strong or stronger than anything we've done to date. So watch here in the next two days as 1) UFM hooks up to broadband and 2) posts up some facts and figures on these three.

In other news, we've been busting a nut running the screenprinting biz and you can see our work adorning the new Brothers of The Occult Sisterhood cd on Digitalis Industries - soon we'll be, uh, printing more of that ('cause it, like, has almost sold out already) and also a Tom Carter cd cover for the same label. Our prices for this sort of work are really very reasonable and anyone interested in a kick-arse screened cover for their cd should contact us immediately. Just take a look at the the new Ray Off cover for an examble of what we're capable of - I think it's the most beautiful thing we've done.

Ok - couple days off and then hard into it. Ay-up all.
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