I guess when Omnibus hit upon May this year to publish Listening to the Wind: Encounters with 21st Century Independent Record Labels they weren’t counting on a worldwide pandemic closing all bookstores across the planet — but there you have it. Regular listeners will know the book has been brewing for a while, so thanks very much if you get a chance to pick one up (in the UK from either Blackwell’s, The Flood Gallery or The Wire bookshop when that reopens; hopefully in all good bookstores worldwide from July). More good timing: just as we emerge from lockdown, here’s a three-hour set that takes in just part of part 3 of the book: the road trip from Chicago down through Cincinnati south to Atlanta and North Carolina, pulling together the likes of Jeff Parker, Angel Bat Dawid, Caroline No, Moses ‘Doorman’ Williams, Paul Bowles’ 1959 recordings from Morocco, Jake Xerxes Fussell and Terry Allen. Scott (International Anthem), Alex (Students of Decay), Lance and April (Dust-to-Digital) and Brendan (Paradise of Bachelors) were all fine and engaging hosts and interviewees. (As was everyone — New York, Massachusetts, Chicago again: next show.) So thanks again to them, and thanks for listening — peace & love in these times. Doug’s mightily expanded part 3 playlist on Spotify is here; the QWFWQ v Silentgroundsman soundclash is here. To paraphrase Ryley Walker — who once scrawled over a copy of one of his lps in a shop, ‘Put this back in the bin, buy Miles Davis Live-Evil instead’ — switch off and tune into these two.
Sleevenotes: It’s been a while, the world hasn’t really got any better, but there are still records. Regular listeners — if anyone can remember that far back — will know I have a nerdish obsession with independent record labels: this broadcast is part one of a multiple-part road trip/odyssey through the world of coloured vinyl, limited cassettes, screen-printed and tip-on Stoughton jackets and all things related to the black stuff. Well, for now, I’m just playing the records from a featured bunch of labels I worked my way down the west coast of America talking to this summer. The book should be out in early 2019, published by Omnibus press. As I get closer to publication I’ll start adding some more salient detail to do with the actual book into the broadcasts — once I’ve, er, written it — but for now, it’s mainly just the music put out by the good folk at Mississippi, Sahel Sounds, Constellation Tatsu, Gnome Life, Superior Viaduct, Recital, Vin du Select Qualitite and Light in the Attic records (and one or two other bits and pieces early on). (And, in an attempt to keep the spirit of John Peel alive, when I say ‘Virginia Trance’ by Henry Flynt, I actually mean ‘Congo’ by Henry Flynt. Though, in truth, I meant to play the former.) The journey starts out in Portland with Mississippi Records.
Part two, back in London, hopefully will follow shortly. Thanks for listening: in the words of John Coltrane, ‘May there be peace and love and perfection throughout all creation.’
I’ve got no wish to add to the hundreds of thousands of words written about the EU referendum. We’ve heard more than enough about the self-serving politicians who got us into this mess. I just thought I’d let the music do the talking and produce an entirely European-based show for Little Englanders everywhere. Hopefully Brexit voters can listen to it on repeat while stuck in a six-hour traffic jam on the M20 outside Dover. For enlightened Seeks Music listeners the world over: please don’t think we’ve all got St George’s flags attached to the fishing rods of our garden gnomes. Fantastic record labels like Rune Grammofon, Clean Feed and Sonic Pieces (from Oslo, Lisbon and Berlin respectively) will forever be a feature of this show. I love egg and chips, the tea and the rain, a good curry, the seaside and fourth division football grounds as much as I love Tubby Hayes, the Tindersticks, Disco Inferno and Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou . . . I just hate small-mindedness and right-wing zealots. One Love, Third Light Home, east London.
Arge invites you back into his world of Cinematronica. An eclectic mix of electronica, jazz, beats and film score, liberally spread with some spoken word.
This months show features Paul Hartnoll, John Carpenter, Jonny Greenwood, Giorgio Moroder, Ghostpoet, Edwyn Collins, Max Cooper, Penguin Cafe, Public Service Broadcasting, Grasscut some Dub Pink Floyd and Leonard Nimoy.
A Wednesday lunchtime at Ronnie Scott’s.
The sun shining down on to dancefloor in the upstairs bar; a nice-looking drum kit tucked away at the back; an ice-cold beer, with some old friends, just after midday. Brilliant. It doesn’t get much better — and in conversation with Richard Williams was the critic Brian Case, ex-of the NME, Melody Maker and Time Out, and now happily retired, enjoying just listening to music or reading a book without having to strain for an adjective or a rush of adverbs.
Because of my line of work I’ve sat through a fair few literary readings or ‘in conversations’ in my time, mind wandering, trying to remember if I’d turned the oven off before I left, worrying about something ultimately irrelevant at work. But this was different: hugely engaging tales of a life in books and music, of picking Dexter Gordon up from Heathrow Airport in a battered old green van in the rain in 1971; of loving the simple speed of Johnny Griffin; of dealing with the razor-sharp wit of Ronnie (Scott) himself (and the bar’s staff during the venue’s heyday); of the ecstatic life-affirming nature of jazz, but also of ‘down’ writers like David Goodis.
The occasion was to mark the publication of On the Snap by Caught by the River books. The book itself is full of such yarns, the encounters around the pieces of journalism, rather than the journalism itself — hiding behind a breakfast counter of a Danish hotel to check out whether Tom Waits was a fake or not; celebrating the genius of Ian Dury’s rhyming slang; talking about great American writers with Norman Mailer. And on and on. It’s a slim volume, but with a huge canvas.
There are only a couple of jazz tracks in this show, but what beauties: Don Cherry live in Nantes in 1964 and, right at the end, Gerry Mulligan at the Newport Jazz festival in 1958. Serendipitously, it turns out Gerry Mulligan was one of the first jazzers caught live by a young, teenage Brian Case in Deptford.