Wednesday, December 20, 2017

last, but not least, of all, that ends well.

[possibly not final cover, but close.]

this was an enormous effort, thrwarted by many circumstances and obstacles, rescuing these materials from almost certain oblivion, and puzzling out what it all actually was. your friend and humble narrator's first credit as editor. about 28 years from when I first started typing out these rather poor quality recordings until now. my flabber is indeed gasted.

the mill grinds slow, but exceedingly fine, to be sure.

Monday, December 18, 2017

not going gently, into that night of goodness. or similar.

so it seems that prophesy is unavoidable, and that which is done in dark jest is inevitably taken the most seriously. Z'EV, someone I worked with on many projects and for some years, has slipped away, and quite a bit falls from the lip-chamber, escaping as it should have a long time ago.

I first met him when I came to Amsterdam for the first Hafler Trio lectures. he sat in the front row and asked 'tricky' questions. I had wanted to meet him for years. and so I did. he was living close to the Central Station with his then 'partner' Dr. Dorothea Franck, and later we would become Mother Tongue. slowly but surely we saw each other most days and most nights; I did live sound for him so many times I lost count, mixed tapes, remastered cassettes so they could be released on LP, treated tapes so they could be further played around with, composed tracks for him with his material while he lay in bed with the 'flu, and delighted him when he arose, designed promotional material and record covers for him, and a great deal more, generally involving carrying odd-shaped pieces of metal and encountering difficulty with trains. we played Dutch billiards at a bar across the road from where I was living in a squat, very close to the centre of Amsterdam, the name of which I forget because we always referred to it as "The Second Office." we were pretty good. we listened in awe to the production on Neil Diamond's greatest hits. really. Z'EV and Doro were incredibly kind and generous to me in my ridiculous, self-imposed nightmare of a transition period of moving from the UK to Holland. I took his tsing-tsa (Tibetan hand bells) to London to record his composition "Geelgalayah" and they broke in the middle of the session. actually shattered into several pieces, without having being abused in any way. I tried to hide this fact, and he discovered the broken pieces before I had a chance to even try to replace the bells. it is impossible to convey how guilty and terrible I felt.

"Shemesh" A.K.A. "Geelgalayah" score.

I saw Z'EV play many times, mixing, equalising and effecting his sound as part of the performance with him; and on a good night, I swear, there was nobody to touch him. nobody. what is a painful fact is that much of what was amazing either a) did not even record onto tape (the frequencies were so extreme that no cassette on earth would have held them) or b) were so badly recorded as to be useless. no amount of treatment could save them. I tried. really. a few made it through. so bear in mind when you hear his work that much that would completely blow you away is lost forever, and much of what you can hear was many times greater in actuality. it is of course possible to say that about many people, but in Z'EV's case, very much more than just true.

Z'EV had many stories, and I listened to all of them. this was a man who told me that he had seen The Doors perform before they were signed to a record label, after all, just to give one example. but some of them were somewhat painful. there was a double attitude; on the one hand, his pioneering work was truly neglected, and it was indeed obvious to anyone with half a brain cell that it had been copied wholesale and watered down for great career effect by others. however, on the other, there was an undeniable self-destructive side to him of which I could tell many stories but will not, that he himself revelled in, in a perverse sort of way. this was coupled with a bitterness which while understandable, was also clung to a little too tightly and paraded a little too often for comfort.

Mother Tongue once performed at the AIR Gallery in London; this was to have been a major opportunity to get a financial backer, and big things were going to happen. supposedly. Genesis P-Orridge (as was) videotaped the event, and captured a horrible, ugly, quite unbelievable fight after it between Z'EV and Doro, revealing the side that was desperate to have what "he deserved," and blaming anyone he could when it did not arise as he wished. I truly hope that tape does not exist any more. the "deal" never materialised, and a major breakdown took place which was a very disturbing thing to witness, which we all did for a day or so. so it can be said with certainty that I saw him at both ends of the scale and a great deal of what was in-between.

Your Humble Narrator, Z'EV, Doro Franck = Mother Tongue. photo by Esther Wollheim.

I sat with him and helped him edit his entire history up to that point, which became "One Foot In The Grave" and was his first real release outside the channels he had been 'stuck' in, his first real 'retrospective' and his first CD(s). I was still involved with Touch, and introduced him. I thought he deserved a professional, properly done package of quality to show how incredible some of the work he had done was (and is).  he nearly destroyed this by coming to the appointment to master it all with me and lighting a huge joint. after me strongly suggesting to him that dealing with the presentation of his life's work might be better served with a clear head, he left, and came back the next day. not under the influence.

gradually, I left Amsterdam, and eventually Holland. Z'EV went through a series of ever-more bizarre living situations, including a room which was surrounded by doors, and in someone's office, sleeping under a desk, so that he for the first time in his life worked office hours, I recall him telling me. he helped me understand the Qabalistic/Numerological processes and details so that "I LOVE YOU" (the third, unreleased part of the so-called "Sexual Trilogy") could be finished. (well, it isn't really, but it got to the stage that it could be presented live.) I learned that his hearing had deteriorated somewhat, which is not suprising, given the battering his shell-likes must have taken over the years. this was confirmed when I heard some work where I recognised the signs of top-end hearing loss that I had noticed with a few others that I had worked with, and heard from some mastering engineers that the tapes which Z'EV submitted were quite some work to make useable. but in the end, I think he knew this, and worked with it, and if anyone could make it work, it would have been him. after all, the sound was only a small part of what he was dealing with.

I was always fascinated, and in awe of his written/translations. it is a huge shame and sad reflection that most of it was never published.

3 incredible, extraordinarly potent, transformative and transportational translations. unpublished. (as far as I know)

we planned to do a US tour in 2003. the artwork and an extract from the CD that was to accompany it are here:

and of course, like most of these things, it never happened. the title of the CD came from an actual toast I once heard in a Liverpool bar, and Z'EV truly loved it. it took years between me telling him of it and it getting used. and it didn't, eventually. and now it does. ironic, to be sure.

we also planned to re-release the Mother Tongue record "Open In Obscurity" with extra material on CD. Z'EV had it mastered by a friend of his in the 'states, and the dreaded and now defunct Phonometrography were to re-release it. again, some sort of offence was caused in the communication stream, and this never happened. a sketch for the typography for the sleeve is here:

between this and today, something happened, and it seems I will never know quite what it was. a month or so ago, I wrote to him to invite him to have a conversation as part of the podcast "WWHWW?" the reply was so extreme in its hatred, that I was quite taken aback; I had been aware of some stories floating around, but nothing so savage that would generate such a response. and now, I cannot ask, and I cannot even try to repair any damage, real or imaginary.

I subsequently discovered that he had removed me from his history; Wikipedia page, home page, everything. he is not the first, and possibly not the last, but it is still very odd and unfathomable to me why such things happen, and that the erasure of someone from history is thought to be even possible, let alone desireable.

Z'EV was always someone that you were either 'for' or 'against'. there were no half-measures. principally from his side.

I was always 'for' him, even in the dark times. he taught me a huge, actually unquanitifiable amount, which I will never, ever be able to repay. my gratitude will endure.

it is not how I would have wished to have this story end, but that's how it has to be. he would have called everything I have written here "bullshit," but I hope that he would have been wrong about at least most of it, at least this time.

 (if anyone is interested in releasing the two items mentioned here, please get in contact.)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

the proxy of agentism, by and for your leave. yes.

and so:

like an old wrinkled olive in a basket of strawberries, your friend and humble narrator stands alongside others infinitely more beautiful and vigorous. however, you are entreated, nay, commanded to make use of this page to have organised Simply Superiority descend and envelop streets, houses, and hearts near or even in you, soon.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

wish you weren't here.

I have been out of hospital nearly two weeks, after having been in there for two. I am actually much worse than I was before I went in, with no end in sight. while I was there, however, two thoughts - or clusters of them - assailed me (I had much, much time for reflection and reverie, O my Fuzzy Headed Friends). they might make some difference - at least that vain hope persists.

it does not matter much whether or not you 'believe' or trust the Western Medical Establishment and their concomitant system(s) - you are likely, at some point in your life (I address the people reading this as in the majority, citizens of "Western" countries) to have a situation in which the only mechanisms available to you are those under their purvey. for the last 25-30 years my opinion - based on much experience in a wide variety of fields - has been shrinking in terms of its positive aspect with regard to Western Medicine and its underlying assumptions and foundations. that is as may be. if I break a leg, I am not likely to reach for the telephone number of the local homoeopath, reiki practitioner or essential oils remedy peddler. for the purely mechanical, I would say that the systems in place can do a job not to be sneered at. the implications come later, but in emergencies, they have you pretty much covered.

while I loathe, believe it or not, to give advice, this will come close. I have not been insured anywhere for a very, very long time. the way I have existed in various countries has separated me from the systems which most people in those countries are automatically (for the most part) members of. the reasons and circumstances are far too complex and convoluted, not to say uninteresting, to relate here. if you are not insured, and something which requires the attention of such systems occurs, you will be very severely punished for it, as I have been before, and now to a mammoth degree a few weeks ago. this is not hyperbole or exaggeration; you would do well to equip yourself beforehand because the consequences of not doing so are severe. very.

while I was incarcerated in the hospital, the circumstances were dire, but left much time for considering how such an establishment runs. it seems to me very clear indeed that there are many similarities to the Western Education system, as well as a very valid comparison to many religious systems which might be applied.

a hierarchical system, it features a Priestly class, a worker class, and (the almost) untouchables. there are holy books, tenets, prescriptions of all sorts; there are procedures carried out blindly by the bottom level of the pyramid, orders issued from the top which are never explained, never questioned, and never examined, no matter how ludicrous, inappropriate or ineffective they might be. the lower the level in the structure, the more genuine, honest and willing the people are to do what is "right." they are exploited in a way which could be called 'gross' but this is tempered by the fact at that at a certain point, the realisation dawns that all of this is automatic, and at no level is there even the dimmest conscious thought involved.

this was and is a horrific uncovering and sparked in me waves of compassion, sadness, and anger at the waste of potential, resources and lives. at some point, everyone involved, I believe, joined this system to "do good" and to help other people. and yet all they were doing was feeding the machine. what can be clearly seen is a system (if we look at it through the eyes of Stafford Beer or even Norbert Weiner) like all systems ultimately, dedicated to the preservation of itself; 99% of effort, energy and resources being expended on maintaining homeostasis. originally begun in tandem with religion, oddly enough, medicine and then hospitals were designed to help and cure the sick. people were approached as unique, and examination meant just that; not, as it is today, a streamlined set of procedures where all anomalies and points that do not fit in with the expected are cast aside or cut off so that the square pegs will fit - come what may - into the round holes.

when I first went on aeroplanes, one was treated as a valued customer, whose needs were one of the primary concern of the airline; I have seen that, in my lifetime, turn into a situation where 'customers' are merely logistics, and problems to be 'solved' - woe betide the passenger who has a problem which falls out of the bounds of the guidelines.

so for all these monolithic systems, be they transport systems, health care, politics, education and so on almost ad infinitum, there is a perversion of the human capacity for kindness, caring and empathy, largely (but not entirely) created by a blind impulse arising from a construction which ends up serving its own purpose, and almost against the purpose for which it was constructed.

in recognition of this, I propose to incorporate the idea of "medicine" (in a very particular and somewhat unconventional sense) within the purvey of Complemation, seeing as how, it is almost too obvious to say, learning involves the idea of taking care of the precious human body which allows us to carry on the absurd things we are busy with, but also gives the possibility of hearing something which might lead us elsewhere.

lastly, I offer this: 20 minutes after I received an email from Cold Spring Records that the re-release on 12" vinyl of the Barry Adamson / Pan Sonic / Hafler Trio release "The Hymn of the 7th Illusion" had arrived, I got a new roommate in the hospital. I leave it to others to work out what is going on.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

if you want to get a hat, get a head.

may it please the court:
[answering the question when applying to join is mandatory]

we do hope to have the extreme pleasure of your presence and insight.

Friday, September 22, 2017

all you can eat. consciously, mind you.

"ashes to ashes, dust to dust, the proof of the pudding is under the crust."

a paroxysm of prestidigitation produces the perpendicular product of pulchritudinous (perhaps, particularly parsimonious) perspicacity:

please place your paws pleasantly, perceptively and presently in pretty proximate proximity.

promote prodigiously!