{THE PILL BOX } spacer
spacer
spacer
powered by blogger

{Tuesday}

 
I'm afraid Green seems to have turned into something of a Morrisey figure for me - which is to say, predominantly, that I find him far more interesting to read about than pleasurable to listen to; I find the relentlessness of that urgle-gurgle honeyed goo-goo voice just a bit much to take these days, like being force fed Sunny D and cherry liquer chockies and ickle mini jellies all at once; over and over again; for 50 minutes. If I want suspended yucky loveliness, well, I'll just listen to that surprisingly wonderful Lilly Allen 45 - which, when I finally heard it, really took me by surprise: a beatifully judged slice of classic summery Lovers Rock. Instantly effortlessly addictive, too.

Even after months and months now, the only Scritti track that has registered at all with me is 'The Boom Boom Bap'; and that, only partially: it feels somehow as if it was taken three fifths of the way along to being a great Summer single and then abandoned. Which some SP-obsessives will doubtless claim is The Whole Point - but don't you sometimes get the feeling they're reading a world of post-Semiotexte perplexity and angst into a situation which rather more neatly comes down to someone being a big bag of Lazy Bones? (And believe me, that's a syndrome I know a little bit about, t-hee...)

I mean, I don't really get this thing people have for tracking down meaning (or even, Gawd help us, meanings about the absence of meaning) along the interstices of even the slenderest Scritti home-studio out-take. Isn't there a point when meaning-FIXation can become as deletiriously addictive a high as crack or meth? O well - whatever lights up your BIC....

{NB: when I wrote the above I had read MarK-P's hymn of adoration to the new Prolitti - which, like I obliquely say, gave me precisely 43.5 times more pleasure than actually listening to the Thing Itself - but I hadnt read Simon's latest, uh ... Simon, you dont think you ought to be careful you're not turning into an actual Green, um, stalker, do you?

{{PS 2: I guess the problem I have with the Scritti album is that it's 50 odd minutes of unrelieved sweetness or blah blah yes "veiling unveiling", call it how you will. What I personally find intoxicating, as I indicated once before, is something like the screwier productions of the late DJ Screw, where you have this back-prop or SCANtext of real onyx- "hard" "black" "real" street gritty Rap, which is then transssduced through a scree and torsion of deliriously ambiphonic distress-FX... almost comically distresing and trippy at times (just like the best Lee Scratch Perry productions, in fact), all these Hard or Sexy voices phasing 'in' and 'out' of pitch, a drip drop cascade which still has the fuck-steady metronome of Tha Beat as a counterpoint behind it, this Other Night that doesnt go away just because you've fucked your own damn fool self up inside with all that naaasty linctus n shit you took n hour earlier...

The paradox of Mark-P and Simon's reading and re-reading of Green, it is beginning to seem to me, is that it is precisely THROUGH all their talk of the veiling-unveiling Disappearing "I" that they spoil the ILLusion and put Green's authorial "I" back centre stage: from an appreciation of a slippery text per se, they actually re route everything back to how smart n cool and suss Green is to do all this stuff (it strikes me at times as a kind of quasi narcissistic sigh on the critics part, like, 'O, this is PRECISELY the sort of stuff I'd probably make if I was a musician...') It almost ends up being the thing it is in concerted retreat from - that old fashioned Literate type criticism which made heroes of post-Dylan singer songwriters because they were so good with ... WORDS.

Whereas, I feel, with Screw, it all threatens to get away from you, it is genuinely fucked up, it's kinda like, "Let's Get It On... uh, oops, baby, slipped up, Let's Try Again ..." the surge and wash and unpredictable MOOD jacitation of the drug-as technology and technology-as drug and Song as infintely extendable expandable reducible field for both to mesh n play (drugs fucking technology, technlogy as sexy steeetched echo of drug swoon)... uh, sorry, lost my own thread there. Got away from me. DAMN.

(Then again, maybe I just dont like the carbo relentlessness of G's voice. That simple?
I tends to get this thing for women's voices. Current pash: Anne Briggs e.g. ... "Blackwater Side." My my my my MY. I can just shove that on REPEAT and listen to it ALL mo(u)rning ...

FURTHER:
I cam across this interview with AVITAL RONELL {one of the few remaining or current 'theorists' I still have a taste or enthusiasm or mania for), and her answer to the the opening Q: -

Do you consider yourself a "writer"?

A. In a certain way that question might be too masculinist for me because it suggests some kind of volition, agency, control at the wheel of fortuna or destiny. I would say that I have figured myself as a kind of secretary of the phantom. I take dictation ... -

I find interesting in this context. Do some of us comfort ourselves with the thought of an extant Green, precisely "because it suggests some kind of volition, agency, control at the wheel of fortuna or destiny"? Or rather, at the wheel of Pop? Is it too frightening otherwise, to admit that the best Pop is instead, happenstance, anonymous, borderline tacky? And not the product of some kind of "higher" consideration as per Scritti?

FOOTNOTE, Wednesday.
Well, I tried Bread+Beer for breakfast again this morning, but sorry guys, I'm still finding Green more intersting to read than actually listen to... talking of which THIS strikes me as one of the most interesting Q&A's I've read thus far I think... funny that Syd Barrett gets a mention out of the blue... and just one minor minor historical niggle to put straight. Green says that back in the pre-punk day Peel never really played any "black music" - which is not true. I remember as a feverish 14,15,16 year old rushing out to scour down or order up specific Import 45s Peel played to death, I can still actually recall specific records, like Johnny Taylor's fanbloodyTAStic Stax comeback 45 "I've Been Born Again" ("I THINK I'm gonna start me a FIRE!") and other stuff by Z.Z. Hill and Betty (wife yes of Miles) Davis, amongst others.


posted by Ian 7/11/2006 09:53:00 AM

Comments:
Sometimes I do write myself into liking something, but with the Scritti this was definitely not the case. The LP took me over, unexpectedly, and the post was an attempt to register what it had done to me. After I bought the album, I found it difficult to listen to anything else, for days. (I think Owen had a similar response.)

With the new album, it's impossible not to start from Green's apparent centrality - after all, the album is all him, he played everything, and the form is notionally confessional. In that respect, it's very different from C&P in which Green was only a component in a factory-assembled groove machine. But what WB,BB has in common with C&P is that Green's facility with ... TUNES. Surely it is Green's subordination of his gift for words to his gift for tunes that separates him out from those singer-songwriter-types... The tunes and the voice are what keep me coming back (the words are so much more... secreted...)

I like Ronell's description of 'being a secretary of the phantom... taking dictation': but isn't that state - as Nietzsche says of inspiration - the very opposite of happenstance? 'Every artist knows how different from the state of letting himself go, is his "most natural” condition, the free arranging, locating, disposing, and constructing in the moments of “inspiration"—and how strictly and delicately he then obeys a thousand laws, which, by their very rigidness and precision, defy all formulation by means of ideas (even the most stable idea has, in comparison therewith, something floating, manifold, and ambiguous in it).' And isn't this, precisely, what volition and freedom are?
 
Like I say, I loved your post, but I just couldnt connect it somehow with an album which stubbornly refuses to lodge in my brain - which is why I'm (still) surprised you say it's the tunes, when Boom Bap is (still) the only one I can remember. It just seems (vaguely) to be part of something wider going on the last year or so, where I've been consistently disappointed by 'talked up' 'important' sets (I would even include Coil, unfortunately, in this), and - on the other hand - utterly ambushed and ravished by throwaway 45s.
 
Post a Comment
spacer