Absolute Elsewhere

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BERNARD STOLLMAN INTERVIEWED (2013): Lawman with ESP for new music

31 May 2013  |  12 min read  |  1

For a large part of his adult life, Bernard Stollman was just one of those New Yorkers in a suit going to work. He had an honorific title as an assistant attorney-general in New York City – “one of 600” – and an office on the 46th floor of the World Trade Center. As a lawyer, he represented the interests of patients in psychiatric facilities across the state.... > Read more

Marion Brown Quartet

KIKI GYAN (1957-2004):From dancefloor to death's door

30 May 2013  |  2 min read

Although we can agree there are certain qualitative assessments which can be made about disco tracks, at core the function of the music was clear: get people on the dancefloor and keep them there. In that sense anything in the world of disco with a beat which moves a crowd could be considered successful. Which may also explain why, when hip-hop was getting out of the starting gates at rent... > Read more

Sexy Dancer

R.E.M. GREEN REISSUED (2013): This is a call . . .

27 May 2013  |  2 min read  |  2

When Green was released in late 1988, Allan Jones in Melody Maker said he was reminded “how much REM are the group that U2 so deafeningly want to be: visionary, bold and lucid, prophets of the slipstream, our first line of defence against the mediocre”. That observation was itself lucid and bold, but you only needed to look at the relative positions of both bands at the... > Read more



13 May 2013  |  5 min read

There's something important we need to know from Josh Richardson of the Minneapolis psyche-rock band Flavor Crystals: Is that square where Mary Tyler Moore threw her beret in the air during the opening credits of her famous television show still there? Like, can we go there and throw our caps up as a homage to her? “Oh yeah,” laughs the singer-guitarist, “Where's... > Read more

Blue Haiti

SWAMP DOGG PROFILED (2013): Covering up his talents

6 May 2013  |  3 min read

The world of popular music is populated by lost prophets, wandering souls, damaged geniuses and those taken too young. There are also musicians who couldn't handle the sudden fame thrust upon them, and those who couldn't handle it when fame never knocked on their door or suddenly abandoned them. This is a world of venal villains (record companies, managers and lawyers usually) and... > Read more

Predicament #2

THE PHOENIX FOUNDATION (2013): Flights of the phoenix

24 Apr 2013  |  2 min read

The name, even now, is a little odd: The Phoenix Foundation. It sounds like some right-wing think-tank, or a high-profile business whose directors appear in court for fiddling the books. You can imagine the logo of a stylised bird rising from flames on the front of the company prospectus. And oddly enough Wellington's Phoenix Foundation – which has spawned a number of side... > Read more


THE BUZZCOCKS (2013): A Different Kind of Punk

22 Apr 2013  |  2 min read

Even in the white-heat of the moment when it was happening, you just knew some of Britain's punk and post-punk bands weren't going to last. The Sex Pistols were always destined to burn out fast in a fire fueled by public outrage, politics and Malcolm McLaren, and bands like GBH, Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds, the Ejected and Undead just didn't have the depth to go much beyond a few... > Read more

Orgasm Addict

STEVE EARLE PROFILED (2013): Only the strong survive

15 Apr 2013  |  2 min read  |  1

Few musicians have gone as far and as wide in their career as Steve Earle. These days we know him as an actor (notably in the tele-series The Wire and Treme), playwright, novelist, short story writer and a political activist. Not to mention being married seven times (twice to Lou-Anne Gill, he's now with songwriter Allison Moorer) and doing record production. He's just signed a book... > Read more

Calico County

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . YOKO ONO (2013): The noises from within

11 Apr 2013  |  6 min read  |  1

Yoko is a concept by which we measure our pain -- New York graffiti, 1970. A voice that comes once in a lifetime; unfortunately it came in ours -- Critic Jim Mullen, 1992 Yoko Ono was always an easy target. Conceptual artists who mount exhibitions of chess sets where all the pieces are white, or write books which consist of ambiguously and unintentionally... > Read more

BONNIE RAITT INTERVIEWED (2013): To everything, there is a season

29 Mar 2013  |  8 min read  |  1

When Bonnie Raitt's most recent album Slip Stream – her first in seven years – picked up a 2013 Grammy for best Americana album, it was yet another rung on her increasingly high ladder. Her 10th Grammy in fact. At the previous year's awards she had paid tribute to the late Etta James performing with Alisha Keys, and her signature song I Can't Make You Love Me has most... > Read more

Marriage Made in Hollywood

THE HENDRIX PERPLEX (2013): How to buy Jimi

29 Mar 2013  |  3 min read  |  3

In a recent conversation about the “new” Hendrix album People, Hell and Angels with Eddie Kramer (see here) -- Jimi's longtime engineer and behind a number of posthumous Hendrix releases since the guitarist's death more than 40 years ago – I asked the obvious: What next? Kramer said People, Hell and Angels – which followed South Saturn Delta and Valleys of... > Read more

Drifter's Escape

PAUL SIMON; GRACELAND, AGAIN (2012): We can all be received . . .

22 Mar 2013  |  4 min read  |  1

Hard to believe from this distance of some 25 years, but Paul Simon's award-winning and much loved Graceland album of 1986 – which went on to sell around 15 million copies – was once a flashpoint for protest and rage. Strange, when you listen to magical songs like the buoyant title track which shimmers over mercury smooth guitars and echoes between Christianity and the... > Read more

Under African Skies

JIM OF SEATTLE INTERVIEWED (2103): Famous, but just a little bit

20 Mar 2013  |  10 min read

The artist's name on the album is Jim of Seattle. Because he is Jim. And he is of Seattle. And although Jim of Seattle has been making music for more than 30 years, this is his debut album. It is entitled We Are All Famous. Jim of Seattle is not famous. Not even in Seattle where he is of. And although, as he says, there has been high approval from those who have heard We Are All... > Read more


STEVE MILLER INTERVIEWED (2013): Band still on the money and run

11 Mar 2013  |  12 min read  |  2

Steve Miller is a man who takes his time and gets things right: he is perhaps one of the most savvy musicians on the block (he held all his own publishing at a time when others were giving theirs away for a small bag of cash) and was within a whisker of finishing a university degree when he decided in the early Sixties to be a full time musician. Did well at it too. His Greatest Hits... > Read more

Take the Money and Run

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . LEON THEREMIN (2013): The sound of sci-fi and nightmares

11 Mar 2013  |  3 min read  |  1

You gotta hand it to inventor Leon Theremin, no one else had thought of a stringless cello. And if that sounds a bit Dada or like an installation at a Yoko Ono art exhibition, be assured. It was the real thing. Theremin invented an electronic stringless cello for the British conductor Leopold Stokowski. He also developed an early form of television which his homeland, Russia,... > Read more

The Swan

EMMYLOU HARRIS INTERVIEWED (2013): Old friends and times long gone

8 Mar 2013  |  6 min read

That Emmylou Harris has known singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell since 1974 but has only now got round to recording a duet album with him makes her seem a little tardy. If not downright remiss. But at last here is Old Yellow Moon, a dozen songs with Crowell and typically superb musicianship from members of her touring band, Bill Payne from Little Feat and Vince Gill. But Jeez... > Read more

Back When We Were Beautiful

CARLOS SANTANA, THE CRUCIAL ALBUMS (2013): White light, with a Latin beat

7 Mar 2013  |  2 min read

One of the dumbest questions you can ask a musician in an interview – and it was asked a lot by people writing for teen-pop magazines in the 60s – is this conversation-stopper: What's your favourite colour? I've asked it a few times, but only when I knew the artist would get the joke. Because Carlos Santana was such an enjoyably strange character when I spoke with him a... > Read more


EDDIE KRAMER INTERVIEWED (2013): Wingman for the genius of Jimi

6 Mar 2013  |  10 min read

Some people get to sit at the right hand of genius. Eddie Kramer is one of those. As a producer/engineer he has worked with a glittering galaxy of rock's stardom: Led Zeppelin, the Stones, the Beatles briefly, Bowie, Santana . . . The list goes on. But one name, perhaps even more so now, will alwys be associated with him: Jimi Hendrix. Kramer was working in Olympic Studios in London... > Read more

Earth Blues

DAVID BOWIE IN THE SEVENTIES (2013): Ch-ch-changes

6 Mar 2013  |  3 min read

That one of the most identifiable and famous men on the planet, David Bowie, managed – in this age of tweeting and endless internet gossip -- to spend the past two years recording his new album The Next Day without anyone knowing (or at least saying they knew) is surprising. Then again, Bowie always had the capacity to surprise. In fact, for a decade from the mid 60s he was... > Read more

Art Decade

HAL WILLNER INTERVIEWED (2013): More rum, sodomy and the lash

4 Mar 2013  |  11 min read  |  2

So how do we describe Hal Willner? He's a musician and producer, of course. And while he's a music supervisor for Saturday Night Live (a role had throughout the Eighties) he also stages concerts based around concepts which interest him, like the songbook of Doc Pomus or civil rights songs. He's also a man with a very fat contact book because on tribute albums to Italian composer Nino... > Read more

Off to Sea Once More