четвер, 21 вересня 2017 р.

BSPH: Harry Crosby - Photoheliograph

This is "Photoheliograph", a poem by Harry Crosby. It was first published in 1928 in a poetry collection titled "Chariot of the Sun". Harry Crosby was an interesting kind of person. Spoiled rich boy with magnetic charisma, eminent taste, uncanny sense of style, mystical edge and that sacramental nag-gnaw - he was one of the stranger fellas of the "make it new" age. He loved women, alcohol, higher state of mind and was basically an epitome of 20s poet self-destructive behavior. He was also founder and editor of Black Sun Press which published such luminaries as Ezra Pound, Hart Crane, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and even Ernest Hemingway.

середа, 20 вересня 2017 р.

Four random words in a row

Ginger flattening eyetooth blackout

BSPH: Catholic Discipline - Underground Babylon

Let me tell you about the song that sounds like the best thing ever.

"Underground Babylon" is a song by the band Catholic Discipline. They were an odd new wave / post-punk outfit from LA captured in its ragged glory in Penelope Spheeris seminal punk documentary "The Decline of Western Civilization". In fact - their performance was the best thing in entire film (which is saying something because there are also bands like Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Fear, X and Germs taking down the house) - but Catholic Disciplne stole the show as if it was their goddamn job. Their performance was epic, no less. 

Their name comes from one the Bessy's dayjob occurrences - he found the words "Catholic Discipline" written in the bathroom in "dripping red letters". The band consisted of members of various LA groups who were hanging out together in 1979-1980 - most notably Phranc then of Nervous Gender on guitar, Craig Lee of The Bags on drums, pre-El Vez Robert Lopez (yep) on keyboards and others. And then there was one and only Claude Bessy aka Kickboy Face, editor of Slash Fanzine and the middleman for everyone and everybody - giving hell as if it was his last stand. They all gathered to play music in a different manner than usual - explore that misty something-something. 

Unfortunately the band didn't last long enough to capture their delightful havoc on the proper record - it's natural when you just want to play some music and don't give a damn about such stupid things as commodification of your output for sake of vanity bullshit like fame and fortune. So - aside from ragtag better-than-nothing but hard to find 2004 "Underground Babylon" compilation - "The Decline of Western Civilization" is the only place where you can find their songs in good quality. The fact that we have at least that is already a miracle all things considered. But this is so unfair you might get angry and unable to cool it down... But back to the song.

"Underground Babylon" is an understated epic. It is a punk manifesto of sorts. In its core "Underground Babylon" is a song about a hangover - bound for glory. The protagonist had finally came to senses after the long and winding and rather rough party night (left for your imagination). He doesn't remember what happened exactly but he knows it definitely was quite fun. He then finds a phrase "Babylon Must Fall" written on the mirror with a lipstick and wonders who might did that but not very much, headache creeps. After cleaning up he lays down and succumbs to his thoughts and unintentionally reflects on his life. That thing happens sometimes, it is part of the hangover "fun"-program. He comes to a conclusion that he "regrets" "nothing" - because why bother with such things. Unlike all those "dumbfucks with bland little brains and bland little dreams" - he goes beyond, makes it new, experiments with fear, tastes guilt, tastes death, stands by his doom with nothing but dare...  Because why not? After all - nothing really matters.

It sounds big, jagged, buzzsaw angular, razor sharp in a loving embrace of a subliminal melody entwined with this unmistakable zero-fucks steamroller groove and headache whirling clanging guitar and keyboard combo doing their best impressions of irritating imaginary flies and floaters truly madly deeply in love with bananas. It feels like a culmination of something you have no idea what it is but you feel its immense gurgling shine burning you.

And after listening to it - you feel a little bit lighter.

понеділок, 18 вересня 2017 р.

Bil Sabab Power Hour: Toy Love - Frogs

Sometimes the song just comes to your life and never really goes away even though there is no reason for it to stay. This is how it happened with me and this song.

"Frogs" is a song by a New Zealand punk band Toy Love. I first heard it on a Bomp! anthology many years ago but it was originally recorded in 1979 for seminal New Zealand punk compilation AK79. To this day every time i listen to it - i get the a rush of blood to the head. It is truly intense.

"Frogs" is a "charge of a light brigade" kind of song - straightforward, no-bullshit, exhilarating and epic in the same time. When you hear the song you think "no shit!". It is tough as an avalanche of watermelons - going backwards. As the band leader Chris Knox recalled years later he "tried to imagine the terror of a young girl whose sighting of said amphibians raining from the skies is roundly scorned by authority figures and peers, leading to a complete mental collapse."

The song blasts you off and pummels you to the pulp just because. It is brooding, stomping, crushing extravaganza of guitar, voice, bass, keys and drums. It pounds you to the ground making you believe you're a tree and that's the way it goes. It sounds like a circus with a sisters of mercy rolling in a Hellraiser movie. It crashes everything in sight, then pulls it all together in a ball, jumps on top laughing mad to kick its way deep inside in order to soothe the urge to rock. All while disrupting your perception of reality forever.

"Frogs" is somewhat similarly structured to The Stooges "Sick of You". The intro is purposefully mellow but eerily menacing and then the whole thing turns into relentless onslaught. This song is like experiencing the whole scope of the universe in one gulp - all too much. And that's why it is great.

Rhythm section is like a train - it moves forward with no mercy, you can almost hear the crunching sounds of the bones. Guitar is like a chainsaw that cuts air and turns the whole thing into a bloodbath (you heard right - Toy Love makes the air bleed) while keyboards are like the thing from another world - cold and remote harbinger of doom. There is a fill with a little playful menuet in the middle of the song that comes out of nowhere making feel lost and touched by some kind of tentacle.

Toy Love are stuff of legend in New Zealand - kinda like The Stooges spliced with The Damned except way tougher. If you dare to listen to their anthology you will probably describe it "raw, brutal, rough and bloody". This is punk rock music that is dead set to "shoot, knife, strangle, beat and crucify" the mind - it really pushes listener to the limit without going overboard with noise. No sissy pussy larva lambda.

неділя, 17 вересня 2017 р.

Bil Sabab Power Hour: Тартак - О-ля-ля

You know i'm from Ukraine - the land where Ween songs are reality. It's fun to be here 'cause it absolutely sucks. I hate it here. But there are some stuff worth sharing. Like this song.

"O-la-la" is a song by ukrainian hip-hop alt-rock band Tartak. It was released on their long-overdue debut album "Demo_graphic explosion" in 2001 but the video for the song was rolling the airwaves since at least 2000 and the song dates back to 1997.

"O-la-la" isa song about the most important thing - maladies of modernity. Or what Nathan Rabin might call "INEXORABLE HORROR". Protagonist feels a certain kind of unease. The one that is completely existential and utterly superfluous. Because he's a sensitive kind of person. Also known as a whiny wimp. Things are changing at starfish fight pace and nothing makes any sense. And he tries and he tries and he tries to make something out of it but no no no. He can't get no satisfaction. Nothing makes any sense anyway and that makes him very sad. He feels helpless. That's why finds some solace in drugs and sloth and sometimes hapless pointless shopping. Basically he just lives out his days without an effort - just being pitiful and rather spiteful. Despite all his rage he's still just a rat in a cage. And so on. Despite the song being rather old - it's topic is still not a relic of the past. And that hurts.

Video is basically literal depiction of the song in low-budget general terms. It is "Life is what you make it" story with an apparent struggle of light and dark sides. No mention of social inequality or other beacons of reality though. Also - the song sounds as if the guy was talking french. I'm noting that because one of my teachers in school actually tried to convince everybody that it was actually sang in french. I still remember the horror of realizing that that person is fucking dumb. I felt anxious for a while and had no idea what to do next with this knowledge.

Musically "O-la-la" is straightforward but mean alt-rock tune with some tasty breakbeat in the backbone, some fat melting guitars and lightning fast intense flow of rapping. The groove is like a grinder of reality that turns you into a minced meat once in a while. Guitar work is particulary to-the-point. It really sounds like roaring depression the grabs your throat and chokes you only to slam against the floor at the last moment. Guitar solo is especially desperate. It is recursive neverending whirl that just goes on and on - sucking you dry and turning you inside out.

Tartak is a strange case of a band slowly devolving from progressive sounding socially conscious force of nature into radically unremarkable shell of itself with heavy reliance on lame jokes and hoo-ha imagery. But they started strong - their debut is all-killer no-filler kind of album. After that they had a cool spot here and there, tried their best to remain relevant but slowly and surely turned into politically-correct nothing-special middle-of-the-road drab that is kinda there but no one cares about it. Well, that's called "vae victis", bro.

Here's a video of early Tartak line-up performing early more laidback version of the song on Chervona Ruta festival in 1997:

I remember this song playing on TV almost every day and i liked it so much i even tried to mimic the flow of the frontman. It sounded fresh. It still hold up pretty well. It's a great example of then-thriving ukrainian hip-hop with clear-cut narrative with sly social commentary augmented greatly by rich and diverse vocabulary of frontman Oleksandr Polozhynskiy. Damn, that man had some style. For a while i thought that he must be something like ukrainian equivalent of Henry Rollins - big imposing angry dude who says it best.

Give it a listen and go on with your life.

P.S.: Few years later - i guess it was 2004 or 2005 - the band went out of their underground shells and recorded Christmas-themed cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit". 

субота, 16 вересня 2017 р.


So - Prophets of Rage is a thing that exists, apparently. There are formerly respectable people involved. But they seem to be unaware of the fact that they're a bit obsolete in their message and intent. But i don't care. It's none of my business. No offense to Prophets of Rage.

IMHO, Tom Morello is good at making various odd guitar sounds and bad at writing actual songs. He's no Steve Stevens. So - why wouldn't he actually focus on various odd guitar sounds instead of writing painfully bad songs? I mean - man gotta know his limitations.

This photo was the tipping point of pointlessness. Come on! It is ridiculous. It begs to be memefied. I thought about it for a moment and then it struck me - i need to look at the dictionary. What i say was the word TARADIDDLE. It means "bullshit". Then i opened random pages and stumbled upon CATTYWAMPUS and BUMFUZZLE. That was it. This is the phrase that needs to memefied.





четвер, 14 вересня 2017 р.


I'm a kind of person who has quite a relationship with all sorts of dictionaries. I love reading dictionaries. I like to learn meanings of random words for no reason at all. That's my kind of fun.

Recently i was trying rewrite one little poem in Ukrainian. I wanted to make a bit more sophisticated in terms of word use. My intention was to mix words from different dialects of Ukrainian so it would add another layer narrative by jumping from one territory to another. I wasn't my computer so there was Lingvo to back me up and didn't had access to any of my paper dictionaries. So i was using SUM.IN.UA. It is a dictionary of modern ukrainian. To be honest it is not that modern anymore but that is the best we have at the moment since new dictionary of modern ukrainian language is a bit caught in the turnaround deep in the development hell.

So - i wanted to find a meaning of particular word and instead moving to the page of the word i get ERROR 503. And i think "Sweet jumping George O'Twang! What!? Why?". I got hot instantly and was very frustrated by this sad event. The fury i felt was severe. I've tried to refresh the page numerous times and every i got just another ERROR 503. Finally it struck me - "i need to go to the Wayback Machine!". Because this site is very important so it is probably archived very well and i can find a copy of a page i need there. And so i go to the Wayback Machine and insert the link i need - and i get nothing because this particular was never archived. It was depressing to say least. And then looked at the archival stats of the whole site and it was like 50 pages or something. 50 pages of a dictionary with several hundred thousand words. It is mindnumbing. It makes you think this: "Eh... ... ...Vavoom Snikt Bamf!" and then you experience the void in your soul that will never go away.

OK then. What shall we do now? Shall we buy a new guitar? Nah! I'm gonna put SUM.IN.UA in its glorious entirety into Wayback Machine. I will put certain amount of pages every day and i will do it until i will run out of pages to archive. That is my new version of fun.


BSPH: Harry Crosby - Photoheliograph

This is "Photoheliograph" , a poem by Harry Crosby . It was first published in 1928 in a poetry collection titled "Chari...