Cover in progress – making peace with Adobe Illustrator and using Guns N’ Roses / cock rock to fire up dormant neurons

ILLUSo, after about 15 years of cold war between me and Adobe Illustrator, I am finally on the verge of making friends with this piece of software. I am currently working on an illustration that I suspect will make it to the front cover of the record, and for once I seem to have found some sort of meditative flow in working with the vector tools, rather than brushing my way through Photoshop or smearing acrylic on canvas. Maybe I’ve grown more patient with age, or perhaps it just felt right this time – I knew it had to be executed as tight line art and I also suspect it has something to do with the fact, that this time I almost felt warped back to a childhood state of non-being, that is, totally immersed in the process like I used to be, when I drew as a kid. Which incidentally is also what the illustration symbolises to an extend; the strive for the egoless state. Regarding childhood, while working on this illustration I somehow rediscovered “Appetite For Destruction” by Guns N’ Roses, and blasted it loudly throughout most of the process. I have come to the conclusion that this particular album helped me regress to the aforementioned childhood state; call it nostalgia if you will, but there was more to it than that. Hearing that flamboyant guitar riff for Mr. Brownstone, quite simply fired up neurons in my brain that hadn’t been exercised for quite a while, and that elevated state prompted me to experiment with other sorts of cock rock and hair metal soundtracks while working; however, I never got into GNR’s later albums and they weren’t working for me now either, and the same went for Motley Crüe and a bunch of other similar bands. (Though I admittedly handled vocal duties on a “Kickstart My Heart” jam some years ago for a friends birthday bash, I don’t think I will ever appreciate Vince Neil’s voice and vocal performances. They’re just really…bad.) The Cult’s excellent “Sonic Temple” I know more or less by heart and I’ve often returned to it throughout my adult life, so that didn’t really strike any old nerves in me, however great that album is. In conclusion, Appetite For Destruction did the job for me. I wonder what other rediscoveries lie ahead. From a Guns N’ Roses wiki:

GNRwiki

I guess we have some common interests

Just found out that Mark Kozelek / Sun Kil Moon made a cover record last year featuring songs by Godflesh and Glenn Danzig among others – something I did five years ago, ahem, just saying. By this logic, Mark and I should make a record together. Call me, Mark. Love your work.

By the way, new song from brand new record will be up very soon.

Summertime and the smell of vinyl

It’s summertime in Copenhagen/Northern Europe which means that most people in the world of music are going on vacation or preparing for various festivals.
This also means a bit of time off from the music for me – the new record is more or less there, but I won’t be putting serious effort into shopping it around to various labels until later this year as most people in the business aren’t responsive this time of year anyway.
Will be checking out Future Islands among others at Roskilde Festival as I really like their new album. Slowdive was added last-minute to the line up, which is great, but unfortunate for me though, as I will only be visiting the festival on Friday, the day before their appearance.
As a  sort of consolation I invested in a brand new pressing of one of my favourite albums. I’m not a vinyl fetishist per se (not any more anyway) , but when it comes to a record like this, I still happily  lay down the cash.

scott4

Beautiful Swans

M BLOK & SWANS
Went to see a Michael Gira solo show in Copenhagen a couple of weeks ago.
I have seen both Swans and Gira solo more times than I can remember right now. But as I’m sitting here mixing and tweaking my own songs, and inevitably hitting those periods where the music seems to go nowhere and I feel out of touch with it, I just have to look to my right (I have a framed Swans poster on my wall, you see) and remind myself how music is able to take you somewhere completely different and shake you through, if you let it.
I have a ticket stub from a Swans concert that took place in 1997 in Copenhagen on their farewell tour; I would have just turned seventeen judging from the date, and I remember knowing I had to see this band, as it supposedly was my last chance of ever doing so. A couple of years earlier I had picked up a copy of “Greed”, knowing Swans was a name I had to check out, since I was a young introvert with an attitude and a taste for the “alternative” – I was in no way ready for it at the time; but I remember it provoked me intensely. And I played it every once in a while, like there was some secret to it I hadn’t been let it on. Of course there was no secret; it was all about reaching a state of mind where you decide to let go of all preconceived notions of what music is, and how it should be executed. And at the Swans concert in 1997 that way of thinking became clear to me. I went to the show alone as I didn’t know anybody who wanted to come, and I used my meagre savings on a beer, a joint and a t-shirt and felt that was an OK preparation for whatever was about to hit me. Even though the band was breaking up, there was no sentimentality to it. As I recall Michael Gira just stated that since they had just released a new album (That would be “Soundtracks for the blind”) their set was going to focus on that material, and that was it.

That evening I got home a little bit older, a little bit wiser, a lot more confused, but most importantly, determined to never let myself or my music restrict to certain ideals or ideas about genres and what was supposedly “permitted” in music. I was able to enjoy and discover both “Greed” and the rest of the bands back catalogue from that moment on.
And when Swans reunited some years ago, I was once again impressed and struck by the lack of sentimentality with which Michael Gira seemed to move forward instead of giving people a “Greatest Hits” set.

The framed poster is actually signed by Michael Gira; it says “To Morton! – live!”.
Good advice. That I do.
Now back to the music…

Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld

Last night I attended Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld in concert in Copenhagen.
I had decided not to check out their studio material beforehand so I could take in the music without any expectations whatsoever. It was ridiculously good. I won’t bother going into details, but can obviously recommend that you invest in their record “Still smiling” when you get the chance, as I did today.

The light pours out of me – strange encounters

The clock at my local metro station acted out yesterday; for just a second my perception of reality was warped until I realised the clock was at fault, not me. I was reminded of the brilliant lyrics to “The Light Pours Out Of Me” by Magazine:

“Time flies, time crawls,
like an insect up and down the walls,
– the light pours out of me”

The song stuck in my head all day, and I got home, turned on the mic and recorded the 1st verse and chorus. Nothing more, nothing less; just a short vignette of that strange feeling that I had to get out of my system. There you go. Inspiration in all its strange glory.

It’s 2014 – working, reading – all in the name of music

2013 was a rather uneventful year in my musical life, although I did do a single live performance and released a couple of new M Blok videos along with some old Saline Gift stuff. However, behind the scenes I worked on new material more or less the whole year through, and right now I have no idea if I’m going to release a single, an ep or an album within the next few months. The luxury of doubt.

I am reading the so far wonderful book by John Higgs on The KLF “KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money”
I remember hearing about it when it came out, and then I guess I forgot about it. But when Youth of Killing Joke recently plugged it on his Facebook page, I decided to get hold of a copy.
Fascinating read. I think this excerpt says it all:
The KLF - excerpt