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HP Lovecraft and His Work

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  • #61
    DA you're right in saying there were lots of different kinds of punk, all of them tied to geographic regions. I was really talking about UK punk from the 70's, but theres at least four major american varieties. The thing they all had in common was that they attempted to take popular music out of the stadiums and restore a sense of meaning, place and community. And they all utterly failed.

    I don't say that lightly, it breaks my heart. My own kind of punk was 'hardcore'. The first bands I was in were hardcore bands. Like any folk music from the 20th century it can be traced to a relatively small group of people, but it spread like wildfire all the way from the US east coast down to S. America. Then it died. I think it died because it was as close to folk music as we can get in a world that changes so much, in the sense that it was transmitted by word of mouth, individual experiences of small events, and not fed to us from some central source. It was difficult to commercialize and commerce has become our primary means of cultural transmission.

    Also, I think what happened is that people who stuck with it learned to play and got on with it. They became professional musicians and possibly realized that they were putting on a show, seperate from the audience, and there is a social contract involved there. As they explored music, they moved into more challenging areas. So, no more punk. Just musicians, some good, some bad. But Mike's right, the bad stuff falls away, and the good remains, and hopefully in the end that's what matters.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by opaloka View Post
      The thing they all had in common was that they attempted to take popular music out of the stadiums and restore a sense of meaning, place and community. And they all utterly failed.
      This is where I completely disagree. I distinctly remember living in a world where the only music one heard or heard about was dictated by the FM radio where all of the stations the featured rock music played the same stuff. Punk as an overall movement, collected from all of these little scenes broke in and changed that.

      Certainly some of the changes were inevitably caused by technology becoming cheaper and more accessible, and also on the downside, the corporate music world faced with no choice co-opted the rebellion and sold it back to the people who created it just like they always do.

      Nonetheless, it is a much easier world for anyone to start a band and get shows and have an audience, get played on radio stations (including of course college and internet stations which are completely tied in with the movement) and potentially master their craftsmanship than it was before punk reared it's ugly little head(s). And that is a resounding success.

      There are also plenty of hardcore and hardcore influenced bands still around, though the kids seem to be more interested in creating electronic noise than three chord rock as a whole. This is probably another effect of technology being easier to use than before again. Just like hardcore and punk, a lot of it is crap, some of it is surprisingly inspiring and innovative, and some will evolve into something great that will look like God knows what.
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      • #63
        Originally posted by Kevin McCabe View Post
        Doesn't mean punk rockers don't grow musically. Just that expertise isn't required to join the club. Compare that ethos to say - Tales from the Topographic Oceans or Brain Salad Surgery (which are both albums I like.
        I'm not necessarily disagreeing but, just to confuse matters, what about someone like Brian Eno? Avowed non-musician and yet he surely has a foot in the prog camp.

        Or Boz Burrell who Fripp drafted into King Crimson: Fripp needed a vocalist and a bassist, Boz was a vocalist who had never played bass in his life, so Fripp (mad prog muso obsessive who practises eight hours a day) just said "that's no problem, I'll show you how to do it..."

        On the other side of the coin, you have Keith Levine: played with The Clash early on, played with PIL and yet all that time, his favourite guitarist who he sat in his bedroom trying to emulate as a teenager was Steve Howe...

        Mods: Should we split this thread? I'd do it myself but I don't want to tread on any toes.

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        • #64
          Skiffle and punk have much in common, in my view. A lot of Mods came out of skiffle (Small Faces for one) and quite a few progs came out of punk. Cheap access was of course what made skiffle and punk similar -- cheap instruments in skiffle and cheaper technology in punk.
          I had the pleasure of being involved with Eno on Calvert's Lucky Leif and he was a joy to work with. Not a musician, maybe, but he worked with sound in a way few ever have before or since.

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          The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
          Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


          Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
          The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
          Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Dead-Air View Post
            Nonetheless, it is a much easier world for anyone to start a band and get shows and have an audience, get played on radio stations (including of course college and internet stations which are completely tied in with the movement) and potentially master their craftsmanship than it was before punk reared it's ugly little head(s). And that is a resounding success.
            Well, there's obviously different ways to look at it and people have different experiences, but regardless of what punk accomplished or not, I think fewer acts 'break' now - in the sense that musicians can make a full career out of music. There are fewer companies with the resources to invest in promotion and tour support (fuel, insurance), the consolidated media companies put fewer eggs in fewer baskets (seems true in publishing as well?) There are fewer venues. Used to be the FM radio stations made their own playlists and had a connection to their geography - they played stuff from their own region, and you could have a regional hit. Now even the college radio stations have playlists, and the bigger ones buy them just like the 'real' stations (the intent being to better train radio drones). This all relates to how people value music, which changes from generation to generation.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Michael Moorcock View Post
              Skiffle and punk have much in common, in my view. A lot of Mods came out of skiffle (Small Faces for one) and quite a few progs came out of punk. Cheap access was of course what made skiffle and punk similar -- cheap instruments in skiffle and cheaper technology in punk.
              It's been said Rock n' Roll came out of the invention of electric guitars that could be produced on an assembly line.

              The only thing I know about skiffle is 'rock island line'. What's good?

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              • #67
                If you already play 6 string the bass is very easy to pick up. Often you are playing the root chord plus a little lead type improvisation.
                I play bass and drums all the time now, hardly pick up the old elec guitar.

                Lucky Leif is a very good album, one of my favourites. Less of a steel metal sound than Starfighters.
                Last edited by Tales from Tanelorn; 11-27-2007, 11:06 AM.

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by Tales from Tanelorn View Post
                  If you already play 6 string the bass is very easy to pick up.
                  I knew Boz; he didn't.

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                  • #69
                    Opa -- I didn't say skiffle was good. I said anyone could play it on cheap instruments -- teachest bass, washboard, kazoo and a cheap guitar. It was a peculiarly British phenomenon, borrowing from American blues and folksong -- rocked up versions of Guthrie, Ledbelly, worksongs essentially influenced by the US folk movement spearheaded by the likes of Pete Seeger. My own skiffle group, under my influence, tended to take the music back to blues and Guthrie's 'protest' songs. I was more interested in Delta blues, Union songs and so on. The kind of thing which ultimately gave us Dylan, Baez and others.

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      So was everyone in a skiffle band? I think John And Pauls first band was a skiffle band. That little footnote is probably the only reason americans have heard of it at all. Not too many British blues bands made it over here either until they had morphed into something different, like Savoy Brown or Fleetwood Mac after Peter Green left. The 'british invasion' was really more of a 'limited engagement' I think

                      Not too long ago there was a PBS documentary series on the blues, and when it came time to talk about British Blues, they focused on - drumroll please... Tom Jones and ... more drumroll please... Lulu!!!!!! I think Alexis Korner had one mention, maybe a picture, and that was it, no other performers. I was pretty dumbfounded, the documentary wasn't bad otherwise.

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Steve Aylett View Post
                        To return to the Lovecraft thing for a moment - does anyone find his stuff funny? I find that his gradual disclosure of 'horror' has the feeling of a very slow joke, where the reader thinks 'oh, that's not going to happen, surely?' and then it does, or 'it really looks like it's going to turn out to be that, but surely not', and it is. There are no twists, just a gradual, very slowly lumbering, relentless lead-up to a punchline that can be seen from miles away. It's sort of the same trick repeated in every piece, but still an interesting and compulsive thing for someone to have done. He was thorough and one-track, and i'm not sure the humour was unintentional.
                        Steve Aylett
                        Yes, and this is a big part of why I love him. I may be laughing at him rather than with him, but one can never be certain. His flaws are his strengths, and there's something about the whole "unspeakable, unnameable, unfathomable maddening forces from beyond human understanding" that can be a real kick if you don't take it serious. Which isn't to say it can't also still be scary, because sometimes it actually is.

                        I'm sure Lovecraft the ethnocentric conservative would be downright angered that our thread has degenerated into a discussion of rock music (and punk rock mostly at that!) However, it can't be denied that his writing does share some real similarities with the vicarious thrill one gets from listening to a dark, crunchy guitar rock song (which is undoubtedly why his influence in the metal world is so prominent.)
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                        • #72
                          Actually, there is a gag in one of the roleplaying books that Tsthogua the unspakable was origionaly called "The Unpronouncable" but that his epithet was poorly translated from ancient sumarian, or some such. Always got a chuckle out of that, which is renewed every time Opalaka posts

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                            DA you're right in saying there were lots of different kinds of punk, all of them tied to geographic regions. I was really talking about UK punk from the 70's, but theres at least four major american varieties. The thing they all had in common was that they attempted to take popular music out of the stadiums and restore a sense of meaning, place and community. And they all utterly failed.

                            I don't say that lightly, it breaks my heart. My own kind of punk was 'hardcore'. The first bands I was in were hardcore bands. Like any folk music from the 20th century it can be traced to a relatively small group of people, but it spread like wildfire all the way from the US east coast down to S. America. Then it died. I think it died because it was as close to folk music as we can get in a world that changes so much, in the sense that it was transmitted by word of mouth, individual experiences of small events, and not fed to us from some central source. It was difficult to commercialize and commerce has become our primary means of cultural transmission.

                            Also, I think what happened is that people who stuck with it learned to play and got on with it. They became professional musicians and possibly realized that they were putting on a show, seperate from the audience, and there is a social contract involved there. As they explored music, they moved into more challenging areas. So, no more punk. Just musicians, some good, some bad. But Mike's right, the bad stuff falls away, and the good remains, and hopefully in the end that's what matters.
                            Hardcore isn't dead, my friend. I customarily wear a Black Flag T Shirt to concerts/shows. There's always kids who recognize it and make positive/joyful sounds. Hardcore's influence is usually there, too, in the early albums of most contemporary American punk. And, some pretty famous bands, too. Bleach sounds a lot like hardcore. So, ever heard Soulside?
                            Kevin McCabe
                            The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

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                            • #74
                              Originally posted by johneffay View Post
                              I'm not necessarily disagreeing but, just to confuse matters, what about someone like Brian Eno? Avowed non-musician and yet he surely has a foot in the prog camp.

                              Or Boz Burrell who Fripp drafted into King Crimson: Fripp needed a vocalist and a bassist, Boz was a vocalist who had never played bass in his life, so Fripp (mad prog muso obsessive who practises eight hours a day) just said "that's no problem, I'll show you how to do it..."

                              On the other side of the coin, you have Keith Levine: played with The Clash early on, played with PIL and yet all that time, his favourite guitarist who he sat in his bedroom trying to emulate as a teenager was Steve Howe...

                              Mods: Should we split this thread? I'd do it myself but I don't want to tread on any toes.
                              Eno is definitely in the prog camp and I like his stuff. I also like Fripp a lot. I remember hearing him demonstrate Frippertronics (an audience feedback system) in a record store parking lot. So much for the image of the prog as elitist! I think a lot of punk guys looked up to non-punks and tried to emulate them. Like your story about Howe, a buddy of mine who used to play in a hardcore outfit tells how the guitar players for Black Flag and The Rollins band really wanted to be able to play like guys like Nugent. But, a lot of punk rock guys really do hate the prog, and the origin of punk is often cited as a reaction against prog.
                              Kevin McCabe
                              The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by opaloka View Post
                                Well, there's obviously different ways to look at it and people have different experiences, but regardless of what punk accomplished or not, I think fewer acts 'break' now - in the sense that musicians can make a full career out of music. There are fewer companies with the resources to invest in promotion and tour support (fuel, insurance), the consolidated media companies put fewer eggs in fewer baskets (seems true in publishing as well?) There are fewer venues. Used to be the FM radio stations made their own playlists and had a connection to their geography - they played stuff from their own region, and you could have a regional hit. Now even the college radio stations have playlists, and the bigger ones buy them just like the 'real' stations (the intent being to better train radio drones). This all relates to how people value music, which changes from generation to generation.
                                I think it's true that fewer musicians break, but then part of what punk accomplished is that the standard of what it means to "break" is greatly changed and diminished. Many bands aren't interested in being mega-stars and are quite content playing to their appreciative cult and/or community audiences.

                                I don't buy at all that there are fewer places to play, there are infinitely more! It used to be you had to play in arenas or maybe concert halls and pubs. Now there are tons of shows in peoples' houses, bands like Bloodhag (speaking of Moorcock and Lovecraft* fans in bands!) who tour in public libraries (!), cafes and vegan restaurants featuring punk shows, art galleries, empty storefronts that bands just rent and put on things themselves in, and totally new things like live streaming internet shows. Seriously, if you can't get a gig today, it's because you don't really want one.

                                You are correct about Clear Channel making the cess pool of FM radio stink even worse, but honestly, when I was in high school and Journey and REO Speedwagon were the daring new music on the FM, things weren't that much better. That such is now called "classic rock" is certainly even more laughable, but so what? There are innumerable outlets for better and/or more original music online not only in radio-like streams but also in bands who make their own music available on My Space or Soundclick or wherever.

                                And College radio really hasn't gotten as bad as you make out. Yes there are some stations where an MD runs things pretty pre-fab with the intention of cranking out commercial alternative djs to make minimum wage playing the Hootie and the Blowfish of the day. However, I've been djing on college stations in the NW since 1985, and I can vouch that there are still plenty that are free form and feature music policies that favor independent releases. What's more, if your town doesn't have such a station, you can always listen to a stream or download an MP3 archive from one that does, like say, this little station in Portland, Oregon...

                                *enlarged and bolded for thread relevance...
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