Sunday, 7 June 2015

SubVersion Stop 252: Muttley - Black Stars [2008]

Muttley - Black Stars - July2008 Poem

However adept one is at painting black over white
The moon will tell you otherwise within time
And these stars have many layers on their sights
And this sky is a tapestry of picture-perfect
Whenever you're down sing a song for hope
Even if worrying seems like all you can do
Ruminating over past actions won't help
Even if it feels like all you can do
These bright lights are your decision
Words aren't always meant to be red
Sometimes we're all wandering towards what was unsaid
But whether there's fruit is anyone's guess.
Black stars are in your head and heart.

~ This is a sleight edit to what I wrote in a mental health outpatients department in 2008 when induced with symptoms of bipolar disorder and psychotic depression. It has stayed in the back of my mind all this time. It is one of the favourite poems I've written. I will adapt it into an intuitive song-based improvisation at some point, as well as a mixtape. 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

SubVersion Stop 251: Poem - Love's Blazing Trail 04.15

It was without seconds, yet with them
An eye of a needle broken in lightspeed
The brunt of a rhythm like a tension surge
Surging surreptitiously about the room.

These particles of air are like nebulae
Falling over each other in contortionism
Walking with two feet
In the same place
In the same step

Patterns that radiate a cove of light.

It's loves blazing trail, a failed wound
Trips over it's two feet into the core
A heart beating in two rooms, two bodies
Yet as one, with all movement embodied.

Mick Buckingham

- Accompanying mixtape and free SoundCloud download to arrive shortly.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

subversion stop 249=250 - subversion recommends muttley: uncertain things (muttley's 27th bday mix)

subversion stop 249=250 - subversion recommends muttley: uncertain things (muttley's 27th bday mix)
feat. altus, asc, vangelis, foci's left (fl), little red, slow club, seconds before awakening, sky residents
(enjoy & eschaton), fanu, simon bean, 36, eveson, grouper; 1h 15 minutes length.

poetry by muttley
doctrine of unexpected endings and quelled finalism.
kicking a habit like the smoke was blown out of the room by a vaccum.
diarising over a point-free exponent of the mind.
missing the details where there should be cognition inside.
changing the format as if it were pepperspray across a restaurant table.
finding sinuous connections until we're rarely unable.
controlling uncertain things may be a doctrine of unexpected endings i find.
but it's another thing being just controlled by the tide...

Sunday, 15 March 2015

SubVersion Stop 248: Audiograft Night 3 - [rout] ensemble feat. Jennifer Walshe, James Saunders, Felicity Ford @ Holywell Music Room, Oxford, 13.03.15

Nightshift prospective review 11: [rout] at AudioGraft night 3, Holywell Music Room, 13.03.15
Audiograft's third event of 2015, organised by the reliable Oxford Contemporary Music and featuring sonic art from Jennifer Walshe, James Saunders, Felicity Ford and others, proves to be a remarkable event even just three pieces in. The [rout] based collective on display tonight forge new paths out of the finish Trevor Wishart, a pioneer of the term 'sonic art', profligated since musique concrete made headway from humble origins in the 1930s jazz destructuring, later advanced by The Radiophonic Workshop.

Recorded by Wire mag types Resonance FM London, this gig makes an oblique statement early: is the room about to explode? Because here the pipe system of the Holywell has been modified to impression springing a multitude of audible leaks. It's engaging enough stuff on the surface - peppered with instrumental sprinklings - but it's the second piece for full group, a dilated worldview organism of a score, that strikes as a collapsing limb trying to admirably rebuild its core aesthetic.

After a segmented voice and movement piece at its best in choral/body matching tendencies, then a 10 minute interval, the amply attended gig takes on a tutorial pattern recognition exercise where chromatic scale is treated as a cornerstone to voice a dual idea from - "A, B, E" - "strum, strum, strum", combining the small acoustic guitar and extrapolative leanings in body direction. A gong-y double bass tone starts out a more moat-mouthed exponent of castle-like sound sculpture. The wailing violin sonar counterpointed with saxophone and Christopher Bissonnette-esque tribal gong sounds like the waves began to play their own tune. The prepared piano sidelines a melodic bridge in higher register, only to be a postcard sent from a forgotten land.

The last piece is testament to [rout] collective's vision - a fantastic old school drama with disharmonic piano and mournful strings, topped off by French vocals. Strangely, for all the craterous pacing, [rout] seem to have their roots in all adventurous places possible.

Mick Buckingham ( /

Friday, 13 March 2015

SubVersion Stop 247: Do You See What I See (Audiograft [rout] proto-visiting poem)

Do you see what I see? 
All those red balloons

Those wines  and perfumes

Do you see they are beyond a tree? 

For, my lovers, a tree is where it started
An opal seed was planted
The seed grew in a vein of permafrost
Dissolving anything unlike itself.

The plant's leaves may be slanted 
Do you see what I see? 
Beyond the roof they have darted 
Like balloons, perfumes and costumes. 

Are they 
              Beyond a tree? 

[This is a poem I wrote down quickly in a notebook to mark my first visit to the Holywell Music Room in over a year - actually, since 2010 - the Audiograft festival night from Oxford Contemporary Music at the venue after some workshops in the day. I have been wanting to go back to the Holywell for some time; there are always good things to see; I put Greg Haines and Alexander Thomas (ANTA) on SubVersion's events in May 28th 2010; and tonight's live performance featuring Jennifer Walshe, James Saunders and Felicity Ford should benefit my mental health and continuously those around me]. :) 


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

SubVersion Stop 246: Balloon Ascents + Duotone @ The Bullingdon, Oxford, 23.01.15

Balloon Ascents + Duotone @ The Bullingdon, Friday 23rd January 2015

A duo tone, and a balloon ascent, both point to a shape or colour. Musically the monikers Duotone and Balloon Ascents seem equally sharing of colour and shape, as Barney Morse-Brown and the fast rising, late teens indie starlets prove on this double bill from Tigmus promotions.

Duotone, usually a one-man band, evade soulless pomp and on his first track lifted from 2012's "Ropes", the chirpy cello opener "Walking To The Shore". Barney beckons in well-orchestrated loops and exact delivery of his vocals in the manner of the record, but with a sense of place that is warming in the newly-refurbished confines of The Bullingdon. Speaking to the music promoter in the intermission, there seems wanting to put the previously pretense-heavy screen of the "Art Bar" name-change intent aside and make the bullingdon THE venue for live music in Oxford. With a start to the show like this from Tigmus, Barney at least hits his stride with the lilting loveliness of "Little White Caravan", one of Nightshift's tracks of 2015 so far. Peppered with two standouts from his first album "Work Harder..." - "Greetings Hello" and "You Don't Need Church", the result of the crowd's salute to Duotone tonght is shaping and colouring of ambient pop, in the eyes of one mass that doesn't need religiousity to power its group function.

And what a group function Balloon Ascents are in a longer linger around the clouds of shoegazey, dub-inflected indie that post-rock left behind. Subconsciously seeming to owe much bassline-wise to King Tubby, the wandering waltzes never meander in their own shadow, or fall over from friction between instrumentalists. The players all appear to be doing their job with a smile and this energy translates to the crowd. This is Balloon Ascents single ep launch since their Nightshift cover story
in September and the four tracks are "Cutout" and glued into the narrative tonight. Starting with that lead, then working systematically through to my personal highlight, "The Only One", for once a short, sharp shock of a 2-3 minute length works less well for the band, as they stretch their sonic intent further than the clandestine Radiohead influence. So while post-rock has been flipped out of the fold in terms of its peak/trough nature, the progressive nature of Balloon Ascents tracks
remains a strong connector that pushes their work further than genre limitations allow. This makes it sound fresh and exciting, for one, and also in terms of a live experience, they inject more welly into what may come to them by way of wonder. And wonder, duos of tones and shape and colour is certainly what their set is full of this evening.

Monday, 19 January 2015

SubVersion Stop 245: Storyteller + Autumn Saints + Little Red @ The Wheatsheaf, 16th January 2015

Storyteller + Autumn Saints + Little Red @ The Wheatsheaf, 16th January 2015

Just like tonight's headline act name, each performer in tonight's It's All About The Music showcase has a story to tell. Whether they succeed or not, at least on the merits of tonight's landmark crowd attendance (back to a packed 100) is debatable. But for this reviewer, each performer makes a greater sum than the parts, and a defiant showcase all their own.

"Defiant" isn't a word you'd normally associate with the generally wispy songs of folk trio Little Red, but tonight they are lacking a performer in the delicately-voiced Hayley Bell. Narrowing the track selection - seeing as the tunes are built on interplay between gender - say, "What Say You" which features halfway - and underpinned by a dark, bubbling core that deals with themes of love, hope and sometimes even quiet despair. Frontman Ian Mitchell and producer/guitarist Ben Gosling make the most out of a compacted message: more energy - playing to that well-worn stereotype of male strength - and less of the feminine charm that doted their warmly-received "Sticks And Stones" LP from late last year. As a result comparisons with Fink and even Level 42 support The Mercurymen on two of their new tracks bears more weight, but if the over-talkative crowd could shut up while they play so we could hear them in their best light, that would be most welcome.

"It's all vaporous my friend" is a lyric that can also barely be heard from second band, the Americanans Autumn Saints, and despite their set being fairly interesting, pretty much sums them up. They improve as they go, and although the majority are into it, and the Hawkwind/Jethro Tull-esque worded delivery of the vocals sometimes strikes attention, much is show and no substance, and they need a proper rhythm section and astute instrumental variation to reward patience. The Fender Rhodes keyboard style guitar notes that dot throughout the middle of the set brings the quality up a notch, as do the moments where clarity over loudness gives the band the knowledge of what works and what doesn't. They show promise, in short, but we sometimes wish they'd be autumn saints for real, not autumn leaves, blowing in the wind.

Headliners Storyteller take to the stage with a nippy blast of saxophone as the Sheaf upstairs reaches near maximum capacity. Their intriguing mix of jazz, ska and punky pub rock starts out brilliantly as does the turning of a Booker Prize novel. By the end though, with a nicking of almost the entire chorus of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" comes the catch 22. That is, like a story full of ideas, a novel chock full of pages, there's often a lot of chaff that could be edited down. Besides Little Red, who I really enjoyed, and the appreciated energy gradient of the night, Storyteller sometimes pen too many sentences into their sonic diction to leave you a little lost. They have all the elements to really go places, and a dab hand interplay between guitar and saxophonist. But like oversized books, autumn leaves and even maybe a little red, the vapour needs condensing for the ideas to fully blossom into something special.