Archive for July 2008

Trojan   Leave a comment

Stumbling with a blink or two onto Mill Road today I was heartened by the first example of humanity I saw, a pleasingly overweight (impressively yet not grotesquely fat) builder type with a shaven head and tattoos, but with the keystone in his sartorial architecture being, for me at least, represented by his Trojan Records T-Shirt. I reckon he knew it too.

Posted July 31, 2008 by peteum2013 in pete um

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Built To Spill   2 comments

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Built To Spill

There may be times
when your spirit is strong
and others will sense
that you can’t do no wrong
they’ll sit by your side
and map out your life
you must listen to them
let those others decide
for you are a fool
a babe in the woods
with the meat-eating trees
you can’t come to no good
you’ll tilt at a mill
cos you’re all built to spill
you will
you will
you will

This is a kind of ambiguous song. Often when I introduce it onstage I say that it encourages taking advice from others rather than thinking for yourself, which obviously goes against conventional rock attitudes and sometimes gets a laugh. The introduction may be tongue in cheek, but the song really is about the endless vulnerability of the human subject, and the potential impossibility of controlling one’s life in the pursuit of happiness and/or well-being. The world is portrayed as the dark forest of mythology, in which we are but helpless children. Our attempts to orient ourselves through this indifferently cruel and infinitely complicated reality are further thwarted by general human frailties, but also the various specific character flaws of particular individuals. Character is destiny, as they say. To believe otherwise is delusional, as tilting at windmills suggests.
However, this was a song I’d got half-finished when my computer gave up the ghost once, and, as it was one of those songs that seemed to suggest great promise and almost gave itself up to me fully-formed without a struggle of any kind, I mourned its potential loss with a heavy heart. Thus whilst the guy out of Animals On Wheels swapped motherboards video cards and ruled out potential gremlins one by one and generally ran the voodoo down I began to think of the song as having some kind of talismanic quality. If I could have saved any of the hundreds of unfinished songs that wait in utero on my various hard drives then it would have been this song. Happily, eventually Andy slew the voodoo and although we discovered that my drives had swapped their names in the trance of their possession, so that D became K and vice verse, I somehow got my song back. Therefore, to me at least, the song is a kind of prodigal son, even if it contains dark matter, and I think on it fondly. Also, since it has an upbeat feel I feel a little suspicious that this may represent a kind of duality in its nature, and I wonder if this hinted property may contradict what it says on the song’s tin (and inside) in the final analysis. Maybe, sometimes, things just do work out for the best, and that those who would act on their desires should screw their courage to the sticking point and take a leap into the void. Let’s fucking hope so, eh?

Posted July 30, 2008 by peteum2013 in pete um

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens   2 comments

Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird.

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass.
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
Of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Posted July 27, 2008 by peteum2013 in pete um, poetry

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A particularly elegant translation from Nathan Blunt, sometime Um road manager.   Leave a comment


Pete Um – No Pressure.

24. July 2008 by Chrissie

If one reads this record’s press-release, one can only shake one’s head in wonder. Pete Um, claiming to be more un-musician than musician, fiddled around on this new music for more than 7 years and in this time brought out an album with just 35 minutes in length, but which has 18 songs. But, cockeyed as this picture is, it fits the psychedelic kind of music – and even un-music – which one gets to hear on “No Pressure”.

“Sometimes, when the north wind blows, you have to turn your back to the south.”

Pete has already recorded a great deal of music, albeit on limited CD-Rs at home or on vinyl. However, his heart always belongs to the tape recorder – thus his early recordings would always go the lo-fi route, he made music just for himself and was too shy to admit to anyone that was his dream to make music. In 1996 he finally got himself a computer and matters got considerably more serious.

And so the actual record “No Pressure” is now one of these umpteen thousand recordings. What number it is in the list of official recordings can’t really be worked out from the complete discography. However, what is clear is this: he’s been making music for a long time, and one notices it. Pete knows what he’s doing, even if it isn’t accessible always or for everyone.

The music is a long way away from lo-fi; almost perfect recordings, diverse sound experiments and distorted vocals are the results, among other things. If it’s necessary to find a category for unidentifiable music, then one would file this somewhere between minimal electro, experimental, freak folk and psychedelic. Computer genertated music which doesn’t skimp on melody but never takes the direct route.

And then there’s the length of the tracks. At the start of the record there’s still proper songs, fractionally over 3 minutes in length, with lyrics and the whole business. And then, in the middle of the record: 3 songs, none longer than a minute, one experimental sound lined up after the next, the creation of confusion as a deliberate device. All that just to bring back order with the next track and almost churn out a ballad. That’s the way it is in many places on the album, as the number of tracks and the total length will explain. His experimentation does credit to his self-promotion.

Of course it fits in with this scheme that the vocals are only set in the background and often distorted. But then when one catches one of the tatters, there’s no skimping on the wisdom and the pain of life.

“See, nobody lives forever
and nobdy ever is free.”

All in all with “No Pressure” one has an album, which surely won’t appeal to everyone. A certain openness and a weakness for experimental electronic music is a necessity. And Pete doesn’t want to use force, that much it says in the title. But get involved with Mr Um, he’s delivered a truly polished album – you don’t get seven years’ worth of work from nothing!

Um thing streamed tonight, it would seem.   Leave a comment


The guy sent me the playlist after the event, which I couldn’t get to listen to. I know the songs pretty well though.

Playlist 25.7.08


Proof of Concept – Product of Experience
Pete Um – Soul Bruise
Pete Um – The God of War
Proof of Concept – View from above
Pete Um – The social Astronaut
Proof of Concept – Belle Journee Pour Les Reveurs
Pete Um – Holy Fire (Candie Hank Rmx)
Proof of Concept – Me one you none
Pete Um – The man’s got me beat
Proof of Concept – Cacophony
Pete Um – Wriggle on
Proof of Concept – It was a train
Pete Um – Indigenous Craftsman
Geskia – We are
Pete Um – Um for free
Daedelus – Make it so (Moonstarr Rmx Instr.)
Daedelus – Make it so (Moonstarr Rmx)
Geskia – 2Hour/Seahoses
Thanks Frank!

Babelfish translation of the Pete Over disc.   1 comment

Pete over – NO Pressure 24. July 2008 | of ChrissieIf one reads the press text to this plate, must one surprises the head to vibrate. Pete, more Unmusiker than musicians to be over stated, werkelte however at this new music over 7 years and in this time an album brought that only 35 minutes length, but 18 of song contained. But this picture also is so inclined, it fits the psychedelic kind of music – and evenly also Unmusik -, which one gets to hear on “NO Pressure”. “Sometimes, when the north wind blows, you have ton turn your bake ton the south.” Pete took up already very much music, is it now on limited CD-R in outwork or on Vinyl. Its love however always belonged to the Tape recorder – in such a way its early photographs drove on the LoFi rail, it always made only for itself alone music and were too shy to reveal to someone that it is its dream to make music. he added 1996 then however finally a computer and the thing became more serious around some. The current disk “NO Pressure” is now thus one of the zigtausendsten photographs. The how many official album cannot be made with the detailed Discography any longer really. Which is however clear: It makes already very long music and notices one also. Pete knows, what there he does, if that should be accessible for everyone also not always and. The music is today far away of LoFi, almost perfect photographs, various sound experiments and distorted Vocals is among other things the result. If it is necessary to find for indefinable music a category then one would arrange this somewhere between minimum Electro, experimental, Freak Folk and Psychedelic. At the computer generated music, which does not save at melodies, but never goes the straight way. And then is there still the length of the TRACKs. There there is at the beginning of the plate still correct of song, partly over 3 minutes length, with texts and everything therefore and to. And then, to the center of the plate: 3 song, no much longer as one minute, an experimental sound at the next gereiht, confusion donate than foreign exchange. And only to over then create with the next TRACK again order and almost a Ballade rauszuhauen. Thus goes in many places in the album, which explains the number of TRACKs and overall length. This makes the Plakatierung experimental all honour. Which fits naturally also into the pattern, it is that the singing is only hintergründig and often distorted assigned. But if one then times or other Fetzen receives, then at wise sayings and life pain one does not save. “Lake, nobody lives more forever and nobdy more ever is free.” All in all one has to do it with “NO Pressure” with an album that surely will not assure to everyone. A certain openness and a Faible for experimental electronic music must be in any case present. And Pete does not want to exert pressure, as much says us the title. But one lets in for Mr. around, is not opened a really sophisticated album – the 7 years work finally come not from approximate!

Chrissie at Musikmagazin reviews the LP   Leave a comment

Pete Um – No Pressure
24. Jul 2008 | von Chrissie

Liest man den Pressetext zu dieser Platte, muss man verwundert den Kopf schütteln. Pete Um behauptet, mehr Unmusiker als Musiker zu sein, werkelte aber an dieser neuen Musik über 7 Jahre und hat in dieser Zeit ein Album zustande gebracht, dass nur 35 Minuten Länge, aber 18 Songs beinhaltet. Aber so schief dieses Bild auch ist, es passt zu der psychedelischen Art von Musik – und eben auch Unmusik -, die man auf “No Pressure” zu hören bekommt.

“Sometimes, when the north wind blows, you have to turn your back to the south.”

Pete hat schon sehr viel Musik aufgenommen, sei es nun auf limitierter CD-R in Heimarbeit oder auf Vinyl. Seine Liebe gehörte allerdings immer dem Tape Recorder – So fuhren seine frühen Aufnahmen stets auf der LoFi-Schiene, er machte nur für sich alleine Musik und war zu schüchtern, jemandem zu offenbaren, dass es sein Traum ist, Musik zu machen. 1996 legte er sich dann aber endlich einen Computer zu und die Sache wurde um einiges ernster.

Die aktuelle Scheibe “No Pressure” ist jetzt also eine der zigtausendsten Aufnahmen. Das wievielte offizielle Album lässt sich bei der ausführlichen Discography nicht mehr wirklich ausfindig machen. Was allerdings klar ist: Er macht schon sehr lange Musik und das merkt man auch. Pete weiß, was er da tut, wenn das auch nicht immer und für jeden zugänglich sein sollte.

Die Musik ist heute weit weg von LoFi, nahezu perfekte Aufnahmen, diverse Soundexperimente und verzerrte Vocals sind unter anderem das Ergebnis. Wenn es nötig ist, für undefinierbare Musik eine Kategorie zu finden, dann würde man dies irgendwo zwischen Minimal Electro, Experimental, Freak Folk und Psychedelic einordnen. Am Computer generierte Musik, die an Melodien nicht spart, aber niemals den geraden Weg geht.

Und dann ist da ja noch die Länge der Tracks. Da gibt es zu beginn der Platte noch richtige Songs, teilweise über 3 Minuten Länge, mit Texten und allem drum und dran. Und dann, zur Mitte der Platte hin: 3 Songs, keiner viel länger als eine Minute, ein experimenteller Sound an den nächsten gereiht, Verwirrung stiften als Devise. Und das nur, um dann mit dem nächsten Track wieder Ordnung zu schaffen und nahezu eine Ballade rauszuhauen. So geht das an vielen Stellen im Album, was die Zahl von Tracks und Gesamtlänge erklärt. Dies macht der Plakatierung Experimental alle Ehre.

Was natürlich auch mit ins Schema passt, ist, dass der Gesang nur hintergründig und oftmals verzerrt eingesetzt ist. Aber wenn man dann mal den einen oder anderen Fetzen mitbekommt, dann wird an Weisheiten und Lebensschmerz nicht gespart.

“See, nobody lives forever
and nobdy ever is free.”

Alles in allem hat man es bei “No Pressure” mit einem Album zu tun, dass sicherlich nicht jedem zusagen wird. Eine gewisse Offenheit und ein Faible für experimentelle elektronische Musik muss auf jeden Fall vorhanden sein. Und Pete will keinen Druck ausüben, soviel sagt uns der Titel. Aber lässt man sich auf Herrn Um ein, erschließt sich einem ein wirklich ausgefeiltes Album – Die 7 Jahre Arbeit kommen ja schließlich nicht von ungefähr!