Archive for February 2010

Interminably short   2 comments

There’s tons of negative things you could say about me, but I can’t see that I’m interminably dull. Surely my songs can’t be too long as well as too short?

Not sure that anyone has a “rangy beard” either, let alone Thom Yorke.

Local Artist   Leave a comment

Comedy gurn.

Posted February 27, 2010 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

Moving Tone Thom Yorke review.   Leave a comment

Patrick Widdess reports on Thom Yorke – The Corn Exchange, Cambridge, 25 February 2010

Fans were queuing outside the Corn Exchange all day for the hotly anticipated gig by the Radiohead frontman. From the moment it was announced it looked set to be the gig of the year if not the decade. Good news for the Green Party who organised it and for Pete Um, local experimental artist doing the support.
More accustomed to playing the Portland and busking with a ghetto blaster at Strawberry Fair, Pete Um seemed rather vulnerable, standing alone on the Corn Exchange’s vast stage. Undaunted and looking sharp in a brown suit he belted out his off-beat poetic drawl accompanied by mangled electronic music from his mini-disc player backing band. The uninitiated may have found the performance hard to engage with. One spectator was heard to remark “The bloke on stage sounds like he’s on LSD!” Overall the set was well received and it was a proud moment for supporters of the local music scene to see one of its stalwarts getting a well-deserved moment in the limelight.
Green Party candidate Tony Juniper gave a short speech reminding punters of the night’s cause before introducing Thom Yorke who made no acknowledgement of the crowd initially but strapped on a guitar and got straight on with the show with The Clock from solo album Eraser. “Time is running out… for us” he wailed gently, echoing the sentiments of Tony Juniper’s speech. Few singers have a voice so unique and well-developed as Thom’s and hearing it live after years of hearing it on record was moving experience. Radiohead have become to me, the musical equivalent of a best friend. Like friends I didn’t choose them, didn’t even like them at first, but they have remained constant companions over many years producing consistently credible and often incredible music.
Standing in the middle of a huge crowd captivated by the music of one man is certainly incredible. Thom moved regularly between guitar, piano and keyboard giving powerful accompaniment to his main instrument; his voice, haunting and ethereal. The set focussed on Radiohead’s later work and his solo album Eraser. There were also some new songs. In Give Up The Ghost he created a simple beat by patting the microphone and singing the melancholy phrase “don’t call me.” He kept this on a loop creating an eerie backing track over which he sang typically bitter sweet lyrics building up the backing as the song progressed. The Daily Mail was a bleak political rant at the piano and the rarely heard I Froze Up, an achingly beautiful lament. Although never a cheery musician he became increasingly jokey and chatty with the audience. Early in the set he stumbled repeatedly whilst playing Weird Fishes/Arpeggi. As the hall erupted with laughter his sullen manner evaporated. In a more serious moment he explained his reasons for doing the gig “I am sick of politicians not talking about green issues. What fucking blows my mind is that half the country is supporting environmental issues yet we are not represented in Parliament and the chance for that to change has got to happen.”
Songs towards the end included another new one, Mouse Dog Bird and Airbag. This classic from OK Computer seemed to retain all the power and intricacies of the original even when stripped to guitar and vocals. Whatever high expectations those attending had, they cannot have been disappointed. Classic Radiohead, solo material, and the debut performance of three new songs combined to make this the special night everyone had hoped for.

Posted February 27, 2010 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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Thom Yorke gig review in The Tab.   1 comment

Bloody students.

Thom Yorke
by George Osborn and Chloe Mashiter
on 26th February 2010

George Osborn

When the news broke that Thom Yorke had announced his intention to play a gig in Cambridge, all fans of good music in the city fell into disbelief. Yes, we’ve played host to many of the mid to big hitters in our fair university city; from Vampire Weekend, to Dizzee Rascal, all the way through to Bloc Party. But none of these acts are probably as big as the arrival of the lead singer of one of the most influential bands of the decade at the Cambridge Corn Exchange. Yet the bombshell of excitement that the Radiohead frontman let off by announcing the gig was instantly followed by my own personal wave of worry. I’d liked the Eraser as an album but it’d never gripped me in the way that Radiohead classics, such as In Rainbows or Amnesiac, did. Combined with the added pressure of performing without his band mates for the first time since Latitude Festival and the need to test out his new songs for his “supergroup” Atoms for Peace, there was some residual fear that the £35 ticket cost would fly into the Green Party coffers on the back of a mixed and experimental gig that left me a tad disappointed.

Fortunately, I needn’t have worried. The gig was an astonishing personal success for Yorke, confirming his position as an exceptional songwriter, musician and performer. His mismatched personal appearance, the combination of the fashion style and body of a 14 year old indie kid and the grizzled appearance Viggo Mortenson carried off in the Road, was never really reflected in a setlist was a coherent and intelligently selected back catalogue of both Radiohead classics and his own original tracks. Ranging from an acoustic version of Airbag to a subtly attractive The Eraser, Yorke managed to regularly tick off the songs that the fans sought to hear while also finding time to trial his new tracks, Daily Mail being a particularly firebrand and potentially explosive future highlight. However, the quality of the set list was merely the starting point to the success of the night. The key to the brilliance on show was the strength it found in the minimalism of a solo performance. As an example, the desolation of Like Spinning Plates and Pyramid Song, two tracks built around electronic effects in their original recording, was stunningly realised through a combination of Yorke’s pitch perfect vocals and the devastatingly simple piano tones he employed. His decision to prioritise his own musicianship over any attempt to create a grander scale gig was a thoroughly justified one. The sublime These are my Twisted Words demonstrated his own musical talent wonderfully, while the rare moments he employed a sample pedal to boost his efforts were rewarded by brilliantly realised versions of Black Swan and Harrowdown Hill that remained true to the formula of simple but effective.

As a result, what was really created was an atmosphere of unbreakable intimacy. The hushing that greeted Videotape was astonishing, sweeping the audience before Thom started to play, and a testament to the quality of the performance: everyone in the room was hooked on what one man was planning to do. On a new track, Yorke announced that he had previously only played it in his bedroom and for all we thought, we might as well have been sat on the edge of the bed listening to him in the corner. The immersion was night on total. It is worth bearing in mind the night wasn’t perfect. The long delay between opening doors and the first act was an irritant, while Pete Um’s eventual appearance and performance left most of the audience bewildered by a half hour that can only be described as the musical equivalent of an unexplainably strange dream. As for Thom, he made a complete hash of Weird Fishes while his vague call for some form of literal revolution during the encore was met with nervous shifts in the audience. But these quibbles are minor in comparison to what I saw for the majority of the night. Brilliant, beautiful and fantastically personal, Thom Yorke has given me a fantastic excuse to vote Tony Juniper: he may come and play again at the victory party.

Chloe Mashister

Whoever paired up Thom Yorke with support act Pete Um might just be a genius. Not because Um’s baffling music made you appreciate Yorke’s fantastic songs all the more; nor because Um’s somewhat shuffling, unimposing presence was the perfect contrast to Yorke’s ability to hold the Corn Exchange entranced for two hours. It’s that in addition to Thom Yorke, we were treated to half an hour or so of impeccable comedy beforehand.

I wasn’t the only one – by a long shot – reduced to giggles by Um’s frankly bewildering repertoire. Looking like someone from middle management come to give a motivational speech, Um sang songs to do with ‘geographical locations, or unemployment situations, or relationships’ over beats and laser sound effects. He might have been boring were it not for his bizarre dancing and penchant for wearing oversized novelty sunglasses during songs – he was enjoyable, just for all the wrong reasons.

The problem with writing about Yorke is that I don’t how many synonyms for ‘beautiful’, ‘mesmeric’ and ‘sublime’ I can get away with and if I wanted to represent my experience as accurately as possible, I would probably just write a list of those words. Yorke’s performance was simply incredible – I defy you to find anything more heartbreakingly beautiful than his live rendition of The Eraser. Yorke, with his causal presence and stunning songs, kept the Corn Exchange hushed and still, hanging on every chord, a very impressive feat that I dare say few other performers could achieve.

"Maybe worth discovering…"   Leave a comment

That’s like my entire oeuvre (starting to overuse that word, but I still have to Google it for the spelling every single time) summed up there.

Next sunday, 21.02.10, Pete Um will be the focus of our 21st siesta session. As a crooner of outer space he delights in cynical rants on life and love. DJ Kosten Koper (Radio Panik, L’étranger) will take care of the DJ duties this time. There should be a screening of a video of Merryl Hardt. Again, some fine surprises are waiting to be discovered …


Posted February 24, 2010 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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Ooh… controversy, almost.   Leave a comment

Just seen this at The Tab.

Thom Yorke will be supported by experimental Cambridge solo artist Pete Um, whose website contains several simple drawings of genitalia along with slogans such as ‘Democracy is for pussies’.

The Green Party Cambridge Co-ordinator, James Youd, said that the party ‘did not endorse this’.


Possibly matey would have to say that and so is playing it for laffs and I hope so but just in case the subtler things in life like humour and irony have got lost on the interwebs somewhere I feel like I have to point out that the figures in the drawing are goosestepping to the right…

A new low for blogging…   Leave a comment

I cut and pasted this from my Twitter page due to laziness. You have to read it from the bottom up.


Also recommend next time I’m first on the bill at The Portland as I reckon I will be full of mischief. 13 minutes ago via web
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Please send pyschic strength/goodwill/shamnic power cos Corn Exchange is 1800 capacity and that’s a big step up for me. 18 minutes ago via web
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Talking of which, here begins 48 hours of quiet contemplation and the ritual consumption of mint tea. 24 minutes ago via web
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Ah, I’m wasted in real life, me… 26 minutes ago via web
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Me disguised as Robert Kilroy-Silk but with the libidinal stagecraft of a young Iggy Pop… 32 minutes ago via web
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Dave would be up the front, both fists in the air, some gnarly hard-panned reel-to-reel shit bouncing round the Corn Exchange… 35 minutes ago via web
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I certainly wouldn’t doing the cheesy Greatest Hits set I’ll be nervously performing on Thursday. 37 minutes ago via web
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Mind you, I’d have probably still done it for UKIP. Think of the grist possibilities of that one! 39 minutes ago via web
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After all, I didn’t get where I’m not today without having principles! 41 minutes ago via web
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So all I can say is it’s a bloody good job Thom isn’t UKIP innit? 42 minutes ago via web
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But anyway since then I have always voted for The Greens, hand on heart, albeit thinking of it as a sort of protest vote in a sense. 43 minutes ago via web
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It was a long time ago. The world was very different then. Thatcher was in power, for starters. about 1 hours ago via web
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I don’t remember voting Labour but I have to accept that it is a possibility. about 1 hours ago via web
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I was a lot less idealistic when I was younger. about 1 hours ago via web
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Now I am haunted by the possibilty that I may have voted Labour in a local election in Surrey in the late-80s. Conservative stronghold obv. about 1 hours ago via web
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And so I only found out that it was for The Greens when it was announced on the Radiohead site. about 1 hours ago via web
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So I agreed to do this T. Yorke benefit shindig without knowing what it was for. Used to doing benefits for inarguably worthy causes… about 1 hours ago via web
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And this is the gig in Brussels on Sunday afternoon.


Um is the glint in Delia Derbyshire’s eye as she puts Kurt Schwitters and Julian Cope to the razor blade

Music/Arts – Performance
Sunday, February 21, 2010
3:00pm – 8:00pm
Les Ateliers Claus
15 Rue Crickx
Brussels, Belgium


21 February • 16:00 • 5€

Les Ateliers Claus, Crickxstraat 15 rue crickx, 1060 Brussels

LIVE: (on stage 16h00)

Pete Um (Gagarin Records, Germany)

EN / Although he comes from Cambridge, UK, Pete Um is a tape-poet in the range of great Neue Deutsche Welle artists, with sardonic humour and unreliable instruments. His love affair with tape recorders came to an end in 1996, when he bought his first synthesizer and came out of the closet as a singer. He then began to perform his weirdly short tracks, these electronic dadaist miniatures, full of the same kind of depressed mood Jarvis cocker used to share in his early times. Crooner from outer space, Pete Um believes in failure and accidents as some believe in love. He’s been applauded by eccentrics such as Ariel Pink and Felix Kubin.

Attempts to define his personality provoke his peers to phrases like…

…Um is an electro-dadaist pop star peddling audio anxiety and monomania from the digital kitchen sink
…Um is the glint in Delia Derbyshire’s eye as she puts Kurt Schwitters and Julian Cope to the razor blade
…Absolute belter of oddball proportions
…Hand picked to support Thom Yorke, 25th February 2010. So see him before he gets his collar felt by the Radiohead fed public.

FR / Pete Um est un poète de l’échec, un crooner sarcastique. Depuis toujours amateur de collages de bandes, il attendit 1996 et son premier clavier pour se révéler chanteur et performer. Humour britannique et provocation germanique se mêlent pour ces miniatures électroniques, ces morceaux bizarrement courts aux chutes étranges. Signé sur le label d’un autre excentrique, Felix Kubin, il appartient à cette lignée d’artistes inclassables, uniques et indispensables.



Merryl Hardt (FR)


Kosten Koper (Radio Panik, Brussels)

Dr. Koper first got into music after a stint in prison for stealing cars, when he should have been taking his final examinations, at the age of sixteen. On release, he had gained not only a life long fear of the police, prison food and crossing borders but turned into a recluse; staying indoors, collecting records, listening to music and dreaming of the day when he could grace the decks of Les Atelier Claus. He has an MA in Gender, Culture & Politics from The University Of London and now lives in Brussels where he animates the weekly show ‘L’etranger’ on Radio Panik, 105.4FM, makes films, and teaches the children of rich people how to spell.

His playlist for this session includes : Surface Mutants, Xiu Xiu, Scritti Politti, Little Girls, Tom Fazzini, Blue Sun, Vermorel, VK88, The Frogs, Inflatable Boy Clams, Chance, Jana Hunter, Poison Girls, Felix Kubin, Methodishca Tune, God Is My Co-Pilot, Human Sexual Response, Brian Eno a.o.

Also cheap bar and other Sunday oddities.

nb. Pete Um & Merryl Hardt are performing as part of the latest film involving Kosten Koper, ‘Marcel’, which premieres on 20th February, 20h30, Netwerk, Aalst.

Posted February 18, 2010 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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Marcel   Leave a comment

This is that thing I’m doing in Belgium. It sounds pretty grand for something I came back from the pub and mumbled into the microphone. The recent train crash in Belgium made it look as though I wouldn’t be going for a while.

‘MARCEL’ : A film by The Collective Marcel, avant-première @ Netwerk
A collectively made rocambolesque docu-drama about the factual and fictional association between three celebrated artists who gravitated around the surrealist movement in Belgium and France: Marcel Duchamp, Marcel Mariën and Marcel Broodthaers.

Music/Arts – Performance
Saturday, February 20, 2010
8:30pm – 10:30pm
Netwerk / center for contemporary art
Aalst, Belgium

View Map

A film by The Collective Marcel

Plus screening of ‘L’imitation du cinéma (The Imitation Of Cinema)’ (36’00”, Belgium 1959) by Marcel Mariën.

Saturday 20th February 2010, 20:30
€5 / €4.25 ¢ (concessionary reduced tarif)

Netwerk / center for contemporary art
Houtkaai, B-9300 Aalst, Belgium
T: +32 53 709 773 F: +32 53 709 772

Marcel is a collective, of Brussels based visual artists, writers and musicians, formed to make a film of the same name and give birth to a film director of the same name. The film is a docu-drama about the factual and fictional association between three celebrated artists who gravitated around the surrealist movement in Belgium and France: Marcel Duchamp, Marcel Mariën and Marcel Broodthaers. A rocambolesque mise en scène, hallucinatory decor and spatiotemporal collages make the reappearance of these ghosts of surrealism possible.

Marcel takes as its point of departure a reinterpretation of Marcel Mariën’s controversial film, L’imitation du cinéma (The Imitation Of Cinema) (1959), itself a satire of the book The Imitation Of Christ (Thomas A. Kempis, 1424). Playing on the intentionally outdated aesthetics of this historic film, Marcel critiques current art trends for historical reenactment in a similar way to Mariën who based a film on a book of religious devotion from the Middle Ages to critique surrealism and bourgeois Christian society.

Marcel was shot over five days in summer 2009, within the confines of a “conventional” film shoot, with all the hierarchical constraints it implies. The cast was a blend of professional actors and amateurs from the social and artistic circles around the filmmakers. Through a series of collective discussions, test-screenings and round tables it became a meditative exercise on the collective filmmaking process itself; adhering to Barbara Hammers maxim that: “Collective filmmaking is like walking over dead bodies to achieve your aim, and it’s a paradox which cannot be solved.”

Marcel is a deconstruction of historical persona, which shatters an archaeological cultural experience into fragments of non linear fact and fiction. It is a negotiation which traces and retraces it’s steps through historical landscapes and psycho acoustic fictional spaces using the worn-out cinematic tropes of film set & location shoot, classic cinematographic linearity, sound synchronization and image editing conventions, in an attempt to free itself from them.

For the avant-premiere at Netwerk, Marcel will take the form of an expanded cinema event, that has evolved as the result of collective discussion and experimentation. This event will blend film, music and live performance as members of the cast step out of the frame to create moments of “écran vivant.”

Marcel expanded cinema time: 60 minutes, English / French / Dutch dialog w/ English subtitles. Performing as part of the event will be cast members Merryl Hardt (FR), Grégoire Motte (FR), Douglas Park (UK), Benjamin Seror (FR), Pete Um (UK).

‘Marcel’ will be followed by a a screening of ‘L’imitation du cinéma (The Imitation Of Cinema)’ (36’00”, Belgium, 1959) by Marcel Mariën.


L’imitation du cinéma:

Cast / Crew:

The Voice Of Marcel: Pete Um
Marcel In Café: Constance Barrere Dangleterre
Young Bored Girl: Maaike Neuville
The Ghost Of Marcel Mariën: Bruno Marin
TV Presenters: Jean-Philippe Convert & Ivo Provoost
Director Of Foundation Marcel: Phillip Van Den Bossche
Independant Art Curator: Anne Grandhenry
Douglas Park: Himself
Soldier / Priest: Filip Gilissen
Performers In Bank: Meryll Hardt, Thibaut Espiau, Gérard Meurant, Laurent Anciaux, Marilyne Grimmer, Grégoire Motte, Benjamin Seror
The Police: Komplot

Based on a script by Jean-Philippe Convert. After an idea by Douglas Park

Filmakers: Jean-Philippe Convert, Kosten Koper
Production: Sonia Dermience, Constance Barrère Dangleterre
Script Supervisor: Eléonore Saintagnan
Camera: Federico D’Ambrozio
Lighting: Lou Vernin
Sound: Eric Tatepo Kembo, Kosten Koper
Decors: Marilyne Grimmer, assistant: Thibaut Espiau
Costumes: Annemie Verbeke
Make-up: Marie Brabant
Hair: Ludovic Constant
Catering: Sofie Haesaerts
Runner: Dany Dermience
Soundscore: Kosten Koper with music from Meryll Hardt, Anne Sorel, Pete Um
Editing / Post Production: Kosten Koper

Produced by Komplot.
Supported by VAF (Flanders Audiovisual Fund) and Netwerk.

Posted February 18, 2010 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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The Social Astronaut on The If Show.   Leave a comment

Nice of them to play me and then Can to rinse out people’s ears. Sometimes that song sounds great to me and sometimes not.

From 15th February:

Gil Scott Heron – Me and the Devil

Carl Orff – Exert from Schulwerk 1 Music Poetica

Geste – Ohm Sick

Bleeding Heart Narrative – Colours turn colours

Pete Um – The social astronaut

Can – Little star of Bethlehem

Lukid – Smart Girl

Dr Strangeloop – Are we lost mammals of an approaching transcendental epoch?

Jaydiohead – Change Order

Bleeding Heart Narrative – As if yearning was all and more than enough

E.V.A.C – Terra

Eurythmics – Ministry of love

These New Puritans – We want war