Archive for May 2015

L’étranger Création Musique Show #332   Leave a comment

Sometimes I think I wouldn’t have the massive Belgian fanbase I mysteriously enjoy without good ole Gil Lotrem, who recently convincingly detourned an unnoticed pile of Soundcloudy dumpings into an almost worryingly Pete-centric albeit post-economic signal-salad, which I thought was actually pretty good.


1. Claire Potter & Bridget Hayden – Ste’s Face is Full
mp3 from ‘Mother To No Swimming Laughing Child’ cassette / digital (Fort Evil Fruit, Ireland) 2015
2. Pete Um – Casiotone (Loud Vox Version)
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
3. Dead Peoples Records – 11am
mp3 from FMA, 2015
4. Pete Um – Chung
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
5. Experiments With Ice – The Definition (Of Culture)
from S/T LP (Experimental Records, UK) 1981
6. Graham Lambkin & Michael Pisaro – Leuchtfeuer
from ‘Schwarze Riesenfalter’ CD (Erstwhile, USA) 2015
7. Jeffrey Alexander – Genie
mp3 from ‘Floating Lights’ net release, USA, 2015
8. Pete Um – Cocaine Jihad (In My Pain)
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
9. Vasilisk – The Core of Africa and In Dying Is All
from ‘Liberation and Ecstasy’ LP (Musica Maxima Magnetic, Italy) 1990
10. Pete Um – Coleman Helpdesk
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
11. Claire Potter & Bridget Hayden – Still Woman Cold
mp3 from ‘Mother To No Swimming Laughing Child’ cassette / digital (Fort Evil Fruit, Ireland) 2015
12. Pete Um – Concorde
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
13. Mink – Now I Remember Why I Hate You
mp3 from S/T net release, 1994
14. Pete Um – Conformist Zombie Fuckwits
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
15. Dino DiMuro – another social services provider mp3
from ‘Dino DiMuro “56” Outtakes And More’ net release, 2014
16. Pete Um – Cassette Two
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
17. Path To Lobster Believers – Sinkie Vatory face\\\Orled First Match Your Festival Everen-Amen Doesn’t (Part 2)
from ‘Gorgeous Morpheus/Path To Lobster Believers’ net release (Swamp Circle, USA) 2015
18. Pete Um – Chinese Holiday
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
19. Maile Colbert – Doors and Doors and Corridors
mp3 from ‘Siebzehn bis ∞’ net release (Crónica, Portugal) 2015
20. Pete Um – Christ’s Tounge
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015
21. Pete Um – Chick Peak Korea (14_30_to_15_06)
mp3 from artist’s Soundcloud, 2015

Interjections and Overlays courtesy of:

Shortwave radio scanning across the dial

Ludo Mich and Koen Boyden – The Interviews
mp3 from ‘Jaan Patterson and Friends – ‘The Interviews’ Vol.3′ net release, 2015

Posted May 28, 2015 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

The Roaring Jester   Leave a comment

My pal Taren McCallan-Moore, the artist that did the cover art for Babysitting The Apocalypse, kindly wrote a blog post about Contempt, for which I am very grateful etc.

I first arrived in Cambridge in 1982 and in 1986 I moved to London. Years later, in Cambridge once again during the late Nineties or very early Noughties, I remember a curious sense of familiarity meeting Pete. I reasoned that during those early years I spent in Cambridge we must have crossed paths somewhere at a party or a pub. Perhaps we’d just seen each other marching to and fro along Mill Road. But when did I first hear Pete’s music?

I remember spending time with him filling biodegradable packets of muesli at the Arjuna health foods warehouse where we both worked for a time. One day, after Pete had introduced me to Vicki Bennett’s’, ‘People Like Us’, I went home and found his music online.

As a poet he’s a lyricist scraping nails across the blackboard, hammering his ambiguous oratory upon the asylum’s panopticon and alerting the lunatics within.

Much has been written about Pete Um online and in print, offering the surreal, informed and sometimes mellifluous treatises of analysis that he deserves. He has been a staple of the Cambridge underground for many years and if I were tentatively to offer some musical comparisons, I might mention Ivor Cutler, The Residents, Beck, Captain Beefheart, Harco Pront, Lone Pigeon and Gary Wilson. His performances are unpretentiously eccentric and even brave; there is an ad hoc video of Pete performing ‘Holy Fire’ using a beat box upon Midsummer Common at the end of Cambridge’s annual Strawberry Fair in 2004 – a performance wherein, like Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, the safe distance between himself and the audience almost collapses into brutality. The video for ‘Grow To Her’, from 2012’s, Babysitting The Apocalypse, stands in my humble opinion as one of the most moving declarations of love.

As a sound artist, his use of instrumentation is a technique of disquieting polyrhythm, carved from an assembly of subtractive synthesis, ripped from comfort and expectant staccato into an orchestra pit of seizures.

Artfully mastered, Contempt, has at its core a chaos that generates a glorious order. The form has a smooth analogue curve, seemingly uninterrupted by the minutiae of crude digital stepping; Voltage Controlled Oscillators like wet skin slip on enamel. The human voice lilts as if singing nursery rhyme, shanty, bar song or mantra. Sometimes you’re whispered to; an intimate share in significant furies and cheeky pop tropes, – ‘Yeah man, alright!’ he swaggers satirically on ‘Zen And The Teapot.’ Beat box drum, garage pump, playful and endlessly creative like a child left alone with cutlery, Contempt’s clattering sonar is an elegant present for the trained ear, the lover of indeterminate sync.

Like a wicker man shanty before the pyre, a lament, a shivering prophesy: ‘It’s like life is the biggest of bummers, when you’re caught with both feet in the past. I can see just where I came from, but I don’t have a clue where I’m going. Its the same song sung through the ages, death needs time for what it kills to grow in, death needs time for what it kills to grow in, death needs time for what it kills to grow in.’ – ‘Death Needs Time’.

The tracks are short, economical and absolute, careful and koanic doses without the drip fat of the languorous; a crisp defence against excess.

In ‘The Rebel’, the final track on the album, Pete nods to the film of the same title starring Tony Hancock, an anti-establishment gig about a downtrodden office clerk. Hancock’s daubing, naif autodidact becomes a fraud by accident in Paris when a friend’s artwork, considered better than his, is confused with his own. Taking his leave of the art world Hancock says, ‘I know what I was cut out to do and I should have done it long ago. YOU’RE ALL RAVING MAD!! None of you know what you’re looking at. You wait ’til I’m dead, you’ll see I was right!’ Is this Pete’s morbid and self-deprecating vision of an epitaph?

In 2002, The London School of Pataphysics, recreated Hancock’s fictional works and displayed them in a show called, ‘Anthony Hancock Paintings and Sculptures.’ Pataphysics, as Alfred Jarry explained it, is ‘the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality to their lineaments…’ Unable to escape the tautological bindings of the Spectacle, in that ‘The true is a moment of the false,’ Guy Debord’s description of a ‘victorious and spectacular real as unreal, where nothing is, until it appears within the Spectacle itself, even if in that moment of its appearance it would lose what ever reality it held,’ goes some way towards describing the sonic situation Pete identifies and opposes. In paraphrase of Jarry’s post-metaphysical phenomena, Jean Baudrillard wrote that ‘Pataphysics is a science, albeit one with an aesthetic sensibility; it regards “humour” and “the serious” with the same imperturbable gaze.’ This strategy, I believe, though devised in an attempt to resist omnipotent commodification in the realm of images, is at the heart of Pete’s musical world; a resounding critique of the contemporary sonic Moebius Strip – charged with poignant Pataphysical contempt.

‘Me and you, we do what we do, don’t be a moral slob. We make our lives, with forks and knives, we eat reality raw. Do it yourself. Everybody needs themself.’ – ‘Them Self’.

And there is the spirit of Jarry’s Ubu Roi in Pete’s work, the precursor to the Theatre of The Absurd and Surrealism, the antithesis to the Spectacle with which Pete satirises the complacent Bourgeoisie and the abuses of authority flaunted to engender success. Such piercing critique is an illustrious flame passed from hand to hand by those wise enough to carry it, and assuredly Contempt brandishes that visionary torch.

Pete Ums, Contempt, is available now in digital and limited edition vinyl from Bandcamp. If you’re in Cambridge, you can buy the round plastic version with a hole from Relevant Records.

With thanks to Alex Dougherty.

Posted May 19, 2015 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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Pete Um Soundcloud Dump   1 comment

If I had the time ‘n’ energy I’d write something about how Our Rich is dumping his old shit on Soundcloud and be weirdly fanboyish about it in an irritatingly pretentious way, as though in some way it’s mainly about me. Talking of which, AFX’s example has inspired me to uh… led me to copy it, obviously. Unfortunately, perhaps, no fan (because: no fans) is going to pay for a Pro Unlimited for me so I’ve only been able to take a tiny percentage from the folder called “um_motherlode”. I was going to do it alphabetically but I got hung up on whether I should start with tracks with numerals at the start of the title. In the end I picked songs starting with the letter C, and the 180 minutes limit was only enough for half of them. As it stands “um_motherlode” has 2676 files comprising 63.1GB of data, but it isn’t actually the sum total of all the funny music I’ve done, just because archiving sensibly is a complex pain in the arse. Some stuff never made it off cassettes, some data couldn’t be retrieved from shitty CD-Rs, some music only exists in project files so there is no mixdown, and finally I don’t think I’ve added anything to the motherlode for the last few years, as having one massive folder with all your music is an incredibly daft and impractical way of storing it. Although I will admit to having some remaining (albeit laughably-reduced) ambitions for my music, I still basically make it because I like doing it, and I still like it when I’ve done it, generally. This factor sometimes forms an allegiance with my innate fucking slackness, my addled fuzzy brain, my defining sense of doubt, my fear to succeed, etc etc etc, to engender a pathologically indisciplined way of producing stuff. And I suppose it’s an aesthetic I subscribe to or whatever. So, in contrast to, say, Richard, whose less-inspired and perhaps unfinished tracks uploaded to Soundcloud still benefit hugely from an unmistakable ear for melody and rhythm and a thorough understanding of compostion and arrangement, a substantial amount of my recorded music is either a sketch or a sketch with a bit of work. Equally, a lot of it is the result of many hours of detailed edits, but that’s kind of another story. So, to shoot this convoluted snake of an explanation dead with the pellet gun of lucidity: I have uploaded a load of tracks to Soundcloud, have a look if you like. I will try and make them all downloadable as soon as I get a minute innit. Still some physical product available via Bandcamp.

Posted May 19, 2015 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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