Archive for the ‘umbusiness’ Category

An Appeal   6 comments

Hey guys,

ha, floppy own-brand tortilla chips, peanuts and Lilt and vodka (just a very small medical dash for my damaged tropical child) for breakfast. Happy New Year. Can’t sleep so let my betters rest. A guitar string just pinged on the wall so I must be Accompanied.

I don’t know if you use Discogs but I do and I like it. I’m not one of those psychedelic revolutionaries that acts like a soul-smarm priest who’s pretending he hasn’t got anything in his underpants. I have baby, it’s here. I believe in the meta-fundamentals of the market. I believe in the Big Deal, it is holy to me. If a has it, and b wants it, then so be it and let’s haggle the fucker across. We are good creatures, don’t get me wrong, and people forget it and then get all pious when someone helps a brother out as if it isn’t written into us like hunger, violence and sorrow, but in that sense humans are alright and can’t help but help. Ants help ants, wolves howl for the chase, Biiiig Issue etc. Yeah, but fuck the Old Ways and Record Collector and that. My The Best Of Abba used to say £40 in the Book, but, uh, the internets is grease for human souls and the funny thing about capitalism, cos all human history is irony, is that which is finessed is also almost complete & thus over, man. What I mean is the web is The Final Auction, and that goes for eBay as much as Tahrir square or whatever. OK.

So, if you’re still with me, or ever were, then here is a racing tip for the lowest common denominator written on a peice of internet paper. Our pal Si, you shall know him by his name up there, has got at least one copy of Tripel 004 going at £2. Now I don’t cast aspersions on Simon, because of what I’ve said above, and because he is someone who both likes to live simply and also used to run an online shop, and since the two are incompatible the former will inevitably win out over the latter, thank goodness fror his sake. Tripel 004?, I hear you ask in your unripe foolishness, like dogs questioning the unlikely appearance of the Ace in the great fucking help of the sleight of hand! Well, way back when when there was no history of that to make a mad old man tell it like this now, yer Dave, my fucking Dave, in his Gold-souled wish for something more meaningful than what’s measured in money, stumped up for the Split. A thousand fucking pounds. Mastered by the fucking Faroe Goodiepal on a reel-to-reel (he says) according to his special specifications. Dubplates & Mastering. A picture disc. Designed by Animals On Wheels. Me half-cut in an amusment arcade in Padstow throwing it down like a Maori warrior or some PNG shit. It’s all fucking grist. Two Thousand & Five, Dave on the concrete tip, the audio derive through the raw tripped-out beauty of sound, where even TV cookshows can get souffled into something just-so that the absence of words leaves your dumb face in a squinch whilst your mind races for HELP. You know James Ferraro? Well, it’s not like that music-wise but it isn’t just the chefs. I feel this strongly. There’s a blankness, an overloadedness of symbols, that was in the recipe. Play the records side by side. Mix them together perhaps. And yeah, it’s half a giraffe of probably the best thing I ever did or will. I’m on Discogs, and you can buy the CD-R off me for not-a-penny-less than 5 quid, and it might be the complete thing, but that record is All Gold, solid fucking gold, and the only reason you don’t know it is because nobody told you, but I’m telling you now.

So, what I’m asking you to do, is please buy the record off Simon. I think the market value is more like £4.50, at least, so you’d be getting a good deal. We still live under a capitalist system, but this is a time of renewal, traditionally. Why not make it your first symbolic purchase of 2012? Please.

Thankyou,

Pete

High Fidelity: Pete Um's "Evil" and The Beta Band.   4 comments

Here’s a classic bit of Grist, or at least it is if you’re me. So, what, two years ago or thereabouts I do that song Evil which has just a smidgen of a sample of some guitar and some claps from some Beta Band tune – I don’t even know which one to be honest. I don’t do much sampling any more (in fact I keep meaning to force myself back into it because I’m obviously not a proper musician and I could do with the assistance basically) but when I do I tend to sort of shut my eyes when I’m doing it like I won’t be blamed for nicking the cookies. I don’t fetishize samples anyway, cos it’s 2010 innit? Maybe I would if I knew how to slice a loop onto my MPC but I’m essentially a dickhead and I march to a different drum. So yeah, because I actually like the Beta Band (one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to and I don’t really know why, cos apart from the films they just stood there and played and normally I like a bit of something going on) I kind of got infected with the vibe and to my mind that tune owes more than a few strums and claps to the old BB. There’s the kind of underdog’s ontological wrestling bout feel or tale of spiritual redemption or whatever it is that sounds like such a sincere rallying cry kinda vibe coming out of Steve Mason’s mouth and has the power to uplift in some weirdly northern English soully type of way. Hmm, put like that maybe the song owes nothing to The Beta Band ha ha! Anyway as soon as my pal Pilar in Hamburg heard the tune she professed herself a fan and before long was on at me about making a 7″ on which it would feature. Given she hadn’t engaged in the joys of negotiating one’s way through the treacherous terrain that one must cross to produce a piece of vinyl I was not holding my breath, but the project has crept along over the months for something approaching a couple of years. Then, recently, I heard the Greenmind bloke Mr Baker had booked Steve Mason to play at The Haymakers in Cambridge and I asked to support, only in part because I thought it would be funny to bust out the track in front of him and see if his face did something funny. Plus, if I’m honest, I thought he might like it. For one thing of all the music he’s made over the years I am a particular fan of his Sings Nelly Foggit’s Blues in Me and the Pharaohs record as King Biscuit Time, and in particular the track Little White. In fact just doing a bit of research for this post I came across the following description of the song by an Amazon customer:

“The EP’s real gem is ‘Little White’, a short, sombre effort that really doesn’t sound like anyone else – Mason really is some sort of unfocused genius with melody, and the sheer colour of his music. “

Excellently put, I would say. I’ve tried to rip off that short sombre vibe matey refers to several times, I can assure you.

Anyway, despite the fact that I forget the power supply to my mixer and it throws me a bit the gig goes quite well. Partly this is due to the fact that Simon decides to pay me in Guinness and partly because the soundman Rob misunderstands my request for a high table and has me sort of sat at a desk, which seems to work and lends itself to a whole range of intuitive upper body performance tics. After a couple of tunes I am pleased to see obvious signs that Mr Mason is not only present but also possibly enjoying himself. Alas, however, at the very point at which Evil begins he rises from his chair and goes to exit through the back door, at which point Simon (who is hip to my little Evil plan) twigs what is going on and hurries over to him to awkwardly explain that he is about to miss something he may well not give a fuck about. Indeed this must be the case for after he cocks an ear for a few seconds in the direction of the stage he continues out the door and I am ever so mildly crushed.

Then the Steve Mason section of the evening begins and although the band have a slight air of the “what the hell are we doing at The Haymakers” about them everything sounds pretty tight and polished and Steve’s voice carries everything along in that manner which is oddly difficult to define, and by the time they do I Walk The Earth there is a sense of BRITISH SOUL UNDENIABILITY feedbacking around the North Cambridge pub. After the show Steve’s reputation for not really being a fan of bullshit leaves me unwilling to exploit any shmoozing opportunities, and besides I’m enjoying some agreeably random chats with some agreeably random punters. However, just as I’m set to leave my Guinness levels must have been sufficiently high for me to speculate that it is not entirely unreasonable for the support band to say goodbye to the main act and when I do this I am pleasantly surprised to quickly find my “old man in a pub” routine, as Steve styles it, praised for its virtues. He also speaks to me quite matter of factly about a couple of other support slots I might step into on the rest of the tour, and asks me if I have a pen to write down my number. As I don’t he darts back inside the pub and when he doesn’t reappear for a few minutes I follow him inside because I am concerned that I am the one getting the favour and he’s the one doing the legwork, and, sure enough, there’s Steve Mason from The Beta Band at the bar queuing up to get a fucking pen so he can write down Pete Um’s number. I should relish this funny little moment of course, but instead I just feel massively Englishly awkward as usual.

Anyway, blah blah blah, eventually I get asked to play London and Brighton but unfortunately I can’t do Brighton because I have to go to Huntingdon to learn about mentees the following day but I do get to play Cargo last week. My set isn’t that great, partly because the whole Neil thing makes standing up on-stage and asking for attention a bit pointless but also because it is a bit pointless when the sell-out crowd are watching the World Cup in the adjacent bar, or all of them apart from about 15 people anyway. Luckily for me however, one of those people is Steve Duffield, formerly of The Beta Band. Thus it is that when I wake up the next day and switch on my computer I have a Facebook friend request from Mr Duffield, who is gratifyingly keen to find out where one can buy Pete Um vinyl online. As usual when anyone asks me this question, and in marked contrast to the amount of effort I generally put into making sure this information is anywhere near under anyone’s nose, I send Steve an exhaustive list of where you can get your hands on that sweet Um shit. As an afterthought, and because I’m half thinking about Evil and The Beta Band connection, I mention that there’s meant to be a single coming out of Germany but I don’t know where you can buy it. About a month previously Pilar had told me I should be receiving my personal copies of the record in the post within 7 working days but since I’d seen neither hide nor hair of them I’d come to believe they were missing for good. So, with a degree of spooky inevitability, as soon as I’ve sent the Facebook message and go in search of cups of tea and whatnot, I discover the bloody things are on our downstairs table. And this, dear reader, is how the first person to buy Pete Um’s Evil is a member of the group that sorta inspired the song. Pretty cool huh?

So, if anyone wants to buy into the conceptual wormhole that has Steve Duffield doing for the Um brand what John Cusack did for his old outfit, or even just buy a copy of the 7″, I have a few available at, say… £3.99?

I wish I had a link to direct people to a place where you can buy it online, as you can somewhere, but I am waiting on that. Suffice to say that the single is a split between me and Miss Hawaii, is the first release on HomeRec and has no catalogue number as far as I can tell. My tracks are of course Evil, as well as That’s Too Close. Miss Hawaii brings us Oyasumi. 300 for the world on randomly-coloured vinyl, i.e. they are all different!

DSCF0720

Pete Um/Miss Hawaii 7"s arrive from Germany.

Steve Mason Support again innit?   Leave a comment

Next Tuesday at Cargo in London.

Posted June 18, 2010 by peteum2013 in grist, pete um, umbusiness

Tagged with , , , ,

Party Records   Leave a comment

I have a nasty birthday next week, so I’m in party activist mode this week trying to make sure the damn thing has food and music and guests and stuff. As I’m super stinko-poor I haven’t bought hardly any records in about a year and a half apart from a couple of charity-shop things that were cheap enough for me not to be able to resist. In fact I’ve been trying to sell stuff like mad on Discogs to get the damn things out of my room and make a little dough to survive. Last week I had a good week because Guru died and some Finnish geezer bought a Gang Starr 7″ (Love Sick) I had and a Jackson Sisters LP and the Hi-Tension Record. Also sold some Psychic TV-related thing I only had the second disc of. Anyways money came in and records and mailers went out and then it all fucked up yesterday because I stumbled on a nice little stash of vinyl that seems tailored to the kind of thrash I’m hoping to midwif a week today. So, spent about everything I’ve got to live on but it had to be done.

Not a party track. Or is it?

Also got a Bohannon tune called I’ve Got The Dance Fever which I can’t find on YouTube. Oh yeah and ditto The Enemy Within the Sherwood/LeBlanc Support The Miners record. All 12″!

Local Person   Leave a comment

If you want to see me on the 25th I’m afraid it’s going to cost you £32. Also, apologies to anyone who plays guitar.

Kid Shirt reviews Giraffe.   Leave a comment

I AM NOT THE REAL KID SHIRT

Friday, November 13, 2009
UM: “GIRAFFE”

Welcome to UmWorld.

This CD makes me think of sheds for some reason. Tool-boxes rather than Roland Grooveboxes. Rusting scythes, the smell of WD-40, those little scraper things that you use to de-ice windscreens in winter. (Computer) Music for Shepherds.

Um.

“I think I just caught myself out”.

Tracks. Lots of them. Lots of tracks. Logic stacked laterally. Illogical longing.

Words are shifted around to make new sentences, new meanings; a Rubic Cube of words. Sometimes it’s something that’s a little bit like poetry, but not quite – synonymic and phonetic shifts – almost puns – other/times it’s like he’s talking to himself, chatting to dead air, open-mic over Rustic Crunk, joshing imaginary friends, drinking, playfully critiquing himself or getting annoyed by something that might (or might not) have happened earlier that day; it’s like a series of entries in a diary – blogsplatter n scribbled memos-to-self – sometimes talk-songs, sometimes soulful n semi-funky: observations, moans, pronouncements… all accompanied by an array of ratcheting samples and clicky-hissy percussives, a bass-gtr or back-parlour Electro.

(Some of the songs are instrumentals.)

“A male entity announces his name,” says an anonymous snippet of voice plucked from the air. I love things that arrive devoid of context; that force you to guess, to make up a story.

Sometimes he’s tongue-in-cheek; sometimes tongue n groove.

Later, on another song, a weary, downpitched voice says, “No, I really do feel awful” and makes me think of a half-dead cartoon horse. A plodding drum-beat and forlorn-sounding series of bass-strums trudge their way across a seemingly-endless field of mud – a Flanders of the Soul – singing: “I feel so depressed / when I get dressed”. I’m feelin’ it, mate; I’m really feelin’ it.

UmMusic wears its drum-machine on its sleeve for everyone to see.

On “Too Old For Sports” he comes on like a Beck of the Flatlands, a dissolute songwriter exiled out in the reeds and bullrushes w/ a sleeping-bag and his 4-track: “EQ my soul (my piss-up)…I’m on a hidin’ to nuthin’…” / “Scaring myself with the power of a biro…” / etc.

Elsewhere, he’s like a one-man boombox version of The Residents (“Curse The Calm before The Storm”)…fractured riddims n half-melodies rubbin’ themselves against a chair-leg like a randy flea-bitten Spaniel: “I’m gonna drink a lot of Guinness / and get real fat / I’m gonna get no pussy / and stink of cat / And not give a fuck / About this and that…”

Occasionally, he lists his gear or explains how he’s mixing/tweaking the music; I loove it when Process reveals itself and, instead of demystifying the act of creation – the glamour of sound-art – it folds back in on itself adding another layer of complexity. Revelatory auto-critique as a backing vocalist, yeah!

32 tracks! – not everyone’s gonna be a winner; but there’s no shit either; nothing bores or outlasts its welcome – this is like a quiet idea-storm: a procession of thoughts, camera-angles, memories, rambles, rumbles, micro-anthems, marching songs, drinking games, broken raps, Pop-monologues, miniatures, chamberwerks, salon songs, an orchestra of shed.

But the best pieces are very fucking good indeed.

“You make sweet milk with your guitar / it’s the way you are / a black-hole star.”

I think this is 5 years old, so I’m kinda ashamed Pete only came on my radar recently. On the sleeve-notes it says: THERE IS AH WHOLEHEAP AH TALENT IN THE GHETTO THAT IS GOING UNOTICED BY THE MAINSTREAM. DON’T GIVE UP I BREDRENS AND SISTRENS, THE STONE THAT THE BUILDER REFUSED SHALL BE THE HEAD CORNERSTONE.

Kid Shirt seconds that.

“Deep within my DNA is space for a missing gene…”

Comes with some really cool drawings and a list of giraffe facts.

posted by I am not Kek-w @ 8:26 PM
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Threads Of Life   2 comments

Possibly as many as ten years ago I received an email from a stranger asking me curtly if I “…still had Threads Of Life, Alco.” I wondered what the person meant for for a minute, but then worked out that they must have been referring to a record that I probably had mentioned on my website. I was in the habit of listing records I had bought as a sort of charity-shop hipster’s version of conspicuous consumption, so the email flicked a switch that eventually turned the light bulb on that hovered above my head and shortly after that the dollar signs appeared in my eyes. At first Google told me nothing, which was kind of a good sign, and then deep in GEMM’s listings I found some dude trying to flog this record for $1403 (funny figure, I know, but worth about half that in sterling at the time). At this point I started to wonder whether I really was in posession of the record myself, but after about ten minutes of sweaty fingering (a favourite hobby of mine) I was holding the 12″ piece of treasure I never knew I had. I had bought it in Sally Ann’s amongst a bunch of other records just on general cover-based instinct. I’m not a proper record collector by any means, although fuck knows I’ve got enough of them, but back then I was a real amateur, as this post plainly shows. Amazingly, the record was in really good nick too. I’ve actually just been in Twitter-correspondence with the always-worth-reading Kid Shirt, who sent me a link to someone selling another copy:

Alco -Threads Of Life – Rare Private Issue Progressive EURO 1350

Alco – Threads Of Life (UK Alco ALC530 – 1972) Ex /Ex+ Stunning condition copy of this incredibly rare private press progressive album. Recorded by the band Alco at University of Surrey Mobile Studio in 1972. A-Side contains a wonderful progressive suite, including sections augumented with the Itchen Orchestra conducted by Jonathan Palmer. B-side is just Alco themselves who are Tim Caesar – keyboards and lead vocals, Paul Fidlin – bass / lead / vocals, Ben Brooke – lead / bass / vocals and Julian Caesar, drums, / synthesizer / vocals. There are some tracks by the Itchen College Barbershop Shoppers at the end. Tracks are
Side A : Threads Of Life Suite (i) When I Was A Child (ii)Rain Upon My Mind (iii) In My Dreams. Side B : (1) Waiting To Be Born (2) Look At The Clouds (3) Hello Love (4) The Chordbuster (5) Carry Me Back To Old Virginny(6) De Animals(7) Humble (8) Bill Grogan’s Goat (9) Ashmolian

Funnily enough this listing contains several words that seem to allude to various Um themes and private mythologies. I used to clean the toilets at The University Of Surrey, for example, so it’s nice to think that the karmic wheel had a done a full 360 with this one. Anyway, I was so freaked out at the thought of the record’s value that I metaphorically hugged the thing close to my body and shooed the guy away who was enquiring about buying it off me, and for all I know he could have had very deep pockets. It seemed a cruel twist of fate that he should alert me to the value of the thing and in doing so place it further from his reach, if you know what I mean. The thing is I’m selling records at the moment, as I literally cannot move for the things both in the sense that my living space is severely restriced by them, and also they would represent such a collossal inconvenience if I ever wanted to get out of my current accommodation that it actually puts me off considering it. Plus I’ve got a lot of stuff that I have no interest in owning due to buying job lots or taking gambles on covers (innit!) or inheriting record collections just because people see you as some kind of record nut (a self-perpetuating myth rather like the harmoniums at Crabapple, where people donated harmoniums because of the harmoniums). And lastly because, although I have been laughably skint my entire adult life, I have never been as potlessly piss-poor as I am at the moment. I’m currently trying to sustain body and soul for myself and 50% of an 8-year old on about 50 quid a week and it ain’t really possible, let me tell you. My JSA hasn’t turned up this week and that’s been just fucking calamitous.

So yeah,

Live rates at 2009.10.25 14:42:58 UTC
1,350.00 EUR = 1,236.99 GBP
Euro United Kingdom Pounds
1 EUR = 0.916288 GBP 1 GBP = 1.09136 EUR

would be extremely welcome, so if you’re reading this let it be known that here at Um we say that IT’S ALL GRIST meaning art and life are one and the same if this post could function as an engine that alchemically transmogrifies my fated chance encounter with the certain Threads Of Life into actual Malcom McLaren-style CASH then I could actually go and buy myself the beer I could do with or pay my son’s dinner money or something.