Archive for the ‘grist’ Tag

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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Dereckvon Nochexxx Review   Leave a comment

Posted October 31, 2014 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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A Guide To Getting Hold Of Um Around The World   1 comment

An hilarious look at the spotty availability of yr grist, were you wishing to avoid international shipping cost+hassle, as it were.

Asia: No dice.
Africa: No dice
North America: Happily, the good folks at Mimaroglu are selling Can’t Get Started
They were good enough to say this:
“december 2011 release ; … fascinating overview of the work of contemporary uk “outsider” peter “um” gregory, a cantabrigian trawler of intersections between barrett-esque mumblecore & a-synchronous electro babble (with hints of uk post-punk diy squawk) …
… covering his “early years,” this comes (chronologically) after the (tyfus-covered, felix kubin-issued) “no pressure” lp for gagarin & the self-issued “babysitting the apocalypse” full-length ; highly recommended !!!”
South America: No dice.

Antartica: No outlets as yet.
Europe: Let’s subdivide this.
Germany: Deutschland is the only place you can buy No Pressure, my record on Felix Kubin’s Gagarin label. You can buy from Stora (where you can also get the Pete Um/Miss Hawaii spilt 7″) or from A-Musik
Actually, thinking about it, Gagarin might have been able to get copies of this in other places in Europe but I know they didn’t get none to Blighty.
Russia: Another Um exclusive for this mysterious ‘n’ cool lathe-only label Cyland Audio Archive. CAA#8 is a double 7.5″ EP of watery tape music from the fathomless pool of such recordings what I have done. To be fair I think it might cost you $35 whether you live in Saint Petersburg or in Godalming or Ghanzi but fuckit.
They said this:
“The use of amateurism and error as a means of composition characterize the art of Pete Um. It is important to understand that to be able to appreciate Pete’s work for CAA. His off-kilter methodology and stumbling attitude is still present, but it’s drenched in an abrasive and tape-hissy miasma. Worth it alone for transmutation. Here are the most intricate drones one has ever heard, analog meditations on life, anxiety, and death, bringing an incredible depth to what could have been a very flat sound, tape hiss clear as day with the distant warbles and close ripples sounding as if they’re inside your head, immaculate dreams filled with soft synths, galvanic and calming on so many levels, the silence is anything but, embedding the slightest shred of suddenness into every next moment, and going full on lumpy euphoria in the most restrained way, a heaven we never knew existed and never want to leave, this is masterful in its strange beauty, a perfect goddamn record.”
UK. By far and away the greatest suppliers of all Pete Um grist is Leeds-based online music retail heroes Norman Records, where you can buy reasonably-priced copies of Can’t Get Started, The New Album, Babysitting The Apocalypse and Giraffe! Amazing. Well done everyone.
I’m not going to mention Boomkat but I think you can get the split with Ascoltare there still too, but then you might as well just get that off Discogs cos even if you were shipping to the moon it’d still probably be cheaper and you wouldn’t have to read any of that “Don’t sleep!” business.
Australia. Nothing.

So yeah, if you live on Earth and you don’t do Bandcamp or you loathe global commerce or whatever, that’s what you’re up against. If there’s any way anybody out there can help with distribution I would be very pleased to hear from you. I don’t mind sending small numbers of stuff on flexible terms and so forth.

Nakamichi Taking   2 comments

Couldn’t resist buying a largely unecessary tape deck in Resale the other week, or bragging about it on YouTube:

Subsequently quite shocked to see some pisstake artist has uploaded some sort of parody of my serious hi-fi investigation!

музыкальные итоги года   Leave a comment

Thanks to Panarchist for including my stuff in this:

музыкальные итоги года
1. Musette – Drape Me in Velvet
scratchy dusty asthmatic elevator muzak for 2-story buildings

2. a) Pete Um – The New Album
b) Pete Um – Can’t Get Started
c) Pete Um – Babysitting the Apocalypse

Felix Kubin meets Peter Mamonov near the trashpile behind an abandoned
thrift shop in the middle of nowhere in the near future where
super-intelligent robot rednecks rule the universe:

3. Anne-James Chaton + Andy Moor – Transfer/1-2-3-4

“…sound poetry and musical intersections focusing on the themes of
travel and transportation, viewed from a factual (side A) and fictional
(side B) perspective.” (also check out “Le Journaliste” (2009), one the
best albums of the previous decade).

4. Lonnie Holley: Just Before Music
outsider blues

5. Mac Demarco -2
detuned jangle pop

6. Starving Weirdos – Land Lines
earthy hippies encounter astral jazz and explode

7. a) Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
b) Kendrick Lamar – good kid, m.A.A.d city
c) Chimurenga Renaissance – PUNGWE Mixtape:

(a year in hip-hop)

8. Fenster – Bones
gently dislocated boy-girl pop music, remake-remodel of Young Marble Giants

9. Markus Mehr – On
shimmering layers of orchestral samples sounding closer to My Bloody Valentine than to the nauseatingly
bland sort of “pop ambient”

10. Eloïse Decazes & Eric Chenaux
not dissimilar to the most sober, quietest moments of Brigitte Fontaine & Areski circa mid 1970s

11. Serengeti – C.A.R.

12. Tenniscoats – Papa’s Ear

13. a) Gui Amabis – Trabalhos Carnivoros
b) Passo Torto – s/t (actually from 2011 but who cares)
c) Tom Zé – Tropicalia Lixo Logico
(a year in MPB, or 8th year without a new Arto Lindsay album)

14. Burnt Friedman – Bokoboko

15. Pumice – Puny

16. Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras, And The Congos – Frkwys Vol. 9

17. Bisk – Memorabilia

18. a) Hospitality – s/t
b) TOPS – Tender Opposites
c) Hanne Hukkelberg – Featherbrain
(a year in chick music)

19. Köhn – Soulastalgia

20. Egyptology – The Skies

вне конкурса:
Swans – The Seer
Radio Klebnikov
Tags: 2012, best of, lists, music

All hail Felix Kubin for sending out Um-shaped underground smoke signals towards mainland Europe.

Posted January 18, 2013 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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Hickeysonic   Leave a comment

The man Lee Fisher with the grist ingredients here.

“This is what we played”:

PANIC AND CAROUSELS with Hickeysonic

Show 1: January 15th 2013

Emptyset – Armature (Collapsed EP, Raster Noton, 2012)
Nurse With Wound – Groove Grease (Hot Katz) (Huffin’ Rag Blues, Dirter, 2008)
Boxcutter – Grub (Oneiric, Planet μ, 2006)
Cluster – Heise Lippen (Zuckerzeit, Brain, 1974)
Receding Zones – Corridor (Receding Zones, Reject & Fade,, 2012)
Growing – Afterglow (Lateral, The Social Registry, 2008)
The Books – The Story Of Hip Hop (The Way Out, Temporary Residence, 2010)
Motion Sickness Of Time Travel – Day Glow (Luminaries & Synastry, Digitalis, 2011)
Jessica Bailiff – If You Say It (My Friend, My Love) (At The Down-Turned Jagged Rim Of The Sky, Kranky, 2012)
Broadcast – The Equestrian Vortex (Berberian Sound Studio, Warp, 2013)
Kling Klang – Position 1: Heavydale (The Superposition, Rock Action, 2003)
Pete Um – Machine State (Babysitting The Apocalypse,, 2012)
The Fun Years – Am I Having A Stroke? (Split Vol 2, Three: Four, 2009)
Kemper Norton – Warrior Log In (To Iron John, )
eMMplekz – Cleaver Squared (Izod Days, Mordant Music, 2012)
Gene Moore – Carnival Of Souls Main Theme (Carnival Of Souls OST, Birdman, 1998)

In good company there. Thanks man!

THE MAGIC BAND + UM   Leave a comment

Terrifyingly, I once had to support the Magic Band at The Junction in Cambridge. Terrifyingly, I’m doing it again in Colchester in March. It’s a cosmic injustice that some of these guys were locked in a shack for 8 months and subsisted on beans whilst they rehearsed Trout Mask Replica for 14 hours a day and then have to go on after some twit who sings over tapes but there you go. Actually the Cambridge gig went OK for me and they were tolerant of my minidiscisms. If you’ve never seen them I can attest you do get The Magic Band and French’s Van Vliet is like a proper inhabitation of the Beefheart voice.

Here’s the blurb from the Facebook page if you don’t feel clicky enough.

The Magic Band + UM @ Colchester Arts Centre
Public · By Colchester Arts Centre
Saturday, 2 March 2013

20:00 until 23:00


What can you say about the truly legendary Magic Band? Sharing the vision of celebrating the music of the late Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart, original members Denny “Feelers Rebo” Walley, Mark “Rockette Morton” Boston, and John “Drumbo” French share the stage with guitarist Eric Klerks and drummer Craig Bunch to re-visit the classic Beefheart tunes with renewed fervour.

Cambridge’s one-man absurdist electronica act UM provides the support.

All tickets £15
Doors 8pm

Get your tickets at the box office now or…
You can buy tickets via our website at (Just scroll down to the event and click on the BUY TICKETS link on the right hand side).
You can order over the phone from us on 01206 500900 (there’s a small charge for credit and debit card transactions).
You can pay by cash or cheque in person and there’s no fees at all.


Oh yeah, I got this email:

You didn’t win the eBay item : Captain Beefheart Trout Mask Replica Double Album

shortly before I got the message about the gig too! Weird huh?

Taren McCallan-Moore   Leave a comment

I’m forever in Taren’s debt because he donated his art, his time and basically sorted out everything to do with making sure this record has a cover, and one that looks fucking marvellous. Gratitude also to Dudfield’s the printers for their help in this.

Have a look at more of his mindbending art here.

Here’s a pic of me and him celebrating in the pub post-Apocalypse, as it were:


Gees grist wheeze   3 comments

Spin, spin!

Yes, the cheapest place on the net to buy the rarer-than-fuck 100FTW vinyl edition The New Album isn’t even on the net, if you’re a localist! It’s Mill Road’s most brilliant general ‘n’ electrical emporium of bits & bobs H. Gees! Ten quid! And, as much as I chuckle at seeing in the window, it would be great if it wasn’t there one day…




Many thanks to matey at Gees for his kind indulgence of my tedious folly or whatever.

“Secret Thirteen Mix 024”   Leave a comment

Oh yeah, caught up in the self-love of the post the other day about getting the big-ups from Ekolad I neglected to add an additional straw on the camel with this mix he’s done, featuring Mortal Song from Can’t Get Started in some illustrious company innit…

Love that pic of Nick.

And he’s a such a Discogs dog he’s even added my new record to the great database in the sky, which if you’ve never done it is a bit of a pain so much appreciated again dude!