Archive for the ‘kid shirt’ Tag

Kid Shirt pagebundle New Album review   Leave a comment

Hope Kek doesn’t mind me shortcutting the conceptual purity of the original thang but if Jo Mouse gets any fatter she’ll have that baby and we always have to mumble Kubin’s mantra:





I had this dream the other night that Kek put on a No-Wave fest in Yeovil called No-Ville. I actually did.

Thanks again man.

He’s here:

and elsewhere too. Has great ears, I like to think, and always ahead of a curve you haven’t even heard about.

And in case you can’t see that, because I barely can:



Posted September 12, 2012 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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Powered by paper lol   1 comment

Ha ha, genius. Kid Shirt’s done an analogue blog

And there’s me spending ages feeling foolish as I try and work out if you can cut text from it 🙂

As I’ve said before when I first met Miss Hawaii he said “my character…is shame”, which me and Bobby always use, because we always have use of it. Johnny Loathsome once referred to a mutual acquaintance as being “stuck in a cave”, which he had some knowledge of, and sometimes I feel the walls round here getting kinda cold and damp, like today for instance. Anyway I don’t feel I deserve Kek’s words, or that album doesn’t deserve those words, and as many of them too. He’s such a dude.

Whole thing is a great read too. Even reading it as a pdf on a monitor does seem qualitatively different somehow, and jars with yr perceptual processes. The Libbe Matz Gang thing is a great interview too.

Right, must…move…towards…the light…

Just like that.   Leave a comment

Bless my favourite Shirt for writing nice things about the new record and the general daft gesamtkunstwerk.

8< 8< 8< 8<


Can't get started.

Where to start?

Don't get me started.

Magic; let's talk about magic. Pete Um as magician; a Pocket Gin-and-tonic Conjurer. A man for all seasons, a mobile intelligent one-man unit. A bag of ice in his pocket, his heart on his sleeve. A good magician never reveals the secrets that sit beneath their tricks; but the best magicians reveal theirs as part of the trick – they pretend to show you the hidden infrastructural underpinnings – and still make you gasp. And so it is that UM presents us with a series of seemingly normal objects – items for us to examine – does this thing with his imaginary songwriter's hand – a gesture that's the musician's equivalent of the white-gloved observe! – the preamble, the pre-reveal, the precursor to behold!, the bit where they invite an audience-member up on stage to acknowledge there is nothing odd or different or out-of-the-ordinary about this hat / pair of handcuffs / length of rope – how could their be?- "look how normal it seems" (Now, nod and agree. Thank you.) – and Pete, when he prepares to sing (or when one of his tracks sits there patiently on a platter of vinyl, a layer of ferrous tape, a reflective surface, waiting to be played; about to be played), kinda does the same: he seems to shrug, hestitate, luxuriate in his own seeming insouciance and say "look at how short, how superficially simple these things – these songs – appear to be. How ordinary, how normal – are we not all agreed then that there is nothing special about them? Nothing supernatural?"

But then he starts – the song starts – and the magic floods out. A minute-and-a-bit later, it finishes and we realise we've been tricked. Hoodwinked. "But that's…"

It's magic!

Next time, we swear, we won't be fooled. We'll watch more carefully. This is easy; I've got it now; just pay attention and we'll spot how he did it. No probs. You won't get us this time.

Ah…damn. He did it again.

And again.

"My shelving collapses from records I chase."

In the same way that a stage-magician pulls you in – makes you look where he wants you to look – we're wrong-footed, we don't get what we expected. He pretends to apologise, to stumble, be unsure – he's like bloody Tommy Cooper or something – but that's just stage-craft, see? That's magic – Ooops! What's this? – an ironing-board, pulled out of a hat, a ping-pong-ball pops out from a nostril. Oh! It's…it's a play on words, a sour observation, a moment I can never have back. You think he can't possibly surprise you any more – you think you've got his measure now, but – behold! – ah, no…that's, uh…

Each song is a world in miniature, a slice of his life (and yours), a mood, a series of micro-observations, little letters hand-written in biro on a letter from the heart. The voice, the words, the delivery…they draw you in, like the magician's white-gloved hand: the voice, close-mic'd / densely compressed / often multi-tracked – the listener is in the singer's throat now – inhabiting the song / the moment / the feeling – and it's like living inside a cavern, the uvula like some monstrous stalactite, a sculpture – and we are drawn do-o-o-own into each tiny sound-world, gasping when we emerge, breathless, on the other side. We blink in the sunlight, sit and exhale on the little bit of vinyl that sits, unscored, between tracks. "Huh? What..what just happened then?" But while we're in there, while we're in the midst of things – while we're being hypnotised – we grin, gurn and cringe with pleasure and not-quite-pleasure with each, uh…at the recognition of emotional states we can't quite put a name to – that maybe we don't want to – we laugh at our own recognition of the ordinary, at how it's been refurnished and sold back to us – we shudder at his bravery, at his nerve, his openness, his willingness to entertain at his own expense. We applaud ourselves for listening. It's like…being dragged through a word-hedge backwards, then forwards, then back again, each time a different view, different sensations, different soft and scratchy bits…at the end of it all, our skin itches, our faces are flushed, we laugh with exhilaration. And relief.

It's magic!

How did he do that?

Ten inches. An auto-compiled Greatest Hits, kind of. It's a long story, one partially related in typical Um round-the-houses fashion.

"My fatal flaw."

Sounds…tumble out, sometimes in a superfically haphazzard (is that one 'z' or two?) way, but just as our brains have caught the flow – figured it out (a process that takes approximately 1.19 minutes) – the song has ended, leaving us with the afterglow of recognition – of having figured out the puzzle just as the next one begins. And I think Pete knows this too on some preternatural level and maybe this explains his preferred song-length, except for when he does something different.

And, so…

Queasy, sea-sick existential shanties, sax-blart, ring-tone Casio pings for punctuation, lurching comic-macabre waltzes, a quiet, 'broody' sense of unease, random animal noises, Brechtian interior Nano-Soap-Opera set to groovebox beats and blarps, shuffling vintage drum-machine puhh-chuuft…puh-chffft…lurching Residential riddims, pre-sets reset to a default of Wrong, the one-minute masterpieces of Commercial Album stripped of their shrill hysterical pseudo-Fudd-isms and extended outwards by 25%, 'Anglised' and made new and whole, the vocals replaced by That Voice – that densely dry / wry / I wanna-cry mock-Hancockian world-view, sometimes plaintive, sometimes aggreived, sometimes resigned, sometimes stoned – That Voice which sometimes seems to come from so far Within, yet is equally capable of splaying outwards, of multiplying itself, folding and twisting and warbling its way through modulators and envelopes, helium-chirruping and down-pitching an escape-route out into some impossible, barely imagined Outside: a world – worlds – without end. A shed, a box-room, a lean-to, a spare-room, a bed-sit concertinas ow-ow-ow-ow-outwards, xeroxes itself, becomes crazed permutations and false copies of itself, becomes different, special…

The ordinary is transformed into something…else. The ordinary becomes tender. It's exposed – left hung out to dry – revealed in the cold light of day as…something else.


"It's all Grist," he'd say and pull a daft face.

Which is his way of saying, "Give me something – anything – a hankerchief, a ring, a notepad, a bag of ice, some gin – yes, you, sir! – empty out your pockets…give me anything you like, anything you fancy – the first thing you find – and I'll turn it into something…amazing. Something that'll surprise you. I'll turn it into a song."

"Give me a piece of your heart and I'll give you a piece of mine."


So, it wasn't just because I was performing with Ergo Phizmiz that I packed my Fez for Bridport lol.


Posted December 17, 2011 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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The Kid on Ritalin.   Leave a comment

Kid Shirt wrote a great bunch of splurt about this record here.

In fact I’m going to quote it in full here:


Saturday, October 16, 2010

If Nick’s twelve seems to play around with ideas of spiritual / technological attenuation, signal drift, futures-past, faded love-affairs with / hatred for The Machine (whilst also suggesting possible strategies for boosting the signal and re-establishing contact – restarting old dialectics and making The Ghost solid once more – without resorting to full-on nostalgia or squirm-inducing Hauntophilia), then Dave’s twelve comes to the table (the dancefloor? the bed?) from the opposite side of the Man-Machine interface and reminds us of what it could once do when it was all domesticated and tamed back in the Futurity-embracing 80s – when the Fonkmaschine was still a benign and sexy idea and CCTV only existed in Cabs videos and we’d let the music grab us by the short n wiggly quarter-inch jacks and its guidance-system would make sure our pelvic phallodonics were nicely lubricated n ready for a bout of zero-G post-human luuuurve. Baby.

My, what a long sentence.

Nochexxx reccids’re are misshapen, hairy, leery, squirty, shiney, chunky, hunky, squeaky, drunken, smiley, lumpen, bumpy, (cont. page 94). He turns strut into a syncopated lager-stagger (and vice versa); his beats sound like bones swivellin’, drunken muscles flexing, like a mechanised digestive-system squirting a mix of acid n enzymes into a bolus of musical chyme; he inverts The Fonk, The Jack, The Schwing into something more… willfully slap-happy and haphazard – there’s a gleam in his eye; a glint of cheek; but he’s a romantic at heart, really…

On “Ritalin Love” he ramps up the rude noises, the parps and the phat, rumpy-pumping bass. The snares sound like a slapped arse. It sounds awesome on vinyl. I don’t envy any DJ who plays this record: they look up from their instamatic-mix-beat-counter, only to find that Essex has turned into West Hollywood. There’s a parade – an infinite limbo-line stretching through 4-dimensions (back and forward in Time simultaneously) – marching past the DJ-booth: Fonk-Freaks and She-Things with different-length’d legs, hands on each other’s hips, swaying like land-locked sailors limping on their pegs, as they stagger-dance past the DJ – an endless parade of physically-remixed extras from old colour-saturated Peech Boys promo-films waving neon-tubes, wearing lurid woolen leg-warmers over unshaven legs, a sackcloth-and-ashes dress from Patsy Climate tm, zircon-studded headbands, just beggin’ you to get it on, baby, one last time….

“There But For The Grace of God Go I…”

“And I knoooooow,” sing-says a sample-that-knows-it’s-a-sample (it’s a sad sample, see? Sad samples always know they’re just samples trapped on a hard-drive, on a reccid), “Whoooooo gets your love….” And it’s heartbreaking to hear it talk like that; it’s like an old flame asking for one last chance. A regret entombed in an 8-bit waveform.

In one way, Dave’s and Nick’s records are strangely similar in that they both allow the Past to access the Present; they let the Dead draw breath again and look at the world with fresh, newly-grown eyes.

Both these records are the musical equivalent of breaking The Fourth Wall. Unlike – and let’s try and be truthful about this rather than unnecessarily cruel – so many contemporary artists who produce work that’s merely a form of sonic re-enactment; puppeteers who just put old tropes through their paces again and pass xeroxes off as Spontaneous Generation or Oujia-Board conjuring – but here, here I get a sense of Music Wanting To Be heard Again, of Musician-Producer-as-Conduit, of voices-from-the-other-side willing themselves back to life.

Life loves Life. The universe rebuilds itself from peco-second to peco-second; newness springs constantly from collapse, from Quantum Uncertainty, from Death. The Past inhabits us; our nervous-systems are like antennae. The Dead speak to us; they force our hand, force us to make them new again. Old forms and cultural themes perpetually rise within us like dormant viruses.

I don’t care it you don’t get that, or don’t hear what I’m hearing. It’s not important.

I’m not a critic, just a listener.

I believe in these things so that you don’t have to.

It’s my right to be wrong.

But this…this is on white vinyl, sucker.

And it’s nice to see somebody playing someone actually playing Dave’s music in a context other than, you know, in my room or on Dave’s teal speakers or whatever.

Shirt blogs Nochexxx.   1 comment

Kid Shirt reviews Smashing Your System & interviews Nochexxx!

Thanks Kid.   Leave a comment

Think this was probably worth a free copy of Bumskipper 1.

Posted January 25, 2010 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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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.