Archive for the ‘portland arms’ Tag

More Indie bands Blog niceness.   Leave a comment

Tim from IBB being flatteringly agreeable about the gesamkunstwerk.

He reckons:

Pete Um

Posted by Tim on February 6, 2010 · Leave a Comment
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Pete Um is a solo artist from Cambridge in the UK, who takes the concept of experimental music to a new plane. His tracks are recorded directly to a computer, a 4 track or reel to reel tapes. Pete uses his computer as an 8 track machine adding his own inimitable instrument playing in real time and subsequent effects. The real work then begins as he spends many hours editing the finished article. His music is distinguished not only by his experimentation, but by a superb stage performance and tracks which are rarely more than a minute in length.
Pete Um

Pete Um

The music can seem introspective and perhaps this is driven by the desire that Pete Um has to keep writing about the world he sees around him. As he said in an exchange of emails I had with him, ‘…there doesn’t seem to be a massive appetite for the Um sound in the wider populace whereas I seem to have an endless fascination with my own stuff…’. I can assure Pete, I too find it fascinating and for those who can move their headspace to the world of Pete Um, this is readily accessible and hugely creative music. The vignettes are superbly crafted and concisely cut to the core of the sentiment. In the minute the track plays, far more is injected than I have heard on many LPs.

His prolific output explores a huge range of subjects, with the music delivered in the understated style that is the signature of Pete Um. In live performance his self deprecating, humour brings everything to life (review of Pete Um at The Portland Arms).

myspace page

This is a performer who will probably never gain the recognition he deserves and it is a great pleasure to have been able to see him live and have the chance to write about him. This is exactly the type of hard working, creative musician that makes writing the indie bands blog such a pleasure.

Posted February 7, 2010 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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Vile Bodies   Leave a comment

 I’ve only seen the Bodies once and I thought they were deeply unlikely and testingly brilliant, so I’m chuffed to be asked to play this, albeit rather aghast at the news that this is their last gig. Also my concert schedule was in danger of becoming indistinguishable from that of someone who doesn’t actually perform anymore so I think there would be some kind of conceptual unity if this was both a farewell gig and a comeback show at the same time. I can’t speak for Hot Fiction. This may be just another day on the rock ‘n’ roll highway for them.


Posted July 13, 2009 by peteum2013 in grist, pete um, portland arms

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Transmission Zero Success!   Leave a comment

My pal Gordon asked me to send him an MP3 of the old Um live favourite “Casiotone“, which I duly did whilst warning him it was pretty fucking awful on a great many levels, not least of which was the so-called production. He wanted it for his guest spot on a radio show, and happily he agreed with me about Casiotone and played something else.
Transmission Zero 24 : Gordon curates

January 09, 2009 11:15 AM PST
Track listing for podcast:

Dirty Three – Sirena
Taken from the Album “Ocean Songs” 1998 (Bella union)

Sinfonye – Mia Jrmana fremosa treides comigo
Taken from the Album “Bella Domna” 1988 (Hyperion)

Glissandro 70 – Portugal rua rua
Taken from the Album “Glissandro 70” 2006 (Constellation)

Dirty Projectors – Six pack
Taken from the Album “Rise above” 2007 (Dead oceans)

Boom bip and Doseone – The bird catcher
Taken from the Album “Circle” 2002 (leaf)

Um – Too old for sports (Ginners)
Taken from the Album “Giraffe” 2004

Um – The mans got me beat
Taken from the Album “The new album” 2003

Rudimentary peni – B ward
Taken from the Album “e.p’s of Rudimentary peni” 1981 (Corpus Christi)

Cutting Pink with knives – My head is full of teeth
Taken from the Album “Oh, wow!” 2006 (Adaadat)

Al Brooker – Cuterama
Taken from the Album “Quixotic” 2002 (Bella union)

Don Cherry – Brown rice
Taken from the Album “Brown Rice” 1975 (A & M records)

The Jesus lizard – If you had lips
Taken from the Album “Head” 1990 (Touch and go)

Blurt – Puppeteer
Taken from the Album “A factory quartet” 1980 (Factory)

Duke Ellington – Arabesque cookie
Taken from the Album “The nutcracker suit” 1960 (Columbia)

Listen with Sarah – Blue parsley
Taken from the Album “are you sitting comfortably” 2004 (womb)

Mahalia Jackson – Trouble of the world
Taken from the Album “The best of Mahalia Jackson” 1995 (sony)

Government Guide to Cambridge   3 comments

Thanks to Jo Brook for sending me this and for her usual superb eye for details. This 24-hour gig business has obviously now been granted legend status.


Ed James reviews Saturday's gig.   1 comment

The Vichy Government, Micropenis
Portland Arms, Cambridge, 19th July 2008

Ed James

The Portland Arms was sparsely populated for the launch of the Vichy Government’s third LP “White Elephant.” A trestle table bedecked with unwanted bric-a-bric limned the venue’s right wall, boasting various discarded CDs, chocolates and magazines that augmented our haul from the day’s record fair at the Guildhall.

The first act, Um, was about as entertaining and engaging as his name implied. Given a pirated copy of Fruityloops and a spare afternoon, anyone could have produced the lumpy, glitchy backing that underpinned the deep-voiced wafflings of a man who just couldn’t be bothered to put on a show. There was a bit of badinage that involved a print of Chairman Mao. There was a song called “Cocaine Jihad”, for Christ’s sake. A bit of “Britannia Hospital” starring Malcolm Mcdowell played in the backgroud which only encouraged me to explore the McDowell / Anderson oeuvre in more detail.

Micropenis (advertised in some sources as Maximo Penis) were dire. A woman shouts that she wanted to be alone as a bloke with smudged make-up cavorts close at hand. This is a band who clearly believe that using the word “riot” makes them the epitome of radical chic. Mao’s face was on display here too, dragging the audience into the 21st century with its meaningless slogans and ironic veneration of tyrants. This went several leagues beyond satire.

Herein lies the difference between the Vichy Government and lesser breeds of iconoclasts. The imagery that will serve as a bit of shock fluff from the tiresome runts in support, will form the basis of an entire song in the hands of Jamie Manners and Andrew Chilton. They work within a basic blueprint; Manners takes to the stage cloaked in an carapace of irony and weaves a variety of polemical structures over Chilton’s Yamaha beats and keys.

For those who don’t know them, Oxford spoken-word artiste George Pringle operates in a field that is sonically similar; but while Pringle sketches solipsistic diagrams, each Vichy song sticks rigorously to mining the selfishness and misery that imbues personal and political power struggles. Their set begins with a startling five-minute monologue where Manners narrates the circumstances of his own putative suicide, passage into afterlife and speculative conclusion that hell is here on earth. The lyrics don’t necessarily bear transcription; so much of their appeal is bound up in the iciness of their delivery, the hollow reverberations of the keyboards. The idler’s fantasy “Suspended on Full Pay” is the best anti-work song not to be written by Luke Haines. Indeed, this is what Haines himself might describe as “right-field”; challenging music that explores a perverse fascination with the squalor and glamour at both the summit and the foot of the political power structure. “The Loneliest Man in Ancient Rome” considers the plight of Mannero, a Roman satirist so successful that he inherits the laurels of office himself only to end his days “slumped dead on the throne”, a victim of his own hubris.

In terms of musicians that have a definable worldview and operate within the confines of a genuinely alternative (and sometimes maddening) microcosm, these men cannot be touched. It is a pity only that neither music nor the splendid venue are not better appreciated by a greater number of Cambridge citizens. Someone ought to have words.

Actually I haven’t used Fruityloops for ages, but I take his point. There’s some discussion board chat about this here:

I played a fairly low-key set, it must be admitted. Last time I played I was onstage singing “A Last Blast” for the nth time and I was suddenly struck by the understanding that I had rinsed the thing to death, so I thought I’d do some wilfully odd set comprised of old tunes, fairly ugly new tunes, remixes and what have you. After all, it was The Portland, and the first of 3 gigs I’d been asked to play there this week, and I was on first. I simply had no idea that Ed James might have been there.

I really do want to know if he was the guy in the Luke Haines T-Shirt. I honestly speculated that he was before I saw his mention of the Haines name in the text. Funnily enough I was sat in the Fort St George with some work colleagues, and I noticed this guy at the next table was wearing a shirt that said “…uke Hain…” (the rest was obscured by a dark jacket and he had neat hair). I wondered to myself if he had come to see The Vichy Government, and I mentioned it to Jamie when I got to the venue. I was trying to explain to my work buddies that having a record out isn’t quite the same as being a rock star at The Fort, and I’m wondering now whether matey may have taken offence at this perceived lack of passion. Also, since the first words I sang that night were:

“Well, I’m median

for an iconoclast

I can break things

If I don’t have to get off my ass.”

I think his journalism is as good as his writing. I suspect I’d have issues with his record collection though. No depth. No breadth. No blacks. That kind of thing.

Please, if the dude in the Haines shirt is your mate and he isn’t Ed James then please let me know because I’m holding back here in case I start laying into some innocent Luke Haines fan, if there is such a thing. I mean, what kind of man puts his name on a T-Shirt to sell to other people?

Actually we are all culpable. Recently I saw an Auteurs record in a charity shop and I paid a pound for it, thinking it might be worth something. The subsequent Ebay auction netted me 99p, I think. Obviously you make a little mark-up on the postage, but still…