Blog Archive

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

More Flummoxed with my Flickbook Anim!

After reporting on the Flummoxed event a while back here, I wondered whether I'd ever get to see my animation played and am delighted that the flickbooks have made it online! Yay! Mines even first to play, done in black playschool crayon...

mmmm.... crayon taste good.

It seems Trevor Woolery was responsible, and there's more to follow as this is just part 1. Thanks to CiB for blogging it here.

Here's the animations, in there full glory :) :)

Flummoxed Flipbook Workshop part 1 from Lonomi Productions on Vimeo.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Secret Garden [P?]arty

Well it's not over yet, but I went down to Cambridgeshire to check out the Secret Garden Party, which, all told, was strangely very quiet and mis-organised.!? I went down on wednesday to help artist Will Parker set-up the video installation we had been working on. Will's exhibit consisted of a time delayed video feed, one side of which was slightly delayed so you could, in theory, interact with yourself, a bit like this;

The first day was spent... waiting... for a carpenter, scaffolder, electrician, organiser - in fact anyone of any use to turn up and help us set the space. Lots of promises and no show from anyone. A team were building an entire bar in the same tent with food serving facilities and they too were waiting... and being delayed.. in fact they had to stay up the entire night building it ready for the 12 o'clock opening the next day with little help or contact from anyone from the festival. Will's install never got made while I was there due to structural concerns, a complete lack of three wooden walls and no electricity. We were promised that it would happen, but be relocated. I don't know if it ever did.

I've never been to the Secret Garden Party before and well, it was curious. It looked great - there were trees of shoes, random doorways, houses of straw and wood, random nan's living rooms, a dance-off boxing ring, mud pits, a boat and more props, flags, circus tents, surreal scenery and curious clothing than you can imagine, but behind this attractive frontage was a distinct lack of... well.. Party!

On wednesday the workers on site had to trek to Tesco, 4 miles away, to get food and drink as pretty much nothing was available on site - no drinks, no alcohol, no food! The dance-off boxing ring, which was the only place pumping music late and being rawkus were told to stop at 10pm and a topless girl was asked to put her shirt on. Hmmm... I went back to my tent at 10.30 bored out of my mind to relax for 5 mins and fell asleep, missing, I'm guessing, very little.

Grandma's living room in a field

So along came Thursday and the crowds started arriving - hooray! - but it turned out that the production of the festival was so far behind that the main stage wasn't even built for the thursday evening and, despite the increase in numbers, the place started to feel more like a theme park that was closing for the night than the first day of a festival. I overheard one conversation discussing how with only 3 people in the que in front of them, it took someone an hour to get through the festival gate as they were searching peoples bags so thoroughly.

Thursday night however was a vast improvement on wednesday, not that that was hard. So it's going better - I'm getting pissed on the alcohol I brought in yesterday from Tesco - a can of Red Stripe being £3.30 here (thats £13.20 for a 4 pack of lager!! Not exactly the reasonably priced selection of food and drink available mentioned on their website). Anyway I find a dance tent and get lost in a small crowd of zebra women, dandys' and deranged farmers. My minimal techno hit out of the way, I venture off and find that a Teddy Bear house is pumping - great methinks, only for them to announce 5 minutes later that they only have an 11pm license and are closing... so I find another tent with techno playing, and the power cuts out twice on the DJ who is working from a computer, by which time the crowd has begun to dissipate.. and they announce they too only have an 11pm license and are now closing........!! fucking hell.

Wrongness was on the menu at the Teddy Bear's house

I wander off to buy a drink at a little Honeymoon lodge, only to find they have run out of everything except Mead, which I except in desperation. Very little is going on. Fuck it thinks I, I've got better things to do than wallow in disappointment. I try to buy some food from a chinese shop, of which they have none left. "What can I buy with £2?" I ask. "2 Springrolls??" replies the guy behind the counter. So off I walk bemused with a single springroll wondering what the hell happened to my festival experience?

I can only hope for all those who are there now and paid £125 a ticket that Friday and Saturday were fucking amazing!?!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

How to be a Rivethead

Need advice on how to be Rivethead?
Need to name your Industrial band?
Seeking advice on how to date a non-Rivethead?
Wondering how to express your post-apocalyptic-ness at work?

Don't worry help is here...

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Recent Drawings (6)

copyright © Ben Neal 2008

Monday, 14 July 2008

Supersonic Friday

Rated as the best experimental music festival this-side of Sonar in Barcelona by someone recently (if my memory serves...) it was Supersonic again this weekend in Birmingham! What a treat:) As usual, I got rather excited at the Friday line-up... Saturday looked amazing with Battles headlining and Sunday had the delights of the ZX Spectrum Orchestra and possibly the most awe-full band in the universe ASVA.

ASVA are the only band I've seen (at another Capsule gig) in which I have totally lost my concept of time and could have easily been there for a month. People left crying with disappointment that an ex-Mr. Bungle member [Trey Spruance] could be doing anything as strange as playing as slowly and loudly as possible. ASVA make Type O Negative sound like Chipmunk-Speed Garage.

Anyways... I got asked to VJ again this year and again sadly had to decline. The first time there was a bombscare and since then I've hung-up the old VJing gloves and retired. The good news though - I get to be at the event and enjoy it as a punter. Excellent. Visuals were good in the medicine bar but what the hell was the pink and green shapes all about when Cutting Pink were on? ergh......

So why Friday? Well...

First up were Cutting Pink with Knives whose tracks Airz and Laser Hannon from their ‘Populuxxe’ album are a couple of the most listened to tracks I own, according to the trusty LastFM profile. They may barely be over a minute and a half each and completely spazzed out cybergrind pop nonsense, but I love them. Which may be a little more than the band themselves do, who were HAMMERED. It's their last gig before splitting and they swiftly massacred everything like a seasick serial killer. These guys were funny! Crowd surfing, throwing guitars in the air, crawling around the floor, throwing cans of beer at, and chatting to the surgeons in the crowd... great to watch! but sadly, after missing them the last time they played, I felt a bit underwhelmed that the songs I know and love somehow got turned into sludge. Ah well, it was funny, even if they seemed outta tune, outta time, outta key, outta their heads and considering each track was about 2 minutes max, you got a 'let's chat break' of about 4 minutes between every song. Ace, but for all the wrong reasons.. maybe..

Here's a pic - not from Friday, but perhaps evidence that CPWK are mostly mental?

Rolo Tomassi however were tight as fuck. Totally amazing set from a band who when I first saw them were dressed as a selection of manga dragons, bob the builder and Sam from Blakfish for Halloween - a look that I somehow still miss. None of them look very old. And this is usually pointed out early on, closely followed by 'and the little girl with the cute blond bob can't half scream with the best of 'em'. It is true. Eva, Rolo's incredibly sweet and innocent vocalist, can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand-up like porcupine spines as she snarls and adds a little pirouette. Rolo started strong but tended to peter out a little just before the end, similar to the last time I saw them - but the first few songs were just electrifying. They seem to be going from strength to strength this year too and just played Download..! Luckily there back in Birmingham in sept or playing in Wolverhampton in august if you need to catch them. Oh, and they're from Sheffield - I love Sheffield. Actually they appeared in my first blog on here.

Here's Rolo live at Rock City.

Sadly I missed most of PCM with the vocalist from Bolt Thrower... sounded good from the bits I caught though. Dalek were a tad dull for me, and I'm surprised they're on Ipecac but maybe they're just not my cuppa tea - big industrial hip-hop beats and serious rap, but nothing I'd write home about. I was keen to see them as they are playing this years All Tomorrow's Parties in December which is curated by Mike Patton and The Melvins. If I were going to be in the country, I'd be there! Among the acts are The Locust, Thrones, Bohren und der club of Gore and Fantomas playing The Director's Cut in it's entirety!

The Osaka Invasion was great, I was looking forward to Bogulta who did not disappoint. Playing electro-pop-cartoon-noise this Japanese two-piece looked and sounded great, as was Ove-naxx . DJ Scotchegg the KFC obsessed, Wrong Music genius was amazing. Playing his set from a Gameboy, this frazzled-looking stripey-hooded madman, clawed the air like the god of thunder, while hammering out 8-bit gabba blasts, smoking-nintendo-doomcore, and stars & bonuses. YES!!!

Here's Scotch Egg's Bach remake:)

But where the hell was DJ/Rupture? I was looking forward to seeing him, but couldn't find him anywhere! Was I just too wasted or did he not play??? Confused.

Anyway thank you again Capsule. We love you. Feed us weird things, more weird things.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Tweeting into space

I have found myself updating my online Twitter account. This disturbs me, as i get the distinct impression i am writing brief statements to the Internet for no particular reason, with no mission in mind and a microscopic audience. Status updates? What is the point? Curious...

Twitter Profile

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Alien plantlife meets Hip-hop / VJ Starwars

On the off chance you've not seen it already, here's the incredible and very inspiring video to Sixes Last by Alias created by 1st Avenue Machine. AMAZING.

Here's something a bit special too from Electraglide 2005 in Japan. Chris Cunningham cuts Starwars... Being an ex-VJ and a big techno fan, I got a bit wet over this...

Got Flummoxed!

On Thursday I went to Flummoxed at The Rainbow Warehouse next to The Rainbow in Birmingham. Last time I went their was Below - a rather epic and deep techno night which was quite a contrast to the intriguing events unfolding at 7 Inch Cinema and VIVID's collaboration event.

On entry I was greeted by a lady in what I can only think was a icecream van who relieved me of £4 and told me that a piece based on the No.11 bus route was taking place next door. So I wandered through and after a quick hello to Mr.Ben (Illustrator and purportrator of unusual musics) realised that the array of onstage musicians playing doublebass and violins were somehow describing the route of a bus...

Time for a beer methinks, and promptly walked into a beach constructed beneath the arch of the railway. So after getting sand between my toes, I plump for a bench instead of the deckchairs from which I might never leave. I'm given a flickbook and reveal to the guy handing them out that I am already armed with a crayon and ready for action.

So I drink and chat and draw my flickbook - a journey through the air and into an ariel view of me getting beaten in an arm wrestle, which I hope might appear online at the 7 Inch site at some point, as I didnt catch it on the big screen... The screen that's showing the flickbooks being scanned in and animated as their made...

So the event is about Fluxus, a 60's performance art movement involving such artists as Yoko Ono and John Cage. It's all about playing and making and doing and exploring. Strangely I have a long lasting link to Fluxus, as for years I have been using the name Phluxm to create and perform (as Artist/Musician/VJ/DJ) with, a name that evolved from Fluxem ('em - as in them) a cheeky rewrite of Fluxus. As part of that process I developed PHLUMX, VJing software (which is the same word as Phluxm with the last two letters flipped), a word that works in ALL CAPS or all lowercase but strangely not so well as a mix of the two. Anyway... shut up Ben... Here's a pic that I recognise from my Fluxus research at Uni. Can't think why...

Photograph of Shigeko Kubota performing her Vagina Painting,
taken July 4th, 1965 at Cinemateque, E 4th Street, New York City during Perpetual Fluxus Festival.

In the side room I watch Flux Concert 2 which involves a selection of performers called into play with the ring of a bell. The sort you have in Faulty Towers at the reception. A small steel thing, you tap on the top. Bing! Manuel!!

The happenings involve; a barrage of noise in the form of a 3 piece band, a message written on paper but never seen, which is torn to pieces on completion and thown into the audience, and a potato which is peeled intil there's nothing left. The highlight for me was John Richards's "Piece for Sparklers & Dirty 'Dutch' Feedbacker" - a new piece - which involved creating sound from heat/light sensors attached to candles. The electrical hums, buzzes and crackles are controlled through the lighting, burning and blowing out of candles, to create a sort of audio-visual, electrical/heat-light sound composition.

I couldnt help but think of two other works; one seen at Sonar 2007 in which the sound of tiny metal rods had been amplified on a tiny table - the movement of the metal rods was controlled with magnets to create a juddering drum-like performance. The second by Brian Duffy held at Ikon in which he had used the light from the stars to create sounds which altered as the stars changed.

After this Ian Francis introduced us to a video 'which they wouldn't normally show'. It was a video documentary about a government cover-up made mainly of hidden camera footage . It was all very serious and intriguing as a story unfolded of a disaster at some sort of atomic facility over which the media coverage had been suppressed. I did get a bit suspect of the genuineness of the footage when a worker (apparently trapped in a safehouse in a contaminated area for 3 days) appeared to be standing in what looked more like someones bedroom covered in tin foil... then through the back door of the room stumbled a mutant! It was the guy from the video, lit only by a group with torches - he stumbled into the room and collapsed. A niceley executed shift from video to reality...

Aha.. just found a little bit of paper with a few links on it about the inspiration for the piece which was called The Atlas Experiment. Try these for some real info: and

From here on, I relaxed on the beach watching the flickbooks animate on the video screen and laughing at the occasional whistleblow which called onto the dance floor a gang of silent ravers (all with mp3 players), one who seemed to be some sort of cross between the badguy in Flash Gordon (with the goldmask who melts) and a Transformer. On leaving, this strange being gave me a playing card, which I have just found. On it is written "There's a suit for your kind! Find them - this evening!". Which I did:)

Official Fluxus Site

Friday, 4 July 2008

another album that amazes me on every listen

Another album which is incredible and I still listen to a lot is Paw's Dragline. How they write such powerful stuff about things like a dog, or fishing, or drinking is just plain unusual... Post-grunge stuff, very American but what a fuckin album... I own it on tape and it is in danger of being chewed up and spat out every time I play it. I need a copy on CD which will have to be 2nd hand because you cant buy it anymore. I pretty much dosn't exist online either.. :(

This video is Jessie I'd rather have put Sleeping Bag on here but it seems every YouTube video of the band has been videod from across the room while watching it on ancient VHS equipment as the tape is being mangled...

Judging by the posts on YouTube for Sleeping Bag there's a few out there who also love this album. Death to Traitors was not so good an album, and to be honest the newer stuff sounds a pretty dull. Strange how sometimes a band will just unexpectedly pull an amazing album out the bag.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

On getting flummoxed...

Tonight I'm off silent raving at Flummoxed thanks to Flux-fest run from VIVID and hosted by 7 Inch Cinema. I am also told to bring my best worst vinyl for a 3 deck mix and a marker to create flickbooks. Can't wait:)

Ian Francis and 7 Inch Cinema have consistently brought exciting new music, film and frolicks to Birmingham. Here's an interview curteosy of Created in Birmingham

Don't miss out on the remaining fun at Flux-fest either, there's plenty more to be had....

PS. Did anyone mention I developed a piece of video mixing (VJ) software called PHLUMX used at a fair few 7 Inch events in the past?..? LOL