For some years now I’ve been looking for a green man incense burner.
I saw one for sale once in that shop that sells everything in Liverpool’s Albert Dock. You know the one.
It was a beaut. It had a long root-lined tray to collect the ashes. The green man himself was a large tree stump with a face. You put the incense stick in his mouth, so it looked like he was smoking.
I didn’t buy that beaut. I saw something similar in a new age shop that existed for a short while in Belper. I didn’t buy that one either. And since then a green man incense burner has been my “white whale”. The monomaniacal hunt’s been on.
Edgar Froese died on January 20, 2015. That was the day before my birthday, so I didn’t find out until the following week.
Edgar Froese was a founding member of the German electronic pioneers Tangerine Dream. Between 1967 and 2015, he was the only constant member. In that time, the band released over 100 albums, of which I’ve only heard about nine. Though I’ve quite enjoyed each, of those nine, only one has ever truly stood out for me: 1974’s Phaedra.
Phaedra is a masterpiece. I cannot begin to describe the meanings I’ve come to attach to its unearthly sounds and its slow, sad, yawning melodies. There was a six month period about 10 years ago when I would put this album on repeat at a barely audible volume just before I went to sleep. It’s therefore safe to say that the music of Phaedra may very well have soundtracked my dreams.
To wake up to its alien soundscapes, bleary eyed and heady at four in the morning, is an indescribable experience. Phaedra sounds particularly incredible when you’re cold and lonely in the dark.
So farewell, Edgar Froese. He leaves behind an immense, timeless, and peerless body of work, but for me it’s all about Phaedra, and this track in particular:
Mysterious Semblance at the Strand of Nightmares. One of the most devastating pieces of music I’ve ever heard.
If that were the sum of his work, he could still be viewed as one of the finest, most influential musicians of the past century. That this song is but the visible tip of an unfathomable, ever-shifting iceberg is really quite incredible.
A live version from 2005:
Actually, you won’t have the slightest bit of trouble believing what’s on this mysterious video I found at Glastonbury.
The problem is, nothing gets read these days that doesn’t have a shameless click-baity title. I fully acknowledge that I’m part of the problem. By way of recompense, let me take this opportunity to make you aware of a wonderful Twitter account entitled Saved You A Click. Everyday, they work tirelessly in the war against clickbait, and they deserve every ounce of your love, your support, and your fear.
I found the above three hour TDK VHS at Glastonbury.
Did I mention I went to Glastonbury? I’m not sure I did.
It was in a basket full of free stuff in the beatific depths of The Green Fields. Handwritten on the box, and repeated on the cassette itself, was the word “Babaji”. At the time, I was told that this was an affectionate Indian term for a grandfather.
I’ve finally had a chance to watch the video.
What was on it? The answer will SHOCK YOU.
Except it won’t. Why would it? You’re not so easily shocked.
In October, Pink Floyd are releasing their first new material in 20 years.
I have been aware of the music of Pink Floyd for as long as I can remember. It’s no exaggeration to say that they soundtrack some of my earliest memories.
I have never not liked their music. It’s always held something of a mythical quality for me, beautifully evocative of higher planes and blissful, otherworldly states of being. Sometimes the mere mention of their name is all that’s needed to transport me a little.
Since this news was announced, I’ve made a point of avoiding any and all online discussion concerning the new Pink Floyd album (which will be called The Endless River).
I’ve done this because I know how much people love to moan, and I know exactly what they’re going to be moaning about in this case. Beyond all those hopelessly tedious types who’ll wade into a discussion in the mistaken belief that people are interested in just how much they dislike a band, I anticipate that much of the discussion concerning The Endless River will centre around the idea that this isn’t a “real” Pink Floyd album.
Roger Waters isn’t involved. They’re not actually writing new songs. It’s just off-cuts from The Division Bell sessions.
Yeah yeah. The thing is, as far as I’m concerned, a new Pink Floyd album is, without question, a very good thing.
Why? Read on to find out. If you can be bothered.
Earlier this week I got back from my sixth Glastonbury Festival.
The annual Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is a big deal for me. As I explain over on FCK LDN, I love the darn thing so much that I’ve started to feel strangely Christmassy about the whole ruddy ordeal.
Now, I’ve already done the emotional gushing over there, so I’ll use this space to list the five best things I saw at Glastonbury 2014.
With the benefit of hindsight, I should perhaps have used my own personal blog to share the above personal ruminations, instead writing this here “review” for FCK LDN. But this gloomy place has been dormant for months now, and it could do with a bit of cheering up.
So here we go. Live on Lord Gloom, a list of the five best things at Glastonbury 2014. They’re in ascending order! I think.
After a deliciously bleak morning spent staring at the sea, we went on to explore Whitby in considerable depth.
What we found will shock you.
It won’t. It won’t shock you. But those Buzzfeed/Upworthy titles really work, and how else am I going to convince you to read on?