field reports from the old world : amidst the woodland hillside still

the main hall of  české budějovice hlavní nádraží was a throng with passengers queuing for tickets, watching the announcements and awaiting seemingly myriad arrivals and departures. i was for a moment a little hesitant that i would make my service back to praha in time to catch my subsequent connexions, but how the line moved quickly and i was able to secure myself the appropriate ticket with enough time to make my way up to the correct platform and board and early afternoon service back north across bohemia. how the route was slow and beautiful, the rolling hills unfolding as a little mist began to creep across their surfaces, and how a few familiar spots along the route had me reminisce on previous outing through these lands; the hlavní nádraží at tábor and the still half-drained jordán being the keenest reminders of magical times of years now steadily passing.
our service pulled into the hlavní nádraží in praha as the sun had slowly sunk below the horizon and the night was begin to paint the sky in the darkest hues, and how a light rain was beginning to fall, slaking the scene in a shimmering haze of neon and amber. i had a short while to kill before the kolín service would depart and managed to find a nice spot out of the rain, sheltered by the ornate facade of the old station entrance walls affording me views of the busy traffic that runs incessantly along the major thoroughfare. i just sat a short while, reflecting on the last couple of days and keenly anticipating the next couple still to come. i wandered back down to the platforms and took the kolín service, letting my eyes rest awhile in the carriage, the night now fully descended.
by the time i changed in kolín and boarded the kutná hora service a heavy rain was falling across seemingly all of bohemia; even for a brief while reminding me of the deluge of last spring upon these already green and lush lands. gladly, upon my arrival at the hlavní nádraži there, i was met by my contact for the evening, a gentleman by the name of vit, who quickly grew to legendary status in my estimations within the first hour of our meeting; his first effortless move being to have secured the use of a car enabling us to escape the brunt of the inclement conditions as we ascended the hillsides above the town to his outrageously charming residence high up within the woodland glades that offer such a peaceful shelter within the heights of the hilly districts.
all was very much in hand, it clearly seemed, as we made our way into his super-comfy abode, his beautifully gentle dog klaudie greeting us at the door, the oven having kept the ground floor nice and cosy for our return, tea soon brewing and a wealth of treats by way of a very special dinner prepared by lenka, vit’s clearly wonderful other-half. i took the opportunity to enjoy a much-needed cup of earl, as big a plate of this rich feast as i could manage and a little less than an hour to relax whilst vit and klaudie ran an errand to the local veterinarian, before we re-grouped and gathered ourselves together before starting to think about making our way down to the venue, the newly-established, and not-actually-quite-fully-operational holubnik, a new enterprise undertaken by vit, his brother josef, good friend mao, and abetted by the support of the local scene folk.
we made our way back down the hillside by car, winding along a path which soon had me quite disorientated until suddenly we were on the grounds of what used to be a very large brewery, but since thrown into disuse by way of economic ‘developments’ in the region. there cobblestone car-park had our vehicle judder and bounce its way to an appropriate halt as i gazed up through the windows to marvel at this impressive piece of industrial architecture, and how delighted i was that they had managed to secure themselves a new venue in such an impressive and culturally significant location, and how, as we unloaded and made our way inside, offering warmest greetings to some of the folk already on-site, i found myself opening an inocuous door into a really cosy, delightfully small and exquisitely-rendered room which served as the current venue for the operation.
within minutes i was delighted to find myself also in the company of the very cool josef, aka inau, who i had the pleasure of sharing a performance with on my first czech tour, on the final night in plzeň and how i have had the pleasure of crossing paths a few times since, but how he always manages to surprise me by appearing in a different location each time. still, this time proved to be yet more of a surprise as, after some short while, i got to learn that he and vit were actually brothers, and how the connexion seemed wonderfully sublime to me in the moment. two clearly legendary gentlemen had just revealed themselves as legendary brothers; splendid, splendid stuff indeed, and how i felt doubly-honoured to have made their dual-acquaintance in this, their newest venture in support of the outrageously fascinating czech music scene.
still, beside all of this newly-realised warmth of connexions, there was a show about to take place, and i can only imagine i was the only one in the room who really had no idea what was about to happen when the astonishing edoshův kurník took to the stage. from my, still regrettably quite limited experience, i have noted quite a theatrical-bent to a goodly number of czech hip hop acts, and so having had the term bounded around before the show i had a mild inkling in the right direction, but to see their performance in action really was something massively different indeed. i would not be able to do justice to the full spectacle in these short lines, but i can reveal that we are dealing with a four-member rap team, two male, two female, all super-young, and all seemingly bent on completely distorting reality for the duration of any given performance. i promise that you have absolutely no idea, and i am still trying to come to terms with being able to fully comprehend the madness in which they threw upon us this night. be sure to investigate.
somehow, it seemed, i was supposed to follow-up their performance in the best manner that i could, and feel that i might just well have managed to acquit myself admirably enough, performance an almost-pauseless blend of iron filings and sellotape materials combined with a number of songs from my recent ‘six six seven‘ tape into quite the psychedelic whole, and allowing myself enough room for a few quieter spoken-word sections to drift in between the more chaotic peaks, and how the crowd was gracious enough for me to be able to perform a suitably-enjoyable rendition of ‘listen the night‘ by way on an encore. later i would realise yet-further how suitably fitting this was, when vit revealed to me that my dear older brother 2econd class citizen had performed a house-show in his beautiful hillside manner the year previous; marvelous stuff indeed, and yet more splendid moment of warm connexions further realised.
with the shows wrapped up by ten o’clock in order to comply with current legislation, the audience of dear friends slowly made their seperate ways onto different locations to continue their evening whilst a few more of us remained, finishing our svařené víno and shutting down the marvelous holubnik compound til we were reduced to just myself, vit and his good friend mao, who was very keen for the three of us to head on to ‘na valech’; his absolute favourite pub in all of kutná hora. vit assured me that this was very much the place we ought to head to, and how i needed no further convincing. with the venue secured for the night we made way back through the winding streets once again til arriving at this extra-special location, and how it did indeed reveal itself in that way from the very first moment.
although i am a little hazy on the exact detail, the name ‘na valech’ relates to the name of the original old wall of the town and how the pub is indeed set within the architecture of what remains of the medieval construction to protect the people of kutná hora from invaders in distant times. still, how the pub itself is an immediately welcoming prospect, the perfect tavern that could almost appear ‘unchanged’ in the last thousand years or so, and how we were soon sat at a long table surrounded by a group of immediately charming and wonderful friends of vit and mao’s; regulars in this fine establishment, no doubt. how i immediately got to make the fine acquaintance of deka and his very charming wife míša, and exchanged very friendly smiles with a whole host of warm souls gathered along the full length of the table. conversation was soon flowing thick and fast and how, nikola, the very enchanting barmaid, was quick to repeatedly set a host of dangerous shots on the table for us; one of which being labelled as the ‘devil’ itself. big business indeed.
how the night bled on into the early hours with a mix of fascinating conversation from all quarters, a goodly deal of amusement, silliness and roaring laughter, more and more drink and dangerous shots arriving at the seemingly merciless hands of nikola, and how it was indeed really rather difficult to force ourselves to bid farewell to the souls communed on this wintry night. still, vit, mao and i stumbled out into the night and bid each other farewells as vit and i made the final walk back up the hillside to the quiet and safely of his hillside manner, and how the heavy rainclouds had been swept away by the evening breezes, causing all of the stars to emerge over kutná hora and our path offering beautiful vistas of the town drifting away below us as we made our ascent to our sleeping quarters, with just enough time to take a final tea, take in the last of the evening air and then retire into the dreaming once more.
how i must have slept incredibly well, vit’s house being so particularly comfy and the snoozing klaudie to watch over me as the morning crept onwards. i must not have arisen until around eleven o’clock in the morning and how the bright sunlight was streaming in through the windows from between the trees of the woodlands opposite the house. for the first moments, i wasn’t sure if i was alone in the house and had to reduce myself to knocking on the door of the master bedroom, only to find vit himself still slowly coming out the dreaming. we made our arrangements regarding my departure to the hlavní nádraži and how it afforded us enough time to handle our online business, drink a little earl and feast upon some much-needed toasted sandwiches conjured up by the man himself. but time was short and how my next train service beckoned.
at a little after midday we stepped back out into the fresh air of the kutná hora hillsides once more and took a gentle stroll through the copse and down into the disctrict of sedlec which lead back to the hlavní nádraži. it was, of course, at this exact moment that it dawned on me that it was the very same sedlec that contains sedlecká kostnice; the world-famous ossuary which i had so often had the greatest desire to visit, even planning it into the itinerary of my last czech tour with my dyxz.born.rndr brothers, only to be foiled at the last minute, and here i was again, just some hundred meters from the site, but with no time and a train to catch, the horror! i think my mix of disappointed excitement rather amused vit and how i distinctly recall arranging that we must make time to view the site, next time! we arrived at the hlavní nádraži and he graciously waited with me for the last ten minutes before my trains arrival, a gentleman to the last, and a wonderful guide and host on a wonderful excursion to this magical new spot on my czech map.
so, might i take a moment to offer so much thanks and appreciation to everyone involved and everyone who made it down to the show at the charming holubnik. the masters brothers holub, vit and josef, the very cool captain mao, the very exceptional edoshův kurník for their amazing performance and very kind words afterwards, to the very cool kubeat for his outstanding beatbox contributions and kind words, to all those whose names i didn’t get to learn, to lenka for the super-nice food that gave me the energy for the adventure, and to deka, míša, nikola and the whole of the wonderful na valech family, who made me feel so very welcome in their extra-special world for the evening. how i am sincerely looking forward to next time so much already.
next field report : fog shrouding the steel heart of the republic

babelfishh – anxiety lesions – out now

the brutal, unrelenting horror, ascending in mounting waves, forever, on fire. with grim despair might we announce that the new tape release from the bloodied claws of babelfishh is now upon us, entitled ‘anxiety lesions‘, featuring thirty minutes of unbroken devastation and now available via the unchurch of divergent series; the unhallowed frkse ever at the monolithic helm.
fifteen songs of cruelty and abuse, mayhem and desolation, grind and destruction, absolutely wall-to-wall with unbridled chews of unharmonious deconsecration; the tape is a filthy sprawling mess of gut-wrenching terror and surely fits as the next salvo in the macabre canon, following on from the unspeakable desolation of ‘howl bender‘.

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be sure to seriously think about fixing yourself a copy, as these murderous beasts shall surely disappear faster than the frantic binge of hideous weeks that took to create them. also featuring my own haggard final fingers as i sought to mince the tracks through my own appalling workshop of despair. buy now, pay forever. six six lesions.

ستة ستة سبعة | instrumentals | out now | vi . vi . vii

in further continued celebration of my, now critically acclaimed and indeed award-winning,  ‘six six seven‘ release, might i be so bold as to present the complete, unabridged instrumentals for the entire release, available for a reasonable sum from my own bandcamp page, containing my own production efforts alongside the enigmatic j.mason of iron filings and sellotape, and featuring the trumpet of s.huber and clarinet of m.born.
how i am consistently overwhelmed and jubilant at the reception this release has received thusfar, and how it gives me great pleasure to be able to extend the experience yet further by offering these instrumental versions, also now complete with six new texts in an accompanying digital booklet. do be sure to think about fixing yourself a copy, should you so desire. you contribution to my cause would be so very gratefully received.

ستة ستة سبعة | instrumentals | coming soon | vi . vi . vii

so, in continued celebration of my ‘six six seven’ release, might i gladly announce that i shall be making the complete ‘instrumentals’ collection available for digital download from my bandcamp site on monday 24th february.
containing the full instrumentals for all six songs, as well as a twenty-page digital booklet featuring six new field reports based on the original compositions, not to mention a few other treats; please do be sure to think about fixing yourself a download when the release date arrives.

break through in grey room – commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the birth of william s. burroughs

so, here we find ourselves, february 5th 2014; one-hundred years to the day since the birth of one william s. burroughs, often cited as being one of the most important cultural figures of our modern, meaningless age. for my own part, he is a literary figure of such overwhelming magnitude that i find it hard to describe the world without feeling his influence. i am moved to word some lines in marking this momentous occasion and would let myself reflect a little while on his profound importance, his methods and his immense legacy of influence that permeates western culture to levels which the unadept would be entirely unaware.
while i have a very good memory for dates within my own lifetime, i allow myself to maintain a broad, general view of the overall passing of time, and was therefore not anticipating this anniversary in any particular fashion. i am always celebrating the work of burroughs, and have been doing so for more than twenty years and so, this marking of one-hundred years only serves me as a continual daily reminder of his effect on my view of the world, and indeed on my own writing itself. but how it does give pause to an ideal opportunity to be able to express a few of the facts in the case on my take of this all-powerful writer and perhaps offer some closer insight into my own relationship with his work.
still, in not anticipating this anniversary, i come to this page completely unprepared, having not already outlined some masterful concept for a critical essay, but surely i would much rather prefer to write off-the-cuff, based only on the thoughts that have come to me as i have made my way through this day so far; images drifting in, moments of keen importance in my exploration of his work, moments where i have clearly understood a way of thinking, of presenting facts, information, of viewing the world. there is nothing more real than allowing the words to fall as they will, completely free of the need to impose a structure that only restrains, rather than contains the whole.
william s. burroughs revolutionised writing for me by revealing that there need to absolutely no rules whatsoever; there is no one way to describe anything, there is no one way of going about putting words onto a page. all rules should be observed, naturally, but they are simply rules, not law, not the natural law. language comes in myriad forms, each one able to describe itself and the world around it; each one able to twist and contort itself to fit any meaning, to fit any way of conveying the sense of being in a certain space/time and exactly what it is like. there can be no certain approach to one’s own path through language, each individual extracts their own truth, their own way to describe their beliefs and feelings and any given moment in space/time.
in strict literary terms, burroughs excited me, as he revealed to me that the ‘novel’ as it stands does not need to be the beginning, middle and end of the written word. the standard novel, like the standard hollywood movie is pure escapism in the form of storytelling. it is a neatly-packaged bundle with a beginning, a middle and an end, spanning a short amount of real-time and offering a nice tidy-bow to top off the happy ending, or perhaps sombre, or even ambiguous ending, to leave us closing the book or exiting the movie theatre with whatever desired emotion was on offer in that particular outing,. this is naturally a very skilled art, to tell a story, to load it with philosophical meaning, or a candy-lining and to entertain the reader/viewer in calming distraction from their real life.
which is exactly the point. the standard novel is not real life. it does not follow the patterns of real life, it is a filtered-down version of a linear version of events that is neatly laid-out to offer enough answers and questions in an allotted amount of time to sustain interest. but, for all the craft involved, this is far too neat a package to be working with, this is far too restricting in its overall layout and structure. so rarely in a novel, in a movie, do the characters talk about anything that has ‘no relevance’ to the development of the story, never will you hear tell of a character that at one point doesn’t appear and introduce themselves. never are you offered the strange tangents that real life reveals minute by minute during the actual waking day in this modern, meaningless world.
this is what burroughs could offer, could begin to shed light on, especially in beginning his oft-mentioned cut-up experiments with brion gysin. this ability to cut in and out of the narrative with other narratives, other thoughts, other suggestions, all intertwining within themselves, cutting in and out of themselves as do the thoughts in our own minds, the language streams in our own minds as we going about the linear task of progressing through the space/time of any individual day. burroughs was cutting all the thought lines together and putting them directly onto the page, he was generating real thought and therefore a real narrative, without stooping to try to impose any narrative, into shaping anything into a neat little bundle. he was letting go, and thereby seizing the ultimate control on his writing, by letting it slip through his fingers, by not grasping the grains of sand.
the much more interesting version of any standard novel or motion picture would of course be the reactionary glimpse within the mind of any given reader/viewer. the best-seller/blockbuster begins. we are looking out across the shimmering skyline of a fashionable city and a popular song is playing over the credits; immediately the viewer is taken back to a moment in their childhood by the momentary glimpse of a certain style of truck seen from a distance crossing an intersection; they are with their father for a moment on a june afternoon, the pop songs suddenly takes them to a party they attended the winter before, a name in the credits reminds them of a friend they went to school with and hadn’t seen in years. these streams of flitting connexions would be infinitely more fascinating than the book/film about to unfold.
still, all of this is well and good, but without the power to be able to adequately control the words in this fashion, to be able to present interesting enough materials to be able to sustain such an ongoing experiment is where burroughs’ experiments turn to a consistent and unrivalled display of genius, as seen nowhere else in the western english-language literary world since his appearance on the scene. burroughs consistently and all-encompassingly dazzles and staggers with his unbridled imagination, his ability to conjour the most fantastic, absurd, beautiful, foul, mesmerising, satirical, darkly-comedic view on such a wealth of topics that one can simple do little more than be entirely overwhelmed by his incredibly masterful approach to writing.
it is this masterful approach which allows him to affect so many with his words. for all that is written of him, for all the lurid press and talk of the terribly graphic and unsavoury imagery and language in his works, it is very likely only burroughs that can create a context and work with this material in a way which transcends all the criticism directed towards this lurid side of his prose, and demonstrates how he is able to hold a mirror up to the modern world and let it wallow in the grotesque filth of its own doing, whilst still being able to generate a wry smile and a gentle nod of understanding in the midst of staggering tales of high adventure and myriad hallucinatory moments in lands both imagined and as real as our perception of them.
for my own part, i am an absolutely devoted follower of the works of william s. burroughs, and can only begin to recommend that you start some small investigations of your own, should you have yet sampled the delights of his strange vision of the world. when time permits, i am of a mind to perhaps write some further reports on the facts in the case, perhaps highlight some of my own personal favourites from his overwhelming canon. til then, let us all stop for a moment a allow ourselves to feel the gentle breeze of the interzone drifting in, relax at our desks, perhaps take a little tea and then let the words start to come, as they may…
break through in grey room
william s. burroughs – 5th february 1914 – 2nd august 1997

field reports from the old world – under a wintry full moon

having taken our fill of afternoon sustenance, myself along with the entire at bona fide, benelux and odeur de violettes team reconvened at the pohoda music club to load out into the two cars that would take us on the drive south to české budějovice. the dusk was descending and the temperature dropping fast, not to mention a few spots of cold rain starting to fall. still, the gang attended to the task in record time and we soon had our two vehicles filled to capacity before we spread our number evenly between them and took to the highway heading south out of the city.
for my own part i was still so weary-headed from the lack of sleep the night before, and the sounds of the honeycombs only served to lull me into a light sleep as the night fell and the highway wound its way down towards the old city. i awoke from my half-slumber as we entered the české budějovice city-limits, the soothing sounds of jesu now emitting from the car stereo. the night was bitterly cool as we parked our vehicle and stepped out onto the wintry streets outside the location, the full moon hanging bright above kredance and fast-moving clouds trailing quickly across its surface.
we made our way inside and were soon greeted by the very cool tomas, our bar-man, promoter, organiser and host for the evening; and what a true gentlemen in every sense indeed. a firm handshake soon turned its attention to a freshly brewed cup of earl sitting on the bar for me as i took in the delights of the super-chilled location that is kredance. how it was a pleasure to relax for a short while as the other members of the gang dealt with their equipment, even allowing myself the chance to utilise the wifi to finalise some more of my travel plans, as well as to send word back to the leipzig safehouse that all is well.
once we had all taken our fill of a particularly satisfying pasta dish, the stage was soon being set up, soundchecks happening and the guests starting to arrive, and what a pleasure to it was to see some familiar faces as well as getting to meet some new folks; this being my first time in the city. how much jovial conversation was had as we all slowly warmed up into the evening; a splendid constellation of people taking refuge from the cold of the wintry night together in close communion, all in the name of taking in some rather special live musical performances, of sharing the experience.
benelux took to the stage once again without delay, and how the acoustics of the location seemed to favour them a little more this night; how yet more staggering waves of their performance cut through the monolithic sound that they were able to extract from their speaker-stacks, and how a second chance to audition their live set only served to reveal yet more details and facets of worthy note. and how it was very much the same story with at bona fide, both bands taking full advantage of the sound situation and getting to unveil the full might of their shoegaze splendor on the wholly-receptive audience.
still, soon it was my turn to take to the stage and how i deliberately set about crafted a less frenetic and more considered performance than the night before. in plzeň, in the chaos of the pohoda, i had the chance to deliver a faster-paced, shorter, more tightly-woven set, whereas in the kredance i took my time to draw out more atmospheric spoken-word moments between the chaos and clatter of my main compositions. there seemed to be a calming still in the air, one that gave me the chance to perform at my own pace, and one that resulted in what ended up being a very-well-received and very satisfying performance indeed.
naturally, with the performances safely-handled, it was time to spend the rest of the night propping up the bar, which we did to long and good effect. i made my way through two or three more earls whilst embroiled in conversations with a splendid gentleman by the name of petr, who would later reveal himself as my co-host for the evening, and how he being a rather-well-traveled scholar led to long talks on various cities around the world and our own personal takes therein. zuzka and the others were also very much on hand to lend their worthy remarks to our discourse, and how the whole evening wound down most enjoyably as the location slowly emptied, til we were the last ones left, tomas holding the keys.
zuzka and the rest of the remaining gang were still keen to head on to another place, but i was very much ready to turn in for the night, and so how tomas kindly escorted me back to his place, where he soon turned in for the night, and where i set about brewing one more cup of tea and handling some small admin chores in the wonderfully warm and cosy environment of his apartment. and how it was very much a delight to find myself accompanied by his beautiful cat, who goes by the name of cuketa-courgette, and was sure to keep a curious and inquisitive eye upon me as i slowly managed to find my way back into the dreaming once more; a head full of new and wonderful experiences.
i must have been so deeply embroiled in the dreaming, and still so weary from the previous night that i managed to find myself sleeping til almost midday, and had to arise with a start to be sure about being ready to take the necessary train from the hlavní nádraží, my schedule taking me on to kutná hora via kolín and a tight one. luckily there was enough time to briefly cross paths and offer thanks to both petr and tomas again before i made my hazy way back down onto the streets of české budějovice, the first time in the daylight, and paced earnestly in the direction of the hlavní nádraží with plenty of time to board the kolín service and begin my next leg of the adventure.
how it was such a memorable time indeed and a wonderful first visit to this new location on my czech map, and how i would very much like to take the chance to offer such thanks to everyone involved and everyone who made it down, new friends and old. extra-special thanks of course going to tomas for helping organise such a splendid night, for petr for making it all the more pleasant, the mighty kredance for hosting such a nice evening, to the benelux and at bona fide families for yet another night of wonderful music, to the mighty george-jirka for the crystal clear sound, and all those who offered me such kind words, praise and the feeling of being so very welcome. here’s to next time indeed.
next field report : amidst the woodland hillside still