Torn asunder

Featuring : Courtesy


Courtesy crawl from a swamp of smoke, they pierce our flesh with delightful hooks, they threaten to draw and quarter us like that lovely bit towards the end of Hellraiser.

(We can think of several beasts of Bloodborne with a similar demeanour, but that’s a different post.)

Perhaps the most obvious hook, and one that we obviously relish, is Liars: Courtesy share our favourite crypto-rockers taste for zones of penumbra and abrasion that we listeners traverse in a pointless quest for meaning.

We are fooled by a pale light in the ground and crouch for it, hoping to fetch a silver jewel inscribed with an interpretation of this territory, and instead are throttled by a skeleton arm protruding from the ground, wait, an army of them. There is something almost slapstick about this, but in an Evil Dead kind of way.

Explanations are therefore defied. The personal metamorphoses into the criminal and occult, in a process facilitated by a crooning that pulses, every so often, with blurry beauty, and sounds organic like rivers emptying through estuaries, corpses decomposing into the green, a slow bruise indeed.

The other feature that they share with Liars (especially in their previous, conceptual-album-oriented incarnation) is the playful combination of influences within an obscurely coherent framework – each of these influences is of course, another one of those hooks that tears us apart yet makes us swoon.

We’ll just mention three echoes we detect here: the primitive electronics of Silver Apples, especially in the bounce of today’s track ComEd; the discombobulated death rattle of the dirgey branch of the glue-shit-whatever-wave diaspora (people like Sic Alps etc.), and the vaudevillesque delight of a B-series horror soundtrack, with its shrill organs and eerie vibes.

It is not obvious what is that binds these things together, what this Slow Bruise thing is about. The action is not on camera, the horror is implied. We hear sirens but hear no shots. We slip on the blood but see no bodies. There could be paranormal forces at play but they dance out of sight whenever we turn around. Maybe the explanation is simpler. We spin in the darkness, and this is a dancing of sorts.

For a moment, we think that might be the point. And then they pull from their hooks and we are torn asunder.

Courtesy – ComEd

Get Slow Bruise from the brilliant Moon Glyph.

Sleeping problems

Featuring : Sleepwalker


I have been a chronic sleepwalker since I was a child. Over the years, sleepwalking incidents have precipitated the break-up of at least one romantic relationship, led indirectly to the dissolution of one band and resulted in the annulment of various previously long-standing friendships.

There have been some funny anecdotes, too. And no murders or walking off of buildings. Yet.

Other sleeping related problems: I have a nervous tic that, if I fall asleep on a train – which I always do – causes me to repeatedly punch the passenger next to me. Every time I fall asleep with a partner I have a sudden, panic-inducing sensation of falling that causes me to jump out of my skin – and scare the shit out of the person I’m with. When I am depressed I sleep for several days straight at a time, living off sips of water from the glass by my bed in tiny bursts of wakefulness.

Sometimes I like to sleep with headphones on and the sound turned up LOUD. When you hear bits of music in your dreams or just as you’re falling asleep every note is unpredictable, a surprise, and the texture is abstract and gorgeous – a more immersive and synesthetic music experience than can be offered by any commercial chemical.

Sleepwalker – Sleepwalker

Sleepwalker by Sleepwalker is a 1990 12″ that can be found on Ro Maron’s excellent Collected #1 compilation.

Boomkat blurb about the compilation – and who Ro Maron is – below:

Very necessary New Beat / Acid House / early Belgian techno survey highlighting the pivotal output of Rembert De Smet aka Ro Maron. Hailed as “one of the top 5 best users of a 303 of all time” by JD Twitch (Optimo), Maron defined The Sound of Belgium circa ’87-’90 with a string of then-unprecedented productions spinning elements of Chicago House, EBM and Freestyle Electro with a glammed-up Belgalo swagger and fizzy, melodic mentalism that remedied the relative cheese of prolific New Beat production team, Morton Sherman Bellucci, for example. After pop success in the mid ’80s with 2 Belgen, Maron was one of the earliest adopters of the sound which ruled European and even selectr Detroit/Chicago/New York dancefloors during that era, setting the foundations for what would refract into myriad strains of Hardcore Rave, Techno and Goan Trance by normalising the nastiest electronic sounds with a real knack for ‘floor-clawing hooks and grooves. As history tells us, that scene soon collapsed due to rabid commercial exploitation, but left us with a wealth of music that has long been snubbed as dumb or daft by techno snobs, but also utterly adored by everyone from V/Vm to AFX and Powell. These 35 tracks run the gamut of New Beat, from Maron’s finest moment with Zsa Zsa La Boum’s techno pop masterpiece, ‘Something Scary’ to the EBM funk of his SM project and to its segue into proto Hardcore Rave and Trance with Agaric’s ‘Tiled Room (Reversed Mix)’ or Trance Trax’s ‘A-Cone’, via ambient sidelines as Sleepwalker and the drunken nuttiness of his Madman remix for Lords Of Acid’s ‘For Grown Ups’, thru to the lascivious Chicago styles of 2 Body’s, his house project with Maurice Engelen aka Praga Khan. It’s a shame that they couldn’t include their Gay version of ‘French Kiss’ or the naughtier, Enya-twocing mix of Air of Gloom’s ‘Meditation’, but it still stands as one of the strongest collections of this era you’ll find outside last year’s TSOB boxset, illuminating the coke and düvel-fuelled alternative to the UK’s MDMA-gobbling acid house scene, which would eventually splice and sample the Belgian styles to morph into the UK’s explosive hardcore scene. In case you can’t tell, we fxxking love this stuff and give it a massive recommendation.


Cashing in on our cosmic endowment

Featuring : Montañamuerte


Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence is up there with George Dyson’s Darwin Among the Machines in its mind-blowing it isn’t sci-fi but could be topic.

It is a philosophical/strategic assessment of the prospects of Superintelligence (i.e. the development of Artificial Intelligences which are to us humans what we are to flies or worms), and why it is important that we are very careful with the development of such things. The reason for paying attention to such matters that the development of Superintelligence might well be the last problem we ever have – because it ends us, or because it ends all our problems.

We will talk in future posts about the awesome/awful scenarios where things go wrong – poetically/starkly named situations like Perverse Instantiation, Infrastructure Profusion or Mind Crime.

However, today we wanted to talk about the payoff if things go right and we create Superintelligences that work collaboratively with our species to make the most of our Cosmic Endowment.

What does this mean?

If we are able to create general artificial superintelligences, this means that in principle we (or they) should also be able to simulate and/or upload human intelligences in a computational environment implemented in (Von Neumann) probes that can be fired into deep space, to spread our species across the cosmos reducing the risks of extinction due to catastrophic events in our planet/system/segment of the galaxy.

These probes would contain inside them genetic information and codes to reproduce flesh-and-blood-and-probably-silicon humans upon arriving to their destination. The universe is made our oyster and we become eternal. That is our cosmic endowment.



This being 20jazzfunkgreats, we consider the music that such humans-but-not-as-you-know them would create and enjoy.

Humans with consciences, hearts, eyes, hands and feet reared in virtual environments surging through the blackness of space and its magnificent wonders. Physically instantiated in terraformable planets or modified to thrive in non-terraformable ones, looking up at stellar configurations which are new, but also familiar, for they are their family’s homes. Achieving feats of architectural engineering, Dyson spheres and the like, perhaps even developing new languages to communicate with whichever lifeforms and conscious phenomena they stumble upon.

We think that their music would be familiar, echoing primate sensibilities evolved over millions of years, since we first gazed – and knew ourselves gazing – at dawn from the primeval savannah, but also alien, shaped by the epic scales that spawned it, by points of view where Terra is but an tiny spot in the cosmic tapestry, physically infinitesimal, but emotionally massive.

We think it would sound a bit like Montañamuerte’s The Space Hates Cowards. Music that comes from the space, and in that reminds us of things as great as Craig Leon’s songs of the Nommos, or the uncanny resonances in Mica Levi’s soundtrack for Under the Skin, but also comes from us, and is pregnant with a great love preserved across impossible expanses of space and time, for Terra, our mother.

Montañamuerte – Arrat

The Space Hates Cowards is a limited edition (50 units) cassette published by Discos Porno and La Mano de Matar. You should get it here. You can find more info about Cosmonaut C, the great human behind it, here.

(Artwork by John Harris for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Basic Programming Manual (!!) as found in this Tumblr)

Magnificent Unease

Featuring : Heroin in Tahiti


We’ve been sitting on Heroin in Tahiti’s wonderful Sun and Violence for a while, but what more appropriate time write this post than over an Easter weekend bathed in sun and drenched in the blood of Christ Yharnam.

Superdavoli is the album’s full blooded exploration of the nexus between the Spaghetti Western and Giallo — because when your breakdown consists of screams you know you’ve come to the right place.  It’s a monstrous prog workout of a track replete with a low synth drone that’d make Tangerine Dream swoon.  Not to mention the melody that’s as beguilingly simple as Carpenter’s murderous earworms.

The thunderous percussion and thousand-yard-stare-synths are a trick Teeth of the Sea pull off so well: planetary size Rock forming a Dyson Sphere around the burning occult power of Psyche.  All that unimaginable solar energy, completely captured and processed by humanity, in service of magnificent unease.

Praise the sun!

Heroin in Tahiti – Superdavoli

Heroin in Tahiti’s Sun and Violence came out on April 4th and you can get it direct from the label here.

Run angels, fucking run


On these streets you learn the value of a piece of gristle and being fleet of foot.

Our tribe is a flinty army.

Our beasts are carnivorous and roam free. Our children bare their tiny fangs to outsiders.


Motherfuckers don’t come down here where the streetlights sound like the swarming hums and clinks of infinite metal insects.


Our elders and shamans debate the old ways and the better ways. Our youngers steal the future.


Goddesses are mounted on every parked car for ease of praying. Music is transmitted via wires.


And it is a howl, a judder, a shriek – all jazz and noise and aggressively externalised subconscious. Run angels, fucking run.


Close your eyes. Glow. Run.

Caspar Brötzmann Massaker – The Tribe

The Tribe is the title track of the Caspar’s 1987 album, which seems to be mostly out of print but available digitally.

Photography is Trent Parke: Minutes to Midnight


It all went a bit Jacob’s Ladder: Our take on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Featuring : Life Companions + Magna


We still have vivid memories of the first moments after logging-off the lurid killing fields of Hotline Miami. If we tried to reconnect to the physical world around us too quickly, it didn’t go well.

It was as if we hadn’t decompressed properly after scuba diving in an abyssal depth inhabited by monsters that were our worst traits and the worst excesses of our culture incarnate.

As if we had been conditioned, Manchurian Candidate style, to go Charles Bronson-Gosling when exposed to very specific stimuli: a message encoded in the flickering of a VHS tape, the claustrophobic loop of a fist-fucking techno soundtrack.

As in that nightmare scenario which could well represent the apex of dread in the otherwise sheltered life of a knowledge worker in contemporary western society: that moment when you wake up somewhere suddenly. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know what you did last night. You just remember the lights. The strobes. Maybe you took something. You don’t remember. There is something wet and sticky covering your hands. Whimpering. Is it you? What is it?

Oh my God what did I do last night?

You did bad things son. There is no turning back.

Life Companions – Richard

Hotline Miami 2 Wrong Number loses, by definition, some of the impact of Hotline Miami the first. The expansion in the layout of the levels and the length of the game also take away some of its glorious, stinking condensation whose blueprint is the apartment/chainsaw fight in Scarface. There is more space to breath, there is more range to snipe. These aren’t necessarily good things.

The inclusion of new characters, some of which are not just psychopathic cyphers provides some moral relief, and the narrative, we gather, seeks to offer some twisted meaning. But again, these are not necessarily good things.

Distance, morality and meaning are not the defining features of fever dreams of carnage and chaos, which is what Hotline Miami is to us.

Of course, these are all minor niggles, expressed from the distance of a Good Friday morning, after a shower and over a coffee.

We rewind to our situation inside Hotline Miami 2 a couple of days ago, cycling through the levels of some coca-disco with naught but a machete, bereft of conscience and ethics, as the ghastly, gristly materialisation of our lizard brain surfaces from our id triumphant like some pixelated version of Blake’s Great Red Dragon. A Dragon that is uncannily summoned in the game’s coda, a moment of pure what-the-fuck psychedelia we will refrain from attempting to describe, you have to see it for yourself.

We go back to those moments which are the putrid, pure heart of Hotline Miami 2, and we feel empty, like B F Skinner rats set loose in a labyrinth based on a feedback loop of cracked skulls and brains splattering walls. It’s hard to put it in words. It is not nice. It is not clean. Perhaps it is cleansing. While we are in there we don’t care, we just are.

Magna – Divide

The incredible 39-track soundtrack suits perfectly  everything we have described above. You can acquire it in luxurious triple vinyl here or digitally, from Steam, here. Find out more about Magna. Worryingly, we couldn’t find any web information about Life Companions. We are awaiting their phone call.

But what IS the symbol?


Is it a question mark carved into a glass eyeball, is it a pentagram with a goat’s head in the middle, is it a butterfly, is it a faded tattoo of a dolphin on a 30-something-year-old man’s belly, is it a shuriken, is it a windmill, is it a rooster, is it a woman in a red dress conducting semaphore and hopping on one leg, is it a murmuration of starlings revealing occult patterns in the sky, is it the shiny plastic keyring of an oil corporation’s logo, is it a skull and crossbones viewed out of the corner of your peripheral vision everywhere you go?

The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol – Humidex

The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol – Prarie Doggin


Go to The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol’s Bandcamp to get more sounds!

Digital collage by Peggy Pop