Forgive this wretched man!
As a critic (or, seeing as how I don't have a professional gig anymore, to be more accurate one imbued with a critical inclination) you'd think I relished going out of the way to be unpleasant about other people's hard-wrought work. Not so in fact, it hardly ever occurs to me that someone might be upset by my opinions. I suppose I tend to wax positive and carefully pick my targets (like Goldfrapp or the Black Eyed Peas who are so clearly beyond worrying about guttersnipes like yours truly). However occasionally something like MIA really gets my goat, and even though she's at the bottom rung of the ladder, a worthy enough individual in many ways and from the perspective of political-correctness not someone you go out of your way to slag off, I just can't help myself. Tee hee.
My writing off R Stevie Moore was a case in point. Here's the most respectable kind of artist. A one-man cottage industry devoted to his vision. So actually I felt pretty shitty when he discovered my remarks at Dissensus and (gulp) actually linked to them from his news page. Blimey I'd be mortified if MIA ever emailed me. To be fair to me the mp3s at the website which are supposed to entice you further into Moore's vision are plain terrible. And dammnit he needs to get his presentation sorted! I mean I know it's a superficial observation and we're only supposed to care about the music (bullshit IMHO), but yunnuh there's amateurishness and there's amateurishness and SRM could learn a bit from his disowned protegee Ariel Pink's graphic sense, uncompromisingly crude as it is too.
Just recently I discovered this 12" from 1982 or 1983 (I'm guessing) in a record store and, well, I absolutely love it. Stevie had this new-wave thing going. "Manufacturer" and "Dance Man" sound like The Stranglers and Elvis Costello, but in a deliciously gonzoid, slightly seedy way. RSM, enchantingly, sounds like an old man playing the young man's tunes. The effect is one of at once familiarity and discomfort, like perhaps your uncle making a pass at you. Or summat. This mustiness of bygone eras is compounded by RSM's brazenly 1950s Rock'n'Roll influences. If you grew up in the United Kingdom in the 1970s (well, anywhere for that matter) you'll remember the pervasive odor of Presley's rotting corpse, cropping up in the most unusual places like in the music on Children's TV (presumably made by hacks out of touch with the zeit) and with pop hangovers like Shakin' Stevens and Showaddywaddy. Thinking about it now, twenty year-old rave music must sound like todays teenagers to be similarly anachronistic as music from 1956 did in 1976.
The flipside of this excellent EP is, improbably enough, a rather daring ambient melodic suite. So big up yourself SRM if you're reading this, and yes I'm looking forward to the copy of "Phonography" I was delighted to find on GEMM.