23 March 2023

____________ is hard...

Were I the kind of guy who took risks on having huge amounts of tat manufactured and then tried to sell the tat at profit I would totally have hundreds of miniature whiteboards made with "________ is hard" written on them. It's a genius parody of all those secret vision boards that shallow airheads pin pictures of lambos and mansions onto. We could just single out the thing that we're struggling with and write it in the space provided.

Your amateur "is hard"-er could start easy with "life". Almost always true from a subjective point of view, everyone's life literally is hard, from where they're sitting. The feeling that "Everything is fine" is only ever a transient moment, as the words in the ring remind us "This too shall pass". The feeling that our life is a vista of dark, forbidding woods, unsettled waters, and threatening, all-consuming tundra would appear to be our natural state of being, scanning for threats, mentally rehearsing worst-case scenarios.

However, to someone accustomed to our natural anxiety spelling out that "life is hard" is, therefore a tautology, unhelpful and banal. So, we might re-consider, attempt to trap one of our difficulties on our miniature whiteboard. Name the demon and thus entrap it within our cutesie-poo dry-wipe summoning board.

"Parenting" is something else we could say is hard. In fact, I often think that people often look with pity upon their fellows in the midst of a small human rearing exercise. There's been a current cultural movement to actively excuse people from being entirely on-point with regards housework etc. when they are attempting to usher the next generation into civilised society (which civilised society they have in mind is a tricky one to answer at this stage in history).

The thing is "sailing around the world alone on a yacht" is equitably hard, as parents and lone sailors evince a similar level of habitual bedragglement and mental wear and tear. The way we treat our intrepid maritime adventurers however is entirely different to the parents. Who cares if there's a small pile of clothes forgotten in the corner of a maritime adventurer's berth? These people are heroes! They have achieved! They must be celebrated!

The reasons for this are easily hidden in fallacies of common experience and perceived social good. Make no mistake if an experience makes you look and feel like someone who's just sailed their own course round Cape Horn then you probably are worthy of the same amount of kudos. So, yeah, don't let those others belittle your efforts "Parenting is hard" and you shouldn't let that get you down, you're doing a bang up job.

Of course, one of the reasons that parenting gets on the board is that being a parent inevitably means thinking of something other than what's best just for you right now. In fact, that's one of the challenges of being any kind of caregiver. So, just once in a while you might want to get hyper-specific and put "Updating my blog" on the whiteboard. Not because you don't have anything to say but just because you have been so busy and finding time to spew verbiage into the journal is a challenge that escapes your grasp.

So there you have it. A profound moment of homespun philosophy reduced to a snivelling, self-pitying shaggy dog story of an excuse. "Apologising for not updating the blog no one reads" would have to go on the whiteboard in really small letters which would probably indicate that you've skewed the specificity far to far into the particular zone. So, probably best to stop there.

11 November 2021

A Word on "Woke" and anti-"Woke" sentiment.

A minor news trickle today tells us that John Cleese has cancelled a planned talk at Cambridge University because he disagrees with the University's "woke rules" that led to them blacklisting another speaker who had previously performed an impersonation of Hitler. He's not wrong that people should not be unfairly blacklisted because they criticised something as close to objectively evil as it is possible to be through the medium of parody/satire.

However, in damning such actions as being "woke" Cleese has fallen into a pernicious trap that many people seem to be struggling with at the present time. What he objects to is the performative and arbitrary actions of people with a poor understanding of what is required to respect others. Essentially, performative virtue signaling.

The concept of being "woke" is completely different. It is, and should always remain, a term that means being conscious of systemic bias and abuse towards minorities embedded in culture. To be woke if you are part of those minorities is to be "on guard" against the inevitable inequities and injustices that will infect your life. If you are part of the privileged majority to be "woke" is to be aware of the systemic inequalities and to make reasonable efforts on a personal level not to be part of the problem.

It is an understandable confusion to conflate being woke with acting out performative virtue signaling. There is a conversation about how to assess another's actions in light of the blurry line between one and the other. But going round banging on about how woke is a terrible thing that is a blight on our society is exactly the kind of behaviour that contributes to the climate where woke is even a necessary concept.

Also, it allows people who are engaged in performative virtue signaling off the hook somewhat. 

Performative virtue signaling is carried out in bad faith, where as trying to be woke should always be good faith. As a sentient species we are, and I believe always have been, very bad at recognising bad-faith actors when their impact on our lives is at a certain level of abstraction.

If I have a pie and someone steals that pie I have no problem with that, I call them a thief and react to that kind of bad-faith action in the way I have systemically deemed appropriate. However, if I have a concept, an important concept, that if I accept its existence and relevance and attempt to act in the service of, and someone else undermines it by, essentially, being the living embodiment of reductio ad absurdam in regards to that concept I am at risk of losing sight of what that concept is all about in the first place.

I have to say that I don't believe that Mr. Cleese ever knew what woke was supposed to mean in the first place, and I don't think he's alone in that. I also think that the previous incarnation of woke, political correctness, suffered from many of the same problems, but also the fact that the concept inherently allowed latitude to bad-faith actors to allow them to muddy the concept. Political correctness even sounds like a bit of a weasel-concept.

This is why woke is, essentially, a much better concept. It says know your boundaries, mind your business, don't presume to know what someone else is going through and don't be naïve about the consensus reality of the world you live in. It parcels that all up in a neat concept, single word. It's a concept of deep and valuable nuance.

For which reason right-wing concept-jacking of the term to rob it of power is exactly the kind of thing that should be deplored and called out. It's a gift to such people that the range of effects of performative virtue-signaling is so broad from "silly and pointless" to "unfair and hurtful" to "actually quite damaging". It also helps a lot that no one's come up with a nuanced word that means "performative virtue-signaling".

It would have been cognitively uglier and harder for Mr Cleese to say: "I believe these rules are an act of performative virtue-signaling and I will not be associated with an organisation that seems to have such lax consideration for those they damage with such arbitrary rules and the real struggles of people whose lives are impacted by real systemic inequalities." It's not snappy, or glib, or quotable. However, it would have been kinder, more accurate and, well, more woke.

6 September 2021

Staring Yourself Out In The Third Eye

Here's a pro-tip if you like to maintain a blog.

Don't, under any circumstances, get into a state of mind where not updating a blog or journal becomes a sort of staring contest with yourself.

Especially don't do this if your intention is not to kill the blog stone dead. If your attitude toward your blog is that it's a nice place to come and drop some words that may, in the long run, prove to be wise or foolish, confusing or interesting but always challenging and, dare I say it, provocative. If you think: "that's a thing that exists that I believe, on balance, the world is better off for having in it" then maybe don't initiate a game where the aim or reward is to not post anything to that blog or journal.

It does occur to me that subconsciously this weird hiatus may have served a purpose, and honestly whatever the serf of consciousness apprehends is only what the lord and master of subconscious wants it to apprehend, which is not that much usually. That purpose is that when last I essayed upon this journal I was getting pretty downhearted, to be honest. I began to believe that I had lost touch with what I could post that would be of value to others. I have to be that vague, I can't say "to the world" because I am self-aware that my Discordian Mystic ramblings are not for everyone, and I can't say for "my people" because as true as that might be my people, currently, aren't here, that's the issue. Or if they are they are lurking in the shadows so effectively I may as well be alone.

You get to reading about the people who used to have long, rambling philosophical discussions from which are born great ideas and great thoughts and what not. That's where I'm at, that's what I want, not all the time, just in a part of time. When I get into a conversation about the whole what and all of it I want to find things in that space only available when two people are trying to connect mentally.

This here, is supposed to be a waffle against a sounding board. I am supposed to be challenged, given fresh perspectives, hounded, insulted, exalted, told I am right, told I am wrong, told I am spouting nonsense, told I am spouting wisdom. Those thus impacted are supposed to come forth and bring me their own waffle, their own view, chopped and presented the way I do here and I can be their sounding board as they were mine.

It's the philosophical utopia. I think, honestly, it's a space we could all do with that's become dominated with op-ed forums about hot-takes on issues that press hot-buttons. And it's just another means of manufacturing unhelpful, constrictive bullshit because the topics provoke knee-jerk reactions and without philosophising about less controversial topics you lack the skill to find a way into these difficult subjects.

Essentially, as a Discordian I am bound to have a take on the whole Leary/RAW "Reality Tunnels" thing, and my take is that it seems like a solid theory. So, we should embrace a chance to do a little work on our reality tunnels.

But exercising our reality-building powers only in the service of those wires that risk setting fire to the core, or causing a rational short-circuit, or shutting down key rational systems to reboot seems like a terrible way to tune. Surely, we should learn our craft attempting to improve less critical systems. We should learn how to work by working all over the tunnel, not just on the load-bearing pillars.

I don't see a lot of that shit going on, you know? Or, maybe a bit, often in other Discordian blogs, usually long since abandoned and not so much of entries like that either.

The other option is that looking too hard at things like our own personal belief structures, the general, non-controversial ones, and our own personal systems of rituals is super-hard because it risks breaking things where things seem to work. It's like spiritual technical debt, we've hacked the system together so mostly it operates "correctly" but there are just these few things that can happen that show up that the system just really isn't working as well as we believe, you know, under the hood.

Anyhow. My conclusion, on glancing through my last couple of entries is that I was on a more-or-less correct path. And the staring contest has given me distance to see that, if nothing else.

We need to move on now. And I need to be posting for people who may come through and may wish to access me through other means.

So, that's the plan. And I'm blinking now.

Always remember to blink it, or you'll get dust in your third eye.

28 February 2019

Shhh! Pie Ritual

I started writing this one about three weeks ago, that post went off on a tangent, so it became the "Discordian Mystic Blogger" post. Putting a bit of clear, blue sky between the concept of the post and the execution of it has had some effect on what the post is actually about.

The key part of this post is a pretty standard session of mockery of the wholesale adoption of the word "spiritual" by people who like to also misuse the word "energy". It's not kind, but it is important and necessary to those drawn to the magic and the mystic to point this stuff out on a regular basis. As it happens I don't like the magic, the more mystic I get the less magic appears to be a good idea overall. You want to use something you literally cannot know about as the vehicle for manifesting your power physically, go ahead, but disappointment and/or madness are the likely outcomes.

If you're liable to get butthurt by me mocking something, by the way, remember I'm a practising Discordian, it's part of my devotion to eventually mock EVERYTHING. So today it's "spirituality". My key beef with even using the word can be adequately summed up by having a look at the semantic nightmare that is the Wikipedia page for the term. It's become one of those words whose connotations are so broad as to render the term effectively meaningless.

The litmus test is that I could if I so desired, describe myself as spiritual, but you could put me into conversation with another person who described themselves the same way and we would have nothing in common whatsoever. The other key point, in my recent experience of these things, is that more and more self-described spiritual people have a mandatory love of crystals that I do not have.

Of course, the very nature of the catch-all vagueness that is "being spiritual" means that I don't have to and that if you do then that's also fine. It's a bit, however like being agnostic. Being agnostic, at this time is a series of negatives, you are not-religious, not-atheist and also not-spiritual, probably.

I guess that if you are spiritual and agnostic, that might be fine. If you are religious and spiritual, that's allowed but, I sense, frowned upon by the religious side. If you are atheist but spiritual I think that means you go UFO-spotting(?), or ghost hunting, or believe in bigfoot, I mean that it is theoretically possible, but very confusing.

So it's possible to be spiritual and for that to mean almost anything. It's weird, it's the club for people who aren't joiners, like, at all, but seek a sense of belonging with fellows they cannot identify (because, trust me, it isn't "everyone else who's also spiritual") and also with some higher power that falls outside or beyond the definitions of a higher power enshrined in any sort of organized mass-religious organisation.

This, you see, is why I would identify myself as a Discordian Mystic. I was going to go for "Shaman" but apparently being a shaman necessarily involves communing with spirits you believe in (and it really doesn't matter whether I believe in spirits or not I am confident that I cannot reliably communicate with them directly) and also experiencing altered states of consciousness. People experience an altered state of consciousness every time they dream (or whenever they rewatch Videodrome), but I suspect this is not what the phrase is intended to encompass. So, I'm withdrawing my Shamanic application form.

Mystic, on the other hand, specifically being one, is not a common thing but encompasses a vagueness that I have just been taking pot shots at  "spirituality" for exemplifying. As this is an extreme example of my own semantic hypocrisy and demonstration that my ego is out of control I will naturally throw myself into this dubious role whole-heartedly and so deny the weasel-word spirituality even as I attempt to bolster my edginess by planting a flag in the term "mystic".


But why all this jumping around from foot to foot, wrestling with what or even if you believe? I think it's important that everyone has this struggle. I think that it's also important that it's never a done deal. I think, furthermore, that if what you believe doesn't have the name of something on the menu then you should probably try a bit harder to give it a name yourself.

Probably not much more to say on that part at present. So, let's move on...

My relationship with Tarot cards began a good while before my relationship with Discordianism.  One of my great advantages growing up was that, for a variety of reasons, my parents didn't really believe in anything, and yet both had an interest in things they didn't really believe. It is in this manner that I read some Tarot books and, eventually, Piers Anthony's Tarot trilogy, an obscure work that has had a profound effect on some people.

As it turns out Discordians did as a social group eventually get round to producing their own stab at Tarot but the project status is currently half-baked, like most Discordian things. It probably doesn't help that the pope in charge of this project decided to make up their own card schema, which takes the piano of the Tarot deck and turns it into a key-tar. Piers Anthony added a suit and some Major Arcana cards in his work, which is kind of like when Holly in Red Dwarf decimalised music with the new notes "woh" and "boh".

Not that I'm really offended by people making stuff up, that would be the bad kind of hypocritical, not like the hypocrisy from further up which is the good kind, follow? But if your Tarot isn't 78 cards, 22 Major 40 Pips, 16 Courts then it isn't really a Tarot deck in the same way that a keytar isn't a grand piano.

Recently, and for reasons of permanently evolving karma I have been drawn back into my Tarot studies, and have found myself refreshed with a new sense of purpose in the endeavour. So, this entry is like an introduction to my Tarot Journal, which I have been filling out since the 6th of February and which I will be adding in (back-dated for entries before this one) to my regular blog from this point.


Well, there's a lot to the answer to that question. I'm sure it will all come out in the wash. In the first instance, though, I think it is because I would be keen to get people talking about the Discordian approach to Tarot work. Are people who like Tarot interested? Are Discordians? Are you?

Could be that this is the latest in the series of failed attempts to get a proper discussion going on here. But, as usual, I have cheated in that the discussion topic helps me roll forward even if nobody else has anything to say on the topic.

14 February 2019

The Loneliness of the Discordian Mystic Blogger

Last year I spent a lot of time exploring my options with regards to producing audio content. Overall, it went well, the biggest barrier being the time needed to actually record the raw audio, once that's done editing can be achieved here and there on an ad hoc basis.

I have other thoughts on that but you know where to keep track of those.

As a consequence, and due to other relevant factors, blog output was low. The chief and most important factor in dialling back blog output is pure and simple. Blogs are pitched as public online journals but they're really a low-effort format in talk followed by Q&A. To date no low-banter, interaction based format I've engaged in has attracted the attention of anyone interested in bantering.

This, actually, is the problem with both the blog and the podcast. Neither are supposed to dwell in splendid isolation, existing in and of themselves. Both do. The big problem with this being that once you have learned to please yourself with these things then the work is done and further work may only be completed via the vehicle of interaction.

The podcast suffers from this far more than the blog, podcasts are supposed to spawn a web of in-jokes, correspondence and helping each other get better. Blogs may just end up being public, online journals but some are vastly improved by being rallying points for various communities.

I can understand that this doesn't look like the rallying point for a community, maybe for "fans of Leo Stableford - author" I think that's what author blogs are supposed to be, but I'm not really that bothered about that.

This is supposed to be a Discordian, Philosophy, Mysticism, Spirituality blog. What's really funny about that is that it kind of became that during the era in late 2017 we shall call "The Great Content Glut of 2017".

The lesson this teaches us is that "Clear communication is very hard". I actually don't know for certain why no one ever comments on my blog. My last post about top 10 albums was pure initiate a conversation about music fodder. It was, if truth be told, aimed at my more musically minded friends and they did comment upon it upon my personal wall of social media interaction, but it wasn't the treasure trove of interesting observation and opinion that I was craving.

I took a quick skim through some of the product of the Content Glut just now and future me had questions and comments to pass on to past me, no issues. This is what leads me to believe this blog is not so much "read" as "parsed by advertising bots".

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't by any means think of myself as an approachable guy. I feel that close personal connection to the assertion that "I'm a weirdo" in Radiohead's DNA-targeting opus "Creep". The thing is, I am writing this obscure strangeness in order to attract other weirdoes, those who cannot help but ask a question or post a comment. If not here then on some publically-available social media timeline.

And yet, barely anyone ever does. I do not, and have never had, the skill of "reaching out" across the void to create a space, safe or otherwise, for philosophical-mystical-Discordian banter. Having said that, I note this is something I have in common with virtually all other publicly posting Discordians I have encountered.

Maybe Discordianism, for some weird reason, discourages thoughts, input and all but the most *birdsong*-posting of meme-laden banter. I'd ask for thoughts but, well, see above.

This post hasn't turned out at all like I thought it would. In fact, I should probably save the post title and image I had for an actual post about the title I had come up with. Sorry, have devolved into meta-stream-of-consciousness. Catch you soon. Transmission Ends.

3 January 2019

My Top 10 Albums of 2018

It used to be the case that producing a top 10 albums of the year if you were not the NME or similar was just a cute way to get a conversation going with your musical friends. In all honesty, that's all it still is, however, the advent of the interwebnet, streaming and digital distribution channels has levelled the playing field, now the NME's top 10 albums of the year are much closer in the value of their cultural capital to your own personal musings than they would have been in days gone by.

Mass market taste makers of yore are pretty much as lost as anyone else when it comes to distilling the embarrassment of cultural riches that litters our digital pastures in current times. It so happens that I buy all my new music on Bandcamp, so all of my albums of the year come from Bandcamp. Does that mean no good albums were published anywhere else? Well, possibly they may have been from a purely aesthetic standpoint, but there's more to the act of selection than pure aestthetics.

My Top Ten isn't just a list of awesome new tunage that filled my ears and imagination with joy in 2018, the delivery mechanism via the Bandcamp platform is the most direct connector of artist and fan community. The amazing things I have heard via Bandcamp and the way of supporting the artists who produce that amazing material directly are a statement in themselves. The medium is the message, never has this been so true.

The power and influence of Bandcamp in certain musical "scenes", particularly synthwave and downtempo, cannot be underestimated. Bandcamp has delivered a mechanism for uniting fans and content creators the like of which has never been seen before. The platform ends up being more than just a storefront, and yet, in functionality that's exactly what they are, a fan is forced to venture into other social media in order to take the engagement with their favourite artists further. What Bandcamp sacrifices in social networking features it more than makes up for in the power of doing its one job incredibly effectively. On a weekly basis, the storefront serves up a steady diet of all the new music you can possibly stand and it shapes the audience priorities in the music market.

I have been a Bandcamp user for three or four years now and slowly it has become the only place I go for new music. That might sound like a list of my favourite albums of the year might be restricted in sound or scope, but if I bought all my albums of the year from the same brick-and-mortar store you might not think that, even though it would necessarily be closer to the truth. In the physical world the choices of other humans consciously or unconsciously curating the content I can view as part of my choice change the ultimate choices I make.

There are still barriers to my discovery of new music via a store like Bandcamp but they are restricted to problems the artist has communicating to me, the consumer, that there is something on their profile I might like to listen to. All the other intercessions of cultural curators, philosophical and commercial, are pretty much removed. That distils the important power of the Bandcamp process.

That said, let's dig in. The albums are arranged alphabetically, so although it's a top 10 that's where the hierarchy ends, these are 10 amazing cuts and none are better or worse than others. Also, the bar this year was stupidly high. These 10 just represent works that managed to travel that little bit further, reach that little bit higher, but so, so many others came so close. The artists included should know they did something above and beyond to make it into this list because the competition was crazy hard.

30 Years Later - An Akira Tribute

No less notable for being a multi-artist "theme" album for 14 artists to pull their absolute A-game for a project just tells you how lovingly they all embrace the granddaddy of the cyberpunk anime genre. Crossing between cyberpunk, darksynth, synthwave, industrial this collection could have been all over the place, an incoherent grab bag. The fact that it is so tightly focused on delivering that Akira experience tells you how far that movie has penetrated the cultural soul of huge amounts of modern technological society. Every track on this album is rich with the thrum of electronic creativity and the dystopian visions that are a staple of the various genres they exemplify.


A monster synthwave release for being at once so on the nose in terms of synthwave albums but also so accessible to newcomers to the genre. The stroke of genius in this album is the fusing of the neo-retro synthwave vibe with a nostalgic approach to composition that layers samples and sounds like proper old-skool house or hip hop tracks. The result is an album that sounds both new and old in two different ways. The synthwave movement has always sought to draw on the soul of 80s electronica to give the tunes a beating nostalgic heart, but the revolution here is to strip down the sound whilst improving the clarity of the production. Dropping nods to break dancing, Terminator, Ferraris and Donkey Kong is just the icing on the cake, there's nothing sly or subtle about the execution from that point of view, the breakthrough is that this is a synthwave album that actually has something to say about synthwave as a scene and the scene's obsession with the neon-drenched vistas of the 80s as viewed through a cyber-rose-tinted marketer's bio-augmentation visor.


An epic collision of sparse-ish techno, head-wobbling bass and horrorsynth make ZombieNick one of the most distinct voices in modern electronic music. In Creeper (as with his previous release "Dead Boy") the attention to detail in the creation of a sinister, threatening electronic soundscape is partnered with a deep love of throbbing bass and insistent drum loops that deepen the general atmosphere of paranoia and dread. The result is a sonic experience as at home in a slasher movie as in the night club, although it has to be said I've never actually visited a night club that would have the balls to put one of these tunes on because, don't doubt, this is the electronic music equivalent of a really harsh horror movie. Something about the sound is deliciously, I don't know, off and that's what the horror fan savours even as the inner clubber throws its shapes in response to the incessant, pounding beat.

Death & Glory

Like many of the albums on this list the heart of this release is the fusion of elements to create something a cut above. Somewhere inbetween darksynth and techno Lazerpunk delivers an all out sonic assault layering harsh square bass and pounding drums to devastating effect. The secret ingredient in Death & Glory is the heart poured into the release. The physical release of the album comes with a notebook "commentary" outlining the personal nature of the album and the emotional energy bleeds through into the music, no doubt. There have been a fair few harsh dark synth releases this year but what makes this one stand above the rest is the sheer catharsis on display. Death & Glory alternates between outpouring, cleansing and maniacal glee but one thing it isn't, ever, is laid back.

Infiction Soundtrack Remixes

This was not a pick I expected to be making as the albums of the year drifted together. It's an album of remixes and my rational mind told me that an album of remixes couldn't compete with original work. In most cases this would be the correct call, in order to ascend into the "best of the year" territory the work has to be on another level. So, it's a very good job that InFiction's work on several well-known (and some not so well known) movie score pieces did in fact manage to surmount the restrictions usually due to reworks like these. The key is in the balance between preserving the beating heart of each piece whilst, at the same time, creating something fresh on each and every track. You still recognise moments from the The Thing, Escape From New York and Hallowe'en 3 but now they are re-puposed, clean, danceable, something other than they were. InFiction clearly approaches each work with love and respect and these shine through in the finished products.


Every list of this type needs an "Invaders", something that strategises from a different playbook. In addition to marking out its territory as "not-your-average synthwave album" Invaders inhales a great dose of 50s sci fi grandiosity, faux-soundtrack playfulness and operatic sturm and drang. The result is a theremin-laced sucker punch of synth insanity, giddy in its aspiration and its bare-faced cheek. So many synth releases are intended to be soundtracks to B-movies you can only wish really existed, but Invaders is the only one where you can almost see the chiarascuro of the majestic cinema screen as the flicker of the otherworldly images play before an audience agog, held in a trance by this tale of black saucers and the band of fighters who resist their waves of destruction. A confection, a narcotic, an outstanding aural carnival.

Lost Track

Sometimes, on the other hand, it's all very simple. This is the ultimate boiled down, energetic boom bap release of the year. The rhymes are clean, the flow is smooth and the beats and loops are just divine. There's really not much more to add on this, it is a paragon of the beat-maker's art, it might not be modern hipster-hop but it is a succulent treat for fans of the old school.

Rabbit Junk Will Die: Meditations on Mortality by Rabbit Junk

Any year in which Rabbit Junk offer up a release that release will likely find its home here. Rabbit Junk, to a certain extent, remind me of The Prodigy, or rather, what the Prodigy eventually evolved into, the good news being that RJ have started at that point of delirious creative flow that other artists have to warm up to. The collision of influences from rock, industrial, EDM and even pop are always mindful to remain on target. I have listened to too many albums where it sounded like every track was by a different artist or one artist struggling to find a sound, RJ's sound is the polar opposite of that. From day one it is clear what the sound was always intended to be and the only real difference has been in the increasing skill of application. For which reason Rabbit Junk Will Die amazes not just because of what it delivers but because of what it promises for the future.

Sinner's Syndrome

Words like "outstanding" get bandied about a lot in lists like these, and rightly so, really. All the releases on this list are outstanding in one way or another. They are my 10 outstanding releases of the year and, even in bandcamp land, that's 10 releases out of a buttload of releases. It's rarer to employ the word "remarkable". That's what Sinner's Syndrome is.

The layers of old and new collide and combine to create something utterly unique. It's an album of your classic late 90s downtempo trip hop vibes, a la Portishead/Massive Attack/DJ Shadow/Herbaliser but it picks through a 60s blues/rock/pop theme cleverly and carefully to sound like the soundtrack to the more upbeat, hipper reboot of Twin Peaks. Simultaneously it riffs on cultural notes from rock-a-billy, to psychobilly, to hip-hop (natch), to plunderphonics, to classic soundtracks, to kitsch pop, jazz, blues rock and lounge. And it's not just the sheer breadth of the influences, either. It's the expertise with which they are blended, layered and fired out of your speakers with a mean attitude and a mischievous confidence. Sinner's Syndrome is a contender not just for one of the best downtempo releases of the 2018 but must surely want to elbow its way into the all-time Hall of Fame for slow beats and cheeky jazz samplage along with Endtroducing and Very Mercenary.


There had to be some balls-to-the-wall industrial in this list and Cyanotic hammered out a space for themselves with this album which, technically, is a remix album of their 2017 release "Tech Noir". It's one of those cases where the remix album refreshes the original and goes on to elevate the material to an entirely new level. Incorporating elements of Drum and Bass is the masterstroke here, which, in some cases, could result in a mess but are thankfully applied with the right touch to be always production appropriate in this instance. Slamming jackhammer beats and anguished vocals twisted by synthesizers make T2 the BIOS for an extremely angry robot with a program to kill.

24 January 2018

Gone Podcastin'

Just in case you were wondering I am currently back at the mic with the all-new 80s Kids. I shall attempt to post news etc. everywhere but you might also want to keep an eye on the Revenge of the 80s Kids facebook page and the Revenge of the 80s Kids official page.