Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pjorn 72 comp

Various Artists - Songs About Dying
Pjorn 72 CDR. PjornCD0023

I was amused by a survey in which 3,000 of Greggs customers were asked a number of questions relating to the festival that is Christmas. Ten percent of those asked ‘What is Christmas?’ thought that it was an invention brought about so that we could all give each other presents. Others thought we ate turkey at Christmas because thats where Mary and Joseph were born and another large portion of up to date, finger on the pulse human beings thought that the first day of Christmas was the 1st of December. And on it went. The true meaning of Christmas disappeared a long time ago and with each passing year gets buried deeper and deeper under a man made mountain of Argos ads, well worn Xmas singles and celebrity chef programmes. If you want to find the true meaning of Christmas these days head to your local out of town shopping center or sit glued to your 50 inch plasma TV for two weeks.

Like most people I’m just glad of the break at this time of year. Its a chance to overdo it on the wine and victuals without having to worry about an alarm clock going off and theres always the prospect of a bracing mid afternoon walk with a nip of whisky to warm you along the way. Of course the telly is shite. The TV companies would have you believe that Christmas time is two weeks of televisual bliss, fun for all the family, a televisual feast the likes of which we haven’t seen since the year before and when you switch it on its just a turd with a bit of tinsel on it.

I prefer to spend Christmas in the kitchen cooking meals to a background of contemplative Bob with the odd Harry Smith comp thrown in for counterpoint. As the wine works its way into my system the songs become more familiar, the vocal accompaniments more heartfelt and the food more forgotten. And then its to the Poang for an evening of Late Bottle Vintage Port and the review pile which I must admit has, in general, been of an outstanding quality this year.

I think my audience knows what I like by now and word has got round. You could argue that this is a bad thing - giving me what I like in the expectant return of praise - it could make me complacent. I prefer to see it this way - I could be wallowing in a sea of self indulgent, underworked, badly copied CDR’s with lousy art work, work that has little in the way of edification and has about as much chance of entertaining me as the Strictly Come Dancing final and the Hairy Bikers Christmas Special all rolled into one. I prefer the former.

Songs About Dying slips into the former category, but only just. The artwork doesn’t do much for me, theres nothing in the way of information and the CDR is badly recorded - it has those annoying digital clicks that curse many a rushed CD job [I overcame this by playing it at a low volume on the PC].

Fifteen artists then with most of them chipping in with something worthwhile - not a bad result for any comp really. Those that can hang their heads in shame though are UFO Antler Band with a contribution that sounds like a PE track recorded inside a Space Invader machine and Incest Whore who sound like a thrash doom band recorded in a paper cup. The rest brings much delight, especially the Nackt Insecten track with its slowly drifting seven minutes worth of organ drone purity [when did the Nackster drop the noise baton?]. Other highlights include Dead Labour Process who sound remarkably like Milovan Srdenovic, Andy Jarvis with a luscious keyboard/guitar drone thats more than a match for the emeraldic Mark McGuire, Usurper with a recording of a board game in progress, Jazzfinger, the ever wonderful Culver, Blood Stereo and Grant Smith.

Without going to the trouble of Googling all the artists involved here I’m pretty sure that they’re all UK based. Pjorn, for whatever reason they deem fit, have put this out into the world with little in the way of information. Pjorn must assume that the listener, with a PC and internet connection, will do the leg work for them. In pre-internet days [dons grumpy old bastard stance] you provided contact information for the benefit of the artists and listener alike but with social networking the norm this is leading to laziness and in my mind an impression of another release out of the way, let the buggers do it for themselves.

As a snapshot of whats happening in the UK today [again I’m assuming this is a fairly recent release] you’d gather that theres some people dabbling in drone, some in Dada like Schimpfuckery and some in deconstructed thrash but without recourse to a computer you'd be left pretty much in the dark as to anything but the track listing.  Still, it beats watching the Hairy Bikers.

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