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Monday Mixtape: The Bonk

bonk landscape cawfee

The Bonk recently released hypnotic garage psych-jazz single ‘May Feign‘. Spanning primitive computer music to postmodern art rock, frontman (and former O Emperor member) Philip Christie takes us through some recent key influences.

“These are a few tunes that I have been coming back to over the last while. Turns out I haven’t made it past the late seventies. I am not with it.”

Annette Peacock – I’m The One

I came across Annette Peacock’s music two or three years ago and since then it has been something I’ve come back to over and over. There is a lovely playfulness in the tunes alongside some fairly complex/ intense moments. Her voice and approach is so effortlessly cool (the ring modulation on the vocals is something to say in fairness about).

Henry Flynt – Guitar Rebop

Henry Flynt is an interesting character. He was involved with the Fluxus art movement in New York in the 1960’s and turned his hand to philosophy and concept art (I think he coined this term) as well as busting out tunes. From North Carolina, his music often takes an oblique minimal approach to country blues and hillbilly music – an American Bogman weirdo with integrity. I really like how he uses the guitar here to do some rebopping.

Ivor Cutler / Neil Ardley – The Dong With A Luminous Nose

I can’t get over this musical arrangement of a poem by Edward Lear. YouTube tells me it was released as part of compilation.   Ivor Cutler provides the perfect voice for the text and the arrangement just goes through so many gears over the course of the 12 minutes. Truly joyous shit.

Norma Tanega- You’re Dead

Came across Norma Tanega by accident in some Youtube hole a few years ago and I love her songs. Strangely enough, I started listening a lot to her again very recently just before she passed away. I like her wordplay and approach to rhythm. This one in particular snakes around a familiar folk-style rhythm in a really cool way, skipping and adding measures in a way that feels ignorant and quite refined at the same time.

Herbert Brun – Futility

This piece is not necessarily easy on the old ears but I have been enjoying it. Herbert Brun pioneered computer music but also has some really interesting ideas on communication and meaning making. In this wee number he interposes a long passage of text and strange musical scenes. I think his buzz is that the meaning of the piece is constantly deferred by the structure of the piece/text; that real communication only happens when we are presented with something new that avoids using the codes that are already established and requires us to actively struggle with it. Some nerhd bey!

Serge Gainsbourg – Le Poinconneur De Lilas

This is a song about a fella punching holes in tickets on the metro that ends up punching a hole in his head to kill the boredom. I have been really getting into Serge Gainsbourg and digging how he uses words in these pieces. In the chorus here, the percussive sound of the words (“je fais des troups, des petits trous”) sort of gives the sense of hole-punching (a very particular kind of sense).

Lili Boulanger – Pie Jesu

My girlfriend came across this on another mixtape by an actor whose name I can’t remember and I have been quite obsessed since. Lili Boulanger was an early 20th century composer who was a real genius but died quite young. Her sister, Nadia was a famous teacher of famous bucks like Stravinsky and Quincy Jones. Everything about this piece really blows me away. The way the harmony is designed it manages to float and maintain a delicate tension the whole way through and the way it is sung is pure pure.

Devo – Can U Take It

‘Excellent guitar riff’

is Gig Guide Editor & guitarist/vocalist with Junk Drawer, PigsAsPeople & Sister Ghost. Appreciator of Neil Young, vinyl, black coffee, Richard Linklater, light & shade.