Monday, 22 March 2010

This Light Bulb Will Self-destruct

The light bulb is often used as a metaphor for a sudden “aha!”, an epiphany, the bright light of a fantastic idea switching on in one’s brain. But, what would happen if a government decreed that process must now happen in reverse?

Something like this, I would imagine:

(The sound of footsteps on stairs...and then voices in the dark.)

Did you hear anything?


Were you in here the whole time?

Um, yeah, as far as I can remember...

Well, the light is off and the light bulb is gone.

Burned out?

No, it’s gone. I can’t find it.


Some time later, the glass portion of the fantastic paranormal light bulb is spotted on the floor, unbroken, but definitely in the wrong place, and all life-signs are negative as regards photons.

It is soon thereafter discovered that the metal end remains in the socket, fully powered.

I suppose that’s what one gets for buying black-market 60 watt light bulbs. Since the ban, apparently, the counterfeiters have been busy.

But, look on the bright side: good thing it wasn’t a legal compact fluorescent, or we might have had mercury to clean up. Even without a toxic spill, I would probably be in bed with a migraine from the wretched, flickering thing.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Rainy Day Motorbiking

Today’s agenda primarily involved a trip to town to purchase some paper and spray adhesive to finish assembling the CD packages. It would have been much less messy if it hadn’t been raining, but this is England.

It rains.

A lot

It rains so much in fact, that one may as well not bother with the weather forecast. It’s completely wrong 90% of the time anyway, due to island weather being so changeable. It is much more practical to assume it will rain in some quantity sooner or later and prepare accordingly.

Fortunately, it is much warmer today, so being completely drenched was not as bad as it could have been. What was horrifying though was crossing the opaque brown river running off the fields and down the lane next to the house, not because of the depth of the water, but because of the smell. I’m told the fertilizer they put on the fields is something called “pig slurry”. Yeah. That’s nice.

The things I do for my art...

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Ruined Morning - Free Download!

“Ruined Morning” is the first track on the forthcoming Monday Machines CD. You can listen to the whole song below, and download it free here.

<a href="">Ruined Morning (free download) by Monday Machines</a>

About this song:

One day last year, Allan was describing to me the non-stop din caused by the construction crews tearing up the road outside his apartment. He was trying to record guitar tracks, and was becoming very frustrated with the noise.

You probably can’t fight a bulldozer, so I thought about how he could turn it to his advantage. I decided it was really a wonderful opportunity to capture the ambience of dump trucks and jackhammers at close range from the comfort of home, so I suggested he record them.

A few days later, he was rudely awakened on a Monday morning by the sounds of large-scale asphalt demolition. Instead of being annoyed by it and letting it stop him from doing things, he smiled, and stuck some mics out the window, captured a couple of long wav files of the most clamorous clangings and rumblings, and had a wonderful time doing it. Suddenly the noise became creatively inspiring instead of negative. The actual noise was the same, but the context in which it existed was changed with a mere thought.

The recordings were vivid. You could almost see the bulldozers, and smell the noxious fumes from hot asphalt and diesel in the atmosphere when playing them back, and listening was instant inspiration for this song, which shows that—given the right context—noise can also be poetry and metaphor. The arrangement as it is on the album begins with my alarm clock going off and being thrown across the room in disgust. I think it is the most horrible sounding alarm clock in the whole world. So horrible, that I couldn’t resist sampling the vile distorted square wave tone, and using it as a melodic instrument in the choruses!

The title of this song, and our band name, both come from the names Allan gave that first set of files: “ruinedmorning.wav” and “mondaymachines.wav”.

Later, he went on to record a spontaneous improvisation with live jackhammers...but that’s the next track on the album...stay tuned.

And when life gives you noise, point a microphone at it!

Ruined Morning

On ruined morning: apocalypse kitchen.
Open the window—let the sounds of disaster in.
Telephone ringing: little alarm bells
Flaking the paint off. Colours slow down the spin.

And the jackhammer raindrops,
The crushing of clanging,
The shouting, it stills your tongue.
And then you remember,
The point, it has left you—
You cannot feel where it stung.

On ruined morning: pretentious collisions.
Cast iron railing measures angle grinder time.
Rude hesitations, arguing hard hats—
Convention of rubble: punishment defines the crime.

Careening concrete,
And clamorous boltings,
The sun-launched asphalt steam—
A cyclic upheaval,
A bulldozer nightmare,
But this is not a dream.

On ruined morning: the vertical highway
Terrifies no-one, for the sky is far from here.
The satellite photo, the thing you don't mention,
Peculiar direction—it is not to do with fear.

I wish you good luck—
See the quiver of arrows,
One of the points has your name.
A feedback collection,
A speaker excursion,
A cruel and deadly game.

On ruined morning: you recognise someone.
(All the faces look the same.)

© 2009 Cary Grace/Door 13 Music (BMI).