You can't say Highpoint Lowlife isn't going out on a high: Thorsten Sideb0ard's monumental curatorial effort winds itself up for the final curtain with TVO/The Village Orchestra's beautiful epic Amid the Blaze of Noon. Has there been a better HPLL release than this juddery, tangential suite, its 14 parts jewel-glinting & city-smeared (the mighty Erstlaub, who's name-checked in one of the early chapters, might have a thing or two to say about that, of course...)?
"It’s almost a redundancy to point out the hidden depths to
cities. Better authors and thinkers than I have expended
time in tracing their esoteric underbellies: Sinclair,
Morrison, Home, Calvino, Ballard and Ackroyd are the
ones that had the most profound effect on me. I have a
recurring urge to record and document the city (the city as
an entity of entirety rather than a specific one, the ur-city
that lurks behind all the other, smaller facets - maybe like
a hologram, each small part also containing the whole,
something said more elegantly by Neil Gaiman than by
me) and also find myself constantly influenced by and
through by the concrete, metal and glass.
Amid The Blaze of Noon began as a performance at
Cafe Oto (as opposed to OTO?) in 2008. Organised by
Thorsten from Highpoint Lowlife, I decided along with my
long time collaborator and ex-Marcia Blaine girl Bryan
Kerr to create a performance based around the area
where the event took place. The plan was to spend the
day wandering through Dalston and Stoke Newington,
accompanied by our friend and collaborator Dave Fyans/
Erstlaub, with no destination in mind, recording all the
The performance itself was almost incidental. A planned
conjoining of audio and video from the day coupled with
heavy processing, it worked to a degree, but technical
problems led to an awkward, uncertain display which had
moments of brilliance coupled with fragments of waste.
The recordings - by now some heavily processed, others
unadorned - persisted though. There was a plan to put
together a DVD of Bryan’s images with a new album based
around the recordings - but in the end this fell through, with
a single video for ALA the only testament to the plan (http://
vimeo.com/11467858). Instead I used the recordings to
anchor other work that I had already put together for a
work based around cities, as well as new music inspired by
or involved directly in the performance.
Albums - or ‘albums’ - are apparently an outmoded concept,
an anachronism in a time of single track mp3 lust. But for
me there will always be a place for a longer-form work, an
album to take from A to A ∴ in a fixed point in time, and
that tries to achieve a certain goal along the way."
Stream the entirety of Ruaridh Law's magical psychogeography tour (jumping off point: Dalston) below. Plus a re-up of those ALA visuals...
Meantime, Thorsten also resuscitates Chris Douglas's Dalglish. This splintering lope round an unobvious block, bringing the label full circle from its first non-compilation release, demands the attention that Douglas has so rarely had in 20 pioneering years.
Dalglish - 10 7.3.2009
Liber Aleph//Idle Fear//ALA//Volume B//
Gram//The Girl With The Star On Her
Arm//Lost in The Waste//Aklo (Red Hook
to Hackney)//Destroying Angel//Abney
Park Scrying//The Empire Never Ended
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