The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gig #112: Of late 23: Oxbow, Nkisi, Actress, Perc, Stormzy, Gas, Charli XCX, Blanck Mass, Guided by Voices, Part Chimp, Teleplasmiste, Demen, D. Glare


Charli XCX
Blanck Mass
Guided by Voices
Part Chimp
D. Glare


Oxbow Other People
‘In their almost three decade long career, Oxbow have by and large veered towards an avant garde style which has gradually morphed into a sound that’s very much their own. As early as 1989 debut Fuckfest, Oxbow have been uncompromising in their delivery, the stabs of hardcore chaos hitting just as hard as the jazz passages and unsettling gentle string led moments. With just a handful of albums to their name over the years, it’s clear that, like Tool, quality control is of utmost importance to these guys. So it’s pleasing to find that new album Thin Black Duke maintains those standards. With Thin Black Duke Oxbow have confounded expectations again, and we can only hope we don’t have to wait another ten years for the next act.’ — Moshville


Nkisi Parched Lips
‘Nkisi makes objects, not tracks. Her music is densely layered and tightly crafted. Its rhythms whorl, its textures mutate. Existing in a state of constant change, these objects shape and reshape themselves, drawing heterogenous sounds and syncopations into their orbits, like nails driven into wood. Kill is Nkisi’s first collection of music to receive a physical release, although the sounds contained within seem intent on transcending the limits of their vessel. These things cover an immense amount of ground, stylistically and rhythmically, journeying through landscapes pockmarked by afro house, techno, gabber, and trance. As they go, they agglomerate new elements consistently and non-linearly, each part adding a new facet, a new optic, a new dimension.’ — Rafael Lubner


Actress There’s An Angel in the Shower
‘Darren Jordan Cunningham has been making boundary-pushing electronic music under the Actress name for well over a decade. His last album, 2014’s ‘Ghettoville’, was a dark, glitchy and soulful triumph. ‘AZD’, his fifth, is no less imaginative, a record themed entirely around chrome. Concept albums are few and far between in 2017, but even rarer are the ones dealing with the shiny surfaces found in mid-range suburban wine bars. But then, the work of Actress is less music and more sound art.’ — NME


Perc live @ REAKTOR
‘Perc is one of electronic dance music’s reference points: an internationally touring DJ, label owner and one of the most respected producers in techno today. Known as one of the most forward-thinking individuals in techno Perc (aka London based Ali Wells) fuses current sounds with his extensive knowledge of electronic music’s past to create something new & unique. A regular artist on such scene-leading labels as CLR, Kompakt, Drumcode, Stroboscopic Artefacts and Ovum as well as his own world-reknown Perc Trax imprint, Perc is as uncompromising as he is unique.’ — Resident Advisor


Stormzy Mr Skeng
‘Stormzy’s debut record is a definitive statement of intent. It’s a record that says he’s willing to become the leading light of the grime revival with a collection of songs that are every bit as impressive as they are eclectic. With a collection of songs that are far more varied and genre-spanning than we could have ever expected, it’s a hugely exciting debut – and one that immediately marks Stormzy out as Grime’s renaissance man.’ — Metro


Gas Narkopop 10
‘The music of GAS doesn’t exactly emulate or attempt to project a proper image of nature as much as it seeks to unearth the tactile qualities of existing within it. Like raw data, it churns out uncharacterizable masses of noise that can scan as foreboding, gentle, or both at once, tranquil and feral in a shifting natural state. It’s not an idealization of nature, rather it’s remarkably nonjudgmental toward whether this frame of mind is “good” or “bad.” It merely embodies its qualities honestly, its mysterious low thump speaking to an inherent rhythm imprinted within us since before we were even born.’ — Sam Goldner


Charli XCX ILY2
‘Charli’s never made a bad record, or the same record twice, and it’s one of her most commendable traits as an artist how she’s managed to swerve successfully between so many different lanes within the pop world — whether it’s the turbo-charged Powerpuff-pop of Sucker, the cartoonish mutant pop of last year’s Sophie-produced Vroom Vroom EP, or even what we’ve heard of the grungy pop-punk from her famously shelved Sweden album. But nobody does this as well as Charli XCX: Pop songs with hooks big enough that you want to spray-paint the walls with them, but delivered with such intimacy that they feel like they’re being whispered to you in the middle of a crowded room.’ — Andrew Unterberger


Blanck Mass Please
‘When he isn’t working as half of the great Fuck Buttons, Benjamin John Power makes music on his own, under the name Blanck Mass. Next month, he’ll release the new album World Eater, and it’s a huge leap forward for the music that Power makes outside his band. Whereas past Blanck Mass records fit under the experimental noise umbrella, the new album sounds like dance music — albeit intense, feverish, apocalyptic dance music. It’s a dark and cathartic album for times that demand darkness and catharsis.’ — Stereogum


Guided By Voices Dr. Feelgood Falls Off The Ocean
‘Back in January, Guided By Voices announced August By Cake, and while the announcement of a new Guided By Voices record seems to come with the change of the seasons, this new one is monumental. Not only is it band leader Robert Pollard’s 100th album, it’s the first double album in the band’s career, because Pollard’s prolific nature is matched only by his ambition. “Dr. Feelgood Falls Off The Ocean” sees Pollard and company use a stuttering drum machine to establish a rhythm before turning in one of the compact pop songs that have become Guided By Voices’ calling card. Like all good Guided By Voices songs do, “Dr. Feelgood Falls Off The Ocean“ takes a familiar approach and makes it feel fresh, over and over again.’ — The AV Club


Part Chimp MapoLeon
‘There is something about London’s bruised cultists Part Chimp that has always harboured both jaw-shattering awe and tightrope-teetering ridiculousness. The unapologetic, from-the-bowels-of Hell sludge they have dredged up over the last seventeen years comes at you in a myriad of ways: it’s archaic, like pre-dawn pagan guttural mantras; it’s Herculean, David vs Goliath iconography etched in sledgehammer noise and funereal riffs; it’s anarchic, making the walls sweat blood before imploding in a Poltergeist twist of pinprick white light; yet it is also at times simplistic, base, even (dare I say it) silly.’ — Brendan Telford


Teleplasmiste Fall of the Yak Man
‘Hovering in on sinewaves, coasting by in seemingly endless sawtooth sinews and floating in excelsis on all manner of electronic and acoustic vibrations, Michael J York and Mark Pilkington’s debut full-length LP as Teleplasmiste largely succeeds in making its title ring explicitly and implicitly true. The range and depth of the frequencies are many and enveloping, and the ecstasies to be enjoyed are equally impressive, especially in the right set and setting (alone, in darkness and at high volume seems to work best). Given the duo’s antecedents – Coil, Cyclobe, the invigoratingly out-there Stargazer’s Assistant and as part of Shirley Collins’s recent backing group on Lodestar in the case of York, and for Pilkington as a member or guest of such psychonautical ensembles as Stëllä Märïs Drönë Örchësträ, Urthona, Mount Vernon Astral Temple and solo as The Asterism – it’s pleasing to report that Teleplasmiste contains elements of all the above and more.’ — Richard Fontenoy


Demen Niorum
‘Cocteau Twins aside it was This Mortal Coil which came to represent 4AD’s original “house style” – perhaps even more so, considering it was Ivo Watts-Russell’s own group. The band took influence from ambient music and psych, although without seeking to create a wholly “peaceful” atmosphere – the feeling that This Mortal Coil invoked was deeply melancholic; the kind that tints your surrounding environment with a solemnity. It’s an ambience simultaneously depressing and calming, even perhaps imbued with a kind of ancient quality – their song titles ‘Gathering Dust’ and ‘Filigree & Shadow’, for example, certainly seem to invoke this kind of imagery. All of this tends to mean that TMC are a band difficult to cite as a close influence, mainly down to how specific and rich with personality their sound world actually was. Except, that is, for Demen, who channels this side of This Mortal Coil strongly through her genuinely mysterious debut, Nektyr. Released through Kranky on the strength of a demo, there is no other information available on her.’ — Lottie Brazier


D Glare 4 Oscillators & 130 Samples At 130 BPM (Side 2)
‘Immersion is a word too-readily thrown about in music criticism, especially in discussions around psychedelia. It is certainly applicable in this instance, but what is important to note is that D Glare’s immersion is not at all ‘womb-like’, warm or friendly. Rather, it suggests the oneiric underworld of sleep paralysis: dreams where the body is immobile, intruders stand by your bedside and breathing is nigh on impossible. In other words, 4 Oscillators is ripe with elemental, insatiable drama. But drama is all too often mistaken for conflict and this album is far too confrontational to be confined to the album format alone. Its duration, which clocks in at 120min, is double the length of a standard attention-friendly long player. Instead, it suggests a more elaborate, permanent staging.’ — Ilia Rogatchevski



p.s. Hey from a relieved Paris. ** New Juche, Hi. Oh, that’s wild that you were almost in ‘Rescue Dawn’. A friend of mine was one its stars. ** Steevee, Hi. See, I didn’t even know about ‘Queen of the Desert’, and I’m a Herzog fan. Yeah, Wenders is another one whose work dropped off dramatically quite long ago now. When Zac and I were at the Montreal Film Festival to show ‘LCTG’ lat year, we saw his, I think, second to newest feature, ‘Everything Will Be Fine’, that starred James Franco and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and it was a very dreary snooze. I don’t think it ever got a release much of anywhere. Has your sleeping situation improved over the weekend. I hope? ** David Ehrenstein, Hello, sir. ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. Awesome, deserved words to Mr. Dankland, thanks! Yeah, I like it best when people here interact with each other for sure, and how the new blog allows people to make comments upon comments is a real plus. I don’t know. I definitely do not miss the psychodramas that used to happen on the blog sometimes back when interacting was more heavily pushed, and I think I’m wary of opening that door again, but maybe one of these days I’ll just propose an SPD and surprise everyone, including myself. ** Bill, Hi, Bill. Your crossed fingers paid off, man, so thanks a bunch. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. A total thrill for me to read your enthusiastic respond to Chris’s post and work, and I agree. Was a time, albeit very long ago, when Herzog’s films and documentaries were on a par in their greatness. You would certainly think he must know his recent fiction films don’t hold a candle, but then why does he keep making them without seeming to even try to reengage with his muse? For money? Nah, it doesn’t seem like that would be the reason. I don’t know. ** S., Well, hey there, man and buddy! Florida? Interesting. Never been to St. Petersburg. Just Orlando — well, not even that, just the theme park parts — and a stretch of the panhandle. Ghost stories, tasty. Say more. Ack and cool, you saw GbV. Pollard hates Europe, so they never ever get over here. ** Alistair, Hi, A! Yes, it was a mightily tense Paris there for a while, but, obviously, last night brought much relief, which is not to say Macron is any kind of savior or hero by any means, but dodging Le Pen at that pretty good margin is an ultra-welcome way to start. In Paris, Le Pen only got 8% of the vote! How’s your stuff? It was exciting to see your new novel’s cover. Jonesing for that book heavily, my friend. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Weird asocial moods can be very natural and helpful and even unweird sometimes, for sure. I’ve had days like your recent days pretty ever since I got back from the film shoot, although I think productivity is starting to kick back in. Are you on track again? Yes, we finally got the word about the editing. We start editing on May 22nd. So we got the extension. I really should make sure to enjoy the break since, as I think I said, I don’t think we’ll get much of any breaks until September after we start. The election turned out as well as I guess it could have turned out under the circumstances. Well, I wish Le Pen had gotten 1% of the vote rather than a scary 34%, but life goes on. My weekend … blurry. Let me think. Waiting for the election kind of made everything feel like it was on hold. Uh, worked on stuff. I had Michael ‘Kiddiepunk’ Salerno, Benedetta ‘Oscar B’ De Alessi, and their new kiddo Milo over to see my new apartment since they hadn’t been over yet. They approved. I served them macarons. We were all together on the ‘PGL’ shoot, and we talked a lot about that naturally. I had a long, great talk with my friend Lee, my high school friend with whom I reunited a while back. He’s collaborating on a performance with Nona Hendryx for the great Moogfest in in N.C. next week, and that was exciting to hear about. I of course watched the election coverage like the veritable hawk, and I almost went down to the Louvre where the Macron victory party/rally was, but I decided the TV feed was enough. Not much else that I can remember. Blurry. Did yours go well? And Monday too? ** MANCY, Hi, S. Thank you, man. Yeah, nice to be back and to feel so optimistic about the film. How’s everything with you? ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Yeah, it was a bit of a trounce, thank god. I feel proud of France for staving off that horror. We’ll see what happens now. ** Jeff J, Howdy. I know the name Thomas DeFrantz, and maybe I saw work of his back in the day, but I can’t remember. It was good, huh? Cool. I’ll investigate what I can find online. Yes, yes, very real relief that Le Pen lost and rather soundly. As I told Dora, we’ll start editing ‘PGL’ on the 22nd for 3 initial weeks on our own, and then 2 weeks with a pro editor. To start with. Well, for five very intensive days of each of those weeks since we’re not allowed to work at the studio on weekends, unfortunately. Looking greatly and antsily forward to it. ** Chris Dankland, Hey, Chris! Man, thank you so, so much again, and I’m very happy to see your work got such a great response (and a very high number of “hits” in addition). Hollande’s term as president was a giant disappointment to everyone. Hence his 16% approval rating at the moment. His pluses are the Paris climate change agreement that he was at the center of and some social stuff like legalizing gay marriage and adoption. Otherwise, I think people think things were mostly kind of stagnant during his reign. And his unpopularity pretty much destroyed the Socialist Party, at least for right now. Not great. But, yes, the defeat of Le Pen is very, very, very good. Take care, my friend, and thank you again for gracing this place with your amazingness! ** Okay. I made you another gig of stuff I’m listening to of late. Try it out, won’t you? See you tomorrow.


  1. My sleep problems were the product of experimenting with the time that I took my meds. For the past two days, I’ve stuck to taking them with dinner, instead of trying to take them later in the evening with a large snack instead (they need to be taken with food for full effectiveness.) If I wait and eat dinner later, I manage to avoid completely crashing 5 hours after I take them, although I can’t always control what time I eat dinner due to evening press screenings I need to attend, etc. Tonight I’m seeing a Syrian-made documentary about the war there called LAST MEN FROM ALEPPO.

    I’m also interviewing documentarian Steve James (of HOOP DREAMS fame) this afternoon and will be spending the time between the interview and film transcribing it.

    That Wenders film you mentioned got exactly one week’s run in New York, just like QUEEN OF THE DESERT. The funny thing is that Wenders got two extensive NYC retrospectives in 2015, going back to his student films but being very selective about his post-WINGS OF DESIRE narrative work. I wonder if he felt insulted; probably not, because he attended them.

  2. Hey Dennis

    WHo was your friend in Rescue Dawn? I was supposed to be an extra in the last scene with all the squaddies, but slept in like the drunken rat I am. In any case, the pay was not good I remember.


  3. Sorry for the late response. To answer your Q, I’ll be going to continue for a bachelors next semester. I might get a job helping homeless and at risk youth soon.

    Oxbow are one of my favorite bands and The Narcotic Story is one of my favorite albums. That album probably saved my life a few times. I’m glad you’re digging their new stuff. It seems like all of my favorite artists are making new albums this year! Toby Driver from Kayo Dot came out with a new album, there’s Elder, Amenra, Anathema, Oranssi Pazuzu, Steven Wilson,… Plus the new Ulver album too! If it weren’t for politics this year would be gold.

    • p.s Steven Wilson should really do a film score to one of your future movies. Wasn’t No-Man music being used for the one DC film? Whatever happened to that film project?

  4. The results of the French election are getting an international read-out here in that the enemy is Russia — which meddled in the U.S. elections, tried and failed in France and has now set its sites on Germany. Received “Wisdom” would have it that there’s a struggle between “Internationalism” (“Progressives” and “Nationalism” (“Conservatives”) world-wide. However you read it it STINKS ON ICE!

  5. Dóra Grőber

    May 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm


    It’s kind of reassuring to hear that this mood isn’t so weird. I just rarely ever get stuck with it for more than a day or two. It seems like this occasion is an exception: I’m still not very productive and my whole weekend was like this. Although I did manage to work on my book a little now so maybe it’s starting to kick back in here too. I’m happy to hear that’s the case with you!
    Great news about the editing date!! Do you have any special plans about how you’d like to enjoy the break?
    Yeah, 34% is still quite high but thank god she didn’t win, at least!!
    Sounds like you had a pleasant weekend – apart from the fuss about the election! I’m glad you did!

    Apart from the ‘I can’t do anything’ frustration, my day was fine enough. Instead of trying (uselessly) to force myself to write, I was searching for writers I could invite to submit to SCAB and I did find a few promising names. I’ll contact them in the next couple of days and see what happens.
    How was your today? I hope it was lovely!

  6. Another great gig! I love that Actress album and think it’s up there with his best work. You know Darren Cunningham used to be a professional footballer for West Brom before he gave it all up to smoke loads of weed and make genius music? I think we’ve all benefited from that decision.

    My own album of the year thus far is Dopplereffekt – Cellular Automata which I’ve been playing repeatedly and am constantly astonished by.

  7. Your gig helped me realize I need to buy a new computer immediately, because I can no longer watch video on it at all! I did indeed buy one, I’m going to the Apple Store with my old computer and hard drive to get files transferred tomorrow morning and I should have the new computer Wednesday or Thursday. Finally, I’ll be able to watch videos on YouTube and Vimeo without stuttering.

  8. Right now I’m still listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac: now I’ve gone on to the band’s two albums in the 1980’s, and, while those are not as good as the ones from the 70’s, still have their moments. In regards to upcoming albums, I’m looking forward to the Harry Styles debut solo album (which I believe is out this Friday), and next month I think the new Lorde album is coming out… I found her first album slightly overrated but did enjoy some of the tracks on it, so I suppose you could say that I’m curious enough to check out her new work.

    Right now I’m reading Cosey Fanni Tutti’s “Art Sex Music” which, as you can imagine, I’m finding very interesting, though I can see that the Throbbing Gristle-orientated reminiscences don’t start arriving until nearly 180 or so pages in. I will say that P-Orridge doesn’t come off as looking too good, though.

  9. Dennis, I’ve heard of some of these. 😛

    Yeah, I really dig Mr. Dankland’s stuff. He’s funny as hell but also very poignant.

    How do you like Kiddie and Oscar’s boy? Seems like a fine chap to me, from the pics I’ve seen of him on FB. Handsome devil, like his parents. Has he started creating Art yet? 😀

  10. yeah man im a bay bum now love it. its a change of tempo from the midwest. offseason here now laid back. yeah had marius paint me some paintings on my way here dude knows his stuff. moved to write and fall in love with a florida boy. already crushing hard and feeling really psyched about the writing. my new pegleg is awesome! arrr! oh fuck GBV is so fucking rad. seen em twice now. pollards a weird guy. id fight im but hed be too awesome and totally kick my ass. the new line up is tight. gonna miss my dance party friends. interesting folks here its gonna be fun. scary as fuck coming right up. heres to you and your goodass shit. only remember the green ray from the green ray. cant wait. love from Fla

  11. I didn’t know Oxbow is still active (though I suppose “active” is a relative term!). That’s a tasteful video. Will spend more time with the rest soon.

    Any recent photos of Milo and the proud parents?

    About halfway through the complete Leonora Carrington stories. So lovably bizarre.

    Also started this; how could I resist?


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