Legalize It

Table reflection

Knights of Sodom granted The Half Truth an email interview from beyond the grave. Check their depraved hit ‘Legalize It’, a testiment to NZ’s half-heard dungeon troves of Dunedin wheely bin gore and stoned new wave tim tams. The band are from Auckland.

Who are the Knights of Sodom?

Well, Sodom is a historical city of sorts. It’s sort of become a metaphor for sodomy if you don’t already know that, but if you look at the traditional Jewish interpretation, Sodom was damned because of the occupants’ failure to welcome strangers into the city. So when we write music, bearing that in mind, we are the knights of that place.

How did the Knights capture Jizmatron & enslave him?


You live on the underside of the earth. Which synth has travelled the furthest to get to your studio?

It’s the Arp. It belonged to Brian Gillespie from Detroit, but he owed me money from some unforseen costs shipping art that he’d purchased here (Auckland, NZ), so he gave me the arp instead. It’s from Motown. It might have belonged to Dan Bell, or I might have made that up.

For people who don’t know too much about NZ music, is there anything you’d recommend?

Archaic: Beat Rhythm Fashion. This is so fucking good

Also there’s some Car Crash Set stuff that is really good.

Stuff from now: Golden Axe.
This is totally worthy :

Do you know how to milk a cow? if not, what is another highlight of living in NZ?

Put it in the bank. Cash cow. NZ is rich, today. Tomorrow’s not important. Mootown.
An itinerant member of the band, Duncan Bruce has a goat. He’d be the guy to ask.

What was the idea behind your zine, & do you plan to resurrect it.

Well we turned the mag into a blog, but it seemed kind of pointless. Maybe it was the physical act of photocopying leaflets that made it worthwhile. It’s a tactile thing? Now we can’t feel it because we have a blog. It’s at There haven’t been any updates lately because nothing has happened. I did like my article about the AmigaPhone though. To this day selling all of your body parts to obtain hard currency to obtain the drug marijuana, replacing the parts with synthesised android replacements and being a dopesmoking robot has remained a good idea.

dark vine


inside the WDR

Outré plosives aplenty, but for posterity, here is the podcast I recorded with producer Uh-Young Kim for the Goethe Institut last year, as a promotion for the Night of Unity in Seoul, Korea. Goethe Institut have quite a catalogue of events worldwide, showcasing and engaging in discussions on techno music as a key German cultural export. It’s obviously not ALL about angular haircuts.

In case you always though David Hasselhoff brought down the wall (or worse, Helmut Kohl), listen to this brief history linking Wagner, Cologne techno, ’90s Berlin clubs and German reunification.
Click on Issue 44 here.

Long Distance Echo


I recently participated in a chinese-whispers-style mixtape organised by Greek disco she-wizard Mari-cha. Each track was picked by hearing the preceding track only, so there was some potential for a crowded party line. But the mix turned out very nicely – without any unpleasant interjections or garbled reception. It features contributions by quite a few RBMA suspects. Luciana Da Costa Amorim, Baris K and Brennan Green threw in tracks, as did my homegirl Sassy J and Fred Cherry of Canyons.

Broken Telephone Mix

when Cluster played Köln

cologne school

Notes from when the duo played at the Stadtgarten.

A small number of folding chairs were set up in front of the stage, populated by a scattering of quiet ladies & gentlemen of a respectable vintage.

We stood at the back, drank coronas and snapped on cinnamon chewing gum.

Cluster came on stage in button down burgundy and dark grey shirts, said a perfunctory “Hallo!” (to which the small audience chorused back “Hallo!” as if we were at a school recital), flipped on a projector, and began to play their music.

Doling out songs in a predecided sequence off CDs, they tweaked frequencies via two small mixers and bleeped, chortled and blooped on top with a few small synths. Could not see what type as it was dark, besides the light of their projection.

The projection was an image of a white-washed house, a tree’s leaves moving a little in the foreground, nothing happening on screen apart from a gardener who transported tools or watering can across the frame. Perhaps this was one of the three houses built in the 1600s where Herr Roedelius and Herr Moebius worked on Sowiesoso and Harmonia, the house where Brian Eno stayed and was taken into the forest to pick up wood – a house beyond time. Or the place where they made Curiosum on a four-track machine, on a farm in the north of Austria.

Much electronic music in Germany, kraut, psychedelic or techno, cites pastoral influences. Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS project ostensibly draws inspiration from walks in the woods, boiling this romantic botanic ideology down into vague sonic sheaths and screen-saver-like computer generations of alienated leave formations.

Cluster’s image of a plain white house by contrast, surrounded by immovable trees and a dead sky, was more honest – an image of total inertia. Staring at that house in the darkness was stifling, as if we were buried under those white stone foundations.

After perhaps 20 minutes of crackling soundscapes, a slow, thudding pulse began, and Hans-Joachim’s body began to vibrate, almost imperceptibly, in time with the beat. At the end of each tune, a big crashing kerrang-clang swallowed the pulse, as if to say NO DANCE.

Sliding tones whistled from left to right and Detroit’s rejoinders haunted us in heavenly fragments, even as the old stone building pressed on our eyes.

The audience were sufficiently pleased that they performed an encore, after grumbling that old men need a lullaby to go to bed.
The track fizzled to a halt and both men looked surprised. Dieter shrugged. “Schluss, hmm?” (The end, huh?).
The crowd laughed, then gave their thunderous applause (well, a community centre-sized squall).

Malibu on Ice

Et voila, here is the video for the Kidtronik remix of Arabian Prince’s Let’s Hit The Beach, as described in my post below. Finally you can catch a glimpse of Sawyer and his rubber chicken.

Let’s Hit The Beach


It’s hard to believe it’s nearly two years since I posted about Arabian Prince’s Innovative Life anthology coming out on Stones Throw.

This easter, when I stopped through LA, me & Mashi dropped by what we thought would be an Arabian Prince beach party in Malibu. It turned out to be a guerilla music video shoot for a remix of Arabian’s classic Let’s Hit The Beach.


Arabian pointed out Dr Dre’s shimmering white house a little further along the coast, while some LA girls in short shorts sipped drinks from a cooler filled with powerade and aeroplane-sized bottles of malibu.

The director filmed everything on a tiny point-and-click camera, on an otherwise deserted beach, as the track pumped out of a laptop connected to an old ghetto blaster.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of Sawyer, the handsome 11-year-old LA pointer dog who had never been to the beach before.



A baby blizzard has hit Cologne. At least, they’re calling it a blizzard – though if this was Vladivostok or Sapporo it wouldn’t pass for more than a sneeze.
A friend told me that when you catch a bus in Sapporo in winter, the driver stops twenty yards before the bus-stop so it can skid smoothly to a halt. There are road-heating systems on slopes, as part of the Special Law for Management of Road Traffic in Snowy and Cold Regions. Water discharged from Mt Moiwa power station is pumped into the Yamahana river to create a Snow Flowing Gutter, which is able to handle fifty 11-ton dump truckloads of snow every hour. I like how those words are capitalized: Snow Flowing Gutter.

Anyway, the rare occurrence of snow in Cologne is calming. The best thing about it is how quiet everything becomes, like wool wrapped around a microphone.
Late last night I was catching up with pop culture, investigating some show called Jersey Shore, and reading a Vanity Fair article about the latest casualty among those washed out heiresses who are famous for nothing. Celebrity-seeking detritus: it was a reminder that the worst Monroe-wannabee spray-tanned excesses of our culture are best experienced in 2D: filtered through a blog post on Café Con Lesley or Gawker, frozen in photos where they are not allowed to speak.

After that, I really needed a snowcrash to wipe everything clean. As well as some clattering music to scour the trash from my eyes (see below- a selection c/o Bumrocks, Coco Solid and Molly Kongshuttle). In the words of Velvet Underground, “1000 dreams that would awake me: different colours made of tears.”

Casey has already picked out the baby’s name: Ava-Monroe, after Marilyn, who has long been her idol. “I see a lot of similarities between us,” Casey says. “Her life makes me sad. I don’t think she was very happy. She was just very, very complicated and sort of a deep person, and nobody realized that. They thought she was some dumb blonde, and she wasn’t. She was a smart, smart broad. And I think that sometimes people look at me and think, Oh, Casey Johnson, she’s stupid, she’s blonde, she’s an heiress, blah, blah, blah.”
There’s a hint of melancholy in her eyes, and I ask if she’s feeling well. “Yeah,” she says. “I’m just a little tired.” Back in New York a few days later, though, I get a call from Casey. She’s cheerful now, excited, and she’s been shopping again. “I got a crib, and a changing table, and I got a car seat, and a stroller,” she says. And something for Ava-Monroe she just couldn’t resist: “the cutest leopard baby bikini. Oh my gosh. She is going to be dressed to kill.”

Hannover Hijinks

My friend Vladimir Ivkovic runs a record label for Loco Dice and a certain Hannover techno producer named Martin B, and last week I helped him film a promo video for Martin’s new LP (due out in February). Vladimir’s beard looks excellent in the pic above (UPDATE: I decided to delete the pic. Too much information).

Martin’s studio in Hannover famously contains much desirable outboard gear, such as a shiny golden Massive Passive EQ. Plus, of course, classy keys like a Rhodes and a Minimoog Voyager. My personal favourite here is the humble Wurlitzer.
Love the funereal shape of it as well as the rock n roll sound.

martin buttrich studio

Epistrophik Soul

Georgia Ann Muldrow (Epistrophik Peach Sound) is a multi-talented beat-maker, singer, mystic and mom. A devout christian & weed-smoking conspiracy theorist, she glowed like a diamond when she spoke at the RBMA in Toronto about creating her own time signature:

“The metronome is not a bad thing. Metronomes are great. Because, they teach you how to be on the one, you know. And a metronome ain’t a piece of equipment. A metronome is your heart beat. A metronome is your footsteps through your own life, you know. Let that be the metronome.”

Georgia’s mother Rickie was a spiritual jazz singer in the ’70s and early ’80s: turns out she also dabbled in divine disco (see the tune above).

Below is an interview with Georgia’s mum and her husband Michael, speaking on their definition of soul. Michael Beckwith founded the Agape church (which Georgia grew up attending), and Rickie is the choir director there.

Gedankenexperiemente in Zombie Aesthetics

“A centipedesque dragon, its jaws opened to swallow a yellow ball.”– Carl Jung

Mayuko, Alice & I came across American artist Paul Laffoley in a group show at Palais de Tokyo gallery in Paris the other week – great big boards with neon shades and sharp stencils, like something from an Amsterdam coffee shop or a Gathering rave circa ’97.

One painting in that show, from 1970, contained a landscape like Danté or Dali, with a precarious structure labeled as “the bridge of reality addicts obsessed with oblivion artists”. That line stuck out, since Coco Solid & I had lately been talking about thin skin, stretched canvas and the philosophy of $2 lemonade scones, after she wrote a pop-quiz titled “Why Are You An Artist Again?”.

The oblivion of artists usually prompts a tacky kind of voyeurism – as in speculation on the fate of Roman Polanski, or the Grey Gardens-style documentary on fallen 80s mega art star Chuck Connelly. Jeanette Winterson perhaps summarised it best in her essay on how “the mad, bad and dangerous wild boys of high art and popular culture make great copy, while the women—Plath, Frida Kahlo, Maria Callas, Janis Joplin—imploding like dark stars, are the stuff of obsession.” No one’s fate is absolutely certain, least of all perhaps the artist’s, whose job it is to elevate the mundane to mystical and vice versa.

But Laffoley’s works are somehow reassuring in their relentless cataloguing of phantasmagoria, like a glimpse inside the mind of a 16 year old boy crossed with a 70 year old professor of paranormal phenomena, the Ancient Greek Concept of Fate, “Skepticism and Animal Faith”, the mystery of geometry & math, Jean Paul Sartre and Catholicism. The paintings are a little overbearing in real life, but less confrontational when seen in internet jpeg size (I like them better that way – although you can’t quite read all the meticulously inscribed quotes and philosophical references).

Who doesn’t love lists? Laffoley paints (and blogs) with some kind of stubborn intent to list every philosophical thought of all time – riffing on a Weezer album cover with a floating dog, linking it to Aesthetic Catholics and Brigitte Bardot. A stoned ’70s stream of consciousness in which tiny slivers of pop culture can unlock the universe.

Umberto Eco wrote that Western culture is addicted to gathering & lists, a ‘poetics of catalogues’: halls of saints, catalogues of plants, collections of art. If Eco is right, Laffoley could forget Sartre. A list of deep-frozen readymeals should feel equally as mystical.

In fact, Laffoley was at one time recruited by Warhol – to watch TV at the time of night when nothing was showing. (Laffoley is also an architect who worked on one of the World Trade center towers).

But Laffoley’s paintings – less categorical when tamed in screen size shots – are influenced by mandalas, a product of Eastern religion. A mandala, unlike a list, doesn’t seek to tame or define, but to show light, shadows, the endlessness of pure geometry and the oblivion of existentialism, all as facets or even repetitions. Not finite. And perhaps necessarily nonsensical.