Heart Of The Island

Yesterday I had a meeting at the British Library.  I was expecting a sit-down in a side office.  Instead, I was conveyed down into the guts of the building.  

It has several sub-basement levels, not all of which are accessible on all the lift shafts. The ceilings are ribboned with conveyor belts, which transport materials from all over the building to the reading and listening rooms in the public library.  The red trays on the conveyor travel at about a mile an hour — it can take forty-five minutes to transport any one requested article — because some of the Library’s materials are too fragile to survive any faster movement.  

In a sealed room sits a signed recording of James Joyce reading from ULYSSES, preserved in conditions approaching that of Mars.

I saw twenty-inch vinyl records made for the armed forces by NBC, handled Edison wax cylinders, and met an engineer trying to pull a digital transfer off a 78 made out of gelatin and glass.  Great marches of travelling racks full of music, scripts, radio capture and field recording.  It’s only being there that drives home that they keep everything.  

The cultural breath of the whole country, and every form of culture that enters it — it all goes here.

I didn’t want to leave. It was like living in the heart of perfect Albion for a moment.  

(originally written 28 Oct 2015, recovered from morning.computer)

Library 6aug19

The other Laraaji record I wanted on physical, the superb collaboration with Blues Control, arrived. It’s worth it for “Freeflow” alone.

The one below is what I’m listening to right now. It’s a space between certain musics and methods. A couple of different generations of ambient styles, traditional and classical musics, early instruments and digital futures. It’s calm and explorational. I want to live inside it for the rest of the day.

The FRKWYS series has been inspirational.

yes i’m a writer who talks about music all the time deal with it

The Stars Put To Flight

Iam rubescebat stellis aurora fugatis

This single line of the Aeneid sounded several times in my mind while I was writing the previous sentences. I believe the English equivalent of the Latin to be: The stars had now been put to flight, and the dawn was reddening.


Zuihitsu: Or, Follow The Brush

Zuihitsu is a genre of Japanese literature consisting of loosely connected personal essays and fragmented ideas that typically respond to the author’s surroundings. The name is derived from two Kanji meaning “at will” and “pen.” The provenance of the term is ultimately Chinese… the native reading of which is fude ni shitagau (“follow the brush”). Thus works of the genre should be considered not as traditionally planned literary pieces but rather as casual or randomly recorded thoughts by the authors.


I have long had the notion that zuihitsu is, in fact, the sort of writing that weblog software best enables. That these are not diaries but fragments. Zuihitsu and fragment writing has fascinated me for a long time. I created the jotter category here to try and give myself permission for “casual or randomly recorded thoughts.”

I tend to re-read HOJOKI and ESSAYS IN IDLENESS once every year or two. A previous writing location of mine, Morning Computer, was intended as a home for this kind of fragment writing, but I found myself constrained by a place that was just that. I may be Full Hermit Forever, but I still need to be able to send signals out into the world, and it gives me pleasure to be able to draw your attention, reader, to the things in the world that I like.

We in the Isles of Blogging should consider ourselves allowed to follow the brush more.


I fell in love with Elegi’s VARDE years ago, because how can you not love a record that starts with the sound of someone digging a grave in packed snow? So I’ve been filling in gaps in Elegi’s catalogue. The CD of this arrived the other day, and I’m just getting around to playing it tonight. It is a magnificently devastated sound, and has been haunting the office marvellously tonight as I sit here and think about the past and the future.


Just to make a shitty day even more difficult, Gmail on web seems to have gone down in the UK, so here’s a photo of the sky right now while I lay down and wait for the earth to reclaim my minerals

øjeRum / MUUR

My vision is so fucked up today I have no idea if this photo is blurry or not:

The øjeRum, WITHOUT BLOOD THE SUN DARKENS, is an hour-long landscape-soundscape, and it’s helping.

The MUUR, entitled BOD, is also an hour long, and is far more like listening into a weird ritual under a mystery cult temple. One for late nights when I’m trying to think.

Both available through Cyclic Law.

Christina Vantzou

What we have here this morning is the complete works of Christina Vantzou sans the remix collections. All available via her Bandcamp page, where you can also stream them all and decide for yourself that she’s a genius. Oops, guess I just decided that for you. Oh well.

A sample, from NO. 4.