Pulco News For 2013

Welcome all to the world of Pulco in 2013. Christmas has gone and the snow is just about melting now. I’ve had by head buried in books and music over these dark winter months but the time is right to face the world once more & write a quick post up here to let you know what you can expect from Pulco this year.

First & final gig

I’ll be playing at the Buffalo Bar in Cardiff on Sat March 9th as part of the launch party for my good mate Jo Whitby’s album ‘The diary of me’

Click to get gig details

Please come and see me because this will be the last ever Pulco gig. Yup, I’ve decided to retire from playing live. It has only been an occasional occurrence anyway over the last few years but I feel that the musical direction that I’m going in really won’t work for me in a live context anymore. The last 20 years have been ace so thanks to everyone who has ever clapped a hand or raised a glass.

New album – Clay Cutlery

A selection of new recordings is just about ready to head off for mastering

On this new album I’ve been continuing to explore the theme of sonic autobiography that has been creeping into my music over the last few years.

Using field recordings of places I’ve been to, odd rhythm loops made using simple iPad apps and my trusty £15 guitar the songs have evolved and unfolded as I have worked on them.

Over the summer last year I made recordings of the sounds in Folly Farm and the great organ in St David’s Cathedral to name but a few and these have all become part of the music.

Some of the tracks have become recognisable songs and others are just sound collages. Any vocals that were done have been one take improvisations drawing lyrics from the first book or magazine that came to hand

I wanted the tunes to be quite fresh & spontaneous.

I’ve got my fingers crossed as always that the album will come out on Folkwit Records later in the year and more importantly that I’ll be able to raise the money to make it !!

Poetry, Drawing & Music

I’ve opened up a shop at ETSY to make available my poetry books and drawings. I’m also planning to make a series of limited edition CDR releases of soundscapes and field recordings so watch this space.

And finally?…..

As well as contributing to the Laurence Made Me Cry album, I have also remixed two tracks for Johnno Casson. The songs will be on his album ‘Window Dressing’ which will appear later in the year.

Last but by no means least is an exciting project that I have been working on with Adam Leonard  Gareth Davies and Stephen Mcleod (Unexpected Bowtie). We have recorded a set of instrumental song inspired by abandoned London tube stations. The release will be cassette only !

 Ok pawb. Back to my writing

Man Of Lists review on A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed

American writer Glenn Griffiths lives in Hong Kong now but  continues to write a brilliant blog called ‘A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed He has always been supportive of Derrero & Pulco and I totally recommend that you read his words.

Below is a transcript of his recent review of the new album , ‘The Man Of Lists’. The original can be read here.

‘I daresay Ashley Cooke is a man who makes musical lists — lists of tunes, titles, ideas, snippets, pieces, and bits to string together to create marvelous popthat pops.

Wildly prolific and consistently inventive, the one-time Derrero leader is at it again. Man of Lists, out on or about 18 June 2012 on Folkwit Records, is a collection of collaborations with various artists. It’s a sort of spoken word exercise but also an experiment in risk-taking. By working with so many musicians to produce these cuts, Ashley Cooke has somehow strengthened his own point of view as an artist. No matter what sonic background bobs-and-weaves behind him, Ash is consistent. This is a new kind of recording.

It’s the supergroup by (e)mail. It’s a digital “We Are The World”in the land of indie rock.

How do I approach this? Do I go track-by-track and carefully spout-off about each tune?

No. That wouldn’t quite suit this. I like to think of how difficult it might have been to assemble all the pieces that make up this record so I’m going to go through it in my review in a sort of haphazard fashion and hope that something coherent results.

It’s worth noting that Ashley Cooke’s spoken word bits are, more or less, fragments of poetry — mini-poems in some spots — and, at first, the juxtaposition between his vocals and the more expansive music behind him is odd. But that semi-disconnect charms. I hope that Cooke keeps making music for years and years to come but this record sort of feels like one of those posthumous records from some dead bloke! Man of Listsfeels like leftover vocals that other musicians shaped into focus.

Still, I don’t want to make this record sound sloppy or anything. What I’m really trying to work out is how the contrast in each tune ends up giving the cuts focus. That contrast — lo-fiand intimate vocals and carefully recorded music — makes the record sound like the world’s best mix-tape…with the same bloke doing the lead vocals on each song!

There are 25 cuts on this record and they veer from the Squarepusher-like bleeps-and-blips of “Vital Signs”, a collaboration with Scotland’s Unexpected Bowtie, to the acoustic and spring-like — cue birds chirping! — “Biro by the Sofa”, with Butcher’s Prime Cuts.

(Psst! I’ll let you in on a secret: that’s Nick Butcher, head of Folkwit Records!)

Butcher and Cooke team-up a few times on the record, including the Tom Waits-meets-Holger Czukay “Boony Capers” — atmospherics plus a whiff of Waits’ “Trouble’s Braids”.

The funky and ACR-like “Cabin Fever” rushes by on basslines from Ian Thistlethwaite. The cut is one of the highlights of Man of Lists and it hearkens back to some pre-C86era in U.K. rock, when pasty white Brits were not afraid to be a tiny bit funky.

Thistlethwaite is back on “Chips in the Rain”where Cooke’s humorous lyrics are set against music that echoes both Yello and that first Lilac Time record — no mean feat!

And, as can be expected, the cuts with the always entertaining Adam Leonard are the little triumphs of this record — “Oxbow Lake” soars and “Opportunities with Music”casts a slightly sinister spell.

The cuts with electronic wizard Snippet are uniformly good as well — “Chunk of Blue”with its bells and voices and warm keyboards is a delight!

The record closes with the downright hilarious “Cover Version for the American Market”. As a Yank from the land of extraordinarily thick music listeners, I take no offense at the song. It’s quite funny, accurate, and speaks to the gulf between the hip and the clueless. Very good indeed.

I haven’t done a good job of thinking and writing of Man of Listsas a whole.

But maybe there’s no point? Maybe the point of this record is that moments matter? In that sense, this is Cooke’s masterpiece. He’s spent his post-Derrero years making music in Wales, usually by himself. He’s perfected the art of lo-fiindie and the results are always warm and human and charming. Now, he’s taken that form to the next level.

This monster of a record — nearly 25 collaborations — succeeds on the variety of styles here. You could almost shuffle the track order here and get a new record, a new sense of joy as a listener, a fresh take on this freshest of spins.

Man of Listsis a project and a grab-bag. It’s a set of ideas. Listen to 1 or 2 cuts, listen to another 10, or listen to all 25 in one sitting, and the music will work. Each song stands on its own or works as another chapter in this journal of lyrical and tuneful ideas.

Raised on a steady diet of serious rock writers extolling the glories of concept albums, I got bored and came to regard the vinyl 45 as the greatest of art forms; give me a scratchy 45 of “I Can See For Miles” over Tommy.

Long albums are great but the tunes have to work on their own. These do. These are little gems of exactly how to do lo-fi.

Ashley Cooke has found his calling in the musical world. Now tell your friends and get this record.

The Beatles famously cribbed from the Tao Te Ching to sing: “Without going out of my door, I can know all things on earth”.

Ash has taken that lyric to heart. Let him stay in his home studio if he can “collaborate” in such a lively fashion as he does on the 25 cuts on Man of Lists.’

Man of Lists is out on 18 June 2012 on Folkwit Records.

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Charity Shops & A Picture Of A Fish

Here is a little poem called ‘Charity Bags’ and a nice picture that I took in Chester Zoo at the weekend. These two things have nothing in common.
Charity Bags
When we are bored
of our ageing
And we suffer
domestic mental clutter
caused by fuddled surroundings
Then we crave order
and purging pursuits
Warm days bring on
thoughts of charity bags
Cleaning our lives out it seems
may some how
help starving mouths feed
Popping old things
in a bin bag
Contributing to a weird notion
that these things will
help solve the problems of the world
When quite possibly
they are just things in bags
Sat unused in the back rooms
of semi derelict

New Poems


1. Raising the game


If I could just hold out my hand

And reach this soul

 I would

 I do

 I try

Smart young mind just needs the chance

To step up from the floor

And Take control


Form a solid plan and

Up his game


We sequence time

To encourage triumph

Seizing the day in bounding

Chunks of glory


But at his age

He stands alone

On a busy stage

Waiting for comfort cues

When leading lines are needed


 2. Dr doom


Agreed with glee at first

To revisit old pastures of life chapters gone


Blanked by ancient memories of glory

I felt it rise in the gut


I took the lead to engage


Bit by bit though

Reality crept in

And old niggles granted themselves

Victorious returns


A Heavy weights hangs heavy

On shoulders older now

Giving me reason to remember

Why I dug a different hole to die in


For that is surely where I will reside

When the dust settles

And lays me bare


 3. In defense of booze


In regard to this:

By taking in to account all the evidence

Weighing up the pros and cons

 And adding all the pieces together

 In an attempt to

 Make a solid a case for the positive

 I still can only reach the simple conclusion

 That there is no excuse at all


 4. Egg Shells


It’s only a matter of time


Before the truth

Catches up with me

Spearing my vulnerable soul

Like a limp eyed fish


You should face facts


 For an act is what it appears to be


This thing that

sometimes Generates love

When the moment suits


Keeps you living


But more often

Than not

It reads like a guessing game


Performed on egg shells


 5. A world in which you cannot compete


When the choices

Are too many

And recipients few

The market gets thinner

For this man of lists


Faithful messages

Sent out with good intentions


Hit hard against

Hollow hearts


The desire to live hermit like

Looms large


And actions grow faster


But some faithful souls gather

And beat the gong


Sound the alarm with genuine force

To bowl back the hollow hearted ones

That have no place here

Inside our cell


 6. All these thing

How can you say you love me

When there are all these things









And me somehow powerless

To change