Sketchbook Season EP

photo1Back in 2011 I recorded a set of tunes for Shane Quentin, host of the legendary ‘Garden Of Earthly Delights’ radio show.

My aim, as was the case with previous sessions for the show, was to try to record something new, different and eclectic (pretty much like the show itself)
I started using an iPhone app called Everyday Looper to build rhythms with Ifans drum kit and household sounds and then wrote the songs to fit with the loops.
This idea also formed the basis for what I eventually ended up doing on the album ‘Clay Cutlery’

Anyhow the songs were released as the Sketchbook season EP but never found their way on to CD until now

Special mini CD versions of the EP can be purchased below and the insert contains an interview that I gave back in 2012

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Tracks

1 Whistle Frog Finds A Way
2 Don’t Stand Down
3 Party Started
4 Hair
5 Knuckles

 

Click the link below to buy the Sketchbook Season EP £6 + 1pp  – A pound each goes back to my kids who decorated the CD’s


Don’t Be Afraid Of The Noise – A Definition Of Music

musicWhat is music????

Our developed culture & western education would instinctively lead us to say that music is the sounds we hear on an album or CD. The sound of a pop song, orchestra or our favourite band or singer.

But what actually IS music??

To find a way to answer that I think we need to break the question down and get back to basics. I’d like to suggest that really music is just organised sound. A collage of accepted noise that our brains have been trained to recognise as popular music or whatever. But in reality, sound (noise) is all around us all the time so how do you truly decide what sounds are music and which one aren’t and where music starts or stops? Very often the natural, organic ambient sounds that surround us are used by musicians to record improvised compositions with the same results that compositions are recorded using conventional instruments and structures. When you actually listen hard there are any number of complex rhythms and melodies circulating around us all the time.

So maybe then we can reasonable conclude that all sound is music or at least has the potential to be interpreted as such by our brains?

Once we become receptive to the ‘musical’ possibilities that this definition creates it has the potential to open up to us all a whole new world of sonic experience.

I have a deaf daughter and am beginning to go deaf myself in my left ear so sound in all its forms is really important and vital to me and my family. I appreciate the sounds of my kid’s voices or the howling wind outside the house with the same amount of joy and wonder that I experience from my favourite album or song because one day I may lose the ability to hear them both.

Sometimes I resist putting a CD on in the car and listen instead to the sound of the wheels on the road or the wonderfully intricate rhythm of the windscreen wipers in the rain. No two vehicles have the same sounds. Nature has a brilliant palate of sounds, all for free.

Generally though we end up taking sound (noise) for granted – of course we do!! If we were to consciously tune in to every last sound around us life would be exhausting! It makes sense that our brains filter out the sounds we don’t need to hear in favour of the ones that we do need to hear to help us get through our day.

Sometimes though I think that it is important to take a little time to tune back into all of the many beautiful vibrations and frequencies that enter our ears on a daily basis and really consider how they make us feel.

Maybe for a moment today we should  all stop to appreciate our ears! Turn off the radio/CD/TV and list in our minds all of the domestic sounds that we can hear, then consider them one by one.

Draw yourself some conclusions about the experience.

Give your ears the credit they deserve.

Hopefully when you sit down and really think about it you may find that the gentle rhythm of your dishwasher or the purr of the central heating system is something that you could actually enjoy listening to on a regular basis in the same way that you listen to a CD. Who knows, you may even conclude that the experience is infinitely more pleasing and emotive than subjecting yourself to new Coldplay single? Dunno, it’s just a thought: 0)

Anyway, look after your ears folks and don’t fear the noise.

Thursday Music Rant

For me it began with ‘The Third Mind’
That most gloriously influential book by William Burroughs & Brion Gysin
It inspired a lot of us to get in to this
We believed that it could make things better
Redefine language

The Third Mind was a blue print
A book of intentions
A method of deconstruction
A way of removing the predictable and creating new options
Things had to be redefined.
I’ve tried to do it all my life through music, writing, drawing
Things have to be real and different
Things have to be cut up, rearranged.
Seen in a fresh context
Drawing upon the nearest thing to hand, whatever it takes
Whatever works
We have to try and obliterate cultural clichés

Now when it comes to music I raise two fingers to those who walk the safe path
Fake users of sound,
Fake bands playing the game as if nobody has ever done it before
Hanging with their self-created crowd
Promoting their own myth
Depressing culture

There is such an aching drudgery in watching it happen again year after year
New bands, new scenes, new labels – non of them worth much of a mention
Everyone wanks each other till its dead
Then it begins again

Our world is drowning in music and  culture continues to be dumbed down and ruined.
The commercial music industry is shit as it has always been.
Tv talent show contests teach us discourage equality among artists
Someone has to be eliminated, made to feel worthless, there are winners and losers
Talent, art, expression and truth have never be so institutionalised

The rest of us, serious in our intent have to hide and exist in the niche within the niche
lost within the long tail of availability
We are expected to be tech savvy.
Self-promoters following the guidelines
Building profiles and networks
Infrastructures. Cultural industries
Sitting in rooms feeding computers with hype
Keeping close with those that understand
And follow the cause

I know that nothing of what I’m saying is in any way original for fucks sake
But it feels like a punch to the gut for some like me
This is not art. It’s not what I signed up for
Social media is dead
Fuck it. Music seems dead
The internet is not to be trusted
Unlimited availability has devalued sound
Pure voices are drowned
Buried among the bright new things saying nothing
Mainstream media is obsessed with the new

New

New

New

The word makes me cringe
The internet has spawned a globally interconnected monster.
A sprawling production line of image obsessed blandness
Controlled by self-created taste makers
Music is squeezed out like toothpaste
Formed in identical rows
Batch after batch after batch
Year after year

I hate new band vogue
The folly of youth
And yes I have been there

But

People are so easily pleased
Or are they?

I won’t be part of it
But what do I know
I am comfortable in the knowledge that I have no answers
I have never been a great musician
I’ll never be widely known or acknowledged
Nor can I pronounce myself as being more relevant or important than the next
But I know my place. I have found my voice
There is maturity in obscurity

This life
My work
Music
It has never let me down
Music is innocent
But I detest the way it is abused
And I feel lost

New Bandcamp Subscription Service

Farmyard cover

It’s always been my aim to get my music out as quickly as possible to those who’d like to hear it and a Bandcamp subscription gives everyone the chance to get that music as it happens plus all of the current releases on my site for one annual payment. I also intend to release subscriber only albums too.

If you do decide to sign up then many thanks, it is extremely kind of you and and it will genuinley help me to keep on making Pulco music

Here is what you get:

 

 

1 All the new music I make, streaming instantly on your mobile device via the free Bandcamp app, and also available as a high-quality download.
2 Exclusive access to the Pulco fan community.
3 All back-catalog releases:
4 A 10% discount on all my merchandise.

Subscribe to Pulco

Thanks everyone for all your support !

Pethau Garw – Misfit Memo’s

3cdd4ade275808cc7573d0798b4e6cd70ebbf5cc_mMy random/noise/improv side project Pethau Garw has a new album out this week.

It was recorded in just over an hour on Sunday 18th Oct. I took my battered guitar and a book of Sheamus Heaney poems and set to work. I had no idea what I wanted to record but I knew that I needed to have an album by the end of it. It is  hard to listen to and kind of gnarly but reflects the moment and the performance.

This is me just making up music on the spot. It existed for the time it took to play it in that specific space and is captured in all its glory with the hiss and clicks intact.

 

You can download Misfit Memo’s for free from Bandcamp 

Dip In The Ocean – Book And Download

photo 3Dip in the Ocean is a compilation of some of my more accessible songs that is currently available via Bandcamp. The collection  is intended as an entry point into Pulco music and to give new listeners an idea of what I do. Some of the earliest tunes in the compilation go as far back as 1999 and span all of the albums, EP’s and singles that are available on Bandcamp.

https://pulco.bandcamp.com/

From today the album is all available in a special edition book format!

For £3 + £1pp  you get – Bandcamp download code plus 10 page book of sea monster stories and Sardine recipies.

Bon Voyage my freinds

 




Tales From The Cutlery Drawer – Out Now

IMG_5221
book2Tales From The Cutlery Drawer is a collection of poems that I wrote about two years ago. The poems have been available to read on this site and to download in a Kindle version from Amazon for a little while now but I’ve finally got it together to publish the book in a proper paper version at last.

The book is published today –  Mon 7th Sept – and you can place an order now at the link below

Tales From The Cutlery Drawer contains 19 ace poems and has a special hand drawn dust jacket

Costs for the book are £6.00 + £1pp and to order please click the link below

Cheers all




 

Limited Edition CD release Of Innovation In The Trade

CFEGucXW0AELfkq - CopyHi all. You may remember that back in January this year I released my current album Innovation In The Trade as a free download. Well I’m glad to announce that there is now a limited edition CD version of the album available !! The CD is packaged in a mini DVD case with an A4 information sheet inside

 If you’d like to purchase the CD please click the link below

£5 +£1pp




Pop Up Shop – Rare Pulco Merch For Sale

FullSizeRenderHi all. I’ve been sorting through my store box of Pulco albums, artwork and  drawings and have picked out a few rarities to make available for sale. I’m afraid that there are only a few copies of each item available but if there is something that has sold out that you really want then email me at pulcomusic@gmail.com and I’ll see if I can find alternative copies.

I have listed the sale items below and added Paypal buttons to make purchases easy. All CD’s & drawings are £5 each plus £1.50pp PLEASE CONTACT ME IF YOU WISH TO PURCHASE MULTIPLE ITEMS as I will need to calculate postage

TRITriceratops – Ltd edition numbered album in card box 




 

 

 

imageClay Cutlery – shrink wrapped 




 

 

 

 

 

wengenWengen 




 

 

 

UAUndersea Adventure 




 

 

 

523323299-1Small Thoughts – Shrink wrapped 




 

 

 

 

 

I Dreamt Of CowsI dream’t Of Cows – Unreleased CD 




 

 

 

 

 

photo1Lucky dip paintings – All  A4 – Acrylic




 

 

 

 

 

Thanks all for your support and if anyone has any questions or needs more info please contact me at pulcomusic@gmail.com

Cheers folks !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Art & Music : Thoughts On Guitar Playing And Painting

hqdefaultI’ve always viewed painting and music equally. They are both disciplines that inform one another and deal with similar themes and processes but how can visual art influence the way we play an instrument?

The Scratch Orchestra‘s Ian Mitchell once said, “art school is like five years of developing your quirk”

British guitarist Keith Rowe had this to say about developing his own style.

‘At art school you have to find out who you are, what is unique about you, what you have to say…

You can’t take a canvas and paint a Georges Braque, or a Picasso, someone else’s paintings.. it’s an impossibility.

One of the great lessons for me was the professor pointing right into my nose and saying, “Rowe, you cannot paint a Caravaggio. Only Caravaggio can paint Caravaggio.” Suddenly trying to play guitar like Jim Hall seemed quite wrong.I probably thought about that for between five and eight years, just constantly reflecting on how to do it, and, in a flash, I found the solution. Look at the American school of painting, Jackson Pollock found a way- he just abandoned the technique of traditional European painting and worked on the floor. How could I abandon the technique? Lay the guitar flat!’

Keith Rowe 1In order to move forward musically Keith Rowe needed to find a way to reinvent his approach to the guitar that would allow him to understand more about himself and his playing and to do this he drew upon the innovative techniques of the American artists of the 1950’s

Rowe was a founder member of the British free improvisation group AMM that lead the  burgeoning experimental  music movement during the late 1960’s alongside Cornelius Cardew and Christian Wolff. The British experimental scene between 1965 -75 drew heavily on the earlier work of Fluxus and experimental composers like Cage and Boulez but it also began to use electronics and amplification as well as emerging forms of rock music to develop its approach.

John Cage had written that ‘sound, in and of itself, could be as important as melody, harmony and rhythm’ and this ideology certain informed the work of minimalist composers such as Robert Ashley and Terry Riley. The idea is also evident in Clement Greenberg’s thinking of how Modern art & the Modernist art movement had used art to call attention to art itself  and how it acknowledged the existence of the picture plane, the look of the paint and the shape of the canvas first before discussing any kind of narrative that the picture actually contained.

220px-Namuth_-_PollockArtists like Pollock & De Kooning had begun creating images in the 1950’s that spoke about the nature of paint and  the physical act of painting.

Art critic Harold Rosenberg coined the phrase ‘action painting’ in an essay he wrote in 1952 in which he described this new style of  painting as an arena within which to come to terms with the act of creation and shifted emphasis from the painted object to the struggle itself, with the finished painting being only the physical manifestation of this process.

It can be seen then that both art and music were changing rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century and that both were rejecting the established forms and structures of the art world and the music industry.

If painting could be reduced to a dialogue which was purely about paint, the physical nature of the materials used and the creative process itself then guitar playing could  similarly just concern itself with the simple nature and tone of the instruments sound and the physical process of creating noise.

Normal_OM_01I recently discovered Fred Frith’s 1974 album Guitar Solos which has encouraged me to re-examine my own guitar playing.

To record the album Frith had added a second pick up at the ‘nut’ end of the guitars neck which enabled him to amplify sounds from both ends of the guitar. He then split the freeboard in two with a capo which effectively gave him two guitars that he could play independently with each hand.

Going against convention, Frith placed the guitar on his lap or on a table top and went on to carve out  a place for himself in history for innovation and technique which still has musicians puzzled over 50 years later.

I think that the development of Frith’s guitar playing draws parallels with that of Pollock and his drip paint technique in that both artists engaged and improvised with the point of creation from above and they both challenged the traditional notions of how artists were supposed to perform and approach their work.

When instruments such as the guitar or piano are adapted to change their sound they become known as ‘prepared’.  Wikipedia defines a prepared guitar as an instrument  that has had its timbre altered by placing various objects on or between the instrument’s strings.

Visual artists can also  ‘prepare’ their materials such as adapting the paint they use by mixing it with other materials or reconsidering the surfaces they paint on and how they actually apply the paint.

A finger plucking a string creates an event of sound in exactly the same way that a hand holding a brush creates an event on canvas. When the decision is made to subvert traditional methods of practice we have the ability to take the art to a different level.

Like Rowe I’m aware that right now  I’m also at a particular crossroads regarding my own relationship with the guitar and I’m beginning to feel the need to experiment more with the instrument and make some kind of reinvention for myself. I hope that I may find this new sound not only by engaging with the guitar in a different way but also by examining  elements of contemporary art practice that interest me.

An artist’s journey can’t be allowed to stand still. If I am to keep my work interesting and fresh it is important to continually search for new sounds and approaches to music making and if that involves drawing sources of inspiration from other places then so be it.