[Nettle, Bin Scrape Laden 12″ EP. Soot Records, 2001]

Everything seems a bit odd these days — a feeling I’m trying to get used to. As places go about compiling their Osama Bin Laden lists, such as PlayGround’s Ten OBL Disses & Tributes, I figure it’s time to clarify:

In 2001 I released a 12″ EP called Bin Scrape Laden. It hit shops around February, well before the September 11th deadline… On the inner vinyl ‘run out groove’ I had them inscribe the standard airport security phrase: “Are you carrying anything that might be considered a weapon?” The vinyl disc came packaged in rough cardboard record jackets that I hand-branded with the Arabic word for ‘Soot’ (and nearly burnt down the Madrid apartment Rocio & I were renting, but that’s another story).

When 9/11 happened, a lot of people who knew the record got in touch, asking — only half-joking — if the C.I.A. had contacted me. I came up with the name after I’d read breakcore pioneer DJ Scud’s 1998 article on Osama Bin Laden (which is weird in & of itself) in Christoph Fringelli’s Datacide zine. Scud had turned in an incredible remix for the EP. And most of the sounds I was sculpting those days sounded a lot like scraped-up trash bins. So the title clicked into place, although nobody got the play on words… until September 11th came and reconfigured our world.

Here’s a track from Bin Scrape Laden, produced by yrs truly under the name Nettle in the simpler days of 1999/2000. It’s named after a (sadly defunct) Pans y Company bocadillo.

T-nettle bin scrape laden-SOOT003-001T-nettle bin scrape laden-SOOT003-001T-nettle bin scrape laden-SOOT003-001


Nettle – Serranito

So yes, I am available for presidential-level geopolitical consultation gigs and/or palm readings.

The “hidden moral” of this story is that it takes a lot of time, money, and people to make vinyl records, even weird Arabic influenced noise-beat ones with a strong prophetic bent.

In Casablanca last month Maggie and I went to the address of Hassania Editions. A major major label in the 70s, 80s, and beyond. Nothing but a dental surgeon on the top floor. The motorcycle shop dudes next door had no idea. The guy selling candy in a nearby doorway remembered, vaguely, when it had closed. About five years back. We walked around the neighborhood, a ‘popular’ one which would feel like a dangerous slum in the Americas but in Morocco it felt – was – safe, active, the opposite of shady. Spicy greasy bread and the best almonds I’d ever eaten and the first disc seller is peddling Zinga Zinga video CDs — humorous Gaddafi youtubery. Because sometimes you have to laugh. To keep from… I bought the MP3 CD this unlabeled tune came from at the second disc seller. I can’t make out the name(s) in the beginning… Carlos? Anybody?


Mudd Unknown – from ‘Chaabi One 2010’ / Casablanca

It’s gorgeous. 11 minutes, a stroll rather than an appointment. Make it to the nine minute mark and you get rewarded by one of those Maghrebi rhythmic accelerations that remind you you’ve been drinking tea all day. That the heart can quicken. That love is real. That time runs in one direction: out.


I know what your’re thinking: this blog is nice and all, but it’d be better if you could post a 20-minute piece of musique concrete from Iran.

Mashayekhi 06

Well, here’s 19 minutes and 5 seconds.


Alireza Mashayekhi – East-West, Op 45 (1973)

Alireza Mashayekhi is an Iranian composer. He writes troubling ‘philosophy‘ (“the artist should not try to use art as a platform to expound on his social or political opinions”) and makes gripping electroacoustic music.

This piece comes from the excellent 2-CD album, Persian Electronic Music: Yesterday and Today 1966-2006, which devotes one disc to Mashayekhi and another to Ata Ebtekar.


Ata Ebtekar – Lovaz

‘Lovaz’ has a Fckbuttonsy middle (epic, pretty noise synths for the post-guitar set) bookended by squirggling analog modulation freakouts.



Luc Ferrari2

I’ve always enjoyed the electroacoustic & ambient work of Luc Ferrari.

Musique concrete maintains a whole other level of respect and coolness in France – maybe it’s due to protectionist broadcast policies, or IRCAM, or their fashion sensibility, or something deep in the Gallic character like the predilection for heavy creams and bureaucracy. (usually my record crate contains at least one LP of what sounds like creaking wood or squirrels gnawing at a piano – doesn’t always get played, but it’s good to have something like that around).

Ferrari made seductive work, which continues to pulls the ear in. Even at the most experimental/abstract moments there’s usually a placid spirit inside it.

This is from a recent release, Archives Génétiquement Modifiées / Société II.

Says the label:

…Mr.Ferrari revisited aspects of his early concepts and compositional strategies to create wholly new works. The result here is a very bizarre, sensual, and beautifully-paced electroacoustic work of aural memories and (re)collections created by Mr. Ferrari utilizing sounds from his vast archive of musical activities.


Luc Ferrari – untitled 5

Album artwork includes a naked lady from 1923 clutching an oud/lute as she sits atop a Pioneer CD-J 1000 CD player, and Mr Ferrari’s large finger stabbing a button. This is one of the few moments where I like “gear shots”, the uncool cool of the CD player, from Ferrari to funk carioca…