Through the Looking Glass

Annual General Meeting Record, Vol. 1 – Anti-Ghost Moon Ray


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends” said the Cat, “on where you want to get to…”

For some time now, at least for the past couple of years, I have felt myself emerging from a wilderness of musical direction and not quite sure what I wanted to listen to next.
Not in terms of what was coming  (it doesn’t have to be new to be interesting) but more from a personal sense of taste and discovery.

I’ve listened to hundreds of albums in all kinds of genres, and now and again some have stood out, appealed and enthused. Very few times am I ever disappointed.

But I realised almost without noticing that the path I was taking signposted ‘next’ was lined with compilation albums and label samples. The likes of Nightingale Variations (Kooky Discs) and the recent Ghost Box anthology In A Moment

This album, an exhibition of works by Anti-Ghost Moon Ray confirms my direction, and I so look forward to spending time here, in the left-field underworld of transdisciplinary, intellectual music.

It’s a curious mix of tracks and artists linked by structural, compositional ideas and intention, access to which is opened via Benge’s beautiful Septobel a gently haunting piece of analogue synthporn, oozing sophistication and graceful charm.

This leads into an esoteric collection of songs and artistic statements that do not accord with normative conceptions of music.

Ausschuss’ Ravoir for example is disturbing and intense, but not without a gothic beauty. Mechanical, dystopian, and abrasive set against beautiful harmonic voices. Disquieting, in its own way, just as Alex Painters piece that follows.
Cacophonous and discordant. Transgresses into the vague, haunting and mesmerising world of Michael Tanner’s Plinth.

For me, the album’s zenith is Nila Son’s Wyndow Hole – a composite of found sounds and manipulated field recordings. It’s a revelation and for this reviewer the album’s standout track – a sculpture of innovative sound, carved with sequenced synthesizers and abstract, repeated phrases sharpened on blips and uncomfortable radio waves. Every compilation I have tried has one stand out track that sets me off on another path of discovery, from whence I flit around the other contributors. I look forward to ‘I’

In the wake of this intriguing gem, I overlooked Deeds’ Fizzy Logic for the first three minutes, but’s its persistence lingered and attracted me, Love the abrupt ending. From which I fell off into Acquaintance’s Polite Applause, which fidgets and glitches its way to drawer marked IDM.

Rosen’s Ilim sums up the whole Report – it feels like walking in to a strange laboratory of aural magic, bottles of sounds on shelves. The last remaining Jazz Funk Greats. Copies of International Times. Limited edition 10” vinyl acetates. Railway sound effects. Glass beads in trays of tinkling sand. Disturbing in places, and utterly rummage-worthy

Gazelle Twin’s new piece Outer Body is outside the window, scratching at the glass and whispering under the door. A ghost passing through. Fight or flight. And bernholz 33 is an exercise in dark experimentation, claustrophobic and destructive

Don’t Look, it’s f*cking weird.
“How can you listen to this sh*t, it’s not what I call music…”

True enough, you bl**dy lightweight. Given all its varied forms and its inherently multidimensional nature, the Annual General Meeting Record requires some degree of imaginative participation in order to be fully understood.

In that respect, it’s worth 50 minutes of anyone’s time seeking to expand their musical horizons and deviate a little from the traditional course of mainstream popular culture.
None of the tracks have any vocals in the conventional sense, but neither is the album instrumental. Well, not in that sense. Depends on your definition.

There are voices: snatches of recorded conversation, whispers and harmonies; and Anti-Ghost Moon Ray are an orchestra of change, instrumental agents in the process of hauntological expansion and psycho-delic enhancement.

Future Image – Resolute sounds like someone trying to tune the wireless and practising making loops with a drum machine, while the last exhibit,  Cardinal Fang’s macabre noise fest New For You taking us right back to the earliest DIY warehouse days of Mute , Industrial and Some Bizarre records. As an exception, it justifies the rule. The vocal is Genesis P.Orridge vs Marc Almond and the whole structure and presentation of the song makes it feel like a candidate for inclusion as a bonus track on any subsequent re-issues of TG’s debut Second Annual Report.

Which closes the circle nicely. The black and white simple cover of AGMR Vol 1 echoes the simplicity of that seminal release and the nondescript title similarly belies the bizarre and compelling contents of the tape. Unlike TG though, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray as a collective are not antagonists or provocateurs, there is no evil intent and the aesthetic is not one of depravity and abrasion with a mission to shock. Instead, as a collection of new music, AGMR Vol 1 is curious and intriguing. Esoteric for sure, pretentious in places and based on an intellectualism that demands something of its audience. But if you are reading this, then you have what it takes and an hour of your time rummaging in their labarotory just might give you a notebook full of ideas.

I love it, and will return to the beginning as soon as I have finished writing this.
Which would almost certainly be different if I were to write it again in an hour’s time.

Well. Bright Sparks of course. I Monster and the exploration of Synth.

‘How refreshing it is’ she mused, ‘to find there are so many people Still Walking’




Why should people only look at one image, and only one image at a time?


In the first room of the Warhol Exhibition at Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum, we are presented with characteristic and familiar Warhol screen prints.

The same image repeated, over and over. Flowers and faces, repeated on different coloured backgrounds. Even on the same background, just copied again and again, they become Not The Same. Repetition changes the same image, just like repetition of sound changes the sound over time. For as long as you are prepared to look, back and forth between them. Sequentially from one to the other. Different colours, made of tears

Does the order in which they are presented make a difference?

Who chose the order? The curator, or the artist?

Most likely the curator in this instance, as the artist would choose to distance himself from the work at every opportunity and by every means.

And how did Warhol decide how many times? Ethel Scull, for instance. 36 times from a photograph taken in a photobooth. My God, she looks terrible. Except of course, she doesn’t. None of them do.

Least of all the serene and innocent beauty of Edie Sedgwick, presented in a four-minute screen test on a big screen next door. Next to Nico. The other most beautiful woman of the time. What do you do when you are asked to do ‘nothing’? Smile? Blink? Edie does not blink. Her eyes are big, and her soul swims lost and deep inside them. Lou Reed, Allen Ginsberg. Stillies. Moving portraits. Sustained repetition


Captivated by Edie and Nico, I barely glanced at the Empire State Building behind me. Untried, I passed un-tested. 8 hours is nothing, and it’s probably still there.
I inhale my first drag on the cigarette of indifference.

Iconic, alluring. Attractive, provocative. Interesting. Pointless?
Is Warhol any good? Word this carefully.
Is Warhol’s ART any good?
Take 3 – Are the individual pieces of Warhol’s art any good?

Are we engaged, excited and enthusiastic by pre-conditioning and anticipation.
It’s Warhol, therefore…?

Check into the third space, and behold the Society Portraits. I didn’t realise they were so big. Each is more than a metre square. Acrylic on silk screen now, enhanced and enlarged. The same, but different.

People see what they want to see. A baby cries, and the Guides beside the door change shifts. “I don’t like this one.” Older women, whispering, outraged and disappointed. “It’s a dancers groin and thigh. See? Stockings and suspenders”. It’s not, it is Sex Parts. Cock. Male, 1977. Black on yellow

People see what they want to see. Portrait commissions make easy money. Sell out. Repeat, move on. Everyone wanted to be done before 1968.

People see what they want to see, and I want to see the pencil portraits, traced on handmade paper. On the wall, in a single line across the end of the room.

These are new to me, and like nothing else on display. Warhol has deliberately used a thick pencil to trace her face, to hide himself, to lose the artist. But here, more than anywhere else, his skill as a draughtsman is evidenced. Hiding in plain sight among the strokes and movement, the varying lineweights that bely his best efforts at uniformity. Economy of line, but such beautiful lines. Her nose, her chin, her ears. A single confident stroke. Ingrid Bergman. Hair and eyes.

“You see, he can bloody draw…”

I’m reassured. I have seen the golden section.
A breathtaking highlight. A moment of Something Special.

Here are dollar signs, sickels and a repeated crucifix. Experiments in abstract – leading to what, piss on paper? That can fuck right off. He’s joking, right?
Ah, wait. I see… satire and transition. But hardly a masterpiece.

Inverted shadows, again revealing Nothing Of The Artist. Man as machine. Press go, and watch the assistants roll them out. Warhol is not an artist, he is the source of an idea. Cheap mass media. Mass; media. Religious imagery too, taking on new forms. Catholic iconography redcued to black on white. Liturgical Mass is repetitive, too.

Stop for a moment at a Great Big Map showing warheads and weapons in Russia. Remember this is not a print, or a reproduction. This is the original piece, created in the factory by Warhology. History manifest. The real deal. A piece of him, the man in the fright wig that no-one ever knew. Its display here further removes him from his work.

What do I think? At least I’m thinking. That surely is the point. Provoke, inspire. Confuse.

Warhology is punk. A disjointed, restless episode. Dramatic, responsive. Placement and chronology are as vital as composition and idea. I am as much a part of this as the celebrities on the canvas.

But hamburgers never held much appeal, and even less in black and white. Unfinished, incomplete. The BB Gloves 85/86 above, lack everything. They lack conviction and expression. It is not even finished. Where is the sensationalism and commitment? Interesting texture, interesting idea perhaps. But, so what?

So What? Madonna on Nude Pix. The New York Post front page, 9 July 1985. So what, indeed? He knew I was thinking that, and hung that piece behind me to turn into as I thought it. Simplicity without integrity? Breathe deep, draw long and watch the smoke, swirl towards the white ceiling.

Like many artists, Warhol returned in his latest work to some of his earliest ideas.
“That’s because he had run out of new ones and did not know where to turn next.”
Don’t we all do that?

The silk screen print of a soup can from a drawing of a painting of a thousand soup cans.
Prizes for placement. Brilliant curating, my darling.


“Art is whatever you can get away with”,
It says so in the shop

And do you know, Campbell’s never gave him even a single can of soup…

All those missing pieces…

We all muck around now and again and create fantasy John Foxx playlists.

I probably should know better, but here’s one I have just put together.
All the ‘missing’ and hard to find tracks that have only appeared once, and often hidden away on compilation albums and projects by other artists.

I am especially pleased with the cover artwork, which connects with his book jacket designs. Not many people know very many of those either.

And no, before you ask.

This is entirely something I made up.

Does sound lovely though…


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