Sunday, August 16

lost in music / i'm a believer: toward a theory of the original non-original


The notion of "originality" in contemporary music has long been boringly over-contested territory. Within the world of popular song, in particular, genre has become central to how we understand music. Songs are most often interpreted through a combination of dramatic and affective devices that are strictly codified within these genre norms and a politically conservative hierarchy that determines value through tradition and the market. 

Similarly, the idea of song composition as being somehow intellectually superior to other elements within the process has remained - within more unconscious music consumers, especially - while other, less generic and perhaps more lateral possibilities within music are marginalis

Contemporary music's increasing obsession with statistics, lists and other status indicators only highlights the problems with the pre-set canon as a market tool rather than a broadly useful indicator of the way we actually use music within communities.

The Original Non-Original is a way of understanding and clarifying that the top-down approach to music value presented to us has little value within actual music communities. The coalface of music production uses this kind of approach as a tool of resistance, as an interrogation of the locus of individual and community worth within music and music history. This is opposed to the Non-Original Original which seeks to replace like with like in terms of maintaining a controllable music structure.

With that in mind, we present a show of songs and other music that starts from a position of awareness of a place in history and in genre. None of the songs here are written by their performers in a legal sense, but many of them have presented a far more complex engagement with what musical composition and performance may actually mean in the lives of musicians and listeners. To cover a song at the same time as ignoring the self-evident aims and ambitions of the original is a bold response to a conservative environment, with a wide range of exceedingly valuable possibilities for engagement with community-level musical practice.


This playlist was originally aired as a set by DJ Concrete Steps (aka. Avant Gardening's Campbell Walker) in the Friday Night experimental sessions at Dunedin's Mou Very Bar, 14.8.2015. The night also featured an all original, all live set of non-new music from the ever-erudite ears of Mick Elborado, who we understand is currently listening to this broadcast. Hi Mick! Thanks also goes out to LSD Fundraiser, for cluing us into the above image - Lady Gaga wears Les Rallizes Denudes.



1. Robert Wyatt, 'I'm A Believer' from The Peel Sessions (1987)
2. Peter Gutteridge, 'Don't Catch Fire' from Stroke: Songs For Chris Knox (2009)
3. Peter Jefferies, 'Slow Motion', recorded live, 1993
4. Big Star, 'Femme Fatale' from Third/Sister Lovers (1975) 
5. Cat Power, 'Freebird' [Peel Session] from Clear the Room [Rarities] (Undated bootleg album) 
6. The Bent Folk, 'Wrecking Ball' from Live Bent Folk (4cd box, 2015) 
7. Alex Chilton, 'I Will Always Love You' Live to air, WLYX Memphis 1975  
8. Don Howland, 'Sail Away' from Land Beyond the Mountains (2002) 
9. The Index, 'Eight Miles High' from The Index (1966)
10. The Renderers, 'Forbidden Planet' from That Dog's Head In The Gutter Gives Off Vibrations (1994)
11. Peter Laughner, 'Calvary Cross' from Take the Guitar Player For A Ride (1993) 
12. The Builders, 'Red Sky' from Beaten Hearts (1983)  
13. Big Black, 'The Model' from He's A Whore 7" (1987)
14. Primal Scream, 'Slip Inside This House' from Screamadelica (1991) 
15. The Fall, 'Lost In Music' from The Infotainment Scam (1993) 
16. Suicide, 96 Tears from The First Album (1977)
17. Drinking Electricity, 'Shaking All Over' from 7" (1980) 
18. Primitive Calculators, 'Shout' from Primitive Calculators (1982) 
19 Half Japanese, 'Tangled Up In Blue' from Half Gentlemen Not Beasts (1980) 
20. DJ Smallcock, 'Radio-Activity' from Kraftworks (1999)
21. Vertical Slit, 'I Remember Nothing' from Under The Blood Red Lava Lamp (1986) 
22. Dredd Foole and the Din, 'Ghost Rider' from Ghost Rider-Frankie Teardrop (2006)
23. Happy Mondays, 'Step On' from Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches (1990)
24. Rowland S. Howard, 'Life's What You Make It' from Pop Crimes (2009) 
25. Slap Happy Humphrey, 'Chihei-sen' from Slap Happy Humphrey (1994)
26. Patty Waters, 'Black is the color of my True love's Hair' from Patty Waters Sings (1966)
27. Dead Raven Choir, 'Our Mother The Mountain' from My Firstborn Will Surely Be Blind (2007)
28. Townes van Zandt, 'Shrimp Song' from Rain on a Conga Drum (1991)
29. The Mountain Goats, 'Tell Me On A Sunday' from Hot Garden Stomp (1993)
30. Dear Astronaut, 'California Love' unreleased
31. The Gun Club, 'Cool Drink of Water' from Fire Of Love (1981)
32. The Lost Domain, 'Pearline' from White Man At The Door (2007)
33. Neil Innes and Son, 'Cum On Feel the Noize' from Miniatures (A Sequence of Fifty-One Tiny Masterpieces 
     Edited By Morgan Fisher) (1980) 
34. Alastair Galbraith, 'Getting Older' from God Save The Clean (1998)
35. Roy Montgomery, 'Used To' from Just Melancholy 7" (1996) 
36. Peter Jefferies, 'Scissors' from Electricity (1994) 
37. Akira Rabelais, 'Trisieme Gnossienne' from Eisoptrophobia (2001) 
38. Robert Wyatt, 'At Last I Am Free' from Nothing Can Stop Us (1982)
39. Plinth, 'Albatross I' from Albatross (2010)

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