Tuesday, December 15, 2009

last blog for 2009 .

I'd like to sincerely thank all of you who've followed this blog over the year, and of course years previous, and I hope you all join me for the next installment - which will be kept as one unit for a number of years as opposed to this and last years annual blog. La Deccenie Brut is the title of the new blog, and I'll use that virtual space to natter on about nuttin much from 2010 to 2019, so long as blogspot and the internet are still going, so long as I'm here to write i suppose.

This mission of mine is a kind of alchemy. My music is refined gradually. Releases and actions are measured and represent the latest stage of refinement. There is no arrival; only movement and further refinement to come. The Crude meme started rough-as-guts, obscure, immature, silly - like a schoolboys science project. And it still is really.

Placing myself into the culture has been complicated. There are many layers to it - we have the local culture, Dunedin, with 4 or 5 venue/culture mafias or door-keepers one simply must play ball with. I won't name them here. Small city/large town socio-cultural politics is as fascinating as it is stifling. The golden rule - this town is far too small to actively burn bridges within the creative sector because one day you just might run into and even have to work with whoever you burned again and again and again in the future. You will also limit possibilities for others - artists who just want to get on with people and their projects. All in all bridge burning is a selfish and unwise act. I learnt that lesson years ago. Sort of.
On a slightly larger scale is the national culture - and the same rule applies here because New Zealand is very small. Although you can disassociate yourself from other groups a lil' bit. You define your realm firstly with the genre of music you perform and secondly by way of your politics(and even if you believe yourself to be apolitical - news flash - there are skilled observers out there who'll ascertain your 'leanings' even by the vway you wear your hair). The gatekeepers in NZ are manifold - those who rise up through the ranks are often blessed with the gift of the gab, have plenty of cash reserves, can network up a storm, have friends in leadership positions both corporate and governmental, exude mana (or know someone who exudes it), and whos music is commercial, rootsy, work-affirming, healthy, and humble. My position within New Zealands culture is seemingly microscopic - but it's cultish. NZ's music 'scene' utilizies Crude as a sort of last resort, a filler story, a novelty act or a curio. But 'at the end of the day' Crude is always there. Like oxygen. Permanence and timelessness are my aims. A refusal to go away and die. Transmuting ones everlasting soul into data to be stored, backed up, and filed away for ever. Crude is a southern entity within the national schema, its southern roots stretching deeper and deeper into the soil with each year, the south as base of operations - as home, as nest. Of course, we all know New Zealand music is Auckland-o-centric, and so alot of my work is neglected, because i rarely appear there in the flesh. Luckily those into the type of music i record are usually very progressive and reasonable people. But I can't wholly escape the odd barnyard jape and redneck reference. You just can't. Invercargill is Invercargill. And it will be forever.
The final placement for the project is the international realm. This is acheived in the main using the internet, usually by joining borderless world-wide interest groups and actively participating in them. I feel that the net has spawned a truly international electronic music movement. We congregate under the webs umbrella and inspire and inform each others works. It is a perpetual conversation. It is disembodied, mobile, anarchic, self-organizing and very powerful. One can record, remix and deliver a track to someone in Malaysia and get it back in a new form quicker than it takes to walk to the dairy and back. A guy in Siberia will know more about your latest release than the guy in the next room in the house. You can send a track instantly to 100 different people in practically every corner of the globe quicker than it takes you to hand a cassette to the guy down the hall. Of course, this is OLD NEWS, we all know this...but come on, its still pretty amazing! The ramifications must frustrate local media cliques no end - especially those who crave control of it.

So anyway, thanks again for spending a little time looking at things from my perspective. I really. truly. appreciate your support. You are supporting me by reading me. And if you're compelled to purchase a cd, why! that's all the better. But i'll be happy even if you go stream a crude track.
Yessir, its a struggle. Mein Kamph. I struggle on. On and on against a world I didn't design. Sport reigns supreme here, its mega-church is being built down ravey road as I write. Sport. Rugby. A sport to find the team who can safely collect the food package or the kill back across opposing tribal terrain and to the village. Or safely bringing a message home perhaps. Now we just click a mouse.
Apparently, my right-leaning relatives bellow - there's piles of money out there. Millions of dollars all up for grabs. Anyone can crawl up from the bottom and become a zillionaire! So why do i feel like theres this huge corporate vacuum cleaner in the sky - like an evil silent alien drone, sucking,skimming and feltching out every last cent out of every last human to fatten the already grotesquely over-loaded pockets of a few sociopathic, narcissistic, control-addicted and sadistic men? (oh sorry - thats right. It's us 'welfare criminals' that are the cause of the crisis)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

next thing

from jan 1 2010 the ongoing cruddy saga blog switches to the following url:

Saturday, December 5, 2009


.....Dunedin warmth, Dunedin Hands. Oh the passionate realm of music and art, it attracts them all, the control freaks, the mommys boys, the daddys girls, the special kids, the damaged, the abused, the destroyed, the weak, the troubled, the cursed, the rich, the poor, the sick, the god-fearing, the god hating, the open, the closed, the ambitious, the driven, the insane, the mysogynists, the homeless, the home-schooled, the priveledged, the defiled, the down-trodden, the brilliant, the deviant, the defiant, the maladjusted, the introverted, the extroverted, the forlorn, the quietist, the political, the apolitical. There seems to be different approaches to performance and performance situations - some are there to assert their domain and claim the next decade as theirs, some treat the structural aspects of a multi-act performance as a forum for that insidious kiwi pathology - passsive-agressive behaviour. Last night there was a perfomance at None Basement, or 'Fight club' as I now call it. Having played the venue under its various guises off and on since 1997 it is a place of solace and sentiment for me, somewhere to 'be myself', to 'let down my guard' , a place with a strong anarcho-liberal philosophy to it - a place of un-restricted creativity, and mutual support and encouragement. Last nights show was an eclectic amalgam of musical schools - a jazz/folk/psych act, an anarchic dada outfit, some noise rock, a laptopper, some electro, and myself, attemting a sort of 'live beats' thing with a laptop and the sterling gentlement i've been freestyling with over the last few months . Long before the show was to begin I tried to ascertain what the line up would be, when i should play and for how long etc. As is normal with many gigs of an anarchistic nature a kind of 'it'll sort itself out' attitude is assumed, one attempts to spontaneously assess when it is appropriate to perform, one assumes there isnt a hierarchy to the lineup, its an egalitarian event, fuelled by the music itself, the audiences response, the flow of the piss, the blood on the floor. Trying my utmost to be all things to all people as usual, (I tend to be what you think i am)I cranked up my set as the jazz outfit were seemingly winding down. There were two 'zones', on each side of the basement, creating a kind of genre specific schism, perhaps reducing the severity of the interjection. But no. The two zones were as one stage. Would I get up on stage with a group when they hadnt finished? No. But this was...something altogether different. A real headfuck. Cutting my sound ejaculation (self coaxed of course) I was informed, in the form of the lead vocalists beautiful voice, that they were to play 'one more', a song of about 20 minutes. They finished eventually, their fans yelling encore, my supporters giving me the nod. Before i was to play two members of the jazz outfit confronted me, looking inconceivably put out and angry, like i had just ruined their careers. Deeming the gravity of what i had done by misjudging my liberties was not as heavy as the vibe exuding from these gentlemen I dismissed them, rather abruptly, putting on an air of haughty arrogant self assurance not normally my style (how dare I! I should have cowered and blithered in apology). Picking up a phone call and walking away must've added to the general wankerish feel - I must have looked like a real cunt trying to defend myself. The two guys spent my set seething - their hatred for me festered. Rallying their troops they heckled and defamed my name on a chalk board, this matt middleton guy - what an ego he has! He thinks he is the hot shit! He thinks he is great! He like listens to his own music! That is self congratulatory! How dare he! And so i finished up the set - which went well, and after packing my equipment the angry gentlemen, their honour in tatters after my insidious comments and the sound rape i let loose as they played, it had broken their concentration, I had defiled the purity of their set, I had usurped their one and only shot at fame it seemed. I was then informed that the gentleman would very much 'like to punch me in the face'. My short stature must've really been empowering for them at this point. The standover continued, the taller (hes tall as!) stood over me, like Thurston Moore wearing Burroughs style spectacles, his face buckled and spattering out psychotic old-jazz-soldier rules and taboos and tapus and biblical threats. I then tried a formal apology - apologizing firstly for making a sound when they were playing, and then for my dismissive arrogant display previous to my performance. The response was 'I don't want to hear you say sorry'. So then question I had to ask myself was what did he want? Did he want me to get on my knees and pleasure his member? Was I in for a masonic hazing? (well YES it turns out - even their songstress got one in). Did he want me to pay him off?? At this point my integrity as a human came into sharp contrast in my mind. Was I to be walked over, was I to roll over like a dog when kicked, leaving a pleasing ruddy glow on their cheeks, or would I do something a little more ..acute to highlight the unreasonable nature of their fury. Oh yes there had been breakdowns in communication right from the get-go. Did I have a plan to make an enemy that night? No. Was I told for how long and when I should exactly play? Not really. Did I think a couple of blasts of noise from me would cause such a crushing blow to these guys egos resulting in their need for my head on a plate? No. Maybe no-one really wanted me to play that particular gig in the first place - and in typical passive fashion no-one said 'i don't want crude to play'---like hey I would have gladly not played - of course no-one told me.
I walk back, assume this pseudo martial arts stance and suggest that they 'beat me up'..
(a fight ensued, one of those squirming, wriggling, locked-down scrums, some hair pulling, clothes tearing and biting (on my part) and a few punches.)

Oh music music music - the JOY of it all. Lots of desperately poor people (like m )running round with not enough food in their bellies and too much booze in their blood.

To conclude, I love the people at None. They have been some of the most consistent and encouraging people i have known - reasonable people - non-judgemental, highly creative and progressive, real people. I don't have a beef with None. I try my best to be reasonable with my music and performances. If I have built a reputation over the years as being a 'wanker' or that 'i think i'm better than you', thats a real shame. Lots of young people come down to Dunedin and have their mind made up about who and what I am. Have i become this sort of dinosaur that must be put out of its misery to let the young blood through? Am I a thorn in your side?
At the end of the day we wake up and its all turned to memory, another heated exchange in the fight club, just another outburst by that matt middleton cunt, and we get on with our lives. But this incident was particularly depressing, its the sort of soul-destroying thing that puts you off ever bothering with it again, and it makes you wonder if all the twenty-something musicians or artists of today share this bizarre, sinister,dry ambitious streak and a corresponding sense of immediate entitlement to absolute respect.

Friday, December 4, 2009

'Oral Histories'

Every now and then I'll (I mean ...Crude ) receive(s) a little attention from the world of music journalism and cultural heritage archivists. An interview here and there can really bolster morale - its a validation - it's evidence that what one does is not only out there (in new zealand in the main)(inside hard drives), it is deemed good enough to be acquired and archived and written about. People have penned articles - like Jonathon Bywater and his Listener article, Shayne Carter covered Crude in Real Groove and portrayed me as a very underground kiwi artist perhaps overlooked and under-appreciated, and the Hocken Library and the National Library have over the years acquired many Crude titles, some of them incredibly rare cassette editions that i don't even own any more. All the old lathe 7"s are down at the Hocken, as well as the first ever Crude cassette 'The World is so you Have Something to stand on'. Last month I was fortunate enough to be interviewed for an 'Oral History' project - whereby my life story as an artist, or whatever, was discussed, in my interviewers words it was a project that hoped to paint a picture of the artist as a human being. Whether I acheived that aim I'm not sure yet! I want to thank those who nominated me for this esteemed project - even if I only had the oppurtunity thanks to the veritable kaumatua of the lo-fi scene, Alastair Galbraith , turned the job down. I can think of se veral other senior figures who may have been more deserving of a place in this - people like Peter Gutteridge, George Henderson (you would need a huge amount of hard disk space for his story im sure) or , I dunnow - Celia Mancini maybe?? But yeah. I hope the transcript, which gets stored away up in Wellington, is eludcidating and assists with that future thesis on CRUDE. Yeah, maybe. Might just disappear.