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getting there…

Posted on Monday, March 19th, 2007

It’s true that to the casual reader of my weblog it must appear that I seem to talk a lot about projects that I’m doing which go on and on and never seem to reach fruition. I promise it’s not because I just sit around by the pool, gently sipping margaritas all day, rather, that there is only one of me and only a finite amount of hours in a day to get all the things done. In my past I was able to concentrate fully on my music as I was spoiled with the luxury of assistants and others around me who contributed to the project, in a more, how would one put it, practical way, you know, the little things like now like making all the safety copies, burning cdrs, going to the post office and the larger more important things like designing artwork and bringing me coffee without me having to ask.Now, I’m just bitching because I’ve spent the last couple of days making cd copies and going to the post office but if you will bear with me for a moment I will get to the point.



Ah, you see, the point is that I’ve sent off all the masters and all the artwork and, well, these albums are now very close to becoming real things that you can touch and hold and of course, for the more discerning, intelligent and sexy amongst you, purchase. What we have here is a handsome collection of eighteen pieces of music compiled into two albums, twins if you like, experiments in the dualities of music and emotion, entitled After The Night Falls and Before The Day Breaks. At this time I don’t have a release date but I am informed it will be in the summer. I shouldn’t go on and on about them about how fantastic they are, it’s not my place, but I can tell you that it’s a really nice feeling to have these in a place where I can send them off into the world on their own.

out of the ordinary…

Posted on Sunday, March 11th, 2007

I had an out of the ordinary weekend. I went …. out.
Now I have to explain that of late I’ve been rather tied up with the movie 3:19 which is almost in post production, certainly at a stage where it looks and sounds marvellous. I’ve spent the last few weeks scoring and although the work has been relentless and pretty much against the clock it has also been very rewarding from an artistic point of view. The director, who I believe we will here more of in the future is Dany Saadia and I feel honoured that he has trusted me to help him realise his vision with my music. It has been somewhat challenging at times, certainly taking me outside my comfort zone (robin guthrie plays beethoven, anyone?) and a learning process for me. My experience in making music has often had less restraints, for example it has existed in it’s own right, and has had a life of it’s own. Scoring for a movie, where someone else is trying to tell a tale, albeit in a very interesting and unique way such as Dany is doing with this film, has a whole different set of disciplines and really puts a very interesting new aspect into the whole process of making music. I’m becoming part of the storytelling process and that, for me, is rather novel, to say the least. I’ve always, in a way, told stories with my music, but not ones that anyone other that myself could ever relate to in a tangible way while listening to an individual track. In a broader sense however, the story, if evident at all, exists in the journey that one is taken on while listening to an album I’ve made. I am talking specifically about my instrumental music here as this obviously doesn’t apply to something like Violet Indiana whose songs are a series of traumatic vingettes. With my instrumental music the narrative is grounded firmly in the the way that the music can make me feel when I listen to it. Everyone feels different, sure, and therefore the emotive quality is hugely personal. Sorry if this sounds like a ramble but there is a point and that is that I’ve spent the last few weeks doing music which is my reaction to someone else’s emotions and I can’t really think of a bigger shift in disciplines that I have ever made. True, I went through the same process when I did Mysterious Skin but this has affected me in a more profound way, perhaps due to being involved earlier in the production and having the knowledge that my music can have an impact on the way that the story is told. I think that any unease I do experience is down to the fact that I could misinterpret the story. When I make music for me I’m not really answerable to anyone.. mmm, hope I don’t fuck up ..

So anyway, as I was saying before I went off on one, I went out this weekend. Now I live in a small village, somewhat like the village in the first chapter of Resident Evil 4, near Rennes, France and due to simple stuff like my resident teenage daughter, Lucy Belle, going off to college in an obviously cunning move to avoiding her babysitting duties, I find myself, with the good Madame Guthrie, having not much of a social life due to having a small child and not knowing many folks around here. But this weekend the planets must have been lined up in a fashion that happens once every few years and, not only was our youngest, Violette, spending the weekend with her grandparents but we were lucky enough to find that our free time coincided with Traveling, Le festival de cinema de Rennes Metropole . Um, OK well they have been showing about a gazillion films and we couldn’t catch much but we did see Clean which I enjoyed and took the opportunity to listen to Olivier Assayas talking about his work and his view of cinema. He seemed like a very interesting man and I will be searching out more of his work.

The other high point of my weekend was going to see Buffet Froid as, what those charming frenchies call a ‘cine concert’ with an outstanding live soundtrack performed by Olivier Mellano. It was a long time since I saw the movie and I’d never seen it without subtitles so a few of the nuances were lost on me … you know, the moment the whole audience laughs except me… that kind of a thing.. But I really enjoyed it. It’s kinda sick and wrong and just seeing Depardieu in huge 70’s Y-Fronts just did it for me. you know, like the moment when the whole audience is quiet except me…. Olivier is one very talented young man and deserves to find a larger audience. I couldn’t really fault his interpretation and performance, which was perfect but I did manage to steal a tobelerone from his dressing room after the show.

Harold Budd : OK, perhaps I was a little unclear with my post about losing all my luggage and the music I’ve recently done with Harold Budd with it. Fact is, I did lose it but, well, I had it backed up so no big problem there. It would have fucked up my story if I’d said that, lost all the sense of drama and not given me much of an excuse for not getting the damn thing mastered and released ASAP. This situation however, is being remedied as we speak as I’m now in the process of getting everything together for release in the summer so I’ll post an update whenever I have some concrete dates. For those of you who care, if only to laugh at my misfortune, my luggage was delivered to my home approximately one week after being lost by the lovely lady with the little post van who normally delivers my Amazon orders. There were some interesting anomalies. It had evidently been opened and rummaged through and although expensive items like my laptop were still there some musical equipment, a couple of my shirts (XL), a large bottle of Listerine, (inexpediently something impossible to buy in France – er, um, I’ll not deliberate on this thought for too long – there’s a whole other web log entry to do about this), a John Fante novel and a James Elroy one as well.
Pondering over this I suggested to my daughter Lucy Belle that the person who took my stuff had to be an overweight musician, with bad breath and a liking of twentieth century American literature.
She looked at me with that look that only young people can make, usually towards parents. The look simply said “Are you are really trying to tell me that there is another idiot walking this planet who fits that description? If you are, you’re retarded”.
Of course not a word passed her lips.


Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2007

Robin, are you opposed to people sharing your music on the internet?

I have no problem with people sharing my old stuff online, given that I earn virtually nothing from this. As to people sharing concert recordings and such, I have no opinion. I certainly would never expect to earn from those recordings, so I suppose I would only be pissed off if someone were charging money for them. That would seem somewhat immoral.
Live recordings, in my opinion, bring very little to the world, perhaps a nice memento for someone who attended the event, but as an artistic statement or even a document of some sorts, they bring, well, let me see, less than zero. Live music, for me, is about the moment. I’ve experienced many fine moments on stage but I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed a recording of a live performance. OK, I’ll be more specific, I’ve never enjoyed a recording of a cocteau twins live performance. A John Coltrane or Keith Jarrett, maybe, or indeed any performer who’s musical merit is built upon a fair degree of technical skill mixed with copious quantities of passion. For me, CT had both, often, but, in a live concert situation, in truth, not often at the same time… lol… Maybe I’m being harsh but there are so many contributing factors to making a successful performance, how you felt on the day, the venue, the audience, the sounds/lights….down to the more mundane, “was dinner any good?”, “why has the airline lost my luggage?” to “fuck, I’m missing home/my family/the football”, “er, mitsuo just fell of the stage, did you guys see that?” and that kind of thing.. Then again, there are the performances that Elizabeth, Simon and myself thought were sublime and afterwards we were greeted with a few grumbles of “well it was OK, I suppose” from people. With live recordings I’m forever exasperated just by the idea of such and the fear that our music could be judged harshly because of them.
No, no the real question that I think you are asking is about whether or not I care about our studio recordings being shared and for this my answer is simply this.
For the most part, the income, if any, goes to corporate or pseudo corporate record companies who thrive on the exploitation of our back catalogue, providing chump change, at best, for us. Perhaps Simon and Elizabeth feel differently but I would imagine not. But here we are talking about music made quite a while back now, which has been earning money, albeit disproportionately in favour to the record companies involved, for some time now. Doubtlessly I used some of that money along the way for stupid ventures, including the wholesale purchase of Bolivia, and even more reckless activities like the recording of music and trying to release it.
In short, it’s history.
On the other hand the music I make nowadays is my livelihood, you know, as in, money for food and shelter for myself and my family….Therefore, given the relatively small numbers of records that I am able to sell, it seems somewhat in bad taste or even disrespectful for you people to share the stuff. You’d feel the same way when I come and commit a B&E on your apartment and rip off all of your stuff, right?. I mean, most of you folks probably have jobs and can afford a few bucks for some music from time to time. You probably wouldn’t dream of continuing in your present employment if your employer decided not to pay you. I mean, come on you have bills to pay, right?
I haven’t a job that pays me a salary or provides any security. OK, I know the trade off is that I have an occupation which is something I love, but quite frankly, I have the same bills to pay as you.
The healthcare benefits aren’t up to much either (as in… if I get sick, I die) . That said, I don’t have to suck up to your boss so in that respect I am grateful. I’m not looking for sympathy, btw, I made a choice. This life brings many rewards but financial ones are few and far between and this can become somewhat frustrating when I know that I am judged, not only for my creative output, but also on the work that I do retrospectively (re-mastering, anybody?) or simply because someone asks me.
To pick and choose the projects that one becomes involved in, is something reserved for those who are probably fiscally secure. For me, sometimes that seems an impossible luxury, principally reserved for those more talented than myself, but it’s a reality which I’m perfectly prepared to stand by as there is no shame in work. But I have to say I have been more than adequately rewarded by having had hugely talented people thrust into my path since the moment I started to make music….
So, without wishing to overstate my case,
share the old shit,
buy the new shit
so I can continue making new shit.
Fuck, that last sentence was like sucking up to your boss, right?
I also find it a little curious that some of you ‘fans’ would consider spending small fortunes on eBay to bu a CT rarity but then share a newer album I’ve done. That’s just wrong, people.

Are you rich?

I mean relatively to someone in Sao Paulo who lives in a dumpster and eats other peoples garbage for lunch, yes. Relative to you, however, probably not. I have a home, a car with 200,000 miles on the clock, a 2MB internet connection, a mixing console which is so old it I’m convinced it has small animals living inside of it which just fuck with me, and a guitar which recently I was offered a lot of money for. Now, sorry if this seems a little stubborn of me but why should I go on playing guitar if someone offers me more money for the actual guitar itself…..? just a thought.. lol
So in short. You’re on crack…

Is food very different when you move? Like, since you moved from Ireland to France… do you eat French cuisine a lot now, or do you try and persue the old irish routine?

Food’s better here than in England, where I lived before. I never lived in Ireland, you must be getting me mixed up with Bono. Anyway, you don’t have much choice here. The French, apart from their fries and their kissing, despite all the bollocks written, haven’t really made much of a mark on the world (unless you’re an Algerian or Vietnamese) .. Oops, sorry, went a bit Bono for a minute there… lol. Of course, I was talking cuisine. French food here, is remarkably good. However any other ethnic foods that you can mention, foods that in the rest of the world we can, at least, get an idea of by visiting a local, you know, Thai, Indian, Greek etc..restaurant…. SUCKS… The saddest part is that most French folks believe their food is better because French cuisine in France is way better than any other ethnic cuisine available here. Now, having spent twenty years amongst the English, I can tell you, that for all their faults, (there are many, for sure, but just for the purposes of this a topic I’ll, gulp, put them to one side) they have a much more open minded and progressive attitude towards food than my Gallic hosts who ride on several hundred years of, snobbery on their part and stupidity on the part of the English.

Food questions to help this answer…

Q, Where are the best restaurants/supermarkets
A, London / California / New York / Tokyo

Q, What shape is bacon? ….
A, Ah, bon, c’est facile, c’est comme un cercle?… non, it’s not fucking round like it came from a machine its long and ass shaped like it came from a pig.

Q, Do Japan, China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Korea and Taiwan have anything in common?
A, Yes, In France you can get ‘Asian food’ all in the same restaurant… don’t ask…

Q, Where can you find the most diverse choice of international foods on the planet?
A, London / New York / California / Tokyo

Q, Is a pizza meant to be deep fried?
A, Wrong…. apparently not … lol

Q, What shape is a kebab?
A, Wrong…. not here… lol

Q, Why can you get such an amazing choice of fish and seafood anywhere in France but , given that the UK is a fucking island, get very little except winkles, whelks and farmed salmon?
A, …..

Q, What the fuck exactly is a Quenelle anyway?
A, …..

Q, Why are there so many quails eggs at Christmas in the supermarket but not the rest of the year round? What are the quails doing in the meantime?
A …..

Q, OK, I bought a little pack of pigs feet in the supermarket? Now what? Are you meant to swallow the toenails or spit?
A …..

Q, Why can you only find a twix, snickers, mars or bounty at a gas station here?
A, because if you could find all the other shit that they sell at gas stations in the UK we’d all be fat fucks like you. (please make note of the ongoing distancing in this sentence…..)

I could go on like this at length. I first wrote this as an answer to these question at cocteautwinsforums.com but thought it fun to post it here as I only have a certain amount of typing patience every month…..

my thanks to clayton39 for inspiring this post…