Category Archives: Music

Black Rider Podcast 02 – Mixed by Alice and Bob

Artwork by Ryan Michael Swearingen (

…and then the second installment of the Black Rider podcast, the soundtrack to our nightly readings and bleary-eyed train rides to work.

Podcast 02 is mixed by Perth-based Alice & Bob, aka Black Rider poet Chris Arnold.

This mix is a journey filled with twists, swimming you through electroacoustic, neo-classical, classical, space ambient, minimal techno and electronica, book-ended by two of Arnold’s poems. Check the tracklist below for just how cool this is.

Download the Black Rider Podcast 02 – Mixed by Alice & Bob

Or stream it here:


Chris Arnold – Unloading
Alice & Bob – Untitled #1
The Detroit Escalator Company – Ghana
Stars of the Lid – articulate silences part 1
GAS – Konigsforst C1
Terre Thaemlitz – Cars
Arovane – Seaside
Ekkehard Ehlers – later
Tim Hecker – Spring Heeled Jack Flies Tonight
Rechenzentrum – treptow
The Gentlemen Losers – The Echoing Green
Pub – faggy trax
ISAN – cathart
Terre Thaemlitz – Whip It
The Detroit Escalator Company – Faith as rain
GAS – Nah und Fern
Transient Waves – Paradise
Alice & Bob – Untitled #2
Chris Arnold – 17

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Filed under Black Rider podcast, Black Rider Press, Music, Poetry, Spoken Word, The Sound of the Black Rider

The sound of the Black Rider: Mark William Jackson

Download Mark William Jackson and The Minordian performing Beat(en) & Saintly as featured in The Diamond & the Thief, Black Rider Press 2010.

You can also stream it at Poetry Speaks or below.

Mark William Jackson – Beat(en) & Saintly from The Black Rider on Vimeo.

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Filed under Australia, Black Rider Press, Mark William Jackson, Music, Poetry, Spoken Word, The Sound of the Black Rider

I am still in yesterday’s clothes – Issue 7

In space no one reads your zine

Tristan Fidler is one cool dude. His whole vibe is perfectly depicted in his zine I am still in yesterday’s clothes. He’s infused it with his awesomeness. Reaching the seventh issue yo(!), theming it SPACE(!) no less, is one heck of an achievement.

Tristan describes the zine as “somewhere between professionalism and unprofessionalism.” This is spot on.

This issue’s concept came together while a DJ dropped ‘You’re the Best (Around)’ by Joe “The Bean” Esposito at a party Tristan was at. That’s the tournament song from The Karate Kid by the way. This is how many good ideas have been known to conceptualise.

This zine is cool ’cause anything goes. There’s stuff about Astral Travel’s ‘The place with space’ (I really really really like Astral Travel). There’s stuff about the Karaoke Satan Museum, there are Jim China rants, my fave being Apollo conspiracy theories or… the flights to the moon, did they happen? (Yes! Realise that now, fool!), there’s a look into the darker aspects of Perth’s suburb Floreat, there’s Neel Lang’s funny Myspace or yours, and a highlight: the 5 things I remember about Sun Ra: Space is the place (1974) (#1 being that Thurston Moore wrote the liner notes, which is a fact I feel like only Tristan would know [and drop on you out of the blue at a party]). And it wouldn’t be a Tristan production without movie reviews, this time it’s Jason X, or The space curse of shitty horror franchises.

Golly, there’s so much more – 70 pages of goodness to be exact.

Oh, and Tristan’s story We are not the douchebags makes an appearance as well. When he performed this story at Cottonmouth XVIII, he brought the house down. It was awesome. You can experience it at the Cottonmouth website.

This issue comes with a soundtrack too, called Sounds from space. Holy crap, the first half of the CD features Leonie Brialey and her aural space opera of field recordings ‘Yesterday’s space’ with track titles that include ‘Watching cops and talking about Pump Up the Volume’ and ‘Sunday afternoon, making a snack, talking to my dad’. The second half of the CD are songs by lots of people and I’m super jazzed about the Gilbert Fawn and Amber Fresh ones.

I’m starry-eyed that Tristan published my steampunk space opera short story The Methusaleh Diaries. My li’l polemical coil of intertextual allusions and fleeting imagery is physically practically motionless while the movement is entirely in the psychological decay of the fragmenting mind.

That’s the nerd way of saying: thanks Tristan for taking a chance on this one.

Get dialled in with I am still in yesterday’s clothes on Facebook.

I think Ruck Rover in Perth might have a few copies, otherwise order it from Etsy. It’s only ten smackers.

The Methusaleh Diaries – an excerpt

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Filed under Fiction, Music, Perth, Photography, Published

Cottonmouth XIX, Thursday 7 October

Our first Cottonmouth huzzah back from hiatus last month went off like a big ole welcome back party.

With performances of exciting new Western Australian fiction and poetry, as well as heartfelt chansons and drone re-interpretations of Indonesian pop hits, we’ve hit the ground running with scissors.

At 7:30pm on Thursday 7 October 2010, Cottonmouth convenes for its monthly hootenanny of spoken-worders, poets, sound artists, playwr…ights, new-media-welders and anyone with narrative art tickling their epiglottis.

October’s featured performers are:

Gabby Everall
Jay Pruyn
Anna Dunnill
Jessica Currie
Andy McNeil
Gerald Lillywhite
Istenad Haddad
Zoe Barron

Our musical guests are:

Prince of King

For a spot in the open mike section presented by the Chancellor of Open Mike Byron Bard, sign up before 10pm.

We’re back in full swing publishing our monthly ‘zine. You determine the cost of these manuscripts of sweetheart-ness and can get your hands on a copy by donation on the night.

Submissions are open! We’re always accepting submissions of new fiction, poetry and artwork. Contact us with your psychedelic and far-out ideas. We want to hear from you.

Check our submission guidelines and submit to

When: 7:30pm Thursday 7 October 2010
Where: 459 Bar Rosemount Hotel 459 Fitzgerald St North Perth
How much: $5 entry; $20 entry + Cottonmouth anthology
‘Zine: by donation

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Filed under Australia, Cottonmouth, Experiment, Fiction, Music, Perth, Poetry, Published, Show, Spoken Word

Cottonmouth XVIII, Thursday 2 September

We’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching about you. When we said we needed to take some time off from our relationship with you, it was just to reinvigorate our souls – so we could come back and love you better.

Can we please just put this whole break-up behind us? Can we get back together again? We’re ready for commitment because you’re ‘the One’.

We know it was tough on you, and trust us, we had a rough time too. We just miss you so so much. How you used to visit us every month and how you used to listen to our shenanigans and how you used to weave narrative-new-media-spoken-word-art-awesomeness for us was just tops. And we know we’re supposed to say ‘let’s take it slow babe and make the most of our second chance at love’, but we kinda have this idea…

Let’s get back together with a big party! A big huzzah!

We’ll call it Cottonmouth XVIII and you know what that means? We’re turning 18. And that means we’re all kinds of legal now.

Oh won’t you rekindle the fire with us for our first night back together again in our monthly affair?

The inimitable and illimitable high-steppin’ and high-croonin’ Tomas Ford returns to ringmaster us through a night of spoken-worders, poets, sound artists, playwrights, new-media-welders and narrative grandstanders.

And bands, oh sweet glory, the bands!

Open mikers, blessed open mikers, your new Open Mic host is none other than the infamous and, in the matters of love, indefatigable and never ineffable Sir Byron Bard! And just wait until you hear what he has in store for you dear open mikers. The Bard giveth and the Bard taketh, and for you sweet open mikers, the Bard doth only give, Give, GIVE!

We almost forgot… did you know we made something special during our separation? We called her Cottonmouth: An Anthology of New Australian Writing. And she’s beautiful.

Our ‘zine COTTONMOUTH will return in October and we’ll tell you more about it when we see you on 2 September.

It’ll be the perfect night for you and us to get back together and make up.

With performances by:

Lily Chan
Sam Fox
Kaitlyn Plyley
Julian Staltari
Allan Boyd
Matt Giles
Amber Fresh
Tristan Fidler

Musical guests:

Rachel Dease
Gilbert Fawn (Matt Aitken)

When: doors open 7:30pm, Thursday 2 September 2010, and then the first Thursday of every month

Where: 459 Bar Rosemount Hotel 459 Fitzgerald St North Perth

How much: $5 entry, or $20 entry + anthology


Filed under Australia, Cottonmouth, Experiment, Fiction, Music, Perth, Show, Spoken Word

When we set out to increase our masculinity, we had no guide

Some time ago a micro-ish poem of mine called ‘A two step guide for men to increase their masculinity’ appeared in ‘The Modern Man’ edition of the very cool ‘zine Mother [has words…].  Edited & lovingly created by homme-extraordinaire Scott-Patrick Mitchell, Mother [has words…] embodies ‘zine-ness – it’s hip, it’s DIY, it’s punk (in the brazen-we-don’t-care-’bout-nuthin’-other-than-Art sense) and it’s in your face.

Coincidentally, the featured artist of this edition was the synth-disco auteur and one man punk rock maelstrom Tomas Ford, a man cooler than all of us put together for having released his new early-90s inspired rave-rap party bomb ‘Loudspeeka‘ as a cassingle.  What!?!?!  Yep.

Photo by Ryan Michael Swearingen (

A two step guide for men to increase their masculinity

1. Forget the meanings of the words ‘increase’ and ‘masculinity’.
2. Just be.


Filed under Music, Perth, Poetry, Published

Huddle round these roadmaps, alas, we’ve outstayed our welcome

Photo by Ryan Michael Swearingen (

This year the Emerging Writers Festival 2010 in Melbourne is going to be slightly more surreal than usual.  Yep, the Black Rider’s swooping.

Amid a schedule filled with general literary tomfoolery and brazen broohaha, I’ll be:

  • hosting a panel on writing
  • in conversation with the inimitable Kirk A.C. Marshall on translating foreign works to English, and
  • appearing with best buddy Scott-Patrick Mitchell to launch the Cottonmouth Anthology at a gig called 15 Minutes of Fame.

If only I could be as awesome as two of my heroes, Carl Craig and Moritz von Oswald, teaming up with a pianist named Francesco Tristano, and playing this show a couple months ago.

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When I think of you I see green: the quiet flood of Amber Fresh

In trying to capture how the illimitable Amber Fresh writes her astral travelling songs I wrote this poem for her mid-2008.  Seagreen is one of hers for the ages.

Tectonic shift: a word is born


Filed under Music, Poetry, Published

Der Freischütz and the forest of tears

Some time ago I gave a li’l presentation at Perth’s Knowledge Club on Carl Maria von Weber’s German Romantic (with a capital R) opera Der Freischütz.

Was it because of the character Samiel, the Black Huntsman? Or was it because of its groundbreaking inclusion of phantasmagoric special effects (Did I mention this is opera in the 1820s?  They crucified Weber for the special effects…)?  Or was it because of its folk horror tale of the supernatural and dreams?

Here’s an overview from a bunch of sources.  Now go drink a heartfelt sip of darkfelt Truth and sink into some Weber.


Pre-1730                 The tale of a marksman making a deal with the devil for magic bullets is passed on by word of mouth in Bohemia, Germany.

1730                          Otto von Graben zum Stein publishes “Unterredungen von dem Reiche der Geister” (Conversations from the Realm of the Spirits), an anthology of common Bohemian folk horror stories.  It contains a version of the tale of the marksman.

1810                        August Apel and Friedrich Laun publish “Book of Ghosts”, an anthology of rare and forgotten ghost stories.  It contains a story now titled “Volkssage des Freischütz” (Folkstale of the Freeshooter).

1810                        Alexander von Dusch tells his friend, the composer Carl Maria von Weber (b.1786 – d.1826), about the tale.  Von Weber was Mozart’s cousin by marriage.  Von Weber had been taught by Michael Haydn, had composed his first opera by 14 and was conducting in Vienna before he was 18.

1816                        The king of Saxony, Friedrich Augustus, appoints von Weber as Musical Director of the Dresdener Opera.  Von Weber enlists Johann Friedrich Kind to write the libretto for an opera titled “Des Jägers Braut” (The Hunter’s Wife).

1817                        Kind finishes the libretto and von Weber begins musical composition.

1820                        Von Weber finalises the score, now titled “Der Freischütz”.

1821                        First performance is held on 18 June at the opening of the Berliner Schauspielhaus with von Weber conducting.  Critics are divided due to folk songs and use of special effects, but the opera is eventually deemed the first German national opera.

1989                        The musical “The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets” premieres in Hamburg, written by William Burroughs, directed by Robert Wilson and music by Tom Waits.  Burroughs departs from the original story as the marksman is a writer and his bride to be does not escape the final bullet, a reference to Burroughs’ murder of his own wife.

Cast of Characters

Kaspar First huntsman Bass-baritone
Max Second huntsman Tenor
Killian A villager Baritone or tenor
A Hermit A religious man of the forest Bass
Samiel The black huntsman Speaking part
Kuno Head forester Baritone
Agathe Kuno’s daughter Soprano
Ännchen Agathe’s cousin Soprano
Prince Ottokar Prince of Bohemia Baritone


Bohemian forest in the 17th century


Act 1

A celebration at a forest inn of Kilian’s win over Max in a shooting contest opens the opera.  Kuno reminds Max that if he fails again in the trial test shot in the Prince’s tournament at dawn, he’ll lose both his job and his bride-to-be, Agathe. Max bemoans his situation, so Kaspar feigns friendship and gets him to drink more. He gives Max his own gun and tells him to shoot an eagle which is way out of range. The bullet, according to Kaspar, is magical and it’ll ensure his win in the tournament. He asks Max to meet him at midnight in the Wolf’s Glen to get more magic bullets. Max agrees. Kaspar, who’s sold his soul to the devil Samiel and has now found someone to take his place, rejoices at his ploy and sings a gloating aria.

Act 2

Scene 1. Agathe’s room.

Ännchen is re-hanging a portrait that has fallen on Agathe. Agathe is worried and her cousin Ännchen tries to cheer her up. Agathe tells her about a warning given her that morning by the Hermit and sings the first of her two arias, consisting of a prayer, followed by a joyful melody already heard in the beginning Overture. She sees Max approaching. Max is agitated and worried and says he must hurry to get to the haunted Wolf’s Glen. Agathe begs Max to be careful. The trio of Max, Agathe and Ännchen sing in which the girls attempt to hold him back. Max rushes into the night.

Scene 2. The Wolf’s Glen

Spirits sing as an offstage chorus.  Phantasmagoria special effects are used.  Samiel, after being conjured by Kaspar, announces he will claim Kaspar the next day unless he brings a new victim. Kaspar promises to do so, with Max as his victim. Max is to receive seven bullets of which six will hit the desired mark but the seventh, Agathe, his love. For this Kaspar will have three year’s respite. Samiel vanishes and Max arrives. Seven bullets are cast in a crucible, with magic rites. By entrapping Max with the seven magic bullets, Kasper purchases three more years of life.  Max takes four bullets and Kaspar takes three.

Act 3

Scene 1. Agathe’s room.

Agathe sings her second aria about her faith in heaven. She had an ominous dream that she was a dove and Max shot her.  Ännchen dispels her mood with a recitative followed by a cheerful aria.  Ännchen and the bridesmaids try to cheer up Agathe. The portrait has fallen again and when Ännchen opens the box with the bridal wreath, she finds a funeral wreath. So Agathe wears instead the white roses given her by the Hermit earlier.

Scene 2. Prince Otokar’s camp in the forest.

After the hunting-chorus, the Prince orders Max to bring down a white dove perched on a tree before he will approve Max’s betrothal to Kuno’s daughter. Max has already wasted three of his four bullets.  Max fires but hits Agathe, who appears from behind the tree, and also wounds Kaspar who was in the tree to watch the scene. After all the commotion, Agathe revives. Samiel appears and claims Kaspar, whose body is thrown into the Wolf’s Glen. Max confesses to the magic bullets and the Prince passes sentence of banishment. The Hermit appears and urges the Prince for clemency, let Max marry Agathe and to discontinue the trial of the free shot, giving Max one year to redeem himself. The Prince agrees and the opera ends amid thanksgiving, with the joyful tune already heard in the overture and in Agathe’s Act II aria.

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Point ‘n click at bodies of water

I’ve only ever been credited for taking one photograph.

This one:

Find it.

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