Saturday, December 20, 2014

2014 > 2015

With my last blog post dating back a year, it's pretty clear that I don't really need this blog anymore. 

The first half of this year was for the most part consumed by the audiovisual mix project I set up called Intertext Editions. It's on hold at the moment, but it may well come back at some point when I have some more time. As much as I enjoyed curating the project and having the chance to collaborate with friends, the whole thing was quite draining and at times bordering on the obsessive. The whole idea of Intertext was basically born from the fact that I barely had any space to draw and create and was too broke to hire even a cheap studio, so moving to something web-based was my solution to that. That's London life for you. 

I'm happy to say that since then I have managed to obtain a little space of my own and have revived my Lefty Le Mur guise. I relaunched my website and am now tweeting about my activities again. With conditions looking up, it's been possibly to finally start working on some projects that have long been gathering dust in my to-do list. First up is a publication about cities. I've got big plans for it and I aim to have something done by mid-2015.

Meanwhile, this blog. I've decided not to kill it entirely but rather start using it as a place where to publish more academic-ish stuff. Like talking about influences, new discoveries, visual culture etc. I've got a long list of subjects i wish to talk about more and explore further. But alas, with my memory as good as a well-oiled slide, this blog will be appointed as my memory bank, so to speak. 

Exciting times ahead in Lemuria for 2015 then! Can't wait.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013 in Music - Personal Bests

(Ideally this article would have been published in another music-related blog which is currently brewing - Intertext. Should hopefully have it up and running in time for the 2014 list..)

2014. Yes, one my top resolutions at the end of 2013 was to sort my musical self out for 2014. I'm glad to report that I did dive back into music and have totally feasted on all the goods it had to offer. It was a great year.

And never have I been better placed geographically to do just that. Was there any place better than London to be in this year? With the jungle renaissance and the exciting rise of eski/neo-grime taking place in and because of this city, I really really doubt it. Apart from maybe Glasgow in 2007, I can't say I've ever been witness to a city that's so buzzing and alive musically (hell, and everything else!) as London is at the moment. 

But that is just one side to (my) 2014 and apart from just a couple of releases drawing from these scenes, the rest of my list is a more mixed affair. And so..

Donato Dozzy - Plays Bee Mask

With dread being high on the adjective list this year, this album stood out for playing along with that vibe yet sounding so incredibly majestic at the same time. Can't think of any other set of tracks that did that this year. Possibly my favourite.

Jam City - Club Constructions Vol. 6

I unjustly gave Jam City the cold shoulder last year, but man did I lap this up this time round. Maybe it's that distant city din that's persistent throughout the tracks or maybe it's those synths that creep up later in the track above, but I found this mini-album's suppressed cinematic edge so compelling. 

Julia Holter - Loud City Song

Maybe the classic and timeless ambitions of this album make this an obvious pick, but the way Holter manages to make sense of a cacophony composed of wide-eyed wonder, minimalist influences, metropolitan jazz vibes and European avant-garde references is truly impressive. They don't make 'em like this much anymore. 

Lapalux - Nostalchic

There are so many levels of sounds and samples in this album that it can sound incredibly stuffy and overwhelming on first listen. Subsequent listens though reveal the tracks to be a really masterfully layered sequence of genuinely soulful and volatile moods, urban styles and beats. A deep album that keeps you coming back.

Forest Swords - Engravings

I guess this had been a long time coming. Would have been shocked had it ended up not making it on this list. If a gnarled and bog-buried rune-carved megalith of prehistoric rock could scream it would sound something like this.

VA - Helical Scans

The whole outsider/murky/haptic house and techno business that dragged its way all throughout 2013 started out as an exciting prospect, with LIES last year and Opal Tapes this year acting as standard bearers for these internet micro-scenes. But as I found out when turning up for Opal Tapes' launch night in mid-2013, there's only so much you can listen to before utterly giving up, declaring the whole thing pointless and heading home. This compilation at least preserves what was great about this scene by keeping the selection varied enough.

Mssingno - Mssingno EP

As mentioned above there was no shortage of quality grime this year. Mssingno's debut stood out by mixing eski's icy depths with some lighter - one could say even playful - touches. It takes something slightly special to make blatant Rihanna and R Kelly samples sounds so damn addictive!

The Focus Group - Elektrik Karousel

The album title pretty much says it all. This is one winding rollercoaster ride through the most British of British psychedelia-themed amusement parks: you only get snatches of fantastical sounds, only snippets of garbled recitations heard only in lost forest glades, and just stolen glimpses of techni-coloured potion laboratories. All throughout the ride though, the tunes never stop sparkling and lights never cease to twinkle..

Oneohtrix Point Never - R Plus Seven

This is not a vaporwave record, but both OPN and vaporwave share a similar view on two similar subjects. Vaporwave has (had?) it's eyes firmly set on the faux humanisation of the corporate machine. With R Plus Seven OPN has in turn visualised digital technology taking baby steps at trying to sound human, like a computer trying to befriend a human by speaking a made up language of what it thinks are human language signifiers. Unlike vaporwave's typically sinister probings, R Plus Seven's are often sympathetic to the computer's cause.

 Holden - The Inheritors

Not the easiest of albums to come out this year, The Inheritors is as disorientating and all over the place as it is exhilarating. It is clearly a music lover's album, encompassing everything from krautrock jams to Aphexian noodlings to just plain noise freak outs. A challenging prospect but definitely a grower.

Machinedrum - Vapor City

I left this album till the end for a reason as I'm still in two minds as to how good an album this actually is. It's first half features what is maybe the strongest set of tracks of 2013, but the second half just disintegrates into sameness. Based on it's first half alone though - a deliciously heady mix of BOC progressions, Burial-style street vibes and half jungle/half footwork beats - then this album definitely deserves a mention. That and the fact that the song above ranks top for most played on my ipod this year. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Intertext Project

New music/visual art blog/mag in progress: 

Should be up and running by early 2014.

Let's do it!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Tberfil research project - an update

I recently had the chance to resume work on a project that I've been working on intermittently over these past 3 years. A couple of years ago I had posted some information about the nature of the project which you can read here but just to recap, I'm currently documenting a local Maltese style of vehicle decoration and sign writing called 'tberfil'. I've been doing this by speaking to most of it's practitioners, visiting people with collections of vintage horse-drawn or automated vehicles and researching texts in libraries. 


Over these past 3 years I have managed to interview most of tberfil's practioners and this time round I also had the opportunity of speaking to Malta's last two remaining cart (karrettun tax-xoghol) builders - which though not practitioners of 'tberfil' are still a vital source of information since tberfil would have never existed without carts. My main aims are to document this art form and in time help revitalise it but I am also very interested in it's origins, and this is something that I put a special emphasis on this summer, with promising results!

In short, research so far points to origins (of one style) related to early incarnations of the Imnarja - a seminal Maltese rural feast that goes back at least 500 years. This is exciting especially when one considers how vital the Imnarja feast was in shaping Malta's identity in so many ways (it was the major gathering of rural dwellers, farmers and their culture, was one of the few occasions when rulers and lower classes mingled, it gave us our beloved rabbit dishes etc.). As luck would have it, a chance visit to the Imnarja feast itself four years ago (where spotted two beautifully decorated carts) was what inspired me to research this local brand of folk-art.

I will be continuing my research on the subject throughout the next few months both here in London and in Malta and have plans to conclude it by early next year. I also have some other plans related to this research which I'll hopefully get to write about sometime next year. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Two thousand and twelve - wow what a year that was. It's hard to compress a year's worth of plans, achievements, losses, travels, worries and changes into a few lines, but a year's music best of comes pretty close to summing things up. I must admit though that compared to other years I was not as music-savvy as I usually am, due to a combination of events and that uneasy feeling you get when keeping up with the year's releases becomes a daunting task rather than a burning passion. As a consequence, for example, I barely had any time and mind to focus on the year's more droney and experimental end of releases. 

It was also a year when I felt that (for the first time) I could not get my head round certain types of music or understand what the fuss was all about. Case in point would be Jam City's Classical Curves, most stuff from the Tri Angle camp (which was my favourite label last year) and Actress' RIP. Then again, lack of time might have played a part in this. It's actually funny to note that I haven't mentioned any indie album - I have long abandoned any attempts to make some kind of sense of indie music in it's present form (if it still exists, that is). 

Ok then - here's a list of 12 albums in no particular order apart from the first two which I particularly enjoyed..

1) Sand Circles - Motor City

A perfect retro-futuristic blend of BOC-style slow moving melodies 
with some tasty early Detroit techno beats and synths slapped on. 
Made walking the streets of inner-city London at night quite an experience. 

2) The Descendants OST

Technically 2011 I think, but I only watched and heard it in 2012.
To tell you that I was totally obsessed with this collection of Hawaiian
songs for around 2 weeks is an understatement. I don't know of any
other album that can take you to the same heights as a first-class zoot 
without actually inhaling any of the holy herb. Chillwave as nature intended.

Voices From The Lake - S/T

Watery, dubby, discreet, gentle, perpetual techno. The one track
posted above doesn't make any sense at all outside of it's album 
context. A very patiently rewarding album. I'll never forget the
moment when the melodies from that 6th track crept in..

Daphni - Jiaolong LP

Sounds exactly like that great set we had danced to a 
couple of years ago in Old Street when we thought we would be 
seeing a Caribou gig but got a Caribou DJ set instead. It was 
a very good night.

Pausal - Forms

The only drone/ambient album for this year. This reminded me alot
of Stars Of The Lid-style airy/nebulous ambient music. That's very easy
to get wrong of course, but these guys made it sound majestic. Plus
points for the great album cover artwork too..

Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland - Black Is Beautiful

I think this sounds very similar to a typically hip East London neighbourhood. 
Stylistically messy, not all the tracks are great, and some of them are outright 
hipster-weird-for-weird's sake but it kind of makes sense as a whole. If there's
one album that sounds like urban 2012 it would be this.

Grimes - Visions

Yep, I like it too.

Musette - Drape Me In Velvet LP

Any album with a crescent moon on the cover just has to be
a Lefty Le Mur favourite! But really, this sounds like a Central-
European musical odyssey being played on a 1920s grammophone
sat atop a steam boat gracefully gliding down a moonlit Danube.

Sun Araw, M. Geddes Gengras & The Congos - Icon, Give, Thanks

A flawed but very interesting album this one. Both parties use 
totally different musical languages from different eras and it's this 
tangible struggle to find some middle ground between the two that 
makes this album a winner. That and the guy singing on 'Jungle'.

Desolate - Celestial Light Beings

This is what Burial would have sounded like should he have
been brought up in a block of 60s flats in a dodgy Parisian
suburb. Evocative urban electronica peppered with continental 
European influences - perfect for a grey, grimy day. 

Lone - Galaxy Garden

Upon playing it for the first time, this track actually had me 
burst out laughing. It's kind of like a hyperactive kid - abit crazy, abit 
all over the place and just can't stop moving. I initially wouldn't 
take it seriously but hey, it works!

There's other key albums which might have made it to the list but which I haven't had time to thoroughly get into. Stuff such as Vessel, Chromatics, Lambchop, Laurel Halo, Ariel Pink, Grizzly Bear, Cat Power..

Anyway, here's hoping to another year full of great music (although truth be told, 2011 had better music) and great memories!



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Latest Transmissions

Seeing as the weather was so utterly dismal this week-end, I spent the better part of it sketching and coloring up a visual interpretation of those weird forms I posted last week. I'd do all the Lemurian alphabet in this style if I had enough patience but I don't so 3 or 4 are probably enough for now. Here's one..

I'm quite happy with this particular illustration because of various reasons - 
1) it actually looks and feels like an illustration. I always thought that my stuff was more fine art-y, graphic design-y or graffiti-y rather than illustration (which actually is what I studied after graphic design).
2) it's personally a gathering of loose ends of sorts - visually, topically, methodically..
3) I graduated from BA (Hons) Illustration feeling as if I had a significant amount of unfinished business to attend to stylistically. My final project was a stylistic hodge-podge and looked a mess as I'd used three different printing processes to create a concertina when I could and should have used just one. As crazy as it sounds, I could not for the life of me find a line, a technique, a method or something that felt mine. That left me in a bit of a panic and feeling as if I had just wasted a precious three years which seemed especially true upon comparing my work with the very accomplished work of some of my classmates'. It's taken me an additional one and a half years of additional visual exploration to start feeling as if I'm getting somewhere.

Anyway, onwards and forwards..

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This last week was spent digitising/creating a new font or whatever you might want to call it based on what I call the Lemurian script. Here's a sneaky-peek..

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Prints

I had a while ago done some prints related to my Birth of Culture book. I haven't really shown them around much yet apart from putting them on sale at the Graphic Arts Stall during Malta's Patches Market last July. The prints are basically reworks or edits of visual material related to the Birth of Culture and were printed out using the riso process by Elliott at Victory Press, who I would happily return to work with. 

The prints come in 4 varieties, are all 3-colour and A3 in size. They can be purchased for £20 each by getting in touch here. Discounts available for purchases of 3 or more prints!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nieuw Werk / Wolken

Holy flying mackerel, that took a while! Settling in was far from speedy, but I've started doing some new work during these past few days now that the dust's settled a bit. The first few bits of drawing seem to be concerned mostly with clouds and wishy washy fluffy stuff. That might be due to the sky being a bit more visible out here in London's Zone 3 (as opposed to Zone 1)? I don't know. I like them though and I might do a little something with them this week. And while we're at it, I've thrown in a track by Shlohmo that reminds me of the white stuff.