In Memory of Paul Burwell


with Paul, Spurn Point, 2006

Bandwidh Anthology pt7:

Dog Ate My Face/Cathartistic Fires of Rebo


Phreaking: Defining the pitch or (freq)uency that enables free communication and utilisation thereof


Feel like I’ve been to a séance. 

Good man passed on long gone.

P.B. Freely was around before the digital sound rev went hay-optic, jazz became spazz rather than embrace techno fetishes. Dude had a knife fetish but he never hurt no-one, no how. ‘Cept maybe his liver.

It took a moment for the cloud to drift when somebodybody told me “P.B.’s dead, Man. Dead man. As if. I keep expecting to see him when I go outside to spray on the trashy lawn – rambling about, drums and knives attached variously (and extraneously) to his bod, crawling through a bush ‘cause it happened his way.

But no, truth be told and souls be sold of gold, he gone to that great jam in the sky. 

I can see the two chicks onstage, two to many, left chick guitar in left PA speakers, right chick vice versa. This is dreamy desert solos but there’s too much mind to fill when there’s so damn much landfill; degenerate shock that the doctor of quadro rhythm isn’t, wasn’t, won’t be here…fashionably late.

He plays on, goading, guiding these two out of towners, brave new locals who probably haven’t had the time to recognize our loss…they’re having fun, milky souls locked into the desert dirge dessert startercourse starship with P.B. breathing down through their lungs but I’m still too sad to notice.

Now there was a high-bandwidth dude. I recuerdo when he’d play psychic chill drums, inspiration to us all, kicking out forty rhythms with each hand and foot, locking the room in four hundred tight grooves; loop, stick, scrape, all messy, truncated precision; setting fire to the minds as well as the drums. Lately he’d just hang in his caravan ‘til someone found him face down in the park the other day, dogs munching the carrion, never knowing the honour was all theirs. 

To speak to, he was a mild mannered and well softly spoken crazy. When I used to have conversations with him, when we could hold one down…I couldn’t always keep up with his whiskies and he couldn’t always keep up with my slow sycophantic hyper-gibberish; ‘til one day I dug out some old recordings of his early days and he began to reminisce…

…”how is the old toupee? We, Bob and The Bean used to lay it on thick whilst slapping one another with dead fish…’least I hope they were dead…certainly were flapping up a frenzy while we sprayed the crowd, zero hertz, zero gees whiz with our respective noise rays..”

Tick, tock, this grandfather clock…ain’t gonna rock out no more…

For now, I gotta close my eyes and weep on the inside, like a stunted clown in my lonely tower of indecipherable teeth in the corner. I’m kinda lonely but for now I don’t want company. Just me, we and the somber victory skank with the high buzzing clarinets of the grandfather clock on the ‘juke.


~* *~


So I’m still lost when Okkyung the equally high bandwidth impro ‘cellist takes the stage, gazing intently at an invisible stave, rocking back and forth to rhythms we can’t see or hear – old P.B. hooking up his skanky dirge from above in the hereafter, strongest on first contact with old friends.

Okkyung strokes and scrapes at her ‘cello, all eyes and ears in the room, tuned in and zoned out of key with the world outside this world’s walls; all souls free to float and sink, ebb and flow as the fragmented pulse says ‘go’ to those inner sanctums. We rock back and forth, up and down, left, right and central as we spin into new dimensions…suddenly it’s over. She rises and takes a bow and thankfully now I’ve had time enough to reboot, save personal settings and at least function again after the news; like the fire gazing catharticism of the previous journey; so I, we, she and they, clap long and loud.

Three others take the stage to join Ms. Lee and one of my many gurus in noise and avant garage production lets P.B. take another face from the ancient gallery and tread on down the boards and packing crates that make up the crude, makeshift stage one more time.

Beats fly. The zither, too, moves percussively as the sax spits out raw, diseased poultry in motion, the intricate duck call of the truly free shamanistic ambient peace warrior.

I’m gazing into thee Cathartistic Fires of Rebo while the jam in the sky waits for it’s newest and tastiest quadrorhythm maker and soul shaker to unfold in the wake of P.B.’s wake…this is one small step for the four to many, one hell of a dimensional jump for P.B.’s multiple, flailingly spectral limbs.

I close my eyes. Drawer-back thee iron curtain; seeing nothing but feeling the sequential points twix all dimensions known and unknown, all phreaky and nodal; so the sorry can laugh and the lost can find, dirge become casual frenzy…

…no more will we see P.B. walk out of the water, weapons of love and psychedelia rocksmith in tow, oh, roots and hewn fish…

But for tonight, oh, tonight we see his ghostly pastry delights of puppetry one last time in the new free spaces of our sun baked and sunburned minds; thee true divine time when thee Einstein-Rosen bridges link us up with the ethereal, thee spindle twix the waking world and thee astral ‘plane – flying, hither and yon on the breath of the old and thee dust of their souls to that big old impro-phreakfest jam in the skies; where I wanna go when at long, milky last I die, to that supernova Cathartistic Fire of Rebo collection of souls, dead avant rock stars and poetic journal keepers we call Deaus.


~* *~


In Loving Memory of Paul Burwell

5th & 6th February 2007, Hull

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