Playlist: Preterite

Preterite is the duo of Geneviève Beaulieu (also of Menace Ruine) and James Hamilton (also of Nebris). Their debut album, ‘Pillar of Winds’ was released by Handmade Birds in 2011. Their second, ‘From the Wells’ is forthcoming in 2012. More information can be had at and

People and things that we like, with notes by James.

Blackshaw, James
A very talented young guitarist and composer.

Blake, William
Inspirational not just for his incredible illuminated books and poetry but for his attitude towards life, religion and spirituality in general.

Bower, Matthew
We tend to like artists who seem to be obsessively chasing some sort of ideal comprehensible only to themselves. Bower, especially in the last decade, is a shining example.

Bresson, Robert
A sort of filmmaking that sadly no longer exists. ‘Journal d'un curé de campagne’is one of our favourite films.

Brötzmann, Caspar
With or without Massaker. But mostly with. We’re really looking forward to the upcoming documentary.

Brötzmann, Peter
Now in his 70’s, still one of the most vital musicians working. His current group Full Blast are also possessed of the greatest rhythm section we’ve ever heard in concert.

Brouwer, Leo
G. has a longtime sentimental attachment to Brouwer’s music for classical guitar.

Generally and specifically, wild and/or domesticated, they are to be revered.

Chabrol, Claude
We both love Chabrol, even though there are a few less than great works in his filmography.

Really just ‘Alien Soundtracks’and (especially!) ‘Half Machine Lip Moves’ but everything up to their first breakup in the early 80’s is hard to go wrong with.

A vast influence for James, not so much musically but more in terms of ideas and ways of seeing through and around things.

It has become a sort of cliché in this day and age to talk about how ‘First Utterance’changed your life, but there you have it.

The cat, not the barbarian, a close Preterite collaborator who appears somewhere on the cover of our first CD.

Current 93
Especially from 1990-2000, where the core of David Tibet, Steven Stapleton and Michael Cashmore produced so much amazingly powerful and moving music. Our favourite recording is undoubtedly ‘Sleep Has His House’

Drake, Nick
A great, great songwriter and guitarist. Amazing, idiosyncratic sense of rhythm.

Duncan, John
One of the very few conceptual artists where the end product is generally far greater than the sum of its parts, a fearless explorer of life and consciousness.

Eastern Orthodox church music
Or any church music with Byzantine roots, really.

Einstürzende Neubauten
G and I both think that the title track from ‘Halber Mensch’is just perfect. All the 80’s recordings are just beautiful.

Etant Donnés
Especially the ‘Aurore’’Royaume’’Bleu’trilogy, which is the place to begin if you’re unfamiliar.

Fall, The
Especially the Rough Trade years.

We keep trying to spot them on our rambles on Mount Royal but have only been successful once.

Hadaka no Rallizes / Les Rallizes Dénudés
Go and listen to ‘Flames of Ice’from Live ‘7. No further comment is necessary, really.

Haino Keiji / Fushitsusha / Nijiumu / etc.
Speaking just for myself, I can’t overstate how important Haino’s work over the years has been for me. Especially the Fushitsusha recordings.

Up to 1975, the first five studio albums plus ‘Space Ritual’are golden. Understood the power of repetition possibly to a greater degree even than Neu! Some of those riffs could go on for years, and probably are, elsewhere in the universe.

Hildegard von Bingen
The patron saint of ‘Pillar of Winds’ A marvellous thinker and writer with much humanity and good humour, and composer of many truly beautiful songs. A very inspirational woman.

Galas, Diamanda
For her brutal honesty and fearless pursuit of justice for the oppressed and outcast. And for her piano playing, which nobody ever seems to notice is incredible.

Gainsbourg, Serge
Someone who could turn the most empty kitsch into high art simply by virtue of amazing talent and charm.

Ghost / Masaki Batoh
A group that should be more highly regarded than they are.

Guitares Dérive
Vincent Le Masne and Bertrand Porquet, who recorded one album of amazing nylon-string guitar duets in the 70’s which has to be heard to be believed.

Haigh, Robert / Sema
I dream that someday the all-too-modest Haigh will be re-evaluated as one of the unknown giants of contemporary composition, and not just as that “Renegade Snares”guy. His recent return to solo piano has yielded some of the best music of his long career.

Inaba, Shuji
Fiercely elemental folksong, close in some respects to better known singer/songwriters like Kan Mikami and Kazuki Tomokawa, but with a more developed sense of space and tension. Also possessed of a very impressive coiffure.

Jung, C.G.
Another great influence, and someone who sought to deepen the science of psychology in ways that still, unfortunately, continue to be misunderstood and cheapened by New Agers.

Kuwayama Kiyoharu / Lethe
Capable of pulling music of great spiritual and physical power seemingly from the very air of diverse abandoned spaces as if by some form of invisible and effortless magic.

The Legendary Pink Dots / Edward Ka-Spel
It’s impossible in such a huge discography to like everything (in fact they’ve crossed the line from awe-inspiring to intolerable all too often, sometimes within the same piece of music) but as a whole, an amazingly idiosyncratic experiment in universe-building. Sincerity is, as always, the key factor.

Preferably vodka, not gin, great stimulant to creativity and/or procrastination.

Mukai, Chie
An unsung heroine of free improvisation, farther out in many respects than her close contemporary Keiji Haino but also a writer of delicate, fragile songs of no small beauty.

New Blockaders, The
And pretty much anything else Richard Rupenus lends a hand to, ill-advised Thurston Moore collabs aside. Rarely has such a total disregard for musical form (or any form, really) been executed with such finesse.

And also the closely related first two Kraftwerk records, which were their best by far.

Nice people
Generally and specifically. Politeness, humility and sincerity go a long way.

“The Marble Index”is another record that will always be with both of us, completely and utterly timeless. Hard to imagine Elektra releasing something like that these days, isn’t it?

The cat, not the clothing, not that we're against that. Personal assistant to our close allies S/V\R.

Organum / David Jackman
Especially the early EP’s on LAYLAH and the recent organ/piano works. Perfect music, utterly outside of time and space. Jackman has always denied any conscious intent to make anything vaguely spiritual but the results seem to contradict this, as does the religious terminology that suffuses his recent work.

Seldom seen or heard in our environs, sadly.

Parajanov, Sergei
“Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors”is one of our favourite films - a rich, beautiful tapestry of life and death and love and time and colour and sound and amazing music.

Pärt, Arvo
There exists a short film about Pärt in Italy, preparing for the premiere of (I believe it was) ‘Doppo la Vittoria’ in which several reasons for his presence on this list should become very clear, apart from his music itself which is, with very few exceptions, absolutely flawless.

Perrault, Pierre
In our opinion the greatest Québecois filmmaker. Anyone who would like to better understand the unique position of francophones in North America should look into his films.

Pynchon, Thomas
Someone who understands a few things about what’s wrong with the modern world, and who has attempted to identify in all its complexity where and why and how things went that way, without ever losing some small glimmer of hope.

Shifty creatures, sometime invaders of Menace Ruine photo shoots.

Radigue, Eliane
“The only change for me is the tremendous enjoyment of sharing the experience with someone, because I’ve been working alone for so much of my life. My only assistant has been my cat. I would always know something was wrong when she made a face, but when she was very quiet I’d just carry on. But she was a very poor assistant, not that efficient!"

Rohmer, Eric
Especially for the ‘Six Contes Moraux’ Also, the scene in ‘Le Rayon vert’in which Marie Rivière is interrogated about her vegetarianism is something we’ve lived through too many times in real life.

Sedayne / Sean Breadin
A great pillar (possibly the only pillar) of Proximal No-Age folk music, responsible in part for such greatness over the years as Masstishaddhu and Metgumbnerbone, and presently active in more trad circles with Rapunzel and Sedayne. A true eccentric in the proud English tradition (and a much better kemençist than I am!).

Six Organs of Admittance
One of the only great artists to emerge from that largely bogus construction of music journalists, the New Weird America.

Our close ally S. de la Moth, also of Menace Ruine, with fantastic drummer le Chanoine.

This Heat
The most interesting group of the post-punk era, still not much out there like them after all these years. Charles Hayward is someone to be respected.

Tibetan Buddhist and Bonpo liturgical music
The most inherently primordial sounding religious music on earth.

Urabe, Masayoshi
Speaking of sax players, this man is taking the instrument, augmented by various chain-rattlings and bric-a-brac, into some very dark and disturbing places. See his collaborations with Kiyoharu Kuwayama (mentioned above) for evidence, as well as the astounding “Ware Wa Seidai No Kyōyō Zo”on PSF.

Ustvolskaya, Galina
A.K.A. “The lady with the hammer” A Soviet-era composer of quite severe, austere works for piano and small ensembles, she said of herself "There is no link whatsoever between my music and that of any other composer, living or dead", and she was undoubtedly correct.

Geneviève’s poutine recipe could convince the most recalcitrant carnivore.

Von Franz, Marie-Louise
Student and associate of Jung, prolific writer on archetypes and fairy-tales, renowned interpreter of dreams and all-around interesting person. Another very inspirational woman.

Walker, Scott
The greatest songwriter ever to have walked (haha, très drôle) the earth. We are extremely excited that there’s supposedly a new record in the works.

Wiloch, Thomas
Recently deceased master of beautifully elegant little prose poems of great beauty and horrible existential dread, friend and associate of the great Thomas Ligotti.

And 16 Horsepower, needless to say. Neither of us is in general interested in American folk or roots music to any great extent but this stuff is powerful.

Wright, Shannon
A very intense (especially live) and, in our opinion, underrated singer, songwriter and guitarist.

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