An immortal soul, he was Autoluminescent.
November 7, 2011 1:58 AM   Subscribe

When we first heard it, it sounded like it came from outer space… Douglas Hart
There are just, every few years, the sound from a guitar, from someone who is channeling something that is so bone chilling, so blood healing, something that twists your molecular structure… Lydia Lunch
It was extraordinary really. As soon as he played two notes you knew it was Rowland Howard… Nick Cave
Autoluminescent, a documentary about the late great guitarist, has been released (along with the bats). posted by Kerasia (12 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
For aficionados, Liberation Music will release a limited edition double vinyl set (500 copies only) of the long out of print 'Teenage Snuff Film'.
posted by Kerasia at 2:01 AM on November 7, 2011

His guitar sound was less from outer space and more from the other side, to me.

Met him a few times, shuffling around St. Kilda all those years ago. It's a shame he didn't make it to see this kind of recognition. I'll watch this doco someday, but not right now. It has the tone of an elegy.
posted by jet_manifesto at 2:54 AM on November 7, 2011

Don't have much to say except...I like, very much. Crime and The City Solution popped up on my radio yesterday, and I'm going to delve deeper.

Have to say though...Blixa Bargeld's ability to play a single note for a whole gig and make it sound good is also quite impressive...
posted by Jimbob at 4:35 AM on November 7, 2011

I came to Rowland Howard through his work with Lydia Lunch, which is quite amazing. He was amazing, not only as a guitarist but as a songwriter too. Hell, he wrote Shivers when he was 16 years old. That alone is a pretty good life's work.
posted by Kattullus at 4:41 AM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

RSH's last song on his last record gives me shivers every time I listen to it, the way he cracks one-liners about his impending death. His final work with HTRK is drearily stunning too. Lately, Vancouver's Sex Church is doing a job of carrying on his garbage-and-grass romanticism.

With his legacy spread across so many different bands and decades, there's a killer retrospective box set waiting to be compiled.
posted by bendybendy at 6:57 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not familiar with him. Thanks, I like what I am hearing.
posted by Daddy-O at 10:36 AM on November 7, 2011

Kerasia - Thanks, this makes a great soundtrack to a rain-soaked Monday morning here in Arizona.
posted by nataaniinez at 10:57 AM on November 7, 2011

I've been anticipating this for over a year since I first read the project was just getting off the ground. At the moment it seems to only be showing in Australia. Hopefully it will get released on DVD or shown elsewhere in the world soon.

According to RSH's brother Harry Mute records are interested in re-releasing the 2 albums by These Immortal Souls.

RSH's funeral is on YouTube (part 1).
posted by K.P. at 3:01 PM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

JimBob: Have to say though...Blixa Bargeld's ability to play a single note for a whole gig and make it sound good is also quite impressive...

Funnily enough...
posted by K.P. at 4:16 PM on November 7, 2011

I saw Crime and the City Solution in 1986. I think they opened up for Live Skull, or vice versa, in NYC at a now, much much long defunct place east of Broadway, and about a block south of Union Square, called the Cat Club.

They blew my world out of the water, I was mesmerized, transported and left dumbstruck and completely in a state of enchantment. Something real amazing happening there between Simon Bonney's vocals and RSH's guitar and the empty spaces of the arrangements, and the keyboards.

I spent weeks and months trying to find their recs and the only one I could find eventually was Just South of Heaven. And I was happy the song Rose Blue was on that record, but as a total experience, the record just paled miserably next to the wonder of their great live show. For some reason they never got any real good distribution deal in the U.S. and I never heard of them coming back to play around NYC again, or if they did I just didn't hear about it.

Anyway, this is all long gone adolescent obsession stuff, and I wonder if the music will hold up still. And not to get into an argument about it, But I think C&CS might've been a better platform for RSH than even the Birthday Party and the later Nick Cave might've been...

But honestly I've always thought Nick Cave was overrated.

Oh put away the knives already music critic geek weenies, I'll be happy to be proved wrong about that...

But I'm not.

posted by Skygazer at 6:18 PM on November 7, 2011

In so far that "overrated" and "underrated" are terms so nebulous that they're functionally meaningless, you are not wrong at all, since you could essentially be saying anything from "Nick Cave is pretty damn fabulous" to "your mother is a whore whose taste in music gave you syphilis."
posted by Kattullus at 7:06 PM on November 7, 2011

I saw Your Mother is a Whore open up for Big Black in '87.
posted by Skygazer at 8:33 PM on November 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

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