Archive for October, 2007

Three free things to listen to!

October 30, 2007

By now, you’ve surely all detected my manic blogging style– a week of round-the-clock posting; followed by a week of dejected, guilty silence. In my opinion, there are good writers, bad writers, and manic writers who could be good writers if they had any discipline about sitting down to the keyboard.

I offer no apologies, it’s just the way I am.

White County Toll Bridge, Wabash River

Luckily for you, I have no problem checking my e-mail… the point being that many, many interesting messages cross my desktop each day. In the interest of dusting off my”new post” button, I am hereby bringing you THREE FREE THINGS TO LISTEN TO!

Prepositions be damned.

First up is an older net release, but with any luck, you haven’t heard it yet. From one of my favorite outfits, The Painful Leg Injuries, is a stack of 10-minute raucous noise bonanazas called “The Forever Ending Revolutions on Autopilot.” It is available on the Noise-Joy netlabel, who recently celebrated their one-year anniversary. You may also want to grab Praew Jik’s “Astronomical Node” while you’re there, even though if it turns my three free things into four.

Second (or third?) is Nikita Golyshev’s “15 Songs From Glass, Oil, and Other Sources,” a highly experimental work that is so far up my alley it needs a flashlight and a map. Seriously, I dig things like this– and the responsible parties over at Muscovite-netlabel Musica Excentrica should be commended. Continuing my rash disregard for my own title, I also suggest you partake of their “Tribute to Iannis Xenakis” as well.

Lastly, here’s one that I found out about only moments ago– Mudboy’s 2005 release “This Is Folk Music,” which features circuit-bent organs and the stray bit of percussion. It’s a weird one, and charming in its own way. Having three actual releases: Free Matter For the Blind, Last Visible Dog, Breaking World; Mr. Mudboy decided to free this unlikely creature into the wildernet. Although “This Is Folk Music” cannot be tamed, gentle listeners can approach it with caution for free downloads at

Can you stand one more? My inbox never seems to quit, and just as I finished up the links in the previous paragraph, another neat item squeaked in… this being Eric Leonardson’s “Introduction to Sound” students’ upcoming radio broadcast “Locofone”. It will air this November 1, from 2-3 p.m. CST on Free Radio SAIC. Listeners are encouraged to call in with sounds of their own by phoning in to (312) 345-3805. I may give it a go, how about joining me?

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 10/27/07

October 27, 2007

Update: The download for this episode is available now, at the end of this commentary.

I’m happy to be back! I missed last week’s show due to attending Noise FeSTL, so I’m really excited about being here this week– missing shows throws me off completely. It’s really close to Halloween, so I thought I’d play some scary/noisy/strange music to celebrate.

Kicking stuff off is Caves, from the album “Ark,” which compiles a couple previous tape releases with newer work. It’s not nearly as subtle as what I’d heard of Caves live; instead, it’s more along the lines of a bit heavier Davenport freakout. Not exactly essential stuff, but a lot of fun to listen to. For more good times, I recommend you hear it first on your home jukebox, like I did. (more…)

Noise FeSTL 2007!

October 25, 2007

DaveX sez: If you like a photo, right-click to view it at the proper size, or do whatever you Mac people do in lieu of your missing mouse buttons. Enjoy!

I’m finally rested up enough to write about my trip to Noise FeSTL 2007, at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, in St. Louis. First off– it was killer. Between incredible sets, cheap merch, good-sized audiences, and Lemp’s notoriously delicious food; it was a noise fan’s dream.

As usual, the folks at Lemp had really gone all out– more than 40 acts, spread over 3 days, with an impromptu composition workshop thrown in for good measure. Aside from the obvious value for audience members, Noise FeSTL was a great tool for bringing together some of the best and most active Midwestern noisers as a community… a valuable opportunity that can often be overlooked. (more…)

My new favorite thing!!!

October 16, 2007

As long-time readers may have noticed, I’m rather lucky about finding and acquiring interesting things– usually for free, or nearly so. I got an antique record-cutter for $2, found more than my fair share of record players, a 50-disc changer stereo, at least two good acoustic guitars, a violin, and a hand-crank turntable… The only secret I know is to just keep your eyes open, and pointed towards the curbside.

Tonight, my dedicated curb-shopping paid off big time. While asking a local homeowner if he had some rope I could use to tie his discarded dresser to my car trunk, he offhandedly asked me if I was interested in taking a jukebox off his hands– for free!

Being the well-mannered gentleman that I am, I managed to avoid giggling hysterically while jumping and clapping my hands like a Japanese schoolgirl.


Instead, I asked if he was yanking my chain, which he thankfully answered in the negative. Indeed, he was in the possession of an enormous, 100-disc-playing jukebox. It was covered in dust, but he assured me it worked, save an unidentified problem with the disc transport mechanism.

“It’ll come on if you plug it in,” he said, gesturing in the direction of the CD mechanism. “But that thing has a problem getting the disc on there. You could probably get it fixed.”

In my mind, this jukebox could have been full of dead babies, and I’d have still tried to bring it home. After assuring this fellow that I’d be right back after dropping off the dresser at home (which I picked up for a friend who needs one,) I bopped back over to his garage to wrangle this beast on top of my car.

Just so you know, it is ideal to have a pickup truck and three strong friends when moving an enormous jukebox. I don’t recommend standing it on top of your trunk, tied through the rear windows, and riding atop the vehicle while shouting half-panicky driving tips to your wife and trying to “steady” it around a couple miles worth of turns.

In other words, do as I say, not as I do.

Of course, I got it home safely. Getting it off the trunk by myself was a bit of a struggle, as I was not wanting to jeopardize my wife’s previously-shattered ankle in some sort of freak jukebox/dead baby accident. Somehow, I managed to get it down, and into the front porch where we immediately set to cleaning it.

With no dead babies in sight, the cleaning was thankfully limited to cobwebs and dust. I even found a dollar bill left behind in the bill acceptor box!

Plugging the jukebox in yielded a satisfying “thump” of the large woofers, and the bill acceptor rolling. By this time, I was pretty excited, and found a CD to try out in the machine– I figured it had better be something I didn’t mind losing, so I used Mariah Carey, whose “greatest hits” double-set sits in one of my CD storage drawers. I’m pretty sure it’s my wife’s, but she doesn’t listen to Mariah either, so who knows? DJ detritus, I guess.

Anyhow, it played. LOUDLY! I had forgotten that I had no idea how to adjust the volume, so Mariah was treating my neighbors to a late-night concert at top volume, surely frightening pets and small children for many blocks. After a bit of fumbling around the back, I found the volume button, and brought Mariah from “jet-engine” to “running faucet.”

Naturally, I was completely ecstatic by this time. The guy was wrong! The jukebox worked! But then, the transport jammed, and the machine started flashing an error message at me.

All my dreams of owning the coolest jukebox of all-time, ironically brought on by playing Mariah Carey, were beginning to evaporate as I searched “under the hood” for the cause of the problem.

Although the transport was obviously getting the signal to respond, it seemed jammed somehow. Shortly after announcing this amazing insight, my wife found the culprit– a Village People CD was stuck just underneath the transport plate, wedged up and under.

“Just yank that disc out,” she said. “I don’t care if you shatter it, it doesn’t matter.”

After a couple hearty tugs, the Village People were freed to live on my porch until next trash day. A quick re-start of the jukebox confirmed that this was the only problem, outside of dust, and a couple missing caster wheels. Here’s a picture of me, completely cheesed to be the proud owner of a second-hand jukebox:

To make a long story a bit shorter, we invited the jukebox to come live in our kitchen. It has settled in nicely, laying half its weight on a English-to-Romanian dictionary, temporarily replacing the AWOL wheels. The plan is to fill our rescued friend with tunes not ordinarily found in jukeboxes, and have a grand time making artwork for the selection pages.Anyways, I’ve definitely upped the ante for my curb-shopping. I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to top this without finding a big box of money, or a house-trained tapir… but I’m looking!

Here’s a picture of the same model jukebox, in a less-dusty condition. Otherwise, it’s exactly the same:

Are you going to St. Louis Noise Fest 2007?

October 13, 2007

No sense wearing flowers in your hair, that’s for sure. Lemp Arts has pulled out all the stops this year, just dig the line-up:

[08:00] CAVES
[09:00] DRENCHES
[10:20] WORM HANDS
[10:40] EVENINGS
[12:00] BEING

[07:30] ARK
[08:30] TREETOPS
[09:50] GHOST ICE
[11:30] IS



[02:20] SLOW OWLS
[03:00] VIVI C DIEM
[03:40] LARVA


[09:00] GRYPHYNS
[10:20] PLEKO
[10:40] EPICYCLE

I’m planning to make it up for as many of the shows as I can. Considering there are around 50 acts, and that the full weekend (including workshops on a variety of topics) is just $20, you really can’t beat it. If you’re planning to be there, be sure to come up and introduce yourself! I’ll be the one attempting to interview as many noisers as possible, and probably passing out “It’s Too Damn Early” schwag…

More details about St. Louis Noise Fest 2007 can be found at the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center website.

If anyone has solid info on how much the door will be for the Apop show, let me know. I don’t want to get my broke self blindsided!

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 10/13/07

October 13, 2007

Update 2: Here’s the recording of this week’s broadcast. It begins with a little over a minute of silence, which I left in, because I didn’t feel like editing it at the moment. As always, I encourage you to seek out the labels and artists linked in the playlist– this recording is for curiosity only, it’s low-fi nature means it’s a poor substitute for the actual recordings. If you require further assistance locating a recording, be sure to get in touch with me! Thanks for listening. –DaveX

Feeling a little tired tonight, but I’m going to do my best to have a good broadcast for everyone this week. I started out playing some Ahleuchatistas, from their latest album “Even in the Midst,” on the Cuneiform Records label. I wasn’t able to get up to St. Louis for their recent show at Lemp Arts, but I’m not going to miss them next time around! I don’t listen to a whole lot of the post-rock/math-rock stuff– like any genre, it has become bloated with sound-alikes– but Ahleuchatistas do what they do very well, and manage to convey the human emotion that so often eludes the speedier guitarists…

To begin the show proper, I’ve got a disc from John Bennett, Jack Wright, and Ben Bennett spinning— this being “Rotty What,” a title in search of a question mark. Like anything Mr. Wright is involved with, it’s a difficult listen, throwing his sax well past any recognized boundaries of the instrument. Meanwhile, John M. calls to the sax, encouraging it onward with his word-drunk rambling. Like much of Paul Dutton’s sound poetry, John Bennett revels in language, seemingly choosing words as much for their meaning as for their shape and feel in the mouth. Listening to this album is like watching a dog roll around in a dead animal’s remains– definitely a foreign experience, but obviously enjoyable to the performers. Naturally, I’m giving it a big thumbs-up!

More difficult improv work, but this time, from Nagaoag’s “Yama Labam A” album, on Eh? Records, a sub-label of Public Eyesore. Eh? has some new stuff on the way, including a Brekekekoaxkoax disc I’ll be jonesing for… and P.E. is keeping up their punishing release schedule with a Courtis/Yamamoto/Yoshimi disc “Live at Kanadian,” among others. As always, Public Eyesore is releasing a handful of discs from artists I’ve never heard of, yet again causing me to wonder if they have access to some inverted dimension outside out own where freaks are the norm… you never know!

I finally got a serious chunk of Glenn Weyant’s amazing “Anta Project” on the show. The Anta Project, which boils down masses of Weyant’s recording of his performances at (and ON) the US/Mexico border, will probably be the last straw for Homeland Security who are growing tired of ripping open all the weird packages you people send me. In my defense, please send more– it is my theory that if we keep them busy examining my mail, that they’ll leave Glenn alone to continue his incredible work. After you mail off your goodies, bop over to the SonicAnta site, and check out some of the recordings for yourself. Good stuff!

Well, it’s 5:30 a.m., and I’m drifting off into “Blue” Gene Tyranny-land… the disc is “Take Your Time,” from Lovely Music. It’s wonderful, but probably not the best choice for leaden-lidded DJs a day behind the Zzzz-ball.

Here’s some recording from Mike Tamburo, one of the friendliest people I ever met. Both songs are taken from the “Don’t Leave Your Bones in my Back Yard” disc of his must-own boxset “Language of Birds and Other Fantasies,” on the New American Folk Hero label. I still find it sad to occasionally run into recordings made by Malachi Ritscher, two of which are on this disc alone.

In less depressing news, I just picked up a new listener, whose computer headphones somehow began picking up my broadcast as he worked this morning. I just got a call from this fellow, who started receiving the accidental transmission sometime during Glenn Weyant’s “Anta Project” recordings, and was surprised to hear my voice tell him about the Sonoran Desert. Yeah, that might freak me out a little too! Anyhow, he wisely followed what the voices in his head told him, and called in to find our spot on the radio. What a terrific introduction to “It’s Too Damn Early!”

Because I cannot read Korean, I’m not certain which two of the four Korean improvisors shared trio duty with Grkzgl on the last track in the playlist. Although their names are listed in English in the general credits, they are written in Korean in the track name. Sorry! If anyone knows this information, get in touch.

Thanks for listening! –DaveX

Ahleuchatistas — The Bears of Cantabria Shall Sleep No More
Ahleuchatistas — Prosthetic God
Ahleuchatistas — Elegant Proof
Jack Wright, John M. Bennett, Ben Bennett — Conquista
Jack Wright, John M. Bennett, Ben Bennett — Ah Ant Erior
Jack Wright, John M. Bennett, Ben Bennett — Foamy Table
Jack Wright, John M. Bennett, Ben Bennett — Trouble Sugar
Jack Wright, John M. Bennett, Ben Bennett — Drips an Dips
Nagaoag — Yama Labam A (a good-sized chunk of it)
Glenn Weyant — The Anta Project (another large chunk)
“Blue” Gene Tyranny — The Drifter
“Blue” Gene Tyranny — A Letter from Home
Mike Tamburo — I Will Never Tell You What Happened in Virginia Beach
Mike Tamburo — Horselover Fat
Choi Jooyong, Ryu Hangil, Jin Sang Tae, Park Seung Joon, Grkzgl — Untitled, from “We Are Never Right”

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 10/6/07

October 6, 2007

Last week, it sort of hit me how much I like Robert Ashley’s work, so this week I figured I’d play a lot more of it. I’m starting with his newest– on Lovely Music– a double-CD called “Now Eleanor’s Idea.” There are a lot of interesting ideas running through it, like the unexpected connections between people and objects, and the equally strange directions life can take when these connections are allowed to develop naturally.

I’m really enjoying the discs, at least in part due to Ashley’s fairly bold assumption that listeners will be able to follow along with Now Eleanor, who makes a slow and fragmented transition to speaking Spanish. Oddly enough, it works– I think listeners will be able to “touch” the edge of Now Eleanor’s striking metamorphosis to a voice of the people by feeling a smaller version of such change mirrored in themselves.

“The sounds of these voices– and the sounds of her own voice in response– evoke in her those kinds of feeling that are almost without a name. Deeper than the words that science uses, deeper than, “I have been here before.” Is it possible to find a part of yourself that you did not know was “lost?” Is it possible to discover that you are someone other than who you think you are?” –from Act III, Questions and Answers

Such amazing work!

I could do a ham-fisted “speaking of amazing…” transition here, but I’ll just mention that it was a possibility instead. That way, you won’t associate Backporch Revolution with bad puns when I begin talking about this fine label’s latest release in the next sentence. The disc being subjected to so much hyperbole is none other than “Fermata,” by Murmur, a sonic exploration of the inside of a fermentation tank, way back in mid-2005. Naturally, it’s a droning wonder, and probably more than a little painful to actually record. From my experience, the standing waves created in a highly reverberant space are uncomfortable at best– but these fellows are of stronger stuff than I, having dragged a harmonium AND and e-bow into the tank as proof. There’s other instruments as well, but none which I imagine being quite so suited to producing abdomen-quaking sound in an enclosed space than these!

This week’s developing theme seems to be “physicality.” In some way, all of this music carries a strong physical element to it– from Now Eleanor’s tranformation and subsequent ability to speak fluent Spanish; to Murmur’s use of physical space as a partner in creating sound; to My Fun’s “Sonorine” album, which presents field recordings of a half-familiar world just beyond our own.

I love it when themes like this develop naturally. Of course, now that I’ve noticed it, the challenge will be selecting the next recording…

Aha, the next one ended up being my own! I had forgotten all about having brought this cassette with me until I started considering “physicality.” But it definitely fits– the recording was made with a long wire attached to a piano soundboard, and threaded amongst the piano strings. To the wire, I affixed a contact microphone, in order to pick up every vibration. What follows are a series of small improvisations: on the wire itself, on the piano, on the soundboard, and the disassembly of the system.

Robert Ashley — Now Eleanor’s Idea; Act II, The Miracle of Cars
Robert Ashley — Now Eleanor’s Idea; Act III, Questions and Answers
Robert Ashley — Now Eleanor’s Idea; Act IV, The Song
Murmur — Discovery of Mother Voidness
My Fun — Musik-Postkarten
My Fun — Radiant
My Fun — Signal Drift
My Fun — Setting Fires
My Fun — Phonopostal
DaveX — Long Wire and Piano #2
Chris Burns, Nicolas Caloia, John Heward — Presence 1
Chris Burns, Nicolas Caloia, John Heward — Presence 2
Chris Burns, Nicolas Caloia, John Heward — Presence 3
Chris Burns, Nicolas Caloia, John Heward — Presence 4
Chris Burns, Nicolas Caloia, John Heward — Presence 5

357 scanned photos of photobooth owner!

October 5, 2007

Aside from the first strip– which I’ll be returning– I have added all these photostrips to my personal collection. There are a total of 357 individual frames of the photobooth owner here, so enjoy! As always, I’ve also included the “abstracts,” and damaged photostrips…

And don’t miss yesterday’s giant update, with found photostrips of random Southern Illinoisians…


HUGE photobooth strip update!

October 4, 2007

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m a big fan of photobooths and the photostrips made within them. I don’t mean those new digital things, just the old “dip and dunk” type. Earlier this year, I scanned a large portion of my personal photostrip collection, including the ubiquitous shots of the photobooth owner taken during maintenance.

Since that time, I’ve been trying to catch him somewhere to let him know that there are dozens of scans of him online, as it seems the polite thing to do. I urge you to put this policy in effect as well– if you have dozens of photos of me somewhere online, please let me know, haha.

Anyhow, I saw him a few days back, and told him about the scans. He took it much better than I might have, and promised to hook me up with a large amount of photostrips he’d amassed over the last few years. I agreed that I would only keep the damaged and owner photos, but will return the others– so if you see your photo here, there’s a good chance you can still rescue it! I hope to get the owner photos scanned within the next 12 hours, so be sure to come back and check them out as well!

Alrighty, let’s start on the photos– lots of kissing going on. The best of this set of four is the little girl in the 4th strip. Check that grin! Also, the mom barely moves, even as the baby become increasingly more crazed.