Archive for December, 2007

Startling Moniker’s Top 12 Best Happy Neat-O List of 2007!

December 31, 2007

At this time last year, I was worried that I’d mistake a 2005 release for something from 2006. This year, I find myself wishing for such a mistake, as I’ve been unable to winnow down my list of top releases from 14 to 12. In the same spirit that has left me unable to open a checking account for the rest of my life, I’ve decided to fudge my numerical shortcomings, and present my Top 12 Best Happy Neat-O List of 2007 anyway.

In no particular order:

1) Al Margolis/If, Bwana — “An Innocent, Abroad” — With all the ability of producers to realistically render digital unreality, I’m still a little surprised I’m so taken with this disc. It’s not a brand new idea to combine unrelated elements into a working whole… but Al Margolis makes me think it is, putting “An Innocent, Abroad” into my top albums of the year.

2) Sabrina Siegel — “Grace/Precarious” — Yeah, I became Sabrina Siegel’s number one fan this year, sue me. Siegel’s ‘situationist’ approach to recording results in hyper-personal work where setting, physicality, thought, and personality interact as equals. It’s a stunning disc, and you’d be a big dope to miss it.

3) Circle Six — “Night in Kansas” — Talk about a missed opportunity! C6 releases one of the best albums of the year, in an edition of 30… for trade only. Compounding the unlikely scenario that a noise album about Kansas could kick so much ass, my good friends at Roil Noise Offensive actually have a remix album of it in the works. What’s next? A crow-themed double-disc drone set?!

4) Various — “Crows of the World, vol.1” — GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!! But seriously, this is a terrific set. Last Visible Dog, well-known for last years 6-disc outer-limits drone Invisible Pyramid set, once again manages to curate an essential collection of drone wooziness guaranteed to fuel your next excursion to the place between “pleasantly stoned” and “fugue state”.
5) Tom Nunn — “Identity” — Things just keep getting weirder and weirder. Tom Nunn plays moth-shaped instruments (of his own design) with combs, masters the knitting-needle-spring combo, and generally leaves my jaw on the floor the whole time. I could have easily added a few more Edgetone Records releases to this list, but this is the best of the bunch, hands down.

6) The Transhumans — “Into the Maelstrom” — Cursed with a somewhat dorky-looking cover, this disc still provided one of my best listening experiences of 2007. Post-listen, I was physically exhausted; a full believer in The Transhumans unique dynamic utilizing drums, electronics, and more electronics. Don’t worry, nothing remotely techno occurs.

7) Thanos Chrysakis — “Klage” — The folks at Aural Terrains sure know how to kick off a label! With “Klage,” Chrysakis has created a crystal-perfect world of electroacoustic sound with a high level of physicality still present… not an easy thing to do, if the sterile and disembodied releases so often claiming the “EA” title are any indication. As a fun fact, “Klage” has also gotten more people to call in to “It’s Too Damn Early” than any album this year.
8 ) Jeff Rehnlund — “Our Thin Mercy of Error” — Hymns released a ton of killer recordings this year, but for me, Rehnlund’s disc was one of the real high points. Taking the “anything goes” found sound aesthetic of the label, but also combining it with a narrative feeling resulted in a disc not only strikingly open to influence but also notably human.

9) Mike Tamburo — “Language of the Birds and Other Fantasies” — This one is kind of a no-brainer. Seven discs of Mike Tamburo’s exploratory free-folk improvisations and compositions, an 80+ page booklet, hand-made artwork, and a DVD of his film experiments to boot. Last I knew, these were still under $50— if there’s any left.

10) My Fun — “Sonorine” — One of two returning artists from last years list, Justin Hardison continues to send full-color maps and supplies for those interested in exploring the land promised by home recording and CDRs. This album is like the North Star, people! Seriously, I can’t say enough good things about it.

11) Phil Hargreaves, Glenn Weyant — “Friday Morning Everywhere” — Here’s one you can even download for free. I’ll admit, I didn’t really take into account netlabel releases in this list– if they’re free, you should just be checking them all out, right? Lucky for you, “Friday Morning Everywhere” squeaked in when Phil Hargreaves mailed me a copy. I guess he knew my printer was out of ink, cause I got the full pdf-cover workup and everything. Both Hargreaves and Weyant have joined my short list of incredible musicians this year (Hargreaves work with Caroline Kraabel on “Where We Were,” and Weyant’s “Sonic Anta” series are essential listening) so having them both on one disc is fantastic. While you’re ordering the other 13 releases here, why don’t you put on your new download of this?

12) Shelf Life — “Ductworks” — Judging from Public Eyesore’s release page for this disc, I was one of the only people who gave “Ductworks” a good review. You know by now that this means they were all wrong, and I was right. Otherwise, how could it be on a Top 12 list of best albums?! (See what I did there?) But seriously, I’m super-impressed. Collectively, Shelf Life resist the tendency to make something familiar of their sounds, and instead remain wholly focused on wringing every conceivable sound from their respective instruments, whatever they are. The level to which this quartet manages to fully blend their sounds is amazing, pointing away from the call-and-response improv model to something completely new.

13) Robert Ashley — “Now Eleanor’s Idea”— Robert Ashley is the second of the returning artists to my top albums list. Surely assisted by my near-fanatical devotion to Joan LaBarbara’s work, “Now Eleanor’s Idea” fascinates me for many of the same reasons as Ashley’s “Foreign Experiences;” the ordinary human impulses followed to fantastic conclusions, the ability of the performers, and the restrained elegance of Ashley’s music.

14) Various — “Untitled” — A three-label, three-disc untitled noise collection from the Public Guilt, Epicene Sound Systems, and Underadar labels. Everyone seems to have their own unique path to noise music, so it’s hard to recommend an entry point– but as a survey of the impossibly wide-spread noise “scene,” this is probably as close as it gets. Extra bonus points for keeping this release reasonably priced, and in an edition greater than 25– a freakin’ rarity these days, it seems.

5 You’re Missing

December 31, 2007

I’ve had a lot of long posts lately, especially with the playlists, so I know that finding my download links can be difficult. So I’ll make it easy– everyone is missing these five broadcasts. Get them now, or Mr. Dragon will eat you.

1/7/06:        Inspired!
3/11/06:      Decay!
4/1/06:        Pissed!
12/18/06:    Noise!
12/29/07:    Yesterday!

Dragon eats Shark

Liveblogging! (mostly) “ITDE” 12/30/07

December 30, 2007

Not blogging during my show is like having my leg cut off, let me just throw that out there. WDBX’s ghetto net connection was down for an hour and a half worth of today’s broadcast, so I actually had to keep my playlist with a PEN.

I almost died.

Anyways, I obviously wasn’t able to make a recording of the show, but I did ink-stain some paper for posterity.

Phil Hargreaves, Caroline Kraabel — Where We Were: Shadows of Liverpool
Timeless Pulse Quintet — Light
Grundik Kasyansky — Turnover
Alvin Lucier — Still & Moving Lines of Silence in Families of Hyperbolas, Voice
Dimitri Voudouris — Palmos (extract)
Frank Rothkamm — Digital Feedback OR Highland
Scott Smallwood — Electreat
My Fun — Phonopostal
My Fun — A Field in Freilassing
My Fun — Sonorine
Craig Colorusso — Strap Parts
Eyes Like Saucers — Still Living in the Desert (And Mostly in My Own Head)
Lance Olsen — Snowfield_Avalanche
Mystified — Instability
Steve Heimbecker — Sunday MSM
Costes – Avis Aux Imitateurs 2
Jack Wright, John M. Bennett, Ben Bennett — Foamy Table

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 12/29/07

December 29, 2007

Update: The download for this broadcast is finally available. Sorry for the delay! As always, please remember to support (with cash, duh) the artists and labels featured on this recording. Most links in the playlist bring you directly to the album or label for cool purchasing simplicity.

SLSK noise chat w/ JoAnne Thrax, and Roil Noise!

I’ve started today’s broadcast a half-hour early– looks like “Sweet Action Radio” has their first no-show. Hopefully, this isn’t the beginning of a long spiral towards broadcast obscurity for them.I’m kicking off with Diving Bell, the duo of Craig Colorusso and Joel Westerdale. It looks like I’ll be playing host to Colorusso in early March, between the Indianapolis and St. Louis portion of his Spring tour. There’s no time like the present to start getting you excited, hence the Diving Bell disc.

I really should take a station break now, being 4AM and all, but I think I’m going to play a bit more Nihil Communication first. I suppose everything can wait five minutes, right?

How about a little more Neil Rolnick? Here’s a free mp3 he’s hosting from his album “Digits,” the same I’m playing from now.

I just got done playing some of Frederique Bruyas‘s work, which I just got turned onto today. I wrote to her earlier, so cross your fingers that her English is better than my French! Still, I see from her website that she recorded with Cathy Berberian, which is cool in my book. I should play that recording as well!

BTW, Eddie the Rat’s “Insomnia Sound Bible” is supposed to be the companion album to “Just Another Spin Cycle in the Black Hole of Spirituality”. So even though I don’t have a copy of this one, Eddie the Rat has a couple mp3s hosted

Well, I’ve got the Bruyas temporarily out of my system. With any luck, I’ll have a better handle on her work next week, so watch for this. I gotta admit, I’m pretty pleased with this broadcast. I’m doing a lot of things I don’t ordinarily do; even my song selection has been a bit different than normal. The transition between Phil Hargreaves and Lee Noye’s “A Present From the Pickpocket” into Circle Six’s “Glitch Core” worked very well, and the Al Margolis/If, Bwana material brought me back in the general area where Bruyas left off.

You DO know that “A Present From the Pickpocket” is a free download, right?

Diving Bell — Diving Bell
Nihil Communication — We Are Violent
Nihil Communication — Sleep Under Wire
Neil Rolnick, Peter Eldridge — Wednesday
Neil Rolnick, Peter Eldridge — Making Light of It
Neil Rolnick, Peter Eldridge — Words
Neil Rolnick, Peter Eldridge — The Return
Neil Rolnick, Peter Eldridge — Llanto
Neil Rolnick, Peter Eldridge — The Last Step
Frederique Bruyas — Ma Guele de Christophe Tarkos
Frederique Bruyas — Litantie de Jacques Rebotier
Eddie the Rat — Sunny’s Up All Night
Eddie the Rat — Freak Out and Die
Eddie the Rat — Cough Up the Life Units
Frederique Bruyas, Cathy Berberian — Stripsody (extract)
Phil Hargreaves, Lee Noyes — Later That Day
Phil Hargreaves, Lee Noyes — The Institute of Mental Health (Burning)
Circle Six — White Swan
Al Margolis/If, Bwana — Abroad
Monsturo — F-44
Needles, Wether — Beauty Is In the Eye of the Storm
Plastic Boner Band — Wolf Guys
Bigga Baphomet — Overtly Covert
Helena Espvall — Idioblast
Helena Espvall — Kretslopp av blod och stjarnor
Helena Espvall — Nimis and Arx
Helena Espvall — Certainty of the Neverseen
Helena Espvall — Multiplication Broken and Restored I

Special broadcast coming up!

December 28, 2007

I’ll be covering for the New Age/Contemplative music program “Music From Beyond the Lakes” this coming Sunday, December 30th. I’ve even made a temporary promo recording to drum up some excitement. For anyone who has yet to hear one of my “It’s Too Damn Early” broadcasts, this could be a great opportunity to catch your (soon to be) favorite experimental DJ out and about in the daylight hours.

That is, if you consider 8-10 PM “daylight”… Frankly, I’ve forgotten the feel of sunlight.

For long-time listeners, the show will definitely be a treat. My plan is to work with the idea that experimental music is best appreciated in exactly the opposite manner than New Age/contemplative works– where New Age sounds provide a backdrop for self-examination and introspection; the focus of experimental works are often wholly on the sounds and compositions themselves.

I have previously discussed this with “Music From Beyond the Lakes” host Jerry, who seems to feel much the same. Despite our radically different approach to music, we have occasionally found some useful overlap in our promotional materials, with a surprising amount of discs changing hands (usually for good!) between us. “It’s Too Damn Early” fans may recall me playing a lot of Larry Kucharz a while back– you can thank Jerry for introducing me to his work.

So: December 30, 8-10 PM CST. Don’t miss it! I expect phone calls, seeing as how everyone should be bright-eyed and sober at this hour. 618-457-3691.

Thank you!

December 26, 2007

To the 82 readers who chose to share their Xmas with STARTLING MONIKER– thank you for your continuing readership and support!

Original photography by DaveX

Put the “X” back in Xmas!

December 25, 2007

In the spirit of Xmas, I give you five downloadable episodes of “It’s Too Damn Early”– most dating back from when this blog was but a glint in my monitor. I have included commentary and full playlists for each. All you have to do is set your phasers to “download” and enjoy. Now there is still the small matter of what you’re giving your favorite experimental DJ for Xmas… *coughmoneycough* (more…)

It’s Too Damn Startling #5!

December 23, 2007

I’ve just uploaded the 5th edition of “It’s Too Damn Startling,” my regular contribution to Tony Youngblood’s ~ORE~ Theatre Intangible radio show. You’ll definitely want to grab this one!

Going into my fifth edition, I decided that I really didn’t want to work with a lot of materials. I’d had a conversation with fellow WDBX-FM deejay Nick last night regarding my microsound leanings, and of my own temptations about working ever deeper within the waveform.

Of course, I’ve also been doing a fair amount of thinking about Stockhausen, as I have been taking a more active approach to hear many of his works of which I am unfamiliar. I decided to take a very small sample of one of Stockhausen’s works, and use it as the basis of a larger piece.

Following this rather vague plan, I ended up using a little less than two one-hundredths of a second of Stockhausen’s “Helikopter Streichquartett” as the sound source for a 3′ 33″ work of pulsing, chattering sound evolution. I’m quite pleased with it, and hope you will be as well.

You can hear “It’s Too Damn Startling #5” when today’s broadcast airs live from 2-4 AM, this December 23 on WRVU-FM. However, if you have plans to be handcuffed and left for dead during this time, you may download It’s Too Damn Startling #5 at your convenience upon rescue.


Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 12/22/07

December 22, 2007

I’m getting a bit of a late start on the show today– gave up about 10 minutes to the show before mine, on account of introducing them to The Wipers. So far, things have been going really well, with some nice transitions between tracks. I’m playing Sabrina Siegel now, following my long-overdue return to reviewing albums.



Not sure if I mentioned this already or not, but there’s a new feature here at STARTLING MONIKER. To the right of this text, you’ll see a column called “categories.” Clicking on any of these brings up similar entries I have posted at STARTLING MONIKER, so feel free to explore this a little. It’s a good way to catch up on posts you may have missed.

Praew Jik is currently tearing my listeners a new one, with the album “Ignore(ance)”– this is some tremendous work. When noise works, it’s nothing short of amazing.

I’m having a bitch of a time with the formatting on this entry. For some reason, my paragraphs want to stick together, and its driving me nuts. I’m playing from Andrew Chadwick’s “Magnetic Personality” right now, which doesn’t seem to be his strongest recording. It’s just a bit too fractured to hang together, so I think I’m going to have to play something else for now. Sometimes, what sounds alright at home doesn’t end up playing as well during a radio show– obviously, your results may vary.

I’m really enjoying this new Bob Marsh disc, “Viovox,” from Public Eyesore. I’ll have a more thorough review later, but for now, I’m recommending it. This kind of reminds me of the Dr. Bob stuff, but not nearly as sinister. Who slipped the Doctor antidepressants?

I’m now playing SIECOX, from the album “Noisy Folks.” I actually wanted to play from “Flutter: Embodiments,” but I neglected to bring my good copy. My original has some skips, which I’m pretty sure EAC was able to overlook while making a nice rip of it– but I still have to actually bring it with me if I want to play it! Apparently, I’m still waiting for the day when all my music fits on some sort of glowing crystal.

Naked Mall Rats — There Must Be Somewhere
Naked Mall Rats — I just Wanna Pwn You
RST — Lords of Space
Sabrina Siegel — G(fill in your name)d’s Music
Maurizio Bianchi — Sretsulkyz
Son of Gunnar, Ton of Shel — In Circulation
Druids of Huge — Ergotism
Praew Jik — Bleached Deluge in Negative
Praew Jik — First Movement
Praew Jik — Space in Light to Wire of Relative Bone
Praew Jik — Exploitation of a People
Aaron Martin & Machinefabriek — Cello Drowning
Tom Nunn — Skatchmat
Tom Nunn — Cross Rods/6
Andrew Chadwick — Magnetic Personality
Bob Marsh — Over Time You’ll See
Bob Marsh — A Walk in the Park
Bob Marsh — Forest for the Trees
SIECOX — Noisy Folks no.1
SIECOX — Noisy Folks no.2
SIECOX — Noisy Folks no.3
David Morneau — bsym5.1
David Morneau — OTC 1
David Morneau — Here, I’ll Play it Again
David Morneau — Cadence
David Morneau — Recovering no.1
David Morneau — Retreat
David Morneau — Harbor Bells
David Morneau — Leading
David Morneau — Toss Me a Carrot
David Morneau — Oh
David Morneau — Recovering no.2
David Morneau — msym2.1
David Morneau — Hare Christna
David Morneau — Introspect
David Morneau — Birds and Whales

Sabrina Siegel — “G(fill in your name)d’s Music”

December 21, 2007

I’ll just throw this out there– you’ve got to have some chutzpah to title your album “G(fill in your name)d’s Music,” no matter if you leave the “o” out or not. It’s a gutsy move; “God” is probably the most pre-loaded word in the English language. Even an atheist like myself seems compelled to find some sort of “stance” about such a thing.

Sabrina Siegel

Of course, rigid beliefs don’t hold too well in an artistic setting. Oftentimes; the ridiculous, the absurd, or the magical are simply too fruitful a foundation of artistic exploration to be jettisoned regardless of their uselessness in other areas of life. Satan is one of my all-time favorite movie characters, endlessly explored with so many fascinating variations. Islamic architecture gives me a hint of some infinite, alien, mathematical fright I also enjoy.

Looking at an album essentially titled “God’s Music,” I want to know– what DOES God’s music sound like?That’s where Sabrina Siegel turns the listener’s expectations upside-down.

With ultra-low bass rumbles threatening to pull my speakers down from their respective walls; the otherwise-natural mix of insects, airplanes, and woodland sounds initially seemed a bit out of place. Early on, I found myself paying attention to one side or the other of this dichotomy… either focusing on the heavy subsonic damage puffing gusts of air at my head, or allowing myself to be pulled into the is-it-live-or-is-it-electronic world arranged so delicately among these monolithic bass noises.

In my initial listen, at least 20 minutes has elapsed before I started being able to hear these sounds together– not a fault of Siegel, but more a function of my disbelief– it doesn’t take a genius to imagine that this is Siegel’s comment on the weakness of perception, with an aural elephant in the room popping in and out of focus.

There’s still the “fill in your name” element, which to me suggests that Siegel is giving us all free reign to hear what we want. I’ve always been intrigued by the Biblical passage, “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Setting aside the equally-interesting Planck Epoch for a moment, I’ve got to say that this is a pretty cool couple lines. It is similar to what I hear in Siegel’s disc, a massive incomprehensible thing moving about its business of creating the earth.

Like other of Siegel’s works, there is a very raw quality to “G(fill in your name)d’s Music”. I suspect that Siegel is less concerned with the individual soundings as with the overall “setting” the mix creates, much as a nature enthusiast will not begrudge a scene its occasional rotted leaf or dead bird.

All in all, it’s a unique and interesting listening experience that I’d recommend– just be sure to anchor those speakers well unless you also like the sound of falling electronics!

It’s Too Damn Startling #4!

December 16, 2007

I’ve uploaded the 4th edition of “It’s Too Damn Startling,” my continuing to Tony Youngblood’s ~ORE~ Theatre Intangible radio show, which airs live from 2-4 AM, this December 16 on WRVU-FM.

This week, Tony has no pre-conceptualized theme, so I thought I’d play with the idea of going into things blindly– which also perpetuates my approach to this morning’s “It’s Too Damn Early” broadcast.

For this short mix, I utilized extracts from some of the tracks I broadcast this morning, with the exception of Neil Rolnick’s “Breathing Machine,” which I had not used earlier. Selecting my extracts purely from the appearance of each track’s waveform, I began assembling the mix without the benefit of any sound output– using only the “look” of the waveform as my guide. It was not until after uploading the finished product that I allowed myself to listen to it– so what you hear is the first result, just as I heard it.

You may download the 4’15” long mix by clicking this awkwardly-rendered link, or simply content yourself with the list of sound sources below:

Neil Rolnick — Breathing Machine
Leo — Cute Drops
David Watson — Dexter no.1
Tom Nunn — Skatchmat
Judy Dunaway, Tom Chiu — Etude no. 1 for Balloon and Violin

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 12/15/07

December 15, 2007

Update pt.2: The full playlist is now posted. Net trouble at the station did not permit liveblogging, but at least you can see what I played. Overall, I enjoyed this show, and the few enthusiastic callers as well.

Update (from home) : The station computer was running very poorly this week, so I couldn’t maintain any sort of decent connection for liveblogging. Naturally, the recording failed– but I’ll post the remaining playlist later on today. This was a very good show, and another example of why you should always try to catch radio live!

So far, I’m not too sure where I’m taking this week’s show– or more likely, where this show is taking me. I’ve got a mix of old and new in my bag, so I’m just going to hold on and enjoy the surprise.

US Maple — Songs That Have No Making Out
US Maple — La Click
Flies Inside the Sun — White Walls
Kim Cascone – Statistically Improbable Phrases
The Mighty Vitamins — Kaw River Suite: Loops and Spirals
The Mighty Vitamins — Kaw River Suite: Stoppages
The Mighty Vitamins — Kaw River Suite: Turbulence
Thanos Chrysakis — Immanent Distance
Thanos Chrysakis — Isabelle
Thanos Chrysakis — Nekyomanteion
Judy Dunaway — Etude no.1 for Balloon and Violin
Tom Nunn — Loose Change
Tom Nunn — Skatchmat
Danielle Palardy Roger — Nnaaaooon
Neil Rolnick, Joan La Barbara — Body Work
Leo — Multiple
Leo — Cute Drops
Leo — B. Bill Bell
Mudboy — Lost
Mudboy — Running
David Watson — Dexter pt.1
The Free Players — All Time Sunrise
The North Sea — Albino Deer Transmission

Darren McClure — ST Fence
Darren McClure — Pink River
Darren McClure — KG Court
Naing Naing — Le Coq Megalo
Naing Naing — Brosse a Danse
Naing Naing — La Grenouille qui Veut Se Daire Aussi Brosse Que la Boeuf
Naing Naing — Webbed

A touch of DaveX

December 12, 2007

That’s what you’re going to find among the rest of Tony Youngblood’s 12/9/07 broadcast of “~Ore~ Theatre Intangible,” a Vanderbilt radio show I contribute to each week.

Original digital photography by DaveX

Actually, I don’t. Like an old person’s bowels, my offerings to ~Ore~ have been somewhat irregular. On the other hand, mine are much less disgusting as they enter your ears.

Enjoy a full download of this experimental broadcast, including a lovely six-minute mix of degenerating tones and voice from yours truly, by clicking the seven chance words after the double dash– britney spears crotch shots nude girls strip

I swear, I pick these words completely at random. The shame is yours for having a filthy mind. (more…)

Tagged again…

December 12, 2007

My new blogging buddy Q tagged me yesterday, but with my net down, I didn’t notice until this morning. As per the rules, I have to perpetuate the life of this action by tagging five others– Hollow Tree, who may make use of any of his multitude of blogs; Sister Novena, who’s losing her mind shelving books at Fnorders and could probably use an entry served up on a platter; Beautiful Biology, who has been known to actually listen to my show; Squublog, who tempts fate with every interstate bicycle-jump; and Hula Seventy, reigning champion of Photobooth Fridays.

Anyways, on to the meme at hand. Just pick five links in the following categories from your previously-written posts. Here’s mine:

Link 1 is a little bit of FAMILY: The Strangest Thing to Say

Link 2 is a little bit of FRIEND: Interview with Sabrina Siegel

Link 3 is a little bit of YOURSELF: Believe it or not, I picked the most vanilla parts.

Link 4 should be YOUR LOVE: These are NOT Photoshopped!

Link 5 can be ANYTHING YOU LIKE:
Dee Snider Saved My Life

DaveX sells out!

December 12, 2007

Regarding the Hypebot “Best Niche Blog” nomination, I’ve decided to put my support behind “Mutant Sounds,” an experimental and oddmusic-sharing blog that is currently kicking serious ass in the polls. The way I see it, having an experimental music blog in the winner’s spot is a victory for all of us– and a top spot on Mutant Sounds blogroll sweetened the deal, frankly.

I’m very happy to have been nominated, especially considering that STARTLING MONIKER was the only blog in the list that is both ad-free and written by one person. Thanks for your help– now get over to Hypebot, and make sure I didn’t sell out for nothing. Go, Mutant Sounds!

What would you miss?

December 10, 2007

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about taking a vacation, just tossing around a variety of ideas with my family. In the front-runner position is taking a cruise; it’s pretty laid back, the weather is nice, and having a warm beach to fall asleep on sounds particularly nice.

An interesting sound-related thought occurred to me today, though– what would it sound like? Specifically, what sounds would be missing?

Original photography by DaveX

I realized that I am quite accustomed to paying attention to new sounds when I travel, but the opportunity to spend a significant portion of my life off land made me realize that there is a very real possibility some sounds I regularly hear will be entirely absent.My first thought was that probably wouldn’t hear cars. I’d be on the water, right? Still, I don’t always hear automobiles now. For some of my childhood, I grew up in a rural setting; the sound of a car was uncommon enough to be more cause for concern than to be any sort of normal background noise. Hearing a car usually meant someone was lost, or that family was returning home.

Clearly, the loss of automobile-related sounds wouldn’t be too interesting.

Any cruise ship will obviously be full of people, bringing with them all the associated sound-baggage. From what I understand, birds are well-represented, with pelicans doing their usual bit of beggary.

Wondering if I might find reprieve from an otherwise-omnipresent sound was such a compelling conceit that I was growing disappointed that I was unable to figure out what such a sound could be.

Finally, the answer occurred to me– insects! Unless I’m mistaken, there shouldn’t be a significant insect population on the open waters of the ocean. For at least a couple nights out to sea, the perpetual companionship of insect call will fade from my life.

In my experience, insect sounds are part of the “silence” John Cage experienced in his famous anechoic chamber. Whether I choose to recognize them or not, insects are always present. Scientific estimates of the sheer number of insects are staggering– with an estimate of eight quintillion (1018) individuals in existence at any given time! Surely, there can be no escape from their sound on land… and maybe not even on the ocean.

Regardless, it’s an interesting concept. In the places you’ve been, what sounds did you miss?

Startling Moniker nominated for “Best Niche Music Blog”

December 10, 2007

Your hard work and nominations paid off– STARTLING MONIKER is now in the running for “Best Niche Music Blog” at music industry/tech collision blog Hypebot.  And while it’s a total honor to be nominated, I want to win this thing. Obviously, I’m the underdog here… so I’m going to need you to vote early and often.

Voting begins Tuesday, and I hope you will all turn out to support your favorite experimental music blog.

Now to begin slinging mud (c’mon… would you deny me this?)

AbsolutePunk: Frankly, I don’t even think this qualifies as a blog. It appears to be a massive site with a blog, but clearly is a pile of steaming corporate bullshit. They have advertisements, and a full page devoted to pitching their stats to prospective ad-buyers. According to this page, they have 143,308 Members helping them struggle towards completely selling out.

Brit Music Scene: It’s the work of one guy, and his ads are probably host-generated. Still, he writes about the Spice Girls… Yeah, bet he didn’t think that would come back to haunt him.

Discobelle: In addition to advertising, Discobelle is written by at least three contributors, maybe more. And they write about club music, ’nuff said.

Metal Martyr: Written by one guy, and with ads that are probably host-generated. On the other hand, his top entry is that three years ago, ol’ Diamond Darrell died. (You may remember him as “Dimebag” Darrell, but I don’t forget a hair-metaller…

Mutant Sounds: Very cool folks, all of them. Very cool music… and yes, I nominated them… but technically, I nominated them for “Best Music Discovery Blog,” which is where I think they should be. If you insist on voting for them, do a write-in in the “Music Discovery Blog” category!

Startling Moniker needs you!

December 8, 2007

Tomorrow is the last day to nominate STARTLING MONIKER for “best niche blog” in Hypebot’s little music blog contest. I know full well that you haven’t all sent in your nominations, so it’s time to get crackin’.

Copy the text below, and click here to pull up a mail form– I’ve got it all ready to go. You pretty much just have to paste in the text and hit send. Easy!


Best Music News Blog:

Best Music Discovery Blog:

Best Niche Music Blog: STARTLING MONIKER

Best Band Or Fan Blog:


Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 12/8/07

December 8, 2007

Update: The download for this broadcast is now available. As always, I implore you to turn from your churlish ways– please visit the linked musicians and labels in the playlist below– and most importantly, support those you enjoy by purchasing their albums. Feel free to name-drop your favorite DJ when placing your order. I can’t guarantee you a 75% discount on your bill, but philosophers assure me that things can’t be proven not to exist, either.

I don’t have a lot to say this week, so I’m leaving the commentary rather sparse. Earlier, I answered the phone: “Yes, your radio is broken, whaddya want?” so you can see how it’s going around here. On the upside, I might have turned someone on to the Last Visible Dog label with the Vapaa disc– and that’s always a good thing.

Had to play a little Stockhausen on today’s show, obviously… gets me thinking about the media term “gatekeepers,” and how difficult it must have been to hear someone like Stockhausen when he was younger. I imagine if you weren’t in a major city, you probably couldn’t even order one of his recordings, could you? It’s a wonderful world in some ways now– it’s going to be very interesting to see how the simple availability of materials such as these affect our collective appreciation and understanding of the greater “whole” of art.

Some new stuff arrived from Lona Records yesterday. I had to check out the Maurizio Bianchi album “Zyklusters” first. I’m really digging it, but I’m not certain the description on the back isn’t a put-on, at least not without a dictionary. If anyone is “seeking the tumorigenic antithesis of the embryonal context in the dissonant framework,” please stand up.

I keep promising to write reviews, and I keep being a chump about following through. Can I call a truce? I’m tired out! My next review will definitely be Charlie J. Moneybags’ “An Evening With…” disc, even though it may not be a proper release. I don’t care. I have things to say about it, but I also have a lot of dishes to do. Surely, you can see the problem: Dishwater + Keyboard = Electrical hazard

Hot damn. George Korein/Naked Mall Rats is so much fun to listen to. Gotta love the track “I Just Wanna Pwn You,” with all the variations on how to pronounce “pwn,” lol. Speaking of things I can’t pronounce– “Phon°noir,” anyone? Seriously, folks… why do you do this to me? Between the Finnish, the pseudo-electronic IDM track titles, and the ASCII symbols; you’re killing me.

You can type degree symbols at home, though, and be just like your favorite experimental music blogger: activate your number lock button, hold down ALT, and type “167” on your number pad. º, easy!

Garth Kunkle — Shake it Like Jello and Make it Say Hello
Metis Yeti — Verdun Massacre
Hong Chulki — Without Cartridge 1
Mike Hallenbeck — Eventualities 01.1: Voice
Mike Hallenbeck — Shuffletronics #1: A Beginning, A Middle, And an End
MurmurDiscovery of Mother Voidness
Vapaa — Varjoista
Muck — On Any Given Day The Inspection From Within
Karlheinz Stockhausen — Kontra-Punkte Op. 1, For 10 Instruments
Maurizio Bianchi — Zyklusters
Charlie J. Moneybags — Hope
Naked Mall Rats — There Must Be Somewhere
Naked Mall Rats — I Just Wanna Pwn You
Naked Mall Rats — Moved By Your Emoticon
Naked Mall Rats — Stop Trolling My Life
Phon°noir — Embryo
Phon°noir — From Time to Time We Change Our Minds
Phon°noir — Airplane Traces in the Sky
Phon°noir — No More Sad Dreams
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — 1:04
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — from Henry who just wrote
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — 1:03
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — :57
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — 1:05
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — 1:02
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — 3:08 Cranking up it’s pathos
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — 1:02
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — 1:03
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — 1:05

RIP Karlheinz Stockhausen

December 7, 2007

I just heard that Karlheinz Stockhausen died today. For a proper obit, you can read the Guardian Unlimited article. I just figured that since I was playing Stockhausen’s work last week, I’d write a little bit about why Stockhausen matters to me– this is, after all, a blog.

I first heard one of Stockhausen’s works just over ten years ago, having been “introduced” to the master by Tony’s older brother Wess, who has long had a serious passion for modern and avant-garde composition. Tony and I could enjoy groups like Negativland, but on a deeper level, I guess I always wanted something more personally meaningful. When his brother started telling me about a German composer who would work months intricately splicing tape shards together, only to discard the resulting few moments as unacceptable… well, I knew I had better find out more about the mysterious Stockhausen.That first day, Wess let me make a copy of his “Elektronische Musik 1952-1960,” which he had ordered from Stockhausen’s own label. With the earliest of his electronic and tape pieces, including the amazing “Gesang der Junglinge,” it was a great place to start. Every track was exciting, full of new sounds, and very much what I wanted to hear.

It wasn’t long after that I found copies of “Mantra,” “Hymnen,” and “Mikrophonie,” all of which took numerous listens. I didn’t even like Mantra for quite a while, being unable to understand the ideas behind the music.

Of course, doing some reading helped. Hearing more of Stockhausen’s contemporaries helped. Even John Cage helped, as odd as that may seem.
It would be foolish to try to enumerate the many ways in which his work has influenced music, but it is amusing to see the unexpected ways he manages to pop up– it was only a few years back that I was remixing Harold Schellinx’s “Vicki’s Mosquitos,” a computer-read story set during one of the yearly Stockhausen summer courses.

There’s a lot more to hear, and a lot more to learn… and that’s the way I’m choosing to look at this. I’m still on my journey with Stockhausen, and perhaps you are as well. Good luck,


Update: A memorial booklet from the Stockhausen Foundation can be found here.