Archive for April, 2008

well whaddaya know…

April 11, 2008

Radio reminder

April 11, 2008

I don’t care how you do it– either stay up until 4a.m., or set an early alarm– but I want to remind everyone to listen to “It’s Too Damn Early” this coming Saturday morning. I’m in a pretty good mood, and I feel like I’ve been building to a really fine broadcast.

It helps that I have a lot of great stuff to play, but I’m not about to start promising you’re going to hear any one thing for certain, as it tends to kill the fun for me.

Community Radio for Sudden Annoy

A week from now, I’ll be kicking off the WDBX Membership Drive, so I’ve been trying to let people know about that early as well. Since I’m always the one who starts the drive, I usually come in a bit behind on the pledges. Between the hour of my broadcast, and the fact that I have that my first week of pledge drive has no momentum behind it, reaching my show’s individual goal is difficult. Do me a favor, and take a look around your wallet this week. If you think you can spare something for WDBX, set it aside. If not; consider making a donation of ‘zines, music, or a supportive blog entry.

I’m always appreciative of your efforts, and you’ll get a nice feeling knowing you helped out a valuable community broadcaster… or you’ll laugh as you avenge yourself against corporate radio’s stupid morning talk shows!

Raamatulliset miehet – “Paavalin kirjeitä Tiitukselle”

April 7, 2008

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this disc, so let’s get a few facts out of the way– it’s the fifth release for Finnish label Luovaja. Its sound is dominated by cheesy keyboards of the Casio variety. To an English speaker, at least one track sounds like it has the lyric “Dookie poo” repeated over and over in a silly voice, while a cuckoo clock signals the 4 o’clock hour.

Clearly, not the best candidate as crossover material.

Raamatulliset miehet \

At its strongest, “Paavalin kirjeitä Tiitukselle” produces some heavily-layered chaotic moments, densely packed with conflicting noises. “Heraaminen,” for instance; descends into a fury of crashing cymbals, roller coaster screams, and bleeping towards its finish. “Kaiken Sen Ma Menetin,” (of the aforementioned “dookie poo” lyric) melds a mellow synth melody with spastic drum twiddling, all while introducing distressed breaking noise and female vox loops under the main drunken vocal. It’s a terrible mess, but it hangs together like a machine that has to work, no matter how many inept repairs need be made.

Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t seem to have had such effort put into it. Screwing around with the tape rolling sounds pretty much the same in any language, and the lack of direction will make for a difficult listen to any but the most wishy-washy of listeners.

Still, this is the age of the CDR. If Luovaja wants to put out 50 of these, I’m inclined to look on the bright side of it. “Paavalin kirjeitä Tiitukselle” is far from being a fully-realized album, but the chance to hear new artists constructing their work from the ground up in real time is an opportunity unique to this generation of listeners. There may be some good in this– but only time will tell.

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 4/4/08

April 5, 2008

I’ve been in a drone-y sort of mood for most of this broadcast. Sometimes, I guess I just like to sit back and be a listener. I started off with Potpie’s “Potpie Plays the Classics,” a limited Ixnay release where Potpie reworks the opening seconds from nine classic rock songs into a variety of dronescapes. My copy had arrived with some sticky fiber on the working side of the disc– I’ve buffed it somewhat, but I guess it wasn’t enough because I had some skipping problems into the first track. I’ll see what I can do with it this week. Maybe ripping a new copy with the error correction on high will do it?

Alan Courtis took over where Potpie left off, an amazingly fluid transition that probably went unnoticed by a lot of listeners. To paraphrase Hannibal, I love it when a transition comes together! The Courtis material is from a new release, “Unstringed Guitar & Cymbals,” on Blossoming Noise. Although I’ve heard quite a bit of Courtis work, it seems that I am perpetually behind the curve with his releases. Even the wonderful “Tape Works” on Pogus was a collection of older material! It’s nice to finally be able to hear some of his current material, at any rate.

Following Courtis, I wanted to play some of Glenn Weyant’s “Xiphosuran Zymo,” which he has released as part of his SonicAnta D-Construction Sound Subscription Service. It arrived this last week in an otherwise-ordinary mailing envelope marked with a Curious George stamp– a fact that was not unnoticed by my three-year-old son. Although I’ve been enjoying the organic mix of field recordings, US/Mexico border wall playing, and various instruments; my son has been rather sulky about the lack of actual Curious George items within the mailer. On the bright side, at least he will not be tempted to rip open all my packages in the future.

Next up was Raamatulliset miehet’s first release, “Paavalin kirjeitä Tiitukselle,” on Luovaja. I was hoping to have a review of it done yesterday, but it’s a difficult disc– not exactly my thing initially, but with enough good points that I know I’d better give it a little time before I jump in with an opinion. There’s no doubt that the Finland-based Luovaja is a strange label, but they’ve had good releases so far– I’m particularly fond of “Reading Sounds” a compilation of tracks inspired by classic literature. A lot of the Luovaja releases are sold out, so if you’re interested in either of these, you might want to move on it.

Whoever stocks the WDBX soda machine should be forced to drink this flat Coke I just bought. Yuck.

Last week’s Optimod video led me to chatting online with a sound engineer who was pleased to find Brekekekexkoaxkoax in my playlists– if only due to the Greek origin of the name. Still, he was super-enthused about checking out Josh Ronsen’s work, and recommended more Iannis Xenakis in my diet. I have to say that I agree with him! A cursory check of Xenakis’s recorded history revealed loads of material I’ve not yet heard. Perhaps this will be reflected sometime next month after I get my footing. Anyways, isn’t the net great?

I’m going to close this broadcast with a big chunk of Halaka, from a Pile Records release titled “The Voice Over the Intercom Says Hello.” I’m not for certain if this release is available yet or not, but with a new baby in the house, I’m willing to bet your hard-earned (or stolen!) buckazoids would be appreciated around Chez Halaka. Better go ask him before you knock over a liquor store, though.

Potpie — Potpie Plays the Classics, no.1
Alan Courtis — Cardamomo
Alan Courtis — Coriandro
Glenn Weyant — Xiphosuran Zymo (extract)
Raamatulliset Miehet — Heraaminen
Raamatulliset Miehet — Nostalgia
Raamatulliset Miehet — Totta, Mooses tango
Brekekekexkoaxkoax — I never saw the end of the fire
Brekekekexkoaxkoax — shoham
Brekekekexkoaxkoax — We ought to have but one single thought
Halaka — Contents May Contain Discontent

Asher – “Intervals”

April 3, 2008

Through 39 simple miniatures, Asher questions our idea of time, specifically the concept that perception of time is linked to the memory of place. It’s fertile intellectual territory for scientists and philosophers alike, so I suppose it’s not unlikely that these sorts of questions would pop up in “Intervals,” the fourth release of NYC-based label The Land Of.

Please keep in mind that I have the worst scanner on Earth. The album is not a sickly bubblegum color, but a retina-killing neon pink.

Admittedly, the extensive liner notes give a lot away. Getting to the actual disc requires going through an outer envelope printed with the first portion of the notes, and into a second sleeve printed with the remainder. In the notes, one is not made aware of Asher’s personal theories of time perception; but also that the listener is “an essential part of the artistic endeavor;” by virtue of Asher’s encouragement to listen to the various field recordings, lo-fi piano musings, and insect calls in any order we choose.Unfortunately, Asher forgets that these are his places, and his sound memories. The brevity of the individual tracks (the longest, by far, is only 2 minutes) works against the listener– where a well-made field recording can impart some feeling of “visiting” a locale, it is usually due to the illusion of immersion– whereas Asher seems content with a baptismal dunking in lieu of scuba gear. At best, listeners can use their actual place as a substitution. But then the question becomes: “why use these sounds?”

Without more ability to build a personal connection to the material, I don’t feel as apt to explore the album in the manner Asher suggests. The sad thing is that without all the direction, I’d have probably enjoyed this disc a lot more, and quite possibly gotten very close to the experience Asher is wishing listeners to have. The crackly presentation of the piano recordings is quite nice, and the cut-up footsteps opening the disc are immediately engaging. Because of this, I’m torn between feeling miffed about missing a more pure initial appreciation of these sounds; and having to let it go– Asher has a concept worth exploring, and asking him to tailor his needs to those of the listener wouldn’t be appropriate.

For me, “Intervals” is a close-but-not-quite affair. There’s no doubt I’ll be listening to more of Asher’s work in the future, and with any luck, everything will come together next time around.

Remember this lesson around pledge time!

April 2, 2008

It seems my April Fools’ Day prank went off without a hitch– so NO, WDBX isn’t being bought out by JackFM; and NO, we’re not changing our format to a DJ-free “shuffle mode” vanilla stain.

I’ve gotten a lot of e-mail and messages about this today, all supportive of WDBX’s current programming and our value as an independent community station. E-mail has come in from listeners, staff, and a variety of artists whose only radio voice in Southern Illinois is at WDBX. It is clear that we’re providing something necessary, and something that people will fight to keep.

…in which our hero writes for Deputydog

April 1, 2008

Yes, it’s true– I’ve done a guest blog at Deputydog titled, “The World of Bizarre Sound Recordings.” It’s a list, so if you think I missed something, feel free to go apeshit in the comments section.

I’m trusting you all to represent yourself in a manner becoming the freaks of the music world that you surely are. Do not let me down!