Archive for the ‘weird’ Category

Hawk + Tippy Headroom = Free Air!

October 29, 2010

Long-time fan and YouTube maestro Sonney Dey wrote to let me know about his latest creation– I’ll tentatively describe it as an experimental hawk documentary, but as you can see, it’s so much more than just that.

Sonney’s video makes great use of a very old track of mine, “Tippy Headroom,” from my very first album, “Music For a Sick Cat.” The title is a play on actress Tippy Hedren (of “The Birds,”) as well as Max Headroom (style icon, and personal hero).

I still remember recording “Tippy Headroom” on the floor of my home. I had been inspired by a sound experiment described in a book about Jimi Hendrix, which I had read many years earlier, but found floating about in my brain that day– in a nutshell, Hendrix had been using headphone monitors to slowly feed back into his microphone, causing squealing pitches to occur. A tape delay setup helped to create a seagull-like sound he found quite interesting. Although I’d never heard a recording of this experiment, I suppose I had a pretty good idea of how it would turn out… resulting in “Tippy Headroom.”

As a reward for Sonney’s ongoing dedication to fully experiencing the Other through my music, I’m mailing him a bunch of cool stuff– including a copy of my latest release “Free Air.” There’s only a few of these left, from a way-limited edition of ten. Just $10 gets you a copy, so hurry up and get in touch if you want one.

“Free Air” comes with two long-form works originally intended for through-home surround systems, mixed specially for stereo. There’s also the nifty artwork, a bright red unicorn hand-printed by yours truly! The print is sealed and numbered, with the disc in a separate compartment.

Having fun with old video games

December 31, 2009

I’m working on my Top 12 Best Happy Neat-O List of 2009, but until it’s posted, here’s a bit of alternate reality to tide you over. I know which character I’m picking!

Your Xmas giftie– Style City, “The Happening”

December 25, 2009

Here’s something to make your Xmas weird– download a ten year-old girl’s Casio SK-1 experiments! Style City’s “The Happening” EP features extended minimal drones, surprisingly morbid lyrics, and an ode to giant robots!

Highly recommended for fans of The Shaggs, Chica X, and Eyes Like Saucers.

Also available in a limited edition of 10. Trades only! Send e-mail to stylecitymusik AT for details.

Visit Style City on the web.

WDBX History, pt.4

December 15, 2009

I also think WDBX is in need of a program about gambling, bodybuilding, and meditation that plays “mind vacation” music while letting callers “say what really sends them up the wall.” And oh yeah, it should have lots of music from Irish terrorists– click to embiggen the hilarity:

WDBX History, pt.1

December 12, 2009

I did a little recycling this morning, and claimed a large stack of WDBX volunteer questionnaires from the rubbish bin. Although I’ve no doubt that these were taking up valuable office space, I couldn’t help but wonder what historical interest they might contain. I’ve decided to create a recurring feature here at STARTLING MONIKER to feature some of the strange, funny, and interesting things that pop up as I sift through the pile. I’ll do my best to redact personal contact information, but this may or may not include names. I have also chosen to redact the optional demographic information, a section that appears on some older forms.

I’ll kick things off with a weird one– did WDBX dodge a bullet here? Did we once willingly broadcast a two-hour Wyndham Hill show, interspersed with “cheapskate tips,” Broadway musicals, nursing home oral histories, and a call-in swap meet for stay-at-home moms?! Rounding out this utterly bizarre pitch is the applicant’s skill set, which I have circled in red. I hope my readers can help me with determining if this show existed outside of my nightmares! (click image to embiggen)

Best promo EVER

November 17, 2009

Tom has outdone himself now. Here’s his “official” promo clip for KNOBS, followed by an unofficial one– the aforementioned BEST PROMO EVER:


I can’t wait to send this to Sonny!

Updates and a Download OR How I Spent My Weekend

October 12, 2009

(Quick note: the torrent file referenced in this post is being replaced with a new link. Sorry for any confusion. –DaveX)

Here’s my latest torrent file, for the 10/10/09 broadcast with Matt Weston. I’ve also added some links to the playlist, and finished typing it out fully– you’ll notice the inclusion of Matt Weston’s set and the New Haven Improvisers Collective airplay for their “Inflection” disc. Sometimes, the liveblog has to take one for the team during a broadcast, but I usually catch it up pretty quick when I get back home.

However, my Saturday had other plans. I decided to take the kids to the St. Louis Zoo; so I spent the vast majority of the day tromping around trying to find giraffes, unsuccessfully cajoling a capybara into revealing his mug for my camera, and trying NOT to hit any endangered sharks with my backpack. (Yeah, I’ve done this.)

Later on, I went to the hospital to have my “brush with death,” i.e., some rather alarming chest pain that had me flashing on all those “if you think you’re having a heart attack” PSAs I’ve played in the past. Although it turned out to be a torn/strained muscle at my sternum, I still ended up spending a fair amount of time in the late-night ER, listening to a belligerent drunkard’s attempts to walk on his broken foot. I got a bruised-up arm (IV port, shy veins) and a lidocaine slurpie for my troubles (an intern was more or less running a concurrent examination with the actual doctor, and had become convinced that I had acid reflux, haha) but was otherwise discharged with a clean bill of health at 3 in the morning. It’s not often that I fit an improvisational drummer, a hippo, and an emergency room into one day– but I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere.

Here’s DJ Mo at the zoo:


mystery tape(s)

September 16, 2009

While ripping all these tapes, I realized that there still remains the question of what to do with them afterward. I’ve decided that since I currently have plenty of tapes to dub over for future recording projects, I would very much like to let these random recordings out into the wild to inspire and confound the lucky people who happen to find them.

As such, I’ve started scratching off the labels of each newly-ripped tape, and affixing a printed label– “mystery tape” in its place. Later, I plan to overdub a short greeting at the beginning of each tape, providing contact information and my congratulations to the finder. I may also number these tapes.

Naturally, some of these tapes will find their way into the usual places– thrift and junk stores are a good bet. But there are around 50 of them… so I may have to get clever and start leaving them in unusual places.

Soooo close!

August 3, 2009

I was really kinda hoping to win the Tetris Cube in BoingBoing Gadget’s fiction contest— but that was the third place prize, and I came in a “special mention” fourth. Rob sez: “If I weren’t in a formal fiction-reading mood, this purple cow would have won by a space mile. Rather than endure any attempts to describe it, just go and check it out.”

*sigh* Just like me to be TOO mutant for the mutants! I guess I’ll have to just enjoy my BBG bump, and try again next time, eh?

5 Things I Learned in the “Inland Hurricane”

May 23, 2009

1) Carbondale should have given WDBX the money for an emergency generator. Although River Radio did a very good job covering all of Southern Illinois, WDBX could have easily provided its listeners with a more focused broadcast– with less ads for treecare and Idol-style bar events! Hopefully, WDBX will seek this money again soon.

2) Arbor Day should be freakin’ outlawed.

3) Having a gas range is wonderful. Who cooked full dinners every night by candlelight? I did! Being a vegetarian also helps– no need to rush all my meat to the grill.

4) Southern Illinois has about a million ways to pronounce “derecho”.

5) Chainsaw 101… Don’t stand on the log. Don’t cut above your head. When in doubt, finagle random strangers into helping with the promise of food.

Here’s some photos for you to enjoy:

Heres my street, two days after the hurricane.

Here's my street, two days after the hurricane.

Some random street in town. Honestly, I cant tell which right now.

Some random street in town. Honestly, I can't tell which right now.

This is nearby where I used to live. Thats a 200-year-old oak cutting the main electric line, yay.

This is nearby where I used to live. That's a 200-year-old oak cutting the main electric line, yay.

Im pretty sure this is right downtown, but its hard to tell with all the damage.

There was a lot of damage on this street. Too bad for the guy who just rehabbed that house straight ahead, eh?

This is actually not a jungle path. Its very near to downtown!

This is actually not a jungle path. It's very near to downtown!

Hurricane! OR… The Gruesome End of Chip Bleak!

May 13, 2009

So, Southern Illinois got hit by a hurricane last Friday. My family and I are alright, but I’m enjoying the electricity at my friend’s house a bit too much to say that not having power, water, or a functional net connection hasn’t affected me. I’ve also gotten familiar with using a chainsaw, as I had five trees fall in my yard… on my garage… on my barn… and on the dog kennel. In short, inland hurricanes suck.

But that’s not why I’ve brought you here.

Something gave me a bit of cheer on Saturday, the first day I managed to get out of my neighborhood, to survey the damage. I found a photo of it online, but you’ll trust me when I say that I have many more:

That’s a photo of Absher Motors, a local car dealership. I decided that I hated them some years back, when they built their oversized eyesore of a car lot just outside the hellhole that is Marion, Illinois. It wasn’t the gaudy, overwrought building that drew my ire– it was the sign. Frankly, it was the sort of thing that might have been more at home on Times Square, or visually broadcasting tweets from the moon… at  any rate; it was huge, magnificently bright, and totally useless. I knew I hated it from the start, and as a result, I hated Absher Motors. One of the first things I saw on the sign was an inadvertent misspelling of a salesman’s name– “Chip Bleak”.

Although I didn’t know it to be a misspelling at the time, Chip Bleak stuck with me as the perfect name for a comic foil. I used him as a character to introduce the track “Intermission” on my first Electric Kitten Vomit album. I made him a smarmy little toady, part stereotypical bully sidekick, and part vapid fratboy.

Part of me knows that Absher Motors is probably just a bunch of hardworking sales stiffs less-than-enthused to find their big honkin’ sign has totalled 15 new cars. That part of me is more than aware that somebody is going to have to eat the cost of this damage, and it’s probably going to be an unsuspecting car buyer many months from now.

But another part of me– the part that knows that life is absurd– gets a big kick out knowing that I outlasted Chip Bleak’s giant electronic light-up phallus.

Obama sighted in vintage Miami bass video

February 19, 2009

I don’t know if it’s real or not– but I gotta admit– I like living in a world where it’s POSSIBLE. Skip to 0:47 for Obama and his giant cell phone, yo.

How I spent my last three hours

February 12, 2009

I like WALL-E a lot, but generally not enough to spend three hours constructing him from Lego blocks. Of course, four-year-olds are demanding critters… To understand the enormity of this task, please keep in mind that my newest Legos are at least 20 years old. This WALL-E is part Eldorado Fortress, and part Black Monarch’s Castle– old school!

WALL-E can load his garbage block, has movable arms, and a door that opens and closes. His head is heavy and fragile.

Another John Cage sighting– HE’S ALIVE!

January 27, 2009

I know, I know what’re you’re thinking… “all those “Cage is Alive” folks are NUTS, as a society, we just have to acknowledge this and move on.”

But it’s just not true.

I can’t ignore the USA Today photos, though I’ll admit that I tried. But there, right behind Bjork, you can clearly see John Cage. It’s not like everybody doesn’t know what he looks like! I grew up watching his concerts on TV, so I think I know what I’m talking about. My friends and I would run to my house from school (it was the closest) and catch the last half-hour of his show before Thundercats came on. I don’t think any kid didn’t own one of those John Cage zipper jackets with the glove and the red leather, hell yeah, those were the shit! I knew the whole dance to “Water Walk,” too.

He got a little weird later, and I didn’t listen to him as much in junior high. I still had some of his tapes, but I never bought that “Use Your Indeterminancy I & II” double set. I don’t think I got back into him until he started beefin’ with David Tudor. I heard a couple of the diss tone-poems, and I ended up going to see him at Nonopalooza when he played with Sonic Youth.

I remember the day I heard that he’d been shot. I was coming back from classes, and everyone I passed was crying. I asked someone what had happened, and they said that John had been shot, just walking inside from his car. I don’t remember how I got home– I just remember turning on the radio, and hearing all his songs– Bacchanale, Cartridge Music, the Fontana Mix… the DJ would just put on one of the number pieces, I don’t even think they could keep it together enough to say which one. Everyone was really broke up.

At first, I thought the people saying he was still alive were idiots, and that it was rude. I’d heard about the whole ” It’s just we thought that they said dead / When they said bread” haiku, but doesn’t that one start out “There are no secrets” ? If he was trying to tell us he was alive, I didn’t think this was the way. Of course, he also said “That’s a mystery the solution of which interests me very much.” So did he fake it??

The photos don’t lie. It’s him. John Cage is alive.

(This blog entry was written as part of the 5th Annual Rabbit Hole Day, a blog-holiday in honor of Lewis Carrol. Bloggers are encouraged to write in a different style, or in a fantastical manner, stepping outside our reality for the duration of the day. For more information, see the original post at Scribbles and Lies.)

“Vietnam” flyer controversy, pt.3

January 25, 2009

The ongoing, unthinking controversy concerning the now-infamous “Vietnam” flyer continued to rage today, reaching a greater percentage of the public than analysts had previously thought possible. In what pundits are calling “a classic example of the media watchdog asleep at the gates,” the New York Times mistakenly selected the late-night blog ramblings of community radio volunteer DaveX as serious commentary on Vietnam. As early as today, WordPress statistics show an influx of visitors to the New York Times website have followed the link– unwittingly introducing themselves to the world of underground music, severed cow head photography, and John Cage fanfic.

It is not yet known at this time how much of the global population will be exposed to STARTLING MONIKER, but it has been suggested that anonymous Carbondale citizens are making every effort to contain the leak.

“We’ve asked him to crawl back to his cave, where he belongs,” said Carter Frederick from besides his hobo campfire. “I could give two shits about a hack radio show in the middle of the night.”

Another resident, who asked reporters to remain nameless, told reporters he was jealous of the enjoyment his pets took from listening to DaveX’s broadcasts.

“I told him to take his art to a local shelter,” he said, wiping tears from his eyes. “He should change the title to ‘Music Only Dogs Can Hear’.”

For now, DaveX is content to let the controversy run its course. “It’s ironic,” he said. “Those who want most for me to just disappear seem to do the greatest job of promoting everything I do!”



How to write good copy

January 24, 2009


More and more methamphetamine abusers listeners are setting their alarms– why sleep the day away when you can experience the awesome power of a fully operational death star radio show that has all the kids kicking up their heels does it to you in your earhole with a sharp stick tender, loving sounds of ecstatic joy?

I’m on the air way too soon to bother sleeping please kill me just four hours, so why don’t you put me out of my insomniac hell tune in, or better yet, shoot me in the face give me a call? 

618-457-3691 is the number you can contact the authorities and let them know I’m completely bonkers contact me with your stupid requests stupid requests!



Startling Moniker’s Top 12 Best Happy Neat-O List of 2008!

January 13, 2009

Yes, it’s mid-January 2009. Let’s just say I’m fashionably late, and leave it at that. Or think of this list as your buying guide– if you’re spending this coming Valentine’s Day alone (perhaps tearfully re-organizing your record shelves?) see to it that you order a bunch of these fantastic releases to cheer you up. Just as last year, I will be treating my inability to count as less of a handicap, and more of a endearing eccentricity. And now, in no particular order, here are the Top 12 13 Best Happy Neat-O List of 2008 winners:

amo_2001) Mooey Moobau — “All Murmur of Our Mothers’ Waters” — Earlier this year, I referred to this disc as “dictio-fuckery,” a term which captures the pure glottological delight of rolling words back and forth on your tongue until all meaning is lost save for the sweet sonority. As a child, I once said the word “question” repeatedly until I couldn’t figure out if I was saying it correctly at all. This could have easily been the accompanying soundtrack.

40782) Eddie the Rat — “Out Behind the 8-ball” — Privately, I think of Eddie the Rat‘s Peter Martin as  a more unruly modern-day version of Harry Partch. This may not be totally accurate, but hey, it’s my head. Still, what with the brash polyrhythms coaxed from oddball homemade percussion instruments, I may not be too far off. But where Partch carried elements of the American folk landscape back to a greater listening audience, “Out Behind the 8-ball” mines South Asian influences, resulting in something like a post-trepanation Les Baxter album. Lovely!

40773) Jess Rowland — “The Problem With the Soda Machine” — Here’s a weird one for you. Rowland comes across some intra-corporate vending machine related e-mail drama, and decides to set it to music. In less capable hands, a disaster. For Rowland, one of the most immediately loveable albums right out of the box that I heard all year. Order this, and I’ll tell your future as a free gift: you’ll soon find yourself singing “we are faced with a choice about the future of the machines.” (Psst, this disc and #2 are from Edgetone Records. Order them both, and you’ll save on postage!)

frank-rothkamm-just-3-organs4) Rothkamm — “Just 3 Organs” — I used to think that if I had math skills, I would have made Rothkamm music; that’s how much I enjoy what he’s doing. But lately, I realize that nobody can make Rothkamm music but Rothkamm. It’s really the only similarity this list of albums shares– it’s strange stuff, a unique product of a unique mind. Simultaneously sound-obsessed and math-enabled, “Just 3 Organs” visits a series of hyper-organ works upon us. It’s a post-Second Life music, both virtual and yet displaying the umbilicus of its creator. If my ongoing fascination with Rothkamm hasn’t got you to pick one of his releases up yet, now is the time.

5) GX Jupitter-Larsen’s “Zelphabet” Series — Didn’t I say it best already? “Like the RRRecycled tapes, but done with some class, and considerable more attention to quality.” This 27-CD subscription (or buy ’em individually!) series shows why Jupitter-Larsen is the Bruce Schneier of noise– he’s got deep connections, and even deeper knowledge. Each disc is like sitting at the knee of a master, so you better believe they’re worthwhile.

cc_elementalshifta6) Cristopher Cichocki – “Elemental Shift” — This is the kind of release that only comes around once in a blue moon; a perfect artistic statement in its own right, but also able to vividly enhance one’s perception of many other unrelated works. Undoubtedly, this was my favorite release of the year– I couldn’t shutup about it, either– so there’s more of my gushing here and here.

mangler-redbeard7) Warm Climate — “Mangler Redbeard” — Apparently the locus of many LA experimental projects I’m currently enjoying, Warm Climate’s Seth Kasselman recorded “Mangler Redbeard” in a month as part of an online challenge… true evidence of how hard inspiration can strike! Equal parts glam-rock and bizarro-world influence, this ugly little bit of Xerox-and-CDR should not be missed.

tefasimage8) Glenn Weyant — “SonicAnta D-Construction Series” — If you’re looking to develop an ongoing relationship with something truly unexpected, consider subscribing to this series of CDRs. They from full-length explorations with a Honeywell fan; to sonic smorgasbords of homemade instruments, field recordings, and Weyant’s trademark border-fence-and-violin-bow collage. Wild and heady stuff, crafted by someone with a palpable love of sound.

9) George Korein — “Another Corpse” — I can’t seem to nail down exactly when this disc came out, so I’m going to be bold and claim it for 2008. As always, Korein appears to have dropped in from somewhere out in space, content to mystify Earthling listeners with another art-fractured gem. Describing Korein’s music always reminds me of an old Rolling Stone review for Missy Elliot, “She jumps so far off the heezy, she lands right on another heezy.”

10) LX Rudis — “Audible Method 1.43” — I don’t have a lot of info on this one, but I’m still super-excited to hear a live-studio-CDR hybrid disc such as this. Field recordings, live performance, editing, mastering all get mixed up quite thoroughly here. It’s hard for me to make this sound as amazing as it actually is, the mystery of whether you can actually acquire a copy makes it every more fun. Better check with Rudis at his MySpace profile… and while you’re there, dig his blogged bio for fun bits about trying out for tuxedomoon and the Dead Kennedys.

transe_des_mots11) Frederique Bruyas — “La Transe Des Mots” — This is the album that got me thinking, “gee, I really need to learn French.” It’s a one-two punch of bibliophile elan and Diamanda Galas’s swagger, and well worth your time. Bruyas collaborator Pierrejean Gaucher’s dexterous fretwork surprises at all turns.

51tixbrjyxl_sl500_aa240_12) Annea Lockwood — “A Sound Map of the Danube” — A triumph, which all sound enthusiasts should own. Lockwood not only covers the entirety of the Danube in this three-disc hunt for the river’s voice, but features many inhabitants whose daily lives are shaped along its way. This is fascinating listening, perfectly captured in a sumptuous release from the always-worthwhile Lovely Music Limited label.

bnn21_313) Lee Hangjun, Hong Chulki — “Expanded Celluloid, Extended Phonograph” ( 확장된 셀룰로이드, 연장된 포노그래프 ) — An astounding film demonstrating a concept vital to understanding many of the fine releases from Seoul-based Balloon & Needle label, that of “cracks” or “gaps” in media. For Hangjun, this takes the form of not filming anything, but rather choosing to work directly with the film itself. For Chulki, listeners are confronted with the sound of recordless turntables, or of the “meta-record” created by putting two needles to digital time-code vinyl records. It’s a world where sound influences itself, and raw film finds a place in the spotlight, and is definitely a world worth your visit.

A musical meme!

August 26, 2008

Scott, of the Musical Perceptions blog, came up with a fun meme— and since it’s a rarity that I have any reason to participate in these, I’m happy to run into this one via Classical-Drone.

“So I pose the question this way: what musical performance of the 20th century would you most want to either witness or take part in? Imagine performing in the orchestra for the Rite of Spring premiere in 1913, or being in the crowd at Stalag VIII in 1945 for Messiaen’s performance of his Quartet for the End of Time?”

Pretty good answers, I must say. Still, I’d rather go halfsies on Caleb’s time-cab:

“The original staging of Xenakis’ Perseopolis in the ruins of the palace of Darius, at night, played over a hundred loudspeakers spread through the ruins, with fireworks, choreographed torch runners, natural fire, and huge projectors. Kinda sticky politically, but still.

Actually, there were several Stockhausen events to make me yearn for time transport. He played a series of concerts in the caves of Jeita, Lebanon, where he placed 180 speakers among the rocks and played his electronic and intuitive music in the inner dome of the caverns…”

As for me, I know exactly what places I’d hit– first off, John Cage and Lejaren Hiller’s 1969 performance of “HPSCHD;” the simultaneous outpouring of seven harpsichords, multiple tapes of noises, outer space slides, films– all in the University of Illinois Assembly Hall. After this, I’d part ways with Caleb for a few months, and use some of my future money to clear out the record shops (vinyl, baby!) and bide my time until December. Of course, I’d have New Year’s Eve plans… for any Hendrix-phile like myself, the chance to take in all four Fillmore East Band of Gypsies shows is just too tempting.

By this time, I’d have the whole McFly bit down pat, so I’d be ready for travels a bit further back… 1914, to the London Coliseum, for some of Luigi Russolo’s performances with his Intonorumori. Time travel most likely being rather expensive, I’d defray my costs with some minidisc bootlegs, making for a lovely limited-edition boxset to finance the trip upon my return.

Inexplicable photos

July 10, 2008

I’ve seen some strange things in the past few days– a “missing iguana” sign for starters… always a bit worrisome to see something like this upon entering a restaurant!

Or how about some pre-made titles for your next science fair? I like the example exhibit: “How Were Dinosaur Tracks Made?” Umm… by dinos? Perfect for every kid too lazy to write “hypothesis” out long-hand!

When your phlegmatic sloth of a bum/child finishes off their science project, what better way to relax than with the “Sky Surfer Strike Force Alien Attack” movie? It’s 90 minutes of ACTION, yeah!

New music beef, haha

July 3, 2008

Here’s something unexpected– a new music rap that shout-outs to “The Rest Is Noise,” threatens Bang on a Can with a beatdown, and uh… uses the word “Bizabbit.”

Yeah, you heard me. Snoop just yakked a little in his mouth.

You’ll want the lyrics and the full story on the group, Hybrid Groove Project, which is why you’ll want to click their link.