Posts Tagged ‘music’

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 11/15/08

November 15, 2008

Sweet Action kicked off the first few minutes of this week’s “ITDE” with a nasty surprise– Tracy Chapman. Who knew Nick was such a fan? Anyways, it was supposed to be some Otis Redding for me, but he switched it! This is like drinking Pepsi when you think it’s going to be Coke. Nothing to do but hold your nose, and wait for the vomit.

I countered with some vintage DaveX material, and am currently swirling a bit of Jin Sangtae’s “Extensity of Hard Disk Drive” around my earholes to make sure no germy detritus has been left behind. But hey, cool things are on the horizon– I’m doing a live set tonight, just me and some processed balloon… and you might get to hear some more vintage DaveX, which I’ll be playing to illustrate points while being interviewed for an upcoming documentary about Southern Illinois experimental music!

As it turns out, keeping up a liveblogged playlist while being interviewed (and hosting a radio show) is very difficult. I will simply list materials used– if you’re super-interested in the exact order, let me know, and I’ll figure it out for you. Otherwise…

~OrE~ — Heavenly Noise (excerpt)
~OrE~ — Doug’s Party (excerpt)
DaveX — The Only Motion is Returning
EKV — Purification
EKV — MOVE
Thanos Chrysakis, Dario Villegas, Oli Mayne — Terse Symmetry
Thanos Chrysakis, Dario Villegas, Oli Mayne — Phosphorus
Thanos Chrysakis, Dario Villegas, Oli Mayne — Sonoric Clay
Thanos Chrysakis, Dario Villegas, Oli Mayne — Fountain of Violet
EKV — 8onkey
EKV — We’re Having Problems
EKV — Incidental Damages
RP Collier — Dirigible
RP Collier — Prongulator
RP Collier — Over Valley
RP Collier — Yaw
RP Collier — Nightside
RP Collier — Jet Stream
Nils Butmann — Welcome
RP Collier —  2
Jin Sangtae — Fixed
Choi Joonyong, Hong Chulki, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide — 1/1
Choi Joonyong, Hong Chulki, Sachiko M, Otomo Yoshihide — 1/2
~OrE~ — Mr. Lincoln’s Party (excerpt)

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 10/18/08

October 18, 2008

So now it’s official– I’m definitely back for good. I know some of you were holding your breath, wondering if I’d make good on leaving after Oct 11th, but I had too much fun with that broadcast to not stick around and sign up for next year’s. I’ll yak more about how everything went (and what exactly occurred) once I get more of the pix and video back.

Until then, let’s deal with today’s broadcast, eh? I started off with one of my new favorite albums, Jess Rowland’s “The Problem With the Soda Machine,” on Edgetone Records. This album is fantastic, and I’ve been listening to it quite a bit. There’s enough accessability here to attract a number of positive remarks from various callers, but still a healthy experimental basis– it’s not every day that lyrics come fully from internal company e-mails, haha. Actually, Edgetone has been really good to me this last week, with a nice big care package having come my way. I’m still working through it… believe it or not, some Jimi Hendrix boots crossed my path, which slowed my progress considerably. I’m kind of a sucker for mono Jimi. And do I dare mention the Martin Denny? Let’s just say that it’s a side-effect of moving into a very retro ranch-style house– you have to start playing exotica LPs and savoring the rich flavor of a very different American dream. And of course, there’s a lot of experimental qualities to these early stereo outings as well– I’m compelled to wonder about an alternate timeline where experimentation in music took a serious branch at Martin Denny, Les Baxter, and Enoch Light…

Anyways, I’m playing Ministry of Rites “Grid” right now– not exotica by any means, unless you’re substituting radio squggles for the jungle animals, and shimmering blankets of electronic tone for the omnipresent chime tree! This disc is another of the Edgetone releases, featuring Rent Romus and Tobias Fischer. I think CJ Borosque would have made an interesting addition on some of these tracks as well– or hey, while I’m dreaming out loud, how about bringing Lx Rudis, Andre Custodio and Ernesto Diaz-Infante onboard for a supergroup? Call it “Crashing the Russian Ministry,” hahahahahahahaha

Alrighty, on to more Edgetone-love. Yep, you knew it would finally have to happen… I had to whip out some of my favorite, Eddie the Rat. “Out Behind the 8-Ball,” is tons of Pete Martin fun as expected. Sweet Action’s Brazilian co-host would dig a lot of the Rat’s polyrhythms, but he’s currently absconded to the back yard for conversation and cigarettes– his loss!

Jess Rowland — The Future of the Machines
Jess Rowland — The Problem With the Soda Machine
Jess Rowland — Unwrapping Invocation
Jess Rowland — Remove the Vending Machines (But Not Their Contents)
Jess Rowland — Unwrapping, pt.1
Ministry of Rites — Nightlight
Ministry of Rites — Saturnine Shores
Eddie the Rat — Out Behind the 8-Ball
Eddie the Rat — Pete Townsend is my Dad
Eddie the Rat — (Once Again, This Time Around the) Anhedonia Blooze
Olly Wilson, Thomas Fosnocht — Piano Piece
Gary Lee Nelson — Jabber
Damion Romero — Missed Offerings
Daniel Menche — Grand Perpetuator
Dave Phillips — Recycling
Matt Weston — Transistor Radio

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 10/4/08

October 4, 2008

You can all breathe easy– I’m going to keep doing “It’s Too Damn Early.” I had a low spot there, and things were close, but I decided after last week’s set that things felt right for continuing. I got a fun surprise today… an e-mail from Sonore Records informing me of their 10th anniversary. Although “It’s Too Damn Early” isn’t quite ten years old, that does mean my broadcasting history is– Sonore Records were among the very first to send me promotional recordings. I suppose that’s kind of nifty to think about.

I’ve played from a couple 3″ discs this morning– a lovely little Coin Gutter disc on Vanity Records, as well as some new (to me, that is) Ironing stuff, “The End of the Jackson Party.” Ironing actually sent along a few little buttons in his DJ care package. My daughter ended up gladly adding one featuring a large-mouthed cartoon man to her collection. “Just tell people it’s for a very cool dude from Florida called Ironing,” I said.

Ruins — Warrido
Ruins — Quopern
Morceaux de Machines — Multivision Espacial
Andrew Liles — The Dying Submariner, Part I
Andrew Liles — The Dying Submariner, Part II
Andrew Liles — The Dying Submariner, Part III
Coin Gutter — Everyone Else Was Two
Matt Weston — “Millions of Yeah”
Ironing — The End of the Salsa Party
Ironing — Point of No Return
Ironing — Sear
Ironing — Peel
Ironing — Tender Eyes
Ironing — Jackson Party
If, Bwana –- Xyloxings
Noah Creshevsky -– Shadow of a Doubt
Noah Creshevsky -– Favorite Encores
Noah Creshevsky -– Intrada
If, Bwana –- Cicada #4Version Barnard

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 8/23/08

August 30, 2008

Well, tonight is the night– I’ll be playing the world broadcast premiere of John Cage’s “Twenty-six with Twenty-eight & Twenty-nine,” one of the latest Number pieces to be released by OgreOgress. And of course, I have a lot of other great stuff as well, which you can discover as we move along.

I’ve practically been living with the Hazard material this week– for reason, it’s completely floating my boat, and I don’t mind the fact that I’ve listened to this album so many times in a row. I hate to minimize it, but it’s great packing music– sounds good anywhere in the house, and I don’t miss out on too much while busy with something.

On the other hand, I’ve been back into the electroacoustic swing of things as well. Lots more odd combinations of electronics, processing, and live work on my plate than usual. Always a nice thing! I’m quite taken with this Peter Zummo and Tom Hamilton album, “Sylbersonic Trombone.” It’s not much to look at, but the disc has got it where it counts. It’s on Penumbra, maybe you’ll go pick up a copy for yourself…

Matt Weston’s newest, “Not To Be Taken Away,” is pretty good work. The tracks are really free, unabashedly immediate, and full of surprises. I’ll definitely be playing more from this one next week. See you then!

Nils Bultmann, Roscoe Mitchell, Parry Karp, Paddy Cassidy — The Madness
The Lords of Outland — Dark Wanderer
The Lords of Outland — Do-gooders can run but they can’t hide
CJ Borosque, Robert M. — Luggage Lost in the Dissatisfied Machine
Val-Inc — @
Val-Inc — Damba
John Cage — Twenty-six with Twenty-eight & Twenty-nine
Offthesky feat. Florian Ferbacher — Midlight
Harmonia 76 — Vamos Companeros
Hazard — Stream
Hazard — Barrier
Peter Zummo, Tom Hamilton — Raging Ions
James Ross — Bell Meditiation
James Ross — Brick Saw II
Dan Stearns — Day Walks In
Istvan Peter B’Racz — Slide’M2
Matt Weston — “Millions of Yeah”
Matt Weston — “Something Sensational in Every Issue”

BIG news, last minute– OMG JOHN CAGE

August 22, 2008

Feel like hearing some rare John Cage material? The folks at the Ogre/Ogress label have furnished me with some ONE-TIME ONLY material for tonight’s show– you definitely won’t want to miss out!

The best thing? This is only a WARM-UP for next week… I’ll have more details on Monday, unless I get excited and spill the beans tonight.

DJ Mo will be keeping me on my toes, though, as she readies herself for Kids Kamp. This week, yours truly is providing a cover for Mama C, and will be bringing all sorts of pre-teen craziness into the studio after my normal broadcast. Yeah, that’s right– it’s an invasion!

Returning DJ superstars Mo and Melts join with rookie platter-spinners Milky and Marbles for an all-out overload of kids’ music.

Even if your own tastes run a bit more extreme, strap the kiddies down for this one. It’s way better than Saturday morning cartoons! Feel free to call in at 618-457-3691.

Robert Dow – “Precipitation within sight” & “White Water (airflow)”

August 20, 2008

Often, I receive promotional copies of an artist’s work that are not intended for general distribution: live sets dubbed as a single track on CDR, pre-mastered works in-progess, or compilations of selected works that could be broadcast but are not necessarily to be considered a proper album.

A while back, I was sent such a compilation by Robert Dow, director of the Soundings... festival of electroacoustic music and a researcher in the area of electroacoustic composition and performance with the University of Edinburgh. Although Dow’s knowledge of electroacoustic works far exceeds my own, I still thought it would be nice to write about one of the pieces for you– consider it half introduction, and half review.

“Precipitation within sight” is an interesting composition; generally, due to Dow’s willingness to allow natural sounds to remain unobscured by processing; and personally, as it ties closely with Miya Masaoka’s “For Birds, Planes, & Cello” which I have been enjoying recently.

Like Masaoka, Dow chooses natural sounds as both a focal point and a springboard for studio performance, constructing complimentary percussive sounds which often conjure the spacial properties of this work’s center– Smoo Cave in Durness, Scotland. Generous field recordings taken at Smoo Cave feature throughout, with indoor and outside events in evidence. Of particular beauty are Dow’s recordings of splashing water and children, appearing just prior to a bursting noise of some sort, rather like stones thrown upon a metal surface. I’m not sure what to make of the electronic whinnying that proceeds thereafter, underscored by a low rushing sound, and gradually taking aural focus… perhaps Dow is suggesting the feel of coming to the surface of water?

In his program notes, Dow states that he is interested in the “strong associative pull of such real world sounds and their tendency to create specific contexts,” which seems to be thought of as a problem among many electroacoustic artists in their rush to manipulate and obscure every source recording. Taken in this light, a reading of “Precipitation within sight” might include themes of motion as both physical movement and de/constructive energy, many of the associated emotions conjured by a journey through water, and possibly even our lingering human connection to formative natural spaces such as caves. There’s a lot to consider, so I won’t attempt to offer a conclusive summation here. Rather, I intend to whet your appetite– Dow has a release pending on the fine Russian label, Electroshock, so this might be a good time to become more acquainted with the composer.

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 8/16/08

August 16, 2008

I didn’t have a tremendous amount to say on this week’s show, at least not verbally. For those of you who tuned in, I did a lot of source-mixing which I think turned out very well. Please note the inclusion of my good friend Tony Youngblood in the playlist– his new album is finally out; I encourage you dig on it later today.

I got into a mood earlier today to hear Ernesto Diaz-Infante after reviewing an old 3″ cdr he collaborated on with Mike Khoury. The review isn’t live until Sunday, but duh– I like it a lot. Anyway, that’s why EDI is all over this playlist.

Warm Climate — 19th Century Blessings
Warm Climate — Can’t Forget To Know You
Tony Youngblood — On the Parking Lot
Brainiac — Juicy (On a Cadillac)
Mike Hallenbeck — 2 Turntables and a Microwave
Mike Hallenbeck — Elephant
David Rosenboom — Portable Gold and Philosophers’ Stones
Asher — Intervals (1-3)
Tom Hamilton — London Fix (excerpt)
GRKZGL — Antitulé
Ian Yeager — Music For Guitar + Computer
Mike Hallenbeck — Leaves Pressed Around a Microphone
EKV — Purification
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — Antithesis
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — Untitled track 1 (from pr90259)
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — from Henry who just wrote
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — Untitled track 3 (from pr90259)
Ernesto Diaz-Infante — Untitled track 4 (from pr90259)
Preston Ari Swirnoff — For A Room Full of Organs
Maurizio Bianchi — Sretsulkyz
Lx Rudis, Andre Custodio, Ernesto Diaz-Infante — Crashing the Russian Renaissance, Live @ Luggage Store Gallery, 6/27/02
Livestock — Lawndrop
Coin Gutter — Lift With the Knees

Experimental music on video Friday

August 8, 2008

I need a more catchy name for this feature, if it’s going to be a regular Friday thing… got any suggestions?

Here’s a few videos, pre-washed, and ready for consumption. The first is Sabrina Meyer, in a 2007 performance of a John Cage work. Fun use of editing, too.

Here’s the first half of Christian Marclay’s “Guitar Drag,” which I played at least a couple times on my first radio show:

This video should have been longer… the organ had some more to say.

I like Nam June Paik’s work, or what I’ve seen of it, at any rate. It’s sad that I’d never have been able to see many of his videos if it was not for services like YouTube.

Chica X – “The Dead Yard”

August 5, 2008

So I’m reviewing a CD from an eight year-old girl, probably recorded way back in her career when she was six. Obviously, I can’t be too serious here– besides, we share a last name– I’m already compromised.

Chica X, fronted by gregarious kiddo Xiola Tapia, combines Tapia’s eager vocals with the cracked production and instrumental talents of her label-boss and father, Jorge Tapia. I could get more detailed, but the liner notes are written in bubble letters. See my predicament?

Whatever, it’s catchy stuff. “Let You Go” might be able to sneak on a ‘B-sides and rarities’ type Pixies boot, and “How To Get Down” is absolutely begging for a dub remix. This is weird on the order of Missy Elliot, seriously.

It’s a lot of fun, and an enjoyable listen. Still, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not much more than ten minutes long. As with every Nail in the Coffin release, this CDR comes wrapped in some fantastic artwork. For “The Dead Yard,” nothing but the finest winged zebras frolicking in a Carebear/Rorschach test will suffice.

“The Dead Yard” is available from Nail in the Coffin Records.

Daniel Godston, Eric Glick Rieman live guests on “ITDE”

August 4, 2008

I just confirmed Daniel Godston and Eric Glick Rieman as live guests on my upcoming broadcast, this August 9th– obviously you’re going to want to tune in.

With guidance provided by a graphic score co-composed by a trio of garden snails, Rieman and Godston will be improvising on  deconstructed/reconstructed Rhodes piano, trumpet, and “small instruments”. If you’re in the area, I welcome you to drop by the station.

Please be aware that I may attempt to draft you to take us all out for breakfast afterward, so bring your wallet.

This is going to be a fantastic broadcast, and I really don’t want you to miss a minute of it. Be sure to tune in this coming Saturday, from 4-6:30 AM, CST to catch the whole thing. Feel free to call in at: 618-457-3691 to show your support for experimental and improv music, and of course, for your favorite DJ.

Look below the fold for tour info:

(more…)

Hong Chulki, Choi Joonyong – “Hum and Rattle”

August 4, 2008

From the Seoul-based Balloon & Needle label, “Hum and Rattle” features some of label head Hong Chulki and Choi Joonyong’s phenomenal turntable and opened CD player compositions. Advantageous use of noise bursts that could make Merzbow flinch, contrasted with periods of near (or total) silence make this an ideal album for headphone listening– especially in regards to the delicacy of Choi’s contributions, which comprise everything from the the faintest digital seek-sound, to full-blown read error exploding into unlikely patterns of bitrate-lacework.

For his end; Hong’s turntable tends toward the lower frequency (and possibly sans vinyl) approach to noisemaking. It’s DJ Q-Bert’s nightmare– needle drops, empty platters spinning against the tonearm, skipping one groove and proceeding to practically lathe-cut the next.

Fortunately, both Hong and Choi evidence a strong ability to not only play off one another’s sounds, but an enthusiasm for allowing both sounds and each other room to breathe. Openness is what sets “Hum and Rattle” apart from many other discs splashing about in similar waters. This approach is most easily heard on the second track, “u a”, something like an 11-minute act of digital call-and-response where one player is a void.

The album closes with a live recording made during a Relay free improvisation meeting. Although it naturally lacks the stereo dynamic that helps make the previous tracks as compelling, it’s nice to hear evidence that Hong and Choi do not rely on studio tricks for the generation of their sound. Rather, the turntables and CD players are treated as instruments in their own right, a much-mouthed but rarely-heard acclamation.

“Hum and Rattle” is attractively packaged in a simple folded-card sleeve, and is available from Balloon & Needle.

Gen Ken Montgomery – “Drilling Holes in the Wall”

August 2, 2008

From the Monochrome Vision label (in Russia, of all places) comes a collection of Gen Ken Montgomery works from 1986 to 1991. Montgomery’s prolific nature means it is by no means complete; but still invaluble for assembling disparate works now relatively unavailable, previously unreleased, or truncated in their original outing.

On this disc, Montgomery’s title track is the main feature. Sourced completely from a modified Casio MS-10 keyboard, Montgomery wrings a breathtaking variety of sounds from this miniature machine. Originally presented as an eight-channel concert, “Drilling Holes in the Walls” does not let listeners down. If anything, more current electronics artists should be ashamed for the paucity of their work, given the ubiquitous nature of enormously-powerful synthesizers at their disposal today!

“New Age Machines,” now apparently complete for the first time due to the inclusion of an additonal ten minutes, harkens to the classic days of electroacoustic music. Conjuring visions of the INA-GRM, Montgomery proceeds to flesh out a science fiction machine of epic proportions– or as my daughter puts it, “something like technology, and critters, and maybe two trashcan lids banging?”

As consistently holds true with any of Montgomery’s works, it is the listener’s willingness and enthusiasm for sound that will make or break its perceived value. Take “Icebreaker,” for instance. As one of Montgomery’s favorite noise-makers (along with various laminators), the ice-crusher commands our full attention, merrily rumbling and squeaking and crushing along– it’s something like the Wall-e of it’s day, I guess. These sounds are of interest to Montgomery, apparently right up there with any of the more commonly-cited natural sounds of interest: birds, rain, seashores, etc. Although increasingly processed into something more abstract, listeners should have a healthy appreciation for sound of all kinds before seeking this disc out.

Of particular interest to me, however, is the live cut “Don’t Bring Those Things.” Referencing Montgomery’s exasperation with East Berlin for denying entry to his homemade electronics (to the point that he was forced to borrow equipment for a live performance) the track is a lovely example of Montgomery’s aesthetic, unfiltered by the studio, and one of only a couple times I’ve heard his voice in a recording.

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 8/2/08

August 2, 2008

Today’s show started out strong, and so far, I’m very happy with how it’s going. Playing from the Cichocki/Shields/Rale split DVD-R was difficult without a television available to help select the tracks, but I checked it out ahead of time– hooray for auto-play! BTW, a dedicated TV and DVD player are next on my WDBX wishlist, should anyone feel generous.

Right now, I’m doing the “Rothkamm-centric” portion of the show I promised a couple weeks back. Taking my queue from Rothkamm’s studio multitudes, I too will be harnessing the power of technology to thicken the mix– at present, I am mixing from three Rothkamm albums– I wonder how many instances of the man this has yielded?

I think the Rothkamm mix went very well. I may have mis-labeled a couple of the track names in the playlist, however. It gets a little hard juggling that many discs at once! For the record; I used FB01, FB02, FB03, LAX, Just 3 Organs, and Opus Spongebobicum to create the mix. At present, I’m playing Carl Stone’s “Kreutz” from Nak Won, on the Sonore label. I sent a friend to a video of this played live the other day, so I figured I’d go ahead and play the album version this week.

I’m digging the Warm Climate disc, “Circle Dub/Regrettable Form,” on Phantom Limb. It’s going to take a few more listens to fully get my thoughts worked out on it, though. It just came in with another, which I’ve not yet had time to check out– maybe I’ll have a review for you this coming week!

Say Bok Gwai — Not All Chinese Are Good At Math
Kevin Shields, Cristopher Cichocki — Motorhands
Rale, Cristopher Cichocki — Tattered Syntax
Gen Ken Montgomery — Don’t Bring Those Things, Live Erloserkirche 3/19/86
Gen Ken Montgomery — New Age Machines pt.1
Husht — The Glycolysis of an Insistent Bird
Rothkamm — B and B Plus 33
Rothkamm — Independent Bernoulli Trials
Rothkamm — Half Man, Half Amazing
Rothkamm — Outdoor Heritage of New Jersey
Rothkamm — Reality OR Room in Hollywood
Rothkamm — Opusspongebobicum, Variation 23
Rothkamm — Opusspongebobicum, Variation 10
Rothkamm — Incident Outside Mesquite
Rothkamm — Ancient Meats
Carl Stone — Kreutz
“Blue” Gene Tyranny — Somewhere in Arizona 1970
“Blue” Gene Tyranny — Somewhere in Search of Heaven, A.D. 999
“Blue” Gene Tyranny — Somewhere Inside the Red Circle
Warm Climate — Rehearsal Repulsive
Warm Climate — Terminal City/Warm Winter II/Backstabbing Waitress
Absolut Null Punkt — Absolute Magnitude 1
Amere3 — Hiba
Amere3 — Rauli

Experimental music on video

August 1, 2008

I’ve decided that Fridays at STARTLING MONIKER should feature a few interesting experimental music videos. I come across a lot of good ones during the course of the week, so it’s time I started sharing. Here’s three to kick it off:

The first is Ironing, performing live at Hal McGee’s first Apartment Music show. Ironing describes the atmosphere; “Went through his stereo for volume control, RSVP due to capacity issues, coffee and cake served. Recordings were made straight to CDR and all performers had a complete recording of the entire show before they left!”

Next up, Pamela Z performs “Metalvoice,” at The Kitchen in New York, October 2004. I’m still up in the air about my feelings on her performances– theatre has never been an interest of mine, and it’s obviously a crucial element of her work. On the other hand, I have a huge fascination with artists exploring extended vocal elements…

Speaking of extended vocal elements, here’s my go-to lady for the job, Joan La Barbara. Finding her associated with Sesame Street just made her even more super cool.

Husht – “Amber”

August 1, 2008

It’s always interesting, but occasionally embarrassing, to look back at our younger selves. Many things change– priorities, interests, our aesthetics; but checking on these can reveal a previously-unknown arc of our existence. Suddenly, the point of our present becomes a line joining moments over time.

It’s especially fun to do with musicians. When I got the chance to check out “Amber,” a 15-year-old tape recording that had been languishing in Andrew Chadwick/Ironing’s personal holdings, I was rather excited. The tape, recorded to boombox “in the wee hours of the morning” with Jim Tramontana, is a series of remarkable pieces both for their forward-looking sense of improvisation and the relatively low-tech means employed for the production. “Paul’s Very Exhausted Horse” for instance; features a variety of small electric guitar noises, a cracking patch cord, and every extended technique these two could muster for wringing sounds from both. I’m still wondering how the little hoofbeat rhythm was made!

There is a bit of repetition on this disc. “Morphogenesis” carries on for nearly 20 minutes, and for such a large piece, does a fair job of keeping it together. Laborious amp groaning and some electrical grounding problems present a pleasant ambience for Chadwick and Tramontana to nestle water and cow sounds within. An unexpected snippet of “The Star-Spangled Banner” drops in, something of the Ironing works I’m more familiar with. “Threads” starts in much the same manner, but doesn’t seem to find its footing as well as the previous track. After what may have been a short pause to re-group, the duo manage a little five-minute spell of something like the ryūteki in Japanese gagaku. Entrancing stuff, demanding of your attention.

As with all Hymns releases, “Amber” is attractively packaged in a heavyweight paper slip with insert. For this disc, however, Chadwick has gone to considerable trouble distressing the paper inserts with outdoor contaminents naturally stuck to the backside– now sandwiched between the paper and a prom photo (or something of the kind, anyway they’re all unique)– and finally, laminated for posterity. Fun stuff, this.

Husht’s “Amber” is available now through Hymns.

Miya Masaoka, Joan Jeanrenaud — “For Birds, Planes & Cello”

July 31, 2008

A subtle release for Miya Masaoka’s new label, Solitary B, “For Birds, Planes & Cello” is something of a ‘grower.’ Upon my inital listening session, I could confirm little more than my own piqued interest and the ongoing quality work of Marcos Fernandes, who assisted with the field recording of a San Diego canyon central to this piece.

Throughout the untreated field recording, saturated as it is with the sounds of aircraft and peppered with migratory bird calls, Masaoka calls upon cellist Joan Jeanrenaud to emphasize select frequencies utilizing her extended technique. Curiously, Jeanrenaud is often found mimicking the atmospheric rumblings of jet engines passing overhead, though I would have appreciated a similar instrumental link forged with the birds as well. Whether Masaoka’s choice to identify the cello with the artificial elements of the field recording is a careful and telling commentary, or a simple reflection of the limitations of the instrument, it is difficult to discern.

Nevertheless, choices have been made, and Masaoka wants us to be aware of this… hence Jeanrenaud. Her cello breaks the fourth wall to remind us of the composer’s hand– music is, after all, where we choose to bestow our artistic focus. Within “For Birds, Planes & Cello,” it is the same as picking out shapes in the clouds: “This one looks like a lizard, do you see it as well?”

Impeccable production both in-studio and out feature throughout this disc, though it is the sort best enjoyed at a long and uninterrupted sitting. Listeners expecting some sort of free improv on top of field recordings will do best to avoid; as I’ve explained, that really isn’t the game of this album. Recommended.

Assigned reading material

July 30, 2008

Josh Ronsen’s latest issue of Monk Mink Pink Punk— this being number 15– is yet another fantastic collection of reviews and thoughts about new music for literate-minded folks. I love Ronsen’s admission about a particular Kenneth Gaburo album, “I am overjoyed that it is now easy to get: I’ve only seen the original CRI release in libraries.”

Libraries, motherfuckers!

But seriously, I encourage you to go check it out, especially the panel question feature: “What is the nature of Avant-Garde Music today (2007-2008)?” I’m throwing my lot in with Bernhard Günter’s response.

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 7/26/08

July 26, 2008

Sweet Action filched on a promise to play local abstract electronics producer Chaos Kit‘s newest track, so I kicked off the show with it– not my normal thing, but not a bad beginning to this broadcast either. After that, straight into some heavy stuff from Ralf Wehowsky and Anla Courtis, on “Return of the Stone Spirits.” These two do some really good work together, and obviously play off one another’s strengths– RLW’s bizarre streak is a mile wide, and works perfectly alongside Courtis’ shepherding primitive tech back into the light.

Speaking of primitive tech– you should really see the computer we have here at Casa del WDBX. I think it is the world’s last all-wood PC, with the sap-based POS chip. Seriously, manatees get online quicker than this beast. Nevertheless, I’ve pushed on through to do some seriously lovely mixing tonight– more than one person will be quite upset if this broadcast doesn’t survive the recording process. Someday, Southern Illinois will enter the 20th century, and I’ll have a decent net connection… until then, it’s always a craps shoot as to whether there is a recording waiting for me when I return home.

I just noticed that local musician Ryan Oslance will be joining Ahleuchatistas soon. I know full well I was playing their stuff well before anyone in this area– according to my playlists, at least as early as April 2006– I’m thinking I may have to leverage this for a live set here at the station sometime!

Chaos Kit — Primer (Petro Laundry Mix)
Anla Courtis, Ralf Wehowsky — Cristalización espontánea
Anla Courtis, Ralf Wehowsky — Wege zur Besserung der Naturgeister
Anla Courtis, Ralf Wehowsky — Un pequeño hombre gris con cara cuadrada y ojos luminosos
Philip Jeck — Unveiled
Philip Jeck — Chime Again
Philip Jeck — Fanfares
Philip Jeck — Shining
The Gowns — White Like Heaven
Phthalocyanine — Ethiopian Runner
Contagious Orgasm — Heart Station
Philip Glass — Changing Opinion
Philip Glass — Lightning
Joan La Barbara — Shadow Song
Jack Lunetti, Don Brown — Untitled
Grouper — Disengaged
Grouper — Heavy Water
Muslimgauze — Baghdad Mind
John Oswald — Anon
John Oswald — O Hell
John Oswald — 2net
Bernard Parmegiani — Lumière Noire; Moins L’infini
Bernard Parmegiani — Lumière Noire; Instant 0
Bernard Parmegiani — Lumière Noire; Premières Forces – Premières Formes
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 3
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 4
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 5
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 6
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 7
Ahleuchatistas — Brilliant Danderkovs
US Maple — Mountain Top
George Korein — Too Many Days

Copyright = 5 years?

July 23, 2008

Andrew Dubber, New Music Strategies blogger, has a lot of folks riled up about copyright— including me. I’d be remiss if I didn’t send some readers his way; the conversation has been fantastically interesting. His idea? Make copyright an opt-in process, with a 5-year timeout, followed by the option to renew. Dubber hopes the renewal process will lead to a greater percentage of works entering the public domain… I just think its going to result in another enormous bureaucratic clusterfuck mis-managing artists’ rights.

I found this hanging outside WDBX. Either the tree lost its pants, or someone lynched a member of Dokken.

I found this hanging outside WDBX. Either the tree lost its pants, or someone lynched a member of Dokken.

In truth, I’m still not exactly certain where I stand with copyright. It seems to me that copyright and art don’t really go together all that well anyway– art and commerce ultimately have very different goals. If I was a businessman, I could definitely understand the value in hoarding everything of any possible use forever. As an artist, I’ve often given things away for free, or at least encouraged their dissemination. Can these be reconciled?

The fear underlying most copyright decisions (or so it seems to me) is that if a big-name artist’s work wasn’t protected, it could be sold out from under their noses by unscrupulous businessmen, de-valuing their work by making it more freely and cheaply available. But hey, isn’t this already happening? As I type this, a quick torrent search reveals more than one Radiohead discography available right now. One has 33 separate albums, in lossless format, and even features scans of some booklets and liner notes!

Yet Radiohead carries on. I’ve yet to see Johnny Greenwood flipping burgers.

Granted, they might have made a lot of their money before such widespread filesharing came into practice. What about newer artists? Honestly, I have no idea. In some ways, I’m just sort of waiting to see how it plays out. My hope is that the ubiquitous availability of any sort of information, at any time, will de-value ownership itself. I know that I have downloaded songs just to avoid the walk downstairs to retrieve the actual record. I’ve downloaded albums I already own to more easily make a copy for my daughter– the de-valuation of ownership is underway.

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 7/18/08

July 19, 2008

This week, I’m a bit more sure of this particular broadcast’s direction– sans Coke, it’s moving into something a bit more methodical than normal. Maybe a little slower? Hard to tell just yet, but I suspect I’m hearing things a little differently. At any rate, it should be fun to compare this playlist to others at the conclusion.

I’m really pleased with this New Haven Improvisers Collective disc, “Interference.” It’s a solid document of two improvised sets, and does an excellent job of getting a decent sound across to listeners. I’m guessing this is a well-organized collective, as this is the first release for their own NHIC Records imprint.

Right now, I’m playing some of Eddie the Rat’s “Food For the Moon Too Soon” album. This is also a live document, but has a surprisingly good sound quality, especially given the wide variety of instrumentation utilized throughout. Eddie the Rat is among the handful groups I’m sure I’ll never tire of hearing. The music always seems fresh, wholly original, and vitally necessary– any one of which is commendable by itself!

Ack. I just said a lot of really nice things about Rothkamm’s new “Opus Spongebobicum” disc– with the mic off. Well, at least there was a dramatic bit of silence before the start, eh? But seriously, I was mentioning that I am grateful and fortunate to be able to present Rothkamm’s work to you, as I sincerely believe he is one of the great talents of our time. I’m amazed at not only his prolific nature, but the high quality of his musical output– perhaps a Rothkamm-centric broadcast is in order for next month?

Boy, this Bearly Queen “Hair Palm Adventure” sounds like how my head felt yesterday– slow, murky, and muddled. But since the BQ is coming out of a speaker, I think I like it a lot better! Someone dropped off a bunch of cassette tapes here at the station “free cassettes” so naturally, I went through the entire box one by one. I found a 30-second answering machine tape, and did a little looping with the Bearly Queen material, just for fun. This is a great album, and definitely my favorite for the label, Finland’s Luovaja. Don’t sleep on this one!

Satanicpornocultshop — Anorexias Gas Balloon (Candy Says)
Satanicpornocultshop — Detachable P
Chris Cichocki — Lanimilbus Radiation
Chris Cichocki — Transmission
New Haven Improvisers Collective — Quantum Decoherence
Eddie the Rat — Food the the Moon Too Soon, pt. 1
Eddie the Rat — Cannibal
Eddie the Rat — I Ovulate in Mode
Frank Rothkamm — Opus Spongebobicum, Variations 1-32
Bearly Queen — Hairy Palm Adventures (about 30 minutes worth)
Husht — The Flight of Plankton
Husht — Morphogenesis
Husht — Threads