I don’t know what has charmed me more: the matter-of-fact title of this little collection or the fact that its creator Evan Spacht goes by the name Grizzle-E on SoundCloud. I find both things rather adorable…even while I’m finding the music on here challenging and perfectly abrasive. The titles of the tracks set you up for what’s in store. As advertised, one track is simply drums, melodica, and trombone, with the “cables” being what sounds like open patch cables feedback when physically handled. My favorite track, though, is simply called “noise_ppooll,” and it’s a magnificent six-minute exploration of little snippets of feedback, hums, shortwave radio static, and deeply felt rumbles. Here’s hoping we’ll be privy to some more of Spacht’s experiments before the year is out.
Music doesn’t get much prettier than this. Apparently recorded using primarily the sounds of a Baldwin Overture organ, Jef Drawbaugh aimed at capturing the feeling of watching the sun move through the sky over Iceland. And boy did he ever succeed. The gentle pulse of the sunrise, the haze of midday, the calm of sunset…they are all here, brought to glowing life by his simple melodies and bits of electronic processing. Intentional or not, Drawbaugh has also created the perfect soundtrack for short, crisp fall days. I can’t wait to go kicking through the leaves on a nice long early afternoon walk with this thrumming through the ol’ earbuds.
For some reason, I’ve missed out on the fact that 11 days from now, the St. Johns No.Fest is going to be happening in my fair neighborhood. In case you’ve missed out on this or are unfamiliar, this all day event brings together music of all stripes, with an emphasis on experimental fare, to the little region of North Portland for live performances. This varies from a big stage in the heart of the main square to a tiny stage next to a pizza parlor to the various bars/coffee shops that line N Lombard. The lineup is a corker, chock full of friends of Experimental Portland: ALTO!, ABSV, Stochastic Mettle Union, Consumer., Party Killer, RLLRBLL, and much much more. I’m going to embed the schedule for the event below, or you can check out the full St. Johns No.Fest site here. I’ll hopefully see you there.
One of the people I connected with early on with this blog was Jason Morales, the amazing musician and sound warrior who once made music under the name Abusive Consumer, but is now known as ABSV. He’s been a huge supporter of the cause of this site and our (hopefully soon-to-be returning) series of shows. One hand washing the other and all…I’m happy to share a new track that Jason has dropped on SoundCloud, a taster of an upcoming cassette release he is doing on SaDoDamascus Records. It’s a lovely little jam, with lots of potentially overwhelming bass and what appears to be the sound of creaking gears coming to life in the background. Or maybe this is what Jason imagines is happening inside of an actual FM radio once he kicks the power on and tunes it to a station playing some deep reggae. Or maybe that’s my imagination running wild once again under the influence of this sweet, sweet music.
I’ve talked up David Owen Tevlin on this site once before, discussing his fine work under the D$ guise. This month saw the release of another album by this unique artist, this time unfurled under the David/Owen banner. Ostensibly created to take up the two sides of a C-20 cassette release, the two tracks out under the name LongYellowForm are flat out beautiful utilizing long expressive drones and what I’m guessing are deeply lost guitar loops. Tevlin lists it under the tag “devotional,” which makes perfect sense as this would provide an ideal soundtrack to transcendental meditation sessions or some other kind of long night of the soul.
Remember me? I’m the one who posted and posted on this site and then took a break because the strain of trying to keep up with this on top of my actual day job and my family concerns got to be too much to handle. My thinking was that I’d be done for good, trying to update the calendar when I had a few extra minutes and shaking my head at all the shows and music I was likely missing.
Well, my itch for the music and people that I’ve met via this blog and the shows that I’ve curated has become far too regular to ignore. So I’m going to to try – try, mind you – to do more work here on the blog and in the scene. I’ve got nothing to lose but that last bit of my sanity and a few hours of my time each week. Bear with me because I know it’s going to be difficult to get my legs under me at the start.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about what’s going on in Eugene where a noise/experimental scene is boiling over to a degree that rivals what we have here at home. And one of the folks that is helping stoke these fires is Andrew Quitter and his “anxiety electronics” project Regosphere.
I’ve likely talked him up on this site before because he’s just that good, but I’ve been especially inspired by his most recent cassette release Insomnia. It has all the markings of its titular condition or a good acid trip with a pair of extended cuts that will make you feel like the walls are undulating around you and shadows are leaking into your peripheral vision. And that’s before his processed, death metal vocals come into the mix. To muddle a phrase from Timothy Leary, tune in, get turned on, and drop off the grid for about a half hour with this as your soundtrack.
I hate to offer up excuses for my failure to keep the calendar updated, but life got right in the way of me taking care of that business. But it is done now. Did I miss anything? Shoot me an email to experimentalportland – at – gmail.com and let me know.
As you may have already noticed, I have stopped posting on the regular here at Experimental Portland. Not for a lack of trying…just for a lack of spare time to really commit to the blog the way I wanted to. So, rather than beat myself up about not getting something new up every day, I’m going to put a halt to regular posts.
BUT I’m not shutting down the site completely. I’m going to maintain the Event Calendar as I do think there should be a place for experimental fans both in the city and those getting ready to visit Portland to find interesting events and shows to attend. You should still let me know about those events if I don’t have them on the calendar at experimentalportland – at- gmail.com or via Twitter @experimentalpdx.
Thank you for visiting here regularly for the last two years to sample new material and read my blathering about music of all shapes and sizes. I’ll still be working hard to highlight your efforts in my local and national outlets. I can’t promise miracles, but what I can do, I will do.
Radio has always been very important to me. It was where I got my first musical education as a very impressionable pre-teen living in Massachusetts, imbibing the sounds from the various college radio stations my plastic radio could pick up. When I moved to the West Coast, it was both the public radio station in Astoria – KMUN – and picking up the broadcast of CBC’s Brave New Waves that kept me sane during those long dark nights of the tortured teenage soul.
By the time I was out on my own, I kept myself locked into the terrestrial waves, particularly a show that used to be broadcast on Saturday and Sunday nights on OPB Radio. Host Steven Cantor would spend three solid hours challenging my preconceptions of jazz, classical, electronic, and pop. And he had a radio voice to die for. I didn’t know until later that he was someone who had spent a long time in the jazz world, helping produce records by Lyle Mays and Pat Metheny, close with Jaco Pastorius. All I knew is that he was making amazing connections between sonic worlds that spoke to my feverish musical interests.
Cantor has been bounced around quite a bit since OPB decided to get deeply into the music game. His show was at first shuttled over to KMHD but after a few months was cut loose, leaving it without a terrestrial home for the first time in at least 15 years. Fast forward to late last year when I was hanging uncomfortably at a party meant to announce the lineup for the PDX Jazz Festival (and to catch trumpeter Dave Douglas perform) and a nice bearded gent made his way across the room to me, saying, “You look like you don’t belong here. What’s your name?” It took me about 45 seconds to key in on the voice: Steven Cantor, in the flesh.
Through the course of the conversation we had that night, I learned that Steven had done like all industrious sorts do and ported his musical endeavors over to the web, posting regular mixes and shows on Mixcloud for all to stream and enjoy. And boy have I ever been enjoying them. Which is why I’m kicking myself for not drawing your attention to them sooner.
The theme of each installment is the same: a playful bounce around the musical map, making quick stops in varying worlds of melody and mood. The episode featured here starts off with the familiar pulse of Miles Davis before moving along to some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a touch of Messiaen, and a closing set that wends in Boards of Canada and Matthew Herbert. Beats + Pieces In The Cloud never ceases to leave me reeling a little bit with each edition. I can only hope it does a little bit of the same for you.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve adored the compilations that Sonic Debris Multimedia have been unleashing on an unsuspecting public every four to six months. But I’ve been very curious to hear what some of their affiliate artists would do when left to their own devices for the course of a full album. Lucky me – and all of us really – SDM have dropped their first two non-comp releases and they are spectacular. First up (above) is the new album by one man electro-freak Ras Mix. His album Adventures in Clown Town keeps to the playful spirit of that title, utilizing well-placed brushstrokes of oddball synthesized sound and beats that sneak into the bloodstream like a virus. You might recognize some of his antics as being dub-influenced, but only inasmuch as you could imagine Large Professor on a huge molly binge, trying to capture the sound of his cells exploding in real time.
Sister Mamie Foreskin’s sound plays a little closer to your usual pop song structure. It just takes its sweet time resolving what might be considered a verse or a chorus. As they wander, they devolve into a teeming mass of ideas that call to mind the finer hours of Mr. Bungle or the smash-and-grab aesthetic of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. It’s a modernist group as well, squiggling their collective way through laptop composition and bending circuits in an almost telekinetic fashion. Once a proper instrument cuts through the chaos, it’s like shot of adrenalin to the heart.