A month or three ago, a nice gent from Chicago came by my apartment to interview me about one of my favorite local artists The OO-Ray for a documentary he was making on Ted Laderus and his amazing music. I nervously, haltingly, blunderingly stumbled my way through an on-camera interview and hopefully sounded like I had some idea of what I was talking about. I’m still not sure if any of my chatter made the cut, but I do know that the director, Hamid Bendaas, is getting close to a finished product as evidenced by this wonderful, short preview of the film that he just put online. Even if I’m not in it, I’m really looking forward to seeing the full documentary whenever it is wrapped up.
Today, we bring you a gorgeous and slightly chilling piece from guitarist Mike Gamble, found on his new album Self Stor.age that sends his melodies through some lovely and occasionally disconcerting visual effects. It’s not unlike the iTunes Visualizer at times, but his emphatically spaced out classical guitar playing covers over those little lung-like pulsations that take over the screen. Gamble will be releasing videos to accompany many of the tracks from his new album. And if you’re in Portland tonight, be sure to swing down to Valentine’s to catch him performing live.
A new edition of the show for y’all. This time just a straight mix of music with no voiceover from me. Hope you like it.
Davis Hooker & Evan Spacht – PANTING [from PANTING]
Evan Spacht – tazen
The OO-Ray – Hunting Song [from Empty Orchestra]
Here’s a release that slipped under my eyesight during the end of 2014: a collection of tracks by Doug Theriault conceived of as accompaniment to a dance performance by Linda Austin. The list of collaborators on here is a murderer’s row of local talent to boot: Creative Music Guild leader Benjamin Kates, The Late Now host Leo Daedalus, amazing jazz artists Catherine Lee and John Savage, among them. And the music…oh the music…an electro-acoustic collage with smatterings of dialogue and the chatter of digital detritus and stray percussion clangs that are continually scrabbling around one another, intercut with some squawking woodwinds and glassy drones. It’s a gloriously unsettled ride through a haunted house/fun house filled with abstract art and metal sculptures.
I love Doug Theriault‘s live performances because you can see firsthand how he extracts so much sound from so little. This video captured at KPSU where he was playing live for Ricardo Wang’s radio show is a great example of that, with him using an iPhone and a laptop to screw up the sound of his guitar in ways both beautiful and harsh. Make sure you have headphones on when listening to it as well to fully enjoy the way he plays with the stereo field as the performance moves forward.
From the artist: “Had an amazing experience in the sensory deprivation float at Portland’s Float On. Having all your senses blocked from the real world and open to your mind feels so good! This track was performed live after I got back; the visuals are feedback created with a 8mm vhs camcorder running into an archer video enhancer filming the monitor. While I was in the tank at Float On I experienced similar visuals that came and went.”
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.