On a day when a famed fashion designer started his own record label and a certain high profile music festival announced that they were opening their arms even wider to Grammy winning artists at the expense of all the no name, little known bands struggling to be heard above the fray, and on a day when video has been released of art/music collective Pussy Riot being attacked by men with whips in Sochi…I was despairing quite a bit about the state of the world and the art that I love so dearly.
What shook me out of my malaise was this new collection of scatterbrained electronic sun flares created by Phil Rawsthorne under the name Lounge Gizzard. Punny name aside, this is the perfect salve to the system. A fucked up reminder that amid the chaos of our slowly devolving planet, there are sparks of brilliance, beauty, and daring that we can cling on to like a lifeboat. Give it a listen here and grab a hold; we’ll ride out this storm together.
Yes, friends, the wonderfully weird and delightful duo from the UK known as Public Service Broadcasting, an outfit that takes samples from old training videos and educational films and creates delirious and groovy pop tunes around them, are going to be here in Portland at the Doug Fir Lounge on Saturday, February 22nd. And Experimental Portland would like to send you and friend to the show.
All you need to do is visit our Facebook page (and please “Like” us, if you haven’t already), find the post regarding this contest, and leave a comment. It’s just that simple. I’ll pick a random winner on Monday by 12pm and announce it there and here so as to stir up waves of jealousy within the rest of you who didn’t win.
Sound good? I hope so. While you’re biding your time to add your comment to the fray, enjoy this video for the PSB song “Spitfire.”
Former Explode Into Colors drummer Lisa Schonberg spent some time last year exploring the dwindling habitat of the Hylaeus bees of Hawaii, insects threatened by pollution and the ever-encroaching modern world. Part of her efforts included using the trip as a musical inspiration for her current project Secret Drum Band. As you’ll hear from these three tracks, out on cassette via Curly Cassettes, some of that inspiration comes from field recordings of other animals and insects, including the coqui frogs. But the majority of it seems to come from some elemental force oozing out of the earth on the Hawaiian islands and from the percussion heavy rumble of music born of the state’s native population.
Golden Retriever has evolving in leaps and bounds over the past five years, something that is apparent with each successive recording and live set that they do. Jonathan Sielaff and Matt Carlson are the perfect sonic architects, pushing the boundaries of what in other hands would be a very hemmed-in approach to their somewhat unusual choice of instrumentation. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Enjoy this extended clip of the group playing two tracks from their new album Seer live at Mississippi Studios and listen to how their melodic expressions are becoming more exacting and more free all at once.
The good people of Sonic Debris Multimedia reached out to me a while ago about curating a stage at this massive event they are putting on to celebrate the release of another surely amazing compilation album for winter 2014. With an offer like that, how could I refuse?
So, tonight starting at 6pm at Watershed PDX, we will be hosting two stages of amazing freeform sounds and expressions. The complete lineup is below, click here for the Facebook event page for all the details about how to get to the venue, and most importantly THE SHOW IS FREE OF CHARGE. Hope to see as many of you in attendance as possible.
Sometimes the simplest of music is the most powerful. Take this long drone piece, played on viola by Justin Smith aka Information. There’s not much to it, just a slow layering of notes, but it creates this mass effect that is reminiscent of Jonny Greenwood’s work on There Will Be Blood or some of the more terrifying Ligeti choices that ended up in 2001.
Amazing music for an important cause. Marcus Fischer and Ted Laderas (aka The OO-Ray), two experimental musicians of Filipino descent, are releasing Tulong, a two-track digital single to help aid Humanitarian Response Philippines, a non-profit helping residents of the island nation rebuild their homes after the destruction wrought by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
It’s a mere $5—though they and I encourage you to drop a little extra cash in the donation jar—for two gorgeous tracks, one recorded live in 2012 at Beacon Sound Records and another recorded late last year at Fischer’s home studio.
Click here to check out the complete lineup but do let me point you to some especially exciting events:
– On March 7th at Cinema 21, there will be a screening of A Clockwork Orange, one of Stanley Kubrick’s most masterful works and featuring the still stirring synthesized soundtrack courtesy of Walter/Wendy Carlos.
– A celebration of Lou Reed’s all noise album Metal Machine Music on March 8th at Three Friends Coffeehouse that “will be revved up by PDX writer Amanda Sledz & danced by 3 Seattle Butoh artists: Joan Laage, Sheri Brown & Alan Sutherland.”
– A celebration of great modern LBGT composers at Holocene on March 9th, including works by Pauline Oliveros, Lou Harrison & Peter Maxwell Davies as performed by Classical Revolution PDX.
The initial e-mail that I received about this project – a creation of Veritable Showers of Beauty member Steven J. Wilkens III – referenced the fact that there were 23 or so physical copies of this release “floating about the planet.” I like the idea of this weird, watery, intense batch of songs getting exchanged by folks around the globe, each one listening and taking some piece of inspiration from it before handing it off to another likeminded soul. I imagine this being used as background noise for meditation or as the ambient soundtrack to a store that sells incense and essential oils. I imagine this getting mixed into a dark, late night DJ set on radio or between sets at black metal show. I also imagine you poor souls sitting at your desk jobs, trying to get any work done while letting the creeping beauty and magic of this four song collection of processed field recordings and gamelan performances soak into your brain. Good luck with that.
Thollem McDonas is one of the preeminent improvisers in the music world today, and one of the most tireless. He has spent the majority of his adult life on the road, performing live or holding composition workshops or simply making a racket of some form or other with musicians both well- and little-known. Along the way, he has amassed an inspiring discography of live and live-in-studio recordings.
We’re featuring Keyngdrum Overdrive, one of his most recent releases, here on the blog today not only because it is damn amazing, but also due to its local connections. It is being made available digitally via former Portland imprint Union Pole Records, and it features McDonas on electric piano collaborating with a variety of drummers that includes hometown heroes like Heather Treadway, John Niekrasz, and Lisa Schonberg.
If the sound of a rhythm section pared down to its most blazing and enveloping parts wasn’t enough to convince you to download, keep in mind that all proceeds from the sale of this new record will go to benefit The Hylaeus Project. Here’s how it is described on Thollem’s website:
Drummer/artist/writer Lisa Schonberg spent a month in the summer of 2013 with artist Aidan Koch in Hawaii working on a multimedia documentation of the rare native Hawaiian Hylaeus and their habitats.
The 60 species of Hylaeus bees are the only bees that are native to Hawaii. Their habitat is increasingly rare, and several species have been petitioned to be listed as endangered species. Lisa and Aidan’s fieldwork have been collected in a book, The Hylaeus Project. Lisa also composed new works based on soundscapes in Hylaeus habitats for her percussion ensemble Secret Drum Band, and a recording will be released in 2014.