I will admit my reticence at hearing this track after drummer Barra Brown e-mailed me a link, saying that it was an “experimental mashup of two Justin Timberlake songs.” Because if there’s one trend in modern jazz that puts me off a bit is a quick embrace of radio hits or winking covers of classic rock songs (I’m looking at you Bad Plus). This skirts the line a little uncomfortably at times, but there’s such an embrace of weird tonalities and a fantastic rhythm track that lets Brown find the perfect Venn diagram meeting place between the two songs that I can’t help but fall for it. I’ve been promised that the Wishermen sound “waaaaay different” now than their earlier post-jazz outlays. If this is a small taste of that difference, I’m excited to hear what comes next.
I have a love/hate relationship with podcasts. I love the idea of a constantly refreshing stream of content, but I hate the idea of trying to fucking keep up with it all. But when I come across a good locally sourced one, I try to take some time with it, such as this fantastic mix from the Portland outfit known as the Modern Ass Jazz Singers. Listen for some fucked electro beats, wandering hip-hop, something that sounds like synthesized seagulls, and a lot of far gone noise and beauty.
Everyone’s favorite synth store in Portland, Control Voltage. has been hosting some pretty amazing events over the course of the year that they’ve been open. I do try to make as many as I can but had to miss what sounds like an incredible night of vintage modular synth jams. Lucky for me – and now for you – someone was good enough to capture a chunk of Scott Worley‘s set from this past Friday night and post it on YouTube. Watch it, get lost in the live visuals, and try and see if you don’t have the sensation of being lit on pills or smoke.
Thanks to all the folks who came out last night for another amazing show at the Ash Street Saloon. For those of you didn’t make it, here’s a taster of the scintillating performance by the duo of Moongriffin & Bernstein. The former played electronics and guitar; the latter, saxophone sent through a bank of effects pedals. The combination was at times ethereal, danceable, and emotion rich.
How about some love for our brethren to the west? Existence Habit lives and breathes in the fine little burg of Astoria, Oregon, a town with few distractions thus allowing artists like Gregg Skloff, Roger Hayes, and Derek Ecklund ample time to devote to these Jandek-like explorations of guitar snarls and wet electronics. All three are fine solo artists in their own right, but together, they are able to create something that threatens to eclipse their individual efforts, something that oozes out of these recordings in beautiful heaps and glowing gobs. If you like what you hear, prepare yourself to experience this live, when Existence Habit perform at Experimental Portland Presents… #19 on November 2nd at Ash Street Saloon.
I am as pleased as anyone when the staff of a venue likes the shows that I book enough that they ask me back to do either the occasional booking, or a regular series of shows. Pleased and surprised. Those feelings are trebled when it comes to the Ash St. Saloon, one of the city’s least-heralded venues. It’s a great space that got an unfair reputation heaped upon it due to its former reliance on rock and metal shows (something I put on the person who used to handle the booking there). If anyone was able to make it to ALTO!’s vinyl release show with Million Brazilians a little while back, you would have seen firsthand what the place has to offer: a big, open performance area with a powerful sound system.
All this is to emphasize how thrilled I am that the Ash Street has extended an offer to let me curate a monthly showcase of experimental music, the first of which is tonight. Usually these things will go down on the third Tuesday of every month, but as we’re just getting rolling, this one landed on a Thursday. No matter when it happens, though, this is going to be a firecracker of a show. On tap tonight:
Stochastic Mettle Union
The cost of admission is a mere $5, and the whole megillah gets underway at 9pm. If you’re one of those tech-heavy types who likes to let the world know that you’re going somewhere via your chosen social network, here’s the Facebook event page.
Whether on her own or as a part of Million Brazilians, Suzanne Stone is a live artist you can’t take your eyes off of. The shows of hers that I have seen lead me to believe that that’s just the way she wants it. She has no fear of wandering offstage and staring her audience down, usually carrying two swords that she clangs together dramatically. Stone is going deeper into her musical/theatrical exploration of the tarot tonight. You’d do well to follow her on her journey.
These two Seattle noisemongers are, if I’m not mistaken, finishing up a West Coast tour that already saw the bands tear at the minds of an audience last Thursday at Ash Street Saloon. On their way home, they have decided to stop by once again to make sure they finish the job of carpet bombing our fair city, with what is sure to be a loud and raucous house show in deep NE.
Coco Madrid has slapped together another incredible conflagration of downtempo and ambient sounds for her series at Tube. Tonight, she welcomes Reflective Surfaces (Cody Brant and Mike Erwin’s Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze-type synth + guitar delicacies), Temple Maps, and another sure-to-be amazing performance by Tim Gray’s project Ethernet, which is still in the sway of a second life-affirming 2013 release Virtual Reality.
The chintzy visuals and flowering sounds celebrated on the bi-weekly public access program Experimental Half Hour are being brought in person to the confines of Mississippi Studios tonight. Headlining is the synth/voice dreamwave duo Light House. They are joined by a one-off collaboration between Golden Retriever synth master Matt Carlson and Greek sound artist Ilan Manouach, and the broken calliope antics of Cloaks.
Portland’s most internationally beloved prodigal son Pete Swanson makes another triumphal return home still under the heady sway of his debilitating techno exploration Punk Authority. That EP is as danceable as it is dirty, dirty, dirty. Show up on time for once in your life to marvel at the all drums/triggered synth/percussion activated Wonder Twins known collectively as Hot Victory.