The latest release by Elias Foley’s ever-evolving Temple Maps project is the soundtrack to a sci-fi movie not yet made. An animated film in the style of René Laloux’s La Planete Sauvage or a pixelated Tron-like adventure where the protagonists are on a massive quest for enlightenment, freedom, or both. A few spins of this brilliantly conceived cassette will help you reach those glorious goals in your mind’s eye, so maybe we don’t need the fancy visuals, just our own vivid imaginations to guide us.
I love the instrument list for this latest release from local artist Mike Gamble: electric guitar/EFX/children’s drum kit. Only three things but he uses them all so very well. Gamble layers some shimmering guitar melodies over odd squelching little noises and the clatter of percussion that sounds like its going to fall apart at any second. And somehow it makes sense that he recorded it while snowed in at a cabin in a town near the Marys River. I’d love to mirror the experience by listening to these challenging and stirring compositions while snowbound in the woods to see what effect that might have on me.
Nothing sounds finer on a warm, sunny fall day than a touch of unbridled, fucked electronic agony straight from our friends at Sonic Debris Multimedia. This new cassette from Body Shame is seeing release as part of Cassette Store Day on October 17th and will certainly sound great blasting out of the PA at Valentines on the 20th of the month when he will be performing material from this live, alongside SDM friends ALTO! and Consumer. My skin is already tingling at the thought of it.
Can I be forgiven for getting a little personal for a moment? It’s been difficult to maintain things on this blog. Even though it’s been alive for a number of years now (4? 6? 50?), I’ve had to let it lapse and collect some dust for a while with life getting in the way. And this summer has been particularly “in the way.”
I started an actual job, managing a website. The family and I bought a house. I wrote a book. And I’ve been trying to juggle all of that with my freelance work. So, things went a little stale here for a while. But, two things happened recently that had me looking to redouble my efforts with EXPDX in the coming months/years/millennia.
I had a long chat with Gordon Ashworth for another publication and we were both despairing at how experimental music is starting to float further to the margins in our hometown thanks to the skyrocketing cost of rent and a seeming disinterest in a lot of venues to take a chance on unusual sounds unless bigger blogs say it’s okay to like them. With that in mind, now is not the time to let things wither here on the site, but rather to push even harder to bring attention to the amazing music being made in our city.
Then a former Portlander, and someone who played an Experimental Portland Presents… showcase during one of the more challenging times of my life and who I count as a dear friend, Beaunoise, just released some new music. No, he’s not technically a resident of the city as he has since moved to Oakland to continue his amazing career as a producer/mixer/mastering engineer, but his music never ceases to inspire me. And listening to this new collection of work that was made with a wonderfully failing Eventide H3000, I was jarred awake and back to reality like nothing before.
So, listen to this terrifying and beautiful piece of music a few times today, and maybe go drop the $10 to get the whole album. And bear with me as I try to dust off this site, and try to fit regular posting into my already swelling schedule of activity. Thanks for sticking with me and checking out the site on the regular.
We sing the praises of Creative Music Guild within these e-pages on the regular, and for good reason. Their keen ear for local talent is unmatched as is the work that they do to bring artists from around the world to Portland for live performances. And the craziest thing is that the people who put all of their live shows and the Improvisation Summit and other events are doing it all as volunteers and with the financial support of institutions and individual donors.
I bring all this up for the simple reason that I encourage you to give the CMG your support in some small or large way. You can either attend one of their bi-monthly Outset Series events at Turn Turn Turn (check our calendar for the dates of the August performances). You can click on the Bandcamp link up above that will net you a digital or physical copy of their latest compilation album – featuring tracks recorded live at CMG events. Or, you can do what I’m about to do, which is to become a monthly supporter of the organization.
The group is looking for 25 new sustaining donors to kick off their 25th year of existence. As they say:
All of the money we collect goes directly to the artists and performers that present at CMG events, either to their fee for their artistry and talent, the venue we help host them in, or their travel expenses. Along with grants, individual donations -from someone like you- helps to fund our amazing programming.
Waste no more time, dear friends: send the CMG a little or a lot of money to help keep them alive and thriving for another quarter century.
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.
If you were at Mississippi Studios last night, basking in the sound of William Parker, Hamid Drake, and Peter Brotzmann tying themselves together into knots and restructuring every idea you may have about jazz music, you have the Creative Music Guild to thank.
Those tireless volunteers have been doing some incredible work, curating their regular Outset Series concerts and using their meager budget to bring in artists from out of the area to dazzle and intellectually stimulate fans of avant garde music. This year, alone, that has meant incredible performances by Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Joelle Leandre, John Haughm, Sister Mamie Foreskin, MSHR, and so many more. And did I mention the people working these shows are all volunteer?
All this is to say that the CMG need your help to continue their work, in particular their upcoming Improvisation Summit of Portland, going down at Disjecta on June 4th, 5th, and 6th. The lineup they have in place for this is, as you might imagine, a jaw-dropper: AACM member Roscoe Mitchell, Gordon Ashworth, CATFISH, Brumes, Arrington de Dionyso, Secret Drum Band, and so many more. If your ear is even slightly bent towards experimental sounds, this is a weekend you do not want to miss.
[Oh, and I’m going to be hosting a panel on one of the days, subject TBD. And no, I’m not being compensated for my time. All for the love of the game, fam.]
If you have some extra cash to spare, I encourage you to throw some dough to this cause. Their goal is modest (thanks to the help of the RACC and the other fundraisers they’ve thrown through the year), so this should take little time for them to reach it. As long as you can help out, of course. Click right here to offer your support.
One of my few disappointments about this week’s Experimental Portland Radio was that I had to hurry to get the thing finished and out into the world without a track from the new album by Moongriffin. With apologies to Elliott Ross, I knew if I dragged my feet any longer on getting the new episode into the world, it might never have gotten done.
Regardless, your kind attention should be be paid to Glimpse of Future. It’s a marvelously modern jazz record, driven by the sonic playfulness of Ross and his oft-processed guitar and post-production trickery. And he’s joined in the fun by a slew of great players, with an especial nod to Nate Lepine, whose sax and flute work throughout is smartly angular and the scrabbling beats of drummer Charles Rumback. This doesn’t feel like a glimpse at the future, but rather a long, unbroken look that allows you to drink in every detail and rejoice in what’s to come.
And if you like what you hear here, be sure to drop by The Waypost this coming Saturday, where Moongriffin will be celebrating the release of this album and the new label Cartilage Osseux Records with a live performance featuring Tim DuRoche on drums, Andre St. James on bass, and Mike Gamble on guitar.
At long last a new episode. No talking from me right now, just music. Until I get a new microphone, that’s the way it’s gonna be. Deal with it.
Don Haugen – Death Of The King
Tim Berne’s Snakeoil – Semi-Self Detached
playing at Jimmy Mak’s on May 5th
Tetrad Veil – L.W.R.