So lowkey that you probably missed it, Eugene, OR’s ever impressive home for noise/experimental music Dumpsterscore Recordings has been quietly unleashing droves of small run CD-Rs and cassettes that sell out with the quickness. Luckily, the Internet is here to … Continue reading
If anyone doubts that the local experimental scene is a friendly one, let a project like this lay your worries to rest. Just a few days ago, the electronic artists Antecessor, EMS, and Grand Arbiter played a collaborative set together at Killingsworth Dynasty as part of a party celebrating the career and life of Thrones. One gent in attendance was the ever-prolific Daniel Menche, who captured their squirrelly and beautiful set on his digital recorder and, with some remixing, turned it into this beautiful hour long melt. Listening to it, I feel like I’m either being slowly swallowed up by a warm blob or, at the very least, gawking at the last half-hour of 2001 after a few sips of psilocybin tea.
deepwhitesound has, for over a decade now, been a go to source for fascinating experimental music from around the world. The Portland-based label curates a wide selection of sounds and then offers up them up for free download through their lovely website.
Towards the end of last month, deepwhitesound sent around an e-mail announcing their Winter 2015 slate of releases, and it is a fine bunch that deserves your attention.
Among them is a new recording from Memory Metal, the local duo made up of Cody Brandt and Shane McDonell that places contact mics on pieces of metal and records the noises they make when beaten, scraped and otherwise abused. Their 24 minute piece 2 is a small challenge to your eardrums but one that will reveal some delicious overtones and strange rhythms that can be surprisingly comforting.
I’m also very fond of the work of Glaswegian sound artist Louise Harris, which is part of this new bundle. Her work primarily uses visuals timed to react to the scratchy, droning sounds that she cooks up, but as an aural-only experience, the noisy delights are still quite thrilling.
One of the coolest events to go down here in Portland of late has been Jeph Nor’s Volt Divers series. Happening on a monthly basis as Lovecraft Bar, the performances highlight the many artists here that utilize hardware synths. A gaggle of them stop by the dark confines of this venue, perform a quick improvised set and get out of the way. The results vary in quality, to be sure, but they often provide real inspiration.
The VD crew has their next event scheduled for January 9th @ 7pm and they welcome in Dweomer, Ras Mix, S.H.E., Joy Through Noise, and this duo of Pailo and Jeph Nor. Let their glitchy and delightful performance from last month’s event serve as your guide.
2016 is off to a mighty fine start, thanks to the appearance of a new album by the Corvallis trio The Van Meyers. I’m fond of the entirety of The Persistence of Now, but have especial love for the title track. It’s just over 21 minutes long, and brings out the influence of William Basinski on these jazz players. The long drones and spacious washes of sound that lap over their sonic jetty go very well with the icy wasteland that is slowly dissipating right outside my window.
Tribal free jazz skronk always sounds so good on a late fall afternoon. That’s the rule in our house anyway. Thankfully Million Brazilians are back with a healthy slab of the aforementioned to send Tuesday off on the right foot. The group is releasing a new LP this Thursday Poderoso Monicato, from which this space freak jam was excerpted. Can’t wait to let the whole thing wash over me some night soon when my copy arrives in the post.
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.