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.
I’ve talked up David Owen Tevlin on this site once before, discussing his fine work under the D$ guise. This month saw the release of another album by this unique artist, this time unfurled under the David/Owen banner. Ostensibly created to take up the two sides of a C-20 cassette release, the two tracks out under the name LongYellowForm are flat out beautiful utilizing long expressive drones and what I’m guessing are deeply lost guitar loops. Tevlin lists it under the tag “devotional,” which makes perfect sense as this would provide an ideal soundtrack to transcendental meditation sessions or some other kind of long night of the soul.
Remember me? I’m the one who posted and posted on this site and then took a break because the strain of trying to keep up with this on top of my actual day job and my family concerns got to be too much to handle. My thinking was that I’d be done for good, trying to update the calendar when I had a few extra minutes and shaking my head at all the shows and music I was likely missing.
Well, my itch for the music and people that I’ve met via this blog and the shows that I’ve curated has become far too regular to ignore. So I’m going to to try – try, mind you – to do more work here on the blog and in the scene. I’ve got nothing to lose but that last bit of my sanity and a few hours of my time each week. Bear with me because I know it’s going to be difficult to get my legs under me at the start.
With that out of the way, let’s talk about what’s going on in Eugene where a noise/experimental scene is boiling over to a degree that rivals what we have here at home. And one of the folks that is helping stoke these fires is Andrew Quitter and his “anxiety electronics” project Regosphere.
I’ve likely talked him up on this site before because he’s just that good, but I’ve been especially inspired by his most recent cassette release Insomnia. It has all the markings of its titular condition or a good acid trip with a pair of extended cuts that will make you feel like the walls are undulating around you and shadows are leaking into your peripheral vision. And that’s before his processed, death metal vocals come into the mix. To muddle a phrase from Timothy Leary, tune in, get turned on, and drop off the grid for about a half hour with this as your soundtrack.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve adored the compilations that Sonic Debris Multimedia have been unleashing on an unsuspecting public every four to six months. But I’ve been very curious to hear what some of their affiliate artists would do when left to their own devices for the course of a full album. Lucky me – and all of us really – SDM have dropped their first two non-comp releases and they are spectacular. First up (above) is the new album by one man electro-freak Ras Mix. His album Adventures in Clown Town keeps to the playful spirit of that title, utilizing well-placed brushstrokes of oddball synthesized sound and beats that sneak into the bloodstream like a virus. You might recognize some of his antics as being dub-influenced, but only inasmuch as you could imagine Large Professor on a huge molly binge, trying to capture the sound of his cells exploding in real time.
Sister Mamie Foreskin’s sound plays a little closer to your usual pop song structure. It just takes its sweet time resolving what might be considered a verse or a chorus. As they wander, they devolve into a teeming mass of ideas that call to mind the finer hours of Mr. Bungle or the smash-and-grab aesthetic of Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. It’s a modernist group as well, squiggling their collective way through laptop composition and bending circuits in an almost telekinetic fashion. Once a proper instrument cuts through the chaos, it’s like shot of adrenalin to the heart.
The oddball, rarely-used keyboard key title of this EP should give you Autechre/Aphex Twin fans an idea of what’s in store with its three tracks. The jitterbugging beats and slushy electronics that Sun Hammer trucks feel positively life-giving, sort of like Ed Harris breathing liquid in The Abyss. Just heavy enough to feel strange upon your first inhalation, but then it becomes so much easier to let sink into the bronchi. Okay, it’s a strange metaphor, but that’s exactly what I envisioned when spinning these tracks the first couple of times. Give it a listen and tell me what images it dredges up in your mind.
Another PDX Jazz Festival has come and gone, and just as it is most every year, it left me both elated and deflated. The big ticket concerts that I was able to see as part of my day job were, for the most part, just good enough with moments of brilliance sparking up among a lot of lukewarm expressions. With a lot of festivals of this kind, the real moments of inspiration were found in the small shows sprinkled throughout the event – like this stunning avant jazz set by the duo of Elliot Ross and Scott Cutshall. This all improvised performance was captured for posterity at the unusual venue of a hotel bar in SW. See if you can hear the audience getting restless as this pair creates dark tapestries of often-Middle Eastern-inspired guitar, electronics, and marimba.
Here’s a nice treat I tracked down just yesterday – a collection of tunes that sound like the broken remnants of a pop song trying to reassemble itself before getting stomped back into pieces. It’s the creation of a gent named Peter Falkson, about whom I know absolutely nothing. And as a longtime fan of Jandek, I’m very much okay with being in the dark on this. Especially when the music is this good.
Speaking with Daniel Schultz about this project the other night got me terribly excited for its future and its impact on the noise scene. An unapologetic and heartfelt exploration of religion in the modern sphere through the lens of noise music. Schultz, who is the voice and spirit behind the label Apneic Void and the experimental project Troubled By Insects, debuted this project at last month’s Eugene Noise Festival and just unleashed its debut cassette for all to hear and purchase. I suggest you do both.
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.
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.