I blame myself and my overall busy life for letting Experimental Half Hour fall of my radar for the past little while. But I was happy to be reminded of its existence recently, particularly with the announcement of a new episode posted just this month. This edition was recorded in August with some marvelous performances by Dead Channel, Three-Legged Race, MSHR, and the Portland Bike Ensemble.
Somewhere in my not so vast archives is some jam sessions that I did with Roger Hayes and another friend (whose name escapes me) when I lived near Astoria, Oregon. It was when I was seriously exploring the world of experimental music for the first time, and I felt like I was scrambling to keep up with these two very talented entities. I think when you watch this clip and hear Roger’s beautiful loop-based guitar composition, a track that would fit neatly inside an early Spectrum album, I think you’ll see why I was put on my heels a bit. Or see for yourself when his band Existence Habit performs at the next Experimental Portland Presents… show at Ash Street on November 2nd.
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.
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.
The best album I heard last year was Spirit of the Sun, a glowing bit of guitar and vocal treacle born from the heart of The Slaves, a duo comprised of Barbara Kinzle and Birch Cooper. It’s still a record that returns to my turntable on the regular. But as has been my m.o. for years, it has led me deeper down the wormhole into the work that Cooper and Kinzle have done outside their collaborative fold. That includes Cooper’s symbiotic art/music transformer MSHR, and Threads, a new project from Kinzle and bassist Aaron Davis. The sound of Threads feels like an expansion of the ghostly sounds Kinzle brought forth with The Slaves, but with a slightly more traditionalist bent. It brought to mind images of The Jesus & Mary Chain ca. Psychocandy and the buzzing frequencies of some of Sonic Boom’s post Spacemen 3 efforts. The above video captures Threads’ first ever performance, which happened this past weekend at Disjecta. If you like what you see/hear, be sure to come to the 9/17 edition of Experimental Portland Presents… at Ash St. Saloon, where the duo will be performing.
I first want to thank all the warm…very warm…bodies that came out to Slabtown on Tuesday of this week to drink in the massive sounds of Sun Hammer, Consumer., and No Phone. Thanks for continuing to inspire me to keep doing shows like this. Every time I start getting really soured on the notion, these shows happen to give me a shot in the arm. So to speak.
Anyway, one gentleman who attended Tuesday’s gig, my friend Dean Hanson, brought along his camcorder and captured some footage of the first two acts of the evening (he had to head out before No Phone’s set…). And being a man of the modern world, he uploaded them to YouTube. So, via the magic of WordPress embed codes, I bring to you a small sampling of what went down earlier this week.
I’m already cooking up some nice evenings of entertainment for August and September, so stay tuned, citizens. Stay tuned.
Gnar Tapes is looking to have quite a summer. The imprint already blew our little camera obscura brains way open with the release of a full cassettes’ worth of Ukrainian noise projects, but now they turn around and start poking a stick into our particular portals with the release of a new set of jams by Jib Kidder and then this scary John Carpenter-inspired work by E*Rock. Of the new cassette The Great Underground Empire, *Rock says, it is “a conceptual synth album based off an early text adventure game developed in 1979 that I played as a kid on my family’s PC throughout the early ’80s.” The video speaks well to his mindset behind the new work, with ’80s video/computer game graphics and what looks to be a heat vision view of an old ambulance light melting into VHS oblivion. If someone isn’t gearing up to turn this into the soundtrack for the credit sequence of their next homemade slasher film, there’s no justice in this world.
And now, a message from our good friends, The Early:
Over a year ago, we asked our friend, video artist Zack Davis (of Appendix Project Space), to make us something that we could accompany. He made us a beautiful video that unfolds glacially and abstractly. We composed a score and performed the 30 minute noise/improv-heavy piece live in front of an audience at Victor Nash’s recording studio in SE Portland (Eleven Magazine wrote up that event). All these months later, we’ve mixed and mastered that one-off performance and synced it to the video. It’s finally ready to be presented to the world.
I tend to joke about the fact that whenever I see someone skateboarding, there’s usually a buddy of his/her nearby wielding a camcorder, trying to catch that perfect trick for posterity. I must now repent of my snarky humor by admitting that here is a case when someone is using skate footage for good reasons. In this case, the skater is one Dewey Mahood, of Eternal Tapestry/Plankton Wat infamy and he’s riding on behalf of his former band Edibles. This was a dubbed out/Can jam outfit featuring ladyshapes member John Rau that captured some hyperreal moments in our dimension before dissolving completely a couple of years back. This track was for an intended album that sounds like the group is considering finishing up and finally releasing. At least I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that eventuality.
If you’re not attending the Creative Music Guild’s regular series of shows at Revival Drum Shop, you are missing out on some of the most exciting local experimental artists around, playing in a cozy space that allows you to get entirely surrounded by sound. This clip comes from their most recent event which featured Matt Hannifin performing an interpretation of Philip Glass’s “1/1″ and then some improvisational work.
If you want to see what CMG is up to, visit their website or get yourself out to The Gallery at Port City tonight where they will be hosting A Series of Solos featuring Danielle Ross, Dr. John C. Savage, Madelyn Villano, Ken Ollis (as part of the March Music Moderne).