Video: Sir Richard Bishop + W. David Oliphant/Pete Swanson

Needing a bit of a mental break on this Tuesday afternoon? Might I recommend a pair of meditative music videos for your viewing pleasure?

Start with this David Lynch-ian dreamscape concocted by W. David Oliphant, the musician and artist who recently collaborated with the mighty Sir Richard Bishop on the album Beyond All Defects. The disc, to be released on August 21st by Chodpa Media, is being described thusly: The sonic landscapes presented here find their origins in Tibet, and are heavily inspired by Tibetan Buddhism – specifically the body of teachings known as Dzogchen. Many of the musical ideas for this project were literally derived from dreams the night before they were created. The remaining ideas were formed centuries ago. A perfectly fitting way to talk about the hazy music found here, and the REM sleep video made by Oliphant to accompany it.

Wrap up your moment of musical/visual peace with this very simple, very blue video made to accompany “Stuff It”, a track from Pete Swanson‘s I Don’t Rock At All album. This ill hypnotic shit was made apparently on a lark by artist William Sabiston. Would that more people could be similarly inspired and inspiring.


PHNW Fest Preview: Okha

Anyone attending next month’s Pure Harsh Noise Worship Fest likely knows that they are going to be facing some mighty walls of volume being kicked their way. But I daresay they might feel the hardest punch via Josh Banke’s project known as Okha.

According to a 2002 profile in the Portland Mercury, sets by Okha have been known to induce spontaneous nosebleeds and seizures. And in the time that he’s been playing, I’m sure Banke has had to repair many an amplifier after the speakers burned out under the stress of so much agonizing sound. For this noise fan, if that’s not encouragement enough to make sure I don’t miss out on his set, I don’t know what is.

Actually, I do: it’s this 18 minute symphony of rumble and UFO flybys, originally released on a split cassette with fellow power noise freaks Juhyo.

Video: Daniel Menche Live At YU Contemporary

Sound artist extraordinaire Daniel Menche is one of those musicians that has jumped into the fray of the Internet world with both feet. And if you’ve ever seen the man in person, you know what a big ol’ splash he can make.

It’s impossible for you or anyone else who doesn’t have hours of time on their hands to really keep up with all that he’s doing but here’s just a small sampling:

— Menche recently opened up a Bandcamp store, offering up 30 of his copious amount of solo recordings for streaming or for downloading at a mere $7 an album.

— Menche also maintains a great SoundCloud page that is nothing but field recordings he has made during his travels and adventures.

— He also keeps up a great blog that offers up some fine photos of the adventures he gets into with his beloved pup Arrow.

A lot to take in, I know, but for the purposes of this blog we’re going to ease you into things with a streaming video version of his April performance at the beautiful YU Contemporary performance and art space in SE Portland. It’s a breathtaking drone and feedback piece that runs for a little over an hour, taking full advantage of the acoustics of this huge room, and was apparently blasting out on a high volume. So loud in fact that he blew the amps he was using. If you like what you hear in this video version, you can download your own copy of the performance via Touch Music.

[edit –  I just noticed that, for some reason, the video clip that featured Menche’s Yale Union performance was switched to private. So, instead of that, why don’t you instead enjoy this film found on Mr. Menche’s Vimeo page entitled Fulmination: Skulls Part One]

Music: Dasani Reboot – Ctrl Tide

Has a song ever been described as sounding like Dalek sex before? In a way, I hope so because if there is more music out there like this deep, guttural, and deliciously squiggly little track from Dasani Reboot, I desperately want to hear it.

I know little about this artist because, well, he’s not putting out a lot of information about what he does. He’s letting the music speak for itself, and good on him for that because his tunes speak volumes. At least it speaks to his love of a similar ’70s science education film and British supernatural drama aesthetic that has driven the Ghost Box label. But Dasani’s work is much darker and more foreboding and much sexier than the giddy handholding sessions and chaste kisses that bands like Belbury Poly and The Advisory Circle evoke.

News: Sir Richard Bishop Continues Unrockin’ In The Free World

The master guitarist Sir Richard Bishop should be known to everyone who stops by this page once or on a regular basis. If not…well, there’s little I can say other than: get to listening. A member of Sun City Girls, co-owner of Sublime Frequencies Records, and one of the most incredibly nimble and wise six-string players you’re ever likely to experience on album or – God willing – in concert.

To that end (and this might be old news to fans and followers of Sir Richard’s work) you can get yourself easily caught up with his work by visiting this Deli Radio page, which features streaming and downloadable versions of all the solo material he has released in 1998.

Once acquainted with how Sir Richard plays and how easily he is able to shift his sound from blues to jazz to folk to Eastern melodies to drones, now you might be ready to dip into new material. Lucky for you, he has two new albums available for purchase: The Unrock Tapes features eight tracks, six of which were only available on tour CD-Rs, the other two are previously unreleased; Intermezzo has been released on Ideologic Organ, the label run by Stephen O’Malley of Sunn0))) infamy and highlights a dazzling array of Sir Richard’s multi-faceted musical personality.

The next step for newbies is to hear how Sir Richard handles himself in a group setting. A great place to start is the new outfit he is a part of, called Rangda. The trio also features Ben Chasny (Six Organs Of Admittance) playing bass and probably the best modern drummer around Chris Corsano. They have a new album Formerly Extinct that is set to be released on Drag City on September 18th, and if their first effort False Flag is any indication, it is going to be another high-powered  free jazz-style blast to the synapses.

Finally, you owe it to yourself to see the man perform live. That’s where things get a little tricky for you. If you’re lucky enough to live in or near Morocco this September, you can catch Sir Richard playing as part of the Academy at Zahar Festival  alongside his brother Alvarius B, Eyvind Kang & Jessika Kenny, and Stephen O’Malley. And if you happen to be in Europe this November, you can see him opening up for the Swans’ current run of tour dates. Click here for the complete list of those appearances.

Now, before you go running off to seek out more, how about a taste of Sir Richard in action to send you on your way? Here he is with his Freak of Araby Ensemble, performing in 2009 at one of my favorite venues, The Stork Club, in Oakland. If you don’t love it like I think you will, please submit a refund request to the home office.

Music: Mark McGuire – Luminous, Black Sky

If you live here in Portland, you’re probably sick to death of listening to people go on and on about what a cool city we have here. But, by golly, it’s the truth. It’s a welcoming place that allows for a fair amount of anonymity for even the most well-known musician. You have the space and the creative energy to feed off of to make great work. At least that’s what I’m guessing attracted Emeralds member Mark McGuire to venture west and end up in our fair city.

Although he and his band aren’t household names, they have been getting a lot of attention in the press. That hasn’t kept him in hiding however. McGuire’s been playing the occasional show around town and popping up at shows. And he’s used the sanity of our city to create some very impressive work, such as this track taken from Nightshade, a cassette he sold on a recent Japanese tour.

This is the kind of work we’ve come to expect from McGuire and his band – a bubbling and beautiful bit of dark electronics. It sounds like it’s stuck between stations, with lovely acoustic folk fighting for space with shimmering ambient pop. No one wins, necessarily. They just bounce up against each other until they both flicker into oblivion.

PHNW Fest Preview: HHL

As I reported on earlier this week, next month will bring one of the most exciting get togethers of noise artists from around North America: the Pure Harsh Noise Worship Festival. And as promised, I wanted to take some time to highlight the artists that are performing at the event, in case you needed any kind of convincing that this two-night event would be worth your while.

One of the more anticipated appearances of the festival – for this writer at least – is the return of HHL. This noise artist left the local fold for Nashville, Tennessee, where he seems to have settled in very well into the experimental scene in Music City. A number of self-released CD-Rs and split cassette releases on labels such as Crucial Blast and Worthless have been issued in the months since, and the pieces found within them are as intense and hypnotic as ever. Hear for yourself with Nature Recoils, a two-track release from HHL. Originally issued on CD-R and now available as a free download from Bandcamp, the music here is crackling, overmodulated brilliance that feels remarkably contained and controlled for how freeform the pieces sound.

Music: White Rainbow – The Man from Glass Guns

Adam Forkner – aka White Rainbow – is one of the backbones of both the experimental music scene and the dance/pop/hip-hop hybrid world here in Portland. This is a man who can ably back up soulful crooner Fatha Green (as part of Purple & Green) and turn around to help master the first release by the Liz Harris/Jesy Fortino collaboration Mirrorring.

So I find it of little surprise that a creative mind like Forkner’s puts out music at the exhausting clip that he seems to. After already dazzling us with the 20+ minute mindblower “Trick Shot Arranger” last month, and the frolicsome Infinity Beat Tape earlier this year, he is back with a new collection out just this week entitled (​!​)​(​¡​)​(​!​)​(​¡​)​•​(​!​)​(​¡​)​(​!​)​(​¡) The Contemplator. 

It’s the perfect name for a batch of songs as strange and piercing as these are. Take this fine track that rides a shiny, almost blinding multi-tracked synth drone into a pixelated sunset. The rest of the album carries a similar melodic bent that evokes large smears of color and Maxfield Parrish-like serenity.

Video: Plink Flojd – Escape Echoes

Computer generated art and video rarely gets as weird and strangely sexual as it does when finessed by the sure hands of Brenna Murphy. A member of the art collectives MSHR and Oregon Painting Society, Murphy’s work has the quality of a first person shooter video game gone horribly wrong. Something akin to one of my favorite Adult Swim programs Xavier: Renegade Angel. The sound of Murphy’s bio copy with this video makes it seem like my sense of her work is not far off: “Brenna uses personal recording devices and computer graphics programs to generate warped media that she arranges into cyber labyrinths. Her work explores the psychedelic composition of perceptual experience in physical and virtual realms.

That style of video slots in nicely with the halting synth jam created by fellow art/music collective Plink Flojd. Comprised of Audio Dregs majordomo E*Rock, Yoshi Sodeoka, and David Quiles Guillo, the group is putting together an audio/visual collection to be premiered at the NOVA Contemporary Culture festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  I could get lost in this thing for hours. I invite you to do the same.

Music: The Slaves – River

As excited as I am about the current incarnation of Swans (and believe you me, if you don’t pick up a copy of the band’s new album The Seer, I shall spurn you but good), one aspect of the band that I miss is the devilish and heartache-inducing interplay between Michael Gira’s vocals and that of his musical partner Jarboe. Sure, I can go back and listen to the old albums, or I can just tap into the mainline of what The Slaves are doing.

Birch Cooper and Barbara Kinzle are the pair behind this group, and together they rain down sheets of shiny metal down upon us, the unsuspecting listeners. They come down in great waves of guitar noise, drawn out stretches of synthesizer, and the combination of male/female vocals that sends me into a grinning, sweaty, knock-kneed swoon. This glorious song comes from Spirits of the Sun, the duo’s latest album, released this month on Digitalis, the fine Oklahoma-based label that is also issuing Birch Cooper’s latest solo venture I Was A Teacher.