Radio: Beats + Pieces In The Cloud

Radio has always been very important to me. It was where I got my first musical education as a very impressionable pre-teen living in Massachusetts, imbibing the sounds from the various college radio stations my plastic radio could pick up. When I moved to the West Coast, it was both the public radio station in Astoria – KMUN – and picking up the broadcast of CBC’s Brave New Waves that kept me sane during those long dark nights of the tortured teenage soul.

By the time I was out on my own, I kept myself locked into the terrestrial waves, particularly a show that used to be broadcast on Saturday and Sunday nights on OPB Radio. Host Steven Cantor would spend three solid hours challenging my preconceptions of jazz, classical, electronic, and pop. And he had a radio voice to die for. I didn’t know until later that he was someone who had spent a long time in the jazz world, helping produce records by Lyle Mays and Pat Metheny, close with Jaco Pastorius. All I knew is that he was making amazing connections between sonic worlds that spoke to my feverish musical interests.

Cantor has been bounced around quite a bit since OPB decided to get deeply into the music game. His show was at first shuttled over to KMHD but after a few months was cut loose, leaving it without a terrestrial home for the first time in at least 15 years. Fast forward to late last year when I was hanging uncomfortably at a party meant to announce the lineup for the PDX Jazz Festival (and to catch trumpeter Dave Douglas perform) and a nice bearded gent made his way across the room to me, saying, “You look like you don’t belong here. What’s your name?” It took me about 45 seconds to key in on the voice: Steven Cantor, in the flesh.

Through the course of the conversation we had that night, I learned that Steven had done like all industrious sorts do and ported his musical endeavors over to the web, posting regular mixes and shows on Mixcloud for all to stream and enjoy. And boy have I ever been enjoying them. Which is why I’m kicking myself for not drawing your attention to them sooner.

The theme of each installment is the same: a playful bounce around the musical map, making quick stops in varying worlds of melody and mood. The episode featured here starts off with the familiar pulse of Miles Davis before moving along to some Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, a touch of Messiaen, and a closing set that wends in Boards of Canada and Matthew Herbert. Beats + Pieces In The Cloud never ceases to leave me reeling a little bit with each edition. I can only hope it does a little bit of the same for you.


Music: New Albums From Ras Mix & Sister Mamie Foreskin

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.

News: Debacle Fest 2014 Happening May 30th and 31st

The lineup and dates for the 2014 Debacle Fest in Seattle have been announced, and this year’s installment is featuring a bevy of wonderful talent from here in Portland. Don’t just take my word for it; here is a cut/paste of the press release I was sent a week or so ago.

Let’s fucking celebrate our community: For Debacle Fest 2014, May 30th and 31st, we’re showcasing what the festival is all about — our amazing family of artists, all our supportive fans turned friends, and some favorite local hangouts.


Opening ceremonies commence Friday May 30th at Capitol Hill boutique gallery Cairo with a small line up of intimate performances and hotdog vendor Quack Dogs on location. Then a big whirlwind of a Saturday, May 31st, descends upon Eastlake and Republican, giving fans a Choose Your Own Adventure-style evening across LoFi Performance Gallery, Black Lodge, and the Victory Lounge. Attendees will be able to choose between concurrent performances on all three stages. To up the party atmosphere, local food truck Napkin Friends will be on site and Victory Lounge will offer food specials to fill bellies while projection artists satisfy the eyes.


The richness on tap here in the PNW flows through our lineup. Longtime Debacle family like Dull Knife, Brain Fruit, Black Hat, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, and L.A. Lungs bring consistently top-notch performances, while Threads, Slow Drips, and Chris Davis make Fest debuts. Talent from up and down the best coast are on hand as well, with Danny Paul Grody, Secret Pyramid, Golden Retriever, Sutekh Hexen, Common Eider King Eider, and more.


And the party isn’t just stuck in night mode: Saturday afternoon, the wealth of Seattle experimental labels is to be had as we host a Record Label Fair, sharing the limelight with our fellow purveyors of underground sounds. From Noon to Five at the Black Lodge eager music seekers can pick up wares from the likes of Medical Records, Translinguistic Other, Eiderdown, and Hanged Man, to name but a few, with DJs and a live performance.  


Stage schedules and band bio’s forthcoming.


Debacle Fest 2014 Line-Up:


Total Life

Danny Paul Grody

Golden Retriever

Sutekh Hexen

Common Eider, King Eider

Black Hat

Gabriel Mindel Saloman (ex-Yellow Swans)

Spectrum Control (Dewey Mahood of Plankton Wat/Eternal Tapestry)

Gordon Ashworth (ex-Concern, Oscillating Innards)

Secret Pyramid

Dull Knife

Garek Druss (Story of Rats, Dull Knife)


Brain Fruit

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer

Dialing In

LIMITS (Jason Anderson of Draft/Gift Tapes)

King Tears Bat Trip

L.A. Lungs

New Weather

Pink Void

RM Francis


Timm Mason (Mood Organ, Midday Veil)

Ecstatic Cosmic Union


Marcus Price

Chris Davis (Brain Fruit)

Slow Drips