Something that has always fascinated me is how folks try to soundtrack fireworks displays, meshing up the big triumphal moments of pop and rock songs with the fizzle and electric blasts of sparks going off in the sky. Seems a fool’s errand to this guy, but if I was going to take on such a project, I think I’d prefer something that is equally unhinged and hard to pin down. Something like this new release from Chefkirk.
That might be the coincidence of the fact that he released this new work on July 4th talking, but I could definitely hear these digital squelches, toe-tingling rumbles, and sand blasts of static going along very well with the kind of blowsy fireworks display that gets trucked out every goddamn year sending our small animals scurrying for safe ground and our veterans breaking out into a cold sweat. This kind of neck tightening noise might be just the ticket to help them get through the night.
Sounds et al is a new local label that just recently slithered out of the primordial ooze that is the current music world, and they’re carrying with them some very exciting sounds from manabu shimuda, a composer and artist fromJapan. His first release for this new imprint is called pieces for her and while there’s no indication of who the “her” in this scenario is, she should be very impressed with what he has created in her honor.
As the notes for the LP say: “The album is a showcase of his creative work whilst living in Europe. Inhabiting a space between classical and experimental, the album has a strict rule within composition – to use only four organic sound sources to structure the simple melody lines and calculated rhythmic patterns: Piano, White Noise, Sine Waves and Field Recorded Noise.”
It’s beautiful, minimalist stuff that, no matter how many times I listen to it, always seems to be changing in some small way. Instinctively, I know that’s not the case, but I’m constantly surprised by the music with each pass I take through it.
As we look toward the weekend, and hopefully a couple of days of respite before getting back into the working world once more, the universe bestowed upon us two fantastic new releases to ease us into a mood of contemplation and relaxation.
A little while back, I was lucky enough to catch a live performance that featured guitarist Doug Theriault, synth wizard Matt Carlson, and vocalist Michael Stirling improvising together in the sanctuary of a local church. Their combined expressions were devastatingly beautiful and spiritually uplifting. I left the space feeling like I had been stretched out to about six inches taller than when I arrived. The three men have captured this same feeling on a new recording for Root Strata and I have been spending much of the day lost in its warm glow.
What time and mental space I’ve had left over has been taken up by the new album from Cloud City Cars. Ryan McGreer, the hirsute gent behind the project has been through the emotional wringer over the past year or so. But instead of letting it flatten him, he has found new inspiration within those tough moments. And what has come out of him is a blissfully broken collection of songs that refuse to stay on one trajectory. The freeform style of these off-kilter sequences and dying electronics is a carefree, drunken stumble through the streets with flickering LED advertisements and neon colors lighting your every step.
One of my favorite musicians alive today is Arrington de Dionyso. He’s one of those figures that embodies the best elements of the creative mind: curiosity, a willingness to learn, a willingness to make mistakes, and a spirit of forward momentum. That’s just one small reason why I’m excited to catch the screening of Reak: Trance Music & Possession In West Java at Fifth Avenue Cinema on Thursday May 5th. The film follows his journey to Indonesia where he played with Group Reak Sanca Birawa. The trailer looks absolutely astounding and I’m very interested to ask him about this experience of making this film and this music during the post-screening Q&A.
The first proper “album” from the dark ambient duo Grey Columns came along quietly in the middle of last month. I put the scare quotes in because, well, it’s only about 19 minutes long, which society has led us to believe doesn’t fit the description of an album. But it does fit the description in that these four tracks can’t be separated from one another. You have to take it in one long, slow gulp rather than just in piecemeal form. There’s also a true sense of purpose in how this collection is constructed. They move us with ease between the four movements of this album, sliding us into one grumbling, scratching, echoing room before we realize we’ve left the room we were just in. It’s masterful, beautiful, and the right kind of unnerving.
Astoria resident Gregg Skloff has long provided mine ears with a variety of amazing out sound. Just recently, he unveiled a blood-thickening collaboration with Arrington de Dionyso, China Faith Star, and Ben Kapp called Multitudes Into Being, to which he added his dreamy bass throb and drone. And even more recently, he slid under our door this truly outstanding collection Casiotone MT-210 compositions. I’ve been listening to this for the past 24 hours and have yet to tire of its enveloping beauty and slightly terrifying undercurrents. It’s enough to make a man start taking acid.
If you’re a resident of Portland and hit up the many experimental and psychedelic rock shows happening in the city, you’ve at least seen Dewey Mahood around. Or if you’ve wandered into his wonderful record/instrument shop Mothership Music. If you’re lucky, you can call him a friend, as he is one of the most gregarious and gentle souls in the city. And I think that comes across very strongly in his music, particularly his releases under the name Spectrum Control. The fire in the belly of these songs is warming and lovely, rather than raging and dangerous, as it centers around simple drum machine patterns and understated runs on his guitar. It’s music for any weather, and like the man behind it, its presence in your life will be an enriching one.
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.
The inspiring, politically-motivated multimedia arts group Environmental Impact Statement sent an email around yesterday to let people know that, as part of a new project concerning the potential logging of a timber site near Mt. Hood, they are accepting project proposals from artists. I’m really excited to see what comes out of this, and encourage any interested parties to , but for now, here’s what the EIS had to say:
The collective Environmental Impact Statement invites artists in all disciplines & locations to submit project proposals for work that could not happen if the Polallie Cooper Timber Sale on Mt. Hood is logged. All proposals will be submitted as part of the public record for this sale in response to the Forest Service’s analysis of the potential impacts from commercial logging on public land.
All disciplines are encouraged to apply. Project proposals need not be limited by funding or even possibility. Proposals will be collected in a forthcoming publication; one proposal will be awarded a modest honorarium.
The Forest Service is required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to undergo a thorough evaluation of the environmental impacts from a logging project such as Polallie Cooper, inform the public of these potential impacts, and collect comments on whether the public agrees that the harm is worth the benefit. In their assessment, the Forest Service uses a metric called Visual Quality Objectives set out in their management plan to anticipate impacts on the way the forest looks after the logging. We are submitting these projects as standing ideas that would not be possible should the logging take place in this forest. These creative projects will be included with the many other environmental concerns that the people will submit during the public comment period.