Week In Review #11
Another week that effectively began the moment the last one ended, this time on the 16th with New York Times culture and media columnist David Carr commenting briefly on his experience at SXSW in an essay titled “A New Model for Music: Big Bands, Big Brands,” in which he points out that brands are handily beating labels for mind-share in many parts of the pop culture. Unfortunately the strongest conclusion he draws is that selling out is just encouraged these days, almost as if it were a job security issue, while he stops short of speculating as to what might create the divergence. There’s an easy logic close at hand, though; when you create a mythologized, spotlit stage with a requisite cheering crowd and continue to construe of that as the gateway into a sort of creative maturity for artists, acquiring profitability and volume becomes the criterion for evaluating ability, security, success, etc. So, the institution favors established conventions, demanding synchronicity with the prevailing economy before the mythical musician’s career can even begin, since networking events are where you “break out” (from “prison,” it bears pointing out).
Kicking off this week’s list, I wanted to share a homemade teaser animation that Dane Patterson made for his Ghosting cassette on Fabrica, which Bryon wrote up in the blog on March 13th. Though he beat me to the punch in that respect, I suspect the tape will remain a favorite for both of us this year. Before I go though, I should say this week was really most important in physics; ancient “tremors” from the big bang were observed by astrophysicists in Massachusetts and concepts for an ionized hydrogen power source seem to suggest a direction from which to hope for optimism in… however the hell long it takes to realize itself. Good fun, though it may not do you much service if you’ve already started streaming Patterson’s animation below.
#1 – 3/15/2014 – Scott Asheton, drummer and founding member of the Stooges, passed away. While remaining the only constant member of the Stooges other than Iggy, Asheton also manned the kit for notable acts including Sonic’s Rendezvous Band, Destroy All Monsters, The Baghdaddios, and Dark Carnival. Read Iggy Pop’s remembrance of Asheton over at Rolling Stone. -BP
#2 – 3/17/2014 – Smithsonian Magazine shared a report on architectural acoustics professor Trevor Cox‘s new project to chart some of the “sonic wonders” of the world. In spite of the slightly cheesy packaging for the idea, the scope of his subject matter seems to justify it, offering more and less elaborate descriptions in a simple web presentation. Smithsonian has a recording of music on hand from a visit to the so-called Great Stalactite Organ in Virginia, but entries in the guide range from musical to merely novel acoustic anomalies. Read the entire report here. -DP
#3 – 3/18/2014 – FACTMag ran an exchange between Ryan Hemsworth and Donkey Kong Country composer David Wise, and yea, it was obviously worth reading. That Wise was also into the old Doctor Doolittle movie as a kid is just further inspiration to revisit some of his games. Check out the full interview here. -DP
#4 – 3/18/2014 – Seminal Louisville post-rock outfit Slint announced a slew of new tour dates that perfectly coincide with both the expanded edition of the groups landmark Spiderland LP and the just-released, Lance Bangs-directed documentary Breadcrumb Trail. Check Touch & Go’s site for full tour and screening dates as well as reissue information. –BP
#5 – 3/18/2014 – Atlanta based CGI Records, an imprint you may recognize from our coverage of one of its enigmatic co-founders Matt Weiner, continued their monthly mixtape series with a new installment courtesy of fellow Atlantan producer Stefan Ringer, aka REKchampa. “The tracks presented here range from deep and soulful to funky and freaky to hard and dark and sensual, and the way he ties it all together displays a focus and passion that is rare, effortless, and noteworthy” — listen in below or click through here for more information and to follow CGI on SoundCloud. -DP
#6 – 3/19/2014 – Melvins‘ Buzz Osborne finalised details of his first solo album, due June 2. This Machine Kills Artists features 17 acoustic tracks, but don’t expect Buzz to have gone folk. “I have no interest in sounding like a crappy version of James Taylor or a half-assed version of Woody Guthrie,” he says, and the preview of “Dark Brown Teeth” offered up by Rolling Stone back in February confirms it’s full of characteristic doom and desolation. Originally released as a limited tour 10″ by Amphetamine Reptile, This Machine Kills Artists will get the full treatment through Ipecac Recordings. –SD
#7 – 3/19/2014 – Samo Sound Boy, the co-proprietor of LA club imprint Body High, shared a massive four mixtape and short interview at Dummy Magazine; click through here to listen and read. -DP
#8 – 3/19/2014 – Rachel from NY’s Ende Tymes festival passed some information regarding the event’s fourth annual installment over to us, which included an eye-popping line-up with names like Pete Swanson and Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Telecult Powers, Grasshopper, Phill Niblock, and Kevin Drumm, to name just a few. Additionally, the festival has a fundraiser campaign open to the noise-loving public with some excellent reward packages that include festival passes, tee-shirts, party mix tapes, and, if you’re feeling bright-eyed and/or bushy-tailed enough, “pre-show CHOW-DOWNS.” Yum. -CP
#9 – 3/19/2014 – The Incredible Public Domain Review ran a new essay from Benjamin Breen, titled Victorian Occultism and the Art of Synesthesia, in which he explores a pair of mid-19th century British theosophists, Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater, and their visual depiction of thought patterns. Included in the collection of images from the two, is a representation of the music of Mendelssohn (embedded below). Bit of a tangent, but the images are fun and Breen’s recounting is an interesting glimpse into the early stages of something like a recognizable avant-garde. Read the entire essay here and check out Breen’s regular gig, The Appendix, a “quarterly journal of experimental and narrative history,” which seems to share heavily in our own modus operandi, “to reconcile the apparent forward motion of time with the ongoing proliferation of human experience.” If you were considering not checking out The Appendix, just bear in mind Breen’s headline there as of 3/22 is “And Raising His Hand He Gave the Finger to Heaven: Digs and Disses Throughout History.” -DP
#10 – 3/19/2014 – RVNG Intl. announced that they would reissue Craig Leon’s Nommos and Visiting, the “seminal synthesizer albums” from the new wave and punk producer, together as the first installment in a new Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music. That sounds like a triumph all around, though RVNG’s release copy seems to obliquely cast aspersions on the Superior Viaduct reissue of Nommos that recently brought new attention to these albums, implying that it was perhaps unauthorized; click through here to preorder (the official release date is June 24th) and to read the complete set-up for these brilliant records. -DP
#11 – 3/19/2014 – Fresh from the publication of Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording, in which Brooklyn College music professor David Grubbs examines “distaste for recordings as imperfect representations,” particularly in the avant-garde, the Duke University Press blog offered an itinerary of releases in that vein. Assembled by the author, the post is a short laundry list of recordings that have defied availability, thanks to structural considerations and the temper of their originators, including John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, Henry Flynt, and more. Read the full post here and check out Grubbs’ book at the Duke University Press store. -DP
#12 – 3/20/2014 – Vancouver electronic imprint 1080p shared a new video from their Kitkolla tape, Sarah’s Rocks, the debut release from the new Coyote Clean Up side project. Check out the video below and preorder the tape from 1080p’s Bandcamp. -DP
#13 – 3/20/2014 – Manchester, UK’s Fat Out Fest finalised its line-up for the weekend of May 23-25. This Heat’s Charles Hayward, Melt-Banana and Cut Hands will headline the nights, with Nissenenmondai, Run Dust and Farewell Poetry the stand-out performers across the weekend. Opal Tapes and Tombed Visions have both curated intriguing-sounding Yoga Rooms, and Gizeh Records has a floor to itself on the Sunday. The shindig takes place at Salford’s Islington Mill – further info and tickets here –SD.
#14 – 3/21/2014 – Al Lover made a “dad rock” mix for Impose titled “Motocycle Music“, focusing on the idea that we all eventually become our parents and that’s not always necessarily a bad thing. The cover art features his father’s hand-built, one-of-a-kind motorcycle called “The Raven”, and the tracklist is chock-full of artists that his dad inspired him to listen to by giving him his first Velvet Underground CD — Lou Reed (of course), Jack Name, Ty Segall, Natural Child, T-Rex, The Stooges, Bobbie Gentry, and many more. A great mix to jam out to while the weather’s warming up. -LP
#15 – 3/21/2014 – Zach Phillips of OSR Tapes sent out another round of reminder e-mails regarding the label’s quest to collect a covers compilation dedicated to one of their flagship songwriters, the brilliant and mighty Chris Weisman. This is an open-call, anything-goes type of situation they’re setting up here, all in anticipation for the collection’s late summer/fall release on cassette tape. If you’d like to submit your own version of one of his (millions and jillions of) wonderful tunes, get in touch with Zach directly with your track by no later than August 10th. And while that sounds fun and all, the related chunklet of news is perhaps more tantalizing yet — the cassette is slated to be released in tandem with Weisman’s new vinyl LP Monet in the 90s, which follows the massive and ingenious 88-track Maya Properties. -CP
#16 – 3/22/2014 – Lillerne Tapes announced that they’ll be re-issuing Katrina Stonehart’s S/T release on “Pokey orange” colored cassettes; this is the first time they’ve done a re-pressing of one of their releases, so if you missed out on the first round, I highly suggest grabbing one this time. More details on the release date to come. -LP