Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Gary Stevens of HEAD MOLT and MUTWAWA has been DJing between bands at recent shows, playing obscure electronic, psychedelic, prog, punk, new wave, world, etc. sparking folks (myself included) to ask "who's this?" and "who's this?" So recently Gary posted his mixes on his RAT WARD blog for everyone to enjoy. Tomorrow night he debuts as DJ on WRIR 97.3 FM, Richmond Independent Radio, here in Richmond, VA, his shows are Wednesdays 11 PM to 1 AM. Here are his first five mixes, geek out!!!:
(w/ Fela Kuti, Amanaz, The Witch, Gerard Levecque & Claude Romat, Chrome, Leather Nun, Todd Rundgren, Chrisma, Damned, Alex Chilton, Monitor, Braen, Pink Fairies, Jean Jacques Perry, Doris, Gaslamp Killer, Mondjam El/ Yamasuki-Yama Yama, Mehrpouya, Silver Apples, Starlights, Visitors, Brainticket, Joel Vandroogenbroeck, White Noise, Ghedalia Tazartes, Black Devil, Venus Gang, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Wicked Witch, Sympathy Nervous, Le Syndicat Electronique, ADN' Ckrystall, and Psychic TV)
(Basile, Franz Auffray, Christine 23 Onna, Piero Umiliani, Janko Nilovic, Chico Magnetic Band, Elektriktus, Human Egg, The United States Of America, Jean-Michel Lorgere, Sam Spence, X Ray Pop, Wire, Waitresses, Sam Sklair & Gus Galbraith, Halli Galli Tanz Music, Ampzilla's Delight, Metropakt, Salvation, Moondog, Lou Reed, Trio, Oblivians, The Red Krayola, Jesus, Midas Touch, Snuky Tate, Cluster, Sammy Burdson Group, Todd Tamanend Clark, and Serge Gainsbourg)
(Debris, Amon Duul II, Monocles, Damin Eih, A.L.K. & Brother Clark, Mott The Hoople, Snakefinger, Human Egg, Jean-Jacques Burnel, Bruno Spoerri, High Tide, Gerhard Trede & His Electronic Instruments, Camille Sauvage, Quiet Sun, Swell Maps, Wicked Witch, Hermans Rockets, Raymond Scott, Chaino & His African Percussion, Simply Saucer, Savage Republic, Aguaturbia, Nick Ingman, Vampires Of Dartmoore, Yma Sumac, The Son Of Pocket Music, Serge Gainsbourg & Bridgette Bardot, Dara Puspita, Lee Hazelwood & Nancy Sinatra)
(Brian Eno, Jean-Jacques Burnel, Die Doraus & Die Marinas, Les Maledictus Sound, Null & Void, The Soft Machine, The Index, Mekanik Kommando, DJ Dog Dick, Conrad & Gregor Schnitzler, Night Shadow, Boo! Hiss! Pfftlb!, Rah Bras, John Bender, Ultimate Spinach, Mario Molino, The Move, Kim Fowley, The Troggs, Quiet Sun, Nostromo, Casino Music, The Naughtiest Girl Was A Monitor, Greg Vandike, Ariel Kalma, and Ghedalia Tazartes)
(Amon Duul II, Elektriktus, Solid Space, ADN' Les Catastrophe, Sympathy Nervous, Cromagnon, The Brainz, Assim Assado, Mary Moor, Mad Tea Party, Delta 5, Monks, SPK, Crash Course In Science, Deutsche Wertarbeit, Lizzy Mercier Descloux, Executive Slacks, Rustic Hinge, Tool Shed, Violent Onsen Geisha, and Peter Jefferies)

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Alsos was the code name for the American special operations force led by a Lieutenant Colonel Boris T. Pash who struck deep into the Rhineland (The Zone) at the end of WWII in order to round up German Scientists and stashes of Belgian Uranium Ore. The ore was immediately shipped Stateside for use in the Manhattan Project, which was rushing towards completion of an Atomic Bomb. The Brains were scooped up in order to keep ‘em out of Soviet hands...and now the BBC has turned up weird sketches purported to be initial plans of a “Nazi Cosmic Bomb”, a notion historians have dismissed for decades. Guess Alsos missed it. I mean, it couldn’t have been that well hidden, right? A beast of an entirely different order but not necessarily unrelated and not of dissimilar magnitude or intensity is, what in-the-know-Jazzbos around here are calling The Toronto Cosmic Bomb, aka Vorvis/Hainey. Jack Vorvis is a drummer moving into years commonly referred to as “veteran” and Hainey, although not quite there yet but will be shortly, is best known as the sub-range in Disguises. (Vwwooh Vwooh!) Their first Inyrdisk release (Iyd19) was a grueling workout for both these deepmen, a gorgeously plodding affair which worked best on repeat and played thrice through. Their new zone, in lovely packaging, (iyd 34) is the same formula: Vorvis layin’ in the cut in a bizarrely sexual swing time and beat patterns in no-logic pulse. Hainey straight walks the dog with total abandon. A similarly zoned logic pervades these basslines. In fact its more like walking the cosmic bomb. To add a whole new tier of wigginess to this already bent concept this new one features Vanessa Rieger on modified speak n spell which just scrawls itself all over the duo’s choodly concept skin. I’ve never heard a CCMC record this weird and the fucking NOW Orchestra could learn a hell of a lot from this wholly instructive bitch. (http://inyrdisk.com/)

Addendum: If anyone has the double Music Gallery cassette with Vorvis/Snow/Dutton/Kubota I’d pay what I owe to Hydro Quebec for it, which is a lot...!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Catching up on the Last 13 years of cinema: David Lynch's Lost Highway

Started this process off with a viewing of Lynch’s 1997 film noir Lost Highway. Can’t explain why, other than Teeber and Jess indicated that it might be time. Josh was in. It was time.

Lynch’s film is sexy. And it is dated in a somewhat refreshing sense: Lynch is not completely out to lunch, not some total singularity, because Lost Highway betrays the stylistic conceits of that particular vintage of american cinema (early-mid 90’s) indicating an artist well aware of and ready to emulate, his contemporaries and their work.

But its a somewhat quaint notion presented by Lost Highway that interests me. Part A protagonist played by Bill Pullman makes a living playing free jazz. There is no indication whatsoever that his wife (Patty Arquette) is breadwinning. No, the indication is that dude affords the luxurious modo-styled LA hills mansion by playing OUT jazz at a club called the Luna Lounge. This would be a wonderfully anachronistic notion if it were in any film OTHER than one by Lynch. This was a time, remember when downtown avant-jazz was on the ascendancy in a big way. Zorn was at the height of his popularity, the Knitting Factory sold their records in Sam’s and HMV’s and opened a club in Los Angeles. (NB: The Knit began its life as a shitty whole in the wall in Lower Manhattan and up until twelve years ago its programming was devoted entirely to experimental/avant guardia) People still bought cd’s. In fact, cd’s were as much a item of conspicuous consumption as anything. Whether the Knits success was the result of a genuine burst of popular interest in the avant guard or simply a byproduct of getting in on the ground floor of the real estate boom and gentrification process of Lower Manhattan, is unclear). Heady times indeed. Whether you are Charles Gayle (who in ’94 played the Ottawa Jazz Festival and legendarily spent half the gig rambling on with his paranoid, Christian rightwing views) or Bill Pullman’s Fred character, there was at least some degree of money to be made in the out-jazz hustle.

O-Or its pure Lynchian fantasy. Along with the notion that on either side of Dead you’re fucking a variation of Patty Arquette or that physical imprisonment can’t keep a brothers mind down.
Either way, not saying in any sense that I’m stoked on the dudes’ music really. It sounds like that awful muscly-boutique-out-jazz white dudes are so prone to make, especially in that era. Zorn and cohorts, Vandermaark, all guilty.

And what if Lynch simply decided that the theme to this one would be taking it OUT!? That the audience should put into a situation in which they must relate to a man who’s living depends on his ability to take it OUT: Beyond the confines of evenly-paced time keeping, beyond slavery to harmonic structure and clean tonality. Why not then take it out in the filmmaking, to reinforce the theme. Beyond the confines of logically functioning plot devices, or the slavery of a straight narrative structure and direction. Indeed, why not take the man OUT of his body and give him a new one. Instead of making a shitty record of limp spy-music or retro-retro cool jazz with a skronk, why not make a psychological thriller that’s narrative gets to be similarly cluster-fucking as say Coltrane’s Ascension or a 70's FMP Evan Parker joint that's just streaming sheets of reed atonality.

But beyond my own jazz obsession: There is also the wonderful thematic device of Mystery Man and his video camera, which hints at early paranoia of the (At the time, a trend, NOW fully into a next level, well, really real) increasingly surveilled nature of our reality. And here we would need to dip into Mike Davis and Paul Virillio to really get a handle on what notions were kicking around that time. Mystery Man is the perceiverless perception of Security Cam/Vision Machines that began to be a constant presence in many cities but especially Los Angeles. Virillio sums up the question of “who” watches behind, what Davis in City of Quartz (1990) calls “Panopticon Eyelids”, in The Vision Machine (1994) and finds the answer to be: no one. (For example: I recently went through Airport Security with a small four-track tape machine in my bag. I decided to watch it come through on the xray monitor. It looked insane all exploded and thermal like that. Anyhow, the Security Monitor detail didn’t have to do much. My bag stopped in the middle of his monitor frame and the words Tascam Micro Cassette Recorder flashed across it. The xray machine can obviously take an image of my fourtrack's guts and cross reference it with specs in some super computer somewhere...WTF!) Mystery Man represents that deeply unsettling nobody who watches us from multiple angles in multiple places, omniscient. And despite being a non-existent other, but still present, the interest is somehow more directed to our depravity than anything to do with our so-called safety. Virillio, in his book, furthers this idea into the realm of military strategy and more or less becomes incomprehensible.

Lynch, on the other hand, continues to pursue OUT by presenting us with an examination of the formal structures of SUSPENSE (ie here is every plot device possible chained together and thrown at you to the point where it goes beyond plot). Free jazz of course does something similar, sort of, by means of an amplification of jazz’s tendencies. The differences between say Ayler and honker Big Joe Turner is really not much. Much like, beyond Lynchian flourishes, the actual formal qualities of Lost Highway are not far removed from those of any other psychological thriller, simply what tends to be the focus (resolution, linearity, one-actor per character ect) in the normal example are brushed aside by Lynch.

Once outside jazz’s traditional parameters you are left with a sometimes atonal haze, in a tempo so fractured that it becomes fractureless. Kinna how Lost Highway is. And as it should be.

(Thanks to teeber and autodestrukt for explaining what this is really about)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Terraform's "Temporal Junk"

Maybe this blog is totally dead now (and for my part I confess I don’t exactly write at a blog-sustaining pace) but . . . I still love rock music, and I especially enjoy when bands question the elements of rock that get taken for granted, while still conveying the sense of the physical and the immediate so prized throughout the genre’s fifty-odd years.

On their cassette “Temporal Junk,” Portland, OR’s aptly named Terraform [http://www.myspace.com/terraformit], barely two years into their existence, reshape a familiar musical landscape into something alien yet no less inviting. If there is one immediate carryover from past tradition, it might be in the drums’ providing of the time-honored forward momentum. The bass left to its own devices might be playing something akin to standard riffs, but it certainly doesn’t mirror the guitar parts, which are modulated into a percussive crunch for the bass and drums to texturally, as opposed to tonally, outline. Vocalist Ryan yelps over his scrambled strings, goes “Ugh!” at the end of some songs, and pleads, for exactly what it’s not immediately clear. It adds up to even more incongruity between the previously mentioned elements. What’s more, his voice at times sounds like it’s engaged in a bizarre convo with the saxophone, the latter of which is to me Terraform’s secret weapon. Sax player Katarina’s parts consist of a lot of aggressive squeaks and human speech-like bleats, which shudder and refuse to neatly line up with anything else going on in the mix. It sounds delightfully wretched, accidental, free of any overt genre references, and it faintly recalls to my ears the synth-derived blurts of Pere Ubu’s Allen Ravenstine, though she’s using non-electronic means to arrive at a similar conclusion (or maybe “challenge” is a more appropriate word here). It takes guts to sound this much like you seemingly don’t know what you’re doing, and she pulls it off incredibly well, bizarre phrasing, extended technique, and all.

“Temporal Junk” can be purchased from Karamazov Tapes: http://www.myspace.com/karamazovtapes http://karamazovrecordings.blogspot.com/

Terraform also have the audio available for download from their Myspace, which is fine and dandy, but someone with the interest and wherewithal should seriously consider putting this out on a 12” @ 45 rpm. Their approach and material merit it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ra uprising

Just my favourite 7" cover as of late, from the first and only Amon Duul 7", released on Ohr in 1970, and the best slab of psych-savant tripping this 2-session band ever offered. Take it as a little something to let this blog know I still care and will someday find it in myself to rant and rave at length about musics timeless and modern.

Monday, January 11, 2010

MONOTONIX interview

The last time MONOTONIX came to my hometown (Providence, RI) they stayed at my house. The house was a real small shithole, much like a morgue, drop ceiling, dank, a "so where does the body get washed", formaldehyde type of place. I felt bad. I also had to go to a "job" the next morning so we had to leave MONOTONIX in my house (I gave them the keys). Not only did they eat all my groceries I just bought for the month, they left mounds upon mounds of long curly hair in my bathtub (which I sold on E-Bay a week later - Official MONOTONIX hair). I forgive them, and want you to know, that these guys are the best. Super live, amazing layers-down of Rock riffs and beats and growls. MONOTONIX is hard-working too, touring extensively, making records and moving in a music scene that is difficult to win over at times, but they always seem to bring the fun and keep it real when the calling is there. I love this band and hope you do to. Give it up for MONOTONIX. Go read elsewhere a real review if you need concrete evidence or just get into this humble interview I did with Yonatan Gat axe-master extraordinaire of the best band from Israel and the best band pounding the US tourpath in the year 2010 - MONOTONIX.

Singer - Ami Shalev

Guitarist - Yonatan Gat

Drummer - Haggai Fershtman

1. What have you guys been up to lately? Got any new material that you'd like to describe for us?

We actually just put out a record 2 months ago.
It's called "Where Were You When It Happened?".
We're gonna work on new songs and do some more recordings in January.

2. How are things at Drag City? What do you think about being on a label these days? It almost seems like DiY is better financially, is there a reason to have a label for you guys?

There are many things I like about Drag City.
One of them is that they let us be our own boss, we're kind of in charge of ourselves and make our own decisions, but they really help us with a lot of the work, and help us get press, distribution and other things.
They are great people and friends, and we're proud to be on their Catalog.

3. Do you notice any trends in underground music scenes these days? A few observations I have is that it is a lot less common to see bands or musicians have a "following" it seems that music fans take it a lot more night to night now. What do you think? It seems Monotonix is one of the few bands going that actually have developed a loyal following.

We live in Israel, and home, we don't go to shows at all.
When I do go to shows in the US/Europe it's usually our shows, and they happen 200 times a year, so the only trends with live shows I can see are trends at our shows.
There used to be an annoying trend of steel trashcans bouncing from person to the next, but I believe it stopped. Maybe steel trashcans are a 2008 trend.
I think this could turn into an exciting time with all that anarchy in the record business, recorded music becoming free and almost meaningless to people, live shows becoming the one thing that can not be captured digitally, records becoming songs, songs becoming versions of older songs. I know a lot of it sounds shitty. But I think rock'n'roll is getting more boring every day and any revolution is good. I'm hoping these silly, amazing times will maybe lead to one last exciting era in rock and roll.

4. What music are you currently listening to? Anything good coming out of Israel these days?

Not really. I just listened to a bunch of old Israeli stuff. Not too many things I would recommend to someone who's not from Israel and doesn't understand the nostalgia.
Iv'e been listening to a lot of old ska & dancehall. some django reinhardt, and that oh sees record "help".

5. Do you have any advice for kids just starting off in a band?

Tour a lot. Go out and play shows. It's an interesting way of seeing the world.
Plus it makes your band better and you learn some stuff about yourself.
Don't be afraid of American Cops.

6. What is your opinion about Music and Politics? Is there a political message in your music?

No political songs, no.
But I think the world would have been a better place if people thought and learned more about what they form their opinions about.
In my opinion, having a formulated opinion about something you don't know much about is ignorance.
There's also usually something pretty ignorant about rock guitarists going on about politics in zine interviews so i'll just stop here..