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JoeMc on 05/07/2010 at 11:00AM

Hi, Mom!

Mamie and Hounds remembering mom. You'd better, too!

A timely reminder from your friends here at the FMA: If you haven't yet sent out that card or those flowers to your M-A-double M-Y, then it's time you got FTD on the phone, or at least staggered down to the Duane Reade to pick up a Hallmark. it's pretty much the least you can do. Even if your own mom makes Mo'Nique seem like Mother of the Year, you still ought to show a little respect to the woman who thrust you out of her loins and scrambled up her innards for the remainder of her natural life for you.

OK, so you've got the card. To get you in the mood to write that inscription that will make the ink run from your mother's happy tears, here's a little gem from the great Mamie Smith, along with her Happy Jazz Puppies (probably their original name). If you aren't packing the camper in route to Hometown, U.S.A. after hearing this one, then your heart is colder than the look on your boss' face when you come in late for the 47th time.

I'll say a little bit more about Mamie Smith below, but be sure to listen to the song.

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pranay on 05/07/2010 at 09:30AM

Moving Records with the Custodian of Records

I have mentioned the Coffee Break show before, and there’s a high probability that it will come up again and again. And for good reason. Aside from playing the familiar tunes and the occasional novelty record, Coffee Break has also showcased some serious local talent. One of these regulars is the NJ resident, the Custodian of Records. The Custodian produces sample-driven hip hop in an age where the practice is becoming increasingly scarce. Boasting an impressive body of work, TCOR is constantly working on new beats. Recently, while asking him what he’s worked on lately, he hit me with the news that he is moving to South NJ. Before I could even mentally register this news he asked if I could help move some of his records and without thinking I volunteered.

What initially started as one person helping another eventually turned into a guided tour of TCOR’s personal laboratory. The first thing I noticed as we got down to the basement is that it was exactly as he had described it. Music everywhere. Album covers all over the floor. Almost every square inch of deskspace is cluttered with LP’s, cassettes, and CD’s. There were a few boxes with records already packing into them, but it looked like there was much more work ahead. By the way, I don’t mean to insult the man’s cleanliness or organizational skills. In fact, quite the opposite. It definitely speaks volumes about his unique process of creating beats.

It was at this point that he started laying out some things I might be interested in. The next thing I know, I’m confronted by a pile of 45’s and various hip hop tapes, one of which is Del tha Funkee Homosapien’s ultra-rare cassette-only release Future Development. Already, I’m impressed with his collection. When I asked him how he acquired such a massive collection of 45’s, he replied that he is no stranger to flea markets. He himself has also volunteered to move other people’s record collections, which gave him an opportunity to keep some gems along the way. “You might recognize this,” TCOR says as he places an unmarked cassette into the tape deck. It takes me a second before I realize it’s an alternate Beatminerz mix to Black Moon’s heavy hitter classic “I Gotcha Opin”. He claims to not be a fan of the other remix, the one which sampled a Barry White tune.

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lizb on 05/06/2010 at 02:00PM

Satan Fun and Serious Noise Grrr

During my weekly FMA blitzkreig, I kept falling upon great songs that were all from the same netlabel, Los Emes Del Oso. The label is based in France, but has tentacles reaching into Argentina, Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and beyond. A few of my favorite picks are posted below.

First up is a South American gal group called Kellies, who I think are using their song "Old Man" to ward off an old lech. The tune comes from a great compilation of South American freeform weirdness entitled "Gauchito Gil Contra Colocolo," which is definitely worth checking out.

Mellow French experimental pop is up next with "Sexy Chaton Uber Alles" by On Va y Aller Comment a Poulainville. I think this descriptor by Los Emes Del Oso is apt for OVYACAP: "one thinks of music cartoon Croatian or demos of electronic music of the Middle Ages."

Harsher sounds come from Jim Morrison Mon Cul (which translates to "Jim Morisson My Ass" from French): like a combination of no wave and Louise Huebner's incantations.

Chenillion is another French outfit, an absurdist offshoot of the band Le Club Des Chats. Bratty, silly sounds emerge from a combination of toy instruments and vocals drunk with helium. Fun!

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jason on 05/06/2010 at 10:30AM

Free Music Archive receives support from the MacArthur Foundation

MacArth_primary_logo_stackedWFMU is pleased to announce a major grant received from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in support of the Free Music Archive. The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. We are inspired by MacArthur's values, and honored that the foundation shares in our vision for the Free Music Archive.

The Free Music Archive has grown rapidly since our beta-launch; our library now houses over 20,000 free and legal mp3 downloads curated by a broad spectrum of organizations. The project began at WFMU-FM, where we originally envisioned the Free Music Archive as a means to extend its mission of "free public access to curated audio" into the Internet era. But it has become so much more than that. Today, the Free Music Archive is a platform for curators of all stripes -- not just radio stations like WFMU, KEXP and CBC Radio 3, but also live arts presenters like Brooklyn’s ISSUE Project Room, established cultural institutions like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, many of the world's top netlabels, world-renowned commercial labels, and key forces in the free culture movement like the Creative Commons organization -- to reach a global audience and build community through shared content.

Support from the MacArthur Foundation will help our library continue to grow alongside significant new functionality and social features; including a recommendation system based on user listening preferences, scrobbling, and an enhanced API. Though it does not fund the project in its entirety, this grant brings us significantly closer to achieving our ambitious goals, helping us work toward a sustainable charitable model that will further enrich the work of everyone involved. Support from the MacArthur Foundation is good news for artists with music to share, curators in need of an online platform, producers in search of quality audio for their creative projects, and quite possibly everyone who likes music. You can read more about what's in store here, and donate to help make it possible.

>> Here's a PDF of the full press release

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katya-oddio on 05/05/2010 at 09:00AM


BUBBLES is a fun, free, compilation of previously released & unreleased material by The Bran Flakes created from 1998-2007. Fun fun fun fun!

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Halas_Radio on 05/04/2010 at 12:00PM


I’ve known Beton over 20 years. We were in a band together when we were about 15-16 years old, at the end of the 80s. We were into experimental and electronic music, we even had one cassette out (special edition), The newspaper review said: "Better the kids make this kind of music than shoot people on the streets"….

One day, 20 years later, I met Beton on the street; I was thrilled to find out that he was still making music (thankfully, he didn't shoot anyone yet).

In his own words: Beton music is in some ways organic music, all tracks here were recorded live, with no sound editing, everything was based on midi controllers manipulating Clavia nord modular.

Enjoy! :)

BETON - "k2ut2" (04:23)
BETON - "k2ut2" (04:23)
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herr_professor on 05/04/2010 at 09:22AM

Cover Chameleons

Chip music has long had a love hate relationship with gamer culture, an the internet in general. Is chip music hipster kitsch or is it something more? The issue becomes further cloudy when it comes to the now ubiquitous 8-bit Cover comp concept, where chip music artists attempt reworkings of popular hits as chip music soundtracks. The successful ones, such as ones dedicated to Kraftwerk, Weezer, Tron, and even Miles Davis, succeed largely due to the arrangements of the chip music artist, and of course with the strength of the source material. The danger with such compilations however is the consumptive nature of gamer culture, and it's relentless search for the novelty factor. Sure covers will get you noticed on the blogs, but will it get you noticed for your skills as an artist, like Wendy Carlos, or will it date you as an object of kitsch, like Rolf Harris?

One artist who seems to be able to toe the line between the two extremes is New York City's 8bit Betty. Stating with a picture perfect cover of the theme to "Reading Rainbow", he keeps up the energy up with his original compositions and an exciting live set. The challenge now for chip musicians is to find ways for their original music to capture Internet mind share, so your legacy as an artist is your own, and not simply "THE DUDE WHO COVERED THE A-Team"

The version uploaded on the FMA is missing the Reading Rainbow cover, but you can find that over on See you in seven!

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wmmberger on 05/03/2010 at 05:55PM

Music in Ten Dimensions --- Hex Breaker Quintet, Live on My Castle of Quiet, 4.28.2010

The spectacles witnessed and heard through the double glass on WFMU's fourth floor during the My Castle of Quiet broadcasts continue to amaze me, and shape my consciousness with their intensity, their power, and their generosity. Everyone tends to do a good—nay great—set on the Castle. All I do is say, "come." 

The Hex Breaker Quintet were no exception—they were, in fact, the RULE, as Telecult Powers and Grasshopper are the two bands that helped carve the Castle landscape quite early on; it only makes sense that their combined energies should return to rattle these walls and break the hex. And rattle they did. And the hex was in fact broken.     

Ultimately, this is monumental music; grand-scale, slow-burn improvisations for your head. As I wrote on the playlist, "Sweetly sad, eerily monumental ... from Jon Hassell swamp nightmares into spaghetti-western Elysian fields...." 

Set one shows you the grapes --- the desert, the wobbly horizon, the rocky alleys between buldings of soft stone, and the few chittering insects that manage to survive just under the hot crumble; while set two, clocking in at just under a half hour, makes the wine --- the bugs come out in force, hectic, but pipers are piping, and you drive through the swarm to the square, and see something unbelievable there—something otherworldly. You're glad you came. You rest and have a drink, but the spectacle continues, and your skin tingles.


Thanks again to Josh, Jesse, Witchbeam and Mister Mattews for their luminescence. Thanks as always to Glenn, the mighty knob twiddler, and to Tracy, Castle photostepper, who said of this session, "...Repeat listening will be required." Indeed!

Hex Breaker Quintet will be playing NY Eye & Ear Fest III on May 22nd.

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jason on 05/03/2010 at 12:00PM

Third Coast & The Books: call for ShortDocs

As part of their efforts to promote and inspire creative audio storytelling, The Third Coast International Audio Festival has enlisted The Books as your potential collaborators for the 2010 ShortDocs Challenge.

The Books are audio collage masters. Their three full-lengths to-date (Thought for Food, The Lemon of Pink, and Lost and Safe) mix the organic sounds of Nick Zammuto's guitar and Paul de Jong's cello with electronics and recontextualized found-sound to create a uniquely cohesive musical universe. While prepping their new album for a summer release, the duo crafted the following samples to fuel your ShortDocs...

and now here's The Challenge:

Produce a short audio story (up to three minutes) inspired by (and named after) song titles from The Books’ upcoming record The Way Out, and including at least two of eight samples carefully selected from their vast library of musical bits, strange phrases, and sonic doodads. Stories of all styles are welcome – from documentary to drama - and everything in-between.

So that's one sample from the left, one from the right, and one of the following titles: "A Cold Freezin Night" "All You Need is a Wall" "Chain of Missing Links" or "I Didn't Know That". Complete rules here, you've got until July 5th, and Third Coast wants to hear from you "whether you can produce radio in your sleep, or have always dreamed of uttering the words 'Testing, 1, 2, 3. Testing' into a microphone".

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mwalker on 05/03/2010 at 09:00AM

Osmotic Imagination

Photo by Syeus Mottel. Silver Apples, Washington Square Park, 1968.

For the months of April - June, Matt Mottel is Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room. Co-founder of the inimitable force that is Talibam!, Mottel has long been a stalwart figure in the NYC improv scene. His ever-expanding list of luminary collaborators includes Cooper-Moore, Tom Bruno, CSC Funk Band, Rhys Chatham, Karole Armitage, Chris Corsano, Awesome Color, Akron/Family, Jeffrey Lewis, Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear), Kenny Wollesen, and Ras Moshe.

To preview his newest commissioned work -- to be unveiled in a free concert at ISSUE on May 7 -- Matt has shared an exclusive excerpt of a self-recorded rehearsal in the space in which he teases out motifs and ideas for the developing installation.

Check a portion of a chat I had, held over the course of several hours (and several glasses of scotch) here. Peep a full description of the project below:

"Matthew Mottel, a native New Yorker, was influenced by many cultural ideas and people to shape his present. He has discovered that his father, Syeus Mottel, a photographer and theater director, documented many of the people that would have strong cultural value for his son. Syeus Mottel, a journalistic photographer, has one of the great underpublished narratives of cultural and political history of the late 1960's - 70's. His son has focused on his archive to create a contemporary 'cinema of images' that presents this photographic record not just as 'pictures on a wall' but in an environmental 'dream state' that hallucinates visual photographic interactions between Martin Luther King, the Silver Apples, John Cage, Ornette Coleman, journalistic photography at political rallies of the late 60's/70's as well as iconic landscapes of America such as Big Sur, San Francisco, Washington DC  and New York City.

Matthew Mottel will create an environment where photography will be digitally altered and projected at ISSUE Project Room with a backing soundscape that Mottel will perform with 'electronically affected' piano, oscillators and samplers. In a sense, his music is a personal take on the sum of his influences. The Silver Apples, John Cage, and Ornette Coleman factor heavily into his sound world, but his father did not introduce these artists directly to him. Instead, it must have been 'influence via osmosis' as these artists and more appear in Syeus Mottel's photographic record of where and who he hung out with during this period.

'Osmotic Imagination' is a merger of visual stimuli and sonic alchemy. It attempts to contextualize contemporary culture to that of the past not by treating these images 'unaltered in stoic preservation' but to mutate historical documents and imagine a new life and future between people/places/time/thought of a past generation that has been fermented in 'standard TIME MAGAZINE ideology' that has not created a progression to betterment, but an end point. This work is a candid study of the past, and re-configures it for today's society to hopefully inspire further social, artistic and political development."

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