Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
jason on 03/05/2010 at 12:17PM
At a Monday night Death By Audio show a couple years back, Greg Fox, one of Teeth Mountain's four percussionists, passed along a sampler from his new Infinite Limbs label. This hand-painted cd-r introduced me to so much good music from the likes of Prince Rama of Ayodhya, Twisty Cat, Liturgy, Ducktails, and one Willy Weird...
Willy Weird, now known as Thick Business, is the solo project of frequent Infinite Limbs collaborator Tyler Dussenberry. Take a listen to the bad acid electro-surf jam "French Beach" (off that Infl comp), and the aptly titled, trance-inducing layered minimalism of "Smoothest Runes" (originally posted by 20 Jazz Funk Greats)!
The Infinite Limbs compilation also featured a track from Greg's solo project 5 Limbs, now known as GDFX. Greg's early solo stuff applied a percussionists' approach to loop pedals and sequencers to create hyper-active beat-oriented composition. Take a listen to the epic Altered Ego -- especially the 23rd and 24th minutes...
mgr800 on 03/04/2010 at 02:10PM
Solo improvisation is not an easy thing. Being able to carry a cohesive piece of music directly out of one's mind and through his or her fingers, voice, whatever, takes incredible skill and concentration. I had the good fortune to see a masterful solo improvisation set from cellist/vocalist Audrey Chen a few weeks ago while she was in the WFMU studio during Strength Through Failure with Fabio. The intense, haunting, fragile, and beautiful sounds she created with her cello, throat, and electronics both tease and please the ear with fragments of melody, noise, and drone. Listening back to her set just now its surprising that this all came from one person at on time.
One of the most fascinating things about Audrey's music is the way that timbres of her instruments overlap. Aside from the rich bass and midrange of her cello, Audrey emits incredibly high frequencies from her vocal chords as well as the chirping electronic box she played with on Fabio's show. She also gets similar high partials out of her cello by using various extended bowing techniques. The closest point of reference with her vocals are perhaps throat singing and the warbling vocalese of legendary free percussionist Milford Graves, or at times a creaky door being opened slowly.
Duo improvisation is also not an easy thing. The almost telepathic communication required to form a piece of music with little or no pre-conceived structure is difficult to master especially where the concepts of mode, rhythm and tempo are their most abstract.
A few weeks after i saw Audrey play at wfmu I had the chance to see her play a duo set with percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani at a small club in the lower east side called the Stone. Tatsuya, who I have seen play before with another brilliant extended technique percussionist, Jake Meginsky, creates sounds with with a small drum set augmented with gongs, bows, small metal bowls that resonate beautifully, and many different sized cymbals which he most often played by scraping against his floor tom or tiny roto-tom like drum. The sparse and somewhat cosmic qualites (the first time i saw Nakatani play I kept imagining soundtrack to some sort of outer-space collision) of both Nakatani and Chen's music make them perfect partners for improvisation. Just as the tones of Audrey Chen's instruments overlap with each other, the soundwaves coming out of these two seemingly completely different groups of instruments were often strikingly similar. At one point in their set Chen was filtering overtones out of white noise with her mouth and Nakatani hit the same notes by adjusting the pressure with which he was scraping his cymbal. The two of them have a recording called Limn although I have not been able to find it.
Nakatani also has an excellent performance here on the FMA. Chen has a great duo set with trumpeter Nate Wooley on here as well, from ISSUE Project Room.
JoeMc on 03/04/2010 at 10:38AM
It's already Thursday and Karl Blau hasn't put out a new album yet.
Something must be terribly wrong!
Of course, I jest. But if you think I'm kidding about how prolific this fellow is, check out this list of releases from his Kelp Lunacy Advanced Plagiarism Society label that feature him in a primary or supporting role:
The Dark, Magic Sea :: The Coconutcracker Suite :: Turning Tutu/Turning Leaves :: Dunkel Blau :: Purple Heart :: Baby Nettles :: Remember Tomorrow :: Clothes Your I's :: Nature's Got Away :: Dubble Dooty Booty :: Trust in Sirens :: It Was Hot, We Stayed in the Water :: Welsh Phantoms and Other Ghosts of Western Europe :: Sea/Saw :: Stereoearrings :: If I knew Zen What I Know Now :: AM :: Sing Together/Alone Under the Covers :: Beer and Chai :: Flotsam and Jetsam :: Let It All Out :: Sigh Lens :: Bread-n-Grease :: Trunkal Howl :: Free the Bird :: Dance Positive :: Good Lovin' Country and Beyond :: In Return from Ghost Country :: 1,000 Pictures :: An Unconscious Pattern :: Blue Nomad :: Doin' Things the Way They Happen :: Dragon Tape :: Into the Nada :: One Summer Night on Halloran :: Purple Shack of 4-Track :: Songs to Make a Living :: Beneath Waves :: 96
And these are just his self-released items. I'm not even counting his albums on Knw-Yr-Own records or his last three on K Records, including last year's Zebra. Does Robert Pollard have something to worry about? I should say so.
Happily, this quantity makes for great stylistic variety--sometimes folky, sometimes electronic, sometimes poppy. I'm partial to the pop mode. Back in 2006, Mr. Blau released a swell tune of this type on K Records as a single. It was called "Slow Down, Joe" (fine advice I'm taking to heart, thank you). This song also appeared in slightly different form on the Dark, Magic Sea release, and that's the one I'm spotlighting today. Its propulsive, march-like rhythm and bristly guitar get me every time.
Listen, and then see below for a bit more on the Blau.
TAGGED AS:karl blau
doncbruital on 03/03/2010 at 03:30PM
The real wonder of WFMU, the nurturing freeform motherwolf to the Free Music Archive's enthusiastic internet pup (which loving parent happens to be, ahem, having its annual fundraising marathon at the moment), is that it offers listeners the opportunity to map his or her own constellations of musical reference points. It starts out acousmatically enough--you hear a completely off-the-wall track, and well, you just may love it but still, the connection to your musical world seems more or less nonexistent, and, well, you're not sure, the whole thing's sort of new, maybe a little nerveracking but wait--suddenly you hear another track, one which connects the referent-less one you just heard to one of your preexisting favorites, and behold: you've got a new beloved song, set in place like an armillary sphere's realm of the fixed stars, and drawn into your very own burgeoning network of celestial giants--a constellation of jams.
The Free Music Archive, in this conception, offers the listener a 21st century map of the skies as useful as any that's guided previous generations of humanity. If the genius of radio is that it can pinpoint a specific coordinate in the musical universe and cast it in brilliant light--a forgotten song streaking across the sky like a comet--well, then, the genius of the FMA is that it can refer you at a glance to the solar systems and galaxies of which each mysterious body is an indispensible component.
I've been thinking a lot about this while navigating the FMA of late--with all the content it's been building up over the last year, it's really taken on an astonishing complexity--and noticing that artists I've seen here before have reappeared in various guises, uploaded labels' worth of audio or otherwise tripled or quadrupled their presence here on the site. It's really inspiring to see the Archive--whose ravenous wolfcub dream is to be a reliably great depository for the varying currents at work in music today--beginning to really map out previously uncharted galaxies; looking at previous blog topics alone, we've Providence's Free Matter for the Blind, which, in addition to the extraordinary audio zines already mentioned, has presided over a label curatorship packed with full albums by the likes of Leif Goldberg and Area C and, well, just see for yourself. So too have the works of previously-spotlit Montrealers brought plenty of new work to the table--check out tapelabel Campaign for Infinity's steadily-growing list of great bands. Lots of incredible WFMU Fest sets from last fall are now up--including that of Talk Normal, about whom I wrote in November.
You get the point--as the site grows, so too do the complexities of the constellations on our trusty and ever-richening charts. As we listen, so we discover. Keep it up.
blocsonic on 03/03/2010 at 08:45AM
As of the time of this writing, not even a year after it’s launch, WFMU’s Free Music Archive already boasts nearly 18,000 free music tracks from a wide array of genres. It’s an interesting collection in that it not only features music that comes from the world of netaudio/netlabels, but many signed indie artists can be found among the FMA’s selection as well. It’s definitely an incredible archive of music to explore!
After a good three months of listening to thousands of FMA tracks, I somehow managed to whittle the selection down to 11 exceptional gems. It was really a difficult choice, but in the end the final line-up proves to be a terrific mix of Rock, Pop, Punk, Indie, Trip-Hop and even a splash of humor thrown in for good measure.
A special thanks to Jason Sigal over at WFMU and FMA who was most helpful in getting me access to lossless copies of the two Live At WFMU tracks which are featured here. Thanks also to the labels, artists and to CASH Music for participating and helping me pull together all that was needed to make this release happen.
Since this netBloc release features music that’s already available here at the FMA, I’ve put together this mix for you to enjoy here. If you’d like the complete release, see the link below.
Want the PDF album booklet, high-resolution album art or any of the high-quality audio formats (MP3, OGG, FLAC)? Check out the blocSonic release page!
otho on 03/02/2010 at 01:13PM
For every carnaval moment!
Los Amparito is the third pseudonym of Carlos Pesina Siller who is a tiny guy with a lot of musical energy.
In his USB we can find some .als files (Ableton Live Sesion) ready to be open and make dance everyone at every party!
¬ pepepe.als > 8-bit, geekcore.
herr_professor on 03/02/2010 at 10:08AM
Along with Starpause, Overthruster was one of the most prolific of the the Minneapolis based lofi break-ish chip music assault group, :|krew. The group (pronounced COLON PIPE CREW) is one of the earliest US chip musicgroups to spring up in the early 2000's and their development, unchecked and Galapagos like in the wilds of the Twin Cities, owes a lot more to Punk, Breakcore, Bastard Noise and other types of harsh genres that you would not typically use to describe the sound that comes out of a Game Boy.
Overthruster has dozens of recordings on numerous lo-fi and no-fi Netlabels, and the tools he used to make these releases are equally diverse. His Game Boy material, showcased on his 2007 Dramacore release Slug Cock show a Game Boy that is far from interested in a nostalgic look back to one's childhood, and would rather focus on pushing the LSDJ tracker into its utmost limits, with harsh modulations, brutal hacked samples, and pulsing square percussion. Having always focused more on the noise and breakcore scenes, Overthruster is sadly not as well known in the chip community, especially amongst fans of the happier and poppier chipbreak artists like Saskrotch and Sabrepulse.
That's all for now, so enjoy Slug Cock and the rest of the Overthruster catalog elsewhere on the web, and see you guys in seven!
jason on 03/01/2010 at 03:15PM
Lukas Ligeti really caught my ear in 2008 with Afrikan Machinery, his second release for John Zorn's Tzadik label. The avant-composer's brilliant solo percussion album was performed on the Marimba Lumina -- a MIDI percussion synthesizer built by Don Buchla. The Marimba Lumina is also featured in Ligeti's newest project, Burkina Electric, whose debut album Paspanga is out now on Canteloupe Music.
The label calls Burkina Electric "the first electronica band from Burkina Faso," which is slightly misleading since Ligeti was born in Austria and resides in New York along with the majority of the six-piece. But in this era of 140 character bite-sized thoughts and music that defies categorization, it gets the point across about this unique collaboration.
The idea for Burkina Electric started in the mid-90s, when Ligeti met guitar Wende K. Blass, and vocalist Maï Lingani in Burkina Faso. The new album also credits backup vocalists Vicky and Zoko Zoko as "dancers", alluding to a fluidity of music and movement that is charactaristic of West African musical traditions.
Expanding the electrified elements of Burkina Electric is legendary German new wave pioneer Kurt "Pyrolator" Dahlke. Pyrolator was a founding member of the D.A.F, and co-founded the seminal Ata Tak label. In April 2009, Pyrolator stopped by WFMU for a DJ set and live performance on Daniel Blumin's show, which can be heard here. Pyrolator's live performance incorporated the Lightning II, another MIDI controller built by Don Buchla. This one's sort of like a lightsaber, check it out.
Hear all these elements at play live on KEXP from New York's Cutting Room Studios. "La Voix du Boulgou" was engineered by Anthony Gallo, and originally broadcast on Jon Kertzer's The Best Ambiance program at KEXP.
andrewcsmith on 03/01/2010 at 10:45AM
When Pete Nolan sings as Spectre Folk, his voice goes through a clipped, disarming delay that turns all held notes into phased-out noises, and makes all consonants trail off and blend into the next word. His songs seem to have verses and choruses, or at least that's the assumption, until they spin off into other phrases that don't quite fit into the same boxes. Instead of moving along through verse, chorus, verse, these songs just seem to stay put, throwing verse after verse off a bridge to nowhere.
Last week, I put up Steve Gunn's set (from the same night) and claimed it was Pete Nolan's Spectre Folk. Now that our files are all in order and correctly labeled, both of their sets are available on the FMA for download. Steve Gunn's latest work, Boerum Palace, is available as of last November from Three Lobed Recordings. In addition, the revised version of last week's post is up (all the good things about the music intact).
All of Spectre Folk's tracks here on the FMA are from the recent LP Compass, blanket, lantern, mojo. The LP is put out by Arbitrary Signs (003), and is available for $12 at firstname.lastname@example.org or for complete download at www.othermusic.com. The attached music is from Spectre Folk's January 29, 2010, performance at ISSUE Project Room, and if it doesn't convince you to get the LP, then who knows what will.
macedonia on 02/27/2010 at 12:35PM
It's not like happy days weren't already here at the FMA, but you gotta stand up and take notice when the forward-thinking heads over at Percussion Lab come through on some curator status. If you've been to their website, you already know that electronic music is in trustworthy and loving hands just by sampling a few of their DJ and live sets. Our Lady of Clicks, Cuts, Bleeps, and Bloops has blessed the Archive something serious with their generosity. They have already uploaded fantastic live recordings from the likes of Daedelus, Caural, Machinedrum, Ezekiel Honig, and Percussion Lab head honcho Praveen, just to name a few.
For the purposes of this entry, I'm going to shed light on a DJ set that remains a favorite of mine. Letherette first dropped this gem of a mix over a year ago and it remains as engaging and hypnotic as the day it first hit the Web. It is a collection of beat sketches and unfinished instrumental thoughts, fragmented sentences that run into each other and suggest moments of poignancy, paranoia, and the butterflies that sit in your stomach when you're around that special someone. It's a head-nodding good time and I've been fiending for their debut release ever since, which has yet to drop.
(Praveen, seriously, I know you've got connections. Tell them Letherette boys to quit holdin' out on that heat. Two thousand ten is their year...)