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Calebk on 04/02/2010 at 10:15AM

Noise Sydney

Things get pretty noisy in Sydney - this is in itself interesting as it is quite problematic to play at volume due to excessive noise restrictions and often underground venues. One answer to the issue is to take it outside, play briefly and return things to how they were. This is Kusum’s ScreamAMP. The work sees her carting guitar amps around Melbourne and setting up in various environs, before unleashing her extreme vocals on an un-expecting audience.

(see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmV-nrY3Xmk)

Tactically, numerous noise music practitioners find ways to perform at heart thumping volume about the city, below are three tracks at the noisy end of recent recordings from Sydney, turn them up if you can.

Kusum plays at ISSUE on the 7th April with LoVid and Marina Rosenfeld

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JoeMc on 04/01/2010 at 02:52PM

Vialka: Plus de vie que la musique

Vialka live, somewhere in the world. (Photo CC by-nc-nd courtesy Smoet/flickr.)
Take a bit of Ex-ian anarcho-punk, mix it with some Afrirampo-like abandon (and occasional facepaint), add in some Sublime Frequencies-style world music exploration, and finish it off with a soupçon of Gallic attitude, and you're getting close to what "turbo-folk micro-orchestra" Vialka puts across.

Vialka is Marylise Frecheville (drums, vocals) and Eric Boros (guitar, vocals) who reside somewhere in the Pyranees of "deepest France." Well, at least that's where they are for now. Boros is originally from Canada and Frecheville from France. They have lived in Canada, Switzerland, and Slovenia, but really they are a band that makes the world their home. In fact, their performing M.O. is to crashland in all sorts of out-of-the-way places to wake up the locals with a barrage of their unique brand of DIY. Right now, they are touring China, where they are playing in 18 different cities. From China, it's on to Taiwan, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Australia, and...New Jersey!

Yes, one of the out-of-the-way places Vialka will be crashlanding soon is at WFMU, where they will be Brian Turner's guests on April 20th. They also play in Brooklyn the following night. To get you in the mood for what promises to be a great radio session and live show, check out a few tracks below from Vialka's six-album deep catalogue. If you like what you hear, read on for more about this barnstorming duo.

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lizb on 04/01/2010 at 09:00AM

Mutant Glitch Pop Comp

Recently discovered the UpitUp netlabel here on the FMA: mutant glitch pop for these modern times. The label has featured tracks by known pros like Vernon Lenoir and Dan Deacon, but also brings a ton of lesser-known artists to the table for some sonic magic.

I'm particularly enamored with UpitUp's "Back From the Future" compilation from 2007, which is chock-full of electronic fun with plenty of spastic knob-twisting. You would be wise to practice your robot dance moves prior to taking a listen, so you don't look like a complete idiot when you find yourself involuntarily busting a move.

Take a listen to a few of my favorite tracks from the comp below, and if you are doing the head bob or foot tap by the end, just download the whole damned thing. If you're poppin', lockin', or working your robot arms, I will prescribe a higher dosage of UpitUp.

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glitch, electro-pop
jason on 03/31/2010 at 11:00AM

Tep

cover art to Pataques by Tep (Bedroom Research, 2008)

"The place for happy, frivolous music," is Proot Records' motto. They're one of the six top-notch netlabels who joined forces for the Greatest It compilation earlier this month. And we're now hosting more gems from their well-curated discography here on the FMA.

Along with Proot releases by FMA heroes like Ergo Phizmiz, GOTO80, Katapulto and label head-honcho Thiaz Itch, I'm fascinated by the work of Tep, a scatter-brained electronic artist from France with a great ear for organic source material, especially of the sqeeky variety. Horns, banjos, even some flatulence (on Fitje-Fetjeries). But I'm especially digging Tep's penchant for vocal sounds -- he finds something musical about the voice beyond traditional notions of language or "singing". Take a listen to the title track to Tep's "Humble" EP on Proot, hear what I'm talkin about.

Tep also has a couple releases on the fantastic Bedroom Research netlabel. 2004's Tep EP has some great moments, but Tep really found a distinct voice in the four years between his debut and 2008's Pataques (a song appears below). Bedroom Research offers a few key descriptive points about tep, which I've run through the online translation tool:

* Feed the dancefloors of its polka-core
* Orchestrations random songs distilled helium
* Discuss the meaning of life

...so where does TEP draw inspiration for these distilled helium blasts? Take a listen to his podcast/mix for Human Workshop, with music by thiaz itchzavoloka, ween, Daniel Padden, aavikko, wevie stonder, and more.

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doncbruital on 03/30/2010 at 02:00PM

Sword Heaven Slays

see?

But then you knew that, didn't you? I mean, few bands make good on the promise of harsh texture intensity and nonpitched brute crunch force like the guys in SWORD HEAVEN do, delivering via drumpound worship ceremony and metal (as in sheets of it) screech, their blasts coming tectonic-heavy, thunderbolt-heavy, asteroid-annihilation-heavy, again and again and again, guaranteeing for the listener an experience of defocalization to rival any yogamat meditative zone or nature-rumination psychic space to which you've ever grooved.

At the risk of this post's form too closely mirroring content--and all this purple prose overloading comprehension as much as a Sword Heaven set does--I want to double down on this idea for a sec, cause I think what this band does is really incredible. For some help, Robert Smithson, writing about a theoretical sculpture "The Eliminator"--basically a big repeating neon light--hits us with a handy thought about overload: "The Eliminator overloads the eye whenever the red neon flashes on, and in so doing diminishes the viewer's memory dependencies or traces. Memory vanishes... unreality becomes actual and solid." The incapacitating blasts of a harsh industrial act do the same, staggering out irregular and spaced out, offering the listener nothing to focus on but the overwhelmed mind's own lack of focus. Unlocked from the everyday sensory comfort zone, it all floats free.

Lest you think this is all some modern art conceptual game--not all  Eliminators are found in the museum, after all--listen to how great Sword Heaven sounds doing their thing: check out the killer live set so neatly offered up for you FMA folk. And--lucky us--these masters of the sensory overload have hit the road again; their tour, northeasterners, is not to be missed.

Trust me, you're likely to retain some lessons from their scrapmetal-strewn zone of total annihilation.

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sword heaven
herr_professor on 03/30/2010 at 10:25AM

Quitters Always Win

One of my favorite chip music shows I have ever attended.

With the spring weather remaining gross and profane, let's keep the recent trend of bastards of Game Boy noise going with a release from Timeheater. For fans of Starpause, and Overthruster (touring together and collaborating on tracks), Timeheater exploded on the East Coast Chip Music scene with numerous explosive performances, and countless (and extremely hard to find) releases.

He may have quit the Game Boy in 2006, but I emailed him for some information and can reveal to you the following nuggets:

- Originator of true chip till death
Well at least the name. The logo cracked me up so much, I usurped it for the title of our blog when we launched.

- Long format tracks
- Lots of feedback, distortion, dissonance
- Industrial electro, breaks, breakcore, noise.
His style is singular amongst most Game Boy performers, who tended to stay away from heavy complex sounds, one because its really hard to do, and two because most of them CANNOT TAKE IT.

- Along with overthruster worked heavily with nested tables and generative programming
You may not think a Game Boy is up to snuff in this category, but tracker technology allows for great variation in poly-rhythms, and generative programing

- Early adopter of gameboy advance sp due to crashes on older gameboys from processor load
This goes against the grain slightly with the general consensus that the oldest grey brick Game Boys have the "best sound" but most of Timeheater's tracks wouldn't even play on the older machines, as the nested table techniques are quite processor intensive. There is also the idea that the "harsher" sound of the SP's lends itself more to this style of music.

- not a fan of videogame music.

That much is apparent from this release, 1776. I've linked to the full version, so take a listen, and catch you guys next week.

Timeheater - "1776" (19:42)
Timeheater - "1776" (19:42)
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katya-oddio on 03/29/2010 at 03:00PM

Warmth from Andalusia

Alcázar de Jerez de la Frontera by El Pantera [Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license]

The group El Niño del Parking brings you the sound of the ancient city of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia in southwestern Spain between the sea and the mountains. In addition to Spanish guitars, Latin rhythms, and the clapping of flamenco, this brings you the experience of the fluid poetry of the Castilian tongue, festivals, palm trees, celebrated vineyards, sunshine, Mediterranean warmth.

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Calebk on 03/29/2010 at 09:15AM

Cracked Media

Anthony Guerra at impermanent.audio, What is Music? Festival 2005.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be posting blogs relating to the current Sydney underground, my book Cracked Media: the sound of malfunction (MIT Press, 2009) and a few things i'm doing at ISSUE on the 7th April.

My background is in experimental sound arts, namely the research and promotion of it. Back in 1999 Sydney had a burgeoning experimental scene, propped up by the yearly festival What is Music? (an agit-punk experimental extravaganza that was highly influential in its ten years with directors Oren Ambarchi and Robbie Avenaim), and irregular one off gigs in Italian bowling clubs, warehouses and caves. I started impermanent.audio (http://impermanent.info) as a way to promote this scene in a regular fashion and to have an event that focused on listening. impermanent.audio lasted 6 years. The event promoted music that utalised electronics, improvisation and noise - though in the early days due to a borrowed PA and the gallery based venues, it tended towards the very quiet.

These three tracks come from releases on the impermanent.recordings label (http://impermanent.info/recordings/) and were produced by Australian musicians closely related to the events in and around Sydney in the early part of this century.

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lizb on 03/26/2010 at 09:45AM

Transmissions from Sacto pasado

Photo by Thomas Hawk (CC by-nc)

There's a big spot in my heart for Sacramento bands, and it's not just because I lived in the area for a few years. The city has little nightlife, only a few venues, scant public transportation, and enough crime to keep the police and residents busy from filing or acting upon noise complaints. These factors not only contribute to how music is made and played in Sacramento, but are also reflected in the sounds.

Motivated and unapologetic, Sacto bands don't have an easy time making cool shows happen in traditional venues, so they get creative: house parties, bands playing under the freeway overpass, art collectives on dirt roads next to the river, spaces above bookstores, backyards, all-but-abandoned bars repurposed, etc. It's pull-up-your-sleeves DIY in the midst of a struggling city whose main industry is a state government that's been crumbling apart for many years.

And thus I present to you a band that was around in the early '00s: Duchess of Saigon. They were a male/female duo, bratty, jangly, garagey and sometimes inept, but always catchy and rockin'. Sacramento's venerable S-S Records has posted the band's 2002 "Easter Queen" 7" here on the FMA for your enjoyment. The EP was recorded by Chris Woodhouse, who either produced, mixed, engineered, or played on nearly every great album to come out of Sacto in the past decade or two.

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sacramento
JoeMc on 03/25/2010 at 09:00AM

Moonlighter's Serenade

S.H. Dudley's successor Harry Macdonough, busy as a bee (courtesy Library of Congress)

OK. You're a busy person. You've got things to do. You can't just be playing around on blogs all day. Who's got the time? Eighteen minute stoner jam? I think not. Ten-minute electronic dance anthem? No way. Even a three and a half-minute pop song can seem like forever when you've got to get going. After all, we're all working two jobs now, right?

Well, have I got something for you. Here's a cultural bon-bon you can digest quickly and with satisfaction: one-minute and thirty-three seconds of pure fun, circa 1902. A hundred plus years later, it's as irreverent as ever, and it was performed by a dude who also worked two jobs back in the day.

Take a cable car ride with S.H. Dudley, and then read below for more on this multitasking champ.


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