Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
jason on 08/09/2010 at 09:00AM
Ben Vida is a musical traveler with roots in the late 90s Chicago minimalist/post-rock/improv melting pot, playing guitar and analog synthesizers in groups like Singer and Town & Country. He's more recently migrated to Brooklyn, where he joined up with Hishaam Barooka (ex-Black Dice/Lightning Bolt) in Soft Circle and was awarded an Emerging Artists commission by ISSUE Project Room. Though he's hardly an "emerging artist" -- his work's already been praised for years by everyone from The Wire Magazine to BBC Music -- 2010 does seem to be a pivotal year in the soaring flight-path of Ben Vida's own Bird Show project.
Bird Show began as a collaborative outgrowth of Ben's solo work; a hypnotizing compendium of organic and synthesized sounds. 2008's untitled release on Kranky really caught my ear with its range of wind, percussion and string instruments -- mbira, dumbek, pan pipes, frame drums, harps, finger cymbals and gongs -- paired alongside warm vintage synthesizers evocative of both the scholarly work of Stockhausen and the more contemporary humanistic electronic sounds of Finland's Shogun Kunitoki. Guests on that record included frequent Vida collaborators like Greg Davis, Robert AA Lowe (Lichens), and Ben's brother Adam (US Maple).
Bird Show Band (Amish 2010) finds Ben Vida returning to his Chicago roots to record with some of key figures from the Windy City's jazz/improv scene. Percussionists Dan Bitney and John Herndon are best known for their work in Tortoise. Upright-bassist Josh Abrams previously played with Ben Vida in Town & Country. Jim Baker's violent ARP 2600 is the secret weapon on this 7-track LP/CD, bringing a harsh contrast to Vida's warmer Moog Voyager. Blue Hawaii (Cave, Chandeliers, Icy Demons) engineered the two-day session, which Vida edited and mixed later on in Brooklyn. "Quintet Four" is a great overview of the record's fantastically spliced mix of jazz/improv, psychedelic kraut-rock, and electro-acoustic sounds.
Earlier this year, WFMU's Daniel Blumin debuted Ben Vida "Patchwerked Radio Mix" -- a fluid-yet-challenging trip showcasing Vida's more avant-garde side, recorded exclusively for WFMU.
As to what's next, word is Vida's been working on an opera in collaboration with visual artists Siebren Versteeg and Deborah Johnson. He's also touring the East Coast with Greg Davis and Tortoise Sept 5-10, followed by a Greg Davis performance at Raleigh NC's Hopscotch Festival.
elizalomas on 08/08/2010 at 11:00AM
I'll suggest one reasonable explanation for why this band call themselves the "Superhumanoids".
It was founded by those kind of abnormally talented people who contribute to so many exceptional projects that they should probably have a more elated title, like "superhumanoids", which sets them apart from the rest of us plain "humans".
Up on the FMA they have kindly offered their self-produced debut EP 'Urgency'- a work of glistening, astronomical electro-pop talent that is gaining momentum as a metorite, ready to make its earthly impact any day.
Cameron Parkins formed the band in his spare time, which suggests his invicible human nature, as he also acts as Creative Commons Curator on the FMA, a digital activist, a designer, a photographer and co-founder of Hit City record label. With other band member Sarah Chernoff, they also squeeze in some garage-punk in on the side as The Franks. If Superhumanoids carry on in this direction they will have conquered the world in no time.
BTurner on 08/06/2010 at 02:00PM
During the 1990's, Miami's Harry Pussy provided among the most confrontational and challenging recordings and live sets to a post-hardcore generation, and Bill Orcutt's blasted guitar playing defied easy categorization. Such is the case upon his return last year with a solo LP A New Way to Pay Old Debts, whereupon he takes an old Kay acoustic guitar rigged with a found pickup and tears out some unbelievably gutted, aggressive yet defined picking/shredding compositions to make even even seasoned guitar composition connoisseurs turn their heads for the mere reason that you've rarely heard the instrument approached this way. Comparisons to the woolier moments of Cecil Taylor, fractured player-piano-roll sounds of Conlon Nancarrow all enter a decidedly unguitar-like realm of performance, with gutbucket resonations and almost microtonal approach to strings in the spirit of pure freedom and anarchy.
This session on Brian Turner's show came during several days of New York shows (one of which featured a full on guitar battle with Sir Richard Bishop), and was recorded in WFMU's palatial 4th floor lavatory by David Mambach. During the Bishop show, which happened at Zebulon, I conversed with a friend of a friend who I think came out unprepared for the onslaught, having read a NY Times preview and possibly expecting some world/folk stylings of a more traditional sense. He laughed outloud as Orcutt's opener set barrelled into a flurry of violent acoustic battery, and asked me if it was a joke. But as the set progressed, his eyes remained wide open and at the end was totally in awe, citing some clear Skip James and flamenco cornerstones being touched, albeit turned inside out. He was impressed. Enjoy some guitar playing unlike you've ever heard.
mwalker on 08/06/2010 at 09:00AM
As a farewell to this long hot summer, ISSUE Project Room is hosting a massive 8-hour concert in the courtyard of the Old American Can Factory, showcasing some of the inimitable Important Records labels' finest artists. The show will be capped off by the MASTER MUSICIANS OF BUKKAKE, who will materialize out of a murky cloud of smoke to make their first-ever appearance on the East Coast.
The list of luminaries extends into the ether: the return of noise/improv supertrio THE NEW MONUMENTS (C. Spencer Yeh, Graveyards percussionist Ben Hall, & Borbetomagus founder Don Dietrich), experimental Dutch lutist JOZEF VAN WISSEM, former ISSUE Artist-in-Residence DUANE PITRE, krautrock minimalists CAVE, Japanese electronic artist KOUHEI MATSUNAGA, ultra-minimal single-harmony-performing CHORD, a collaboration between HELENA ESPVALL (of Espers) and FURSAXA (acid folk crooner Tara Burke), alt-folk duo ARBOREA, and therapeutic healer DIANE CLUCK.
To whet your appetites for the marathon, I've culled together an Important Records sampler mix from the FMA's vast wealth of riches. Mark your calendars.
TAGGED AS:experimental, c spencer yeh, jozef van wissem, new monuments, important records, See More...
elizalomas on 08/05/2010 at 05:50PM
Brooklyn based Don Trust makes collage style electronica which is alluringly unnerving and achingly satisfying.
Chopped up coversations, blues vocals and dulcet female tones are overlayed with electronic loops and intensely strummed guitars, laying out a fragmented yard of visual-audio mayhem.
It wouldn't surprise anyone to hear he also works as a visual artist. If you like the sounds, you will like the sights too.
TAGGED AS:don trust
JoeMc on 08/05/2010 at 11:54AM
Some folks believe in guardian angels, benevolent beings that watch over us and protect us from harm. But what if there are other beings out there, also watching over us and waiting to make contact? Anybody who's flipped through, say, The Field Guide to Extraterrestrials, or has seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has most likely wondered: What if there are guardian aliens out there?
Brooklyn's Guardian Alien wonders this same thing. Loudly.
Helmed by Greg Fox -- a busy fellow who also drums in Teeth Mountain, Liturgy, Dan Deacon Ensemble, and Man Forever (Kid Millions/Oneida) and plays solo as GDFX -- Guardian Alien follow the road to enlightenment previously trod by the likes of Hawkwind and other space adventurers. If we're going to make alien contact, what's going to get their attention more, anyway? A 5-note ditty played on a xylophone or an 18-minute trance epic of guitars, synths, drums, and caterwauling vocals?
Here is a recent attempt at contact from a few weeks ago, recorded at the Cinders Gallery in Brooklyn. Greg Fox is on drums, of course, as well as Casio synth-guitar, with Turner Williams on japanese banjo, Camilla Padgitt-Coles on synth, and on vocals and ecstatic dancing, Alex Drewchin (who, by the way, when she's not chanting to or howling at the stars, leads a completely different musical life as a singer-songwriter).
For more Guardian Alien, check out another live recording, released as Sing Like Talking, also on the FMA here. For more Greg Fox, there's plenty of Teeth Mountain and Liturgy on the FMA, as well as some GDFX, Guardian Alien's immediate precursor, including a great session on Talk's Cheap with Jason Sigal from earlier this year.
Be sure to have a look at Guardian Alien's MySpace page for more videos, helpful advice on how to behave if you are the first human to meet an alien, and other useful teachings. They will also be playing live tomorrow night at Conspirastock (see here for more info) and appearing later this month at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn.
lizb on 08/05/2010 at 08:45AM
Heads-up, minimal synth fans! A few tracks have recently been added to the FMA from NYC's premier robot dance party band, Mazing Vids. The duo of Ryan and Ryan have been making music together since the early '00s, with cold teutonic beats, scratchy synths, and distorto vox. If you're in the NYC area, catch Mazing Vids live at Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn on Aug 29th.
"Drastic Mirth" is the band's most recent LP, released in late 2009, and features the great song "Could You Die" (below). I'm also a big fan of the song "Erector Set," which places Mazing Vids in the same zip code as Espelndor Geometrico, Grauzone, Der Plan, and Crash Course in Science.
Speaking of the oldies... if you dig vintage robot music, there are a number of recent comps and reissues that are totally worth checking out.
bobw on 08/04/2010 at 03:19PM
Originally called "Zeroes," this Montreal-based four-piece had to change their name due to a conflict with another band. They chose "suuns", which means "zero" in Lao.
Their Zeroes EP -- featured at Other Music earlier this year -- is now available as a free download (in exchange for an email address). They'll release their first full-length on Secretly Canadian in October, 2010.
One band that comes to mind when I listen to Suuns is Clinic. Though they couldn't be mistaken for one another there are certainly some common threads in the fabric of their music, like the breath-y, speak-singing style of Suuns' vocalist Ben Shemie. Keyboards often provide a soft addition to the guitar/drums/bass/vocals, and there's a subtle layering of an electro noise compliment.
I discovered Suuns while prowling the web for new bands from the Montreal scene. By luck, they were touring with fellow Montrealeans Palovr, and I was able to snag them for a wfmu live session on July 22, 2010.
jason on 08/04/2010 at 09:00AM
INQ Mag is an incredible resource for netaudio. In addition to highlighting individual release, INQ does the Monographic Podcast series spotlighting some of the best netlabels around, curated by the label-heads themselves. These have helped me discover some incredible sounds, and I'm excited that INQ will be using the FMA as a platform to help spread the good word. As an introduction, editor Mikel posted this mix on INQ-Mag's FMA portal:
We are happy to start this collab with FMA after 3 years researching the netaudio scene on our website inq-mag.com. Always faithful to our principles of audio as well as visual quality of the releases we have been posting without being closed to a genre, has been a key factor for beeing an enriching experience for us.
In the near future we hope starting to upload to FMA the episodes of our Monographic Podcast, a netaudio mix podcast by netlabel curators.
For the opening ive been diggin on my latest listenings to gather 13 songs of 13 remarkable artists. Some very recognisable names such as Jan Jelinek, Ran Slavin or AGF/Delay, with some emergent artists like Muhr, .at/on, Blamstrain or Lazzich. I hope you enjoy the selection...
elizalomas on 08/03/2010 at 04:45PM
Stanton Moore is best known for being a founding member of legendary New Orleans funk band Galactic. Away from this, he has a solo career which spotlights him as all-round inspiring musician, innovator and teacher. His dedication to funk drumming is surpassed only by the love of his home, New Orleans, where jazz was created and where people like him are investing their time and talents to keep it as vibrant as ever.
In April this year he released the book 'Groove Alchemy', an essential investigation into the original elements of funk and groove drumming. He gives invaluable insight into how his drumming is turned to gold: combining masterful, experienced rhythms with the characteristic laid-back lilt of New Orleans.
The release of this book reflects the type of musician Moore is. From providing masterclasses in the Big Easy drumming style, to introducing his own titanium snare drum, to setting up a scholarship for young aspiring musicians post-Katrina, Moore's heart and soul are truely backing every beat he makes.