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herr_professor on 06/22/2010 at 09:51AM

The World Cup of Chip - France

With France on the precipice of elimination from the very same world cup that but a few short years ago they sat atop, ruling with a near iron fist, I wanted to send a message to the players sitting this very moment in the stadiums tunnel. And the best way to send a message is via an example, an example set to music and provided by one of their french countrymen. Da! Heard It Record's own, Eat Rabbit.

His music has been mentioned here before, but the FMA has recently uploaded his senses shattering set from the 2009 Blip Festival. Full of grotesque sample mangling, screaming arpeggios and an disturbing lagomorphic front-man, the performance was a testament to an ideal this french football squadron has seemed to have forgotten, with a never say die attitude and a never give up assault on the audience. Good Luck, men of the 2010 French Football Team, you have one last chance to live up tot he example of heroic countrymen such as Eat Rabbit. You can do it (or not.. not like I care.. VIVA MEXICO), and Ill see you in seven.

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jason on 06/21/2010 at 02:00PM

Primavera Sound recap pt1: Superchunk (mp3)

Mac of Superchunk live on the San Miguel stage at Primavera Sound Taken on May 27, 2010. Photo used under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa license, via Everett Nathan Wind as Cochese on flickr

For the second year in a row, Primavera Sound made WFMU the official American radio station for their unparalleled 3-day festival in Barcelona, Spain. The multi-stage festival was bigger and better than ever as it celebrated its 10th anniversary with a lineup of heavy hitters and WFMU favorites like Pavement, Sic Alps, Wire, The Books, The Clean, The Slits, Thee Oh Sees, New Pornographers, Diplo, Wilco, Camarón de la Isla, and So Cow. Many of these sets are now archived streaming on WFMU's special events page, and starting today we're posting some mp3 highlights to WFMU's Blog and Free Music Archive!

Kicking things off is the one and only Superchunk! The legendary kings of indie rock are back to reclaim their crown with their first new album in nine years, Majesty Shredding, slated for a September 14th release on Merge Records. Singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan and bassist Laura Ballance founded Merge back in 1989 with the release of Superhcunk's debut, the "Slack Motherfucker" 7''. That anthemic tune was one of many classics from the 2010 Primavera set, which was broadcast in its entirely on Terre T's Cherry Blossom Clinic. Also in the mix was "Detroit Has a Skyline" (mp3 below), "Learn to Surf" (off the forthcoming album), and "Precision Auto" featuring the omnipresent Tim Harrington of Les Savy Fav on guest vocals -- also check out his stage appearance during Liquid Liquid's set on WFMU's youtube).

The live performance and new album both feature a classic Superchunk lineup -- unchanged since the early 90's -- with Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance joined by Jim Wilbur on guitar and the renaissance man Jon Wurster on drums. You can check out a video teaser for Majesty Shredding over at vimeo, or after the jump.

Elsewhere on the FMA, you can catch Mac performing a solo set as Portastatic live over the phone from Chapel Hill, as broadcast on Phoning It In where "lo-fi is the right fi".

Stay tuned to the FMA where we'll be posting mp3 highlights from Primavera Sound all week long, and in the meantime, enjoy some Prima-Video's after the jump

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andrewcsmith on 06/21/2010 at 09:00AM

Language is the mechanism

Kenneth Gaburo

Kenneth Gaburo looked at language and music and saw enough commonalities and crosstalk to render the distinction inadequate. The two categories of communication and expression are indistinguishable in their root—the voice—and so why bother with reinforcing the divergence?

The two artists added to the FMA this morning—Larry Polansky, a composer/programmer/performer/theorist, and Chris Mann, a composer/poet/performer/linguist—both took different (but clearly related) concepts from Gaburo. Polansky often works on the level of musical systems and probabilities; the example below, "Simple Actions/Rules of Compossibility," is for a performer and computer, but the person controlling the computer has very little involvement in specific events. It is rather the systems that are being controlled, so that the changes are not to the details but rather they are on a higher level. Of course, the changes manifest themselves on the lower level—this is language—and it is these changes that are heard in the recording below. I'm leaving out an absurd amount of information here, but luckily Larry's kind enough to just put many of his recordings up on his site. He also often works with harmonic series-derived tunings, gamelan, and rode the Amiga wave the first time around. 

"Simple Actions/Rules of Compossibility" is presented here in a recording by Larry Polansky and Chris Mann, who reads a part of his long text Tuesday called "Rules of Compossibility." In this, the Amiga is essentially a responsive instrument to the sounds that it takes as input, so Mann's text is treated by the computer as sound. Yet, rather than just sound poetry, concerned with sound as its object (and stripping away a large degree of referential meaning from the text), Mann uses language as the "mechanism whereby you understand what I'm thinking better than I do (where I is defined by those changes for which I is required)." In other words (if it is possible to say the same thing in other words) language does not communicate; language reveals. Mann's text "notes (on the user as software)" is just one of the many hours of recordings he has available on his site. I've featured the first part here, but the whole thing works out to about a half hour.

Larry Polansky and Chris Mann will both be at ISSUE on Tuesday evening to talk about the work of Kenneth Gaburo, and to give performances, along with the composer and theorist David Dunn (who played last night). Facilitating the conversation will be the trumpeter Nate Wooley, so just for fun I've added some of his music to the playlist below.

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BTurner on 06/20/2010 at 12:00PM

Mount Carmel, Turning the Studio All Greazy and Stuff (mp3)

L_a8913b6d3d5c4d6fa57469d3c06ca18b Had the severe pleasure of hosting the Columbus, Ohio trio Mount Carmel in the WFMU studios live this week, and it was a burner. Despite ties to Siltbreeze and a zipcode that also harbors the likes of Times New Viking and Psychedelic Horseshit, the sound of this band is not going through any kind of gauze, in fact they are bare-boned straight-up blooze rawk with no post-modern filter, ironic pretentions, or loaded message. Cream, Hendrix, the Groundhogs, Peter Green, Free all loom large over the brothers Matthew and Pat Reed, joined by young drummer wunderkind Kevin Shubak, and the results are nothing short of fantastic. Solid, n' simple, sit down at the table at eat, y'all! Thanks to Jason Sigal for engineering and help upping the blister factor in the Live Room!

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blues, columbus, ohio
jason on 06/18/2010 at 01:49PM

Juanitos - "100% Good Vibes Music"

Juanitos is an internationally-minded SoulJazz inspired group from Chamébry, France. Juan Naveira & co have been making all kindsa exotic beats since 1991, starting out as garage-punk then taking a turn towards 50's surf with exotic instrumentation. According to their official bio, this was partially inspired by Crypt Records' Jungle Exotica compilation.

Oddio Overplay introduced Juanitos to the FMA with the fantastic 2007 album Exotica. They also have a track on BlocSonic's NetBloc vol.24, and lots more at their website.

Their latest album, Soul Africa, is an irresistable Afrobeat & reggae-leaning organ-ic funk party released earlier this year. It's licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 France, so these good vibes can be shared worldwide!

>> Juanitos - Soul Africa

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andrewcsmith on 06/18/2010 at 09:00AM

Ensemble Pamplemousse plays Ensemble Pamplemousse

The score of BLOCKS

The phrase "too many cooks in the kitchen" usually carries the following subtext: get the hell out of my kitchen. Ensemble Pamplemousse suffers from this syndrome—their ensemble has five performer-composers, and one composer-music-box-maker—but their solution has no one leaving the kitchen.

The set below, from their March 2009 performance at ISSUE Project Room, is called BLOCKS. BLOCKS is a "rearrangeable construction of elements," akin to Buckminster Fuller and Mr. Potato Head (their allusions). Chunks of music, written by each of the composer-performers, are played either simultaneously or not, either by one instrument or any other, and sometimes backward. Interspersed throughout are interludes from Rama Gottfried's music boxes, as well as other repeating ensemble segments by Gottfried.

These short segments—anywhere from two to five minutes long—are generally played a few times each, by a few different instruments. The translation from one instrument to another makes apparent the problems of writing in music; what is idiomatic for a flute may not be for mixed percussion. And yet, the "unison" of Track 17, below, ("Natacha plays Dave alongside of Andrew also playing Dave but just the first half") show that our brains rewire themselves to think not in sounds but in symbols. The rolling fluttertongue of the flute and a soft roll on a tom don't sound all that alike, but the physical parallels between the two actions join together in our minds and it seems to make sense. This concept of theme and recurrence links the entire performance so that it seems unified, even when that unification is beyond what might commonly be realized. In other words, our brains get it long before we do.

These are the kinds of concerts that Ensemble Pamplemousse puts on (and, in the case of BLOCKS, tours throughout the Northeast and Canada with). Lucky for Brooklyn, they'll be performing again tonight at ISSUE Project Room's concert celebrating the music of early musique concrète composer Luc Ferrari in a concert presented by David Grubbs. They'll be performing the New York premieres of two pieces for "Ensemble with Memorized Sounds," (written in the 1960s and 70s) where the ensemble in question is any collection of performers. The "memorized sounds" in the title is a reference to recorded media, mostly of unaltered field recordings. Ferrari also has a very comprehensive site, containing many recordings of his tape music. The fusion of unaltered, non-"composed" sound with musical performers should not be missed.

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JoeMc on 06/17/2010 at 12:00PM

I (Re)Write the Songs

Crooning to the Gents--and, presumably, the ladies (courtesy aurélien./flickr)

I must admit, with a hint of shame, that I'm a big fan of high concept records (and low concept records, come to think of it). Whether it's somebody doing a cassette of Prince covers or somebody else recording an album about their grandmother, I'm ready and willing to make the journey with them (a momentary pause here to salute the Gods of high concept).

One of the latest bands to drop by WFMU with full concept in tote is Everybody Was in the French Resistance...Now!, a clunkily named but fun outfit whose concept is to name their songs in response to popular rock songs of the past, sometimes even addressing those songs. This concept isn't new at all, just a slight twist on the rock 'n' roll tradition of the answer song, but it's still fun to play spot the reference.

Answer songs, in case you don't already know, were songs recorded by artists in response to a big hit by someone else. A famous example is Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," which was a response to Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life." WFMU's own Dave the Spazz covered this phenomenon from the rock 'n' roll and country angle on his 2003 premium, while WFMU's Noah did the same thing a few years later with the notorious run of Roxanne answer songs from the early days of hip-hop (see number 6). A couple of years ago, Ace Records put out their own nice compilation of answer songs from the 1960s.

Anyway, as a public service, I thought I would make explicit the references from EWITFRN!'s songs, in case you missed one or two. While I perform this thankless task, do have a listen to a couple of songs from the band's live session on the Evan Funk Davies program last month.

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lizb on 06/17/2010 at 09:00AM

X-Ray Fuzz Pop

Photo by Mercurialn (CC by-nc-sa)

Growing out of the B-52's-inspired Brooklyn party band Golden Triangle, the X-Ray Eyeballs play fuzzy, overmodulated garage pop at a languid trot.

Let me paint a picture: it's 95 degrees and humid out and you're too sweaty to move, so you begin to hallucinate about your middle school dances and the awkward distance between you and your dance partner in those formative days of social conditioning. In this humidity-induced hallucination, you are slow-dancing to "Nightwalker."

X-Ray Eyeballs' songs all float in a swamp of hazy fuzz and melody, great summertime music. The band swung by WFMU for a live set a few weeks back, kicking out some jams from their latest tape releases, a self-titled full-length on Night People records, and a split with Red Dawn II on the Party Store label. Aside from close relations to Golden Triangle, X-Ray Eyeballs' members are also in Necking, Rice, the K-Holes, Wild Choir, and Georgiana Starlington.

The band offers up a wealth of free MP3s on their site and facebook page, where you can get info about upcoming shows. Check out a few of my favorite tunes that were performed live on WFMU below, and listen to the entire X-Ray Eyeballs set here.

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wmmberger on 06/15/2010 at 10:59PM

They said they came in a Scion; I saw no such vehicle, and am pretty sure it was in fact a bio-powered starcraft. OPPONENTS Live on WFMU's My Castle of Quiet, 6.9.2010

Brooklyn's OPPONENTS are currently riding their own, hard-to-define wave of greatness, with, one assumes, more greatness to come. These two sets stylistically encompass so many things I love --- grisly analog throbbing ala the horror soundtracks of 70s/80s cinema; beatific, long-form "head" music; echoes of the Con Schnitzler holy duality of Rot and Blau; and the casual intensity of brave young men with good ideas, coupled with the belief that there are no "rules" in how you get your music made.

OPPONENTS live performance on the Castle waxes scary as often as it trips out, takes off and floats, and simultaneously at that. Set 1 features some deliciously in-your-face analog bubbling, that once layered with Aaron's processed vocals and mic sounds, gives the feeling of a super-creepy inter-dimensional kids' party—ya can't leave 'til the kid opens ALL his freakin' presents, and some of the packages are already stained dark red. Set 2 feels like immediate bad news at the graveyard—you shouldn't be drinking here! There are haunting electronics worthy of the aforementioned Schnitzler, and early TG. Both sets come off deceptively through-composed, in a series of well-taut "movements" that rise to a logical conclusion. Maybe Joshua and Aaron are not of this Earth, entirely...maybe the kids with the crisscrossed human/alien DNA are now coming of age and making music. When Josh slips onto the drum kit in the middle of Set 2, you know for sure that anything can happen, and does.

I never got to attend the groovy goings on at Berlin's Zodiak club, as I was six years old in 1970, and lived in the states—so the live dazzle of OPPONENTS foots that bill for me. Joshua and Aaron work so well together as improvisors, and I stress again that they are just now hitting their stride. I Swarm With a Thousand Bees, their CDr on Obsolete Units, is a must-have, and the as-yet-unreleased Together We Will End the Future, what I've heard of it anyway, is the fully fleshed slam-bang version of what's only hinted at in these powerful sets.

Thanks as always to engineer/ sound-guy extraordinaire Glenn Luttman, who for the last year (along with Irene Trudel, who engineered for Ghost Moth) has aided me immeasurably in bringing some of the finest local electronic music to WFMU's airwaves; and to Tracy Widdess for taking my sloppy, in-the-moment iPhone captures and consistently making art out of them. Thanks again to OPPONENTS.

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herr_professor on 06/15/2010 at 08:41AM

The World Cup of Chip - Italy

The Square Wave Conspiracy

It's a rough time for imperialism, as most of the world's nationalistic tendencies are forced to be subsumed in the interest of global commerce. Perhaps then, the World Cup can be seen as the ultimate release valve by the unseen hands at large to check that fever and keep things running. In the spirit of this, I hope to spend the next few weeks focusing on global scene clusters within the chip music community, the first of which is The Square Wave Conspiracy, an compilation of Italian chip musicians covering and remixing each other, brought to you by CalmDownKidder Records.

While not representative of the entirety of the Italian chip scene (missing the excellent Rocktone Rebel for one), it does feature heavyweights arottenbit, Buskerdroid, Kenobit and Microman. The tracks are raw, unmixed, and on the fastest end of the dance floor tempo matrix. Having the artists remix one another gives the release a cohesion that can be lacking from other compilations, but it is obvious that all the artists have similar intentions on a dance floor wreckage sale.

Let this be the first salvo in TCTD's little part in diffusing international tensions, and let us meet back here in seven for round 2.

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