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longrally on 12/20/2009 at 12:00PM

Bug Incision Records + Bent Spoon Duo Live on WFMU

A year or so ago, WFMU received a bunch of releases from the Bug Incision label, a small high quality improv label based in Calgary, Canada.  Now honestly, I don't know much about Calgary, but I was transfixed by this scene happening up there being documented by Bug Incision. I have a tendency to root for the underdog and so was intrigued by the label immediately, but the music lived up to all expectations.  There seemed to be a wide berth of sounds, sometimes coming from the same people, from your basic free jazz descended improv, to grating noise, skittering improv, toys and "tiny instruments," an anything-goes mentality that seemed to be free of dogma.  On further inspection I noted Bug Incision also released some fine music from Ben Hall's Broken Research/Detroit orbit, a midwestern noise powwow featuring C. Spencer Yeh and Ryan Jewell, as well as a few things with Jack Wright, somewhat of a teacher/patron saint to many of the leading younger North American free players.  In other words, good company they keep. 

I contacted Chris Dadge who runs Bug Incision and appears on many of the label's releases, about possibly doing something for my radio show and while he doesn't get to the NYC area often he agreed to record a set especially for the program to send to me.  I left it up to him and he put together an exceptional improv set by the Bent Spoon Duo, his long running group with Scott Munro.  Their set-up is highly portable; a few battery powered amps, maybe a snare drum, small percussion, some tiny Casio keyboards, perhaps a guitar, etc. which is remarkable in its simplicity, and yet belies the group's sound, so much bigger than the sum of its parts.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Please stream or download via the Free Music Archive.  Thanks to Chris Dadge and Scott Munro for taking the time to play and engineer this recording.

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Scott_Williams on 12/19/2009 at 01:35PM

ST 37 Live on WFMU: Some Hormone In Your Drone

Austin, Texas has got a lot to love if you're a music, bbq and concrete gorilla garden-gnome lover like me.  And the assorted distorted musical minds of ST 37 measure their Austin roots back to the 13th Floor Elevators.  Tapping into the future with furrows into gardens also visited by the Buttholes and Scratch Acid, ST 37 has arguably now achieved the status of greatest working surrealist psychedelic punk band in Texas.

ST 37 formally came together in 1987, as a collaborative project between several other Austin bands.  Scott Telles, Joel and Carlton Crutcher, and Jon Torn (son of Rip) laid down the blueprint: a heavy devotion to Hawkwind, Chrome (from whose Alien Soundtracks they took their name), and the original Krautrock band of 5 (Neu, Kraftwerk, Amon Duul, Can, Ash Ra Temple).  Lest the beards get too long, live sets always included covers by the likes of the Urinals and Aussie deviant Pip Proud.  By the summer of 2000, Telles and the Crutchers remained, with new guys playing Theremins, guitars and more synths, to make their first visit to New York.  While here, they stopped off at my WFMU show to play a set that was wasted, shambolic and visionary.  They've agreed to freely share these tracks with us.  Enjoy!

ST 37 live set on Scott's show, August 11 2000, here

ST 37 home page here

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austin, psychedelic, st37, texas
mwalker on 12/18/2009 at 09:30AM

cable dazed

Photo by Kotaro Okada

For a group with only a single year –and-a-half old 12” to their name, the Invisible Conga People have maintained an unnaturally pervasive foothold in my consciousness. I find myself spinning (well…digitally spinning, I don’t have a turntable) “Cable Dazed” as regularly now as when it came out last Februrary…which is to say: pretty damn regularly. Justin Simon and Eric Tsai make music with a little bit of guitar, a little bit of vocals, and a huge assortment of analog equipment, much of which has been personally modified, circuit-bent, or otherwise cracked with purpose. I’ve been fruitlessly checking their myspace every month or two for quite some time now, hoping and failing to find a little info suggesting that a follow-up might be in the works (though, finally, as of last week, a new 12” has been announced -- slated for release sometime next summer) so, needless to say, I was thrilled to discover a half-hour set of new music (at least new to my ears) in the ISSUE archives this week.

In a fluid set of continuous music, ICP spool out a hauntingly mesmerizing performance of muted intricacy. This is not so much dance music as the strains of memories of minimal house gingerly reconstituted in a dimly lit room, cavernous and empty. Though seemingly all sounds are run through pedals and processors to varyingly transformative and alien effect, a faint but undeniable glow of humanness remains -- a lonely streak of soul shivering amidst an ever-stretching field of cold, restrained beauty. While the tone is immediately assimilable and the atmosphere remains frozen in a timeless haze, the emotion possesses a quiet complexity inviting endless probing (though melancholy seems an undeniable component). The music itself reflects a similar balance of intricate construction and monochromatic affect – one may either allow the small parts to drift and blur into a singular wash of sound or slowly pull out the fragile components from the bottomless depths of the composition – disembodied vocals, soft eruptions of distortion, slow cascades of arpeggiated synth, groaning bass, calmly droning drum machines... even the comfortingly static hum of amplified equipment. If a lone 12” could provide 18 or so month of stimulation, this 30 minute set can surely last us til next summer.

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DylanGoing on 12/18/2009 at 09:00AM

The DG FMA 2009 Favorites!

cc by-nc-nd via flickr mischiru

It's been quite an initial year for the FMA! There's way too much going on within these 15,000 tracks to get an all-encompassing favorite free music of 2009 but I thought I'd give a shout out to some of my favorite live recordings I saw come through within the comfortable confines of an embeddable FMA mix.

Along with nine other instant classics, I've included one of my favorite recorded live bits this year: Dan Deacon imploring the Spanish-speaking crowd at Primavera Sound 09 to follow his human tunnel instructions. Speak English or a poorly buttressed tunnel made of Deacadets!

Also, I don't know if it ruins it for you or not, but I just found out the Master Musicians of Bukkake aren't actually from Bukkake. The track's still good though.

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lizb on 12/16/2009 at 11:14PM

Top FMA Picks of 2009

Getting all misty-eyed about the end of 2009, which was a huge year for WFMU... SXSW, Primavera Sound, ATP-NY, Lincoln Center, the first-ever WFMU Fest, our annual Record Fair, etc.

It was also the year that our baby Free Music Archive finally hatched, following 2+ years of incubation under the warm glow of freeform radio here in Jersey City. We're so proud of how the site has grown! Huge thanks to all of our members, artists, curators, labels, and developers!

I put together a big ol' mix of some of my favorite songs I found on the FMA this year, listed in an order that sounded cohesive to my ears (not necessarily in order of preference). Enjoy, and here's to an even more amazing 2010!

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year-end lists
JoeMc on 12/16/2009 at 01:20PM

Newly Firing Cylinders

A couple weeks ago, the Cherry Blossom Clinic program with Terre T featured a live set by Dutch power pop band De Cylinders. Lest you think we've suddenly time traveled back to the Netherlands in 1980, let me assure you that this indeed took place in 2009. The band reformed recently and was playing its first ever shows in the United States. Luckily, they found time to stop by WFMU and play a snappy set of Amsterdam power pop for us.

De Cylinders perhaps would have remained a footnote for U.S. power pop fans rather than a living, breathing live band if it hadn't been for Sing Sing Records. Lately, this Brooklyn label has been giving an airing to some long-forgotten punk and power pop singles by pressing up shiny new plastic versions of the originals. Be sure to check out their catalog here and their fine blog. So far two of the three De Cylinders singles have received the Sing Sing reissue treatment.

The song I'm featuring today was the B-side of the band's first single and has become a bit of a theme song for some folks I know. Although the band members are a bit balder and greyer, they still play the power pop as if born to it. Vocalist Jolanda Markus, meanwhile, remains the band's most distinctive feature on wax and on stage.

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lavenders on 12/15/2009 at 09:00PM


We love when our friend White Rainbow comes to town. He’s known for having the finest, most potent sound machines and is super generous with his product. As soon as he started recording this surreal sprout session the walls in our studio began to melt, the cables tangled themselves into intricate designs on the floor and time started to move at a snail’s pace. When we woke up, there was no trace of the White Rainbow. Was it all a dream? Is this reality?

Find more to freak out to with this set from White Rainbow at our Tonalism happening as part of the all night GLOW Festival in Santa Monica, CA.

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glow, california, portland
doncbruital on 12/15/2009 at 02:56PM

Vermont's Riverrun Detrita

The FMA has recently been bolstered by slews of noisy new material which, having likely floated unprotected down the near-frozen Connecticut River for some time, is basically mangled beyond recognition and so contains little to no extant connection with the recognizable world save for a possible origin point up in Brattleboro, VT. Yeah, surely any analysis of this most mysterious body of work is liable to be bewilderingly inconclusive and maddeningly equivocal thanks to the wild multivalence of the material, which runs the gamut from harsh radioclip soundcollage to enlightened decentralized forms of rock'n'roll libertarianism to autoharmolodic piano concerti to SNLian youth theatrics and back again. But some things are clear; namely, that these Vermonstrous acts--HEAT WILSON, HORSE BOYS, ROAN STARS, SORD--all seem to connect to a mysterious personnage by the improbably gristley name of NALS GORING. This much we know, no matter that the music continues to confound.

And you can rest easy on that last score, too, cause if Goring's work is a touch bewildering, it's all the more entrancing for this mystery element. Indeed, this doublepronged dynamic--bizarrdom-mit-newfangling--runs through the FMA-documented wealth of works solo and collaborative. In HEAT WILSON and ROAN STARS (in each of which acts Nals Goring's partner is apparently named, uh, Nals Gorman), cut-tape cs dissemblage is married with honest-to-God band antics, guitars, drums, the whole bit. Seriously! Meanwhile in HORSE BOYS, a project for which, despite its Quixote-flavored found manuscript form (for it seems to comprise found piano playing by one Zach Phillips) Goring is intent on taking credit, field recording weaves between brittley oldpiano strands of melody while someone, Goring only knows who, takes on the "Nancy Sings"-vibe vox. And of course there's more, lots, in fact; the author figures that you, reader, will take that icy Connecticut plunge and do some digging yerself.

Follow the links above to the respective Goring project FMA pages, or check out the tasty sampling tray I've prepared below. There's also the myspace, the hometown OSR Tapes/Dax Bills tape label website for all your Goring needs, and that reliable youtube option. That this material needs to be heard, riverripped and raggedness-wrought though it may seem, should then quickly prove self-evident.

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herr_professor on 12/15/2009 at 09:31AM


The mighty Blip Festival comes ashore THIS WEEKEND. Even if you are unable to attend in person there are plenty of vicarious methods you can use to enjoy the Festival from afar. First is the official Blip Blog, with posts, pictures and audio from artists, fans, and weirdos all week. Second, you can stream the entire festival on, hosted by Sound and Safe's own Trent (who was kinda enough to host some Blip performers last night on his Program.)

Finally, we have compiled a mix of all the FMA artists who will be appearing in some function at this years festival. Check out the mix below. The Free Music Archive will be bringing you sets from the festival in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

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robw on 12/14/2009 at 04:09PM

Cyminology live on WFMU's TSP

Cyminology. Photo c/o Unterfahrt Jazz Club, Munich.

From WFMU's Transpacific Sound Paradise 11/28/2009 (playlist):

A live session and interview with Cyminology, the excellent Berlin-based multi-cultural ensemble led by Iranian-rooted singer Cymin Samawatie. Cymin's fluid combination of refined Persian poetry with jazz/improv-oriented arrangements impressed ECM records honcho Manfred Eicher - who signed them up to his influential Munich label for the group's third CD, "As Ney," released earlier this year.

Cyminology's first two cds were released by the fine Cologne, Germany jazz / improv label Double Moon (not to be confused with the equally admirable Turkish label of similar name).

Special thanks to our illustrious engineer, Jeff Hylton Simmons.

Cymin Samawatie (Singer / Composer)
Benedikt Jahnel (Pianist / Composer)
Ralf Schwarz (Double Bassist)
Ketan Bhatti (Drummer / Percussionist)

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germany, persian, jazz, iran
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