Recent FMA Blog Posts
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BTurner on 02/04/2010 at 11:36AM
(Poster left Henry Owings, photo right Greg Cristman) We were honored to have Teutonic titans Faust headline the first night of WFMU Fest (which ran October 1-3 at the Music Hall of Williamsburg and also included the likes of TV Ghost, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Talk Normal, VeeDee, Pissed Jeans, Drunkdriver, Sightings, Aluk Todolo, Cold Cave, and the Guinea Worms); it's a rare occassion for these living legends to hit American shores. They without doubt had a healthy hand in shaping modern experimental, industrial, electronic and even pop music; in Julian Cope's words, "there is no group more mythical."
For those who were hesitant to see what a nearly 40 year old band held near and dear to their hearts could be up to, doubts were instantly dispelled as the crowd was treated to a heavy dose of Faust IV-heavy classics and crazed improvisations that seized the moment (coupled with live painting and cement mixer action). A few weeks back Faust OK'd a broadcast of the set, and I had an opportunity to chat at length with Jean-Herve Peron and his dog (streaming archive from my January 19th show is here, and you can go right to the interview segment here), and now we're happy to say you can grab the entire October 1st WFMU Fest show on MP3! Severe thanks to Regina Greene, Jean-Herve, and Scott Williams for the fantastic mix. By the way, a few other of that weekend's artists (namely Talk Normal and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks) have all posted some Mp3s from WFMU Fest on the Free Music Archive. Enjoy!
lizb on 02/03/2010 at 11:00PM
I've been enjoying a number of artists from the Swiss Creative Commons label Das Andere Selbst lately: mellow, chirpy, gurgly, experimental pop with an oddball edge. My faves include Exteenager (Elia, who runs the DAS label/site), GB (pka Gateau Blasters, coming to the U.S. this Spring), and Mela Zeta (from Italy).
Related to the DAS label is Wildrfid, who put out some great limited-edition 12" records last year by GB, Uiutna, and Cancelled. Also affiliated is Zonoff, a site with plenty of Creative Commons MP3s and vids for the taking.
JoeMc on 02/03/2010 at 10:35AM
OK, first things first: She's not really Canadian.
She was born in Virginia and grew up in Tacoma. But she went to school in Vancouver, and that's where she got involved with Canadian cuddlecore band Cub (remember Betti-Cola?), and started making her own music. Not long afterwards, she hooked up with those New Pornographers dudes, and before you know it, indie superstardom.
But Canadians love her. CBC Radio calls her an "honourary Canadian," and that's where the track below is from, courtesy of new Free Music Archive curators CBC Radio 3.
But here's something I didn't know that I just found out: Her latest album actually debuted at #3 on Billboard's Hot 100 when it came out last March. So I guess Americans love her a lot, too.
doncbruital on 02/02/2010 at 02:45PM
Few musical outfits navigate the borderlands of spacetime as nimbly as EXCEPTER does; fewer still are those whose means of producing music (electronic improvisation--that heady universe of conceptual exercise) comment so groovily on that music's end. It's real simple: Excepter uses their futurist setup--the vast majority of which comprises synthesized sound, artificial-like--to get at something real primal, real natural. All well and good--shouldn't all music work on a primal level?--except these folks take it a little further: their synthwash grooves propel the listener, y-yes indeed, to realms animalistic, realms kind of, w-well, savage.
We all know and can recite by heart, for example, their simple ode from 2008's Debt Dept. entitled, even more simply, "Kill People" (there's a video too). We can thrill to fistpump remixtrax from industry juggernauts Carter Tutti and J.G. Thirlwell. We can access their backcatalog of tropical coverart and free podcast archives. Obviously these guys are no slouches on the tech end of things, and yet despite or perhaps by dint of this obstinate propensity for mechanized means, the group's rawness sticks out, wild and unadulterated--enhanced, in fact--by all the electronic spookiness. An Excepter show (for instance) means being confronted not with a clean, standardized exercise of technological prowess, but a rabid and insatiable one; a shaggy, wild-eyed (and wild-hatted) critter, all the more dangerous for those thunderous beats and synthattacks it seems so prone to pounding and howling into unholy existence. Unlike any other electroacoustic progenitors I can think of, Excepter takes hold of that staid improvised form, wrestling it from its button-down gallery atmosphere and installation hoitytoitiness, and it makes the thing scary.
Hours of this stuff is available on the band's FMA page, as well as via their own internet presence (go to their website, click around). They've a new album a scant two weeks away from release, and in a universe wherein noise-improv-ers stubbornly barrage the market with release after release after drab release, theirs is a prolificacy you can trust. So go for it, mirror Excepter's brave savagery-through-tech model, and take a computer ride into the wilderness.
herr_professor on 02/02/2010 at 09:00AM
Balún are quite different from many of the artists in the chip music scene, even the exceptional ones picked by myself (humility). They are a mixed gender four piece from San Juan, Puerto Rico who "build electro-acoustic melodies for imaginary films". The chip console sounds is just one detail in their complex arrangements that include acoustic instruments, vocals, electronics, and a wonderful sense of space and ambiance that is often missing from the more traditional chip musician's work.
Uploaded for your perusal is an earlier free EP from Observatory Online, that only hints at their tiny wall of sound that is expanded upon in the just released Memoria Textil, out today on their Bandcamp page as a pay what you want download.
We are still working on Blip Festival uploads, so more on that next week, in the meantime enjoy the title track from 'While Sleeping".
See you in seven!
andrewcsmith on 02/01/2010 at 02:30PM
It’s not so much hearing things happen. It’s more like noticing that things have changed, and now it’s time to re-assess your surroundings. It’s not so much listening for individual motivic and textural changes. It’s more like looking at time-lapse photography. It’s not so much seeing it all happen sped up. It’s more like looking at each image for a full minute or two. It’s not so much like noticing the movement of forms in the photo. It’s more like noticing the movement of color and shadows, whether random or patterned.
As a direct consequence of stretching one moment into such a duration, the slightest changes become tectonic shifts.
The Necks’ music comes in pockets, in revolutions per second that sometimes are very slow, and other times are very fast. Still other times, slow moments are superimposed on percussion patterns approaching twenty Hertz, the lower range of audible frequency. Phantom sounds come from Chris Abrahams’ piano strings, or maybe from Lloyd Swanton’s bass bowing in the upper registers. They could also be coming from how Tony Buck drags a cymbal across another cymbal.
jason on 02/01/2010 at 08:30AM
CBC Radio 3 is a service of the Canadian Broadcast Corporation with a focus on emerging Canadian music. Alongside their pioneering efforts in webcasting, podcasting, and satellite broadcasting, CBC Radio 3's website offers a free on-demand library of streaming music from over 20,000 Canadian artists. With a unique curatorial focus, CBC Radio 3 is expanding the definition of radio, so we're proud to welcome them to the Free Music Archive!
CBC Radio 3 kicks things off with live tracks from Caribou, Destroyer, Arcade Fire, New Pornographers, Feist, K'naan, Neko Case, Islands, Thunderheist, Do Make Say Think, The Sadies, Sloan, and many more. Check out their "Additive Free Canadian Blend" mix after the jump, and dig in to CBC Radio 3's FMA portal.
jason on 02/01/2010 at 12:00AM
What the what, it's already February?? Before we dive in to the shortest month of the year, let's take a look and listen back at some of our FMA editorial crew's recommended listening from January 2010...
click the image to read the full blog post!
...or, take a trip back in time thru all the featured posts
andrewcsmith on 01/29/2010 at 01:05PM
More from Tony's brain today: this one comes from the MIVOS Quartet's June 2009 performance at ISSUE that also featured Luke DuBois's string quartet "Hard Data." Tony Conrad's "Minor" takes a 31-pitch-to-the-octave scale (a step up from the usual twelve), and fairly common harmonies become unfamiliar.
The first chord sounds, then the second, in an angular harmonic move like something from late Wagner, and back to the first chord again. Or, wait, it sounds like a new chord now--the microtonal inflections giving each chord a different vector and acceleration, like looking at the same object at dusk instead of dawn.
The contentious history of the "minor" scale might have something to do with this. Harry Partch, whose influence trickled down through La Monte Young (and many, many others), used an "undertone" scale as well as an "overtone" scale. In this tuning, the composer would (essentially) multiply the base pitch by whole numbers for a major scale, and divide the base pitch for the minor scale. Young, on the other hand, just used the upper-reaches of the major scale (the multiples 6, 7, and 9) to form the minor triad: there were many more different conceptions of "minor" theorized in the 20th century alone, which is not to mention that the minor chord was the number one roadblock for just about every tuning theorist since "minor" came into being.
Tony Conrad uses these "minor" tunings and more to defamiliarize the scale as we know it. For this performance, the MIVOS Quartet detuned their instruments ("scordatura") so that they could play in the same hand positions to reach strange notes on mistuned strings. The performance resonates with the open strings, and feels less like moving through standard chromatic harmony than like looking through a microscope at a large object and trying to keep the whole thing in your head at once.
TAGGED AS:tony conrad
jason on 01/28/2010 at 06:30PM
This is one of four great tracks from Gunhead's Every Chimpanzee Step EP. It's a free EP, released on the amazing Maltine Records netlabel out of Japan last fall. For more from this killer netlabel, check out the previous feature on Quarta330, and a few more selections from their vast archives here on the FMA, or dive into http://maltinerecords.cs8.biz
Gunhead is a member of Kawasaki, Japan hip-hop crew Leopaldon, and his personal myspace is here. According to lastfm, Gunhead is an "obscure 90s trance artist with a few releases on compilations in the mid-90s, most notably on the White Label series."
This track was featured on my Stuck In a Groove Mix, some of my favorite jams from 2009, check 'em out after the jump