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wmmberger on 05/03/2010 at 05:55PM

Music in Ten Dimensions --- Hex Breaker Quintet, Live on My Castle of Quiet, 4.28.2010

The spectacles witnessed and heard through the double glass on WFMU's fourth floor during the My Castle of Quiet broadcasts continue to amaze me, and shape my consciousness with their intensity, their power, and their generosity. Everyone tends to do a good—nay great—set on the Castle. All I do is say, "come." 

The Hex Breaker Quintet were no exception—they were, in fact, the RULE, as Telecult Powers and Grasshopper are the two bands that helped carve the Castle landscape quite early on; it only makes sense that their combined energies should return to rattle these walls and break the hex. And rattle they did. And the hex was in fact broken.     

Ultimately, this is monumental music; grand-scale, slow-burn improvisations for your head. As I wrote on the playlist, "Sweetly sad, eerily monumental ... from Jon Hassell swamp nightmares into spaghetti-western Elysian fields...." 

Set one shows you the grapes --- the desert, the wobbly horizon, the rocky alleys between buldings of soft stone, and the few chittering insects that manage to survive just under the hot crumble; while set two, clocking in at just under a half hour, makes the wine --- the bugs come out in force, hectic, but pipers are piping, and you drive through the swarm to the square, and see something unbelievable there—something otherworldly. You're glad you came. You rest and have a drink, but the spectacle continues, and your skin tingles.


Thanks again to Josh, Jesse, Witchbeam and Mister Mattews for their luminescence. Thanks as always to Glenn, the mighty knob twiddler, and to Tracy, Castle photostepper, who said of this session, "...Repeat listening will be required." Indeed!

Hex Breaker Quintet will be playing NY Eye & Ear Fest III on May 22nd.

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jason on 05/03/2010 at 12:00PM

Third Coast & The Books: call for ShortDocs

As part of their efforts to promote and inspire creative audio storytelling, The Third Coast International Audio Festival has enlisted The Books as your potential collaborators for the 2010 ShortDocs Challenge.

The Books are audio collage masters. Their three full-lengths to-date (Thought for Food, The Lemon of Pink, and Lost and Safe) mix the organic sounds of Nick Zammuto's guitar and Paul de Jong's cello with electronics and recontextualized found-sound to create a uniquely cohesive musical universe. While prepping their new album for a summer release, the duo crafted the following samples to fuel your ShortDocs...

and now here's The Challenge:

Produce a short audio story (up to three minutes) inspired by (and named after) song titles from The Books’ upcoming record The Way Out, and including at least two of eight samples carefully selected from their vast library of musical bits, strange phrases, and sonic doodads. Stories of all styles are welcome – from documentary to drama - and everything in-between.

So that's one sample from the left, one from the right, and one of the following titles: "A Cold Freezin Night" "All You Need is a Wall" "Chain of Missing Links" or "I Didn't Know That". Complete rules here, you've got until July 5th, and Third Coast wants to hear from you "whether you can produce radio in your sleep, or have always dreamed of uttering the words 'Testing, 1, 2, 3. Testing' into a microphone".

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mwalker on 05/03/2010 at 09:00AM

Osmotic Imagination

Photo by Syeus Mottel. Silver Apples, Washington Square Park, 1968.

For the months of April - June, Matt Mottel is Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room. Co-founder of the inimitable force that is Talibam!, Mottel has long been a stalwart figure in the NYC improv scene. His ever-expanding list of luminary collaborators includes Cooper-Moore, Tom Bruno, CSC Funk Band, Rhys Chatham, Karole Armitage, Chris Corsano, Awesome Color, Akron/Family, Jeffrey Lewis, Chris Taylor (Grizzly Bear), Kenny Wollesen, and Ras Moshe.

To preview his newest commissioned work -- to be unveiled in a free concert at ISSUE on May 7 -- Matt has shared an exclusive excerpt of a self-recorded rehearsal in the space in which he teases out motifs and ideas for the developing installation.

Check a portion of a chat I had, held over the course of several hours (and several glasses of scotch) here. Peep a full description of the project below:

"Matthew Mottel, a native New Yorker, was influenced by many cultural ideas and people to shape his present. He has discovered that his father, Syeus Mottel, a photographer and theater director, documented many of the people that would have strong cultural value for his son. Syeus Mottel, a journalistic photographer, has one of the great underpublished narratives of cultural and political history of the late 1960's - 70's. His son has focused on his archive to create a contemporary 'cinema of images' that presents this photographic record not just as 'pictures on a wall' but in an environmental 'dream state' that hallucinates visual photographic interactions between Martin Luther King, the Silver Apples, John Cage, Ornette Coleman, journalistic photography at political rallies of the late 60's/70's as well as iconic landscapes of America such as Big Sur, San Francisco, Washington DC  and New York City.

Matthew Mottel will create an environment where photography will be digitally altered and projected at ISSUE Project Room with a backing soundscape that Mottel will perform with 'electronically affected' piano, oscillators and samplers. In a sense, his music is a personal take on the sum of his influences. The Silver Apples, John Cage, and Ornette Coleman factor heavily into his sound world, but his father did not introduce these artists directly to him. Instead, it must have been 'influence via osmosis' as these artists and more appear in Syeus Mottel's photographic record of where and who he hung out with during this period.

'Osmotic Imagination' is a merger of visual stimuli and sonic alchemy. It attempts to contextualize contemporary culture to that of the past not by treating these images 'unaltered in stoic preservation' but to mutate historical documents and imagine a new life and future between people/places/time/thought of a past generation that has been fermented in 'standard TIME MAGAZINE ideology' that has not created a progression to betterment, but an end point. This work is a candid study of the past, and re-configures it for today's society to hopefully inspire further social, artistic and political development."

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pushbinlou on 05/02/2010 at 12:00PM

Ears Wide Open: moolen

Leave it to the awesome LCL netlabel to turn me on to some more great new music.  LCL recently started a series of releases entitled Carte Blanche that are releases that are not the fare that the label normally puts out.  Moolen (Moritz Beller) is a young artist from Hamburg, Germany who started composing some pretty great post-rock/electronica after the breakup of his ska band.

Moolen cites The Notwist and other post-rock bands as a big influence.  I tend to see a bit of early Caribou and Ulrich Schnauss as well.  Art of Heartwork is moolen's first release and is a document on what has been going on in his life over the past few years.  Very personal and interesting this release is worth a careful listen.  Brokentopflow is my favorite track of the moment.  Give it a listen and enjoy!

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macedonia on 05/01/2010 at 02:29PM

The Present-Day Sounds of Future Motion...

I still can't get used to using the term "wonky" as it pertains to leftfield beats, be it unstable hip-hop instrumentals, dubstep or some derivative thereof.  I always feel somewhat silly whenever it crosses my lips.  However, I recently heard someone use the term "future motion" to describe this constant mutation of bass and rhythm.  While I'm not one for blanket terms, there's something about that one that I like.  It suggests that the post-Dilla generation of beatmakers aren't sitting still.  Even while some continue to champion the energetic sounds of drum and bass, sonic inbalances force other hybrids to show up, from grime to dubstep to whatever's coming next.

I would like to think that the Error Broadcast netlabel had something to do with this momentum when they dropped their Bag of Nothingness compilation last year.  Showcasing a collection of beatmakers from across the globe, it gave you a glimpse of the shift that was taking place when it came to hip-hop production.  Taking cues from the dons that came before them (Dilla, Prefuse 73, Dabrye, and others), boom bap is wrapped up in synthesizer sheen and pushed towards experimental territory.  The compilation made Error Broadcast a must-watch netlabel for 2009 and they show no signs of stopping now that a new decade is here.

You don't need to look any further than the title track to convince you that this compilation is worth the space on your MP3 player.  Produced by Comfort Fit, it's an intriguing meld of rubbery synth and bass riffs caressing a slightly out-of-sync percussive slap.  It sounds just as fresh now as the day it premiered, and you can't help but get excited about the rhythmic possibilities of what lies ahead...

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katya-oddio on 04/30/2010 at 04:00PM

Fear No Love

From the 1995 press release from the Avant label:

...Bob Ostertag's FEAR NO LOVE. In a radical departure for the composer, winner of a 1995 NEA Composers Fellowship for contemporary music, FEAR NO LOVE features fierce groove-based dance songs. This is funk, but warped through a sensibility honed in fifteen years at the forefront of the avant-garde.

Ostertag has assembled an unlikely and dazzling group of collaborators for FEAR NO LOVE, from rock star Mike Patton (Faith No More) to British guitar pioneer Fred Frith to underground luminaries of San Francisco's queer scene....

FEAR NO LOVE is a disc that pushes all the limits. Almost every track defines its own genre. "The Man in the Blue Slip" is a dance/industrial/gender-fuk/domination-submission love duet. "Not Your Girl" goes in a new-jack-swing/R&B/talking-blues direction. And "Positive", an HIV+/ambient/techno/soul tour de force, may be the first true love ballad of the age of AIDS.

Ostertag's previous work has ranged from All the Rage, written for the Kronos Quartet and premiered at Lincoln Center, to his ground-breaking outside jazz ensemble Say No More, to his solo recordings and collaborations with John Zorn and Fred Frith. FEAR NO LOVE explores even newer terrain. With sharp and edgy queer lyrics, a wide-ranging pop eclecticism, and fierce grooves, FEAR NO LOVE will shake up the dance floor -- and more.

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mwalker on 04/30/2010 at 08:30AM


Hans Grüsel’s Krankenkabinet

What better way to celebrate May Day and/or the successful completion of horses running around a track then to come throw down with the absolute BEST in Abstrakt Entertainment?! This Saturday night, ISSUE Project Room will host a massive blow-out banger of a party thanks to the NY-arrival of way-out-west Resipiscent masters Occasional Detroit (O-D) and Hans Grüsel’s Kränkenkabinet, showing up just in time to magically transform the Old American Can Factory into a hallucinatory gingerbread house oozing with joyous dementia and billowing clouds of that purple salvia.

Regard with wonder as sad barn-faced people twist cracked-out synths into a cacophony of roiling noise, only to find the madness penetrated by a man in a beaked-bean costume dropping boat-rocking party rhymes:

Stare in awe as Towondo “Beyababa” Clayborn spits unhinged raw verse whilst scaling a cast-iron fence as Demetrisa “Demeat” Anderson alchemizes an erupting and imploding heat rock of a beat:

Gasp with relief to realize that the endless cornucopia of the FMA has a stash of Resipiscent-provided tracks to appease you until the Saturday night mayhem hits full tilt:

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katya-oddio on 04/29/2010 at 09:30PM

Children of Ling Shan

Chan Wai Fat composed this original soundtrack for the play CHILDREN OF THE SOUL MOUNTAIN (LING SHAN) inspired by the daoist pilgrimage in Gao Xingjian's Nobel winning novel SOUL MOUNTAIN (LING SHAN).

Composer Chan Wai Fat visited the minority tribes along part of the Ling Shan path, resulting a re-interpretation of two traditional folk songs and seven new compositions with a mix of native recordings. This album is a selection of songs from the play, sung by elderly blind folk singer Po Sun-yi. Sun-yi was born and raised in Guizhou. This is the same region of southwestern China where composer Fat visited the Ling Shan Path and where Shamanistic customs and traditions still flourish.

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lizb on 04/29/2010 at 03:00PM

South Asia in a Blender

Let me preface this post by saying that I am neither a fan of syrupy, melancholic pop ballads nor am I a fan of rave-era house/jungle.

Why is it that I can't stop listening when the two are combined??

Check out TerbujurKaku and embrace what sounds like Aqua singing in another language, sped-up, cut-up, glitched-up, and set to some heavy dancefloor beats. It's a good thing that most of TerbujuKaku's breakcore jams clock in at under 2 minutes, because your head might very well explode after the 3 minute mark.

These bass-heavy, epileptic sounds come from an Indonesian artist named Phleg, via the Yes No Wave netlabel, which is also based in Indonesia. Check out the label's site for more awesome South Asian sounds!

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indonesia, breakcore
bennett4senate on 04/29/2010 at 08:59AM

Ten Tracks to Sync - Vol. 3

I like curating this series because I get to set aside context. I try to forget about 'the scene' from which the tracks came, and instead imagine a scene to which they might be set. Since the backstory of each song is not my main concern, putting these mixes together involves a synethetic exercise of rapid sampling, clicking all over the FMA website in search of a feeling. With no ethnomusicological agenda, I'm happy to look back at my tracks see that this mix tromped from Brooklyn to Lyon, Providence, Spain, and Switzerland.

Its a nice refresher from planning radio sets and DJ gigs, as long drone tracks from Diablo and That Thing Over There are right at home with the bump-worthy one-shots from Lee Maddeford and Bacalao.

Its cool - I may have missed The Downtown Scene by a couple decades, but I can always find a chase scene track that's just waiting to get filmed, know what I'm sayin?


A big shoutout to user Phil who made this longboarding video set to music he found on the FMA. Phil properly credited the artists, spinningmerkaba and I, Cactus, by linking to them on his Vimeo page, and selected the right license for his video work based on the licensing restrictions of the tracks. He also took the time to drop a comment on the artists' FMA pages to let them know about the video. Good form, Phil! I've included the tracks Phil used as two bonus cuts in this Vol. 3 mix.

If you use FMA music in your videos, or have track suggestions, send me a link so I can feature it future posts!

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