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doncbruital on 11/24/2009 at 02:02PM

Err North

Alfred Wegener's final expedition

This hemisphere's shaggy mess of continental drift is hardly uniform, but one factor currently uniting its disparate elements is that of the setting sun, which, arriving earlier and relentlessly shortening the concurrently-coldening-days, seems to be perfectly pleased to lean over and confirm yeah, batten down, for winter's coming.

And while it's alright to eat hot meals and put on heavy coats and make other feeble attempts at offsetting what amounts to a fundamental shift in the character of the world, I can't help but think of those who've gone out to face winter's harshness, to confront it, and wonder what it is they might've felt, this intrepid few: Alfred Wegener, for example, the German scientist who, in 1915, first proposed that whole theory of continental drift in the first place. He was ridiculed by the era's scientific elite, and set about trying to prove his theory by himself, heading north to map the movement of ice. On one such obstinate drift through Greenland, in 1930, Wegener disappeared--a generation before his theory'd be accepted--taking attendant experiential knowledge of the icy north with him.

As I can't claim any comparable experience of the cold's reaches, I've settled for making it the organizing principle for a holiday mix, avaiable over on the left, with which, if afforded a break this week, you might do a little pondering. Its artists bear north in east coast-ratcheting, north-baiting order, from Philadelphia to Providence, up through the snaky wilderness trails of Western Massachusetts, across the border to Montreal's heavy psych furtrading outpost and on into infinity. Some tracks trade in comfort, others in confrontation, but all will help furnish the necessary impulse for facing up to the approaching and sure to be encroaching winter winds.


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herr_professor on 11/24/2009 at 08:47AM

Super Maniacs!!!!

Hally by rhythmsift

We take a slight detour on our road to Blip Festival, with this Japanese compilation featuring tracks from former Blip performer Hally. TCTD staff writer Lazerbeat has the details:

"The X68000 was a short lived ('87-'93) home computer released by Sharp in Japan. The sound engine is the Yamaha YM2151, programmed using the x68's MML language. Anyone looking for a similar sound might want to try the Yamaha FB-01 which uses a virtually identical sound chip.

Many fans in Japan still make music on the Sharp x68000, one such group is Ground Zero, who compiled this release. FM Ongen (meaning "sound source") Super Maniacs is a fairly old compliation dating back to around 1999-2000. Originally only an extremely limited numbers of CDRs were produced so were are very proud to be able to share this collection with you. A couple of names are probably familiar to old school fans of the Japanese scene and the rest might be less well known. Either way, its just under 45 minutes of awesome tunes with an FM driven Gabber feel.

Take a look at youtube user SH2ARP's account for some trippy music videos for most of the songs and check the Ground Zero website for a truck load more x68000 music."

And speaking of Blip, we have announed a video contest for a chance to get free passes and to have your video screened at the festival. More details here! Enjoy this hally track, and see you in seven!

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mwalker on 11/22/2009 at 02:10PM

Taking turns on who would hesitate

Violist Jessica Pavone and guitarist Mary Halvorson have established a much-deserved, highly welcome presence in the NYC jazz and improv world, playing regularly in the company of such luminaries as Anthony Braxton, John Zorn and Elliot Sharp. However, their ongoing recording and performing project together carves out a unique and fascinating niche unassignable to any scene, exploring intersections of timeless folk, elegant chamber composition, and fierce improvisation. The two women have been so kind as to share a few live recordings from their wonderful performance at ISSUE last year – two from their most recent album Thin Air and one from 2007’s On and Off.

As a duo, Pavone and Halvorson create beautiful songs out of an endless series of naturally-evoked tensions between extremes on a spectrum where the middle-ground has been removed. Nonetheless, movement back and forth between the two poles occurs freely and convincingly. Traditional song forms disintegrate without warning into unruly improv before being reconstituted with equal unexpectation. Gingerly-picked arpeggios and hauntingly-simple string melodies give way to the violent screeching of Pavone viciously sawing through her viola strings amidst a flurry of sparks as Halvorson grinds up jagged blocks of discomfiture amidst car-backfiring distortion. Loose vocal unisons drift apart into subtly-dissonant, distantly-disconcerting harmonies as the child-like innocence in the tone of the women’s voices belie often dark, unsettling lyrics. Together, they create an intimate space cohabited with equal parts rough fragility and vulnerable ferocity.

For more listening, check out their great set live from WFMU on Bethany's show here.

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macedonia on 11/21/2009 at 11:40AM

Back In (Fluorescent) Black: Anti-Pop Consortium

Anti-Pop Consortium. Photo courtesy of Big Dada Records.

"So far ahead we're behind you..."

If memory serves me correctly, that phrase pops up on Anti-Pop Consortium's first album, Tragic Epilogue.  That's the takeaway phrase that has always stayed with me whenever I think about them and how to describe their music to people who don't know their work.  I can still remember the first time I listened to that album nine years ago and how I thought that nothing else in hip-hop sounded like them.  Beans, High Priest, M. Sayyid, and Earl Blaize created sounds that were experimental yet unquestionably bangin' at the same time.  Their wordplay seemed wrapped in Dadaist thought while posturing on NYC street corners.  I wanted everything that Anti-Pop touched, from their collaboration with producers like DJs Krush, Vadim, and Spooky That Subliminal Kid to their full-length conversations with Matthew Shipp (their interview with DJ /rupture on his Mudd Up show hinted at another project with Shipp in the works).

Their signing with Warp Records was a brilliant move, one that would usher in other left-of-center hip-hop artists after them.  Their 2002 release Arrthythmia hinted at the greatness to come and was their best effort to date.  And then the unthinkable happened:  APC disbanded.  Believe me when I tell you that no one, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, was more pissed off about that than I was.  Beans would go on to record solo while Priest and Sayyid formed Airborn Audio.  While it was good to see them all active, it wasn't the same as when they were together.

All would become right with the world soon enough, however.  Talks of APC getting back together and recording new material began to circulate.  Their reformation resulted in new performances and a new album:  Fluorescent Black.  Even with the rhythmic advances that have occurred since their hiatus (the subwoofer-destroying bass of dubstep and the new school beat concoctions of producers like Hudson Mohawke), these guys sound hungry and very inspired.  Their live set at All Tomorrow's Parties features them firing on all cylinders.  You can hear a number of selections from their set after the jump or check the full streaming archive here

Don't forget about the remix contest for the album version of APC's "Reflections" (live version is attached below).  The deadline for entries is December 20th, so you have some time to download the raw audio and put your own spin on Anti-Pop...

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lavenders on 11/20/2009 at 06:51PM

Javelin - "On It On It" on the dublab decade proton drive!

Javelin cruised into the dublab studio for a stunning session in support of the DUBLAB DECADE PROTON DRIVE fundraiser. Their new, live action is like a day-glo disco soundsystem energetically exploding into a million rays of right-on light. Dig this version of “on it on it” and look forward to a full-flossed-out final version on Javelin’s upcoming release on Luaka Bop due in April 2010. Expect hall & oates (haulin’ oats). Infinite thanks to Javelin for their creativity and support of dublab. We hope their positive energy inspires you to take action and give a proton grant today!

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andrewcsmith on 11/20/2009 at 12:03PM

You Could Still Die Then

Katzenklavier in action


Malapert was a 17th-century astronomer who tried to refute Galileo. Malapert is a moon crater. Malapert is "impudently bold." Or, if you can imagine a freaked-out T-Pain collaborating with The Theatre of Eternal Music, you're not quite halfway to Ma La Pert. Jennifer Walshe, the New York-based Irish-born composer, and Tony Conrad, the New York-defining video artist/composer/performer, performed at ISSUE just last week, using "voice, violins, viola, bass, autoharps, autotune, keyboard, shells, broken plastic, words, parts of words, stories, chanting, jigs, screaming, shouting, broken drum skins, bells, green furry outfits,breastplates, wire, bird call, and old lady dresses."

I've uploaded the whole first set, mostly because excerpting it just doesn't seem right in this case. It's got all the trademarks of a Tony Conrad set, which can be defined as: Violin Drones + ? = Tony Conrad Set. But it wouldn't be quite so malapert without Walshe, whose crazed autotuned recitations and vocalizations really make the event what it is, which is either a moon crater or a misguided astronomer or maybe something else.

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Irene_Rible on 11/19/2009 at 05:40PM

The Legacy of the Tower Recordings

Tower Recordings C Audible Hiss 1996

After listening to the live P.G. Six recording posted a few weeks back, I have been discovering the variety of post-Tower Recordings projects available on the FMA.

Tower Recordings were a group of friends in upstate New York who began releasing their mysterious, ramshackle bedroom folk in 1995 on a few different small labels, but my first exposure to their music was after the release of their album Furniture Music for Evening Shuttles. I had never heard of them before, my reasons for picking up the album had more to do with my curiosity on what their take on Eric Satie’s self-proclaimed “furniture music” would sound like. “Furniture music” was proto-ambient music, an idea proposed by Satie, who wanted to create repetitive music that was only meant to be heard in the background. Banal today, but a radical proposition for music in Satie’s time (see WFMU’s LCD article “Flabby Preludes for a Dog: An Erik Satie Primer" for a detailed account).

But what I heard was far from background music. Furniture music perhaps, but only if you’re in the living room of some highly evolved, avant-garde race of ESP record collectors living on Mars. Years ahead of the "freak-folk" fad and Finnish underground music that emerged a decade later, the album contains dissonant experiments with noise, lots of tape manipulation, hints of pagan folk, meandering jams, and an eerie cover of an Os Mutantes song that devolves into a nonsense language before being invaded by a Brother Ah rallying cry.

Having grown up on the West Coast in a Sixties throwback town of new-agers and drop outs, I felt like I’d heard this album before I ever heard this album and it really hit home. Tower Recordings was able to sonically reproduce the ineffable vibe of fractured yet gentle souls waiting to lift off to that next floor in the cosmic elevator. They could feel as heavy and dark as a thick fog rolling into the Redwood forest, as celestial as the monarchs fluttering in the sunshine like so many shards of stained glass, as lost as the stoned guitar strums of an acid-fried street musician, or as found as an Alan Watts seminar.

The last record released by the Tower Recordings was 2004’s The Galaxies’ Incredibly Sensual Transmission Field of the Tower Recordings but several musical projects from former members have continued since then including Matt Valentine and Erika Elder, Hall of Fame, Samara Lubelski, and P.G. Six which you can listen to here. Stay tuned to the FMA for the Tower Recordings live sessions recorded on WFMU currently being mastered by Matt Valentine.

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jason on 11/18/2009 at 05:00PM

Underground music from Beijing

Zhang Shouwang (vox/gtr) and Li Qing (drums) of Carsick Cars at Mao Live House in Beijing, China (CC by Philip Jägenstedt via Flickr)

Back in October 2006, Martin Atkins (PiL, Killing Joke, Pigface) spent a month in Beijing China exploring the megacity's blossoming underground music scene, recording, and signing bands to his Invisible imprint. This resulted in two fantastic albums as part of Bloodshot Records' Invisible China series: the mixtape/collage album China Dub Sound System, and the compilation Look Directly Into The Sun: China Pop 2007.

The Washington Post's David Malitz recently tipped me off to the fact that one of the bands featured on this compilation, Carsick Cars, is playing two shows in the NYC area this weekend. Malitz calls the trio "a perfect combination of the Clean and Sonic Youth", and I'm gonna go ahead and second that -- check out "Panda" below and hear for yourself. Joining Carsick Cars on this tour are psych-folk artist Xiao He and the venerable PK14. The recent show at Brooklyn's Glasslands was sold out, so if you can make it to Ding Dong Lounge on Friday or Secret Project Robot on Saturday, be sure to get there before "show o'clock"! This tour coincides with the release of Sound Kapital, a new book of photographs by Matthew Niederhauser, which also comes with a compilation CD. There's a great review of Sound Kapital in the Washington Post's style section, and a photography exhibit at the Govinda Gallery if you're in the DC area.

At, Niederhauser observes how -- even in spite of China's Internset censorship practices -- mobile phones and web access have propelled the formation of this underground music community. "These technologies allow people with special interests and idiosyncratic tastes to readily connect with each other and access an exponentially broader realm of music, art, and news from both home and abroad." These technologies not only allow localized community building in Beijing, but also help build global communities based on shared interest and shared musical influences, like The Stooges and the Velvet Underground. Check out these early Carsick Cars demos, covers of "Sunday Morning" and "I Wanna Be Your Dog"

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mpvernon on 11/18/2009 at 11:30AM

Glass Candy - three albums

I acquired Glass Candy's debut album Love Love Love in 2003 when it was released and it still gets regular play on the CD player. Glass Candy has a somewhat campy sound that wavers between goth, punk and disco. Often billed as Glass Candy and The Shattered Theatre, Its primary attribute is the tortured voice of Ida No who often sounds like she is channeling Siouxise and Deborah Harry at the same time. She also reminds me a lot of Wendy O. Williams on the more turbulent songs. Johnny Jewel's pulsing electronic riffs  are also instrumental in giving the music a somewhat ominous sound.

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doncbruital on 11/17/2009 at 04:13PM

Stand Aside, If Athwart...

Talk Normal...and make way for TALK NORMAL at your raiding party's head, for if the mundanity and affected effortlessness of gentlest rock and roll is what you're looking to combat, best let these folks lead the way. As danger's thrill, primal atmosphere, and ritualistic stirring of the soul can be hard things to come by in music (never mind that's what it's there for), attend their shows and take rigorous notes. Special attention ought to be paid to the way in which their dead simple setup of guitar-and-drumkit rhythmlock seals out meander and complacency, high-pressurizes to the fore active engagement and confrontation, and precipitates no small amount of attention-narrowing till all you can detect is the strabismic/spasmodic interplay of suggestive silence and noisy wash, energies potential and kinetic, withhold and release, numbing out the dull constancy of lazy inattention. Oh, that rhythmic part? It's groovy and dance-prompting as they get, and--see what I'm saying?--fun.

Yeah, I like these folks, and of course you do too; after all, you saw them tear it up at last month's WFMU Fest and have been rabidly eyeing their packed and multi-region-representative tour schedule while their debut full-length Sugarland on Rare Book Room stomps in the background. If this isn't true then surely it's because you've been taking breaks to watch their video for "In a Strangeland" over and over, or tracking down their prior self-titled release along with the excellent Secret Cog EP, or, yeah, indulging in some of the WFMU-rattling sounds they unloaded on Marty McSorley's show back in June, available for your immediate and unrelenting perusal/obsession on their FMA page.

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