Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
mwalker on 10/30/2009 at 08:45AM
So, it seems that the theme of the IPR blog this week is to highlight the many sides of Alex Waterman. Refer to Andrew’s earlier post to check Waterman’s intonational skills and Robert Ashley scholarship. As it turns out, Alex also plays the cello incredibly well and improvises with remarkable sensitivity and aplomb. Perhaps you saw him with Evan Parker and Mat Manieri at the Stone a couple of weeks ago? Or heard him serenade the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the stunningly beautiful, brilliantly coordinated memorial at the Armory on Wednesday?
I’ve upped one of two absolutely stellar improvisations realized with Ikue Mori (DNA, laptop improviser extraordinaire) and Ned Rothenberg (here on bass clarinet and shakuhachi) at ISSUE earlier this month. At 25-minutes, the performance shapes into an elegant succession of fully-formed ideas -- seamlessly flowing waves of evocative imagery:
...the obsessive working-out of tightly-compacted motives into a slow bloom of feverish, ringing intensity...a sequence of mournful cello swells and aching flute fragments briefly emerging and quickly receding into darkness and silence punctuated only by single strokes of processed bells...a popping tango of wry pizzicato and seductively winding bass clarinet lines that deconstruct into a manic array of repetitive propulsion...
I won't prattle on with a full narrative -- just check the recording (download here). It ain't short but it's more than worth the half-hour of your day.
blocsonic on 10/29/2009 at 12:45PM
Hip-hop is an incredibly diverse musical genre that has a bad reputation no thanks to the American mainstream branch of it. People who write-off hip-hop as idiotic, materialistic, violent or misogynist are only getting a small slice of what it’s about. Since hip-hop has become international there are a wide array of ideas about what hip-hop should be today in 2009 and beyond. Anyone who has ever enjoyed the music will gladly give you their opinion about what “real” hip-hop is. Truth be told, after 30 plus years of existence, there is no “real” hip-hop. Hip-hop emcees, DJs and producers come from all walks of life. With such a wide variety of backgrounds, there can be no definitive hip-hop sound. Since there can be no definitive sound, there’s no reason to disregard hip-hop music that uses classic New York blueprints as the jump off for something fresh and new. Just as there’s a place for rock artists to try and capture a classic 60s and 70s vibe in their new recordings, there’s certainly a place for hip-hop producers, DJs and emcees to try and capture a vibe that’s widely regarded as classic.
lizb on 10/29/2009 at 08:45AM
The weather has been positively dreary in our area for the past few days, and there's nothing I crave more in the thick gray Fall than brain-melting drones.
Brian Turner hit the spot this week on his radio show with tracks by Earth, Magic Aum Gigi, and Mammal. And then cruising around on the FMA, I rediscovered the band F/i, who were active from early '80s to the early '00s. Back in my short-attention-spanned-2-min-punk-song-favoring days, I could not deny the screeching aluminum repetition of F/i's mini-epic "Trauma (at the Beach)," 6 heavy minutes that challenged what I accepted as rock music at the time.
F/i's "No Pepsi in Kabul" (below) is a more recent venture down the road that Hawkwind paved, spaced out and textured dirge with a raga beat and a few experimental guitar interjections. Big thanks to the Strange Attractors Audio House label, who are also offering some great tunes by artists like Glenn Jones, Subarachnoid Space, Cul De Sac and Paik.
jason on 10/28/2009 at 12:42PM
The Fresh & Onlys played live at WFMU on Talk's Cheap earlier this month, touring on the heels of their new record. Question is, which new record? Cuz there's a few, and they all came out this year. First the S/T full-length courtesy of the Castle Face imprint, followed by the Grey-Eyed Girls LP on Woodsist. There's a cassette on Fuck it Tapes and a handful of 7''s in the mix as well. There's more on the way, too, including a solo full-length from band leader Tim Cohen that was just repressed. So much garage-y psych-pop goodness in so little time, it's like 2009 was 1969 all over again!
Well it all started in San Francisco, the year was 2008, the month was April. Tim Cohen was working on new stuff post-Black Fiction, and passed a demo CD along to Shayde Sartin. Shayde's played a role in lotsa good Bay Area music -- he was in Skygreen Leopards, and had visited WFMU before with Kelley Stoltz. Shayde and Tim had jammed before but these new recordings were something else. "It really blew my mind," Shayde told me during Talk's Cheap, "so I went over to play bass and help him record, and that day I ended up calling out of work." The day turned into a week spent with Cohen's Tascam 388 reel-to-reel, and suddenly The Fresh & Onlys were a band with fifteen recorded songs. "Not all of them good," Shayde qualified; for every song that get released, there are plenty more that may never see the light of day. But they're all part of the process that has very quickly produced a series of classic jams like "Peacock and Wing" and "Invisible Forces".
The Fresh & Onlys' prolific, dispersed recording & release schedule is de rigueur for a lot of bands these days, and it's indicative of a shift in artist/label relationships. Labels have always defined themselves by their artist roster, but now we're seeing artists curate a roster of labels. In his recent Dusted Magazine review of new records by Ty Segall and Impediments (Bay Area locals along with The Fresh & Onlys), Ben Donnelly made a great observation: "As these bands hop from Goner to Dirtnap to Siltbreeze to In the Red, its like a DIY version of the song factory has emerged, as bands develop their strengths and drift toward the particulars of each label." True, and smaller labels have increasingly particular aesthetics, but they also have less control over the artists who gravitate towards them to define the label's "sound". The lines between these labels are becoming more of a ven diagram, and transient artist rosters direct audiences to similar labels (and vice versa) in a way that's very reminiscent of the blogosphere.
doncbruital on 10/27/2009 at 03:30PM
So this may not be real earth-shattering or the like, but allow me, all the same, to take a second and applaud the way music helps us dig the Past. Sure, there's the obvious way, in which musical forms are explicitly built on the popular styles of yesteryear, for which we have watchwords like 'folk,' pre- and suffixes like 'neo-______' and '_____-revival.' I'm pretty sure, you know, that there's no form of human expression, except maybe ethnic cooking, that relies so explicitly on the accrued techniques of bygone generations, whose narrative is more timeline-heavy, whose reference-rolodex is so replete with the names of those who came before. And while we all oughtta be thankful for those circuitous paths of taxonomy that allow us to trace, geneological-like, Linnaeus-like, the newest jams all the way back to their distant forebears (and thus discover all the great stuff that influenced our faves), it's also pretty clear that this reductive categorization can be misused, can serve only to pigeonhole, or worse, to make the present seem a pale imitation of the past, wherein we mourn for those lost snows of yesteryear, ah jeez, where'd they go? This is a fine way to celebrate the past, but we'd better offset that attendant denigration of the present; nostalgia's nice and all, but seeing as we probably can't go back in time (I know, bummer), we'd better find a way to dig the Now much as we do the Then, to look at our culture, past-, pres-, and future-flung, with a degree of unification.
So I'm not really content to look at the past-conscious work of a band like Jackie-O Motherfucker and think of it, as is so often done, as a newfangled reinterpration of old folk or rock or jazz or whatever forms, committed for the sake of respectful homage; to me what's denoted by their timeline-hopping, as well as that of recent JOMF tourmate DRAGGING AN OX THROUGH WATER, is a kind of ecstatic communion with those forms, dispatches in eternity which are themselves irreducible, unpigeonholable, timelessly and rootlessly just floating there. DaOtW, the project of Portland OR's Brian Mumford, has provided the FMA with a rad selection of tunes that showcase the project's patent versatility, proudly leaping the stifling confines of Style and Era to grant us some of that exaltant communion spirit via guitars alternately gentle and riff-rampant, blown-out drone fuzz, even cracked beat thuds. Past, present, and future draping on in for, you know, some kind of musical hug.
herr_professor on 10/27/2009 at 12:00PM
Brutal chip fiend Heosphoros would like to remind you that metal is not just tone, but groove. With his NES rom release Embered Recollections, he takes the sound of the Nintendo 8bit system, and plunders it for purpose of squarewave slaughter. The ROM, playable in any NES emulator features the disturbing and detailed imagery of Finland's Keff. The artwork makes me harken back to my own misspent youth staring in wonder at metal records on giant 12" sleeves Coconut records in Chicago. The smell of sweaty denim jackets mixing with the dying leaves of fall...
Heosphoros' style is intersting to me because it is influenced by both Konami metal classics like Castlevania, and Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles, but also by the thrash and progressive rock metal that inspired Konami. Whatever the geneology, the results are tight as they are extreme, so give the ep a listen, or better yet, fire up the ROM on your nes emulator of choice.
jessevdoom on 10/27/2009 at 11:30AM
This month CASH has been conducting its first public fundraiser. We're raffling off rare, signed, and one-of-a-kind things from artists like Kristin Hersh, Deerhoof, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Andrew Bird, Mission of Burma, Xiu Xiu, Family Of The Year, Meanest Man Contest, and many others.
A few weeks ago we added a 'Thank You' mix to our site — free to stream and downloadable with a donation of any amount or any kind of participation in the fundraiser. Not all of the tracks were able to be licensed under a Creative Commons license so we didn't initially upload the entire mix to the Free Music Archive. Rather than add half a mix, we cleared a few tracks and added some new ones, resulting in a great (and fully CC-licensed) mix for the FMA.
New to the FMA 'Thank You' mix are 'Swear To God' by New York's Emilyn Brodsky, 'Losing My Mind' by Rhode Island's Hope Anchor, and 'Let's Go Down' by Family Of The Year; replacing their rad Kid Rock Cover that's still up over at cashmusic.org.
So check out the FMA/CC version of our 'Thank You' mix here: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/CASH_Music/Thank_You/
And our fundraiser runs through November 1, so please give it a visit. The raffle has some really unique things, and the playlist features additional music from Portugal The Man, Earl Greyhound, Faces On Film, and a new track from Former Ghosts.
Halas_Radio on 10/26/2009 at 06:00PM
"No Regrets For Our Youth is a nine track album of individual pieces, beautifully created with acoustic, electronic, modern and old sound. Each track varies from simple to intricately developed music. The record is one work, in that each piece connects to the others, yet they are all unique. The first track of predominantly electronic sounds defines a heavy yet childlike melody with strong rhythm in seven time. The accents are unusual, as are the sounds, but with time this 'Dance' as it is titled, becomes less awkward. The mood changes significantly with track three. 'The Manners of Speech' holds us in a warm embrace of acoustic guitars and familiar chords with oodles of anticipation. The variety of sound is refreshing and incredibly beautiful. Then 'Fronts' jolts us to attention. It starts with a strikingly simple rhythm. High-hat and electric guitar initiate the dialogue, soon joined by voice, distorted guitar and organ to form an unusual but effective ensemble. Other tracks include a tense string quartet, an improvisatory harpsichord combined with electronic instruments and sounds to create unlikely unions. The final track brings us full circle and sounds from the opener are heard again. This time the melody is a little slower, as if a long journey has been accomplished. 'No Regrets for Our Youth' is a record of familiar sounds given new life with poignant anticipation and utterly heartbreaking tension. It is modern music with its own identity. Little information can be found about No Regrets For Our Youth maybe because the music speaks for itself" -- anna johnston.
andrewcsmith on 10/26/2009 at 12:58AM
Alex Waterman reads excerpts from his interviews with Robert Ashley according to Ashley's early indeterminate score "in memoriam . . . Esteban Gomez." The score is circular, with no determinate duration, and with a suggested four players (although Waterman performed solo). More than just the words, the score drives the intonation of the reading, as Ashley's original four timbal indications become intonational indications in the speaking voice. In this piece, Ashley memorializes the man credited with deserting Magellan, financing his expeditions by selling slaves, and mapping the eastern shore of North America.
Also, this recording is one of the few ways to hear Alex read the following paragraph:
Willard called the cops one time about a flying saucer that was in the living room. The cops came over and asked him to show them where it was and Willard pointed to the window sill in the living room. They said, "Willard, that's a peach pit." And Willard said, "Well, it may look like a peach pit to you."
lavenders on 10/23/2009 at 09:45AM
Micachu & the Shapes are one of the funnest bands to watch perform. We trust you’ll open up your imagination wide as you’re listening to this great band fly through some tunes full of quirkiness and punch. Think of the incredible gestures they made while making these sounds. Maybe your Micachu & the Shapes are beating drums, ukulele and keys in a jumpy stomping jam or maybe they’re floating far above the Earth dropping notes to the tops of trees below so that birds may form nests for their young to fly skyward and flap a wing hello back at Micachu. Or possibly these sounds are evoking images of a robotic roadrunner looping around a track as the audience stomps and mashes the floor with enthusiastic cheers of encouragement. Whatever your visions may involve we hope you enjoy this “sprout session” from one of our favorite bands. micachu.com