Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
wmmberger on 09/18/2009 at 05:14PM
The music of Jabladav (aka one-man, metal virtuoso James H. from NC, USA) takes me almost as often to The Court of the Crimson King as it does to screaming out my soul's anguish in a bone yard. Jabladav donated this monster exclusive track to our blog and Free Music Archive, available below.
You can hear my (somewhat technically blunderous) interview with James, as part of the full My Castle of Quiet program archive from 9/16, by clicking here, and selecting your poison playback of choice.
The new Jabladav full-length, Atta Vinter, is perhaps James' finest work yet—a cohesive, album-style vision, that's very much a black metal record, as much as it's all over the map with surprising elements and influences. This is clearly a guy with tastes and a record collection to rival most WFMU DJs. Enjoy.
"Loss" is shared by Jabladav through a creative commons attribution-non commercial-no derivatives license.
JoeMc on 09/17/2009 at 03:14PM
Plenty of bands from the magical city of Portland have had tracks featured on the FMA in the past year (see here, here, and here), but my current favorite is Explode Into Colors, a trio of young women whose percussion-heavy, post-punky music perks up my ears. Apparently, I'm not all that unique in my enthusiasm; for instance, in the Willamette Week, a local paper, they were voted best new Portland band of 2009, and the New Musical Express thought they were one of the ten best bands at South by Southwest this year. Clearly, they've got a few people in their corner.
Now, I have to admit that I'm not temperamentally inclined to put much stock in "best of this" and "best of that" talk, and I'd rather leave it to folks at other blogs to deal in over-the-top praise and too-cool-for-school backlash. Simply put, I just like the handful of records that this band have put out so far. In fact, they recently put out a pretty good one called "Coffins" b/w "Sharpen the Knife" on M'Ladys Records. Today I'd like to feature the b-side, which is the one I like best.
lizb on 09/16/2009 at 03:55PM
Jazz/avant-garde multi-instrumentalist Curtis Hasselbring performed on Bethany's Stochastic Hit Parade on WFMU a few years back with his Decoupage ensemble, and has recently added some of his solo work to the FMA.
Jason clued me in to Curha, a project featuring audio collage cut-ups of Hasselbring's works, sewn together with beats and many Balkan-esque elements. Out moments meet in stylings for a catchy treatment unlike what you're used to hearing from artists who rely heavily upon sampling.
I'm particularly a fan of the song "Elegy" below, and I also dig "Rumenka (Slavic Soul Party remix)," which reminds me of the time Slavic Soul Party paraded about the floor making a raucous noise at the WFMU Record Fair, trombones and all.
Speaking of the WFMU Record Fair, the event returns to NYC's Metropolitan Pavilion (125 W. 18th St) October 23-25... but I digress.
jw on 09/16/2009 at 08:48AM
Krontjong (in relatively equal amounts spelled kronjong, kroncong, keroncong, and kerontjong) is slightly over a century old, and is an urban folk music. Ethnomusicologists would call it a syncretic music, as it developed over time from a variety of cultural influences, such as Portuguese, Batavian, African, and Malay – all of which were present in one form or another in turn of the century Indonesia.
Known for its languid rhythm, Hawaiian “walking guitar,” and partially improvised violin runs, the style was first recorded in 1904, but musically hit its stride and popularity in the 1930s. By the 1940s, independent Indonesian labels began to appear such as Dendang (pictured here), Irama, and Serimpi, and hundreds if not thousands more krontjong records were released, joining the large amount already available from HMV, Odeon, and other companies.
In my personal experience, I’ve found it difficult to track down much krontjong on 78 outside of Indonesia, nor has much, if any, early krontjong music been re-released on CD. I’ve always found it unique – it often sounds like two bands playing completely separate arrangements of the same song, and somehow landing on their feet.
doncbruital on 09/15/2009 at 12:59PM
I've always coasted on symbolic ways of thinking, so I'll start with one such handy conceit: Mindless Corporate Technocracy vs. Punk Luddism, in which never the twain, being way past mutually-exclusive, shall meet. And yeah, while not necessarily the whole story, this cultural narrative, in which the scary technophiliac forces of the oppressor butt up against the raw spiritedness of a gnarly creative population, is, according to me, a fine one. It allows we brave folks on the side of the creators to, in short, keep going--creating, and facilitating creativity--for to falter in this battle is to let the monolithic Powers That Be take the advantage, and we surely can't let that happen.
But things change, yessir, and symbolic histories, invigorating though they may be, only get us so far. The FMA itself is, certainly, no tendril of a creeping corporate overlord, but it sure is technologically-oriented, and so fits nowhere in this one-or-the-other type of schema. Though its embrace of left-of-center human expression is quite in keeping with Ned Ludd, the largely mythical leader of the Industrial-Revolution-renouncing Luddites, smashing a bunch of stocking frames to protest society's increasing dehumanization, its technological basis flies in the face of that clan's organizing principle. So what's to be done?
herr_professor on 09/15/2009 at 10:21AM
One of the knocks on chip music, and really electronic music in general, is the lack of a strong performance aspect behind many of it's live artists. Perhaps this is why some of the most popular performers today are those in the up-tempo and spazzy "chipbreak" end of the chip music pool. Some of the most excelled in this sub-niche of a niche are artists like Sabrepulse, Talk To Animals, and this weeks featured artist, Saskrotch. Combining the earnest heartfelt nostalgia of modern chiptunes with the drum fill blitz of breakcore can seemed like a contrived concoction, but these artists, Saskrotch in particular, bring a musicality and sense of humor to one of the most fun and youthful ends of the chip music spectrum.
Saskrotch, Nigel Shields to his debt collection specialists, hails from the suburbs of Chicago, and is prolific as his songs are complex. The "Exploding Head Disease" release on Project 168, and now the FMA is a sardonic and heartfelt stab at both chipmusic and breakcore cliches turned innovations with boastful screeds like "I'm the Fucking King Of Chipbreak" and cheeky admonishments like "I Guess You Didn't See The Irony of Our Situation". At the end of the day however, these artists make their bacon with their great live performances, as this recently posted live set can attest to. It will be interesting to see how these artists evolve, and how far their rabid cults allow them to in the future. In the meantime its probably best to sit back and not think about it too hard, or better yet get up in the pit and lose your shit. We'll be back in seven, have a decent week.
wmmberger on 09/14/2009 at 06:36PM
Woolgathering vocal melodies hover foundationless over sheets of noise, drone and buzz. You get scared, though you're oddly comforted at the same time. Still, it feels better with that night-light on. You hear what might be footsteps, or bells, or someone sawing sheet metal. Such is the music of Caldera Lakes.
The duo of Married in Berdichev (aka Brittany Gould) and Kevin Shields (aka Eva Aguila) were generous enough to share this rough cut of their newest album (which will eventually reappear as a proper release in edited form) with My Castle of Quiet and WFMU (four of these six tracks premiered on my show September 2nd.)
The chaotic, sonic hailstorm conjured up by artists like Merzbow or Masonna meets the buoyant-but-bent psychedelia of Azalia Snail, or Fifty Foot Hose, in these enjoyable recordings. The epic closer, "Arctic Ghost," is especially magnificent. Enjoy.
These tracks are shared by Caldera Lakes through a creative commons attribution-non commercial-no derivatives license, and are available here on the Free Music Archive. Photo portrait by Renata Raksha.
mpvernon on 09/14/2009 at 10:48AM
Quiet Orchestra is a Los Angeles collective of local musicians. The twenty-plus musicians come from all genres of music including rock, jazz and world. The music tends to be improvisational yet strangely cerebral. While the ensemble has some very innovative artists in its ranks, its best known member is guitarist Nels Cline. There is an hour and a half of challenging and beautiful music on this self-titled on-line collection with three of the tracks being over twenty minutes. There are also brief solo excursions by several of the members including Nels Cline, keyboardist Aaron Arntz, bass player Gabe Noel, drummer Barbara Gruska, and tabla player Zach Harmon. Odd but angelic music from The City of Angels.
You can get the album in an album zip from the orchestra's web site or in separate tracks at WFMU's Free Music Archive. As a quick introduction, check out Nels Cline's solo track.
macedonia on 09/12/2009 at 03:18PM
My first experience with the Clinical Archives netlabel has been through the group Yoko Absorbing, a duo of multi-instrumentalists. Their Vinyl album is an intriguing collection of songs that explore the push and pull between electronic and acoustic sounds, loops and live instrumentation. Their more abrasive side is on display with tunes like "Hoffnung" and "To Be More Specific," almost industrial in discipline. "Vinyl Blues Part 1" lies in stark contrast, sounding like a live house band steeped in disco and funk that occasionally gets in touch with their inner Sonic Youth and feels the need to throw some feedback into the mix.
Admittedly, it's the latter that has held me captive all week long...to the point of where I found myself dancing around my kitchen. And while my first impulse is to offer up all seven minutes of Part 1, "Vinyl Blues Part 2" makes for an even better teaser: funky, loopy, and just long enough to make you curious...
pushbinlou on 09/11/2009 at 04:43PM
How about a nice heavy psych track to wind up your Friday afternoon? O.K. Here is a great one from long time Canadian indie stalwarts Devolver. They have been putting out amazing pop-psych records since the late 90's and have been nice enough to upload a number of tracks from some of their various albums.
"Sound is Leaking" is from Devolver's fifth release Sky of Holes. One of their heavier cuts this one just grabs you by the throat and never lets go. Although this is my favorite track the whole album is a keeper and worth checking out. Enjoy