Recent FMA Blog Posts
This is a feed of featured blog posts from FMA users. Blog on, bloggers!
Noise_Problems on 06/17/2014 at 10:36AM
Pocahaunted was a psychedelic drone band based in Los Angeles, founded in 2005 by Amanda Brown and Bethany Cosentino. Its one of those bands that haunts you from the first time you see or hear them play. This was the case with Noise Problems. We´ve recorded Pocahaunted on a LE CLUB SUBURBIA event in Amsterdam way back in 09 and became fans ever since. It is definitely a favorite among our live recordings. The thing is they split up not long after so no chance to see them again live. R.I.P P-Haunt´s. Fortunately they did put out a bunch of records, tapes, splits and E.P´s through labels such as Not Not Fun; Woodsist and Ecstatic Peace!. "Make it Real" was their last release.
Check out Pocahaunted live in Amsterdam vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
jacksonmoore on 06/17/2014 at 09:42AM
New Languages started out as an annual jazz festival in 2005. At the time there were no George Wein style jazz festivals dedicated to the generation of jazz musicians who had come of age in the wake of neoclassicism. We created one as a way of asking, basically, "what's next?" — how is our generation living up to the legacy of an art form characterized by an unbroken string of discoveries and innovations? As our peers began to enjoy some critical recognition and similar festivals began to proliferate, we began to interrogate our own role as producers and curators in responding to the questions opened up by a century of creative improvisation.
The jazz solo revealed something new: the sound of the person: subjectivity in musical form. New Languages takes these musical subjects out for a walk, so to speak. Until now, they have been confined to a very narrow commercial sandbox: 45-60 minute stage performances and 45-60 minute records. We explore new time frames, conventions, and sites in which the potential of improvised music to mirror the wonders and vicissitudes of real life might evolve.
In 2012 we put on Music Factory, a continuous 83-hour improvisation, at Eyebeam Art+Technology Center in New York. This simple alteration of the time-scale of performance had profound effects on our experience as improvisers as well as the musical result. Anyone who has tried a free improvisation with friends knows that the end is usually unexpected but immediately obvious. It isn't planned, yet it seems inescapable. During Music Factory we learned that this moment is really just the end of the beginning — the first of many such events that form the historical anatomy of a performance.
In the past year we've started two new initiatives. Remote Hearing is a series of improvisations that dispense with the need for geographic proximity, or any sort of telecommunications in its absence. The performers record themselves from wherever they happen to be at an agreed upon moment in time, and only hear one another after the fact, when the recordings are synchronized and superimposed. The result is something like a satellite photograph — it captures the composite activity of a group of people around the world at a given point in time, even if they aren't aware of one another's movements. The palpable and utterly satisfying sense of interaction on these recordings raises serious questions about the efficacy of a 'good ear' and its inevitable side effects, anticipation and reaction.
Later this year we'll be launching a new series, Holidays from the Future, which plays with the shape and relationship of the stage and the audience. We'll be redrawing the border between the two and inviting anyone to cross it at any time, depending on whether they want to communicate in music, or listen, drink, and talk. In addition to featured improvisers, each show will include installations (booths, projections, sonic fountains), interventions (surprise gambits and secret conspiracies), and invitations (early bird workshops and bulletins for structured participation) devised by guest artists.
It has become clear that in the design of new environments for creative musicians, there is a lot of low-hanging fruit.
Boston_Hassle on 06/05/2014 at 11:31AM
Mysterio-rock trio NIGHT RALLY emerges from the mist & murk of a decade past. Here their debut EP/demo is visible to the naked eye!
Another band encountered in the basements, and other off-the-beaten-path venues, as well as the bars and clubs of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville (the latter @ the time just beginning to move toward being a land of much live music).
NIGHT RALLY were a unique band for multiple reasons. For one, their post-punkian pop throb was a truly collaborative effort, where band members Luke, Farhad, and Devin not only shared playing and songwriting duties, but singing duties as well. Even here on this demo the singing effort is split up amongst the lot. Secondly, the sound they mined - a pulsing, jittery thing crowned by celestial guitars, and full of anxious yelps trading off with mellow croon - was an abberation at that time in Boston's underground music scene. The band was of the variety that, while perhaps preferring the more informal settings of a Bodies of Water or Honeypump booked underground show, were nonetheless also comfortable in the bar live music setting. And so the band was one of the few of its moment that bridged the gap between acceptance by the underground/ diy music community and the more pop and "indie music" oriented Boston rock club scene and its ilk.
NIGHT RALLY's demo has always been my favorite recording by the band. Initially it found its way to me via the underground venue I was involved with, The HOSS, probably handed to me on an evening when the band played, or not. These Cambridge fellows found their way to that Brighton basement on a number of occasions, playing or not, if my memory serves. The demo @ only 4 songs is fairly perfect, each of the 4 offerings highlighting one or a number of the band's strengths. The rhythm section is locked in, propulsive and capable of surprise turns while remaining locked in. The delay coated guitars showering the songs as if rays of light beaming increasingly through a clouded sky post-shower. Devin King's inventive, powerful lead vocals, intertwine with his bandmate's, creating a syncopated, unified human voice that reaches out and grabs the listener.
NIGHT RALLY were a great band. A split LP with the band CLICKERS followed on HONEYPUMP RECORDS. The self-released PRESTON FAMILY CREST appeared later, and served as the band's swan song.
They disbanded in 2006. Both of these other recordings will eventually make their way onto the FMA via the Boston Hassle, so if you like this EP, keep your eyes peeled.
hfayekay on 06/04/2014 at 02:42AM
This summer FMA curator ccMixter-whose main squeeze is embracing remix culture via the way of Creative Commons- is putting together a virtual version of the Coachellas, Bonaroos, & Primaveras of the world: the BIG Music Fest. The event will be comprised of 7 "stages" rotating throughout the Summer beginning May 30th running through til August 30. Each week artists (you!) will be creating content for specific genre-d stages (this week it's songwriter/unplugged/folk/bluegrass/ country but hip hop/triphop will be up at the end of July!) culminating with a live-streaming event mixing all genres. You can also participate by curating playlists, hosting podcasts, & assembling the highest quality of sounds for eventual releases to be distributed on the likes of iTunes & Amazon.
The FMA is happy to provide artists & ccMixters with a playlist of remix-worthy tracks & sounds with summer-y dispositions ideal for incorporating into your submissions to the BIG Music Fest. Listen to the playlist below & for more details on the event click here (& here's a press release too!)
theradius on 06/03/2014 at 07:01PM
PATCH is a series of curated playlists selected from the Radius episode archive. Each playlist is organized around a specific topic or theme that engages the tonal and public spaces of the electromagnetic spectrum. PATCH serves as a platform to illuminate the questions, concerns, and complexities of and within radio-based art practices.
PATCH 07: Distance
Distant consists of white noise and sine waves that are beyond the range of most adults’ hearing. They are arranged carefully in chosen phase relationships amongst signals that are completely inaudible and have no apparent effect on the final sound. However, when broadcast using a radio transmitter (ideally a low power one, the lower fidelity and power the better) those phase relationships become mangled by the interaction of the broadcast with the environment it fills and activates. When the listener is too close to the signal, the subtleties between the phase relationships are lost. When too far, the subtleties become inaudible. However, when somewhere between near and far, the garbling of the transmission creates pulses and tones from the creative and destructive interference caused by the reflected signal and the collapse of the stereo image.
undRess_Beton on 06/01/2014 at 10:01AM
Classwar Karaoke is an online label primarily based around an ongoing series of quarterly surveys - in effect, largescale compilations - published online mainly through the Free Music Archive, on each of the last days of February, May, August and November. It hosts material culled from the experimental scene, including electro-acoustic, improv, free jazz, acusmatic, soundart, field recordings, cut-up, avant-rock, noise, ambient and sound poetry.
Classwar Karaoke was founded by Anthony Donovan in March 2008; with the first survey appearing a few months later. The label only truly came into it's own, however, when Jaan Patterson joined as co-curator later the same year. Concerted efforts to expand and professionalise the label ensued. At the same time, Patterson founded suRRism-Phonoethics, as a platform for full-scale releases. Many crossovers in personnel and outlook were evident between these projects, and, after a two year hiatus, upon his return, Patterson invited Donovan to similarly co-curate at suRRism-Phonoethics. Between them, and via these two projects, Donovan and Patterson have, by now, released hundreds of pieces of music and short-films, attracting many tens-of-thousands of hits.
Included in the Classwar Karaoke and suRRism-Phonoethics roll-calls are internationally-recognised artits such as Bob Ostertag, Fred Frith, Rhys Chatham, Bryan Lewis Saunders, Leif Elggren, Lol Coxhill, Peter Brotzmann, Evan Parker, Geoff Leigh, Otomo Yoshihide, Terry Bozzio, Nate Young, Michael Giles, Keith Tippett, Jaap Blonk, Jochen Arbeit, Steve Beresford, Leafcutter John, Ludo Mich, Gino Robair and Zoviet*France, as well as an impressive array of lesser-known but equally innovative artists. Live gigs, mini-festivals and specialist multi-media releases have also featured, and physical releases, of limited edition CDRs and audio-tapes, are planned for the future.
Listen to our newest Survey 0026 here.
wmmberger on 05/31/2014 at 03:37AM
WFMU, among a great many other things, is about community, i.e., presenting and promoting local musicians / artists / humorists, in addition the great International performers we present. My Castle of Quiet has always been about the business of seeking out exceptional local musicians, and it doesn't get too much more local for us than Through Thorn and Brier, their craft honed in our shared County of Hudson, NJ. At one time, WFMU's staff was chock-full of NJ-bred radio personalities, many of whom lived and or passed through nearby Bayonne, including late-great broadcasters and good friends of mine, Terry Folger and Frank "Vanilla Bean" Balesteri, both of them taken from us way too soon. Bayonne borders directly on WFMU's home town of Jersey City, and offers great pizza, good bars and a decent standard of living for a largish NJ city. All that considered, if you told me that Bayonne had bred a strong, talented, one-of-a-kind punk / metal band, I still might have doubted the veracity of your claim, not sure why though. That is, right up until the first time I heard Through Thorn and Brier.
Originally stumbling upon their songs on bandcamp, in a position I now often find myself in, checking out a band that I missed live for no good reason except that I generally like to stay home. Sporting twin brothers on vocals and guitar, amidst a mighty, accomplished lineup, TTAB play a threatening, driven brand of metal-infused punk music, with arcing guitar melodies, swinging, thudding riffs, and ominous, almost tribal beats; add roaring vocals and a general mood of rolling with reckless abandon. If punk-metal hybrid bands can be "catchy," TTAB certainly ARE, their riffs immediately inspiring head swirling; one of those physically motivating bands that make me wish that I had long, straight, flowing hair to swing in time.
Every Through Thorn and Brier song is something like a mini-suite, blasting through multiple inspiring riffs and you-must-pay-attention time signatures in a matter of minutes, taking you on a ride you can't fully absorb the first time, and isn't that the way? Shouldn't a band's numbers be such that new pleasures reveal each time you listen?
Call them screamo (don't!), call them hardcore, or metal—all those genre labels quickly dissolve in the hands of the best of bands—and TTAB's songs cover a wild breadth of punk and metal styles with purpose and ease, such that the hops are never gratuitous and always contribute quite naturally to the sum of their parts.
I was very pleased to present this excellent band, well-deserving of more widespread notoriety, as evidenced here. (Note: Where songs were played without a complete stop in between, they are presented here as such, i.e., tracks 1 and 3 consist of three songs apiece.)
Thanks and much appreciation must go to engineer Juan Aboites, for working his ass off, and making everything sound full and ferocious. Thanks too, to Tracy Widdess of Brutal Knitting, who for maybe the 100th time, pieced together a handsome band portrait from my miserable iPhone captures.
You can hear the Good Grief EP and Failure Prone MLP (both worth owning) and purchase hard copy of the same at Through Thorn and Brier's bandcamp page. There, you'll also see their use of non-typical, decidedly un-metal imagery, a move well appreciated by this DJ / writer. Also visit ttabhc.com for more up-to-date band info.
newweirdaustralia on 05/23/2014 at 10:18PM
Dig deeper into the Australian underground with four new releases from the Wood and Wire label - Black Pines offer a ragged, psych-damaged lava-wall of ash and guts and glory; Motion erase improvised boundaries, merging avant-garde jazz and left-field electronics; there's an audacious leftfield avant-rock debut from Perth's Mudlark; and Gatherer offers ambient/drone pieces intended for the spaces between your headphones.
WW27: MUDLARK Zimdahl
The debut release from Perth's Mudlark has already been dubbed as "bristling, vibrant instrumentals that prove antsy and unpredictable" by Mess + Noise, "a hard listening indie-jazz fusion cacophony that destroys your ability to think or reason" by The Music, and Cool Perth Nights concluded that it was "a weird riddle, a fascinating and deeply enjoyable mystery". Pivoting between only two instruments, with no re-amping or overdubbing, Zimdahl aims for a truly accurate rendition of Mudlark’s unique sound in a live environment.
WW29: GATHERER Amoeba Miasma Void
Amoeba Miasma Void is the new EP from Gatherer - the solo project of Morgan McKellar, one-half of Canberra improv-noise duo, Cold House, formerly of Sydney band Underlapper and his now defunct solo project Morning Stalker. Manipulating (mostly) found-sounds from audio libraries, online video, and field recordings to create improvised sample-driven, Amoeba Miasma Void is a collection of four ambient/drone pieces intended for headphone use.
WW30: BLACK PINES Harsh Out
Black Pines is about dislocation. Two friends separated by real life, wondering out loud about how and why one whole side of rock history has evaporated. That missing side – the abject horror of psychedelic rock – is where this project lives. This isn’t a revival or pastiche. No jams. No art. This is criticism. // Ian Rogers (No Anchor) plays guitar and sings. Benjamin Thompson (The Rational Academy) plays guitar.
WW31: MOTION Syllepsis
Motion draws on experimentalism, avant-garde jazz, left-field electronic music and more. The result is music that deconstructs song forms, explores textural possibilities and is both hypnotic and immersive. Syllepsis sees Perth-based multi-media artist, Kynan Tan join the band to aid in the creation of a collection of music where electronics and instruments meet in a constant state of tension and release.
hfayekay on 05/23/2014 at 08:18PM
I would like to take this opportunity to introduce everyone to their summer jams of 2014: the prolific, poppy, hip-hoppy talents of Dadalú. Brought to the FMA by that speedy netlabel whose influences are listed as bootleg CD-Rs found on the streets of Buenos Aires Los Emes Del Oso-Dadalú's DIY spirit hails from Santiago, Chile. According to a google translate digestion of this write up on Musica Popular.cl, the former Nirvana fan Dadalú started making music after Kurt Cobain suggested that instead of screaming, girls should pick up a guitar & play. & play she did! As someone who doesn't speak a lot of Spanish (i.e. none) I can't attest to the lyrical content of her songs but I'm pretty sure I agree with all of it. Blending the street vibes of the rap mixtape with the snottiness of a self-released riotgrrrl 7" Dadalú is an inspiration from the millenial generation to all humans.
Boston_Hassle on 05/09/2014 at 03:00PM
This band was probably the most fun thing happening in the Boston underground music scene circa 2003-2004. Beyond this 7" (released by BODIES OF WATER arts and crafts (full disclosure: my label) there was also a demo tape with their original drummer (which was recorded in a strange wooden room in the far corner of the basement @ my old house/ venue in Brighton, THE HOSS). So fun. THE MULES sound was a truly rambunctious thing, a hyper, spastic art punk with nods to garage rock, noise rock, and the overarching cool underground music of that moment in whcih they existed, post-punk. If there was one band who defined what THE HOSS was to me, it was this bunch. Doug on guitar, Marin on keys, and Jose on guitar/ bass. Jose and Marin taking most of the singing duties. The drummer situation was a revolving one (as it so often seems to be). Here on this recording Elliott, their final drummer, plays the role. They played with OLD TIME RELIJUN at that show house in Brighton, and the match was perfect, and should give you an idea of where THE MULES were at in their time. The band broke up several times, and thus had several reunion shows. And with each show, as happens, the number of people aware of their music grew and grew. The final final final show was, if my memory serves me, @ another house show space called CASTLE GREY SKULL, in Allston. And it was mayhem. A final happy FUCK YOU from a band who lived on the fringes, wanted nothing more, but certainly deserved more.
I went on tour with THE MULES and our friends, and another band on my label, WILDLIFE (they later became WILDILDLIFE) in probably 2005. One of the better shows on the tour was @ a Chicago warehouse called MISTER CITY, home to the awesome noise rock squelchers COUGHS, who hooked up the show. It was the first time I ever saw DAN DEACON, and beyond that the performers must have been pretty noisy. I remember this because a comment that an audience member made to one of THE MULES after their set has been fused to my memory of the band itself. I don't know who said it, or to whom it was said, but someone came up to the band after their set that night as I stood nearby and said something like, "The noise sections in your songs shouldn't make any sense, and certainly have no right being there. But it does make sense, and it works. Good set." That interaction sums up this band for me: straddling multiple, at times disparate genres, but making it all work, and making it all fun as hell. The mincing of the genres that THE MULES smashed together has become more common place in the decade since they rocked basements, but that ability to make it all fun remains elusive still.
This 7" was recorded somewhere @ Emerson College, for free by someone (thank you unknown engineer). Perhaps it doesn't capture the true raucous nature of this unwieldy group in teh live setting, but at least something exists that can be pointed to, to prove that this band existed. I will try to dredge up that demo tape @ some point, if any still exist. I will also try to find the original cover to this 7" (the image included on this 7"'s album page is the color version of what appeared in faded black and white on the 7"s back cover), as that too has perhaps been lost to time...
Members of THE MULES went on to form great bands such as: MMOSS, SPF ALOT, DOUG TUTTLE, BAROQUE PUNKS, EGGPLONT, WORLD MAP, DRUNK DAD, and PROTOKOLL. In particular DOUG TUTTLE has gained a good deal of notoriety and acclaim for his contemporary take on psychedelic pop, and other strains of psychedelia.
- Dan Shea (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copies of this 7" still exist!!!!
If you would like to get your hands on one please email: email@example.com