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Noise_Problems on 05/04/2014 at 09:41AM

Sounds of the Underground Festival 2014

Another Sotu went by. This year´s Sotu was fantastic. Lots of stuff happening between OT301, OCCII, Vondelbunker and other places like the comic book shop "Lambiek", said to be the oldest comic book shop in the world, where we saw a live sketch battle. Awesome.  At the Vondelbunker an unusual black metal program was very interesting with the Black Decades and Mannheim.

Impressive also was the 24 hour feedback/noise event "Giant Noise Feedback Show" at the OT301 where a giant sound installation unfolded in all public spaces at the OT301: the main hall and its bar space, the 4Bid Gallery, De Peper, the cinema and the cinema bar. In all spaces, simultaneously, noise acts performed. Their signals were fed to the Radio Patapoe studio in the basement, where a mixdown went live! Then the radio signal was again pickup by the acts, who used the radio signal to feed it back into their stuff!!! There was even a small set up with a mixer were the audience and visitors could add their 10 cent to the performance. Needless to say Noise Problems loved the concept! Well done Sotu & OT301 & Patapoe!

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hfayekay on 04/30/2014 at 02:45PM

"Music for People Who Aren't Afraid of the Moment"

Flyers for Orthotonics & Idio-Savant from the late 70s & 80s. Taken from supplementary PDFs linked in blog post

Direct from Richmond, Virginia, underground label ARTIFACTS/yclept offers a goldmine of early 70s/80s jazz improv & post-punk sounds from related outfits Idio-Savant & Orthotonics.

A pure example of the textural free-jazz inspired sound from the thick of the new wave scene of the 70s & early 80s, Idio-Savant trumpeter Paul Watson described their process being "…like a trance like state or automatic type of playing." (Milwaukee Journal, Dec.1988) Their emotionally driven, form-defying yet maturely crafted improvisations were further lauded by such institutions as the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Cadence Magazine, & Jazz Digest. A few musical configurations later, a version of Idio dubbed "Orthotonics" successfully experimented with steering the stochastic sound into a more melodic direction, complete with post-punky intellectually warped lyrics like "Too Hot to Trotsky."

The FMA is happy to annouce 3 albums from Idio-Savant: Shakers in a Tantrum Landscape ('79), The Alpha Audio Sessions ('79), & Trans-Idio ('81) & 3 more from Orthotonics: Accessible as Gravity ('83), Wake Up You Must Remember ('84), & Luminous Bipeds ('86) now available for your listening & downloading pleasure! PLUS! You would be remiss to forego the wealth of information & graphics in the bonus biographical PDFs provided for both bands bands here (Idio) & here (Ortho).

Stay tuned for more gems from the ARTIFACTS/yclept vault coming to the FMA in the near future! 

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ange on 04/22/2014 at 12:30AM

Help Shape the Future of the FMA

This month, the Free Music Archive celebrates its 5th year since it emerged from the Internet-hole. Can you imagine the web without it? In that time, the FMA has helped user generated content flourish, helped artists connect with new fans, and filled all of our personal harddrives to the brim. We are one of the largest collections of Creative Commons music online, reaching 70,000 curated tracks this Spring.

It's time for me to go, and leave this vessel in the hands of a new captain. I've accepted a new position working at Slate, and now it's time to find the next person to lead this project into its bright future.

More info about the job here.

During the transition, continue to share share all your troubles and victories with contact (@) freemusicarchive.org, and someone will always get back to you. That person right now is the wonderful Faye.

In my time at the FMA, we've worked together to remix public domain ephemera with the Prelinger Archive, and overthrow the Birthday song. We've welcomed exciting new FMA curators including AS220, Radio BunkerRadiusCKUT and Boston Hassle. We even built an app for iPhone, and launched our own Free Song of the Day Podcast.

I've adored being a part of our parent project WFMU, and learned so much from watching how the staff, volunteers & DJs keep the magic factory full of magic. Thanks to the FMA's founding director Jason for all of his guidance and bottomless enthusiasm for the project. No one has made more mixes on the FMA than my old desk-mate WFMU's Liz B, who broadcasts her favorite FMA uploads every Monday morning on WFMU. Also infinite credit goes to WFMU's stellar volunteers Matt Marando and Mario Santana who masterfully master and upload all the sessions that come through WFMU over the years. Big kudos to Lou Z and Chris M who have led our team of volunteer submission screeners.

Thank you all again! Viva FMA!

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wmmberger on 04/21/2014 at 05:39PM

The Rapture, in Several Shades of Orange; Future Death Toll LIVE on My Castle of Quiet, 4.9.2014

Tracy Widdess / Wm. Berger

The concentrated joy of this set by Future Death Toll is its own reward. Fresh off of tour, the band sounded a-frickin'-mazing, and I was immediately confronted with a familiar feeling, of "O, Lucky Man!" ...I dig deep into the underground, bobbing for those most-artistic of apples, and this time came up with the OUTSTANDING sounds of FUTURE DEATH TOLL!!! Indeed, I am fortunate, to have this incredible OUTLET wherein I can extend invitations to artists such as these, and they just show up and play! Sit in that Studio B chair sometime, and you'll begin to understand how good the years of MCoQ weekly broadcasts have been to me, and my colleagues at the station, and to WFMU's devoted listeners. The kiss of WFMU is GOLDEN, and I need to remember to utilize this opportunity, in order to bestow upon all who care the rareified talents of artists like these.

Based on a barely labeled cassette tape I had received a long time ago, different from this set (more "home studio," obviously), I knew this band would make good use of the opportunity for a live radio set, and I was not disappointed. Though the tape is generally "lighter," as might be expected, as well as more song-oriented, F-DT do a lot of different things, and as with Slasher Risk before them (see this set from 2010), the variety of their capabilities just meant that playing live on the radio revealed another layer. They were noisy, dense and intense, but not entirely free-form, with themes that arose, dominated and then dissipated, as you will hear.

Though I did not have a pile of hard releases to muse over and absorb, there's quite a lot posted online, both to the band's Web site, and their YouTube page, and I've been at this long enough, that I knew for certain that F-DT's radio set would not disappoint, and it went far beyond that, into dazzling territory, rousing a hearty, enthusiastic response from Castleheads on our playlist comments.

So sit back, listen and enjoy. Massive props to engineer Juan Aboites for applying his considerable and diverse talents to making Future Death Toll radio-ready; whatever I throw at him, he makes the very best of it, rising to every challenge. Thanks also to Tracy Widdess for again making excellent, memorable photo art from my on-the-quick iPhone band captures.

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theradius on 04/17/2014 at 09:30AM

Radius PATCH 06: Ghosts

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 06: Ghosts

Episode 11: Jeff Gburek 

In 1994, while living in Florence, Italy, in a top-floor apartment of the former Ursuline convent on the via Guelfa, Jeff Gburek experienced sounds shaped by random processes through a shortwave radio. During radio listening sessions in the middle of the night, Gburek noticed that when the stations closer to him signed off, sudden gaps, chasms of vibrant static, new stations, and other signals from afar drifted in - often from places too far off to seem within logical range. Coming later to understand that these bounced signals where effects generated by ionic scatter and extreme weather conditions, even solar flares and meteorite showers, his immediate intuition became reinforced: even the so-called random noises where not devoid of meaning; outer space was being communicated inside the inner space of the listening experience. Behind the novel sonic effects, there was an alive and expressive cosmos. 


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lizb on 04/16/2014 at 09:45AM

Free Music Archive Receives NEA Arts in Media Grant to Support "Re:Invent:Media"

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced today that WFMU's Free Music Archive is one of 886 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Arts in Media grant. The FMA is recommended for a $75,000 grant to support the Re:Invent:Media Project.

Re:Invent:Media is a four-part project that will broaden access to the FMA’s rich and diverse audio library, strengthen public understanding of music in the contemporary digital setting, and foster creativity through hands-on engagement with the arts:

  1. Re:imagine will be our second series of themed multimedia contests and workshops to encourage hands-on engagement through the creation of new works inspired by Creative Commons and the public domain.

  2. An Education Portal and instructional webinars will be developed on the FMA to help educators, audio producers, podcasters, filmmakers, and others navigate the complex rights issues associated with using and appropriating music in new creative projects.

  3. Radio Free Culture is a weekly radio segment/podcast that will explore the changing landscape of music, the arts, and digital technology, as well as celebrate the transformative potential of the digital era.

  4. Mobile Apps will be developed for both iOS and Android platforms, providing mobile and tablet users with full access to the audio works available on the FMA, as well as artist information and music discovery features.

We are honored to be recommended for the NEA's Arts in Media award for the second time, and it's a great way to commemorate the Free Music Archive's 5th anniversary this month. The Re:Invent:Media project will allow us to expand access to the FMA's 70,000+ songs, to cultivate the creation of new multimedia digital arts projects, and to provide better educational resources for navigating rights issues online.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Arts in Media grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov. Here's NEA's official announcement as well as our own press release if you'd like to help spread the word. 

Perhaps a birthday celebration is in order here at the FMA? Take a listen to our winning entry from last year's NEA-funded contest to create new, alternatively-licensed Happy Birthday songs.

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hfayekay on 04/11/2014 at 09:15AM

Ak'chamel, the Giver of Illness Descends Over Hexas Again

Taken from the Ak'chamel Facebook Page.

That sound of Houston's shadow music collective Ak'chamel that has been hovering over Houston has congealed again in a release known as "Pus Ch'en" under net-labels suRRism-Phonoethics & Have You Said Midi?. Like their earlier albums Old Norse Mara & The Divine Vine Tapes, they continue to evoke tribal rituals from abstract hinterland cultures with haunted throat-singing, guitars, percussion, drones, & more-only this time with a heavier (if possible) & more refined sound. The title of track 2-"Underworld Sweat Bath" is a pretty accurate description of the Ak'chamel sonic experience. The occaisional brightness of a chime might punctuate the music now & then but it's perfectly contextualized to simply add detail before the sounds give way to gutteral chant.

Pus Ch'en could be described as psychedelic improv, but there's nothing sloppy or hokey about it-the members of Ak'chamel are skilled at their musical craft & all textures are intuitively organized to create a sincerely chilling soundtrack. Really wish HBO knew about this when they were scoring True Detective. -Faye

More Ak'chamel on the FMA, Facebook, & Bandcamp

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akchamel, houston
ange on 04/01/2014 at 05:00AM

Hear the Unheard: Trance Music Seeker Arrington De Dionyso



Arrington de Dionyso is interested in blurring the lines between sacred ritual and popular entertainment. A former Old Time Relijun freak-folker, his recent solo work incorporates overtone-singing, shruti-box, jaw harp, and Kadri Gopalnath-inspired bass clarinet, and many of his latest releases feature recordings from his travels and collaborations. Whether it's a 13th century chapel in Italy, a volcanic cave in Java, or his homebase at K Records' Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, WA, his music is influenced by (and influences) his surroundings.

His work also strives to form human connections, both with his fans and musical collaborators. Back in 2011, de Dionyso traveled and recorded music throughout Java, Bali, and Lombok Islands with support from a successful Kickstarter campaign. With help from another Kickstarter push, he went back in November 2013, and is planning another trip for the end of 2014. Many of the concerts and improvised recording sessions are available for pay-what-you-wish on Bandcamp and the Free Music Archive, including his latest in the Unheard Indonesia series.

Many of your releases directly relate to where you were when you recorded them. What's the role of traveling in your music? 

Although I have lived in Olympia, Washington for over 20 years, and I have a wonderful label and studio to work with here. (K Records' DUB NARCOTIC STUDIO, just ten blocks from my house!) I am traveling on tour doing art shows and concerts almost half the year. This puts me in contact with an incredible variety of different people playing all kinds of instruments with different approaches to the music they make. But even when I am working on a solo recording, I think the place in which you choose to make a recording has a huge effect on the kind of result you're going to get, whether it's the specific acoustic properties of a 13th century chapel in Italy, a volcanic cave in Java, or a fancy studio in Berlin—the way I play my music is going to change according to how I respond to being in these places. The music changes even more when other people are involved!

Tell me about UNHEARD INDONESIA VOL. I: The Trance Music of East Java. What did you learn about trance music from your travels in East Java, and from collaborating with other musicians there? 

That's a recording of the very first opportunity I had to perform with Jaranan groups in Java, back in 2011. Jaranan, or "Jathilan" is an incredible living tradition that takes many different forms, sometimes including forms of spiritual possession. People have a lot of different ideas as to what really constitutes "trance" but I approach these experiences as a participant and collaborator with many years of experience with my own versions of "trance music" via the rock and roll tradition (a tradition derived almost completely directly from African trance musics, by the way, this is very well documented).

When I perform with these groups I am joining a shared experience and sharing my own unique contribution to that experience. I guess I am particularly drawn to Jaranan because in this tradition there isn't a clear line between what is "sacred ritual" versus "popular entertainment." It's all mixed up there, as I feel it really should be. Why shouldn't something entertaining also be "sacred"? and what do we mean by "sacred" anyways? In much of Indonesia, musicians are performing to entertain the world of spirits just as much as the world of humans. It happens at the same time, and nobody sees any contradiction there, so why should I?


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kademlia on 03/20/2014 at 12:30AM

Ain’t No Love: Tears of Joy

Ain't No Love: Tears of Joy

Ain’t music produced better than with love?

This probably is the mantra of rising urban group Ain’t No Love, which, after wowing indie music fans with slicker-than-slick tunes via their self-titled EP, returns to FrostClick and FrostWire with a slightly moody yet incredibly delicious Tears of Joy.

Spreading their trademark “renegade pop” to audiences of other crowd-pleasers such as Iggy Azalea, Steve Aoki, and Calvin Harris, you bet your judgmental auditory senses that Saidah, Beanz, and 1990 aren’t amateurs – something that over 116,500 downloads of their first FrostWire feature Ain’t No Love EP can definitely attest to.


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wmmberger on 03/18/2014 at 12:45AM

A Grind Apart: Ubasute Live on My Castle of Quiet

Wm. Berger / Tracy Widdess

The grind music I like, I really love, because as a genre, there is a rampant saminess; so I sit back and let bands like Psychic Limb, Ubasute, Agathocles, Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer rise to the top by way of their own virtues.

Alex Caprio's distinctive and unpredictable shriek, Mike Marciano's artful, intricate Rickenbacker bass virtuosity, and Jeremy Suria's guitar work (equal parts technical, Steve Howe-midrangery, and thick, power-chord glue) all work thoroughly together to make the band a cut above the raging pack. Upon even deeper observation, Ubasute's lyrical content, and carefully chosen graphic imagery flaunt the more-easily-attained / co-opted genre conventions. 

Live set from February 2014 »


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