jason (FMA Admin)
I'm a Free Music Archivist based out of WFMU.
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jason on 06/03/2013 at 02:55PM
Tashi Dorji conjures incredible sounds from a prepared acoustic guitar. His spirited improvisations—recorded live without any loops or effects—evoke a composite of influences from Derek Bailey to Mauritanian pulaar to the traditional music of his native Bhutan.
"Growing up in Bhutan with little access to music except random bootlegged cassettes and shortwave radio, I listened to anything i could find," Tashi Dorji writes in an email interview. He learned guitar by ear because "we didn't have music school, TV or internet back then in Bhutan, so we had to use a lot of imagination and improvise what we thought we heard off of a tape player."
Tashi Dorji arrived in Asheville, North Carolina as an international student in 2000. He quickly fell in with the vibrant punk rock community, which flowed into free jazz, noise, experimental and other avant garde music. The Appalachian mountain town has become a real hub for experimental music thanks to longstanding acts like Ahleuchatistas, resources like Asheville FM, the shop Harvest Records, tape distributor Tomentosa, and labels like Bathetic and Headway Recordings.
Guitar Improvisations, released on cassette by Headway last year, sold out quickly but is available to download from the FMA along with his release sêp. This week, the label unveiled Tashi Dorji's self-titled follow-up, and it's streaming after the jump. Tashi Dorji also has a forthcoming release on Turned Word Records out of Belfast ME, and much more on his bandcamp.
Bhutanese traditional music is an oral tradition consisting of many marginal, isolated communities across the country, and much has yet to be documented. But for those interested in hearing some examples, Tashi Dorji points us towards a nascent archive hosted by the Bhutan Broadcasting Service.
jason on 04/22/2013 at 07:16AM
Brattleboro is a small town in southern Vermont with a high per capita of home-recorded experimental-pop. From King Tuff's scuzzy glam, to the prolific Happy Jawbone Family Band, to new migrants like Chris Cohen (former Deerhoof/Cryptacize) and Bird Names, this historic river region seems to fuel creativity.
OSR Tapes Dax Bills has released some of the most exciting new sounds from Brattleboro: cassettes by the likes of Nals Goring, Horse Boys, Heat Wilson, Blanche Blanche Blanche, and Zach Phillips. Phillips, the force behind the label, is also the enigma behind pretty much all of these projects. FMA's doncbruital tried to help us wrap our heads around the OSR phenomenon back in 'Dec '09, but the OSR Tapes well of creativity continues to flood down the Connecticut River.
Blanche Blanche Blanche is Zach Phillips' collaboration with vocalist and lyricist Sara Smith, doing something they describe as "open session rock." They performed with members of Punks on Mars, Big French and Great Valley as a tight-knit 5-piece opening for Howling Hex at Brooklyn's Secret Project Robot last month, slipping a Royal Trux cover into a set that came across like Philip Glass scoring a prog-metal/hardcore-punk opera. I asked Zach how the guitar, synth and V-Drums so fluidly follow Sara's pink-haired poetic punk incantations. He explained how he writes scores for each song in his own notation—"four E's, one C, etc"—where each number is a beat.
On their home recordings, Blanche Blanche Blanche paints a lofi atmosphere that should appeal to fans of Ariel Pink, Gary War and James Ferrarro's Nightdolls With Hairspray. The songs are semi-linear, and the sound changes with each release along with the lineup. On their latest 7" (Scam b/w Press Dumps), they wanted to do something without keyboards, so they enlisted guitarist Graham Brooks from the local metal band Atlatl, and fellow home recordist Chris Weisman. Available from Adagio 830, they've also worked with Feeding Tube, La Station Radar, Night People. You'll find all 8 BBB releases for sale + free download at osr-tapes.com, alongside gems from other OSR family members. You can dig deeper here on the FMA, too, with the fantastic Songs For Music by the mysterious Bruce Hart, after the jump.