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wmmberger on 08/02/2014 at 11:46AM

Pretzel Bill in a Witch's Blood Sauce...; Grasshopper on My Castle of Quiet, 28th May 2014

Wm. Berger / Tracy Widdess

Ah, Grasshopper! A mainstay of My Castle of Quiet playlists from the very beginning. This Brooklyn duo has traversed the most-eerie of improvised / otherworldly territories, and come out the other end, as outstanding soloists and collaborators, in many projects outside of Ghop. Their musicianship remains expert, the sheer quality of them "knowing what they're doing," and choosing to do THIS, is one of the great charms / inspirations of Grasshopper, still very much the "mothership" for Josh and Jesse.

Fans will find the band largely in familiar territory here, painting a slow-burn garden of creeping dread and pulsation, cradled by ethereal long tones. "Witch's Blood in a Sauce" finds them especially "on," adding unanticipated horror-dressing to their usual array of mesmerizing sound evolution. Always good, and always at home on MCoQ.

Grasshopper have new work out or coming soon, on various formats / labels. The new, full-length Grasshopper LP (their third 12" on vinyl), Dark Sabbath: Symbols of Evil is coming soon on Hausu Mountain. Jesse and Josh also have a solo / split tape, Josh Millrod / Shingles, also on Hausu, there's a full Shingles cassette, First God Planted a Garden (2AM Tapes) ,and a Josh Millrod solo cassette, Seeking the Millenary Kingdom, on Solid Melts. (MCoQ archive links: Josh | Shingles)

Grasshopper on My Castle of Quiet, v.1 (2009; our second live-musical guests, ever!)

Thanks as always to audio engineer Juan Aboites, for his professionalism and talent, and to Tracy Widdess of Brutal Knitting, for continuing to immortalize my crappy iPhone band captures.

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wmmberger on 05/30/2012 at 05:16AM

An Ancient Love Affair (with hulking synths); The Spiritual Switchboard LIVE on My Castle of Quiet, WFMU 5.11.2012

Wm. Berger / Tracy Widdess

Positive feedback continues to filter in for this live set, presented on the air a few weeks ago. The Spiritual Switchboard, a collaboration between two of Brooklyn's synth heavyweights, is without question a summit to be reckoned with. Jesse DeRosa (of Baked Tapes, Grasshopper, The Hex Breaker Quintet / Quartet, Shingles, etc.) and Joshua Slusher (OPPONENTS, Creeplings, The Grand Selector, et al.) are busy young men, overflowing with talent and a vibrant urgency to express themselves, and put it all out there, as much and as often as possible. Perhaps surprisingly for that M.O., their works are of the highest quality.

It's no secret that I admire them both professionally and personally, so I was only too pleased to provide the My Castle of Quiet program as a forum for them, a vehicle, with which to continue sharing their prowess, on a journey that began for me personally, back when Grasshopper were the second live band ever to be presented on the program, in August of 2009. The Spiritual Switchboard were joined for this absolutely live session by Joshua Greco (also of OPPONENTS), another super-nice guy with a big talent for swinging it analog.

While harkening back to the 70s "Berlin-school" electronic era, Spiritual Switchboard are also Brooklyn to the core, and there's something about the borough that inspires rough experimentation—a coarse, ominous, urban shroud that flashes the streetlights and rumbles the trains above and below, transcending notions of mere imitation to something wonderfully new, and wonderfully ageless at the same time. It's Klaus-Schulzean, and rolling a handmade in the rain somewhere near Meeker-Morgan.

At this point I'm probably over-waxing, and the music really does speak for itself—a grand synth spectacle if ever there was one. The almost 50 minutes of mighty drone, the spinal currents of bubbling color, and the ever-dancing and encircling transmigrations of melody, leave no doubt as to why listeners are still writing to me about this session.

Tremendous thanks must go to Juan Aboites, who rendered the live sound with panache and sensitivity to the musicians' needs, and to Tracy Widdess, who yet again reconfigured my photo of the band in action into a thing of beauty, suitable for framing. Thanks most of all to Joshua, Jesse and Joshua, for providing The Castle with yet another great session to remember and enjoy.

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wmmberger on 05/03/2010 at 05:55PM

Music in Ten Dimensions --- Hex Breaker Quintet, Live on My Castle of Quiet, 4.28.2010

The spectacles witnessed and heard through the double glass on WFMU's fourth floor during the My Castle of Quiet broadcasts continue to amaze me, and shape my consciousness with their intensity, their power, and their generosity. Everyone tends to do a good—nay great—set on the Castle. All I do is say, "come." 

The Hex Breaker Quintet were no exception—they were, in fact, the RULE, as Telecult Powers and Grasshopper are the two bands that helped carve the Castle landscape quite early on; it only makes sense that their combined energies should return to rattle these walls and break the hex. And rattle they did. And the hex was in fact broken.     

Ultimately, this is monumental music; grand-scale, slow-burn improvisations for your head. As I wrote on the playlist, "Sweetly sad, eerily monumental ... from Jon Hassell swamp nightmares into spaghetti-western Elysian fields...." 

Set one shows you the grapes --- the desert, the wobbly horizon, the rocky alleys between buldings of soft stone, and the few chittering insects that manage to survive just under the hot crumble; while set two, clocking in at just under a half hour, makes the wine --- the bugs come out in force, hectic, but pipers are piping, and you drive through the swarm to the square, and see something unbelievable there—something otherworldly. You're glad you came. You rest and have a drink, but the spectacle continues, and your skin tingles.

 

Thanks again to Josh, Jesse, Witchbeam and Mister Mattews for their luminescence. Thanks as always to Glenn, the mighty knob twiddler, and to Tracy, Castle photostepper, who said of this session, "...Repeat listening will be required." Indeed!

Hex Breaker Quintet will be playing NY Eye & Ear Fest III on May 22nd.

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