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wmmberger on 11/07/2011 at 10:53PM

So What IS The True Color of Venus, Anyway? Mister Matthews on My Castle of Quiet, 10.21.2011

Wm. Berger / Tracy Widdess

Mister Matthews is one of those individuals, to be counted on one or two hands, that can truly be called My Castle of Quiet royalty. Having appeared on the show a total of four times, MM first appeared with Telecult Powers, the duo of himself and Witchbeam, the first band to ever play live on The Castle, and a project that helped to shape my notions of what the radio show itself was going to be. Later on, Telecult returned with Lala Ryan of Excepter, performing the Modern Rites of Pei, a performance that will go down in WFMU history, as they successfully conjured pledges during our 2010 marathon. (This performance was also partially filmed for an eventual documentary film on the station.) Later still, he returned with the Hex Breaker Quintet, a combination of Telecult Powers and Grasshopper, two bands that most definitely have shaped Castle history, and finally, this much-in-demand solo performance, which exemplifies the breadth of MM's work, both as High School Confidential and The True Color of Venus Revue, two very different projects from the electronic maestro; the "head" and the "hard," rendered with equivalent expertise.

Though both pieces deal in the bliss of repetition, they are radically different from one another, the High School Confidential track rooted decidedly in the universe of harsh noise, and the TCoV selection recalling the electronic works of Terry Riley, a 70s-soundtrack-meditation for safe travel of the mind and spirit (though perhaps that latter classification could be argued on behalf of either work, solely dependent on the listener's expectations and needs going in.)

Tremendous thanks to Mister Matthews for bringing it, with focus and attention. Perhaps more than many, MM is really a listener; he takes his creations by the hand and guides them where they're meant to go. Huge thanks also to Bob Bellerue, who engineered the session with his customary aplomb, and also guested as co-DJ for a portion of the evening's programming (the full, three-hour archive can be heard here.) As always, Tracy Widdess made great work of my iPhone capture of the artist, perfectly summarizing the visual accompaniment to the music as rendered. All in all, it was a rewarding broadcast—in a welcoming environment, surrounded by friends, Mister Matthews delivered another live performance for the eternal archives.

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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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wmmberger on 03/20/2010 at 09:00AM

Telecult Powers and Lala Ryan Perform the Modern Rites of Pei, 3.10.2010

They came on like a Hoodootronic mind-melt, with analog bubbles, rips and tears. The Queen Witch Hecate guides and commands. One would be ill advised not to listen. They brought joy and prosperity to My Castle of Quiet and to WFMU.

The twin destinies of Telecult Powers and the My Castle of Quiet radio program seem quite naturally intertwined. I met Witchbeam at No Fun Fest in May 2009, and, after a brief but very interesting conversation, he presented me with my first Telecult Powers recording, the Double Action Reversible cassette. I had the tape rolling nice and loud a few days later, and had one of those "What the fuck is this I'm listening to? This is GREAT!" epiphanies. Roughly a month later, I returned to weekly broadcasting on WFMU after a 10+-year hiatus.

In July, Telecult Powers became the first band to play live on the Castle, and through Mister Matthews and Witchbeam, I've connected with many of the other great artists who've played on the show over the months, including GrasshopperSlasher Risk and Todd Pendu. I was also thrilled to learn that by way of their appearance on WFMU, Telecult Powers have a feature article coming up in the next issue of Signal to Noise.

Witchbeam's wonderfully hybridacious rituals of Hoodoo and good old-fashioned LSD cosmiscity at their gigs have unquestionably benefited me personally, and I have no doubt that many other listeners, spectators and fans have been helped as well. The so-called Law of Attraction is not bullshit! In WFMU's time of need, our 2010 fundraising marathon (where things were going well, but not as super-amazingly well as we needed them to be), Telecult Powers returned to the show to work a little more magic. This time, they brought along a real-live rock star, Lala Harrison Ryan of Excepter.

Candle set-up for Initiation Ritual.

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