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herr_professor on 07/21/2009 at 10:01AM


photo by failotron

Still stuck in summer turnaround, so excuse brevity for quality! Earlier this spring, WFMU DJ Trent hosted a quartet of chipstars in a special live show from the solar powered Solar One. Amongst the performers was NYC Chip veteran Bubblyfish. Known to her friends as Haeyoung Kim, this classically trained musician and composer is an anomoly in the chip community, and not just for the fact she is a female in a scene dominated by men. Her style and technique owes alot to the fact that she seems to have been completely isolated from the concept of gamer culture, and stems from a holistic approache that regards the Game Boy as instrument. The live tease you get on Trent's show is but a taste of her moody and layered sonic barrages (you can catch more of her commercial recordings via her myspace). Bubblyfish's type nonpurist appraoch to sound chip based music is one we'll stick with in the next few weeks, as we get more into the deeper end of the chip music gene pool, with releases from some enigmatic artists from around the globe. See you in seven!

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jason on 07/20/2009 at 03:31PM

Dan Melchior doesn't need a computer

Raised in England and currently residing in North Carolina, Dan Melchior is a prolific garage-rocker and a universal favorite here at WFMU. He recently gave us the go-ahead to share a career-spanning set of previously unreleased recordings, including WFMU live sessions and home recordings from his newest project, Dan Melchior Und Das Menace.

The first live session dates back to 2001, when Melchior was playing straight-outta-the-swamp slide-guitar fuzz rock in The Broke Revue. They plowed through hits from their In The Red releases, like "You're My Wife", "Hungry Ghost", "Out of the Swamp", and "Me & JG Ballard" (from 2002's classic Bitterness, Spite, Rage, and Scorn) and "Witch On Fire", the opening track to 2001's Heavy Dirt.

Melchior returned to The Three Chord Monte again in 2003 for an acoustic set accompanied by Bruno of the Broke Revue, playing gems like "This Is Not the Medway Sound", which later appeared on WFMU's 2004 marathon compilation Tunes On Toxic Terrain (the studio recording is the titlte track to 2002 Smart Guy Records LP).

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macedonia on 07/20/2009 at 12:03AM

Born In The Land Of A Thousand Hills

Album cover for Born In The Land Of A Thousand Hills.

I've been playing the work of Mishoo The Drumkit on my podcast for a while now.  He represents an international voice for hip-hop, an MC and songwriter with a knack for storytelling.  Although he currently resides in Germany, Mishoo was born in Rwanda, which gives weight to the belief that the soul of an African griot works through his beats, rhymes, and life.

He kicked off 2009 with a free EP entitled Born In The Land Of A Thousand Hills, a shoutout to his birthplace and origins.  This is soulful and introspective boom bap with an electronic edge reminiscent of Pete Rock and J Dilla.  Mishoo has been blessed to work with some extremely talented beatmakers including Comfort Fit and Portformat, not to mention the welcome appearance of vocalists like Dutchmassive, Shaunise, and Mr. Nnaji.

The broken beat movement of "Shine" is certainly recommended for the uptempo crowd, but for those who need a proper introduction to Mishoo, check out the attached song "Hope."  Autobiographical in nature and inviting in approach, Portformat's production fits Mishoo's laid-back vocals like a glove.  Nnaji's smooth crooning on the hook seals the deal.  For Mishoo, respect is due...

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tcamhi on 07/19/2009 at 12:15PM

Bach to Dancing

Are you falling asleep while listening to all those old gigues and endless minuets from Bach's Golden Era? Can you imagine that people actually danced to it? Well as I was scrounging about the FMA I came across a very different, let's say special, kind of Bach. The Tleilaxu Music Machine have taken Bach's famed Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and transformed it from innocent, light-hearted chamber music to something we all can enjoy, head-bobbing techno beats! Anyone else smell some Switched-On Bach?

The Tleilaxu Music Machine is D. Bene Tleiaxu a twenty-something who hails from Los Angeles, California. As his name suggests Tleilaxu is truly a music-making machine. Pumping out electronic, techno-infused metal with just a touch of happy hardcore, TTMM will bring out that desire to shake your rear end...or at least some serious toe-tapping if dancing is not your thing! Check out some more of TTMM's offerings at his FMA artist page

Don't you hate it when people use Bach's name as a pun? ...yeah me too.

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calebt on 07/18/2009 at 11:35AM

What's in a Name

Knights of the Templar burning at the stake.

"Between the twelth [sic] and the fourteenth centuries, nearly all the major heretical sects - the Templars, the Waldensians, the Cathars -- were accused of worshipping the Devil in the form of a large black cat. Many contemporary accounts described how their rituals involved the sacrifice of innocent children, cannibalism, grotesque sexual orgies, and obscene acts of ceremonial obeisance toward huge cats which were supposedly kissed on the anus (sub cauda)"

-from The Domestic Cat, edited by Dennis C. Turner & Patrick Bateson

Just in case you were wondering, that's where the name Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat comes from. Stef Heeren makes eerie, Belgian psych folk under that pagan moniker, but the church hasn't stopped him yet. They did, however, burn all the other Knights Templar at the stake, so it's best to get his recordings while you still can. A few of Heeren's tracks are available on the FMA, and they'll only leave you wanting more. Kiss the Anus of a Black Cat is another Kraak superstar, so you can see why WFMU has such an affinity for the label. He's had plenty of airtime to date, and now his tracks are persecution-proofed forever in our archive, no matter what kind of grotesque sexual orgies Heeren gets himself involved in.

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lawrence_kumpf on 07/17/2009 at 12:28PM

Exact Change at ISSUE Project Room

Here’s a couple samples from the Exact Change 20th Anniversary Celebration ISSUE hosted last month.  Performers included Joan La Barbara, Loren Connors, Alan Licht, Till by Turning, Alex Waterman, Barbara Epler, James Hoff and Kenneth Goldsmith responding to and reading the work of Joseph Cornell, Franz Kafka, Morton Feldman, Stefan Thermerson, Leonora Carrington, Unica Zurn and John Cage. 

Exact Change publishes books of experimental literature with an emphasis on Surrealism, Dada, Pataphysics, and other nineteenth and twentieth century avant-garde art movements.

The press was founded in 1989 by Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang, known outside publishing as musicians from the bands Damon & Naomi, and Galaxie 500.

Exact Change authors include Guillaume Apollinaire, Louis Aragon, Antonin Artaud, John Cage, Leonora Carrington, Giorgio de Chirico, Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dalí, Morton Feldman, Alice James, Alfred Jarry, Franz Kafka, Lautréamont, Chris Marker, Gérard de Nerval, Fernando Pessoa, Raymond Roussel, Philippe Soupault, Gertrude Stein, Stefan Themerson, Denton Welch, and Unica Zürn.

Many Exact Change titles were originally published by larger houses, especially in the 1960s, but had more recently been left out of print; some were previously published in the U.K. but not in North America; others are new publications initiated by Exact Change. But in all cases these are books that we believe should be kept available always. We think of our list as a looking-glass version of the Penguin Classics or the Library of America, drawn from works that are equally important but have in general been neglected in the U.S.

Thanks to Damon and Naomi for helping to put together this event!

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JoeMc on 07/16/2009 at 06:59PM

On the Nerves

Paul Collins, Jack Lee, Peter Case (photo courtesy Alive Naturalsound)

Earlier this year, power pop fans had reason to celebrate. After 30 plus years of dodgy bootlegs and increasingly ludicrous prices for original vinyl, the recorded legacy of ace 70s trio the Nerves finally reached CD courtesy the folks at Alive Naturalsound Records. The CD/LP is called "One Way Ticket" and it contains the band's original 4-song EP from 1977 as well as additional singles, demos, and live tracks. It's a power pop essential.

The Nerves came together in San Francisco. Jack Lee, Peter Case, and Paul Collins formed the band there in 1975 with Lee on guitar, Case on bass, and Collins on drums. Case and Collins were both originally from New York and had picked up on what was happening on the east coast (including the fledgling Ramones, whom they befriended and later toured with). The band moved from Frisco to Los Angeles in 1976, and they became a catalyst for the burgeoning punk scene beginning to develop there.

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lizb on 07/16/2009 at 12:18AM

Queens of Avant Garde Pop

If you've listened to WFMU at some point in the past decade, chances are you've heard of People Like Us, aka Vicki Bennett from the UK. Known for masterfully working ADD-driven, catchy pop snippets into avant garde audio/visual collage (and for coining the genre "avant retard"), WFMU became so smitten with Vicki's work that eventually she became involved with the station as a long-distance DJ. People Like Us hosts the "Do or DIY" radio program and podcast on WFMU, has recently relaunched her amazing website full of audio/visual candy, and boasts an impressive resume of installations at Places That Matter (Tate Modern, BBC, etc) and collaborations with People That Matter (Ergo Phizmiz, Matmos, Christian Marclay).

What I didn't know about People Like Us was that a few years ago, she was invited to rework the compositions of electronic music pioneer and hero to lady knob-twisters everywhere, Daphne Oram. If you have never heard of Daphne Oram, she co-founded and directed the amazing BBC Radiophonic Workshop, created a new audio/visual means of sound synthesis (Oramics), and was one of few women in the groundbreaking experimental electronic scene at the time. Oram passed away in 2003, and collection of her music, appropriately titled "Oramics," was released on 2 CDs on the Paradigm Discs label in 2007.

Check out People Like Us' take on Daphne Oram's compositions on the album "Reworking Daphne Oram." It's an audio fist-bump spanning generations of ladies on the forefront of creating strange and wonderful sounds.

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jason on 07/15/2009 at 11:54AM

The Sediment Club: All-Ages NYC No Wave

Amina and Austin from The Sediment Club (pic cc by Janel Guerrini)

Earlier this year, Kurt Gottschalk described seeing 4 young people -- who looked like they were born in 1990 -- playing music in the vein of No New York 1978. Could these teenagers even know about Teenage Jesus & The Jerks? Kurt might have wondered. The group was opening for Brown Wing Overdrive at Cake Shop, and they called themselves The Sediment Club.

I realized that was WFMU / FMA volunteer Austin's band, and -- to answer Kurt's question (which I get the sense had already been answered by the end of the Sediment Club's Cake Shop set) -- Yes, they know their shit from James Chance to James Brown, everything under the Sun Ra. I know this first hand because Austin spent much of last summer digitizing WFMU live sessions by the likes of The Magic Carpathians, Hat City Intuitive, and Alan Vega. On top of that, his parents played in groups like the Bush Tetras and the Voidoids, so they probably have some of the coolest record collections around. And the entire Sediment Club was excited to perform in the same WFMU live room that had recently played host to The Damned and Chrome Cranks (who Club member Amina cited as one of her favorite bands of all time!).

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doncbruital on 07/14/2009 at 12:39PM

The Premonitory Uncanny, or 'Clockcleaner is Dead (Long Live Clockcleaner)'

The Japanese word bukimi goes some way toward accounting for the anticipatory dread that can creep insidiously into the lives of we otherwise sensible workaday souls. Meaning roughly ‘weird,’ but connoting ‘ghastly,’ ‘ghoulish,’ ‘eerie,’ and so on, the word was, per Robert J. Lifton’s 1967 book Death in Life: The Survivors of Hiroshima, rather ubiquitous in the recollections of those who had escaped that terrible event. Though the city’s inhabitants couldn’t literally have foreseen the imminent devastation or the form it’d take, they nonetheless may have been united in an uncannily inexplicable sense that said something was coming. Some vague opening of their perceptual space allowed for the distinct psychic likelihood of an event unprecedented, even in wartime. It was a sense afforded both by outward observation (as citizens of Hiroshima had eyed their city’s relative paucity of bombings with increasing anxiety as the rest of the country was bombarded) and deeper forebodings, ones less rational and more intuitive. The psychic space had, somehow or other, been cleared for unnamable catastrophe, and, in retrospect, this bukimi stands out.

Certainly it is wildly callous to relate something so impossibly awful to the emergence and disbandment of an antic-fuelled punk band. Look, I know. Still, as the whole point of music is to give expression to those universes of feeling which can’t be related in any other wise, to offer the opportunity to exalt therein, to transport one there so fully, well, it seems equally irresponsible to deny a band particularly gifted at crafting just such a universe of premonitory uncanny their rightful share of credit. To that end I submit: our conditional psychic space was cleared for CLOCKCLEANER. We allowed it to exist. Now we must live with the results.

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