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BTurner on 06/17/2009 at 11:36AM

Pulse Emitter live at WFMU

PE (photo Rodney Bender) Pulse Emitter is the project of Portland, Oregon programming master Daryl Groetsch, and over the years has produced a fantastic variety of modular mayhem both turbulent and soothing, utilizing a bank of home-made synths and electronics. Deep space explorations worthy of Hawkwind, precise, controlled soundbombing akin to the most broken Throbbing Gristle moments and more. Pulse Emitter performed a live set on my show on May 18th while in town for the big No Fun Festival at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. More info at Pulse Emitter's site, and also more music has been uploaded to the Free Music Archive, so go get some free stuff. Daryl tell us that a tidal wave of Pulse Emitter releases is forthcoming in the near future as well (and some dates at the Olympia Experimental Fest June 19-21 up in Washington state).

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Scott_Williams on 06/16/2009 at 12:21PM

Oneida, live at Primavera Sound Festival 2009, Barcelona

3592101697_40ae4e2a8f WFMU dropped anchor on the shores of the Mediterranean last month at the invitation of Barcelona's stunning Primavera Sound Festival, where we joined 80,000 of our new best friends in an ecstatic celebration of music, good livin', good eatin', and futball victory.  We're still a bit dazzled and sorting the spoils, but it looks like we had a fabulous radio weekend, broadcasting more than 20 excellent band sets and meeting many new friends from all over the world.  WFMU has added streaming archives of many of the sets, and the FMA is hosting a bunch of mp3s for download as well. It fills my breast with great honor to include a fresh batch of Barcelona beats from our hometown faves and longtime bruhs Oneida!

Check out "Sheets of Easter" below, then make haste to Oneida's FMA artist page or the Primavera Sound Festival collection to make this feast your very own.

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herr_professor on 06/16/2009 at 07:15AM

Two Fingers don't always mean 'Peace".

 UK chip music artist gwEm, nee Gareth Morris, is an anomalous occurrence in the chip music universe. A "Atari ST Old Skool Rave DJ and Heavy Metal dude" who would be as comfortable blasting Acid in Ibiza as dropping acid with Lemmy, gwEm is a fiercely independent sort with seemingly unending amount of creative energy. First of all, he works on the Atari ST. This computer, while not as popular here in the states as in his native United Kingdom is an odd-beast. Inherently underpowered compared to some of the other computers and consoles of its day (Warning! Controversial Opinion!), years of underground demoscene development has given it numerous features unforeseen of by its original designers. gwEm has taken these developments one step forward by composing his own software like the windows plugin ymvst, the monitor-less dj application for Atari computers StJ ,and perhaps his greatest project Maxymiser. This tracker is like a greatest hits compilation of all the best tips and tricks people have squeezed out of this little chip that really couldn't.

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calebt on 06/15/2009 at 02:40PM

Living, Breathing Ducktails!

A Ducktail at work

Before the recent release of their summery Not Not Fun LP, Ducktails swung by the WFMU studios in the middle of a dark winter night to play a few songs for Marty McSorely. Nothing this band produces, however, is dark or wintery. The songs are a twangy wash of guitars, phasers and Casios, warm and comfortable as a hot tub, clean enough to swim in. The trio runs off a couple tracks from their new album, but also take the time to explore material done by some of the band member's side projects - their shimmering rendition of 'Let's Rock the Beach' is a fun introduction to Real Estate, another of Matthew Mondanile's current endeavors.

Tired of the strict compositional constraints (ha) of their regular catalogue, however, Ducktails also launches into an "extended jam" that lasts seven swirling minutes. It opens in signature Ducktails fashion, with a melodic guitar line wandering across a swelling milieu of synthesizers. Percussion is gradually introduced, accompanied by a series of watery sound effects and electronic birdcalls, and the tropical haze that Ducktails has learned to conjure slides into view. But there are distinct sections and a clear direction that drives the song from beginning to end, eschewing a frustrating monotony that occasionally rears its head on the LP. The Ducktails sound is described by the artists' themselves as 'vacation music in an elevator,' and while some of their songs could be so confined, the WFMU jam is more like riding an escalator up a Hawaiian volcano.

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Halas_Radio on 06/14/2009 at 01:41PM

On an "An Hour" and Myself

The idea of producing shows for radio came up quite spontaneously, when my friend and colleague Dani Meir offered me a card-blanche to bring myself, and my tastes forward through slots in the newly founded Internet radio Halas, which he co-manages.

Previewing Halas for the first time, I recognized a podium that I could use in any way I felt appropriate, as it was completely non-commercial, publicly funded educational radio. More so, most shows produced by others for Halas shared my ideal for shedding light on the extremes of a specific musical genre or topic. Like all radio stations I enjoyed listening to in the past, Halas too managed to be a mouth for an under-represented, non-mainstream collective.

A composer myself, having passed through many “front-doors” of the music world, it had slowly dawned on me that trying to be new, extreme, and yet responsible for the musical art I hold so dear, is a task much opposed from within the music world, as it is outside its realms.
I think that in my short musical career I have received scorn for both my music and ideas from critics, teachers, colleagues, friends, foes, musicians and non-musicians alike. Needless to mention audiences!
What started as a naive quest for self-expression in my early teens, was hence slowly becoming a religious one: proving to the world that yes, there were people out there who enjoy a saw-wave finely shaped into a piece as much as they do a Mozart minuet. Furthermore, that experimental avant-garde is not to be perceived as a slap in the face to those who clearly don't like it, or all past music, but rather a solemn hymn to contemporary culture and hence immediately, to similar cultures of the past.

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zlayton on 06/12/2009 at 04:05PM

White Light and Cursillistas

Here's a couple of pieces of fine folky drone from last December's Visitations, Cursillistas and White Light show at ISSUE Project Room.  You can catch Cursillistas and White Light on their up coming tour (dates listed below). Matt from Cursillistas has been releasing some great stuff on his l'animaux tryst lable including a new White Light/ Cursillistas split. More information at

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DylanGoing on 06/12/2009 at 11:50AM

Free Matter for the Blind (Now more free!)

Not that you weren't getting a great deal anyway with this excellent cdr series (each one pushes the 80 minute mark) but now you can browse the annals of the Free Matter For The Blind spectrum at a more convenient rate!

Curated by Raphael Lyon, aka Mudboy, the compilations drift between strange communiques from weirdo musicians, Coast to Coast-caliber field recordings, and other bits of audio-detritus jumbled together into a misty apocalypse-podcast science-fiction collage.

Check out one of the weirder excerpts...

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marcus on 06/11/2009 at 05:56PM

Sic Alps

It's not a real real cool way to lead off a blog post, but I gotta say it: I love Sic Alps, man! Anybody would. Just two dudes and at least their collective weight in vintage reverb plates together making good on and updating the best bits of 60s garage and soul nostalgia. No, not like those other mediocre Nugget-biters. They do without the moony posturing. Just thick, timeless chords, submerged, fucked vocals, and a mess of good sound.

And their live set from Brian Turner's show from '07 is some of their best recorded work. I can't believe how just right it sounds.

Check the whole set HERE on the FMA

Sic Alps - "Mater" (02:21)
Sic Alps - "Mater" (02:21)
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JoeMc on 06/11/2009 at 05:49PM

On the Road, Cambodian Style

Zac Holtzman, Chhom Nimol, and kiddies

Any fan of music documentaries is familiar with the various templates that filmmakers use to tell their stories. There are the History/Profile docs (No Direction Home, Endless Harmony), the Big Concert docs (check out the new Parliament Funkadelic - The Mothership Connection Live 1976 for a great example), the Tortured Artist docs (The Devil and Daniel Johnston, You're Gonna Miss Me: A Film About Roky Erickson), the Classic Album docs (just saw the one about Born to Run called Wings to Wheels--not bad!), and, of course, that old standby, the Band on Tour movie. The movies in this last category can sometimes be a real slog, as anyone who has sat through "ABBA: The Movie" can attest.

But I recently saw a Band on Tour movie that was anything but boring. Sleepwalking Through the Mekong, a documentary that follows the band Dengue Fever on tour, recently came out on DVD, and if you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend it.

What makes this movie different from the standard run of Band on Tour docs? Most of it has to do with what Dengue Fever is and does. A few years ago, this American band headed by Ethan and Zac Holtzman revived the pop music of Cambodia, music that had been more or less wiped from the earth by the Khmer Rouge in the mid-70s. Based in Southern California but fronted by a Cambodian emigré named Chhom Nimol, Dengue Fever covers the music of great Cambodian artists like Sinn Sisamouth and Ros Sereysothea but also writes their own songs in a similar style.

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doncbruital on 06/11/2009 at 01:46AM

Select Notes on Forgetting Earthliness, or ‘Is It Okay to Slaughter (in the Name of the Heavens)?’

photo by Tobias Rochman

If, Rilke-like, earthliness forgets us, we meek humans content to stumble through our lives of relative inconsequence—worried about the safety of the artificial and fraudulent institutions we’ve created to structure and govern, or angry they’ve changed a popular website—we’re evidently getting pretty sick of wallowing in its neglect. We can’t really be blamed, I suppose, for bristling at the sheer wonder of the natural universe, for shying away from its contemplation, as yeah, it can make one feel pretty shabby by comparison. To wit, we humans have enacted, species-wide, an enviably persistent program of war and wastrelsy and defilement, ruining the planet and eventually, at least per the newer bombs in cool movies, catastrophically finishing off the galaxy/universe, usually relying in some wise or other on a thing called ‘dark matter.’ In this way, near as I can pin it down, we figure we can strike a reactionary blow against a universe that has the audacity to be simultaneously so impressive and yet so impassive, so replete with wonder and yet so uninterested in our petty whinery.

Thankfully, there have been some who’d not plead ignorance in matters cosmic, but who've actually been kind enough to stoke some of those fires of wonder through—yeah—artful worship and study: you know. Aristotle. Al-Bīrūnī. Kepler. And, in our present day, GRAND TRINE. True, they're a band, and, at least on the surface of it, one comprising three unassuming youths. But their output reveals otherwise--and indeed, though they all live together in Montreal above what appears to be some kind of bakery, I can't help but imagine them spending their days there breathing a heady mix of mangled oven fumage and heavy bacterial yeastswarms. It's the only way to reconcile the group's surroundings with the earth-defying music that wafts from within.

Grand Trine's recorded output traverses the cosmos on thick waves of guitar+effects undulation, while drums rumble away dead ahead, unmoved by your motion sickness, and all the while echo-laden vocals well up on all sides only to cut out, again and again--surely the effects of a comet shower on transmission circuitry or the like--assuring that the commands of earthbound humanity will not reach one's spacefaring ears unless through layers of interference. Oh, and they shred live.

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