May 8, 2009

Musical Revelry, Tape Delay #1

Filed under: As a DJ,Tape delay — daz76 @ 5:06 am
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Wow, it doesn’t happen too much but I just found myself in the midst of musical revelry. Instead of just standing there listening like some bankrupted imobile old Pink Floyd fan I decided to start writing about it, the state. I’m listening to Atom TM’s latest release on the high profile experimental/electronic Rastar Noton label, Leidgut. It’s a stunning work of sonic art, incredibly designed digital audio structures that in one moment make no sense and in other moments too much sense, all in a good crunchy glitched out low rez digital way. If you know German electro pioneers Kraftwerk then this is like the best synthetic voice effects and most atmospheric parts of their classic album Radioactivity expanded on.

While this record owes everything to Kraftwerk it is an entirely original work. Except for the final track on the disc which just so happens to be a vocoded sound poem from none other than Florian Schneider, founding member of Kraftwerk. Right now the rhythm I hear is based around that sound that used to happen when a cell phone was near computer speakers – remember that? It’s sonic detritus now and and when processed just right can be an effective sound element in a composition. It brings that retro futuristic aesthetic, although that phantom cell phone sound is all but a thing of the past now, I’m reminded about how weird that was. This is a great piece of music for those with more exotic musical tastes, even academic and conceptualists will find much interest in Atom’s latest work.

BTW Atom TM is also known as Atom Hart, Ewe Schmidt, and most famously Senior Coconut. Check it out, revelry moment 1, over.

Last night I went to the dubstep party at Plush. This sound is considered fresh because it’s just catching on over here but the truth is this thing has been evolving for quite some time. No Doubt there is some eponymous moment when the classic dubstep sound was identified and labeled for categorization, the fact remains that the genre continues to include even more experimental and minimalist ideas. Late night at Plush they drop the tough, heavy stepping wobbled out bangers but if you hang out a little early the Djs play a lot of really experimental stuff, where the focus is more on the sound as the dancers are not quite primed to hit the floor. When a genre of underground UK dance music is incorporating weird shifts in time signature, unresolved measures, and uncanny levels of consistent, repetitive, eye ball wobbling bass we know exiting new musical progress is in effect. Sure check out some dubstep on line or CD but what I’m saying is that the real meaning and significance of the music comes from a physical encounter with a booming soundsytem, hardcore sub-woofers. It’s a bit like getting a massage except you wobble around with other people instead of just laying there.

The other thing I like about going to the dubstep parties around town is that it brings out a very diverse crowd. Many different people are into this music because of the cultural diversity represented in the sound. The dance peeps love it, the hip hop heads love it, reggae enthusiasts, and of course those of us who love dub music.

 Before I wrap it up dubstep has evolved more or less out of the jungle/drum and bass UK styles, and has a heavy reggae influence. Although the tempo seems relaxed, slow, the funk comes from playing with shuffled half time and off rhythms, which often mix well with minimal house or techno beats. It’s atmospheric and dark music, but once you find the groove it’s a stepper’s delight.  Revelry 2, out.

Why did I think that it was important to hate bands like Pink Floyd ( I think I already mentioned them earlier…) or Bob Dylan until just recently? Why did I impose this ban on what I deemed to be “old” music. My parent’s never force fed me their music and what they did play back then I liked. My mom was a fan of mellow singers and we always listened to pop radio in the car. My dad liked rock. Not blaring, but he surprised me once by taking me to see the Police.

The early walkman was a great way to disconnect from the world and I used to listen to all kinds of music with one rule in effect: It had to be modern, if not futuristic. To me that included punk rock, hardcore, rockabilly, goth, etc. The genre was not so much the issue, it was the newness that made it vital. For whatever reason, the Violent Femmes sounded new. Skinny Puppy sounded new. Virgin Prunes sounded new, even when they tried to sound old. Not to mention, by the time I got to most of these bands they were old. This was pre internet when you actually had to do leg work to know about the underground sound.

I’ve always had a very open mind regarding music and I would say that my desert island disc would probably include Carl Stalling, choral music from Bulgaria, Chinese music is amazing, Motorhead, etc.

Sorry I have to stop and call bullshit on myself for that last musical revelry.  First off I’m not even listening to music, the CD ended about five minutes ago. Obviously there is no such thing as a desert island disc these days, right? Now it would be a desert island ipod and you could pretty much put all the music ever on there so making a slim selection anymore is just dumb. I’m putting an end to all reveling right now but I’m happy I did get to mention Carl Stalling, Virgin Prunes, and Florian Schneider all in the same blog. Normally they get their own blog each.

Oh I forgot. I love Steve Martin’s banjo music.

Insane display of a dubstep quick mix. This is how it’s done.

Brilliant on every level – music by Carl W. Stalling.


April 1, 2009

An open letter to Nurse with Wound

Filed under: Tape delay — daz76 @ 8:15 am
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Dear Mr. Stapleton,

I really hope this message does actually get to you. My name is Darren and you may remember me from the record store in Austin Texas a few years ago, I wanted to interview you for my public access TV show. I thought it would be historic.

It didn’t work out, but it was still nice meeting you, as I have been a fan for a long time. Maybe I shouldn’t say fan, because I don’t collect your records, maybe I am more of a student of your work over the years. In the late 80’s I worked in one of the only record stores in Texas that specialized in industrial and experimental music and we championed your stuff. Dan from End of an Ear can back me up on that.

I am writing because a few days ago I was in that same record store (End of an Ear) and one of the clerks, Jacob, said to me,”Have you heard the NWW record “Disconnected”? I hadn’t and had no idea why he was asking, I was shopping for dubstep. He continued, “There is a song on there about you”.

Now mind you I have not heard the song, I’m just going on what he said. What makes it plausible is that the song is apparently sung by miss Hazel Two Twiggs who around that time was supposedly deeply offended by something I said or did so much so that she not only took to writing incredibly long, venomous emails to me, but she also issued some kind of public email tirade against me. I never read it and was very upset about the whole thing because I had no idea what set her off.

It started when I responded to a request for experimental music makers to do a performance. I had not done any live performance here in Austin at the time and was looking for technical information, would there be sound check etc. Normal stuff by any artist standards I thought. In retrospect I think she simply did not have the information I was looking for, sort of winging it, and for whatever reason I got under her skin. To this day I still avoid the experimental shows here in Austin because it reminds of how sad, out of control, and unnecessary that whole situation was, but that’s changing.

So as I said, apparently the extra song on the vinyl version of “Disconnected” is about me… I’m dying to hear it. I’m well over the whole thing with Hazel because when it happened half the people in the experimental scene reached out to me and let me know that they too had suffered the wrath of Hazel. It’s no fun having someone out there that really dislikes you that much, but honestly I never even met the woman in person. And I mean no disrespect, because Jacob also hinted that you and Hazel are/were a couple, I’m just being honest.

So if this is all true about the song then I have essentially been immortalized in NWW lore, and I thought you should know! I promise you that I am a gentle and polite person and hate it that I made someone so mad. As I said I admire your work very much and I would be honored if you have the chance to check out some of the track on my page.

Please let me know if I’m totally wrong about the song, and then I’ll go back to the record store and tell Jacob he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but he seemed pretty certain…

Anyway, I wish you all the best from South Austin Texas, and by the way I’m originally from Salthill, Galway.


Darren Ryan

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