More Other Music radio news

As mentioned before, tune in this Sunday for the "Aluminati edition" of Other Music. We'll be spinning music made on metal-fabricated guitars and basses, and we'll also be interviewing Kevin Burkett of the Electrical Guitar Company. We'll have some local folks in discussing the aluminum guitars they play, too, and maybe even jamming a bit live in the studio.

The following Sunday, July 1, we'll be interviewing NYC drummer and composer Mike Pride about several of his recent and upcoming projects. I've been a fan of many of Mike's bands and projects for almost a decade now, and he has some really cool stuff in the works. We'll also be playing some of his music during that show, but just to get you warmed up, check these out:

You can listen every Sunday from 10-midnight on KZUM, 89.3 FM in Lincoln, NE, or streaming anywhere via http://www.kzum.org.

As mentioned before, I sat in on fellow DJ Joseph's other program, Out to Lunch, this Thursday evening. I had a ton of fun gathering this set of jazz-related music to play:

Peckerwood - Joey Baron - Raised Pleasure Dot
Retrace a Walk - Zs - Buck
Macho Woman - Ornette Coleman - Body Meta
Piram - Masada - Beit
Hadasha - Masada - Beit
Amhorrikkka - Evil Eye (Mike Pride) - Doin It All For My Baby
Fireflower - Astroid Powerup! - Googleplex
The Adventures of Billy Spontana - Brown vs Brown - Odds and Unevens
Age of Energy - Chicago Underground Duo - Age of Energy
Letter to HST 3:16 - Colin Stetson - New History Warfare, Volume 1
Catman - Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society - Mandance
Hall - Henry Threadgill - Easily Slip Into Another World
Chapi Chapo - Inzinzac - Inzinzac
Throat I - Little Women - Throat
Tsarka - Rabih Abou-Khalil - Blue Camel
Let's Talk About Virtue - Rich Woodson's Ellipsis - The Nail That Stands Up Gets Pounded Down
Erase Yourself - Ron Miles - My Cruel Heart
Kitchen - Sex Mob - Dime Grind Palace
How Hight the Loch (Ornamentology) - Farmers Market - Musik Fra Hybridene
Now Then - Tim Berne - Fractured Fairy Tales


A couple of playlists and a couple of upcoming radio events

I'll be guest hosting the Out To Lunch show on KZUM tomorrow (6/21) from 10-midnight, so tune in for 2 hours of jazz-related music. I'm working on a fun set that will bounce from extremes of minimal, loose improv to OCD hypercontrol, making plenty of stops and squeals along the way. It's 89.3 FM in Lincoln, or streaming anywhere via http://www.kzum.org.

This coming Sunday, we'll be trying something different on the Other Music show--we're calling it the "Aluminati Edition," and we'll be talking to people who make and play aluminum guitars and basses, as well as playing music made on such instruments as those made by Travis Bean and Electrical Guitar Company. We might even do some live-in-the-studio work with aluminum instruments. Tune in and hear for yourself!

A couple of playlists:

On 6-10-12, Scott played:
R76-4 - Anthony Braxton - Complete 1971
Orchid 7 - Paddy McAloon - I Trawl the Megahertz
Insomnia In Roscoe Village - The Flashbulb - Opus At the End of Everything
Pronto, Pronto - Sten Hanson - Text-Sounds Gems & Trinkets
Scanners - Tim Berne - Snakeoil
Deadbeat Deluxe - Arvo Zylo - 333 (this album rules, by the way--review coming soon)
Geek's Revenge - Andrew Drury - A Momentary Lapse
Hardrock Medley - Ruins - Mandala 2000

On 6-17-12, Scott played:

Oh Daddy - Adrian Belew - Mr. Music Head
Bow Tie Daddy - Frank Zappa/Mothers - We're Only in it for the Money
My Father - Charles Bukowski - King of Poets
Lick my Decals off, Baby - Captain Beefheart - Lick My Decals Off, Baby
Trying To Get My Dad Laid - Bobbie Boob - Afternoon Legends: Vol. 2
Just Like My Father - Violent Femmes - 3
Records - Dominique Leone - Summer EP
Crew Cut - Hank Roberts - Everything is Alive
Come To Daddy - Aphex Twin - Come To Daddy
Something for the Girl With Everything - Sparks (w/FNM) - This Town Ain't Big Enough for the Both of Us

John played:
rats - sonic youth - rather ripped
white night - mx80 - out of the tunnel
gladiator - jesus lizard - liar
13 - mission of burma - the obliterati
through a child's eyes - bear claw - find the sun
things to do today - big black - the rich mans eight track tape
authority - ein heit - the lightning and the sun
talk to gary - .22 - watertown
deviationism - three second kiss - long distance

Joseph played:
Lux Nox - The Anti-Group - Digitaria
Thrill of Romance? (Burgo Partridge mix) - Nurse With Wound - The Bacteria Magnet
textwell - oval - systemisch
(revenue of fire) - Zoviet France - (Shouting at the Ground)


Other Music updates and playlists

I haven't gotten a chance to post any playlists for the Other Music show for a while. We've had many interesting changes afoot that have demanded our attention:

--Malcom is on hiatus, coming in only occasionally.
--New DJ Joseph has joined the show, which is very exciting because he has great taste and an amazing collection of early electronic music, EAI, krautrock, free jazz, and much more. We're getting both more beautiful and more bizarre every week!
--we've been in the new studios for about six weeks. There is more room and more equipment, and lots of potential for live-in-studio performances in the future!

As always, you can tune in every Sunday night from 10-midnight Central Time. We're on 89.3 FM in Lincoln, or you can stream the show anywhere from http://www.kzum.org.

Here are some partial playlists (the stuff I played) for recent broadcasts:

Marc Ribot - Etude # 13: Wank - Exercises in Futility
Zao - Yog - Osiris
Othin Spake - Child of Deception and Skill - Child of Deception and Skill
John Zorn - Libera Me - Templars: In Sacred Blood
Devin Gray - Talking With Hands - Dirigo Rataplan
Benoit Widemann - Spirale - Stress!
Thinking Plague - Sleeper Cell Anthem - Decline and Fall

Gorguts - Rapturous Grief - Obscura
Aki Takase - 575557:4 - A Week Went By
Bob Bucko Jr - Triptych I - Tearjerker
Whourkr - Ostina Feat. Oxxo Xoox (628 Snare Drums) - 4247 Snare Drums
Sekkutsu Jean - Koayebiurjnk - Sekkutsu Jean
Cactus Truck - The Snotgreen Sea, The Scrotumtightening Sea - Brand New For China!
The (EC) Nudes - It Might Be Better - Vanishing Point

Phil Niblock - Stosspeng IV - Touch Strings
Evan Parker - Part I Intro (Studio) - Set
Grosse Abfahrt - Kablamo - Vanity
Ross Bolleter - Kiss Kiss - Night Kitchen (2002-9)
Stian Westerhus - The Antagonist - Pitch Black Start Spangled
Moebius - B 36 - Tonspuren

Violent Femmes - New Times - New Times
Bobby Conn - Macaroni - Macaroni
Yugen - The Scuttle of the Past out of the Cupboards - Iridule
RED Trio + Nate Wooley - Phase - STEM
Mr. Rencore and Tim Berne - Ort Milos - Intollerant Mr. Rencore and Tim Berne
Mary Halvorson Quintet - That Old Sound (No. 27) - Bending Bridges
Bailly/Millevoi/Moffett - Red Rain - Strange Falls


2 from Crash Symbols, plus the destiny of cassettes?

I've been listening to a pair of recent cassette releases from Crash Symbols for a few months, and I just remembered how quickly one must strive to turn out reviews when they pertain to small-run cassette releases--my favorite of these releases is already sold out on cassette. Apologies. I'm still going to review it, because it remains available digitally, because it's very much worth hearing, and because the proceeds go to charity. I don't think I could have reviewed these any quicker, as my relationship with both of these recordings evolved through repeated listening. And I've been thinking a lot about cassette distribution in general--stay tuned for a little prognostication following these reviews...

Ender Belongs to Me - Memory
I hadn't heard of this project before receiving this for review, and I'm glad to have checked this out. Ender Belongs to Me is apparently a duo, according to their press info, and they mostly focus on electronic pop drying itself off from a bout of melancholy. All of the tracks feature danceable arrangements, especially in terms of percussion programming, though the tempos stay a little short of high-energy dance music, and there is an extremely introverted vibe that indicates dancing alone might be more appropriate. Or moving your legs under the table. Go for it--no one will know.

The introversion is the real strength of this EP, in my estimation. So much music incorporating the kinds of percussion and synth sounds found on this recording carries a sort of timbral demand to join some kind of anthemic party. But this music is enjoyable while keeping to itself, making no demands that you match its mood. It's conversational rather than manipulative. Sonically, many sections reminded me of the Nihiti full-length I recently reviewed, minus occasional full-on intimations of gloom. While there are glimpses of sadness that surface in these tracks, and minor keys are the order of the day, the textures are gentle, the songs evolve carefully, and you get the feeling that the redemption these songs work toward isn't far away.

In terms of orchestration, I really like the way piano sounds are blended into synth textures in many songs, such as the album closer, "teddymuffin," where envelope-filtered synth tones move around a pedal-point piano in the first section, shifting to half-note piano chords with piano/synth melodies treading lightly above. The mixture of male/female combo vocals on the track work very well, too, creating melodies that transcend gender considerations. And the artwork fits nicely with the project, an abstract palette of blues and golds fractured by a diamond matrix. This one, I'm happy to report, should still be available from Crash Symbols here.

Power Animal - Exorcism
As I've mentioned a few times before on my blog, I was a huge fan of Power Animal's 2010 debut, People Songs, which remains available via Bandcamp. For the last decade, I've followed a lot of Philadelphia-based bands with an appreciation for the unique sense of fun and joy that Philly's fine citizens seem to impart in many genre-bending projects. To my ears, People Songs sounded like a continuation of the fun that Need New Body had been spreading in the first half of the '00s, making deconstructed/reconstructed pop that simultaneously celebrated weirdness and togetherness. In particular, I adored the song "Copernicus," which I still return to frequently for a pick-me-up from its repeated phrase: "Love is alive and well."

I was very excited to hear the new Exorcism EP, and Crash Symbols was kind enough to send me a copy for review. To be honest, it's taken me a while to warm up to it, because I had particular expectations in terms of orchestration: People Songs was a very organic record, full of live instruments, and Exorcism is much more sample-based. Both recordings started as "bedroom" demos made by Mr. Power Animal himself, Keith Hampson, but the circumstances of their completion differ significantly. People Songs was taken to Denton, TX, and its songs were converted into ambitious full-band affairs courtesy of collaboration with Sleep Whale, while the music of Exorcism remains in a sort of sample-based state that I guess I imagined would go through a similar "workshopping" process.

While I still prefer the orchestrational creativity of People Songs, I continued listening to Exorcism, trying to approach it on its own merits instead of hoping it would compete with, say, Whales and Cops. And it grew on me tremendously. Hampson's enthusiasm and steady optimism remain fully intact, and his melodic sensibility is no less powerful. It just reminds me how significant the role of timbre has become in modern music--it can be just as important as melody, harmony, and rhythm to the reception of a given piece of music. Ordinarily, I don't listen to much music that works with the kinds of textures on "Exorcism" compared to the more acoustic instrument emphasis of "People Songs." But the music was there when I worked through my own feelings about the kinds of sample-edited juxtapositions that predominate here, and now I really like the record.

Considering how sample-based the original recordings already are, it's interesting to note that this EP is  supplemented by remixes on the B side of the cassette, recontextualizing the framework of the songs and even further deconstructing their many samples. Most of them are gentle with the songforms themselves, bringing out different percussion textures rather than obliterating the original melodies, so considered together, they form an alternative look at the album rather than heavy-handed deconstructions.

Sadly, the physical version of "Exorcism" on cassette has already sold out, but you can still get it digitally here.

The future of cassettes--is the end near?
While researching Power Animal in general, I came upon this recent interview with Hampson that includes some interesting details about the process of building "Exorcism." Many of the samples he works with in its songs were made by playing cassettes through a talking book machine. These machines can play conventional cassettes, but the audio formatting of the tapes intended to work with them is 4-track mono at 15/16 ips, rather than the 2-track stereo 1 7/8 ips of commercial cassettes. As a result, you can get ultra slowed-down and backwards audio effects out of these players if you put a commercial cassette in them, and you can drop the results into a sampler for further use.

This is tremendously interesting to me, because I work at a talking book library. The reason for these specialized-format cassettes has to do with protecting copyright--audio versions of many books are made by the National Library Service (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress, to be used by visually and physically handicapped people around the United States. In order to protect the copyright of the books, they were made into specialized format cassettes so that they can't be used on a regular cassette player.

Much has already been written about "cassette culture," and I'm not going to get into it here other than to say that I share an adoration for the humble format, and I treasure its significant role in reducing the grip major labels had on the distribution of all music back when vinyl was the dominant format. But I may have some news of interest to the many labels, artists, and fans who are participating in the current revival of cassettes: the end may be near.

When commercial cassettes declined in popularity, NLS continued to make books on cassette for its collections around the country, and the millions of cassettes they use were enough to keep some cassette manufacturing and duplicating places in business. But talking book libraries are transitioning to a new flash memory-based format right now. No books have been produced on cassette for several years, but magazines have continued to circulate on cassette, still requiring a lot of cassettes to be made.

That is likely to change within a year--there is currently an rfp being offered for companies to produce magazines in the new digital format. Once that happens, NLS will no longer have a need for cassettes, and the already-diminished number of sources for blank cassettes and duplication (which NLS was already monitoring in 2005) will probably disappear very quickly. So if you're a tape label, or a fan of tape labels, my advice is to make 2012 your best year ever. If you're relying on new cassettes and professional duplication, I wouldn't delay your projects. Get those tapes out this year, or you may find yourself trolling thrift stores for tapes and boxes in the near future.

--also published at Killed in Cars