Music by Aesop Rock, Rob Sonic, and DJ Big Wiz. Available from Rhymesayers.
Good to see Killer Mike at the top.
New music by Dälek, from the soundtrack to 6 Angry Women. Don’t just put it on in the background. Make sure you watch the video.
The 2CD deluxe edition of Song: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain was released yesterday, and to celebrate SPIN Magazine published an excerpt from a forthcoming book about Jason Molina written by Erin Osmon. You can read that here.
And below is a performance of “Blue Factory Flame” from Didn’t It Rain, recorded in Bloomington, IN two years before that album was released. There’s a demo version of it on the deluxe release, but the version here is substantially different. It’s one of the most intense solo recordings of his that I’ve heard.
Killer Mike in USA Today:
As recent research has revealed, rap lyrics have been introduced as evidence of a defendant’s criminal behavior in hundreds of cases nationwide, frequently leading to convictions that are based on prosecutors’ blatant mischaracterizations of the genre. Ignoring many of the elements that signal rap as form of artistic expression, such as rappers’ use of stage names or their frequent use of metaphor and hyperbole, prosecutors will present rap as literal autobiography. In effect, they ask jurors to suspend the distinction between author and narrator, reality and fiction, to secure guilty verdicts.
And on CNN:
Michael Pisaro, “July Mountain” live, Roundchapel Auditorium. London, October 19th, 2013. A SARU/Cafe Oto/Compost and Height event.
Performed by Dan Bennett, Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga, Seth Cooke, Stephen Cornford, Angharad Davies, Jane Dickson, Lawrence Dunn, Patrick Farmer, Bruno Guastalla, Jack Harris, Sarah Hughes, Kostis Kilymis, Dominic Lash, Will Montgomery, Samuel Rodgers, David Stent, Greg Stuart, and Paul Whitty.
Filmed by Stella Kun and Kostis Kilymis.
From the Entr’acte website:
Sleeper Line is a five-track EP constructed from the original components of a live set performed in December 2012. These components — manipulated found sounds — were recorded at various times and in various environments: Dungeness Power Station (2012), street recordings post-Notting Hill Carnival (2007), a prior live performance at the White Building in London (2012), and a cassette recording made in the cloakroom of the Metalheadz Sunday Sessions club night (1997). The cyclical process of merging analogue and digital media, elements of dance music and varying locations and timescales, sits at the core of the compositional and sonic structures of the EP.
Shelley Parker is an artist based in London. Her practice explores the experiential potential of sound and image through the manipulation of technology and the study of structure and material. Live audio feeds, bass frequencies and found sounds are recurring themes within her performance, installation and music production.
Form 4 (1993)
for variable ensemble (at least 16 players)
woodwinds, brass, strings, pitched percussion
in memoriam Morton Feldman
News that Secretly Canadian will be releasing a deluxe edition of Didn’t It Rain got me hunting for good MECo./Songs: Ohia bootlegs on Youtube this past week. The below show, recorded in Malmö, Sweden on August 30th, 2009, is one of the better I’ve seen.
Check out the version of “Ring the Bell” Secretly Canadian posted to Youtube while you’re at it. Like Magnolia Electric Co., the Didn’t It Rain deluxe edition will include solo demo versions of songs from the album, plus early versions of a couple of songs that ended up on separate releases. Release date is set for November 11th.
Gaspard de la nuit: Trois poèmes pour piano d’après Aloysius Bertrand – composed by Maurice Ravel in 1908, premiered in 1909. Vlado Perlemuter is 87 years old in this video.
Gaspard is famous, in part, for how difficult it is. You get a glimpse of that in this video, especially in the third movement, but it’s also a gorgeous piece of music with much more than its virtuosic passages to recommend it. There’s more info about Gaspard, including English translations of the poems on which the piece is based, here.
About Vlado Perlemuter (who met Ravel and performed every one of his piano works), via Wikipedia:
Vladislas (Vlado) Perlemuter was born to a Polish Jewish family, the third of four sons, in Kovno, Russia (now Kaunas in Lithuania). At the age of three, he lost the use of his left eye in an accident.
His family settled in France in 1907. In 1915, only 10 years old, he was accepted by the Paris Conservatoire, studying first with Moritz Moszkowski (1915–17) then with Alfred Cortot. At 15, he graduated from the Conservatoire, where he won the First Prize playing Gabriel Fauré’s Thème et variations before the composer, although Fauré was already deaf by that time. In 1925 he met Maurice Ravel, and in 1927 studied all of Ravel’s solo works for piano with the composer himself for a period of six months. Thereafter, he became one of the leading exponents of Ravel’s music. In 1929 in two public recitals both attended by the composer, Perlemuter played Ravel’s complete piano works, a feat he repeated in 1987 at London’s Wigmore Hall to mark the 50th anniversary of Ravel’s death.
… His art is characterized by shimmering tonal colors and a singing legato combined with an effortless ease of interpretation. Those who heard him live say that his playing was characterized by an enchantingly subtle tone that recordings fail to capture fully. He approached new pieces through the left hand, reading the piece from the bass upwards. He always practiced slowly, focusing on each hand separately.
Sun Ra celebrates his 100th birthday today. NPR has a brief Morning Edition feature on the man, and The Sun Ra Music Archive has just re-issued 21 of his albums, mastered in a 24 bit format (PDF) available exclusively from iTunes (if you can stomach using it).
Robert Mugge’s 60 minute documentary, Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise, which was filmed between 1978 and 1980 and features numerous performance excerpts and monologues from Sun Ra himself, is available on Vimeo.
You can check out one of my favorite Sun Ra songs, from 1978’s Lanquidity, right here:
Russell Haswell and Pain Jerk are teaming up for a 2CD release due out in June on Editions Mego. You can read the press release below while you check out the preview Editions Mego posted to Soundcloud above. I’ve included a pair of Youtube videos of Pain Jerk and Russell Haswell performing live too, just in case you need to familiarize yourself a little more (in case you don’t know, much of it is very loud, so start the volume somewhere down low). Very much looking forward to this one.
From Editions Mego:
Electroacoustic Sludge Dither Transformation Smear Grind Decomposition nO!se File Exchange Mega Edit is the long awaited collaboration from two of the world finest purveyors of noise, electroacoustics and top shelf audio mayhem. Having met at the legendary Tokyo venue 20000 volts in 1997 Haswell and Pain Jerk (Kohei Gomi) stayed in touch with the intent to collaborate at some point in the future. This was eventually realized in 2012 when they were offered a gig to play together at the Rammel Club in Nottingham. Prior to the show they exchanged files of solo recordings, as a means of forming a basis for what was initially conceived as an ‘extreme duet tag mass attack’. It was here that the foundation was laid for the epic extreme end result we now encounter. The Nottingham performance was recorded and both parties took away the results in addition to their solo recordings to re-edit and re-send, back and forth, for 2 years, re-editing, re-contextualising these original sounds.
The results of this extended collaboration is a punk academic collision which utilises advanced computer music techniques and analogue/digital modular synthesizer splurge, along with the more basic and belligerent frequencies found in distortion and feedback. This can also be read as a study of editing in all forms; hyper editing, editing in pop music, editing in dance culture, electro-acoustic editing, the editing techniques used in musique concrète, editing used in film and advertising along with the notion of gaps – the audible and inaudible.
A blistering 2CD collision of transformation, technique, ideas and form which resides equally in the advanced fields of electroacoustic study and the high energy freeform noise from which both practitioners sprung.
Jason Molina passed away on March 16th, 2013, one year ago yesterday. Last year, when Brainwashed.com gave him the Lifetime Achievement Award for his body of work, I wrote a summary of his career. I’d like to share a little of that here, just to give you some perspective on the man’s devotion to his craft. He wrote some of my favorite songs, recorded several of my favorite records, and was one of my favorite musicians, period. I respected his work and how he worked, and not many people worked as hard as he did:
By the time Magnolia Electric Co. came out in 2003, [Jason Molina] had recorded nine albums in roughly seven years, plus numerous singles and EPs—at least 15 in total between 1995 and 2002—that were scattered across various labels, from Palace Records and Secretly Canadian to Acuarela, Western Vinyl, and Temporary Residence. He then went on to record one EP, two 7″ singles, and seven more albums with Magnolia before he died, three of which were bundled together in the Sojourner boxed set and recorded in the same year. Somehow, within that same time span, he found the energy to write, record, and release four more albums, three under his own name and one collaboration with Will Johnson. He collaborated and released records with so many people it’s hard to keep count: The Arab Strap, Will Oldham, Alasdair Roberts, Scout Niblett, Oneida, My Morning Jacket, Mike Mogis, Steve Albini, Jennie Benford, Richard Youngs, Edith Frost, David Lowery—the list goes on. And what’s more, they’re all worth hearing, even the rougher stuff. Some musicians need quality control and restraint: Jason Molina simply couldn’t release enough…
In celebration of his life, I DJ’d a two hour set of his music (22 songs) on WZBC 90.3 FM.
It all came together last minute, so I didn’t have the chance to promote it here. But if you missed the show and would like to hear it, you still can. WZBC archives every one of its broadcasts for two weeks at a time and you can find the links for this one at the bottom of the page, along with a setlist. If you’re unfamiliar with his music, this show should serve as a good introduction to it. If you already know Songs: Ohia and Magnolia Electric Co., but have only heard a record or two, there should be plenty here that’s new. And if you’re a fan, I hope you’ll listen and enjoy the songs. I picked several of them and listeners requested a few others. I think it all came together very well.
In other Molina news, Secretly Canadian will be releasing a Songs: Ohia boxed set for Record Store Day this year. The image at the top of this page was posted to the label’s Facebook page on March 12th, and the Jason Molina page reposted it, promising more information soon. There’s still a bit of speculation as to the contents, but Bull Moose has already posted a product description on their website, which you can see here. It mentions “18 sides,” which means there are probably nine singles, though which nine is still up in the air, as is whether or not they’ll be exact reproductions.
If you have any comments or questions, please email me, or leave a message in the comment section below.
I hope you enjoy the show.
- Magnolia Electric Co., “O! Grace” from Josephine (2009) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “The Night Shift Lullaby” from What Comes After the Blues (2005) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “John Henry Split My Heart” from Magnolia Electric Co. (2003) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “This Time Anything Finite at All” from Impala (1998) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “Hearts Newly Arrived (Hecla Session)” from Hecla & Griper (15th Anniversary Edition) (2013) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “Hot Black Silk” from Axxess & Ace (1999) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “Being In Love” from The Lioness (2000) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “Two Blue Lights” from Didn’t It Rain (2002) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “Will-o-the-Wisp” from Black Ram (Sojourner Boxed Set) (2007) on Secretly Canadian
- Jason Molina, “The Spell” from Shohola (Sojourner Boxed Set) (2007) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “East Last Heart” from Hecla & Griper (1997) on Secretly Canadian
- Jason Molina, “It Costs You Nothing” from Let Me Go, Let Me Go, Let Me Go (2006) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “Talk To Me Devil, Again” from Sun Session (Sojourner Boxed Set) (2007) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “The Old Black Hen” from Magnolia Electric Co. (2003) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “Texas ’71” from Nashville Moon (Sojourner Boxed Set) (2007) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “The Handing Down” from Josephine (2009) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “Map Of The Falling Sky” from Josephine (2009) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “A Little At A Time” from Fading Trails (2006) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “No Limits On The Words” from Ghost Tropic (2000) on Secretly Canadian
- Magnolia Electric Co., “The Big Game Is Every Night” from Magnolia Electric Co. (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (2013) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “Blue Chicago Moon” from Didn’t It Rain (2002) on Secretly Canadian
- Songs: Ohia, “Blue Factory Flame” from Didn’t It Rain (2002) on Secretly Canadian
I saw this painting posted, appropriately enough, on Twitter and fell in love with it. Here’s the Wikipedia summary for Paul Klee:
Paul Klee (German pronunciation:[paʊ̯l ˈkleː]; 18 December 1879 – 29 June 1940) was a painter born inMünchenbuchsee, Switzerland, and is considered to be a German-Swiss.[a] His highly individual style was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. He was also a student of orientalism. Klee was a natural draftsman who experimented with and eventually got deep into color theory, writing about it extensively; his lectures Writings on Form and Design Theory (Schriften zur Form und Gestaltungslehre), published in English as the Paul Klee Notebooks, are held to be as important for modern art as Leonardo da Vinci‘s A Treatise on Painting for the Renaissance. He and his colleague, the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, both taught at the German Bauhaus school of art, design and architecture. His works reflect his dry humour and his sometimes childlike perspective, his personal moods and beliefs, and also his musicality.
And this is the summary for the painting, also from Wikipedia:
Twittering Machine (Die Zwitscher-Maschine) is a 1922 watercolor and pen and ink oil transfer on paper by Swiss-German painter Paul Klee. Like other artworks by Klee, it blends biology and machinery, depicting a loosely sketched group of birds on a wire or branch connected to a hand-crank. Interpretations of the work vary widely: it has been perceived as a nightmarish lure for the viewer or a depiction of the helplessness of the artist, but also as a triumph of nature over mechanical pursuits. It has been seen as a visual representation of the mechanics of sound.
Originally displayed in Germany, the image was declared “degenerate art” by Adolf Hitler in 1933 and sold by the Nazi party to an art dealer in 1939, whence it made its way to New York. One of the better known of more than 9,000 works produced by Klee, it is among the more famous images of the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It has inspired several musical compositions and, according to a 1987 magazine profile in New York Magazine, has been a popular piece to hang in children’s bedrooms.
The section on critical analysis is worth looking over just to see how very different various interpretations of the piece have really been. Now that we have social media sites like Twitter and Facebook (or blog sites like WordPress), it’s difficult not to read the painting as satire. It could easily be the image of an endlessly chirping machine cranking out wave after wave of babbling, chirpy noise. I suppose that’s a cynical reading, but it’s easy enough to make the way those birds look, their tongues hanging out like they’re being choked.
Then again, the whole setup could be a musical instrument. Maybe you’re supposed to turn the handle in your head and imagine what the mechanical birds would look like as they moved up and down on the wire, singing who knows what kind of song.
According to Wikipedia, at least a couple of composers have written music inspired by the painting:
The son of a musicologist, Klee himself drew parallels between sound and art, and Twittering Machine has been influential on several composers. It inspired the 1951 orchestral work Die Zwitschermaschine by Giselher Klebe, and one of the pieces in David Diamond‘s “The World of Paul Klee”, which debuted in 1958, as well as one of the seven in Gunther Schuller‘s “Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee”, composed the following year.
And as it turns out a rendition of David Diamond’s “The World of Paul Klee” is available on Youtube. Enjoy:
A playlist of songs and artists enjoyed throughout the day. Six videos, approximately 58 minutes:
- Todd Terje, “Inspector Norse” from It’s the Arps EP on OLSEN
- Bill Callahan, “The Sing” from Dream River on DRAG CITY
- Somei Satoh, “Mandara” from Mandara Trilogy on NEW ALBION
- Dennis Johnson, “November (excerpt)” from November on IRRITABLE HEDGEHOG
- Pelt, “Wings of Dirty” from Effigy on MIE
- Carol of Harvest, “Try a Little Bit” from Carol of Harvest on PROG TEMPLE (forthcoming)
Below are two links to the WZBC Archives where you can listen to my December 22nd radio show, broadcast on WZBC 90.3 FM in Boston. Those links will remain active until the 5th of January 2014, at which point the show will disappear and be replaced by a new one.
This week’s show introduces another trio of new releases; one each from Touch, PAN, and 23Five. Both the Rashad Becker and G*Park records turned up in the Wire’s 2013 year-end list, so here’s a good chance to check those out. The Becker is very good, but I’m particularly fond of G*Park’s Sub, and I love the 23Five label, which is worth looking into if you don’t already know about it. I don’t think they’ve released a single bad record in the 17 years they’ve been running.
The rest of the show was dedicated to a fairly random selection of favorite tracks, from Coil, Nurse with Wound, Organum, Jim O’Rourke and others. It’s always a lot of fun to play “Rock’n Roll Station” on the air, and with the foggy weather in Boston that night, it seemed like the perfect opening. This particular version was pulled from Nurse with Wound’s Second Pirate Session, but Jac Berrocal is responsible for the original. You can listen to the original right here:
Also on the show is an amazing recording from Brion Gysin, which I was completely unaware of until I stumbled across it in the ZBC library. That one came from an Alga Marghen release titled The Pool K III. A quick Google search turns up very little info about its origins, and the liner notes provided similarly slim information about the where’s and the when’s: “Sounds from a swimming-pool and compositions by Brion Gysin with unidentified musicians. Recorded by Brion Gysin in the late 1950s or early 1960s.” According to Discogs, the CD came with a full-color, double-sided insert, but I couldn’t find it in the studio or on the shelves. Lost to the ravages of time and numerous college DJs I suppose. I’d like to think William S. Burroughs is in there somewhere, but I have absolutely zero proof of that.
More info would be much appreciated. Please leave a comment if you know anything.
Any other questions, comments, or requests, please send me an email or just drop a message into the comments section below.
Thanks for listening.
- Nurse With Wound, “Rock’n Roll Station” from Second Pirate Session (1998) on UNITED DAIRIES
- Coil, “Remotely” from How to Destroy Angels (Remixes and Re-Recordings) (1992) on THRESHOLD HOUSE
- Mika Vainio/Joachim Nordwall, “Alloy Ceremony” from Monstrance (2013) on TOUCH
- Rashad Becker, “Themes I” from Traditional Music of Notional Species, Vol. I (2013) on PAN
- G*Park “Wasp” from Sub (2013) on 23FIVE
- Brion Gysin, “C” from The Pool K III (1998) on ALGA MARGHEN
- Organum. “Vacant Lights Pt. 1” from Vacant Lights/Rara Avis (1988) on DIE STADT
- Julianna Barwick & Ikue Mori, “Dream Sequence” from FRKWYS, Vol. 6 (2011) on RVNG INTL.
- Jim O’Rourke, “And I’m Singing” from I’m Happy, and I’m Singing, and a 1, 2, 3, 4 (2001) on EDITIONS MEGO
- Horatiu Radulescu “Clepsydra” from Clepsydra/Astray (1992) on EDITION RZ
Below are two links to the WZBC Archives where you can listen to my December 8th radio show, broadcast on WZBC 90.3 FM in Boston. Those links will remain active until December 22nd, at which point the show will disappear and be replaced by a new one.
There’s a whole trio of new releases represented in this broadcast (plus a fragment of a new release at the end): one from Phill Niblock, one from Graham Lambkin and Jason Lescalleet, and one from Olivia Block, whose latest album, Karren, is receiving all kinds of positive responses. “Opening Night” definitely blew me away; just a gorgeous recording and a great concept behind it. Be sure to give that a shot if you have time for nothing else.
Anyone interested in the opening Michael Pisaro piece should check this link out. In it, Michael explains a bit about what’s happening compositionally in Hearing Metal 2—the section I played is actually quite different from the bulk of the recording—you can always check out my review of that album here, which includes samples. There’s lots of good information on the Wandelweiser website as well. Pisaro is a great writer and always manages to speak very clearly about his work, despite the inherent difficulty in the subject matter. My interview with him links to several articles he’s written, plus I think he clarifies a lot of difficult concepts over the course of the discussion. You can read that here.
During the course of the show, I also mentioned an interview with James Tenney that I thought was particularly helpful for understanding his music and the influence he’s had on people like Michael Pisaro and Michael Byron. You can read that interview at New Music Box.
Any questions, comments, or requests, please send me an email.
Thanks for listening.
- Michael Pisaro and Greg Stuart, “Hearing Metal 2 (Le table du silence) – I” from Hearing Metal 2 (Le table du silence) (2011) on GRAVITY WAVE
- Phill Niblock, “Two Lips (Dither Guitar Quartet)” from Touch Five (2013) on TOUCH
- Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet, “Loss” from Photographs (2013) on ERSTWHILE
- Olivia Block, “Opening Night” from Karren (2013) on SEDIMENTAL
- Luc Ferrari, “Chicago, USA. October 2001. Rehearsal for a concert Harley Davidson. Texas.” from Les Anecdotiques (2004) on SUB ROSA
- Robin Rimbaud, “Experience” from The Garden is Full of Metal: Homage to Derek Jarman (1997) on SUB ROSA
- James Tenney, “Swell Piece (1967)” from Postal Pieces (2004) on NEW WORLD RECORDS — performed by The Barton Workshop
- Morton Feldman, “For Franz Kline” from Only – Works for Voices and Instruments (1996) on NEW ALBION — composed in 1962 – vocals by Joan La Barbara
- John Cage, “String Quartet in Four Parts (Quietly Flowing Along/Slowly Rocking)” from The Complete String Quartets Vol. 2 (1992) on MODE — composed 1949-50, performed by The Arditti Quartet – these are just the first two movements
- Burkhard Stangl, “Unfinished – Sailing (fragment)” from Unfinished. For William Turner, Painter. (2013) on TOUCH — performed by Fennesz
Below are two links to the WZBC Archives where you can listen to my November 24th radio show, broadcast on WZBC 90.3 FM in Boston. Those links will remain active until December 8th (I’m posting this a touch late due to the holiday), at which point the show will disappear and be replaced by a new one.
One caller compared this show to a taking warm bath. That’s a first for me. The sounds are gentler than the last couple weeks (there’s nary a jazz recording in sight), and a couple of them border on the ambient. The centerpiece is a beautiful collaboration between Graham Lambkin and Jason Lescalleet, released on Erstwhile in 2008. If you listen to just one thing from this show, make it that. And then go get their new double disc, Photographs.
Anyone put off by harsher sounds will likely appreciate the cooler colors at play throughout the entire second hour. That William Winant recording is another beautiful and hypnotizing piece of music worth seeking out. The LP is sold out at the source, but certain online retailers may still have copies. Poke around your favorite sites and maybe something will turn up. It’s also available digitally on iTunes.
For those who want a little more action and some rougher edges in their lives, the first 25 minutes or so contain some very thrilling noise from Autechre and Bernard Parmegiani, who, if you somehow missed it, passed away on November 21st. Much of his music has been reissued in the last couple of years and I encourage anyone with even an inkling of interest to go and find it. Recollection GRM provides two great starting points.
My show on the 8th will probably follow a similar format, with the second hour sticking to somewhat more accessible music. If you like what you hear here, I hope you’ll tune in then.
Any questions or requests, send me an email.
Thanks for listening.
- Bernard Parmegiani, “Lumiere Noire: Moins l’infini/Instant O/Premieres forces – Premieres formes” from La création du monde (1993) on INA GRM
- Autechre, ”irlite (get 0)” from Exai (2013) on WARP RECORDS
- Bruce Gilbert and BAW, “Beasts of the Earth” from Diluvial (2013) on TOUCH
- Jacob Kirkegaard, “Church” from 4 Rooms (2006) on TOUCH
- Graham Lambkin/Jason Lescalleet, “Listen, the Snow is Falling” from The Breadwinner (2008) on ERSTWHILE
- William Winant, “Trackings I” from Five American Percussion Pieces (2013) on POON VILLAGE – written by Michael Byron, 1976
- Luciano Cilio, “Primo Quadro “Della Conoscenza da Dialoghi dal presente” from Dell’Universo Assente (2013) on DIE SCHACHTEL
- Franca Sacchi, “Arpa Eolia” from EN (2011) on DIE SCHACHTEL – piece written and performed 1970
- Labradford, “Twenty” from fixed::context (2000) on KRANKY