All posts by alphastare

Musician/Artist/ Silk screener. Grew up in Buffalo, moved to LA in '96' and played with seminal punk band The Flesh Eaters (recorded as well as co-wrote some of the album 'Ashes of Time' (2000).Also worked with my band The Alphastares which disbanded when I moved to SF in 2004. I currently perform (bass/guitar/baritone guitar) with Andalusia Rose as well as my solo endeavors as "Alphastare'.

European Tour Journal Day 8: Olten, Switzerland

THE GOLDEN COCK

2018-02-16 11.22.24The Coq D’or Kulturcafe in Olten Switzerland was a hip and pretty progressive venue. There was a bar/restauraunt on one level, some smoking areas, plenty of art, and a cavern downstairs where we played.2018-02-15 18.18.09-22018-02-16 11.03.052018-02-15 18.05.32I had maybe my 5th bowl of risotto on this tour and some excellent noodles for dinner. The food just seemed to get better and better as the tour went along!

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THE GIG

Despite the rather bare bones, small box of a room, this venue came equipped with one of the most competent and brilliant sound guys we’ve ever worked with. I can’t remember his name, but after the show, one of the restaurant staff told me about how he mixed something like a 16 piece Cumbia band on that little stage and it sounded perfect! We were treated just as well and the stage sound was top notch.

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Another treat this evening was sharing the stage with Muerte Espiral. They were a young band with an excellent bassist in Mia Moustache who really kills. She has been on tour recently with Zeal and Ardor who she has played with for awhile now.

Here’s a short clip:

Our set was a good one. We were really hitting a stride after dealing with a few equipment issues and tightening up the set in a few crucial parts, to make it flow better.

POST SHOW

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After the show, since we were staying at the venue, we had some time to relax and take in the atmosphere. The upstairs restaurant area was a nice place to hang out and conversate and take in the youthful Olten nightlife. We met some artists and other musicians, and everyone was really open and friendly.

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There were people hanging out post show, dancing to cheesy 80’s music and it actually wasn’t annoying.

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DIGS

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The only thing that we non-smokers (the whole band doesn’t smoke) had to contend with was that our sleeping quarters for the evening, a room with bunks in it, was located just at the other end of the fumoir which we had to pass through to access! We also came to the conclusion that the Swiss are waging a war against oxygen because everybody smokes! At one point during the evening, while the entire band were in bed, coughing incessantly, through some broken English someone asked us if we wanted the air on…YES!!! We all yelled simultaneously, gasping for air. Once the air came on though, it seemed to be pulling the smoke from the rest of the building into our room! TURN OFF THE AIR!!! We all yelled, while laugh-coughing at the absurdity of it all.

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MORNING

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Art for breakfast

We had a nice spread of cheese and bread and these lovely hard boiled eggs for breakfast, then I took a few pics of the outside art area in the daylight.

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I had to get in a few staged shots:

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True

We hated to leave this lovely venue and the most welcoming people. Apparently, the owner of this place was a big, long time fan of the band, and the hospitality really showed. We also have to shout out to Mathias Schibo for taking care of us while we were there.

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The band with Mathias (center)

 

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Hangin’ with Mathias

I really hope to visit this place again!

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Alphastare: “Optonoises”

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I recently released a project I’d been working on sporadically over the past year utilising audio sent to me by Stan lewry aka “Optonoise” who uses lasers to create sounds. See my interview with Stan  to get more of a sense of his work. Check out the video below from his presentation at The Tate Modern awhile back, to see and hear some of the sounds in their raw state.

Enjoy the release!

 

Touch the Gear 2018

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For the second year in a row I was invited to show a few pieces of gear at the Outsound New Music Summit event ‘Touch the Gear” where a space is open free to the public, who have the unique opportunity to play with uncommon instruments and ask questions etc. Represented is a cross section of electronic, as well as acoustic instruments, some manufactured by small companies such as the Eurorack modular gear and tabletop synths. There were also one of a kind DIY custom instruments (the tabletop resonating deconstructed banjo was a highlight) and devices utilising open source programming to design custom interfaces and/or sound sources as well as processing.

This event has a great community vibe and it’s always fun to see young kids get excited about these strange inventions. Look up the artists for more info, some have been deeply involved in the underground avante garde music scene for a long time.

Artists included this year:

• L.J. Altvater – tape-loop/effects-pedals
• Hugh Behm-Steinberg – CD turntable and effects
• Amanda Chaudhary – analog modular synthesizer, theremin
• Andrew of Chopstick – Pro One, modular and homemade synthesizers
• Tom Djll – small electronic devices including mixers, filters, effects, pickups, etc.
• R Duck – synthesizer
• Tom Duff – surprises
• Tammy Duplantis – game boys
• Bart Hopkin – invented instruments
• Jeff Klukowski (Alphastare)- modular synthesizers etc.
• David Leikam – Moog Rogue analog synthesizer
• Dania Luck – laptop with midi-controller running super-collider
• Collette McCaslin – percussion, small instruments
• Andy Puls – homemade synthesizer
• Jess Rowland – cell phones and controller
• Gabby Wen – electronics
• Peter Whitehead – invented instruments

Enjoy these 2 brief videos, which, together give a good sense of the diverse items on hand as well as the creativity and innovation of these artists. The first video was created by Amanda Chaudhary of Catsynth : who did some short interviews:

The second video was compiled from a few clips I took. Some walkthrough footage and a couple of brief demos by a few of this years participants:

Enjoy the wonderful sounds.

European Tour Journal Day 7 Stuttgart

Continued coverage of our tour back in Feb. 2018

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We were a bit sad to be leaving Italy and all of the wonderful food, sights and people, but we were also excited for our first German show at Goldmark in Stuttgart. It was one of the longer stretches and after a bit of a wait to load out of the previous night’s venue, we barely got to Stuttgart in time! We also had trouble finding the venue since nobody mentioned it was below street level, down an off ramp. We just kept chasing the destination dot on GPS, circling around and around until we finally saw some people who pointed out the entrance.

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My devices were full and we had to load in and set up immediately, so I got no footage from this show. Despite the rushed entry and the resulting grumpy promoter…we hit the stage right on time and slayed that crowd. The sound was excellent and people were into it.

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Fan Foto

Some shots from the drive

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Leaving Torino

 

 

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Next stop Olten Switzerland!