Sounds from the lab (Audio and Video)

Fruitvale moon
Been busy preparing for a show on Oct 18th. Here are some things that were created in the process.

First up are a series of cassette collages, this will be an ongoing series.If you aleady checked out my previous post “That Beautiful Darkness” then you may have already heard the first tape. There are 5 so far uploaded to Mixcloud.

Cassette Collage 1
Cassette Collage 1


Cassette Collage 2
Cassette Collage 2


Cassette Collage 3
Cassette Collage 3


Cassette Collage 4

Cassette Collage 4


Cassette Collage 5

Cassette Collage 5


CC6Cassette Collage 6


4 videos from a recent session
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We got together to get in tune and try out some sounds for a show. We ended up with some nice moments.
Here are 4 youtube videos of some excerpts from the session:
Preparations 1-4

-_-Enjoy-_-



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‘That Beautiful Darkness’

Cassette Collage 1

For about a week or so at the end of September and into the first week of October we experienced quite a heat spell here in San Francisco. This is the time of year when our ‘Indian Summer’ generally kicks in, so this is no surprise.

Having grown up in Buffalo where the seasons were clearly defined and came and went with a fairly consistent regularity: vibrant wettish Spring with the slush from the Winter season still lingering and mud colored–>warm and sunny Summer, that despite the stigma of Buffalo being a ‘cold place’ could really get up there in both temperature and humidity–> Fall with it’s lovely array of reds and oranges and yellows of the turning leaves, the refreshing cool temperatures giving relief from the Summer swelter, chestnuts and acorns and pine cones everywhere–> the notorious Winters that we’re known for, with blizzards, sub- freezing temperatures and mountains of snow driven into 8′-10′ foot tall drifts that have been known to bury cars and houses alike.

With that being the cycle for my first 20 years or so, I got used to going with that natural flow of things, Spring and Summer were spent outdoors skateboarding and hanging out etc. Fall and Winter were times spent mostly indoors trying to come up with things to do to entertain ourselves and kill time until we could go back outside. We mostly sat around and listened to music. Eventually I got into making music and one of my favorite things was recording oddball stuff onto tapes. Most portable stereo cassette players back then had built in microphones that you could use to record anything onto a blank cassette tape.Eventually I got a 4 track recorder which allows you to layer and mix things together (up to 4 separate tracks) and that has been, to this day, one of the things I like to do most on dark and gloomy days.

So when our ‘Indian Summer’ broke this year just a few days ago, I had that feeling of the seasons changing and the urge to work out a piece on tape kicked in. Here is the result:

Cassette Collage 1

Here I have layered a bunch of field recordings ,various synth sounds,loops and a bit of audio from a video of Angelo Badalamenti talking about the creation of the Twin Peaks theme music which I then loop and manipulate via Moogerfooger. Angelo talking about how David guided him into ‘That beautiful darkness’ really resonated with me on that particularly gloomy day here in SF. This is a 28 minute mix as you can only record on one side of a cassette using a 4 track recorder, there is no ‘side 2’.

I plan to keep making these as I go. Some of these recorded bits are from other works. I like the sound that tapes give with that analog warmth and bit of hiss that I miss from squeeky clean digital. Since the tracks are all recorded with other pieces in mind, they are all randomly layered and create their own piece when played together. A random experiment every one.


From Swans to Zoviet France! An active week of listening, playing and listening some more!

Beginning with The Swans on Monday and ending with Zoviet France on Saturday, this was to be a week packed to the gills with quality and sometimes challenging listening with a bit of playing in between.

Monday: Swans and Carla Bozulich

SF Independent 9.8.14

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Flutes!

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Carla Bozulich was an artist I’d never had the chance to see perform. She was a friend of ‘Jane’ the early muse for Perry Farrell and very much a part of that creatively rich early-mid 80’s LA underground. I was just recently reading the Janes bio ‘Whores’ and she’s a featured player in that early part of the book.

She’s most known for her band The Geraldine Fibbers and the lesser known Ethyl Meatplow who also featured Johnny Napier who recently passed away (RIP). Johnny Napier was also in a short lived band with Chris D. (Flesh Eaters) called Stone By Stone, so there’s a bit of a musical family tree connection between us.

Carla’s set was dark and sometimes frenetic. She played abstract guitar sometimes singing through a low-fi mic drenched in delay, accompanied by her band who switched between various instruments consisting of synths, drum machine, bowed saw, flute (probably many more items) and both side players had drums which made for some nice tribal breaks.

The over-all effect, for me anyway, was an authentic representation of what was interesting and cool about the LA sound from those days when none of the bands sounded alike and there was a rich cross fertilization of art, fashion and decadence with a DIY punk ethic running throughout. Such a refreshing thing to hear that sound from someone who was there! Go see Carla if you ever get the chance, she’s the real deal!

SWANS

photo (29)

It was a Monday night so I was already tired and feeling good and light like that, so when Thor (Swans percussionist/multi instrumentalist) came up alone and started a slowly swelling gong solo that went on for over 8 minutes, I was pulled right in. Eventually drummer Phil Puleo and Cristoph Hahn (Lap Steel guitar) joined in with more sweeps and ominous drones building up to the entrance of the rest of the band including Michael Gira who guided the dirge up and up leading right into ‘Frankie M’.photo (65)photo (46)

That whole gong intro into Frankie M. took us 36 minutes into the journey! Most bands are done by then, they were just getting started!

photo (57)

For the next hour and a half The Swans demonstrated their integrity and musicianship as they pounded out muscular dirges and suspenseful drones that prove why they are a lasting force in the world of industrial/experimental music. Though there is that element of experimentalism, they still maintain a rigid structure to the pieces and a solid rhythmic framework that keeps it moving along and keeps you engaged. Michael Gira also guides the ship in a very physical way with hand signals, sometimes leaping to emphasize a stop.

photo (70)034

And we are saved!

Saved

Tuesday my ears still hurt after the ‘Aural Iron Man’ that was The Swans the night before, but I had to rehearse for Fridays show with my band Andalusia Rose. We ran our set once and also rehearsed an acoustic version of our set that will be debuted when we play up in Seattle on Sept 21st at The Mix.

Unplugged!
Unplugged!

I spent some time wed. allowing my ears to recover and working on this flyer for my upcoming experimental show with my side project Alphastare on Oct. 18th at The Stork Club in Oakland,

Alphastare at The Stork Club SF 10.18.14

Thursday I worked on Alphastare tracks and prepared for Friday.

FRIDAY

Andalusia Rose w/ Fast Piece of Furniture

I was excited to finally meet Todd Swalla who was the drummer for Ohio’s old school Hardcore Punk band The Necros. We’d been in contact about doing a thing together for a few years and it was great to finally make that happen. We played second, and unfortunately I missed the opener as I had to go pick up my wife, so I’m sorry I have nothing on them besides that they were called Stephen Michael. I snapped a quick pic on my way out. Very nice folks.

Stephen Michael

Fast Piece of Furniture

Fast Piece of Furniture have a nice blend of classic rock meets a bit of a 90’s college rock without sounding dated. Excellent musicians and solid songs, check them out! We look forward to doing another show with them on October 10th at The Stork Club in Oakland.

Here’s a screen grab of Andalusia Rose:photo (94)

I also unfortunately missed the last band that night as I had to beat tracks back to SF before the last train. They were called Picking up Pieces.

Saturday

San Francisco Electronic Music Festival

photo (88)

Program Info

ZOVIET FRANCE

LIVE

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Zoviet France are one of those mysterious, nebulous sort of acts that I never expected to get the chance to see, so I was quite surprised and pleased to hear about their rare appearance here in SF for the 15th annual San Francisco Electronic Music Festival!

They built up intriguing layers of sound using various samples, sound sources and processing. There was also an electroacoustic element with noisemakers and various reed instruments that sounded otherworldly when fed through whatever majik they had up on the table. The set lasted an hour and ended with some of the same sound they started out with, a little cyclical feedback blip, that closed the circle nicely. I went somewhere a few times during their set and what a treat to be able to experience them live.

On a related note, Zoviet France have been consistently and diligently releasing this weekly Podcast ‘A Duck in a Tree’ full of wonderful obscure ambient field recordings and other abstractions infused with some of their own stuff. Highly recommended!!

Postscript

Zoviet France were the perfect end to the week, from one end of the abstract spectrum to the Swans at the other, who started my week.

If that wasn’t enough music action, on Sunday I went over to our producers place to listen to final mixes of the Andalusia Rose EP. We made some minor tweaks and solidified it. I look forward to the vinyl version with much anticipation. While waiting for files to transfer, we watched a bunch of Roky Erickson live footage and Some old Cramps footage while swapping stories and talking shop. There’s nothing like sitting in another room full music bio books and records and old tape recorders and other objects to look over and talk about. It’s good to feed the head.

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