Recording in progress!

November 19, 2015

Last year, I purchased an old Tascam Portastudio 414 on a whim. One of the DJs at the station had got it from a pawn shop, intending to record their shows– enthusiastic, but probably not the best tool for the job. Seeing it, I was filled with fun ideas– I generally enjoy working with physical media, but tape will always be special to me. With a vacation from work in mid-swing, I decided it was finally time to get some tape rolling.

So far, a lot of my ideas are working out. I’m remembering some of the ins and outs of working with tape, and having fun with the various eccentricities of the medium. I’m also taking my good sweet time, so don’t get too excited at these little snippets– there’s a fair chance that none of this will make the cut. This is also recorded directly to my phone, via a set of headphones off the Portastudio, so forgive the fidelity. Enjoy!

Mystified – “Sovereign”

November 18, 2015

So here’s a release that needs a little unpacking– in 2001, Robin Storey released an album under his Rapoon solo project called “Cold War: Drum ‘N’ Bass,” which set Storey’s ambient looping against drum and bass figures. Although I wouldn’t have guessed at the theme in a million years without the help of thematic titles and imagery, the music largely functions as a means for Storey to re-examine the beauty of his own remembered places from childhood against the omnipresent apparatus of the military and state. Although I enjoy Rapoon, (and perhaps to a greater extent, Storey’s involvement in Zoviet France) there is a definite English sensibility to the music that, as it draws heavily on memory and shared experience, I will freely admit I am not able to entirely share. Works from The Advisory Circle or Belbury Poly are similar in this regard.

Still, some of these nostalgic elements are shared– and unfortunately, so is the experience of growing up and realizing that some of these fond memories contain more menacing elements. Perhaps this is the experience that Mystified draws upon for his self-described “tribute” to “Cold War: Drum ‘N’ Bass,” a freely-released collection called “Sovereign.”

For Mystified’s part, the unpacking is likely in two parts. On the one hand, a colleague and fan’s personal history with the original album itself. Mystified has always been up-front with his admiration of Storey, and of the Rapoon project in particular. Although Mystified releases happily carry their own weight (or I would not deal with them at all) there is doubtless a certain artistic push or inspiration that must be acknowledged. On the other hand, there is Mystified’s own experience of re-examining memory– of course, it is complicated by the prior concerns. It’s a conundrum, a loop, formed from another’s memories and experiences; impossible for an outside party to fully discern.

So where does that leave the listener? Perhaps, right where Mystified intends us to be– suspended in an uneasy repetition of shadowy motives and retreating understanding. Like “Sovereign” itself, the simplicity is only skin-deep, and the complexity is entirely dependent on how far you’ll continue into the rabbit hole.

Mystified – “Sovereign” on Treetrunk

Koit H. Püss (1929-?)

November 17, 2015

Today, I was a library beast. I went over to Morris Library on the SIUC campus, as I have been meaning to do for some time now, and did some digging for a book of Soviet poster art I had come across back in the 90s. I’m happy to say that my elementary school library training came in handy, and I was about to locate it! Check out Morris Library’s badass Diagon Alley bookshelves, and tell me they’re not goddamn magical.

According to “The Soviet Political Poster: 1917-1980,” Koit Hansovich Püss was born in 1929, and lived the later part of his life in Moscow. In 1954, he graduated from the Estonian Art Institute in Tallinn. From the early 1950s onwards, he was active as a poster designer, graphic artist and monumental painter.

The internet is little help in finding more detail about him, so I’ve gathered pictures of the four posters I’ve learned about so far. As you can see, one of them is rather special to STARTLING MONIKER, for what would we do without our little cow mascot, Malty?

koit 1koit 2koit 3

From left to right, the posters are from 1963, 1965, and 1966. The first says “MORE!” and the last says “Children all over the world need peace.” The fourth poster says “Wait ’til I grow up!” and is from 1963. After discovering the artist’s name, I was able to find one image of it online, at Getty Images. Apparently, Getty Images thinks they can just take a picture of someone else’s art, and license it for hundreds of dollars, go fig. I think Getty can go fuck themselves, because I took my own photo of his art, and I’ll let you do whatever you want with it, at least until Mr. Püss asks us to stop.




Jack Hertz & Mystified – “Inuksuk” ( An overnight review)

November 17, 2015

I enjoy listening to music while I’m going to sleep, letting it play throughout the night. Some long-time favorites include Brian Eno’s “Thursday Afternoon,” as well as “Neroli;” many of Lou Harrison’s orchestral works, and several recordings by Z’ev. Lately, I’ve enjoyed “If I Was,” by The Staves. It’s a difficult thing, to guess up-front whether an album will work for an overnight listen, and occasionally I find myself dreadfully wrong– though I enjoy his work tremendously while awake, I found a Phill Niblock album to be a nearly suffocating experience when trying to sleep. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t picturing a sleeper at rest, so your experience may vary. It seems to me that the best works for sleep-listening act as a tether of sorts, allowing for the sleeper to travel outward, while occasionally providing a reassuring tug from the waking world.


At any rate, I’ve been enjoying Jack Hertz & Mystified’s “Inuksuk” album for the Aural Films netlabel– I’m not always the biggest fan of Mystified’s collaborations, but this one seems to work well, with a good blend between both artists. I’ve largely given up on figuring out who did what, despite some early theories. At it’s best, “Inuksuk” delivers on what I’ve come to expect from a Mystified outing– thoughtful ambient works bathed in somewhat uneasy semi-rhythmic looping patterns. That sounds clinical, but Mystified does this very, very well time and again, with a knack for catching your attention just enough here and there to keep even the simplest figures remarkably fresh throughout. As far as I’m concerned, these moments are the titual “inuksuk,” dotting the sonic landscape to give the listener a sense of place, perhaps even in one’s dreams.

Jack Hertz & Mystified – “Inuksuk” on Aural Films


“The way that is forward seems to lead backward”

November 16, 2015

From the backlog of interesting things, here’s a set that concluded Swampfest 2014. It features Nick Yeck-Stauffer, Tom Vasilj, Brandon Beachum, and a guest appearance (for the last 15 minutes or so) from yours truly. To say that this was very informal hardly covers it– I didn’t expect to do anything but listen to bands that evening, but was quickly invited to help out once I’d arrived. I ended up with a single microphone, and a non-functioning amplifier, so I decided to see if I could bore a hole in the side of the amp with the mic– a little action inspired by The Haters, most certainly! For my efforts: a healthy pile of sawdust, a cleared room, and a newly-whittled microphone. Enjoy!

I’m back! (A Quick-Start Guide to DaveX)

November 16, 2015

Sorry for the gigantic delay. My last post of merit was written one year, six months, and nine days ago! To say that things have been a little rough is an understatement. Since that time, I have graduated from university, accepted a full-time position managing a community radio station, and gotten divorced. I’ve had more than a few close encounters with my depression, and have been just about as low (off and on) as I ever hope I’ll get. I’ve assured myself that it’s a terribly boring story, so I’m going to quickly skip you to the present with a handy “quick-start” guide:

I’m DaveX. I’ve been interested in sound for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t always know it. I’ve hosted numerous radio programs featuring experimental music, each with a focus on active listening. I have two children, “Mo” and “The Weasel.” I manage a small community radio station that is not unlike running The Muppet Show. I have problems with depression, but I’m still hopeful. I enjoy collecting records and tapes, reading, and circuit-bending. I make noisy things (and sometimes, I sell them!) I’m a vegetarian. I like comic books, photobooths, and kung-fu movies. Dee Snider saved my life, and I will happily read your John Cage fan-fiction.

This week, I’m on vacation from work, so I’m going to be getting back into blogging. To kick things off, I’ve uploaded my latest episode of “Music For Swimmers” to SoundCloud. You can listen to it online, or download the files. Ordinarily, this is a one-hour program, but Mo was sick today, so it’s closer to 2 hours and 15 minutes. The playlist is below– enjoy!

“Music For Swimmers” 11/15/15

Brian Chase “Feedback Drone” on Pogus Productions
Ross Bolleter “Piano Dreaming” on Pogus
Enzo Minarelli “The Weak Suits” on Pogus
RP Collier “Scum For DaveX” on RP Collier
Richard Pinhas “Efrim” on Cuneiform Records
Tony Youngblood “Light Has A Universal Meaning”
Tony Youngblood “Moderate Stimulation”
Tri Atma “Natural Loving” on Higher Octave Music
Tony Youngblood “Different Voices, Different Worlds”
Preston Ari Swirnoff “Maariv 1” on Last Visible Dog
César Bolaños “Sialoecibi, ESEPCO I” on Pogus
John Lennon, Yoko Ono “Two Virgins No. 1” on Negram
Leif Elggren “Soya” on Bananafish
OiMa “Brushman” on OiMa
OiMa “Prayer Wheel” on OiMa
Mooey Moobau “Love Bloody Love Food Sewer Food” on vosotros
Alok “Pool Weakness” on Lona Records
Oval “Standard Audio Frontend” on Thrill Jockey Records
Kiyoshi Mizutani, Hideaki Shimada & Kiyoharu Kuwayama “Chimere 1” on Monochrome Vision
Martin Denny “Quiet Village” on EMI Capitol
The Evolution Control Committee “hello” on Seeland
Steamboat Switzerland “VI” on Grob
Anaphylaxis “all yours” on Parasomnic Records/Mannequin Oddio
Pitz “Motet 6” on Oktadka
Pitz “Motet 7” on Oktadka
Anders Ostberg “Futuristic Experimental Music” on Chain Tape Collective
Chica X “Kickin The Kittens” on Nail In The Coffin
George Korein and the Spleen “There Must Be Somewhere” on George Korein
Tuft “Bathory” on Medusa Head Records
John Morton “Amazing Grace Variations” on Innova
Marcelo Radulovich “Turn On the Phone” on Titicacaman Records
Kanito “3” on NoType
Celluloid Mata “Convex” on ant-zen
Electropolis “Sailing The Flat Earth” on Innova
@c “77(1)” on Monochrome Vision
Kid Koala “Drunk Trumpet” on Ninja Tune
Tom Nunn “Skatchmat” on Edgetone Records
Matt Weston “Holler” on 7272music
Juppala Kaapio “Kagami Hebi (Mirror Snake)” on Last Visible Dog
Massimo Falascone & Bob Marsh “In Your Dreams” on Eh?
Loachfillet “Hell” on Resipiscent
Uladat “Guerra” on Black Tropical Records
Noah Creshevsky & If, Bwana “Cicada #4: Version Barnard” on Pogus Productions
Kenneth Gaburo “For Harry” on Pogus
Z’ev & Bob Bellerue “Felt, If Not Seen” on Phage Tapes

BBS. –DaveX

July 15, 2015



May 6, 2014

Ylayali Liner

The work that I’ve been tentatively referring to as “paradox/edges” is finally complete– and brings with it a new title: “Ylayali”. For the really, really, long-time readers of STARTLING MONIKER, you’ll know that I’ve released stuff under a variety of names in the past. Although I think I’m more DaveX now than anything, I’ve never been super-thrilled with releasing anything major under the name– and I just couldn’t sell myself on going the academic route, with middle initials blazing, etc., ha! One initial is fine, thank you. But the picking of a band/artist name is high voodoo. Lots to consider, especially for obsessive-minded, music junkie, record-hoarding crate-sniffers like myself. It’s the sort of thing you want to do right, one of the little rituals that add up to the overall fun of making music and being involved in music culture.

I took a little walk yesterday, just to get some distance on the problem of what to title the audio piece. Although a lot of direction ultimately ended up coming from Knut Hamsun’s 1890 novel HUNGER, it didn’t seem at all appropriate to appropriate the title– the work is not, after all, a reworking of the material. Rather, it encounters HUNGER, and comes away shaped by the experience. So I needed something different. I’ll let this selection from a note to my professor explain somewhat:

“…the unnamed protagonist sees (and becomes somewhat obsessed with) a young woman with whom he has a chance encounter. Although she is a stranger, the protagonist’s fragile and suggestible state cause him to provide her with a fanciful name he repeats to himself—“Ylayali”. As he says it for the first time, he hears his own heartbeat. Although the characters’ relationship is too complex to relate in this paper, a final point is worth mentioning— upon hearing of her moniker, she remarks unconvincingly that “it isn’t ugly.”
                As with Hamsun’s unnamed character, I have been similarly influenced by chance events, having decided early on in the process of creating this set of audio pieces to allow for and honor mistakes, outside influence, and what I think of as “the intent of the Universe” to play their part. To begin this process, I invited my daughter to read from randomly-selected portions of various texts. These included the TAO TE CHING, Sinclair Lewis’ novel BABBIT, and Hamsun’s HUNGER. My direction was that she randomly open the texts, and read from any single paragraph. During this process, the text of HUNGER revealed itself as a clear frontrunner, so the other texts were discarded. Portions of “Ylayali” are taken directly from these first, single-take readings, and form a skeletal theme that informs the work.”

In the novel, the protagonist encounters Ylayali, but does not retain her in any sense but, perhaps, a spiritual one. I like this idea. It seems more adaptable to what I’m interested in doing now– not so much making a statement or creating a message, as much as creating work that yields a significant encounter, like heat or gravity.

Although the project only called for a single physical copy to satisfy course requirements, I have made a numbered, limited-edition run of 10. At present, there are seven remaining– for $10 (well-concealed cash), I will mail your copy anywhere in the world. Contact me via e-mail for details. Some additional photos of “Ylayali” are below the fold, if you’re interested to see more. Read the rest of this entry »

Paradox/edges, update pt.4

May 2, 2014

The mixing and editing process for the piece has been going well, aside from some hiccups with a USB controller and University gear being pock-marked and haphazard. I listened to a rough cut last night in my car, and was totally impressed with about 75% of the overall work. The rest… looks like I’ll be going back to the editor.

Happy May Day!

May 1, 2014

Happy May Day! As the rest of the world is aware, today is International Workers’ Day, or May Day– for me, a time to remember the sacrifices made by others to improve our world, and to consider the sacrifices and hard work that will be necessary to continue making progress towards the dream of a truly free society. Despite the efforts to wipe the holiday out with Law Day and the National Day of Prayer (seriously, shove it) I’m continually proud to see friends and would-be friends keep the day alive with meaning, earnest struggle, and love. I spoke with a similarly-minded individual the other day about the strength necessary to carry on fighting– in any capacity– against such overwhelming odds. I will admit, I have not always found it. He told me that he purposefully sets aside time for good news, dipping into it each week to rejuvinate his spirit. It seems to be working for him, and it’s certainly a good way to keep up.

I’ve collected some stories from the front lines of good folks doing stuff in case you want to give it a shot, too.

Alabama prisoner strike, backed by IWW

12-year old protests Sea World, gets arrested

Building homes on the cheap with 3-D printing

June 13, 2008– an update

April 30, 2014

So I’ve been doing this sort of thing much too long! It seems I didn’t quit blogging or the show– I’m actually paid to manage the place now– yet the general feeling remains. In the “conclusions” section of your thesis, please note that circumstance did not affect the subject. 

paradox/edges update, pt.3

April 29, 2014


Work continued on the audio project today. Going well– I’ve got the basic structure complete, and have been working on making everything mix into something I’m happy with. So far, so good. I had an opportunity to revisit some of the Free Air drone sounds, so a remixed version of a portion of them is in use, as are some lovely froggy noises I captured. When it’s done, I’ll share! 

Generative Text Poem

April 28, 2014

I had still wanted to include some generative text and sounds in my final project audio, so I used the voice recognition function on my phone to capture and interpret low-volume talk radio, dialing through various crackly channels and letting it run. Here’s what I ended up with:

“10 when does the 20 and then duh well what so what up he knows what hes later 66 well its girl stuff from the beach someone is not something that we do so what something in 2007 turn music bigger group of sucks backyard what up and start firing I will fax it it was very scary is ending ever sanitize of a change and what about the bar Sirius International in the partners lots of the present that case viewer Arnel allies as a result what you believe the later what you’re selling it Baldwin double twist your jewels your facial potions with everything and clothing and he going to talk show on the couch right let’s see where is the Chris Martin to get the pants on anyways what does that exactly how ironic that it’s like that look at me look at me now I thought we need a ID peace and joy is 552 governor pressure on her moms now to recognize the legitimate see the State of Israel a condition it is necessary and began talking again yes absolutely that would be like this for long why what’s up so what would that work involved 1 about a month ago during the summer 2010 wasn’t talking about the music without it look Mormon equal every hundred thousand dollars this is Larry keep in mind that the best form of the day didn’t they just have fun people it’s probably safe what is 500 people on hundreds of people should still be at the same cost 70 th prestige the individual Trials foundation number along to get ringing of matches his response to this tweet to just coming to some and the other has it did this and it wasn’t meant like if he has had it off and gives a shit what you want to do, this is the day be 4 we still on the books in and the door I’ll let you know on the weekend and a good to eat like a tentative at it to the relationship was Israel is for $215,000 in April know that number does change in the coming days but the previous month was at 190 2012 here is not allowed to go after missable person Carl’s Jr Omar you still your house is so big yes it is it just hey”

A classmate kindly let me tag on his session to record this as a spoken poem of sorts, so I’ll be working it into the piece in the next few days. Tomorrow is editing part one, wish me luck!


“New” vinyl detritus

April 27, 2014

Record Store Day came and went– took the Weasel down to the local, and let him pull records for me from the cheap bin. He ended up finding me some fun stuff. I recommend this! Kids won’t try to hipster you into (or out of) an LP, so you end up with all sorts of random picks! Here’s a few:

Speaking of “miserable”

April 26, 2014

University is getting its last kicks in. Today’s recording session did NOT go well– great sounds all around, reasonably simple setup… I should have been looking more diligently for the stick! Anyhow, the Mac running ProTools died partway during the session, taking all the recording with it, and freezing in the process. Frustrating! So I’m thinking– I’m going to honor that particular request from the universe, and just work with what I have. Too bad, because I had a great, really super low-key improv with a punch balloon that I was very happy with… you can’t replicate that sort of stuff, though, so off it goes into the ether. 




April 26, 2014

Don’t forget to listen to MUSIC FOR SWIMMERS on WDBX-FM, from 5-6pm CST. Experimental, noise, drone, avant-grade… Cool stuff!

Recording update, Paradox/edges

April 25, 2014

Things went well in the studio last night! Although it started off rocky, with some ProTools related setup nonsense slowing the start down– and seriously, I’m really disliking the Mac environment– the recording session was solid. I had to chat up some of my older gear into functioning again, but that’s hardly my first go-around with the iffy lifespan of circuit-bent instruments. Everything was much more controlled than I would have guessed, so some of my plans to allow for the unintentional (there’s paradox for you) did not quite come off. On the other hand, some chance readings from various novels did prove interesting, especially a bit from Knut Hamsen’s novel Hunger– 

“I was fearfully confused. I absolutely did not know if I were on my head or my heels. This creature upset all my chain of reasoning; turned it topsy-turvy. I was bewitched and extraordinarily happy. It seemed to me as if I were being dragged enchantingly to destruction. She had expressly willed to go back; it wasn’t my notion, it was her own desire. I walk on and look at her, and get more and more bold. She encourages me, draws me to her by each word she speaks. I forget for a moment my poverty, my humble position, my whole miserable condition. I feel my blood course madly through my whole body, as in the days before I caved in, and resolved to feel my way by a little ruse.”

My recording uses a slightly different text, but it’s still a good place to start!

Paradox, edges

April 24, 2014

Going into campus studio tonight with pretty much my full-on noise setup. Recording for a final audio project– and of course, I’ve got the awful case of “senior-itus” and just want to get things knocked out, out of the way, etc. However, I partly came back to college for these sorts of opportunities– looking in from the outside at all that cool gear, interesting connections… That wasn’t much fun. So, I’m also trying to honor the experience. Half of me wants to step back, let unintentional connections and “happenings” occur– the sort of micro-minutiae that create the greatest detail, letting the universe speak, as it were. The rest of me is “grand statement” and “don’t disappear.” I’m hoping to find a way to let both of these impulses breathe. For now, I’ve settled on splitting things down the middle. In the recording process, I’ll step out of the way. Let the tape run. Create situations and see what happens. I’m toying with the idea of recording with extremely high volumes and ridiculous amounts of gain, so that I have no ability to disregard even the smallest movement. I’m also returning to the setup I used at the last Noise Summit– an unwieldy mess of interconnected cables, mixers, and amplification. It’s impossible to control, given its condition and ongoing abuse. I’m looking forward to hearing it belch forth from the bowels of campus!

The editing and mastering process will be an entirely different matter. I do intend to come forward at this stage, and show my hand. I’d prefer to be working in a different set of software, but I’m confident that the campus setup will allow me to get precise with things. I’d like to stay away from processing for the most part, but I am very interested in placement. But more on that later– I’ll update your tomorrow with how recording goes tonight!

Welcome back– for me and you

April 23, 2014

So, I’m back. Another birthday today. As always, not sure how I feel about that, but I’m getting the idea that it’s alright to let it go. After a second go of it, I’ll be graduating in a couple weeks– definitely pleased with this. And I’ve gotten to do so many neat things lately! I recorded a 78 lathe cut with the Free Air anthem I mentioned a couple years back, I’m running a radio station full of cool folks and neat music, and I’ve even gotten a new cassette player. Stuff is shaping up. I think depression is running out of steam, maybe. I don’t want to be too optimistic on that– but stuff feels different. So I’m back. And you’re back too! I thought I’d formally say it– let’s be in touch. I don’t want to slip off again. If you’re making music, tell me about it. Label has a new release? Share it with me. A mix? I want to hear it too! In return, I’m going to open things up a bit– more writing about running the station, more about sound and noise and music, and more of my own music coming your way as well. I’m a year older today. Here’s to not disappearing. Best, –DaveX


Liveblogging! 6/23/13

June 23, 2013

So we’re trying something new at the station– using Spinitron to help us keep our playlists. This is a really nice service that lets us input and track playlists, as well as make reports to all the fun fun fun performing rights organizations. What does this mean for you? Well, it means you can click around my past playlists a bit easier as I type them in. Here on STARTLING MONIKER, it might mean that I simply am able to copy-paste or provide a link from Spinitron, depending on whatever works best.

At any rate, enough shop talk. I’m covering for Style City today, in exchange for allowing her to cover my show next week so she can have an extra-long birthday broadcast. So I’ve brought in a bunch of great stuff to work with today, even though I’ve been mostly speanding my time on longer cuts– the Francis Dhomant and Phillip Schulze are notable examples. Good stuff from both by the way, but I’m especially impressed with Schulze’s addition to the Quartet Solo Series on this disc from the Striking Mechanism label. Lots of unusual sounds here, and the compositions is also very nice– a good blend of “musical” and “non-musical” elements, without getting into the precious feel-go0d ambient territory, or passing completely into noise. I’m also digging the feel of this label. The packaging for the releases is fairly simple, but with solid design elements. A bit difficult for me to figure out which track came first, though– some numbers would have been nice.

CRAY (Ross Healy) “STRK” from “Serge Modular Users 2009” on Resipiscent
Loachfillet “Origins of the Two Headed Spitting Cobra” from “Electric Pond: Solar Solution” on Resipiscent
Carlos Giffoni “All The Mistakes I Made During the Caribbean Winter” from “Serge Modular Users 2009” on Resipiscent
Morceaux de Machines “Lo-Fi Soundscape” from “Liberum Arbitrium” on No Type
Francis Dhomont “Frankenstein Symphony: Andante” from “Frankenstein Symphony” on Asphodel
Phillip Schulze “Cause Unfold Proceed II” from “Quartet Solo Series, Volume 1” on Striking Mechanism
Jonathan Chen “Drummer” from “Quartet Solo Series, Volume 1” on Striking Mechanism
Kine “Meditations in April Green” from “Meditation 1” on Alrealon Musique
Yannick Dauby, John Grzinich, Murmer “Sugis” from “Lind, Raud, Aastaajad” on Invisible Birds
Yannick Dauby, John Grzinich, Murmer “Talv” from “Lind, Raud, Aastaajad” on Invisible Birds

Alright, so pasting from Spinitron still leaves me with a bit of formatting, but this WAS pretty easy. I’ll make these into links a bit later on for you. In the meantime, here is a link to all of my Spinitron playlists. I’m going to have to see if there is a way to automatically export this data to STARTLING MONIKER. If you happen to know how, share it with me in the comments!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 48 other followers