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 »
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! 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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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!
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!
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
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!
It’s nearing the end of the day, so I thought I’d make a quick appearance on Startling Moniker, and type to those few remaining readers with stalwart hearts and barren calendars. I suppose I hadn’t mentioned it, but I did make it through the transformation between “interim manager” and “station manager” proper. For what it’s worth, WDBX-FM is now under my care. It’s a big job, with lots and lots of small moving parts. I’m pleased to have a job that has positive and concrete effects on the world– it’s a good mix of activism, organizing, art, and thinking off the top of your head– it’s a wonder I’d have never guessed I’d be doing this someday.
As I mentioned in another entry, I’ve also gone back to college. I started last summer, and have one semester remaining. Everything went well this semester, including my independent study, which was a re-boot of “Sounds Like Radio.” For the “pilot” I interviewed Frank Rothkamm, whose work I perceive as fascinating, but near-inexplicable. After our talk, I can’t claim to fully “get it,” but I think I am finally getting some footholds on the material, and definitely a better sense of how to approach things. Although I’ve liked the space that two hours of “Sounds Like Radio” affords, I’ve re-envisioned it as an hour-long program– two hours is a lot to produce on a weekly basis, so I’ve unfortunately ended up with some weak broadcasts. The music is always good, but I feel like I haven’t been able to tie things together well enough. Between working and being a student, there’s just not enough time to do it properly. That being said, I’m quite excited about the hour-long format. I’ll definitely let you all know when the pilot airs– this probably won’t be for a couple months, though. In a college town, there’s not much use in bringing out new programming in summer.
I turned 35 this past month. No adventure was had this year, which was unfortunate. I’m not certain I really even did much to celebrate– I did buy a few new records. In truth, depression continues to take a heavy toll on me. I have good days and bad, and while I’ve gotten better at anticipating and working around it, the self-loathing and doubt have similarly stepped up their efforts. It’s hard to imagine needing to deal with this for the rest of my life, but that certainly seems to be the case. In the meantime, I’ve decided to use this summer as a convenient chronological excuse for getting in better shape. I’ve noticed that exercise seems to help even things out, so what the hell– even though I’d rather read a book, it seems I’m going to be taking a lot of walks, drinking water, etc. I say this with a Coca-Cola in front of me– there’s still 56 minutes left in this day, right? Anyways, yes, this is a total momblog post. Sorry about that. Random stuff, needs to be said, blah blah blah. Since you were all so kind to read it, here’s something awesome to dig on:
Fat Worm of Error — Mashed Potentate (from “Ambivalence & The Beaker,” on Resipiscent)
Hans Grusel’s Krankenkabinet — Blue Door Openings (this, and next, from “Blaue Blooded Turen,” on Resipiscent)
Hans Grusel’s Krankenkabinet — Blaue Blooded Turen
Morceaux de Machines — Omlegging (from “Estrapade,” on NoType)
Auris — Kr-Tkec-Pte (from “Auris,” on Artco)
Frank Rothkamm — Opus Spongebobicum, Veranderungen nos. 1-20 (from “Opus Spongebobicum,” on Flux Records)
Jurica — Broken Bells (this, and next, from “Distant Memories,” on Alrealon)
Jurica — Scene 21
Tom Hamilton, Peter Zummo — Today’s Beat Thing Tomorrow (from “Slybersonic Tromosome,” on Penumbra)
Tom Hamilton, Peter Zummo — Trance for the Bopanon Set
Henry Kaiser — Devil In the Drain (from “Devil In the Drain,” on SST)
Provocative Operations — II (from “Montreal Free!” on NoType)
Provocative Operations — III
Provocative Operations — IV
Ken Montgomery — New Age Machines, pt. 1 (from “Drilling Holes In the Wall,” on Monochrome Vision)
Kotra & Zavolonka — Out of Nowhere (from “Wag the Swing,” on Kvitnu)
Kotra & Zavolonka — Uneven Walk
Kotra & Zavolonka –A Taste of Live Life
Kotra & Zavolonka — Spacy Drift
Kotra & Zavolonka — Mountain River
I’ll take the format from my last liveblog, and keep my thoughts interspersed throughout the playlist. It’s fun!
I started off with something a little off-kilter– Mo had a caller who was being rude about “just play some music already,” and being completely put-off about the whole ordeal of listening to radio…
Leif Elggren — Soya (from “Bananafish 16: Paradoxes of Enlargement”)
Big City Orchestra — Advise Pilot of Fire (from “Is Dead Long Live,” on Ubuibi)
My Fun — Fireworks (from “The Quality of Something Audible,” on The Land Of)
My Fun — Phonopostal (from “Sonorine,” on The Land Of)
The Lesser Birds of Paradise — Untitled Track 11 (from “A Suitable Frame,” on Loose Threads)
Peter Wright — 5 Minutes + 24 Seconds (from “Pariahs Sing Om,” on Last Visible Dog)
Insect Ark — Lift Off (from “Long Arms,” on Geweih Ritual Documents)
Merzbow — Bamboo Honey (from “Deprogramming Music Vol. 1,” on Sacred Noise)
Brent Fariss — Three Spirit Recordings (from “Four Environments Collapsing,” on Kendra Steiner Editions)
Christian Bouchard — Trois Miniatures En Suite (from “Fractures,” on Empreintes Digitales)
I’m covering for another DJ today, so I quickly packed a bag and heading in to the station. I’ve got a fairly large amount of music with me, so this should be a fun time! Just for formatting kicks, I’ll insert the playlist between thoughts…
Coin Gutter — Timewise (from “All Your Dreams Are Meaningless,” on NoType)
My Fun — Black Sky (from “Idyll EP” on Test Tube
I figured out an interesting little “jog” technique using our CD players, quite by accident. I was not aware that you could trick it into staying put in active mode on a single frame of the disc– so I opened the Insect Ark cut with a little jog improv, which sounded great.
Insect Ark — Lift Off
Pierre-Andre Arcand — Paradoxal (from “Atlas Epileptic,” on Ambiances Magnetiques)
I noticed that the “Dj Trios” disc featured a track recorded at Bard College, whose “Office of Student Life Programming” assisted with putting on the original concert. Seems fun that we are now the unintended beneficiaries of their effort– thanks Bard College!
Christian Marclay, Toshio Kajiwara, Marina Rosenfeld — Annandale-on-Hudson, November 19, 2003 (from “DJ Trios,” on Asphodel)
Felix Lachance — Manege I (from “Cache 2009,” on CEC)
Jeez. Only when dealing with experimental music will a DJ find himself describing the Greek root words for “behind” and “anus” in relation to a family of fish. Luckily, the music is worth it. Hope you’re enjoying this!
Christoph Erb, Jim Baker, Michael Zerang — Opisthoproctidae (from “Erb, Baker, Zerang” on Veto Records)
Psychotic Quartet — We Are All 11 or 26 Dimensions (from “Sphaleron,” on Eh?)
Whew! Feeling tired tonight. As much as I enjoy filling in, I’m definitely going to enjoy getting back home. Plus, I won’t have Tom Selleck staring at me. I was using a pirate flag here at the station as a curtain between the master studio and my office, which has a big window (it used to be a studio as well). As near as I can tell, someone mistook the Jolly Roger for Old Scratch, prompting a quick switch on my part. In a pinch, Tom Selleck– via his “Mr. Baseball” days– made a decent substitution in movie poster form; his ample arm hair, twinkling eyes and thick mustache surely no match for anything cloven-hoofed. But now he stares at me, happily brandishing his ball bat. I’m not sure if we’re any better off.
Ministry of Rites — Embers (from “Grid,” on Edgetone)
CJ Borosque, Robert M. — Beautiful (from “Beautiful,” on Edgetone)
Kallabris — Consideration dur cafe (from “Genesungswerk,” on Genesungswerk
Kenji Siratori, Torturing Nurse — Mutant Hell (from “Mad Blockhead’s Tale,” on Roil Noise)
Grkzgl — Untlat (from “Esque,” on Angle Rec)
Erik M, DJ Olive, Christian Marclay — New York, September 17, 2000 (from “DJ Trios,” on Asphodel)
Climax Golden Twins — Untitled (from an untitled EP on Testing Ground)
Jin Sangtae — Extention (from “Extensity of Hard Disk Drive,” on Balloon & Needle)
O, Moon — Untitled #1 (from “Moonophonique Part One,” on Burning Emptiness)
Anla Courtis, Seichi Yamamoto, Yoshimi — Untitled (from “Live at Kanadian,” on Public Eyesore)
Richard Trosper — The Ocean (from “The Ocean,” on Public Eyesore)
Lateral Agriculture Order (as Figlia Villana) — First Memorial Gangrene (from “Bananafish 16: Paradoxes of Enlightenment”)
Wether — Selective Reasoning (from “Skin Atonement,” on Hymns)
A_Dontigny, Dianne Labrosse — TSF (from “Telepathie,” on NoType)
Jennifer Walshe — Nature Data (from “Nature Data,” on Interval)
Mammal — Repulsion (from “Lonesome Drifter”)
I’m playing from vinyl acquired during my local university’s library cleanout a couple weeks back. I’ve been quite happy with many of my finds, which include vintage works from Cage, Pousseur, Stockhausen, Brown, Antheil, Xenakis, and many others. I feel incredibly lucky to not only have an opportunity to get my hands on these albums, but to save them from what was otherwise going to become a trip to the dump. Hard to believe, isn’t it? If you’re excited about what you’re hearing on “Music For Swimmers,” be sure to tune in to “Sounds Like Radio” tonight as well– I’ll have even more cuts from these records, each better than the last. If you’re not sure how to tune in, just look in the sidebar for “Sounds Like Radio,” and be sure to leave me a comment!
Ton Bruynel — Arc (from “Visual Series 7072/1,” on Donemus)
Iannis Xenakis — Polla Ta Dhina (this, and next, from “Album 2,” on Angel)
Iannis Xenakis — ST/10 = 1-080262
Gordon Mumma, David Tudor — Mesa, For Cybersonic Bandoneon (from “A Second Wind For Organ,” on Odyssey)
Toru Takemitsu — Asterism
Toru Takemitsu — Requiem