I’m working on my Top 12 Best Happy Neat-O List of 2009, but until it’s posted, here’s a bit of alternate reality to tide you over. I know which character I’m picking!
Archive for December, 2009
Here’s something to make your Xmas weird– download a ten year-old girl’s Casio SK-1 experiments! Style City’s “The Happening” EP features extended minimal drones, surprisingly morbid lyrics, and an ode to giant robots!
Highly recommended for fans of The Shaggs, Chica X, and Eyes Like Saucers.
Also available in a limited edition of 10. Trades only! Send e-mail to stylecitymusik AT myspace.com for details.
Visit Style City on the web.
Put your hands together for the “Not Edgy, Not Controversia,l Not Corporate, Not Played Anywhere But On My Show, Super-Popular Rock Tunes Hour,” yay! Ironically, searching for “a fresh variety of music” brings up 15,300 hits… Be sure to click the note, and make it big.
I’ll be taking next week off, for Xmas purposes, so today’s broadcast is my last for 2009. I’ll see you next in 2010, the year we make contact. I’ve already got some guests set up– before all the good spots are gone, why don’t you get in touch? Have whatever happy holiday you celebrate, be safe, and take care– DaveX
Aperiodic — Air Below Mountains
Aperiodic — Louder
Oubliette — Amon Hen (from split tape w/ Tol Brandir)
If, Bwana — Men Age At 3 (from Zelphabet, volume “I”)
Matt Weston — I Just Saw Fog and Dust
Matt Weston — This October, All Octobers
Pierre Schaeffer — Etude aux Chemins de Fer
Climax Golden Twins — A Length of Stovepipe
Climax Golden Twins — Untitled, from Testing Ground 3″ release
Wether — Selective Reasoning (from Hymns Label release “Skin Atonement”)
Wether — Silver Flood
Wether — Torrid
Wether — Anticipate the Genesis
Jim Sangtae — Extention
Tim Reed — The Point (from Lonely Whistle Music release “Selected Electroacoustic Works”)
Don Campau — Don’t Dick With My Dictaphone (all tracks marked * from Hal McGee’s “Dictaphonia 5” microcassette compilation)
Ian Watson — Untitled*
Otolathe — Tannenberg 1410*
William Wesley & The Tiny Sockets — If Something Comes Up With the Fuzz, I Ain’t Got No Buzz*
Rajun Cajun — Untitled*
Ironing — Alachua*
Heffalump Trap — Bird terrorism crashes plane*
Ceramic Hobs — Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot*
Mi.T.-CON — Micro-Jam*
Charles Rice Goff III — Take A Letter*
Sonic Disorder — Untitled*
Halaka — Grocery, Singer, Girl
Halaka — A Man’s Head on Fire, Through the Trees
Halaka — A Lot of Colorful Balloons
Ryonkt — Sunlight & Water, pt. 4
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ll know that my first radio show was ~ORE~, which I co-hosted for two years with Tony Youngblood. Lately, I’ve been exploring the history of WDBX-FM, but Tony’s most THEATRE INTANGIBLE entry got me thinking about digging back into the history of ~ORE~. You’ll want to read the sister entry (fact: like ships, all blogs are female) before continuing here.
I’ve been with ~ORE~ in one fashion or another since it got started, at Southern Illinois University’s WIDB radio in 1998. By that time, I was a confirmed music obsessive, but I had yet to do anything with radio. Tony’s on-air collages caught my ear, and I started helping him compile raw material each week, which we would sift through during the live broadcasts. More often than not, the results were something of a trainwreck– but I gradually began to realize that I was building my listening skills, learning to improvise in a sound environment, and getting a serious education in composition as well. In effect, ~ORE~ was like experimental music bootcamp. The grind of producing a new episode each week with zero budget, amidst a full college workload was often intense. But ~ORE~ opened my mind to the possibilities of radio and music in ways that I hadn’t thought possible. I distinctly remember pitching one show idea to Tony that would take place entirely in engineering, re-routing cables and signals to see what would happen to the broadcast signal. Although we didn’t ever go through with this (admittedly rather hazardous) idea, the concept of multi-layered improvisation existing at all levels of the radio chain stuck with me– we could alter the music, we could alter the broadcast, we could alter the radios receiving it, we could alter the listeners… and they could alter us. The possibilities were simply staggering.
Tony and I had apparently soaked up Wu-Tang Clan’s greatest lesson, too– make it a franchise. Thus, the original ~ORE~ was endowed with “Prefab Audio Extrapolations” as a tagline. Even while fighting to keep up with a one-hour weekly broadcast, we were thinking of the future! At times, it seemed like anyone who was listening was actually AT the broadcasts, or helping make them. Although we were doing something amazingly different on the SIU campus, we didn’t exist in a bubble. Flyers and chalk were our outreach. Wednesday nights, we’d gather under the dim yellow lights of Faner Hall, and begin our amazingly huge chalk runs. We got our friends and family into it with us, making teams to cover as much of the 900-foot length of the breezeway as possible before the chalk bucket ran out. By morning, Faner was a pastel mess of dogs and cows spouting absurdist essays extolling the virtues of experimental radio, mixed with the inevitable Xeroxed flyers cooked up special for the occasion. Although the flyers rarely made much sense, we knew that they would reach others like us– weirdos, makers, noise-enthusiasts, record collector scum, freaks… our people.
When Tony graduated, I tried to carry on with ~ORE~ as best as I could. Now having found myself in the somewhat ironic position of being a more senior member of WIDB (I found this funny, because I had never officially joined), I made some effort to have a positive effect on the greater course of the station. But WIDB was floundering and directionless– and worse yet, it was splitting into two “factions”. On one side, WIDB had a core group of specialty-show DJs and music fans who were happy to continue WIDB’s long tradition of broadcasting in an oddball college radio format. They recognized that the freedom we were allowed for selecting our music brought with it a responsibility to showcase recordings and artists outside the mainstream, something that a commercial station cannot often do. On the other side, there were those who wished to emulate these same commercial stations, rendering WIDB little more than a warm-up “practice” space for those seeking jobs in corporate broadcasting. Worse yet, they wanted to cede more and more time to the automated programming, and were removing the specialty shows one by one.
The climate was rough, to say the least. WIDB had re-branded itself as “The Revolution,” an insipid and hollow slogan ironically describing whole days filled with nothing but a computer playing mp3 files in the back room for the bored, captive audience in the Student Center. I took to showing up at random times, shutting the PC off, and broadcasting miniature shows for anyone who would listen. Other DJs also stepped up to the plate– I heard others interrupting the automation as well, discussing the change over the air, or refusing to play the nonsense dictated by new programming rules.
But eventually, it got to be too much. I was tired, and ~ORE~ was beaten. I’d seen the new programming schedule, which literally crowned the station manager victorious by awarding him my old time slot. It reduced specialty shows by more than half, pushing them entirely to the weekends. The “Quiet Storm” broadcasting, which was arguably our most popular offering, was slashed dramatically. This was bizarro-world WIDB, and I wanted no part of it. On the night of the last ~ORE~ broadcast, the senior staff of WIDB was taking part in a pep rally on campus, attempting to out-shout other student organizations to show their spirit. I couldn’t think of a more fitting end to my days with the station– playing my favorite tunes to a dark student union, while the staff screamed about how amazing we were. After my last record was over, I posted some flyers to announce the occasion… and ~ORE~ Prefab Audio Extrapolations was dead.
Here’s some early flyer art for ~ORE~, and a bunch of other photos besides. I’ll do my best to explain them:
This was the core of the ~ORE~ family. I always liked this flyer, and felt that it represented us all well. Our “Mysterious DJ” was Will Bernel, AKA DJ Shad, AKA Willie Dynamite. I owe him a lot as a fellow DJ, and would love to chat with him again sometime!
This flyer is one of our “stealth” postings. Our flyers were often torn down by a campus Christian group, so I’d try to hide them in plain view for longer shelf life.
I love this one– “who gives a shit about our soundless room?!” Be sure to click these to see them large, okay?
On the surface, this one makes no sense whatsoever. In actuality, it describes the exact plot of “Doug’s Party,” our most infamous episode.
I re-worked the dialogue in this flyer many, many times, even employing it later at WDBX-FM.
I made this flyer in January of 1999, long before Franz Ferdinand would rip me off, lol.
Here’s Matty Smith, the station manager who was intent on turning WIDB into a total shitpile. As you can see, he was a complete tool. I got him to pose with a sign that had been posted at WIDB since I arrived, allowing me to subtly alter the content for greater veracity. Also present– a very young DJ Mo!
Here was Matty’s proposed schedule. See all the “pre-programmed” stuff? YIKES!
Long Live ~ORE~
I’ve got to imagine that WIDB is a different place now. New DJs, new ideas, and a couple solid webstreams have seen to that. Do yourself a favor and check them out— tell them DaveX said “hi”.
I love this applicant’s description of their proposed program– reminds me of the opening for Lily Allen’s “LDN” video. Keep narrowing it down, and you’ll only be playing XTC b-sides before you’re through! Also, dig the quotes on “useless”. I’m quoting him… who is he quoting? Click the picture to embiggen this mystery!
If you want me to grade on a curve, be sure to read the other WDBX History posts!
Here’s a ton of downloads for you– I’ve re-upped them at Mediafire due to the ongoing weirdness in the bit-torrent community, so these are good and solid links. Click on any date to go to the Mediafire download page, or click “playlist” to see the original liveblogged entry for the specific broadcast. Each file is under 200 megabytes, though some are much less. Be sure to share these with your friends!
12/5/09 (part 2) – Karthik Kakarala, DaveX, LIVE @ WDBX
9/26/09 – LIVE phone-in set/interview from Swamp of Pus label owner Novasak, plus an interview with George Korein. Also, lots of previously-unreleased Korein recordings, and an extended selection of Glenn Weyant awesomeness. (playlist)
9/19/09 – Improv saxophonist Randall Hall classes up the Hi-Life Room with THREE live sets, and a hands-on demonstration of extended technique. What does bubble wrap in the bell of a sax sound like? We do the things Mythbusters won’t try. Play along at home, and clap when you hear us say “John Cage.” (playlist)
8/8/09 – Unless you own a Brekekekexkoaxkoax DVD, cool microcassette recordings of Nassau from Ironing, and an alternate version of Alan Licht’s “Remington Khan,” you’d better grab this episode! (playlist)
8/3/09 – DaveX stars as a teen hockey player well-liked and respected among his coaches and teammates. He battles to hide the truth from his elders and peers — that he is actually an enormous lizard. A special daytime broadcast also featuring long-time listener favorite DJ Mo, and a subliminal animal theme! (playlist)
6/27/09 – Karthik Kakarala, Tony Youngblood, DaveX, LIVE @ WDBX-FM. Recorded exactly one month before Tony got kicked off WRVU-FM, and setting off a chain reaction of community member shows being cancelled!
6/27/09 – Praey, LIVE @ WDBX-FM
6/20/09 – Marathon, LIVE @ WDBX-FM
6/13/09 – Warm Climate, phone-in performance, on WDBX-FM
Most DJs work hard to produce the best shows they can, but an ill-timed phrase or an errant obscenity can spell doom for the unlucky (or careless) among us. While I don’t agree in any way with censorship, you’ve got to admit that this next letter shows a DJ making a dumb move. Hopefully, this person managed to keep their show– click to see the image larger! (Update: My research suggests that this show was able to continue for at least another few months, where the paper trail vanishes. A tip of my hat to past management for being understanding about these things!)
I’m no stranger to weird, minor controversy. If anything, I’ve rubbed more people the wrong way than I deserve to, and I’ve often had a good time with it– I find that laughing about these sorts of absurdities is usually the best way of dealing with them. Remember my “Vietnam” flyer that ended up with me in the New York Times? (also here, and here) Well, goofy trouble was brewing back in June of ’97, and over a plant, no less! Check it out, and click to make it bigger:
My former ~Ore~ co-host Tony Youngblood has gone live with his THEATRE INTANGIBLE website, which will features downloads of ~Ore~ recordings and news about Nashville’s emerging avant-garde arts community. I have a long history with ~Ore~ so I’m naturally excited to see it finally have a place on the net– go check it out this afternoon. If you happen to be in the Nashville area, be sure to leave Tony a comment, too.
Pendulum – “Pendulum” – Medusa Critical Publications
Improvisational duo featuring Randall Hall’s extended saxophone technique and Jonathon Kirk processing and manipulating the sound via laptop. Songs like “Continuity of Etz’nab” showcase Hall’s tremendous ability to wring new sounds from his instrument, such as the hollow percussive noise used to great effect here. During their best moments, each track blends Kirk and Hall’s contributions so thoroughly that listeners will be hard-pressed to determine who is creating a specific sound– indeed, a significant portion of “Pendulum” finds each performer musically tied to the other, with neither in full control of where their contribution will proceed. The result is an experience a bit more immediately engaging for listeners; as “Pendulum” takes form it dips, stretches, and reacts like something alive.
Art Jerks – “Dysphemism Treadmill” – Bat Hot Axe
“The things you like are in place, and are ready to be damaged.” Appropriate words, spoken by STARTLING MONIKER favorite George Korein, as he opens this superbly weird album. Not that this is a confrontational disc– if anything, the Art Jerks create a rather open musical environment throughout– but because each track manages to shrug off all intent save its own. Each outing becomes its own petri dish, letting music grow into new shapes that may or may not be useful. Take “Globe of Hubris,” for instance. Across what is initially a stuttered march beat, wheezing horns slink over a plodding bassline, terminating in a series of record-skip codas. The initial reaction is “huh?” Being more than a little odd myself, I’m inclined to think this kind of play is a good thing. Although one might easily accuse “Dysphemism Treadmill” of simply screwing around in the studio, it might also be thought of as a kind of outsider science, challenging assumptions that music “has to” hit certain milestones before being taken seriously. “I did it my way and it sucked, but I still refused to give it up” Korein says at the disc’s closing. Perhaps he’s right… what’s the use of listening to an artist if they’re giving us anything less?
Keeping in theme with the album title, here’s a bad review of the disc. Turn it into what you will. Please note that their writers have been known to “eagerly await” records by Dream Theatre, and even enjoy them. Adjust your bullshit meter accordingly.