Archive for July, 2010

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 7/31/10

July 31, 2010

I’ve got a lot of good stuff to share on today’s show, notably some recordings from Isoundercore that had a bit of a torturous path to the airwaves. Let’s just say that someone opened someone else’s mail and leave it at that, shall we? I

n other business, WDBX is hosting a DJ Spin Party on August 5th, from 4-8pm. I thought it was a great idea until I realized that it was in Turley Park, and open to the public. Let that sink in– it’s basically a last-hurrah for this year’s Sunset Concert Series. Granted, I’m all in favor of the end of the Sunset Concerts, but I doubt this will be the ironic coup de grĂ¢ce I’ve got in mind.

It’s anyone’s guess as to whether I’ll attend, but you’d better believe I’m taking my turn at the controls if I do, all requests for “danceable” music aside. Way to be inclusive, there. I bet “Light On the Law” will be keeping one end of the gym bleachers warm along with The Bioneers. But seriously, it might be fun, and Carbondale will survive– after all, who’ll hear it? Alcohol isn’t allowed!

But hey, let’s talk about performances I’m actually interested in: on the 6th and 7th of August, there’s Swampfest. In truth, I have no idea what it’s called, but that’s not the point. It’s two days worth of music at The Swamp! Unfortunately, this occasion actually DOES mark the end of their underground music series. Coincidentally, I’ll also be there, performing on the 7th around 7-ish. I have something interesting worked up, so I hope you’ll be able to make it.

US Maple — Missouri Twist (from “Sang Phat Editor” on Skin Graft)
US Maple — Through With Six Six Six
Blue Sausage Infant — Gezundheit! (from “Flight of the Solstice Queens” on Zero Moon)
Alio Die — The Way of Fire (from “The Way of Fire” 7-inch on Drone Records)
Blue Sausage Infant — Why You Hate Salamanders
Blue Sausage Infant — Ashtray Man
Justice Yeldham — Shanghai (from the J-volume of “Zelphabet” series)
Aemae — Walking Along Edges (from “The Helical World,” on Isoundercore)
Aemae — 41667
Aemae — Translucent Tongues
Arastoo — Three (from “Three” side B, also on Isoundercore)
Virtual Cortex — Anxiety (from “Viral Cartography,” more info here and here.)
Virtual Cortex — Chant
Virtual Cortex — Clusters
Ville Moskiitto — Kanjonikostaja (from “Kupariluostari,” on Harha-Askel)
Robert Ashley — Atalanta (Acts of God), Volume 2, “Empire” (on Lovely Music)

I’ve been saying this for years!

July 29, 2010

From WFMU’s Beware of the Blog:

“The U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that the FCC’s indecency policy is “unconstitutionally vague.” Damned straight! The FCC will most likely appeal this decision, sending the issue back to the Supreme Court, who could actually force the feds to finally clarify the rules for what is deemed unsuitable for broadcast.”

Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution and cannot be broadcast at any time. The Supreme Court has established that, to be obscene, material must meet a three-pronged test:

  • An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
  • The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
  • The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

I often wonder about certain elements on my own broadcasts. Although I believe that everything I air has “artistic value,” (one of the aforementioned vague terms purposely left flapping in the chilly breeze by those at the FCC) I’m also aware that my entire show represents a community of artists who are NOT “the average person.” As a result, I’ve often said that radio’s relationship with the FCC is something like the relationship between a child and a drunken, abusive stepfather— you have no idea what might set them off on a rampage, so you just tiptoe around and try not to catch their attention. The sooner that these laws are solidified, the sooner we’ll be able to avoid abuses of the system such as this.

Sarkozy– go fuck yourself!

July 28, 2010

Looks like Sarkozy is trying to out-Nazi Arizona with his latest round of bullshit. What a shitbag!

“Once I had a great family / The Black Legion murdered them / Now come, all the world’s Rom /For the Romani road has opened / The time’s arrived to arise / We shall stand up as one”

Liveblogging! “ITDE” 7/24/10

July 24, 2010

Arastoo — Three (side B) (from “Three” on Isoundercore)
Pauline Oliveros — No Mo (from “No Mo” on Pogus)
Pauline Oliveros — Something Else
Chas Smith — After (from “The Complete 10-Inch Series” collection on Cold Blue Music)
Chas Smith — Santa Fe
Chas Smith — October ’68
Chas Smith — Scircura
Frank Rothkamm — Silence of Mute (from “FB02” on Flux Records)
Frank Rothkamm — Outdoor Heritage of New Jersey
Frank Rothkamm — Astronaut of Inner Space
Gen Ken Montgomery — Gen Ken Live at the Dive (from “Birds + Machines 1980-1989,” on Pogus)
Gen Ken Montgomery — Birds and Machines (machine suite)
Gen Ken Montgomery — Birds and Machines (bird suite)
Gen Ken Montgomery — Nylon Glasses 3AM
Gen Ken Montgomery — Friedhof
Gen Ken Montgomery — Seelisch Unruh
Gen Ken Montgomery — Subliminal Clutter pt.1
Gen Ken Montgomery — Crema di Roma
John Duncan — Storm: Tel Aviv Marina (this, and the following entries, from “Zelphabet vol. J”)
John Wiese — Dramatic Accessories
Jon Rose — Illegal Settlement Fence

Third panel magic! (a photobooth update)

July 20, 2010

In case you missed it, I like photobooths! I’ve been collecting them for a long time– here’s another update on my latest favorite strips. I apologize for the image quality, though. My scanner is broken, so I’m attempting to use a camera instead. Anyways, this first set is great, so many fun things happening.

I dig the couple in the first strip. He’s so squinty! They manage a kiss in the third panel, and move on to making goofy faces. Fun folks. I have a theory that the third panel is where the magic happens, btw. The first picture bewilders many people and the second sets their sense of timing, but unless they’re experienced photoboothers, they don’t get it down pat until the third panel. Plus, you’re over the hump– it’s time to do something crazy before it all ends. Check out the third panel of strip two: he’s hilarious! Even Mr. Creepy Woodsman catches the bug in the third panel; what a transition from panel two, where he looks like he’s trying to burn down the photobooth with his eyes. Clearly the last couple’s third panel magic broke the booth. I’d cheer, but who likes a broken photobooth?

This is the “naughty” group. I’m not pointing any fingers, but the various shocked looks are a sure tell. What’s happening between frames?!

Here’s another photobooth phenomenon– the white girl gang sign. I’m definitely not the first person to notice this, but I might be a pioneer into researching the photobooth-related subgroup of this particular dataset. Clearly, I am gunning for a Nobel. In my acceptance speech, I plan to thank this guy, and this other guy, and to include this team of researchers as well. I may also take a moment to address those pictured in the photographs. Here is a quote from my rough draft– “HEY STUPID, YOU’RE NOT IN A GANG!”

What’s black and white and has 11 tongues? This photo set! (Hey, this joke killed at the Copa.)

This set is kind of a smorgasbord– a bit of tongue, some shocked looks, and a lone gang sign in the fourth panel of strip one. White tweens, represent!

Here’s a sad photobooth topic– the missed/denied kiss. Sometimes, as in the third panel of strip two (or the first panel of column three) it’s a matter of timing. Check that middle strip out again… clearly, she’s feeling the third panel magic, but swoops in a bit too late for the evidence to become part of the permanent record. It’s hard to see in the third column, but take my word for it, this is total kiss miss. They look happy in the second panel, though, don’t they? Now let’s dig strip one– it’s so sad. He’s done his best to impress through three panels, but doesn’t work up the nerve to kiss her until the 4th. And then… well, her look says it all, don’t you agree?

There’s no missed kisses here! Bonus points for third panel snuggling magic in column two, and a rarely seen “gospel album” pose in the last panel of strip three.

There’s so good coordination going on in the first strip in this set, plus, the lighting is good. I believe this particular strip may even have been temporarily displayed on the booth itself.

You’ll need to view it full to see, but check the lady’s face in strip two. It’s like the flashbulb woke her up or something! Strip three guards against too bright flash with Top Gun shades.

The girls in the third strip crack me up. They’re having a good time, but not nearly as enthusiastic as the lady in panel one of the last strip. “OMG! I’m in a photobooth!” Her life’s dream, realized.

This is our “modern art” section of the photostrip update. Young master Bill thumbs his nose at fate in strip one, mocking the ravages of nature as pictured in the middle panels. Is the woman in the final strip accepting, or unaware, of the danger nearby?

Babies! It’s always the same. You spend two bucks, and these ungrateful drool-buckets won’t look at the camera. LOL Check out the baby’s happy smile in panel two of the last strip.

Our final three sets are further examples of abstraction in photobooth photography. It’s too bad about these– the two bald ladies in strip five look like they’re having a good time (might this be a cancer survivor and a friend shaved in solidarity?) and the guy’s smile in the last panel of strip seven is fantastic. Plus, he’s with his baby boy, who looks pretty cute. I hope they ended up taking lots of other photos together! Finally, dig the ninth strip, for the lady in the checkered outfit. Is that some third panel magic happening for her? Hard to see, but I think the smile tells in the last panel!

If you want to see more of my photobooth collection, go here, and here, and here.

Some thoughts about hosting my first soundwalk

July 19, 2010

First off, let me say that I think the soundwalk went quite well, despite a couple challenges. The main obstacle was arriving to find a good portion of campus actually closed down. Apparently, the Illinois budget problems are reflecting themselves here in Carbondale– I had never seen the Student Center locked up before, nor the library, so I had to make some last-minute changes to the soundwalk itinerary. I had anticipated some reduced student population, but it had not occurred to me that the buildings themselves would be closed.

We also had some hot, humid weather. Fortunately, the soundwalk participants took it like pros, even when it later turned into a full-fledged rain shower. I was particularly impressed by the local reporter who trooped along with us– many would have gotten their quotes in the first ten minutes, invented an “important meeting” and boogied on back to the AC– kudos, Tom Barker!

So here’s the nuts and bolts of things. I’d like to share some thoughts because I’ve seen so many different ideas lately, especially on the “Phonography” e-mail list.

I started planning the soundwalk by considering a few basics first: duration of the soundwalk, ease of physically accomplishing the walk itself, and accommodating certain sounds that I considered essential. The original route actually came to me quite easily, in a rather organic fashion. I started at a location that I believe is a “resting/meeting” spot on campus, one from which it is simple to move to a variety of different places. I took some time here, just listening, figuring out what sounds were of interest. Then I’d take a bit of time in a space nearer to those, sometimes moving in an unexpected direction, but mostly attempting to obey ordinary human movements. In other words, if foot traffic pointed in a certain direction, I’d generally head that was as well.

As I moved from place to place, I kept a small notepad open, allowing me to keep a list of sounds I heard in different areas. I made no real attempt to cause sounds to occur; everytime I see this sort of action in a soundwalk, it strikes me as somehow false. I don’t want to say it’s completely wrong, but it seemed a poor choice for my purposes. Later on, I’d amend this feeling a little. In addition to the list of sounds, I also kept a list of ideas, just little phrases or concepts that would pop in my head as I considered the sounds themselves. A bell reminded me to discuss issues of power and noise, a creaky escalator prompted me to think about the use of our sense of hearing as one of our earliest warning signals to danger.

Eventually, I typed these lists up, organizing them sequentially by their location on the “trail,” with separate headings for “sounds” and “ideas”. I was very glad I did this, as it helped me re-plan the soundwalk path upon discovering the various buildings were locked up on the morning of the soundwalk.

I won’t go into the specifics of what we heard or where we went, but I do want to share a couple of my practices with you. First, I took some time before arriving in each location to engage in a small thought exercise. I asked the participants to think about what sounds they expected to hear, and also to make a mental list of adjectives they would use to describe the sound of that area as well. When we moved to the areas, I’d again ask them to reflect on these thoughts, comparing their experience to expectation.

Additionally, I would occasionally ask the participants to take a “mental snapshot” of the sound of an area, for later comparison to another. I also mentioned that they could use these “snapshots” to compare the same places during future visits in other seasons, etc. I cheated a little bit, though, check the photos: that’s Mo running the Marantz, doing her best to capture the soundwalk!

My typed list came in handy during the walk. I never expected that I would refer to it constantly, but it did serve me well for gathering up some of the ideas I wanted to discuss so I could sort of “check them off” along the way. Because I often had to find a new example to replace a sound locked up in a building, the list helped keep me focused.

I think flexibility is a must on a soundwalk as well. The newspaper article mentions that the low campus activity level was “inconvenient,” but in actuality, it was just different. As I explained, there are different sounds to be expected at different times– so the super-quiet campus because a great way to highlight the transient quality of many sounds we consider more permanent. It also made the true soundmarks stand out all the more. At one point in time, I nominated a sidewalk lamp with a large metal dome covering as a miniature soundmark. My thought was that it stands quite constantly, and will always make a small sound to note the falling of a nut or raindrop on it’s metal top. Unlike the campus clocktower, which has functioned intermittently for the past 20 years, this lamp had remained. With little or no reason to replace it, this small soundmark might be one of the most enduring on campus!

Happily, the soundwalk participants seemed to really enjoy the process. A few new sounds and sound-related phenomenon were noted, so there was an element of shared discovery to the event. As a rain shower started to blow in, we found ourselves passing through the campus woods, on the walking path through this sizeable forest. We had taken some time to listen to the sound of the wind, birds, and insects, but we had yet to hear the rain itself. Underneath the leaves and a darkening sky, we took a vote on whether to stay for the rainfall or head for the parking lot– I didn’t want to be responsible for any camera damage, or wet clothes! We ended up staying, listening to the gentle patter of raindrops on the leaves, and the occasional bird call. All in all, a pretty nice way to finish off a soundwalk!

Soundwalk makes the news!

July 19, 2010

Reporter Tom Barker joined us for the soundwalk yesterday, and posted a nice review and description in The Southern. Click to open the article in a new window— when you’re done reading it, go check out my own writeup as well!

Happy World Listening Day!

July 18, 2010

It’s the first World Listening Day today– celebrated on this date as it is R. Murray Schafer’s birthday– so have a good one! There’s a lot of related events happening today; here’s a list to help get you started. If you’re here in Southern Illinois, you’ve still got time to get over to SIUC for the guided soundwalk. We meet at 10:30 a.m., outside on the north end of the Student Center. Don’t miss it!

I got a new shirt!

July 17, 2010

You can come see it tomorrow morning at 10:30, when I’ll be hosting a soundwalk tour of the SIUC campus. Meet me outside the Student Center on the north end of the building. Bring a friend– you don’t want to miss seeing this awesome new shirt of mine!

Liveblogging! “ITDE” 7/17/10

July 17, 2010

Alexander Rishaug — The Mountain Song (from “Possible Landscape” on Asphodel)
Alexander Rishaug — or L!
PBK, Telepherique — Twilight Cue (from “Noise-Ambient Connection” on Monochrome Vision)
PBK, Telepherique — Radical Pair
Gil San Marcos — Every Clock and Wristwatch (from “Domes” on Bombay Cove)
Gil San Marcos — Sterling Chambers
Gil San Marcos — Mass Grave (live in Nashville)
Conure — Hobart (from “Stream” on Edgetone Records)
Conure — Sycan
Rich West — On Her Wrists She Wore Her Interest
Beth Anderson — Torero Piece
Beth Anderson — Tower of Power
Beth Anderson — Peachy Keen-O
Beth Anderson — Ocean Motion Mildew Mind
Grey Park — Carpenter

SIUC Campus Soundwalk

July 17, 2010

As part of World Listening Day this July 18th, I’ll be hosting a soundwalk of the SIUC campus at 10:30 a.m. We start outdoors on the North end of the SIUC Student Center; the walk takes about an hour.

Happy Birthday, Miss Information!

July 10, 2010

She’s still a real lurker, but I believe this is a recent photo. Happy birthday, Miss Information!

Liveblogging! “ITDE” 7/10/10

July 10, 2010

Well, I’m finally done with sorting the crap vinyl out of the station’s record library. Goodbye, Bert Kaempfert! There’s been a bit of resistance to this, but seeing as how nobody else ever bothered sorting or organizing it before… I got a kick out of seeing how all the stuff I’d already put in the “keep” area has been shelved in the back room, but they left me the remainder that I’d yet to go through.

So I made the last “discard” pile today– do you think WDBX should be holding on to multiple copies of Western Illinois University’s 1975 Band Camp LP? How about a “Top 10” collection of barbershop quartets from a 1968 convention? Yeah, me neither. But on the other hand, I found a white label copy of The Beatles “Let It Be” (with an alternate track order!) stuck in there, SLEEVELESS, so maybe it’s a good thing that I’ve been on my mini cleaning rampage, haha. Let’s hope nobody spirits that one away — for all I know, some rabid eBay nut will part with some serious dough for it, or trade the station for a generator. Weirder things have happened with Beatles collectors, I’m sure!

Anyways, here’s your playlist:

Yuanlin Chen — Primary Voice: Rite (all, here to Wohrmann, from “Sonic Circuits IX” on Innova)
Christoph Theiler — Nearness
Douglas Geers — Atomic Tango
Jon Christopher Neison — Scatter
Susan Parenti — No Honey, I Can Do It
John Richey — 11 Studies in Noise and Dialectic
Michael Croswell — Solo Silo #1
Richard Lerman — Manzanar and Tule Lake
Rols Wohrmann — We Know
Uton — Ay Um Au Lam (from “Whispers From the Woods,” Last Visible Dog)
Uton — Buddhamania
Zaar — Sefir
Zaar — Zolg
Zaar — Ce n’est pas triste
Zaar — Tougoudougoum
Zaar — Discasambo
Zaar — Omk

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 7/3/10

July 3, 2010

Tom Hamilton — Modhera (from “Pieces for Kohn/Formal & Informal Music” on Kvist)
Tom Hamilton — Bonampak
Tom Hamilton — Girnar
Tom Hamilton — Fatehpur
Amnon Wolman — Dangerous Bend
Amnon Wolman — No Stopping Any Time
Amnon Wolman — Traffic Circles Ahead
Cheer Accident — “Fear Draws Misfortune” (full album, from Cuneiform Records)

Interview at Chicago Examiner

July 1, 2010

Dan Godston has a nice interview with me at the Chicago Examiner. Some of his questions got me thinking about the role of improvisation in radio– there’s definitely room for more discussion on this topic! Dan’s been doing some really good interviews with other artists lately as well, so you might want to consider subscribing to the series.