Archive for November, 2015

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.

maltymalty

 

 

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.

a0046014817_10

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