Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thru the Looking Glass

Hello all. Sorry i've been away, working like a demon; and with no internet connection in the homestead, i've got to camp out at the Folsom St. Oasis to do all my internetting. Which means y'all get the short end of the stick, but hey i'm just getting used to this whole 'time management' thing!

What i've been doing, while i've been away (apart from cleaning and laundry and making my apt. inhabitable again), is obsessively diving the murky depths of the cassette scuzz culture, which i was introduced to by my friend Jed.

All over the world, and possibly right beneath yr feet, there are people making esoteric, abstract, possibly brilliant recordings, in their own living rooms, with little thought if anyone will ever hear them, and the idea of making money at it is laughable. These freaks are doing it for the sheer adrenaline love of Music; of communication; of culture and community. Dredging through the muck, i have found surprising amounts of inspiration and innovation, not to mention mountains of surreality! This shit is far-out man, and prolonged exposure can do a real number on the ol' frontal lobe.

I have been a long-time and passionate fan of avant-garde, experimental, and just plain strange music. I look for portals that transport me to mystical deserts, imaginary loft-parties, juke-joints in the middle of the jungle. Parrots speaking in french, a scuba-diver storming the barricades, its all to the good. Often times, the weirder the better, and i must admit: i just hit pay-dirt.

I've been paying attention to noise music for quite a while; psych- and psych- folk; experimental industrial and recently musique concrete. I began to recognize names from this obscure sub-strata, usually via Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label, and 'zines like the Ptolemaic Terrascope. Bizarre, beautiful names like: Sunburned Hand of the Man, Brothers of the Occult Sisterhood, Six Organs of Admittance, Vibracathedral Orchestra. Being of a somewhat esoteric persuasion, how could i not be intrigued and hooked? And what i found made me an instant devotee... magickal otherworldly sounds, otherworldly and beautiful and PURE. I needed more!!! MOREMOREMORE!!! I had to get to the bottom of this. Except there is no bottom.

2008 was a good year for the cassette-tape year (or a bad year, if you want yr favorite artists to stay obscure). Bands like Gang Gang Dance, Blank Dogs, the Vivian Girls, and other hip faves from Brooklyn were all over blogs and the radio. People like Crystal Stilts and Aeriel Pink were making hissy, archaic recordings seem accessible and calling on an inherent nostalgia in such troubled times. To me, the biggest hook was a lot of the avant-pop accessibility, like someone like The Vivian Girls, with their Garage Punk sensibilities, buried under a soothing drone of white noise and a sort of vintage, faded quality that i really liked, calling to mind old Stax or Motown singles, also which i've been digging lately. For someone who has spent so many years subterranean, listening to monochromatic power noise and oppressive doom metal, this colorful and surreal world was very refreshing, and also seemed to coincide with my falling in love and in general feeling more optimistic and youthful.

Enter Jed: One of those rare and beautiful creatures who is just as obsessed with music as i am, possibly more so. He is astute beyond his years, and strange sounds seem mudane to his ears. He is conversationally familiar with the breadth of the underground, and under his tutelage a whole new era of listening habits was born unto me. He turned me onto stuff like James Ferraro and the Lamboghini Crystals, Jessica Rylan, Marcia Bassette and Hotogisu. Some of the stuff i had lurking around my hard-drive, pillaged at random, unknown and unexplored by myself. He provided me with the compass and sextant, the key and the rosetta stone.

So i have to wrap this up, have an actual life (not on the internet) to attend to. Some links for you to consider, while i'm away, to get ya started!

Ducktails - Acres of Shade . Lamborghini Crystals - Cool Runnings 1992 . Sun Araw - Beach Head lp . Changeling - Beyond the Edge of Dreams

An introduction. Thanks to Moral Adventure, id Reverberation, and the fabulous Cassette Tape Superstar for the hook-up, and czech 'em out for further goodies!


  1. The new full-length of Wolves of the throne! :) <-

  2. Thanks for the link! Can't wait to check it out, and i can't wait to see 'em on tour with Pelican! Eco-metal!