I had just gotten the most badass shout-out from Wooden Shjips for being the only person dancing during the whole weekend (Boris, Paik, and Motorpsycho will do that to you), and i got to talking to Barsky at his merch table. He found out i had taken a Greyhound bus from Denver to Louisville, and gave me a copy of this CD, in appreciation. This was back when i was just starting to dream of being a journalist, but still very reluctant to approach musician's. This gesture always meant a lot to me, and endeared me to his cause.
Insect Factory make good drone music; kind of a hard thing to qualify, other than the fact that it is warmly recorded and dreamy in cast. It puts you into a pleasant, kaleidoscopic revelry while listening. When i saw him live, he was performing with the classic noise guitar, pillowy delayed dream guitar set-up, and he was joined by a hammer dulcimer that added a nice world element to the elements. At that time, drone was still a pretty subterranean phenomenon, and i had not had a chance to see it live, much. His performance made a mark, in my mind, and lit a fire to make this kind of music, myself.
Recently, recalling the Terrastock, i thought to peak in on Insect Factory, see if he was still around and playing, and it turns out he was hard at work, touring and releasing a new record, Melodies From A Dead Radio, which he was nice enough to send me a copy of that to review (which i still need to get around to doing). This is the kind of thing that makes the underground tick: i've had skads of musicians send me packages with tapes, records, t shirts, swag galore. These people are dedicated to their art, often times paying out of their own pocket. When i got in touch with him, Jeff remembered who i was and was friendly and approachable, in text. This is the kind of thing that will win you fans. We build connections, one at a time, and here at J's Heaven, i'm at trying to spin vortices and interstices out into the unknown, into the ether.
This CD was made especially for the Terrastock. Its 4 tracks of mesmerizing guitar formations, filligreed with loops and layers of harmonium and bells. This is proper trance music; it lulls you into a theta state, it makes yr head sway like a cobra's. After four years, and about 10000 records later, i STILL say Insect Factory make good drone music. There seems to be a human core here, an emotional element. The visions it conjures seem much more colorful and surreal than a lot of the xeroxed, post-industrial blastitude of much of the genre. It is dreamy, without being narcotic. More LSD than heroin hit. It sounds like the sun, gradually sinking behind a line of Cumulus clouds - all rose and indigo. There's only four tracks, but its over an hour long. This CDr is like a magic carpet ride, and it takes me back to some of my favorite memories.
I am putting this up today because if you happen to live in the greater Portland metropolitan area, Insect Factory is playing a free show at the Kenton Club tonight. He comes from D.C. so he doesn't make it to this side of the sandbox all that often. He's also playing somewhere in the Bay Area, tomorrow night. Don't sleep on this one, here's a talented artist who is still unknown enough to know. A genuine, delightful human being, that is making genuinely delightful music. Take a trip, and tell yr friends.