Sunday, July 31, 2011

SAMPLE & HOLD : the golden palominos / dead inside

Anton Fier's project The Golden Palominos had the habit of playing musical chairs with its participants and genre-jumping among numerous stylistic strategies. The 1996 release DEAD INSIDE was no exception. While previous releases utilized the talents of Michael Stipe and John Lydon, Dead Inside circled wagons around the text/voice of Nicole Blackman. These tracks, embued with a dread that is palpable, feature an electronic fabric created by Fier with the assistance of Bill Laswell, Nicky Skopelitis, and Knox Chandler. Hints of "drum 'n bass" pop up here and there, but never lessens the nausea-generating darkness that pervades this release. The listener is seemingly powerless against the droning waves of futility, lost in a black Ad Reinhart painting without respite, without hope...feel good, this is not. But this is a compelling release and an important one, destined to be forgotten in the moment's cultural currency of "awesome-ness" and committment intolerant i-pod "listening." A terrible beauty!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

SAMPLE & HOLD : family / fearless

I remember a peculiar event at Bill Graham's Fillmore East sometime in the late sixties. I had arrived at this venue expecting to see Keith Emerson's organ gymnastics with The Nice unaware of what was to about to expire before my youthful eyes. The british group Family took the stage by storm, creative musicians bent on making a lasting impression...and they did! During the very first number, if I recall correctly, Family's torn and frayed singer Roger Chapman, in the crazed passion of the moment, hurled the mike stand across the stage almost hitting Bill Graham. This was to be the last time they played the Fillmore...

Recently I re-acquainted myself with their 1971 album Fearless, a mixture of whiskeyed rock and blues influences, pyschedelica, brit-folk, and jazz. With Poli Palmer's vibes taking the musical lead role in many Family songs, jazz-tinged twists and turns are musically negotiated. And Rob Townsend's drums make a dynamic impression. But the record and their shows centered around Roger Chapman whose shredded vocal chord, stoned eyed vocals were truly scary as he stumbled around the stage spastically destroying tambourines and hurling microphone stands. His atonal screeches throughout the album track "Blind" are truly horrifying, the manifestation of a seemingly insane individual bent on self-immolation. While there are moments of melodic beauty, Family's intensity is indeed fearless and perhaps peerless.

Please note the unique cd cover, a facsimile of the original vinyl release.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Buchla 200e Complete

With the addition of Mark Verbos' 258v Dual Oscillator, Chris Muir's Eardrill Pendulum Ratchet and a Buchla Mixer/Present Manager, my 18-module 200e system is now complete...perhaps?

Friday, July 22, 2011

DON HASSLER : Buchla 200e

Time Skew 200e Study, 261e from don hassler on Vimeo.

Don Hassler, musician and creative artist, creates jittery cacophonous stabs of musical expression that defy definition. It is work that demands attention and rewards it!

Mark Verbos 258v Dual Oscillator Video

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mark Verbos 258v Dual Oscillator

I got my 258v today and I must say that this is one great sounding analogue oscillator. Designed to duplicate the Buchla 258, Mr. Verbos has done a wonderful job. In the short time I spent with it I was able to produce everthing from beautifully fat liquid tones to klanging ringmod-like noise! The two oscillators offer tremendous potential for processing and modulation. A sequence from my Buchla 251e thread through both oscillators offers miraculous results and then some! Thanks Mark!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Crazy Serge Patch

Somehow this patch is producing erratic Seq A cycling. Crazy, but quite wonderful. See ether^ra LIKE SAUCERS video on YouTube.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DONALD LOKUTA : in plato's cave

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.
---John Berger

Donald Lokuta's series of photographs "In Plato's Cave" presents the viewer with people in the act of looking. Surprisingly, Mr. Lokuta has chosen to carefully blacken out the backgrounds with paint selectively creating black voids pregnant with meanings that while referencing Plato's allegory are pointed catalysts for examining today's shadowy media-imprisoned world. Mr. Lokuta's backgrounds are unerringly black. My initial thoughts regarding this blackness brought to mind the sound artists Haswell and Hecker's workBlackest Ever Black, a title derived from a scientific paper on "the blackest black ever made on Earth" seemingly an ultra-black coating for optical instruments that absorbs all the light that hits it. Not unlike the all-devouring media-machine that feeds us our notions of the real, this shadowy blackness suggests not only a jumbled multiplicity of perceptual points of view, but no small amount of fear-filled uncertainty that is our 21th century world.

Mr. Lokuta draws us in with velvety gelatin silver images infused with humanity. It is ironic nonetheless that this photographic art, essentially the manipulation of light and transparency, should be made to speak so compellingly about ourselves and our world utilizing not only darkness, but figures whose faces are turned away from us. Mr. Lokuta should be thanked for realizing art's ultimate goal to force us to reconsider the world we live in and our place in it anew. (above: Six People among Rocks 2008-2009) For more see

Monday, July 4, 2011

Paul Chan : 1st Light at The Whitney Museum

Paul Chan's 1st Light (2005) digital projection on the floor of the Whitney Museum has the power to awaken the spectator from the sleep of reason. With references to the 9/11 tragedy as well as the eschatological idea of the rapture, this ever changing series of silhouettes is literally quietly shocking. What starts as an expanse of evolving color cast on the floor, a kind of homage to earlier conceptual site specific pure light works becomes populated by a telephone pole and wires whose cruciform shape cannot help but be read in terms of religious implications. Soon we witness all manner of material possessions, cars, i-pods, phones, assorted pieces of furniture and more, ascending upward toward heaven only to be shocked when bodies begin to rain downward. This is especially shocking when a body closer to us falls past us nearly blackening the entire lighted frame. The Whitney's wall text regarding the work suggests this is a kind of rapture in reverse, a take on rampant materialism, and 9/11's trapped victims jumping from the stricken architecture as "fallen" victims of not only terrorists, but of their material desires. I walked away shaken by Paul Chan's questioning visual invention, one of the most powerful works of art I have ever encountered. Kudos to The Whitney for making it available...and please note that the word "Light" in the title has a line through it and consider the frighteningly weighty implications.

Buchla 206e

The Buchla 206e Mixer/Preset Manager has proven to be a wonderfully useful tool for live mixing and recording moments of sonic pleasure. I love the fact that I can drop detrius out of the mix instantly and bring up the volume of other components at will. I've yet to try the Preset Manager section but I'm certain it will become a much used part of my explorations. Thanks Don!

Sunday, July 3, 2011