Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sample & Hold : the soft machine vol. 1

The new Sundazed re-issue/remaster of The Soft Machine's first classic bit of psycho-dada featuring Mike Ratledge, Kevin Ayers and Robert Wyatt had me re-living the two times I witnessed their greatness on tour with Jimi Hendrix in 1968. Ayer's We Did it Again, which lasts 3:48 on the album went on for 15-30 minutes at Stonybrook University causing the desired dada confrontational effect-boos, catcalls and audible moaning...GREAT success!!! brother and I seemingly the only audience members who were enjoying the spectacle of unremitting repetition!...we did it again...the war in Vietnam...we did it again...I would have thought this hotbed of countercultural ideals would have embraced this sentiment?

 The Soft Machine went on to morph into an expanded jazz outfit, the only element remaining from the original group sound was Ratledge's fuzz organ. Volume 1 remains a definitive statement-Wyatt's crazed drumming and and inviting vocals, Ayer's loopy bass playing and baritone (VERY british!) vocals, and Ratledge's  fuzzy organ explorations all come together to form a late 60's brand of challenging dada pop art that remains a playful, transgressive listen.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sample & Hold : andrew chalk

Using only processed electric guitar and piano, the veteran sound artist Andrew Chalk has produced sound objects of profoundly compelling beauty. Lilting melodic snippets provide soft protrusions, organic still-ness and the possibility of the infinite and the intimate. These works all unfold from tightly budded to the fully flowered. Little information is given; cover art suggests visually the primacy of the small event, the chanced moment of an epiphany filled with wonder...deeply emotional and liminal.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ether^ra Studio Views

Arp Odyssey, Tiptop Happy Ending & Goike Cases
Buchla 200e and Serge Modular
Tiptop and Goike Eurorack Cases

Friday, August 10, 2012

WIP : new painting progress

Initial State
Second State

Even with its obvious phallic significance, the snake remains a highly charged symbol.  Inspired by Caravaggio's Head of Medusa, a work pregnant with sexual content and German Anselm Kiefer's more ambiguous use of the serpent in a number of large paintings, this work in progress reflects my interest in the collision of transgressive imagery and text. With a snippet of text borrowed from William Burroughs discussing the american "dream," the snake suggests the temptation inherent in this collective illusion and its potential suffocating result...and it all began with entrails.
Caravaggio Head of Medusa (detail)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

MACHINATIONS : pulp logic monotron-e

Based on the Korg Monotron disposable mini-synth, the Pulp Logic Monotron-E, a eurorack version of said synth, far exceeds my somewhat stunted expectations. With CV inputs and a reset input, this device can be modulated beyond recognition!...and it's FUN. The filter section sounds great and the oscillator is fat! Available at Control in Brooklyn, NY.

Friday, August 3, 2012

LIBRARY : fire in the belly

Fire in the Belly : The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz by Cynthia Carr goes to great lengths to  provide the reader with a gritty picture of New York City in the 80's, a city in the harsh grip of poverty, drugs, violence and AIDS. Before gentrification and the lock-step conformity of Disney, the city portrayed here is SCARY, but the creative spirit of the players in this drama is inspiring, born of a blighted city...and DW's art, both sexual and political AND poetic was a forceful reminder for those who would rather forget about the rights and pain of those persons who inhabit a nether world outside the experience of the nuclear family, perhaps the result of that unit.  I could not help but smile, reading about the city and artists that informed my artistic development, Ms. Carr painting a vibrant picture of a time before Facebook when the time's energy was palpable, not simply a cyber-illusion.