Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dots Review

Ben Gwilliam/Jason Zeh - Brombron 16: Dots (Korm Plastics)

For Dots, part of the collaborative Brombron project, tape composer Jason Zeh and sound artist Ben Gwilliam used sounds from prepared tape, machinery and 'other magnetic sourcing including posting, freezing, and puncturing tape.' Over 45 minutes there is a lot of silence, punctuated by clicks, scrapes and hiss, all muffled and opaque. A bass drone flickers and is disrupted by static, warbles and collapses. At one point a choir holds a note, becoming a gorgeous angelic 'Ahh', and mixes with an industrial cicada-like whine. They conclude with a dense, grey drone, like Thomas Koner or Francisco Lopez. There are moments of attractiveness amid these scenes but little to make sense of, and why they've been put together like this is anyone's guess.

Joshua Meggitt

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Matt's tapes are going in the kiln. This thing is going to be sweet.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Post subject: Toledo 6/23 Bran(...)Pos+Robert Turman+Startless+Soliday RCH

Show at The Robinwood Concert House

2564 Robinwood ave. Toledo Ohio
Donations please

Bran(...)pos is the solo experimental electronic music project of Jake Rodriguez. Given life in 1995, bran(...)pos focuses on real-time sonic plasticization and voice manipulation, achieving these ends with both hardware synthesizers and a custom set of software-based sound grapplers that interface with the real world via tactile control. bran(...)pos' recordings (heavy and heady like Cannibal Corpse doing Xenakis covers) and performances (rounded out with facial interpretations and physical gesture-butoh and Max Fleischer-inspired) are consistently praised for their inventiveness and attention to detail.

Robert Turman- A founding member (along with Boyd Rice) of NON, Turman's industrial bona-fides are beyond question. His early tape releases featured snarling guitar figures over primitive drumbox and throbbing synth -- a dream for fans of early Cabaret Voltaire and DAF. He planted his flag in the sand for keeps with the eleven year-spanning, eight-cassette boxset (!) Chapter Eleven (briefly reissued by Hanson a few years back, and slated for eventual CD treatment). Recently, Dais Records reissued an early Turman tape, Way Down, as an LP in an edition of 500 copies. Turman has seen a spike of activity in recent years, collaborating closely with Hanson Records' Aaron Dilloway (ex-Wolf Eyes) and issuing both new and archival material on various formats.

Jason Soliday is a stalwart member of the Chicago scene, having performed in many groups (Gunshop, Mora, with members of TVPOW, etc.) and on his own (under his own name and as Coeurl). He also runs the excellent show-space Enemy. Live, Soliday presents a dense and detailed sonic stew: heavy noise, but informed by his years of improvising, gigging, recording, building, and programming. Soliday does more than just find an engaging sound and stick with it- he constantly shifts, feints, and dodges, pulling the rug out from under you only to smother you in it later.

Startless is Blake Edwards (turntables, cassettes, shortwave, electronics) and Jason
Zeh (cassettes, tape, cassette players, contact mics); they utilize multiple layers of both processed and raw turntable (including hand altered records and turntable motor mechanics), shortwave, cassette, and cassette player motors to create a engaging balance of thick, complex, streams of sound with delicate, highly structured, singular audio gestures to create an engaging deep listening experience.

Collaboration with Matt Ruzicka

My friend Matt Ruzicka, a ceramicist, posted on his blog about a collaboration that we are working on together. Here is his original post.

The end result will be a double cassette. One cassette will be made out ceramics and the other will be a tape composed of sounds derived from clay and the related machinery. I am looking forward to seeing these come together.

The above pictures are the ceramic cassettes as they are now. I think they are looking really nice, but am unsure if Matt has any further plans for them. I am super excited to see how this project comes together.

Friday, June 17, 2011


I had a strange experience last night. A Swiss man named Reto Mader played in Toledo OH, about 30 minutes from my home. A few Months ago I was contacted by someone at Ramalama records in Toledo about playing this show. After determining that I was able to do the show, I looked into Mader's work and became really interested. I got excited about the show and was really interested in playing at Ramalama because it is part of a dying breed of independent record stores. However, i was a bit skeptical. In general, I have had bad experiences with the owner of the store and, more generally, I have had bad experiences playing shows set up by people who do not specialize in noise, EAI, or other out sounds. I was willing to give it a shot.

I felt good about my set. I was able to try out some new stuff in a relatively low risk situation and it turned out well.

Reto Mader, aka RM74, was kind, gracious, and enthusiastic. This was the last stop on a brief, 6 day tour in The States. He originally came out here from Switzerland to play the Utech Records Festival put on by the phenomenal Utech Records label. His set was really strong. It was a sophisticated combination of dark drone metal and high brow improvisation using a bass, kalimba, other devices, and loop pedals. There were three basic kinds of pieces that he played each of which resembled songs in their fairly clear use of a beginning, middle, and end. He began with an interesting percussive piece gently pounding out and looping rhythmic passages using a mallet on the body of the bass. He then layered in some drones and bass riffs on top. In the middle there was a mind bending, multi-layered, polyrhythmic, Kalimba piece that was incredible. The rest of the "songs" were looped and layered bass riffs that sometimes included pre-recorded sounds and/or synthesizer drones. These were really atmospheric, somewhat dark, and very powerful. However, after a while, they became a bit repetitive as each one followed much the same format. Overall, I was really pleased with his set and was very thankful to have been able to see it.

We chatted, traded music, and had a good time.

The only problem is that there were roughly 5 people in attendance including myself and my partner, the woman who was touring with him, and two other friends of mine. The person who had set up the show did not even put up a flyer at the record store, nor did he stick around to see the show. In fact, the amp he brought for Mader to use did not work. Reto thought the promoter had gone to get another amp, but several hours later we began to suspect that he had simply gone home. Luckily Gabe Beam, one of the audience members agreed to bring his amp.

I was really frustrated by the lack of respect that the promoter showed for our guest. I explained to the guys at the shop that, theoretically, we are all on the same team. We are all trying to make life in the area less shitty for ourselves and for others. We do ourselves a disservice when we prove to people that their preconceived notions about the Midwest are accurate.

The promoter called to yell at me. It was a lot of silly drama, but I think I realize now that it is rarely a good idea to contact people who are not musicians to set up a show. A friend, Blake Edwards, has been talking about putting a simple primer on how to set up shows properly and I think we need to do it. Here are my brief guidelines.

If you are setting up a show, at MINIMUM, you owe out of town bands the following.

1) A simple meal.
2) A place to stay, even just a spot on your floor.
3) Promotion including online posts and a flyer.
4) Gas money.
5) The consideration to show up and pay attention.
6) Adequate equipment that meets the performer's needs.

Keep this in mind people. Lets all be friends and help each other out.