Monday, December 17, 2012

Reading List

This Linda Besmer article is great and I need to reread it every once in a while.

Here are some books that I want to get to at some point. I think I am going to start keeping a running list of books that I should read. So, that is what this "Reading" label will be all about. Sadly, these books are really expensive and the KU library doesn't have them.

David Craven. Abstract Expressionism and the Cultural Logic of Romantic Anti-Capitalism: Dissent during the McCarthy Period (Cambridge Studies in American Visual Culture).

Claude Cernusci.  Barnett Newman and Heideggerian Philosophy

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Really Long Overdue

I finally finished up a cover for this tape that will be coming out on Banned Productions. Finally. It will be in good company with this great series he is doing. Check them out here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Jitters on Sum of Your Life Broadcast

A selection from Jitters was recently played on the Sum of Your Life. Follow this link to see the playlist and to download or stream the broadcast.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How To Not Do It

So, the more I listen to Jason Lescalleet's How To Not Do It cassette, the more I realize that it is really incredible. I decided that I am going to need to write about it, but first, I needed to check out some reviews of it. As I was reading them, I began to notice that a lot of reviewers seem to be missing some really important aspects of what Lescalleet is doing on this tape. So, here are the links to those reviews until I get a chance to write my own.

Tiny Mix Tapes
Cassette Gods
Driving Guitars
Put The Blog In Its Coffin

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More Tracks on Bandcamp

I just found out that my live collab with David Reed (Envenomist, Luasa Raelon) that was released as a split cassette with Sword Heaven is now available for streaming and download on Bandcap. To check it out, follow this link.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Vacant Lot To Be In

My new record entitled A Vacant Lot To Be In. is scheduled to be released by the end of the year on the fantastic Crippled Intellect Productions out of Chicago. To make room for this record and a number of other promising releases, Blake is having a sale on all remaining releases including the Joe Colley box set. Jump on this offer by following the link. I know I will.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"better than I expected."

Here is a review of Polarity.

I will let you decide if the guy liked it or not.

Band: Jason Zeh
Country: Bowling Green, Ohio
Style: Drone/Noise
Label: Handmade Birds

Of all the releases I've covered from Handmade Birds, it may come as a surprise that I actually wasn't all that excited about this one. For some reason this one just didn't strike me as being one of the label's more definable releases, but Mr. R. Loren himself has actually done quite a fine job at sort of building up some hype for this cassette through a mixtape he made and in a brief interview he did. So, regardless of what I may have expected it to be I tried to come into this with an open mind ready for anything. I did watch a video of Zeh performing live (to which I heard were good enough that they should be filmed for a DVD - something I don't really get) and that didn't really inspire much confidence in this release; but when I actually listened to this tape I was actually quite surprised with it. It's not amazing or mind altering, but it is better than I expected. Both tracks feature some really interesting, minimalistic drones that are actually quite captivating for how minimal their structure(?) is. Both track feature very little in the way of variation, with a central drone essentially carrying the track from beginning to end with very, very subtle shifts occurring in the space between. Obviously, because this is only two tracks and both do top the twenty minute mark, it can be a pretty tough listen, and I won't make any defense for it be a difficult tape to get into, but it is actually quite an impressive little release that surpassed my expectations (if that means anything).
Overall Score: 7.5
Highlights: Side A

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Show In KCK


Thursday, November 29th
556 Central Avenue Kansas City Kansas

$5 to help out the touring acts.

 Piper Harrow: KC's Piper Harrow breaks, smashes, and regurgitates songs and collaborates with a wide array of like-minded miscreants in the area.

Time and Temperature: Val sings beautiful and haunting songs about lesbian nuns and other stuff. She is on tour from Columbus, OH. You can sample and buy her music on her Bandcamp page

John Bellows: From Chicago, Bellows brings tender, psychedelic, grunge-folk. He has a recent LP on Moniker Records. Follow the link for a sound sample or, check out this video.

Jason Zeh: This recent transplant to Kansas City plays extended technique cassette music. Recent work has appeared on Chondritic Sound and Handmade Birds.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I now have copies of Jitters available. You can also purchase and stream it on Bandcamp.
Follow this link.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Jitters Photos

Nice photos of CH-263 Jason Zeh - Jitters C32

Photo ©2012 Jeff R Williams, all rights reserved

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stream "Polarity" Now

A Handmade Birds mixtape is now up on Brooklyn Vegan featuring a track from my cassette release, "Polarity." I am in good company here with recordings from a number of great artists including Our Love Will Destroy The World, William Fowler Collins, Locrian and Christoph Heemann and Theologian. You can find the streaming mixtape here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My new LP, A Vacant Lot to be In, Has been sent to its new home. More info will follow.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Here are the final covers and cassettes for my Chondritic Sound tape entitled Jitters. It is available right now at Vacation Vinyl in LA and will be available shortly to the rest of the world. I am told that it will also be on Bandcamp for sale in a digital format soon. Keep an eye out for further notifications about ordering info and download links. Again, here is a video with a sound sample.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Friday, September 28, 2012

Chondritic Sound

Greh Holger finished a mock up of the artwork for my new cassette, "Jitters," that he is putting out on Chondritic Sound. The finished J-Card will likely be gray on metallic orange paper, but the image below gives an idea of what it will look like. It should look pretty awesome when it is done. The image that you see below is kind of a collaboration between Greh and I. Years ago, just before he moved to California, Greh and I had discussed doing a Xerox art collaboration together. I sent him some scraps of my work to play around with and nothing ever came of that. We had been talking about having him do a tape for me for many more years. I think it might have been 2005 when he first asked me to send him a master. Life got away from me and I never got around to actually doing it until about 6 months ago. When we started talking about cover art, I suggested that he try working with some of the material I had sent him in 2009 or 2010. Below is the result. Some of it is manipulated material from me. Some of it is stuff that Greh made from a sculpture he xeroxed. All of it is run through the standard Chondritic Sound process. For as long as I have known Greh, his label has always produced beautiful stuff. The artwork is always printed on really nice paper and his releases have a refreshingly cohesive aesthetic. Sadly, he no longer prepares the releases by closing them in a box of burning incense. But, the result is still cool.

I recently posted a video with a sound sample. Here it is again.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Shiflet Interview

Here is an interview that Mike Shiflet recently did with Local Autonomy in Columbus, OH. He references a conversation that we had on the way to The Enemy Fest in Chicago a few months ago. Many of Mike's comments resonate with me as well. Especially relevant to me is the statement he makes about developing a body of work over the course of decades. I too have felt the "foolish" disappointment involved in watching close friends achieve a level of success more quickly than I have been able. Where Shiflet looks to Chopin and Radigue for reassurance, I have recently been looking to artists like Jo Baer and Robert Motherwell for reminders about the value of taking time to develop as an artist. There are some really astute observations in this interview.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Spent some time splicing some tapes today. As a result, I think I am calling this track for my split with Developer done. Here is a picture of that process.

 I also got a box of tapes from Handmade Birds. They turned out great! The pro-printed red cassettes look fantastic. Let me know if you are interested in one.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Home

So, I am successfully getting settled into our new home in Kansas City Missouri. As a result, I will be playing in nearby Lawrence Kansas. Here is the info.

September 18th.
Potluck @5
Music @7
@ The Perc

This is My Condition
Jason Zeh
Radio Shock
Dick Neff

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


NoInputVideo1 from Jason Zeh on Vimeo.

This is a video that I made of my first attempt playing around with a collection of video editing hardware I have been working on amassing for a few years.  It isn't anything amazing, but I think this is the start of a cool new direction. I have been wanting to do some VHS manipulation that draws on my experience with audio cassette manipulation techniques since at least 2004. I have a lot of ideas that could lead to interesting results. In addition to the video, this piece features a clip from my upcoming cassette on Chondritic Sound. It is called "Jitters."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Quick Update

2 new tapes should be in my hands in August.

I have a few copies of the Ohio Unsemble tape available. It is sparse improv featuring myself, Matt Reis, Ryan Jewell, Jon Lorenz, and John Rich.

The master and artwork for my LP, "A Vacant Lot To Be In," have finally been sent to Aaron Dilloway for release on Hanson Records.

On deck:
Solo full length
Track for a split with Matt Reis/Developer
Split with Matt Ruzicka
T-shirt design for the Robinwood Concert House
Collab with Ryan Jewell that we started last Thursday when he was in town on tour.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

R.I.P. Enemy

Enemy was a fantastic venue in Chicago. In fact, it is one of my favorite venues that I have encountered during my travels. Here is an article discussing the death of Enemy after its 7 year run of setting up great performances of experimental music. As the article notes, Mike Shiflet, Jesse Kudler, and I played their inaugural show in 2005. Also at that show, LSDuo and Jason Soliday played. It happened that we performed in the un-air-conditioned space on one of the hottest days of that Summer. I played an un-amplified set huddled over on the floor. Sweat was dripping off of me to such a degree that I clearly remember sliding around in a puddle on the wooden floor while playing. After the show, Shiflet and I slept out on the roof. We were at eye level with the train tracks, rolling around in the dirty, black, roofing all night as the train passed periodically, waking us. At least it was cooler than sleeping inside. It was a terrible night's sleep, but an awesome and weird memory. Shortly after that night, the access to the roof was closed off for safety reasons.

I played there a number of other times over the next few years: with KBD, Soliday, Olivia Block, Adam Strohm, Startless (my Duo with Blake Edwards), and a number of others. Most recently, Shiflet and I drove out to play a fest that soliday set up this past Spring.

Chicago will miss Enemy I am sure. The rest of us will miss the familiarity of stopping there on the road. I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to spend so much time at this beautiful venue.

Thanks, Jason, for the good times.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


This is a fantastic review of the new Shiflet LPs. "There is no overt passion of any sort in Shiflet’s extreme close-ups of harsh textures, no drama in the churning, processed strings, no sentiment in the long pans over softer-textured aural surfaces, just as there is no emotion in the beautifully rendered close-ups of somebody’s palms on the front and back sleeves." Awesome!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Riso Print Gocco

Mega bummer. I had a project idea for the Summer that requires me to break out my Riso Print Gocco.

If you are unfamiliar, it is a small and simple home screen printing kit. A friend once described it as the Easy Bake Oven of screen printing. I first learned about it from Twig Harper of Nautical Alminac who used it to print tape covers. I got one in college and used it to make arm bands, t-shirts, art, and tape covers. A few years ago, I used it to make the invitations for my wedding. It is a great tool with a lot of possible applications.

With this Summer project in mind, I checked my supplies a few weeks ago to find that I am out of bulbs and screens. The bulbs are single-use flash bulbs that expose the screens, burning the image into them. I finally got around to checking the internet today to see about ordering some supplies. To my horror, the company has discontinued all of the Gocco supplies. They sent out the last of the supplies to retailers in 2009: the year I made our wedding invitations.


Anyway, here is some info on the Print Gocco as well as resources for people who are attempting to keep it alive.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pitchfork Review

Here is a new review of Shiflet's new records on Type. I am honored to have been a part of these releases.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Startless Reviews

The new Vital Weekly features reviews of the two new Startless releases.

Overall, Frans doesn't seem to like them that much, but does refer to them as "intelligent noise matter." I appreciate the sentiment. Given that he doesn't completely bash them, I think that his evaluation is based on personal taste rather than anything else. So, I will take the criticism with a grain of salt. He knows what he likes and he doesn't like it when music moves into more harsh or chaotic territory.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Noise Park

Ok, I have finally "made it." Check out this Noise Park Blog.

Show in Columbus

This Friday I will be playing a Fuse Factory Show. Here is the basic info. Check the link for more detailed overviews of the artists.

Our May Frequency Fridays show features

Sound artist Tim Kaiser (MN)
Experimental electronic musician Hal McGee (FL)
Cassette composer Jason Zeh (OH)
Electronica-ambient trio Circuitry Room (OH)

Date: Friday, May 4, 2012.
Location: Wild Goose Creative (2491 Summit St. 43202).
Admission: $8, $10 for 2. Doors open 8pm.

Our Frequency Fridays 2011-2012 season is supported by a generous grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council. Note: Hal McGee will be performing the Action Sound Painting Orchestra – anybody who wants to participate can bring a battery-operated electronic instrument and amplifier, or an acoustic instrument to play.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sony WM-D6C

So, I just scored a couple of these in a trade with a friend. I am super excited about them for a number of reasons. First, they seem to be widely accepted as the best compact cassette recorder ever made. Second, they have speed control. The range of speed variability is fairly limited, but it is super nice nonetheless. Third, the record and play in stereo. Fourth, they have a line in and line out. This should allow for less line hum than my lower quality tape decks have when I play live. Fourth, they look and feel great. They are super sturdy. Since these are early models, probably from the mid 80s, they might need some repairs and tune-ups. So, I wanted to begin compiling a list of links about the device so that I can come back to them later as I continue to familiarize myself with them. I am anticipating that these beauties will provide a lot of satisfaction. I think that I might spend some time working on becoming more adept with repairing these so that I can try to score some others for cheap if they come up.

Here are some more photos I posted to my Tumblr, What Were Tapes.

Service Manual

Repair Service: This place may or may not still be in business.

User's Manual

Background info

More info

Compatible mics

Upcoming show in Columbus OH

Sunday, April 15, 2012

57 E. Gay St. 5th floor

Greg Kelley/ Bill Nace duo
(Boston/ Western Mass)
Members of Nmperign, BSC, Heathen Shame, Vampire Belt, Xo4, Northampton Wools

Matt Krefting
(Western Mass)
Son of Earth, Believers, solos on Ecstatic Peace

Wasteland Jazz Unit (Cincinnati)

Jason Zeh/ Ryan Jewell (Bowling Green/ Columbus)

Monday, April 2, 2012


Type Records has just released a new Mike Shiflet Lp entitled Merciless and featuring contributions from myself, Joe Panzner, Marina Peterson and C Spencer Yeh.

It is a follow up to his previous LP Sufferers on the same label that also featured contributions from us.

I should probably point out right now that Shiflet's set at the Enemy Fest in Chicago this weekend was fantastic! He was one of the few artists who took full advantage of the quad setup. Holy crap!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Startless New

Ok, so here is the final image for the Startless 3" I was struggling with some glare issues. Now it is better.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


I am finally finishing up some images for a couple of new Startless releases. The first one is for a live 3" and I am going to need to fiddle around with photographing it in different light. There is some glare that is really bothering me and I am having trouble getting rid of it. The second is for a full length that we recorded at the same time as Circulation Decay. We were hoping to have both done in time for the fest at Enemy next weekend. It looks like the 3" will be ready, but not the full length. It has been a bad week and I didn't have as much time to work on these as I would have liked.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What Were Tapes

After I posted the photos of the slowly growing collection of cassette uptake reels, a couple of friends suggested that I start a Tumblr photo blog devoted to them. So, I did. You can find it here. Right now, there are just some of the same cell phone pics that I already posted here. However, I will soon be uploading some other fun stuff: hopefully daily. My goal with this photo blog is to document the strange details, subtleties, and ephemera associated with tape. I am planning on expanding beyond the original suggestion to make a tumblr about uptake reels. Instead, I will focus on a wide variety of photos of interesting aspects of this dying technology.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Break

This last week and a half has been more productive than I thought it was going to be. I finished up and sent off masters for cassettes on Ides Recordings, Banned Productions, and Chondritic Sound. I sent off a master for a compilation on Rainbow Bridge. Finally, I finished up the designs for a couple of covers. One will be a live, Startless 3". The other will be a full length Startless CD-r. We are hoping that the Startless releases will be done by the fest at Enemy in Chicago this month. You can see the images above. Both will be in full color and will be put into frames.

Friday, February 24, 2012


This weekend is weird. I have been in a bizarre depression lately trying to get through an intense several week stretch of demanding and emotionally draining work. This weekend, for the first time in quite a while, I have some free time. I am going to finally be able to get back to work on some fun stuff. I think that first up will be finishing up this track for my cassette on Ides. This damn thing has been on my to do pile for a long time. I am hoping that this weekend will be the end.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

New "Dots" Review.

This is a really nice review from Richard Pinell. An excerpt follows, but you should check out the whole thing at his Watchful Ear Blog.

"The really nice elements of this music are the qualities of the individual sounds. From the opening scratches and scribbles to the deep, dry, gradually building roar that lights up the central section of the disc, there is a really nice feel to all of the sounds here, not just a throwaway electronic screech or a bit of static, but sounds discovered on the surface of tape, full of detail, history and a sense of natural texture."

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I am experimenting with some processes that I have been thinking about for a new recording that is tentatively called Walking Around in a Body With No Bones. It is based off of a phrase Chris Sienko used in a review of my Heraclitus cd in his magazine, As Loud As Possible. He used this phrase to describe the feeling he had while listening to the end of that CD. The passage in question could not be farther from being "as loud as possible" if it was silence. I am not going to reveal too much about the recording I am working on. However, here are some images taken from the first step in the process.