Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Music From The Silent Films

Art Phag

From their myspace page

Spewing forth from an industrial swamp south of Detroit in the mid-1980s, Art Phag cut a raw-boned, stripped down, gut poundin’, dead raisin’, hot damn I’m on fire and I’m takin’ you fuckers with me to hell path of destruction through the Motor City music scene for nearly a decade before flamin’ out like Russian space junk fallin’ from heaven on a starry starry night.

Co-founded by Detroit’s legendary surf-rock-a-billy guitar lord and mad scientist, Len Puch and heavily medicated, sometimes lucid, mostly liquored, crazed songwriter, Vegas Razz, Art Phag combined a heavy, swampy, bluesy wall of thick thick mud with a bazooka directness. Heavily influenced by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, The Cramps and a steady dose of voodoo beats from the other side, Art Phag blasted a sonic grunginess long before kids were rippin’ their jeans in Seattle AND doing it all with only a greased up guitar, jungle pounding drums and other-worldly vocals. At their highpoint, Art Phag tour with the likes of the Jesus & Mary Chain, The Membranes and My Bloody Valentine.

Art Phag's star slowly fizzled out in the mid 90s as prison, psycho wards and religious rituals began to take their toll on it’s founding members.

Art Phag - Golf

Click here to read Len Puch's musical history. He now goes under "Len Von Speedcult", and makes metal sculptures among other things (as seen above), like a backyard roller coaster called "The Roaster Coaster" with accomodations for Go-Go Dancers.

Art Phag - 4 Basic Vejabo Groups

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cheap Fibronitrogen and Expensive Biliary Sludge!

Rubber-O-Cement at No Fun Fest

The following statement is untrue:

Rubber O Cement was a spin-off of Bay Area avant-gardists Caroliner (aka Caroliner Rainbow), whose severely warped Americana bore a faint resemblance to the severely warped electronic noise of its offspring. Normally a trio led by enigmatic Caroliner frontman Grux (who founded the group during Caroliner's late-'90s hiatus), Rubber O Cement was most noted for its surreal stage shows, in which the bandmembers used cardboard, foam, and tin foil to dress up as robots and monsters, and cavorted around the stage in front of a large cardboard computer. Set against this backdrop, their equally oddball music relied chiefly on vintage analog synths, low-budget effects, and skronky noise guitar. Rubber O Cement shared Caroliner's penchant for found-object packaging; their debut album, 2002's High Speed Electronic Cardboard, was released in a limited edition by the Toyo label and packaged in an envelope stuffed inside different individual issues of Clive Barker's Hellraiser comic book. The group also cut a split release with Panicsville, and issued several CD-ROM recordings (again in tandem with comic books), among them Thylakoid Hubcaps N' Chloroblast! and Heated Expression of the Crawlycule. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide

The pervious statement is false

Rubber 0 Cement are, depending on your definitions, Avant metal, a la Black Dice or Wolf Eyes, the latter of whom they tour with, or Musique Concrete, following in the traditions of 'found noise' artists such as Pierre Schaeffer and Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Certainly their music is a sound collage of this ilk, although it is less 'Revolution No.9', more, to quote the name of their record label, 'Brutal Sound Effects' .

Their full sound of electronic feedback, echo and whine puts them in the bracket of Noise or Drone according to some, but the band themselves would have other ways of describing their noise, such as "cheap fibronitrogen, and expensive biliary sludge" - the band seldom mention anything outside of the chemical or synthetic. To further this modernist dystopia they dress as giant mutated robots.

Their only overt instrument onstage, other than a giant computer they claim is made of cardboard, is a seven foot "bass javelin" which is played by an aforementioned robot by being swung round, hitting and scraping anything in its path.

Their love of found noise seems to extend beyond, er, noise. Some of their CDs are released in comic books "to make them attractive to the younger audience", they say. But these are not specially commissioned comics, they are old D.C. comics that they found in a skip.

There is one person on OkCupid, a dating website, who lists Rubber 0 Cement as a favourite band.
Rubber 0 Cement's first full length DVD, "Butyl RNA World, Solid City State, and Ratar Toilet Seat Cover" is out now.


Hear Rubber 0 Cement on This Radio Show Archive from 06.11.07

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Concerto For Voice & Machinery

Coincidentally, I found this interview with Blixa Bargeld from a year ago with the following as a preface, completely unbeknownst to myself. Almost a year to the day since the event in question.

On January 3rd, 1984, members of the German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten joined forces with musicians such as Genesis P. Orridge and Frank ‘Fad Gadget’ Tovey to perform a one-off piece entitled ‘Concerto for Voice and Machinery’ at the ICA. The gig, involving pneumatic drills and chainsaws, was chaotic even by Neubauten standards, culminating when someone threw bottles into a cement mixer, which sent broken glass flying all around the room. As the ICA tried to put a stop to the pandemonium a riot broke out in the audience. Accounts of subsequent events are rather muddled but it would appear that power tools were used to drill through the stage, possibly in an attempt to get to the underground tunnels that allegedly run underneath it, connecting Whitehall to Buckingham Palace.

On February 20th, the artist Jo Mitchell will stage a re-enactment of ‘Concerto for Voice and Machinery’ at the ICA. A group of artists playing the band members will attempt to reconstruct the events as they unfolded twenty-three years ago.

From This Source:
Commissioned by Michael Morris, the site programmer, with Mark Chung of Einstürzende Neubauten, the work was scored by Chung and F.M. Einheit for cement mixers, jack hammers, chain saws, angle grinders, breaker drills, banyo hammers, road drills, a metal locker room cabinet, a section of a tree trunk, milk bottles, bricks, loud hailers, a gently quiet upright piano and performers, Frank Tovey, Mark Chung, FM Einheit, Gila Groeger, Stevo, Alex Hacke and a ICA- banned Genesis P.Orridge.

Blixa Bargeld made a last minute appearance to scream ‘sehnsucht’ into a microphone amidst the sawdust, petrol smells, smoke, sparks and chaos as the ICA officials unplugged the power and closed the show.

Varying reports suggest that Einheit jumped from the stage inciting others to drill through to the Royal Family’s nuclear hideaway under the ICA’s dressing rooms, that Stevo was goading the onlookers and that an audience member had called for an attack on the ‘fascist institution’ and attempted to initiate this.

So every account of this post-Punk Dadaism differs - hence the legend and the creative impossibility of Jo’s task despite her incredibly thorough research through bootleg recordings, photographs, witness statements, the availability of Mark’s score and her imaginatively close direction of the event.

Here is a snippet from the reinactment:

And another one with Vocals that was edited for repitition throughout:

Here is a review of the original performance by a journalist in attendance who actually had a hand in putting together the re-enactment, as reviewed Here.

From the 1984 review:

On the stage, things veered from gleeful, precise carnage to an exhilaratingly dangerous chaos. The protagonists jolted and bumped into each other. At times I seriously expected an arm or a leg to be severed, the disembodiment then insanely celebrated by the tossing of the blood-dripping limb into the audience.

From the Re-Enactment:

At the re-enactment, I spent the first five minutes or so hating it, thinking the whole thing had been a waste of time as it had none of the intensity of the original and, apart from anything else, it was remarkably quiet (despite the earplugs being offered at the door). But once I adjusted to the idea that I was watching a re-enactment, not a repeat, the whole thing became enjoyable in a manner which I’ve still not worked out. Blixa Bargeld apparently commented on hearing of the planned re-enactment that he found the idea ‘charming’, and the re-enactment was, for me, actually quite charming, though others would experience it in many different ways.

And as commented by a youtube user:

My dad was there in 1984. The difference between then and now is that, at the original, his friend was almost killed by a piece of flying glass from the cement mixer. And he was part of a group trying to pull down a speaker stack that would most definitely have killed them had it gone...

The obvious can be assumed about it being dumbed down and contrived to stage a reinactment. According to this blog, There were people that reinacted the audience heckling. From what I've read, the energy and raucousness of the crowd in 1984 was what made the night legendary. So the concept of a re-enactment for something of this nature seems silly. However, if people simply performed "Concerto for Voice and Machinery", I would have never heard about it happening. If any of you reading this has a bootleg of the re-enactment (or especially the original for that matter, there were said to have been bootlegs used as source material for the act), or even just a recording of someone destroying a piano with a chainsaw, give me a hollar!

But we would have kept it pretty straightforward if we weren't inspired by the reaction of the audience. There's a famous Walter Benjamin essay about the destructive character, and he says: "The destructive character knows only one watchword: make room. And only one activity: clearing away." And that's how it was. We were thinking, "Actually, it's not us doing anything. The audience are tearing the place apart!" People were fighting over the drills and sledgehammers. Cables and machinery were pulled into the audience. - From an interview with Alexander Hacke

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Christians Against Scooby Doo

"Phil Phillips" here, says that 80% of cartoons deal with the occult, and that children projecting themselves upon the character of a toy is dangerous. I love the fact that there is a TV in the background that says "DEMONIZED" in spooky lettering on the screen. Thanks to Saturday Morning Blog.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Pluck The Vibrating Strings; Since Fate Strikes Down The String Man!

Carl Orff was born in Munich, Germany and came from a Bavarian family that was very active in the German military. His father's regimental band supposedly had often played the compositions of young Orff.

Orff's association with the Nazi party has been alleged, but never conclusively established. His Carmina Burana was hugely popular in Nazi Germany after its premiere in Frankfurt in 1937, receiving numerous performances. But the composition with its unfamiliar rhythms was also denounced with racist taunts. He was one of the few German composers under the Nazi regime who responded to the official call to write new music for A Midsummer Night's Dream after the music of Felix Mendelssohn had been banned — others refused to cooperate in this. But Orff had already composed music for this play as early as 1917 and 1927, long before this was a favour for the Nazi government.

Orff is most known for Carmina Burana (1937), a "scenic cantata". It is the first of a trilogy that also includes Catulli Carmina and Trionfo di Afrodite. Carmina Burana reflected his interest in medieval German poetry. Together the trilogy is called Trionfi, or "triumphs". The composer described it as the celebration of the triumph of the human spirit through sexual and holistic balance. The work was based on thirteenth-century poetry found in a manuscript dubbed the Codex latinus monacensis found in a Bavarian monastery in 1803 and written by the Goliards; this collection is also known as Carmina Burana. While "modern" in some of his compositional techniques, Orff was able to capture the spirit of the medieval period in this trilogy, with infectious rhythms and easy tonalities. The medieval poems, written in an early form of German and Latin, are often racy, but without descending into smut.

Naïve is industrial rock group KMFDM's fifth album, released in 1990. It is out of print due to copyright infringement: the seventh track, Liebeslied (Unedited), used unauthorized samples from a recording of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (O Fortuna). A common misbelief is that the album was pulled immediately after its release; in actuality, it had been out for three years before it was recalled. Copies today are rare and considered collector's items, often fetching high prices at auction. The album was recorded in Hamburg, Germany.


All of the other tracks on the album, except for the original mixes of "Die Now-Live Later" and "Go to Hell" were subsequently available on other discs. The album was re-released as Naïve/Hell to Go, with some songs remixed, in 1994.

A digitally remastered reissue of Naïve was released on November 21, 2006, along with Money and Angst. It was reissued with an edited version of the track "Liebeslied" without the offending sample. It also features the remixes that initially appeared on 1994's Naïve/Hell to Go album.

KMFDM - Liebeslied (Live 1992)

The remastered version of "Liebeslied", according to the CD booklet, is "Different from the original only in that the 'O Fortuna' samples have been removed. No other elements of the song have been altered". However, if you compare the original version to the reissued edit, the original is around 30 seconds longer. This is due to the sections of the song where the 'O Fortuna' samples should be being shortened.

Also, if you listen very carefully to the reissued version of Liebeslied, you can just about hear the reminants of the 'O Fortuna' sample, just before the first chorus (around the 1:10 mark).

This album is arguably KMFDM's most "metal" album. Also on Naive is "Godlike", which has been reinterpreted a lot, but this is their most aggressive version, quite possibly containing a riff borrowed from Slayer's Angel of Death .

On-again-off-again KMFDM contributor and core member Raymond Watts put out a solo album under the moniker PIG in 1988, one year before Naive was recorded, called A Poke in the Eye... With A Sharp Stick, which also happened to be out of print (reissued in Japan only in 1998 with different cover) for reasons that don't seem to have anything to do with Carl Orff, although you'll find his sample as well as one possibly of Metallica on the first track of the album.

PIG - It Tolls For Thee (Pig's Breath)(LP)

PIG - Shit For Brains

PIG - Poke In The Eye Search on EBAY

Therion - O Fortuna

*Note: The title of this blog is based off of a misspelling I found while searching for and within the lyrics to O Fortuna. I found it to be poigniant, so no knit-picking is necessary for that portion*

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In Memory of Clayton Counts

According to his website, Clayton Counts has been dead since Christmas Eve. His Wiki Page says that the death has not been verified. In any case, Clayton is/was a gracious fellow. He was a very intelligent guy, without the pseudo-intellectual loftiness that often comes along with it, and a sharp, dark sense of humor to boot. He could talk about chemistry and pizza in the same unassuming demeanor. He and I weren't the most regular of friends, but we were in regular correspondence since I met him in 2004.

In our email exchanges, I eventually put him on a bill for a show I was playing at Hotti Biscotti, a quaint experimental venue. Knowing I was fond of the music on his website that I was aware of, I was still weary about the laptop ambience that might easily get squelched by the noise in the small bar. I met him there and we chatted about music, approaches to executing such, and various secret ideas he had, for practically the entire nite. Contrary to my concerns, he played a spiraling enclave of electronic blips, bloops, and farts that eventually mutated and waddled into a rabid, chaotic interchange; apparently without predictable use of distortions, that I can only describe as this:

... Or maybe by saying that it was more persistently cacaphonous, but in the same vein as this ColoringBook track

Clayton and I continuted to hang out a little here and there. Eventually, due to his court trouble at the time (see Chicago Reader article PDF in aforementioned Wikipedia page titled "Last Night A DJ Called Me A Whining Little Bitch"), and since I had an album in the works, that I was in the market for getting mastered, he agreed to do it for a modest sum to supplement his court expenses. It also allowed for a lot of telephone conversations and meetings at bars or coffee shops that were not only productive but also littered with mental notes for me to take home about musicians I'd never heard of. He once said that my music sounded, in an off-the-wall way, similar to Les Baxter, and now that I've long since found out who that is, I consider it a great compliment.

Les Baxter - Hogin Machine

That album was distributed in an edition of 40 CDR's, then taken back to the drawing board to be radically refinished. The following track doesn't sound anything like Les Baxter, but it was mastered by Clayton from a deliberately peaked recording with a focus on getting fullness and stereo activity out of basically mono material. It's essentially a recording of a glitch in my sequencer that happens when I try to make it do too much at once. It wrangles the sounds that you're working on into mush if it's the right material/if you rub it right.

Mister Fuckhead - 3.31 (deleted album version)

I had Clayton on my radio show last fall to do an interview, live performance, and guest DJ set. You can nab the live set Here. The interview amounts to over an hour at least, and the mic that Clayton was speaking into was faulty, so it will take some cleaning up before I post it. You should check back for that, I will have it up eventually.

Clayton also contributed to WFMU's 365 Days Project, here are the days he featured something:







Clayton Counts - Fuck EMI

Anyone who knows anything about Clayton knows about The Beachles, but if you don't, here's the Wikipedia link regarding the first Beachles album. The Beachles' - Sgt. Petsound's Lonely Hearts Club Band is commonly known as a mash-up album, track for track, of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Clayton never really seemed to agree about it being hapharzardly placed into the category of "mash-up", and never really explained why he wanted to do the album other than to be clear that it was not to antagonize anyone. I would just add that I think it's quite a clever premise and surely wasn't chosen half-heartedly. For one, Pet Sounds was said to be inspired by The Beatles' Rubber Soul, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was supposedly a reaction to Pet Sounds. Sgt. Peppers also had more than a little collage work on the cover, which makes it all the more fitting, thematically, to use their music as a launch pad to make something else.

Sgt. Petsound's Lonely Hearts Club Band (2006)

The way that The Pet Sounds Sessions was compiled by the Beach Boys' own Brian Wilson almost asks for it, and listening to the original SMiLE bootlegs, I'd say that Brian and Co. might have liked The Beachles. I don't know what all the fuss was about.

Not only that, and this might be a stretch, but Harry Nilsson was heavily inspired by The Beatles. After John Lennon died, Nilsson neglected to do another album, and instead devoted the rest of his life to Gun Control. His early albums were most obviously influenced by The Beatles, namely Aerial Ballet and Pandemonium Shadow Show. When it came time for said albums to be reissued, Harry took material from both of the albums and made one single album, Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, which was probably, inadvertently, the world's first mash-up album; latently influenced by The Beatles. Coincidentally, RCA released what is essentially a mash-up/medley of Nilsson's previous material called Scatalogue, intended to promote those albums by him.

But the Beachles record isn't just a mash-up record. It used primarily source material to create something new. It's not as strict, track for track, as has been implied. There's plain out soundscapes on there, and The Super Mario Brothers Theme too, among other things.

Clayton has posted some of the second Beachles album, and his friends are gradually posting things related to him on his website. He said that projects he works on always come in 3's, so in any case, I will be checking his website for updates of varying importance in the days to come.

Handy links for finding used products:

Beach Boys Pet Sounds on EBay

Beatles Sgt. Pepper search on EBay