Category Archives: read

[2012 in Review: Wrapping It Up and Looking Ahead]

At the end of 2011, we launched our [Reviews] section and to date we have completed over 65 reviews of releases that were put out by artists or labels from the Upstate region. Unfortunately, there were loads more releases that deserved reviews, but due to time constraints and limited resources 65 was what we had to settle with. Still, that’s more than we thought we’d get to when we launched the section. Plus, the reviews we did post expanded the blog’s audience to a size that was truly unexpected.

Despite everyone hating on music reviewers these days (and for good reason sometimes), people apparently still like to read reviews. Case in point: the reviews section has easily become the blog’s most popular section and the amount of visitors that it has brought to the blog, and then to the radio show, was totally unanticipated. So without further ado, a HUGE thanks to the all the writers who contributed their time and talent to this endeavor. You can read about these fine hard-working people on our [Contributors] page. Also, a huge thanks to the labels and artists for providing us with the music when we asked for it or–even better–just sending it in when it was ready for release. Hopefully, in 2013 we can build on the number and quality of reviews.

You may have noticed that there has been some very recent changes/additions to the site and the radio show, such as the [Events] page (which will be updated weekly and can be heard read on the air during each show), a master Upstate Soundscape Spotify playlist in the side column, and a FAQ that has been added to our [About] page for artists, labels, and other interested parties on how to get your recordings on the radio show and/or reviewed by the blog, etc. There are even more additions coming in 2013. Below are some of the new wrinkles we have in store for The Upstate Soundscape radio show and blog in the upcoming year.

Guest Hosts: We’ve already had Michael Vitrano of Desire Path Recordings on to guest host back in November, while Adam Richards of House of Alchemy is coming in for the December 26th show, and Adrian Bertelone aka Ay Fast is scheduled for the January 30th show. These guest host slots are intended to–on one hand–give Needles a break and–on the other hand–get more people into the WBNY studio to share the music and sound that they’re either personally involved with or just digging at the moment. We’re shooting for one guest host per month, so stay tuned to see who else we get into the studio. Interested in being a guest host? Spots are limited, but send us an email and we’ll see.

Batch reviews: One change we’re making in an attempt to cover more ground with the reviews is to begin reviewing batches of release that labels like House of Alchemy and cae-sur-a put out, instead of trying to review each individual release within the batches. These batches of cassettes are artistic statements in themselves like curated exhibitions and perhaps should be reviewed as such. We’ll continue to do individual reviews as well of artists and releases that aren’t necessarily released in batch form. Are you a label or artist who has something you think we might want to review and/or play on the radio? Check out the new [FAQ] page for details on how to get us your sounds and what our review policies are.

Mixes: Recently both Soundcloud and Spotify made it easier to share and embed mixes on various platforms, so we will begin posting mixes on a regular basis from both of those sites, which both contain a plethora of sounds by experimental artists at work in or associated with the Upstate region. These mixes will be curated mostly by the Upstate Soundscape, but will also be curated from time to time by artists, label heads, DJs, and other people from around the region. We will also continue to post regular mixes by Upstate artists when they arise. Interested in making a mix for us or curating one on Spotify or Soundcloud? Get in touch.

Spotlights: We’ve done several [Spotlights] in the past on Upstate labels, but the [Spotlight] series is going to get ramped up a bit in early to mid 2013. The goal is to now use the [Spotlight] posts to cover other things like organizations, venues, radio shows, artists, etc. The hope is to provide a more in depth view on these other entities through an interview and/or profile. Look for the first one to be published early in 2013. Know of an artists, organization, or other entity of an experimental nature from Upstate that you think deserves a [Spotlight]? Get in touch.

Compilation Series: The first one is in the can and it is fucking awesome and we can’t wait for you to hear it. HUGE thanks to the artists that contributed a recording. It will be posted for free download in early January via Bandcamp and Soundcloud. As of now, the plan is to do quarterly compilations. Eventually, we may decide to focus an entire compilation on a specific genre, or city, or something else along those lines, but for now the comps will serve as samplers of the sounds being created of all kinds throughout the Golden Horseshoe, from Toronto to Albany, and all points in between. Interested in submitting a recording to be considered for the next compilation (or radio play in the meantime)? Check out our Soundcloud group or our [FAQ] page for more details on how to get us your sounds.

All of these new components will launch once 2012 is in the rear-view mirror. In 2013 you will also see a continuation of our other regular posts, including [Free Music Friday], [Beyond the Upstate Soundscape], and [Soundmarks]. These have been going strong all year and will continue to do so in 2013.

For the remainder of 2012, however, we will begin posting Year-End lists by various people from around the region including radio DJs, label heads, and artists every couple of days starting tomorrow (Saturday, 12/15). These lists are intended to offer a different take on the critical posturing that has proliferated since the inception of music blogs. The lists you will see here are not intended to be any sort of “Best of 2012” lists, nor are they ranked. Instead, they’re lists compiled by sound enthusiast from around the region and feature very simply what they personally liked from the past year. Kind of a like a literary mixtape one friend makes for another. By no means are these lists intended to be the final word on music and sound from 2012. Instead they are intended to be a starting point to encourage dialogue within the region among people who are committed to and making experimental music and sound of all kinds.

Other things to keep an eye out for over the next couple of weeks. . .

-The Annual Year in Review radio program scheduled for this Sunday at 9pm. Tune in to 91.3FM WBNY or stream at WBNY.org

-Catch host Needles Numark DJing at the End of the World Party at Nietzsches (12/20) and at the Vinyl Monday’s X-Mas Eve Party at Essex (12/24).

-House of Alchemy label head Adam Richards guest hosts The Upstate Soundscape on Wed., 12/26.

-The first release in our brand new compilation series, The Upstate Soundscape: Vol. 1 (Winter 2013). Coming in very early January. And its so fucking good, its not even funny.

. . . other than that, it looks like 2012 is a wrap. Here’s to hoping to an even better 2013 for the radio show, the blog, and the Upstate experimental community. Cheers!

Advertisements

[Read: Music 114 – Everyday Sounds and Experimental Music Course at UB]

Looks like University at Buffalo students will actually have an interesting class to take this semester courtesy of Colin Tucker,  composer and PhD student in the UB Music Department. Tucker has designed a course titled, “Music 114: Everyday Sounds and Experimental Music.”

Check out this Course Description from the Syllabus (which you can download in full here):

In this course, we will explore the distinctions and ambiguities between music and everyday sounds. Numerous experimental musicians aim to create sonic experiences that lie in between these two extremes, heightening and playing with the resulting ambiguity. These works provoke questions such as: Are everyday sounds already music, or must they be processed and re-framed in order to become music, and in what ways? We will explore these issues as a way to ask broad questions about what music is and how we listen to it, focusing on experimental and electronic music, as well as on related developments in sound art, installation art, architecture, cultural theory, urban sociology, and mass culture. In addition to lecture and discussion formats, the class will also include in-class listening exercises, demonstrations, and informal performances. No prior musical experience is required.

The reading/listening list is even better:

Unit 1: Introduction to Everyday Sounds

August 30
Readings: R. Murray Schafer, The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World,
“Introduction,” pp. 3-12, and “The Hi-Fi Soundscape,” pp. 43-44
Brandon LaBelle, “Sound as Hinge,” online at
http://www.brandonlabelle.net/texts/LaBelle_SoundasHinge(2010).pdf

September 4
Readings: François Augoyard and Henri Torgue, eds., Sonic Experience: A Guide to Everyday Sounds,
“Synecdoche,” pp. 123-129

September 6
Readings: Henri Lefebvre, “The Everyday and Everydayness,” Yale French Studies, no. 73 (available
through JSTOR)
Henri Lefebvre, Rhythmanalysis: Space, Time, and Everyday Life, Chapter 3 (“Seen from the Window”)

September 11
Guy Debord, “Theory of the Dérive,” online at http://www.cddc.vt.edu/sionline/si/theory.html
Unit 2: Sound Walks and Directed Listening

September 13: Theory
Readings: Viktor Shklovsky, “Art as Device,” in Theory of Prose
Robert Smithson, “Some Void Thoughts on Museums,” in Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings

September 18: Sound Walks
Readings: Max Neuhaus, “LISTEN,” online at
http://www.max-neuhaus.info/soundworks/vectors/walks/LISTEN/LISTEN.pdf
Revisit Guy Debord, “Theory of the Dérive”

September 20: Directed Listening
Readings: Pauline Oliveros, Deep Listening: A Composer’s Sound Practice, “Introduction” and “Ways of
Listening”
David Dunn, [Preface], in Purposeful Listening in Complex States of Time
Dan Graham, “Performer/Audience/Mirror,” in Dan Graham: Works and Collected Writings

Unit 3: Sound Alteration through Architecture and Live Electronics

September 25: Introduction to Aural Architecture
Readings: Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter, Spaces Speak, Are you Listening, Chapter 2 (“Auditory
Spatial Awareness”) (focus on pp. 11-37, 51-66)
Steven Connor, “Resonance,” online at http://www.stevenconnor.com/resonance/resonance.pdf
Emily Ann Thompson, “Sound, Modernity, and History,” in Sound (Documents of Contemporary
Art)

September 27: Aural Architecture continued, and Introduction to Live Electronic NetworksReadings: Brandon LaBelle, Background Noise, Chapter 6 (“Conceptualizations: Michael Asher and the Subject of Space”) and Chapter 16 (“Interactions: Achim Wollscheid’s Production of the Local”)

October 2: Live Electronics continued
Readings: Seth Kim-Cohen, “The Hole Truth: Seth Kim-Cohen on Doug Aitken’s Sonic Pavillion,”
online at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0268/is_3_48/ai_n56162856/
Christoph Cox, “Sound Arguments” (with response by Seth Kim-Cohen), online at
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0268/is_5_48/ai_n56576954/

Unit 4: Sound Production as Intervention
October 4: Max Neuhaus Installations
Readings: Revisit Max Neuhaus, “LISTEN”
Max Neuhaus, “Notes on Place and Moment,” online at http://www.maxneuhaus.
info/soundworks/vectors/moment/notes/Notes_on_Place_and_Moment.pdf
LaBelle, Background Noise, Chapter 10 (“Tuning Space: Max Neuhaus and Site-Specific Sound”)

October 9: Background Music
Readings: Jonathan Sterne, “Urban Media and the Politics of Soundspace,” online at
http://classic.skor.nl/article-2853-en.html
Michael Bull, Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Experience, Introduction
Brian Eno, “Ambient Music,” in Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music

October 11: Sidewalk
Readings: Brandon LaBelle, Acoustic Territories, Chapter 3 (“Sidewalk: Steps, Gait, and Rhythmic
Journey-Forms”) (focus on pp. 87-116, 123-125)
Anthony Giddens, “Trust and Modernity,” in The Consequences of Modernity, pp. 79-83

October 16: Miscellaneous
Readings: Nicolas Bourriaud, “Relational Form,” in Relational Aesthetics, pp. 11-24

October 18: David Dunn
Readings: David Dunn, “Nature, Sound Art, and the Sacred,” online at
http://www.davidddunn.com/~david/writings/terrnova.pdf

Unit 5: Transmission & Networks
October 23: Bill Fontana
Readings: Bill Fontana, “The Relocation of Ambient Sound: Urban Sound Sculpture,” online at
http://resoundings.org/Pages/Urban%20Sound%20Sculpture.html
LaBelle, Background Noise, excerpt from Chapter 15 (“Bill Fontana and Networking the
Soundscape”), pp. 230-237

October 25: Maryanne Amacher City Links
Readings: Ludlow 38, “Maryanne Amacher: City Links,” online at
http://www.ludlow38.org/files/mabooklet.pdf (read p. 2 and the sections about City Links #1 and
#9)
Monahan, Gordon. “God’s Big Noise: an Interview with Maryanne Amacher,” Musicworks, Vol. 41
Manuel Castells, “An Introduction to the Information Age,” City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory,
policy, action, Vol. 2, Issue 7 (available through Taylor and Francis online) (focus on pp. 6-7, and
numbered points 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, and the conclusion)

October 30: Max Neuhaus Broadcast Works
Readings: Max Neuhaus, “The Broadcast Works and the Adium,” online at http://www.maxneuhaus.
info/soundworks/vectors/networks/Broadcast_Works_and_Audium.pdf

November 1: Internet Sound-Works
Readings: LaBelle, Background Noise, Chapter 17 (“Global Events: Atau Tanaka and Network as
Instrument”) and Chapter 18 (“Live Streams: Apo33 and Multiplying Place”)

Unit 6: Phonography

November 6: Introduction to Phonography
Readings: Peter Ablinger, “Quadraturen,” online at http://ablinger.mur.at/docu11.html (read the
English text only)
Revisit Thompson, “Sound, Modernity, and History”

November 8: Acoustic Ecology
Readings: Michael Pisaro, “Ten framing considerations of the field (working notes for making field
recordings),” online at
http://experimentalmusicyearbook.com/emy_media/2010/michael_pisaro/pisaro_essay2010.pdf
LaBelle, Background Noise, pp. 197-200 and Chapter 13 (“Seeking Ursound: Hildegard Westerkamp,
Steve Peters, and the Soundscape”)
Revisit Dunn, “Nature, Sound Art, and the Sacred”

November 13: Musique Concrète & Xenakis
Readings: Pierre Schaeffer, “Acousmatics,” in Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music
LaBelle, Background Noise, Chapter 2 (“Exposing the Sound Object: Musique Concrète’s Sonic
Research”)

November 15: Complications and Mediations
Readings: LaBelle, Background Noise, excerpt from Chapter 15 (“Bill Fontana and Networking the
Soundscape”), pp. 237-242
Michael Pisaro, “Some thoughts on the ‘fields have ears’ series,” online at
http://michaelpisaro.blogspot.com/2012/03/some-thoughts-on-fields-have-ears.html

Unit 7: Collage

November 20: John Cage 1
Readings: John Cage, “The Future of Music: Credo,” in Silence
Branden W. Joseph, “The Tower and the Line,” in Sound (Documents of Contemporary Art), focus
on pp. 43-47

November 27: John Cage 2

Readings: Yvonne Rainer, “Looking Myself in the Mouth,” October, vol. 17, focus on pp. 66-70, 73-76 (available through JSTOR)

November 29: Collage in German critical composition
Readings: Peter Niklaus Wilson, “The Element of Risk in Composition: Six Compositions by
Mathias Spahlinger,” liner notes to Mathias Spahlinger LP

December 4: Collage and the City
Readings: Roland Barthes, “The Death of the Author,” in Image-Music-Text

Sounds like my type of class.

And also, over the summer Tucker’s fellow UB composer Jacob Gotlib taught a class called “Music 113- Music and Society: Noise.” You can sample that classes syllabus, readings, and assigned sounds here. 


[Read: MUTEK_Lab presents “Tools for an Unknown Future” Symposium]

The annual Mutek festival will take place in Montreal next week.  Prior to the festival’s launch on Wednesday, 5/30 the festival organizers will host a very interesting symposium called ‘MUTEK_Lab presents “Tools for an Unknown Future.”

This symposium will run from Monday to Wednesday (5/28-2/30) before Mutek itself launches that Wednesday night. The symposium is free and open to the public. Check out the program, it sounds fascinating. See the info/links below.

Also, make sure to tune in to The Upstate Soundscape on Wed., 5/30 because we will do a Mutek special and take a look at artists that are performing at this year’s festival.

 

MUTEK_Lab presents “Tools for an Unknown Future” Symposium: A symposium organized in collaboration with ICAS (May 28, 2012 – May 30, 2012 in Montreal)

Featuring a mix of keynotes, panels, case studies and presentations, the Tools for an Unknown Future symposium is a 3-day conference aimed at elaborating a cohesive view of the current trends within groundbreaking artistic mediums.  
 
FREE ENTRY with RSVP.  To RSVP, click here.
For a detailed program click HERE. 



[Read: Squeaky Wheel Regional Artists Residency Application Deadline Extended]

Squeaky Wheel has extended the application deadline for its Regional Artist Access Residency (RAAR) to Monday, May 21. This residency is a great opportunity for artists of all kinds who live in Western New York (Allegheny, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Orleans, Niagara, Wyoming, Monroe, Wayne, Livingston and Ontario counties).

See more info on the residency HERE. 

Squeaky Wheel is also looking for animated artists to contribute to their  9th Annual Outdoor Animation Festival. See more info HERE.


[Read: Buffalo Infringement Fest Application Deadline is Tomorrow]

The 2012 Buffalo Infringement Festival is accepting applications from artists of all types until tomorrow (May 1). Go HERE to fill out the application.

From the BIF website:

Thank you for considering joining us at Infringement 2012. The Buffalo Infringement Festival is an entirely volunteer operation that provides YOU with the opportunity to present your work free of entry fees, dues, or rental costs. The only way the Festival can afford to do this is by keeping the infrastructure extremely simple. Therefore, what The Festival is able to offer you is very limited. What we will do is to publicize the festival as a whole, locate venues interested in hosting your events, and coordinate the scheduling of all your performances during 11 days of infringement in Buffalo.

We are excited to see what flavors of performance you come up with. We encourage non-traditional performance, socially and politically relevant work, avant-garde productions, and street theater. At this point we don’t know what venues are offered for this summer but typically we have very few traditional theaters, and remind you to consider non-traditional performance spaces as you develop your project. For those of you developing your performance with a venue in mind we hope you encourage the venue owner to allow infringement to schedule other performances in their venue.

The proposal deadline is May 1, 2012.

NOTE: Due to the overwhelming number of musical submissions in previous years, we have had to set a cap of 125 bands that will be accepted + a waiting list of 25, all on a first-come-first-served basis.

All proposals for Infringement Festival events are stored in an online database. You can return here at any time to edit or complete your proposal.

To edit an existing proposal, log in with your e-mail address and password.


[New FB Group: The Upstate Underground Circuit]

It’s become clear after discussions with numerous artists, promoters, fans, etc., over the last few months that–as a region–we need to get our shit together when it comes to coordinating live shows, especially between artists from one part of the region and venues from other parts. There are small, but strong scenes in each and every major urban center from Albany, to Rochester, to Buffalo, to Hamilton, and, of course, to Toronto and there is no reason that Upstate artists should not be able to easily set up shows on  a regular basis throughout that entire Upstate circuit.

There is huge potential for all involved if we create a dynamic interchange of artists from one end of this region to another. The venues will have more artists coming through, while the audiences will see more shows by different artists, and the artist of course will have a chance to expand their audience, while making connections for future shows.

And that’s just the artists from this region….emails come in all the time to the Upstate Soundscape from artists looking to do shows somewhere in the region. Having a solid circuit of venues, supporting artists, and people willing to promote in place would make it easier and more likely that artists beyond Upstate would make it a point to swing through here. And who doesn’t want that?

Thus, the Upstate Underground Circuit Facebook Group is born. . .

As the ‘About’ on FB explains, the group is a “place for underground, experimental, DIY artists from anywhere in the Upstate NY/Southern Ontario region to post info about their shows or shows they are trying to set up. 

-Spread the word about your shows to other parts of the region.

-Discover new venues, new organizations, new people across the region to help you set up shows outside your own city.

-Find out about other artists to bring in for shows to your region.”

So start posting whatever events you want to the Group so we can all start getting a better feel of who is doing what beyond our own cities. Who knows, maybe audiences will start making it a point to go see shows  in other cities, while artists will find it easier to set up shows across the region…. . .guess we shall see.


[Read: Coterminus Collectiv ‘April on the Airwaves, May in the Flesh’]

Recently a group in the Hudson Valley has come together based around their shared interest in experimental electronic music and a desire to network with other like-minded artists. Going by the name Coterminus Collectiv the group launched in April and are now looking to stage a second meet up for artists who are interested in joining the group on Wednesday, April 25 in New Paltz.

Obviously, that’s a bit out-of-the-way for most Upstate artists, but the success of this group so far is perhaps a good lesson for Upstate artists to learn from. As Amanda Newman writes on the group’s blog,  “this mere concept has become a reality, gaining the kind of momentum you hope for, but don’t want to allow yourself to expect. ”

In other words, maybe that crazy idea you have might be worth trying? Check out the rest of the details on Coterminus Collectiv below.

From the Coterminus Collectiv blog:

April on the Airwaves, May in the Flesh’

I can’t believe so much has happened since our first meet & greet on March 6th. Early this year, The Coterminous Collectiv was merely a concept. We had no idea who we would find, or if anyone would even be interested in meeting us. We reached out via Soundcloud, Facebook, and a slew of fliers peppered across the Hudson Valley, wondering who would be crazy enough to come out to a coffee shop in New Paltz and meet a bunch of strangers claiming to make noises.

Since then, this mere concept has become a reality, gaining the kind of momentum you hope for, but don’t want to allow yourself to expect. . .

Read the rest HERE.