Tag Archives: jax deluca

[Archive 11.29.12]

1) TJ Borden, “1,” Poor Form and Extenuating Circumstances
2) John Cage, “Imaginary Landscape No. 3”
3) Christian Wolff, “Event -12/15/04 NYC [excerpt]” Music For Merce 
4) Michael Pisaro, “Blues Fall,” Tombstones (HEM)
5) VWLS, “Alaskan Peyote,” Broadcast in the Moss (Bad Drone Media)
6) Jax Deluca, “Prelude”
7) Partly Zombish, “Does the Human Body Generate Electricity?” August Cake and The Prepared Reverb Units
8) Genetic Infantryman, “Side A,” (Secluar Tapes)
9) Alfred Brown, “I Have Lifted My Eyes to the Hills,” The Seagull – A Song Cycle (Abandoned Buildings)
10) Kyle Bobby Dunn, “Lake Waptsa Rise,” In Miserum Stercus (Komino)
11) Hangedup & Tony Conrad, “Principles,” Transit of Venus (Constellation)
12) Rhyton, “Revert to Daze,” The Emerald Tablet (Thrill Jockey)
13) Oneida, “1” A List of Burning Mountains (Jagjaguwar)

[Archive 09.19.12]

1) Venn Rain, “Phosphene Scene,” Bioharmonics (House of Alchemy)
2) Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, “Nostradamus & Me,” Mature Themes (4AD)
3) Loscil, “Container Ships,” Sketches from New Brighton (Kranky)
4) Josh Mason, “JM3440_C,” Josh Mason/Nathan McLaughlin Split (Tape Drift)
5) Tomutonttu, “Live at Kiasma” September 8, 2012
6) UVB-76, “Dale”
7) JT Rinker,” Haole,” Out of Nowhere: Electro-Acoustic Music from the Upstate Fringe (Big Orbit)
8) University of Toronto Electronic Music Studio, “Dripsody”
9) Mercury Rev, “Pick Up if You’re There,” Deserter’s Songs Instrumentals
10) Aidan Baker and Tim Hecker, “Gallery of the Invisible Woman,” Fantasma Parastasie
11) Nate Young, “Sleep Anxiety” Regression (Ideal) 
12) Lindstrom, “Call Me Anytime (Oneohtrix Point Never remix)”
13) Jax Deluca, Pat Cain, and Martin Freeman, “Beating Synths” Recorded in august 2012 at the Institute for Electronic Arts, Alfred University, NY.
14) Steven Hess/Christopher McFall, “I,” The Inescapable Fox (Under the Spire)
15) Downsampling, “Action Figure,” Playthings
16) Scanner, “Hiss Concrete”
17) Lawrence English, “Entoloma Abortivum, For/Not For John Cage (LINE)
18) Windy & Carl, “Sketch for Flea”

[Review: Bear Flames, ‘EP 1, EP2 & Rehearsal Demos]

Buffalo noise-rock group Bear Flames features a trio of the city’s musical mainstays including drummer Jim Abramson, guitarist Scott Valkwitch, and bassist T. Andrew Trump (and at one time also briefly included other notable artists Jax Deluca and KG Price). While the group had been on a lengthy hiatus with the three core members working on an array of outside projects (i.e. Poverty Hymns, Totem Pole, Downsampling, Tenet/Octet) they have recently reunited to perform live and work on new recordings. Before moving into this next phase, however, the group has (re)released two EPs and some demos that were recorded between 2006-2007 in a single collection.

This group of songs demonstrates that Bear Flames’s music is both fresh–despite being recorded over five years ago–and pleasantly familiar. Fans of any number of post-1970s musical genres will instantly hear a number of recognizable and appealing sonic elements, but will also be exposed to a number of different and interesting musical ideas (specifically the ideas of unconventional song structures that are prevalent throughout the music heard here).

The debt that they owe to the New York bands that populated the No Wave movement of the late 1970s is apparent from the first note to the last, right down to the cover of DNA’s “Blonde Redhead.” Songs like “Radio (Friendly)” and “Sabbath” are built around simple, chiming chords rife with slightly unusual intervallic structure. The chord progressions tend towards the minimalist, exploring the same trance-like grooving that No Wave experimented with (think Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, Theoretical Girls, etc., but slightly less abrasive and pretentiously ‘arty’). And of course, there is a heavy emphasis on ‘noise’, i.e. dissonant soundscapes that tend to evoke moods concurrent with the music around them; discomfort, paranoia, impending doom, and destruction all come to mind when listening to these barrages of amplified lightning.

The band possesses a powerful rhythm section that reminds me largely of Nomeansno; a style of playing by Trump that is both relatively simple and grounded yet sufficiently in the place as the ‘lead’ instrument (check out “Future of the House” for a good example). Abramson, meanwhile, is able to shift from absolute bare-boned to frenetically charged patterns at the drop of a hat and right back just as easily, as he does on “Bad Knee.” This leaves Valkwitch (who also handles FX duties) ample room to swing between the extremes of caustic atonality and feathery, chiming chords. The result is a band that is orchestrated in a very tempered way, where no one member overshadows another.

There are a number of standout tracks here, such as a “Social Security”– which starts out as a mock-up of what disco may have sounded like if acid was the drug of choice for the time instead of cocaine — with a wonderfully dissonant loop that seems to suggest running for your life while you dance. The song erupts in the middle, breaks apart, and regroups into a much more melodious but no less unnerving second half before once again falling apart.

Another great track is “Future of the House” where sections of hard-rock riffage alternate with more subdued sections of an almost dublike nature with the rhythmic entanglement of tremolo-bass and syncopated hi-hat. “IFSS” starts off with a tremendously flighty, off-kilter 3/4 strut before metamorphosing into a jumpy, even cheery 4/4 groove and finally combining the two in a beautiful moment of fusion before finally settling back into the original time.

This mixture of grooves is one of the defining features of the group, where they build up only to destroy and then rebuild often using one or more elements from the original construct. See “K/K” where the minimalist bass travels from two disparate sections, staying more or less the same while everything else around it shifts. This kind of trick shows up in a number of songs, and is thrilling each time.

To put it simply, there is a lot of really interesting, exciting music to be had here, especially the tracks recorded in 2007. Highly recommended for anyone into No Wave, post-punk, plain old punk, alternative, etc. Well worth your time.

__________________________________________________________

Review by Liam McManus 

[archive 10.19.11]

1) Matthew Herbert, “October,” One Pig (Accidental)

2) MemoryHouse, “Untitled,” Choir of Empty Rooms (We Are Bandits)

3) Kim Cascone vs. Federico Monti, “Anit-Musical Celestial Forces/June 17” (Mandala Channel Mash up)

4) Crewdson, “Electric Wing,” Gravity (Slowfoot Records)

5) Ned Rothenberg, “Wood in the Metal,” Falling into Place (Auris Media)

6) Colin Stetson, “A Dream of Water,” New History Warfare, Vol. 2: Judges  (Constellation)

7) John Coltrane, “India,” The Other Village Vanguard Tapes (Impulse)

8) Jax Deluca, “Saxaphone Meditation”

9) ThroughRoof, “Feathers & Blood,” Feathers & Blood (Cae-sur-a)

10) Pascal Savy, “Reflective Shadow,” Liminal (Feedback Loop Label)

12) Mutus Liber, “Hesitation Resources,” Glossy Eyes Vol. 1 (Bad Drone  Media)

13) Dadavistic Orchestra, “Deep Old Mu,” Dokument .02 (Dust Science Recordings)

14) VxPxC, “In the Walls Tonight,” The Drapery Department (House of Alchemy)


[Label Spotlight: House of Alchemy]

Tonight on the Upstate Soundscape, Adam Richards, head of Buffalo-based label House of Alchemy, will be in studio playing songs from the HOA catalog, including some upcoming releases.

While lofi noise freaks and regular listeners of the Upstate Soundscape are already familiar with HOA, the label itself exists in a strange netherworld that is no doubt foreign to most people.

York Factory Complaint - Remorse of Conscience

This is the world of obscure underground labels that traffic limited edition cassettes and CD-Rs each packaged with personally crafted artwork as astounding as the sounds contained within.

These releases are often by semi-anonymous artist who sometimes sound like mad sound scientists rather than musicians. In fact, its not a stretch to say that the House of Alchemy sound — if it can even be said there is in fact a particular sound associated with the label — has gleefully abandoned any traditional conceptions of what ‘music’ is supposed to be in order to achieve revelations through sound exploration.

As a preview for tonight’s show we got an interview with Richards about House of Alchemy below, along with a song from an upcoming HOA release by Grasshopper called “I Sang a Sad Song Today.”

Show starts at 10pm on 91.3 FM WBNY. Don’t miss it. Its gonna get weird.

Upstate Soundscape:What is the story behind House of Alchemy? How and when did it get started? What was the motivation behind the label’s creation?

Adam Richards: I started the label with my wife Katheryn five years ago. The idea of somehow releasing music had been in my mind in various forms for years. I knew a number of people creating great art and music and I wanted to be involved with getting that out there.  My very good friend Grant Capes moved out to LA a few years before this and he was in the band VxPxC who were getting a lot of their music out on small labels and they were also self-releasing material. I was very interested in and influenced by how they were doing things. And through buying tons of music from various labels and distro’s I got to talk with all kinds of people actually putting stuff out.

I basically got it going to put out a VxPxC album and it just went from there. We started out with that and the first Antique Brothers record and it’s been rolling ever since.  And to have VxPxC and Antique Brothers give me albums to put out with no real idea if I even would be able to make anything happen was huge.

Is there anyone else involved in running the label, or is this essentially a ‘solo project’?

I run the label with my wife Katheryn. She was the one who made me get off my ass and actually get the thing going. I had talked about it for awhile. She does a lot of the cover art, and she’s designed or strategized a lot of the more non-traditional, handmade, packaging we have done. She tolerates me destroying the house for weeks before a release comes out and a few weeks after.  And she’s the half the manual labor (or more when the project needs a precision touch). Whether it’s sewing hundreds of burlap pouches, grinding hundreds of crayons to melt, hot gluing felt CD pouches to a hundred blocks of plywood, folding and stuffing covers, or any other crazy thing we come up with, she’s right there in the thick of it. She’s the main inspiration.

Are there any labels out there that you patterned House of Alchemy after or strove to emulate? What labels, past or present, do you admire?

I was really inspired by Jeweled Antler, Foxglove, Music Your Mind Will Love You, Last Visible Dog, Time Lag, Siltbreeze, Eclipse Records, American Tapes, Manhand, Ecstatic Yod and many others. We were really inspired by the labels and releases that had handmade packages, ones that you could tell had some real feeling and effort put into the production.  It doesn’t make bad music good by any means, but it adds something else to the already amazing music. So, I guess there wasn’t anyone we strove to emulate directly but, there are lots of great labels that inspired us.

Who are some artists that you would like to work with that you haven’t?

Yeah, there’ll always be people I hope to work with. I’ve gotten to the point where I just ask. Half the time you don’t get any response, but the ones you do hear back from end up being great. We’ve got so many great things lined up, I’m really happy with where we are.  And I really like the idea of doing multiple releases with artists. I’ll put out stuff by these guys as long as they keep giving me stuff.

Who are some of your favorite artists that you have worked with?

I have been honored and happy to work with all the amazing artists we have put out over the last five years. It’s all been good.  So much amazing music.

It’s been really great to be able to work with people who I have been friends with for a long time, way before the label. People I used to sit around and talk records with way back when.  Grant Capes, who I’ve known for a real long time and worked with on many different projects including our own recording project, has been a huge inspiration and pleasure to work with since day one. Ryan Martin, Cory Card, Jen Marquart, people I’ve known for a long time. It’s great that we are now doing a lot of the things we used to bullshit about over beers.

And then there’s someone like Eric Hardimann who we’ve done a bunch of stuff with, Century Plants, Burnt Hills, Rambutan, whom I became friends with through the label. I consider him very inspirational and supportive on many levels. And my good friend Darryl Norsen, who is an amazing visual artist. He’s done a lot of art and layout for us and he’s been helping us out since the very beginning.  And Brad Rose from Digitalis, who was a huge help from the beginning.

Really, it’s been Katheryn and I, but with a huge network of supporters and insanely creative friends.  So many more people than I can possibly list here.

 If somebody likes the HOA label, what other labels out there would you recommend to check out?

 Tape Drift, Stunned (RIP),  905 Tapes, Peasant Magik, Robert & Leopold, Imminent Frequencies, caesura, Deep Tapes, Tranquility Tapes, Anathema Sound, No KingsDesire Path, Root Strata, Obsolete Units, Dais, Type, Digitalis, Kye…..there are so many exciting labels out there and I think it’s really a great time to be a music fan and to be a musician. Sometimes it feels like there is a flood of stuff, it all comes and goes so fast and I oftentimes have no idea what the hell is going on. And there’s really no way (at least for me) to keep up with and hear every single thing. I try my best and I’m sure I miss stuff.  But damn, even though I feel like a lot of stuff has passed by my periphery, the stuff I am hearing is really astounding and inspiring.

What’s your take on the re-birth of the cassette market?

It’s a funny thing. . . I think it’s great. We put out our first cassette three years ago and have gradually been doing more. We’ve done a dozen so far, and a large chunk of our upcoming releases are set for cassette.  I think for some people it’s a nostalgia trip. But I think a bunch of people legitimately enjoy it and see it is a solid medium, not just some shitty gimmick or fad. For me, I never stopped using cassettes. I haven’t been without a cassette deck and a boombox since I was a kid. My car still has a tape deck and I’ll be sad when I buy a car that doesn’t have one. I have hundreds and hundreds of tapes. Mixtapes, bootlegs, mainstream releases, microlabel stuff, all of it. We’ll continue to put out tapes, CD’s, vinyl, all of it.

Tell us about some of HOA’s upcoming releases.

We’ve got so many amazing things in the pipe.  We have two really confounding releases from the Kommisar Hjuler und Frau camp in Germany.

One is a solo release of insane vocals and sound cut-ups from Mama Baer. And the other is a trio release with Mundkranch.  Both releases defy description.

We have a cassette from Calgary’s Bent Spoon Duo who are an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink improv duo.  Real out-there stuff.

We have a split from Rambutan and Fossils From the Sun, solo projects of the two who make up Century Plants and also play in Burnt Hills. Gonna be huge.

We have a split cassette with one side a trio of Butcher/Khoury/Bryerton and the duo of Baczkowski /Sack.

Obscurer is a trio featuring Grant Capes and two theremin players, The Faraday Trippers. Really dreamy, long form magic.

DeTrop is a trio featuring Ryan Martin who also plays in York Factory Complaint.  Fuzzy modular electronics for faded industrial wreckage.

And Pearson Wallace-Hoyt contacted me out of the blue last year. I wasn’t aware of his work before and he laid a monster release of ritual drone magik on me. It shimmers and shutters. I’m very excited about all the things on the horizon.

Tell us about some past HOA releases that you think deserve some special attention.

Well, I’d say that if there is any band we have put out that you haven’t heard of, check them out. By which I mean we have been really lucky to work with a lot of freakishly talented artists and I truly feel that everything we have put out deserves attention. Is that a cop out?

How has starting your own label, and dealing with the business side of music, influenced your work as an artist? 

While it hasn’t necessarily influenced the art directly, it has certainly influenced how I interact with labels when trying to get some of my own work released. And it has made me patient because I know how much goes into putting a release out and how easy it is to get off track with life getting in the way of the label from time to time.

I guess as an inverse, my experience trying to get my own work out has influenced how I try and run the label. I try and respond to all artist solicitations in a timely manner whether we can work with them or not. I’ve had some amazing experiences working with labels that have put out my work. I try and learn from those experiences. We’ve been so happy with the artists we’ve worked with on House of Alchemy and I’ve been very lucky with the labels that have put my stuff out. There are really some great people running great labels out there.

Any advice for aspiring label owners?

Enjoy it. Don’t expect to make much or any money. It can be done but it’s likely that you’ll dump money into it and hope to break even.  Be willing to give a lot time to it. It’s not worth half-assing.  But it has been wholly satisfying for me and I’m really proud that we have put out so much amazing music in the last 5 years. I’d love to be able to do it full time but I’m happy doing it nights and weekends. Staying up late, drinking wine and folding CD or cassette covers or stuffing orders is a good time in my book.

What’s your take on the Buffalo and surrounding upstate experimental scene?  

I think it’s great. I don’t get out to shows nearly as much as I used to but it seems like there is a semi-regular stream of really interesting music happening in Buffalo and Rochester. There are some really cool venues like The Vault and Sugar City that put on tons of great shows.  I hope more like them pop up. And Hallwalls is a goddamned treasure.

There’s always room for more though and I get excited every time a new venue, band, or promoter pops up. I wish it happened more! The more the merrier.

Any local/regional artists/labels you are really into at the moment? Any local/regional artists/lables we should look out for?

In Buffalo there are great labels like Desire Path, Bad Drone Media and Human Beard. There are certainly more but I’ve been really digging what they have been up to. In Rochester there is caesura which is run by friends of mine, Cory and Jen. They’ve been putting out a steady stream of major stuff. And of course Carbon Records in Rochester. Joe Tunis has put out so many amazing releases over the last decade.

As far as musicians, I miss way more shows than I see but there is a lot of good local action here. Obviously, Steve Baczkowski. Always a visceral, balls-to-the-wall performance. Jim Abramson, Tristan Trump, Bobby Griffiths, Jax Deluca, Matt Goodrich, Scott Valkwitch, All Them Witches… There are a lot of opportunities here in Buffalo to go out and see some really interesting music. Again, I’m leaving out so much.  In Rochester there is Stone Baby, one of the first bands we’ve worked with, we have actually done three releases with them. All killer. If you have the chance to see them, do it. And of course, anything with Joe Tunis, and Pengo.

 How does somebody get a hold of HOA’s stuff?

Our website www.thehouseofalchemy.com and we work with a number of distro’s across the country and abroad. Even if we are out of something, be sure to check the distro’s. You never know what might be floating around. There’s a list of the ones we work with on the site.