1) Nathan McLaughlin – “The Window So Cold” (Hudson)
2) SoundBarn – “Mont-Blanc” (Valatie)
3) Sun Spells – Ammaravamma” (Ithaca)
4) Salem:1976 – “Prince of January (Origin of Life pt. 4)” (Saugerties)
5) Mandala Channel – “Rummage Fine” (Buffalo)
6) Jeremy Nathan Dziedzic – “69°39’59″N 37°34’57″E” (Syracuse)
7) Grab Ass Cowboys – “Bon Jovi-4-22-13-The Hits” (Albany)
8) Alex Durlak – “The Return” (Toronto)
9) Spike and Horn – “Grace Vandals” (Buffalo)
10) Sparklebomb vs. Kristachuwan – “R. Javara” (Buffalo)
Tag Archives: soundBarn
1) Nathan McLaughlin – “The Window So Cold” (Hudson)
1) Can, “Peking O” Tago Mago (United Artists)
2) Frank Zappa, “The Walking Zombie Music” Finer Moments (Zappa Records)
3) Tame Impala, “Keep On Lying” Lonerism (Modular)
4) Mercury Rev, “Sweet Odyssey of A Caner Cell to the Center of Yer Heart” Brixton ’92 (Excelsior Melodies)
5) Beck, “Defriended (extended version)” (Fonograf)
6) Glissandro 70, “Analouge Shantytown” S/T (Constellation Records) 2006
7) Federico Durand, “Track 1” El idioma de las luciérnagas (The Language of Fireflies) (Desire Path Recordings)
8) David Rothenberg with Tony Levin and Pauline Oliveros, “2” Live at 2nd 17-Year Cicada Celebration in Ulster County, NY
9) Andrew Peklar, “Silouettte Couple” Cover Versions (Seufo Editions)
10) Andy Gilmore, “Clipper Ship” CR-200 (Carbon Records)
11) Circuit Rider, “World Report, Careless Whisper” Unit Holds (Jehu and Chinaman)
12) Tom Carter and Robert Horton, “Rocket # 9” Steelejaguar for Rocket (Digitalis)
13) Agarttha, “Storms As He Walks” A Water Which Does Not Wet Hands (King of Monster)
14) SoundBarn, “II” Memorial (SoundBarn Press)
The Location Ensemble is a motley 9-piece guitar ensemble whose membership reads like a who’s who of experimental Albany-area musicians. It currently includes Thomas Lail and Patrick Weklar from soundBarn, Tape Drift owner Eric Hardiman, Ray Hare from Century Plants, other Albany Sonic Arts Collective regulars Holland Hopson and Matt Weston, an Albany rock club owner Howard Glassman, Tara Fracalossi, and Jason Martin. The group came together in 2010 when soundBarn joined with other ASAC members to perform Rhys Chatham’s “Guitar Trio,” which has been expanded since it was composed in the late ‘70s to allow for six to ten guitars.
This self titled CD out on Tape Drift is the debut release of the group and captures their performance from last year in Saratoga Springs where they performed original compositions by three members of the band.
Thomas Lail’s “Untitled (All the Times She Loves Me),” is a gamelan-influenced take on alternative tunings used originally by Sonic Youth. Inspired by a live performance of Sonic Youth’s “I Love Her All The Time,” Lail took the multiple tunings found in the Sonic Youth song and split them between members of the ensemble creating two distinct tuning groups with one half of the ensemble using one tuning and the other half using another.The effect creates a haunting and dissonant sound that is still somehow ephemeral–at least as ephemeral as eight guitars can be over the course of 18 minutes–with different parts shimmering for brief moments only to disappear as the piece moves through its three distinct segments.
Eric Hardiman’s composition, “Diversion #3,” takes an almost Krautrock approach in that it is propelled by an internally forceful minimalism. While “Diversion #3” lacks that steady motorik beat of a lot of Krautrock, the piece chugs right along driving you forward with it as it incrementally speeds up. The piece lurches around, speeding up as if everything was frantically trying to move at once then suddenly locking up, only to do it all over again. The performance is tightly fused together but always on the verge of overwhelming itself and having everything be torn apart.
Drummer Matt Weston, the unsung hero in this guitar ensemble, shines here, pummeling his way through the song, dragging the guitarists along with him faster and faster in this big insane machine. His drum patterns are very physical in nature contorting the listener to the music, the repetition pulling them along.
While “Diversion #3” has a manic machine-type cohesiveness, Holland Hopson’s “Six Chords Every Rock Guitarist Should Know” has a much looser feeling almost to the point where the piece seems to be in danger of decaying right in front of you. It is, in a way, a call and response piece with Hopson playing a phrase and the rest of the group playing it back in turn. This creates a dizzying sound that spirals up with sheets of sound whipping around, building up and then falling apart.
Throughout all of this, one wonders what was lost of the performance in the recording. With seven or eight guitars fighting for space in a mix you can’t help but feel that the recording must fall short at times trying to capture those moments where all those instruments coalesce into something much larger. For those who have yet to catch one of the all too rare performances by the group this recording will have to do, and–make no mistake–it does it well. Each piece is great and the album as a whole is a fascinating listen for the three different takes on the sonics of mass guitar. But for the full impact of these pieces, one can’t help but think that this recording is nothing more than a tease for the live experience. Fortunately, the ensemble will be opening for Disappears (Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth and Brian Case of The Ponys) and Lotus Plaza (Lockett Pundt of Deerhunter) on April 18th at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany.
Review by Andrew White
While soundBarn is the experimental guitar project of Thomas Lail and Patrick Weklar, the name soundBarn also refers to a performance space–run by Lail and his artist/gallerist wife Tara Fracalossi located in Valatie, NY–which often hosts performances by the Albany Sonic Arts Collective. Furthermore, soundBarn exists as a press entity and recently published a series of poetry chapbooks including one from Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth.
The connection between the music of soundBarn and Sonic Youth is apparent on the duo’s 2011 CD Valentine whereby–true to Sonic Youth ideals–the duo utilizes prepared guitars to create sprawling tracks loaded with feedback-laced mayhem.
Yet, for a recording of some guys simply making noise with their guitars, there are moments throughout Valentine that defy what one expects. What is particularly striking about the recording is how, as the sound unfolds, the listener is able to find a wide range of moods and emotions to be enveloped in. There are points where the screeching noise drops down to delicate-sounding spots, where it then builds back up to a cacophonous clatter, or eerily shifts into a horror film score-like atmosphere. In other words, this diversity and unpredictability makes this one of those longer tracks that you are able to keep on repeat, letting the sound circle you while the shifting moods in the track color the experiences around you.
Surprisingly, Valentine, released by Tape Drift—the label of fellow Albany Sonic Arts Collective member Eric Hardiman–is the duo’s first release in the twenty years of their making music together. The single track that comprises the release was recorded live at the soundBarn venue around Valentine’s day (hence the name) with only minimal editing prior to its release.
Valentine is a great release and hopefully it will not take the duo another twenty years to release something else. Fortunately, the duo performs regularly in the Albany area, and at the soundBarn venue, including an upcoming fundraiser for a local gallery and ASAC venue the Upstate Artists Guild.
Review by Andrew White
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Great performance here from Valatie, New York, duo soundBarn. This was an in-studio performance recorded at WGXC 90.7 FMs Hudson studio. Twenty minutes of eerie drones pierced by bursts of feedback. Good stuff.