Tag Archives: thoughts on air

[Archive 01.23.13]

The Upstaet Soundscape, 1.23.13

1) Mountains, “Propeller” Centralia (Thrill Jockey)

2) Oneohtrix Point Never, “Cubi X” Oneohtrix Point Never/Rene Hell 12″ Split (NNA Tapes)

3) Ay Fast and Collapsed Arc, “Hagan,” Fluorescent Vesper 

4) Neu!, “Liber Honig” Neu! (United Artists)

5) Cairo, “Bullsuite: City of Children” Cairo (Obsolete Media Objects)

6) Thoughts on Air, “Time Killer (Side E excerpt)”

7) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Photosynthesis”

8) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Is You Me (Holy)”

9) Kid on Purpose, “Don’t Stop” Wet Dreams 

10) Kid on Purpose, “Fetishism” Wet Dreams

11) Milk Soda, “Cousin Mayonnaise”

12) Kristachuwan, “Shani Dev”

13) Kristachuwan, “Other Reasons”

14) Cinnamon Aluminum, “My Cyberface” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit

15) Frank Zappa, “Wind Up Working at a Gas Station” Zoot Allures

16) Mr. Bungle, “Goodbye Sober Day” California

17) James Blake, “Air and Lack Thereof”

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[The Upstate Soundscape Vol. I: Winter 2013]

‘Vol I: Winter 2013’ is the first compilation to be released by The Upstate Soundscape radio show/blog. It features experimental artists at work exclusively in Upstate NY/Southern Ontario region. The compilation features a mix of previously recorded material, including live recordings, with material that was recorded especially for the comp.

Look for the next comp to come out in the Spring. Artists interested in submitting a track in consideration for future comps should get in touch. And thank you to the artists for contributing their work to this comp.

Enjoy.

1) Alfred Brown, The Flowers Open As If to Praise Their Creator (Buffalo)
2) Damian Valles, Old Quarters (Fenelon Falls, ON)
3) SIGHUP, x87 (Toronto)
4) Claymation, Candlelight Eggs (Troy, NY)
5) Thoughts on Air, Glory Skies (Those Eyes) (Hamilton)
6) M. Mucci, Live at MSAC (Nov. 29, 2012) (Guelph)
7) Mandala Channel, Writhing (Buffalo)
8) Leah Rico, Bëacen (Albany)
9) Andris Balins, Its All Through Us (Oneonta, NY)
10) Shape Shifting Shepherds, Stratified Myriad (Jackson/ Charlton)
11) SlowPitch, People for Dolls (Toronto)
12) Chapels, Teeth (Buffalo)
13) Stone Baby, Leap Into the Void (Rochester)
Bonus Track: Needles Numark, In-Studio Soundscape Mix (Buffalo)

Released by: The Upstate Soundscape 
Release/catalogue number: UpSS01
Release date: Jan 3, 2013

[2012 in Review: Olga, host of New Directions on CFMU]

Olga hosts the fantastic radio show New Directions on Hamilton’s 93.3 CFMU (Weds. 10-11pm). She also helps organize the New Harbours Music Series. Here are some releases she enjoyed this past year.

Samara Lubelski, Wavelength (Destijl)

Imperial Topaz, Imperial (Not Not Fun)

Gasoline Gathers Hands Gathers Friends, S/T (No Shade)

Crystal Syphon, Family Evil (Roaratorio re-issue)

Thoughts on Air, Glow On (Tranquility Tapes)

White Poppy, I Had a Dream (Not Not Fun)

Inez Lightfoot, Familiars (Digitalis)

Peaking Lights, Lucifer (Mexican Summer)

Motion Sickness of Time Travel, Seeping Through the Veil of Unconsciousness (Digitalis)

Difference Clouds, Shiro (Tranquility Tapes)


[2012 in Review: Needles Numark, host of the Upstate Soundscape]

Needles is the host The Upstate Soundscape radio show. Here are 10 releases that he dug from 2012.

 

 

Sax Tape, S/T 

 

This insane 60-minute romp came from Guelph’s Bry Webb. An unbelievable collage of looped beats, sonic twirls, and honking saxes. Funky, twisted, and psychedelic, this one hit all the right notes for me.

 

 

 

Alfred Brown, Music for Moving in Slow Motion (Asthmatic Kitty)

 

Probably one of the most graceful records of 2012. It could easily serve as the score for one of Terrence Malick’s majestic films.

 

 

 

Cinnamon Aluminum, We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)

 

This Buffalo trio (now a four piece) perfectly straddles the line between experimental and pop. The songs on this album are as catchy as they are whacked out.

 

 

Venn Rain, Bioharmonics (House of Alchemy)

 

It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly I like about this cassette, but I just found it totally compelling. Four very simple recordings, all of which are mesmerizing.

 

 

M. Mucci, Days Blur Together

 

60 minutes of true drone bliss from Guelph-based M. Mucci. One of the most patient and refined pieces I have ever heard. Very few pieces present listeners with this type of challenge and subsequent reward for committing to it. Basinski-esque.

 

 

Phillips-Borden, System Vandross

 

A really discombobulating listen. Following the intersection of Borden’s crazed cello and Phillips’s turntable manipulation is like trying to walk on shifting ground in the dark.

 

 

Tony Conrad and HangedUp, Transit of Venus (Constellation)

 

Such a simple formula. Big sloppy drums combined with thick vibrating drones. The result is what I always imagined the Theater of Eternal Music would have sounded like. Great for both sitting in a chair and zoning out to or flailing around the room and breaking shit.

 

 

Damian Valles, Non-Parallel (in Four Movements) (Experimedia)

 

I am a sucker for any sample-based drone. Valles’s re-use of classical avant-garde sounds from the Nonesuch label is a fantastic example of the possible directions sample-based sounds might go in the future (even if they don’t sound at like sample-based works).

 

 

Thoughts on Air, Random Tandem (Old Frontiers)

 

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Scott Johnson (ToA) one night in Hamilton this past summer. We traded some tapes, and this was one he gave me. The art work immediately blew me away but it wasn’t until driving home the next day hung over with the window’s down and music blasting that I actually heard this amazing double cassette. The graceful tones poured out my windows down the QEW. Then I got stuck in traffic on top of the Rainbow bridge in 90 degree heat with no air conditioning. A faint mist from the falls blew over me ever so often. I just sat there listening in a sweat induced trance. This tape will always run through my mind whenever I cross that bridge.

 

 

Loud and Sad, Fales Intimacy (cae-sur-a)

 

At times, there is so little going on in this cassette, which is what I love about it. You can really only absorb this by listening with all your might.

 


[Review: Thoughts on Air, ‘Random Tandem’]

Random Tandem, the double cassette from Hamilton, Ontario’s Thoughts on Air, begins with the two-chord, whispering moan of “Commuter Special,” is momentarily suspended in the expansive guitar drone of “Double Helix” (think a less arpeggiated version of Neil Young’s guitar work from the Dead Man soundtrack), and washes out near the end with the additive minimalism of “Waver” and “Woven.”

Nevertheless, ToA’s Scott Johnson doesn’t eschew the more ragged edges of experimentation. “Screaming U at Mimi,” the meditation of a post-blues lothario, mixes a rocking chair riff with warbling vocals and screeching guitars (the last mercifully low in the mix): “Ooh baby, the mystery / is in my mind / but my heart is warm / all the time.” The sentiment of the lines pervades much of the album—even where there is no lyrical content to spell it out.

“Hop (with Scotch)” is an especially captivating track: distorted drums, peeling vocals/guitar, and a kinda raga vibe raise it above the rest of the album. Soon enough, the dissonant picking and slurred vocals of “Fiddle Crap (with Bacon Grooves)” brings the album back into the realm of exhausted self. The latter track sounds like it could be a missing cut from Steropathetic Soul Manure, Beck’s early 90s ode to his own frustration with the musical arts.

Johnson is best when blending the two impulses—the emotional fullness experienced in musical flight and the imminent return to the incomplete self—as he does on “Mutuality.” There’s a sort of alternation between the two states over the course of this double cassette, as though the trippy voyage must always be reconciled with the earthbound body and its not-so trippy cares. “Mutuality,” with its repetitive first guitar and second guitar alternating in the bass and treble ranges, simultaneously keeps the listener on the hook and eager to take off.

The final track, “Hymn for She,” has a truly rad two-guitar, two-vocal harmony and deploys that old oceanic trick of building, cresting, and washing away. Woulda been fine by me if it were a few minutes longer.  In any case, the entire set is thoroughly recommended.

Random Tandem was released by the Old Frontiers label, also out of Hamilton, and the double cassette included an absolutely astounding packaging that is made of an old converted audio tape case from the Hamilton Public Library (the disclaimer is still inside). The cover art and the 12-page booklet are both top notch and were put together by Johnson and Old Frontiers mate Sean Gadoury using a color photocopier and, according to their website, “a technique of blending images by feeding the paper back through the machine: a unique process with fortuitous results.”

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Review by Shane Meyer


[Archive: 10.10.12]


1) God Speed You Black Emperor, “Mladic,” Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)
2) Hangedup & Tony Conrad, “Gentil The Unlucky Astronomer,” Transit of Venus (Constellation)
3) M. Nageswara, “Telisi Rama Chintanato” The Ten Graces PLayed on The Vina (Nonsuch)
4) Bul-Bul Tarang Gang, “Cassette A (excerpt)” Kali (Sloowtapes)
5) Sun Araw, “Leaves Like These” (Not Not Fun)
6) Dirty Beaches, “Paris” Night City (Night People)
7) US Girls, “Mah Marie,” Dirty Beaches/U.S. Girls Split 7″ (Sibling Sex)
8) Sculpture, “Side A,” Slime Code (Digitalis Recordings)
9) SlowPitch, “As it Happens”
10) Bloody Noes, “Eat Her Up,” CR-200 (Carbon Records)
11) John Cage, Europera 5 excerpt
12) Thoughts on Air, “Carmine Springs” Thoughts on Air/Trailing Split Cassette (Fadeaway Tapes)
13) Pholde, “That Which Tends to Dissuade,” That Which Tends to Dissuade (Gears of Sand)

[Preview 10.10.12: Godspeed, Cage, Dirty Beaches Shows.]

God Speed You! Black Emperor

A really great week of shows is about to start in the Upstate region and we will try to preview as many of them as possible on tonight’s show. Here is a list of shows we can hopefully cover:

Thurs., 11/11: Torus and DJ Undersound at the Vault (Buffalo)

Fri., 10/12: John Cage’s Europera 5 at Burchfield Penny Art Center (Buffalo)

Fri., 10/12: Gnurl and SlowPitch at New Harbours Music Series (Hamilton)

Mon., 10/15:  Godspeed You Black Emporor w/ Tony Conrad at Town Ballroom (Buffalo)

Mon., 10/15: Vinyl Mondays at Essex St. Pub (Buffalo)

Wed., 10/17: Dirty Beaches, Hobo Cubes, and Thoughts on Air at New Harbours Music Series (Hamilton)

Wed., 10/17: The Moon and Bazckowski/Bacon Duo at the Vault (Buffalo)

Also going to try and get to some new new stuff from Carbon Records, Pam Swarts, and Tony Conrad.

Show starts at 8pm on 91.3 FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.