Saturday, April 10, 2021

Mouth Painter - The Arkturus Suite

I heard Mouth Painter's entire Arkturus Suite (side A at least) on the lovely Backroad to Nowhere show on a while back. I always like it when radio deejays play 20-minute-long songs because it makes me think about when I was a college radio deejay and I pulled that kind of stuff all the time - maybe I had failed to plan enough music for my set? Maybe I was trying to finish reading something before a test? Maybe I was pitching woo or discussing the merits of some obscure band from New Zealand?

After hearing this and loving it, I ordered the tape off Bandqlamp and I'm pretty sure they hand delivered it to my door. Hyperlocal, then. It sounds like rain, as it should.

Pedal steel clouds, flute, delay, is that a musical saw? Timeframes and tonality shifting all over the place, not graspable at all but very pleasant. A good fit for the tape medium because any wow and flutter will only enhance the sound of the recording. I mean, my mid-life crisis garage-sale tape deck is pretty damn solid, but still, it's a tape deck. 

It is pretty easy to crap out floaty 20-minute instrumentals, but it is not easy to keep them compelling. This one keeps me coming back at weird moments.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Rose 4 Bohdan - What Heavy Metal Taught Us

There are several ways to figure out what to listen to. In descending order of Apollonian temperament:

  1. Voluntarily recall a song, or read about it somewhere, and deliberately find it, whether by searching through physical media or on a computer device.
  2. Notice a physical album object in a pile, stack, or other grouping, and voluntarily choose it.
  3. Have it suggested to you, either through some sort of algorithm or via shuffle
  4. Reach into a box full of unlabeled media (preferably cassettes without labels) and put the thing you grab into your tape deck

Today I'm going with #4. This approach naturally led to Rose 4 Bohdan's crazed early-aughts epic album Major Label Drugs. Of course. Lead Bohdan (disclaimer: I've known him for nearly half my life [!!!] and he's put out some of my stuff) Brian M. has always specialized in situations that were both highly friendly and yet somehow deeply weird. So this album naturally pinballs between endless inner-space drone epics, dudes singing about Snapple and boobs, and of course the best track, which I often find myself repeating:

What heavy metal taught us:
Heavy metal taught us how to speak German
and put it into a little song.
Just how tough Florida really is.

Repeat forever and digitally slice it up until it is scarcely recognizable. Great. 7 views on YouChoob - will you be the 8th?

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Charlie McAlister - I Haven't Any Sea Legs

Charlie McAlister's songs come up pretty frequently when I have my celestial jukebox on shuffle - probably because there are so many of them. And I haven't even digitized half of what I have.

Today a couple songs from I Haven't Any Sea Legs came up. What a great album, and what a generous one. His mid-90s tapes were janky little universes that I could carry around to temp jobs and get lost in while I did data entry. The work I'm doing now is a little higher-level and I can listen to music on some excellent speakers rather than half-broken cheapo headphones from Target, but the music is still great.

Miss that dude.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Bushwalking _No Enter_

I thought I'd take a moment to write about Bushwalking's outstanding No Enter album. I think I got fed this one as a recommendation by Rdio (sigh) back in the day after listening to lots of other stuff in the incestuous Australian scene, but this one hit home pretty hard and has stayed with me.

The cover has one single pensive downward-cast eye accompanied with aqua and orange eye shadow. Avoiding eye contact, just like I do.

Totally fierce medieval drone grooves, two female lead singers operating as a single titanic/Teutonic vocal and rhythm unit, dude guitarist splattering semi-tonal stuff on top with uncanny slapback like some sort of glass-shard frosting. Not a sound I've heard elsewhere, even in the postpunk genre that I guess this would fall into.

Album sequencing is pretty genius:
3 gripping relatively short songs
1 long dub-drone burner
3 gripping relatively short songs
1 unsettled song
1 totally unexpected acoustic song at the end - with flute no less

I listened to this one over and over again during the dark nights at the end of 2016, after that gross dude was elected here in the US but before he took office. The last few months before my boy was born. I would listen to this while riding my bike home from work, the calm cold dark all around me, the menacing drone from the freeway on my left echoing the drone from my little Bluetooth speaker. Occasionally I would come across someone who was walking or living on the bike path and there would be an awkward attempt to pause my speaker. As I approached my neighborhood, "Green Light" (the unsettled song) would play, and then as I rode through the potholed familiar dangerous streets of my neighborhood, the flutes of "Always Here" would guide me home. Several times the last few notes played just as I went to open the garage door.

The various players here continued on to do excellent things after this, but this one never really got the attention it deserved.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Endurance exercises

During the long Oregon winter I like to ride an exercise bike, especially now that I don't have an office job to commute to. And yes, I do have two exercise bikes, thanks for asking.

Usually I ride on the recumbent upstairs because it's pretty easy to veg out on that thing with a DualShock controller in my hand. And it turns out that really tedious gaming conventions - fetch quests, grinding, etc. - actually end up being a lot more tolerable as background activities for exercise. I recently played Ni No Kuni, which is just chock full of deliver-this-doohickey-to-this-person-in-another-city pointlessness, and it totally worked, just taking in the pretty virtual sights while going back and forth and back and forth looking for adorable electronic critters.

However, recently the cheap pedals on that thing gave out (the bearings were making unholy noises one room over from a sleeping preschooler, not an ideal situation) so I headed down to the spin bike in the garage. Not only is it a much more vigorous workout, but in the garage I only have an old CRT TV with a built-in VCR. Kind of nice to work my way through the backlog of VHS tapes that I haven't been able to get rid of.

Tonight's entertainment was R.E.M. Succumbs, which is almost exclusively made up of the members of said band being filmed on a Super8 while they artily tromp rockstar-style around various Georgian backwoods - the Howard Finster estate etc. I remember this being a bit of an endurance exercise even when I was younger, but put that together with actual endurance exercise and it was kind of next level. It made me long very much for the sort of life moment where I could just look at trains or weird old dogs without having to multi-task constantly or maximize precious down time. SIGH.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Ama hil zaigu

Do you like melancholy songs in Basque? I do.

Mikel Laboa's song from Bat Hiru, his wiry, singular epic:

Le Mans' version from the B-side of the "Un rayo de sol" single, at least in the 90s in America. Really great as well. I should do a fanboy post on how much I like the stuff that Ibon Errazkin and Teresa Iturrioz have done - Single are great and really underappreciated.



Monday, March 22, 2021


Life goal accomplished!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, that is correct: 99 tracks, 61:40. (Please ignore the typo in the CD-TEXT.) What a ridiculous thing to want to do. But I did it.

I'll be doing some work to polish the final third of this album, the Theory Internal EP, which I think is particularly good, but I thought I'd put this up on the bloog in celebration.