Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

All Iowa Noise Insurgency Zine Issue 1

The first issue of the All Iowa Noise Insurgency magazine is finished and available at the kind of places you may expect to find a zine on Iowa noise music in cities like Ames, Des Moines, and Dubuque, but I also have a whole extra stack of them laying around, so let me know if you want one and I can sure send it out to you.

No Fear of Pop

I started writing for the online publication No Fear of Pop.

You can see my first post on a compilation of Christmas songs performed through the warped minds of some real experimental blog/cassette world weirdos over here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Warm Gospel at the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines

The Warm Gospel label was created based on the concept of recreating the grand, layered spectrum of gospel music using the contemporary ideas and tools of electronic, noise, and ambient music. The result is something new. Over the past year, Warm Gospel has collected releases from many of Iowa's beat and noise makers, including DJ DJ TANNER, Tires, Olsen Twinns, Juxwl, and others. In combining these artists under a single label, Warm Gospel has established a foundation of rumbling noise, tidal waves of synth, and layers of clouded harmonies in a part of Iowa where, previously, experimental music was never fully realized as an important part of the state's overall music output.

On December 18th, the Vaudeville Mews will showcase nearly every artist on the Warm Gospel label, bringing an entire night of electronic sound exploration to Des Moines.

Vaudeville Mews
December 18th, 2012
8:00 pm

Is Home Is (Olsen Twinns)
Big Digital

This show is going to be so much fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Warm Gospel Bandcamp Page

My tape label, Warm Gospel, now has a bandcamp page where you can listen to all of the tapes in full. Also, Issue 1 of the All Iowa Noise Insurgency Zine is underway. Look for it to be released sometime in the next month. It's going to be soooooooo cool.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Zeitgeist AND Iowa Noise AND the DMMC (kind of)

I found a great article by the Centipede Farm tape label founder, Chuck Hoffman.

It's all about the accomplishment that was the Zeitgeist music festival and the state of Iowa noise music.

Check it out.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Favorite Releases of 2012

It might be a bit early for this, but I had to submit my list to Tiny Mix Tapes already, so I figured I would just call it finalized and throw it up here for everyone to read.

1. Constrobuz – Rain and Dust

The local jazz radio station doesn’t come in very well in my room. At 10 PM on Thursday nights, the college station on the next frequency over on the spectrum plays a jazz show called the Jazz Apothecary, and the signal interferes heavily. The way my radio picks up both signals and flickers between the two often creates a strange effect, smashing together two entirely different songs, tempos, and melodies like the crash and reverberation of hand cymbals.

Constrobuz’s album, Rain and Dust, is what happens on that very rare occurrence when the two different songs from each of those jazz stations seem to sync up through all of the signal fuzz and vinyl hiss. The result is like the soundtrack to all of the panning city shot transitions of some VHS copy of a slow-burning film noir. Makes me want to dress up and chain smoke unfiltered cigarettes.

2. Ahnnu – pro habitat

Looking at my list of favorites from this year, it is clear that I was obsessed with all of the beatcrap that was released. Ahnnu's pro habitat was probably the cream of crop. Averaging something like 68 seconds per song, this album moves from concept to concept at the speed of a grindcore album, rarely repeating itself along the way. For a genre historically built on loops and repetition, every second of pro habitat feels new and piled high with knob twists and turns, and when that woman chimes in at the end of "canopoli," claiming that, "the music should be barely noticeable... and non-distracting," it's like a statement for every dreamchillambienthypnagogicpop song that has ever been released.

3. MiNdToUcHbeaTs – MeMoRieS FRoM THe FuTuRe.

I didn't even consciously realize it until giving MeMoRieS FRoM THe FuTuRe. another listen in order to inspire myself for this write-up, but it is probably a perfect combination of numbers 1 and 2 on this list, as if the jittery jazz of Constrobuz's Rain and Dust were filtered through the A.D.D. of Ahnnu's pro habitat.

Piano and cymbal flutters float in and out and like vultures, while bass beats start and stop like being read from a skipping CD. The result flows as smooth as the mash-up of multiple words in the band name, MiNdToUcHbeaTs, and as chopped as the capital to lowercase lettering variation in MeMoRieS FRoM THe FuTuRe.

4. AyGeeTee – Is it Safe?

While seemingly every other beat tape artist this year relied on chops, cuts, and vinyl crackle, AyGeeTee's Is it Safe? managed to make beats just as complex and diverse without all of the Attention Deficit Disorder. It's like headphone music made for the dance floor rather than the bedroom floor. Can you imagine an entire club filled with neon-clothed people wearing Boss headphones and grinding up on each other?

5. C V L T S – Realiser

C V L T S come across as friendly and welcoming, but before you know it, you find yourself surrounded, enveloped, and in way too deep to get out… kind of like a cult, actually. Realiser, their new release on Belgian label Aguirre Records, runs your head through a water-logged marathon of highs and lows, ranging from drone to noise to all of that dream pop that those northern countries do so well. Yet, despite the wide range of sounds, the whole album moves in a way that feels natural. So much so that when album closer “Suki” takes all of time and throws it into the ocean to drown, you may find yourself brainwashed and swimming out to join it.

6. Branches - Ninguém É Como Tu

I knew a guy in my college town in Iowa who worked the overnight shift at the convenience store by my house. I used to drink free fountain soda and talk to him about all the weird stuff he collected. Of all the random things, his collection of old commercials was by far the most fascinating. (Apparently, there exists a whole network of people, single-handedly keeping blank VHS sales alive by cataloging, dubbing, and trading old commercials.) I never saw his collection because he was always a little reluctant to even talk to me about it, as if I were some stranger asking to flip through his family’s old photo albums. And in a way, he was right. Those shelves of hand-labeled VHS tapes represented this guy’s entire childhood — decades of old TV filler he had never managed to let go — and I came along fascinated in my nostalgia haze, as nearly forgotten memories of old fast food commercials playing between episodes of daytime TV dramas came flooding back to me.

Somewhere between our two perspectives of the past lies Branches Ninguém É Como Tu which coats the tendencies of synth-heavy ambience in so much happy nostalgia haze, it's hard not to flow alongside the sine waves.

7. Aaronmaxwell - Dianetics

First of all, the download of this album came with a 16-page PDF document about L. Ron Hubbard's theory of Dianetics, which was, essentially, the jumping-off point for his entire Scientology religion, which is an interesting read, but really only touches the surface of the entire belief system. That has very, very little to do with why I like the album.

Dianetics is, in many ways, similar to Ahnnu's prohabitat; short songs, quickly explored concepts and an urgency that results in dance music meant for listening to through headphones. This has certainly been a reoccurring theme this year. What I appreciate about this album is the non-music vocal samples used, and the way they are set into different levels of each beat, coming across like a 2012 take on some of Madlib's early 2000's beats.

8. Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland – Black is Beautiful

Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland (Hype Williams) have come, seemingly, out of nowhere. Black is Beautiful seems to be everything I like about all of the 80's the synthesizer/drum machine music while still retaining the absolute experimental instincts of modern day bedroom pop weirdos. I love that I have no idea where this album is coming from.

9. Jeans Wilder – Totally

There’s some real history behind Totally. I mean it. I’m pretty sure that’s the Phil Spector boom-boom-boom-chic in "Gravity Bong". You know, before that wall of sound comes in. You can tell by the tambourine. Then that guitar comes stumbling in and, for a minute, I’m thinking of “Just Like Honey.” But it’s too clean, and it jangles like that Ducktails sun-pop or maybe the psychedelia of Rangers.

There's probably nothing terribly unique about Totally, but I am a sucker for that ocean-drenched pop music popularized over that past 3 years, and this is a great example of the genre done to perfection.

10. Animal Collective – Centipede Hz

People called Animal Collective’s 2005 album, Feels, their rock record. Probably because it was the closest they’ve ever come to relying on the “traditional” rock combination of drums, guitars, and yelling. It still didn’t sound like rock music, and 7 years later, they haven’t gotten any closer. Which isn’t to say that Centipede Hz isn’t heavier than the castle-bounce lightness of Strawberry Jam and Merriweather Post Pavilion. The boys are once again embracing distortion. And weird time signatures. And spaceships?

It's no secret that I wasn't a huge fan of Merriweather Post Pavilion. In general, I believe there has been too much of a tendency for experimental/noise-leaning bands to start making electropop in recent years, and while Centipede Hz doesn't entirely stray away from this tendency, I believe it's closer to the analog rowdiness of Feels than Animal Collective has come in recent years.

11. Wanda Group – Get Involved in My Throat
12. SEEZUREFACE – Space Socks
13. Mirroring – Foreign Body
14. Aaronmaxwell – Island
15. Space Ghost – You’re There
16. Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk – Soda
17. Andy Stott – Luxury Problems
18. Good Willsmith – Is The Food Your Family Eats Slowly
19. Wet Hair – Spill Into Atmosphere
20. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
21. Gem Jones – Exhaust
22. Run DMT – The Road Soda
23. Monster Rally – Beyond the Sea
24. LA Vampires and Maria Minerva – The Integration
25. Tough Fuzz - Vol. 1

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tiny, Tiny Mix Tape Mix Tape

My mix, Positive Vibrations for the End of the World, has been posted for this week's Chocolate Grinder Mix on Tiny Mix Tapes.

Read the blurb, see the tracklist, and download it over at TMT.

The mix even includes a few Warm Gospel artists.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Zeitgeist: A Celebration of Iowa Noise Music

My label, Warm Gospel, will be sponsoring Zeitgeist: A Celebration of Iowa Noise Music at the old Elephungeon space in Boone, Iowa.

You should go, see some of the best noise bands in Iowa, and buy tapes to support the festival and its artists. There will be a Warm Gospel table there with a variety of different releases and some free stickers. Make sure you take a look!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Warm Gospel Tumblr

Hey everyone.

I have finally ventured into the Tumblr world and created a Tumblr page for my tape label, Warm Gospel.

Check it out! Follow me!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Positive Vibrations for the End of the World

I finished another mix.

I am calling this one "Positive Vibrations for the End of the World"

I will likely be submitting it to Tiny Mix Tapes as part of their end-of-the-week Chocolate Grinder mixes, but I figured since I had already finished the mixdown before running it by them, that I would post it here first. They may end up having me edit it in some way and I will write up a post explaining the theme of the mix when it is submitted there, but I will let you know when that happens.

For now...

00:00 AyGeeTee - As Dreaming Angels Do
01:18 MiNdToUcHbeaTs - MoNSooN
02:31 Tough Fuzz - For What It's Worth
02:58 aaronmaxwell - highschool crush
04:05 ahnnu - canopoli
05:13 Constrobuz - Black Dirt
06:08 Space Ghost - Sneaky/Sensual
08:27 DJ DJ TANNER - The Forest Holds Its Breathe
09:25 Obey City - Ronin Strut
11:40 Olsen Twinns - Weird Lives
14:04 MONTGOMERY WORD - taco tuesday
14:29 Kuhn - We're Gonna Make It
18:20 RAJA - Vapor Trails (Jeans Wilder Redux)
20:28 Magical Mistakes - Supermoon Crashed featuring Mutual Benefit
24:32 Monster Rally - Blame
26:47 MONTGOMERY WORD - drty clothes
27:37 AyGeeTee - Island

Download here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Never Knows Best Issue 5

Issue 5 of this blog's physical representation is finished! This issue comes with:

- Official Never Knows Best stickers(SOLD OUT!!)
- autographed headshot of the author (SOLD OUT!!)
- free mix cd of today's hottest artists (SOLD OUT!!)
- playing cards of all of your favorite Never Knows Best comic strip characters (SOLD OUT!!)

Let me know if you would like a copy of this fine publication!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

DOTS Mixtape

I heardtell that the DOTS cafe over on 26th and Clinton, here in Portland, is having house DJs on Monday and Tuesday nights now, so I put together this mix to submit in hopes of filling one of those spots, and I figured I'd share the completed mix with you.

I really have all these ideas for mixes, and I usually write down the first 4-5 tracks on pieces of scrap paper that ultimately get lost somewhere in my room or bag, so I am going to try harder to actually go through and make these mixes rather than lose them forever, even if they are just micro mixes of a handful of songs. This will also be part of my promise to try and update this blog more.

Download here. It's kind of shitgazey.


00:00 - Wet Hair - "Camouflage"
04:06 - Galaxie 500 - "Tugboat"
06:51 - Ela Orleans - "Neverend"
10:17 - Tickley Feather - "Keyboards is Drunk"
11:58 - Girls - "Morning Light"
14:15 - Wise Blood - "Rot My Brain Away"
16:07 - Peaking Lights - "All the Good Songs Have Been Written"
20:24 - No Age - "Wintry KK"
22:29 - Jeans Wilder - "Dog Years"
24:56 - Lucky Dragons - "Snowing Circle"
27:26 - Panda Bear - "Last Night at the Jetty"

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Halloween Time!!

My friend Nick (DJ DJ TANNER) and I (Skyscraper) had talked about doing a Halloween tape since last year, but we didn't get around to it until now.

Listen to/download the tracks over at my bandcamp page, and you can buy one of the tapes from Warm Gospel.

I've also released a number of new tapes on the label, including a new one from DJ DJ TANNER, Theodore Schafer, and Skyscraper.

Currently underway is a tape from Ames, IA's JUXWL, another one from DJ DJ TANNER, and a Warm Gospel compilation, which I am still accepting tracks for, so send me your music if you want it to be included on the compilation.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Skyscraper's Worn Gospel


My next Skyscraper album, Worn Gospel, is finished and available to be listened to over here.

You can also buy the cassette version of it over here and I'll send it to you with a bunch of pretty stuff.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Some thoughts on drone and Flesh Canoe

I scribbled the majority of this down while sitting at Director's Park in downtown Portland, while working out a write up for one of the new Lillerne Tape releases, Fullerton Avenue Rhythm Arranger by Miracle Blues, whom I know absolutely nothing about. This is the initial direction that it took which I thought was worth posting here, because, for the sake of brevity and relevance, I cut out all of the Animal Collective "Flesh Canoe" stuff when I submitted it to Tiny Mix Tapes, and replaced it with information about the Miracle Blues tape.

This might be a bit of a continuation to an older post I did called Umm, Getting Lost OR I Remember Person Pitch... It Sounds Different Now OR Bands That Play On The Floor, in the sense that both of these posts probably stem from me constantly struggling to explain to people why I like a lot of the music that I do. It's hard telling people that it is more than just "background music," and actually being able to explain why.

Here it is:

The word drone, in its many forms, always seems to imply a sort of subterranean feel. An existence just outside of immediate consciousness. Drone strikes happen from a nearly undetectable mechanical force that seems to come from nowhere and disappear as quickly as it came. A military force with no visible military presence.

The idea is the same when referring to worker drones. Employees capable of doing the work on a nearly unconscious level; their minds wandering elsewhere in order to retain sanity.

Drone, as a music genre, works the same way. A tuning out that exists below our surface consciousness, accented only by little spikes that attack from nowhere and decay as quickly or slowly as they came. The way artists incorporate these peaks above the surface is what seems to differentiate most drone music; it’s the way the song pulls you from the quicksand all drone often spends the first minutes dragging you into.

A friend of mine in Ames, Iowa praised the song “Flesh Canoe” off of the Animal Collective album Feels, explaining that so much of the song takes place below the surface. And while “Flesh Canoe” is far from drone, it does share the same murky foundation—the bubbling pressure of water so deep that nothing escapes without damage, the gospel-like crescendos and guitar chugs included. Avey’s voice serves as the only real peak above the surface. It’s like a condensed drone track without any of the patient danger. No worries. No drowning. No waiting. No hand bursting through the surface to save us from the quicksand. Rather, the hand is offered from the very beginning of the song in the form of a “Young red bird…

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Been a long time...

I haven't been doing much on here... but I've been doing some stuff on my other blogs!!

I have a whole bunch of new tapes out on Warm Gospel, and my next album is about half done. You can hear some of the songs over at muh bandcamp page.

I think I even posted some new missing cat posters on my missing cat poster blog.

Also, Elowah Falls.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Black Dice at YU Contemporary

I received a few strange text messages at 2 AM Wednesday morning from my sister-in-law, Kate, suggesting that, for some reason, her and my brother, Trent, were up in Minneapolis hanging out with my other brother, Trevor, and his wife, Amber. This struck me as odd for a number of reasons.

1. Trent and Kate live in Iowa
2. Trevor and Amber live in Minnesota
3. All 4 of these people are adults with real jobs
4. The text messages were received on a Tuesday night/Wednesday morning
5. 2 AM??

As the sloppy text messages continued, I pieced together that Trevor had had a few drinks and was calling me Gregg. The 5 of them (Thurston included) were hanging out at Trevor and Amber's place up in Minnesota, and it had something to do with "Load Blown!!" and "Black Dice."

A quick google search of the Black Dice tour schedule brought me to the realization that Trent and Kate had taken Thurston with them up to Minneapolis to see Black Dice play and were likely staying at Trevor and Amber's place that night, after a little bit of drinking.

My jealousy was quickly squelched by scanning down the tour schedule and noticing a Portland, OR date on Saturday at a place I had never heard of simply called "YU", though my sense of family comradery was left unfulfilled.

Turns out, the YU was another one of those converted warehouse-type buildings holding strong in inner southeast Portland, and I'd actually ridden by it a number of times. The show took place upstairs in a large, empty loft area with huge windows looking out toward downtown Portland. The floor creaked and I noticed cracks of light from the room below shining up between the boards, making me ponder safety concerns in the event that this show gets out of hand.

Black Dice took the stage an hour later than I expected, led by no openers besides the crackling video footage projected behind the stage and a few scattered drone tracks falling softly out of the PA.

Most of the tracks reached some pretty upbeat highs, sending pockets of the all ages crowd into all out head-banging frenzies, and I kind of assumed most of what they played was from the new album, Mr. Impossible based on the 1 or 2 listens I managed to fit in before the show and the few reviews of the album I had browsed earlier in the week.

I had never seen Black Dice play before and, needless to say, they did not disappoint. The waves of distortion and reverse-fucked noise blaring from the 10 speakers set up on stage hit like the end of the eye of the storm. The best part is watching each of the 3 members of this band standing up in front of their table of electronics, turning knobs and pressing pedals, and being completely lost as to where the individual sounds you manage to discern from all the mess are actually coming from. I'll never get over loving that feeling.

Noise noise noise noise noise noise noise noise. MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tiny Mix Tapes

My old College Radio DJ name, Top Heavy, has been brought out of retirement to be used as my pseudonym to push new music that I find scattered across the internet on people via the Chocolate Grinder section on Tiny Mix Tapes.

Expect a few posts a week, and, ya know, listen to the songs, too... if you want.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cabin in the Woods

I made it a goal of mine last year to finish all of Stephen King's Dark Tower series -- a 7 book (soon to be 8) series that sets the entire framework for every piece of fiction King has ever written. I was told that all I needed to do was read "The Gunslinger" and I would be hooked, so I read it one day after finding it for $1.99 at the Goodwill store near my house, which has a surprisingly well stocked selection of literature.

Upon finishing the book, I wasn't hooked.

In fact, it took until the fourth book, The Wizard and Glass before I was even sure I wanted to finish the series, something I did end up doing, somewhat reluctantly I must admit, in the early months of 2012, just missing my initial goal.

Something I can say though is that I love it when writers, artists, directors, etc. create worlds, and with The Dark Tower series, King invented his entire world.

Finding similarities between various works of art is something I really started to enjoy when I began taking English classes in college, and when one artist just hands you the similarities, it just invites one to look into everything they have ever done, and finding out more information about some one-liner character in this story, or some lyric in this song that refers back to that song is something I can't get enough of.

I think I love origins (not so much Origin though, oddly enough).

I remember seeing Alien vs. Predator: Requiem with a friend of mine when it came out 5 years ago on Christmas day. Most people agreed the film was awful, myself included, but when I asked my friend what he thought, he just kind of shrugged and admitted that, "anything that expands the canon of something as cool as Alien or Predator, and therefore, Alien vs. Predator is always going to be pretty cool to me." And that statement has always stuck with me, specifically with regard to all these remakes and sequels to horror films which weren't terribly good to begin with.

In The Dark Tower series, the center of King's entire universe is the Dark tower -- a black tower in the middle of a field of roses where everything in all of existence is tied together. In The Cabin in the Woods, the center of the entire universe of horror films is established as a shabby-looking cabin in the middle of a forest, and miles below sleeps something which could destroy everything. The scenario in this film suggests an origin story for each and every death in every single horror film ever created, as if every villain was sent to serve some higher, horror power.

It's like the New Testament to the Old Testament-like dogma of H.P. Lovecraft's Ancient Ones.

Murder in horror movies may never be truly mindless again.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk at Some House in NE Portland

It seems appropriate that I have only ever seen Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk in basements or upstairs, attic-like spaces where people normally pack away all of their boxes and odds and ends that tend to pile up over time, leaving them with the task of digging through layers and layers of stuff before finding what they are looking for.

BBDDM have always been up for that task.

On their most recent album, Skeletor & Me, as well as their live performances since its release, BBDDM have slowed down that search, taking the time to build up the layers upon which noise music breathes. But, while most noise music reaches its peaks by piling on the next layer, BBDDM have discovered how to bury themselves underneath those layers, creating their moments by climbing up and resurfacing for brief moments where minimal drums and maximal guitar noise pierce through the mess.

When talking to Drew from the band after the show, I mentioned that I had wanted to see their show at the Reed College Chapel last Friday, but couldn't make it because I had to close that night. He said that they chapel was gorgeous and that they had intentionally tried to make their set more "beautiful" for that show.

That represents the entire range of this band's sound-- crawling up from underneath a basement filled with clutter to echoing downward from a chapel ceiling, and with each new release, Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk continue to push the heights, as well as the depths, further.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dustin Wong at Mississippi Studios

I found out about this show in the middle of a 12-hour shift at work, and decided I was going to try really really hard not to be too tired, after riding my bike home, to go to the show. Just when I convinced myself that I had enough energy left in me to go ahead and head up to Mississippi Studios, I stepped outside and it had started snowing. Luckily, I am from Iowa, and what Portlanders call "snow", Iowans call "a nice winter day", so that didn't serve as a further deterrent between me and this show.

I did show up late, however, thinking that I would probably only miss White Fang (who are great), and that that was an okay sacrifice for a bit of relaxation before the show, after working all day. As it turns out, White Fang either cancelled or was never on the bill in the first place, so I ended up missing Woodsmen instead, which kind of sucks, but was, in itself, a different sacrifice I paid to avoid... well... paying to get into the show, since Mississippi Studios is either nice enough to let you in the show for free after you've missed 2/3 of it already, or employs impatient door guys who didn't want to wait around the door until the bitter end.

I arrived just as Dustin Wong began his first song, seated by himself in the middle of a large arc of multicolored guitar pedals, and that alone was enough to tell me that I was going to enjoy this.

I had never listened to Dustin Wong's music past Ponytail, and a live recording I listened to after reading a review of a show he played in the middle of a record store somewhere on the East Coast which was accompanied with a photo from the show of him standing in the middle of his circle of pedals closing his eyes and smiling toward the ceiling in a small clearing surrounded by people, and I remember wondering if the review was a thousand words, because the picture represented it perfectly. I now can't seem to find the picture, and I just spent 20 minutes looking for it.


The show I saw was a bit less, umm, sunshiny (?) than that picture made me think it would be, but it was oddly fitting for the whole snowy drive over and the general lack of energy that snow seemed to put in the audience for a show like this... at Mississippi Studios... on a Wednesday night.

But that didn't keep him from locking every single guitar loop in to near perfection, and it certainly didn't make the show any less transcendent than I expected it to be, and after purchasing his album, Infinite Love, and reading the liner notes, that transcendent feeling seemed more justified.

On the sleeve he writes:

On my 27th birthday my partner Angel and I ate a good amount of mushrooms. At the peak of the night I was on my bed as if I was giving birth pushing my stomach towards the ceiling, and then, I felt the love. As I started to get my senses back I kept on whispering the words infinite love.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Warm Gospel Tapes

The first three tapes of my cassette tape label, Warm Gospel, are finished, and with them I have started a blog where all of the releases will be posted and available for purchase, ya know, if you want.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Missing Cat Poster Blog

I have started a new blog devoted to posting local missing cat posters, and comparing and critiquing them with regard to their similarities to the various formats of film making.

I would be glad to accept submissions if anyone stumbles upon an intriguing cat poster of their own.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I finished my self-titled Skyscraper album.

You can download it here.

It will be the second release on my cassette tape label, Warm Gospel, when I get around to getting tapes made, which should be sometime in the next month or so.

Let me know if you want a tape, and also whether or not that download link works.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Top 9 Favorite Releases of 2011

9. Oneohtrix Point Never - Replica

I remember when I began messing around with samples, and producers like Madlib and J Dilla really began to leave me jaw-dropped with the ways they pieced samples from all different genres and time periods together.

On Replica, Oneohtrix Point Never seems to take all of those short little leftover snippets from the beginning or end of the kind of samples most musicians are discovering now, and blends them so perfectly that, what sounds like a mistake at first, begins to sound like a beat or a melody or chorus.

8. Blouse - S/T

Blouse takes everything that was so new/now about the late 70's and the 80's, strips it of all the crap that didn't stand the test of time, and coats it in a handful of our late 2000's reverb, making the old sound new or the new sound old, or both.

7. Grouper - A | A

On Dragging a Dead Dear Up a Hill, Grouper seemed to float just beneath the surface of a large, lonely body of water, occasionally surfacing for just enough air to dive down for another swim.

A | A is more like laying on your back, staring at the stars, and forgetting that the ground is underneath you.

6. RAJA - The October Series Mixtape Trilogy

This immense trilogy spans 3 mixtapes, and nearly 80 songs. Each song crackles and vibrates through milk crate after milk crate of assorted old records, never straying too far from the soft, established emotion that each tape conjures.

Unlike some beat tapes, these songs feel like complete pieces rather than skeletons or ideas for someone else to pick up on and finish.

Free Download

5. City Center - Box of Sand

Fred Thomas, the man responsible for City Center, makes a lot of music. A helluva lot.

I still don't understand how musicians like this differentiate between what is going to be an "album" and what is simply going to be some side release or EP.

While the production of City Center's 2011 album Redeemer, certainly implies a greater degree of time and work was put into it, Box of Sand better shows Thomas' tendency of messing around with all kinds of new noises with each release.

Free Download

4. Shabazz Palaces - Black Up

I've already said a great deal about this one in an earlier post, and I think it is a good example of 2011's tendency of approaching established genres in new ways. Pushing things forward by looking back.

3. RUN DMT - Dreams

Stumbling its way through surf rock into on-the-floor-of-the-bedroom pop music, a description of Dreams might come a little too close to a comparison to every other one-man, sample-based operation with a copy of Person Pitch gathering dust somewhere in the middle of that milk crate full of records. But such comparisons are getting old enough that they’ve begun gathering dust themselves, and that is kind of the point of nostalgia, no matter how recent—accepting influences, and desiring to be a part of that which we look back on so fondly, and it tends to be a fortunate side effect of sampling.

What Dreams offers is a plunge into an ocean that hasn’t moved since surf-obsessed teenagers started writing songs about it in the early 60’s. The difference is that Run DMT’s Collins is more interested in what is going on below the surface where all the surfing is taking place. Tracks swirl around, ranging from 60’s style pop to drenched, slow-moving drone that reminds us how far we are sinking into this stagnant, beautiful underwater landscape that will be here long after we’ve left it.

2. DJ DJ Tanner - S/T

What I like so much about DJ DJ Tanner is how much it represents my belief that ideas, creativity, and experimentation make for better music than raw talent. Too often, I think the most talented musicians waste it on emulation, because it tends to be easier and more rewarding.

This album (and the various other clumps of music I have downloaded), is an album of ideas, showing the minimalist potential of loops, sampled or crafted, to expand outward as they repeat. That potential carries us through the highs and lows of each track as they drop in and sputter out, passing up the establishment of pacing -- the accepted technique most loop-based musicians rely on in absence of the dynamics of a whole band.

The focus on ideas over production is like DJ DJ Tanner's prolific call-to-arms. Too much attention to detail would only serve to wipe away the dust that establishes the environment of each sample, and leave less time for the kind of ideas that make this release so good.

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1. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saint

If someone had described EMA to me before I heard it, I don't think I ever would have listened to it, because it is kind of hard to provide a description that does it justice.

It has distorted guitars and drums and music swells, but it isn't really anything like rock music?

A lot of the lyrics are strangely humorous, but it isn't very comical?

As mentioned in the Shabazz Palaces blurb, 2011 was a year of turning previously established genres on their heads. Past Life Martyred Saints sounds so familiar in so many ways, but no one could call it rock, because that just wouldn't quite cover it.

All of the elements that make up this album seem so familiar, but are just strange enough to keep it from sounding entirely recognizable, like a painting hung slightly askew.