November 29, 2009

TIP!: $1 CD sale at

Just got home from thxgiving week with the fam, heavily jetlagged and zonked, not a fan of air travel. I was pleased to find a small brown envelope in my mailbox, however, containing 6 CDs in transparent plastic sleeves from Brainwashed! I noticed last week that they are having a blow-out sale on some CDs without covers/packaging, including the entire 3CD Brainwaves 2008 compilation, the first disc from the classic '02 Brain In The Wire compilation, and some brand new releases on their Killer Pimp sublabel! The CDs are priced at only $1 each, which is what you'd pay for ONE TRACK on iTunes or Amazon, and let's face it, a real CD will always sound better than MP3, especially for this kind of full-frequency-spectrum experimental music. For 6 CDs, I paid $7 total with shipping! Brain In The Wire is worth $1 just for the Windy & Carl exclusive version of "Trembling", but you also get unreleased tracks from Legendary Pink Dots and their dub side project Twilight Circus, and a lovely drone and guitar piece by Christoph Heemann and Andreas Martin. The Brainwaves 2008 compilation is well worth $1 for each CD, for the Windy and Benoit Pioulard collaboration as Lambs Laughter, a mysterious track by Coil member Peter Christopherson as the Threshold House Boys Choir, and copious, top-notch tracks from a number of Kranky artists like Nudge, Strategy, Lichens and more. I also grabbed the new Lithops album, a side project of Microstoria and Mouse On Mars guy Jan St. Werner, as I recalled enjoying the quirky, microsound/IDM-ish '98 CD "Uni Umit" but hadn't heard anything more recent by him. There are some dodgy, noise-ridden freak-out tracks in the mix, which I tend to skip, but surely there is something for everyone's taste on these cheap discs! If you're feeling a bit more spendy, grab some of their fantastic Eye DVDs as well!

November 17, 2009

Stuart Dempster, Tom Heasley & Eric Glick Rieman - Echoes Of Syros (2009, Full Bleed Music)

When I recently wrote about Tom Heasley's “On The Sensations Of Tone” CD, I checked out his Myspace page and was excited to read that he'd recently been working with Stuart Dempster, a founding member of Pauline Oliveros's Deep Listening Band. This Fall, Heasley released two CDs on his in-house Full Bleed Music label, the first being a collection of older free-jazz trio recordings, and the second a live collaboration with Dempster and keyboardist Eric Glick Rieman entitled “Echoes Of Syros”. Recorded live in Oakland, CA, the album has a very “free” and improvised feel to it, but manages to explore some very deep and lush sonic territory. In fact, I found the opening 34 minute-long title track reminiscent of the drone-ambient mastery of Steve Roach's “Magnificent Void” or “Early Man”, yet entirely organic in instrumentation. The highlight for me is still Heasley's dense, blasting tuba soundclouds, giving even the most potent analogue drone boxes and synthesizers a run for their money, but now they are blended with other-worldly layers of mouth sounds, circular breathing and “extended instrument technique” on trombone, didjeridu, conch shell and garden hose by Dempster, substituting sonically for the abstract synth noise, field recordings and resonant filter sweeps of traditional electronic ambient music. Reiman completes the trio on “prepared” Rhodes electric piano, which seems to take more of an indistinct, background role, with occasional rhythmic note taps and soft harmonic swells. The overall sound is almost primitive at times, evocative of whale sounds and bellowing beasts, with occasional soft percussive noise rattling in the background (presumably Dempster's “toys”, as credited on the cover), transitioning into long sustained drones that sound slightly Eastern-tuned. The final two pieces, “Interzone” and “The Chimaera” delve into more atonal, experimental textures, emulating bird sounds and whinnying horses via found-percussion, noise makers and horn toots. Not exactly meditative, but intense journeying music and very nice for deep listening!

November 16, 2009

FREE DOWNLOAD: Dead Milkmen - Acoustic set at Crash Bang Boom 10/30/2009

Well, this month has been all about free online listening for me, as I am nearing the end of my second online class and am now preparing to move next month! This weekend I enjoyed hearing the latest offering from Joe Jack Talcum's Bootleg Of The Month archive: a brand new "unplugged" Dead Milkmen set recorded at what-used-to-be Zipperhead punk boutique in Philly, recorded just a little over two weeks ago! As a DM fan since I got "Metaphysical Graffiti" on cassette in 5th grade, it is amazing to see the band still rocking nearly 30 years after their start (with a few breaks since the mid-'90s, of course), and the performance is funny and entertaining with a lot of energy. Unfortunately there is a screaming child who interrupts nearly every song for the first half of the performance, but maybe I am a little sensitive to crowd noise... Anyway, the recording sounds almost as good as being there. Even better, three video clips totaling about 18 minutes have made their way onto Youtube, so check those out for the full visual experience!

Download the show audio here!

Videos are here, here and here!

November 10, 2009


So yesterday I discovered's impressive archive of Smashing Pumpkins shows, and since then I have been browsing it constantly and unearthing even more gems! As it turns out, has an insanely huge Live Music Archive, which features recordings from any band that has given their "OK" to have their live tapes shared. For the most part, this is jam band territory, with a gargantuan collection of Grateful Dead shows and their modern descendants. However, as a wander through the Artist Index reveals, there are many other non-jam bands featured. Besides Smashing Pumpkins, there are a number of other early-'90s-era alt-rock bands, including some junior high favorites of mine like Gin Blossoms, Spin Doctors and Hum. But I was most excited to find an amazing collection of Acid Mothers Temple shows, ranging as far back as some early radio performances from '98 on XFM UK and KFJC-FM in CA, all the way up to as recent as *last week*, when Kawabata Makoto played some solo shows in Oakland and SF! I have a preference for Kawabata's solo material, which tends to be more drone-oriented rather than an acid rock freak-out, so it was great to find these brand new performances, plus another from last summer! As if this wasn't enough, I next found a great selection of post-rock bands, including Fly Pan Am, Kranky-alumnae Low, Bardo Pond, all old faves of mine although I have to confess I haven't heard any of their new stuff since about '02. But the next biggest shock was not one but two huge archives, one for Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the other for their side-project/continuation A Silver Mt. Zion, each offering not five, not ten, but over 35 shows by each group, spanning a period of ten years! Well, I feel so overwhelmed I have no idea where to start, but luckily many of the shows feature listener reviews to give you a sense of the quality (I always prefer soundboard (SBD) or FM sources to audience (AUD) mic recordings, no matter how clear, but its not a strict rule). Enjoy!

November 9, 2009

FREE DOWNLOAD: Smashing Pumpkins - Live at VPRO Studios on 1993-06-30

The amazing Internet Archive has always been a useful tool for tracking down old websites that have gone offline, and is also a massive repository for public domain audio and video. Many artists allow their fans to share concert tapes there, much like the cassette and DAT trading scene of the '80s and '90s. While a predominance of music at is jam band-oriented, there are some amazing gems like the previously mentioned Ohrwert tracks, and a large collection of Smashing Pumpkins concerts spanning their entire career, available in high-quality MP3 and lossless FLAC formats (go FLAC!). One in particular stood out to me; a flawlessly-produced acoustic set recorded on the Siamese Dream tour at the Netherlands VPRO Studios. There is a trippy little 6 minute interview in Dutch with Billy Corgan's responses in English, followed by a 24 minute set of five Siamese Dream tracks plus a great, moody cover of Thin Lizzy's "Dancing In The Moonlight." A lovely audio treat for a weary Monday!

Get it here:

November 6, 2009

Ohrwert - Gaussian Skies (2009, Cism)

Ohrwert is the dub-techno project of Arjen Schat, a producer from the Netherlands who has been releasing an impressive volume of tracks over the past two years, mostly for free download via netlabels. A 12" release on the Millions Of Moments label in '08 brought some significant attention, and since then there have been a steady stream of LONG tracks and EPs released mainly on the web. The style is an homage to the classic Basic Channel/Rhythm & Sound template of the mid-to-late '90s, which, as I trace it, was refined by Rod Modell/Deepchord in the early '00s and is now being emulated by a wide array of artists to varying degrees of success, with some more recent efforts exploring fascinating new sonic territory and others sounding like tired rehashes made with cheap gear/software. Ohrwert manages to avoid the dub-techno blahs, and has a very impressive collection of hardware gear including a nice rack of Moog FX units, a Korg MS2000, Moog Little Phatty and other synthesizers, and the classic Dynacord Echocord Super tape-echo. Over the period of a year beginning of March '08, Ohrwert released a more-than-full-length collection of tracks called "Reduct", the most recent being part 9 released back in April, with each part featuring two tracks. Adding up the whole series, along with the "Lost Reduct" which can be found on, you get over three hours of free dub-techno, and most of it is really top-notch. Earlier this month, the Cism netlabel from Smolensk, Russia released a new two-track EP by Ohrwert called "Gaussian Clouds". Clocking in at over 35 minutes, the two tracks unfold at an extremely slow and graceful pace, with multiple layers of shifting and morphing synthesizer textures. "Floating Shores" starts with a heavily processed wind-like filter noisescape, slowly leading into soft ambient pads, deep bass drones and soft arpeggiations ala Kompakt's Pop Ambient, while the second track, "Transition Sphere," explores pulsing and stabbing chord textures, slowly building into a head-nodding techno thump ala Basic Channel. Ohrwert's music stands on its own as an excellent entry in the book of dub-techno, with literally hours of listening enjoyment available for free download!