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    Grant Cutler – Dust

    March 15th, 2019

    Grant Cutler - Dust

    After offering the music listenin’ public a (non) Self Portrait on CD back in 2017, Grant Cutler is back with Dust, the title of which is (or at least should be) a tribute to that faint yet ubiquitous material that nearly every surface on Earth collects in spades. Hell, dust even plays a prominent role in outer space. Galaxies are chock-full of the stuff, and as every music nerd knows, vinyl records boast even more of it within their micro grooves. Cassettes, though, are a different story. Housed within a plastic shell, they don’t really attract as much dust as other formats. How ironic, then, that Grant Cutler’s album of heavy ambience, Dust, would be released on cassette only.

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    Jesse Whitney – Aegis

    February 16th, 2019

    Jesse Whitney - Aegis

    A musician who employs synthesizers and computer music in his work, Jesse Whitney is also in a band called The Blight. Many of the tracks on Jesse’s cassette Aegis are comprised of simple, spritely synth lines with background washes and supporting melodies. Other tracks are more slow and contemplative, while some might add a boom beat with corroded twittering, some squeaky door-like sounds or deep underwater burbling. Sometimes, clouds of dissonance and noise elements overtake the proceedings, imposing an increasing density. Aegis is strongly recommended for fans of Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company, David Borden’s Music For Amplified Keyboard Instruments and Terry Riley.

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    Modify – Transformational Variances

    January 16th, 2019

    Modify - Transformational Variances

    Modify is one of several musical projects operated by Minnesota’s Dean Berlinerblau; Modify’s debut album, Transformational Variances, also enjoys the distinction of being the first release on the newly-minted Æther Tapes label, which specializes in ambient music. Opening the album, the first track, “The Obscurantist,” builds layers of corroded drones that could almost rival the massive ambience proffered by Wolfgang Voigt’s GAS. Flowing seamlessly into the short “Informational Conformity,” the maelstrom adds a slow metal guitar riff in “Reactive Whirlwind,” with synth flourishes buried within the aural detritus. In “Energy Toward a Working State of Growth,” a quiet, relaxed atmosphere opens up with a simple, gently strummed guitar chord accompanied by the breathing of a reptile, while another mountain range of scuzz gradually fades in and takes over as a ponderous bass riff underpins it all. Then the gentle opening theme suddenly re-appears. Next up, “Network (Order)” and “Network (Chaos)” add more outsized noise, while “Autopilot” quiets back down to offer up some gentle, contemplative ambience for the perfect respite.

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    Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble – Return

    December 11th, 2018

    Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble - Return

    Straight off the bat, we’re going to have to deal with the name of this outfit: Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble. Believe it or not, it measures in at a whopping 15 syllables, which almost qualifies as a whole sentence, if not a short story. Yeah, the name is pretty much way too long for its own good. It’s so painfully long, I’ll bet no human has ever uttered it out loud because it would require too much energy; like you would have to eat three meals during the course of saying it. Let’s give it a try. Come on, repeat after me: “Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble.” Whew! I got tired just typing it right then. The name also sounds generic, kind of like if I started a rock group and named it Rock Group.

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    Yogi Proctor – Total Confusion is Popular

    November 7th, 2018

    Modart
    Oceanside, California
    September 27, 2003

    Yogi Proctor's Total Confusion is Popular art show flyer.
    Yogi Proctor’s Total Confusion is Popular art show flyer.

    Yogi Proctor is a fine artist and art director / graphic designer who has been working since the 1990s. Yogi has done graphic design for musical artists and skateboard brands, among many others. His fine artworks are often conceptual with a lot of deep thought behind them. In the fine art world, perhaps Yogi’s most well-known works are the fake photocopy machine he built by hand, and other similar pieces he calls decoys. “A decoy is a copy that, when placed in proximity to the original, reconfigures the perception of both…destabilizing notions of ‘artist’ and ‘originality’ with wit and agility.”–Yogi Proctor. That concept vaguely reminds me of Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes. Enjoy a few photos from one of Yogi’s early art shows, Total Confusion is Popular, back in 2003. (Note: The pieces in this show are not decoys.) (Additional note: This note is not a decoy of the previous note.) (Final note: This note is not a decoy of any past, present or future notes.)

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    Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair 2015

    October 6th, 2018

    The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
    Los Angeles, California
    January 30 – February 1, 2015

    Printed Matter is the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of publications made by artists. The companion to their NY Art Book Fair, which has been held every fall since 2006 in New York, the third LA Art Book Fair boasted scores of artists, curators, dealers, book buyers, collectors, independent publishers and other enthusiasts. It was a unique international event for artists’ books, art catalogs, monographs, periodicals and zines presented by more than 180 international presses, independent publishers, booksellers, antiquarians and artists from 18 countries. Lectures, workshops, video and live performances also raised a ruckus throughout the weekend.–Press Release

    Rich Jacobs at the Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair 2015.
    Rich Jacobs at the Printed Matter LA Art Book Fair 2015.


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    Postcard from Steve Roden – January 30, 1998

    September 19th, 2018
    Postcard from Steve Roden, January 30, 1998.
    Postcard from Steve Roden – January 30, 1998.
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    Alvarius B at Resident

    August 29th, 2018

    'Well, I'm smokin' to live.' Alvarius B performs at Resident in Los Angeles, California on May 6, 2018.
    “Well, I’m smokin’ to live.” Alvarius B performs at Resident in Los Angeles, California on May 6, 2018.

    Los Angeles, California
    May 6, 2018

    Alvarius B is one of the alter egos of Alan Bishop, who is best known as one third of the legendary third eye staring band the Sun City Girls, who existed from 1981-2007. In more recent years, AB has led two outfits based in Cairo, Egypt: the rock band The Invisible Hands and The Dwarfs of East Agouza, who play highly improvised music. As a solo performer, Alan occasionally appears as the aforementioned songsmith Alvarius B or, much less frequently, the cantankerous spoken word artist, Uncle Jim. He is also one of the founders of the Sublime Frequencies label, who release raw music mainly from Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

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    Sir Richard Bishop + Sir Robert Millis at the Bootleg Theater

    July 4th, 2018

    Sir Richard Bishop performs at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles, California on May 4, 2017.
    Sir Richard Bishop performs at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles, California on May 4, 2017.

    Los Angeles, California
    May 4, 2017

    Upon arriving at the venue, the first thing I noticed was that it’s called the Bootleg Theater. I’m pretty sure that means if you fellas go to a show there, you’re automatically officially authorized to make bootleg recordings, GUYS. First up was Sir Robert Millis, a six-string slinger from Seattle who won’t hesitate to vigorously apply patches of modeling clay to every area of your face if you so much as glance in his direction. Mr. Millis completely dominated the stage, stomping around like King Kong (as you can see in the photo below) on a rampage through the pre-Keiji Haino city of Tokyo. He played several songs off of, I assume, his numerous albums. I’m not sure exactly which ones, so feel free to hire an attorney and take me to court. What the hell do I look like, the Discogs database?

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    Sir Richard Bishop + Sir Robert Millis at the Whistle Stop

    June 19th, 2018

    Sir Robert Millis performs at the Whistle Stop in San Diego, California on April 25, 2015.
    Sir Robert Millis performs at the Whistle Stop in San Diego, California on April 25, 2015.

    San Diego, California
    April 25, 2015

    Sir Richard Bishop is a seller of rare books and guitar player who is best known as a member of the Sun City Girls, a one-of-a-kind band that was busy churning out Top 10 hits (at least in a few peoples’ households) from 1981-2007. Sir Robert Millis is a writer, videographer and musician who is part of an experimental outfit called the Climax Golden Twins. (According to the invisible friend inside my mind, their name is a tribute to the Climax Blues Band, Golden Earring and the Thompson Twins.) Both Rick and Rob are also world travelers who have contributed to the Sublime Frequencies label of raw international music.

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