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    Table of the Elements Festival No. 2: Yttrium

    September 7th, 2008

    Tony Conrad at Table of the Elements Yttrium Festival, 1996.
    Tony Conrad et all, 1996. Photo by Rich Jacobs.

    The Empty Bottle
    Chicago, Illinois
    November 7, 8, 9, 1996

    Since the early 1990s, the Atlanta independent label Table of the Elements has been very busy issuing many important minimal, drone, noise, improv and other experimental recordings from the past, present and future. They hosted their second gathering for like-minded individuals at The Empty Bottle, a small club right across the street from an ultra-sketchy area of Chicago.

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    John Fahey + Gastr del Sol + Smog at Spaceland

    September 2nd, 2008

    Gastr del Sol, Spaceland, 1996.
    Jim O’Rourke and David Grubbs of Gastr del Sol. Photo by Rich Jacobs.

    Los Angeles, California
    Friday, August 2, 1996

    This was an acoustic guitarathon to end all “athons.” Smog was melancholy and sing-songy. Gastr del Sol was alternately tuned, droney and grated one big, long piece of cheese. John Fahey wound intricate webs of disturbed thought around the very gradually dispersing crowd–he played at least close to two hours–highlighted by some ghostly lap steel slide action. Although it didn’t floor me like I thought it might, this was still a pretty good show with definite moments of nod-out bliss. About 75% of the 200-plus people there used Spaceland as a mere watering hole—yakking endlessly and seemingly oblivious that actual live music was being played. Oh well, give me a call sometime.

    John Fahey, Spaceland, 1996.
    John Fahey. Photo by Rich Jacobs.

    Note: This article originally appeared in Lou Zine (Lou’s Records newsletter) in August 1996.