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    Tony Conrad at Spaceland

    September 20th, 2008

    Tony Conrad at Spaceland, 1998.
    Tony Conrad at Spaceland, 1998. Photo by Rich Jacobs.

    Los Angeles, California
    March 11, 1998

    In between a week’s worth of matinee performances at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art’s Temporary Contemporary, Tony Conrad performed one night at Spaceland. With friend Alexandria Gelencser on bodyless cello, Tony tried to saw his violin in half and swayed around the stage with 35 years worth of cloudy, clear, cloud flotation experience behind him. Slow, slower, slowest. Continuous ebb and flow. Egg on. Loud, louder, loudest. With Alex’s steady drone supplying the foundation, Tony was really free to soar on this night, and that he did, despite the fact that the sound system occasionally cut out, which reduced the volume level somewhat for a few moments at a time. Silhouettes of the pair were thrown by a lamp onto a large, translucent sheet that completely hid the stage. Alex’s silhouette remained motionless, save for her right arm, which steadily sawed away as Tony slowly swirled in time to this timeless comforter of sound. After 45 minutes, Alex finally had to give up when her cello began to cut out really bad, and Tony followed suit a moment later. Thanks must go out to these two troopers for sticking it out as long as they did, and for flowing out some original, important and lively music.

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    Ghost at Spaceland

    September 14th, 2008

    Los Angeles, California
    Saturday, August 23, 1997

    Louder and friendlier than Casper, Tokyo’s Ghost delivered over an hour of awesome psychedelic folk rock on this night. Opening with a long, ambient, atmospheric piece, the hunger to rock was strong. The thirst was finally quenched as they exploded into the blistering “Rabirabi.” With a drummer, a bongo drummer who handled a full set of metal and wooden percussion, a vina and tambourine player, a bass player and two electric guitarists, Ghost blasted out way loud, rocked-out versions of the mostly acoustic-led beauty off their first three studio efforts. Of special note was the lead guitarist, whose ghostly slide abstractions and handfuls of shredding psych noodles elevated this apparition into high Earth orbit. Most excellent.

    Note: This article originally appeared in Lou Zine (Lou’s Records newsletter) in August 1997.

    Nels Cline at The Alligator Lounge

    September 14th, 2008

    Nels Cline at the Smell, circa early 2000s.
    Nels Cline at the Smell, circa early 2000s.

    Los Angeles, California
    Monday, July 28, 1997

    Nels Cline is a very tall, strangely talented man that hosts New Music Monday every week at The Alligator Lounge in Santa Monica. Treat Night, as I’ve never thought of calling it, features out-jazz, improv, and occasional all-out fests of what-the-hellness. After a few jazz combos plied their trade, the final lineup tonight contained Nels on guitar, Crib on droning electric bass, Mario Rubalcaba on drums, another guy also on drums, plus a DJ. One hour-long belch of deep space whine coalesced into a big mess of tribe-bum-electric-dark-curtain steam that finally let up a tad after midnight. Too bad the DJ was turned up way too loud in the mix, which practically nullified any hope of actually hearing noodleman Nels blast off from Cape Canaveral. Oh well, maybe next time some rockers in the audience will stone the DJ. Wait a minute. Stone him in what way?

    Note: This article originally appeared in Lou Zine (Lou’s Records newsletter) in July 1997.