Saturday, June 27, 2009

The beer is back in town.

Well, if it isn't the start of the month, and that could only mean...the calendar picture changes! And there's new beer to report on! These are rated on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being toilet water, and 5 being nectar of the gods. Take a look, and heed the call of artisan brewmasters by supporting independent and local beer.

MARGARITAVILLE BREWING CO. - Landshark Lager (Jacksonville, FL) - 3.0

This new favorite among Summer lager fans pours a frothy pale gold,
and tastes smooth, malty, and light on the (beer) gut, with a faintly
citrus hint. At the same time, it's crisp and thirst-quenching. I'd
hate to say it's better than a Corona, but it may be better than a

KOSTRITZER - Schwarzbier (Thuringia, Germany) - 3.5

Black (schwarz) beer is right. Huge head here, and looks like a stout
though it pours like a lager. Hmm. Sweet taste, hint of maybe some
maple syrup overtones. Not an overly challenging beer, but wholly
satisfying, and a terrific jumping-off point to the world of darker
beers. No problem here.

MENDOCINO BREWING - White Ale (Saratoga Springs, NY) - 3.0

Mmm. This cloudy, unfiltered Belgian-style spiced ale is
characteristically bold, rich, and complex. Hints of citrus,
coriander, and clove, and nicely zesty and strong, yet still
well-balanced. Mendocino's White Ale is not one to chug, but for a
sipper, this one's a treat. Forget the diets and try one of these.

ANHEUSER-BUSCH - Beach Bum Blonde Ale (St. Louis, MO) - 2.5

Another blonde this month, pouring a foamy gold with a decent flavor
balance, and a suggestion of maybe some sweet orange spice. Subsequent
sips brought out a more frou-frou kinda taste, which is not good. I'm
indifferent on this one, and I definitely wouldn't buy any more!

Wire on Late Show, 1987

I saw this way back when and had it on VHS tape. Always loved the oblivious, vacuous comments by Suzanne Somers, and the Wire boys' deadpan responses. Great forgotten TV history! Read and burn, indeed!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"Of Sound Mind" compilation cassette - FREE

As I recently noticed that this release has been in semi-demand through, so now seems a good time to make 'Of Sound Mind' available again, completely free to you, dear readers.

This is my very own compilation cassette, originally released in ultra-microscopic quantities via Godsend Productions & Magazine way back in 1993. If you like experimental and abstract noise and ambient sounds, this 90-minute collection of material from mostly fairly well-known international artists might be appealing. You can download it in 2 parts below. It got very positive reviews way back when from such mags as MUSIC FROM THE EMPTY QUARTER, E.S.T., AUDIO DRUDGE, and others. See what you think and please leave comments so I know you're out there! Did I mention you can download this for FREE with the links below? The artists were all personal friends back then, so it's all legit, too...

Here's the tracklist and bio:

OF SOUND MIND compilation tracklist
1. Psycollapse - torture lab
2. Merzbow/Arthur Potter - sub-urban
3. Amoeba - feedback study: steel
4. Amoeba - spectacle of false faces
5. Amoeba - elith
6. Beautiful People, Ltd (featuring Jarboe) - newborn child
7. PBK - totem
8. Stereotaxic Device - slash and burn
9. Illusion of Safety - inside
10. Psycollapse - burning up time
disc a
1. Robert Rich - birdsong for aleta
2. Robert Rich - circle
3. PBK - a dream
4. Konstruktivists - khos (live 1982)
5. Konstruktivists - kardboardia (live 1982)
6. Vidna Obmana - by abundant rain
7. Beautiful People, Ltd. (featuring Jarboe) - suicide song
8. Trance - the other side of silence
9. Trance - rain in hind
disc b

OF SOUND MIND compilation bios:

This was a loose "band" consisting of Todd Zachritz, Clint Davis, and Brian Zachritz. These tracks were both strictly improvised, and show the dark, more mysterious side of their work. Besides this type of stuff, they also dabbled in many other styles and genres, from hard dance to punk rock to ambient, reflecting an interest and enthusiasm for nearly every genre of music. The band has been inactive for some time, though a reunion is always possible. PSYCOLLAPSE has left behind a catalog of over 40 cassettes of unreleased material, some of which may be compiled in the future.
Godsend Productions
(c) 1992 Godsend Productions

"Sub-Urban" is a rare collaboration between two very respected figures in the international "post-industrial" noise scene--Japan's MERZBOW and New York's Arthur Potter. This track combines Masami Akita's brutal, grinding electronics/processing with Potter's spoken text/poetry. The result is nothing less than scalding.
MERZBOW has been responsible for an immense number of recordings internationally, while Arthur is primarily a visual designer who's done cover art/designs for numerous CONTROLLED BLEEDING releases as well as volumes 3, 4, and 5 of the seminal DRY LUNGS compilation series and an exclusive cover design for GODSEND's 18th issue.
He has also worked on music with longtime friend Paul Lemos of CONTROLLED BLEEDING fame.
(c) 1992 Merzbow/Potter

Hailing from Stanford, California, composer Robert Rich has released an impressive number of fine solo albums of his emotive, ambient soundscapes. He has also worked on collaborations with such atmospheric music luminaries as Steve Roach, Vidna Obmana, and Brian Lustmord. The 5 tracks selected for this compilation are unreleased outtakes pointing to a variety of directions and atmospheres.
His side project AMOEBA is an outlet for his more extreme sound experiments, as presented here. He has also since released several CDs of strange ambient pop under the AMOEBA moniker. The track "Feedback Study: Steel" is based on a "prototype instrument made from a sheet of steel". AMOEBA's "Spectacle of False Faces" dates way back to 1985--an early document of his future direction. "Elith" is an electronic improvisation.
His contributions as Robert Rich include "Birdsong For Aleta", a dance piece written for a solo performance by Aleta Hayes, and "Circle", which uses an instrument Rich built in 1985 called a mallet kalimba.
Robert Rich
(c)1992 Soundscape Productions

This was a "band" consisting of Jarboe and Lary Seven. Jarboe is best recognized for her collaborations with M. Gira as SWANS and THE WORLD OF SKIN, though her solo career has been fruitful and productive as well. These songs were another outlet for her creativity, and she released a full-length BPL CD and remix single on Belgium's Sub Rosa label (now available again on the Atavistic label). She has also released several excellent solo albums, and continues to collaborate with artists like Justin Broadrick (of Godflesh and Jesu), Neurosis, and a lengthy list of innovative modern artists from all over the world.
(c) 1991 Jarboe Music

PBK has become an important part of the international cassette and experimental scenes. His style of "sound painting" utilizes samples, loops, and synthetic sources to produce a very individual, intuitive type of sound. His many releases on labels such as RRR, Lunhare, and ND show a great range of directions, from the harsh noise of his early work to the near-ambience of recent releases. He has also collaborated with many other artists, including Jarboe, Vidna Obmana, Brian Ladd, Deaf Lions, M.Gira, and Chris & Cosey. PBK now works in a vaguely jazz-like context, though still quite electronic in nature, and certainly more experimental than that term may imply.
(c) 1991 PBK

On the electronic beat side of the musical spectrum was STEREOTAXIC DEVICE. Their music, which approached downright danceable at times, used varying atmospheric textures and sound collage to create a rich and layered brand of electronic music--both experimental and accessable at the same time. They released 2 full-length CDs and one single on Belgium's KK Records before disbanding around 1993. This track originally appeared as a CD-only bonus track on their "Lostland" CD single and in different form on their "100 Per Day Extinct" CD.
Recently, vocalist Daniel Williams was active in industrial-dance act THINKING MAN (on Metropolis Records) while keyboardist George Sarah has recorded electronic dance sounds with his project T.H.C. Sarah is now an established Hollywood score composer and has most notably worked on the cult TV series, 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', among others.
(c)1991 Stereotaxic Device/George Sarah, courtesy of KK Records

IOS are a revolving group centered around Dan Burke. They've released a large number of releases on labels such as Staalplaat, Tesco, RRR, as well as Dan's own Complacency Productions, and they have quickly become some of the most respected crafters of experimental sound. Their vast catalog of work includes everything from ambient fields of sound to crunching noise to the beat-driven textures of their legendary (and polarizing) "Inside Agitator" CD.
Illusion Of Safety
(c)1991 IOS/Complacency

This group has been making their own style of experimental music since the early 1980s. Never ones to be predictable, the group have gone from the noise of their early Third Mind LPs to the more recent neo-techno of their "Tic-Tac-Toe" and "Forbidden" CDs. Core members of KONSTRUKTIVISTS have performed with such "industrial" legends as CHRIS & COSEY and WHITEHOUSE. These 2 live tracks are archival examples of their early psycho-tronic work and date all the way back to 1982.
(c)1992 NKVD/Ouragouras Music, Inc.

Belgian composer Dirk Serries has been one of the finest ambient artists in recent times. His soundwork is serene and immaculately constructed, reflecting an atmosphere of delicate, unfolding beauty. His experimentation with nontraditional sound sources has led to some likewise interesting collaborations with other artists including PBK, Marc Verhaeghen (of the KLINIK), Steve Roach, and Sam Rosenthal (of Projekt/BLACK TAPE FOR A BLUE GIRL), among others. Serries also collaborates with others in the more guitar-drone-oriented Fear Falls Burning.
(c)1991 Vidna Obmana

Mason Jones, the man behind the avante/noise group TRANCE, quickly made a name for himself in international experimental music circles, both through his soundwork, and through his label. Charnel Music (which released a stream of fine CDs by such artists as CRASH WORSHIP ADRV, ZENI GEVA, GRAVITAR, and K.K. NULL, among others).
TRANCE, which was chiefly a solo venture, released several CDs and cassettes that range from grinding guitar melee to neo-tribal percussiveness to the solemn, classically-influenced work on his "Augury" CD. Mason is also active with psychedelic rock band SUBARACHNOID SPACE and continues to collaborate with a number of legendary experimental musicians from around the world.
These 2 tracks showcase some of his more percussive music,and show the diversity and subtlety TRANCE is capable of.
Charnel House
(c)1993 Charnel Music

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Aguirre, Der Zorn Gottes (Aguirre, The Wrath Of God)" (director: Werner Herzog)

This legendary 1972 film from Herzog again stars the late Klaus Kinski, and it's a riveting and intense journey with similar themes to Herzog's other works (like the equally memorable "Fitzcarraldo"). The tale follows Spanish conquistadors in their travels through South America in search of El Dorado's mythical gold. Along their path, the small group of travelers and warriors (and their Indian slaves) encounter unfriendly natives, unforgiving terrain, and the might and awe of the Amazon River herself. Suffice to say, they never quite make it to their destination, with greed, infighting, and folly getting the best of the crew. Kinski's role as the delusional and power-mad Aguirre is perfect, bordering on utter madness and with a touch of menace. At the same time, his fellow conquistadors do little to evoke any sense of empathy for their gluttonous and selfish ways, either. It's a study in the perseverance and ultimate doggedness that mankind faces against the fury of nature. Shot on location, the scenery is virtually unspoiled, with primeval rainforests and wildlife the only background. Herzog's camerawork is respectful and majestic, surveying the vast expanses of untamed South America in a drifty, dreamlike state. Here, man is the outsider, and he has no respite from the elements. Pace-wise, "Aguirre" may seem a tad slow-moving to some modern film-goers, but Herzog's films aren't about action or thrills, but moreso character studies, set in incredibly remote locations. A masterful film, well worthy of the accolades it's received over the decades.