Friday, Sept. 19, 2007
... noon - 3:00 p.m. ...
KZSU, 90.1 FM
KZSU's Day of Difficulty, a 24-hour precursor to the
24-hour Day of Noise. The latter focuses on live performances and
is an old KZSU tradition, being revived this year by DJ Smurph.
Soy Ricardo, another DJ, came up with the Day of Difficulty idea, where
we DJs would spin experimental music for 24 hours as a Day of Noise preface.
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.
Pat Metheny -- "Part One" -- Zero Tolerance for Silence (Geffen, 1994)
Prof. C. Northcote Parkinson -- "Some Negative Aspects of the Administrative Process" -- Contemporary English Literature (Folkways, 1962)
Aaaand, they're off! A guitar blast to start the Day of Difficulty/Day
of Noise, from an unlikely source. The album features five tracks, but I
consider Part One to be "Zero Tolerance for Silence," with the other,
shorter, less ambitious tracks acting as B-sides. One long blare with as many
as four overdubbed guitars; it sounds like Metheny improvised the first track,
then played it back to "follow along" as he overdubbed the others. It opens
with just a flailing blur of guitar, fast-strummed with angry abandon. The
piece opens up for "solo" spaces, where each guitar moves into single-note
mode, but keeps coming back to that forceful blur of noise.
Metheny claims an affinity for this sort of music but doesn't actually listen
to it. He wasn't aware of who Derek Bailey was, for instance, when they
recorded The Sign of Four.
I wanted to overlap tracks several times during the show, creating even more
of a "noise" ethic out of noisy sounds. For this one, the staid, academic
words of Parkinson made a nice non-sequitur blend. It's from an LP that
consists mostly of readings from British writers Laurie Lee and Christopher
Logue -- neither of whom I've heard of.
Derek Bailey -- "Let's Hope We're All in the Right Place" [excerpt] -- Lace (Emanem, 1996; recorded 1989)
See the comment above; I figured it would be respectful of the
noise/improv genre to play one of the true masters to follow up Metheny's
well-meaning but relatively childish exploit. Don't get me wrong; I
love Zero Tolerance, but it's not coming from the same place as
Derek's stuff. Moreover, this track is solo acoustic guitar, so it's a
more "pure" distillation of Derek Bailey. Vintage.
Thomas DiMuzio -- "Sallow" -- Headlock (ReR/Cuneiform, 1998)
Jon Rose -- "The Orchestra of Ancient GU1" -- The Virtual Violin (Megaphone, 1990)
Sublime, ghostly electronics from DiMuzio, topped by the more skittish
violin soloing style of Rose. The Rose track is particularly fun because he
triggers samples by increasing the bow pressure. It ended up adding a
rustling undercurrent to DiMuzio's piece; it's a mixing that worked rather
Nathan Hubbard -- "Song Cycle" -- Compositions 1998-2005 (Circumvention, 2006)
Previously noted here.
This is a piece for solo vocalist, and its sparseness made for a nice
segue after fading out DiMuzio. The singer -- mezzo-soprano Molly Wilmot --
goes through a series of vocal and mouth sounds, hitting several possibilities
including whistling, clicking, words ("I hate you!"), growls, whines, actual
singing, and, yeah, a small orgasm. Hubbard adds some vibraphone chimes to an
actual operatic melody that appears late in the piece. It's a fun piece that
fits very well with the "Day of Noise" aesthetic.
Evan Parker -- "Line 1" [excerpt] -- Lines Burnt in Light (Psi, 2001)
An album of long solos for soprano saxophone, featuring plenty
of Parker's trademark circular breathing, producing continual high flutters.
Very tempting to compare this to the monochrome slate of Zero
Tolerance, above, but there's more texture and subtlety here.
It's quieter and "organic," as you'd expect from a solo sax
Matt Davignon -- "Lying in Grass, Gazing Upwards at 11:30 p.m." -- Softwetfish (Edgetone, 2006)
Previously noted here. A
placid quietness to follow up Parker's fast flurries.
? Kyle Bruckman -- [untitled Track 1] -- Entymology (Barely Auditable, 2000)
Solo oboe recordings, with lots of squeaks, whines, and air through
the horn. It adds up to a sparse effect, due to the number of whispery
sounds Bruckmann produces. Very interesting CD from a guy who's now
local to us, yay.
-- 1:00 p.m. --
Doug Carroll -- "Cataclysm" -- V/A: Live at KZSU 1998 (Outer A, 1998)
The Haters -- "Predetermined by Accident 12" -- Cultivating Calamity (Vinyl Communications, 1997)
Solo cello with a ton of electronic processing, creating big, slow
sounds not unlike freight-ship horns. From a compilation CD of
performances recorded live in our studios. I thought I was being
clever by remembering this track; turns out Smurph remembered it, too,
and played it later. Oh well, it's a deserving track, anyway.
Moe! Staiano's Moe!kestra --
"Piece No. 7, part 3" --
An Inescapable Siren Within Earshot Distance Therein And Other Whereabouts (Amanita/Rastascan, 2006)
Brainchild of GX
Jupitter-Larson, The Haters are a noise group that works with
amplified sound. For instance, the one time I saw them, they did
things like put contact microphones on sheets of paper -- then destroyed
the paper bit by bit, using hole punchers. Nice and noisy (but visually
unsuccessful -- after about two minutes, you basically had two people
standing there leaning over these pieces of paper... it got old fast).
This piece takes the form of a formless electronic rumble.
! The Magnetic Fields -- "Experimental Music Love" -- 69 Love Songs (Merge, 1999)
Can you just hear me chuckling to myself in the studio? 69
Love Songs was Stephin Merritt's tour de force, and what made it
great wasn't just the lyrical cleverness -- that's available on
every Merritt project -- but the swath of song varieties he packed
into there. He's got a punk song, a reggae song, baroque,
country, a "generic" World song, improv jazz -- and this, the
Phillip Glass/Robert Wilson-styled "experimental" one. It consists
of the words "Experimental Music Love" overdubbed multiple times
with a 0.1-second delay each time, creating a shimmering interference
? Douglas Quin -- "Canada Glacier" [excerpt] -- Antarctica (Miramar, 1998)
The actual sounds of a glacier: Small, deep cracking noises, and
a gentle clicking that resembles carefully held billard balls quietly tapped
together. From a CD of field recordings from Antarctica, with sound
sources including seals and penguins (both on ground and underwater).
There's also a twanging sound, almost metallic, that comes up later;
I'm assuming that occurred naturally, but I don't know what it is.
Wind through a glacial crevasse, maybe?
At this point, I started using the test-tones LP as my soundbed
between sets. It's noted at the end of the set.
Splatter Trio -- "Ace Dag Bee and Counting" -- Hi-Fi Junk Note (Rastascan, 1995)
* = Item in KZSU rotation
! = Pop anomaly
? = Item not in KZSU library
-- Go back to Memory Select playlists.
-- Bay Area free/improv music calendar: http://www.bayimproviser.com.