BULL TONGUE "TOP TEN #3" by Byron Coley & Thurston Moore

TONGUE TOP TEN #3 – April 27, 2009


1. Easily the best-looking LP we’ve had the pleasure of grappling lately is Light by Reiko and Tori Kudo, issued by Siwa. Reiko and Tori are best known for their work with Maher Shalal Hash Baz, but this stuff is even more casual, diffuse and haunting. Mostly just piano and female voice, the sound has an elegance and mystery that makes our veins wiggle. It’s like some sort of otherworldly cabaret, beamed in from Planet X. And while the music is available now as a CD, the LP version is just incredible—a wooden box, with nine separate compartments, each containing a printed booklet with lyrics. Quite unbelievable, even for Siwa, which has long set a tough-to-match standard for packaging. Hats off to the label’s Alan Sherry and all who sail with him.



2. Just got a couple of fine new books by the great Cleveland poet, Bree. The bigger of the two (although printed in a wee small format) is was chicken trax amidst sparrows tread (The Temple Inc). This one collects a bunch of Bree’s fantastic prole poesy and uses it to sorta set the scene for a long prose piece about asshole blood. Amazing stuff. There’s also if i cld a body slam on her own imprint, Green Panda Press. This one’s a slim, folded sheet with six “peace poems” (one of which is purely visual). What makes them “peace poems,” we can only guess, but they’re boss and loud, which seems like a good thing. It should be noted that Bree is also hosting the Tres Versing the Pandapoetry festival in Cleveland on May 8-10, this year, which should be an excellent place to be.


Willie Lane

3. Great new guitar record out by William “Willie” Lane, called Known Quantity (Cord Art). Willie lived up here in Western Mass. for a good long while and was involved in lots of weird musical shit. Not much of it got proper documentation, however, although Child of Microtones did issue a fine CDR, Recliner Ragas , a few years back. Anyway, Willie moved down to Philadelphia a couple of years ago, and we get a chance to hear him now and then when we’re down there, or he chooses to hit the road with one of the MV & EE traveling carnivals. But his solo work has always been amazing and rare. Well, not so rare this week. There’s this new LP, and it was recorded throughout 2006-2008, and is a total blast. Willie’s mostly solo (save for some licks by Samara Lubelski) and his playing ranges from Wizz Jones power-pluck at its cleanest to Michael Chapman electro-smear at its phasingest. But Willie knows his stuff cold and this instrumental slide through the gates of Neverland is one of this year’s great rides.


Duplex Planet editor David Greenberger and poet Ernest Noyes Brookings at Dunkin Donuts, Jamaica Plain, MA. Summer 1985 photo by Stephen Elston

4. First new issue in a long time of David Greenberger’s vastly entertaining magazine, Duplex Planet. Issue 184 doesn’t revolve around a central theme, but details various conversations David had with the residents at senior centers in East L.A. My favorite is the one with a woman who claims to be the 23rd of 24 children in her family, and also to be a great-great-grandmother. There’s no earthly way to know if she’s full of shit or not, but it’s nice to read her thoughts. Greenberger has a gentle way of probing the memories of these folks that is funny, sad and surprising—sometimes simultaneously. His work is always cool. The same is true of his sometimes collaborator, longtime pal, Terry Adams . Adams, a founding member of NRBQ as well as a legendary Sun Ra collector, has a new CD called Holy Tweet (Clang!).


Primarily recorded as a trio date with Tom Ardolino and Scott Ligon, the vibe is like a stripped down version of the Q Mothership—rolling bones of uniquely shaped, instantly recognizable goodtime roots pop whatsis that transcend boundaries of “mereness” by a mysterious propulsive force. The stuff is always just off-base enough to keep our interest thoroughly poked (especially as the first zephyrs of spring beckon us to the hill towns beyond). Sometimes it’s enough to just enjoy.

Mats Gustafsson

5. Mats Gustafsson has ten of the busiest fingers in all of Sweden. And yes, his primary focus is record collecting. But he does a few other things and he does them well. Three recent albums attest to this (lord knows how many record he has released since we last met) and they also map a width of style-ass as impressive as it is bounteous. First is The Vilnius Implosion (No Business), which is a solo work for baritone saxophone, slide saxophone and alto fluteophone. What the latter of these two instruments look like is best left unmentioned, but the sounds are swimming! The music (recorded in concert in Lithuania) is explosively sculptural—three-dimensional blocks of sound bursting through sheets of reality as though it was all a crepe paper curtain. That’s the first side, the flip has longer, grouchier masses of tongue flex, approaching jazzic concepts at times. Lovely! Then we have Mats G Plays Duke E (QBICO), a one-sided LP with Mats playing nearly-straight versions of several Ellington tunes on tenor, enlivened by primitive vocls and raw, live electronics. Parts are sweet enough to play for yr grandma, others will just make her ass bleed. The final piece is a split LP with Dutch pianist Cor Fulher on Narrominded. Fulher uses some extended techniques to take his piano sounds into vast regions of new, and Gustafsson is equally adept at squeezing sounds from his sax that are beyond the ken of most of his peers. Using rolling sequences of tongue-clacks, overblowing, breath-splatter, he ends up doing things, making sounds, that seem impossible. But Mats is more than up to the task. Amazing shit.

6. Hisham Mayet is one of the geniuses behind the Sublime Frequencies project, which is attempting to document many strands of ecstatic global culture before they are bulldozed into oblivion by Western hegemony. His efforts have been prolific and inspired, and his latest DVD, Palace of the Winds, is no exception. It combines snippets of performance footage with long shots of Saharan landscape in motion, and various other shots of the sun-smacked towns and people of the region.

Less tripped out than some of his other films, this one is carried along by the amazing guitar music of Group Doueh, Group Marwani and others. As beautiful as any foot.

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May 9: Chhandayan's 10th Annual All-Night Concert of Indian Classical Music in NYC

Highlights from Chhandayan’s 9th Annual All-Night Concert of Indian Classical Music

One of the many wonderful things about getting a bit deeper into Indian Classical music is learning about the way ragas work better when they’re played at specific times of the day and night. E.g. When things get hectic after lunch here on Arthur’s Atwater Campus, we’ve learned to put Nikhil Banerjee’s Afternoon Ragas – Rotterdam 1970 on blast so we can keep things in focus.

So when there’s an epic Indian Classical jam like Chhandayan’s 10th Annual All-Night Concert of Indian Classical Music going down in New York City, you know it’s gonna be awesome ’cause this is how these nocturnal ragas are meant to be experienced: All through the night and into the woozy early hours of the AM. It’ll be just like sweating through the wee hours to the oonce-oonce-oonce except instead of extended trance breakdowns and all the hands in the air there’ll just be a collective sense of silent elation as Utpal Dutta “goes for it” with a wild 4am tabla solo. Plus you’ll probably feel a lot less shit come dawn. Please note: Sleeping bags and mattresses are prohibited.

Ready to get pumped? WFMU is previewing the show this Saturday, May 2 from 6-9pm on Rob Weisberg’s Transpacific Sound Paradise. For more Indian ragas we’d also like to direct your attention to the outstanding archives of now-silent audioblog The Magic of Juju. Likewise, the Pandit Pran Nath album that Babcock hipped us to back in early March is still available for download over at Big States.

What: Chhandayan’s 10th Annual All-Night Concert of Indian Classical Music
How much: Tickets range from $25-$100
When: May 9th 7pm – May 10th 6am
Where: The New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 W 64th Street, New York, NY 10023
More info: http://www.tabla.org/

Today's Autonomedia Jubilee Saint — FELIX GUATTARI

April 30 — Félix Guattari
Innovative anti-theorist of Capitalism and Schizophrenia.

*Beltane Eve.
*Walpurgisnacht. Witches, warlocks and demons hold revels in Harz Mountains. Whole towns rush into streets, making as much noise as possible. Church bells ring, bonfires are lit. In British Isles, a scapegoat is chosen by lots and burned; hobby horse parades are held, chasing evil away until Midsummer’s Night.

1771 — American utopianist leader Hosea Ballou born, Richmond, New Hampshire.
1803 — Louisiana Purchase negotiated with France at four cents per acre.
1844 — Thoreau accidentally burns 300 acres of forest near Concord, Mass.
1930 — Radical anti-psychiatrist, anti-capitalist Félix Guattari born, Paris, France.
1945 — Nazi Fuhrer Adolf Hitler most probably commits suicide, Berlin, Germany.
1975 — Saigon falls to Communist forces, ending long American war in Vietnam.

Excerpted from The 2009 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints: Radical Heroes for the New Millennium by James Koehnline and the Autonomedia Collective

Today's Autonomedia Jubilee Saint — MAYA DEREN

April 29 — Maya Deren
Visionary filmmaker, convert to Haitian voudoun.

*Feast of the Secret Masters.

1894 — Jacob Coxey’s protest Army of the Poor reaches Washington, D.C.
1917 — Visionary filmmaker, ethnologist Maya Deren born, Kiev, Ukraine.
1945 — Italian partisans turn Ezra Pound, traitor, over to American army.
1951 — Viennese philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein dies, Cambridge, England.
1980 — Suspense film director Alfred Hitchcock dies, Los Angeles, California

Excerpted from The 2009 Autonomedia Calendar of Jubilee Saints: Radical Heroes for the New Millennium by James Koehnline and the Autonomedia Collective

May 28: Dublab Presents All-Night Ambient Music Happening in Big Sur (CA)

Dublab has done it again! California’s favorite non-profit radio collective has been bringing choice, culturally responsible programming to the Los Angeleno airwaves for around ten years now, but its mission to foster “the growth of positive music, arts, and culture” takes place both on the air and off. Among the many live events on the Dublab calendar this Spring, the TONALISM mini-fest in Big Sur on May 28th is bound to knock your socks off– or at least lull you into a smiley, sound-drunk dream-state.

A description of TONALISM from the Dublab family:

Inspired by La Monte Young’s “Dream House” as well as the work of musicians and composers such as Terry Riley, Yoko Ono and John Cage, Tonalism combines harmonious textures with visual elements to create an atmosphere where the audience is encouraged to bring pillows, cushions and sleeping bags to lay down, listen and watch for an extended period of time. DJs, live musicians and VJs play and perform throughout the night; starting at sunset and ending at sunrise. Complimentary tea and water are provided to all who attend.

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Blaster Al Ackerman & the Hellishness of High School and/or Throbbing Gristle

You are the entity.

You are the entity.

This world is full of folks (like me) who are too scared to be dumb or gross or fun, no matter how smart they are. On the other hand, blessings on the head of Blaster Al Ackerman, a writer, painter and correspondence artist who has produced a massive body of work, much of it untrackable due to his pervasive use of pseudonyms (and, for that matter, anonyms) one of which you, Arthur reader, will find in your own home in the form of the song “Hamburger Lady,” the best song by the rock band Throbbing Gristle. I’ll save the long story of Mail Art that brought about this happenstance for another day, though.

What’s important to know for now is that Ackerman has been producing a lot of text and image huzz for the private consumption of a handful of huzz-hufferers, and its taken form of a handful of side-splitting books (The Blaster Omnibus, Let Me Eat Massive Pieces of Clay, I Taught my Dog to Shoot a Gun and, most recently, Corn and Smoke among them), earning him a place in some circles as the contemporary equivalent of Poe. If you have not previously encountered his writing or drawings, we highly recommend that in advance of the short interview that follows you familiarize yourself with his work, at the least, with his recent text at the Lamination Colony site, “Eel Leonard’s Class Prophecy” and/or the free downloads of his spoken-word LP masterpiece I Am Drunk.

Also, in advance of the exchange that follows, it is worth knowing that as a young person in Texas the 50s, Ackerman became absorbed by the world of pulp fiction and attempted to become a writer, although during the pulps’ waning years he only got published in romance magazines. He did, however, strike up a correspondence with science fiction writer Frederic Brown. In the 60s, he worked as a children’s TV show writer and in a carnival before going to Vietnam as a Medivac and then working in burn wards in U.S. hospitals. In the early 70s, he got heavily involved with Mail Art, ultimately centering around David Zack and Istvan Kantor with whom he co-generated the Neoist banner of 80s pranks, plagiarism, art and multiple identity. Through the 80s and 90s, he published frequently in magazines like The Lost and Found Times (edited by frequent collaborator John M. Bennett) and the Shattered Wig Review (edited by Rupert Wondolowski)

Q: I know you were a fan of the rhythm and blues singers of the 50s as a young person in Texas. Could you tell us a little about those concerts and how they might have shaped you?
Ackerman: The first R&B concert I ever attended was probably the greatest. It took place at the Municipal Auditorium in downtown San Antonio, Texas. This was in the very early 50s and admission was only $4 or $5! A true bargain, especially when you consider who all was on the bill. An unbelievable line-up consisting of Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Frankie Lyman, Little Richard and “Mr. Please Please Please Himself” James Brown. Big Joe Turner (the Boss of the Blues) was the headliner, which seem strange today, especially considering the talent on hand but back in the early 50s Joe Turner was the most prominent name.
San Antonio was a heavy pachuco town so audience participation ran high with many seat cushions slashed; there was also wholesale bopping and vicious horseplay on the railing of the balcony upstairs and frequent injuries from falls.
Through it all, I might add, speculation ran rife over the burning question: “Is Frankie Lymon a hermaphrodite?!” (In rock circles in the early 50s this was one of two questions which engaged the brains of all true R&B fans; the other being “Is Brenda Lee a midget?”)
Anyway, I would have to say that in my experience the only other R&B shows that ever came close happened a few years later at the “Dars” Miller in Austin, Texas, when Bo Diddley and Bobby Blue Bland appeared, the crowd became so worked up that they locked the security guards in a closet, took their guns away and fired them off into the air while Bo stayed on stage and got down with “I’m a Man.” Too much.

Q: What’s the best job in the carnival, job-gratification-wise?
Ackerman: Running the Duck Pond Ride and sleeping down by the river in your duck mask, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Q: Once a person finds his way into an artform, he or she begins, over time, to recognize the mistakes or foolishness of those who preceeded him or her in that form. I wonder, once you’d gotten into mail art, in which ways did you think that Ray Johnson had slipped, a little or a lot?
Ackerman: This is a hard one, especially when you realize how I idolized Ray. And so while it’s true that Ray fell victim on occassion to a certain loquaciousness, especially in the later years, I prefer to remember when he was right on target such as the time when Art Forum was asking for an important statement and Ray came out with, “Every time I walk down the street, the little birdies go tweet-tweet-tweet.”
Really, though, in Mail Art, the real “slappage” comes when you’re on tour and you stop by somebody’s keen little house in Tulsa or Louisville and you’ve been slugging the vodka in the backseat for 3 or 400 miles so that you find upon getting into their guest room that you’re overflowing the bowl and ruining an expensive carpet and priceless antiques. What then?

Q: In Frederick Brown’s story “Come and Go Mad,” there’s long repetition of the colors, “the red and the black,” and it’s left open to interpretation, to say the least. Any thoughts on that passage?
Ackerman: I would guess that Fred was figuring that the name Stehndhal would pop into your mind, comme pour troutes les simmiennes?

Q: What’s your favorite L. Ron Hubbard story about?
Ackerman: Just about anything–uh, just about anything L. Ron wrote before WWII is worth your attention. My own big favorite is “Fear,” a classic from a classic 1940 issue of Street & Smith’s Unknown magazine. “Fear” is available in paperback today so I would greatly urge every literate person to check it out and if you happen to be illiterate, why get a friend to read it to you. You’ll be glad you did.

Q: (Bonus Question) Fill in the blanks: Answering these questions gives me a feeling of both ____ and _____.
Ackerman: To paraphrase John Berndt when he was shimmying across the plains of India, “Answering these questions gives me a feeling of both Spanish Fly and Salt Peter.”