Matt Valentine's "April 2010 No Floor Tour" diary

From Volcanic Tongue:

Matthew Valentine’s Child Of Microtones imprint was one of the first labels to fully explode the CD-R format, combining deluxe packaging with exploratory psychedelia and extended rural glam. He was the brains and the conceptual clout behind Brattleboro’s legendary Free Folk Fest in 2003, an event that was pretty much ground zero for the contemporary underground and that gathered alla the emergent tribes in the same spot for the first time. But really MV has been a key player since back in the day, with Tower Recordings being a central component of Siltbreeze’s first wave while his editorial duties on the sadly-defunct Cock Displacement buzzed a whole bunch of brains. But it’s his work with partner Erika Elder that has best brought together his various obsessions, minting a recording process known as Spectrasound that exposes the most sidereal aspects of the jam while fusing Dead/Allman Brothers-style improvisations with free jazz, raga, folk and blues in order to mint a visionary take on underground modes. MV is free folk. He’s also a wordsmith par excellence, an inspired writer (check out his first novel, Small As Life & Infinitesimally As Pure) and filmmaker (The Temptation To Zoology) and an active proponent of the up country good life. We’re lucky to have him. Here he’s reminiscing about the April 2010 No Floor Tour in anticipation of his headlining shot at VT’s Subcurrent 2010 fest. Look out for the winner of the top ten middens….

Read on at Volcanic Tongue

Plus, here’s VT on the latest MV & EE releases, which VT is vending here:

MV & EE
Not Only Wine But It’s Oblivion I Pour
Heroine No Cat
CD-R
£6.99
”Duo set from Matthew Valentine and Erika Elder from the European leg of their UK/Europe tour back in February 2010 recorded at Viseu, Portugal. A set which connects strongly back to the aesthetic of the American singer/songwriters of the Troubador and coffee shops in the mid-60s with more of a focus on song, melody and vocals. The guitars are more stripped back and cleaner on this one with the vocals much higher in the mix. Only the mid-set raga induced meanderings of “Environments” breaks rank from the other numbers. A set which runs “Satisfied”, “Anthem of the Cocola Y&T”, Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street, a jam of “Environments” into “Cold Rain” and closing with the ‘hit the road’ anthem of “Feelin’ Fine”. A great set for those who prefer their MV&EE up close and personal. Appropriate locational cover with a blurred snap of the Sé de Viseu. Recommended.” – Andrew Ross.

MV & EE w/Willie Lane
Blazed Corndog, ‘Ham Bone (Turn The Heat Up!)
Heroine No Cat
CD-R
£6.99
”I love this particular incarnation of the MV&EE family with the trio of Matthew Valentine, Erika Elder and Willie Lane. Set from the same series of shows that gave us the previously released “Ready for another house” from May 2009. A very similar set which runs “Hungry Stones”, “I Got Caves in there” into “Cold Rain” and closing with “Weatherhead Hollow” into “Environments”. Overall, this demonstrates the beautiful art of guitar weaving between all three players, with guitar runs and melodies getting interlocked into one taking the listener on a totally unique magical experience. I particularly like the version of “I Got Caves In There” with the more song based version replaced by a version where guitar weaving around the song’s melody takes centre stage. The sets opus is the 20 minute spectrasound workout of “Weatherhead Hollow” and “Environments”. Great sonic transmissions on this one. Highly recommended.” – Andrew Ross.

MV & EE w/Mick Flower
(Bad) Blood On The Doozer’s Guitar
Heroine No Cat
CD-R
£6.99
”Set by Matthew Valentine and Erika Elder from the recent UK tour in February 2010 recorded at Manchester’s Islington Mill. Whilst this was primarily a duo tour the highlight here is the addition of Mick Flower on bass for the whole set (tour support act the Doozer also provides harmonica on a couple of tracks). Mick’s playing adds a whole new dimension to the songs, be it a melodic run of notes over the chords in “Cold Rain” and “Summer Magic” or thumping out a solid repetitive bass riff throughout “Get Right Church” or “Canned Happiness” for 10 minutes without missing a beat. I also really liked the version of “Environments” on this tour with sitar-sounding meanderings at the beginning to the waves of raag induced crescendos at the close. This was one of the highlight shows of this tour with a set which runs “Cold Rain”, “Get right church”, “Summer magic” and a jam which goes “Environments” into “Canned Happiness” back into “Environments” and into the closing “Easy Livin'”. A great set with a very similar feel and personnel as the recently released Electric Wharf (Coventrian) set that was recorded the following night. Highly recommended.” – Andrew Ross.

MV & EE w/Rongoose and Mo’ Low
Toasted Clam
Heroine No Cat
CD-R
£6.99
”Simply stunning set from the quartet performance of Matthew Valentine and Erika Elder augmented by Ron Mongoose and John Moloney. This is the 2nd set recorded at the Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, NY on 16 Oct 2009 following on from the 1st set which was captured on previous Heroine release “Free Folk Paintball”. This excellently captures the ability of the artists to alter from a stripped back duo performance to a full on Golden Road augmented freakout. This is a heavily psychedelic set with a feel and guitar sound straight from the West Coast dance halls of the late 60s alla Quicksilver Messenger Service. The sets starts with the rarely played “Anyway”, opening track from the excellent Drone Trailer album. The Neil Young-esque guitar chops staying true to the album version for the first minute or so. That’s where the comparisons end. The whole set then descends into elongated jams with guitars heavily laden with echo, delay and tremolo. Single guitar notes and chords being drawn out and held for an age, to the point where it sounds like the whole thing is going to stop and implode on itself, only just being held together and moved forward by a single hit of John Moloney’s hi-hat. The overall result being an utterly captivating and submerging experience with the listener almost being peeled off from one chord to the next carried on a flutter of notes akin to John Cippolina’s earlier work. The type of jams you could lose yourself in and not return for a week. The whole set continues like this. Next up is “Hammer” with previous heavy versions being replaced by an almost funeral march approach where chords are slowly plucked out adding to this song’s feeling of unrequited affection. The final descent is into the slow, heavy blues lament of “Tea Devil” laden in psychedelics with only the closing “Get Right Church” offering some lighter relief. A phenomenal set which leaves the listener exhausted and somewhere else. This is why every Heroine release must be heard, with a different incarnation of the songs every time, always chasing that elusive trip. Set the sonics to stun. Hilarious cover shot. Highest possible recommendation.” – Andrew Ross.

MV & EE with The Golden Road
No Floor Tour April 2010
Blackest Rainbow Recordings No Cat
8xCassette Box Set
£36.99
Beautifully assembled eight cassette box set in the mode of the earlier Road Trips box with live recordings from the April 2010 No Floor Tour featuring Matthew Valentine, Erika Elder, Mick Flower, John Moloney and Zuma with guest spots from J.Mascis and Doc Dunn. In moulded plastic case with a full-colour booklet featuring liners and pics. Jams from Grey Matter Book, Hadley MA 4/9/09, Silent Barn, Ridgewood NY 4/10/10, Fairfield Chapel, Oberlin OH 4/11/10, PJ’s Lager House, Detroit MI 4/12/10, The Boat, Toronto ON 4/13/10, La Sala Rossa, Montreal QC 4/14/10, Spring Street Gallery, Saratoga Springs NY 4/15/2010, Nom D’Artiste Loft, Boston MA 4/16/10. Here’s Andrew’s review of the Montreal set to get you salivating: “Another stunning set, this time from the quintet of Matthew Valentine and Erika Elders with Golden Road cohorts in tow of Mick Flower, Doc Dunn and John Moloney recorded in Montreal, Canada as part of the ‘No floor tour’ in April 2010. This is simply blues rock jams at their finest and less psychedelic in places than some previous Golden Road shows. The playing is completely capable of rivaling the marathon blues infused rock workouts of the Allman Brothers Band or Led Zeppelin at their peak with a big dose of Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ thrown in. Throughout the set John Moloney lays down a simple 4/4 rock beat but with the same type of swing, feel and control afforded by Buddy Miles to Hendrix’s Band of Gyspys. The result being a set which charges along but with a real sense of groove layered over the top with blues wailing guitar and mouth harp. The set starts with a slow psychedelic workout around “Satisfied” but keeping the blues theme before charging into a set which runs “Get Right Church”, “Canned Happiness” and a closing jam of “Environments” into “Feelin’ Fine”. There are many highlights to choose but clocking in at over 14 minutes this is the finest version of “Get Right Church” I have heard, a relentless blues jam which obliterates the recent studio version on Barn Nova. As a grown adult I find myself listening to this with the same giant grin I first encountered at the age of 13 when I was handed a copy of AC/DC’s High Voltage or Canned Heat’s Fried Hockey Boogie and thinking – can rock music be this much fun? So if your musical tastes allow you enjoy the rock of AC/DC at the same time as the musicianship of Jandek then you have got to hear this! Highest possible recommendation.” – Andrew Ross. Edition of only 150 copies.

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