Slow circuit burnage from guitarist Ken Camden’s rather excellent debut Lethargy and Repercussion, out now on LP and digital via Kranky of Chicago. More info and ordering here.
Re “Worm Moon”: According to folklore, tonight’s full Moon has a special name—the Worm Moon. It signals the coming of northern spring, a thawing of the soil, and the first stirrings of earthworms in long-dormant gardens. Step outside tonight and behold the wakening landscape. “Worm moonlight” is prettier than it sounds. (spaceweather.com)
(Above: This episode’s collage — double-click to view fullscreen + scroll)
For Transmission #10 of Arthur Radio, we started by visualizing ourselves in a black void, lost in time somewhere between the 1970s and today. Using LED-powered building blocks, we constructed a musical pathway in order to make sense of our surroundings. Brick by colorful brick, we bridged the gap between the oily rainbow pools of German psychedelic krautrock jazziness all the way to the shimmering mists of other-worldly electronic noise being produced by the likes of contemporaries Jonas Reinhardt, Arp, Stellar Om Source, and our very special time-traveling guests, Blondes.
Standing on the other side of the bridge in the murky “now,” we found that transversing between the two realms was easier than we thought. In fact, it seemed that they were always connected by an invisible passage, for the electronic explorers of today were born of very same primordial space sludge that spawned krautrock pioneers Dorothea Raukes, Jean Michel Jarre, Manuel Göttsching and friends, some 40 years ago.
The following description was taken from the back of “The LYTE,” one of the very first audiovisualizers of its kind made in the 1980s. Its sentiment echoes how listening to Transmission #10 makes us feel, and we recommend that you meditate on it for a second before you take that irrevocable plunge, hit “play,” and start time-traveling on your own:
The written word cannot fully describe what the eye and ear can perceive. Tone by tone you see an exact, shimmering definition in light of what you hear. Exotic patterns are born, grow, contract and change shape through an infinity of dazzling complexity; each momentary image a precise electronic expression of the sound you hear…
This C & D session was originally published in Arthur No. 31 (September 2008)…
C & D Two confirmed schmucks grapple with the big issues.
C: Our work continues. D: Or at least our drinking does. Ahahaha. C: [frowns George Will-style] Let the record show that whatever we say from this point forward about any of these records that the Arthur staff have so carefully assembled will invariably be colored by what we’ve just been listening to: Born to Be with You by Dion, 1975, produced by Phil Spector, downloaded off the Heat Warps blog. We are basking in its rather substantial afterglow. D: A stone gem beaut of an album…which, by the way, has never been released in America! What is wrong with you people? C: Have some pity on a country in decline. And you full well know it’s (apparently) Mr. Spector himself that kept the record from ever being released here. But keeping to the point: the readers should know that not only did we just listen to it, we just listened to it three times in a row. We are smitten by this version of “(He’s Got) The Whole World In His Hands,” which just sorta echoes all over creation in a melancholy way… D: [muses] It is strange to feel so instantly nostalgic for a record you’ve never heard. And yet I have been having that distinct feeling for the last hour and 25 minutes as we have been watching the sun go down over the Manhattan skyline while listening to the wonderful, stirring, heartfelt, heretofore unheard-by-these-ears work of the incomporable team of Mr. Dion and Mr. Spector. I guess it’s what they call that old deja voodoo, eh? C: Ha, yes I suppose they do…
FELA! A New Musical at 37 Arts in New York City Book by Jim Lewis & Bill T. Jones D: So you went to a musical? C: Yes, I did. D: How did you like it? Did you laugh? Did you CRY? C: From the first minute when the actor playing Fela sauntered by, two rows in front of me, on the way to the stage in his pink jumpsuit, led by his dancer/singer/wives, as Antibalas played the opening to “Everybody Scatter,” I was weeping openly. D: I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It is said that dancing by yourself in your living room to Fela Kuti music is the only known cure for depression. C: If it is that good, imagine what it must be like if you dance with others to it in public! The collective righteous joy is unbelievable. This thing broke me out of my post-David Foster Wallace suicide negative power zone. D: So it was a full-on simulation? C: Well… It’s not simply a tribute/costume concert, it’s an extremely brilliant musical-fueled biography of the man himself. The piece is two hours, 40 minutes and is set inside Fela’s club in Lagos, the Shrine. It’s 1976, I think, and he is onstage performing, and preparing to leave Nigeria. He’s had it with the ongoing corruption and idiocy in Nigeria. The government has arrested him, the military has stormed his commune, beaten and raped his wives and thrown his mother out of a second story window, leading to her eventual death. So he’s in and out of songs and monologues, reviewing his life to that point, smoking his big marijuana joints, laughing and crying and leading this band and this dance troupe, putting on this two-tier Afrobeat performance of… It’s spellbinding, just awesome, and I gotta say… As somebody who’s watched every second of available Fela Kuti footage out there, I thought I’d understood, as best I was gonna be able to understand in 2008, the man and the music. Well, I was totally wrong. D: Wouldn’t be the first time! C: Quiet. It’s one thing to see the pictures, to see the video, but to actually BE there, with the whole force of the music and the costumes and the VIBE in your face, at full volume, done with such love and care and attention to detail, with so much thought put into it… I don’t really understand how they did it, especially the guy who plays Fela, this brilliant actor named Sahr Ngaujah. Who inhabits him, completely, scarily. It’s enough to make you weep. D: Which you did. C: I should report that there is one major inaccuracy: the size of Fela’s rolled joints of Igbo, here it’s like a cigar but really they were more like torches. D: Like a baby’s arm? C: More like a bodybuilder’s. D: That’s something they can fix when it goes to Broadway. C: All the shit Fela talked about, it’s still true. More true. Bankers, government officials, colonial-minded lackeys, cowards, fools. Vampire Weekend? If only. It’s been a Vampire Millennium. And I can’t think of an artist alive today with the balls, and the trickster humor, and the anger, and the appetite for pleasure, and the gift for performance, and the raw charisma, the undeniable conviction, that he had. Did you know how musicians and other artists are not allowed to express views of the world in America? And if they break the rule, it’s cause for alarm and outrage and Drudge-shaming and record-banning and harassment and slandering and worse from the well-funded right-wing authoritarians. Don’t be political at the Oscars! Now is not the time! Nor at the Emmys. Oprah shouldn’t endorse! And so on. Because apparently they sometimes confuse the message from the government and break the entertainment moment that the viewer was anticipating, and indeed had every right to expect, given their school training and subsequent mediated experiences. The timing of Fela! is impeccable. He couldn’t believe the public would fall for this shit that the people in power were pulling. D: But we do. C: Over and over again.
Video of White Rainbow, ARP and Lichens’ improvisational accompaniment to Doug Aitken’s “Migration” Installation.
Adam Forkner, the guy behind maximum bliss-out drone project White Rainbow, has six different outlets by which enthusiasts of his inner space sounds can follow his activities. For those fans — such as your contributing editor — who were mostly oblivious to this WR media empire, Forkner has provided a digest update of his most recent activities on his old fashioned blog, or “Life Log.” Of particular interest:
• Upcoming shows with drone-happy lovebirds Windy & Carl take White Rainbow up and down the West Coast in late May 2009, with stops in Seattle, his home base of Portland, Big Sur and two shows here in Los Angeles. The Arthur Atwater office is raising its STOKED level to Red.
• Tracks for the next White Rainbow full length, New Clouds, have been delivered to the mastering dude, with a tentative September 2009 release date on Kranky.
• A WR collaborative EP with Stag Hare is due out “as soon as humanly possible” on Marriage Records.
• Stag Hare you ask? Stag Hare is a crunchy fellow from Utah, and his self-released album Black Medicine Music was the best ambient trail mix of 2008. Thanks to Forest Gospel for being the first to hip us to these nuts and berries desert ragas. Don’t sleep. Though its rustling drum pattering and Juniper-scented driftscapes may have pleasantly soporific effects.
• And new White Rainbow music is available RIGHT NOW and FOR FREE by way of audioblog Raven Sings The Blues, which posted its first compilation, RSTB Presents Vol. 1, back in mid-March. The comp also has top ranking earth psych and noisenik sounds from Wet Hair, Plastic Crimewave Sound, Sic Alps and more. Go get it here.
• Forkner is considering “qutting pizza” for his health. We feel you bro.
And that’s just the White Rainbow stuff. Click here to check out the full post with info on all of his doings.
We’ve been hungry for new White Rainbow jams for awhile now, so here’s a few other Forkner curated emanations that we discovered deep in the Gooogles …
Did you miss THIS tour? That’s a shame. But if Cluster, Harmonia, Goblin or general krautrock-style psychedelia is your thing, try catching JONAS REINHARDT this weekend at DEATH BY AUDIO. The band is comprised of members from The Fucking Champs, Mi Ami, Crime in Choir and Trans Am, and they just put out a new record on the KRANKY label. This will be their first performance in Brooklyn after a while of touring with the likes of White Rainbow, Lucky Dragons and other friends on the west coast. Also on the bill are Aa, WHITE HILLS, ( ( ARP ) ) and SOFT CIRCLE. Guaranteed a good choice for your evening.
Date & Time: Saturday, January 31st – 8PM Venue: DEATH BY AUDIO (BROOKLYN) Location: 42 S. 2nd at Wythe / Brooklyn, NY 11211 Price: $TBA (Go here for more info)