Inter-Dimensional Music on KRTS Marfa


Moonlight on Ranch Road 2810, aka Pinto Canyon Road


Join Arthur vaultkeeper Daniel “Chambo” Chamberlin and longtime Arthur amigo David Hollander tonight and every Sunday night for a two-hour dose of classic New Age, modern psychedelic drone and outer-limits cosmic ambience, specially formulated for navigating through the clean air and dark skies of Far West Texas.

Whether you’re riding on the 10 between Fort Stockton and Sierra Blanca, or waiting for your man down by the Rio Grande, you’ll want to point the dial in your pickup truck or on the pocket transistor radio you’ve got duct-taped to your bicycle to KRTS Marfa, 93.5 FM from 9-11pm CST. For those of you not fortunate enough to claim residency out here in the high desert grasslands, direct the internet-connected audio device of your choosing to http://www.marfapublicradio.org.

Here’s the long-form jams we were zoning out to last week:

“Wednesday” by Malachi from Holy Music
“Mad Music, Inc.” by Mad Music, Inc. from Mad Music, Inc.
“Epsilon in Malaysian Pale” by Edgar Froese from Epsilon in Malaysian Pale
“Memory Vague” by Oneohtrix Point Never from Caboladies/OPN split cassette
“Memory Theater” by James Ferraro from Marble Surf
“The Voice of Incorporeality” by Dolphins Into The Future from The Music of Belief

Chambo’s Internet Activity Pages for August 28, 2009

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• ACCIDENTAL GUNFIRE AND UNEXPECTED NUDITY: Doug Fine is a journalist who lives on a remote solar-powered ranch somewhere outside of Silver City, New Mexico. The founding of said ranch is chronicled in his sometimes corny but ultimately pretty fascinating book, Farewell, My Subaru. In the years since, Fine has remained almost entirely off-the-grid, save for the digital connectivity by which he maintains his career as a writer, as well as his blog: Dispatches from The Funky Butte Ranch. This has led him to consider how well he would do in a real grid-crash and the ensuing collapse of mainstream civilization that might soon follow in an essay called “In The Year 2049: Would I Survive A Worst-Case Scenario?” How would he mine the perimeter of his compound? Who would make his shoes? It’s especially entertaining to compare the responses of his city-dwelling pals who are all like “you’re nuts everything’s gonna be fine” and his fellow ranchers who are like “that’s a good idea about the mines.” [Dispatches from the Funky Butte Ranch]

• DO YOU EVER PLAN ON EATING OUT IN LOS ANGELES? Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold’s “99 Essential LA Restaurants” is a delightful read even if you don’t plan on dining out in Southern California anytime soon: It’s a journey from the obscure meats of Vietnamese strip mall joints to the finest haute cuisine, and as such it’s one of the best impressionistic portraits of what makes Los Angeles such a strange, delicious town. He’s known to compare tacos and noodles to different varieties of cocaine, he follows Spanish-language media in order to keep up with Mexican-American chefs and says things like this about a Korean spot out in Torrance:

We are as jingoistic about fried chicken as the next guy, and we’ve been to dives in Louisiana where the chicken was so good it made a roomful of testosterone-crazed roustabouts weep like your mother’s bridge club that time Steel Magnolias came on TV. But Korean fried chicken really is an evolutionary leap forward — steeped in a cabinet full of spices, saturated with garlic, double-fried to a shattering, thin-skinned snap dramatic enough to wake a sleeping baby in an adjoining room.

The new edition is available this week — this is gonna be the first time we pick up a hard copy of the LA Weekly since, well, Gold’s list from last year — and you can also read it online. [LA Weekly]

• ON BECOMING ONE MORE HORSE’S ASS: After 12 weird years of living in Los Angeles, California, I’m moving to Marfa, Texas early next week. Fitting that the sky above my house in Atwater Village is dominated by a massive plume of smoke rising from a forest fire in the San Gabriel Mountains; it always feels good to commence an exodus under a rain of ash. Chambo’s Internet Activity Pages shall resume upon activation of Arthur’s Marfa Station. [Bobby Bare – “One More Horse’s Ass”]

• SPEAKING OF MARFA: Yacht recorded their most recent album, See Mystery Lights, down there in West Texas. They’re giving away copies of the instrumental version over at the Free Music Archive and I am going to be playing it all weekend — along with lots and lots of Doug Sahm — while I load the moving truck. [Free Music Archive]

Dread Zeppelins: Letter from West Texas

Q: Where does the Border Patrol’s “drug blimp” go at night?
A: It sleeps in a field outside of Marfa, Texas.

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The Marfa aerostat, aloft in daylight


The so-called “drug blimp” is actually a tethered aerostat — a white helium balloon as big or larger than the portly tire-company-maintained dirigibles that flock to parades and sporting events — operated by the U.S. Air Force, which makes the data it collects available to NORAD and the U.S. Border Patrol. It is by far the most tangible of the lazy clouds floating through the skies of the southern region of Far West Texas, its onboard radar system keeping an eye out for drug smugglers flying or driving loads of cocaine and or marijuana over from the deserts of Northern Mexico. It’s unmanned and controlled from the ground, attached via a tether cable to some kind of rail system. Similar aerostat sites can be found in the Bahamas, Arizona, and broadcasting decadent episodes of “Nanny 911” or whatever via TV Marti into Communist Cuba from Cudjoe Key, Florida. Or at least that’s what the Air Force has to say about it.


The Marfa aerostat, grounded at 2:45am


I came across it moored, at about 3am, in a blazing circle of orange halide security lamps on my way from Los Angeles to visit friends in Marfa and Terlingua. I stopped and started snapping away with my camera, but kept getting that “willies” feeling that goes along with standing on a windy, deserted Texas road in the middle of the night, taking pictures of a government surveillance aircraft that chases narcotraficantes around.


Pinto Canyon Road, West Texas, by moonlight


The Marfa aerostat is part of Far West Texas’ complex system of border monitoring technology that includes triggers on rural routes that insure government agents will be checking up on late night back road cruisers. Or so I was warned by two local joint-passing bros when I inquired as to where my friend Sasha and I might catch a glimpse of the Marfa Lights, or at least document the West Texas hills in the light of the full moon. They pointed us down Pinto Canyon Road, but told us to expect company. No Border Patrol 4x4s were waiting for us though (nor were the mysterious Marfa Lights); there were only a few wary horses on hand to monitor our activity.

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