FADE TO BROWN

Because so many people have been asking for some clarification as to Arthur’s future:

There are no further issues of Arthur planned at this time. We’re happy we got to do the three issues we did in 2013, while being able to pay our contributors for the first time ever and fulfill all those old outstanding subscriptions.

The online mail-order Arthur Store will be open until March 2, 2014. At that point, all unsold backstock will be chucked on the compost heap or into the recycle bin. Everything has been discounted. A number of items are now sold out and have been removed from the Store. Go here to grab stuff for cheep: arthur.bigcartel.com

This website, as well as the Arthur Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr pages/feeds, will stop being updated on March 3, 2014.

For many reasons, it’s now time for Arthur to go dormant. Perhaps the mag will sprout again in the future, perhaps not. In any event, we hope we’ve been of some use, and thank everyone who’s been so kind to us.

Thank you so kindly,

The Arthur Gang
Joshua Tree, CA * Portland, Ore. * Austin, TX * Northampton, MA * wherever you can hear your footsteps

undead

(Artwork by Arik Roper)

A VISIT WITH MUSHROOM MAN/MUSICIAN NORM FETTER (PLUS: OYSTER MUSHROOM RECIPES!)

From Arthur No. 35, available in print now

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“Everything we grow, we touch”: Norm Fetter and Heather McMonnies-Fetter (plus special helper) of Woodland Jewel Mushrooms

THEY’RE MEDICINAL!
Text and photography by Camilla Padgitt-Coles

I first met Norm Fetter and Heather McMonnies-Fetter a few years ago in their backyard in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. We had an outdoor meal with ingredients the couple had grown in their abundant garden, which was overflowing with vines and healthy-looking edible plants. At the time, Norm also had a recording studio set up in their row house and was making music under the alias Enumclaw—think Klaus Schulze’s Crystal Motion or Ricochet-era Tangerine Dream, but with a warmer, more serene and optimistic overtone. Since then, the couple have moved out to the countryside of Pennsylvania, had two adorable kids, begun construction of their family farm and opened a business, Woodland Jewel Mushrooms.

Late this past spring, I took a train out from New York to interview them for Arthur, listening to Enumclaw’s Opening of the Dawn album on my headphones.

The window scenery changed from buildings to rolling hills and open skies, the sparkling synthesizer soundscapes falling like a calming mist. Heather picked me up from the station in her car with three-year-old Leif in the backseat, and told me the story of how she had given birth to their second child, Cymbeline (named after the Pink Floyd song), in that same backseat as they were en route to the hospital the year before. After arriving at the farm we ate a lunch of delicious oyster mushroom soup and quinoa-oyster mushroom burgers, then headed up to the barn, where I spoke with Norm about how what they’re up to…

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Norm’s hand holds a bagful of golden oyster mushrooms.

Arthur: When you moved out here did you know you were going to be farming mushrooms?
Norm Fetter: We knew we wanted to do something. We had already decided to radically change our lifestyle by moving out here and having kids. But we weren’t quite sure what it was gonna be, yet. Heather had been working at the art museum in Philly and I had been doing freelance construction and carpentry. Luckily, shortly after we moved out here, we met a couple that have a really successful microgreens business, and they were super influential. They kind of took us under their wing and really got our confidence up. We had been growing mushrooms on a hobby scale at home for a couple years, but had never really considered making the jump to actually trying to do it as a livelihood. But these guys were like, “Yeah, we did it, we started with a small greenhouse in our backyard and now have a 35 by 120 foot long greenhouse.” (laughs) They were super-influential. And they helped us get into the restaurant scene in Philly and start meeting chefs. If it weren’t for them, it would’ve taken us a lot longer to get up and running.

Do you have a science background, or how did you get into farming this way?
Through mushrooms, really. We just started growing them at home. Just occasionally, in our row house in Philly, just for friends.

What kinds did you start with?
Oysters and Shiitake. When we expand, that’ll include a lot more: Maiitake, Lion’s Mane, Pioppino. But there are so many huge mushroom farms down in Kennett Square, which is about 40 miles south of us. That’s actually considered the mushroom capital of the world. I think 60-70% of all the mushrooms produced in the country come from this one town. That’s why we were on the fence forever, we were like, “Do we really wanna start an independent mushroom farm 40 miles from the biggest corporate mushroom center in the world?” But the more we looked into it, it turned out, as you can assume, those huge farms go through big distributors, the stuff sits in warehouses, and by the time it gets into the hands of chefs, it’s wilted. So we decided to focus on certain varieties that they don’t necessarily grow that much, and deal directly with chefs, and people. We try to harvest the day of delivery or the day before delivery, so by the time they’re in your hands you can’t get them any fresher. And they’re super perishable, they don’t have really a great shelf life anyway. We’ve been able to find a niche of people who really wanna deal with a smaller scale farmer. And it’s advantageous being that close to Philly, too, there are so many great restaurants in Philly. And everybody’s on the whole “eat local” vibe, so… Continue reading

Reviews by C and D (and E…) (Arthur No. 12/Sept. 2004)

Originally published in Arthur No. 12 (Sepember 2004)

REVIEWS BY C and D (and E…)

THE GRIS GRIS
The Gris Gris
(Birdman)
C: Okay D, we’re gonna start this one off with something I know you will dig—the debut album from San Francisco psych-rock three-piece Gris Gris, who are led by that kid Greg Ashley, whose solo record we dug last year.
D: Yes I remember Mr. Ashley well! He is the new Syd Barrett and [listening to keyboard run] he is advising us to join him on an interstellar overdrive magic carpet ride.
C: The carpet’s in the garage, and it’s kind of greasy. It’s not used, it’s vintage.
D: Rock bands were doing this in garage basements in the Bay Area of ‘60s, after they got their first Yardbirds records. And all across Milwaukee in 1987. Mister Ashley is singing his ASH off! I also like the simplicity of the drumming.
C: …Milwaukee?

THE BLACK KEYS
Rubber Factory
(Fat Possum)
C: Third album from Akron’s finest, once again produced by themselves.
D: [listening] I am not sure if they needed to make another album on their own. There’s not enough progression here.
C: It’s more mellow than the last one. But I like it. Listen to the solo here on “Desperate Man.” And this one on “Stack Shot Bully.”
D: Hmm, definite burning there. This is a 7.5 moving up to 9.3…
C: And this Kinks cover, “Act Nice and Gentle” is great, really blissed out, reminds me of going down to the river in the summertime. I didn’t think I ever wanted to hear another take on “Summertime Blues,” but…
D: That’s a rocker with extra thrusters, baby! It still is summertime and yes I still have those blues! Even though it says “do not duplicate,” can I duplicate it?

THE FAINT
Wet From Birth
(Saddle Creek)
C and D: [blank stares]
C: Um… Pretty belabored electro dance new wave blah blah.
D: I am in Berlin getting down with the transvestites.
C: I see 16-year-old girls dancing poorly.
D: Who are they? I wish he woulda left the transformer effect at home.
C: They come from Omaha. This is their second album.
D: Really??? [listening more closely] They’ve finally written a song good enough for Victoria’s Secret commercial. Congratulations!
C: Maybe we just don’t have an ear for this stuff, but, sheesh, this is painfully shitty. Crap new wave is a joke that didn’t need to be told, ever again.

MOUSE ON MARS
Radical Connector
(Thrill Jockey)
D: This is so bad in such an obvious way. They don’t even number their tracks! So inconsiderate.
C: What, you’ve never heard of glitch in Milwaukee or Berlin?
D: Yes yes, but this… Mouse on Mars have lost it. This trying-to-be-funky-and-clever thing is not working in their favor.
C: You are not happy with the Mouse’s progress.
D: They are progressing to a place where nobody wants to dance. And I am a dancing kind of fellow!

TWILIGHT SINGERS
She Loves You
(One Little Indian)
C: An album of covers by Greg Dulli’s Twilight Singers project. He used to lead the Afghan Whigs, about four decades or so ago.
D: Never heard of ‘em. I am not a fan of the ‘90s.
D: Really? [listening to cover of “Hyperballad”] This sounds like U2. Agh, can’t stand it. Even the guitar is ringing! Can we please listen to something I might like?
C: Dulli does sound like Bono when he tries to hit those trailing Bjorknotes.
D: Is that her voice in the background? [sarcastic] Are they holding hands? This is ghastly! [listening to cover of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”] Now he sounds like Marianne Faithful. I’m getting a drink. Okay, maybe three drinks. [heads for kitchen]
C: I only like the songs where Mark Lanegan sings, really. This version of the blues “Hard Killing Floor” where Lanegan sings lead is all nice and charcoal and moonshine… But basically, I like this album more in concept than in execution. The world doesn’t need an easy listening MOR version of “A Love Supreme,” in my humble opinion.

THALIA ZEDEK
Trust Not Those In Whom Without Some Touch of Madness
(Thrill Jockey)
C: [to tape recorder] D’s in a bad mood, again! Sheesh. Okay, guess I’ll keep going here. This is the new album by the sublegendary Thalia Zedek, who lead the great lost rock ‘n roll band Come for many years. Unforgettable voice, jointly sponsored by Jameson’s and some devilry, I think. Like later Marianne Faithful, actually. Anyway, this is pretty straightahead sad-eyed twilight rock ‘n roll, with some violin on it, which of course sends me back to another lost-‘90s-rock-n-roll-band-with-a-great-female-singer: the Geraldine Fibbers. They also had a violin. Yep.

MIKE WATT
The Second Man’s Middle Stand
(Columbia)
C: Mike Watt from the minutemen and fIREHOSE and current Stooges bassist doing his first album in six years, a total concept piece about his near-terminal illness, plus Dante and one thousand and one other layers of meaning, played by a storming organ-drums-bass three-piece. 9 songs, with eight of them over 5:30, which means this earns Prog certification. Like a particularly smart Deep Purple, subbing out the ponderousness for some art-punk new-beat spastics, splatter and stutter. Do you need a lyric sheet to make sense of it? Yes you do.

PAUL WESTERBERG
Folker
(Vagrant)
C: One of the worst album titles in recent times, but let’s not hold that too much against it. Continuing in the ‘90s-semistar series here, the new solo album from the former singer of the Replacements, who were also doing traditional American rock ‘n roll when that wasn’t exactly called for by the times. Never really dug his solo work, but this is ridiculously good at what it’s doing: really melodic mid-tempo rock ‘n roll that you listen to at the gaspump and then hum the rest of the way home: kinda Oasis, actually, and kinda Tom Petty. And “Looking Up In Heaven” is gorgeous perfection. Yep.

RICH ROBINSON
Paper
(Keyhole Records)
D: [walks back into the room holding big coffee mug, mumbling to himself] People can’t tell you’re an alcoholic if you drink it out of a coffee cup…
C: [oblivious] Solo album from the guitarist for the Black Crowes, who are on some kind of trial separation. Very in-the-pocket, and lovely harmonies, just solid rock ‘n roll songs for longhairs washing their VW bus on a Sunday afternoon.

THE WHIRLWIND HEAT
Flamingo Honey EP
(Dim Mak)
C: This is the new EP from the Detroit band Jack White called the closest we’re gonna get to a Devo in this generation.
D: Hmph. I will be the judge of that!
C: 10 songs, 10 minutes, each song almost exactly one minute.
D: [listening to “The Meat Packers”] Sounds like when the White Stripes covered all those Beefheart songs on that Sub Pop 7-inch.
C: You’re totally right! Good call
D: These guys sound a little too smug to me. They’re just good enough that they’re getting laid.
C: I like conceptual limits, generally. Sometimes it gets you out of a creative jam, makes you go into a new space you wouldn’t’ve otherwise thought of. It necessitates invention and problem solving, keep you from getting too set in your ways. Standard John Cage theory, right? Brian Eno…
D: These guys should work with Eno!
C: He did produce Devo’s first album, didn’t he? Hmm. Perhaps it can be arranged.

COLONEL CLAYPOOL’S BUCKET OF BERNIE BRAINS
The Big Eyeball in the Sky
(Prawn Song Records)
C: Okay, I think I’ve had enough Primus for one lifetime but this looked interesting. It’s Claypool on bass, Bernie Worrell from P-Funk on keyboards, Buckethead on guitar and Brain on drums. Like one of those old Axiom jams that Bill Laswell used to put together back in the early ‘90s with Bootsy and all them.
D: I used to listen to Primus. They had one good album, I don’t remember what it was called but it certainly wasn’t Pork Soda. That was the worst.
C: [cracking himself up] The wurst, you mean, ha ah ha!
D: …
E: [entering room] Hey guys, what’s going on? This sounds great!
C: Whoa. The notorious E dares to enter Arthur’s inner sanctum.
D: We have not seen a woman here in sometime.
C: But your presence here has been foretold.
E: You guys might have more company if you guys didn’t lock the door all the time!
C: Sorry… So, you really like this, E?
E: I love Les Claypool’s voice. I admire his integrity. And can you say “Pork Soda” without laughing? I think not.
C: Er… I believe no one should imitate Zappa. Well not like this, at least.
D: I do like things that are circus-y. It’s like a Fellini movie, you’re waiting for the transvestite to pop out of the tent…
C: I think I’d like it more if I was 16 and playing Nintendo.
E: This is great. What’s your problem, C? If it said “Ween” on the box, you would totally dig it. They’re clearly incredibly smart and having fun.
C: Hmm. Okay, maybe if I was 14.
D: This is totally late Residents and is making me want to get very high right now. I could get a lot of cleaning done to this.

ANTIBALAS
Who Is This America?
(Ropeadope)
E: Fela? Tony Allen? This is cool, of course.
D: Is this from Nigeria? If I had to DJ a wedding, I would definitely play this. You can do any kind of dance to it, there’s so much going on. You can meringue to it.
C: But it’s not Fela Kuti, it’s Antibalas, that group from New York trying to bring back that original Afrobeat. They’re so good now, I can’t tell the difference, really.
D: Don’t they have like 86 people in their band or something?
E: [dancing] More like 20! It’s between them and the Polyphonic Spree for largest band in the Arthur world…
C: I have to say that as good as they are, their lyrics still aren’t there. Fela’s was always really biting and clever. Most of this is too straightforward, there’s none of that really cutting, mordant wit.
D: [dancing with eyes closed] Who cares, this is phenomenal! It makes me want to put my ass into it!
C: [to tape recorder] He said he was a dancing fellow, and now he is proving it.
E: Hey, did you guys hear that Rick James died today?
C: A lot of people owe him big time.
D: Especially those guys who had girlfriends who became superfreaks!!!

MELVINS/LUSTMORD
Pigs of the Roman Empire
(Ipecac)
E: Now for something completely different.
D: Fudgetunnel?
C: Is it Godflesh?
E: It’s actually the Melvins with Lustmord.
C: Awesome dark sludge from some creepy condemned industry at the edge of town.
E: [listening to “The Bloated Pope”] I think this music is really erotic! Much more than easy listening or slow jam, because it’s dark and there’s an element of mystery.
C: And the fifth song is called “Pink Bat,” which is almost as good a title as “Pork Soda,” eh, E?
E: [smiling] Yes, exactly.
D: It’s not my favorite kind of music, but I could scrub the walls to it.
E: Hey D, what are you drinking in that coffee cup? It doesn’t smell like coffee…

LUCIFER RISING
Original soundtrack by Bobby Beausoleil
(Arcanum Entertainment)
C: Speaking of dark and mysterious, here is the original soundtrack for Kenneth Anger’s legendary Lucifer Rising. The original composer was supposed to be Jimmy Page, but Anger ended up using this score by Bobby Beausoleil, an old Manson associate who recorded it in the ‘70s while in prison…
D: UNBELIEVABLY black! Black turned to 100, with lizard eyes. But subtle and beautiful, somehow. This is a high point of human culture.

WOLF EYES
Burned Mind
(Sub Pop)
D: Throbbing Gristle!!!
C: Yeah kind of, right? It’s actually Wolf Eyes, who we reviewed last ish.
E: [reading song titles] “Black Vomit.” “Urine Burn.” And of course, “Stabbed in the Face.” I think they need to get some grooves going. That’s their problem.
D: I used to go see a lot of bands like this. Then I stopped.
C: You have to see it in a small space where the sound of just overwhelming and crushing and inescapable and you are just being confronted with it. I can’t really picture listening to it at home—
E: Me either.
C: —but maybe that’s my problem?
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Chambo's Internet Activity Pages for February 5, 2010

On the Liberation of Spores


• MYCELIUM ON THE RUN, EATIN: The Spore Liberation Front is here to show us how the study of mushrooms can help us all have more meaningful lives, aid in subverting “capitalist economic structures”, and prepare us for the coming “mycelial revolution” in human existence. The SLF makes amazing films (see the above embedded video) and ‘zines, such as the first issue of Radical Mycology, available for download here, or you can buy a hard copy at Little Black Cart. [MycoRant]

• MUSHROOM-FRIENDLY MUSIC, PART 1:
We always look forward to year-end/decade-end lists from niche publications like The Wire and When You Awake, as they’re usually full of way-out tunes that have slipped beneath our radar. One such genre-specific list that’s most definitely worth checking out comes from the techno nerds at Resident Advisor, in the form of their Top 100 Albums of the ’00s. It’s not all good — we would advise you to avoid anything that includes the term “nu-jazz”, for example — but the RA dudes get lots of credit for putting us on to the organic techno melodies of Trentemøller’s The Last Resort, the cavernous dub of Rhythm & Sound and reminding us to dig out Drexciya’s various Detroit-born dystopian “aqua-funk” menageries. [Resident Advisor]

• MUSHROOM-FRIENDLY MUSIC, PART 2: We know everybody’s already been checking Greg Davis’ amazing Crystal Vibrations blog for the freshest in retro-New Age jammers, but did you know Davis just started another blog to help everybody keep up with the most lifted of Indian ragas? It’s called Raga Vibrations, of course. We recommend starting with Brij Bhushan Kabra’s Indian Slide Guitar, and going from there. [Raga Vibrations]

• SNOWY SKY ISLANDS: The Davis Mountains of Far West Texas are a kind of ecosystem known as a “sky island,” a term that only hints at the beautiful escape they offer from the high desert grasslands that surround their rocky heights. Hike up to a good vantage point and the concept becomes all the more apparent, as one stands in a foot of snow amidst tree branches sagging with clusters of ice, looking out over arid plains thousands of feet below, dry and dusty under the same sunshine. We’ve been paying visits to our friends at the Davis Mountains Preserve, and documenting any number of lichens and bryophytes encrusted in snow and ice. More photos at Chambo’s photography blog, Into the Green.

Arik Roper's "The Hidden Dimension" opens at Fuse Gallery in NYC on October 24, 2009

The Hidden Dimension

Arik Moonhawk Roper has become one of those artists whose album cover artwork is as dependable a way to select the listening material for tonight’s speaker-worship session as the band personnel listed on the back of the slipcase. Earth. Sleep. Howlin Rain. Sunn O))). Black Crowes. But the expansively naturalistic imagery he provides for these artists is only an entry point to his work: from his many editorial illustrations as a contributor to Arthur; to his most recent book, Mushroom Magick, a “visionary field guide” of botanical illustration that serves as an excellent companion piece to revolutionary mycologist Paul StametsMycelium Running.

“The Hidden Dimension” is a survey of Roper’s recent paintings and drawings at New York’s Fuse Gallery, and an ideal next step for those looking for further vistas onto his mystical landscapes. From the press release:

“The Hidden Dimension,” drawings and paintings by Arik Roper runs October 24 through November 28, 2009, at Fuse Gallery, 93 2nd Ave (between 5th & 6th Sts, 2nd Ave stop on the F), NYC, NY. The opening reception, on Saturday October 24, from 7 to 10 pm, is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Fuse Gallery at 212.777.7988 or fusegall@fusegallerynyc.com.

A selection of images from the show can be found below, after the jump. To see more of Roper’s work, you can visit his website, http://www.arikroper.com as well as the Fuse Gallery website. For more about Roper’s Mushroom Magick, take a listen to his recent interview with Gnostic Media by clicking here. And if your local fungi emporium is sold-out, copies of the book are of course available from Amazon.

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Do we love these guys?!? New WIZZARD SLEEVE for your mindhole

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Stream: [audio:http://www.arthurmag.com/magpie/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/nomongoFINAL.mp3%5D

Download: “No Mongo” – Wizzard Sleeve (mp3)

Sticky new one by Dave Reeves’ Alabaman glue-wave faves WIZZARD SLEEVE, off their debut LP Make the World Go Away (pictured above) out October 2 from the mighty HoZac Records of Chicago, Illinois. The Sleeve will be playing a record release party in Chicago at something called “Mortville warehouse” on October 2. You know what to do.

Subscribe to Arthur’s iTunes Podcast and receive music automatically: click here

DAILY MAGPIE – Mycologist Hero Paul Stamets in NYC this Friday

Visionary mycologist Paul Stamets is giving one of his totally awesome mushroom workshops tomorrow (Friday, 2/6/09) at the Community Church of NY; 40 East 35th Street, Between Park and Madison Avenues. It’s $20 and — if you’ve got it — well worth it.

Full details at New York Open Center. More about Stamets after the jump.

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