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Soul Sok Séga

Various Artists, Strut Records, 2016, LP or CD The geography of African diaspora music is most often thought of in trans-Atlantic terms: blues and jazz, soca and reggae, rumba and lundu. With a nod to North African styles on the Eurasian shores of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, the limits of cultural influence are sealed. But we often forget that the traffic in humans also went east, with slave communities on Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues, Agaléga, and beyond. These Indian Ocean islands are distant from the current of world events, and even far from seafaring routes. Nevertheless, historical African, European, Chinese, Arab, and Hindu communities have formed and, over the centuries, culturally synthesized Séga music is the … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – A Graphics Composition

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ's Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher —   Prolegomenon, Part One, Part Two, Part Three Generously shared, below are selections from Bruce Licher's personal archives of his graphic design and letterpress art. . Flyer for the event at the Los Angeles Museum of Art for the performance on November 8th, 1980, featuring Bridge, Neef, Arrow Book Club (Urinals-related experimental rock combo), films by John Talley-Jones, Brent Wilcox and Bruce Licher, along with metal performance Front cover of a fictitious NEEF LP created by Bruce Licher in a silkscreen printing class at UCLA Slash magazine review of Project 197, along with an ad … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – Part 3

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ's Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher  — Prolegomenon, Part One, Part Two, A Graphics Composition   Aram Yardumian: It’s hard for me to talk about the films without having seen them—I realize there is a  Sordide Sentimental video version of your work, it's difficult to find, but I’m interested in how you think the films fit into your overall aesthetic trajectory. Bruce Licher: Early on in my college days I was really fascinated with the industrial aesthetic. I was interested in Throbbing Gristle and the others, but more than that it was the old factories and there was just an aesthetic about that. I think a lot … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – Part 2

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ’s Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher —   Prolegomenon, Part One, Part Three, A Graphics Composition   Aram Yardumian: After Neef, Project 197 and Bridge really took a very different direction, musically. What do you remember about this ‘transition’? Neef, "The Mean Free Path", Neef cassette, 1979   Bruce Licher: Neef was very collaborative and improvisational. Project 197 was my attempt at doing my own, well, project. I asked a couple of guys to come in, but most of the music on that was mine. Mark and Kevin added the drums and percussion. Brent Wilcox handled all the recording. Bridge just came out … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – Part 1

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ's Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher — Prolegomenon, Part Two, Part Three, A Graphics Composition Aram Yardumian: Yours is a very intricate history, especially once all the editions of the records are considered. How did it all begin? Bruce Licher: When I was in college I had started going to see punk bands at the various clubs in Hollywood, and then eventually the earliest of the post-punk bands. It was really exciting, and there was a part of me that wanted to be part of that, too, so that's why I started to create music. But it was funny, even when I was going to see the punk bands in the clubs I kept thinking, well, I don't know … [Read more...]

An Interview with Bruce Licher – Prolegomenon

Introduction and Three Part Conversation with TQ's Aram Yardumian and Graphic Artist-Musician Bruce Licher — Part One, Part Two, Part Three, A Graphics Composition We are still tabulating the effects of the post-punk era on popular culture. Still drawing lines all over the genealogical surface, still overestimating Talking Heads, and still letting many of the real geniuses remain countersunken in the clutter. Mark E. who? Birthday what? If it’s less about aggressively capturing specific textures and more about tearing open the net wide enough for yet another generation of customers to swim in, the real innovators were too obsessed with the art to care. Among the many creative thunderclaps that burst over southern California in the … [Read more...]

Voices in Time and Space

The Lost Recordings of Kesarbai Kerkar — Kesarbai Kerkar passed away on 16 September 1977 at the age of 85. She never knew that the Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched on the 5th day of same month, carried a gold-coated copper phonograph record with samples of her voice, as recorded in April 1953: ‘Bhairavi Hori – Jaat Kahan Ho’. It was the only Indian music the Voyager contained. By the time Kesarbai died, she had long forgotten about her own disc recordings and no longer listened to them. Her dispute with HMV—for releasing her work without approval—had culminated in letters to Gramophone Company and radio stations requesting they not sell or play the records. Thus, the discs were not known to many, even in India. It is then … [Read more...]

An Interview with Eric Lunde – Part Three: The Aesthetics of the Crash

Eric Lunde: 33 Years of Assault & Chaos – A four part serial conversation with TQ’s Aram Yardumian and Wisconsinite Eric Lunde.  We talk about nonlinear dynamics, noise systems, auto racing, and the roots of the Industrial scene in America. We do not talk about Ed Gein. Serial Three-Part Interview Prolegomenon, Part One: Assaults on Culture, Part Two: The 80's Aram Yardumian: There is an interest in the concept of the collision, which I think of as akin to JG Ballard's but without the cloying sexual dimension. This is probably every old-time race fan's interest in the sport whether or not he admits it. How do you see—or how would you like to see—racing, performance, and sound art all coming together? Eric Lunde: Yeah, the … [Read more...]

An Interview with Eric Lunde – Part Two: The 80’s

Eric Lunde: 33 Years of Assault & Chaos – A three part serial conversation with TQ’s Aram Yardumian and Wisconsinite Eric Lunde.  We talk about nonlinear dynamics, noise systems, auto racing, and the roots of the Industrial scene in America. We do not talk about Ed Gein. Introduction and Serial Three-Part Interview Prolegomenon, Part One: Assaults on Culture, Part Three: The Aesthetics of the Crash Aram Yardumian: Regardless of my probably under-developed efforts to understand where you're coming from, what would you say are the artistic questions which interest you most these days? Eric Lunde: Neuroscience and Quantum Physics, I’ve been engaged for the last ten years in a study of both. Fascinating, intriguing. Immense … [Read more...]

An Interview with Eric Lunde – Part One: Assaults on Culture

Eric Lunde: 33 Years of Assault & Chaos – A three part serial conversation with TQ’s Aram Yardumian and Wisconsinite Eric Lunde.  We talk about nonlinear dynamics, noise systems, auto racing, and the roots of the Industrial scene in America. We do not talk about Ed Gein. Introduction and Serial Three-Part Interview Prolegomenon, Part Two: The 80s, Part Three: The Aesthetics of the Crash The following conversation with Eric Lunde took place via email in June of 2015. Aram Yardumian: Tell me about your time as a film student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee I believe you were running experiments in re-recording video through multiple generations to see what emerged from the information loss. In fact, I think I remember … [Read more...]

An Interview with Eric Lunde – Prolegomenon

Eric Lunde: 33 Years of Assault & Chaos – A four part serial conversation with TQ’s Aram Yardumian and Wisconsinite Eric Lunde.  We talk about nonlinear dynamics, noise systems, auto racing, and the roots of the Industrial scene in America. We do not talk about Ed Gein. Serial Three-Part Interview Part One: Assaults on Culture, Part Two: The 80's, Part Three: The Aesthetics of the Crash Aesthetic violence and assaults on culture have a long, deep-reaching history among both tyrants and the alienated. Destruction of iconography and memory, depictions of suffering, and staged assaults on institutions and values with intent to expose, displace, and destroy them. It is possible to argue that violent practice is counterproductive, … [Read more...]

The Archaeology of Delusion

The Unknown Known (2014), Written and Directed by Errol Morris — Suppose I replace Moore's ‘I know’ with ‘I am of the unshakeable conviction’? -- Wittgenstein, On Certainty §86 Twenty-five hundred years of thinking about it and we are hardly closer to a definition of knowledge. We can't even decide whether it should be a noun or a verb, metaphysical or metabolic, particulate or discursive. But at least we know this: the worst thing you can do, maybe ever, is confuse knowing with believing, with certainty. According to Socrates, and Plato on Socrates via Vlastos, knowledge is something which, and only which, survives repeated testing in the process of elenctic inquiry. Me using you as a whetstone. True beliefs and certainties, in … [Read more...]

Pete and Royce Resurface

Suffering of Tomorrow and Days of Destruction, [Musicbazz, 2012, 2013] — The 1970s were painful years for Athenians. Seven years of military dictatorship, beginning in 1967, brought uncertainty into the homes of all who had fought for three decades against the deep political division whose roots grew in the soil of Axis occupation and the Greek Resistance. It was a bitter time of cultural suppression and appeals to patriotism, rural simplicity, and secret torture clearinghouses. These kinds of parochial and inward looking cultural values have been argued as the doctrinaire stance of a prime minister with rural roots, a form of reactionary traditionalism, or an antidote to the Truman Doctrine and its kudzu vine of … [Read more...]

¡ Revolution Zendebad !

The Persio-American Romance and Its Discontents — The suspicious and sometimes shameful gazes which Iran and America have lately been exchanging across the negotiation table are not always staged. Nor are they needlessly pragmatic. They are links in a very long chain of speech that began early in America’s history and very late in Persia’s [1], and continue today at secret seaside meetings in Muscat, in the trees inhabited by chattering neo-con jungle fowl, and, best of all, in that poetic Morse code we call the formalities of the state. It is difficult to say who more badly needs to hold the grudge, those who profit from sanctions or those who profit from circumventing them. And while it’s too soon tell who will be in worse company, … [Read more...]

Six Years with God: The Trials and Legacy of the Source Family

The Source Family by Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille. 2013. Drag City Film Distribution. The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wha 13 and The Source Family by Isis & Electricity Aquarian. 2007. Process Media. ISBN 0976082293 — Everyone remembers the high-vibration rainbow salad sprinkled with kindness and brewer’s yeast, served to John Lennon or Warren Beatty sitting on paisley throw pillows, by flaxen-haired girls too young to remember a time before birth control pills. Or Woody Allen ordering a plate of mashed yeast in Annie Hall. Or the 4AM chanting sessions in the room out back, led by giant bearded man in the blinding white robe who spoke with the voice of God in the eternal now. 1970. While many in the … [Read more...]

Zorn@60

John Zorn's Complete String Quartets Lincoln Center, July 20, 2013 — Program and Performers: Necronomicon — JACK Quartet The Dead Man — JACK Quartet Cat O'Nine Tails — JACK Quartet Mememto Mori — Alchemy Quartet The Alchemist — Alchemy Quartet Kol Nidre — JACK Quartet, Alchemy Quartet, and Brooklyn Rider If like me you spent July of 1990 listening to Naked City on crummy headphones [1], alone on the floor of your room, wondering how anyone could create something at once so flailing mad and anally precise, then like me you may not have predicted finding yourself twenty-four years later purchasing tickets, dressing up, and taking a date to Lincoln Center to watch a performance of string quartets composed by the same John … [Read more...]

Anglo-Electronic

An Interview with Electronic Musician Ian Boddy — By accounts, Ian Boddy’s entrée into sound art was spontaneous. While reading biochemistry at Newcastle University in the late 1970s he walked into the Spectro Arts Workshop’s electronic sound studio and, in one sense, never walked back out. These were the years of the Berlin School, when Tangerine Dream, Manuel Göttsching, Klaus Schulze and others were building long, innovative synth structures on the Krautrock floorplan, and when such things could actually be heard on late night BBC Radio and the Saturday afternoon Alan Freeman Show. So much seemed possible in those years. The analog synth was a gateway into a new universe of expression, especially for those, like Boddy, without … [Read more...]

A Well of Conspiracy

The Tall Assassin, A Discussion with Author and Former SAPF Alan Elsdon   — The Year is 1942, Republic of South Africa. The Emergency Regulations Act, designed by General Smuts to curb pro-Nazi activities, had begun to bite at the ankles of the Ossewabrandwag membership list. The rounding up of Afrikaners and Nazi Auslanders into prison camps may have averted a civil war, but it also brought together many of the day's anti-democratic minds, and there they talked and fomented South Africa's future. At one such camp, Koffiefontein, there were interred together two men who would go on to shape the history of the country as few others would, one on the political stage and the other behind the scenes. The former, John Vorster, is well known. … [Read more...]

Internal Scripts

Thomas Mera Gartz’s Luftsånger / Cloudsongs — 'Ett moraliskt innehåll kan finnas i en form' — Åke Hodell On April 30th of last year, Swedish drummer Thomas Mera Gartz died at the age of 67. His work with the legendary shamanistic-psychedelic bands International Harvester, Mecki Mark Men, Pärson Sound, and Träd, Gräs och Stenar was mostly live in concert, seldom recorded, so his reputation lives on mostly among those who toured rock festivals in Scandinavia in the late 1960s. In the aftermath of those years of underground artistic insurgency, during which all manner of new artistic freedoms were defined in Sweden, he recorded an acid-folk album of his own songs, and then a decade later released an understated and little-known LP … [Read more...]

Excavating the Tell

A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald by Errol Morris, 2012 Ulysses, it is said, was so full of guile, was such a fox, that not even the goddess of fate could pierce his armor. Perhaps he had really noticed, although here the human understanding is beyond its depths, that the Sirens were silent...   – Kafka At the heart of all forensic science there are questions of epistemology which are often taken for granted. How can things be proven to have happened or not happened? How can memories be verified? What if something that looks like a duck and quacks like a duck was never a duck? All modes of inquiry are both predicated on and forever problematized by the relationship between ourselves and the world, as … [Read more...]

Remembering Pandit Ravi Shankar 1920-2012

“When a pigeon flies, his wings beat in taal (Rhythmic cycle). You can count the matras if you don’t believe me. And such a sweet voice! God has invested such a treasure of music in each of his creations that man can take armfuls away but never exhaust it. Goddess Saraswati has given me a little too. But not as much as I would have liked. Just when I began to draw something from the ocean of music, my time was up. This is the trouble, when the fruit of a man’s lifelong labor ripens. Who can understand God’s ways? But one thing I have understood a little. There is a fruit, the custard apple. I like it very much. I eat it and throw the seeds outside the window. And one day I look and there’s another tree of the same fruit. With new fruits on … [Read more...]

The Seer

Swans, The Seer,  3xLP or 2xCD, Young God Records, 2012 — Swans, throughout their thirty year history, have always been good enough not to make me wish I was listening to something else, nor remind even me that something else exists.  If when playing The Seer, with its long boiling rises and reductions, a sniff of Aidan Baker or Burning Star Core comes into the room, it is not because Swans are catching up with the times, it is because the times are finally catching up with Swans. Michael Gira describes his latest work as “the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I've ever made, been involved in or imagined.” And while it is easy to agree with this statement in terms of aesthetic and … [Read more...]

Seven Sets, Eight Sides

John Tchicai, Hartmut Geerken & Famoudou Don Moyé West Africa Tour (Sierra Leone, Liberia & Guinea), April 1985,  4xLP (Sagittarius A-Star – SAS #21), 2012 — John Tchicai The history of jazz is too often Americentric, focusing on the epicenters and forgetting the aftershocks, no matter how devastating, and leaving the impression that no one south of the Rio Grande or east of the Atlantic ever blew through a saxophone reed. Indeed, both Gioia’s History of Jazz and Shipton’s otherwise excellent A New History of Jazz devote fewer than thirty pages between them to the practice outside North America. Europe, South America, Africa, Japan, and everyone else barely happened you might think. In fact, European jazz … [Read more...]

Transfiguration by Steel String

Robbie Basho's 'The Seal of The Blue Lotus' — On 26 February 1986, guitarist Robbie Basho lay back on a chiropractor's table in Albany, California, for an adjustment to treat back pain. An instant later, one of his vertebral arteries hemorrhaged and the chiropractor watched helplessly as his patient's cranium filled with blood. Robbie died a few days later in a local hospital at age 45—a rude end to a life of earnest artistic self-discovery. Though it would surely have pained him to receive so little notice in the event of his death, this would not have surprised Robbie since, even as he entered his 40s, he was still sometimes playing his heart inside out to audiences of three, or even one. Henry Kaiser related an incident in … [Read more...]

A Conversation with John Duncan

This interview is the Second Part of a two part post that reviews the work of John Duncan                    Part One: A Conversation with John Duncan: Prologue – Aram Yardumian: You have several times said you were primarily interested in finding ways to tap into the ‘inner self’ and to ‘wake up’. What is the ‘inner self’? Or rather, in what terms do you come to this concept? And what is it to ‘wake up’—do you mean this physiologically, mentally, metaphorically? John Duncan: Interesting question. What is the ‘inner self’? There is a moment in out-of-body experiences when you are aware of the physical body, the ‘self’ that perceives it from a certain distance – and another ‘self’ that perceives both from another distance. That … [Read more...]

A Conversation with John Duncan: Prologue

It was Nietzsche who predicted the arts and sciences would merge into a single practice capable of opening new vistas to the world. The techne of science and the raw Dionysian energy of art together would render obsolete both theology—that caked residue under the toilet bowl of metaphysics—and the equally tendentious religiosity of Positivism. Whether Nietzsche envisioned specific technologies adapted by one and made suitable for the other, or more generally a reinforced mindset we cannot say. After all, art and science, from Euclid to Catherine Wagner, have always reacted with each other to produce a permanent art. Perhaps he meant a form of rational empiricism forged not by observation but by actualization. The elasticity of the aesthetic … [Read more...]

Poems From A Not Too Distant Shore

Mustapha Skandrani’s Istikhbars and Improvisations LP or CD. EM Records (EM1096), Japan. 2012. also released as Musique Classique Algérienne – Stikhbar. Pathé Marconi (STX 202), France. 1965. – Far from the cultural barrier we often imagine it to be, the Mediterranean is and remains a conductant to the life and practices teeming at its edges. Countless fishermen, sailors, merchants, criminals, pirates, soldiers, and refugees have charted the waters, bringing with them the trappings of their homeworlds. Movement, it seems, is more the rule than the exception in human history. Could water hold and replay sounds that verberate across it, so many mysteries of its deep past would be revealed. Whence came the Minoans, the … [Read more...]

Forensic Epistemology

Believing Is Seeing (Observations on the Mysteries of Photography), by Errol Morris, (2011) The question of knowledge and what can be known is as old as literature itself. Even before the concepts of physos and kosmos [1], observations of pattern in the natural world were hatching in Babylonian omens and Sumerian riddles. Western philosophy has incubated these questions ever since, but their growth has been bounded by the problems of studying our perceptive organs with our perceptive organs. The problem of the reliability of perception and how we approximate the welt extends the epistemological current into the hearts of jurisprudence, aesthetics, semiotics, and even physics, deepening their lines and muddying their waters. Thankfully, … [Read more...]

A Gentleman’s War

An Interview with Faroese Musician Goodiepal, Part 2 – Aram Yardumian: What was the real story surrounding the Key2Sound incident? Goodiepal: The real story was that Key2Sound was a company called Koblo back in the day. They designed Vipra 9000, which was a very successful piece of music software. That one was programmed by my childhood friend Emil, whose brother Max developed the Key2Sound synthesizer. They called me up for assistance in hardware design so I worked on that for a number of years. When Koblo closed down and laid off the employees, no one could get customer support. They were still selling the software by mail but people couldn’t get the authorization code! So I hacked their support email and started a free hotline … [Read more...]

Goodiebags

An Interview with Faroese Musician Goodiepal, Part 1 – Long lectures at American universities on non-human intelligence and mirror points in music; Danish television demonstrations of a model solar system with tonal-valued planets designed to expose the poetic/scientific disjunction of 2D/3D space; classes on Eurobot mythology, complete with whistled discourse; a wind-up mechanical bird in a bell jar; an arrest warrant for the theft of a Eventide H8000 from the Århus Conservatory, from which he had been recently dismissed as a lecturer; some sixty record and CD releases with themes ranging from Skanderborg plate cutters to “how to reinstate the notion of utopia back into electronic music”; and a handlebar mustache. Personally, I … [Read more...]