28.2.09

NO!!!!! I MISSED THE NECKS!!!

My favourite Australian band played in Vancouver last Saturday and I had no idea! I totally slept on it and now I am kicking myself, hard. I have never felt so disappointed in missing a show as I do right now. Holy Fuck. Maybe if I drink enough I can forget that I even came about this information, just erase it from memory. I've fantasized about what it would be like seeing these guys in all there free wheelin' jazzed-up hypnotic extended jam glory, and I blew it, fuck.

I'll post some of there stuff soon, it's mind blowing.

Did anyone attend? tell me about it, any photos, audio, stories, a papertowel taken from the venue's bathroom, anything please.

Official Website

25.2.09

The Esoteric Soundscapes Project; Part One

In an attempt to document my liking for field recordings and found sound, and as a way to write more about released field work by some of my favourite artists, I've decided to introduce this monthly featurette to the Scrapyard Forecast. It will consist of a recording done by myself out in the field somewhere in the Greater Vancouver Area accompanied by pictures and audio. To conclude each post I will juxtapose a track by another artist who's recording shares at least one similar characteristic to my own. Therefore, my piece acts as sort of a gateway into their sound world. This is also a way for me to hunt out and explore the untouched corners of Vancouver's tucked away neighbourhoods and back alleys and will enable me to document all the amazing sounds that this city has to offer; sounds that seem to easily fall into the background of most people's conscious minds... and I'm bound to find some scrapyard gems along the way.

The Esoteric Soundscapes Project: Undulating Current 25.02.09



At the intersection of Quebec Street and Union there is an electrical power grid that takes up half a square city block. These grids are always an epicenter for sonic activity, as the current flows, so does the drone. Unfortunately it's impossible to get really close to the equipment because most of these places are securely sealed off from the public for obvious reasons. I definitely wouldn't want to get too close to all that wattage. Sometimes though, you can get close enough so that the sound spewing from the grid overpowers all the other sounds in the area. This is also known as 'perpetual drone bliss.'

As I was circling the premises I discovered a fenced off room in an adjacent alleyway. The beast of electrical machinery found within churned out a thick wall of electric buzz that was so soothing and meditative, I had no choice but to capture it and expose it to ears of the people (That's you). Because it was captured in the early afternoon in a somewhat busy area you can make out the sounds of passing cars, ambulances in the distance, footsteps, honking horns, squawking seagulls, and my occasional exhale. All of these sounds seemed to oddly blend together weaving in and out of the mix as the electrons buzzed onward. I eventually discovered a technique of slowly raising and lowering the recording device to create a subtle oscillating swell, giving the recording an added organic quality, clocking in at just over 10 minutes in length.




As the first accompanying piece I decided to use a recording by the Japanese Sound Artist Toshiya Tsunoda, who has been releasing his field recordings, sound collages and sine wave experiments since the mid nineties. The second track of his 2005 release entitled 'Ridge of Undulation' called Seashore, Venice Beach_31Jul01 is a fine example of the man's work. Although our sources of sound are dissimilar (his being crashing waves and mine being electric buzz), the Tsunoda piece perfectly exemplifies the use of the fluctuational swell as a compositional element in field recording. As to whether or not Tsunoda achieved this through physically moving the microphone I cannot say for sure. The piece is about 3 and a half minutes long.



Seashore, Venice Beach_31Jul01


I would really like to have audio streams rather than downloads for these particular posts, so that people who are vaguely interested don't have to go through the cumbersome download process, but I can't seem to get it working for my blog. Would someone who has had success in this please help me out? I would really appreciate it. Hopefully by next months dose this will all be straightened out. As for now, those that are interested download it!

20.2.09

Zbigniew Karkowski & Atsuko Nojiri + THE RITA ...LIVE

If you have even the slightest interest in noise you better be at this show. Here's the info copied and pasted straight from The Western Front's web page. See you all out there...

The Western Front
February 27, 2009 8PM
admission: $14 door / $12 advance / $10 Members/Students
  • Zbigniew Karkowski

Zbigniew Karkowski (electronics)
& Atsuko Nojiri (video)

Renown Tokyo-based master sound manipulator Zbigniew Karkowski and Japanese video artist Atsuko Nojiri present an evening of audacious multimedia collaboration. Karkowski’s relentless attention to detail to the reworking and processing of a collection of original acoustic instrument recordings is integrally and seamlessly paired with Nojiri’s visual interpretations.

Zbigniew Karkowski has studied with composers Iannis Xenakis, Pierre Boulez, Olivier Messiaen, and Georges Aperghis and has produced numerous works in the fields of both acoustic and electronic music including chamber works, pieces for large orchestra and opera. He is also a founding member of the electroacoustic music performance trio Sensorband and has worked with notable underground icons, Francisco Lopez, Daniel Menche and Hafler Trio.

An argument for the indivisibility of sound and vision, or the emergence of a new aesthetic medium? Quite evidently, the answer is both. – Asphodel Records (on Continuity the DVD/CD release by Karkowski and Nojiri)


opening set: THE RITA

Sam McKinlay’s sound art project THE RITA has built a reputation as one of the leaders of the harsh noise genre with visceral, dynamic live performances and an equally abrasive growing discography. He has toured throughout North America and Japan utilizing custom-built analog electronic equipment. His performances connect the immediacy and corporeal power of extreme frequencies, textures and volumes with a performative sensibility that reveals a towering monument to the vehement power of abstracted sound.

AND...

Workshop with Zbigniew Karkowski at VIVO
Sunday March 1st 6-9PM
1965 Main Street
FREE ADMISSION
Presented by Education at VIVO Media Arts Centre and the CRES Media Arts Committee
http://vivomediaarts.com

(Taken from The Western Front Website. NOT the Words of The Scrapyard Forecast)

17.2.09

Brian Eno 'Thursday Afternoon' (Polydor/Virgin, 1985 [This reissue 2005]) Vs. Jonathan Coleclough 'Period' (Anomalous, 2001)

Whether you know him as the keyboardist of glam rockers Roxy Music or as the "Father of Ambient Music" most of you are probably familiar with the name Brian Eno. So, I won't go into too much detail as to the impact this man had on the shape of music, 'cause we all know it was pretty huge.

Jonathan Coleclough on the other hand is a man who, despite his impressive back log, is scarcely known outside of drone nerd communities (As if those exist). His "Sumac" album in collaboration with Andrew chalk is probably the most important drone document ever (In my books anyway. And I promise to re-post that album with a proper review later this month, as I was really drunk when I originally posted it, which is quite obvious by the "review").

I decided to post these together as sort of a compare and contrast as these are both long, sparse piano works that are sonically similar in terms of timing and overall structure. They are also both absolutely brilliant.

Thursday Afternoon-
1985
Much like Eno's 1975 masterpiece "Discreet Music," this album acts as a simple yet ever shifting sound scape made possible by phasing individual tracks of acoustic piano and electronically sequenced textures. Thus "the whole piece becomes an unfolding display of unique sonic clusters" (C.S.J. BOFOP taken from album linear notes). Over it's 61 minute duration the listener is lulled by the peppered piano and delicate underlying textures, yet it's phased in such a way that it never falls victim to stagnancy when listened too attentively, but can also provide a non-intrusive atmosphere for your grandparent's dinner party.

It's quite easy to get lost in this album, and then it's suddenly over and you can't believe that a whole hour has gone by. The overall mood is very light/gauzy/ethereal/dream-like, which is the most apparent distinguishing characteristic between "Thursday Afternoon" and "Period". I particularly like the long segments when the piano fades away and all that's left are the vibrating electrons spewing out that dreamy ambient drift.

Thursday Afternoon was originally a video dating back a year before the cd release in 85. It is similar to the album in terms of it's pace and slow shift. Eno described the work as "seven Video Paintings" of Photographer and long-time friend Christine Alicino. The video was made up of a number of effected slow moving images that were presented in vertical format, making it necessary for people to turn their televisions on their side to view it properly. As you can imagine this caused some headaches.

It's also considered the first work prepared specifically for compact disc (cutting edge technology at the time), as it's very quiet moments would have been lost amongst record crackle or tape hiss and it's shear duration would not have been suitable for any format other than cd. I'm not one to take the side of compact discs in a "which is the best music format?" argument, as I prefer cassette and vinyl, but I always make a point of bringing up the Thursday Afternoon complex.


Period - 2001/2
Like Sumac, Period was originally released and intended for a single side of a record, clocking in at a mere 17 minutes in length. In 2002 the 50 minute cd version was released with a 17:39 accompanying remix by Colin Potter titled "Periodic," sounding more like a total reworking than a remix as you can't really distinguish the Bluthner piano that Coleclough handles so gingerly on the original. Incredible none the less. There is also a 2cd version with the second disc containing a reworking of the material by both Coleclough and Potter. I Still haven't heard it though and if anyone has it and wants to send it my way that would be much appreciated.

As I stated earlier the main difference in these two works is the mood. Period is much darker, speckled minor keys are plucked atop hushed low-end throbbing drones as if the piano notes simply ring on forever, giving the work a very organic quality. The Eno piece is very organic as well but the mood sets these sonically similar works on opposite sides of the spectrum. Try to play this at your Grandparents dinner party, I promise it won't go over well. I like to think that Coleclough didn't sequence anything on Period but actually sat behind a piano and played the entire piece, although I can't say for sure. Either way... so good. Now I'll shut up and let the music say the rest.



14.2.09

Organum "Tower of Silence" 12" (L.A.Y.L.A.H. Antirecords, 1985)

It's crazy to think that I've been posting on this blog for almost half a year now and have written so little about David Jackman and Organum. Whenever I listen to any of Jackman's work I am always left inspired to create, and it was through first understanding this 12" that I realized the musical potential of scrapmetal; that instantly recognizable sound, causing unfamiliars to cover their ears and run while the rest of us get lost in the perpetual beauty of recordings like these.

As is the case with most challenging music, it isn't something you can dive into head first. I'll admit that the first few times I tried to listen to an Organum album I felt nothing (hence the use of "understand" above), although ever since discovering the project I was intrigued by the aesthetic of the early album covers and the enigmatic nature of Jackman's responses in rare interviews. So, I left the project on the back burner with the intention of rediscovering it one day.

I've always had an associative memory for music, I'll often remember family trips and different moments of my life by the music that was playing. Such is the case with this album, which, unfortunately I first heard through shitty ipod headphones. None the less, the experience of aimlessly walking through a creepily sparse forest bordered by an industrial sector of a city about 200 miles from the Polish capital Warsaw while listening to "Tower of Silence" and "In Extremis" on endless repeat was, needless to say, one I'll remember.


At first I thought I would try to write a review that would attempt to encapsulate my meandering through the forest experience. Now I realize that it's pretty much impossible to sum it up into words, so I'll just tell you about the album and you can go experience it yourself.

First of all, there is a lot to know about David Jackman's endeavors. His discography is extensive to say the least. I might try to get into some of his early tape releases and his defunct Monoplane project, and maybe his one off collaborations on a future post. The problem being that most of his older material was released in editions of 20 or less, making them impossible to acquire. However, more Organum/Jackman posts to come, I promise. As for "Tower of Silence", it was the first 12" ep released by Jackman under the name Organum in 1985 in an edition of about 1000. It was never re-released on vinyl but was reissued by Robot Records on CD as part of "Volume One" along with the "In Extremis" LP. Tower of Silence is a good document of the Organum sound aside from the absence of Jackman's Japanese flute playing heard on other material around this time. The tracks are all very layered and thick and seem to churn forward relentlessly. And although noisy, Jackman seems intent on creating drone music... and this is very much drone music. The closer, 'Incarnate' is a favourite of mine, subdued metal scrapings, industrial clatter and idling engine drones all layered atop one another and seamlessly blended, finishing off an all too brief ep. For those of you who haven't broken the Organum seal yet, chew on "Tower of Silence" for a while, it is a perfect musical document.

David Jackman's incredible website at Brainwashed


10.2.09

Highlights from Little Mountain 02.07.09

A very successful evening of white noise bliss, scrapyard drone, violin experimentation and tape chants. Here are some photos courtesy of Steve Louie. If you've been to an 'indie' show in Vancouver in the last year you've probably seen this guy snapping away, getting right in the thick of it, guerrilla style. He definitely captured a few gems on this night even though the lighting didn't exactly make it easy. Check out Steve's photos here (He also has photos of the other performers from this night) Thanks for sending these my way Steve.

I want to thank Dan and Amir for manning some important metal pieces and helping to fill out the empress sound. For no rehearsal you guys killed it. Also, Kris Charlton, (Mr. Twee Death) you made this night possible, for that I thank you. And Sade Sade, Darwinsbitch and Greg Kowalsky all fantastic. I was honoured just to be around such illustrious company.

I am also pleased to announce that the recording input level problems of past performances was not a problem this time. I am very happy with how it turned out. Please listen and enjoy, download below...

empress
lms.02.07.09.

Here is a sketch detail of some of the metal used in the performance. Drawn by Adrian Sinclair. Thanks buddy.

Chain links with two loops.

metal 'bow' spear
flat metal sheet with ridged border

The next show that empress will be playing is...tomorrow at Fake Jazz and maybe something at the end of February at Vivo, but it's not for sure yet. Come out to the Cobalt and have a beer with me.

6.2.09

Barn Owl 'Raft of Serpents' cd-r (Root Strata, 2008), Elm 'Bxogonas' cd-r (Digitalis, 2008), Elm 'Woven into Light' cd-r (Blackest Rainbow, 2008)

Thought I would post some of these as pretty much anything Barn Owl related is flying off of record store shelves at an alarming rate. These three cd-rs are pretty limited, so if you missed out here is your chance to at least hear the stuff. I also got a chance to catch Barn Owl live at Hoko's when they came up here from the San Fran Bay area. Don't miss out if they're playing anywhere remotely near your town, trust me, seeing them live is a very physical experience.


Barn Owl 'Raft of Serpents' cd-r
(Root Strata)

Personally, the best thing about this cd-r is the exquisite packaging. Honestly, I think this is the most beautifully assembled cd-r I've ever seen: metallic gold ink printed on a thick tri-fold black card stock sleeve, letter pressed specs and a pro-printed cd-r wrapped in Mylar paper. Wow. As far as the music goes, this album is waaay too short, 6 songs and the whole thing clocks in at just under 18 minutes. When dabbling in drugged-out folk drone fuzz you'd better let the tracks expand and unravel over time, nothing worse than a premature fizzle of a track. Great moments though... you be the judge.


Elm 'Bxogonas' cd-r
(Digitalis)

Elm 'Woven into Light' cd-r
(Blackest Rainbow)


Elm is the solo project of Jon's (1/2 Barn Owl) and it is under this guise that he is really able to shine. All the doom-y fuzzed folk psych crawl that is the signature of the Barn Owl sound is here, but with what seems to be a more focused blending of musical parts resulting in massive walls of hypnotic drone. These tracks are like comets, they start off as a solitary ball of slow burning psych folk but eventually the weight of the drone submerges the elements and they're left to disintegrate into a thousand kilometer tail of drifting particles and absolute stillness. These are both really good but of course limited, 250 of 'Woven into Light' and 90(!) of 'Bxogonas'. Oh, and the other member of Barn Owl, Evan Caminiti, has another project called Higuma with a woman named Lisa McGee. Might also want to check that out.

Two places you might still find these releases,
Twee Death
Aquarius

4.2.09

Eric Cordier 'Breizhiselad' (Erewhon, 2006)


In the spirit of Belong's 'Colorless Record' 12" that was recommended to me by Mark (See Expressway to my Skull), I decided to post this release from the French Sculptor, Performer and Sound Engineer Eric Cordier. I had this on back order for over a year at Aquarius and it finally came in two weeks ago. The folks at mail order had to ask if I still wanted it, which, of course I did. I don't normally quote other blogs but here is a nice little description of the Belong sound and that very limited 12" release via The Expressway.

"The duo [take] the static fuzz of Fennesz and Tim Hecker and the dreamy swarm of Kevin Shield's guitar, and refine[] it into a warm morphine wash that envelope[s] the listener's skull. This follow up takes that sound and piles it atop 4 semi-obscure psych-pop songs from the late 60s." -
Mark R.


While 'Colorless Record' is an ambient wash atop four songs, 'Breizhiselad' although having a similar feel at times, is actually a complete reworking of an old 78 of traditional French music from the Brittany region. Apparently, Cordier found this record "...to be horrible- but a work of genius. Horrible because of the catechism-like vocal arrangements but a work of genious in terms of the beauty of the melody and the conviction of the singers." (Linear notes by Cordier) With this said, he then extracted segments of this scuffed and battered record then looped and morphed them into extended soundscapes of electroacoustic bliss. The opening minutes introduce a choppy and tactile sound world but then slowly the music gains steam and smooths out weaving amongst field recordings of footsteps on a gravel path, reminding me of Loren Chasse's 'Footpath' series. Hauntingly dark and a very meditative listen.

Breizhiselad
(Link removed as per request from the artist)