Documentary about the 1980s SoCal underground art happenings with Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, etc.

In the 1980s, Stuart Swezey was at the epicenter of Southern California's underground culture. The co-founder of Amok Books, Swezey was also known for organizing extreme industrial and avant-garde outdoor happenings in remote locations like the Mojave Desert that featured performances by Sonic Youth, Einstürzende Neubauten, Survival Research Laboratories, Minutemen, and many other experimental and transgressive artists. Now, Swezey has made a documentary about those extreme experiences. Above is the trailer for Desolation Center.

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"Meet David," an unintentionally weird educational film clip from 1959

Context is everything, especially when it's missing.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Mesmerizing 1980s experimental Japanese film using video cut-ups to deconstruct architecture

In 1982, Japanese avant-garde filmmaker Toshio Matsumoto used video cut-up techniques to deconstruct a single residential building into a disorienting architectural puzzle. The short film is titled Shift (シフト 断層). Music by Yasuke Inagaki.

From a 1996 interview with Matsumoto:

We have to do more to irritate and disturb modes of perception, thinking, or feeling that have become automatized in this way. I did several kinds of experiments from the 1970s to the 1980s that de-automatized the visual field. But when image technology progresses such that you can make any kind of image, people become visually used to that. That's why there's not much left today with a fresh impact. In this way, the problem is that the interpretive structure of narrating, giving meaning to, or interpreting the world has become so thoroughly systematized that one cannot conceive of anything else that is largely untouched. We have to de-systematize that.

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

San Francisco: Kronos Quartet's Kronos Festival 2019, May 30 - June 1

San Francisco: It's time again for the always-outstanding annual Kronos Festival, several days of fantastic global and experimental music curated by the seminal avant/classical/global Kronos Quartet. Every Kronos Festival I've attended has turned me on to a spectrum of new sounds, artists, scenes, and regions. From KQED:

At SFJAZZ on June 1, singer-composer Hawa Kassé Mady Diabaté of Malian group Trio Da Kali performs her new Fifty for the Future piece inspired by tegere tulon, the impromptu hand-clapping songs and dances Malian girls create in the countryside. Ethnomusicologist Lucy Duran, who specializes in African music, will give a pre-show talk contextualizing Diabaté's performance.

On May 30, the quartet will also premiere a Fifty for the Future piece by Stanford professor Mark Applebaum, whose playful compositions have been known to include junk-as-instruments, non-musical players such as florists and even a piece for three conductors and no musicians. Plus, there's a new work Fifty for the Future work by Missy Mazzoli, a boundary-pushing rising star of the classical world and the Chicago Symphony's current composer-in-residence.

Also on May 30, Kronos Quartet pays homage to the work of left-wing historian Howard Zinn. Ethio-jazz singer-songwriter Meklit, cultural critic Rebecca Solnit, folk musician Lee Knight and poet/actor Michael Wayne Turner III will accompany the musicians with readings from works by Zinn and Martin Luther King, Jr. (Zinn's A People's History of the United States highlights how abolitionists, labor organizers, feminists, civil rights leaders and other dissenters shaped American history.) Meklit performs with Kronos once again on June 1.

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Watch Madonna, at age 16, star in a high-schooler's experimental film

In 1974, Wyn Cooper, one of Madonna's fellow students at Adams High School near Detroit, invited the 16-year-old pre-material girl to star in his experimental film. The Super 8 short is titled "The Egg." "We developed a friendship and hung out," Cooper, now a poet in Vermont, has said. "I had a Mercury Capri with an eight-track tape player. Madonna and I would hop in the car, drive around and listen to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars while enjoying a little marijuana." (via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Archival music collection from June Chikuma, composer of the "Bomberman" videogame soundtracks

June Chikuma is the Japanese composer behind the beloved soundtracks to Nintendo’s Bomberman series and countless other videogame, TV, and film scores. Now, Chikuma's 1986 album "Divertimento" has been expanded into a new edition titled Les Archives, available from the Freedom To Spend label. The vinyl edition of Les Archives also includes a limited 7" with tunes from the era that didn't make the original Divertimento release. The above video, "June Rebuilds," was directed by Amanda Kramer and features the track "Broadcast Profanity Delay" from Les Archives. From the release announcement:

While Freedom To Spend’s reinvented edition bares little visual evidence of its origins in the composer’s name, title, or sleeve design, the album, a whooping gonzo of synthesizers, samplers, drum machines, and a mysterious string quartet, remains as vibrant now as it did when released on Toru Hatano’s Picture Label as Divertimento in 1986. In fact, the music of Les Archives now glows with a different purpose; one that revises the past while maintaining, and finally elevating, its hidden influence.

A woman of multiple disciplines and identities, June Chikuma (竹間 淳, Chikuma Jun) has composed for TV, film, and video games over the past thirty plus years. Her proto-techno and drum and bass soundtracks for Nintendo’s Bomberman franchise in the 80s and 90s is an oeuvre unto itself. In more recent years her musical focus has turned toward classic Arabic and Egyptian music. Chikuma studies Arabic nay, playing and performing with Le Club Bachraf ensemble. In a melding of June’s contrasting, colorful worlds, Le Club Bachraf composed part of the original score for the 2007 video game Sonic and The Secret Rings.

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Mannheim Steamroller Christmas, a freaked-out ambient tape loop remix

Magnetic tape maestro Randall Taylor, aka Amulets, takes an old Mannheim Steamroller Christmas cassette in a totally different direction... a totally different dimension.

Just when you thought you were going to listen to some sweet christmas music it turns into a weird 7 minute ambient drone rework that no one wants to hear at your family/work/friendmas/holiday party! Give the gift of your obscure musical taste and Mannheim Steamroll your loved ones today!

GEAR USED: - Custom Tape Loops - Tascam Porta 02 - Library of Congress Tape Player - Memorex Walkman - Behringer Micromix - AC Noises AMA - Strymon Blue Sky

Support and follow Amulets on Patreon.

Previously: "Spectacular 'Ambient Walkman Symphony' and other tape-loop, circuit bent performances" Read the rest

Enchanting, dark, heavy Indonesian music blending traditional and experimental modes

Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryadi are Jogjakarta, Indonesia-based musicians melding the ancient, traditional sounds of their region with a very contemporary mode of heavy experimentalism. The duo, known as Senyawa, have just released a new album, Sujud, on the always-compelling Sublime Frequencies label, distributed by Forced Exposure. This is music that is best enjoyed at night, in the darkness, where the expansive, transgenre magick can wash over and through you. Listen below. From Sublime Frequencies:

The basic theme of the record can be summed up with one extremely powerful Bahasa Indonesian word, Tanah, which translates to "soil-ground-land-earth". Shabara's vocals are an expressive force, conjuring spirits from the soil with a deep humility and respect for the land and their existence in the universe. Suryadi has built a new guitar for these tracks and pushes the Senyawa sound into new territory, utilizing delay, loops, and other effects creating grounded backdrops of folk metal, punk attitudinal, and droning earthscapes - providing Shabara the perfect context to explore his whispering poetry and jagged, sharp-as-a-kris animistic powers.

Sujud by Senyawa

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Listen to this song about a Colombian mythical monster that inflates people into balloons

Matt Werth of record label RVNG Intl. asks: "Do you agree that a spoken word track about a mythical being sucking out the insides of someone and turning them into a skin balloon" is appropriate for Boing Boing?

Yes, Matt. Yes it is.

Please enjoy "Edge" by Colombian experimental musician Lucrecia Dalt from her forthcoming LP Anticlines.

Video by Charlotte Collin & Jonathan Martin. Read the rest

Enchanting mix of experimental, minimalist, and ambient cassette music

Brandon Hocura of the excellent Seance Centre record label mined his (and his friends') rare and vintage cassette archive to create this sublime guest mix for the Noise In My Head show on NTS Radio. Listen below, preferably with headphones. Turn on, tune in.

Noise In My Head W/ Brandon Hocura (Seance Centre)

Tracklist:

Claire Thomas & Susan Vezey - Bright Waves Pablo's Eye - Blind And Quiet Mo Boma - Jijimuge Two (Rebounders / Nanga Ningi) Robert Haigh - Andante (For Strings, Piano, Percussion) Sebastian Gandera - Chienne De Viel The Field Mice - Let's Kiss And Make Up Richard Truhlar - Portrait Of An Interview Hearn Gadbois - Gaht Mayh Moh8joh3 Woykihn John Celono - Instrument Flying Bruce Russell - Indigo Pool Joanne Forman - Codex Antonio Zepeda - Cuando Los Dioses Juegan A La Pelota Roberto Mazza - Artigli Arguti Peter Griggs - Fragments John Di Stefano - Nuage Philip Sanderson & Michael Denton - Maps (Love In A Cold Climate) Short Term Memory - Words Houari Benchenet - Katrouli El Mhaine Jack Charles - Traverse John J Lafia - Life Is Short Short Term Memory - Hysteria John Di Stefano - Culture Schlock Smith & Erickson - Blue Skies Tony Wells - End Collage Pauline Oliveros - Earth Ellen Zweig & Gregory Jones - Sensitive Bones

Previously: "Keyboard Fantasies: exquisite New Age music you've never heard" Read the rest

San Francisco: Kronos Quartet's Kronos Festival April 26-28

Kronos Quartet, my favorite avant-garde classical group, is holding its Kronos Festival 2018 at San Francisco's SF JAZZ Center next week, April 26-28. I've attended multiple Kronos Festivals and they are always wonderful performances, each one an enchanting introduction to global (and local) sounds that are wonderfully unfamiliar to me yet open my ears and mind to new artists and perspectives. This year, the festival features artist-in-residence David Coulter and guests San Francisco Girls Chorus, Vân-Ánh Võ, Zakir Hussain, Mahsa Vahdat, Trio Da Kali, Jolie Holland, and avant-folk duo CocoRosie!

Special note: The Saturday matinee concert, "Around the World with Kronos," is meant for families with children ages 3 and up!

Here's the full schedule: Kronos Festival 2018

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Thunder (1982): pulsing, strobing, semiotic cut-up short film

***PHOTOSENSITIVE SEIZURE WARNING***

"Thunder" (1982), a 16mm short directed by Japanese experimental filmmaker Takashi Ito, with sound by Yosuke Inagaki.

"Film is capable of presenting unrealistic world as a vivid reality and creating a strange space peculiar to the media," Ito said in a 1984 interview with Image Forum. "My major intention is to change the ordinary every day life scenes and draw the audience (myself) into a vortex of supernatural illusion by exercising the magic of films."

(via /r/ObscureMedia, thanks, UPSO!)

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Peter Tscherkassky's contemporary cut-up films

Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky makes compelling cut-up movies from "found" 16mm and 35mm footage and samples from other movies. All of the frames and clips are treated in the darkroom, without digital tools. For Outer Space (1999), seen above, Tscherkassky chopped up and decolorized bits from The Entity, a 1982 horror film starring Barbara Hershey. Read the rest

He Walked Among Granite Spires And Heard Celestial Music: short by Joaquin Baldwin

Filmmaker Joaquin Baldwin shares a beautiful new short film with us: composed from footage shot with the Sony HVR-Z5U at some of California's most beautiful wilderness sights.

The title "He Walked Among Granite Spires And Heard Celestial Music" came from a tombstone we found up on a graveyard on a hill north of Mono Lake, contemplated by a Saint Francis statue. It can seen in a few shots of the video. Sigur Rós' heavenly music fit perfectly with that image.

More at Joaquin's blog here, and here's a direct video (YouTube) link. The song is All Alright, by Sigur Rós. Read the rest

Electronic Literature Vol 2: experimental e-lit from around the globe

"Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2" is a just-published, Creative Commons licensed multiformat volume from the The Electronic Literature Organization. It comprises 63 works:

* Countries: Austria, Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, The Netherlands, Spain, UK, US

* Languages: Catalan, Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish

* Formats: Flash, Processing, Java, JavaScript, Inform, HTML, C++

You can get it packaged as a DVD. The Web-based version linked below is a little browser-unfriendly (mysterious icons without descriptors), but the projects themselves are pretty interesting!

Electronic Literature Collection Volume Two Read the rest