Sunday, August 26, 2007

little show review

last night I performed for the second time at Enemy in Chicago,IL.
As usual it was a pleasure to be invited. The show started with Terence Hannum creating a nice drone piece using his voice and a little wind blown piano (which I'm sure has a proper name).
I really enjoyed his piece and now I am very interested in hearing his other project Locrian.

You can hear what they do here.
I was next on the line-up and ended up be very happy with my set. I used recent manipulated field recordings of fire and water, mixed with resonant tones from my old synth. The people who came all seemed to enjoy it, so consider this one a success.
Mora was next. Since this was the first time these lads had played together for many years, I think it went well. Brent Gutzeit hammered (with a bow) away on a many stringed beast, made of piano wires.
Jason Soliday added the pain to this set with hard edged synth blasts. Philip Von Zweck tried his best to keep it all together, although I'm not sure which sounds he was adding.
Overall a nice night, fun to see so many friends.

This week will begin several pre-orders and an announcment of many new limited edition cdr's.
until mid-week
be seeing you

Friday, August 24, 2007

chicago show

sat. 08/25/2007
9pm | $5
@ enemy
1550 N. Milwaukee
Chicago, IL

--Mora (Chicago, IL)
laptops, nonlaptops, electronics, and acoustics from this trio of Jason Soliday, Philip Von Zweck, and Brent Gutzeit

--Mykel Boyd (Chicago, IL)
sweeping brain trepanation in slow motion; music for closed eyes and vivisectioned ears...

--Terence Hannum (Chicago, IL)
looping dub drones expanding in space and time using harmonicas, melodica, bass and voice in Terence's (locrian/unlucky atlas) first solo outing (

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Chicago July 6th

July 6th, damn tired, gear still in the van from the night before, I headed back to Chicago.
This time with a bottle of Crown Royal for Bryan. It was a birthday gift.
I arrived at Elastic Arts (my favorite venue to play at so far) and loaded in.
This show was a more casual one than the last few. A bunch of people who are into sound, playing for one another.
I had dinner with Francisco Lopez, Dana, Olivia Block, Alex, Eric Leonardson, Neil Jendon and his wife (sorry forget your name, and you were on the other end of the table) and Bryan.
I love the Chinese place under Elastic arts (probably why it's my favorite venue, I guess).
The show was fun, I took some photos below. I will leave you with Blake's review of the night, since he does it so much better than I do.
until later

Shattered Hymen kicked off the night kicking and screaming, like an army of radios on the fritz on a bad date with high tone desperation. Vadim toyed with the audience with some incredibly jagged high-tone stabs that yo-yo’d in and out of the mix, usually overrun by extremely abrasive digital screaming. Not one to just hold down 4 pedals and let them slowly twist your intestinal tract into a ribbon, though, there also were some nice moments that 1) sounded more like unprocessed field recordings swaying port and bow across the space and 2) were extremely crisp, so that although the sound was sparser the sound quality was still intense. That said, although Vadim probably could have stood to be even a bit louder (he noted some weirdness with the mixer levels), Shattered Hymen still satisfied, like a half dozen cheese graters dragged across your stomach.

Silvum stepped up with a nice quieter counterbalance; dirty oscillations and the delayed, echoic, shimmery moans of a cymbal being scraped. It was an extremely simple setup, but in a big way that helped make the set more of a “dedicated listening” piece; the audience was pretty much invited to be really quiet (which we were) so as to enjoy the subtle and slowly shifting changes in the oscillation tone (and its eq-ing) as well as the natural variance from the cymbal being rubbed in different patterns and with what I’m suspecting were variables with the processing. Although my initial thoughts on the set were a little more on the fence (i.e., I liked the idea of a quieter counterbalance to Vadim and forcing the audience to listen [as opposed to cover ears]), after letting it sink in and chatting with Nick later, I came to the conclusion outlined above. Of course, I still wonder how it would have played out had it been alarmingly loud, just a sheet of sound dragged over your face and blinding you...

I started out with an intentionally spectacularly cheesy synth version of “happy birthday”, made even more ridiculous by 1) emerson lake and palmer-esque fills and sweep / clip tweakage and 2) the fact that even though I ~marked~ the damn keys I still managed to mis-hit a few of the what, 8 notes in the song? Pure class, I tell ya.
Anyway, the frivolity slid away as I locked the last note of happy birthday, added some hard sweep and gristle and then brought in two no input distortion pedals pushing some really unpleasant high tone swarms and shifts. The high tones continued to sway and get under the skin for maybe 5 minutes and then I steered in a simple but heavy bass lurching from the synth that clipped in pretty nicely with the high tones, eventually building to such a level that they almost drowned them out. Other scraggly synth elements began swarming and overran the high tones and then shortwave confusion added another layer of high end pitch tweaking and ugly distortion blocks, depending on where the dial went. The set closed out with an ugly, dirty drone tone from the synth (that I didn’t exactly expect but really liked) that took about two minutes to completely decay.

Apparently, I was not to be the sole performer who threw folks with an unexpected intro; Mykel Boyd, who most folks know from the way he has beautifully mastered several flavors of drone (static sweepings to elaine radigue brightness) and the ability to weave and tweak said drones, started his set with a CD by Crooked, a south side rapper, for about 3 minutes. Nobody expected it and everybody got into it, so already out of the gate Mykel was off to a solid start. What followed Crooked was perhaps even better; as mentioned, he’s solid with incredibly complex drones—so instead he dug in with this abrasive, somewhat high-tone, loud chugging, like being stabbed with a dirty pitchfork made of serrated ice; it was a cold tone crunch that just split your head. Mykel proceeded into what for me was completely new live territory for him, delivering perhaps the noisiest and loudest set I’ve even heard him do. At times it was like we were trapped in an industrial recycling center with machines destroying machines in every corner of the space; other times I felt like I was in a spanish galleon made of steel with 45 people stabbing morse code into the side. Although we were treated to some grand bass tone sweeping, Mykel always kept a clip of chunked gristle to fire as necessary.

Birthday Boy Tholl also threw me for a loop, delivering a set sidestepping a lot of hallmarks of what I’ve seen before; the turntable didn’t have a prominent presence, there were no dramatic moment when he just punched everything and threw a kettle of distortion noise fireballs at us. Instead, he really pulled out long, invasive high tones—some dusted with shards of broken glass and some just blisteringly ear piercing, but a surprising amount of massaging the sound to keep it from being just high tone terror for the sake of it. Don’t get me wrong, there were some moments of unleashed distortion attacks, but for the most part the set seemed focused on really wrestling something from a smaller palette so as to explore (exploit?) that palette to it’s fullest. He also threw in a “cover” of sorts that may have been the high point of the set. I had mocked him earlier (for no real good reason) for having an ipod tucked among his gear, but he ended up playing the ditty from Silence of the Lambs (Goodbye Horses from Buffalo Bill’s mangina scene) and Bryan, although he didn’t dance mangina-style, did add his own noise contributions and it worked really, really well—reminded me of the Merzbow CD “Balance” which is Merzbow in one channel and this German pop woman (Ladybird) in the other and it’s absolutely magnificent, as was, really, Bryan’s “collaboration.”


Mykel Boyd

Shattered Hymen



Chicago July 5th

after a few weeks of downtime here is the rest of the story.
After returning home from Atlanta, I spent a couple of days in Kalamazoo, Mi. I (with family in tow) visited some beaches and one art museum. I did get to see the Lorna Simpson exhibit, I bought a signed copy of her book, making the trip worthwhile.
The morning of July 5th I headed to the airport to scoop up Francisco Lopez and his travel pal Dana. We made it traffic free to Enemy and prepared for the performance. Enemy was DAMN hot on this day (kinda knew this would happen). The show was opened by Jason Soliday who managed to tweak and screech his way to a 20 minute or so performance.
I performed next and was happy with my attempt to lull the crowd into some imaginary abyss. It was an odd performance for me, this was the first time I played at the back of the room with people facing away. This performance was recorded, but I need to see how it sounds to decide for sure if being in the back of the room was a good idea. Lopez went on next and despite his playing through a much smaller system than he is used to, easily took the prize for the night, moving sound all over the room. It was very nice to see so many people out, even nicer some of them purchased some c.d.s.
I took Francisco and Dana to the spot where they would sleep and headed back to Kankakee to prepare for the next nights event.
here are a few pics from the Lopez performance.
be seeing you