Wednesday, December 28, 2011

ZINE REVIEW

Mirror of Mauve Arcs
by Mark Billings,
GAIT Publishing

The subtitle of this zine is "a guidebook for unlocking Earth's Unknown History" and seems to identify as a work to be filed under "Alchemy/Time travel/Meta-history/Anthropology". So already, this looks to be a pretty ambitious undertaking. 
Is it successful? I'm not sure.
I'm pretty certain that these writings aren't intended as a "how-to guide." Rather, it may be that the actual reading of them is intended to open up areas of consciousness in one's mind that allow the aforementioned nifty mystical things to happen.
But does it work? Again: I don't know.
back cover
I do know that this small zine of seemingly-connected short stories doesn't lend itself to "skimming," or half-conscious reading. I had to put some serious effort into this. The writings are divided into "partitions," and the first several read like outsider poetry; perhaps a creation myth filtered disjointedly from raw experience right into English. There's an extreme economy of syntax, some of which may be experimenting with the use of E-Prime language. There are also many things that seem like misspellings or poor grammar that actually evoke other meanings when considered carefully. New words pop up throughout ("It was in a simulgramatic form"). I thought a reference to "daaley incense" was a misspelling until I encountered other references to "daaley leaves" & such, but still never determined what it was about. Other words, like spurynayil, tendlnsc and frinaly are anyone's guess.
Later in the book, the narrative & dialogue becomes more coherent, though the connection between stories remains obscured. Perhaps that's the most important part of this work; that which is implied by its absence. The final story ends abruptly, as if the last sentence were cut off or a page were missing. And as with so much about these writings, I'm not sure if this is intentional- but I think so.
It could be a slow-burn sort of magic. I'd like to pull these writings out 20 years from now & see how they affect me then.

Reading this, I kept thinking of experiences people report from taking DMT. There's lots of lush symbolic imagery, seemingly shamanic in nature, that seems to be coming from a similar place as Castenada's Don Juan stories, though the language is far more distilled in the zine. The visual language of Jodorowsky's mystical films might also be a good comparison.
Visually, the zine itself is pretty austere. It's almost all text, of a fairly small and skinny font, which marks from dirty photocopiers can make more difficult to read. There are a few primitive drawings throughout, attempting to illustrate certain concepts in the stories. With these, it helps to keep in mind that nothing is merely decorative. The only color is two small overlapping blue & red dots placed at the center edge of each page, all of which are very unevenly cut. It made me think of a reference to 3D glasses. The only other clue I have to this is 2 lines from the zine itself:

"Turn this inside out. Blood is blue inside and red outside."
(under this were two triangles, one pointing up and another inversed.)

Like I said, nothing in this zine is merely decorative. It was when I started to realize the very focused, unadorned attempt to communicate with which Mark Billings created this zine that I began to get intrigued and drawn in by the work. It placed the zine into another category for me, beyond the "random psychedelic gobbledygook poetry" that I might have otherwise dismissed it as.
Well, that, and one other thing:
I am fortunate to actually know Mark from the various times he's lived in ABQ, organizing music events, meditation sessions & flea markets. A very gentle, friendly guy; a world traveller who also makes some great psychoactive guitar noise/drone under the moniker Yellow Crystal Star. "Dude seems like he's permanently on mushrooms" is the usual glib assessment people make, and Mark definitely seems like someone who's had a glimpse of some alien realities. Trying to communicate those experiences to people trapped in the mundane, 3-dimensional world has got to be frustrating, though. I know I've had a couple of perplexing conversations with him. I respect the hell out of any attempt to communicate something beyond Consensus Reality, though. In fact, I think it's essential for our survival as a species. I don't know if Mark's really accessing the Akashic records, or if reading this zine will give you Time Travel skills, but I'm really glad it exists. If you're interested in checking out this zine yourself, contact gaitiag@yahoo.com. Price is negotiable, trades welcome, give what you can.
As Mirror of Mauve Arcs states at the beginning: "all text is fictitious and all text is nonfictitious and all text is possible".
Well said.
-DCat
My copy came with a really cool sticker.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Polyzylons & RIP Heather Russell

It's already been two months now since Heather Russell of Kansas City passed away at a young age, due to cancer. I wanted to post this as soon as I heard about it, but my ability to be emotionally articulate in print seems to be getting more difficult all the time. So here's what you get.
I knew Heather from the Iowa City music scene in the late 90s, and particularly from Polyzylons, the band she was in with (then boyfriend, later husband) Bill Cave, another friend of mine. I never knew Natalie, the other bandmate, that well.
Polyzylons were a revelation to me. It was the first time I ever felt like I could contribute to the local music scene by turning people on to something they wouldn't otherwise pay attention to. Most of my friends were townie metalheads & wierdos, into noise rock like Pussy Galore, Chrome, and stuff on AmRep, or else far-out chaos like Caroliner & Borbetomagus. Heather, on the other hand, was responsible for turning pretty much everyone in my circle on to Stereolab. I became a fervent Polyzylons promoter, hyping their shows to everyone I knew and playing them a lot on the pirate station I was involved with (ICFR- Iowa City Free Radio). It's probably delusional, but I'd like to think that I helped them gain some momentum in IC, at least. I don't believe they ever played anywhere else.
I think Polyzylons may have gotten together due to everyone working at the local Public Access TV (PATV) station. Musically, it's just incredibly delicate, haunting stuff, seemingly outside of any time frame. It holds up for me now just as much as it did then. In fact, I had melodies from this recording stuck in my head for weeks after pulling it out of storage & hearing it again after so many years.
I burned this straight off the cassette, and may not have the right breaks for each song. In fact, there's 3 or 4 songs that definitely got lumped together in the same track because I didn't want to chance making abrupt cuts. Everything's in the .zip file, link to be found at the bottom of this post. And yes, the furry blue feather in the scan was also included in my cassette. Hope you enjoy it.
-DCat












RIP Heather

Saturday, September 3, 2011

ACE IN THE HOLE

Hey! I wanted whoever still pays attention to this blog to know about a side project of RF Nihilon- www.nmbands.com. It mostly focuses on upcoming music events in the ABQ/Santa Fe area, but now also has a page devoted to the latest "Ear to the Underground" compilation, featuring all-local bands that played live on KUNM's Music to Soothe the Savage Beast show.
You may recall the first compilation, posted on this blog many months ago.

There's also a link to download the latest comp. for free, right here: 
 http://www.mediafire.com/?3xfexxd7il63h2t 
The actual page, with all the info & other goodies, is here:
http://nmbands.com/Ear_to_the_Underground
The compilation is called "Ace in the Hole"
Hope you enjoy it!
DCat

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Mayday Outdoor "Cult" films!

Sun. May 1-  Pagans & Satanists!
Time for Mayday movies! My first thought was to show some uplifting worker’s doc like The Take, something about the anarchist history of Mayday like Sacco & Vanzetti, or even Harlan County, USA. But dammit, it’s just too hard to compete with female nudity & occult ritual when it comes to the midnight movies format. So instead of “Dump the bosses off your back,” it’s “Fuck you, patriarchal sky god!”
Well…sort of. Satanists are still pigs, if often quite stylish ones.

The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973) - Paganism baits & triumphs over Christian oppressors in this researched & thoughtful “historical horror” classic. It’s also a nice variant on the glut of anti-Christian (& particularly anti-Catholic) films besieging Establishment Religion in the 70’s. Starring (in a slight deviation from typecast) Christopher Lee, Edward Woodward & a bare-ass nekkid Britt Ekland!
No one shall be allowed to mention Nicholas Cage’s name during this screening.


To the Devil, a Daughter (Peter Sykes, 1976) - Hammer’s final horror film isn’t one of their best, but it’s well made and looks great. The plot involves a Satanic convent/coven/cult and the teenage girl they plan to make the Devil's earthly incarnation. Definitely an aesthetic pleasure over an intellectual one, which is perfect if you’re as altered as you should be by the time we watch this. Starring (of course) Christopher Lee, Richard Widmark & a bare-ass nekkid Natassja Kinski
@ The Cornell compound, BBQing & hangout begins early afternoon, BYOWhateva.
Wicker Man starts 8:30pm. Obviously it has to be outdoors and obviously there’s gonna be a fire.

DCat

Friday, April 8, 2011

W. Texas DIY: Age of Giants & Steven Drew Poeling

These recordings are from video that Brad Ivens shot of DIY shows around 2002-2003.
The first is from Age of Giants, when they were on tour with Fukrot (pre- Roñoso) and playing the Rock'n'Roll Taco in El Paso, Mar. 16, 2002. Age of Giants was: Drake Hardin- gtr, "Big" Scott Williams- vox/trumpet, "Little" Scott Lunson- drums, & Alan George Ledergerber- bass. They were all W. Texas transplants to ABQ, and lived in a house on Buena Vista called (obviously) the Texas House, which also hosted lots of shows. Everybody in that band has continued to do amazing things in the music & art scenes, both in this town and around the world. Age of Giants might've been labeled "screamo" back then, when it wasn't such a bad word. Definitely, there was a lot of At the Drive In influence for these guys, having grown up so close to El Paso. But there was probably a good deal of The Cancer Conspiracy in there as well, and just good ol' DIY hardcore. The vocals are a bit buried, but that's just the way it was live. The sound quality on this is pretty damn good though. Many thanks to Mark Beyer for transferring this audio, and definitely look up other videos of Brad's at http://www.youtube.com/user/brianislands.
Track 2 is from a show at the Texas House on a beautiful summer night, August 10, 2002. Lubbock friends Steven Drew Poeling & partner Melanie Chaffin played a set of simple guitar & drums ditties; charming & whimsical and sublime. We've been trying to get them to come back here ever since.
I understand that this same house is now home to other ABQ musicians and partiers, most notably Adobe Homes. Good on ya kids, but it's always gonna be the Texas house to me. This is one of my best memories of the place.
DCat

Have a soak in the nostalgia bath

 PS- anyone that remembers the song titles or other info for these sets, lemme know or post them in the comments.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

RIP Zoogz Rift, Goddammit!

The first time I tripped acid (ca. '89), I was at a friend's house and somebody put "The Island of Living Puke" on the turntable. It warped my brain forever. I've since stumbled across random recordings of his over the years, and it always manages to take me back to that place of serious twistedness.
Zoogz was a professional wrestler, painter, ranter, and extremely eclectic musician along the lines of Frank Zappa & Capt. Beefheart. He was also a voluminous mouthpiece for the weird and disenfranchised, and made me feel like there might actually be a community for freaks like myself.
He died peacefully on Tuesday, March 22 of complications due to diabetes, which he'd been fighting for over a decade.
Damn. I'm actually kinda sad about this. I don't think I want to write much more.
Wikipedia entry here
Short writeup here
Megapost of music here
I'll be doing a tribute to The Liquid Moamo on this Sunday's Overnight Freeform on KUNM 89.9FM, from 1-5am Monday morning. Tune in or listen to it in the 2-week archive.
DCat


Monday, March 28, 2011

Outdoor Movie Night this Thursday!

Thur. Mar. 31- Low budget, High concept Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Flicks:
The hippest ipod in town is splitting! One last chance to give Dylan hell before he moves to Portlandia and gets mauled by Critical Massholes.
Appropriately enough, we’ll be watching the 1979 made-for-PBS version of The Lathe of Heaven, a novel by lifelong PDX resident & brilliant scifi/fantasy author Ursula K. LeGuin. Made on a no-shoes budget, this film became the most requested & highly awarded show PBS ever created, and never mind the 2002 A&E remake. It’s heady stuff, about the nightmare of one man’s dreams literally becoming reality.
We’ll finish the night with eternal classic Space is the Place, the only scifi B-movie/blaxploitation/music documentary/spiritual manifesto that I know of. Myth-scientists Sun Ra & his Intergalactic Solar Arkestra are the subject of this wild ride, and it’s got crazy jive, political intrigue, plenty of skin and out-of-this-world jazz like nothing else. Sun Ra didn’t approve of the “pimps n hos” sub-story and had about 20 mins. cut from the original (which is also worth watching for reference- check UNM’s Fine Arts Library for the Mystic Fire VHS salvaged from Alphaville), but we’ve got the director’s cut here.

@ The Cornell compound, BBQ grill available, firewood also welcome.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ear to the Underground vol. 1

This is the original "Caterwaul Sessions" compilation put together in 2005, of excerpts from performances by local bands that played live on KUNM's "Music to Soothe the Savage Beast" show, for which I'm an alternating host. (Vol. 2 now availble at http://nmbands.com/Ear_to_the_Underground !!)
Included in this post are scans of the artwork & other inserts, including all the clever things I wrote about each band and the sessions they came from. Oh well. I forgot to include them in the .zip file so you'll just have to look at them here. These were painstakingly handmade and placed into several hundred scavenged jewel cases over the course of about 5 years, which is how long it took to get rid of 1000 discs. Classic beginner's mistake: getting a thousand because the price per disc is so much cheaper, then realizing there's a very limited market for them.



 
other notes to be added as I remember stuff.

DCat

Lucrate Milk


Some good info on these Frog freaks at WFMU's Beware of the Blog

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dutch Treats: The 'Suck It' Sessions

What to say about John 'Uncle Sloppy' Freeman and the 'Suck It Sessions'...
In Denton, TX circa '96 or '7, there were few greater rock n roll forces than the ubiquitous John Freeman. The roster of bands that he has fronted is immense. We could begin with the art rock supergroup Dooms UK, which was spearheaded with accordion wizard Corn Mo (http://cornmo.com/), who fronts .357 Lover and is a whole other story. The genres of his bands spanned faux-German new wave in Telethön to shock-based motopunk in the group Meat Helmets. The first incarnation of the former found Freeman in a white lab coat presenting songs such as 'There is a Man Made Virus Loose in Sector 9' played on various lo-fi casios. All songs lovingly done in full character, complete with German articulation. Uncle Sloppy also fronted the Meat Helmets, which was a nutzo artpunk outfit where all members (including both bass guitars) delivered mock bone-crushing anthems such as 'Everyone is Going to Die' and 'I Jack Off on You', decked out in motorcycle crash helmets adorned with ground beef.
Which brings us to the Dutch Treats. On any given night of the week in the late 90s you might find John doing some variation of this solo project in any number of the dank Denton venues at the time. He was fucking relentless! He was a one man rock n roll army 'just following orders' from the arena rock show going on in his head. He's the only performer I ever recall to use impromtu vomiting as a riff onstage during a guitar solo. Luckily it was on the short-lived outdoor stage at the Argo, but he came right back to the mike to finish 'The Tree Will Grow, Where the Giant Blew His Load', to receive a standing ovation from all ten of us sitting on the lawn at the time. Anyway, he's still around so I'm going to stop talking about him like he's dead or something. He's a man of many talents - his comics are fucking hilarious and I implore you to browse the list of 1,500 or so bands that he has names for, but has yet to start. Visit http://www.sloppyworld.com/.
The 'Suck It Sessions' features some of John's most fundamental song subjects and seeming obsessions - among these, we find drugs, Little People in their many forms and fashions, hermaphrodite porn and various prurient sex practices, 80's sitcom child (and otherwise short statured) actors, and something else important that I know I'm forgetting. This album also features several entirely gutted and reworked covers by George Michael, Bette Midler, Prince and even Juice Newton. Freeman loves his 80's culture, but I assure you these transmutations are just as powerful, endearing and insulting now as they were back then. Being a musician of prolific output, I believe this album (transferred from a lo-fi cassette) was recorded only in a day, but I could be wrong about that. His music enjoys quivering and sometimes squealing, high pitched, vocal stylings, an open E guitar tuning and really wrong headed humor. For comparison he's the degenerate lo-fi little brother of Geza-X.
-fredricksbrooke

Dutch Treats - sounds disgusting, but is completely delicious.
Bon Apetit!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Public Elected Official

public elected official - "an inscrutable gesture"

I found this CD in the Mystery Media Free(k) Box* a few years ago, and it is still a favorite local find of mine. I looked up p.e.o. on myspace and commented to that effect, and about having played it on the radio a few times. I got an appropriately inscrutable response (“Thank you kindly”), which added to the intrigue. The cover, above, is a color photocopy folded into the CD case.

The sounds are very electronic. It's often hypnotic, occasionally harsh &/or squelchy noise, and packed to the gills at
79:25 TRT. It's likely a one-person endeavor, but any speculation is pointless as the project has an aesthetic that nearly erases affect- there's almost nothing to go on by way of voice, gender, opinion, or even personality. It's a bit cold in that respect, but I like it. The imagery to be found on p.e.o.'s page confirms that vibe:


I recently asked The Official about posting the music on RF Nihilon, and got this response:

There is no copyright on any p.e.o. stuff. It is for anyone who wants it. Use & or abuse as you see fit & many thanks for your respectful inquiries. Good day to you.

And a good day to you!

DCat

* The Free(k) Media Box is a recycled newspaper dispenser in the alley between the 200-blocks of Cornell & Stanford Ave. SE in the UNM area of Albuquerque, chained up to a powerline pole.
This means that the alley containing the Freek Box is PARALLEL to Cornell & Stanford, and can be accessed from Silver or Lead.
Inside, one may find (or leave) a wealth of oddball media- books, zines, outdated computer media, stickers, propaganda, all manner of audio/video formats, flyers for upcoming events or material for your next collage.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Radio Ragazza!

From the 1983 feminist sci-fi Born in Flames, theme song by The (pre-cease & desist letter) Red Crayola, with Lora Logic on vox. Kicks your ass!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

the name...?

PLAY THIS LOUD WITH THE BASS CRANKED


TRAVELS IN NIHILON by XTC
from "The Black Sea"

You've learnt no lessons
all that time so cheaply spent
there's no youth culture
only masks they let you rent

Chorus:
Travels, travels in Nihilon
we've seen, no Jesus come and gone

Fashion, their vampire
drapes itself across your back
as you fall from style
it waits rebirth on its rack

Building your whimsy
hypnotising you to need
dance goes full circle
one step ahead of your greed

You've learnt no lessons
all those years to get it right
flashes of promise
burn out faster than strobe light

SOUNDWAR


This here's an old piece of writing, originally intended for publication in Clip Tart #6, which was eventually released in a more limited form as a split zine with ABQ Lost #2. I ended up putting this in You can't comprehend THE FUN!, a zine celebrating the 2010 Southwest by No Fest in ABQ, mostly for filler but also to establish the music-geek vibe in a serious way. 
I may someday finish hyperlinking all the bands & albums listed here, but it's gonna take a while.
Plenty to argue with in this article, no doubt. Have fun!
DCat

SOUNDWAR
Sound is one of the most important things in my life. The sonic environment where I live often feels as palpable as its physical structure. Not that there’s anything particularly unique about it. I have mostly oblivious neighbors. There’s the usual foot & car traffic for a collegetown area, with occasional loud music and partiers. There’s a constant background of emergency & police sirens, seemingly scheduled to start at 6 a.m. every morning. Weekly fireworks and bellowing of announcers from the nearby stadium are the norm. Trash & recycling pickup is always jarring, as is the occasional car alarm and bass hooptie. Then there’s the regular buzzing of news, hospital & police helicopters. Jets scream overhead, and ominous, never-explained sounds emanate from the Air Force base. One encounters TV noise or shitty music in nearly every public space, from the bar to the post office to the emergency dental clinic to the grocery store & fastfood joints. At work there’s constant machine noise, interspersed with grandstanding conversation and annoying "ringtones." In summer, the neighborhood ice cream truck trawls by several times a day, bleating out the same 30 second jingle over & over. And at night, the silence is so complete it’s eerie. I’m very on guard around my apartment building, with one ear out for disturbing noises from fights, theft or cops. It makes me somewhat jumpy, and I often have trouble getting to and staying asleep.
I’ve always been sensitive to ambient sound, and several friends have noted how easily aggravated I am by sirens, barking dogs and the like. Something about the "brute stupidity" of the source really gets to me- aggressive, unalterable repetition for the sake of repetition. I find I need to program my own sounds almost constantly. Not so much to drown out all else, but to feel like “my space” is truly mine- that I can choose my environment to some degree. I know many others who feel the same way.
There was an older guy that used to live in the apartment above where I work. I understood that he was a Veteran of some sort, had PTSD issues & a history of addiction and alcoholism that he'd been struggling with a long time. He’d been clean & sober for a decade or so. He was serious, soft-spoken, and made a point of helping out the permanent homeless characters in the neighborhood however he could. He did yoga daily out on his porch balcony, and often burned lots of sage in his apt. He also got really anxious about punk shows I hosted at the meeting hall across the street, and would complain a lot about disruption and drinking in the parking lot. Frustrating as that was, I felt like I could understand where he was coming from, and tried to interact respectfully with him.
His worst trait though, was BLASTING the most generic "60's music" from his stereo EVERY SINGLE DAY. He had a really limited repetoire too; almost comically so- I think he actually had the KTel "Freedom Rock" compilation, a few Beatles & Dylan & Joni Mitchell albums, and not much else. I went through endless cycles of amusement, annoyance, sarcastic commentary, stupefaction, violent fantasies and back again as he continued to broadcast this hit parade of nostalgic schmaltz throughout the neighborhood. It was obviously an important ritual, possibly even necessary for keeping him on an even keel. I think it was his way of maintaining equilibrium in the face of personal demons and external attacks. But goddamn, there are certain "classics" I'll never be able to hear again without feeling intense disgust, thanks to him. It reminds me of the almost murderous rage I get when I hear most Christmas music. One person’s comfort music is definitely another's psychic assault, and environmental factors often play a big part in the difference. However, the urge to use sound and repetition to protect one’s psychic integrity is universal. Sometimes this urge surfaces unconsciously. I sent my artist friend Jason a draft of this essay, and he wrote back:
"Yesterday, I needed to go to Walmart to get our supplies (for upcoming relatives in town--Ursula has a ballet recital (!!!)). The second I turned into the parking lot, the Dead Kennedys’ ‘Let's Lynch the Landlord’ popped into my head and would not let go for the entire time I was there. Now, Walmart is never a fun place to have to go, but at a certain economic bracket in Las Cruces it seems almost inevitable. My brain took over."
Music is one of the best & simplest tools I know of to undermine negative environments. It’s highly personalized, has a repetitious nature that can break up imposed patterns, and is more readily available than most other media. I’ve found what works best for me are usually recordings that I've listened to for many years, and pretty much know by heart. Stuff that doesn't let my mind wander to topics of pain and self-hatred, but keeps me centered on how great this music is and how great I feel hearing it. Currently, a lot of what I listen to on a daily basis is pretty “far out” - free jazz, noise, electroacoustic stuff. It opens my mind up to new worlds of feeling and understanding. But when I need to bring it all back home, I usually stick with what’s always worked. Instead of a Top Ten list, here’s “The Odd Recommendation” of recordings I use to keep myself even.

Monday, February 28, 2011

HO...LEEE FUUUUCK.

HO...LEEE FUUUUCK.

The Anti-Joanna Newsom!