Drones, straight outta Tennessee. Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to be exact. That’s where Patrick Singleton and Frank Baugh hail from. Together, they go by the Old Rig, which may or may not refer to their collective interest in older synthesizers. In our current moment of laptop music, in which emulated synths are very much the norm, the simple fact that both Singleton and Baugh would choose to load up their Roland JP-8000 and Juno-6, respectively, is a point of distinction. Combine those tools with what they describe, loosely, as tape loops, effects, and “real instruments,” and you get a heady stew of murky dronescapes. The duo recorded a half-hour set recently for the always excellent Phoning It In podcast, for which musicians literally perform live on the radio (KDVS FM, which later makes the show available as an MP3) via the phone. The result is a dark, clanging journey through a reverberant metallic landscape — as if Richard Serra had designed a haunted house.
[audio:http://www.phoningitin.net/files/shows/KDVS/2009/The%20Old%20Rig%20%20-%20Phoning%20It%20In%2010_23_09.mp3|titles=”Live on KDVS October 23 2009″|artists=The Old Rig]
More details at phoningitin.net.
Michael Palace likens the sound of his nearly hour-long drone work, CuruÃ¡ Una, to “the slow loss and decay of the research station to the forest.” Palace, who records under the name Horchata, is referring to the almost reverential solitude of the piece, which was recently released on the Dark Winter netlabel (MP3). The track is a slowly swelling mass that suggests emotional burden as much as it does decay. It’s a heavy, leaden sound, rich with foundation-rattling depth and enlivened by occasional ringing tones, buried but not lost in the immersive audio. Palace reports that while some of the source material was recorded deep in the Amazon, that material has been subsequently subsumed by a healthy does of reverb, and is augmented further thanks to a host of synthesizers.
More details at darkwinter.com.
Tantalizing additional updates on the Throbbing Gristle / FM3 gadget Gristleism, a new handheld looping device that combines the utilitarian ingenuity of FM3’s famed Buddha Machine with music by Throbbing Gristle. Over at gristleism.com, a fantastic exploded view has been uploaded. It is clearly a tribute to the exploded view of the original Buddha Machines, which suggested that there was a little Buddha inside. In the Gristleism image, we can see an old-school microphone, the sort that Bing Crosby would have sung into, plus a TV screen, and a tape reel, and other objects:
There’s also a painted version of the exploded view:
And while we’re at it, also now available is the list of the 13 loops:
01 – “Persuasion”
02 – “Hamburger Lady”
03 – “Twenty Jazz Funk Greats”
04 – “Thank You Brian”
05 – “Maggot Death”
06 – “Rabbit Snare”
07 – “Lyre Liar”
08 – “Wimpy bar”
09 – “Sex String Theory”
10 – “Heathen Earth”
11 – “Industrial Intro”
12 – “R & D”
13 – “After After Cease to Exist”
More info at gristleism.com. Gristleism is available for pre-order now through various distributors, and is due for release in late November.
From the introduction to the new book In the Blink of an Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art by Seth Kim-Cohen:
The beginning is never the beginning. Before 1948, there was 1947, and so on. Nevertheless, thought finds it useful to indicate “here” or “there,” “now” or “then.” The thinking of this book accordingly begins in 1948 in three different places: the Office de Radiodiffusion-Télévision FranÃ§aise in Paris; the Muzak Corporation in Fort Mill, South Carolina; and the Macomba Lounge in Chicago. By taking up its task and its story in these three locations, this book starts to construct a claim: that something changed as as result of what happened in these three places, in this one year. What this book proposes is that the events in Paris, Fort Mill, and Chicago were the iconic symptoms of a change in music, a change in music has it had been conceived and practiced, primarily in Europe and North America.
According to the publisher (Continuum, which also published the 33 1/3 series of novella-length album-centric books), the artists and musicians focused on in Blink of an Ear include George Brecht, John Cage, Janet Cardiff, Marcel Duchamp, Bob Dylan, Valie Export, Luc Ferrari, Jarrod Fowler, Jacob Kirkegaard, Alvin Lucier, Robert Morris, Muddy Waters, John Oswald, Marina Rosenfeld, Pierre Schaeffer, Stephen Vitiello, and La Monte Young. More information at the publisher’s website, continuumbooks.com. More on the author at kim-cohen.com. His One Reason to Live: Conversations About Music was published in 2006 by Errant Bodies.