Mix: Free Country

With both the immediate and the feels-like-distant-but-is-probably-also-immediate future looking bleaker than ever, I think we all need not just a break, but a break soundtrack as well. This mix began with a stylistic basis (the title comes from Davenport’s Free Country), focusing on tracks that repurpose country or Americana conventions/instruments for something much looser and, well, freer, but it evolved into what I hope is an auditory distillation of feelings many of us have all but forgotten: the gift, not the curse, of solitude; the strange comforts of the shadows and darkness that lurk just out of your reach; the alluring, unchecked expanse of the horizon; the unspoken promise that there will be something even more beautiful beyond it.

00:00. Old Saw – “Dirtbikes of Heaven, Grains of the Field” from Country Tropics (Lobby Art, 2021)

06:41. Rameses III – “No Water, No Moon” from I Could Not Love You More (Type, 2009)

12:57. Jacob Sunderlin – A side [excerpt] of Hymnal (Null Zone, 2017)

16:11. Jackie-O Motherfucker – “Falling Light” [excerpt] from Candyland (self-released, 2006)

19:58. Davenport – “The Light Ahead, the Dead Fields Behind” from Free Country reissue (Gutter Prog, 2014)

24:35. Mémoire vide – A side [excerpt] of Mémoire vide (Affenstunde, 2020)

30:32. Lake Mary & Oxherding – “Slow Grass” from With the Windows Open (Distant Bloom, 2021)

35:47. Lowercase Noises – “Roaring Forties” from Passage (self-released, 2012)

Mix: Anti–Power Electronics

Power electronics, despite having one of the coolest genre names of all time, has a bad reputation that is mostly well-deserved. Beyond just the stereotype of “angry white dude yelling,” many PE-heavy noise scenes have historically been encouraging environments for all sorts of bigotry and hatred, a trend that appallingly continues to this day (to name one brazen example I recently encountered, Finland’s Freak Animal Records, operated by known white nationalist and staunch racist Mikko Aspa, released a CD by Zyklon SS entitled Racial Superiority in 2019). For this reason, I’ve avoided the genre almost entirely for quite a long time. But it turns out that was a grave mistake, for there are plenty of artists now who are not just stripping the genre of its repulsive associations, but completely reconstructing it as a brash mouthpiece for oppressed marginalized identities and communities. This selection of tracks, many of them from this year, is full of reclamations, profanations, decontextualizations, and condemnations of all kinds. Keep screaming, and fuck Whitehouse.

(And to all the losers coming in from Special Interests, fuck you too.)

00:00. Straight Panic – “Catch/Release” from Apocalypse (Humanhood Recordings, 2021)

03:00. Polexia – “Atoned” from Immolation (SPINE, 2021)

06:06. Vivian – second part of Abduction Plot (self-released, 2021)

12:17. Absoluten Calfeutrail & Blarke Bayer – “Dominating the Discussion” from Conflict Resolution Seminar (AR53 reissue, 2021)

17:31. Scarlet Death – “Trauma Doll” from Scarlet Death (self-released, 2020)

21:33. SAMESEX – “YOU AGAIN” from SMITE (self-released, 2013)

23:22. Dysphoria – “Apart” [excerpt] from Falling // Apart (The Clap, 2019)

27:56. grutesk – “Shame” from F‐‐‐‐t Scum (self-released, 2019)

34:19. Identity Combat – “Pretty Little Ghost” from Self Abuse (Lady Gein, 2019)

38:11. CBN – “U Aint from the Hood” from Crimes Against White America (Phage Tapes, 2021)

Mix: Field Research

These are sonic investigations engendered by curiosity, appreciation, or any other feeling that would drive someone to record the soundscape of a certain place to preserve, transmit, or otherwise immortalize it. Sometimes warm and intimate, other times distant and voyeuristic. With all of its concrete anchor points in the familiar and not-so-familiar liminal spaces we take for granted, I suppose this is a kind of travelogue as well, one for a trip that can’t be taken until you make the jump yourself.

00:00. Christian Calon & Chantal Dumas – “Histoire d’Ours” from Radio Roadmovies (326 Music, 2003)

04:29. Agata Stanisz – “48h Pauzen Machen / Gas Station in Mulhouse, FR [14.7.12]” from 3 Square Meters (Szara Reneta, 2020)

07:38. Ernst Karel – “Scuol–Motta Naluns” from Swiss Mountain Transport Systems (Gruenrekorder, 2011)

11:39. Job History – “Super 88 in Allston, Massachusetts” from Sounds of North American Grocery Stores Volume One (Hen’s Ear Recordings, 2021)

16:48. No Artist – “Washwatch” from The World a Wash Away (Modern Concern, 2021)

21:26. Adrian Rew – “1/11/2014: Majestic Star Casino, Gary, IN” from Slot Machine Music Vol. 2 (Ergot, 2014)

25:35. Cahn Ingold Prelog – “Baggage Reclaim” from Non-Music 2 (self-released, 2018)

29:13. Daniel Menche – From Here to Electricity [excerpt] (self-released, 2018)

33:32. Greg Hooper – “Damp Gravel with Cars, Rocklea” from Carparks (self-released, 2021)

38:00. Yparxei Provlima Amalia – fourth untitled track [excerpt] from side B of Kona Kai (OMFT, 2013)

Mix: All Hallows’ Eve, Revisited

Less a sequel to than an expansion of last year’s mix. This version is more varied, emotional, and abstract. I hope it helps you get into the spirit of the season before it’s too late.

00:00. King of Herrings – “On Two Legs” from The New Musician (self-released, 2020)

01:09. Ghost Food – “Ghost’s Come Home” from Night in My Mind (Sweet Wreath, 2021)

04:42. Unhallowed Eve – “From Beyond the Grave” from The Midnight Hour (self-released, 2019)

07:43. No Artist – “Asleep in the Pumpkins Patch II” from Cassetus Infernus V/A comp (Liquid Library, 2016)

09:07. Monster Zero – “Haunted Homes and Gardens” from Candy from Neighbors (self-released, 2021)

10:24. Blue Friction – A side [excerpt] of Wollstonecraft (self-released, 2014)

14:32. Faux Faunus – “Wean” from Hollow / Wean (self-released, 2014)

19:34. DJC – “Commercial Break” from Son of Shock (self-released, 2021)

20:08. William Hutson – “Shelves of Dusty Skulls” [excerpt] from Spectralities (Deathbomb Arc, 2015)

26:55. AntiVitalis – “A Crumbling Black Castle Looming in the Fog” [excerpt] from “…wing of Roach,” (Gulik, 2021)

29:23. VHS Spectre – “𝔉𝔬𝔤” from Graveyard Tapes (Origami Vato, 2020)

31:46. 舰长电视 [Captain TV] – “Had 2 B the Wind” from Halloween Mixtape 2014 (Plastic Response, 2014)

34:25. Apparition – “The Grave Robbers” from The Ravenous Dusk (Seance, 2018)

39:34. Amethyst & Gold – “What a Wonderful Night to Die” from A Haunted Housewarming (Handwerk Music, 2019)

Mix: Electrophonography

This mix collects the spellbinding results of interpretation, intervention, improvisation, imitation, installation, interaction, and many other forms of joining electronics with organics, sterile digital impermanence with living, breathing space. It’s not a one-way street; almost as many of these artists extract the electrical processes coded within our surrounding environment as add to it. (Personally I think “electricity” is mostly, if not entirely, bullshit—oh so electrons are just zipping around everywhere? so where are they? oh they’re invisible, how convenient—but if it makes people feel like they’re in control of their lives, sure, I’ll play along.)

00:00. Rudolf Eb.er – “Ishikiri (1)” from Om Kult : Ritual Practice of Conscious Dying, Vol. II (Schimpfluch Associates, 2018)

04:35. 谭硕欣 [Tan Shuoxin] – Simultanhalle: April 30, 2021 [excerpt] (self-released, 2021)

10:32. Network Glass – “novh1” from idiot/smiling (dingn\dents, 2019)

13:21. leftear – “Rainforest” from Half Nature (Zoomin’ Night, 2021)

20:47. left.bank – “sefar” from Zentrum Statisch (KOI8-R, 2019)

27:32. Anonymous – “KREC33” from Recordings, Disk 01 (SP, 2013)

28:45. Francisco Meirino – “Various On-Site Testimonies” from Recordings of Voltage Errors, Magnetic Fields, On-Site Testimonies & Tape Tension (Misanthropic Agenda, 2011)

33:36. Bella – “prei-prei” from HADRON (pan y rosas discos, 2019)

37:35. Max Hamel – B side [excerpt] of Sounds of Summer: Field Recordings of Solar Electronics (Refulgent Sepulchre, 2021)

44:41. Thomas Tilly – “Pre-Explosion I (Phonography and Interpretation)” from Codex Amphibia (An Interpretation of the Explosive Breeding Phenomenon (Glistening Examples, 2018)

50:16. No Artist – “Cmentarz żydowski w Podwilku II” from Dawne Cmentarze Żydowskie 2 (Szara Reneta, 2018)

55:27. Jero Route 66 and Shots – Live from Devil’s Den [excerpt] (Pauf Recordings, 2018)

Mix: Maxi-Improv

I’ll probably come up with a better name for this “genre” at some point, but for now “maxi-improv” works: both solo and collective electroacoustic improvisations with moving parts much too large for, or even in a completely different dimension of reality than, their containers (you’ll see what I mean).

00:00. Jean-Marc Foussat – “Le moment est passé” [excerpt] from Cet inapaisable hurlement des heures (self-released, 2014)

04:47. The Incidental Crack – “Waterfalls per Capita” from Detail (Anticipating Nowhere, 2021)

10:31. Concrete Gazebo – “Tangled Eggs” from Peacock Juice Box (Speak & Spell, 2021)

12:26. Kamon Kardamom – “Chronic Euphoria” [excerpt] from Chronic Euphoria (self-released, 2021)

19:03. Paed Conca, Stéphane Rives & Fadi Tabbal – “There’s No Picture of the Band” from Under the Carpet (Ruptured, 2012)

22:22. Miguel A. García & Ilia Belorukov – “Hands Off” from Wolkokrot (Inexhaustible Editions, 2015)

27:51. Leverton Fox – “Megascopz (Pellet Collector)” [excerpt] from Megascopz (Not Applicable, 2019)

33:16. Olivier di Placido & SEC_ – “es” from Rainbow Grotesque (Bocian, 2013)

36:10. MKM – “Don’t Eat” [excerpt] from Bangalore (TON, 2021)

Mix: Teeth on Tinfoil

Last one too tame for you? Have no fear. This bite-sized dose of the absolute harshest that harsh noise of all kinds has to offer will set you straight.

00:00. Goottama – “Every Difficulty Slurred Over Will Be a Ghost to Disturb Your Repose Later on” from Cut Off (self-released, 2021)

00:46. nkondi – tenth untitled track from Popfailure (dollfullofrivets, 2005)

02:31. Beautyon – 12th untitled track from No02 (Irdial Discs, 1997)

02:50. dehors – seventh untitled track from The Black Metal Mixtape (Seminal, 2016)

05:12. Lettera 22 – third untitled track from Lack of Attention (Ljud & Bild Produktion, 2011)

05:33. Total Mom – “Uncomfortable” from We Fed the Pig My Music (No Rent, 2018)

07:43. LHD – first untitled track from Curtains (Troniks, 2004)

08:50. Yataghan – “Trash I” from Funeral (Shrouded Recordings, 2021)

10:22. Halflings – “Taint” from Halflings (self-released, 2006)

11:44. T.E.F. – ninth untitled track from Symptomatic Harbinger (Harshnoise, 2003)

12:13. Kiley Minoise – “SpreeVSteal” from Spank-Magic Lodge (Kovorox Sound, 2006)

13:59. Daniel Iván Bruno – “Chiozza” from Brazo (TVL, 2021)

15:19. Polly Velvet – “Scaling” from Stomatology (self-released, 2020)

16:15. Greathumour – “if (window != window.top) top.location.href = location.href; if(window.screen){ self.moveTo(0,0); self.resizeTo(screen.width ,screen.height); self.focus(); }” from Choose the Obsolete (Tribe Tapes, 2020)

17:06. Rose Sobchak – ninth untitled track from Untitled (Heart-Shaped Box, 2019)

17:24. Venta Protesix – second untitled track from Existential Dread Simulator (urbsounds, 2020)

Mix: Inimitable Indie Introductories

Looking back at the mixes I’ve posted recently, I’ve been on a weird streak—which to be fair is probably what a lot of you come here for—so I was feeling like making something more generally palatable today. These are my favorite openers by my favorite indie bands, new and old(ish), big and small; you will probably recognize some of them, but hopefully not all. Keep on shouting.

Some of the transitions are kinda rough; my computer has been acting up and it died before I could smooth them over, and it wiped most of my work. Hope it’s not too jarring.

00:00. Spice – “First Feeling” from Spice (Dais, 2020)

02:34. Tall Ships – “T=0” from Everything Touching (Big Scary Monsters, 2012)

06:13. Wray – “Blood Moon” from Wray (Communicating Vessels, 2014)

08:48. We Are Augustines – “Chapel Song” from Rise Ye Sunken Ships (Votiv, 2011)

12:03. Spaceman Spiff – “Vorwärts ist keine Richtung” from Endless Nichts (Grand Hotel Van Cleef, 2014)

15:40. Pela – “Latitudes” from All in Time (Brassland, 2005)

19:56. Shearwater – “Animal Life” from Animal Joy (Sub Pop, 2012)

23:31. Mexican Elvis – “He Spent Three Years Trying to Enter the Eurovision Song Contest” from John frum Alaska (Kyr, 2010)

27:02. Viet Cong – “Throw It Away” from untitled cassette (Jagjaguwar, 2013)

30:13. Protokoll – “Moving Forward” from Paradoxon (Illicit Recordings, 2006)

35:04. Frightened Rabbit – “Death Dream” from Painting of a Panic Attack (Atlantic, 2016)

39:07. Beaten Awake – “Browns Town” from Let’s Get Simplified (Fat Possum, 2007)

Mix: Spit-Valve Salves

A journey through the wet hisses, burbles, squawks, and squeaks produced by saxophone players who, via various extended techniques, do their very best not to play any actual notes at all.

Anthony Braxton in concert on Nov 6, 1975

00:00. Nathan Corder & Tom Weeks – “The Pit” from Diamondback (Makeshift Encounters, 2020)

08:15. Marco Colonna – “Nodosariata” from FORAMINIFERA (Plus Timbre, 2018)

12:50. Michael Foster & Ben Bennett – “Offshore Flesh Crystals” from Contractions (Astral Spirits, 2021)

20:09. Fuck Lungs – “Loud Unit” from Fuck Lungs (Already Dead, 2016)

24:55. Fua – B side [excerpt] of Fua (fancyyyyy, 2018)

26:53. Mythic Birds – “The Name by Which the World Knows Them Is Not the One They Themselves Utter” from The Name by Which the World Knows Them (Peira, 2012)

31:17. The Elks – “Geneva #2” from Bat English (self-released, 2017)

35:44. nmperign – “Prey” from Ommatidia (Intransitive, 2009)

Mix: Fringe Clatter

Why actually, you know, play instruments when you can scrape, scratch, and smash them (and even build your own) instead?

Portland Bike Ensemble live in 2012

00:00. The Blue Denim Deals Without the Arms – “Armistice” from ‘Armed Forces’ Day (Say Day-Bew, 1978)

03:23. No-Neck Blues Band – “Seven Spaces of Empty Place” from Letters from the Earth (Sound@One, 1996)

08:46. Moment – “The Process” from Broken Resonance (Space21, 2021)

13:57. Sandoz Lab Technicians – “The Somnambulist” from Sandoz Lab Technicians (Siltbreeze, 1996)

17:30. Iskra – “Klirr” from Allemansrätt (Ett Minne för Livet, 1977)

20:07. Portland Bike Ensemble – “Kyoto” from Live in Japan 2006 (Olde English Spelling Bee, 2009)

26:59. Teletopa – “Improvisation One” from Tokyo 1972 (Splitrec, 2014)

30:37. Seeded Plain – “Cloud Thistles” from Sectional (Digital Vomit, 2010)

35:12. Lakes – “Winds” from Lakes (Tone List, 2018)