This one was recorded in the summer of 1988 at New Mexico State University's Corbett Center "Pit" Amphitheater. It was also one of the first performances to include an AOS stage show. Dubbed something like "At home with A.O.S.," we brought all the furniture from the living room of our house, set it up on stage, and spent the day watching T.V. & hanging out. Seemed like a good idea at the time, at least until the Las Cruces sun decided to start cooking the concrete on all sides of us. By show time the temperature on stage was over 110. As we played I was sweating so profusely that puddles of perspiration were forming on my drums, sending up a dramatic splash each time I hit them. Sponsored by KRUX, the NMSU student radio station, there is a video of this performance floating around. If David ever decides to digitize his copy and upload it, I'll be sure to post it here.
Available today are two versions of a recording that my old roommate Marc provided to me recently (thanks tons Marc). First up are the raw .wav files of original AOS songs from his cassette-rip of the concert. These are followed by a selection of tracks that my brother ran through pro-tools for some noise reduction and equalization. They are posted as separate albums on the internet archive. Take your pick. Enjoy.
1) 667 2) Rhyme of the Reason 3) That's My Heart 4) Southern Romance Song 5) Laughing 6) Bad Brick 7) Mary Mary in the Lavender Pumps 8) Confession Time 9) Robert 10) I can hear the monsters 11) The Graveyard Song 12) Rip It Up 13) Core Canto
[redacted] recorded this 3 songer earlier this year with Scott Colburn (of Jabon and Sun City Girls fame). It is available (name your price) in a variety of formats over at bandcamp.com Album:Left Blank Players: Will - Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Trumpet Kaley - bass Jason - guitar (also check out Red Stars Theory) me -trap set, toy dumbek
Just a quick note. One day after finishing the sequencing for the next aboombong album (NOW AVAILABLE), I see that the first release is featured over at the Dogs Can Read Your Mind blog. It is the best kind of music blog, promoting artists by posting music with their permission. Focuses on experimental, ambient, electronic, drone, etc...check it out and support the artists featured.
Katya from Kazoomzoom.com contacted me today with a nice surprise. She has put together a nifty little compilation of Kipling's Just So Stories and has included para!helion in the music for How The Rhinoceros Got His Skin (track 3).
Check it out hereor here(includes info and cover art). UPDATE: Collection is now back on-line.
Well, I still haven't worked out the cassette deck situation, so I will take this as a sign and post some friends of the show. Dirt Communion is one of the projects my old roommate Mark (aka. Mister Vague) is currently involved with. If there is any justice in the world, they will be hosting headbangers ball before the year is out. Act now and get a piece of the next big thing.
More from Mark to follow. And a special treat for AOS fans is in the works.
Well, my plan to post the NMSU experimental music tapes from the early 80's fell through as my cassette deck bit the dust this weekend. Luckily, David sent me a little surprise in the meantime that can fill the gap while I work on a replacement. This is a video of the very first A.O.S. show. I had no memory that this video existed. David dates it as 1988, but my memory says it would be summer of 1987 (my memory is often wrong). I'm only sure about a couple of things from the show. 1) It was windy and very, very hot; and 2) I had the worst drum monitor ever and couldn't hear a thing. A.O.S. has quietly moved up the Pen & Mallet charts and Rip It Up is now the most popular album posted here, so maybe some of you will enjoy this blast from the past.
Sound quality is pretty variable, but a few songs sound alright. This is really all about the images. While watching, dig the vintage skaters in the background, the big hair, our low-budget equipment, and the really bad audio/video sync. The first song is 667, one of the band's more popular numbers that we never managed to record (although a cover version by Mr. Vague's old band The Young Pros is floating around, and I may post it if I can get permission).
Update: David (bass) found a newspaper ad for the show. Turns out it was April 25th, 1987. Click for a closer view. I am a little baffled by the "Aussie" theme, I must admit. Opening for the best "Tan-Woman" contest...good time slot to assure somebody shows up. =/;^)
My collaborator on today's post, Yoko Ortega has, perhaps, the most cinematic life-story of anyone I've known. A Hiroshima survivor, Yoko grew up to be a radio and television celebrity in Japan with one of the country's first unscripted talk shows, and a million selling children's album (Yoko described it as "The Japanese Snow White" with Yoko singing the part of "Snow White" - I had hoped to post some excerpts, but, alas, I seem to have misplaced my copy and can't find a sign of it on the web). From what she showed me in her clip-book, Yoko's image was apparently a common sight in magazine and TV advertisements, and she told me she received a good bit of criticism in her day for her flamboyant fashion sense and the "too-outspoken" attitudes she displayed in her talk show. In the midst of her fame and fortune, Yoko met and married an American soldier from New Mexico and moved from the flash and glitter of her Tokoyo life to a small town in northern New Mexico, where her limited English didn't do much to help her communicate with her Spanish speaking neighbors. When I met her, she was teaching children with disabilities in an elementary school in Albuquerque and, despite being old enough to retire, was, instead, completing her Master's Degree. Much beloved by her students, Yoko used music (and her insider access to real Japanese Pokemon cards) to motivate her students to find their own talents and show them to the world.
In the years since this was recorded, I have lost contact with Yoko, so she has never heard the completed piece. The song was designed to be played 3 times independently: once on piano, once with a string quartet, and once with a brass quartet. Each performance was to be played without hearing the other performances and then all three were to be superimposed onto each other. This would allow slight differences in tempo (particularly during the long rests sprinkled throughout) to interleave the melody and make it more and more chaotic as the piece progressed. These 3 takes were then to be superimposed again over a quieter mirrored recording of themselves. I have never managed to organize the recordings of the chamber groups, so this is a rough sketch of the piece based on Yoko's piano performances. Listening to it, I think I may revisit the piece and see if I can complete it as intended. The sound quality suffers a bit from the quick and dirty tape manipulations, but adds a certain atmosphere that I like. I picture this as the soundtrack to a grainy silent film, perhaps Nosferatu.
Enjoy. Up next, more experimental pieces from the New Mexico State University Experimental Music Laboratory.
This is the final ¡para!helion release here at Pen & Mallet. Due to human errors and technology failures, these tracks needed some significant work to remove unwanted clipping, digital feedback, and other nastiness. There are still some minor cracks, pops, skips, and screeches on the record. I think the music holds up, however, despite the rawer audio quality. These tracks come from the same sessions as greater than 3, so they include the trio plus some additional players here and there.Available wav, flac, ogg vorbis, mp3. Enjoy.
Album: Fourth: when technology fails Style: late night dream states
Recorded summer 1999, improvised live to two track.
Dave C- Trumpet, effects, percussion
Jeff K- Electric Balilaika, effects
me- Clay Djemba, acoustic bass
Chris & co. - Djemba, additional percussion
2) From 11 to 6 to 3
3) Ring Modulator (echoplex)
4) String Drum
UPDATE: I have updated a previous post to make it easier to find all of the "lossless" posts now available on Pen & Mallet. You can, of course, search by genre, date, band name, or click on the "FLAC" tag as well.
UPDATE: This record is featured over at undomondo. They've got a lot going on over there. Worth checking out. Drop by and vote for ¡para!helion.
Wil Gira was a band Keif put together in the final years of Waltz Bop Shop. This is a recording of a show that I recorded for them at a house party they played with WBS (see last post for a WBS song from that party).
Artist: Wil Gira Album:Live on Arno Players: Jeff G - Bass Mike D - Drums Joey F - Trombone Keif H - Guitar
Tracklist: 1)Fellini Circus 2)Herpetology 3)In the Dancing Cage 4)Next
Jeff G is also featured below in DJJ. He tells me that this is the only recorded version of In the Dancing Cage. Available in WAV, FLAC,Ogg Vorbis, MP3. Enjoy.
Today we have the final two tracks that will be posted from Waltz Bop Shop (although there is a concert on video tape that I might take the time to digitize at some point). The first song, And Melting was recorded at a house party in my living room (stay tuned for more from Wil Gira, who also played). The other is an A Capella version of Name Dropping At Angela's that Jenette recorded at my house in the mountains after Waltz Bop Shop had broken up. The spoken word piece overdubbed onto And Melting was recorded on the same day and is a reading of an excerpt from a short story I published in the mid 90's.
I have been in a lot of loud bands. Although it is not readily apparent from the recordings the band put out, Choke was easily the loudest. In the last post on the band, I noted that there were some tracks missing from the Gauze/Total Reverence cassettes due to my copies being destroyed. Well, I have tracked down a DAT that includes some demos we sent to my brother prior to the recording session for the eponymous e.p. It contained rough mixes of the missing tracks. These all ended up on the e.p., but these 4-track versions give a better sense of what Choke was like as a live band. I have also added a straight to ghetto-blaster track that I like - a catchy little punk-ish diddy [update: Grant tells me it is called "Pine-Sol"]. To me, Choke wears its influences on its sleeve with these cuts- equal parts Stone Roses, Cocteau Twins, Big Black and Ritual Tension. But I am hardly an objective listener. Anyway, here they are (flac, ogg vorbis, MP3). Enjoy.
The players: David Liso- guitar, vocals Grant Garner - bass Matt Sneddon - guitar me - drum kit, hammond organ, headphone feedback.
Album: >3 Style: high altitude meditations
Improvised and recorded live to two track summer of 1999
Dave- Trumpet, effects, percussion
Jeff - Electric Balilaika, effects
me- African Kettle Drums, Dumbek, Clay Djemba, 1940's wooden field snare, clanks, mic stand gooseneck, booms, crashes, & scrapes.
Chris & co. - Djemba, additional percussion
Of all the music I have posted here at Pen & Mallet, the two ¡para!helion releases are the ones that I personally listen to the most often. I have always chalked that up to the fact that ¡para!helion's music was all improvised. None of the overlearning under a critical ear that goes into creating and perfecting composed songs goes into the creation of improvised music, so, for me, it feels easier to listen to the songs as music, rather than as a product of my ego. In other words, it's easier to let go and hear the songs as songs without being critical of my own performance or wishing I had one more take to move the song closer to the ideal version that I carry around in my head.
Of course, ¡para!helion has been duking it out with Waltz Bop Shop for the most downloaded music at Pen & Mallet, so maybe I like them 'cuz they're good records. Hard to tell.
Anyway, today we have 6 never released songs taken from the MidaqAlley and 3 Miles from Mecca sessions. At the time we put those two releases together, these didn't make the cut primarily due to non-musical issues like less-than-ideal microphone placement, or minor equipment failures. After 10 years not hearing these, I don't find that those issues hurt these tracks much at all, so I thought I would share them.
Several of these tracks include additional players beyond the trio including ¡para!helion's original drummer, Chris (iirc) and a gang of percussionist he brought over for one or two of our night recording sessions. Track's one and two come from the very last ¡para!helion session, with Ghazna being the last song we ever recorded.
All files are available in lossless Flac, Ogg Vorbis as well as Mp3 from the internet archive.
Tracklist (player plays all six tracks):
Cdbaby is a great company. They have done a lot to make it easier for artists to release their own material. As is apparent from their name, however, they are really about selling CD's. Their support for on-line, digital releases is pretty bare bones. Ever since we ran out of hard-copies of valis, it has bothered me that the only format available was mp3. I have decided to rectify that situation. As of today, valis is now available in a variety of lossless formats over at bandcamp.com...To entice you further, I have included some bonus material.
Ambient soundtracks for your portable cortical theatre. Enjoy.
Artist:psychic enemies network Album: valis Style: ambient Release: 2000 Players: my brother & me - guitar, electronics, tapes, loops, percussion Available in a variety of formats from http://psychicenemiesnetwork.bandcamp.com/ (set your own price)
This album is still, of course, available at CDbaby, on itunes, and through various other on-line sources.
Artist: aboombong Album: aboombong Style: ambientrance dub soundscapes Release: June, 2009 Players: all me* - electronics, tapes, percussion Available in a variety of formats from http://aboombong.bandcamp.com/ (set your own price)
Tracklist: 1. a 2. ab 3. abo 4. aboo 5. aboom 6. aboomb 7. aboombo 8. aboombon 9. aboombong 10. 3 Days 'til Sunrise (aboombong mix) 11. gnobmooba 12. birds
*aboom contains samples from Waltz Bop Shop and gnobmooba contains samples from ¡para!helion. Narrative in 3 Days 'til Sunrise recorded off of public radio in the late 1990's.
Style: cow punk, surf punk, garage, Americana Album:Outer Space Tonight -unreleased demo E.P. Recorded live to Minidisc in 2002. Engineered by David Chavez. Players: Lucky- Bass, Jon Reed -Guitar & Vocals; me-drum kit.
1)And then Aliens Invaded From Space 2)Ready to Fall Again 3)Step Through the Door 4)Clean My Bones 5)Last Ride
These are pretty high fidelity, so I went ahead and uploaded them to the internet archive in lossless Flac format (MP3 and Ogg Vorbis too, don't worry). If you are not familiar with Flac, you can find out more info here including free software that allows you to use the format.
For any recordings in previous posts that are of high enough quality, I will be posting Flac versions on the internet archive. If you have a request, let me know.
Joe Brown lives down the street from me. He has a basement full of musical toys. Sometimes he invites me over to play. He gave me permission to post these two rough mixes from his project Super Naam (follow the link for more songs). When it is done you will want it. I'll be sure to keep you posted on Joe's activities as they progress.
Style: Groovy pop rocks (don't mix with Pepsi) Players: me-drum kit Joe Brown - everything else Rough mixes of tracks from the upcoming Super Naam release
Up next, more Swayback. Stay tuned for more ambient-experimental tracks from the minidisc archives, which seem to be deeper than I was expecting. Coming to Pen & Mallet - I'll be giving you Flac as appropriate.
Today we have a series of tracks recorded by the follow up to¡para!helion (see MidaqAlley and 3 Miles from Mecca). In the summer of 2000, after Jeff graduated and moved away from Albuquerque, Dave and I recruited our friend Jeff Gassaway to join us on bass for some late night improv sessions. When I found these recordings, I initially decided not to include them here, not because there isn't a lot I like about them, but because (unlike the para!helion sets) in the end none of the tracks manage to quite gel into cohesive units. Each have moments I like - there are plenty of interesting herky-jerky, odd time-signature grooves and Dave does some of his best trumpet work - but in the end the project really needed an additional player if it was going to work. I have kept these recordings intending to do some radical remixes and to recruit some additional players to lay overdubs on the resulting tracks. But, given that I haven't gotten around to that after almost 9 years, it seems unlikely that will ever happen.
So, what changed my mind? Why post these? Well, I recently ran across this great little project by Kutiman where he remixes clips from youtube into some fantastic numbers. Seeing and hearing his work made me realize that there might be someone out there who could recognize the potential in these tracks and turn them into something. In that spirit, I am posting the raw tracks, flaws and all, as loop fodder for the remixologists out there that may find them useful. For listeners, I would advise dropping these into a random mix rather than treating them as an album. They work better that way.
Dream Smith was a game programmer and musician who left us with a fairly substantial body of psych-folk songs that he released under the moniker Soft Blanket. During the later half of 2007, Dream joined a project led by my friends Will Dean and Kaley Davis called Cadabeso. Presented here today are two Soft Blanket songs recorded by Cadabeso during that too brief collaboration.
Musicians: Dream Smith with Cadabeso (2007) Dream Smith: Guitar & Vocals Will Dean: Keyboard & Vocals Kaley Davis: Bass me: Drum Kit Style: Rock, Twee-pop, lo-fi Album: Taken from How It Feels To Be Filled with Secret Sounds These tracks recorded live to digital two track in Will's garage.
Tracklist: (get them here) 1) Conditions for Another Year 2) Ginger Girl Has Lived This Day Before
Today we have the final album by The Jonny Cats. It was recorded in the waning days of the cowboy lounge just as the band's dedication to all things self-destructive began to take over and tore the band apart. Copies of the album have circulated hand-to-hand among friends of the band, but it has never had an official release. To my ears this is a more distinctive album than Burrrns Rubber with a clear connection to traditions in American roots music that recognizes punk rock's place as roots music. So, grab your best girl or guy, hop in the convertible Caddy, turn this one up loud, and hit the road...but be sure to hold on to your hat.
Today we have music from phases 2 and 3 of Waltz Bop Shop.
Grant's Marshall: Throughout my musical career I have had a lot of collaborators. Interestingly, the collaborator that has been involved in the most music was not a person, but a piece of equipment: Grant Garner's 2x12 50 watt Marshall guitar amp. Our first encounter was in Las Cruces New Mexico in the hardcore band Cattle Mutilators (with Dave Lamb from AOS) back in 1984-5. Next came Seizure Disorder and a series of guerrilla punk performances by the Archbishops Talent Exposure Collective (ATEC). These ATEC performances were a series of one-off groups with the mission statement "We never rehearse, we only perform." ATEC productions included a couple of infamous feedback drenched gigs in El Paso, Texas: The Exploding Archbishops opening for Tex and The Horseheads, and Fucked Up Nancy opening for Agent Orange and Blood on the Saddle. (Quote from a Horsehead. "We just did a gig with Jesus and Mary Chain. You guys are way better, and you're not assholes." That made me laugh). ATEC also produced The Asphalt Hamsters, Wargasm, Live Rat Pasties, The Cabbage Farmers, Harriet and The Matches (recording to follow), Legends in Our Own House, and others that I am sure I am forgetting and Grant's Marshall was there for them all. When I moved back to Albuquerque and Choke formed, Grant's Marshall was there again. Choke shared a rehearsal space with The Jonny Cats, Pueblo Dogs, a couple of reggae bands, and Waltz Bop Shop (and its predecessor Scat: A Logical Dog with Jon Jarden on vocals) and Grant's Marshall became the house guitar amp and got dragged to gigs by all the bands - playing for thousands of Albuquerque music fans. The fact that a large portion of these gigs did not involve Grant in any way is a testament to his generosity. Thanks Grant.
But, now to the music.
Waltz Bop Shop Phase 2: Phase 2 of Waltz Bop Shop begins when Grant's Marshall leaves the picture and Keif buys a Fender Super Twin Reverb from my brother. With the cleaner sound of the Fender, the jazz elements that were always present in Waltz Bop Shop's work came to the forefront. From phase 2 we have two albums of live material that were both recorded on KUNM's Ear to the Ground. The first primarily features songs fromAll My Idears are Flawed in Sum Way, and the second includes songs from across the Waltz Bop Shop catalog.
Tracklist: 1) Dress Code at Tito's 2) Kenneth! What's the Frequency 3) Self-congratulatory Non-conformist 4) Liquid Gang 5) Evening News 6) Feeble (Live) 7) Please yourself 8) One and three quarters 9) Tell ANYONE else
Tracklist: 1) untitled 2) Tax Shelter 3) Tapeleader 4) Samba Groovie 5) small talk 6) Tower Jazz Song 7) Vegetarianism 8) We'll be leaving soon 9) Michael Dummett 10) Forgotten title
Waltz Bop Shop Phase 3: Phase 3 of Waltz Bop Shop starts when we talked our good friend Jenette Isaacson into joining the group as a vocalist. Jenette was and is an actress active in local theatre (you may have seen her in a couple of movies too: Suspect Zero and Made in USA), and she brought a much needed dose of flair to our live show with her commanding stage presence. We only recorded 5 songs with Jenette. Which is too bad, because by the time Waltz Bop Shop final broke up in the late 90's, the stuff we were doing with Jenette was some of the best stuff the band had ever done. The recordings below (which I like a lot) give a glimmer of that later greater work.