I keep meaning to check in more frequently on this matter, but the fall WFMU concerts, Record Fair, Coney Island Hot Dog Eating contest, Raelian ReCon '08, and my side duty as the Philly Phanatic's sidekick Philthy have kept me running around lately (some of these are true). Regardless, I have typed up a some words about some sounds that have come through the WFMU New Bin, and popped them over here via my exciting new Vicki Pollard USB Flash (I forgot my blog login at home, and wrote these up recuperating from one of the above this week).
The Okkulte Stimmen box set on Suppose is one helluva document of paranormal recordings dating as far back as 1905, and I have to say I haven't been sucked into voyeuristic audio pleasure this way since someone sent me that box of Cellular Hellular tapes years ago. Eavesdropping on the dead! Channelled Winston Churchill, Oscar Wilde, and Chopin, exploding cups, Houdini seances, tranced out breathing and speaking in alien toungues, all compiled neatly in this 3 CD box with booklet with plenty of information about assorted Edison theories on the paranormal, info on devices created for these recordings and recounting the experiences themselves of hearing them live. Apparently, Andy Kaufman is supposed to announce he's alive this Sunday according to some, so he's not on this collection. From 1978, 13 year old Margaret from Entfield, England and her poltergeist: "Voices of Possessed Children" (MP3).
When Dead Western's Soften Your Screams Into Sings LP (put out by KDVS) hit the mailbox my first thought was how lovely the sleeve looked, then turning over to see a photo of actual naked modern hippies in a forest (one of which was climbing a tree) I immediately thought I had this whole deal figured out. West coast, future Arthurfest participants, etc.; I know pretty much what to expect here. Well, it took me a good couple minutes to figure out what speed this thing played at, and when I did discovered this thing to be a real treasure outta left field. Fragile instrumentation, heartfelt songs, but a truly alien voice delivering what I can only describe to be what you'd expect Peter Jefferies in the persona of the Pink Panther to be, or something similar. Woozy, deep, resonant bass vox wobbling around the grooves here which I now know belong to Sacramento musican/artist fixture Troy Mighty who I remember from the free jazz-leaning noiseniks Antennas Erupt. The variety of instrumentation, while being minimal, is also pretty rich in emotion. Check out "Mikel, Made of Millions" (Real Audio).
In some more form-disrupting West Coast activity, the reconvening of Dinosaurs With Horns is cause to get charged up about in any year. Formed in 1982 by Rick Potts and Joseph Hammer (key mayors of the Los Angeles Free Music Society), a resurfacing in 2000 for a KXLU radio session with Spencer Savage plus a newish recording at the LACE gallery with Tom Recchion comprise this new Melon Expander label release Return of the Disco-Aristo-Sarcaophagus. If you have an appetite for sound-art stew akin to the munchier moments of Nurse With Wound's Sylvie and Babs, these live improvisations of exotica samples, looped voices, eyebrow-singe echoplex, and more will create some melancholy clouds to dump some colorful hail on your heads. Excerpt of 2007's "Disco-Artisto-Sarcophagus" (Real Audio). It's rewarding to also see some of the LAFMS-style action absorb into NYC's younguns, as clearly exemplified by the excellent trio of Brown Wing Overdrive on their new Tzadik disc ESP Organism. As much Spike Jones as NWW, BWO invest much of their sound in acoustic elements as the groundfloor of electronic manipulation: modified banjos, jews harp, junky synths, reworked wirings and plastic toys out the wazoo all enforced with a more punk-rock ethos than your average tabletob twiddlers. Mikey IQ Jones, Chuck Bettis and Derek Morton have recently played WFMU (archive) and also Kurt Gottschalk's curated night at Issue Project Room. ESP Organism was all recorded in studio live with no overdubs, check out a sampling "Cryptic Syntax" (Real Audio).