Archive for the ‘ENGLISH’ Category

Not SXSW #3: Artists Respond

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

I am still receiving very encouraging dispatches from all over the globe in response to my call for artists not attending SXSW. A few longtime Visitation Rites favorites with a slightly higher profile have also sent along some special videos and unreleased material. I took the time to briefly ask those artists about their thoughts on South by Southwest.

Trouble Books: “Dead Bee in a Golden Bowl” (Previously unreleased track from upcoming album Concatenating Fields)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Visitation Rites: Have you considered attending SXSW in the past?

Keith Freund, Trouble Books: Actually, I’ve already played SXSW. I was there with another band in 2007, I think? I watched a middle-aged industry dude try to get two wasted teenage girls to go back to his hotel with him while some twee band played and the next morning I saw one of those girls as a completely annihilated zombie trying to hand out flyers to people walking by who threw them on the ground. Scorched Earth, TX.

VR: Do you believe at this point in your career “showcase” or industry events can help expose your band to a wider audience?

It really takes an over-the-top gimmicky live set to grab any attention at those things, so that wouldn’t work for Linda and I when we’re staring at our ‘tronics and mumbling into the mic in an empty tent at 2 PM.

Rivulets: “I Was Once A Handsome Man”

RIVULETS – I WAS ONCE A HANDSOME MAN from SCHAPENKOPPEN. on Vimeo.

Rivulets is the recording project of Nathan Amundson who has been releasing music under that name for over a decade. His latest album, We’re Fucked, was released last year on Important Records.

Visitation Rites: Have you thought about or made plans to attend SXSW in the past?

Nathan Amundson, Rivulets: Once, in 2002. I didn’t enjoy it. I don’t have the sort of personality to schmooze people and I hate crowds. I can see how for a certain type of band or music fan it could be a pretty intense and concentrated blast, but it’s not for me.

VR: What are the options, besides CMJ or SXSW, for artists to promote their work on their own?

NA: Get on the road and in front of people who’ve never heard of you. I think that’s still the best, if not easiest, way to win new fans. Go places where no-one else bothers to go. I have a great bunch of fans deep in south-central Spain – not because I’m special, but because I care enough about them to travel all the way out there where most bands don’t. It’s rewarding to see these same faces time after time.

VR: Are there any particularly worthwhile or rewarding events that you’ve been a part of in your career – a moment where the dreamed about “breakthrough” or “connection” happens?

NA: The little personal connections– becoming friends with artists whose work you admire– that sort of stuff. Right now I’m stoked to be opening for Codeine in July. They were hugely important to me and I never thought I’d get to see them live, much less be playing shows with them.

VR: You’ve toured pretty extensively in Europe and all over the states. What are alternative networks that you have found to disperse your music and book tours, etc.?

NA: In Europe, I’ve worked with booking agents for most of this time, but I’ve been doing it long enough now that I know a lot of the promoters personally, so it’s not hard to drop them a line if I’m booking a run of shows on my own. I’ve never really had a booking agent in the US so I tend to do more one-off shows here than full tours. Much easier for me to wrangle than a US tour, which is logistical bananas to me.

For dispersal of music I dig Bandcamp, but I hope they keep it simple and don’t get too cluttered with it. It’s good to have your stuff up on iTunes and Amazon, too. People seem to like small handmade editions of things, too– and will still buy physical product if you make it unique.

Every band should have their OWN website. Not Facebook or whatever, but yourbandname.com (or .net, .org etc). All of these services come and go over time, but if you plan to stick around you should have your own home that you are 100% in charge of.

Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier – “The First Forest (Edit)” (from upcoming LP A New Age of Wonder on Shelter Press)

Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier – The First Forest (edit) from Shelter Press on Vimeo.

Visitation Rites: Have you thought about or made plans to attend South by Southwest in the past?

Félicia Atkinson, Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier: SXSW is not that famous in Belgium or in France. Frankly, I heard about it only 2 years ago and it seemed like an exciting place to go! What makes it exciting is that It seems so far away from Belgium! I mean, Texas! It would be fun to take a little van from Belgium with some friends, take the boat in Antwerp until New York and then hit the road! We would bring Belgian beers!

VR: What does South by Southwest mean to artists outside America?

FA: I think it is a bit of a myth because we can’t just “go” to hang out. It is way too far! I imagine it is very crowded and there are a lot of kids there. So it might be a bit scary also: so much indie crowd! So many loners gathered, seems a bit like a paradox in a way! My friend High Wolf went to play there last year, driving with friends, and we were all very impressed, like, “How was it?!” The drive was impressive, too.

VR: Do you have a personal philosophy or plan related to your artistic work, and does something like SXSW fit into this or not? How?

FA: My philosophy in my artistic work is that I will always do what I want, never trying to fit especially to something ” a la mode”. I need to be free. I released 22 cassettes and records over the past two years. Some editions were only 18 copies, some were 500. In my artwork it’s the same, I don’t care of doing gigantic pieces that would suit perfectly for collectors. If I want to do small and complicated to understand, I will do so.

Does a festival has a philosophy? I don’t know…maybe we could just say that festivals have “tastes”. I like the ideas that they have a lot of different scenes and curators for the shows.

Also, I want my music shows to be unpredictable, not in terms of energy or seriousness but in terms of sound and type of vibes. Sometimes it is very noisy, sometimes very calm, it changes often. My concern is also the experience as a listener: do people go to SXSW just to have fun– or do they go to listen to music? I guess both? Are you allowed to do music that is not fun there? Maybe if I would go to SXSW, I would expect a feeling of positive uncertainty, a kind of thrill, from the musicians and from the audience.

Words: Max Burke

Not SXSW Round #1

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Since I impulsively put out a call to artists who were not involved in SXSW this year, I’ve received an overwhelming amount of stuff, and worst of all, most of it is excellent. I’m continuing to accept submissions for now at maxfisherburke@gmail.com, so please spread the word and keep the music coming. If you have submitted and aren’t covered over the next week or so, it’s only the result of the high volume of material. I’ll be filing away all submissions for future inclusion at Vistation Rites.

Space Shuttle Oprah: “House Hunting with Osama Bin Laden”

Space Shuttle Oprah is the somewhat mysterious moniker of a solo guitar project out of Chicago. This video collage re-contextualizes footage of Osama Bin Laden and the Chinese company Next Media’s absurd computer graphic recreations of his capture with a hypnotic backing track of looping guitar. The simplicity of the artist’s approach recalls the relaxed pleasure of Mark McGuire’s earliest releases, and the noisy dénouement is a well-earned payoff. More Space Shuttle Oprah tracks can be found on SoundCloud. Follow Space Shuttle Oprah on Twitter and Tumblr.

Man-Made Objects: “Tricia with Color Bars”

Man-Made Objects is a three-piece group from Oklahoma City led by Grant Provence. The band is a throwback to slowcore and the poppier end of shoegaze, right down to their debut EP being produced by the legendary Kramer (Galaxie 500, Low). Their sound combines the swelling, reverb-soaked guitar of those groups and the naive pop sensibility of early Magnetic Fields or Beat Happening. You can download their EP on Bandcamp and check them out on Twitter.

breatherholes: “Let Me Go”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

breatherholes is Lew from Austin. Yes, breatherholes lives in Austin, and won’t be attending South By Southwest. “Let Me Go” is a previously unreleased track intended for a tape compilation that never materialized. His sound mines the rather unpromising “dude with a guitar singing pained vocals” territory, but there’s a genuinely oft-kilter– dare I say “Outsider”–  atmosphere to the recordings, spanning a continuum of influence from ur-weirdo (and fellow Texan) Jandek to the earnest songcraft of rediscovered legends like Bob Desper. Most startling is a willingness to flirt with banal singer-songwriter clichés before throwing a curveball of unexpected instrumentation or theatrically overwrought vocalizing. No small debt is owed to early lo-fi legends like Lou Barlow’s Sentridoh project and the starker moments of Guided By Voices, but breatherholes has a highly developed personal style. Previous tape release Give It To U is available on Soundlcoud, and a brand new tape is promised for this year.

Check back all this week as I add many more non-SXSW groups.

Words: Max Burke

Call For Submissions: Are You An Artist Who is Not Going to SXSW?

Friday, March 9th, 2012

As a kind of counter-programming to SXSW, Visitation Rites contributor Max Burke is putting together a series of features on artists who WILL NOT be attending the festival this year. He will be publishing the round-ups from Brooklyn over the duration of the Austin event, and is extending an open invitation to anyone who might be interested in submitting their work:

The entire music internet is about to descend on Austin for the next week. The hive mind/snowball effect of South by Southwest has become increasingly overheated in recent years, resulting in a non-stop slurry of hyperbolic tweets, “I was there!” Instagram posts and empty threats of hype, hype and more hype. As an antidote, for the next week or so I will be taking open submissions of bands and labels that are not participating in SXSW. Please send single tracks and videos with relevant background links to:maxfisherburke@gmail.com . I can’t guarantee that all submissions will be written up, but I will make a good faith effort to listen to all of them with open ears.

Portrait: Jon Clark

Friday, February 24th, 2012


Jon Clark is a visual artist living and working in Los Angeles. His work has appeared on several Not Not Fun releases, including the video for Matrix Metals and LA Vampires “So Unreal” (credited to Image Masters Unlimited, his collaboration with artist Spencer Longo). Clark’s practice spans comics, graphic design and video. The culmination of his efforts to date is Spectrum Hunter, a just released thirty minute film with a striking visual style that compliments its loose narrative about a cult of drug-addled video warriors who film their exploits for sale on the black market. Spectrum Hunter captures the timeless atmosphere of youth while leaving the menace of childhood intact.  It is a vital document of the dark, nostalgia-infected vibe that colors the work of Not Not Fun artists and associated blurry-VHS style travelers like James Ferraro.

Spectrum Hunter Trailer from Jon Clark on Vimeo.

Visitation Rites: In addition to the cover art and other visual ephemera you created for  the film there is a lot of original 80s and early 90s graphic art in the opening sequence. Can you talk a little bit about how this kind of art has influenced your own design work?

John Clark: With the bedroom scene, I was referencing the type of art and graphic design that inspired the aesthetic of the movie.  In reality, that is my real bedroom and I own everything on the walls.  The products, symbols, and advertising of the 80s/90s era are interesting to me because I first experienced them as a child.  When you are young, everything is mysterious and new – there is a permanent suspension of disbelief.  Encountering aesthetics in this mindset is profound. Browsing video stores as a child had a huge effect on my subconscious. Since I was not allowed to rent an R-rated movie, I would imagine what might be on them based solely on the cover art.  I did my best to illustrate this idea with the video store scene in Spectrum Hunter. As a kid, I wanted to interact with the mysterious characters and artwork represented on VHS boxes.  As an artist, I’ve found a way to create a world in which that is possible.

A close friend said she thinks the best modern example of Black Magic lies within the advertising industry.  There is something very seductive and powerful about package artwork and design.  When making props for Spectrum Hunter, though we referenced the graphic art of the 80s and 90s, I think the pieces that worked best went beyond that aesthetic.  Those pieces in particular had a haunted feel, familiar, yet dark and ambiguous.  Since completing Spectrum Hunter, I have continued to make cover artwork for a series of imagined media called the Night School Collection. With these pieces, I want to move beyond the 80s/90s aesthetic and put more emphasis on creating work that evokes the haunted feeling I mentioned earlier.  You can view them here.

VR: Can you talk about the names of characters in the games and the videos shown in Spectrum Hunter. Were these created specifically for the movie or were they a result of ideas and design concepts you’d been thinking about for a long time in different contexts?

JC: Both.  Text and language are a big part of my artistic practice.  I’m as much of a writer as I am a visual artist.  I have a ton of aliases and names for projects that don’t even exist yet.  When I used to play in bands I would always make up fake band names and include them on our fliers.  A lot of times, the impetus for a piece comes from a name or phrase I’ve come up with that is interesting or evocative to me.  Names can carry a lot of weight, especially when juxtaposed with imagery.  Rotten Robbie is the name of a gas station on the way to San Francisco.  Their sign has a cool font.  Poison House is something I saw written on a Pog.  To me, a Poison House is a futuristic version of a haunted house.  If Spectrum Hunters are inhabiting a building or mall, it’s a Poison House.  Night School is the name of the production company that puts out the Spectrum Hunter videos.  Mizuno is the name of an athletic company.  Heather, who played Mizuno, actually wears a Mizuno batting glove on her left hand in real life.  I like the name Shuttlecock because it sounds very regal but also funny and homoerotic.

VR: Can you tell me how actor Dian Bachar got involved?

JC: I love living in L.A. and being close to celebrities.  I also think the idea of a cameo is a symbolic gesture within the context of the film.  Celebrities carry the same sort of weight that logos and graphics do.  They are recognizable symbols of our culture.  Dian was roommates with a close friend of mine.  I am a big fan of Dian’s work and as we got to know each other, he became a fan of my work too.  I knew I wanted him to be in Spectrum Hunter before I even wrote it.  The other potential actor to play our Store Clerk was Jason Narvy, the guy who played Skull on Power Rangers.

VR: The mythology behind the Spectrum Hunter  isn’t gone into much detail in the film. Could you give a little background on your own idea/concept for the Spectrum Hunter universe?

JC: The Spectrum Hunters are a cult that inhabit deserted malls.  They use drugs (represented by Pogs) in order to gain tangible magic powers.  They build mazes and then kidnap people, forcing them to fight their way through the gauntlets they’ve constructed.  Surveillance cameras document these affairs and the subsequent videos are sold in clandestine locations.  They sell for astronomical sums of money since they are rare and illegal.  We made the Spectrum Hunters mysterious intentionally, but I still think their core motivations are apparent: the Spectrum Hunters inhabit deserted malls, they have real magic powers that most normal people don’t have access to, and they have a subculture with its own rituals and hierarchy.  Those are the things that motivate them to do what they do.

VR: Can you speak briefly about the music in the film – what your initial ideas for the score were and how you collaborated on the project?

JC: I wanted the score to mostly be comprised of early synthesis type music.  Music and sound cues similar to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, A Clockwork Orange, 70s/80s TV bumpers, pinball machines, and video games.  I initially wanted natural noises to be represented with synth noises in order to abstract the imagery another level (sonically).  There are some instances of this in the film, but not as many as I originally planned.  One example is when Robbie spins the flower on the honeycomb prop and it bleeps out an atonal synth arpeggiation.

When I hear music that inspires me, I automatically attach imagery to it in my head.  This often compels me to illustrate music through video.  I am a huge fan of house and techno.  The scenes in Spectrum Hunter that incorporate dance music were conceived of with that type of music in mind.  I wanted to illustrate techno in a way that is based on my personal relationship with it, that would resonate with people in a different way.  Even if one isn’t a fan of that type of music, I wanted to work with it in a more conceptual manner that would transcend taste and deal with this music as an idea.  When the Spectrum Hunters baptize Tyler in the opening scene, it was important that techno be playing in the background.  Techno is hypnotic, ritualistic future music and it fits in with the vibe of the Spectrum Hunter cult.  I grew up going to raves, DJing, and making techno.  The synaesthesic experiences I had at raves, where images, sound, and humanity combine to create an alternate reality, have had an immense effect on my artwork.  In many ways, Spectrum Hunter is a heavily abstracted movie about rave culture, or subcultures in general.  Before I knew what raves were, I’d often pick up rave flyers at the mall because they looked cool.  On the back side, they listed all the DJs who were performing.  The names lists blew me away.  Adam X, Frankie Bones, Stryfe, Shredder, Tin Man, The Hacker.  “Who are these Demi-gods?” I wondered.  It would be years before I would find out.  That experience inspired the Spectrum Hunter flier that keeps reappearing in the movie: Apple Knocker, China Doll, Body Bag, Puss in Boots, Double Dude, Confetti Skeleton…Hugh Know?

Words: Max Burke

Spectrum Hunter is now available on DVD

Portraits: Meg Baird

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Meg Baird is a singer-songwriter who first rose to prominence as part of storied psych-folk outfit Espers, a Philadelphia collective whose three full-lengths crystallized the sound of the more somber and sonically kaleidoscopic elements of the mid-aughts “Freak Folk” scene. Between Espers’ second and third records, Baird released Dear Companion, an understated but deeply affecting solo record consisting primarily of covers and traditional songs. Those who fell immediately under Meg’s spell had to wait an excruciating four years for the follow-up, Seasons on Earth, which arrived on Drag City this Fall. Some songs find Baird joined, variously, by Marc OrleansSteve Gunn, and Chris Forsyth on guitar. The focus on originals and the inclusion of other musicians expand the sound ever so slightly, though it’s still grounded in Meg’s signature playing style and voice. I spoke with Meg just before she played a show to celebrate the release at Brooklyn’s Union Pool.

VR: Your first solo LP, Dear Companion, was just your voice and guitar. What was the impetus to bring in additional players for this record?

Meg: It happened pretty organically. It was all people that I knew and it was like, “Oh, we should play together,” and then just following through. I didn’t know Marc [Orleans] too well at first but I’ve gotten to know him through D.Charles Speer & The Helix. Steve [Gunn], he actually lived in Philly, so I’ve known him for a long time.

(more…)

Horizons: Cymatic Theremapy

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Everything moves. Vibration runs through everything…

These ideas are central to Ron Rege Jr.’s Cymatic Theremapy performances. In a fusion of science, visual art, and sound, Rege (often with the assistance of Diva Dompe) creates a truly interactive, often magical experience. The set up is relatively simple: a liquid (usually water, or water and corn starch) rests in a plastic bed in the center of a speaker. When Rege’s theremin kicks into gear, the liquid gradually starts to vibrate as the sound waves coarse through it. Over time, these movements become more and more visible, and as the audio reaches its peak, the liquids often take on absurd shapes, giving them the appearance of living organisms.

While it is easy to fantasize that Rege is some sort of Frankenstein-like mad scientist in this equation, he often seems just as startled by the way sound morphs the liquids as we are. These performances, which have taken place mostly at small art galleries and bookstores in the Los Angeles area thus far, feel much more like participatory teach-ins than demonstrations. Participants are often able to pass speakers around as the liquids dance, their minds widening with wonder as they internalize the vibration themselves. While Rege has not reinvented the wheel with these experiments, he has brought to light the undeniable and often wondrous relationship between sound and motion.

Words: Samantha Cornwell

My Drone Year: Part 1: Consonance and Dischord

Monday, December 6th, 2010


Yellow Swans

As the year winds down, talk turns to year-end lists and best records, tracks, music videos, etc., etc., ad nauseum. Everyone from major publications to the avid music fan wants to talk about the year in music as an event that can be summarized and critiqued objectively. I feel an obligation to form well-reasoned opinions about records I could care less about even hearing. The new music I spent the most time listening this year was a specific brand of drone and contemporary experimental ambient music. This music appears on established labels such as Type and the vinyl division of the Foxy Digitalis empire, but also smaller outfits that only put out a few releases a year like California’s Emerald Cocoon, Massachusetts’ Barge and the charmingly low-key DNT Records have all made crucial contributions to my personal experience of new music over the past year.

The year began with the final missive of a duo who loomed as large as any over the preceding decade, Yellow Swans. Going Places, Yellow Swans’ final full-length released on Type nearly two years after the group’s disillusion set a very high standard for billowing, psychedelic drone with noise and electronic flourishes. It’s always easy to credit a posthumous release with more meaning than it might deserve in a different context, but Going Places is a near perfect swan song. A distillation of the group’s distinctive approach that combines harsh feedback with beautiful melodies and a judicious use of processed vocals. The record bridges the gap between trailblazing psych-noise veterans of the British school like Skullflower and Ashtray Navigations and the daunting legacy of defunct 00s operators Double Leopards while showing the way forward for some of the fresh-faced (and not so fresh-faced) drone upstarts I would spend the rest of the year listening to.


Richard Skelton

Also arriving on Type at the beginning of the year was Richard Skelton‘s Landings. This magisterial record, a tribute to the haunting terrain of Northern England, utilizes traditional string instruments, field recordings, and electronic processes to conjure a deeply felt atmosphere of strong, arch emotions. Landings is a classical record in certain formal aspects, but is immediately accessible to anyone with even a passing interest in drone, ambient, or deep listening music of all kinds. Both Yellow Swans’ and Skelton’s records demand attention and focus. The easy pull of pop music is absent, and in its place is a stark, subjective appeal. This appeal is rooted in the musicians themselves. Yellow Swans is a direct reflection of the chemistry that exists between Pete Swanson and Gabriel Mindel Saloman. Likewise, Landings puts some of Skelton’s innermost thoughts, hopes and longings to music (an artist’s edition of the record features a book of poems and essays by Skelton). Enjoyment of this music presupposes the desire for a genuine personal connection with the artist. I find myself drawn again and again to these records not just because of their sonic qualities, although they are uniformly compelling, but because the force of artistic personality comes through so strongly and creates a galvanizing feeling of affection toward the performers. It’s impossible to enjoy Skelton’s tour of the fraught geographical and psychological landscapes of Northern England without having a personal curiosity about it. When so much of indie rock, once revered for its thoughtfulness and sensitivity, feels like a po-mo put-on filled with recycled riffs, this idiosyncratic and occasionally pretentious music makes for a convincing antidote.

Next up: The sound galaxies of Emeralds and Expo ’70

Yellow Swans, “New Life” (from Going Places)
New Life by _type

Richard Skelton, “Noon Hill Wood” (from Landings)
Noon Hill Wood by _type
(more…)

Portraits: James Blackshaw: An Interview by Max Burke

Monday, November 15th, 2010

James Blackshaw. Photo by Lynda Smith

Guitarist and composer James Blackshaw is a singular force in underground music. From his earliest releases on standard-bearing labels like Digitalis and Celebrate Psi Phenomenon, to the expansive, stylistically diverse sound of his two most recent full-lengths for Michael Gira’s Young God Records, Blackshaw has simultaneously explored the sonic possibilities of the guitar and the outer reaches of his own considerable compositional talent. The result is a discography defined by Blackshaw’s virtuosic playing, with each record a finely focused exploration of a playing approach or atmosphere. Blackshaw has just release his latest,All Is Falling, and has embarked on a brief North American tour in between stints supporting Swans in Europe.

Blackshaw’s tourmates are the accomplished electronic and processed guitar duo Mountains, old friends who make for a solid double-bill for interested punters. “Generally a lot of people are really interested in both even if they didn’t know one or the other beforehand, it’s a good match. Its been a lot of fun and I enjoy watching their sets night after night which I can’t always say. Even if you like something, it can be hard to watch people play sets ever night. Its been really good, though.”

Recent supporting slots for Swans have found receptive audiences in Europe and the UK, “Swans have quite a diverse fan base but I was concerned that a big chunk of people – if it’s not super loud they’d be like “What the hell is this folky shit?” – you know, this nerd up on stage. But they went really well. Generally speaking, it seemed like a lot of people who went to see Swans ‘got it,’ which is as much as I can ask.” Not all UK shows have gone as well throughout Blackshaw’s career, however. “I think UK audiences cans be really tough. I think I can say that as one of us. For years and years, truthfully, I didn’t massively enjoy playing London for example. Its gotten a lot better, I think people have become more receptive and interested in what I’m dong. I’m from London and I love London and I like Londoners but we’re not always the warmest people.”
(more…)

Horizons: Dave Hickey on Rock-and-Roll

Friday, November 5th, 2010

“The Delicacy of Rock-and-Roll.” Sometimes it’s the most counterintuitive statements that point us to what we’ve been intuiting all along. “Delicacy” is not a word I would ever use to describe what critic Dave Hickey calls the “dominant art form of this American century”– his, the 20th.  But in its playful untruth, its insouciant “fuck you” to anyone who ever said rock was just a question of amplification and cheap chord changes, the title of his 1997 essay is rock-and-roll enough to grab anyone who really cares. The song Hickey sings here isn’t just about rock music; it’s about the relationship between art and politics, and it’s sweeping and ambitious and convoluted enough to recall the quixotic excesses of prog. It jumps from memoir to critical commentary, words like “contingency” to thoughts on why “order sucks”. It touches on everything from experimental film to the abstract expressionists to jazz, and it doesn’t satisfy with a melodic resolution until the last page or so– when Hickey actually starts talking about rock.

But his language is so grounded in the everyday, so free of virtuosity for virtuosity’s sake, that Yes and King Crimson would probably be insulted. If “The Delicacy of Rock- and-Roll” locates the political character of art in a certain will to freedom, and tries to show how different types of art embody that will in different ways, Hickey speaks from the place where that freedom begins, and probably also ends– from the heart of the individual subject, recalling a particularly memorable encounter with art in a particular time and place. The essay begins with a story from his college days in Austin, TX.  The young Hickey is attending “Underground Flick Nite” at a local YMCA; he is a member of a left-wing political group that meets there that same day, and he and his comrades are hoping for an evening of explosions and group sex. What they get is anything but earth-shattering: an abstract montage of colors by Stan Brackage, and a film by Andy Warhol, consisting entirely of a static shot of a man getting his hair cut.

(more…)

Label Profile: Leaving Records

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Leaving Records is a Los Angeles based label run by Matthew David McQueen (also known as matthewdavid) and Jesse Lisa Moretti. The operation is based out of their pyramid, which is tucked away in the green hills of Mt. Washington. Their releases float in that immaculate space where the electronic meets the organic. I could throw a number of adjectives at you right now, but let’s go straight to the source, and get the story in Matthew and Jesse’s words:

Why did you start Leaving Records?

While I was working at dublab (for non-profit internet radio posse out of Los Angeles), there were daily encounters of untapped musicians from many scenes. I presented the label idea to my favorite artist Jesselisa, and she agreed to head all visual direction. We had been entirely dialed-in to the Los Angeles music and art scene at Florida State University, being head-on immersed in a wonderful art department and college radio station.

It was something that we started in our living room, cutting and pasting away at our new homie dak’s debut release. The silk screening, the tape-dubbing, it was all done as an art project. It wasn’t long until we realized the project was one we could let others see and hear through the pipelines of dublab, sort of re-injecting all of the amazing music we had come across through that very same community of world-wide listenership and art.

Nothing would have happened without the other, having complete confidence in Jesselisa’s craft and design being visual director of the label, and her having trust in my curation of unheard music, we began… It’s so valuable working closely with our artists to develop their first records, to develop the album art, it’s all an intensely personal experience for us, everything is seeming made together. we learned a lot from dublab, they exposed us to a lot of the artists we have and are currently working with.
(more…)