Robert Turman – Spirals of Everlasting Change DVD (Hanson)

In the late 80s, at least in New York, it was pretty easy to come across some completely alien programming somewhere on the cable access late-night horizon. Flipping through random channels, one could find fortunetellers, naked talk shows or black israelites preaching, all low-budget weirdos in their technicolor splendor.  The possibilities were endless and in a pre-internet, dot matrix world, it could occasionally provide something more mysterious. Maybe you would catch a Residents video, a Harry Smith movie, etc. Sometimes you would see something incredible and never know what it was, no credits shown, no reruns, who could say? While I doubt Robert Turman’s Spirals of Everlasting Change DVD was ever transmitted via such mediums, it somehow belatedly accomplishes the same heady thrill. A visual collage created in 1988 and a live show recording from 2011, both by Turman are combined for this document. An early industrial music pioneer, Turman’s archival work has recently been getting reissued all over the place via Dais, Spectrum Spools et al. Obsessed with the loop, Turman has his own voice and navigates his sounds with alchemic skill.  Swirling, hypnotic patterns are seen through images of architecture, design and movement, the visuals looped along with the soundtrack, which sounds remarkably appropriate considering it was recorded twenty years after the fact. But Turman doesn’t dwell too long, he keeps both his audio and visual loops from becoming too static, both moving enough to captivate completely for the 33 minute duration of the release. The best industrial music has some level of psychedelia at its core, as both genres using repetition and the beat to lock in listeners for long stretches. Turman knows this too and his LSD flashes flicker throughout. This is exactly what was supposed to be seen, broadcast at god knows what hour, roping in the few mutants still awake into some videodrome/dreamachine trance. Maybe you were there too. When you woke up, you forgot what had happened but you wish you had a blank VHS ready to tape it. Fortunately, you didn’t need to.

by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 6/19/2012 in Reviews | Tags: , ,


The birth of DIY and how The Desperate Bicycles went and did it.
by Dan Selzer
originally published, issue #5, 2005

In early 1978, 42 British fans ventured into their local shops where major label punk singles from the Clash and the Pistols sat side by side with the first wave of independent records from the Buzzcocks, the Fall, and others. There they found a record with a picture of a broken bicycle on the front and their own names written on the back following this descriptive text:

The Desperate Bicycles were formed in March 1977 specifically for the purpose of recording and releasing a single on their own label. They booked a studio in Dalston for three hours and with a lot of courage and a little rehearsal they recorded “Smokescreen” and “Handlebars”. It subsequently leapt at the throat. Three months later The Desperate Bicycles were back in the studio to record their second single and this is the result. ‘No more time for spectating’ they sing and who knows? They may be right. They’d really like to know why you haven’t made your single yet. “It was easy, it was cheap, go and do it” (the complete cost of “Smokescreen” was 153 pounds). The medium may very well have been tedium but it’s changing fast. So if you can understand, go and join a band. Now it’s your turn….

continue reading "XEROX MUSIC IS HERE TO STAY"

by Swingset Magazine on 6/14/2012 in Features | Tags: , , , , , ,

Swingset Magazine presents

Major Stars
Burning Star Core
Italian Horn
with DJ Mike Wolf

Cake Shop – Friday June 29th, 8pm $10

by Swingset Magazine on 6/4/2012 in Swingset Presents | Tags: , , , , ,


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by Swingset Magazine on 6/1/2012 in Interviews | Tags: , ,

Wolf Eyes Tour Diary by John Olson

If you have yet to experience the mutant fuck-all sound blast that is Wolf Eyes, we at Swingset strongly advise you to seek them out when they come to your town and get yr mind blasted to near infinity. For you shut-in types, their Sub Pop debut Burned Mind is a vicious piece of drone-noise violence that features some of the band’s finest tunes to date. If that’s not enough, you can make yrself crazy trying to track down their hundreds of releases on cassette, CDR, and vinyl. Thankfully for us, Wolf dude John Olson (also of the American Tapes label and Dead Machines-fame) was kind enough to take notes on their recent stretch of road w/Sonic Youth, just for you, our loyal reader. Wolf Screamer Aaron Dilloway took the pics. Killer.

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by Swingset Magazine on 5/22/2012 in Features | Tags: , , , , , ,

Trad Gras Och Stenar – Gardet 12.6.1970 (Subliminal Sound)

When this essential set was issued on CD about a decade ago many heads were blown apart by the swirling ultra minimal psych focus these three Swedes possessed. When they went in, they went all the way in. There’s no better demonstration than on this live document from one of the country’s first public, local psychedelic festivals. Fans and latecomers finally get the deluxe vinyl issue from the Subliminal Sounds label who executed this release to perfection across the board, including a sidelong, unreleased trance/vocal improvisation that equals the previously released beloved material.  Along with Parson Sound and International Harvester, Trad Gras Och Stenar formed the vanguard of late 60s progressive guitar music for the region. All with a similar but unique take on the exploratory rock/folk/free axis that Europe was grappling with in a post Hendrix world of political upheaval when rock music was considered a cultural threat. TGOS were the most forthright rock-ist of the three bands, as evidenced from their choice of covers, “All Along the Watchtower” and the devastatingly intense take on “Satisfaction”, both presented here in squalled out, slo-mo hazes of extended wah guitar abandon. But it’s the bands own material that shines the heaviest. The longer the band freaks-out, the better the results. When TGOS extend past the double digit minute mark, every moment feels exciting. In no rush, the band explores the riff to near-infinity.  Take the unreleased last side, “Lat oss tanka ett par dagar” which hypnotizes deeply with rises and falls, from slight examinations to roaring, chanting, sweat-lodge insanity. All wrapped up with photos of anxious local police, flyer artwork, and notes in a gorgeous gatefold with multi-color swirled acid wax to boot. As satisfying as it gets.

by Swingset Magazine on 9/28/2011 in Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

Coum Transmissions – Sugarmorphoses (Dais)

By now, this release being the third installment of Dais’ archival issues of the early work of Genesis P Orridge, we have all come to understand that the records have less to do with music than historical context. We’re not going to get “Hamburger Lady” or anything even resembling “TG” in its glorified form in the least. Instead we have harsh abstraction and poetics of chance. What exists on this LP are recordings culled from domestic, detuned piano layers while living in a filth-ridden, frozen 1700’s era Victorian hell-hole in Hull, England during 1974. Having dragged two pianos into her kitchen Gen, in true Coum fashion, translated everything to a dystopian, dada landscape of post-industrial Britain. Practical uses for playing this LP include; a soundtrack to daily banality in an absurdist sense, faking an art installation, or testing the patience of unwanted droppers by. There is no focus required, other than the reading of Genesis’ always enthralling personal accounts of her life and times, presented with each of these LPs. She describes the recordings as her “Blues” album and that’s an association that comes from atmosphere and not of bars, notes or songs, more in the Jandek sense than the Muddy Waters. You can fairly guess what it sounds like given the instrumentation but that by no means devalues its worth, with the appropriate adjustments…which require an indeterminate amount of psychic/chemical realignment. That’s up to the individual. Once attuned, Sugarmorphoses can yield rewards once you shut off your lights and turn on your dream machines (You all have several, we’re sure) and thank god you don’t live in Hull or anywhere else in England for that matter.

by Swingset Magazine on 9/28/2011 in Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Sun Ra Quartet – The Mystery of Being (Klimt)

Ra’s discography is so vast and daunting that at this point one needs to wonder how far down the dregs go. The answer can be found on this lifeless monstrosity of a release, a triple album representing his small ensemble recordings made in Italy circa January ’78. Conceptually, the album seems like a no brainer; you have the mythic Ra leading a remarkably small ensemble with right-hand sax master John Gilmore at his side, covering standards like “My Favorite Things” and “Exactly Like You”. The problem is two-fold. First, Ra picks perhaps the least flattering digital pre-80s tone on his keyboard heard thus far, leaving everything sounding just horribly flat and wonky. When it seems like only Gilmore can save the day, he’s mixed so freakishly loud that it’s nothing short of jarring. Many of the tracks are “ballads” and certainly not invoking the mood Gilmore was shooting for. Whoever was at the mixing board shoves him so far in front it almost makes one forget about the jittery failure of Ra’s choice in dynamic for the arrangements. If one seeks Ra and Gilmore tackling standards they do so with remarkable success on the Sun Sound Pleasure LP that can be purchased for less than the cost of a 3-D movie rather than break the bank on this expensive, ugly set, (which features no notes, pictures or information).  A release that only a Frenchman could enjoy, The Mystery of Being is perhaps the least necessary release in Ra’s bloated discography. Steer Clear!

by Swingset Magazine on 9/28/2011 in Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

Jesse Sparhawk & Eric Carbonara – Sixty Strings (VHF)

This album represents the collaborative efforts of Sparhawk, here, playing the lever harp and Carbonara, who commands the upright chaturangui. The instrumentation suggests an exoticism yet sounds completely contemporary. Its success lies not only in the natural, intricate modal overlaps of the instruments but more through the players own American perspective expressed through them. The results yield a western influenced raga that organically moves at its own pace. In two side long pieces the performances by both players becomes their own dynamic without surrendering to overplaying or false mysticism. With sixty strings between them the pair never seems to hit an unnecessary note. Their dedication to restraint shows in the ease of the records duration, the album evolving by constantly unfolding on itself. Like the early Sandy Bull/Billy Higgins collaborations, Sparhawk and Carbonara explore Americana through eastern figures to provide a remarkable musical viewpoint.

by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 9/1/2011 in Reviews | Tags: , ,

Art Yard – “The Law” b/w “Something In Your Eyes” (Ride the Snake)

Archival, early 80s Boston recording that sits comfortably between the melodic energy of La Peste and the angular builds of Mission of Burma’s now iconic attack. The A-side presents a focused, tightly wound blast of nervous post-punk as satisfying as it gets. Rhyming FBI chief Melvin Purvis with “Sense of Purpose”? Sure, why not. The B-side is a break up lament that retains the same tools but slows things down enough to supply a counterpoint to the former tracks punch, yet still has plenty of action in the guitars. Originally released in 1981 on a cassette compilation, Art Yard finally get the single they deserved.

by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 9/1/2011 in Reviews | Tags: ,