C. Spencer Yeh

Dan Melchior interview

illustration by Chris O’Neal

Dan Melchior is an anomaly in the modern music world, even for the underground. As one of the world’s last truly great songwriters, Melchior’s voice grows stronger than ever over a string of recent releases by his “band” Das Menace. His music can’t be neatly partitioned into a narrow genre although one can detect elements of blues, vintage R&B, British psych pop and more recently even brazen experimentalism. His latest solo album, The Backward Path is a journey into the depths of existential dread, mortality and humanity as the record documents aspects of his wife Letha’s ongoing battle with cancer and their lives in the struggle. As their bills pile to the ceiling, unable to work, they have had to rely on the music community for help. As an artist that truly speaks about the world around him in the most honest of ways, The Backward Path is an experience that no other record this year can offer. The best albums are not an escape but a confrontation.

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by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 10/23/2012 in Features, Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

C Spencer Yeh – In The Blink Of An Eye/Condo Stress (De Stijl)

How does an artist like C. Spencer Yeh follow up a double LP of four side-long live abstract collages? With a two-song pop banger 7” on De Stijl, obviously. The A-side sounds like it could be a LCD Soundsystem outtake, replete with post-punk bass, disco beat,  and all treble guitar. Even more straightforward than Yeh’s “Songs” one sided LP on What The? label a few years back, the results here recall Jim O’Rourke’s more song oriented efforts, yet Yeh’s outcome is cooler and not nearly as stiff. The b-side is a plaintive piano and guitar driven ballad that’s as pretty as anything else so far this year. Another strange pill in the medicine cabinet that is CSY’s ever-engulfing discography, this single sits pretty on any shelf,  if you need an upper or a downer. Handsomely packaged as well. Don’t sleep.

by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 3/14/2011 in Reviews | Tags: , ,

RRR 1000

The bar has been set again by Ron Lessard, the great schemer of noise and contemporary art hero, with the release of the RRR 1000 lock groove LP. 20 artists create 50 loops each, all 1.8 seconds in duration that repeat infinitely until the listener manually moves the needle – in essence a perfect skip.  For any sane human being the concept is utterly masochistic and unfathomable. But for those with a sound complex, the various results and approaches can be both daunting and rewarding.  To what degree and duration does a lock groove reveal its merits or personality? Approached from a minimalist standpoint, one could easily site precedent of Lamonte Young, John Cage or even Andy Warhol, as artists who used extreme time expansion as a means to create hypnosis and reveal the character of a sound or image over a period of hours, days and beyond. One could make the argument that it would take 1000 days to fully get the effect of this record, or maybe more.

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by STEVE LOWENTHAL on 10/15/2009 in Features | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,