Recently I decided to take an opportunity to join some local artists at Eastern Edge Gallery, and perform a sound art piece for their Annual Members Exhibition. I wanted to revisit the cassette tape’s role in history and in memories by using a couple of Sony Walkman players (Sport and classic 80’s Stereo models) routed through partially functioning outdated electronic equipment. The setup consisted of a busted Tascam Portastudio 246 with effects sends from a Digitech Delay rack into a small, crackly Realistic amp, which was output to a working Sony stereo able to record (to tape) the resulting performance. Playback of delay-warbled sections of early-1980’s cassettes (mostly recorded from vinyl by my uncle) in oddly familiar cacophony made for an interesting background for those gathered to see the other artworks featured in the gallery. Thanks to Michael Waterman and Kevin Hehir of Noice for their assistance. I returned Tuesday to listen back to the cassette of the night’s show (available as an installation for the week), and it sounds much clearer in headphones. This brings me to my closing message: somebody else’s trash is another’s art. I felt the need to get better utilization from my stack of archaic equipment and underused (yet “retro”) tapes, so I decided to fashion some new memories by destroying the old ones. And maybe a little more destruction or deconstruction is needed in these times of excess, instead of hoarding countless piles of vintage ‘stuff’ that you’ve outgrown. Some of these historical fragments of society have real value — at least in shaping who we are (or what we do) as people. Others are just sentimental junk we should throw away, or in my case, recycle one last time. Included are a few pics of the setup at Eastern Edge, and I may revisit the mangled tape theme for a future idea. I’ll keep you posted.
Next time you think your existence is too pressured, remember that you’re not 300 meters undersea. Your head would implode at that depth, and a multitude of sea creatures would feast on your remains. Watched some recent BBC documentaries on the vast expanses of ocean on the earth, and reaffirmed my thoughts that the human animal is still nothing compared to many inhabitants of the planet. We may ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk’, but deep sea is the same as deep space for us — unknown, dangerous and awe-inspiring. So I got a little inspired myself and posted a new creation on Soundcloud called DeepSeaLevels because I remember some early 70’s nature programs having pretty funky soundtracks, and wanted to paint my style of audio picture, too. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and enjoy it. Just like your land-dwelling life.
So I ordered a new laptop recently to help me with any upcoming musical efforts…and mostly to avoid any unnecessary blue-screening from the old one. A bit of a chunk of change, but worth it for the customization. The only issue is that now I also need to procure the extra funds for upgraded DJ and sound production software, Traktor Pro and Ableton 9, respectively. Also worth it, but maybe at a slower rate of acquisition. There’s always going to be other gear to purchase in the grand scheme of things. I like using my old stuff, but sometimes it’s not compatible with new operations. And everyone loves to get new stuff, even if cash flow is dicey.
On that note, I’m including a new track on the Bandcamp page. Figured I’d toss this one up because I had most of the parts prepared (on my archaic version of Ableton), and it was sounding pretty great. Imagine a future world suddenly littered with lifetimes of discarded busted electronics, broken metal and plastic, and you being disoriented by the surrounding masses of jungle-like peripheral cables and endless extension cords hanging over the earth. What kinds of misplaced creatures or tribal cyborgs would you encounter? Ponder this scenario while you listen to los beatniko‘s new single, “Jungle Of Wires.” Here’s the track:
Here’s to a new season of collection! With purpose!
I read a good article my friend Gary James Joynes shared recently, by writer Geeta Dayal. Got me thinking about my role as a “dial twiddler” in the universe, and how I’ll never be happy doing anything otherwise. Isn’t this how an artist expresses oneself? By inventing and experimenting in their chosen medium, because it’s NECESSARY for personal satisfaction in their world. Not because anybody has to like it. Not everyone will. If there are those who appreciate (or pay you for) your creations, then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. You made an artistic impression on an audience who gets your stuff. Sound artists have been messing around for centuries, with varied tools and results. Everyone has their own method. The fact of the matter is that sounds are heard differently by a multitude of different people (especially these days), no matter how they’re created. And I’ll do it till I’m dead. End of story. Here’s some art:
The Kid was burnin’ at the closing night of the Lawnya Vawnya Festival, which may be the reason there were oven mitts for sale at the merch table. I’m speaking of Eric San, a.k.a. Kid Koala, who I’ve been anticipating for weeks. I’ve long been a fan of this unconventional turntablist, and quite frankly the guy’s a wizard. So it was fantastic to see him perform in my hometown, to a packed house. And being a fan, I managed to get a few snaps and vids of the moment. And the best part was the fact that I took with me my copy of his new record, 12 bit Blues, got his autograph, had a nice conversation, and gave him some of my music, too. That made my night. He’s a super nice guy, and gave me some cool things to think about. I may end up in Montreal yet. Regardless, it is really satisfying as an artist to get the chance to see others who have influenced your own creations. Other performers who have done it their own way, and are successful with their art. And having fun with it. Smile.