Hugh Hopper, R.I.P.

(Image of Hugh Hopper taken from Wikipedia.)

I’m seeing news on the internet — though not confirmed by any news organizations yet — that former Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper has died. His Wikipedia entry, which mentions his year-long struggle with leukemia, gives the date as “June 2009.” No additional information is available on his official website.

Hopper’s 1973 album 1984 has long been a favorite of mine. His first solo album after leaving the Soft Machine, 1984 combines Hopper’s excellent jazz playing with some experimental processes, especially tape loops, to great effect. It’s fitting that this album, based on the futuristic novel by George Orwell, still sounds ahead of its time.

(1984 cover image from

Download 1984 here.

Los Angeles Free Music Society – A Selection


So, for a lark, let’s say you’re interested in the Los Angeles Free Music Society:

The Los Angeles Free Music Society (LAFMS) has been, since the early 1970s, the banner heading of a loose collective of experimental musicians in Los Angeles, California who were joined by an aesthetic based around radicalism and playfulness. Key players have included Joe Potts, Tom Recchion, Joseph Hammer, John Duncan, Dennis Duck and Rick Potts.

Notable band configurations have included Le Forte Four, Smegma (who relocated to Portland, OR in the early 1980s), Solid Eye, Airway and Doo-Dooettes. Their influence was most immediately felt by Japanese noise musicians like Hanatarash and Incapacitants.

but you don’t know where to start? Okay, read this Byron Coley mini-essay on LAFMS. And you say you can’t afford to buy The Lowest Form of Music, the ten-CD LAFMS box set? Or maybe you’re just lazy and don’t want to download the whole thing? Or can’t find it? Well, luckily for you, we’ve got a really nice two CDR sampler for you available here:

V/A, “Los Angeles Free Music Society – A Selection”


Disc One
1. Chip Chapman, “Getting Ahead/Orbit/Painting the Roses Red”
2. Le Forte Four, “Suburban Magic (Chapman)”
3. Le Forte Four, “Rock Saga”
4. Le Forte Four, “Ka-Bella-Binsky Bungo” (excerpt)
5. Le Forte Four, “What Do You Do, Radiator?/The Grocery Store Is My Heaven”
6. Le Forte Four, “Crank Up the Kids”
7. Le Forte Four, “The Very First Song I Ever Wrote”
8. Le Forte Four, “Keep the Point Up/4000 Holes In Blackburn, Lancashire”
9. Le Forte Four, “From the 12 Pages”
10. Le Forte Four, “Tree Shedding Blues”
11. Le Forte Four, “Do the Crow”
12. Le Forte Four, “Internal C.B. Breakage”
13. Le Forte Four, “Dark Skratcher”
14. Airway, “Live at the Lace, Pt 1”
15. Airway, “Live at the Lace, Pt 2”
16. Airway, “Perpendicular Thrust”

Disc Two
1. Fredrik Nilsen, “Insecticide, A Philosophical Didactic”
2. Harold Schroeder, “Silent Rituals”
3. Kevin Laffey, “Berlin Zug und der Dusseldorf Rag”
4. Monitor, “Pet Wedding”
5. Dennis Duck, “One O’Clock Jump”
6. Paul Is Dead, “Crazy”
7. Friends of Leslie, “Freak Show”
8. Tom Recchion, “Jazz 2000 A.D. Part 3”
9. Tom Recchion, “Herself a Cocoon”
10. Tom Recchion, “The Little Green Thing”
11. Human Hands, “Insomnia”
12. Monique et Aviv, “I Am I”
13. Dinosaurs With Horns, “Totally Gone”
14. Doo-dooettes, “Baby”
15. Doo-dooettes, “Dr. Phibes Visits Chicago”
16. Doo-dooettes, “Scrapyard”
17. Rick Potts, “Squirrel-Proof Man”
18. Rick Potts, “Parasitic Twin”
19. Solid Eye, “Ghost Beef”
20. Extended Organ, “Hum Diddle Um Diddle Um”

This collection was curated/compiled by Darren Misner, one of the original Pataphysics Lab founders, for me a few years ago, and I just thought that, at this late date, I should share. Many thanks to Darren for this and many other fine gifts through the years.

R.I.P. Sean Finnegan of Void


This just in from Dischord:

We are sad to announce that Sean Finnegan, the drummer from Void and an original member of the Dischord family, passed away on Wednesday January 30th of an apparent heart attack, he was 43.

Far, far too young.


Live Void footage on YouTube, via Can’t Stop the Bleeding:

Serving Imperialism in Heaven?


Crude title, I know, but Karlheinz Stockhausen, (in)famous German composer, died today at the age of 79:

Stockhausen, who gained fame through his avant-garde works in the 1960s and ’70s and later moved into composing works for huge theaters and other projects, died Wednesday, Germany’s Music Academy said, citing members of his family. No cause of death was given.

Stockhausen was considered by some an eccentric member of the European musical elite and by others a courageous pioneer in the field of new music. Rock and pop musicians such as John Lennon, Frank Zappa and David Bowie have cited him as an influence, and he is also credited with having influenced techno music.

Stockhausen sparked controversy in 2001, when he described the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States as ”the greatest work of art one can imagine” during a news conference in the northern German city of Hamburg, where several of the suicide pilots had lived.

The composer later apologized, but the city still canceled performances of his concerts.

While not one of my favorites, the man was still a major force in 20th Century music, and he certainly influenced many others as well (some in what not to do). Probably none so vividly as his one-time assistant Cornelius Cardew, who later rebelled against his father figure in his famous Stockhausen Serves Imperialism tract (available for download here).

What’s Been Goin’ On?

Not much, at all.

Sharkey and Richie

Sharkey and Richie from Clockcleaner in front of the Louisville Slugger bat, 10/30/07.

Jesus Lizard Cover Band

The Jesus Lizard Cover Band at the Pour Haus, 10/26/07.

JL Flyer

Nick gets wild

Nick gets wild in Lexington.

Only 99 Cents!

Only 99 cents! (but a lifetime of regret.)

Harley Gaber’s The Winds Rise In the North Reissue!

(Image swiped from

Wow! One of my favorite screeching, abrasive violin drone albums of all time, Harley Gaber’s The Winds Rise In the North, is set to be reissued this fall on the excellent Edition RZ label:

To be released in autumn 2007! Linda Cummiskey (Violin), Malcolm Goldstein (Violin), Kathy Seplow (Violin), Stephen Reynolds (Viola), David Gibson (Violoncello)


How endlessly the heavens turn.
And yet the earth remains at rest.
Do the sun and the moon quarrel as to their positions?
Who rules over and orders all these things?
By whom are they in harmony?
Who effortlessly causes and maintains them?
Is there, perhaps, some hidden tension
that prevents them from being other than as they are?
Must the heavenly bodies move as they do, powerless to do otherwise?
Look how the clouds drop the rain!
And how the rain rises again to form the clouds!
Who moves them to this abundance?
Who effortlessly produces the primary orb and stimulates it?
The winds rise in the north and blow to the east and west.
Others move upward uncertainly.
Whose breath moves them?
Who effortlessly causes them to blow?
What is the cause?

[ Chuang Tzu ]

CD1 53:00 – CD2 50:48 – Gesamtspielzeit 103:48

Availability: In production

This is fantastic news for fans of post-Theatre of Eternal Music drone, as well as downtown music in general, as this classic has been out of print for quite a long time. The Winds Rise In the North was originally released on Titanic Records in 1976, and according to Alan Licht‘s Minimalism Top Ten III over at Volcanic Tounge, “Gaber gave up music not long after this record to pursue a career as a tennis instructor (!)….” Nutty. Anyways, a favorite in my household for some years now (purchased from Bob Fay on eBay, heh), it’ll be nice to see this relatively unheard classic get a new leash on life (and hopefully up-to-date mastering).

Insect Factory, Air Traffic Control Sleep (Insect Fields) CD

Insect Factory

Insect Factory is the solo guitar drone project of one Jeffrey Barsky of Silver Spring, Maryland. Now, as you could probably guess, the words “solo guitar drone project” sometimes conjure up some startlingly bad mental images. However, on the new release Air Traffic Control Sleep, Insect Factory delivers the sort of drone that is, y’know, actually engaging! Like, not only did I not get bored listening to it, I actually liked it! There’s something in Insect Factory’s sound that reminds me of what I’ll call (for lack of a better term) post-Niblock electronic drone (apologies to Mr. Phill Niblock as he is certainly still alive and well and making great music), wherein rock guitars were used to make pretty heavy non-rock music. The first (and foremost) practitioner of this style who comes to mind is Rafael Toral, the Portuguese guitarist who began making heavy drone statements such as Wave Field in the mid-1990s (more on him in a post coming soon). Insect Factory continues pleasantly in Toral’s footsteps, using guitar to make music that sounds nothing like “guitar music.”

Funnily enough, the last track on the record, “Landing Back on the Shore [By Morning],” isn’t really drony at all, but since it’s the shortest, it’s what I’ve decided to upload. This song is unlike the other two on Air Traffic Control Sleep, but don’t let that deter you. You can buy Air Traffic Control Sleep direct from Insect Fields here (for cheap!).

Barsky is also a member of/contributor to D.C.’s excellent Kohoutek, who will be soon releasing a new CD entitled Expansive Headache on Music Fellowship shortly. In the meantime, here is their self-titled two-song CDr from 2005, unfortunately Barsky-less, but still worth your time (disclaimer: I booked a Kohoutek/Mouthus show in the fall of 2005). And if you happen to live in the Washington, D.C. area, you can catch another Barsky band Civilians on September 18th (with Eddy Current Suppression Ring), Insect Factory on September 20th (as part of the Sonic Circuits festival), and Kohoutek on September 28th (with Alasehir and Suishou No Fune), all at the Velvet Lounge.

In an unrelated note, I will be moving at the end of the month, so posts may become infrequent. I know all two of my readers will be upset, but that’s the way it goes.