Saturday, February 3, 2007


I've finally switched to Mac and it's been quite an adventure so far. Right now I'm transferring my Harvest Records box set. It's going to make it much easier to listen to the damn thing. The package is completely unmanageable and there are no song listings on the individual CDs. Being able to see the artists alphabetized will be great!

Here's a list of some of the artists on my iTunes so far:

Kevin Ayers
The Move
Roy Harper
Syd Barrett
Mister Yellowman
Billy Bragg
Jorge Ben
Captain Beefheart
Stephen Bishop
Yoko Ono
Soft Machine
Francoise Hardy
Babe Ruth
Dr. John
Steve Reich
...and much more to come.

Friends out there: expect a mixed CD soon.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

New Weird Amsterdam

I met a man last week in the Netherlands who invited me to see his experimental music group, Oorbeek. They played a live broadcast on Radio Rietveld, at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. My friends and I sat on the floor of a darkened gallery and watched this mild mannered European transform into a mad conductor. Twisting his body, lifting his legs in the air, and shaking his fists, he attempted to control a cacophonous orchestra made up of visual artists, an ethnomusicologist, a filmmaker who runs a festival in Uganda, and a Dutch throat singer. He played a silver horn and waved his hands around, inviting chaos and conjuring an image of the Sorcerer's Apprentice.

The music is wholly improvisational but he assures me there are rules, a method to their sonic madness. Recently they planned a recording studio session at which they would each play every instrument for exactly one minute and hope for positive results. The objects responsible for the honking, clanking and clonking include a wild noisy trumpet, multiple mouth-bows, guitar, bass, drums, scotch tape, Iranian drums, and otherworldly vocals. The sound simultaneously makes one imagine ancient machines, scary monsters screaming, as well as James Chance, a saxophone player who was part of New York's early-eighties No-Wave scene. He played a combination of improvisational jazz-like music and punk. Oorbeek appropriately calls its brand of sound "New Weird Amsterdam".