Welcome to the first installment of the Justseeds music related blog post “Sounds of the Week”. I (Pete Railand) will be posting weekly about the latest musical musings, obsessions, inspirations and oddities that myself and other members of Justseeds have been ruminating on.
While I tend to spend a large part of my time working on visual art, I spend a majority of my “free” time listening to, creating, and thinking about music and sound, and have recently been trying to integrate my visual and audio worlds. One underlying component to the initial founding group of Justseeds artists that I don’t think gets mentioned often was the undeniable connection many of us made through the world of DIY punk music. While on various music tours with my band, or friends’ bands, I first met Erik Ruin, Icky (though he doesn’t remember it), Mary, Meredith (through she probably doesn’t remember it), and Josh (though he also probably doesn’t remember it); Roger came on tour with us and performed a puppet show which I got to do the sound for, Nicolas and I set up shows for bands and lived in the 379 40th street warehouse in Oakland, etc etc. This background many of us share in the group manifests itself in various forms, from constantly undervaluing the work we do to the unstoppable idea that we can do anything if we try, to the fact that most of us will travel anywhere to sleep on the floor of just about anywhere to sit in a 3 day “retreat”/meeting for no pay. I’m not sure how any of this plays out in other Justseeds members’ minds but I’ve been thinking a lot about these connections lately. This regular blog post will hopefully address some of those ideas and simply give you, and me, the chance to see what Justseeds artists have been listening to lately, what music inspires specific art they create, and potentially what the perfect music is for Mary Tremonte to spin at a dance party. So here goes:
Sound notes from Pete Railand
A few weeks ago I was in Brussels, Belgium on a visiting artist trip. I was lucky enough to be there at the same time that the band Nadja was playing a show at a Brussels venue called Magasin 4. I love going to shows when traveling since it usually takes me to a part of town I wouldn’t necessarily have wandered into, I’m able to get a feel for what the local music world is like, and potentially meet some locals who are on the same planet as me as far as music/diy music. Assuming the walk would take me 45 minutes I ventured out on foot from my friends’ apartment on the opposite side of town from the venue. I confidently left a few hours early with the idea of stopping for food, coffee and beer along the way… after what I assume were some very wrong turns I found out how confusing Brussels can be for a non-french/dutch speaking and non-map carrying visitor. Two hours of walking later (after wandering past the EU headquarters complete with flying helicopters and police barricaded streets) I made it to the central train station which should have taken about 20 minutes if I walked in any logical manner. Deciding I actually needed to get to the show on time since apparently there was some show curfew of 10pm, (or maybe its just their way of saying it would be done on time) I jumped onto the Metro train and took it to the north side of town. Getting out at the train stop and walking up the stairs to street level of course left me with no sense of direction. After 10 minutes walking in a neighborhood with all the signs in Arabic and seeing nothing that looks like a venue for a heavy noise show I determine that heading the opposite direction is the thing to do. Finally finding myself in an neighborhood of empty and crumbling warehouse type buildings I realize I’m on the right path, and do arrive at Magasin 4, a space that looks like an old shipping warehouse right next to the canal. With a fairly reasonable 8 euro cover (one band from Japan, one from Berlin) I settle down on a stool at the bar and wait for the show to begin. Since I’m in Belgium this calls for drinking the fine Belgium beer… a few Chimays later and Nadja take the stage. The duo proceed to pummel the audience with their extremely heavy atmospheric sound scape. The stage setup is Aiden Baker playing guitar facing forward, while Leah Buckareff plays bass with her back to the audience, guitar necks crossing over a table of knob turning gadgets. Luckily they play with visual projections behind them since the stage antics are a bare minimum. Nadja’s music, which the local weekly magazine in Brussels somewhat correctly refers to as experimental doom, allows the audience to settle into and get lost in the sound as it slowly swells to a wall of low end brutality, which is exceptionally pleasant.
I started with this one, you should probably too. Stick with it, the heaviest epic riff comes on about halfway through.
They have a newer release featuring Mac McNeilly from The Jesus Lizard on drums, an interesting collaboration.
Sound notes from Josh MacPhee:
I was often sick when I was a baby and toddler, and my parent’s tell me when I was really upset one of the few things that would calm me down was listening to Roberta Flack’s 1971 album Quiet Fire. It’s a really smokey and mellow record, mostly ballads, but they simmer under the surface. I still enjoy listening to it to chill out, especially the track “Go Up Moses,” a slow burning political bombshell. Plus, it’s got a classic cover, with one of the best afro photos every taken!
Sound notes from Roger Peet:
I’ve been listening to some of the great bands from North Africa that Sublime Frequencies has released over the past several years. Group Inerane is a favorite:
Great vast jangling desert drones, great for doing a lot of repetitive motion.
For printing, which requires repetitive motion that involves larger segments of the body, I’ve been using Matmos: