Austin, TX’s More Eaze is a musician full of surprises, with work sprawling across blissed out glitch electronics, spiderwebbed pop, and restrained collage work. And as you’d expect from someone covering all this ground, More Eaze puts out a lot. 2017 saw new pieces of work released on labels including Orange Milk and Astral Spirits.
This set from earlier last year is simple in scope, yet incredibly effective in execution. ME does a tight 10 minutes, full of playfulness and climaxing for just as long as needed. This set includes a drummer, who is there for flourishes and color as much as anything else.
Here we have an absolutely killer techno set. Saw this one live in the flesh here in Chicago and I was pretty floored, especially given the probability of seeing a totally meh techno set in a big pseudo-warehouse space with concrete floors. ADAB hails from Cleveland and helps organize the Heaven is in You party at Now That’s Class, very likely a party worth checking out if you’re in the good old CLE. The party put together a comp a couple of years back that has some real Cleveland heavy hitter on it, like Forest Management and Glacial 23.
The Neon Falls party is pretty excellent! It’s organized by dynamic duo Glenna Fitch who DJs as SOLD and Alex Bond, who has been spinning recently as Hi-Vis. This incarnation was especially primo, and it’ll be very exciting to see how the party continues to develop in its second year.
You could have caught me back in 2013 trashing Eurorack culture (especially at that inevitable moment in the middle of the 6-hour long module demo set when some switch was flipped and the 4/4 kick started) and I’ll be damned if you still do not want to get me started on it today.* But sometimes you actually see a damn musician use one of these things and it’s pretty fucking magnificent.
Here we have beloved Chicago scene presence Tim Nordberg presenting a smokin’ hot modular synth composition under his Wish Fulfillment project. Tons of open space that wonderful tension between slow, wistful melody and machine freaking. Kinda one of those you’ll just have to listen to it sets, so go for it. TN was involved with the Rubicon space down in Pilsen while it was open, and is often seen around town working sound and making other people’s DJ sets pop.
This video was shot by Erica Mei Gamble at a show organized by Ben Baker Billington.
*If you want to get me started, get in the Cafe Chat.
Today’s Groove du Jour focuses on some really exciting people making what are often dubbed “live visuals.” It’s a funny term (like, sure we call stuff we smell smells but uhh…) and who knows when it even entered the lexicon, since projections during music have been happening since at least the original hippie moment when liquid light shows were very much so a thing.
Anyway, here are some really good video artists jamming around the wider American experimental scene. This post focuses on some of the fresher faces, and is kind of limited to a certain broad genre of music. Would love to get some videos up here of projections from dance parties and raves, so hopefully that’s part 2. Without further ado:
Christine Janokowicz aka armpitrubber
Christine Janokowicz is a video artist based in Chicago and does a pretty amazing job with a cobbled together array of video synths and computer tools. She’s been all over the local scene recently, lending some psychedelic delights to many of the musicians in the Hausu Mountain nexus. Venomenema is her AV project with Max Allison aka Mukqs. First video courtesy of Erica Mei Gamble.
The last video in the previous entry contains contains very similar imagery to that used in videos Angel Marcloid made to play during her Fire-Toolz live sets. While AM doesn’t really make video work for anyone else, it’s very much so worth highlighting the work she makes for herself. You can see a lot of it posted on the Fire-Toolz YouTube channel. Super wild glitched out vaporwave collage vibes there. AM is also based in Chicago.
Fire-Toolz is a lot of things: vaporwaved nü metal, bionic id, industrial jazz fusion, a reliable source for videos of a CGI baby going in and out of a womb. It’s also the most fully conceived project from the hyper prolific Angel Marcloid, formerly Pregnant Spore and proprietor of the Rainbow Bridge label. Fire-Toolz sets and albums are equally high-production-value affairs, with a savvy sense of structure and more stimulation than an audience could possibly ever crave.
This video is from the Fire-Toolz album release show at the Empty Bottle, for the tape Interbeing. It came out right around the same time as a new release by AM’s vaporwave project ᴡ ᴇ в s ɪ ᴛ ᴇ ツ and precedes another Fire-Toolz LP coming out later this year, which itself follows an Angelwings Marmalade release. Additionally, Suite 309 just put a Fire–Toolz remix tape.
Savage Weekend what a scene! Ok, this video is older than what we typically post, but Jill Lloyd Flanagan aka Forced Into Femininity suggested checking this one out and it is an absolute must. Viszk works through this physical crescendo, her body slowly revealing itself as possessed. The dirt she flails in really sells this as an affecting, off-putting performance. Also, love those boy band headset mics.
Not a lot of information about Viszk online aside from her first name (Eli) and her location in Chapel Hill, NC where Savage Weekend takes place. There is a Viszk SoundCloud, but it seems to exist wholly to remind that the actual Viszk experience is live.
Jazz, baby! Inclusions has an interesting take on free jazz, in line with the compositional strain of the genre that was really Ornette Coleman’s wizardly innovation. No free funk here though, just beautifully structured post-post-post-post-bop blessed with savvy Sun Ra influence, melody, and bursts of atonality. Where’s the album, guys?
Inclusions features two members of ADT — Carlos Chavarria on sax, Adam Tramposh on keys — plus Scott Dunkerly on drums and Jeff Wheeler on baritone guitar.
The video was shot by Erica Gamble at show organized by Jeff Wheeler.
Actually, choosing a Crank Sturgeon video to post is incredibly difficult. Probably worth doing a whole post on his stuff, but for the time being here’s Crank in full freak mode last summer. Probably the master of the contact mic, Crank uses it here to trigger a series of little gadgets and capture his strange whistling, breathing, and words. A+ slapstick here, what with the big belly and the pants falling down.
Crank Sturgeon, for me at least, is who comes to mind when I think New England freak scene. He’s a constant well of creative performance ideas and resourcefulness for wringing noise from this or that old thing. First time I saw him, he had stretched out many feet of packing tape and was playing it like some big string instrument.
Be sure to check out Crank’s website, which is a total assault on the sense and also where you can buy the very excellent contact mics that he builds.
Look at this audience rapt, totally lost in those slow motion waves projecting from the screen. You know how hard it is to get every single person in the room on board for something so mellow, so meditative. But you can hear how still everyone is when Ana Roxanne takes a break to grab a beer. They’re waiting.
AR’s Bandcamp contextualizes the Los Angeles musician’s approach: “southeast asian devotional music. an offering to the romantics, spirit people, and the great R&B divas of the 20th century.” But it doesn’t speak to the way that sounds get melt into each other, differentiating themselves as frays in this continuous, flowing fabric of drones and long-held vocal tones.
This is the best. Video, abstract music, sculpture, costume, ritual — Oakland’s Oracle Plus blends it all together, elevating to transcendent performance.
Here we see something of a preparation seminar on the apocalypse of all consciousness. The title of the performance is “Eternal Viewing Options,” and taken most literally our viewing options into eternity include an egg, a video mirrored on itself, masks, and from time to time, the Oakland-based sisters Steph and Miel Lister themselves. By the time it gets to the mangled pseudo-QVC segment, perhaps you too will get the feeling that Oracle Plus has elevated this scramble of ideas and approaches to the most exquisite omelet.
This video is hosted by Pilastr Agonistes, who may have shot this video at its performance in Oakland, CA.