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Ian Svenonius has indefatigably devoted his professional life to building an extensive and formidable body of work that feels as vibrant and urgent as ever in 2019. Known internationally via bands The Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up, Chain and the Gang, and Weird War among others, he has also authored three books and numerous articles and essays while somehow still finding the time and inspiration to work as an actor, TV host, and DJ. And diverse as his work may be, the core concerns of communication, immediacy, and truthful artistic expression run throughout, regardless of the medium or moniker associated with any given Ian Svenonius project.

As gracious as he is prolific, Ian kindly whiled away an evening with Weirdo Music Forever recently, discussing new recordings and touring for his project Escape-ism, past work, contemporary online culture, and more. We are also delighted to present a new fantastic photo set of Ian and Alexandra Cabral by one of our favorite photographers, Miriam Marlene.

Bobby Weirdo: I wanted to ask about Washington D.C., which has music traditions that are very different from each other. It feels like mainstream music media has never given much attention to that city, and I’m curious about the music that has come out of there and how it might have informed what you do.

Ian Svenonius: It’s always been real backwater, and that used to be kind of a cool thing. A lot of people have come out of there or lived there. Bo Diddley lived there most of his career. He had a studio there, cut a lot of records there, and he scouted soul bands there [like] The Four Jewels or the Jewels and Billy Stewart. Link Wray lived there and had a record label. Bunker Hill, Gil Scott-Heron, Eddie Floyd, and Eddie Hazel lived there. Marvin Gaye is from there, Van McCoy who wrote “The Hustle”…

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Ian will be playing with his partner Alexandra Cabral on 15th November as an opening act for the Thurston Moore Group. Read the whole interview HERE

 

Multifaceted drummer Valentina Magaletti surveys alternatives to the conventional kit

Against the conventional approach to percussion, with simple gear and canonical sound sets, this playlist aims to show how multifarious and exhilarating are the potentially unbounded resources of unconventional drumming.

Virtually every object can be transformed into a percussive source, since everything has a hidden voice, with its timbre, its beat, its extension, its field of reverberations. To listen to this hidden voice, to let it resonate in all its unpredictable syntax, to be the medium of its expression both as a performer and as a listener, is a synaesthetic experience through which we are confronted with the tactility of sound.

Rather than focusing on a musician’s skills, unconventional drumming is focused on texture, the substrate from which the sound is originated. Unconventional drumming could mean experimenting with the usual drum kit, or modified or implemented with unusual percussion, sometimes from the repertory of traditional music.

Often with unconventional drumming the sonic sources are objets trouvés – the performance becomes the building of resounding merzbau or the recollection of some lost, pristine landscape. In other cases, the choice is for everyday objects or elements that become the ally’s voice in surges of emotions, endurance or outcry.

 

find the whole article here 

 

 

  • Valentina Magaletti plays Yves Chaudouët’s porcelain drumkit, the Batterie Fragile

Ahbez was a beat poet and composer who wrote the hit tune ‘Nature Boy’ that gave Nat King Cole his first big success in 1948. Ahbe approached exotica from a very different angle which resulted in a concept album about an utopian society living on an island far away from the modern western world. ‘Eden’s Island (The Music Of An Enchanted Isle)’ is a masterpiece of proto psychedelic music.

When a young record collector named Brian Chidester found a picture of “Ahbe” with Brian Wilson working on ‘Smile’, he felt the urge to research the life of Eden Ahbez. Chidester embarked on a journey of more than twenty years that culminated in a movie, “As the Wind: The Enchanted Life of Eden Ahbez”, telling the story of one of pop culture’s most enigmatic figures in full.

 

Brian Chidester and his filmmaking partner John Winer now have not only gone wild in bringing the life of the Eden Ahbez to a wider attention, but they have taken part in the ultimate re-release of Eden Ahbez first and only cult full length record. Everland Music and Ebalunga!!! recently announced a very special reissue of ‘Eden’s Island’ that will include almost 20 unreleased songs. The vinyl version includes a 12“ size, 24 page booklet, while the CD version comes as a double CD with 2 booklets. There’s also a very limited Collection Deluxe Wooden Box Set and Limited Wooden Cover Slider Edition on Double Vinyl available.

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE

“All truth is comprised in music and mathematics,”Margaret Fuller wrote in the middle of the nineteenth century as she was changing the fabric of the time. Exactly one hundred years after her untimely death, another tragic hero of another century, whose mind would shape the epochs to come, united these twin truths in a single, rapturous force-field of possibility on the pages of a programming manual containing the first instructions for how to compose music on a computer — a foundational marriage of technos and tenderness.

While the world saw early computers as oversized calculators, Alan Turing (June 23, 1912–June 7, 1954) was asking whether a computer could make you fall in love with it. Only those rare artists of the possible can look at something on the cusp of becoming and see what it can be, not as an incremental evolution of the extant and the familiar but as a leap toward the unexampled and the unimagined. 

Out of Turing’s uncommon orientation to possibility arose one his most profound and undersung contributions to the modern world: the birth of digital music. Envisioning the computer’s potential as a musical instrument, Turing became the first to compose a computer program for playing notes — the greatest contribution to the universal language since Pythagoras first radicalized music with mathematics.

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE

 

Ben Bertrand at Présences éléctronique INA grm with so many other great artists

  • Présences éléctronique

Myriam Gendron understands timing and the fluid nature of permanence. A seven-year gap between her debut, Not So Deep As A Well, and her stunning new double album, Ma Délire – Songs of love, lost & found, holds out a little longer as the solo guitar intro of opener, “Go Away From My Window,” hums lackadaisical for over a minute before her voice enters the fray. In that space, though, we are transported into this world rife with love, heartbreak, and solace. In those 90 seconds, an entire universe is created. 

Gendron’s approach is simple on the surface. Even as the sonic palette on Ma Délire expands on Not So Deep As A Well, it’s all built around Gendron’s (mostly acoustic) guitar and voice. This minimal palette obscures the immense scope of Ma Délire; there is a mountain of emotion, history, and nuance spilled across these aural pages. 

Opening Ma Délire with John Jacob Niles’s “Go Away From My Window,” a song that’s not exactly traditional but has an ancient spirit, tells us what we need to know. Gendron’s arrangement for fingerpicked guitar is lilting, an uneasy boat carried away by a quickening current, an apprehensive foundation that sets the state for her plaintive vocals, singing, “But remember dear, you really are the one I did love best.” It’s a footnote for the entirety of Ma Délire, an album ultimately about love and loss expressed through history, sung and forgotten, as lyrical and poignant today as they ever were.

“Love doesn’t spare anyone,” Gendron sings in French on “C’est Dans Les Vieux Pays,” across electric soundscapes aided by the introspective howl of Bill Nace’s guitar. Within these desolate walls, hard truths emerge like embers from a long-dormant fire. “Love makes more of a bloodbath, Than a hundred wolves in a flock.” Gendron’s voice throughout Ma Délire is saturated with the aching experience of living, with the somber feelings that overcome the sanguine green shoots where heartbreak begins. These ageless songs – and I include Gendron’s four originals in that as they could have as easily been written 100 years ago as yesterday – yearn for real connections; undaunted longing for emotional reciprocation.

And then there’s “Shenandoah.” When I first heard this album, it had my attention from the opening plucks, but when I heard the instrumental incarnation, “Shenandoah (I),” I knew Myriam Gendron was channeling something even deeper than the opening songs suggested. She stated in the Foxy Digitalis interview that, “If I was a religious person, that melody would be my God!” It’s a statement straight from my own heart, but where Gendron turns this all-time number on its head is in the second version that closes the album. It’s intimate, not for us. It embodies the anguish in the words, “Oh Shenandoah, I need you so … Much more than you will ever need me,” the message leaving her body not as words, but as the ghosts of every love departed across a perpetual night. The resonant textures and distance in her voice with the quiet strums of an acoustic guitar and the gentle birdsong transform this into an eternal masterpiece. To take a song so grand, so immaculate, and distill it into a quiet, intimate confession like this is unbelievable.

Ma Délire – Songs of love, lost & found is a complete and total triumph. There aren’t many artists who understand and can harness the immortal spirit that flows through traditional music like Myriam Gendron. For all her talents as a songwriter, guitarist, and singer, this is her greatest gift. 

FOXY DIGITALIS