Form A Log
The Two Benji’s
Open up your heart, clear out the sooty atria, and make some room for Log Culture. Your mouth asks, “Who is Form A Log?” Turns out, your ears somehow knew it all along: three men who make music from the playback of 4-track cassette players, having laid out their recursive rhythms, synth-noise abuse, and spoken-word sample fuckery onto individual swathes of magnetic tape. With 12 channels available to mix and match between them, Form A Log performances find Ren Schofield (Container, I Just Live Here), Noah Anthony (Profligate), and Rick Weaver (Dinner Music, Human Conduct) overlaying their streams of technoid chaos into a generative mire that pulses enough to occupy your body as it reconfigures your synapses. Spend time with Form A Log, and designations like “primal” or “underground” or “lo-fi” crumble under your complete certainty that these men are doing everything perfectly right and perfectly wrong, feeling their way through new permutations of improvisation and composition, and conjuring a din unlike any you’ve heard before.
You have questions. “Who are the men that adorn The Two Benji’s with Cup Noodles dangling from mouths and plants covering torsos?” “How can I sink knee- or shoulder- deep into Log Culture before it’s too late?” “What does anything mean anymore at all?” I don’t have the answers you need. Maybe no one does. Though the Log boys maintain a laconic “mum’s the word” policy RE: the details of their burgeoning basement empire, any time spent with their music will nullify your anxieties. Scroll down, stream a few tracks from The Two Benji’s (previously self-released on cassette), come back, and tell me you’re not a little transformed.
“But where can I grip it???” I know the answer to this one: Decoherence Records kicks off its catalog by pressing this first piece of Log wax, and 500 copies hit the street on November 5. Pre-order it now, and when the record arrives, throw some Benjis in celebration:
1. Raise fist.
2. Extend and separate index and middle fingers.
3. Deed done.
LiL ≏ JaBBA
Lingering in the apartment parking lot across from the corner of Channel Drive and Shore Road, I’m staking out a mysterious locale in my neighborhood while listening to the new track “AzTeK.” by LiL ≏ JaBBA and “writing” about it here via voice-to-text on my phone. “Why you staking this trap out, yo?” Well, I’m curious ‘cause nobody in my community drives the type of fly-ass whips that usually pop out this traffic light at random. So, the gumshoe in me wanted to finally find out. And “OH!” how perfect does “AzTeK.” fit this situation? If I could only explain without… WAIT, here comes a pair of halogen lights now!
Sorry, I dropped my phone while ducking outta sight. OK, I know “phoning” while driving is a crime against humanity, but my hands are on the wheel and I’m tailing this fucker hardcore as LiL ≏ JaBBA runs that deep rhythm. But as the track starts to soar, so does the car ,and I can’t hit 60 in two seconds. I’m flippin’ a bitch, and WHYYY is a HAIM track directly preceding “AzTeK.” on SoundCloud? Whatever, I’m turning into where I saw them headlights emerge. It’s a garage warehouse that’s FUCKING opening up! I gotta jet, shit. Blocked from behind, WTF? Oh, silhouettes are daunting. Mr P, if I’m not on by 9 AM, edit this and publish my…
[electric whirling] “Who you talking to?” [muffled]
• LiL ≏ JaBBA: https://soundcloud.com/lil-jabba
It’s 2 AM in the morning. In the dining room directly outside my office door, a woman is having a conversation with someone who isn’t there. (Don’t worry. There’s no meaningful intervention at the moment. I just have to let it play out.) I’m exhausted and work is exhausting. I wish I was home… in bed… asleep.
Instead, I’ve been online, looking for little distractions. Curiously, my friend (hi, Alain!) just shared a link on Facebook, and it directed me to Sufjan Stevens’ awesome Tumblr. In particular, I was linked to a post in which he [Sufjan] shares the “sloppy lo-fi demo [he] found on an old hard drive” entitled “Take Me.” Yes! This is exactly the distraction I needed.
I love Sufjan Stevens. He’s one of my favorite favorites. Unfortunately, he’s here to tell me that this song “don’t go nowhere so don’t expect nothing.” The quadruple negative is misleading, but I won’t speculate. I’m too tired to speculate. What I can tell you with some authority, though, is that we may have a recording of his Planetarium to look forward to in the future. There are, as Eliot says in a completely different context, hints and guesses. With any luck, Mr P will let me review it when it comes out. I trust that I’ll be more awake by then. Perhaps gainfully employed elsewhere? Only time will tell.
Okay. I really should get back to work. Sigh. Goodnight.
• Sufjan Stevens: http://www.sufjan.com
“Bounce With Me OHIO”
And… Cream Juice returns — way worthy of italics, maybe even a few exclamation points couched within parentheses (!!)? Remember when Man Feelings took over your tape deck and all of your emotions, man or otherwise, earlier this year? Remember when the brothers Juice — one half Keith Rankin (formerly Keith Kawaii), one half Seth Graham — actually never left at all, but rather just lamped behind the curtain, beset by 360 degrees of synth, hands on more knobs than seems possible, pumping out the f r a c t u r e d tunes to which you bumped and shook your damn head all day long? I’ll wait here while you scroll down and hit the ▻ on this pooch. Later, as you gather your brain-drippings off the ground and realign your pupils, I’ll get to work on paragraphs two and three.
Hello. Yes. I am here to tell you that you do not need an excuse to “Bounce With Me OHIO.” Cream Juice has already taken care of the preliminary programming, the beat (dis)orientation, the sputters, the squelches, the amicable divorce of structure and common sense, the Korg sorcery — all those cerebral considerations. Whether or not you sit within the borders of the boys’ Buckeye State at this moment, all you have to do is bounce.
To whom do you owe this pleasure? “Bounce” appears on a mammoth digital compilation worked up by Free Form Freakout to benefit the fall pledge drive at Mankato’s KMSU radio station — alongside almost two hours of new or unreleased music from a cavalcade of the finest contemporary zoners (IBNLT: Derek Rogers, Panabrite, Charlatan, Hobo Cubes, Sparkling Wide Pressure). A donation of $40 or more hooks you up with the physical counterpart to this comp: a clear vinyl disc, housed in a sleeve designed by (the) Graham Lambkin, featuring deluxe unreleased sonics from Sean McCann, Decimus, Rambutan, and Nite Lite. To donate, keep experimental music alive on the Minnesota FM airwaves, and clutch your mega-limited physical item as tightly as you can without risking a corner ding or seam split, THIS is the link you need.
• Cream Juice: http://www.orangemilkrecords.com/cream-juice—man-feelings.html
• 2208 Recordings: http://2208recordings.blogspot.com
• Free Form Freakout: http://fffreakout.blogspot.com
Collin was right about Ô Paon: profound dimensions of her art resist translation, even transliteration. Perhaps the most unfair dimension of her work that (almost) refuses to come across in recordings is the intensity of her performance. I still remember the first time I saw her play in the Port Warehouse in Anarcortes, during What the Heck? Fest (R.I.P.) in 2009. Through the floorboards, in punctuating silences, you could hear the water underneath shift about in the dark. But our eyes were transfixed ahead the entire time. What later on became Courses, which comes across mostly as an experiment in looping, in front of me live was a kind of incantatory exorcism. When Ô Paon’s set was over, I stepped out in silence with the audience and took a necessary smoke break. It felt like we had survived something. Unfortunately — for many artists, really — that kind of thing just can’t translate.
That being said, I think that Quatorze-Quinze Ans is the best translation of Ô Paon we have so far. Differing somewhat from her previous album Courses, the four songs here are less about building loops and cathartic outbursts, and more focused on deep tones, pulses, and slow, intimate revelations. They are naturalistic, wandering, and contemplative things. (Imagine perhaps the point at which Lucrecia Dalt and Pharmakon cross.) There are times that, in the short span of a song, they become terrifying spaces to inhabit. Then it’s appropriate that the thematic space Quatorze-Quinze Ans (as well as the recent Castrée graphic novel Susceptible) occupies is the tumultuous surrealism of being young while having to grow up: that is, a time that brutally resists translation and, too often, transliteration.
• Ô Paon: http://www.opaon.ca
“Life Power Church (Fourth Dimension)”
Although Pocahaunted and Raccoo-oo-oon got me into this whole weirdo cassette tape-driven “underground” (but mostly just community) music, the first two tapes I ever owned were Solar Meditations and New Age Outlaws. So it’s a sad day when Mr. Ettinger himself messages you asking to post “the final Dylan Ettinger release.” Yo, humbling for sure, but extremely sad. Once, Ettinger convinced a villager pal of mine there were other worlds out there when he was alone in the old Tipp City historic post office at midnight as he listened to New Age Outlaws in pitch dark. The kid saw colors. Ettinger also popped one of this year’s deepest Night People cassettes too: Crucify Your Love.
Anyhow, this track, “Life Power Church (Fourth Dimension),” is intended as “[the] RING ENTRANCE THEME FOR PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER JAKE OMEN COMPOSED AND PERFORMED BY DYLAN ETTINGER.” But ya know what? It’s probably the most teasing and fourth-coming exit I’ve ever heard from an artist. And brilliantly so. Decipher that how you will. However, do NOT sleep on these $1 cassingles Flannelgraph Records is putting out of the final release. It’ll be WAY rare and will literally complete your reel collection of Dylan Ettinger’s majesty. Pick it up ASAP and be proud of living in an age of such greatness as Jordan and Gretzky and Ettinger.