Jacqueline Humbert & David Rosenboom
The original performances of Jacqueline Humbert and David Rosenboom’s Daytime Viewing between 1979 and 1981 anticipate both the most bizarre and the most academic strains of contemporary independent music. They’re precursors, on the one hand, to the theatrical synth-orgy LSD trip you’d catch at the end of a long bill at a DIY gallery and instantly come to worship (see: Nautical Almanac, Quintron & Miss Pussycat). But the duo also boasts major credentials in pioneering electronic music and minimalist ensembles: Rosenboom plays on the original recording of In C and performed with La Monte Young’s Theatre of Eternal Music; Humbert collaborated for over 15 years with Robert Ashley, whose TV opera Perfect Lives parallels Daytime Viewing’s format and themes.
If I were there to witness the duo’s computer-created visual accompaniments flitting alongside a live fashion show of Humbert’s costumes while she intones poetry and Rosenboom conjures melodic cascades out of a Buchla Touché computer-assisted synth prototype, I would’ve been so down. Like Humbert’s character, I’d probably leave my body and “watch [my] life as [I] would a story, absorbing the view.” Their mythology would’ve become my mythology. But… this all took place over 10 years before I was born. I thank Unseen Worlds — who released 2012’s incredible Laurie Spiegel reissue, among other gems — for reviving Daytime Viewing from a private cassette release to an LP and CD edition. I’ve sunk into the liner notes and the text of Humbert’s allegorical monologue that paints the television as a conflicted caretaker/lover, and made probably too many connections between her free-associations and today’s multimedia-saturated culture. With the LP spinning next to me, I worry I might “beg[i]n to refuse to leave the Daytime Viewing,” at least for a while. Cool.
Parashi presents mystical, sonic terror on a video excerpt that accompanies their latest tape, The Book of Nothing, released on Cave Recordings. The video is a barrage of esoteric memories: recovered reels of World War II-era mind-control tapes discovered in an abandoned German bunker. Home videos with destroyed audio, eaten away by a faulty VHS player. Silent horror films.
• Cave Recordings: http://www.caverecordings.blogspot.com
Guest Mix: All Tiny Creatures
The Book Mixtape
Look guys, I know you’re all getting #stoked for that new Volcano Choir album, but did you know that three of the Volcano Choir guys have a band called All Tiny Creatures? And did you know that said band is also coming out with a new album? Well, in order to get us pumped for their new record, the band has prepared an immaculate guest mix for us that features their new single “The Book” as a jumping-off point. “The Book” is an excellent piece of harmonically rich electro-pop music that creates a surprisingly lush texture with a well-arranged minimal palette of synth, guitar, vocals, and drums. All subsequent tracks on the mix grow out of “The Book,” making it feel like the greatest Kraftwerk club epic that never existed. It’s an impeccably well-sequenced and streamlined plummet into All Tiny Creatures’ sonic world.
All Tiny’s Creatures’ Dark Clock is out June 25 via Hometapes. You can check out their guest mix below:
“The Mad March”
For one night only, on June 7 in San Francisco, Madlib will be performing a DJ set comprised solely of 70s rock music from Zambia, which arose from the flames of late-60s psychedelics and the arrival of soul in 70s American R&B. If that doesn’t already sound incredible enough, Madlib will be flying in Zamrock star (and last remaining member of Zambia band, WITCH), Emmanuel “Jagari” Chanda to perform for the first time in front of any audience ever in North America. IN ADDITION, Madlib’s Lootpack-era collaborator, Egon, will be playing some tunes that night as well, riding the recent release of a collection of Zamrock reissued earlier this year on Now-Again Records. And lastly, this song “The Mad March” will be released as a limited-to-300 edition 7-inch to be released (and likely sold out) at that very show. So, if you live in San Francisco and you miss this show…
More Life / You Vomit Blood~;+===
We’re careering through the sky at 30,000 feet, oxygen masks dangling limply from the ceiling of the plane, a canopy of dead plastic-yellow foliage. The screen in the seat in front of us flashes dying moments of an auto-zooming pixelated plane, spinning mid-route among its Google Earth backdrop: the greenest greens and bluest blues you’ll ever see again. Flickers of duty free vodka mingle with a garbled collection of cut price TV films; 450 minutes of carefully selected in-flight entertainment, available on our newly customized touch-screen monitors.
We touch the screen, and get a sharp shock of electric life. Ears pop repeatedly.
Apparently inspired as much by “David Guetta” as “The Fall, The Mothers and This Heat,” In Posterface’s new double A-Side — out July 1 via Glasgow’s Winning Sperm Party — is a turbulent descent into a bricolage of noise, faulty electronics, and the occasional prime-time radio synth-hook. Hanging over the Tannoy like a demented late-night cold caller, our narrator keeps the pieces in some kind of impermanent order, lapsing from the brutal frequency oscillations of “More Life” to a kind of pained resolve in “You Vomit Blood.”
And though you try and focus your last thoughts on some long-forgotten piece of Descartes, a Biblical aphorism, a heart-warming embrace from long ago, or whatever else feels valid to your rapidly closing minds-eye, the specter of an uninvited anomaly (A Youtube Cat? Miley Cirus? Big Mouth Billy Bass?) still rears its head as the end comes.
In case it hasn’t been obvious, we here at Tiny Mix Tapes are pretty stoked on Ryan Power’s upcoming album Identity Picks, and with good reason. Power has managed to create that rare kind of intellectual pop music that manages to call to mind a number of references without ever really fitting into any one style or genre. For example, while Ryan A. Detwiler heard an eclectic combination of Kaputt-era Destroyer, Hot Chip, and Will Oldham, I heard Todd Rundrgren with a good dose of Jim O’Rourke’s Insignificance-style cynicism, while my girlfriend heard Justin Timberlake via Ariel Pink. However, despite the disparity of these references, they all have a common thread that actually sums up one of the best things about Power’s work. In a recent interview, Power spoke at length about how he hopes that “the art of songwriting” comes back because of the current emphasis placed on gimmicky production. And there is indeed a pretty clear difference between songs that work because they rely on (in Power’s words) a “wonky beat in Ableton using samples of your friend taking a dump” and songs that work because they’re immaculately crafted structurally.
“The Prize,” Identity Picks’ first single, is an excellent example of why the latter type of songs tend to rule so hard. The track has a theoretically complex chord progression, but Power manages to wrangle a melodic hook out of his sophisticated harmonies at every turn. Then there are the absolutely cutting lyrics that seethe over relationships with the kind of honest intensity of the aforementioned O’Rourke or the oft-forgot Quasi. Throughout, Power’s production is sparse and on point; there’s nothing here that shouldn’t be. This attention to the actual craft of “the song” is what calls to mind so many other great songwriters/bands when listening to Power’s music. It can often be easy to make something interesting through sonic gimmicks, but it takes something like Power’s structural ingenuity to create truly memorable work that places him among the many rad dudes that his works initially call to mind.