Seattle’s Substrata 1.2: Tim Hecker, Daniel Menche, Lawrence English, Loscil, and more highlight what your ears have been ignoring

Seattle's Substrata 1.2: Tim Hecker, Daniel Menche, Lawrence English, Loscil, and more highlight what your ears have been ignoring

I had the luxury of attending the inaugural edition of Substrata (Substrata 1.1) last July, and even putting aside the fact that it was/is held in the Chapel Performance Space of Seattle’s Good Shepherd Center, in the city’s Wallingford neighborhood, the event was truly something of a spiritual experience. As I gradually became consumed by the resonant timbres of musical subtlety, I half expected Jesus Christ himself to come flying in through one of the stained-glass windows, in order to perform some actual levitational tricks, while my mind was already floating. Then he’d be knocked down from the rafters with a broom and forced to pay the price of admission, because secular tradition admits to no special treatment, not even for theoretical saviors of humanity. The fading rays of dusk sunlight and the serenity of the venue itself were appreciable accessories to the event’s unconscious significance.

Substrata 1.2, which will take place on August 3-5, aims to continue what the first edition started, though with a few important distinctions. First, the similarities: naturally, Substrata wouldn’t be Substrata without an international lineup of artists dedicated to exploring auditory minutiae and the human relationship to it. The first evening will feature “pioneering” UK artist Scanner, Australian media artist and curator Lawrence English, and Daniel Menche, an audiovisual artist from Portland. The second evening will feature performances from Chicago’s Pan•American, Tim Hecker (who, it appears, will be performing the entirety of Ravedeath, 1972 (TMT Review)), Loscil, and Widesky. On August 5, similar to the third day of Substrata 1.1, a limited group of attendees will join Lawrence English and Robin Rimbaud (a.k.a. Scanner) on a field trip to Puget Sound, where the day’s activities will revolve around “hiking, field recording, exploring, and learning.” Sing-alongs are not explicitly mentioned.

Separating Substrata 1.2 from last year’s edition is the inclusion of two free daytime educational events on Saturday, August 4 — the first being a lecture from Lawrence English on the “the interconnections of humanity, sound and the wider environment,” and the second being a panel discussion entitled, “Economics of Uncertain Futures and Sustainability (Surviving the Apocalypse of Art).” Organizers have also put together a three-pronged crowd-funding initiative, which you can learn more about on the festival’s website.

Trust me, Substrata is a rare type of event. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out.

• Substrata:

RIP: Levon Helm of The Band

From Spinner:

Levon Helm, the enigmatic drummer and baritone vocalist behind The Band has died at the age of 71 after a lengthy battle with cancer, the Times-Herald Record reports. Helm had been hospitalized at New York’s Memorial Sloane-Kettering Cancer Center.

“We lost Levon at 1:30 today surrounded by friends and family and his musicians have visited him,” Larry Campbell, Helm’s guitarist and band leader, told the news paper. “As sad as this was, it was very peaceful.”

• The Band:

[Photo: David Gans]

Blur to deluxe-reissue every record ever made by anyone ever, start with their own catalog for simplicity’s sake

Indie rock kid: Welp, it’s literally been 21 years since the release of Blur’s debut album Leisure. How old does that make YOU, grandpa?

Grandpa: Who the hell is Blur? Goddamnit, You’re such a little pecker, grandson.

Indie rock kid: Grandpa! You’re making me LOL! They’re this British band who has influenced, like, everyone who makes rock music today. Their frontman is this dude Damon Albarn, and he said recently that Blur is probably not going to continue on as a band, which, like, sux and everything; but on July 30, they’re putting out this massive box set and reissuing their entire catalog in newly expanded, special edition formats that include bonus discs of previously unreleased material, expanded booklets, unseen photographs, and a bunch of new liner notes based on a new interview with the band. I read about it on this website, Consequence of Sound.

Grandpa: British! Damon?! WEBSITE?!? What in God’s holy name are you talking about, grandson? Don’t you realize how stupid you sound every time you open your idiot mouth?

Indie rock kid: Aw, come on, grandpa. You don’t mean it. Anyway, they’re also doing this huge box set compiling all seven special edition albums, plus for more rarities discs, a collectible 7-inch single, three DVDs, and a hardcover book…

Grandpa: No, I definitely mean it. Why the Sam Hill are you even telling me this? And open your mouth when you talk, for the love of the Lord Jesus! You don’t like one of them mental patients down the way, there…

Indie rock kid: Oh, well, you should like this part, Grandpa! There’s also going to be a box set of Blur’s proper albums on vinyl records, compiling each of their seven LPs into a “sturdy hard case.” You know, 33 1/3 RPM and all that?

Grandpa: I swear to the blessed virgin Mary, every time you say “Blur,” it sounds like you’re throwing up your own feces.

Go to Consequence’s page for the tracklist; it’s super long.

• Blur:
• Parlophone:

Xtra Mile launch North American branch, recruit Future of the Left as ever-friendly ambassadors

Xtra Mile is a prominent UK record label, boasting popular acts like Frank Turner, Against Me!, and Look Mexico. However, they do not have a North American branch. That’s no way to run a North American record label! In fact, that’s almost certainly one of the worst ways. I didn’t go to business school, but I know enough to get by. You guys should start a North American branch of your record label.

Thankfully, it looks like Xtra Mile are finally taking that advice I gave them one sentence ago. Xtra Mile are starting a North American branch of their record label! Now that they’ve teamed up with Independent Label Group for help with distribution and marketing, they’re ready to spread their records across the United States and Canada. They’ve recruited the sunniest of ambassadors to introduce themselves to this chunk of the world: Future of the Left. Some of the members of Future of the Left used to be in McLusky and none of those members have gotten any more easygoing since leaving McLusky. Their new record, The Plot Against Common Sense, will be out June 12 through the shiny, new American branch of Xtra Mile. Venom and dark humor will likely be present.

• Xtra Mile:
• Future of the Left:

RIP: Greg Ham of Men At Work

From the BBC:

Men At Work flautist Greg Ham has been found dead at his Melbourne home, according to Australian reports.

The 58-year-old will be remembered for playing the famous flute riff from the band’s biggest hit, Down Under.

Two friends found the body. They became concerned about Ham’s well-being having not heard from him for some time.

• Men At Work:

Erykah Badu puts her time management skills to the test with the announcement of not one but two albums before the end of 2012

For those of you wondering if you’ll have to wait a good number of years for more Badu, as has been the case over the last 15 years of her career, the answer is a resounding NO! Ms. Badu has announced her intentions to release not one but TWO albums this year — one a solo release and one a collaboration with the Dallas-based improvisation group The Cannabinoids. No further details about the albums have been released, but this information has hopefully satiated the part of your brain (pictured above) that yearns for top-quality neo-soul information. You’re welcome.

Thinking back to the announcement of Badu’s three-part New Amerykah project and its subsequent release schedule (Part One in 2008, Part Two in 2010), it may be wishful thinking to expect this declaration to come to fruition by the end of the year. Cross your fingers, pray, whatever you’ve got to do, folks.

The Cannabinoids features Badu’s musical director, RC Williams, as well as the producer of presumably Badu’s biggest hit, Baduizm’s “On & On”, Jah Born. A brief preview showing Badu and the ‘noids in the studio is available over at Fact. It doesn’t reveal much, and the only part of the audio track that features Badu is a processed sample that comes in about halfway through the :53 second clip, but it’s still something to look forward to. The world could always use more Badu.

• Erykah Badu:
• The Cannabinoids: