pop045 – Decades/Failures – GOODBY3

Decades/Failures.
GOODBY3.
pop045.
LP.
$13.00.

A new offering, and vinyl debut, from Richmond’s Decades/Failures. Darkwave, coldwave, post-punk… Whatever you call it, it’s eight songs of raw and urgent loner pulse. A suite of songs that followed quickly on the heels of this year’s previous cassette releases; the lauded “002” full length and “February 14th” single. “GOODY3” finds Decades/Failures restlessly evolving beyond the claustrophobic dark-synth frameworks of previous releases, creating a more minimal, airy yet tense atmosphere. The sonic palette has expanded too, the variety of synth sounds are dazzling dark jewels, and a strident guitar cuts through much of the album, with dour nods to Wire and early Cure. This is in part due to the addition of new member Alexis Ivy, whom Decades/Failures’ mainstay Adam happened upon while searching out ancient electronic albums in thrift stores. And though it is said there is strength in numbers, the feeling of utter dejection and defeat that pervades this album will soak deep into the bones of listeners. Just listen to the reverb-cloaked whispers amidst the panicked rhythms of theses songs and know that all is not well. And it never will be…

Joint release with Deadtank Records.
Mastered at London’s Medway Studios.
Virgin vinyl housed in thick 24 pt full color jackets.





Lost In The Stacks Ep. 68

High on Fire – Face of Oblivion
Ghostface Killa – Not your average girl
Yma Sumac – Xtabay
John Fahey – Sunflower River Blues
Sonny Rollins – Alfie’s Theme
Gang of Four – Damaged Goods
Felt – Penelope Tree
J Dilla – Workinonit
Cornelius Brothers – Too Late to Turn Back Now
Sam Cooke – Having a Party
Johnny Thunders – Chinese Rocks
Sonny and Cher – Crystal Clear Muddy Waters
Idaho – Shame
Best Coast – When I’m With You

Interview Guts: Nobunny

Unexpurgated text of a NOBUNNY (!) interview that will be in Ghettoblaster Magazine any moment now….

Tell us a little bit about the new (La La La La Love You) 7″ on Suicide Squeeze?

David, who runs Suicide Squeeze, asked me to do a 7″ for him over two years ago and for better or worse it took me about that long to hand in the tracks. I work at my own pace. One of the great things about being a musician is that I don’t have a boss, I don’t have to answer to anyone or meet deadlines.  So anyway, ya, I finally got it handed in. The artwork is by the great Japanese artist/illustrator Riko (aka Helmet Underground). The songs I’d like to think “speak for themselves”. Those who have expectations of what Nobunny sounds like will probably enjoy the a-side. The b-side is an exclusive track to this 7″ for those ears attached to open minds.

Goner also just released the Maximum Rock N’ Roll EP for this year’s Record Store Day. Talk a little about that album and what made you decide to release it this year?

The songs are a mix of old and new. I was hesitant to release it on Record Store Day cuz I am not one to jump on trend wagons and am not a record collector myself. I do however like records and do like record stores and was happy to do another record with Goner. Releasing a “raw punk” record after the slightly more polished First Blood was not a calculated move but still I can’t help always wanting to fuck with people’s expectations. Keeping things interesting and fun for myself. First Blood was recorded on an 8-track with an sm58 microphone. Hardly a big budget hi-fi production, but it is a bit smoother than other stuff I’ve done.

When I listen to “First Blood” or the “La La La La Love You” 7″, I hear these constantly expanding sonics and songwriting palettes (like the T. Rex homage and string instruments on “Breathe” or the b-side of “La La La…”)- do you ever worry about losing the subtlety of some of these new songs in live performance? Or do you think about retiring the Nobunny live entity in favor of just recording?

I have never worried about how songs will work live when I write or record. Those are all seperate exercises that come together when reality dictates. Listening to a record is a completely different experiance than seeing a performance. You listen with your ears. A live show is for the ears and the eyes. Playing songs exactly as they are on a record is boring to me. I’m always looking for the best way to work the moment. With movement. Be it live or recorded. Nobunny will live forever. Maybe not always as a screaming telegram, but this is art without an expiration or any expectations.

Nobunny live is like this collective exercise in totally sincere and unselfconscious performance art on the part of both audience and performer; how can just a cheapo rabbit mask and some raw rock n’ roll tap into this hidden need on the audience’s part to go absolutely crazy?

Never underestimate the power of the mask and the smell of teen spirit. I was born to perform. I come from a family of musicians and entertainers. It’s in my blood. A zebra can’t change its stripes. Pranking till my last pump.

You play most, if not all, the instruments on your albums – which makes it even more interesting to listen to the musical changes from album to album – what was it that made you initially want to do it all yourself?

Nobunny has always been a one-man-band collective. I record must of the stuff by myself because I can. It’s a bit of an ego trip, but also a productive way to spend time alone. I have and do record with other people, but I imagine I’ll always work alone too as I am a loner. It’s hard for me to teach people the songs in my head. I hate having to correct people and ask them to do something over. Plus the recording process is often a creative one. Songs change and come to me as they are being recorded. S’hard to explain that to someone while in the moment.

Was there a particular song or musician that made you realize you wanted to dedicate your life to music?

All of ’em! I’ve always wanted to be here doing this. I love music and hits, bands n’ b-sides, session musicians and producers, band mythology and tech talk. Everything about the music and beyond. I am a fan of the arts in general and I always want more.

As a discerning rock n’roll fan yourself, do you ever see pictures of yourself in full flight live and think, “Yeah, cool, I would have loved this when I was a teenager?”

If you don’t like what you are doing, how can you expect anyone else to? I make music that I wanna hear, and put on the show that I’d like to see. I live the life I love and I love the life I live.

Are oldies still where it’s at for you when you’re listening to records for enjoyment and inspiration? Do you still get out to shows a lot?

Ya, I love oldies, but to be fair I listen to music from every decade from the ’40s on up to now. I enjoy plenty of modern bands. I do go to shows, but nowhere near as much as I used to. I tour quite a bit and see shows almost every night. When I’m off tour I tend to stay home.

 You’ve been busy lately on the new release front. What’s next?

Secret stuff. Sex sounds. Surprise songs. Recording the real. Playing punk.

Interview Guts: Trevor Jackson

The truncated version of this article appeared in Library Journal, but Trevor Jackson had too many interesting things to say, so here’s the full uncut transcript….

What was the impetus behind Metal Dance? What made you revisit this music from your youth?

A couple of things. One: I was searching through the attic of my parent’s house and I found a bunch of old tapes I made when I was a teenager and I just thought it was quite bizarre; there was loads of compilations coming out, many of them didn’t touch on the more industrial, well there were more obscure industrial compilations, but they didn’t touch on what to me were more commercial records, more club records, what we used to call alternative dance when I was younger. I just felt that it was kind of …. lots of music from that time was overlooked and deserved to be out there in the public domain again.

 For the benefit of a reading audience that might not be familiar with this music, would you tell us a little about the genres and subgenres collected on the album?

That’s the thing…. at the time, we’re talking about that point in the Eighties, music wasn’t so genre-sized. You had rock, dance, there weren’t so many genres. I suppose the music from that time was outsider music, maybe, it was certainly subversive, it was definitely alternative, it was underground and it was mainly made with primitive electronics and by people that maybe weren’t musicians and they just kind of found their way around things they could make sound with in a way that …. in a primitive, naïve way. And that’s what appeals to me about it. It’s not music made by professional musicians as such, which often leads to things which are quite boring.

 Were these the same qualities that grabbed you as a young music fan?

I was a teenager of that time so I grew up reading comic books, playing videogames and playing Close Encounters, Star Wars, and ET. These were films and these were books and comics that were all about the future. And so all the music around me and all the music in the charts at the time was boring rock music. And I was interested in music that was…. These records were by people that wanted to sound like something new. So I think that’s what excited me most. It was new sounds, and beyond sound, most of these bands had really strong images, like conceptually and their whole approach to making music, and that to me was really inspiring.

What was the connective tissue that held all of this music together for you?

I think it’s many things. For me, I was too young for punk and this is pre-hip hop, so for me being a teen, a young teenager seeking out alternative music, I kind of found it on the dancefloor and…. I think it was just… A lot of these people reference Burroughs and they reference a lot… To me it was just intelligent, it pushed things forward compared to what else was going on in the charts at the time and what my friends were listening to. It was something that was brand new and it was also… I remember listening to John Peel in my bedroom, when I was supposed to be asleep, my lights were off and I was under the covers with a radio, you know? And I’d religiously listen to John Peel every night. It’s kind of sad now, I don’t know what the alternative is for young kids, but that was pretty subversive then and for me it was a bit naughty and… I was young! I had friends who were older than me, 17 or 18, who were taking me to clubs when I was 14! It was quite an amazing experience. You’d go to a gig or you’d go to a club and there was a crazy mix of white, black, fashion people, arty people, normal people, bands onstage with crazy piercings, tattooed, smashing pieces of metal, playing synthesizers. It was insane. It was like a playground. For me.

It was an interesting time in music, with John Peel, NME with Napalm Death or Public Enemy on the cover….

It’s so hard for young people to understand! Because now there’s so much of everything. But then, one great record came out every few weeks… probably one great record came out every month. For me one record that blew me away came out every month. Maybe what it was was that people didn’t look to the past so much, people looked to the future and to the now, and also politically a lot of this music was rooted in politics, most of the bands were British or European… what was going on in the UK at that time was reflected in the music. The music is aggressive, so much of it is politically aware and that adds to the energy and the authenticity and the integrity of the music. These people weren’t just making music for fun; a lot of these people were trying to say something as well.

How did you choose the tracks? I’m picturing these epic listening parties?

No… Literally it was finding that cassette in my parent’s attic and then…. It was kind of difficult then because it was released on an independent label (Strut). Some of the tracks I wanted – like I would have loved to have had a Depeche Mode track on there, or Human League, or there were other bands I would have put on there, more obscure tracks by these bands – but you’re very limited in that major labels make it very restrictive now for you to license songs without paying a huge amount of money in advance. So it meant that I had to really dig deeper and find things that were on smaller independent labels. Which probably made the compilation more interesting. But literally it was 75% was on that cassette; they were records that were to me, anthems and for many people going to clubs at the time. So I tried to pick those big records and also add a few other things that I discovered quite recently that fitted in as well.

Do you have any good stories about making contact with the artists on the album?

Nothing really that exciting but purely from my point of view even thought I’ve been involved in the music business for twenty years, I’m still a punter, y’know? I don’t see myself as this industry person. I live around the corner from Rough Trade East, I shop there nearly every day buying records. For me getting the chance to speak with some of these artists…. even emails… I’m always very hesitant to make contact with anyone that I’m a fan of because the only times it has happened have been hugely disappointing. But generally Ive had nothing but positive responses from all the people involved… particularly some of the bands like Hard Corps and DAF. It’s been an honor to be able to talk to them. It’s still freaks me out that I’m in contact with artists I admire. I’m doing a gig with Jah Wobble in two weeks. Jah Wobble and Keith Levene are doing Pil’s Metal Box without John Lydon. And it’s just bizarre that I’ve been on the phone to Jah Wobble. I don’t believe it!

I like the variety of tracks chosen and that there are some surprises in selection, but this also feels like an accessible entry point to a rather inaccessible form of music. Was that in the back of your head at all?

That was 100%. I could have done a compilation of the weirdest music that no one had ever heard before, and I would have loved it and I would have had a lot of kudos from the people in the right places but for me, in my position now, I see myself more as being, in an odd way, a good librarian. As  I become older, it becomes increasingly harder for me to be creative in many ways, my output becomes less and less. I think about things too much, I’m far more hesitant about putting things out there because I kind of want to make a statement with everything that I do, yet my knowledge of music and many cultural things going back from when I was a young kid… I like to be able to share that with people. When I made this compilation it was interesting because … There were two reasons: I picked the tracks that I loved. The Pete Shelley track I chose, I was a massive Martin Rushent fan, the producer, everything he did, I bought. But that particular 12” that tracks was the one I loved most off that album. But I decided when I made the compilation, I was like, forget all the people who are really cool who are going to think these are really obvious tracks. I wanted to make it an introduction for those people who might not have heard this music. And it was kind of vindicating, because I was concerned, thinking, All of my contemporaries are going to say that this is so OBVIOUS, but then I started doing interviews with people who are in their twenties and they’d never heard any of the tracks! Not one of them! So it was like, this is amazing. To me it was like obvious, this music, but to a lot of people it’s not, so it’s really satisfying that it worked in that way, certainly.

Did you do all of the design and packaging on this record.

I did the whole lot. To me music is more than just about the sound it’s about everything you know.

What work went into it?

I think that sex and music has always been an incredibly important thing. And those times were very experimental times. Perhaps it’s slightly too overtly heterosexual because the music of that time wasn’t completely about one sexual preference  but people played with sexual imagery a lot at the time. So I wanted to reflect that, but in a contemporary way. The sleeve is all about …. It’s supposed to be a sleeve within a sleeve, so it’s imagining finding an artifact, an imaginary sleeve for an imaginary album that never existed, that’s what it’s supposed to look like.

If a library were using this collection as a jumping off point, are there any albums or artists that you’d particularly recommend?

Whoa. There’s so many. I’d have to say Cabaret Voltaire to start off with. They’re probably to me one of the most important electronic music artists of all time. It’s honestly…  so many artists on the album are seminal artists. Like Cabaret Voltaire, Yello to me… People talk about Kraftwerk as being the kings of electronic music, to me Yello were equally as important. I think some of their albums… They’re more human than Kraftwerk, there’s more humor in there, there’s more overtly obvious humor, and they’re sexier records. In a way. And they’re so creative. So Cabaret Voltaire, Yello, and probably… Those two bands in particular are artists that if anyone liked the compilation they should definitely hunt out more of theirs. And they did a lot of albums as well.

Do you have any curatorial projects in the works?

I’m trying to concentrate on my own music this year. I mean, part of me, it’s almost like, I spend my life collecting things: I’ve got thousands… I’ve got 50000 thousand records, I’ve got 15-20 thousand books, I’ve got tons of stuff. And in an ideal world I’d have a publishing company that would reissue books, reissue records, reissue films, reissue everything. But obviously its… We live in a time and it’s obviously quite interesting from a librarian’s point of view, the whole electronic age. I’m not overtly opposed to downloads and the digital realm, but at the same time I need to hold something in my hands, I need to possess things. I think the interesting thing is that the physical object is going to become a fetish. It’s not a bad; I think the mainstream will become all about the equivalent of renting, you won’t buy anything. But I think there will be a hard core that won’t won’t – that will probably grow – of people that have a passion for the physical. As I get older, I think that’s what I want to do. I want to try and rerelease, not just music, there are loads of things I’m passionate about.

Ink 19: Italian Horn

Italian Horn
The Bells of Spring
Dais

It’s rare that a music writer can cross the great divide between words and action and become a compelling musician. (Peter Laughner comes to mind immediately, and then…) It’s just as rare the other way around, for a musician to become a compelling record reviewer or historian. Anthony Pappalardo is one of those lucky few. An overview of his career would make the most manic overachiever feel like the dude in the old Charles Atlas comic ads getting liberal amounts of sand kicked in his dumb loser face. He’s performed with straight-edge hardcore stalwarts In My Eyes, written with Max G. Morton, penned the hardcore history-through-artifacts Radio Silence, works with the VDSQ label, and now has reinvented himself again as Italian Horn. Goddamnit, what am I doing with my life?

Well, what Pappalardo is doing with his life is writing albums of affecting lo-fi shoegaze that gets covers designed by Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices. The songs on The Bells of Spring avoid the majestic sprawl of the likes of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, instead going for a more barebones, more uptempo dive into the depths of heavily reverbed introspection. Italian Horn keeps it brief; heavy on the C86isms of Black Tambourine and Pond but also wonderfully redolent of early Ride and Field Mice. The album shimmers through a gauzy but thin sheen of delay and distortion and is all the better for it. Around 15 minutes and they’re out. How can one combine absolute economy with absolute decadence so easily?

Originally published ink Ink 19.

Ink 19: Peste Noire

Peste Noire
L’Ordure & L’Etat Pur
La Mesnie Herlequin

A musician friend of mine gushed to me about this album: “It’s so amazing how much this band loves being French!” Sold! It’s a fascinating new twist to the nationalism that runs as an undercurrent to so much black metal. Only this time, instead of singing the praises of icy fjords, on L’Ordure there are lusty screams and declamations about medieval French culture and… the Devil.

And if that weren’t enough (and it is), these words are coupled to some of the most creative, rugged individualist black metal I’ve heard in a long time. Not only do they gleefully incorporate French folk music tropes into their sound, the sounds of a farm (I’ve no idea), lightning quick tempo and timechanges that are jazzlike in their fell precision, straight up dance beats (in “Cochon Carotte Et Les…”), horns and strings, zither, fearsome metal savagery, and as a centerpiece, the totally unrestrained, almost method-acted vocals of La Sale Famine de Valfunde. Seriously, this guy is channeling Antonin Artaud in an insane asylum. Songs spiral into pure insanity, particularly the twenty-minute “Javais Reve Du Nord,” which contains ravens’ calls, a female vocalist, a lengthy zither breakdown, soaring power-metal-perverting riffery, and lycanthrope vocal abuse, with the last five minutes particularly harrowing in intensity.

It’s a dizzying, intoxicating, unpredictable brew of unstable sound. Oui oui!

Originally published in Ink 19.

Ink 19: PacificUV

PacificUV
Weekends
Mazarin Records

Though every sage in the world nods, well, sagely, at the irrefutable notion that “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” in underground music that’s just not often the case. For instance, if said cover is a bunch of skinny dudes in corpsepaint and bullet belts hanging out in a forest, the record is probably going to be good, or if the cover is a Ziploc bag filled with cowshit, it’s probably a safe bet that you, young sir or madam, most likely have a European noise record in your hot little hands. We can apply that same standard to anyone who designs an album sleeve in homage to Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space. Which is what PacificUV has done with Weekends, housed in a digipac that invokes the pill insert of Ladies. A sterile blue grid of squares filled with letters and braille, halfway between the Periodic Table and an apothecary’s arcane chart. This is the only thing familiar about PacificUV’s record.

See, on 2008’s Longplay 2, PacificUV lovingly crafted an album’s worth of expansive, impossibly sad, orchestral shoegaze. And on Weekends, they’ve stripped it fucking down. Stripped down the lineup. Stripped down the palette of instruments to just some outdated electronics and cheapo synths, a Speak-and-Spell, and a blown-out guitar or two. Stripped down their influences to the classics, the weirdos, and dark maguses — Kraftwerk, Sonic Boom, John Foxx — keep it simple. Stripped down their songwriting to primitive electronic hymns and shimmering bursts. It’s an all-new, all-weird PacificUV.

Originally published in Ink 19.

Library Journal: Metal Dancing With Trevor Jackson

music0601metal Music for the Masses: Metal Dancing with Trevor JacksonBritish producer/musician/designer Trevor Jackson recently compiled a selection of seminal industrial and electro tunes from the early 1980s for tastemaking label Strut Records. It was released as Metal Dance, a two-disc set complete with Jackson-designed packaging and sleevenotes. I chatted with him about the collection and how he sometimes feels like a librarian.

MM: What was the impetus behind Metal Dance?

TJ: A couple of things. I was searching through the attic of my parents’ house and found a bunch of old tapes I had made as a teenager. I thought it was quite bizarre that there were loads of compilations coming out, but many of them didn’t touch on more commercial records, more club records, what we used to call alternative dance. Lots of music from that time was overlooked and deserved to be out there in the public domain again.

For those who might not be familiar with this music, would you tell us about the genres on the album?

That’s the thing! During the 1980s, music wasn’t so genrefied. I suppose the music from this time was outsider music—certainly subversive and alternative. It was mainly made with primitive electronics by people who weren’t always musicians. They just found their way around things they could make sound with. That’s what appeals to me. It’s not music made by professional musicians, which often leads to things that are quite boring.

How did you choose the tracks?

Literally, it was finding that cassette in my parents’ attic. Some of the tracks I wanted—I would have loved a Depeche Mode track or Human League, and there are other bands I would have put on—but you’re quite limited…. Major labels make it very restrictive to license songs without paying a huge amount of money.

It meant that I had to dig deeper and find things that were on smaller independent labels, which probably made the compilation more interesting. But it was 75 percent of what was on that cassette; these were records that were anthems to me and many people going to clubs at the time.

Behind the music

This compilation feels like an accessible entry point to a rather inaccessible type of music. Was that in the back of your head?

That was it 100 percent. I could have done a compilation of the weirdest music that no one had ever heard before, and I would have loved it and gotten a lot of kudos from the people in the right places. Yet in my position now, I see myself more as being, in an odd way, a good librarian, with my knowledge of music and related cultural things going back from when I was a young kid. I like to be able to share that with people.

I picked tracks I loved. I chose the Pete Shelley track because I was a massive fan of producer Martin Rushent. I decided when I made the compilation to forget all the really cool people who are going to think these are obvious tracks. I wanted to make it an introduction for those who might not have heard this music.

And it was vindicating; when I started doing interviews with people in their twenties, they’d never heard any of the songs! Not one of them! It’s really satisfying that it worked that way.

If a library were using this collection as a jumping-off point, are there any albums or artists that you would recommend?

I’d have to say start with Cabaret Voltaire, probably some of the most important electronic music artists of all time. So many artists on Metal Dance are seminal. People talk about Kraftwerk as being the kings of electronic music, but, to me, Yello are equally important. They’re more human than Kraftwerk, there’s more humor, and their records are sexier.

Do you have any other curatorial projects in the works?

I spend my life collecting things: I’ve got 50,000 records, 15,000–20,000 books—tons of stuff. In an ideal world, I’d have a publishing company that would reissue books, records, films…everything. I’m not overtly opposed to downloads and the digital realm, but at the same time I need to hold something in my hands.

I think the physical object is going to become a fetish. The mainstream will become all about the equivalent of renting—you won’t buy anything. But there will be a hard-core group who have a passion for the physical. As I get older, I think that’s what I want to do. I want to try to re­release not just music but all of the things I’m passionate about.

Originally published in Library Journal.

Synconation: Space Is The Place

This year’s Jacksonville Jazz Festival is already looking like a full weekend– with performances from Sonny Rollins, Madeleine Peyroux, and Chick Corea among the highlights—and yet, one late breaking piece of news really makes the weekend for me. Orlando-area improviser/composer/jazz scholar Jim Ivy is going to stage a musical commemoration to Sun Ra and the Intergalactic Arkestra! Joined by the cream of avant-jazz musicians from around the state, Ivy will lead his ad-hoc Angel Race Big Band through a selection Of Sun Ra’s most dizzying works as part of the opening of the +Solo Gallery and in recognition of the Man From Saturn’s life and work. Any attempt on my part to sum up the cosmic life and work of Sun Ra, a man whom the New York Times hailed as “open of the great big-band leaders, pianists, and surrealists of jazz,” would fall pitifully short. So let’s leave it to Jim Ivy…

I hear tell you’re doing a full-on Sun Ra/Arkestra commemoration for the grand opening of +Solo? This is incredibly exciting. How did it all come about?

Jacksonville’s own Jamison Williams, saxmaniac extraordinaire, and founder of +Solo, invited me to perform at the grand opening of the +Solo Gallery. I tend to challenge myself in conceiving performances that are very different from each other. This gives an edge of unfamiliarity that calls for fresh eyes and ears to each new approach. I’m not really interested in covering the same grounds.

The grand opening of +Solo sort of coincided with the anniversary of the passing of Sun Ra (May 30, 1993). Now, I realize that the nineteenth anniversary celebration is not as typical as the twentieth, but I’ve never been one to be patient. So I notated a few themes that I felt fit nicely together and were themes Sun Ra used often in performances, then sent out a call for participants.

Who are some of the players involved? Are there any particular albums you’ll be focusing on? The Arkestra was very much a visual experience as well as a sonic one, will you be approximating their costumes as?

The ensemble consists of musicians from all over Florida: Steven Bristol, piano, keyboards, and Jeff Abbott, drums, percussion, are from Miami, Kris Gruda, guitar, is from Winter Park,  Jason Dean Arnold, baritone and tenor saxophones, trumpet, and Joseph Arnold, drums, percussion, are from north FL, A.J. Herring, trombone, is from Gainesville, and Jamison Williams, soprano saxophone, is from Jacksonville.

We will be concentrating on pieces that Sun Ra wrote between the late 50s to mid 70s, but performed throughout the lifespan of the Arkestra. I wanted the themes to fit together in a single semi-conducted piece and be fairly familiar themes, as they will be used more for jumping points.

The Sun Ra Arkestra is a very visual experience. That said, I’m not impersonating the Arkestra and will not be dressing in costume for the event. If the participants wish to perform “in character” they are certainly welcome to, but not required. Besides, I could never pull off that style. Sun Ra was one of a kind.

However, a more pertinent aspect of Sun Ra performances that I will try to simulate is his method of conducting the ensemble. I was very fortunate to have witnessed over a dozen Sun Ra shows before his passing and have a pretty good feel for what I’ll attempt. Unfortunately, as the musicians are from all over, there will be no opportunity to rehearse, so I will need to keep the conducting to a minimum and simplify the methods.

Whenabouts will you be hitting the stage that evening? And are you doing any other performances either solo or in smaller ensembles that night?

The Sun Ra set will be at 8pm Friday, May 25th. I wanted to give it plenty of time before the Sonny Rollins gig, as we will all be going to see him. I’ll also be part of the Trapbomb set later that evening. Everything else is still up in the air.

Why, to you, is Sun Ra such a pivotal figure in music?

Sun Ra, in all his glory, is unique to all music, not just jazz or avant garde. His influence is felt far beyond those categories and can be heard in music from Sonic Youth to John Coltrane to the MC5 to Moondog to Hieroglyphic Being to the Beastie Boys to George Clinton to The Residents to Public Enemy.

His uniqueness saturated not just the music he wrote, but all aspects of his life, from his philosophy to his cultural stance, even his approach to race relations, all of which made him not only unique, but controversial.

What was it that first hooked you about Sun Ra? How long have you been a devotee?

I first heard of Sun Ra in the early 1980s but the experience of seeing him for the first time in 1986 at the Tropical Heatwave Festival in Ybor City sealed the deal for life. I became a passionate collector of Sun Ra rarities, I’ve got all but two of the original Saturn LP releases (those two are now available on CD), and traveled good distances to see him whenever I could.

Is there a particular album or piece of music you’d recommend to the uninitiated?

That’s like asking what food I would recommend to a hungry tourist. It depends on the flavor you are seeking. A few Sun Ra releases stand out for me, personally: Cosmic Tones For Mental Therapy, The Nubians Of Plutonia, Landquidity, and Art Forms Of Dimensions Tomorrow. But really, it’s well worth diving deep into that history.

Will you be checking out Sonny Rollins at the Jazz Festival as well?

Yep. Gotta see the great legends anytime you can. Rollins is more traditional post bop that I prefer, but he has always been a phenomenal reedman and did, albeit rarely, dabble in the experimental, take East Broadway Rundown or Our Man In Jazz for instance, where he gathered the likes of Don Cherry, Billy Higgins, Jimmy Garrison, and Elvin Jones around him.

Jim Ivy is an improviser and composer currently residing in Apopka, FL. His main form of expression is using reed instruments (in particular, saxophones) but he can also be found performing on shakuhachi, electronics, balloons, and an arsenal of game calls and whistles. He has worked with such International artists as Davey Williams, Wade Matthews, Simeon Coxe III (Silver Apples), David Dove, Emily Hay, Jill Burton, and Doug Mathews. For more information, visit – jimivymusic​.com.

The +Solo Gallery is located at 107 East Bay Street in downtown Jacksonville. The event will begin in the early evening and feature free jazz performances late into the night. There is no charge for admission. For more information on the +Solo Gallery, visit sologallery​.org.

Originally published on Synconation.

Movement: Sewn Leather

Do you, the adventurous gig-going music fan, want something beyond just sitting in row Z57 with a bag of popcorn in your lap, numbly applauding the 14-minute bass solo still ringing in your ears?

How about when a Facebook event page grimly warns that “you might get punched in the face?”

There we go! Thursday night, Shantytown Pub in Springfield will be playing host to hardcore heroes Hoax and Lower, with electro troublemaker Sewn Leather in tow.

Hoax and Lower are the real deal, no doubt, but Sewn Leather is on a whole different trip. Sewn Leather is the performing alias of one Griffin Pyn, a young punk who exemplifies poor impulse control, with backup provided by some cassette tapes, blown-out speakers, and eternal feeedback. Which in lesser hands would equal a trainwreck, but this is like… let’s just say that at a very young age, Sewn Leather is already collecting oh-my-god-he’s-insane live anecdotes that would rival Suicide’s Alan Vega legendary locking the doors of a club with a chain so no one could flee the building.

I’ve heard that during one show in Gainesville, Pyn actually started his set by crawling in through the club’s window, mid-song, screaming all the way, or how about the time that he broke his goddamn nose while performing… and kept going!

It ain’t all spectacle either; the music’s strong stuff – pulsating electro throbs, and grooves caked in grime and dirt, overlaid with Pyn’s screams and threats. It’s going to be something else, no doubt.

Music starts around 10pm. No cover but they’re taking donations at the door, so don’t be a fucking cheapskate. Get there on time, this one looks to be a really fast show.

Originally posted to Movement Magazine.