Time to do a wrap-up of what’s been happening around Madison in the last month or two and review some records & tapes.
There’s a bandcamp page for Conjuror now, where you can stream/download the new album. Been working on this stuff for three years, it’s very nice to finally be done with it and move on to new projects.
Played a monster festival last weekend with good friends Litüus, Endless, Spiral Joy Band, Daniel Wyche, Positive Shadow and others, one of those nice low-key shows with just the musicians and a few friends. And a few Halloween stragglers who wandered in drunk looking for the bluegrass show down the street. Also played a killer house show with the great Weyes Blood a few weeks back, and finally saw the great John Zuma Saint-Pelvyn perform. Not a household name yet, but if you like your Faheyisms more ergot-soaked than smoothly polished you’d be wise to check him out. His set was dedicated to the three-headed deity he dreamt about while sleeping in his car before the set with Sandy Denny’s head on one end, John Fahey on the other and Genesis P-Orridge in the middle! Anyway, he’s a serious ripper of a guitar player from the Twin Cities, who uses a heavy dose of feedback wrasslin’ alongside maniacal finger work. His two tapes Ampex, Stolaroff, Dogwood, Rain and Lost Masters Of The Shortwave Choir come highly recommended from yours truly.
Another sparsely attended show was Circuit Des Yeux kicking off her tour with Spires That In the Sunset Rise (and later on Bill Callahan, Jason Lescaleet and other heavyweights). Picked up a tape of her new album Overdue, which is definitely the most awe-inspiring thing I’ve heard her do. Cave‘s Cooper Crain produced it, and it’s got lush orchestration, synths and freak noise filling in the spaces between Haley’s sparse guitar. And damn can she sing! My roommate referred to it as “that French record you were listening to earlier” so I guess a Francoise Hardy reference isn’t too far outta place, though only a small piece of the puzzle. It just got formally released, so buy it and stick it in your ears- one of the best records of the year.
I set up a great show for Dustin Wong, who played a dizzying set to a totally packed house on enthralled listeners. Got to put old pal Bastardgeist on the bill along with newly transplanted Madison drone artist Aquarelle, both of whom have excellent new records out.
The show that almost got away was Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids playing at the Chazen Art Museum, which had next to no press/promotional coverage (thanks to Scott of Arts Extract Podcast for the tip). They entered like Egyptian priests blowing conch shells down a magnificent stairwell and proceeded to blast off into a long set of high energy classic 70s Afrocentric free jazz. Really fantastic to see talented musicians who love playing music together and have been doing so for decades, a super-inspiring show and they were all super kind & friendly after the gig. The high point was when Rhodessa Jones joined them for a piece based on Ackamoor’s Great-Great Grandmother’s story of her being sold into slavery. I’ve never heard or felt a piece of music so powerful ever.
The new TV Ghost album Disconnect is a really solid moody post-punk/kraut/goth gem. Hadn’t heard these guys in years, and now I’m really kicking myself for missing them play in town a while back. Really fills in the spaces between Wooden Shjips and Bauhaus.
Pelt Part Wild Gate– Hung On Sunday is a new record of members of Pelt, Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides and Gate, aka Michael Morley of Dead C playing gamelan. As always when there’s a gamelan orchestra involved, it’s pretty mesmerizing, but this record also features mastering by Mr. James Plotkin, so it’s also got a shit-ton of bass tones you wouldn’t otherwise hear. Coming out next month on MIE, and it’s a limited edition UK pressing, so I’ll probably never see a copy, but it’s a good one.
It’s been a couple years since ol’ Rhys Chatham put out a new record, and a few decades since he did a six guitar/bass/drums combo, but that’s what we get on the title track of his gorgeous new record Harmonie Du Soir. The B side is for a 70 piece brass band and both are classic Chatham. Big shimmering tones, lots of stretched-out spaces and that signature Chatham drum-thump.
On WORT‘s long-running late-night monstrosity In One End every week now, Sunday nights/Monday mornings 2-5 AM. Lots of weirdness getting spun, some recent highlights include the all-vocalese show, 70s Swedish/90s Japanese psych set, three hours of Kaoru Abe & Masayuki Takayanagi, and last week’s show which includes an hour of upcoming album previews from some heavy-hitters (such as the above Pelt Part Wild Gate & Chatham albums). As always, you can listen to the shows archived for two weeks after airdate here. Please tolerate my tired, sometimes incoherent ramblings, it was the middle of the night and I would rather be asleep. The things we do for experimental music!