DECAYCAST Label Spotlight: Turmeric Magnitudes – San Francisco, CA

Found this unpublished review from a few years ago, so here it is….

Picking up the pace is a new label started by Greg Garbage of Von Himmel /Donkey Disk fame. Turmeric Magnitudes have been belching out limited-edition home dubbed cassettes of microsounds, tape collage, voice, tape loops, and almost everything under the sun, seeming to come out of the gates blazing with fire. All of the releases thus far are cassette only (a preferred format of Mr. Garbage) and the label, as well as in download formats, in fact, why don’t you go check out some.

The imprint has only been around a few months but has been rapidly belting an eclectic, yet consistent array of audio recorded works, many of his own projects, Black Thread, Dark Spring, Vibrating Garbage, Ester Chlorine, and other local bay area stalwarts such as under the radar artists like Fslux, The Heroic Quartet and much more.

Many of the cassettes I’ve managed to grip this far all focus on the microsound side of things, both in presentation and execution, but this is a good thing. One of the first cassettes I jammed, the self-titled Dark SpringImage

the cassette is a real charmer for the inner ear. This little number may not be ripping loud, or distorted, but it still holds ships worth of weight. The main theme of this cassette seems to be tension and relentless ambiance; as all recording artifacts are left in the mix to boot, contact mic ground hum, globs of tape hiss, play button fumbling, flying four-track faders hitting the roof, subtle moans of frustration and clarity all are given a breadth in the mix. Subtle tape and voice manipulations, crawling, scraping microtextures, subtly crafted ambient textures of a micro drone bug picking at the walls of your inner ear, slowly sucking grey matter out and forcing it back in through different pores and portals. As the tape progress, Dark Spring breaks into richer, fuller walls of ambient hum, weaving an intricate, yet minimal tone poem of tape loops, voice, and field recordings all supporting themselves forthright in the mix. The sources never really quite reveal themselves, and they are obscured through a musique concrete lens of churning cassette motors, the ambient sounds of an imaginary city in the artists mind etched into a 78 rpm record played through a tape head record needle. This Dark Spring could have been recorded in the early 1900’s or 2023, the listener doesn’t quite know or need to for that matter, but despite it’s timeless, old-world style recording techniques and mysticism, Dark Spring is a patient, well-done offering of ambient collage.

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Another release frequenting our ears from the label is the Bonus Beast / Vibrating Garbage “split” reissue, both splits between these two artists (previously not on label) are combined for extra dirge and pleasure in this little package. Bonus Beast tracks range from high anxiety tape collage and arpeggiated washed out analog synth mastery to rolling tape and dense beat mischief. Dense, dark, gangs of oscillators form archaic pillars of menacing tape and synthesizer printed on tape hiss, the out sound of analog debauchery fuzzing brain modulation techniques. There’s a strong presence of masterful edits, one of Bonus Beast forte’s on this little number, and the second track is more representative of his current work. Dense, heavy beats, squirling synths, modulated, mashed, mangled tapes, and four track wizardry. The Vibrating Garbage tracks range from clustered, textured, ambient offerings to masterfully crafted analog influenced EDM/Minimal synth tracks-creating an obtuse offering of the artists chops. , Pre-dating the nostalgia train of Tangerine Dream and Aphex Twin style drum hits engaging in bondage routines, Vibrating Garbage knows what he is doing with these tracks, and more importantly WHY. Each drum hit is accompanied by synth and vocoder textures, unheard in the traditional sense offering of the earlier VG works, but still displays the artists fondness for low fi recordings and analog drum machine mastery. A wonderful complement to each other, this reissue packs some gold gems from each artist. A must have.

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The third tape I’ve procured from the label is the FSLUX / BLACK THREAD split cassette. The A side is an allusive project from Oakland, CA titled FSLUX. dark, delicate homemade electronics, voice loops, scraping sounds, and alalog drone doom meld together a ninteen minute track of top notch drone/musique concrete goodness. Lots of textures and carefully considered track breaks elevate this from just being a drone track, but rather an elequently crafted amalgamation of dark, confusing, electronic sounds mixed with voice. “Lyrics” are unintelligible, but the voice acts as a great backbone for the slow churning, dark, hellish loops. There’s a distinct unique tension between voice, strings??? and electronics in this composition unheard on previous FSLUX recordings, a new and unique direction for the artists. DARK, ALIENATING, TENSION.

The Black thread side opens up with a beautifully minimal drone and scrape composition reminiscent of ENO’s airport works run in reverse through a micro-cassette player, and this is POWERFULLY DYNAMIC AMBIENT SPACE, just like that surreal moment when the plane leaves the runway. The B side slowly builds up into a distorted beautiful caucophany of distorted tape, strings, and field recordings offering a harsh contrast to the ambient swells of the first track, but never strays too far aesthetically to the vast sound that is Black Thread. Top notch tape, highly recommended.

This offers just a small glimpse into the sonic world of the Tumeric Magnitudes imprint, based out of San Francisco, CA, so be sure to keep an eye and ear peeled for more stuff from this busy, unique imprint. You can catch one of their recording artists, Ester Chlorine on an upcoming east coast tour, from 9/4-9/16

TURMERIC MAGNITUDES

DONKEY DISK

DECAYCAST Reviews: Marlo Eggplant “Loose Footing” (Dubbed Tapes, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Marlo Eggplant “Loose Footing” (Dubbed Tapes, 2019)

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For her newest cassette “Loose Footing”, underground experimental sound artist,  curator, and all-around master of her craft, Marlo Eggplant further refines her minimalist sound discovery practice for a frightening and dynamic sonic offering. “Loose Footing” is a haunting, dark and powerful delve into the deeper trenches of experimental sound and composition. The tape opens up with a twisted and mangled voice piece that turns into flowing water, a distant wind, a failed communication; we’re not really sure, except that it’s a new part of the journey. This work functions sort of as a “mixtape” style release in the sense that it contains lots of short compositions that all gel into an overall vibe, while maintaining their own individuality of experimentation, free from the flow of an “album” but structurally just as completed, and in some ways perhaps more profound and detailed than many noise “albums” where everything is presented as one long track. After the twisted, demonic voices subside,  A more melodic, undulating sine-wave drone piece eclipses from the crumbling fog, like an intense pulsing light escaping from the distant mountain peak at sunrise, warming the inner ear with a comforting din. Eggplant has always worked with a diverse palette of sounds, however this cassette composites so many different styles of composition and techniques that almost no two minute section is the same as the last- we are always led to a new sonic discovery with Eggplant at the controls.

Her sounds hold power and often a cinematic vision, I often found myself closing my eyes and dozing off into an unknown and slightly frightening world of unknown origin. If there’s one person who can transform sound and take us to another place, it’s Marlo Eggplant. The  B side contains more of the same, dark, heavy drone-based works which morph strings, turntablism, voice, and mixed electronics for a highly dynamic, tense,  and complex effect-my favorite listening experience. Eggplant is one of the best in the game and you should follow whatever she’s doing, including her label and distro and LADYZ IN NOIZE series. Also check out an older review we did of Marlo’s last tape  “Head/Rushed”  (Vaux Flores) here 

DUBBED TAPES 

MARLO EGGPLANT

DECAYCAST Reviews : GLUE “II” Cassette (Zazen Tapes, 2019)

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Another anonymous submission goes under the gun. This is pretty straight forward guitar noise/ harsh noise from GLUE  titled “II”. Lo Fi scraping and a  distressed engine revs over and over grinding the outer ear off with a feedback-induced haze, spiraling headache of a toxic grin, GLUE does exactly that, seals the ear canal as we run for cover from the sharp, cascading blasts of grumbling noise.

The B side is a gust of wind, slowly encapsulating the listener, like a boat  ripping through the beachfront, mauling unsuspecting tourists through VHS style fodder. This is a tour of low-style crunchy, ripping noises, nothing totally spectacular, but a  solid first release for the label ZAZEN Tapes and  A+  for alienation with the  ringing, piercing wind/ cloud cascade,. Fun sonic ride.

DECAYCAST Reviews: Waxy Tomb “Imminent Fold” (Gilgongo Records, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Waxy Tomb “Imminent Fold” (Gilgongo Records, 2019)

WAXY TOMB is the work of multimedia artist Jules Litman-Cleper. We’ve been following the work of WAXY TOMB here at Decaycast for many years and after a splatter of homemade CDR’s over the years it’s nice to see her work presented in proper LP format, as well as adorned with the nuanced, futuristic, cyberpunk influenced digital art that they have come to be known for through video, live performances and 2D works. The LP is also accompanied with an art book containing expanded variations on a theme of the cover art. The other-worldly visuals are the perfect compliment for the music; dark, nuanced, intricate, alien, and complicated.

The sound of “Imminent Fold” continues where previously homemade releases have left off, with conceptually dense, yet structurally often minimal and stripped down electronic compositions, though there is structure; these exist as “songs” in the traditional sense, however they gel and mutate within the lexicon of Waxy Tomb’s visual and aural landscape to continue to tell a part of a larger story. The voice has always been an important aspect of Litman-Cleper’s work, and this LP is no exception, pushing her extended vocal techniques in effected ways further than they have existed before; blending beautifully with the dark, throbbing chirps of synthesizer explorations and static noise crumblings. Litman-Cleper’s sound is at once alien, and robotic, yet natural and “comforting” in a way. She is able to ride the tension of creating simultaneously a record, that, in a sense is both an experimental electronic record and an electronic pop record, and one pinned together through the visual and aural alien language that the artist has come to define within her aesthetic set. Pulling from assumed influences such as Laurie Anderson, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Tara Cross, and Bjork, Litman-Cleper creates a style of experimental electronic , left-field music all her own which speaks an alien language that with “Imminent Fold”, we just begin to understand and are all the more rewarded for it. Highly recommended.

Order via Gilgongo Records

DECAYCAST #031: GUEST MIX – HEADBOGGLE “Spill and Spell 1”

DECAYCAST #031: GUEST MIX – HEADBOGGLE “Spill and Spell 1”

Fresh off the heels of his recently released synth exploration album on “Polyphonic Demo” Headboggle’s Derek Gedalecia crafts up a sonically diverse mix of archaic and contemporary experimental sounds for DECAYCAST Guest Mix series, enjoy!

Gedalecia: “I started open format college radio DJ-ing in the early 1990s and took a break when I moved to the west coast in 1997. From 2011 to 2013, I had a weekly show on Radio Valencia called “Greek Mind” where I would play the rare records from Blu Ray soundtrack transfers to flexidisc dubs while also featuring live remotes and on-air appearances by experimental noise artists. Spill and Spell starts a new era for my open format selections by way of a modern mix. These hourly episodes will be airing soon via New New World Radio in Moscow as well as select blogs and websites.”

00:00 The Shaggs – Sweet Maria (unrel reissue 7”, 2016, Light In the Attic)

02:20 The Outlaws – Crazy Drums (Valley of the Sioux 7”, HMV, 1961)

05:08 F.C. Judd – Children Playing (Background Sound Effects 7”, Castle)

06:33 John Davis – Idly Sit The Sun excerpt (Bimodal Press LP, 2018)

07:32 Pierre Henry – Difus (L’Occident Est Bleu reissue LP, Aurora Rising, 2016)

12:57 Moebius – Rattenwiesel (Tonspuren LP, Sky, 1983)

15:59 Gilles Racot – Subgestuel excerpt (Archives GRM CD box, 1991)

20:07 unknown jukebox song (TúLan Vietnamese Cuisine, S.F.)

23:06 GIlles Tremblay – Fleuves excerpt (Tremblay LP box, Radio Canada International, 1983)

23:57 Brian Wilson – Shortnin’ Bread (Adult Child unreleased LP)

26:27 Flanger Magazine – Untitled (Breslin LP, Sophomore Lounge, 2018)

27:48 Imaginary Softwoods – The Rocky River excerpt (The Suncoast Digest LP, Mineral Disk, 2017)

28:48 Earle Brown – Hodograph I (Feldman / Brown reissue LP, Doxy, 2013)

32:15 Anti-Ear – Sulphur (Robutts CS, self-released, 2018)

34:20 Ryan King – b-side excerpt (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Bomb CS, self-released 2019)

35:20 LSD Underground 12 – b-side excerpt (s/t reissue LP, Lysergia, 2014)

36:15 Krzysztof Komeda – Main Title (Fearless Vampire Killers reissue OST, Polonia, 2000)

38:25 Attilio Novellino & Collin McKelvey ‎– b-side excerpt (Metaphysiques Cannibales LP, Weird Ear, 2018)

39:25 Bruce Haack and Miss Nelson – Little Brown Jugs (Funky Doodle LP, Dimension 5, 1976)

42:38 Un-Kommuniti – Winterkill Organa (Black Dwarf Wreckordings ’83-’85 reissue LP box, Vinyl-On-Demand)

48:33 Raymond Scott – Cindy Alternate (Pop_Rock) (Three Willow Park reissue)

49:58 Steve Roden ‎– a-side excerpt (Lines & Sp Aces LP, self-released, 2006)

50:58 Peter Hansen – If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep (Trajectories CD, Slask, 1996)

56:35 Adrian Rew ‎– b1 (Slot Machine Music LP, Hanson, 2014)

57:35 Sebastian ‎– b-side excerpt 45rpm (Sebastian Speaks! Your Watchdog On A Disc LP, Grr-r-ecords, 1980)

DECAYCAST Track Reviews: GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT “Human Animal Chimera”

GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT “Human Animal Chimera”

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With “Human Animal Chimera” GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT offers a blistering, slow-building rhythmic forward synth and drum track with various unheard and unique textures churning heavily in the background to create a thick, warm, but  slightly unsettling blanket to cloak your ears in as the track progresses into a darker, more sinister climax.  The drums are sharp and steady, militant, and pummeling, sitting perfectly in the mix to create a high tension blend of industrial, dubbed-out industrial forward banger. The bombastic drums create a stabbing and calculated backbone for the synth and other sonic parts to rattle this heavy and brooding sonic machine just as it’s ready to attack. Pummeling bass drums and toms   hammer away as a symphony of buzzing synthesizers creating a refreshing concoction of dissonant, yet unified and very well gelled sound. The sound of GCFS is both dark, and complex, while retaining a unique cinematic edge, which is often missing in more traditional forms of dance and industrial music. Sputtering and groaning synthesizers,  chirping sharp noise blasts and mangled voice samples create the sounds of animals and humans being glued and stapled together in a twisted, primitive lab, which sounds morbid, and yet, I can’t turn it off, I just want to hear more, and this is the fifth go around for this track for me in writing the review. This sounds great in headphones, but I can only yearn for this  track to be blaring in a club akin to the blood rave scene from Blade. I wasn’t able to find much on this project but follow their bandcamp and pick up the tracks that are there, you WILL NOT be disappointed. Heavy electronic music tracks are a dime a dozen, these days, but  Golden Champagne Flavored Sweatshirt bring hope for those of us who want our dance music, dark, heavy and uniquely heavy. A really refreshing listen, will be back for everything this project releases.

-Monier Watson For DECAYCAST

 

 

DECAYCAST Interviews: “If it smells like noise, it must be noise.” – An Interview with experimental music mainstay Steve Davis / +DOG+

DECAYCAST Interviews: “If it smells like noise, it must me noise.” – An Interview with experimental music mainstay Steve Davis / +DOG+

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First hearing of +DOG+ they were somewhat of a mystery to me in history and intention, I think I first came across a split 7” between +DOG+ and  The HATERS or maybe they were separate release I acquired at the time along with a Tribes Of Neurot CD maybe were the first “noise” albums I would own ?  I could be crossing releases/synapses, but i remember +DOG+ was sort of  enigmatic from the  beginning-  much like many of the out there experimental titles I was discovering at the time, who were the members, where were they from, what did they do during the day, and why were they making these wonderful and chaotic sounds.  In the bay area, +DOG+ had built sort of a mystified legend around themselves, toting a modular lineup that seems to shift with nearly every performance and document (of which to both there are, MANY). +DOG+ was one of the first projects I saw that completely eradicated the boundaries between audience and performer, encapsulating the true spirit of noise, freedom from convention and maybe even a slight dissolving of the psyche, or  at least a loud probe into it’s  existence. +DOG+ seems to record an uncanny amount of studio material, boasting at times seemingly monthly output but overall, the work is intentional and nuanced, yet free and engulfed with the celebratory spirit of  true  avant-garde sounds and performances.  Digging into +DOG+’s exhaustive discography, there is a nearly endless trove of sounds and expressions, but we are left with one constant, the man behind +DOG+, Steve Davis. We chatted with Steve about his longstanding +DOG+ project as well as his imprint LEM. Love Earth Music  although largely focusing on noise, boasts a rather  diverse roster of artists, everything from the nuanced, drone tone poem mastery of multimedia artist Conscious Summary “Flowers”  or the blasting, alienating noise walls  of +DOG+, or the angular, broken  guitar rhythms of Intensive Studies, LEM keeps it  refreshing, interesting and uncontrived in the most honest way possible.

 

 Can you  talk to us about the history of +DOG+ and your other various musical outlets if any?

 Hi, I started doing +DOG+ around 1990 when I lived in Osaka. Prior to doing +DOG+ I was in a Boston band Expando Brain and  The Flower Brothers in Osaka, I played bass in those bands. I had been doing another noise band J-Shi with David Hopkins- Public Bath Records and Sam Lohman- Nimrod , 36. Then made +DOG+ as a ‘studio’ extension of that sort of. When I moved back to MA in early 1993 I started doing +DOG+ as a regular band and did a lot of shows around MA/NY/CT with myself and a couple of others. We were blessed to have Ron Lessard release our 1st 7” on Stomach Ache in 1994 and Detector to do our 1st full album in 1996. I moved to CA in 1997 and continued to do +DOG+ there. That’s when I met you and the other Bay Area folks and did a lot of shows around CA as well as  doing a  tour of UK/Belgium in 2007 then did a tour of Japan in 2008. I moved back to MA in 2016 and have continued to do +DOG + here and have a new CD out soon called “10, 585” which is approximately how many days I’ve done the band. The line up has been myself and a large number of members coming & going. I’d say the core members besides myself are Eddie Nervo, Ron Karlin, Lob, Chuck Foster, Bobby Almon, Jack Szymczak and they send me stuff for the cd’s and then I mash it all up so to speak and add my crap.

 

I also have a couple other bands, Intensive Studies with Jack, we grew up together and started it when I moved back. I think that band is a mash up of styles from all the stuff Jack & I love; the Mothers, Punk, and just overall weird sounds. It’s a hard band to categorize as far as a “style” goes. I also just started a new noise band with Daniel Sine from L’elcipse Nue. That  project is called Le Chien Nu and we just did a release on LEM. +DOG+ has a new release out spring and another probably out in the summer.

Speaking of releases,  talk a bit about the history of your imprint, love earth music? How does running your longstanding label, LEM inform  your creative practice, if at all?

 I started Love Earth Music (LEM) around 1999 when I was living in CA. The 1st release was +DOG+ “Luddite Revolution” I started it just to be able to do +DOG+ releases and stuff from my friends and that’s how & why I did it. I used to make all the CD’s, covers, etc at home with my computer and printer but it just got too much so I don’t do that anymore . I have them made by someone else now. I have my friend Lob to help out with the art stuff on a lot of the releases and my pal Dustin ( Actuary) helps with a downloadable component of the label. That’ s stuff that usually is not on the physical LEM releases. A lot of the early LEM releases were friends from CA, but then it sort of branched out to bands from everywhere, mostly noise/experimental stuff at first. I’ve tried to do some stuff that is not noise/experimental stuff cause I’m really into everything. Weirdly, we did a Brutal Truth 8 track but I think we sold all of those.  I  feel that doing the label is a way to be a part of something that I enjoy and have respect for. Its easy to make crap, and have someone put it out. The stuff we / my friends do and release is hopefully something that isn’t boring and pushes the envelope a little. I have met so many great folks thru the bands and label and I have enjoyed many wonderful life experiences  that I never would have imagined as a kid growing up in the woods in MA. I  don’t get out to many shows these days, but when I do I am always blown away by the power of the  sounds and the passion that my friends put into the shows. Even after all these years, it’s still  inspiring.  Last summer I was playing a show at a venue in Worcester, MA and there was this huge drum on top of a piano and was looking at it thinking how cool it would have been to use ( I’d already played my set) and then a bit later, Victoria Shen, a local noise great, went over and used it and it was soooo awesome..I so glad she went over and just mic’d it and wailed! It was very cool. Stuff like that is inspiring to me.

“If it smells like noise, it must be noise.”

I don’t know,  it makes me happy to be able to get some of these sounds out for other people to hear. Seeing people and hearing the stuff they do keeps me interested in sounds and being creative. Doing the label has also let me get to know people from all over the world. Some upcoming LEM releases are going to be by Ego Death from Greece and God Pussy from Brazil. I’m also planning to do releases by some local / east coast folks here over the next year too, like Angelsbreath, Lean, Matt Luzak, Pas Musique, Martyr, This Is Not Okay, Bullshit Market ( MI), The Flayed Choirmaster (CA), Jolthrower (CA), Instagon (CA) and others that I can’t remember. I am looking forward to being able to release some interesting stuff in the future.

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Having established yourself and your label on both coasts can you talk about the differences and similarities between west coast and east coast scenes, and if not the  scenes the style/aesthetics? 

I honestly don’t see much of a difference at all really.  I think with so much stuff available online and the growth of these different groups online, everything is out there for everyone. So therefore there are no surprises …I see folks in NH doing similar stuff to folks from CA etc…  I really don’t see differences..the only thing different here in the northeast is that the winter weather can mess up plans for shows/travel, but as far as styles or aesthetics it seems pretty much the same to me all over the country.

What was the most powerful performance you’ve ever witnessed? 

I have seen a lot of shows over the years so its hard to pick just one, but if I had to I would have to say that the Swans at the Rat in Boston in the mid 80’s was one of the most powerful shows ever. They were terrifyingly amazing, the sound kinda went thru me and Michael Gira was awesome..it was an incredible show. The Boredoms 8-8-08 show in LA with 88 drummers was also great.

What are the main differences between recording and performing noise, is one inherently more valuable to you as an artist?

I think for me the differences is in the energy. I tend to be a little more harsh I think doing +DOG+ shows as compared to some of the studio stuff which is usually more varied. I also tend to play short sets ..usually between 5-10 mins so that would be different as well. When I ‘ve done ‘live’ on the radio sets..its usually a combination of studio and live cause I have to fill more time and bring a lot of extra gear as compared with a regular show. I honestly like both about the same…each year though I say to myself I’m gonna do less shows, but end up doing about the same number each year. One thing I do like about playing out is just seeing friends and seeing what they’re up to with regards to theirs sounds and their lives. I do feel that as an “artist” the recorded stuff is more of an accurate picture of where my head is at musically/sonically/sound wise. For example, the  new +DOG+ studio album will have a couple minutes of acoustic guitar and actual singing on a track, which I doubt I would ever do live, and the sounds are more layered and clearer in general. What I enjoy about playing live are the physical aspects of playing, of making noise on the spot with all the adrenaline of it all, you know, getting to release some noisy energy. So I guess they both have value to me but just in different ways.

And lastly, how do you define noise?

I don’t know..at this point “noise” seems to encompass many varieties & styles. When +DOG+ first started it was easier to define, we set up a wall of amps with a few distortion & delay pedals, smashed metal all over the stage, screamed bloody fucking murder  and made a lot of ‘noise’…it was very primal at that time. We considered ourselves a “noise band”…but now I don’t know…the noise scene now has so many sub genres…harshnoise, ambient noise..experimental noise, whatever…its noise if you wanna call it “noise”. I guess I could define it as anything that doesn’t follow the standard musical format and/or structures, but even that would be wrong cause a lot of noise folks do use structure and use regular instruments etc…so its really hard for me to literally define noise to someone else. If it smells like noise, it must be noise.