Hausu Mountain is a record label founded in 2012 by Doug Kaplan and Max Allison. They release music on vinyl, cassette, CD, and on Bandcamp. Haus Mo was kind. enough to. drop us a mix of inspirations and a few HM tracks snuck in for good measuere. We’ve covered their releases fairly extensively here, so without much further delay, dive into this deep “zone” as it were, gems galore, or and be sure to pick up the new Quicksails LP which you can order now!
Last Friday, Bandcamp dropped their fees and let artists keep 100% of revenues, generating $4.3 million for artists in a single day. Having just cashed my last unemployment check, I joined in the celebration and went on a bit of a shopping spree. Here are some highlights from the occasion, sprinkled with some favorite earworms that have accompanied me on long bike rides through empty Berkeley streets. Enjoy!
Sheik of Araby – Hillboggle
I’m Gonna Stand Still – Rev. Mack McCollum with Combined Choirs
Set That Baggage Down – David Crosby I Dream Of Sodomy ONO
We asked our friends at Strategic Tape Reserveto bust off a mix for us for these wild times and here’s what they came up with. Make sure to check out their bandcamp and website linked below. from the label.
“I moved to Cologne in 2012 and started Strategic Tape Reserve shortly after that. I honestly didn’t love the city when I first got here, but I think it’s the kind of place that only reveals itself over time – things to explore and appreciate that aren’t obvious at first, and it feels like home now. The tracks on this mix are all from Cologne – either by people for Cologne, or people from elsewhere but recorded in Cologne, or both. It’s not intended to be any kind of definitive Cologne survey – it’s mostly what was on my hard drive – but hopefully it presents a varied, disorienting, unrefined world that, geographically and sonically, STR might sit within.”
STR Cologne Mix for Decaycast
1. Willy Millowitsch – Ich bin ene kölsche Jung
2. Moebius & Plank – Solar Plexus
3. Senking – Bones
4. Nils Quak – No Significance
5. Pluramon – Flageolea
6. Von Spar – Metaxourgío
7. Severino Pfifferling – Geschirr und Besteck einordnen
One thing is clear, the news is changing everyday surrounding, COVID-19, the newest and deadliest manifestation of a set of viruses known as Coronavirus, Although many were, and are still slow to adapt to the strategy of social distancing, a strategy recommended by many simply to flatten the curve of transmission in the US and across the world, to save lives but more importantly to ease the massive burden put in place within a “healthcare system” which was already on the brink of collapse. In a world already in social and political upheaval with racism and capitalism driving profits over people, artists and other marginalized members of society such as service industry, social and hospitality workers not to mention the inhumane and rapid growth of house less populations across the country and especially here in the Bay Area, visibility, resources and support systems for art, music and social practice were already practically non-existent, and for underground experimenatalists and activists alike, even less so. But in the true spirit of underground art and culture, artists and creators are adapting quicker than any of us expected, out of a necessity of survival. In a time when the day to day changes our reality in a way perhaps never experienced by this mass scope of the population at once, uncertainty is the only certainty. We talked to a few artists who are beginning to adapt new models to support artists almost immediately.
Chicago, IL musician and curator Ben Billington, who is one of the founders of the The Quarantine Concerts series based out of Chicago spoke with us briefly about the newfound series and how they are adapting to this unexpected shift in the arts and performance.
Billington says “The Quarantine Concerts are a collaborative multi-city endeavor meant to provide artists in our community a space to share their work and continue to earn a living during this time when most live performance opportunities have been cancelled due to COVID-19. By centralizing streaming efforts, we hope to drive larger audiences to the artists performing, with the aim of helping them earn more money in the process. The idea was formed by the collective minds of Experimental Sound Studio, Daniel Wyche, me, and Carrie Cooper — Daniel had planned an online concert himself since his tour was cancelled, and we all saw his post and sort of jumped at the opportunity to collaborate on something bigger.”
As a curator myself one of the inherent obstacles I can see with suddenly switching the majority of live performances and events to streaming/online is an over-saturation / lack of organization/scheduling which can lead to the audience or viewer simply being overwhelmed with content, without any actual direction. One friend is streaming here, another over here at the same time and we almost don’t know where to look. Through collaboration and selected curation, The Quarantine Concerts seems to begin to address this issue through mutual aid and collaboration in a way that individual artist streams or presentations fall short. Since Billington doesn’t solely rely on music/curating as a sole source of income, he is able to dedicate more time and resources to promoting the work of others. The series solicits donations for each event and 100% of the proceeds are split between the artists at the end of each night. A truly generous and radical act.
“Luckily I don’t rely on my art or event curation to make a living, so my time has mostly been spent trying to support others to get their art out there (and make some scratch) for as long as I can remember. That’s still very much my mentality while we’re on lock down”
Dr. Decaycast: What has been the biggest obstacle of the series and what are some valid critiques people have expressed thus far?
“So far, the biggest obstacle has been YouTube — our live stream was repeatedly being flagged for “inappropriate content”. So, the first hour of our first concert was us troubleshooting, and then making a last minute decision to switch over to Twitch. Luckily, it worked out and the whole concert happened, albeit 1.5 hours later than planned”
“I think the main critique is that not every art medium can translate well to the streaming format, and also, as soon as we announced the project, everyone wanted to be involved. Unfortunately there’s only so much time and bandwidth as a lot of us have day jobs on top of this fun project, so it’s day-by-day progress.”
Can you talk about what the series have coming up, performance wise, and how the curation works and how people can support?
“Tonight ESS is curating, Friday there’s a Chicago series called ACORN that had a bunch of shows cancelled, Saturday we have electronic music label Hausu Mountain curating a night. Next week we have Ithaca Underground curating a gig, Homeroom doing one, some others and many more to confirm. We’ve had curators approach us and we’re reaching out to some as well — curation of curation, for sure. Definitely not a free-for-all. Once a curator is confirmed, they pick an open date and we start the process of getting them the tech how-tos and other suggestions/guidelines”
Make sure to check out TQC website and schedule here and scope a performance.
Denver, CO based artist Kevin Richards, who performs under the moniker Equine is hosting PLAGUE FEST out of their underground Denver, CO based venue Glitter City, but as many as the events over the last week, it will be without attendees. From the Plague Fest event page:
“Since we (and many other venues) have shuttered their doors, I have decided to attempt some online actions such as this to help pass the time. In addition I am hoping this will be a way for me to offset the costs of keeping glitter city going. Any funds you want to donate to this end, please send via venmo to @glitter-city Please be sure to donate to the artists performing via the means they provide, and of course, buy merch!”
Plague Fest begins today and runs through March 27th. Artists interested in getting involved should follow the link above for submission instructions.
Nima Dehghani, an interdisciplinary artist based in San Francisco and Tehran has relaunched his Netformance series as a way of connecting artists across various disciplines and continents shortly after COVID-19 began to rapidly spread. We got the chance to talk with Nima briefly about the Reconnect Festival. .
“Well, I had a project called: Netformance which was dedicated to internet-based performances, I stopped this project 3 years ago, but after the strange coronavirus crisis, and seeing all my artists and non-artists friends stuck at their homes in quarantine, I thought that I can restart that idea, so contacted two of my friends in Iran (Fariborz and Sepehr) to see how we can come up with a creative idea to, first: entertain the people while they are bored at their homes! Second: engage our artist friends whom their shows or artistic projects are canceled or postponed.
Also how we can unite artists from all around the world, who for the first time are facing the same problem and experiencing the same critical situation at the same time? The idea of online performances is not something super novel, but we thought at this point providing a solid platform for this kind of art, would be helpful to re-connect people and increase the empathy and human connection and to help people go through these tough days with the help of art, together.”
Here’s a Google Doc to Submit to the festival, which begins April 5-12th (FIRST EDITION) and will be held on instagram live An Austin, TX collective, seemingly inspired by the monumental cancellation of SXSW, started The Social Distancing Festival.
The festival like others above, has an open submission policy but is focusing on works that we’re specifically cancelled or drastically altered due to Covid-19. from the festivals website, “Check out the LIVE-STREAMS page, or click through the calendar to find out about streamed events from all over the world! Have an event coming up? Let me know about it through the SUBMISSIONS page!” One thing that;s quite unique and exciting about these festivals is their seemingly open submission policy, which is often a hurdle for underground or undiscovered artists. Here’s hoping these festivals will birth new collaborations and projects which may have not even been possible, or have an audience previously.
Bay Area artist and curator Karl Evangelista (and one half of the duo Grex is producing the Lockdown Festivalhappening April 4th, and features performances from heavy hitters Marshall Trammell, Oakland Art-Rock emsemble Grex, and the dark whirring sonic spirals of Oakland’s own Voicehandler, Submissions are currently open. Evangelista states “The purpose of the festival was to consolidate some of the effort I saw going into both community advocacy and music making in the face of quarantine. I just thought it might be nice to see that collective action is possible (and in some ways easier) via all these technological innovations that we’ve been forced to interface with these past few weeks.”
Aside from open submission festivals, many underground and small indie labels are doing online versions of their festivals and artist showcases. Erstwhile Records is planning an online version of their AMPLIFY Festival, you can join the Facebook group here. Also Southern, CA stalwartsDeathbomb Arc are supposedly planning an online version of their showcase as well. They recently had showcases booked in Oakland and in LA featuring Cooling Prongs, SARN, DIS Fantasy andThey Hate Change, a queer rap duo from the swamps of FL taking the underground by storm.
While some are booking online festivals , others are sharing their own resources and encouraging to learn new tools and methods of sharing and promoting their work in times of extreme isolation. Bay Area collective Fault Radio, who already had a dizzying stream of online DJ performances ala Boiler Room has released an article on how to expand your practice in the time of quarantine.
Are you an artist or DJ who is self-isolating at home? Do you want to know how to stream your sets? Fault Radio is looking to host DJs who want to live stream from their house!
We will be providing the following:
We have the capability to do remote streams without having our team present.
We will teach you how to stream while providing technical support
We can provide Stream-Kits (limited)
We will feature your set on our archive (Youtube, SoundCloud & website).
We will open an online event where people can donate. Revenues from the event will be divided between participating artists and Fault Radio/
Lastly, we figured we’d announce a new project related to all of this melee, a YouTube Playlist Series of themed mixes titled #StayTheFuckHome Mix Series with themes ranging from bay Area Experimental Music to Underground Electro, to In Home Workout Mixes, Cooking Mixes, and more. Here;’s the first one, and please support all of the artists in this mix by going to their respective bandcamp pages and buying directly.
DECAYCAST #037 GUEST MIX – qualchan “A Mix For Inspiration II” “when i found out i was making a mix for Decaycast , i was pleased as punch & was moved to make a second volume of inspiration. meant to be played through headphones while wandering aimlessly around your neighborhood at three am.” – qualchan
1. roc marciano ~ select few
2. medslaus ~ cold 2
3. quelle chris ~ wild minks (feat mach-hommy)
4. medhane ~ stranger (feat navy blue)
5. earl sweatshirt ~ mtomb
6. ade hakim ~ along the hudson
7. koncept jack$on ~ murder call$
8. mike ~ butter fingers
9. wiki ~ 4 clove club
10. sauce walka ~ new sauce city
11. rago foot & king carter ~ 10 toes
12. akai solo x pink siifu ~ galaxy eyes
13. fly anakin x big kahuna og ~ quarters
14. sixpress ~ checkyrself/drowning (feat mike)
15. maxo ~ no love
16. the god fahim x mach-hommy ~ foto synth
17. mavi ~ sense
18. caleb giles ~ gather
19. jazz jodi ~ fifty
20. dj muggs x mach-hommy ~ stain glass
21. pink siifu ~ outlet (feat mike)
22. yuk. ~ tortay & friends
23. slauson malone ~ two thousand eighteen, bye
qualchan.is a multi-disciplinary artist residing deep in the heart of cascadia. he describes his work as a reimagining of americana filtered through the tropes of new age, focusing primarily on living through the anthropocene. he calls this wave now age, & is the only member of this school.
If “True False” doesn’t destroy the world, it might just save it. I’m not one bit sure which would be worse. I dare anyone to listen on headphones walking through San Francisco’s Twitternob at twilight as socialmedia workers disperse and sidewalk-blanket markets roll out. Embracing the eviscerated stupidities of consumer society and then fighting to get free of those same idiot entrails now draped across your brain could make Negativland your solo silentdisco dance craze. Inside your head will be not only the sounds of marketforce lunacy, but the ghost traces of three Negativland members who’ve already shuffled off this mortal coil, Ian Allen, Don Joyce, Richard Lyons, kicking their heels at the Earth, the butterfly’s butterfly effect, and members still enfleshed, Mark Hosler, David Wills, Peter Connheim and Jon Leidecker with contributions from Ava Mendoza, Nava Dunkleman, M.C. Schmidt and Prairie Prince but their work is swept into a torrent of sampled language and sound, the electrocuted-elephant effect.
Since we’re all of us asleep all the time and find ourselves only occasionally awake on top of that, it occurs to me Negativland works the same way the human subconscious does. Both are made of always-on memory and an involuntary urge to chew up whatever isnt already pink slurry, gnawing in search of that single calorie of nourishment. The transcendental moment may be when you recognize it’s all going down the hatch anyway, out of sight, out of conscious mind. Like the gut, the subconscious isn’t built to chuck things back up for inspection. But barfing is underrated. Like food industry slurry, the ideology industry perfected its methods, designed to evade inspection, no eyes on the kill line, packaged for volume consumption. Negativland is underrated, their music serves as spectacular emetic, geysering your feed to sandblast the monolith of fiat happiness.
“It is Californians’ God-given right to water their lawnsYou know, there is no way to argue with thatPrint the manifesto print the manifestoDo you own research.No way to argue with that.Except with explosives.”
Of the multiple contexts Negativland evokes, mid-20th century ad-man polish has become their arch brand. The smiling voice that locates us in inert collective conscience, situating us in the vacuum space of capitalism’s dominant cultural mode: the con. Having seized pop music and advertising’s means of production, Negativland have long been masters of the weaponized ear worm. Each wriggler is impaled on a barbed hook of dense wordplay, segmented samples sourced from the mediasphere are always-already persuasive, wriggling mashups that compel close-reading at first just to hear the slogan, but then to anchor the preposterous and political contexts from which each source has been sampled. Unabashed about dense language and conceptual complexity, those who refuse to listen will still find their minds on the hook. They may suffer, commercial jingles rendered undigestible by semantic clusterbombs, their preferred identities and rationalizations perpetually stranded between disbelief and stalled rebellion. Close listening requires a doubling of cognitive dissonance, the line, the sources of the line, infrasectionality with the world before you. This doubling is itself a survival strategy for life under late capitalism, to ditch habituated scripts and act in the incomparable present.
“My life in the woods has been ruinedStand by.Pending final test.This noise!Wonderful isn’t it.The sound of American inventiveness.I may go mad.But think of the future you have. Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about? Stand by. The question is lost in the sound of the explosion. Unfortunately. We. You. We are not destroying anything. We. And the creatures that assemble your phone. It’s easy to imagine the end of the world.”
The album includes a booklet that warns “Play twice before reading.” Inside, the crafted lines are transcribed as lyrics so reading without listening separates each verse from the aural context of each sample. Pulling sources out of context is the most basic method of propaganda, but Negativland makes poetry from propaganda inviting us to another possibility entirely. The poetry of “True False” asserts a politics that doesn’t need to preach or cancel when it can surpass by wide margins of wit and a call to run, hide, then fight back. “True False” bears vital witness to floundering habitually disingenuous simplistic cons that paralyze collective action. Desire and derision may yet survive the slurry to congeal again, the Golem of post-consumer conscience.
DECAYCAST Reviews: “Layers” by BÜCKLE / VOGT (Editions Furioso, 2019)
From French label Editions Furioso comes a debut mixed electronics EP from BÜCKLE / VOGT, blending lush, morose vocal melodies, shifting, fluttering beats. “Layers” is nostalgic and new at the same time, without compromising it’s sonic palette or compositional strategy. Swift, shuffled percussion skates underneath a swath of warm sine wave tone poems, while a voice will ascend into the mix akin to a barrem , shivering, wind tunnel across your back and up your neck, in a stark contrast to the warm, humming harmonic synthesizers and strings which uniquely gel into undulating, shifting loops of ambient, sonic bliss, without losing the rhythm or pacing of the track overall.
On “Layers” the swing of the drums and slowly escalating synth pads create a lush, but dark forest of fuzzy confusion, alienation, and sadness, all while not falling into any of the tropes those could represent. BÜCKLE / VOGT offers a fresh take on mixed style electronica, refreshing, honest, and nuanced in a universally appealing way. Can’t wait to dive into the whole EP and will without a doubt be searching out future releases from the artist.
DECAYCAST #47: DISKOTEKA – Soviet Disco, New Wave and Folk pop mixtape by Big Debbie.
We’ve strayed farther and farther into reviews but Decaycast started as a pirate radio show / radio collages so this guest mix from Big Debbie takes it back to the roots with this wild guest mix for Decaycast, blending new beat, disco proto punk, and so much more with some seriously cryptic gems hiddin within, take a deep listen and check out Big Debbie’s newest LP “Ab Ra Ca Deb Ra” out last Nov on Ratskin. Click the cover to listen and read a statement below on the mix from Debbie themself!
“Most of the music on here was officially State sponsored, but couple tracks were underground classics. From Eastern Europe to Central Asia, the songs would practically spread overnight, due to the rapid tape trade culture. Some of these jams I actually grew up with. They were the mainstream hits, I remember hearing coming out of the crackling, night train radio, as you drifted to sleep. Some of them you had to go out of your way to get. By the late 80’s the music piracy was more out in the open. I used to get my music, from the guy at the grocery store. He had a little set up in the corner that consisted of a chair, some blank tapes and a Boombox.The bootlegger usually had a “D.I.Y” encyclopedia as well, that you could sift through. Everything from disco and smooth jazz, to punk and death medal. You pointed to what you wanted and the next day he usually had a dubbed copy ready for you. However, to tell the truth, most of these gems I discovered recently through youtube, just in the past year. Hope you enjoy them, at least as half, as much, as me!”