Good Music We Can Know

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: The Laughing String, A Science Experiment

Tonight's Explorers Room, in observance of the Fine Art of Goofing Off, will explore the weird world of the incredible Laughing String.  The Laughing String can bring joy and mirth into your home; this has been proven true, with the scientific realities of our day, in this time.  Those of you who are in analysis I think will understand the function of this object: lace the string around the group, or gang of cats, or around the periphery of your body, and wind it up tight. The laughter will come, at about mid-ships.

Please join tonight in this laughing experiment, and keep in mind that it is recommended to store the string in a little plastic container when not in use.  It has a kind of radioactive electronic thing about it which gets completely dissipated.  It's a sort of in-group thing. Make it swing while you go and try to hear all the sounds while you fall out.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: 100th Episode! White Goddess – King Kong

On this historic evening, the 100th night of the Explorers Room, we'll once again embark on exotic and surreal exploration: in search of the glorious monster, the king of all beasts, the great and powerful Kong; through the strange echoes and lost plateaus of Frank Hunter's classic Ondioline-exotica album, White Goddess; and feverishly revisiting some especially salient favorites from the very first show.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Avant-Alohas, Italian Minimalist Jungles, Inflatable Arcadias

Tonight in the Explorers Room, we return from last week's absence to traipse feverishly through disorienting jungles devised by exotica concrète and other strategies, including a lengthy sojourn to those of Italian minimalist/fourth world/ethnosurrealist outfit Futuro Antico, and some of the various offshoots of that collective scene.  We'll also spend some weird time in various visions of Hawaii, from indigenous Hawaiian avant-garde music, to bizarre conceptions of Hawaii in psych and outsider music, with some other stuff that's hard to classify filling in the gaps.  Should be a jungly one, sailors.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: M O T O R I K

Tonight's Explorers Room will be spent in perpetual motion, an exploration of the motorik sound – also referred to as lange gerade (long straight), endlose gerade (endless straight), or the Apache beat – mainly as practiced by its sort-of originators, Michael Rother & Klaus Dinger of the legendary krautrock duo, Neu!  We'll hear manifestations of motorik in Neu!'s various recordings, and its continuing evolution & influence in a variety of Dinger/Rother solo/side projects and collaborations with other krautrock luminaries.  Two lines, only occasionally converging, barrelling straight ahead at a constant speed, indefinitely.  No destination necessary.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: MARATHON MAN Week 2! Support WFMU!

Tune in tonight to the Explorers Room for WEEK TWO of the WFMU FUNDRAISING MARATHON.  I'll be playing awesome sounds from the various albums that are my lot to award as prizes, to you, provided you have the means, revolutionary fervor, love of music, passion for emancipated & emancipatory programming, and goodness of heart to donate to the cause, the righteous cause of keeping WFMU afloat and a-broadcasting, beaming via radiowaves and pneumatic internet tubes a multivalent, multi-platform, neverending supply of sonic sustenance for an otherwise sorely alienated world that isn't sure it feels like itself anymore.  Help, please, help. 


A pledge of $20 or more during my show will make you eligible for prizes (see above); a pledge of $75 or more will also guarantee you this years Explorers Room Premium (see below): Madness – The Feast of the Drum.  A collection of percussive ritual sorcery, imitation voodoo, bongo fetishisms, ethnographic hallucinations, the rare authentic, and throbbing mysteries from exotica's jungle night imaginary.  African drumming packaged as exotica, exotica packaged as ethnographic document, and all the ambiguities and fever dreams in between.

See the pledge widget below:

TONIGHT: Each at the forge must do their duty! Strike while the iron is hot!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: MARATHON MAN, Week 1

Tune in tonight to the Explorers Room and dig my small part of the 2017 WFMU annual fundraising marathon.  Pledge to support a revolutionary organization that challenges the tyranny of sonic hegemony and consistently advances the cause of liberated music programming, all without underwriting or blood money to muddy the mission.  A world without WFMU is a worse world, so let's keep it around.  The only way that happens, and somehow this seems to work, is through contributions from listeners and human beings like yourself.

A pledge of $20 or more during my show will make you eligible for prizes (see above); a pledge of $75 or more will also guarantee you this years Explorers Room Premium (see below): Madness – The Feast of the Drum.  A collection of percussive ritual sorcery, imitation voodoo, bongo fetishisms, ethnographic hallucinations, the rare authentic, and throbbing mysteries from exotica's jungle night imaginary.  African drumming packaged as exotica, exotica packaged as ethnographic document, and all the ambiguities and fever dreams in between.

See the pledge widget below:


Thursday, March 2, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Storm Comin'

Tonight in the Explorers Room, sort of un-themed show of music I've been listening to this week and enjoying.  Lots of Keith Hudson, Mighty Sparrow, Eddie Harris.  You get the picture.  It'll be good.  It's my birthday this week, so I'm just playing music to please myself, basically.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Indigenous Protest, Antropoloops, Aesthetic Expressions Of Psychedelic Funk Music

Tonight in the Explorers Room we'll hear protest, folk, and art music from American indigenous peoples; a healthy serving of ecstatic sound-collages from the deliriously brilliant Antropoloops project; and other psychedelic exorcisms from around and about this throbbing planet. 


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: I Mean Damn, Get Out of Your Seat!

Tonight in the Explorers Room, let's completely boogie out the room with some Nigerian funk, militant disco, purplefunk squiggle music, underground dance experiments, mutant reggae, and queer cosmic allegories.  Your explorers room is now a dancefloor: how will you use it, explorer?

And then tomorrow we see how the February 17 general strike will go.  Probably not very well, particularly without a strong union involvement, but dammit that's no reason not to participate.  Don't work, don't shop.  Stay home and goof off, which, as Henry Jacobs reminds us, is a creative act of radical self-determination.  Or follow Brother D's words of wisdom: go out and AGITATE! EDUCATE! ORGANIZE!

In the meantime, see you tonight, 7:00 sharp:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Expedition" Now Available at Printed Matter, Inc.

Very very pleased to announce that my book, Expedition, is now available at Printed Matter, an incredible organization "dedicated to the dissemination, understanding and appreciation of artists' books" at 231 11th Ave in New York.  Pop in and check it out.  It's also in the online catalog, here.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Songs of Blood and Fire

Tonight in the Explorers Room we'll be hearing a program of Jamaican music with revolutionary & polit(r)ic(k)al overtones, among other subjects of passion & righteousness.  Lots of stuff by/produced by Lee Perry, Joe Gibbs, Keith Hudson, and Niney the Observer, from all-time, I-know-you-know-them full metal classics to dubplates, b-sides, and album tracks. 

The current state of things dictates that we must listen to and learn from various resistance musics dating to earlier days – and other regions, geographically speaking – of the struggle; additionally, under even the most utopian imaginable circumstances, this music would be too good not to play.  See you tonight, 7-10, in the usual room.  Devils beware, you ha fe get a beaten.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Hear the Helicopter, Hear the Thunder – In Memoriam Jaki Liebezeit

Tonight's Explorers Room will be a sort of tribute to the fallen god of drum, Can drummer Jaki Liebezeit.  Liebezeit, as you probably know, died of pneumonia on January 22nd.  At that time, I already had an entire show planned – and since portions of it concerned relevant protest and immigration issues I figured it best not to postpone – but I still wanted to do a show in memoriam of this great artist and master drummer.  I hope you won't mind if it's a week late, so to speak. As though it's ever the wrong time for Can.

Back in October 2016, I dedicated three consecutive programs to Can and their various activities, together and apart.  With those shows, I played most of the material from (what I consider to be) their prime, the run of LPs from Soundtracks to Landed, as well as most of my favorite tracks from their best solo/post-Can projects.  Of course, I could put together a show of all the stuff from those albums that I didn't play and it would be just as good – such is the greatness of Can, the greatest band – but tonight I think I'll mainly play stuff from areas I didn't get to last time around.  That means pulling from the great wealth of bootlegs, live performances, and studio outtakes, as well as some of the best tracks from their LPs in the post-Landed 70s: Flow Motion (probably the best of this period), Saw Delight, Can, Out of Reach.  Far from their best albums, but nonetheless excellent, and inevitably full of great work. Mindblowing stuff, actually, and often overlooked.  There will be an emphasis on drum-heavy tracks, of course.  Tonight will take us to space, my friends, and thus a millimeter closer to brother Liebezeit, so dearly missed on this wretched earth.

In the meantime, or whenever, check out the archives of my previous Can shows:

October 1, 2015: Communism-Anarchism-Nihilism: CAN, the Greatest Band
October 8, 2015: Let's Get Cool and Normal in the Pool with Holger Czukay (Can Members, Post-Can, Pt. 1)
October 15, 2015: Irmin Schmidt, Jaki Liebezeit, Michael Karoli, & Damo Suzuki (Can Members, Post-Can, Pt. 2) 

Also check out fellow GTDR host Jesse Kaminsky's (of Kaminsky Kamoutsky) tribute to Liebezeit here

Then join me tonight in the Room for some drummin' from the other side of the mind

Friday, January 27, 2017

Cover Art: Mike Cooper, Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer (Discrepant)

Hello all! Very pleased, very proud to say that there's a new Mike Cooper release coming out this February, with sleeve art by yours truly. 

Time and again, Cooper heroically expands the horizons of exoticism (and everything else) with experimentalism and improvisation. An absolutely brilliant artist, a gentle titan, a true and revolutionary exot. The album, Reluctant Swimmer / Virtual Surfer, is being released on vinyl by the Discrepant label, which has put out tons of field recordings, exotic, experimental, and globally-minded music.  From the Discrepant site:

The 'icon of post-everything,' Mike Cooper, returns to Discrepant with a recording of a live set recorded at the Controindicazioni Festival of Improvised Music in Rome in 2003.  The music moves very slowly through four movements: Reluctant Swimmer,” Movies is Magic,” Virtual Surfer,” and Dolphins. 'Floating in out of the exotic ether and disappearing like smoke, engulfed in the alien hugeness of nature... a very elegant set by a visionary artist.'

Mike Cooper says 'the first half is played on my old 1920s National tri-plate lapsteel guitar and the second half on my Vietnamese electric lap steel. I also sing two songs along the way. Movies is Magic by Van Dyke Parks and “Dolphins” by Fred Neil. It was the first time I had ever sung the last song.' 

Seriously, the rendition of "Movies is Magic" (originally on Van Dyke Parks' & Brian Wilson's strange, wonderful, frustrating album Orange Crate Art), is totally transformative, just deeply moving, especially in the context of the performance, where it truly emerges from abstraction and atmosphere, then disappears again.  Listen to the two versions together sometime.

 Check it out here.

I have a couple more covers for Discrepant coming out this year, stay tuned.  Very exciting music.  I love making cover art for good music; let me know if you have one and perhaps I can provide the other. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Funk, Jazz & Calypso (With and Without Social Significance)

Tonight in the Room we will hear South African liberation jazz; political calypsos on themes of corruption, poverty, and immigration (most from a big box of calypso LPs I only just bought, and am still exploring); and a scorching downpour of dance funk from each installment in Hamilton Bohannon's insane run on the Dakar label (six LPs from '73-'77), and one from his Phase II on Mercury.  Most everything will be from my collection tonight, which pleases me.  Tune in, be with me, get funky, get mad.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: If the Drum is a Woman – March

Tomorrow, Trump will be inaugurated, ushering in a heightened normalization of discriminatory discourse and an escalation of persecutions and aggressions based on that discourse (among many other nightmares, undoubtedly).

The next day, there will be a Women's March in D.C., and many smaller regional marches and protests around the world.  I have my doubts that the big march will be as revolutionarily intersectional and class-conscious as it should be, or support a significant anticapitalist or anti-imperialist aspect (to my mind, crucial components of globally-minded feminism).  But I think this march will prove to be more than just a bourgeois exercise.  It will be an inevitably historic moment, and its message is ultimately not reliant on the aims and stated policies of the march's founders, or the media – in truth, the message of this protest is yet to be written, and when it is, it will be done collectively, by those in attendance.  

So tonight's show is an expression of solidarity to all the sisters and brothers and comrades who will be attending the march, and all its satellites – committing their presence and their voices to this demonstration of resistance, this continuation of the struggle.  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

New Flash Strap Mix – "Vega-Tables: Eating Human Meat Under Friendly Observation" – For Food& Magazine

Very pleased to announce that a new mix of mine has just been put out by Food& magazine, entitled "Vega-Tables: Eating Human Meat Under Friendly Observation."  For their second issue, AliensFood& is an appealingly bizarre enterprise, focusing on "unusual encounters with food," an absurd idea for an ongoing publication.  There's an undeniable surrealism to the whole notion of smashing two unlike concepts together just to see what the resulting juice will taste like.  I like this.  I like juxtaposition, for its own sake or any other. Here's a little more in the way of description, if you care to learn.

Anyway, I did what I think is a pretty good mix/podcast that you can listen to on the site, and an attendant interview outlining some of my feelings relating to food, aliens, music, etc.  Check it out.  I also have a piece of art in the print magazine, so if you buy a copy, rest assured you'll see it there, looking back out at you.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: The Rebels are Coming to Town

Tune in tonight for a sprawling program of diaspora music, rapso, calypso-disco, funk, jazz, and political soul from Trinidad&Tobago, Ghana, Zambia, Angola, and pockets of the USA, among others.

That's a short, basic write-up, I know, but just know that the tunes tonight will be out of control.  See you there.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tonight in the Explorers Room: Through a Veil of Moon Mist – Adventures in Time & Space

Tonight in the Explorers Room, join me as we journey through time and space, to the future, to the moon, to planets and galaxies exotic and mysterious.  Space-age exotica, library themes, and early experimental electronics attempting to connote the unknown as we know it with bleeps, bloops, bubble sounds, echo effects, theremins (and ersatz theremins), tape effects, wordless vocals, and so on and so forth, into the future of sound as imagined by the stereowizards of the past....

Join me, tonight, 7-10. First show of the new year.