Stadiums & Shrines
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At the start of 2017, in a particularly bleak January, Denver-based artist Madeline Johnston — who records drone-pop music as Midwife and Sister Grotto — released a video for the song “Name.” Its first minute is silent. A guitar is tied to the back of a pickup truck with an amplifier switched on in its bed. A phrasing of chords begin; the truck pulls the guitar across pavement and down dirt roads, disrupting the debris of a solemn Midwest stretch. Johnston’s voice obscures in the mix, nearly clipping the audio as it rises into shouted refrains including the defiant “I’m not at home.”

Simple and devastating; the blunt image communicates anger, grief, and resilience. I keep returning to it. Johnston’s album Like Author, Like Daughter is said to represent her final days as a resident of Denver DIY venue Rhinoceropolis, which closed during the politically motivated assaults on creative spaces ushered in with the country’s new administration. In this context, “Name” aches as an anthem for cultural displacement, an ode to the expanding void.

Like Author, Like Daughter is out on Whited Sepulchre. Johnston made S&S a mix of her own material; entirely unreleased save for one track (the last), featuring collaborations with Tucker Theodore of Inanambulance Recordings and Allen Karpinski of The Six Parts Seven. Like her album, these thirty minutes are heavy and beautiful. Episode 58 is lucky to host them in the top half.

The show’s bottom half is lighter, flipping to a few favorites as of late: Olympia dream-pop group CCFX (DFA), Vancouver producer Yu Su’s latest ambient jazz cut via New York label Arcane, a highlight from Lee Noble’s new tape of synthesizer suites (Pale Blue), and one of ten transcendent piano studies from the hands of Billy Cigarette. Additional visual references, below.

Part One: Madeline Johnston’s set
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Midwife- Unborne
Midwife – Already Gone
Tucker Theodore – Placeholder
Midwife – Runner
Allen Karpinski & Tucker Theodore – My Reasons
Sister Grotto & Tucker Theodore – I Don’t Want To Love

Part Two: Freeform
CCFX – The One to Wait
An Luu – Pourquoi Tu Me Fous Plus Des Coups
Dip In The Pool – Transit
Yu Su – I’ll Say When I Can
Lee Noble – Elektra
I Am Just A Pupil – Algorithm
Marcus Fischer – 170211 – Dual Deck Piano Loop RRR
Billy Cigarette – Ecstasy

 

S&S Radio broadcasts every now and then on Newtown Radio.

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Portland-based percussionist/synthesist Don Gero joins Episode 56 in its second hour. Wizarding, his new collection of blitzing, polyrhythmic, earth-toned swords-to-the-sky noise, is out now on Crash Symbols. Gero used his Newtown set to shine a light on some Portland friends and lead listeners through vast sonic terrain: from dark folk to hypnotic beat music to machine drone.

The opening hour retraces a few paths as of late. Perhaps the most tread belongs to Hayeden Pedigo, a student of American primitive guitar whose 2017 album on Driftless Recordings depicts the dusty landscapes of Amarillo, Texas. Onward, after the anti-cowboy Dougie Poole, is San Diego-based artist Salami Rose Joe Louis, creator of a particular style of waltzing and sketchy bedroom material. She describes her new tape, Zlaty Sauce Nephew, as such; “on a scale of one to peanut butter cookie, it’s just peanuts.” Watch her build a song live at the bottom of this entry.

Later we get a charming phone call from Domenique Dumont — this the lead track on Parisian label Antinote’s compilation entitled Five Years Of Loving Notes. Next, less a trail, more a sail, is the breezy Balearic sound design of Scott Gilmore‘s Subtle Vertigo (video below). There’s a table towards the midway point, at the Refractory Cafe, where the du jour is empty space with a side of tranquility, prepared by Amsterdam’s Jonny Nash and Suzanne Kraft (video included). Last is an excerpt from Lowlands, the third edition of IIKKI, a French imprint that pairs two mediums in a single narrative (like the windswept Stills). Scroll deep for Ester Vonplon‘s Arctic Ocean photography — the set is printed in book format alongside Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer audio contribution.

Hour One: freeform
Hayden Pedigo – Good Night / Thoughts on Greetings from Amarillo by Terry Allen
Dougie Poole – Port Authority Hymn
Salami Rose Joe Louis – Not that lovely
Rare Silk – Storm
Shy Layers – Black and White
SW. – Untitled A2
Astral Samara – Innerenvironment
Domenique Dumont – +371
Scott Gilmore – Pieced Together
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – An Intention
PANXING – Orig weep
Love Theme – She’s Here
Joseph Shabason – Aytche
Jonny Nash & Suzanne Kraft – Refractory Cafe
Taylor Deupree & Marcus Fischer – On Branches

Hour Two: Don Gero guest mix
NUMBSKULL – Satan Says
Don Gero – Phlegm Trails
Oro Azoro – No No No
Ross Fish – well
Montgomery Word – WHUT IT IS
Chip Scout – u know how 2 live (1)
Banny Grove – Cheese Dream
Rust Promoter – old accordian n orson
Sea Charms – YT
Infinity Farm – Damonbok
Winnie Black – howdo
Ant’lrd – cherry
Mantra Blues – noisestretch777
ratbath – mother
Vinyl Williams – Ode To Eternal

Lowlands
Lowlands
Lowlands

 

S&S Radio broadcasts every now and then on Newtown Radio.

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Last time Dan Goldberg came by the Newtown studio he performed live, running his guitar and synthesizer through a 4-track recorder. Ahead of this set in April—the week his new record came out on Fire Talk—The NY-based songwriter dubbed some of his favorite tracks (from friends, video games, and beyond) to tape. Dan’s vintage Tascam machine adds a certain character to his recordings as The Spookfish, and it lends a similar wobble and warmth to each selection here. As he patiently loaded and ejected cassettes, embracing the kind of cuts and chasms that normally alarm DJs, Dan shared assorted thoughts and stories. He was kind enough to collect some of those for us below:

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In his book Every Song Ever, jazz and pop critic Ben Ratliff talks a lot about repetition, retracing the wide range of music history to engage new ways of listening—in the age of musical plenty—that are more open, beyond subdivisions like genre. (It’s a great read). One passage deeply considers the 1947 song “Thelonious,” where Thelonious Monk plays one note, over and over, for eight bars. A phenomenal display of stubbornness, “an example of taking the idea of the drone or pedal point, which usually lies beneath a piece of music, and putting it on top instead,” says Ratliff. “He is getting up and walking around that note, just as he would get up from the piano during gigs and turn in circles. He is sounding it until it finds accordance with his own interior rhythms and he is playing it both as a musician and listener.”

Anyway, that scene suspended ahead of episode 54. We open with the maiden release from RVNG Intl. imprint Freedom To Spend, a thoughtful iteration of Michele Mercure’s 1986 human voice & synthesizer study, Eye Chant. One track—and thirty years—later, the mode echoes through Portland-based duo Visible Cloaks, then bounces back again, three decades or so, to the late Japanese composer Susumu Yokota.

Separately, also of RVNG note, just copped the “private press” edition of Helado Negro’s essential 2016 LP Private Energy (Expanded) at the MoMA PS1 + Other Music label fair. Find an interstitial compilation video arranged by Roberto himself, embedded down below.

Further into the broadcast, an active sequence begins with Los Angeles pianist and beatmaker Kiefer Shackelford, whose debut is out now on Leaving Records. Later there’s a Strategy reset, then a highlight from the new PAN compilation (Yves Tumor). London’s Ed Dowie released a charming, exploratory pop album with Lost Map earlier this year, his song “Red or Grey” appears. The set rests on ten minutes from producer Kelly Lee Owens, and twenty from pioneering composer Joanna Broak (via Healing Music, a collection of her 1970s-80s recordings released on archival label Numero Group).

Returning to, the space between, wherever Thelonious reached through repeated keys… maybe it’s a monotone realm not unlike what Celia Hollander aka $3.33 unlocked in 2014, with DRAFT. The series of piano sketches, which stunned us upon upload and in-person, was given cassette tape treatment last Friday by Leaving Records, alongside a video screening event in Los Angeles (Miko Revereza’s visual, at the bottom).

Michele Mercure – Eyechant
Visible Cloaks – Valve (ft. Miyako Coda)
Susumu Yokota – Kawano Hotorino Kinoshitade
Mary Lattimore – Wawa By The Ocean
Thelonious Monk – Thelonious
Kiefer – Kickinit Alone
Drugdealer – Were You Saying Something?
She-Devils – Hey Boy
The Sweet Inspirations – Sweets for My Sweet
Strategy – Occurrence at the Triple Door
Yves Tumor – Limerence
Olivia Summer – Moons
Ed Dowie – Red or Grey
TVO – Piano 5
Cremation Lily – Presence of Light
Justin Walter – It’s Not What You Think
Kelly Lee Owens – 8
Joanna Brouk – The Space Between

 

S&S Radio broadcasts every other Tuesday night on Newtown Radio.

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Our 52nd episode begins with the sounds of the Women’s March on Washington last month, captured and mapped into ambient terrain by Baltimore artist Glassine. An arc follows; at its peak is Will Wiesenfeld’s Geotic project (his new album arrives soon on Ghostly International). That smile returns via Laurel Halo‘s collaboration with Japanese virtual pop star Hatsune Miku. Further down in the lounge is London duo Yussef Kamaal, whose LP Black Focus hit at the end of 2016 and has yet to let up. Later on, after a drift behind the pickup truck of Sister Grotto‘s new Midwife alias, and Weyes Blood‘s Nilsson cover, we end on a recording of Molly Drake, mother of Nick, unearthed a few years ago by Squirrel Thing Recordings (known for restoring the enigmatic Connie Converse material). Hat tip, Listen To This.

Glassine – Day 1
CEP – Singalong
Romare – Who To Love?
Hidden Spheres – Beachy
Geotic – Actually Smiling
Miyako Koda – lo
Laurel Halo / Hatsune Miku – Until I Make U Smile
David Axelrod – The Human Abstract
This Will Destroy You – The Puritan (Julianna Barwick Remix)
Yussef Kamaal – Yo Chavez
Tiny Hazard – Sesame
junyamabe – 20080915
Virginia Astley – A Father
Midwife – Name
Norihito Suda – 20170116 (Light snowfall_usuyuki)
Weyes Blood – Everybodys Talkin @ Trans-Pecos 4/17/2014
Molly Drake – I Remember

 

S&S Radio broadcasts every other Tuesday night on Newtown Radio.