Saturday, November 10, 2007
All of the latest paid mail-orders and eBay auctions are packed up. I will do a Post Office run on Tuesday - Monday is Veterans Day. I will then do one last mail run next weekend, prior to heading to the U.K. Thanks to everyone who ordered and/or bid this month, in support of the short BLOODYMINDED U.K. tour!
Check our MySpace page for new updates to our tour schedule. The second London show has changed and it looks like Edinburgh has finally fallen into place...
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Jason Soliday and Mark Solotroff
Wow, was this my last Chicago show for the year? Last night had a fun, if somewhat more "cerebral" feel to it... (as in "head music") Thanks to everyone who came out to support. It was a pretty decent midweek crowd on a cold and damp night.
Unfortunately, Alivia arrived with a debilitating headache, so Demons played their set sans video. While I certainly missed the opportunity to see Alivia do her great visuals, Nate and Steve performed such a dense, composed set of synthesizer music, that my mind was kept busy with its own internal cinema.
Last night's Vertonen set was also synth based, and I always enjoy when Blake brings out that big Russian beast. I particularly enjoyed the occasional bursts of static from what I think was a shortwave radio, which added punctuation to the flowing synth work. The crisp, sharp ending really snapped me back into the moment.
Jason and I started off the night, and we had been discussing doing something fairly different from our previous shows. We wanted to focus more on bass and droning, as opposed to the sharper high-end feedback attack, etc. I was cool with that, especially after my recent run of over-the-top piercing solo shows. I cut out all of the high frequencies on my microphones and while Jason built a foundation of organ and accents of record player scratchiness, I began chanting through a more low-end microphone set up. I will let Blake's review finish things off:
"Soliday and Solotroff delivered probably the best set i’ve heard them do; a lot of skritchy, crackling, and dense higher-end turntable run out groove sounds from Jason and low bass breathing hum from Mark (pierced with intermittent feedback that was well placed but didn’t crowd / overwhelm the mix) was the driving force for their set. I liked that their sound palette was much more restrained; it allowed more “nuance” and less “overwhelming bombardment,” and to that end I think they came across as more focused than other sets I’ve heard. "
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
1550 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60647
$5.00 Suggested Donation
Jason Soliday and Mark Solotroff
From the Reader:
If the MO of your average noise musician—dicking around without even trying to produce a recognizable rhythm or melody—is pretty lazy, then switching on your gear and then just standing back has to be the most indolent damn thing you could possibly do in front of an audience. That’s how Demons—aka Nate Young from Wolf Eyes and his old friend Steve Kenney—started out, with two fardled Pro-One synths they’d turn on and basically let play themselves. These days they use tape-echo units and bent circuits to shape the output, but they still treat the machines as organisms with minds of their own. In a slow-motion cycle that feels almost ritualized, each haunted Pro-One summons one random waveform after another—motor-meltdown fluttering, dump-truck diarrhea squishing, pop-eyed gaga babbling—accompanied by what sounds like a whirring gale of shredded metal almost out of earshot. Young and Kenney have also added experimental video artist Alivia Zivich as a third member, and her visuals—mutating prismatic blobs that transcend the blankly psychedelic to become dark cosmic portents—turn Demons’ live show into biorhythmic sorcery. Vertonen and a duo of Jason Soliday and Mark Solotroff open. 8 PM, Enemy, 1550 N. Milwaukee, third floor, 312-493-3657, $5 donation requested. All Ages - Liz Armstrong
Monday, November 05, 2007
Jason Soliday & Mark Solotroff 2x5" cdr
"Here we have a collaboration between Jason Soliday and Mark Solotroff. Mark Solotroff, mostly known for his work in Bloodyminded, Intrinsic Action, and the Bloodlust! label. Jason Soliday is somewhat of a mystery to me. I've read his name before, he has releases on Box Media and Bloodlust!, but I'm not familiar with his music. After very little research it appears he runs with the TV Pow crew. First of all, the packaging for this is incredible. And it should be noted that everything I've received from Whitechapel has been extremely top-notch. This double CDR comes in a gatefold sleeve with great artwork from Soliday. On the first cd, there is a 15 minute track. I'm not sure what part either Solotroff or Soliday play on this recording and I'm not familiar with either artists solo material. But this track starts off with some percussive blasts of noise with what appears to be casual conversation over it. Very lofi, sounds as if it was recorded live using an open air mic. There is a base track of hypnotically churning waves of sound, which seem to maintain a pretty consistent tone throughout the entire cd. Sharp squeals of feedback break in and out of the recording, but because of the fidelity of the recording, I can't tell if its actual feedback or metal manipulation. At times it sounds like someone did a field recording of a machinist shop; squealing machinery grinding and cutting away at metal while all the machines drone and hum in the background. On the other cd we have another track that clocks in at 18 minutes. The metallic torture continues, this time with a greater focusing on painful squeals of such high end frequencies that only dogs may be able to hear it. The feedback progresses into throbbing and pulsating rhythms. The cd has a similar feel when Prurient was going through that feedback manipulation stage. It is refreshing to see an artist like Solotroff take a different direction when working on a side project. Wish I could speak for Soliday but I'm not familiar with his work."
The weekend also included some DVD viewing: "Zoo" (a bit dull and something of a letdown), "Le Boucher" (a great old Claude Chabrol film), and "Chacun Sa Nuit" ('One To Another" - a fairly disappointing, newer French film).
Friday's show was a lot of fun. Tom from Rococo Records called me at about 4:00 PM to let me know that Pink Reason and Psychedelic Horseshit had been in a van crash, or something like that, and that they were not headed for Chicago. A couple of telephone calls later, and Terence Hannum (Locrian, Unlucky Atlas) and Druids Of Huge had agreed to jump on board at the last minute. Terence opened up the night with a densely woven sound, taking elements from his side of Locrian, building up amazing loops of melodica, harmonica, and voice, and laying them over decayed backing tapes. His set was easily as compelling as the best Locrian sets that I have seen --- no offense, Andre! Check out his brand new New Order-inspired (the packaging, silly) solo cassette, if you can track one down. Druids Of Huge played a monster set - to family and to friends - with a clearer mix than I have frequently heard with them -- definitely a plus -- and a good time to interject that the sound guy from MPShows did a fucking great job! Ben's drums had an excellent wallop, Jon's guitar sliced through the mix - in a distorted and fuzzy sort of slicing motion, and Brett's electronics/tapes acted like the gross glue between the other two instruments. Always a pleasure to have their hybrid style in the mix. I played next, and as soon as the feedback started to really build, I saw fingers go in ears and I saw bodies head back into the front bar. I guess it got that bad. In fact, at one point, I started to smell that awful odor of burning wiring, or whatever it is that PA systems start to do in early meltdown. After changing my mind about what content to use, I looked for some inspiration and then settled on a reprise of this past Spring's "Melting" phase. I was really pleased with the results, overall, even if it was a more subdued and controlled performance. John Wiese and C. Spencer Yeh played next, and all that I can really say is that the combination of their two styles made such perfect sense in this live context. More analog versus more digital. More organic versus more processed. Soft versus loud. Subtle versus harsh. Like a true duo, the two built up a dynamic set that was really nice to watch unfold. I was really glad that I got to see this performance. It really clicked for me. The New Flesh were up next, and I need to cannibalize something that I posted on the noise board to discuss their sound... They made me think of a cross between the heaviness and the repetition of early Swans records, but played by guys in a punk or a hardcore band. I always used to imagine an impossible dream-cross between Swans and Discharge --- in about late-1983/early-1984, I had a cassette that was glued to my first Walkman: Swans "Filth" on one side, Discharge "Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing" on the other --- and while this was not exactly it --- it was in that imaginary stylistic neighborhood... The New Flesh have no need for slicing guitar solos, like Discharge, though, and actually, the guitar and the bass are very much in sync. More like a two-bass band. Early Cop Shoot Cop, minus the samples, maybe? Who knows??? The Rococo folks drew the reference to early Amphetamine Reptile, and while I was never a fan of too much AmRep stuff, I definitely get the connection.
We ended the night at Continental, where the DJs churned out a great blend of druggy glitter, glam, and classic late-60's/early-70's rock mixed with Motown and girl group stuff. The late night conversation continued at home, and it seemed like no amount of espresso could make things right on Saturday afternoon...
Thanks to Tom at Rococo, for getting things sorted out for the show, in the first place. Thanks to the MPShows folks, for the opportunity, and for the smooth running show. Thanks to Terence, Ben, Brett, and Jon, for the last-minute save. Thanks to everyone who came out to support -- we filled the room up quite nicely!
Here is a quick video clip of me that an observant friend sent me the link to:
Here is a quick snapshot:
And a self-portrait in yet another foul bathroom:
Whoever took the video and the first photo - feel free to get in touch - so I can credit you, if you want...