Friday, April 18, 2014

Latest Batch Of Richmond Tape Club Releases Demonstrates RVA Experimental Music Scene's Quality & Variety - RVA MAG


Posted by: Necci – Apr 18, 2014


In conjunction with RVA Noise Fest III, which takes place over the course of this weekend, the Richmond Tape Club will be bringing five new releases into the world. Richmond Tape Club is an ongoing project curated by Jonathan Lee, owner of local label SMTG Limited. Since its 2008 inception, SMTG has curated a roster of some of the best experimental and electronic musicians the area has to offer, using whatever means possible to get that music out into the world. Having worked with vinyl, CDs, and digital formats, it would only stand to reason that the label would also utilize the increasingly popular cassette for their recent series of shorter works by local artists.

Over the course of the Richmond Tape Club releases thus far, we have heard anthemic vocals over dreamy synths (Negative Gemini), soundtrack dub (Slow News Day in the Vampire World), destructive clouds of nightmarish drones (Elian), and much more. If these releases teach us anything, it is that Richmond has a diverse electronic scene. The most recent installments in the Richmond Tape Club focus on variations of a certain aesthetic, one that favors amorphous clouds of sound that, even when clustered around rhythmic or tonal centers, eschew familiar structural elements in favor of something more challenging.

The content comprising Anduin's entry - labeled Richmond Tape Club 4b to emphasize its relationship to his previous contribution to the series - consists of material recorded at the same time as Richmond Tape Club 4. The project of Jonathan Lee, SMTG's owner, this new release operates in a space not dissimilar to his previous releases. Sinister keyboards undergird backwards-masked samples which are in turn flecked with glitchy percussion sounds. Like Lee's past work, these electronic elements are counterbalanced with organic recordings, both of live instrumentation (harmonica player Noah Saval and saxophonist Jimmy Ghaphery, both previous Anduin collaborators, are featured prominently) and of atmospheric field recordings. These organic sounds aid the music's cinematic quality by offering a real-world grounding to some of the more abstract electronic elements. Unlike previous Anduin releases, Lee pushes the rhythmic elements into more assertive territory, with both “Wooden Kimono” and “The Guild” featuring drum loops that, while halting and minimal, are more assertive than the Oval-style clicks and pops that normally serve as his music's pulse.

Photo by Kat McDaniel

Richmond Tape Club Volume 5, Stephen Vitiello's contribution to the series, consists of two pieces which, though not especially stark contrasts, manage to distinguish themselves from each other. “Single Coil/Buchla Rhythm” consists of a series of short drones, brief snippets of sound that last only a minute or two before they fade to nothingness as abruptly as they were introduced. Some of these sub-sections feature familiar components (the subtle guitar in the piece's final passage), some are stranger and less familiar (the high-pitched chirps that begin the piece), but the overall disjointedness of the arrangement can prove disorienting. This isn't to suggest that any part of “Single Coil/Buchla Rhythm” is at all poorly executed, only that each of the elements tends to be more engrossing when allowed room to stretch out, a compositional tack taken by Vitiello's accompanying piece, “Captiva Photogene.” In it, a bed of chiming guitar harmonics lays the foundation for a sequence of layered textural passages that build upon each other until all that remains is a swirling, blissful haze of sound. This steady push forward renders the latter half of Vitiello's release more successful, with the jarring starts and stops of its predecessor replaced by a more measured unfurling of all the piece's respective component elements.

To paint Brandon Hurtado's Richmond Tape Club 6 as a monochromatic endeavor might not be wholly inaccurate, but it also fails to do justice to the quality of the work contained therein. Each piece consists of textural guitar playing, recorded with the sort of fidelity low enough that it practically becomes another instrument. With a ruminative quality to the performance reminiscent of Loren Connors' better work, and a grainy production quality not a million miles removed from Grouper's farthest-out moments, Hurtado's work retains a consistency throughout, its melancholic tendencies establishing a mood far more effectively than many experimental musicians are capable of.

Richmond Tape Club 7 sees those prolific weirdos in Mutwawa continue their journey on the veldt. They prey upon tribal grooves with precision instruments built in the 80’s bearing the name CASIO. Once captured, said grooves are taken to a remote lab where they are augmented with distorted synths and leftover Atari Teenage Riot tunes (in sound, not lyrical content).

Matt Boettke of SCANT, Daggering, and local promoting fame releases the first tracks under his own name for Richmond Tape Club 8. These tracks, named "Oedema" (Parts 1 and 2), feature slow organic drones building upon each other and multiplying. The fabric of the universe heaves into a vortex, pulling all objects towards it. Light collapses into the ancient force of gravity. Matter compresses until it resolves into a singular substance stretched into infinite combinations. Finally, it dies down. Gases cool and we are left with our existence--at least for a little while.
Despite the differences in approach, the newest volumes of the Richmond Tape Club represent distinct parts of an extremely multi-faceted whole. Though not overarching in their representation of the artists' capabilities, each presents a condensed version of their respective creator's vision, a modus operandi writ small that serves as an excellent tasting menu for the wider smorgasbord of compelling experimental music in the region.

To receive proof in a live setting of the quality of this region's offerings, check out this year's installment of RVA Noise Fest, which starts today and goes on throughout the weekend. The fest is still short $125 of their funding goal on their Indiegogo campaign, and if you contribute $25 to it before midnight, you can get digital versions of all 9 Richmond Tape Club releases. Click here if you're interested in contributing, and click here for more details on the fest. The latest Richmond Tape Club releases will be available for purchase at the fest, or you can order them online by going to SMTG's webstore.

By Graham Scala & Turtle

Thursday, April 10, 2014

AUXILIARY : SEND/RETURN - Pre and Post Savage Weekend events

May 15, 2014 - May 19, 2014

Thursday MAY 15 6pm

07:00 Head Molt
07:20 Dyrt
07:40 Roy Wren
08:00 Creeping
08:20 Inkling Juror
08:40 Soft Target
09:00 Dave Public
09:20 Hatchers
09:40 Appetite
10:00 Dromez
10:20 Hunnie Bunnies

Sunday MAY 18 7pm

08:00 Fake Object
08:20 Roy Wren
08:40 R-Complex
09:00 Lugweight
09:20 Flesh Control
09:40 Sects
10:00 Sunk Heaven
10:20 Extended Release
10:40 Le Trash Can
11:00 Curse

$5-$10 suggested donation each night


*RVA project space for underground/experimental/electronic/noise performance.

Contact us for details.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Noise Performer John Wiese To Bring Cacophony of Sounds to Sediment Arts 4/11 - RVA MAG


Posted by: brad – Apr 09, 2014


If you like your music dissonant and cacophonous, sound artist John Wiese will be performing live at Richmond’s Sediment Arts gallery this Friday April 11th, in conjunction with RVA Noise.

While noise may not be the most accessible genre, Wiese seems to have made a name for himself within the scene, boasting an impressive resume with his grind/noisecore band Sissy Spacek and his work with bands like No Age, Wolf Eyes, and Sunn O))). Although Wiese has an extensive list of collaborations, his performance at Sediment will consist of his solo work.

If you’re looking for melody in John Wiese’s work, you will be disappointed. Throw away harmony and rhythm; this music is all about sound manipulation, experimentation, and processed sounds. This is noise music by definition, and Wiese’s work is a mainstay in the genre. Luckily, we were able to speak with Wiese about his music and his upcoming show at Sediment.

Wiese says he doesn’t really think of himself as a musician in the traditional sense. Instead of writing notated music, Wiese works with manipulating, cutting and arranging sounds. The end product is more like a collage but nothing short of meticulous. Wiese’s music is dense, with a variety of sounds ranging from minimal and mysterious to abrupt and abrasive.

Wiese’s sees shows as being a momentary experience, and uses them as an opportunity for further experimentation. He doesn’t plan on playing anything previously recorded. He lets his music evolve and change over time. Through this approach, every one of his shows are different. “Even if I did try to play the same thing every night, I couldn’t,” Wiese said.

As far as his live setup, Wiese said, “Equipment has dwindled to barely anything.” However, he says he prefers a minimal setup because it give more focus to the ideas of the sound, and not the logistics. Wiese elaborated, saying, “I think it's important to be super-free, and can experiment and do anything that you want. I have very little interest in making material that’s recreated accurately [live].”

Although Wiese’s approach may seem unmethodical, there is a level of cohesion. Instead of arranged performances, Wiese relates his live show to a form of improvisation. “I’m using a palette of source material and sounds; but what comes out is based on in-the-moment decisions,” he said. As far as his sound palette, Wiese's sound is still in the realm of his last album, Seven of Wands. It’s an album full of dark eerie atmospheres, with moments of chaos but also bleak minimalism.

This is interesting, especially considering Wiese’s early influences. Wiese said, “As a 14-year-old in 1992, Deicide’s first album was the most insane thing I’d ever heard.” He dropped names of other metal bands as well, such as Obituary and Suffocation. Looking at his various music projects, it's no surprise Wiese is super into death metal.

Wiese also remembers his early memories of making sound collages and noise tapes. He recalls recording on his friend’s four track what turned out sounding like noise-core. It was something he had never heard before. “I was living in the Midwest; I had no concept of a noise scene. I had no idea that other people did this.” He started out just making noise music for himself and his friends.
Wiese explained that his solo work is inspired by his solo shows, and that his style is constantly and gradually changing over time. His solo records serve as a way to track his progress and the development of his sound. Wiese says, “I think of recorded music as an object, and live music as much more ephemeral.”

In light of all of this, there's no doubt his performance at Sediment Arts will be a unique experience. The show takes place this Friday, April 11, beginning at 8 PM. Local support will be provided by Broadcastatic and IGM. A suggested donation of $5-10 is requested. Sediment Arts is located at 208 E. Grace St. For more info, click here.

Words by Joseph Vargo