Monday, January 28, 2008

Incapacitants, Hijokaidan & Birchville Cat Motel

are simultaneously released by Lasse Marhaugs new label Pica Disk. Japan noise veterans Incapacitants CD "Burning Orange" is a live recording from All Ears festival in Oslo, Norway in January 2007. This is actually a split with Incapacitants - Fumio Kosakai and T.Mikawa on track one (Orange Smoke), followed by (Out Of Schnaps ) by "Fumio Tommiakawa" who are- Kosakai and T.Mikawa with Tommi Keränen). Track one is simply fantastic pure noise, complex or simple as it can be, and you can hear the two just trying to kick ass. In a sense they do, as this is a live recording that contains a lot of energy in all its beauty. The second track starts out more varied, and it seems that the (three on this) artists try to communicate with each other. I love it after just one listen and I am already looking forward to some more rounds.

Hijokaidan is a duo of Jojo Hiroshige (guitar) and Junko (voice). The high pitch voice of Junko is a perfect match to the guitar shredding noises of Jojo Hiroshige. The "Polar Nights Live" CD was recorded at All Ears festival in 2006. From the Pica Disk website:

"Jojo and Junko performed as a Hijokaidan two-piece on the opening night of the festival, a rarely heard line-up. Their performance got such a tremendous response that they came back for an encore (Otomo Yoshihide, longtime Hijokaidan fan who also performed at the festival, proclaimed "Incredible! Hijokaidan never does encores!"). The second night Jojo collaborated with guitarist Per Gisle Galåen (DEL, The Birds), unleashing thick layers of psychedelic and distorted guitar fog, which fans of of Fushitsusha, Les Rallizes Denudes and Jojo's non-Hijokaidan work will appreciate. The final night saw Junko hooking up with noise-nik Sten Ove Toft (Ryfylke) for a hellish meltdown of twisted electronics and the most intense voice in music.
Unlike most other noise acts Hijokaidan has not spoiled their fans with a huge number of releases, which makes Polar Nights Live an even more unique statement of pure noise sound."

Bircville Cat Motel "Gunpowder Temple Of Heaven" CD contains a 40 minutes long noise-drone track. This is the project of New Zealander Campbell Kneale, and the track is building and building and is not even drowning itself! the CD also comes with a booklet with Birchville Cat Motel discography.

All the CDs come in nicely done paper wallets, and you can read more and check soundsamples at the labels website.

In addition you should check out some of the Pica Disk releases from 2007!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why does some music make people angry?

In my favourite mailing-list, The Faust List, we had a small debate about this topic. It was raised due to experience that especially avantgarde music often makes some people furious. Some of the artist mentioned here was Sun Ra and Captain Beefheart.

This is a question with some complexity attached to it... But here is how I tried to respond to it (and some more which I added just now):

While working with people for many years, I have learned that sometimes it is impossible to predict what provoces a certain individual. This can be both clients and/or professionals I worked with or co-operated with. While working with behaviour problems, I also learned that it is very difficult to predict what triggers anger or rage, unless I was given the opportunity to investigate further. What I found as a common ground, was that most of them had an internal unsafety, sometimes based on disorganized attachement or attachement disorders.

"Attachment disorder refers to an inability to form normal attachments with caregivers during childhood. This may have adverse effects throughout the lifespan. Results of a study showed a positive and strong correlation between the security of the child-mother attachment representation and positiveness of self. It also showed significant and positive correlations between positiveness of self to competence and social acceptance, to behavioral adjustment at school, and to behavioral manifestations of self-esteem"

I am not saying that anger by adults towards avantgarde music co-relates to this (so far). BUT disorganized attachement makes people want to have more control! What I also found was that if someone had low self-esteem, or insecurity in the self and you combine this with a strong need of control, it would often create some form of behavioural problem, depending on how the people around this certain individual would relate to him/her. When these individuals are left in charge, and can do as they please, without being asked questions or in other ways provoced, no problems whatsoever will appear. Other than maybe someone don't like what they do at times.

Say that someone has been exposed to a boss or someone in charge who doesn't want to debate a decision and/or controlling every aspect of someones job. My theory is that this boss has some of these problems I describe. Certainly if they get angry if you try to debate something or ask uncomfortable questions. This need of control can easily adapt to how we relate to most of our world, also art.

It is also easy to understand that how we look upon our selves (self-esteem) affects our feelings, and our feelings in the next step affects our behaviour. And for most people art, and also music is affecting (or as someone pointed out, inspires) feelings as well. This is probably also the order of it; so how we look upon our selves would have a strong affect upon how we respond to art, which again will affect our physical reactions to art, and certainly music.

Music, unlike most art, is difficult to escape, especially when we are exposed to it in closed confinements. Or rooms, work, tv or radio at home...not everybody can slam the door to close it out. A painting or a sculpture that provoces you is easier to shut out. When exposed to something you don't understand and have no control of how you are exposed to it, it surely does something to you - emotionally. Response is often with silence, withdrawal, sadness, or in this case anger.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Record an album in 29 days!

It's almost that time of year again: Enter the RPM challenge! Write, record and put together an album of original material during the month of February. Just go to the site and sign up for the deed. Last year I went ahead and ended up with my release The Soprano Challenge, so I am gonna sharpen my tools and get ready this year as well. This is not a traditional contest, all you have to do is finish the challenge, and you are a winner. Last year more than 850 albums where submitted and more than 8000 songs can be found in the jukebox.

From the website:
"This is the challenge: record an album in 29 days, just because you can.
That’s 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February. Go ahead… put it to tape.
  • Recording can only be done in the month of February – no prerecorded songs.
  • All material must be previously unreleased, and we encourage you to write the material during February too.
  • Participating bands get their own page on the site, which you can blog to as much as you want. You also get access to the band-only discussion board, where you can swap ideas, resources, etc., and the ability to e-mail and private message with the other participants.
  • All the completed albums may be put up in the jukebox on the website, if you so choose, so people can check it out; conversely, if you’d rather not share your work with the public, then no one needs to hear it but us.

Write some instrumentals, split up the songwriting duties amongst band members, form an RPM side project, write songs on the piano or clarinet instead of your primary instrument, make that metal album you’ve always wanted to - buy a ukulele! Just do your best to make the best album you can. Be unafraid. What if every musician you knew put their music first for 29 days? What if you recorded the best song of your life? What if the world was never the same? What’s stopping us? Nothing. February is Record Production Month. You have no reason to say no, and nothing to lose."

So, do you accept the challenge?

Monday, January 14, 2008

HumdinGer releaseparty 26th of January

HumdinGer is one of my favourite local punks. Consisting of Steven Balmbra - vocals (aka Balmbrain), Tommen Hveding - Guitar, Lars Nicolaysen - Drums (with me in Psykisk Tortur & Blaakraft, and veteran noisehead in town) & Johnny Larssen - Bass (from Krim U and recently also in Blaakraft). Inspired by a wide range of music as punk, jazz, prog and experimental, they deliver a varied setlist. Although they are in many senses a punkband, they are to me a lot more.

Our own label Go To Gate Records, have just released "What you hear is what you get", a wonderful 10" picture disc by HumdinGer (included is a cdr of the music if you have problems with the format). Recorded live in the studio, it has the rawness of a punkrelease, but the tracks prove a band well shaken together. At the releaseparty they will do all the tracks AND more, and the record is of course up for sale!

This night they are supported by the DJ-ing of Ole Ivar from Metrognom & Mouches Volantes, the latter did a very nice job at last years Nødutgang festival in collaboration with Alan Holmes of Ectogram amongst others. Ole Ivar has promised to play a variety of his own flavours, which normally(!) ranges from ancient prog to modern music. So all in all an event I am really looking forward to!

Friday, January 11, 2008


A Film By Tom Hovinbøle
[OHM] Records & Pastiche Films 2004

This double pack DVD & CD was one big inspiration for me when I first saw it. A dvd documentary about noise music is not something you can find in your common record shop or at your local dvd pusher. For me it represented a glimpse into a world quite unknown to me. Once I saw it I knew that noise was something accounted for and somehow my experiments did enter a path leading to live perfromances. I have always listened to strange music and normal music, but once this film was put in my dvd player I realised that I had missed out on something for years and years. Not strange, though, as the noise scene had somehow stayed underground for many years and only in resent years has arised and made its way to more common knowledge.

from the [Ohm] Records website:

"NOR NOISE is a documentary about Noise music – perhaps the most exiting and innovative form of music to evolve in the last years. The film maker Tom Hovinbøle has since the project started in 2001, interviewed some of the most central artists, both internationally and in Norway. The artists speaks about their relationship to tis music: What is it? Where does it come from? How do you work with pure sounds? Which possibilities opens up with the new sound processing opportunities? Noise is also put into an historical context spanning from the Futurists and Luigi Russolo before the First World War, through the first experiments with electronical music in the fifties, the avant-garde in the sixties, the Industry and Punk movements in the seventies, before Noise establishes it self as a music in its own right in Japan during the seventies. The film also contains a lot of rare concert footage with the artists. "

Some of the artists participating: Tore H. Bøe (Origami Republika), David Cotner (USA), Masami Akita (Merzbow), Lasse Marhaug, Maja S.K. Ratkje (Spunk and Fe-mail), Francisco Lopéz (Spain), Helge Sten (Deathprod) and Otomo Yoshihide (Japan) , and on the CD you can hear exciting Norwegian acts such as Jazzkammer, Crazy River, Norwegian Noise Orchestra, Fe-Mail, and more.

It is still available from the website, and being released in 2004, it is still highly valid today. In my opinion it provides an interesting introduction to Norwegian (and some international) noise history and it is a wonderfully done documentary with english subtitles.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Live @ Sound of Mu, Oslo, Norway, 27th of Oct 2007

Photo by Espen Wærnes
Situated almost at the bottom of Markveien, close to the river, Sound of Mu has a large window to the street where passers by can check out the contemporary events taking place, or art on the walls. Inside it is light and high under the ceiling, and the furniture is minimalistic retro - a chair and a table to put your pint on. Owned by artists the venue/coffeeshop has lots of various things going on; concerts, exibitions, DJ's, bookreleases and festivals. Not a crowded place, but defenetily a place where you can be surprised or have your prejudices racked.

Per Gisle of Apartment Records did the booking of this gig, being a part of the Fritt Fall concert series. I was in Oslo to see another gig by a major Canadian act, and I was up and running in high moods from the big event from the night before.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, I shared the place with SunState, normally only Swede Jon Eriksen and Norwegian Lars Myrvoll, but this time they did an extended version and where joined by three musicians. Free jazz noise would be one way to describe it. I might load up some vids of them another time, so you can make up your own mind. Here is some vids from my own performance:

Video by Espen Wærnes

Video by Espen Wærnes

Video by Terje Sjøli