Cheap And Plastic #2 is now for your enjoyment!

My continued friendship with Hal McGee and his Electronic Cottage group of artists has been fruitful yet again, as I had another track included on the most recent compilation, Cheap And Plastic #2. This is a sequel to the 2012 compilation that has a killer line-up in and of itself, so to be included in the follow-up, which again has an incredible playlist, is nothing to sneeze at. And the comp was sequenced by Chris Phinney too, who knows a thing or two about how to sequence a compilation. I’m continually impressed with the kinds of work this group churns out, and it humbles me when I think that I’m occasionally not in the mood to write and record. To see how much material these folks have put out is pretty motivating.

The Cheap And Plastic concept is actually pretty great: sure, it can be easy to make a lot of experimental music when you have a ton of gear, often very expensive, that can accompany you while you perform an instrument that you are playing “live.” So, to cut to the chase: what can you do with the cheapest gear you have? There’s a little more to it than that, but the idea is to be quick, to be cheap, and to find inspiration in the innovation that thrift-store gear can offer you.

To that end, I decided to use a keyboard that M found for me while in a thrift store: a “Beat Bugs” branded toy that is shaped like a skateboard and has a keyboard on one side. While the samples of animated kids characters playing Beatles songs will be LOVELY to bend, there is something very simple about the generic synth sound that I’m really fond of. I’ve used it a few times on different pieces, but usually as an overdub, on top of other stuff I’m recorded. For this piece, I only used this keyboard, and allowed myself to add another take over the previous one, provided I panned it differently.

Using only those two tools (this keyboard and panning), I proceeded to compose something of which I’m really quite fond. There are no samples, and no slowed down loops that I’ve manipulated on the computer first, which then creates a bed of sound for me to mix and chop samples over. None of that. In a way, it’s just me, the keyboard, and the music that came out of me. Some of the simplest sounds I’ve ever made.

While my track is only one of many, it’s not what this is about. You really should check out the whole thing, as the other artists are very excellent, and there’s tons of cool things in this collection. And it’s LONG! I’m still working through it, there is so much excellent music here!

I get to make some cool music, and participate in some cool stuff, and I’m truly humbled by how lucky when I think about it. Hopefully some of you are entertained by some amount of this, because I’m having a very good time.

Fliers

I bought one of these portfolio folders from the @artdepartmentsupply and put my fave old show fliers in it.

I attended / performed in all of these shows, except the X flier, which I got from an ex many years ago, who has since passed away.

I have twice as many that still need a home, but these are the important ones. At least they won’t rot away in a box somewhere, not being seen or stored well.

Looking at these makes me miss being in Cathead more than I have in years. And it made me miss a period in PDX where Cheryl and I would go to shows several days a week.

And another era, before that, when Sierra and I would go to shows all the time in Eugene.

And even further back, when I wanted more than anything to see live music, and play in bands, because holy shit, these albums are amazing.

Music is the best, and I wish I could put up fliers again.

I fuckin’ miss all of you.

Books

I’ve been very lucky, and have received a few excellent books in the mail lately, which I’m very much looking forward to reviewing.

“This Could Be The Cover” is a book where it is mailed around to different artists, and they each fill a page before mailing it to someone else. (I got it from Hal McGee, and I desperately need to fill a page and send it along.)

“White Screen” was published by my mail-art pen-pal, John M. Bennett, in 1976, one year after I was born!

Formaldehydra’s new CD / Zine is perfect for trying to get work done in the afternoon.

“Medicine For A Nightmare” is a beautiful book / zine that contains art written / drawn / photographed during the pandemic.

Amazing stuff, and I’m very excited to have a change to get stuff like this!

Thanks friends!

#SalemSnailMailArtSwap

I went to check out the #SalemSnailMailArtSwap at The Art Department today, and it was really excellent! It’s so cool to see an art show like that in Salem, and I couldn’t wait to check it out. Plus, I hadn’t been in since a lot of the new changes have been made, so it was worth the trip. The store looks great, and I picked up a new portfolio so I can hold my old show fliers. I already need another one.

Anyway, not only is the show incredible, and the other entries are very, very cool, I was stoked to see that my entry was prominently on display! How very cool! I don’t think I can do the show justice here, only to say that I was really excited to see so many other people who are local, and also participate in mail art! I am humbled to be included in such an excellent show.

Has anyone named the snail yet? Because it is amazing.

The other artists did incredible work, so you should check it out the next time you’re downtown. I’m looking forward to hearing about the other excellent events that they will put on this year!

Thanks again!


New Mini-Mutations! A New Podcast! And A New Postcard!

It must be March. 

This month, Mini-Mutations has a new 30 minute EP that you can only hear via the new postcard that is being mailed out to mailing list subscribers AT THIS VERY MOMENT. This EP, “Five Hundred Thousand,” is a three part exploration of new material, new ideas, and new experiments that is at the heart of all that Mini-Mutations does. I’m excited to have the EP out, and would love to share it with you. 

Which brings me to these postcards. Every month, original content that is not available any other way is available for you to enjoy, directly sent to your mailbox. It’s a musical postcard that combines old-fashioned Postcard technology with new-fangled QR-code technology, to offer you new music in the privacy of your own mailbox. Join the mailing list, and receive each new postcard when they are made! These were recently written up by the Eugene Weekly, and are now an international sensation! (Cards have landed in Canada, Germany and Taiwan.) We’ve hit almost 30 states, too, so help me make it all 50, and join the mailing list, today! 

As an incentive: this month’s postcard comes with some bonus material, in addition to the new Mini-Mutations EP. On March 21st, a new podcast is launching. 20 Minutes Into The Future: A Max Headroom Podcast is a show where we watch Max Headroom, and talk about it. With this postcard, we offer a chance to hear the first episode before the show officially launches. You can find out more information about the show at 20minutesintothefuture.org. We officially launch on March 21st. Our second episode, where we discuss the UK Telefilm, will coincide with the 36th Anniversary of the original broadcast. Keep your eyes on the website, as we will be hosting a watch party on Zoom, the details of which will be on our site. In the meantime, you can enjoy our first episode via the postcard, before anyone else can hear it. 

March is going to be a great month, and. It all starts with this new postcard. Get yours, now!

March Postcards Are Ready For You!

Is it that time of year already?

Marking the one year anniversary of our collective horrific experience that we’re all still working through, here’s 30 minutes of new Mini-Mutations, meditating on everything that it means to be in the particular rut we’re all in these days. 

If you are on the mailing list: don’t worry! You will receive a postcard, just like normal. We received a couple of donations last month specifically for postage, and if you would like to help us out on that front, we would happily accept the help

If you have not received a postcard yet, and would like to know more, you can visit austinrich.org/postcards/ to get all the information. And, if you just want to take the plunge: sign up for the mailing list. 

I’ve been spending a lot less time on social media, and interacting over there just does not scale for me, right now. I need that time to focus on my kittens, editing podcasts, returning actual mailed letters that I get from people, and recording things. That doesn’t mean I won’t be off it entirely, or that I won’t return. But I just don’t have the bandwidth for it at the moment. Maybe in the future. When I’ve got a little more space for it in my everyday life.

So, if you would like some interaction, e-mail or traditional post is sort of where it’s at. I would love to get an e-mail or letter from you. I think it is actually be better way to roll…

I dig this new card. Hopefully, you do, too. 

Our Program Launches March 21st!

Our new program launches on 21 March 2021. There’s a lot more information over on that page.

20 Minutes Into The Future

Our Premier Episode will be airing at 23:00 PM, GMT, on 21 March 2021.

6 PM, EST, or 3 PM, PST.

You can hear a sample of our pilot now if you subscribe to the show:

iTunes RSS or Generic RSS. We are also on Mixcloud.

Subscribe today, and live… 20 Minutes Into The Future!

* * * * * *

36 years ago, BBC 4 took a chance on a very unusual 60 minute “telefilm,” that was to offer the backstory for their new “digital presenter,” who would be showing 13 weeks of music video programing later that Spring and Summer.

What began as an experiment in testing out “cyberpunk” on broadcast television, became “Max Headroom,” who ran rampant through our culture as he moved from mainframe to mainframe, infecting us with the same kind of digital buoyancy that we were all looking for in the…

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Mini-Mutations makes a couple appearances on Lord Litter Radio!

Combing back through all the various missives that have reached me in recent months, I failed to mention that Mini-Mutations has been getting a little action on the radio shows of Lord Litter!

Lord Litter has been making compilations and radio shows since 1987, and you can find almost all the broadcasts on archive.org. It seems as if the Lord seems to enjoy the split release I put out with Michael Cosma, which you can still get on CD, and digitally through haltapes.com. I’m quite proud of that one too, as it is my Halloween release.

So, why don’t you tune in to Lord Litter’s show? He’s got excellent taste, and a very cool radio show.

Complexity Is Here!

File this one under the, “It got shoved in the back and was lost for a little while,” heading, as it was certainly overlooked.

Just before the end of the year, Lob Instagon released the most recent installment of their COMPLEXITY compilation series, something that was very long overdue, and which, as of this writing, is accepting submissions for the SIXTH volume. This is a series not bound by genre, but does try to keep submissions in the “eight minutes or less” category of music. As the saying goes, “Life is Complexity – Complexity is NOW.”

This isn’t the first time I’ve been on one of these compilations. For this particular series, I’ve been working on a very long Mini-Mutations piece, that is all about Complex Numbers. I recorded the bulk of the piece way back when I first submitted to this comp, so I actually haven’t revisited any of this material in quite some time. It is sort of foreign to me, in that way, and I’m pleasantly surprised at the results.

These comps are all fantastic, and are a good overview of some excellent artists working in experimental music right now. Plus, I like the mission statement: as long as there are new submissions, and as long as everyone is still interested, this series will keep going. And, they are free! What better price for you to enjoy some excellent new music.

Thanks again for your support, and thanks again to Lob, for making such excellent music for the work to enjoy.

February Postcards Are Ready!

The February Postcards are ready, and will go out in the mail tomorrow. Anyone currently on the mailing list will receive one. If you would like to get on the mailing list, then just send an e-mail to austinrich@gmail.com. Make sure to mention you want to join the postcard mailing list, as the bots are only so good at all of this.  And, if you are feeling so inclined, please make a donation, to keep the postage flowing.

This month’s postcard includes a pair of demos from the new batch of songs that the Master Control Unit has been outputting, for the second album by Shot Reverse Shot. These demos will not be available anywhere else, any will only be heard in this format on this postcard. (They might not make the final cut for the album; you never know.) If you want to hear these, you should get on the mailing list, NOW.

And, if you want to get the album or the 7″ by Shot Reverse Shot, why not check out the Bandcamp page, for all your merch needs.

It’s a little musical concert… sent straight to your mailbox!

Enjoy!

New Digital Compilation with a Mini-Mutations Collaboration released TODAY!

{AN} Eel, out of Toronto, Canada, is one of those tireless artists who is constantly working on new projects, in a way that keeps Mini-Mutations on track. (If I want to feel motivated, I just think about Chris Phinney or Dylan Houser or {AN} Eel, and I realize how lazy I truly am. You should check out their work. They are very impressive.

Anyway, this particular compilation series is a stellar run of collaborations, where all eight volumes include collaborative work by two different artists. I’ve been on one of these comps before, and it is a great change of pace to work with someone you have never worked with before. (And, remotely, even.)

This time, I worked with an artist who goes by the name BB, and I actually did a very atypical bass performance on this particular track. But, really, our track is only one part of this comp. There are 34 other artists on this comp, collaborating on 18 tracks. It’s pretty epic. And, now, you can enjoy it, here. Thanks again, {AN} Eel! You are a powerhouse in the world of experimental music.

Photo Easter Eggs

It’s been very odd to get contacted by strangers, who want to get on the postcard mailing list. And, when I finally got copies of the Eugene Weekly,* it started to make a little more sense why they. might be inclined to seek out my e-mail address: the story takes sup half a newspaper page. That’s a lot of column inches devoted to this thing that I do. If I read this in a paper, I would probably contact me, too.

But the length of the story is still wild to me. This is sort of like being told, “Yeah, can we write a little something about (insert some small thing that you do creatively),” only to find that they are going to run with it in some amount of detail. I never thought that the postcards would be such a hit, but they were certainly a big hit with me when I got them. The way of the world is very strange.

Anyway, seeing the photo that I took in my office / studio, I realized there’s a fair number of personal Easter Eggs that are visible, and not just my trademark bow tie and Hal Jordan graying temples. So I thought it might be fun to run down some of the more interesting ones. It never occurs to me that, perhaps, I have had some adventures and have seen some things until I try to summarize something as simple as what’s in the photo that was seen in the paper.

So, to my best recollection, here’s a run down of some of the things you can see in this photo. I would say that the only real difference between the cropped photo and the full photo you can see on the website, is that you can see a lot more of the boxes of comics and ‘zines from my collection.

Anyway, in the photo, you can see:

My childhood teddy bear, Jasper, who I have had since I was four or five.

No less than two pieces of gear gifted to me by kiisu d’salyss of the band The Secret Light, who was in the very first band that I was ever in, and who has consistently gifted me useful pieces of gear over the years.

Not one but two velvet paintings, that I was given by the owners and operators of the Velveteria, when I was an employee there way back when.

A Dead Kennedys poster that was given to my by my long-lost friend Lyra, who I haven’t seen in years, and who I miss dearly.

A Star Wars kite that I have had since I saw Return of The Jedi when it was new as a kid.

A Tom Waits poster that I was gifted by the staff at the record store across from the B. Dalton bookstore I worked at.

A They Might Be Giants poster that I got from KPSU when I worked there.

A Weezer poster that was gifted to me by my sister who was downsizing the stuff she owned.

And Tiki Commander Geordi Laforge, the newest addition to that wall back there.

I’m sure there’s more, but those are the ones that stand out.

 

February’s Postcard is almost ready. If you want to get on the mailing list, send me an e-mail:

austinrich@gmail.com.

*(Thanks again, Marc Time & Cori Larson! I will happily take more copies, if you happen to have extras lying around and you would like to send it along!)

 

Buy Two CDs, Save Money On Your Purchase!

$18. Both the new Mini-Mutations and Shot Reverse Shot albums in one set. 

Save four dollars when you buy both the new Mini-Mutations and the new Shot Reverse Shot albums together, at once! These both came out in January or 2021, and offer two different takes on the kinds of music that we like to make.

 

Reading Nancy Comics And Listening To Irv Teibel (Experimental). 

The new album by Mini-Mutations! Professionally duplicated CDs provided by kunaki.com, these discs contain new music and live performances not available elsewhere, and now you can get it on this continuous audio presentation that deals with some of the thorniest issues in our world. Home-made packaging contains your own mutated money, a chance to join Professor Schwartzwelder’s “Mini-Mutations Civil Disobedience 101” Club, and a card that proves your disc was inspected by #34, the most well-regarded inspector money can buy. Limited quantities, not available digitally. Get yours today!

 

Dimension X… Minus One! by Shot Reverse Shot (Not Experimental) 

The debut album by Shot Reverse Shot! Professionally duplicated CDs provided by kunaki.com, these discs contain new music by the interstellar collection of cyborgs, clones and androids, who perform new tunes written by the Master Control Unit, and produced by Austin Rich! Old Time Radio On Your 21st Century Stereo! This music is not available digitally, so if you want to hear these songs, you’ll have to get the disc! Limited quantities, so you should get yours today!

I’m quite proud of these releases, and I can’t wait for you to hear them. Hopefully you enjoy these as much as we do.

New Release from Sweatband Records & ChefSac! The Remixes!

$5. Limited Quantities! INTRODUCING CHEFSAC… with REMIXES! 

In February of 2020, the excellent release by Chefkirk and Le Petit SacINTRODUCING CHEFSAC – landed, just before the pandemic really took hold of our everyday lives. This was a pretty excellent gift to receive just before everything went sideways.

Then, a number of artists were secretly contacted by CHEFSAC to provide them with remixes of this material, for a series of releases that have been coming out on the cassette imprint of Sweatband Records.

I am happy to announce that a remix Mini-Mutations is among the many remixes that are available as a part of this series of cassette releases. And we are in pretty good company, too. There’s a pretty excellent group of folks on the Sweatband Records roster, and I do like the idea of a humble remix titled “What You CHEFSAC” making an appearance on one of these tapes.

I’ve largely self-released my own material, and I’ve enjoyed the flexibility and the freedom to do exactly what I want, the way I want to. But I’ve also been lucky enough to get on compilations for the NorCal NoiseFest every year, and both Arvo Zylo and Hal McGee have been kind enough to include stuff I made on their releases, too. Sometimes it seems improbable that anyone would like this stuff enough to release, but I guess the fact that I have faith in this project at all has helping make it a reality in the world at large.

Anyway, there are a very limited number of these tapes, and I don’t think there’s plans to do more than one run, so if you want the tape, contact me directly. First come, first served; these won’t be on the Merch Page just yet, but I will certainly sell one to you. $5. Limited Quantities! 

Once we are sold out, I will make the track available somewhere else, so it doesn’t fade into obscurity.

Thanks again, Chefkirk and Le Petit Sac! Always fun

 

New From WTBC In 2021

WTBC decided to hit the ground running this year, and that means that we have four new releases, all within the first month of 2021! And with these releases, we are debuting a brand new project that we have the pleasure of working with: Shot Reverse Shot. THIS IS NOT EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC. Shot Reverse Shot offer Space Grunge Metaphors that offer a charming glimpse into the musical world of deep space travel. This band isn’t like anyone we’ve worked with before, and we are very excited to bring you this band. 

WTBC now offers professionally duplicated CDs, limited edition lathe cut records, and hand-made ’zines and paper ephemera, all delivered from our house, to yours! These are just some of the things we have to offer for the music and written-word enthusiast in your life. And all of them are available, NOW!

Our musical postcards contain new music by WTBC artists, designed in-house, and mailed directly to your home.  The music on those postcards are unique to those cards, and are currently unavailable any other way. Think of them as socially distanced audio performances, that you can enjoy from the comfort of your mailbox. 

We also have 8” records, split tapes and CDs, and a selection of ’zines that are not available elsewhere. If you want to enjoy these unique items, visit our store, and find releases by Mini-Mutations, The Olsen Twins Ghostlight Ensemble, Shot Reverse Shot, Half Eye, Formaldehydra, DEATH MUTATIONS and more, all of this – and more – are all waiting for your enjoyment at wtbc.bandcamp.com.

Order Today! And: Be Seeing You!

 

The Postman always Promotes Twice

Improbable As It May Seem

Sometimes, word of mouth does you right.

A friend told a friend, who requested a postcard, and told another friend, and I was suddenly on the phone with William Kennedy of the Eugene Weekly, talking about postcards.

I assumed it would be a small blurb about something different happening with the mail. Instead, it is much longer.

You can read the article here.

Now: can someone from Eugene please save and send me a copy? I’m still sort of blown away…

How Cool Is That?

Sometimes, we lead lives that are more charmed than we remember, or even realize at the time. Little experiences can change everything around us in big ways, and the smallest things said at a point in the deep past can echo forward in strange, and unpredictable ways.

For example: I had become good friends with a gentleman who used to be known on the Inter-Web-A-Tron as kungfuramone. They had always been a cool dude, and was involved in at least a few bands that had made albums and played out. One had even toured.

Anyway, when kungfuramone moved to Portland, he happened to land a room at Jesse Sutherland’s house, during the transition period between The Automatics and The Epoxies starting to take off. (I remember being at their house during an early “Adhesives” practice session.) Knowing kungfuramone allowed me to attend a number of cool parties and gatherings; one of my birthdays was spent at an Epoxies show, which was incredibly memorable.

During one of the many parties I attended at their house, which was a wonderful pad that was a lot of fun to hang at back in the day, I remember getting into one of those kitchen conversations that you have with a group of your friends when you are several drinks into the evening, and almost anything else could happen. A few of us were talking about the next projects that they were going to work on, and most of it revolved around, “I wanna write a song about this,” or, “my next album will be like that.” It was actually quite lovely, listening to all these friends of mine plan the next step in their creative lives.

I was involved in radio at the time, and I had been in a couple bands before that. But nothing to write home about, and certainly nothing that recorded very diligently, or seriously. So as a way of contributing to that conversation, I threw out the following sentence:

“Someday, I’d like to just record a full album of songs that I wrote. Nothing fancy, just something that I came up with.”

I remember Jesse nodding, and saying, “That’s not too hard. You should do it.”

I am recalling this scene, this experience, this moment more and more, and now that I have professionally duplicated copies of my new album in my hands, it is pretty impressive to have finally done, even if it was almost 15 years later.

It took me the longest time to realize that if I wanted to make art, that I had to do it myself. I had to start the band, I had to design the image, I had to record the song myself. And then, it took a while to discover that I could even teach myself how to do things I didn’t know how to do, if it was important to me, and contributed to the work I was doing. I was not young when it occurred to me that I should probably try and write ‘zines and join a band. I was in my 20s before I even stumbled into radio. But to call myself an artist took until I was well after 40, and realizing that I could make music – any kind of music that I wanted to – was probably only obvious to me last year.

I’m not sure I learned much more than is the obvious lesson in nearly every self help book and confidence boosting guide that I  have ever been exposed to. I had to undo, and work through, so much built-in confusion and self-doubt that I couldn’t, and shouldn’t, make art that was important to me. I still run into that problem. What business, what right do I have as a white, middle aged guy, to think that my art needs to be presented to the world. Especially the esoteric crap that I make.

Anyway, this album was a strange thing to dream up, a weird thing to make, and a bizarre thing to see completed. And now, for some reason, a 50 minute album of space grunge is now available to be listened to by anyone who likes to the idea of a sci-fi electronic rock album.

Thanks Jesse Sutherland, for inspiring this one. Thanks Jesse Ransom, for being a part of that original conversation.

Thanks everyone else, for making it possible for me to make stuff like this.

 

Promotional Radio Copies Are Now Available For Radio DJs & Staff!

If You Host A Radio Show, WTBC Has Got You Covered.

Promotional copies of our newest releases are available now for radio personnel and podcasters to obtain, for use on your programs.

As a current DJ, and someone who has built their show largely on the kindness of other artists, I have often depended on promotional materials to help flesh out the program. Knowing that DJs can often have a deficit of money to spend on producing their shows, WTBC is offering their newest releases, or any old releases, to DJs and radio staff.

Here’s how it works: send an email to austinrich@gmail.com with information about your show or podcast. WTBC has a secret stash of promotional materials that we can e-mail or send to you, physically, so you can play them on your shows. It’s pretty simple, really, and hopefully it will help get the word out about our new endeavors.

Radio and Podcasts are the cornerstone of how we spend our time in the 21st Century, and it is important to know that our DJs and podcasters have the best possible tools to present the bests possible shows to their listeners. Just know that, in this effort, WTBC has your back.

The New Mini-Mutations Record Is Now Available For You To Enjoy!

You Can Meme Like This. Or You Can Meme Like That.

$10 From WTBC Records. Not Available Digitally! Limited Quantities On Physical Media Items! Act Fast! 

There is so much in this world this is constantly vying for our attention. New TV shows. Social Media. That person in the street yelling about the Venusians who are about to invade our planet. And let’s not forget that string of local pets and animals that all want you to rescue some kid who is stuck in a rusting tractor out in Old Man Thornton’s corn field. Are you really the only one home at this hour of the day? Isn’t there a volunteer fireman nearby, somewhere?

With all of that going on, sometimes you just want to get away from it all. Maybe, for example, you want to disappear with that book of Nancy comics that you enjoy so much, and sit in a graveyard for while to read it, without the prying eyes of your neighbors trying to figure our which of the two of you prints their own money. But even in the most remote graveyards, with the world sufficiently blotted out by the sounds of nature, it would be wonderful if someone made the perfect soundtrack that you could listen to. Not too loud, of course. But just loud enough to really make the cops wonder what you’re up to.

Now, of course, there are many albums that would be perfect for this kind of listening experience, and Columbia House now has a section for this genre in their 12-CDs-For-A-Penny club this year. But, while it might not be a new, or even unique, idea to make an album meant for just such listening condition, Mini-Mutations might as well throw their hat into the ring, with their newest musical offering on CD, and not available in other formats! (Yet!)

 

“Reading Nancy Comics & Listening To Irv Teibel” is the CD you need To Guide You On The Best Possible Path During Your Journey Into the 21st Century.

While some albums offer only one use in your daily life, this collection of live performances and unique-to-this-disc recordings will actually serve many functions for you, and is the perfect multi-tool for these troubled times. The circular nature of the disc allows for replacement in any circumstance where a coaster, frisbee or improvised wheel is needed. In conjunction with the cover, it can also act as a windshield scraper, or as a visor in particularly sunny conditions. There are ample blank white spaces on the cover and interior, which enables you to use those surfaces for taking quick notes if you write very, very small. Fortunately, the cover is recyclable, too.

The entertainment within, however, can be used in a multitude of ways, too. Either as a guided meditation, or turn by turn instructions for that trip to visit your relatives, this disc can fulfill the essential functions of any listened audio that you might find you need to hear out in the built world. Weather it is the audio descriptions of the art at a local museum, the commentary track by a director that you know and love, or even as a new soundtrack to accompany a viewing of The Wizard of Oz, you will find that our new album can meet almost any need that you might have in this modern, bustling world.

Certainly, we also recommend that you consume the media in a traditional manner at some point, too, but when it comes to the value proposition of this material item, it is important to note that we have designed it with flexibility in mind, even if the disc itself is not actually so.

 

Critics Might, Someday, Consider Raving About Some Project Tangental To This One, So You Get In On The Ground Floor, While You Still Can.

Your average album might come with some digital files that are easily lost or misplaced in the flotsam and jetsam that is the average computer interface. And, knowing you, you have a very particular way you like your meta-data to be encoded, anyway. This is why this album is not available digitally, to prevent this kind of problem. When you rip this disc in the comfort of your own home, you will know that we had nothing to do with the way you choose to misplace your files afterwards. And that’s a promise you can count on!

Instead of those hopelessly old-fashioned files, as if you are an .mp3 hoarder from the late 20th century, your purchase includes the following 21st Century items that you can keep as long as you remember that they are important in this fast-paced world of one century later:

YOUR PURCHASE INCLUDES:

An audio Compact Disc, which contains the audio of the brand new album by Mini-Mutations, for you to play at your neighbors when they are fighting or making love!

One New Composition, Unique To This Disc, Never Before Heard by Mortal Humans! Plus four live performances, not available to enjoy elsewhere anymore! This music is not for download. To get it, you need to own this disc!

One Black And White Cover, containing images and information that DIRECTLY RELATE to the audio on the disc!*

An information card that you can fill out, so you can join Professor Schwartzwelder’s “Mini-Mutations Civil Disobedience 101” Club!

One piece of Mutated Money, which is not legal or valid tender in the United States, but apes some of the elements thereof, including unique serial numbers so I can track your international movements at airport checkpoints!

Each album is numbered, and was Inspected by #34, the most trustworthy inspector that money can buy, ensuring the the product you have just purchased is of the highest possible quality, when it comes to experimental music from Salem, Oregon.

 

* We actually coordinated those elements together, in some fashion, if you can believe it.

 

Supplies Are Limited! Offer Void In Wisconsin & South Carolina!

On average, Mini-Mutations puts out no less than 12 releases a year, which makes the first one of 2021 to be an absolutely essential part of any respectable person’s record collection, if they like being respectable, that is. So why not avoid the rush after everyone has read about this on vice.com, and order your copy of this album today, before the sands of time disappear like the days of our lives…

Reading Nancy Comics & Listening To Irv Teibel.

Can you think of a better way to spend the afternoon?

Introducing… Shot Reverse Shot!

Available Now: The Debut Split 7″, and The Debut CD, from the New Space Grunge combo, Shot Reverse Shot!

Blasting out of the garage in a space-faring vehicle knocked up over the weekend by some old friends, the Space Grunge sounds of Shot Reverse Shot are now ready for you to enjoy! This is not experimental music, nor is it loud ‘n’ fast punk rock, avant jazz, or, really, like anything else WTBC Records has released. This collection of electronic rock music, programmed by the Master Control Unit and performed by a loose collection of clones, cyborgs and androids, offers a unique look at the musical story of the future we have often been denied. Now, you can pick up these new sounds from deep, deep space.

 

Half Eye Limited Edition Split 7″ From WTBC Records and Gorbie Lathe Cuts!

Hand-made, lathe cut 7″ record by Gorbie Lathe Cuts, available in stunning white, offering the first music on 7″ by either Half Eye or Shot Reverse Shot! Covers printed by Salem Printing & Blueprint company. This package was hand-cut, folded, glued and assembled in Salem, OR, and contains an assortment of wonderful goodies, including: a download code for the B-Side to the Half Eye tune, a thrilling number called “Sex Bender”; a limited-edition mini-zine only available here, titled “Mirrors,” created by Matt Orefice & Austin Rich; and, the “Seven Bound Beacon EP,” a short digital release by Shot Reverse Shot that can only be accessed through this record. There’s only a handful of these that were made, so get yours today!

$12, Shipping Included in the USNot available digitally! Limited quantity! Order today!

 

Dimension X… Minus One! The Debut Album from Shot Reverse Shot.

Are you ready to bring Old Time Radio to your 21st Century Stereo? This album contains 15 tunes by the newly assembled rock ensemble, Shot Reverse Shot! Futuristic Electronic Space Grunge for you to enjoy, today! But this isn’t just a simple musical album that you put on to enjoy while washing the dishes in your native pod or craft. This professionally duplicated disc is a 50 minute journey with the crew of the Starship Hyperion, as they travel beyond The Furthest Stars, into emotions and places that people have never had to visit before!

Produced by Austin Rich in Quarantine, this album is not available digitally! If you want to hear these songs, they are only available on these CDs, provided by kunaki.com, and in limited quantities, too! Packaged with the album is a code for access to the, “Don’t Count The Suns EP,” exclusively available with this release.

$12, Shipping Included in the USDon’t miss out on this unique musical release! Not available digitally!

 

Limited Edition CD / 7″ Set!

While preparing the 7″ and CD releases for Shot Reverse Shot, we discovered that our supply chain could offer unique items from other timelines. While we could only get a few, we managed to procure a very small number of the 7″ on clear lathes, with different labels! This 7″ comes with a re-packaged version of the debut CD, professionally duplicated, and is the perfect starter pack for the person who is interested in booking first-class tickets with Shot Reverse Shot. These are very handsome looking records and discs, so they will go fast.

$20, Shipping Included in the USSupplies are Limited!

 

SHOT REVERSE SHOT, from WTBC Records.

WE NOW LIVE IN THE FUTURE!

January Postcards Are Here!

Dropping into the mail today are the January 2021 Musical Postcards, the first of this year! We test-drove this idea last month, to great success, and we are going to do this again, every month this year.

If you are are on the mailing list: you will get one. If you would like to join the mailing list, here’s the page for doing that.

Over 30 minutes of new, original music by Mini-Mutations, only available on this postcard. It looks pretty snappy, so I would love to send one to you.

And now that I’m not really on FB these days, this might be a good way to keep in touch.

Let’s send some mail!

December Totals

I spent a lot of time in December on the Exercise Bike. Here’s the breakdown:

I averaged 27.7 MPH while on the bike in December.

I burned a total of 12,046.1 Calories. (About 24 Hamburgers.)

I cycled a total distance of 328.03 miles in December. That’s almost to the southwestern part of our state, where California, Oregon and Nevada all sort of meet up.

I updated my spreadsheet, too, as I realized I would like a running total that doesn’t require scrolling back through all the old data.

Happy New Year.

How To Make Perfect Mini-Mutations during The Week Between.

Well, the Santa Ana Noise Fest last night was a blast, and there was a fairly decent turnout, considering all the technical difficulties that we were plagued with. But, in the end, it all worked out, and you can now watch the entire thing at your leisure. There was over four hours of content, all told, and the line-up was international. It was nice to make new Music Friends, and the chat was pretty lively. So, congratulations, Santa Ana Noise Fest. Maybe I’ll get to visit you in person, someday.

This year, I decided to go a little holiday themed, and revived an old TV Program I used to be involved, with, “Cleaning Up After Snoop & Martha,” where I clean up after they bake something in the kitchen. For some reason, the show was not a hit, as they were never on the program. But sometimes the show offered practical advice, and in this episode, I offer a recipe for Perfect Mini-Mutations, which is the right kind of thing you’ll want to be baking between now and New Year’s Day.

The first two minutes and five seconds of this video are interstitial bits from the live stream, that relate to the show. (Same with the last 1:23 of the video.) It gives it all context for how it was seen on the live stream.

If you want to watch the entire live stream, here are the links. In the first video, there is about 30 minutes of “pre-game” looping videos, and Mark butts in once to talk about the history of experimental music. The bulk of the show is in the second video.

Thanks again, everyone! It was a ton of fun, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Which One of Us Am I, Again?

It is so much more complicated than Deja Vu, and yet the sensation certainly lives within the realm of similar experiences. But only Borges* himself managed to relate this experience in a way that I feel addressed it with any sense or value. At least, he artfully articulated the experience, no less than three times in his own written work.

I, myself, have been compelled to explore the concept as ineptly as I was able over 10 years ago, and while I certainly wore my influences in my prose, I know that I was no closer to having nailed down the moment, this experience in any useful way. Perhaps the closest I came was making another appearance on UB Radio Salon, where I read both my own ham-fisted attempts at this concept between the three more elegant efforts by Borges himself.

But an inability to express this experience does not prevent it from happening. As I catch these glimpses of the person I once was, I cannot rationalize how they would react to me without eventually landing on some kind of disappointment. I see the posturing arrogance of the person I was, as seen through a random blog post, an old photograph, or even a simple memory of having done something, and I know that person would never give me the time of day.

I try to live within the musings of my past self, and I find the experience uncomfortable the words don’t fit, and I worry that the person I was is the person I’m be judged for, that his crimes are the ones that I will be left doing the time for. I see all of his nonsense, and wonder how transparent I’ve always been. How just on the edge of bullshit every utterance was. All the grand plans were made up along the way, and I know what folly that youth would soon go through.

Can we ever learn to live with who we used to be?

Will I look back on these words with a grim moment of pain, as I realize how boneheaded I sound, now?

Or will I be a worse person, then?

* * * * * *

* Borges and I (translated from the Spanish) by Jorge Luis Borges

It’s to that other one, to Borges, that things happen. I walk through Buenos Aires and I pause, one could say mechanically, to gaze at a vestibule’s arch and its inner door; of Borges I receive news in the mail and I see his name in a list of professors or in some biographical dictionary. I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth-century typefaces, etymologies, the taste of coffee and the prose of Stevenson; the other shares these preferences, but in a vain kind of way that turns them into an actor’s attributes. It would be an exaggeration to claim that our relationship is hostile; I live, I let myself live so that Borges may write his literature, and this literature justifies me. It poses no great difficulty for me to admit that he has put together some decent passages, yet these passages cannot save me, perhaps because whatsoever is good does not belong to anyone, not even to the other, but to language and tradition. In any case, I am destined to lose all that I am, definitively, and only fleeting moments of myself will be able to live on in the other. Little by little, I continue ceding to him everything, even though I am aware of his perverse tendency to falsify and magnify.

Spinoza understood that all things strive to persevere being; the stone wishes to be eternally a stone and the tiger a tiger. I will endure in Borges, not in myself (if it is that I am someone), but I recognise myself less in his books than in those of many others, or in the well-worn strum of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free myself from him by moving on from the mythologies of the slums to games with time and infinity, but those games are now Borges’ and I will have to conceive of other things. Thus my life is a running away and I lose everything and everything is turned over to oblivion, or to the other.

I do not know which of the two is writing this piece.

It’s Time To Celebrate With Holiday Memories

Holiday Memories and Mid-Valley Mutations

For many years I tended to ignore the simple pleasures of the holidays, and as my radio show became more singular, I resisted the holiday season, often openly mocking it (with shows like, “Christmas Music For People Who Don’t Like Christmas Music,” etc.).

But even someone like me, who has come to enjoy radio at it’s most unusual or atypical, there is a certain appeal to finding the place between “typical holiday music” and “what I usually do on this program.” And with Old Time Radio, punk rock holiday albums, experimental live radio and performances, and everything in-between, I have been fortunate enough over the years to avoid, “Here’s some Christmas Carols for you to enjoy this year.” The closest I come to that is putting on detective radio shows for the holidays.

Regardless, there are over 20 years of Holiday Programs in our “Holiday Memories” Podcast feed, waiting for you to enjoy. This includes broadcasts on a number of stations, in a number of forms, with a wide range of holiday offerings for you to put on and digest. Over 100 hours of programing, with over 80 different shows to choose from. This year, we’re adding some new items to the feed, including some holiday episodes of Somewhere In-Between: A Radio ‘Zine that are new this year, and a handful of new Mid-Valley Mutations, where we feature a Hal McGee holiday album, cut up some amazing Old Time Radio stories, offer some futuristic Christmas Carols, and a full episode-long holiday deconstruction by Mini-Mutations. We’re pulling out all the stops this year, and we would love to have you come and join us, too.

The easiest way to get it is to subscribe with our App-Agnostic-Feed, where you can get all the goodies. But you can also find it in iTunes. (I’ve heard it is in other services too, but I haven’t put that to the test.) Just search for “Holiday Memories Austin Rich,” and it usually comes up pretty quickly.

The Holiday Feed contains everything from all the end-of-year holidays from November through January, so if you want individual episodes for separate holidays, here are all the Christmas Shows, and here are all the New Year’s shows.

If you would prefer a little music that has a seasonal flavor to it, then you might want to look into our “Seasons Greetings” digital album, perfect for the kind of person who enjoys the holiday season, but wants their music very, very weird. Almost 2 1/2 hours of Mini-Mutations not available elsewhere, with over an hour of bonus instrumental tracks. This includes live radio jams, live performances in front of audiences, spoken word with sound FX, everything in-between. This one is only available digitally, so head to our Wanting To Be Cool online store via bandcamp, and enjoy some new tunes that speak to this time of year.

And, if that’s not enough, we have, hew this year, the Mini-Mutations Musical Holiday Card, with an EP of new Holiday Carols that you can only get via the mail. This is part of a monthly Postcard Project that I’m working on in 2021, and if you want to start getting these, then you’ll want to contact me with your address. There will be one-of-a-kind music offerings through these postcards, that only come via the mail. Support the US Postal Service, and small experimental artists, and get something cool in the mail.

While this year has been a bummer, and it is hard to get into the holidays, maybe our atypical traditions will be the perfect antidote to the holiday malaise.

 

More Details for The Santa Ana Noise Fest on December 26th.

The Santa Ana Noise fest is just around the corner, and as usual, everything is different this year. This includes being entirely online, which means that we all had to make videos, and that some of the “live” elements of our performances are “taped” so we can actually pull this off.

The long and the short of it is: this will be one of the last shows that Mini-Mutations will be playing this year, and I’m excited about the line-up, the show, and everything about it. And: it will be the perfect way to celebrate that lethargic feeling that sets in after Christmas and until after New Year’s.

Show starts at 7 PM, and will be live streaming from This FB Event Page. Sets are short, so if you are late, you might miss a few acts. I’ll be in the chat all night, so drop in, and check it out.

Here’s a little promo for the event. On the event page, it says I’m in the second set, so that probably means I’ll be on before nine, PST. For this set, I’ve revived my “Cooking w/ Mini-Mutations” television program, where I offer some instructions on how to make Perfect Mini-Mutations for then Holidays. This should be a lot of fun, and I hope you get a chance to drop in for the live show.

Join The Mailing List, and Get A Postcard

For a while now I’ve been experimenting with mail art. I used to do this a little bit in the 90’s, but never very often, or with much consistency. That didn’t really change for most of my life, but in the last few years I’ve been getting much more into it, and have been trying – when time allows – to stay on top of it as much as possible.

To that end, this year I’m engaging in seasonal, musical postcards. 12, in fact; one each month. To get a sense of how to do it, and what the process would be, I have a postcard made and ready for December of 2020, too. The first batch of cards, for mailing list members, go out today.

If you would like to get on the mailing list, and receive a musical postcard with 30 minutes of new audio material, all via the mail, then contact me via e-mail and mention this in your message. There’s only so many of these, so if you want one, you should say so, soon.

Curious about the Postcards Project? This link should help answer your questions.

Really, this is just a good way to get more engaged with the mail. And for that reason alone, this will be a lot of fun.

As it stands, the real job ahead of us in 2021 in convincing our family members that they need to get on board with some much more progressive politics than any of them think they are willing to allow. Because, every single one of those people who voted for and are aligned with a more fascist interpretation of America are someone’s family.

So: how do we get our family members to improve points of view that are truly distasteful?

Bigger Than Elvis?

In 1954, Polio was still a big problem. A Vaccine had been developed, but no one wanted to take it, unless their doctor directly recommended it and explained the reasons for needing it to you, in person. That wasn’t going to be enough to get everyone on board, and so while there was a cure on-hand, getting Americans on board was the problem. Educating people about getting the Polio Vaccination was slow work, and Americans are a cowardly, superstitious lot. And how do you reach all people in all classes? Literacy is still an issue, and for many, it was easy to refuse the vaccine, even if it was easy to get.

After two years of struggling to solve this problem, they hit upon an idea: Let’s get Elvis Presley, one of the most popular rock musicians at the time, to help promote the idea of vaccination. Elvis is then vaccinated on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, which is seen by millions of people, and is accompanied by some clear Public Health Data. This event was reported on widely, so even if you didn’t have a TV, it was that generation’s, “Shot heard round the world.”

According to many historians, that single TV appearance alone accounted for nearly 80% of the population getting vaccinated, something that was unheard of before. By 1963, it had been announced that the number of Polio cases had dropped to zero, which is truly astonishing, when you consider that nearly a decade previously, it was nearly impossible to imagine any way that could ever happen.

The power of celebrity, indeed.

I’ve been thinking about the kinds of celebrities now, that could have that same kind of juice, and could get that many American’s on board with a massive vaccination effort. Clearly, Americans can’t really think for themselves, and need a trusted celebrity, who is loved across parties and across economic backgrounds, and at this point, across generations. Presidents are too divisive, and this issue is so politicized that, like with the Polio Vaccine, the appeal of the celebrity has to be so universal that people of different opposing religions will still stand six feet apart from each other in the same line just to get the vaccine, and that’s a pretty tall order.

Universally Loved? In 2020? Wouldn’t that be Pikachu, or an Animal Crossing character?

An Interview With LEZET mentions… Mini-Mutations?

This is something very pleasant, and unexpected, that I only just heard about, and that I find very exciting.

I was recently name checked in an interview by Cian Orbe Netlabel (a Netlabel from Rancagua, Chile), with Serbian experimental artist LEZET. What a wonderfully strange, international confluence of events. And, fortunately, you can read the entire interview, in English, here: Interview with LEZET (6 December 2020).

So, dig this big crux: one of the strange up-shots of the pandemic has been the simultaneous isolation of a number of artists, all over the world. So through mutual friends we each have in Hal McGee (and his “Electronic Cottage” group online), we were both recruited to work on a compilation produced by {AN} EeL, which featured a wide range of artists being paired off to create work together. The results are “Two Halves Vol. 7,” which features 18 tracks by 36 different artists, all producing collaborative tracks. For this project, {AN} EeL paired myself and LEZET, who I was unfamiliar with at the time. But, in working on this track, and then through being more aware of their work through {AN} EeL and Hal, I’ve become quite fond of LEZET’s work.

The track we produced together is called, “Riverside Hop Scotch Game,” and you can hear it here:

It was incredibly easy working with LEZET. They mailed me some recordings, without much conversation about what to do with them, or how we wanted to work. We had initially discussed the possibility of LEZET following the muse, and having me coming in to flesh out the track afterwards, but it’s hard to recall that conversation exactly. What I do remember is that when I received the tracks, I immediately heard where my accompaniment would fit in, and very quickly we had a finished tune.

We submitted the track, and I didn’t think much more about that specific song until the comp came out. And it was very cool, not only to find that our track was very early in the running order, but that the entire collection was very, very cool. (I’ve included the entire thing below.

I would have thought that would be the end of it. We both had other projects, and while I was following LEZET’s work with interest, I didn’t imagine I’d get mentioned in an interview like this.

In the question, “Which are your favorite music projects who inspire your work?” Mini-Mutations gets a mention, along with a whole mess of other great artists, too. I feel like I’m in very good company on that list, and I’m sort of nervous about having to live up to the quality of the other artists on this list.

I did a lot of collaborations this year, and in a way, the album I did sort of got lots in the shuffle, as it was packaged with a zine. Between that and other non-musical projects, this has been a very a-typical year for both myself and Mini-Mutations. But it is very inspiring to know that people like LEZET are enjoying the journey, as we both feel out what to do in the coming year.

2020 has been wild, yo.

One of The Last Mini-Mutations Performances for 2020!

I’ve been curious about the Santa Ana Noise Fest for quite some time, but the timing has always been bad for me to attend. This has been the annual problem with attending the Olympia Experimental Music Fest, in that the timing of the show is nearly always around my anniversary, which makes it very difficult to attend. NorCal NoiseFest is probably the one that is perfectly timed for my natural travel rhythms every year, though I had intended to make more trips in 2020, before Covid, that is.

Anyway: this year, they have gone entirely digital, and that has not only made it possible for me to attend, but has really opened the roster up in a way that has allowed 17 acts spread out over five countries to perform, all in one evening. In fact, speaking of the line-up: damn! An impressive run of folks from a number of flavors of experimental music, and considering the date, I have revived one of the more well-loved things I have done for live shows: Cooking with Mini-Mutations. I think you will enjoy what I have etc’d for you this time. (Content note: this is a pre-recorded video, unlike my other recent live streaming things, which have been live. I will be in the chat live, but the video is not exactly live. You’ll see what I mean on the 26th.)

I’m really looking forward to this. There’s a number of acts I am completely unfamiliar with, and a number that I really enjoy, and it should prove to be a fun way to spend the night. This will be the first thing on Twitch that I have been involved with, so that will be fun, too. I hope to see you in the chat! It’s nice to have music things to look forward to.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Beginnings are easy. Everything is open to you, nothing has been decided, and you can make anything possible.

Endings can be dramatic, if done well, and they should be easy if all the art work is done. They should snap into place, and sort of feel like they follow from the beginning and the rest.

It’s the middle part that is the hardest, in all things, because it is there where the hard work has to be done.

We seem to be in a very strange place right now, where we are in transition, while we wait for reality to adjust itself to the new way our world, and our country, will be in the future. But we are far from there, yet. And getting there will be very difficult, and most likely, not easy. We aren’t in any places or phases where things will be easy, for a while.

We’ve been manipulated and had our desires toyed with, and now we are on the other side of something, but what, exactly, is hard to say. The problems of most people were not solved with a new president, and might not even be solved by having the pandemic handled in a way that matters. It turns out that mosts problems revolve around having to have a job, make money, and pay bills, and that pandemics and poor presidents only exacerbate those issues.

Further to the point, our communities are rules by laws that are inequitable, and enforced by government approved militias, and that does not rest easy for those of us who have ben subject to the horrors of those laws and enforcers. A new president and a vaccine does not change the systemic problems that are the thrust of this “middle section” of the story, and is why it will be the most difficult part of the entire ordeal.

There’s so much work to be done, even with a new president who will already make things slightly better than they were before. (If you don’t see that there will be slight improvements under the new president, then I think you might not actually be a progressive person in any useful way.) But to get to the end of the story, the dramatic moment when we repair our government and make the world more equitable for the largest number of people, we are anywhere but near the end.

We are only really barely past the beginning. We are in uncharted territory, where we don’t have a compass, and we don’t know how to get to the end we want, let alone the end we need.

We are currently lost, and the feeling is starting to mount that we could be lost for a very, very… VERY long time, before we find anything that could lead us to somewhere safe.

I hate reading the news. I hate trying to figure out what all the latest information means. And I hate the mounting evidence that the half of this country that feels burned by this election are going to go out of their way to make everything worse for all of us. For them, the story is only just beginning, too.

But what I do feel, more than anything, is that it is time for me to double down. It’s time to find new reserves of determination that I didn’t know I had, and figure out how the things that I do can actually make a difference.

And since I’m still in the middle, it is gonna be hard figuring that stuff out.

For a while, anyway.

Some Meta Reflections on Process

I fell down on the job, so to speak, with my goal of writing at least 1000 words a day, as I didn’t get a chance to sit down and write at all the last two days.

Or, rather, I did, but in different ways. On Saturday I wrote about 100 words in Social media posts, as I was busy most of the day working on another project that I only just completed this morning. Then, on Sunday, I was busy working on a couple other things, and while I did actually end up writing about 1300 words yesterday, it was actually for “work,” and not extra. (I actually wrote some bits for a video, which will be seen soon enough.)

I find it interesting that in two days I still managed to write 1400-ish words anyway, mostly though Social Media and a handful of other projects that require a little writing to go with them. This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately; even if you aren’t trying to write, you often end up writing anyway, regardless of your real intention. This is largely a function of our modern lives. Texting and e-mail are very easy and very useful, and can communicate more nuance than in a quick exchange.  And, it allows you to gather your thoughts visually, and sort them into different paragraphs, depending on their relative connections to each other.

I certainly blew it today, as the days I have been the most successful in writing at all are days that I write in the morning, and that seems significant. I can already tell I won’t write as much today as I did yesterday. But I was also doing a number of other, non-writing things. There’s only so many hours in the day.

Still, over the last week, I’ve written almost 7000 words, and that’s not a terrible average, even if today sort of throws that out of wack again. I suspect that even professionals have days where they can’t really get much done, and I shouldn’t focus too much on what I haven’t done, but instead on what I have finished.

Plus: I think I need a new metric, because what if I spend a day editing video? That’s certainly creative work, that I am doing to scratch a different part of my brain. But, if that’s the case, how much video editing is equal to 1000 words? How much of a song is equal to 1000 words? How many photographs, or ideas for comic strips, are equal to 1000 words?

What is the equivalent form of a “writing sprint” in other creative forms? Can they even be compared?

Romancing The Stone

The first time my parents brought home a VCR that they had rented from a local shop, the also brought home the movie Romancing The Stone. That sentence is so quintessentially mid-80’s that in my memory we are all wearing spandex, Magnum PI t-shirts, and each of us sporting a single glove and / or a Madonna-esque fashion hat while we watched the movie. But that was probably not the case, either. What I do remember was that they probably rented other movies along with that new-to-us VCR, but the only one I remember 30+ years later is Romancing The Stone.

A friend of mine recently said that they had watched it for the first time this year, and hated it, and a part of me suddenly got curious about what didn’t hold up. As a youth, I probably saw this and the sequel a number of times, and my love of Raiders of The Lost Ark sort of embedded in me a love of adventure / treasure hunting stories, that certainly caused me to sit up and take notice of this one. And, at 12, this glimpse into the world of adult relationships in an International setting really appealed to this small town Oregon Boy, where it was so completely foreign to me. I was immediately enamored with all of it, and found there to be a lot in the film that puzzled me, as I tried to understand why these two were falling in love with each other at a time when I was only dimly aware of what it meant to fall in love at all.

It is true, with 2020 eyes, this movie is problematic, a sort of cringey time-capsule, where this document somehow manages to make the mighty Kathleen Turner seem like she is out-of-her element, and needed the help of a man to make it through this horrible experience. There’s some fairly weird scenes that border on the strangeness of the “Ghost Blow Job” from Ghostbusters, which serves no function except to have a racy moment on screen with our leads. It certainly has so much 80’s running through it that, in spite of first-hand memories of the movies, I have to remind myself that it is actually a nearly 40 year old film.

I keep considering the words of Joe Dante himself, who recently has said (in a number of different ways) that every movie ever made needs a warning label on it, that says, “Warning: This Movie Was Made Before Today.” Every film embodies the taboos and mores of a particular time / place / point of view embodied by the creators at that time, and while it isn’t an endorsement or even an attempt to say, “Well, it was just like that, then,” what both he and I am saying is that in 1984, choices were made by people who were thinking to themselves, “What’s going to look good on screen?” rather than wondering for example, “How woke does this movie appear to audiences?”

The film itself is, in many ways, is probably more progressive than a lot of the fare that was being made in 1984, and certainly was one of the few films being made at the time that was written by a woman. As a kid, I think I only really responded to the treasure hunt elements of the movie, which I think is entirely conveyed by the fact that, before this week, the part of this movie I remembered the best is the 15 minute segment where Joan & Jack decide to use the map to find The Stone, which they do find fairly quickly. After which, the movie goes back to where it had been before, with the various romance and kidnapping subplots driving the remainder of the story.

In a way, the movie is a sort of patchwork of different soap-opera style subplots, and in the same way that a lot of soaps all have soap stars as characters in their shows, Romancing The Stone features a romance author getting embroiled in a story that is lifted precisely from her books, so much so that the characters all know her stories and tropes well, and the plot begins to bend toward things she’s seen in her novels before. Even the Stone itself is hidden in a way that is directly lifted from her first novel.

This element of the film isn’t really commented on, but the movie is framed by Joan and her editor reviewing a recently completed novel, and the one at the end is meant to imply that it is the story we have just seen on screen. This frame story suggests that, perhaps, in a sort of Total Recall sort of way, that some – all? – of her experiences in Columbia might be in her head.

Or, perhaps, in the parlance of a different Arnold action flick, she has entered one of her own romance novels? The kidnapping subplot is the pretext to get Joan to Columbia, but Joan’s sister is rarely seen (or heard), and most of what happens has little to do with the kidnapping, and more to do with the map, and The Stone. All three serve as McGuffins, and are only secondary to the primary plot. The film is really about how the people who are all searching for The Stone manage to bring Joan and Jack together by accident, in the fashion of a true romance, like the kinds that Joan writes and Columbian drug lords seem to love.

From the moment Joan gets to Columbia, every experience is something pulled from the kinds of adventure romances that she writes, which is very interesting for a couple of reasons. In the 1980s, one of the few genres of storytelling where women did have any real agency was in a Romance novel. In a romance, a woman can be the lead, and her concerns and interests (and desires) are allowed to be manifest, in whatever way she wants. While these stories are predicated on the idea that you need a man to complete yourself, everything prior to the pairing of the couple at the very end is about revealing how independent the protagonist really is.

She lives alone, fighting off the street vendors every day, a fairly savvy city dweller. Then, Joan gets on a plane and goes to Columbia by herself, a trip she has never done before. She manages to handle herself fairly well, considering a strange thug that comes after her, and when she meets Jack, she dictates the pace of their budding relationship. She’s onto Jack when he is trying to pull fast ones, and in the end, she handles the Columbian thug herself, even though she is calling for Jack’s help the entire time she’s fighting him. She really didn’t need his assistance, but is was nice to see that he did try, anyway.

Even worse, Jack abandons her for a while at the end, leaving her to have to negotiate getting out of Columbia with her sister, by themselves. Considering some of the Columbian government was out to get her previously, one can only imagine how difficult that must have been. Not to mention that Joan’s sister has just had her husband murdered by Columbian gangsters, creating all sorts of difficulties, which would call upon Joan to be the emotional center for her sister after she, herself, has been through the most insane experience of her life. Joan is going to need some time to process this experience, and probably will need some time to make sense of what she’s been through.

Instead, the movie decides to portray her and wistfully looking out windows, thinking about Jack. The final scene is so incredibly torn from the pages of a romance novel that it is unbelievable, and seems to me to be the evidence that she has climbed into one of her novels. Jack abandoned her and her sister, at a time when they really needed his help. Instead, he chases after his fortune, the shallow desire he’s hidden behind the entire film. And, to his credit, he gets his fortune, alligator boots, and all. But the idea that he could return, suddenly, to sweep her off her feet, so they could sail off down the streets of New York now that he can financially support her… and she wouldn’t be angry with him? She wouldn’t have a million other questions for him, all around the problem of, “Why do you suddenly show yourself again, now, mister?” In the final scene, she is still acting like she’s in Columbia, and in many ways, she never left, which is clear in that she is playing the part of a Romance Novel protagonist, and not that or Joan Wilder.

At this early stage of his career, Zemeckis was not yet willing to openly toy with the reality / fantasy presentation of his films, so this movie is not interested in exploring where the line between reality and fantasy is precisely drawn. And as a kid, I sort of missed that, too. I was entirely in the fantasy, not realizing that the movie is about a relationship forming, and not about a treasure hunt that I wanted it to be.  But I missed a lot of what was going on in this movie as a young man. While there’s no way that a film like this can hit the same buttons that it did when I was a kid, I can clearly see the elements did speak to me to me, both then and now, which made that experience very enjoyable.

Review of EC Split 23: Ben Presto and Jeremiah Paddock

The seed of the idea behind any release is often worth getting into, and when it comes to the Electronic Cottage Split series (organized by Hal McGee), the seed is deceptively simple: two artists, selected by Hal himself, go off to produce 30 minutes of material together, developing the release as a partnership. There are 29 installments in this series, which has yielded some surprising and incredible results as these have been coming out. The strength of the series not only relied on the artists involved, but their efforts to work together. If it had been approached randomly, or even with a little less thought, and if even a few of the artists had only phoned it in, then this could have seemed like a shoddy series at best.  

But Hal has sort of buried the lead when it comes to this series, and how these splits have been organized. Because, while they might seem to be odd pairing in a couple cases, what he has done upon closer evaluation is concoct some clever and wonderful pairings with the artists he has selected. This shouldn’t be surprising, as many of the projects that Hal involves himself in are very well thought out, and offer unique music listening opportunities that you just don’t find elsewhere.

On installment #23, of this series, the matching of Ben Presto with Jeremiah Paddock seems to be particularly inspired, and the proof is in the musical pudding we all get to enjoy during this holiday season. While I knew a little about Jeremiah’s music before this release, I was completely new to Ben’s work, an Italian artist who has been working for well over 10 years. Another bonus to this series is that Hal really introduces you to incredible artists from all over the world, and this series seems to really highlight the world-wide flavor of this project. I’m always learning about new avenues to explore in music, and Hal inevitably leads me to places I’m very happy to have visited. 

We open this album with Ben’s homage to film soundtracks, a breathtaking voyage through some of the musical ideas of cinema, while taking them into places that belong, very much, to Presto and their delightful bass playing. There is, in a way, a bit of a story that is developed throughout Ben’s songs. We open with our protagonist having gone through a particularly harrowing psychedelic experience, where they have wound up dead in the end. Not only must they escape the actual life they once led in the mortal world (first by physically leaving, then by spiritually saying goodbye), our protagonist must then bid farewell to the material world entirely, and thus embrace the emptiness of what lies beyond… whatever that might be. Fortunately for us, the metaphor maps nicely over the struggles that we all have in any new beginning, or rebirth, that we might have to go through. I’m also reminded of the “Black Blotter” episode of Fringe, for some reason: that same kind of psychedelic experience we are prone to having if we start having a “bad trip.”

“Farewell” stands out among these tunes, as it not only breaks the format of the rest, but does not lean on Ben’s bass playing and synth lines to create the brooding, atmospheric pallets that would make Mr. Carpenter proud, for sure. These songs all feel of a piece after you’ve been through them once, and I can’t imagine how you could listen to them separately, now. Presto’s performances and playing on these songs is superb, and while these are not discordant or even that “noisy” compared to some releases in this series, these songs are certainly only skirting the edges of popular music. And yet, they could very much live near the world of popular music fairly comfortably, on a movie soundtrack, for example. Overall, if I had to pick, I would say my faves are “Escape From New York,” and, “Nothing Out There,” just for the gloominess that they both evoke.

While some trips can be ominous, there is something a little wistful about the way that Jeremiah gets into a car with his guitar, and goes on a somewhat pleasant drive. Certainly, like on drives 5, 12, 14 and 15 in this collection, we hear some of the sense of foreboding and anxiety that this regular, routine trip can cause our protagonist, but while we are still on a journey into something that might be scary if we dwell too much on what’s going on in the world outside of the car, inside the car we get to hear Jeremiah’s dedication to trying to find the ways that we can endure this particular trip, through offering us some of the lighter thoughts that we can entertain through a guitar. 

And it is very, very fun. Jeremiah’s guitar playing takes center stage on these drives, and it is something to behold. While these are loops and other studio compositions, they highlight some of the best kinds of playing that Jeremiah has to offer, and gives a dizzying insight into they way their mind works, musically. This offers a great cross-section of Jeremiah’s style, and I find these songs endlessly listenable, and I would say that I could probably play this comfortably at a party with a bunch of squares and some would probably even start tapping their toes. It is incredibly catchy experimental music. 

I’m still working out how to interpret the final drive. It doesn’t have the same wistfulness of some songs, nor the lurking threat that other’s portray. We’ve arrived, somewhere, and it is dramatic. But how should we feel about it? How should we interpret the sense of joy and the sense of horror, both competing for attention? Perhaps we are merely meant to acknowledge it, and find a way to try and start over tomorrow, without feeling dread.

What I like about this release is that is doesn’t feel too “weird,” in spite of the deep weirdness that is at work here, too. These are very beautifully written songs, played very straightforward and with heartfelt attention to detail, then well mixed by people trying to create a total package. The performances are strong, and they don’t muck about too much with studio gloss to cover up the imperfections. This music is what it is, no frilly extras or filigree around the edges, and as a result, they work wonderfully together.

I can imagine that others who are not precisely into experimental music could find this a very good entry point into what this kind of music can do when it isn’t strictly noise. As someone who likes to find the edges of what experimental is and isn’t, this release fits into that territory perfectly. 

Between Things

I closed the door and began to look down the hallway, trying to outsmart the Monkees parody that my life had become. But in my case, it all made no sense. At least in the Monkees it was a segue from one part of the story to another. In my case, the chaos of life isn’t as simple as there being any actual story to it. It was so random, so completely insane, that there couldn’t be a narrative that you could chart though it. It’s just a series of experiences, with no arc to them.

It’s the repetitive, meaningless nature of it all that makes you want to crawl into a story.

Down the hallway, every door was labeled something far too obvious. “Western.” “Sci-Fi.” “Drama.” None of them fit my mood, or what I was looking for. I always feel like I have to back-solve to find the story that I want to live in, the place where I feel the most comfortable. I know that I like Repo Man, so I need to find things that also evoke that same feeling, then try and figure out what genre they are. And it’s usually a long shot, not even something that is really in the same league, but is close enough, I guess? How do you find that door? “Feels Like Repo Man but might not be really all that much like it?” Is that a door I can open?

I pop into the Sci-Fi door and just look for anything that is vaguely interesting, but I find myself retreading the same five stories that I always do, and even that path to finally saying, “Fuck it, I’ll just do Red Dwarf again,” is far too over trod, and in the end, feels a little unsatisfying.

There needs to be a genre called, “I’m between stories and I don’t really know what I want yet, but I kinda want something that I like, but not exactly like something I already like.” And I wander the hallway, door after door, looking for that label. I find, “Stories that are secretly a romance but they don’t really appear that way at first.” But I’ve spent a lot of time in that room already, and I’d rather not go back unless it’s another Green Lantern comic that I haven’t seen before, or something like that.

There’s a door marked, “Stuff labeled Strange & Weird but is really mundane and average,” which is a place I visited constantly for years. I sort of liked how simple it was. It delivered what was on the tin. No lies there.

I didn’t even bother with, “Sports Stories that are cool, we promise.” They’re almost never as good as Slapshot, and probably never will be.

There is something about the honesty of “Pornography” that is also very simple. You’re not there for the story. It’s about something else. I wish there was a room that was sort of “Reverse-Pornography.” I’m ONLY interested in the story. But really strange, odd, not exactly a story that is easy to follow, or even that has any obvious components to it. Maybe even impenetrable? Well, sometimes, anyway. I certainly do love some straightforward things, for sure, so that’s not it. But there needs to be a focus on the story, before the other qualities first.

There’s a door called, “The things we’ve all done over and over again, everyone, and we somehow have these random things to connect all of us,” and every time I try to remember that I don’t go in there much, I find that I have lived in there, for years and years on end, and that perhaps I’m still inside that room, and that this Hallway is inside of that place?

I’ve never seen a door called, “Real Life,” but I wonder if I could see it if there were one? That seems like cheating, to just sit around in real life, but with a narrative forced on it. It’s almost like cheating. You couldn’t bother to even come up with another way to present this idea? You had to frame it in the context of something that was “true” in order for it to be palatable? “True” isn’t exactly the best way to describe real life. Real life is boring, and has a repetition to it. But you can ignore all of that, and force a sort of story on top, if you cut out this, and omit that. It’s only Real Life in name, and I can only imagine why someone would even want to find that door.

But I secretly think about that a door a lot.

What sort of story would I prefer to live inside? I don’t know if I know the answer to that question, and if I did, could I explain it to you? Could I tell you about the story that I’m looking for, the narrative that really makes me excited to keep going forward, to find out how it all resolves? How can I describe this thing to you? I’m not even sure how to find it myself, let alone how to tell you what I want it to be, how I want it to turn out, where I want it to conclude before it really tickles my fancy.

The door I’m the most afraid of is, “The Stories In My Head.” I know it’s out in the hall, and occasionally I feel like I almost glimpse the sign on the door. But I always turn away at the last minute, even though I’m not even sure if I’ve actually found it. The idea of what, if anything, might be inside, and if I were to conform that thing, the actions I would then have to take to nurture it in just the right way, in order for it to live.

The knowledge of what it will reveal about me when seen by others. The embarrassment at the limitations of my own imagination and ability.

The wonder at how it can constantly lurk beneath everything else that I do, and at the same time, scare the crap out of me in so many compelling ways.

For some reason, I’m so much more comfortable in the Hall, not that I should be trying to live there. It’s probably worse than all the others combined.

You can pretty much assume that I probably haven’t cooked / made something, especially anything even SLIGHTLY more complicated than “microwave.”

What should I make for the holidays? I’m pretty much willing to try – and fail – at almost anything. Maybe I should focus on Indian food?

Out of Print Mini-Mutations Track Played on What’s This Called?

It was a delight to catch up on my podcasts, and to find that Mini-Mutations made a appearance on the November 21st episode of What’s This Called?, the program hosted by Ricardo Wang. What a true delight. You can hear the entire episode here, which is a just a direct link to the show hosted over on his site. It’s always a treat to hear my material mixed in with other stuff, although I feel like I should probably send him some new stuff, as I feel like I’ve made a lot bigger advances since then.

Still, it’s nice to hear this stuff, and the CD is out of print, meaning the only way to hear tracks like this is from DJs that play the tune on their show. I might re-issue that disc eventually, but for now, you can pick up, “You Are There,” digitally, which contains bonus tracks that are not on the CD.

Thanks again Ricardo!

 

21 November 2020

Lessons

Today is the first day that I don’t have to work on my November Novel in a month, and there’s something sort of relieving about not having to crank out words on any particular schedule about any particular thing for a little while. Which, of course, is funny, as I will still be writing a number other bits of text here and there and whatnot, in a number of other capacities. (Like this 1261 word “thought.”) The point is: I won’t be working on that novel anymore, and that alone feels like a sort of lifted weight.

There is a weird experience you go through when you are “done” with something, especially in the creative world. The project is “complete,” but you have been working on it for ages, so it is still active in your mind. Not only that, but the project is only “complete” in one sense. The “novel” is done, but I still have to edit it, if I want anyone to read this at any point. Another “project” to take on, someday, and certainly not any time soon. Even still, I can help but keep thinking about the characters, and considering parts that I should revise. I’ve had these people and this idea in my head, every day, for 30 days now. It’ll be a while to let all these ghosts move on.

Regardless this one is done, and there isn’t anything immediately on the horizon for now, as I spend my time wrapping up a number of other projects that have been on the so-called back-burner, while I was writing all November. Which, itself, is something interesting to contend with: the limited amount of creative juice that I have in a given day, and why I can’t just knock out 2k words in the morning and then write a full song in the afternoon.

This is a fairly obvious realization, but we do all have a limit to how much we are able to do in a day. While I try to maximize my own output as often as possible, the reality is that no matter how clever or smart you might be, you do need to let the engine rest if you do plan on any more big trips this year. You might be able to go and go all night long as a teen, but as a grown man, you need to save that for special occasions, so to speak.

I’m attracted to a number of different kinds of creative expression, and they all run into the sustainability problem. You can do them for a while, at a pace that makes sense, but after a while even that pace will get to you, even if you think you have it all balanced. Radio is the perfect example: it requires a consistent creative effort, and sometimes that effort can begin to feel like a lot, just to do the regular bare minimum, even if it feels like it shouldn’t be too much to exert, for the first 100 weeks anyway. There will be a week that you want to take off, and in spite of all of that, you still have to make a show when you don’t want to.

There is something about trying to establish good creative habits, and finding the right balance, in spite of whatever it is that you might want to be doing, otherwise. Like any muscle, you might not be able to be as creative as you would like, as often as you like, at first. But the more you do it, the better you get at it, etc. etc. None of this is news, but the implementation is the interesting part. If you ever say to yourself, “I want to be a creative person,” usually the first question is, “How do I do that?”

I often get told that I produce a lot of material as an artist, and perhaps that is true. But I don’t know how to do any less, to be honest. And the reason is because I’ve been doing it for so long, that the habit of making things is fairly well ingrained.

I was able to take on #NaNoWriMo this year is related to the number of years that I did try to do it and failed, terribly, for a number of very boring reasons that aren’t obvious until you have to stare it down in the debriefing after the fact. It has taken almost 20 years of attempts to know what I need, how to go about it, and what I should do to set myself up for successfully completing my book in 30 days. But the handful of times that I’ve actually beaten #NaNoWriMo were only possible when I learned from the previous times. (And, honestly, I think there’s only been two novels I wrote of those that could, MAYBE, be revised into something that would work as a book or story that I would feel comfortable sharing.)

It’s that same sort of attitude that I’ve applied to almost everything that I’ve done in life, that allows me to do anything at all as a middle aged man. I didn’t realize that writing ‘zines in my teen years prepared me for being able to write in the here and now. (The consistency of writing stuff for all sorts of DIY presses, where there’s no real deadline, forced me to be self-directed in order to finish anything.) When I have to get up in the morning and write 2000 words and there’s no one waiting for that text on the other side of me writing it, that really is where the creative rubber hits the road.

Doing radio for over 20 years, a lot of it not amazing, has only taught me what not to do, and how to get to the point where I can fairly easily do the kind of show I wish I’d been doing for over 20 years ago. Ditto for music. Failing at doing what I intended to do has only made it possible to successfully do what I want to do, now.

Again, none of this is “earth-shattering” or even that much more insightful than the hundreds of self-help style commentaries you can find in books, blogs and podcasts. All of what I’m experiencing also felt like I’d read or heard someone else talk about it. Putting in the work over the years is where we get our skills or cleverness from. As a middle aged man I have an advantage that the 18 year old I was did not have. But without having been an unskilled teenager making an effort, I wouldn’t have any of the leg-ups that I do have now, and I recognize that advantage.

Case in point: driving. I’ve only had my license for a single year, and I would say that in all the time that I’ve been behind the wheel, I still haven’t had enough hours to really consider myself any good at it. I should have been driving since I was 18, so that now I could easily do it, almost as a second nature, and free up my mind to think about other things. But as a new driver, I still make a lot of mistakes, I’m still very nervous, and when I do everything correctly and successful, it still feels like the exception, and not the rule. I just haven’t put in the hours yet, and not enough to say I have that skill confidently.

All of this is easy to reflect on when you are on the other side of a project. But it is nice to know that all the years I spent writing and mixing records and working on songs that didn’t go anywhere weren’t wasted efforts, and that I seen their benefits today.

Now, the matter of taste is another matter entirely, but just from my own perspective, I know that I could never have finished a #NaNoWriMo style challenge when I was 18, even though I would have been sure that I could. Just from the skill and planning perspective alone, I know that I’ve learned a lot over the years about what is a reasonable expectation, and what I can successful pull off on my own. While I have always wondered what I could accomplish if I had a partner, I will say that if I could write one novel a year for the rest of my life, even if they were never published, at least that would feel like I accomplished something.

Maybe this year I’ll try to edit this one in March, something I’ve never actually tried.

Formaldehydra / Mini-Mutations Split 8″ Lathe-cut Record!

You can now order this record from WTBC via Bandcamp. In addition to the music on the record, which is unique to this release and unavailable elsewhere, there is also over an hour of videos and audios you can enjoy, not available elsewhere, included via QR codes, with covers and collages created and designed by Formaldehydra & Mini-Mutations.

This release does not come with bandcamp downloads; the digital bonus materials are only available via QR codes, that you can only find in the packaging for this release. Truly a unique item that we promise you will love.

Outside of the US: we will have to charge for shipping. Inside the US: it is included int he cost.

$12 per disc. Limited to 30 copies.

Several have already been spoken for, so order yours today! Here’s a little promo video to whet your whistle…

 

Mid-Valley Mutations is on RADIOPHRENIA This Year!

For a number of years now, RADIOPHRENIA has curated a two-week long radio broadcast, in November, to feature and highlight some of the most interesting (and compelling) sound and radio artists around the world. They highlight some of the most unusual broadcasters and sound artists working today, and it is always worth tuning in for, to see what they have going on each year. (Fortunately, you can stream it all using this link.)

Beginning today, RADIOPHRENIA begin their broadcast, and it is off to a great start. You can review the schedule here, but I urge you to listen at 5 PM PST on November 10th (1 AM GMT on November 11th), to hear Mid-Valley Mutations. A special show has been assembled just for them, containing excerpts from my favorite broadcasts I made this year. This isn’t precisely new material, if you listen to the show regularly, but it’s assembled in a new way, specifically for this show, and will give people who don’t normally hear what I do a chance to check it out. 

I’m very proud to have been selected to be a part of RADIOPHRENIA this year, and I’m looking forward to hearing all the other artists too, and finding out what they did, too. 

Thank you RADIOPHRENIA, for championing unusual sounds and radio, all over the world. 

 

Let’s Take Another Stab

In the early 2000s, I first heard about NaNoWriMo from a number of Inter-Web-A-Tron bloggers that I had made friends with in Portland. Since then, I’ve made a number of attempts at actually completing a NaNoWriMo novel, and often, they are detective stories. Most of the time, I never finish. (Especially the years I was in college; I usually started strong, then petered out just before Thanksgiving.)

Once, in the last 20 year, I’ve completed the 50,000 words in 30 days goal, and while that story has sort of languished since then, I’ve suspected that I could do it again, and learn from the mistakes of the past.

And, as we are in for a long winter, and since writing and isolation are a good combination (hopefully keeping me occupied the whole time) seems like a good hobby this winter.

I’ve got a few ideas, and no reason to leave the house. I think I’m gonna do this. I don’t think I’m gonna do an official registration on the site, but I’ll do the next best thing, and track it all on this blog. I may put links in to the story as it develops.

Hopefully this will be fun, too. It’s only 1,600-ish words a day, which is likely less than the amount you write on social media every day.

Any fellow writers want to take this on with me? We could start a writing club, have Zoom Encouragement meetings, etc. It’s a no-pressure thing.

As I suspect a lot of us will have a lot of time on our hands this winter.

Halloween Spook-tacular, Twenty Twenty!

A Roundup Of Halloween-y Things You Might Enjoy!

I started getting serious about Halloween radio in 2003, and since then, I’ve done my best to offer some very cool sounds that complement this time of year. With that in mind, I have a few Halloween themed audio albums that you can enjoy, and a Halloween podcast that you’ll want to subscribe to! We had a lot of fun this year, and I’m pretty proud of what it out there. So, maybe you can add these to your holiday playlists?

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HORRIFYING HARMONIES!

The Cosma-Mutations Split CD.

Part of Hal McGee’s Electronic Cottage Splits series of releases, which has paired 40 artists in a number of complementary and impressive ways, and created an excellent body of work that displays a great cross-section of experimental artists working today. Michael Cosma & I cooked up a little Halloween release, with eerie tunes and a spooky original story set to music. An hour of experimental Halloween sounds that will complete any home. You can pick up a digital or CD version from the EC Bandcamp Page, or get a CD version from the WTBC Store.

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The Ways of Ghosts by Ambrose Bierce (Read by Austin Rich)

Now five years old, this release compiles some recordings made for Halloween Radio, with some new recordings and other bits and bobs, to present our first Spoken Word release. The centerpiece is a reading of an Ambrose Bierce collection of stories, with music and SFX that highlight the supernatural eeriness of these creepy tales. You can pick up a digital copy form the WTBC Store.

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Hallowtide Harmonies by Mini-Mutations

Recorded live, while on tour with Mark Hosler during the first Mini-Mutations tour, the shows were building up to a big Halloween performance at the Re-Bar. This digital album collects almost two and a half hours of halloween atmospheres, creepy cut-ups, collage stories about trains & haunted houses, with lots of ghosts flitting about the entire time. While this only captures the “spooky” parts of that tour, those were some of the most fun, and they’re all here, for you to enjoy. You can pick up a digital version form the WTBC Store.

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BONE-CHILLING BROADCASTS!

Somewhere In-Between: A Radio Zine

This program launched in 2020, and it’s a collection of all sorts of stories about life in these modern times. For October, I read stories and poems that help put listeners in the holiday spirit, with selections from Richard Brautigan, Ambrose Bierce, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Mark Twain, Robert Frost and O. Henry, some classic tales that are perfect for those late-night flights of fancy. The last installment of this four episode series airs tomorrow on KMUZ at 10:30 AM, but you can also catch all the shows by Subscribing To The Podcast.

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Mid-Valley Mutations

Keeping in-step with our annual tradition (going back to 2003), we offer four new radio broadcasts, with live music, a returning a guest, and a long trip to the movies… in an at-home, safely quarantined kind of way. It all begins with a live Mini-Mutations / forest journey into an ancient place I’ve never been to before, so I can catch a performance by Daona in a clearing. Then, I get lost on my way home, wind up in a House on Haunted Hill, then get stranded on Horror Island, and finally, get to the radio station where I get to hang out with DJ Victrola, who is more than game to talk Horror Movies with me. It’s a little MST3k, a little “live music overdrive,” a little “podcast hang with a friend you care about,” and all of it is very, very “in the mood.” The best way to stay in touch with this show is to subscribe to the podcast, here on iTunes, which includes roughly the last year or so of podcasts. But you can always visit midvalleymutations.com, to find all the back-episodes.

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Austin’s Annual Halloween Spook-tacular! 

If you want immediate access to hundreds of hours of free Halloween radio, then this is your one-stop shopping for all the fun. We have done it all over the years. Phone calls from people who had ghostly or supernatural experiences? Check. Recordings of Old Time Radio Horror broadcasts? Absolutely! 60’s monster songs and spooky frankenstein dance numbers? Undoubtedly. Trips through the Punk-In-Patch? In a Misfits shirt and everything! I even get guests to come and read scary stories on the radio, use Ouija boards, play live, or just enjoy the ambiance. I re-run all the old Closet Radio Halloween programs, and feature my annual sister-in-radio, DJ Victrola! This feed offers all the episodes, from all the shows, and give you the chance to enjoy some one-stop shopping for everything Halloween Radio. You will most definitely want to subscribe to this iTunes Feed so your party will have the right vibe! Can you dig it?

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Be Seeing You!

This has been an excellent season, and I look forward to it every year. Hopefully this brought a little joy to your ears, and helps set the tone for a fun a excellent season. This year has been hard. Maybe some fun music and radio will soothe you, for a little while, anyway.

Take care.

Review: EC Split 4 by Michael A Cosma & Mini-Mutations (by Jerry Kranitz)

Michael Cosma & I received a very sweet review from Jerry Kranitz, an author of the book, “Cassette Culture: Homemade Music and the Creative Spirit in the Pre-Internet-Age.” Jerry is also a member of the Electronic Cottage community, and actively supports independent artists of all kinds. Here’s his review of our release, which you can still get from Hal McGee’s Electronic Cottage website for both a CD or Digital version. (You can also get a CD from the WTBC Store.) Thank you so much, Jerry! What a cool review.

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EC Split 4 by Michael A Cosma & Mini-Mutations

I’ve been enjoying the EC Split 4 CD I received, which features Michael Cosma’s electronica and collage work and Mini-Mutation’s spoken word.
Michael Cosma’s ‘side’ of the split features an excellent morphing and mixing of contrasts. ‘Death By Death,’ opens with spacey soundscapes, quirky electronica and fun efx’d voices… “Death By Death… Kick Ass!!”. I like the strange blend of edgy ambience and video game soundtrack intensity. ‘House Of Hell,’ is similar, but with the sensation of being on some isolated beach with waves washing on the shore, as electronic pulsating crickets whiz by, and colored by weird robot voices and jarring blasts of electronica. I love the way ‘Skull’ swivels between and blends dreamy ambience with more quirky electronica, with an acid rock injection from guitar, and bits of tension from a periodic, brief heartbeat rhythmic throb. ‘Demented’ is like an off-kilter, high octane, drum centered free-jazz jam for the electronica set. ‘Terror Eyes’ highlights an electronica enhanced dreamworld, with a delirious blend of ripping guitar leads, misty atmosphere, flying saucer effects, and lost souls singing. ‘Black Widow’ is a similarly wigged out glom of psychedelic electronica and creatively mixed collage fun. And ‘Inside Out’ is a lightly musical style of sci-fi and meteorological ambience and effects. Good stuff, I really enjoyed this.
Next up is Austin ‘Mini-Mutations’ Rich’s spoken word story, titled ‘May The Circle Be Unbroken.’ Austin tells the tale — reading aloud — with himself as narrator, and all the character parts. And what is it? A murder haunted house sci-fi mystery! There were occasional light sound effects up at first, but once the body is found things get interesting, as Austin adds a cool musical soundtrack, and fun, creepy effects. Now it’s more of a one-man radio play. Some of my favorite soundtrack music is on the ‘The Cellar’ chapter, with its eerily deep space melodic electronica. I wasn’t expecting a ‘play’, so this was a refreshing twist!

Haunted Suits of Armor

So far, I’ve found four films for my October Horror Festival, that contains only films where people wander around a mansion or castle, there’s the suggestion of ghosts, and suits of armor are part of the set design. 

The House on Haunted Hill (1959)

The Bat (1959)

Horror Island (1941)

The Secret of the Blue Room (1933)

Two of these films are from 1959, which is interesting. (I wonder if there was a shared set, even?) But the second two are straight off of the original “Shock Theater” package of films, which was assembled by Screen Gems in 1957, and distributed to a number of TV stations across the country. The original Shock Theater package came with 52 movies. (One a week for a full year.) A second package, the year later, came with 20 more films, and by then, Horror Hosts were popping up all over, hosting these movies late at night. The Shock Theater package ushered in a new age of interest in horror movies, at a time when rock and roll was on the rise, and American Culture was seeing the influence of teenagers in a big way, something that wasn’t the case in the years before. 

I think the appealing thing to me is that most o these films seem to include some sort of secret passage, or secret doors that lead to strange rooms. I think there’s any number of people who would love to live in a house with this kind of design, and while I’ve never lived anywhere like that, if you throw something like this into the film, I’m pretty much into it. 

I’ve seen some of the Shock Theater package, but not all of it. But I suspect there’s a few more Suits Of Armor Shlock out there that I’m not familiar with. The idea is sort of genius: use cheap movie FX and a single, “Haunted House” set with an ensemble cast to plow their way through a tense (or, in the case of Horror Island, comedic) script, probably very quickly, based on older movie making practices of the “B” variety.

I’ve found all of these to be wonderfully charming in a corny way, and I’d be curious to see if I can find more for this list. I suspect there’s a lot more that I’m not familiar with. 

In the meantime, I’ll keep working my way through the Shock Theater package. I’m sure that’s a good start. 

 

Another New Release! A Brand New Act! Our First 7”!

 

Half Eye is Seattle artist that began in the early 90’s, combining home recordings, indie rock riffs, and odes to Udo Kier, issuing a number of albums that are dark, murky explorations of longing and loss, with a sense of humor that is as much a puzzle as it evokes a guffaw. Over the last 30 years, Half Eye has cultivated a unique sonic pallet that is immediately recognizaable, and yet only implies influences without directly pointing fingers. 

Shot Reverse Shot materialized in the summer of 2020, when a sufficiently futuristic-sounding date had finally been achieved. This quintet of rock & roll androids, clones and cyborgs, have been locked in the server room this year, plugging into the Master Control Unit, so they can lock down the algorithms that will render their first tunes into sound recordings, in an audio range that you can hear! The first of these songs have been pushed to the server, and with Austin Rich producing these tracks, they are sounding pretty excellent. 

WTBC is very excited to be releasing their first 7”, and with the help of these two artists, we think this record, made by Gorbie Lathe Cuts, will be something very special. These songs are not available online, and comes with beautiful covers and a collaborative mini-zine, all designed by Half Eye & Shot Reverse Shot. Bonus digital materials will give you plenty to enjoy while you spin this 45, and people who purchase this record will get a special discount when purchasing the forthcoming Shot Reverse Shot album coming in December. 

Limited Quantities, on White, Lathe Cut Discs.

This is Rock Music! Not exactly an “experimental” release! 

Available in November. Pre-Order NOW!

$12 includes shipping. (A little more for outside the US.) 

WE NOW LIVE IN THE FUTRE. 

Formaldehydra Split w/ Mini-Mutations

Over a year in the planning, this new split record was made by Gorbie Lathe Cuts, and is available for pre-order, as we speak. The record itself won’t ship until November*.

New material by Florida artist Formaldehydra & Oregon artist Mini-Mutations, recorded during the recent fires we suffered from in September. This music isn’t online, and while sold through Bandcamp, cannot be streamed there. If you want to hear these songs, they only exist on these discs.

These records are hand-made in every way; the covers / inserts were printed on free paper with used ink cartridges, cut by Austin in The Lava Lamp Lounge. QR Codes activate unique bonus materials not available elsewhere. And, only available in limited quantities. Once they are gone, they are gone. Just like our dwindling forests.

$12 includes shipping. (More outside the US… Let’s talk.)

The forests need our help. Maybe this will be The Summoning Call?

* Possibly sooner, but hope for the best / expect the worst, yes?

Final NoiseFest 2020 Roundup Post

What an incredible weekend. I’ve attended a few live events online, and they are usually fairly lackluster, without a lot of engagement (or, really, people even showing up). So it was so impressed to find that we had about 100 viewers for most of the three days of NoiseFest, and it really did feel like a weekend gathering, rather than a digital show that we all watched from our homes. The chat was lively and fun, and I think everyone involved had a great time.

I don’t’ have a lot to say that I haven’t said before, so I will merely say: I’m still recovering. For some reason, even though I was at home, it felt like I was with this crew of folks for the entire weekend, and it was nice to know that I could re-create that with something like this.

Anyway, I had fun.

Here’s a couple links I think you’ll appreciate:

Austin At NorCalNoiseFest 2020

This playlist contains all of my contributions to NorCal NoiseFest this year, including my 20 minutes performance, a pair of commercials I made for the Sacramento Audio Waffle, my ad for the WTBC Store (at wtbc.bandcamp.com), both NOYZ STALLYNS performances (the SAW performance, which sets up our NoiseFest Performance), and the five minute film that I made that got shown on Day Three. The ads were sprinkled throughout the three day broadcast, so here’s the condensed playlist, that contains all the pertinent stuff. I even managed to capture to the Real Time Chat window that was going during my performance, which you can watch with the audio of my set to accompany it.

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NF 2020 (In All Its Glory!)

This playlist contains the three, uncut, livestreams from the entire weekend. It is a total of 19 Hours of Programming, from a crazy wide-range of musical artists, from all over the spectrum of Experimental and Noise. In fact, this year is a fairly reflective, introspective year, with a lot of sets that include long, thoughtful pieces. It would advise watching it with the live chat turned on; there’s some pretty excellent moments from the participants in there, too.

 

Day 2 Live Stream Is Up, Too!

The NorCal NoiseFest Live Stream continues to be excellent, and yesterday was no exception! Over 6 1/2 hours of experimental music and video programming, some of it streamed live from our respective studios, some of it pre-recorded, for everyone’s sanity.

There’s more to come! Today’s stream starts at 2 PM, and I have a few bits and bobs in the show that you might enjoy, including a five minute short movie that hans’t really been seen since it was shows to an audience in Corvallis earlier this year (which you can see around 5 PM.)The line-up today is silly good, so hopefully I’ll see you in the chat! Enjoy!

 

New Episode! New Time!

A BRAND NEW episode of my new radio show starts at 10:30 AM, today!

After a month off for re-runs, we begin a slew of new episodes with a Pledge Drive broadcast, on our new day and time!

Tune in, to find out why you should donate to KMUZ, and digest this radio diary, from my home, to yours.

Enjoy!

Even A Pandemic Can’t Keep Us Quiet: The NoiseFest 2020 Compilation

For the last four years in a row, I’ve participated in the NorCal NoiseFest, the longest running festival of its kind. So much goes on at this fest, in terms of meeting people, swapping cool music and gear, discussing our particular audio landscape, and everything in-between, that the idea of skipping a year was really hard on all of us. But it didn’t take long to figure out how to move the whole thing online, and soon enough, all the usual things associated with the fest needed to get sorted out: t-shirts, the schedule, etc. And, of course, the compilation.

For the last three years I’ve contributed a track to the comp, and it has been wild to be on a disc with some of these incredible artists. Some real heavy-hitters come out for the fest, and the comp usually captures an excellent cross-section of performers, and a view into the world of experimental music that is pretty varied and excellent, even for those who have never experienced this kind of music before. It seems like more and more people attend the fest each year, and more and more  people get involved in the comp, too. The number of tracks per disc on the three I have only increases with each year.

The new comp is out; you can get it (and other merch) over at the Square Site, or you can pick up the stuff that you don’t find there on the BandCamp Page. And, here’s a little factoid that you might enjoy: the more stuff we sell through the merch stores, the more the artists get paid this year. Since no one can pay the cover at the venues this time, and since there’s fewer opportunities for artists to make sales in person, this is going to help all the performers involved make a little scratch.

So please, consider getting some cool schwag, and support people like me with your generosity!

Some of the artists that appear this year’s disc: Kompripiotr, Juice Machine, Don Haugen & John Frank, Human Fluid Rot, +DOG+, Skrunt Skrunt, Instagon, Chopstick and so much more. 33 Artists in all! At that rate, you are enjoying over three performers for every entertainment dollar you spend on this collection. A bargain during almost any calamity.

If you are interested in making a deal directly with me, I have physical copies ONLY, on CD, of the last three compilations. I am selling them for $10 apiece, or any two for $18, or all three for $24. I don’t have an official link, but if you message me, we can work out the details. After the fest, I’ll be re-designing the online store, where some stuff that has not been up previously will be available for purchase, including two new lathe cut records! But if you want to support the fest as a whole, I would use the links above.

I’m very proud of the work I’ve done on these comps. And, for an added bonus, the track on the 2018 disc is a collaboration with Mini-Mutation & Red Panda Death March. What more could you ask for in your musical entertainment? You should pick one of these up, today!

 

NorCal NoiseFest 2020 Performer Profile

Holiday Special is one of the hardest working people involved with the NorCal NoiseFest every year, and the is mostly because AV is a totally essential part of the fest, and they handle all the photography and Performer Profiles, as well as tons of other stuff. So I was flattered to be asked to be in one of the profiles this year.

Here’s the best thing I’ve seen all day: someone else cutting down my rambling conversation by 1/10th and improving the way I sound by 100 fold. If you’ve ever been curious about what I do, and wanted a three minute summary, this is it:

NorCal NoiseFest YouTube Channel:

youtube.com/NorcalNoisefest

See ya this weekend!

Another Appearance on KWVA

Marc Time has been doing double-duty over at KWVA ever since the virus changed our lived completely and dramatically. He’s been re-running a wide-range of his old shows, not only during his normal time slot, but all over the schedule. And with a large archive like his, there’s a show for every occasion.

I’ve been lucky enough to guest on his show a few time, and this Thursday (1 October 2020), at 8 AM, KWVA will be re-running the episode where Colin Hix (from /root_DIR) and I tell Cathead stories, and hang out with Marc for his show. I reveal some new production pieces I made just for his program, and overall, it’s a lot of fun.

Here’s my archive or the program.

Marc is one of those people that I will not be able to visit until the virus is handled; he and I are different generations, and I don’t want to risk spreading anything to him if I can avoid it. So until we can hang out again, it will be recorded memories like this.

Tomorrow. 8 AM. KWVA. Tune in!

Sorting Through The Timeline

Sometimes it’s difficult to make sense of the past. Things happen quickly, you do a little of this, a little of that, and then, before long, it’s been almost 30 years and you have to rely on old journals, the memories of close friends and collaborators, and at times, strange information that you end up Googling online, to fill in the gaps.

The funny part about archaeology, in whatever form it takes, is that the things you do find are often as surprising and unexpected as the things you set out to find in the first place. Sure, you might think you found the remains of an excellent village that you can then now try and make sense of, very quickly you discover that the only section of the village that is yielding anything worth looking at is the dump, and even those finds are mixed with… let’s just say, garbage.

Digging through old files, boxes of fliers and documents, and my own “source documents” from various events and experiences, has (more or less) yielded a near-complete list of the musical endeavors that I have participated in, going back to my first efforts in 1994. I have excluded anything that never made it past the “idea” phase; we had to have played out at least once, either live or on the radio. This immediately controlled for some of the more odd and ambitious groups I was involved with, but also brought the idea down to earth in a way that was manageable. This list is the stuff that there is enough evidence to occasionally raise the odd question about this one or that one, every so often.

Obviously this is in progress, and obviously, there’s probably some obvious bits I have strangely omitted, for some strange reason. I hope to improve this list as new evidence is uncovered, and as The Archive is massaged into some sort of shape that makes sorting through documents and files much, much easier. Until then, if you help remind me of something that I clearly forgot and / or omitted, I would be happy to hear from you.

Postcard Art, 2021

As the future becomes less and less certain for all of us, we all need to find something fun to cling to that will offer us some hope as we strap in for an uncomfortable year coming up. It’s hard enough to remember to do the chores if everything is falling apart, let alone face the neighbors with the same vim and vigor that you once contained. You need a little something to put a little zest in your step, even if it is temporary and arbitrary. 

With that in mind, we are sending out 12 postcards next year, one for each month, that will offer a unique look into the work I do. With the inclusion of visual art and QR codes, you will get a multi-media creative piece of mail art, delivered to your home once a month. This is very much inspired by the wonderful musical postcards that Dylan Houser / Formaldehydra has been sending out this year. They are such a delight to receive, I had to go and make my own. 

There is no cost to you, if you want to get your address on the list, just send me an e-mail. But donations are very much appreciated.

Postcard Art, 2021. Do Your Part! Mail Some Art!

Falling Away

I got banned from FB. For the fourth time, actually. A three day suspension. In a way, I’m sort of surprised it hasn’t happened more often, or more pointedly, because of how often I engage with it. At this stage, I would certainly shut me down if I used my own website this often.

Every time, it has been for the most boring reason. This time, I commented the phrase, “Americans are fucking weird,” on a post. There was no ability to appeal; my account was shut down for three days, and I had to think long and hard about why I might want to return.

I’ve had a problem with Social Media for a while. I made an album about it. I just feel this need to keep in touch, and I really try to do it. But apparently my relationship with it is not quite right. There’s something wrong when I seem to want to break the rules of a platform constantly, and more importantly, I don’t feel right about how much energy I put into it, anyway.

I’m going to make a conscious effort to change the way I use FB, and all social media, for that matter. Something doesn’t feel right about the relationship I’ve developed, and I need to find new ways to interact with everyone in a way that is sustainable, and healthy. You may have noticed I finally decided to make this site Ad Free. I’m hoping to do that on all my sites, soon. I’d like these places to be about the content I make, and not about other garbage.

As time moves on, I will try to reduce my relationship with FB (and all social media) tremendously. My hope is to keep it for music, and even then, largely for communication. I like making art, and keeping in touch with my friends. But the psychic cost of using FB the way I was using it needs to come to an end. I don’t need that in my life. I need to remove myself from the picture, as best I can.

I can share more stories of reasons I got banned. They are all boring stories, and they illustrate how FB is becoming less interesting, and more uniformly gross and arbitrary. I loose large number of friends daily, who no longer post there, and I wonder why I keep doing so, myself.

I’m looking forward to the reclaimed time. But more importantly, I’m looking forward to new ways that we will keep in touch.

New Time Slot! Same Old Radio ‘Zine!

In the interest of trying to get the radio ‘zine to find the right home, KMUZ and myself have decided that we need to move this show to a time that better suits the program. To that end, we will be moving the program to:

FRIDAYS, at 10:30 AM! 

You can find out more information on the official Listen Page for our program, and of course, the Listen Links over here have also been updated.

I really like doing this program, and I hope that you enjoy it, too. And I think Fridays are the perfect day to do so.

Beginning OCTOBER 2ND, you will be able to catch the show it it’s new time.

Until then: enjoy plenty of back episodes at betweenradiozine.com, our home away from home.

Thanks you!

A Digital Room You’ll Be Happy To Join

You just can’t keep me off of DFM.nu, and with all the excellent stuff that happens over there, I bet you can imagine why. I’m practically becoming a regular over on UB Radio Salon, and at this point, das & Ninah of Big City Orchestra could have me on every week anyway. What else am I gonna do until the isolation is over?

I’m quite excited about this one, as they have started a new series within UB Radio Salon: “UBRoom,” which features the only Zoom Call you will ACTUALLY want to join. There’s a whole cast of characters joining us for this one, and as we perform a very special show in two acts, you can settle in for the dada radio Zoom Call that really must be heard to be believed.

Coming Up: Sunday, September 20th
5-7pm US PDT / Midnight-2am GMT / 2-4am CEST

UBRadio Salon *SPECIAL SERIES*
UBRooms Session no. 2
Live broadcast with BCO & friends within the covid influence. Together yet apart, sound and words. Improvised radio art.

BCO’s remote cast of characters:
• OTIS FODDER
• AURORA JOSEPHSON
• AUSTIN RICH
• DINA EMERSON
• LESLIE SINGER
along with pixie & dAS in the Chakra Chimp Research Kitchens

via DFM RTV International
http://dfm.nu/
RADIO STREAM: http://STEREO.dfm.nu / http://MONO.dfm.nu
*** more stream choices available at DFM.nu
CHAT: http://dfm.nu/chat

* * * * *
UB RADIO SALON on Internet Archive >
https://archive.org/search.php?query=ub+radio+salon&sort=-publicdate

Subscribe to UB RADIO SALON podcasts:
iTunes >
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/internet-archive-collection-ubradio-salon/id1458916069

iHeartRadio >
https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-internet-archive-collectio-49069740/

TuneIn Radio >
https://tunein.com/podcasts/Music-Podcasts/UB-Radio-Salon-p1216892/

Self-Reflective Isolation-Sounds

Considering any logistic or technological issues that may happen tomorrow due to smoke, fires or viruses, I will be making another appearance on UB Radio Salon, the wonderful program hosted by das & Ninah of Big City Orchestra. I’ve made a few appearances on the show now, and we sort of have a rhythm to these things, now. I will be in the Lava Lamp Lounge, and they in the Chakra Chimp Research Kitchens, and we will be performing two live improvised radio pieces, “Which One of Us Is I?” The program will feature the writings of Jorge Luis Borges, among other things. Tune in, and enjoy the soothing sounds of UB Radio Salon.

Coming Up: Sunday, September 13th
5-7pm US PDT / Midnight-2am GMT / 2-4am CEST

UB RADIO SALON no. 661
“Which One Of Us Is It?” BeeBee CeeDee Orc-Est-Star with Mini-Mutations provided by Austin Rich

via DFM RTV International
http://dfm.nu/
RADIO STREAM: http://STEREO.dfm.nu
***other stream formats at DFM.nu page
CHAT: http://dfm.nu/chat

* * * * *
UB RADIO SALON on Internet Archive >
https://archive.org/search.php?query=ub+radio+salon&sort=-publicdate

Subscribe to UB RADIO SALON podcasts:
iTunes >
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/internet-archive-collection-ubradio-salon/id1458916069

iHeartRadio >
https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-internet-archive-collectio-49069740/

TuneIn Radio >
https://tunein.com/podcasts/Music-Podcasts/UB-Radio-Salon-p1216892/

Look — A Ghost!

Austin’s Annual Halloween Spook-tacular! 

Subscribe in iTunes.

Subscribe with an agnostic feed.

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Halloween has always held a very special place for me, in that it is such a different holiday than almost anything else. Fall is setting in, the actual seasonal change fills you with a sense that you should celebrate the spookier elements in our lives. Dressing up, passing out treats, becoming in tune with the past. It is something we don’t do in that way at any other holiday, and for that, I am actually pretty excited. It has bee fun to see, in the last several years, the holiday become something that is celebrated for months in advance. It feels like something that I could even sense, way back in 2003, and I could tell there was a hole in the musical landscape, that could be filled by Halloween Music.

While there were certainly others who were collecting halloween music, and certainly I was only an amateur back then, I had hit upon this idea that summer, and needed to see it through: let’s put together a Halloween Mix to accompany the party my roommate was holding on The Day. To that end, I assembled a several hour mix of songs that I found, many in my collection (but certainly others from the internet and friends collection, as was the style at the time).

The mix was quite successful, so the following year, throughout the month of October, I brought this mix to my radio program on KPSU. And, since then, I’ve done my best to bring variations on this mix to the airwaves, to help ring in the season, usually beginning at the end of September.

Now, 16 years later, there are a number of shows available for you to enjoy, all with spooky novelty songs, scary Haunted House sound FX records, Old Time Radio in the horror and supernatural genre, and everything in-between, and, of course, plenty of visits from Vincent Price and Edgar Allen Poe. Over one hundred hours radio for you to enjoy, perfect for parties, putting out on the porch, or enjoying late at night, with all the lights out!

This is also a good time to pick up a copy of the new Halloween Release by Michael A. Cosma & Mini-Mutations. Designed like a Halloween record from the old days, this release contains songs and a spooky story (with SFX), that works perfectly out on the porch, on repeat.

And while you’re waiting to enjoy the music, check out the podcast. You won’t be sorry.

 

WTBC 0025: Michael A. Cosma / Mini-Mutations Split CD

A split release as part of the EC Split series by The Electronic Cottage. The CD includes download codes for “Hallowtide Harmonies” and “The Ways of Ghosts.” You should pick up the digital version from HalTapes, if you can!

The Death of a Domain

I first started looking at, and posting to, the Inter-Web-A-Tron in the early ’90s, first when I saw it in High School, and later, when kiisu first hooked me up, when we live lived together in the Catbave. The earliest website I had was a digital version of the ACRONYM zine I made, itself a consolation prize for the aborted attempts at starting a band called ACRONYM. (Which happened, a few times, but never got off the ground.)

The name itself I’d inherited from a former creative partner, one that he didn’t like. So I adopted it, to his dismay, and it was my catch-all name, for the longest time. The first domain I registered was acronyminc.com, which unfortunately got squatted on during a short interim that I couldn’t afford a renewal, and the second domain was acronyminc.org. It was the home to my blog, and so much more, from the mid-90’s until, well, now.

But again, I let a card expire, and the domain went up, and was snatched away by another squatter. And suddenly, all that work was gone.

I needed to start over, anyway.

So, goodbye, ACRONYM. You are a vestigial tail, something that still exists in some forms, here and there. But as for my home online, let’s hope this place serves me well.

Cosma-Mutations Halloween CD is Now Available

SKULL / May The Circle Be Unbroken Split Release by Michael A. Cosma & Mini-Mutations

Michael A. Cosma

EC Split 04 Digital Release by Hal McGee.

WTBC 0025. CD Release, limited to 50, numbered copies, hand made/cut/folded and duplicated in The Lava Lamp Lounge.

Experimental Horror, and a Halloween Novelty Treat, all available from the wonderful minds encased within the skulls of Michael A. Cosma & Austin Rich, both members of the notorious Electronic Cottage, run by Hal McGee. Hal devised an incredible series of Split Digital Releases, where he paired artists to create a sixty minute audio release. In installment four, things get spooky.

Perfect for putting on the porch as Fall Sets In and The Ghouls are roaming about, or for quiet contemplation with you and a select friend you wish to frighten to death. This disc is constructed to work well using the repeat feature, where you could play the entire thing, end of end, over and over, to evoke the perfect atmosphere for waking the dead.

Michael A. Cosma pulls us through his vision of a dark portion of the skeleton, with songs that demand attention while offering moments of exquisite terror. Then, join Mini-Mutations for a suite of new compositions, all a soundtrack to a story eerily familiar, and yet, wholly unique, too.

Each CD comes with two BONUS download codes, offering listeners a chance to enjoy our previous Halloween releases, too:

The Ways of Ghosts: A Halloween spoken word album by Austin Rich that is currently out of print on CD! Featured are Ghost Stories written by Ambrose Bierce, with a few other stories that also evoke a certain mood perfect for the holiday season.

Hallowtide Harmonies: A collection of live performances by Mini-Mutations, all designed to fit the mood and atmosphere of this time of year. All of these were recorded during the 2018 west coast tour with Mark Hosler, and haven’t been performed again since.

Also included is a digital ‘Zine, collecting a variety of Halloween essays written by Austin Rich.

The songs on this disc are only available digitally over at the Electronic Cottage, but if you want this limited CD, it can be yours for the low-low cost of $5.00, which includes shipping.

Prepare for the holiday season, the only way you know how: with new, Experimental Horror by Michael A. Cosma & Mini-Mutations!

Order WTBC 0025.

Exploring The Future

As I consider places where the stuff I make will live in the future, and as I negotiate over 20 years of internet traffic and websites, there are some problems that you just can’t overcome. Lost domains that have been taken over by someone else, multiple places to find various works, and as everything becomes further spread out, some services have died, other’s have changed, and some URLs are embarrassing to forward to folks, when you’re trying to look “professional.”

So, we’ll give this a shot. There’s a menu above; you should be able to find the various places I hang out up there. This will be where the old “ACRONYM” site used to be; not only did that idea become unwieldy, but the site has been plundered. We’ll see how the import goes.

More importantly, we’re going to try and move on. There’s stuff to do, and we don’t have time to fuck about. So this will be where you can find the things I do, easily, in one location. And I’m gonna do my best to keep it simple. Too many choices is etc. cliché and so on.

This will absolutely change over time. Hopefully we can both be cool with that.

I love you. I miss you. Let’s hang out in the comments, and on a call, sometime soon.

New Studio

Here’s what I did today: tore down my office tables and gear entirely, and built a little home studio.

I’ve certainly worked in / broadcast from worse locations, so meet the new Lava Lamp Lounge – Studio A. Since I’m not doing any live shows for a while, and since my own “home studio” is essentially any flat surface I set up on to record, I decided to use those turntables that kiisu gave me, and make this my home for the foreseeable future. (And: beyond?)

The iPad can be traded out for any other 1/8” jack device. I can also have a cord to swap out devices that need RCA and 1/4” jacks, too. I have a mic-stand / microphone that I can fly in, to use for situations like that. Tapes, CDs, records and digital… right now, I can play almost anything, and I even have that 16 Speed turntable and a reel to reel player I can hook up, if need be. (As I’ve said before: I dare someone to record a song on a format I can’t play.) It’s not ideal, certainly, and I don’t have real monitors or a real studio mixer. But it works, and I can swivel my chair around, stand up, and it’s there, ready to go. 

This will be where all future radio and podcasts are created and recorded, and it is also the same setup I use to perform live, with extra gear I usually can’t bring to shows. (Two turntables is just too much for the stage, given the space it all takes up.) So I can probably stream live, too. 

I haven’t figured out how to get the streaming sound quality to be as good as the recordings, and I think I might need some more sophisticated cameras / mixers / etc to really pull that off. (Possibly a second computer to manage taking the signal from the mix and putting it through to the streaming camera.) I’m pretty sure I can take calls and / or Skype too, but its not as easy as, “I hear the phone ring and I push a button and the caller is on the air.” I would probably have to hot-swap a couple of items to make it work, and I’m not sure I could mix music behind the call very easily, like I can do at a pro studio. I will be able to add delay or reverb, which will be fun.

It’s a start. I may try some broadcasting later, just to see how it works in practice. For now, you will have to settle for “room sound” on the stream when I do, until I can figure out how the pros do it.

(Also: anyone sitting on any old radio / studio gear that they need to part with? I could certainly use an actual studio board, or something a little beefier than my tiny six channel Behringer. Anyone wanna donate anything to the new studio?)

Hopefully this will help me get through feeling crazy for… however long this winds up being. 

Broadcasting

Artists and friends: Where are we with streaming services and delivering your work to fans? I have only ever used FB streaming, but it is decidedly “one-way,” and they get cranky about copyright. (Ditto for IG, but at least there you can have two-way interaction fairly easily. Can you add more than one person on IG, I wonder?)

I use Skype for straight conversations, and I have only ever used it for recording / playback, never for a live show. It seems like it might work, but I’m not sure Skype is ideal for a streaming / broadcasting service.

Marla used Zoom the other day, but it sounds like someone needs to either pay for the service, or have credits of some kind, to use it. But that allows any number of users to all interact, and I imagine there are other’s that don’t cost.

What I’m looking for: a free two-way (at least) service that I can use to send video / audio to any number of people easily (and publicly). I would also like to be able to “add” callers / viewers to the stream, and receive / capture the incoming audio so I can mix it into the show.

Preferably, I’m looking for a software / computer solution, and not a phone app, but I’ll be curious what anyone uses, and for what, regardless of the tech.

I’m almost to the point where my office is clean / re-designed, and I want to start broadcasting as soon as I am able. I have turntables, tape decks, and CD players (in addition to a number of digital options), so I feel like this would be a good time to get into regular broadcasts again. What are people using?

Unreasonable Opinions. 

I have a lot of unreasonable musical opinions. “I can’t stand arias. All country music after 1975 is crap. Shellac is good.” We’re all guilty of it, and we all say the most extreme inane untrue bullshit, partially informed by taste, and largely informed by how we FEEL at the moment.

What kind of unreasonable music opinions do you have? 

 


“Miller: A lot of people don’t realize what’s really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don’t realize that there’s this, like, lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. Give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly, somebody says, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate of shrimp. Out of the blue, no explanation. No point looking for one, either. It’s all part of the cosmic unconsciousness.

Otto: You eat a lot of acid, Miller? Back in the hippie days?

Miller: I’ll give you another example. You know the way everybody’s into weirdness right now. Books in the supermarkets about Bermuda triangles, UFOs, how the Mayans invented television. That sort of thing.

Otto: I don’t read them books.

Miller: Well, the way I see it, it’s exactly the same. There ain’t no difference between a flying saucer and a time machine. People get so hung up on specifics. They miss out on seeing the whole thing. Take South America, for example. In South America, thousands of people go missing every year. Nobody knows where they go. They just, like, disappear. But if you think about it for a minute, you realize something. There had to be a time when there were no people. Right?

Otto: Yeah. I guess.

Miller: Well where did all these people come from? Huh? I’ll tell you where. The future. Where did all these people disappear to? Huh?

Otto: The past?

Miller: That’s right! And how’d they get there?

Otto: The fuck do I know?

Miller: Flying. Saucers. Which are really? Yeah you got it: Time machines. I think a lot about this kind of stuff. I do my best thinking on the bus. That’s how come I don’t drive, see.

Otto: You don’t even know how to drive.

Miller: I don’t want to know, I don’t want to learn. See? The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.”

Three-Way Split!

It’s a new release for the spring, with new music from all your favorite Experimental Artists.

Three new tunes by Bast Awakening! (Ellen & Chris)

A new jam by DEATH MUTATIONS. (Chris & Myself)

…and…?

Over an hour of new music, and it can only be yours, easily, if you want it. Not available for download (yet), if you must have this, you’ll also need a CD Player.

Hand made music! Discs assembled and duplicated, with covers cut / folded / stapled by hand! Limited to 50 copies! Reversible covers allow you too present this disc in four different ways!

It’s the WTBC Three-Way Split! Get yours today!