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!