So Percussion goes Maverick: gets Remixed, Celebrates Cage!

So Percussion recently released remixes of tracks from Amid the Noise, their recording of music by Jason Treuting. You can grab it for free via their Bandcamp site (embed below).

Treuting recently released sheet music for Amid the Noise, which can be purchased at Good Child Music.

This year, a great number of artists and ensembles are celebrating John Cage’s centenary – even Jessye Norman and Meredith Monk are getting in on the act as part of Michael Tilson Thomas’s revival of the American Mavericks series with the San Francisco Symphony. While it will be fascinating to see that some of these “out of the box” Cage performances will be happening, it’s also nice to hear that groups like So Percussion, who have a long track record performing Cage’s music, are celebrating the centenary in style. On 3/26, they are taking part in the American Mavericks series at Carnegie Hall (details here).

The concert will be the culmination of a tour by the group featuring Cage’s Third Construction as the centerpiece of Cage-themed program entitled We Are All Going in Different Directions.

There’s an equally imaginative recorded component So’s feting of the maestro of indeterminacy. On 3/27, Cantaloupe will release So Percussion’s “John Cage Bootleg Series.” The release includes a blank LP (the better with which to perform 4’33″!), a CD sampler, and a card with download codes that will enable listeners to obtain all of the group’s Cage bootlegs online. And the audio artifact lover in me delights in the handsome homemade feel of its handsome packaging. Top to bottom, Cage’s aesthetic is well manifested in So Percussion’s activities this Spring!

We Are All Going in Different Directions: So Percussion Celebrates Cage
Feb 28: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee (Cage’s Third Construction)

March 2: The Royal Conservatory, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

March 6 + 7: The McCullough Theatre, University of Texas, Austin

March 10: Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin (Cage’s Third Construction)

March 26: Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall, NYC


John Cage: Credo in US (1942)

Sō Percussion / Matmos: Needles (w/ Matmos) (2010)

John Cage: Imaginary Landscape #1 (1939)

John Cage: Quartet for Percussion, from She is Asleep (1943)

Cenk Ergün: Use (w/ Cenk Ergün & Beth Meyers) (2009)

Dan Deacon: “Bottles” from Ghostbuster Cook: The Origin of the Riddler (2011)

John Cage: 18’12”, a simultaneous performance of Cage works

-Inlets (Improvisation II) (1977)
-0’00″ (4’33″ No.2) (1962)
-Duet for Cymbal (1960)
-45’ for a speaker (1954)

Jason Trueting: 24 x 24 (w/ special guests) (2011)

John Cage: Third Construction (1941)

Bedroom Community shares Yule 2011

Bedroom Community is one of our favorite indie classical imprints. The Icelandic label has released CDs by Sam Amidon, Nico Muhly, Daniel Bjarnason, Ben Frost,

Valgeir Sigurðsson, and other artists. As they did last year, BC has released a Yule mix, filled with previously unreleased material. It’s free with any purchase from their online store.

To whet your appetite, we’ve included a piece by Valgeir, with stirring accompanying images, below.

Sepalcure: “Deep City Insects” (CD Preview: MP3)

Various Artists

Surreal Estate

Frite Nite

Sepalcure appears on Surreal Estate, a new Frite Nite electronica compilation. They contribute “Deep City Insects,” a track suffused with neo-psych deep bass that creates a hazily distressed ambience.

Grab a free download of the track over at Pitchfork.

Sepalcure’s S/T LP is out now via Hotflush.

Spectrapol Records shares Xenharmonic sampler

Spectrapol's Bruce Hamilton: a xenharmonic composer

“Xenharmonic is a term coined by Ivor Darreg used to describe tuning systems, or music using those systems, which does not conform to or closely approximate the common 12-tone equal temperament.”

Possible Worlds, liner notes

Neon Marshmallow featured on Experimental 1/2 Hour

Portland cable access show “Experimental 1/2 Hour” did a special episode devoted to Chicago’s Neon Marshmallow Festival. Altered Zones is sharing it via Vimeo (embed below).

While I couldn’t make it out to Chicago for the shows (which were 6/10-6/12 at the Empty Bottle), I spent a great deal of the weekend grooving in solidarity to a cassette comp of some of the fest’s featured acts. You can still get one over at the festival’s site: 80 minutes of unreleased tracks for $6!

It’s great to see “out pop’s” ascent continue well beyond the temporary fad stage. Hopefully, more enduring attention will allow for experimentation to remain artistically vital and commercially viable. Who knows, maybe it’ll make more mainstream artists open their ears and up their game?

Experimental ½ Hour – Neon Marshmallow Fest 2011 Special Edition ft. Operative & Luis Gonzalez/Andy Quitter from Experimental ½ Hour on Vimeo.

Beam's Best Rarities

Iron & Wine

Around the Well

Sub Pop


Around the Well collects two CDs worth of Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine project, including rarities, B-sides, and previously unreleased songs. Beginning with solo efforts, bedroom recordings simultaneously relaxed and inspired (“Sacred Vision”), the compilation gradually unfolds Iron & Wine’s current state of affairs: a full band capable of intricate, lustrous arrangements (“Kingdom of the Animals”).


Predictably, a few of those fans who labored long and hard to acquire the band’s odds and ends prior to this handy compilation are grousing a bit. But even the most dedicated completist will find enough new fare here to intrigue. For example, “Arms of a Thief” takes Beam’s Texas folk trappings and transports them to Persian environs: percussion-heavy and replete with undulating grooves.

Also included are selections from film soundtracks for Garden State and In Good Company. The latter film features Beam’s songs arranged to best advantage: there are copious beautiful vocal harmonies on “Belated Promise Ring” and “The Trapeze Swinger” is Iron & Wine at its most epic and expansive. Their next LP is slated for release in 2010, but Around the Well is no mere placeholder: it’s a delightful collation of fine alt-folk.


 MP3: “The Trapeze Swinger”

Merge Celebrates Twenty Years with a Compilation that Benefits Fourteen (!) Charities

ScoreIt’s hard to believe that Merge Records has been around for twenty years. In 1989, the imprint was started by Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan to release the band’s recordings and assorted side projects. Merge has since grown into one of the most successful indie concerns around.To celebrate twenty years in the record business, they’ve released Score, a compilation of songs by Merge artists covered by Non-Merge artists. A host of prominent participants include the Shins, Broken Social Scene, Death Cab for Cutie, and the New Pornographers. Proceeds benefit fourteen charities, chosen by the collection’s curators.

The comp is cause for philanthropists to rejoice; music fans too! St. Vincent joins forces with the National on an affecting rendition of Crooked Fingers’ “Sleep all Summer.” Apples in Stereo supply a peppy version of Neutral Milk Hotel’s “King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 3.” Barbara Manning provides an ardent, rousing take of Portastatic’s “Through with People.” Magnetic Fields’ “Yeah! Oh Yeah!” receives a suitably spare bedroom pop reading, an eloquently lyrical duet from Tracey Thorn and Jens Lekman. Meanwhile, Death Cab for Cutie works a bit against type, trading their often ethereal arranging aesthetic for a bit more grit and darker hues on Superchunk’s “Kicked In.” Overall, an impeccably selected collection of cover songs, featuring a variety of (frequently interesting)approaches: what’s not to like?
CarouselSave a Carousel

Some of my happiest moments as a child were on the old carousel at Nunley’s Arcade on Long Island: riding the horses around the loop; gazing with a mixture of excitement, awe, and a bit of fear at the carved lions and tigers.    A close second was the tire swing:
I hope some readers will consider voting to help restore the Paragon Carousel, favorite haunt of Merge artists Neutral Milk Hotel! Details from the press release are below.
The Paragon Carousel  is a beautiful machine  that has been my dear neighbor for many moons.  Now  81 years old, it is in need of a little love and attention in order for it to survive.  
It is my  sincere wish for the Paragon Carousel to be a part of the magic of long seaside summer afternoons for many years to come.  But it might not get to.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where the great whirling contraptions of mechanical music and light are not as profitable to operate as other things, and carousels are worth much more taken apart and sold in pieces to museums, where one  must pay to look at them behind glass, rather  than having  them simply existing in the world that we now all share.    
I spoke with Jeff and Scott and Jeremy about this and they  agreed that I should, on behalf of  Neutral Milk Hotel,  make an appeal to the good people who might have enjoyed the music made over the years, because we think you’d understand especially, and want to help.    
We humbly ask you to  vote!

The Paragon Carousel is competing with 24 other historic Massachussettes buildings for a grant of   $100,000. The historic site with the most votes wins, and anyone anywhere can vote. We would love it if by our collective effort we could ensure the continuation of this grand place.  It only takes a moment and you can do so  here

You are allowed to vote once a day  until  May 17th . Your vote means a great deal to all of us at Elephant Six. Places like this are  so special. They deserve to exist in the same world that we do. So we can visit them with our bodies,  not just our memories and dreams.  

We’d like to thank you for your help and for spreading the word.

 ~Julian Koster  with Jeff Mangum on behalf of Neutral Milk Hotel



Compilation to Benefit Darfur Relief Organization

Exclusive Tracks from Dan Deacon, Mount Eerie, Xiu Xiu, WHY?, Jim O’Rourke, etc on Darfur Compilation

We’ve all heard about the terrible situation of violence, displacements, and genocidal killing in Darfur.   But a fellow online magazine is taking steps to support those providing aid to Sudanese refugees.

 Tiny Mix Tapes  is selling a CD/LP benefit compilation exclusively through its website. Titled Tiny Mix Tapes Vol. 1: Darfur, the 11-track compilation features exclusive tracks recorded specifically for the comp and several previously unreleased songs.

100% of the profits will be donated to the International Rescue Committee, an “independent, impartial, and secular aid organization,” who are currently aiding Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad, southern Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

The LP version comes on heavyweight vinyl, housed in a beautiful jacket designed by artist Keith Kawaii, while the unique CD jacket was lovingly crafted by Stumptown Printers, an environmentally responsible Portland-based print shop. The comp was mastered by Carl Saff.

 TMT vol. 1: Darfur
 Tiny Mix Tapes Vol. 1: Darfur tracklist:

01. Jim O’Rourke – “Seven Stars”

02. Balroynigress – “Dress the Ship in Black”

03. WHY? – “Eskimo Snow (sock hop version)”

04. Frog Eyes – “Bushels (acoustic version)”

05. Burning Star Core – “Incurable Beauty of the Master’s Demise”

06. Xiu Xiu – “Farther On (Traditional)”

07. Mount Eerie – “Calf In Pasture”

08. Wooden Wand – “No Stranger”

09. The Flying Luttenbachers with Henry Kaiser – “Trapped in Ice”

10. nmperign – “Remote Sensing”

11. Dan Deacon – “I Have So Much to Donald”