First, a brief flashback. Out of all the things that I most anticipated seeing prior to my residency in Japan, the phenomenon of “possibly being able to encounter strange sound in completely random public spaces” was at or near the top. Before shipping out, I’d been teased both with personal correspondence and with a smattering of ‘zine articles testifying to the existence of free music legends like Motoharu Yoshizawa and Keiji Haino playing impromptu sets in open fields, or with claims that ‘primal scream’-powered vocalists could be found using their personal cars, parked outside any random pachinko parlor, as makeshift “recording studios” (the rationale here being that publicly parked, or even driven, cars populated by virtuoso shriek-lords were much more suited towards this activity than thin-walled apartment homes).
While imagination got the best of me as always, and I came to believe this sort of activity was more common than it actually was, I still experienced a satisfying amount of this kind of thing. And, what’s more, there was a parallel phenomenon of “strange sound” players putting on shows in venues where they were rarely guaranteed more than a single-digit audience. The sheer enthusiasm that I witnessed going into these seemingly pointless events was inspiring, being one of the purest demonstrations of my belief that we need more creative actions done for their own sake and done without consideration for social and material benefit.
It’s with that in mind that I kick off my 2020 series of live music actions in Austin, once again at the venerable Volstead bar / lounge on ‘MeMerMo’ Monday this February 17. As always I I expect nothing more than a small audience and some terrified ‘random passerby,’ but also some very beneficial self-interrogation / ‘trial by music,’ the torch of which I feel compelled to keep burning in memory of those same Japanese friends who expected nothing and yet, in my humble opinion, gained very much.
I will be performing from a graphic score that I title “Autotelic Theurgy” (Austin Osman Spare reference for those who are curious), together with the versatile Brent Fariss on bionic bass. Come join us early (7pm or just shortly afterward) for subharmonic drama, wounded analog synthesis and “black metal” without the cosmetics.