Tuning In: About Tuning Into The Obscure + Contact info and Submissions

Hi!

You’ve found the front page of Tuning Into The Obscure! I know the date on this says May of 2011, but ignore that. Scroll down for new content.

And now, the obligatory front page bio stuff and contact info….

Over the past few years, I’ve been on a mission to find the best music on the planet, whether it be old, new, well known, obscure, underground or mainstream, or completely unknown previously. I started this project on an older, more personal blog but eventually figured it’d be easier to post all the music stuff here.

So here, you’ll find reviews on a variety of genres as well as interviews with artists and labels, spotlights on musical history, band previews and other various ramblings. Occasionally, I may even slip in some bits of my own music.

Submissions and Contact Info:

If you’re an artist/in a band or are a small label with some music you think the world should hear, contact me! Seriously, send me some tunes! Submissions are always welcome in all physical formats (please note that until further notice, digital downloads cannot be accepted due to tech issues). All genres are fair game.  Please note that if you already have my mailing address, it has changed as of May 2012.

Contact: lonelyfox_music@yahoo.com

Twitter: @Hound_of_Music

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New mixture from TCE …. again

Keith and I have been busy trying to put things together for new releases. He’s created some wonderfully dark ambient/sound collage tracks, most of which I’ve posted on our bandcamp page.  The first released I stuck under the album “Voices From Beyond Time and Space” and the newest one is “Space v1”  Both of these are under our TCE project despite being vastly more ambient than our usual plunderphonic styled stuff.

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A New EP by TCE

Keith did most of this.  I did the last track.

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Of Oz The Wizard

Have you ever wondered what it might sound like if you took the dialogue from a film, cut it up into little pieces, and arranged it so that every word of it was put in alphabetical order? I bet the majority of you never once thought that. But someone out there did and turned The Wizard of Oz into a restructured alphabetical work.

I give you Of Oz The Wizard

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/150423718″>Of Oz the Wizard</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/mattbucy”>Matt Bucy</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Essentially, this is just a gigantic YouTube Poop, a video and sound collage of sorts, but for some of us who are sound junkies and fans of the spoken word, this is a little more than that.

Every word has been pulled out of its original context and placed into its proper spot in order, making this an almost two hour long word fest. There is something quite amusing about hearing it laid out this way. Taking a masterpiece, breaking into its smallest pieces and then reconstructing it is sort of an art form onto itself. Look at mosaics, collages and even remixes. They were all something else before getting rebuilt into something new.

Words by themselves only have the most basic of meanings and most times rely on other words arranged around them in a specific way to give a larger meaning. In this video, that’s gone out the window.  For some reason, that fascinates me.  Maybe I’m weird, I don’t know.  Maybe you’ll get a laugh out of this as well. I sure did.

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Movie Review: Krampus

Everyone is writing about Star Wars, but I won’t. Sure, I’ll see it, but not right now. Fpr the second movie review for this blog that’s about music, I’m taking a look at a holiday film.

Yes, I know, I’m scared, too.

I went to see Krampus with some friends the other night. I knew a few things going in.  Firstly, some of the cast were comedians, and secondly, this was a horror film.  Most of those who know me often notice notes of cynicism around this time of year.  I dislike nearly all holiday music (blame my various jobs for that), I don’t like shopping, and I feel like a lot of people out there turn into wild, rabid monsters around Christmas while in the stores, on the roads and even at places I like to eat.  So I leaped at the chance to see a film based on the folklore of one particular creature who hates it when people acting like jackasses around the holidays and would rather drag them to hell than give them a gift.

The Film’s Plot: SPOILERS!

It opens with a fairly accurate scene of how the shops are around the holidays: epic chaos with fist fights, trampling, etc… and it pans into one of the members of the main cast, Max (Emjay Anthony), who is dressed as a reindeer at a Christmas play, getting punched about by one of the wise men. We follow Max over to her grandmother’s house as we learn that the fight broke out over Santa-bashing.  Max is one of those stern believers of not only St. Nick, but of the holiday spirit as well.

Max is accompanied by his parents and grumpy older sister and is soon joined by his mother’s sister’s family, a sort of loud, gun wielding pack of nut jobs, minus most of the stereotypes I was expecting. At any rate, no one really is getting along at all and the tension builds to a climax when Max’s cousins shame him at the dinner table for writing a rather heartfelt letter to Santa, asking more for family harmony than material wants, which ironically, leads to a brawl. Max, beaten, announces that he hates the entirely family as well as Christmas and that’s when things get crazy.

A blizzard sets in, Grandma (Krista Stadler) starts to stay silent, speaking occasionally in German, and staying very close to the roaring fireplace. As the power goes out, Max’s sister, Beth, loses contact with her boyfriend and goes out into the blizzard to try to reach his house and this is when we first see Krampus.  Mind you, we aren’t too far into the film yet.  And one can argue whether showing off your monster too early or too late in the film is good or bad, but in this case, it’s perfect.

Krampus looks very close to how he is depicted in some of the folktales I’ve heard and closely resembles some of the artwork I’ve seen. To say he’s a nightmare I would never want to meat in real life is putting it lightly.  The use of both practical and digital affects to bring this character to life is nothing short of stunning.

Needless to say, we get a very intense chase seen and long story short, no more Beth. She’s searched for as the storm intensifies by her father and uncle and both of them quickly realize that something sinister is going on out there. Being chased by a few underground snow monster things and having their car explode might have helped them get to that conclusion. Back at Grandma’s house, they board up the place and bunker down, again, all the while, Grandma is sitting nervously by the fire, keeping it hot and roaring.

After a sneak attack once the fire dies down in the night and the cartoony yet terrifying way the youngest cousin gets torn from the group, Grandma finally tells the frightened family about Krampus, the taker of the wicked in times of hopelessness and how she met him once as a young girl in a tiny village in Germany. This is told through a gorgeous animated sequence (dark, but so well done).  Basically, the idea behind Krampus is if you lose hope and become angry and bitter, wishing that everyone around you was gone, you’d get your wish, in the worst possible way.

This is met mostly with disbelief and yet, rather than the family unraveling, they start banding together. This is where this film breaks away from typical horror flicks as usually at this point in the film, sharp difference and dislikes are suddenly points of heated hatred and usually end up with fights, betrayals and a general splintering of the group. Here, despite everything, they get closer, and it’s not done in a heavy handed way.  In fact, it’s shown rather than told, and that’s what stood out to me.

Anyway, Krampus sends his “helpers” into the house to start picking off the family. This is made up of hilariously evil gingerbread people, nightmarish toys (mostly very surreal puppets and costumed actors) and elves. Yes, elves… the most nightmarish, otherworldly elves. And they succeed in taking a few more of the kids and even the aunt. And just as the remains of the famil make a run for it, hoping to reach a snowplow they found abandoned earlier on in the film, all are taken down by the creatures except Max.

Max at this point remembers his Grandmother’s story about her being the only child left with Krampus came to visit her and decides to make a sacrifice, something that is partly behind the true nature of the holidays. So we have a showdown of sorts between Max and Krampus as he comes upon their camp on the edge of the neighborhood. Max begs for forgiveness and to take the place of his family – we get a wonderful close up look at most of the creatures and Krampus… awesome—.  But Krampus drops him into a giant pit of lava anyway, laughing.

Spoilers! It’s was a dream! No, actually it wasn’t. Max does awake in bed Christmas morning and his family is downstairs by the tree, acting like their old selves as if nothing had happened…. Until Max opens his gift and it turns out to be a bell with Krampus’s name on it.  As he holds it, everyone around him suddenly remembers what had happened the night before….  They sit in silence as the camera pans back,  back, back…. And the house is within a snow globe among hundreds of other snow globes in a dark, messy house that seemingly mirrors Santa’s workshop in the worst way possible.  One last jump scare and the film is complete.

My Reaction:

Much to my surprise, I really liked this film. I’m picky about horror films as they tend to be pretty generic with the good ones being hard to find and I’m really not the holiday film type (very few exceptions) and yet this film, which in a sense is both a holiday film and a horror film, made me love it. Here’s why:

This is a film faithfully based off of real folklore. The appearance and behavior of Krampus stayed truthful to the source material in a modern setting.  The message of the film, which was simply that the true meaning of Christmas was hope, love and sacrifice, was portrayed well without being heavy handed or preachy.  The mixture of comedy and horror was so well done by the writers, actors and filmmakers as a whole that I felt everything was well balanced, well thought out and it wasn’t afraid to make you laugh as well as scare you. In fact, I thought the scary parts were fun. Heck, even the cinematography in this film was stunning… the usage of angles, slow spins, close ups and distance shots really helped convey a rich atmosphere if terror, darkness, shadows, and yet, still made us laugh.

Should You See This Film?

While horror and holiday films both have a very broad and yet oddly niche audience, but this I’m finding fans of both love this movie.  It’s definitely not a kid’s film by any means unless you like staying up with them at 3am after they’ve had a nightmare .  So, yeah, go see it.  It’s really damn good.

5 out of 5

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Psychonavigation Records and Other Crazy Fun!

Psychonavigation Records and other Crazy Fun

No Mask Effect – Quick Smart

Sweet and delicious longform ambient!  Field recordings, phonography, soundscape, atmospheric space and true ambient music come together to make huge, lengthy and engaging sound environments.  The time it took to pile all the samples and sounds together must have been something; the end result reminds me of a more organic form of FSOL’s first Environments LP.  I can’t praise much higher than that.  Fans of FSOL, Namlook’s more experimental side, Herd and Arthur Dent will dig this. Spin today and enjoy the trip! (5 out of 5) – Seriously, I want a copy of the entire disc.

Lorenzo Montana – Trilogy

Having been on the label’s mailing list for a while, I’m quite familiar with Lorenzo’s material and I was kind of surprised to see a three disc set sitting in my inbox.  It featured the long awaiting reissues of Eilatix / Leema Hactus & Vari Chromo all in one neat case.  Yeah, you read that right.  You can now get your paws on these three sweet ambient gems.  For those of you who’ve not had a listen to any of these, the music on these three LPs are stunning.  Lorenzo makes some prime ambient material, ranging from atmospheric/space/Namlook to Lifeforms-esque or even Boards of Canada/Spacetime Continuum styled soundscapes.  Every minute of every track is a moment of captivating bliss, showing Lorenzo’s production and composition skills.  Take everything you loved about ambient music from 1994 and add massive amounts of ingenuity and push it lightyears into the future.  Get it while you can! (5 out of 5)

Music on a Shoestring – DJ Food / Strictly Kev

Brace yourself!  The mixmaster himself, DJ Food has teamed up with Psychonavigation to spin a massive mixture of tunes from the label, spanning fifteen years.  The track listing is massive, featuring a varied range of artists/bands from FSOL, Off Land, to New Composers, Lorenzo Montana and others.  The resulting sound is something out of an ambient fan’s wet dream…. Soundscapes from every end of the genre, space, dub, modern classical to whatever you want.  I’ve not heard a more coherent and diverse ambient mix in ages.  Brilliant! What more can I say about this? Hear it for yourself! (5 out of 5)

 

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High Tides – High Tides

HT

High Tides – s/e – Rad Cult

The Red Falcons (Warren Kroll and Steve Lutes) switch gears a bit, branching off their acidic ambience and moving more in the direction of downtempo, vaporwave, dub and psyche.  And seeing as this LP was released on Black Moth Super Rainbow’s/Tobacco’s label and even features remixes of Tobacco tracks, you know you’re in for one hell of a hazy, gentle high.

Having just started exploring in the vaporwave genre myself, I found this album to be quite the trip. It leans quite a bit on retro styled synths, early 90s acid-ambient, 80s era soundscapes, much in the way that Loose Link, NMESH and others in the vaporwave genre hold dear. However, with the addition of dub and some light psyche, it creates a hazier ride, dipping into a very chilled atmosphere whilst staying warm and solid… if that makes sense.

Take everything you love about the Red Falcon Projects, Tobacco, vaporwave itself and ambient and blend until smooth and you’ll have this album.  Surfing high on the dies!

(4.8 out of 5)

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Two New Compilations from The Coherent ENCoherence

its not real

I uploaded two compilations of older recordings onto the Raw Frog bandcamp page today. They both came from one tape – one from each side. It seemed like each side of the tape was meant to be a different album or project, going off in its own direction.

The first was an untilted piece of work simply labeled “Tape A2T2” and featured a large listing of tunes. I selected seven to release as many of the rejects were cut ups of piano, bagpipe and flute songs and just sounded awful. Keith created album art and retitled the compilation “Warm Life.”

The second piece was just titled “This Side Up” but that was merely a working title. This pile of tracks felt like it had more of a purpose and even featured an intro piece that would have served as the opening for the “new” album… which might have been the third, fourth…or whatever… in a series of albums that just never happened. This compilation took tracks from older tapes and older recording sessions, making the whole thing feel like we had pulled “the best of the best.” And yet, I still cut over ¾ of the material out. There were I think 19 tracks to start with and six made the cut on the bandcamp page. Many of the rejects were awful bagpipe and piano manipulations while some of the others were just noisy and more like demos.

This of course lead me to find a second tape with “final edits” of some of the tracks that I had just posted. Most of which were exactly the same while others had some minor differences. There were a few tracks that will get posted eventually, as I think they were meant to get on the lost “I Broke IT” EP we were supposed to release in 2005.

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An Interview with Loose Link!

LLNT

The following is an email interview with the musical maven Loose Link. Enjoy!

For those who might not know much about you, describe yourself.

My name is Craig, I go under the name Loose Link for my musical trips. I’m a partly sample based electronic artist that explores ambient, hip-hop, trip-hop, collage, hypnagogic, tribal and more. I’ve been going at it since 2007. I’m also an animator that explores video DJ’ing mostly as Zoo92, and I’m also responsible for creating Terminal Radio in 2012, which is still going to this day.

What are your inspirations behind Loose Link?

I basically wanted to be like DJ Shadow right from the get go!  I’ve taken in alot of inspiration since, from FSOL, to 90’s Drum ‘n’ Bass, to heavy metal and 2d animation. Every Loose Link effort should be different to the last.

Do you find yourself pouring these influences and inspirations into your work in other collaborations?

They are definitely a base for me to build on yeah.

How do you feel your newest album differs from your previous releases?

Neo Tropico has a proper narrative and structure compared to what I’ve done before. That ended up being a bit of an achievement for me because the album pulled from 4 different projects I had going around the time, and I thought combining the best of all into one would make a fuller and more interesting journey, and it certainly did! It has more character and more space to it too.

What was the driving force behind Neo Tropico?

Neo Tropico started off as a concept album called “World Building”. It’s proven to be a bit ambitious for me for now, but I will certainly give it another try someday. Basically it was to be a concept album made entirely out of samples. All the samples were related to the subject of the album. Though that proved a bit too much of a task for me for now (too many samples to collect and keep track of for too long). I decided to change the title to better reflect it, and gave the previous title track away to an environmental compilation on the internet.

The album reflects my travels I had to the UK and Australia between 2012 to 2014. It features some sound captured from both places, collaborations with people I’ve met and befriended, including a poet from London who appears on a couple of tracks. Its also my first dive into Vaporwave and its subgenres that I recently got into. So it’s a bit of a road-trip along a soundscape. An aural location called Neo Tropico.

Were there any creative challenges during the recording process?

Well, the album took me five years to make! Ever since the last one, I struggled to come up with material that compared to what I previously done. There were a lot of on and off sessions that resulted in alot of music in various stages, yet they ultimately weren’t satisfying to me. It was only until Terminal Radio got going that I felt the spark to continue, and I ended up with 4 different projects and ideas that I was working on at the same time! One project was the follow up to my last album. The second one was a collaboration album between me and alot of the Terminal regulars and other friends I made. The third was a special spoken word/ambient effort between me and a poet I met in London who called himself “The Alternative Sapien”. The fourth project was to be my first Vaporwave album, which explored that genre that I then recently got into. I knew having these four going would just pre-long the process even further, so I picked the best of the bunch.

You used a lot of samples in the construction of the album. Do you have a set method for sample hunting or does inspiration sort of strike while you just might be happening to be listening to something?

It starts off either with me messing around with a few samples or a few original notes that start sounding great together then I go from there, or I’ll have a theme that I want to tackle and I’ll collect samples and create sounds around it, writing down notes and watching videos related to the idea. Usually it isn’t done in a day as I want to approach it when my head is in different states, when it sounds great from these different perspectives I keep going. I would like to try. There has been a couple of occasions of completing something very quickly when I was really in the mood though.

What are your plans for the future as Loose Link?

There will be a couple of new compilation tracks in September, then later in the year there will be Hyperbird, which is a collaboration between myself and Off Land. Its built off the same track off of Neo Tropico, but the idea surprisingly grew and now there will be a near album’s worth of new interpretations coming! It’s sounding really great so far.

Beyond that, I don’t have any firm plans or inspirations for another album yet. That of course could change at any time, so I think I’ll just let that happen this time instead of having some great big plan dictating it. I do want to explore these new genres that I’m currently into, so I’m pretty sure my next effort will at least be a decent dive into that!

I will also be getting into VJing alot more, keep an eye here and follow along if you’re interested:

http://zoo92.com

www.facebook.com/zooninetytwo

What got you started in animation and drawing?

I’ve been drawing since I was young. I was one of those many kids who filled their schoolbooks with sketches and cartoons. I grew up with alot of animation growing up. I lived on the edge of the Australian outback in a mining town for most of my early life. It was hours away from the nearest city, so it did get boring. I developed abit of an imagination to keep me from getting bored, and animation helped that alot. There was a little video deli in the town that had all the Manga Entertainment VHS tapes that first came out in the early-mid 90’s, and I was right into those! Akira, Dominion, Street Fighter etc. I drew comics for fun and started developing stories that meant alot to me. I only just got into animation in the past few years when I got my Cintiq. I never really tried to animate before but now its mostly my only form of work!

Might we see a Loose Link track set to an animation in the future?

There was one that’s meant to be coming soon. It’s an audio/visual collaboration with Illuminated Paths. I’ve done my part and now just waiting on him. Not too sure where it’s at for now as I haven’t heard from him for a long time. But if it does come out, its going to be quite crazy! I might do my own in the future. I wouldn’t mind doing a collaborative project with alot of other animators on such a video, we’ll see!

Tell us a bit about Terminal Radio, especially regarding your involvement with it.

I was the original creator of Terminal Radio. I came up with the idea in 2012 as a radio show companion to Terminal Window, a compilation series started by Ross Baker. By the time of Terminal Window 2 in early 2012 we became a very creative and talented crew. This showed its face twice with the Terminal Windows. There was a space of a year between releases, including the third volume. I felt that in this day and age you need to be much more active and constantly showing your work to get and keep people’s attention. So Terminal Radio gave people a portion of air time to show their stuff among other mixers, some of them big time and been doing it since the 80’s. I figured this would bring the fans and their heroes closer together so they felt a boost in confidence in their own work. Definitely in its first year it worked for most of us! The show is monthly and has had over 50 different musicians contributing. Ross Baker handles the show nowadays, and a few others have had a hand in curating an episode.

If you could unveil a mascot to best represent your work under this project, what would it be and why?

I guess a cybernetic-chameleon? Or a surfing skeleton? (I have drawn one and use it as an avatar!)

———————–

A huge thanks to Loose Link for the interview! Be sure to check out the Loose Link Bandcamp and the Terminal Radio Mixcloud!  Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/loose-link  Facebook! : https://www.facebook.com/LooseLink?fref=ts

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Two Summertime Singles from Jigsaw Records

Jigsaw records

Now out on Jigsaw records……!

Lunchbox – Smash Hits EP

This 7” packs in six tracks! Riding on the heels of their previous LP, this jangle-ish pop EP mixes it up with punk elements and makes a rather potent and sweet piece of work. The tempo is surprisingly speedy – very fast despite gently paced lyrics. In a sense, this sort of creates a dreamy state upon listening which is something I really liked about the last LP and I’m glad to still feel that upon spinning this EP. But don’t blink! You’ll miss it! The b-sides hit just as hard as the a-sides, the pace still running wildly but the lyrics flowing smoothly. It’s a solid release from start to finish, not a dull moment anywhere. Fans of their previously released material will surely love this EP. (4.8 out of9)

Moon Types – “Know the Reason”

Swedish band Moon Types blossom on this brilliant 7” that was just released on August 7th. It’s a prime bit of indie pop with elements of jangle. The sound winds up being somewhere between Air’s more acoustic side and early R.E.M. Three tracks make up this debut release, each one of them is gentle but engaging and rather accessible. I feel like this is a strong debut, despite how mellow this recording is and I’m eager for a follow up single, EP or album. (4.8 out of 5)

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Two Singles from Punk Fox Records (Summer ’15)

XOF

Daddy Issues – “So Hard / Sex on the Beach”

These girls are indeed having fun, so says the press kit and the proof is in the music. Wild surf pop meets crazy sexual desire in all the right ways. Seriously, just listen to the opening track and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I mean, the kit hints at it but you really get the blunt humor upon first listen. The b-side primes up some superb harmonies while still keeping up with the theme. This one follows a bit more of a narrative which makes me love it all the more. Hot damn, this is a a fun single! This lovely vinyl comes pressed on glass bottle and it really shines! Grab your copy ASAP! (5 out of 5)

Nervous Twitch – “Jonny’s Got a Gun / And We Did / This Modern World”

Surf/psyche influences meet up with 70s/modern styled pop/punk. Think The Raincoats, The Ramones and The Vaselines but faster, darker in spots and unrelenting. The music is flawless, showcasing the talent of this four-piece band and the killer vocals. Confidence, attitude and prime punk perfect make this shiny blue vinyl stand out. There are some elements of new wave lurking quietly here and some minor bits of indie but this is punk through and through. Fans of the aforementioned bands will adore this. I know I did! (4.9 out of 5)

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