Saturday, January 30, 2010

John Crouse and Jim Leftwich


the squid consider: "the tip of"

the tip of: "the beak is"

the beak is: "hard whereas the"

hard whereas the: "base of the"

base of the: "beak is soft"

beak is soft: "the composition of"

the composition of: "the beak changes"

the beak changes: "in density so"

in density so: "gradually from hard"

gradually from hard: "to soft that"

to soft that: "the squid consider"

the squid: "the squid consider the."


can use its: "beak beak beak"

beak without causing: "any any any"

any harmful abrasion: "wise wise wise"

wise money management: "can can can"

can make life: "more more more"

more enjoyable did: "the the the"

the squids beak: "with with with"

with its changing: "density density density"

density from tip: "to to to"

to base come: "about about about"

about by chance: "or or or"

or by design: "design design design."


wanders genre scruples: "blond apparently control"

blond apparently control: "wanders genre scruples"

subsequent lacking dynamic: "innuendos impotence indulgent"

innuendos impotence indulgent: "wanders genre scruples"

emulate offered underlying: "compulsive extreme resolution"

compulsive extreme resolution: "wanders genre scruples"

obligated remember celebrity: "unflattering museums overgeneralization"

unflattering museums overgeneralization: "wanders genre scruples"

middlebrow devices breathtaking: "settings narcissistic fireplace"

settings narcissistic fireplace: "wanders genre scruples"

fingernail success quotes: "protagonists inscrutable switches"

protagonists inscrutable switches: "wanders genre scruples."


margin reich bargain: "bargain stupidity darling"

stupidity darling prehistoric: "prehistoric potential society"

potential society jukebox: "jukebox habit powerhouses"

habit powerhouses commodes: "commodes dislike detonation"

dislike detonation socialism: "socialism violation ninsense"

violation ninsense paycheck: "paycheck situation paying"

situation paying background: "background media joyous"

media joyous domestically: "domestically turtleneck election"

turtleneck election collapse: "collapse wagon jettisoning"

wagon jettisoning preempt: "preempt payments treasonable"

payments treasonable narcissism: "narcissism does vigilante"

does vigilante individualism: "individualism margin reich.


unbridled mystically version: "the same characters"

choose denouse transitional: "his almost exclusive"

comment future paraphrase: "the component parts"

collection landscape maturity: "this failed flesh"

distraught sorry dependence: "the same characters"

indifference prescience citizen: "his almost exclusive"

anxiety acclaim gratification: "the component parts"

implications farewell fragmenta: "this failed flesh"

doubt unblinkingly disillusioned: "the same characters"

despised passing sought: "his almost exclusive"

adulterated contentment earthquake: "the component parts."


his almost exclusive: "exclusive works prototypes"

as apprentice works: "works prototypes association"

examines as prototypes: "prototypes association they"

almost exclusive association: "association they show"

even though they: "they show publication"

upon the show: "show publication superseded"

their periodical publication: "publication superseded content"

been either superseded: "superseded content exclusive"

forms and content: "content exclusive sense"

his almost exclusive: "exclusive sense characters"

develops a sense: "sense characters parts"

the same characters: "characters parts progression."


the component parts: "the experiences progression"

alot about progression: "the experiences regarded"

otherwise be regarded: "the experiences "sense"

develops a sense: "the experiences passing"

experiences upon passing: "the experiences reincarnations"

escaping fleshly reincarnations: "the experiences years"

vacation in years: "the experiences reputation"

such a reputation: "the experiences materialistic"

succumbing to materialistic: "the experiences endurance"

distressed beyond endurance: "the experiences flesh"

this failed flesh: "the experiences skin"

gimme some skin: "the experiences parts."


deny lest trying: "defy lest trying"

total abroad paper: "tonal abroad paper"

foiled narrative noted: "folded narrative noted"

intuition peace flatly: "tuition peace flatly"

bombers doubt heave: "bumbles doubt heave"

hated organ tobacco: "baited organ tobacco"

teacher omits dealings: "peaches omits dealings"

holes order solace: "whole order solace"

began warring anyone: "vegan warring anyone"

shutting mutual populist: "shuttles mutual populist"

passion leagues folksy: "poison leagues folksy"

benign survive guilt: "resign survive guilt."


better wife overnight: "bitter knife overnight"

belong entrall voter: "long entrails voter"

great days mafioso: "grease plays mafioso"

mate ticket smeared: "male thicket smeared"

citizens edgy momentarily: "zen wedges momentarily"

engage circa landscape: "engorge circus landscape"

prevent budget mortals: "event budges mortals"

celebrate story swiftly: "celibate stony swiftly"

scurrying rehash tribal: "curried rehab tribal"

hurl own planet: "furl sown planet"

moderate joke dream: "mediate juke dream"

alot about alot: "alight abut alot."


dynasty rain mention: "jewelry only in"

draconian insight stopper: "our london shop"

seminar shenanigans exists: "twenty five percent"

poet chattering code: "off for everything"

syphilis bonus ode: "before valentines gift"

pompous screwed swingset: "dogs drool over"

fun people rubies: "stocking filled with"

plow villagers balances: "dream treats perfect"

depict birth censorious: "doggie christmas gift"

drunk sky follows: "personalized shampoo custom"

charge microfilm gifts: "shampoo and conditioner"

warhead miscast prospers: "sharp cool unafraid."

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Hal McGee

thoughts on microcassettes, Dictaphonia, and those nasty mean little tapes
Sunday, January 24, 2010 at 11:25am

Back in the 1980s I was one of the people who spearheaded the original wave of interest in cassettes as a legitimate audio art form and format. The Golden Age of Cassette Culture! And this wasn't just people doing mix tapes. These were fully-realized experimental music audioworks, with a highly personal and idiosyncratic feeling and sound to them, and often with homemade packaging. In the mid-80s I operated with Debbie Jaffe the Cause And Effect Distributon Service and label and in three years we sold and traded 5,000+ cassettes of homemade experimental music from all over Planet Earth. You can see a list of my own early stuff from the 80s plus even download many of those original cassette albums here:

I released all of my work on cassette up until about 1998. From about 2000 until roughly 2005-6 I released all of my new experimental music on CDRs and a few CD releases.

From about 2006 onward I stopped releasing my music in physical formats (tapes, discs) and released all of my stuff online on my web site, Online music was to me the perfect and logical extension of what we were doing with our homemade cassette releases back in the 80s. Open access democratic anarchy. Anybody with a computer and an internet connection had free access to my music. I have generally in recent years offered all of my music for free. My downloads have always been free.

A couple of years ago I encountered a lot of resistance to and downright hostility toward online music in discussions on the Noise discussion boards. There were endless and highly-detailed complaints about the shitty sound quality of mp3s and about how online music wasn't genuine enough. Many people still wanted to have a physical object to hold in their hands with printed artwork, something tangible and "real". People 20-30 years younger than me were resisting what I saw as natural "progress" - online music - and were, in my mind, regressing somewhat by insisting on physical container audio formats. I think that it was natural for me and people of my age group to pass through the stages that I did, because we started making our homemade music at a time that was pre-computer, pre-internet, pre-email, pre-MySpace and pre-Facebook. We handwrote letters, dubbed tapes, went to Kinko's and printed tape covers, packaged up the tapes, went to the post office and mailed them, etc. For people much younger than me, whose lives have essentially always been mediated by digital culture... I think that they are looking for authenticity, for genuine experiences, and in some ways I think they see online anything as drudgery, as work-related, as something that doesn't connect them to other people, but as something that is distancing and cold.

I must say, that as much as admire the general spirit of todays' cassette resurgence, I also take a dim view of it. To me it's like reaching for something that isn't really there any more. And much of what I see in today's cassette labels is a sort of preciousness, a fetishistic clinging to physical objects almost as if they are totemic magical devices. Many of these labels produce their releases in ridiculously limited editions, which just increases the fetishism.

So why did I start a microcassette label? There are many reasons.

You can actually interact with a cassette, change it, erase the original contents, insert your own content. Aside from scratching and altering a vinyl record there's not a whole lot that you can do with a vinyl record.

There's an essential difference here.

I know about all of the work that's been done by turntablists, locked-groove people, Christian Marclay, Milan Knížák, etc., but a vinyl record is basically non-interactive. It's meant for listening to, being an audience to what someone else has done. The same with CDs and CDRs, which are worse and more boring from an artistic standpoint than vinyl.

Like I said above, a cassette, standard or micro-, offers/invites interaction and open-ended creation. It's an empty container that awaits you, me, anybody, everybody. It breaks down the false barrier between artist and audience. Everyone can be an artist.

Why did I choose to release microcassettes? Lots of reasons.

Let's start with a basic one.

I think they sound great. They have a limited frequency response, usually about 400 Hz to 4000 Hz, which by design, matches the range of the human voice. So, they seem very human to me in their sound. The sound is hyper-compressed, and if one doesn't clutter the tape with too many sounds at once it can have a startling clarity and directness. The sound on a microcassette is very focused. It is what it is, right there, there it is.

Also, they are monophonic - no bothering with stereo sound! - who needs it?

Here's something else. The microcassette was never really intended for musical uses. Aside from a brief time in the early 1980s when some of the microcassette manufacturers tried to market stereo recorders and Metal formulation tape, the microcassette has never really been used very much for music.

It has, for most of its existence been a humble, simple, everyday utilitarian object, used by professionals such as doctors, lawyers, secretaries, and by students to record lectures and notes, and by other people as a kind of portable notebook.

It's interesting to note that the portable microcassette recorder predated the Cassette Walkman by a decade, and iPods by much more than that. So, in a way, it was like the original portable audio device.

It seems kind of fresh to me for this reason. It isn't tainted by being an art object, like a standard-sized cassette.

For these reasons the microcassette seems very real because it is a part of normal everyday life. What originally appealed to me about many cassette audio artworks in the 80s and 90s was that the artists often created very personal works/statements which reflected and revealed their experiences, their reality, their lives - either directly or indirectly.

I have always been of the belief that life and art should be as close together as possible.

Sure, even compared to a standard cassette, and certainly to vinyl records and CDs, microcassettes sound like crap... if you want to look at it that way. They run at a much slower tape speed. The tape itself is much thinner, etc.

But the sounds that we hear in daily life, and our perceptions and memories and sensations aren't all high-definition. In fact, far from it. Most sounds are small or in the distance or muffled or indistinct. The world is filled with grime and rust and decay and pollution and jagged, fuzzy edges. There is great beauty in the natural processes of decay and rot. Every day we try to convince ourselves, and advertisers try to convince us that everything can be shiny and new (with a distinct emphasis on youth) and better and clearer and sharper, and that we can stop getting fatter, and older and saggier, and that we won't lose our teeth and hair. We know that nothing is further from the truth. We value relics and documents of the past and certain older people, because of their character, because of their richness in experience. When everything new seems thin and inconsequential and transitory, old things can thrill us.

Microcassettes sound like relics of a future past that never existed. In their inherently decayed state they sound like a creature/organism that has lived, that has a history.

Here are some more thoughts.

Dig this. People always complain bitterly about the sound of mp3s. Microcassette recordings transferred to mp3 sound great! There's something about the two that makes them a natural match. In many ways the mp3-ized microcassette recordings sound better than the original microcassette recordings on which they are based! Seriously!

I would like to share with you what I consider to be my very best recorded work, The Man With The Tape Recorder. It was recorded totally on microcassette - all edits were done in the recorder - with no outside edits. I originally released it on CDR. It now lives totally online:

I will leave you, for now, with two or three more thoughts.

Microcassettes are in a way an inversion of a cassette. The tape runs in the opposite direction from a cassette.

Even though the microcassette shell is much smaller than a standard cassette the tape is the same width!

People who complain about mp3s and online music bemoan the disappearance of the audio object. Cassettes are a step backward. Microcassette is a little tiny cassette fading away into the distance... disappearing bit by bit.

To contribute to the Dictaphonia Microcassette Compilation project send a 5-minute recording on a microcassette to:

Hal McGee
1909 SW 42nd Way
Apt. E
Gainesville, FL

More info on Dictaphonia here:

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich
We were taught in elementary school that the first settlements in Roanoke failed; the colonists disappeared, leaving behind them only the cryptic message "Gone To Croatan." Later reports of "grey-eyed Indians" were dismissed as legend. What really happened, the textbook implied, was that the Indians massacred the defenseless settlers. However, "Croatan" was not some Eldorado; it was the name of a neighboring tribe of friendly Indians. Apparently the settlement was simply moved back from the coast into the Great Dismal Swamp and absorbed into the tribe. And the grey-eyed Indians were real--they're still there, and they still call themselves Croatans.

So--the very first colony in the New World chose to renounce its contract with Prospero (Dee/Raleigh/Empire) and go over to the Wild Men with Caliban. They dropped out. They became "Indians," "went native," opted for chaos over the appalling miseries of serfing for the plutocrats and intellectuals of London.

As America came into being where once there had been "Turtle Island," Croatan remained embedded in its collective psyche. Out beyond the frontier, the state of Nature (i.e. no State) still prevailed--and within the consciousness of the settlers the option of wildness always lurked, the temptation to give up on Church, farmwork, literacy, taxes-- all the burdens of civilization--and "go to Croatan" in some way or another.

Hakim Bey, in The Temporary Autonomous Zone (writing of an other Roanoke...)

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

collab fest 38

collab fest 38
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

Monday, January 25, 2010

space gambus experiment 001

space gambus experiment 002

space gambus experiment 002

steve random - fingers

steve random - fingers
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

reed altemus - asemia nova 'pataphysica 4

reed altemus - asemia nova 'pataphysica 3

reed altemus - asemia nova 'pataphysica 2

reed altemus - asemia nova 'pataphysica 1

reed altemus - nok

reed altemus - nok
Originally uploaded by jim leftwich

derek jackson, quest, jessy kendall, haddock, id m theftable 001

cyndi o'leary, jessy kendall 001

carol stetser, jessy kendall 001