experimental music


Sun Ra

Jazz giant Sun Ra is the patron saint of Afrofuturism. He ruled over his far-out band Arkestra for 40 years, creating almost 200 albums. Anyone who can do that can’t be insane, said one psychiatrist when asked for his opinion. Why would anyone seek a psychiatric opinion?

Sun Ra insisted, with a straight face, that he had not been born on Earth. He came from Saturn; he was on a rescue mission. His “slave name” was Herman Poole Blount  (1914-1937), but he became Sun Ra (c.1937-1993). He had a vision.

My whole body changed into something else. I could see through myself. And I went up … I wasn’t in human form … I landed on a planet that I identified as Saturn … they teleported me … They talked to me … the world was going into complete chaos … I would speak [through music], and the world would listen. That’s what they told me.

Sun Ra came to earth to use music to transport blacks to a new planet, for a new start. Whether he was a UFO abductee, a visitor from Saturn or an angel is irrelevant. He was on message for the rest of his life.

In the arch but curiously moving prologue to his 1971 movie Space Is the Place, Sun Ra explains his vision:

The music is different here. The vibrations are different. Not like Planet Earth. Planet Earth sounds of guns, anger, frustration.There will be no one from Planet Earth we could talk to who would understand. We’ll set up a colony for black people here. See what they can do on a planet all their own, without any white people there. They would drink in the beauty of this planet. It would affect their vibrations, for the better, of course. Another place in the universe, up in the different stars. That would be where the alter-destiny would come in. Equation-wise – the first thing to do is to consider time as officially ended. We’ll work on the other side of time. We’ll bring them here through either isotopicteleportation, transmolecularization of better still, teleport the whole planet through music.

After Sun Ra moved from Chicago to the Big Apple, his Arkestra commandeered  Monday nights at Slug’s Saloon in the northern part of the Lower Eastside, just as it was turning into the East Village. Albums he did for  ESP Records hit the charts. By 1969, he was on the cover of Rolling Stone. He toured America and Europe. He and his Arkestra  “family” even visited Egypt, the romanticized black homeland.

Certainly he was a showman — those  space-age costumes, those five-hour concerts with dancers, his “girl singer” June Tyson chanting Sun Ra proverbs (“You made a mistake. You did something wrong. Make another mistake, and do something right!”).

But he was also a mystic, Cabbalist and a poet.

Sun Ra proposed Africans and those of the African diaspora were, like himself,  extraterrestrials or stranded angels.

In the cult movie Space Is the Place, dressed up as a chubby, dime-store Egyptian king, here is what Sun Ra says to two black youths in an Oakland pool room:

I’m not real, I’m just like you. You don’t exist in this society. If you did, your people wouldn’t be seeking equal rights. You’re not real. If you were, you’d have some status among the nations of the world. So we’re both myths. I do not come to you as a reality, I come to you as a myth. because that’s what black people are, myths. I come to you from a dream that the black man dreamed long ago.

But here’s the irony: Sun Ra and his Arkestra achieved their greatest popularity through rock concerts, which had mostly white audiences, and with the urban, white-hipster intelligentsia.

“Open your ears so that you can see with the eye of the mind.”

     — Statement accompanying the first Sun Ra recording, 1956


anonymous asked:

Hi Mike! I noticed you have a vast knowledge of experimental music. Could you recommend me some female experimental musicians to me? Oh yeah, fyi, I'm kind of new of this stuff. I mean, I _love_ Holly Herndon, but I still couldn't grasp Sachiko M that well (I hope you could understand).

I can, will and would love to! We’ll go in order of “difficulty”, increasing. 

In the first group: Laurie Anderson. She’s a must. Start with Big Science and then go wherever your heart guides you. Pauline Oliveros, too. Her legacy and body of work is sizable, and can be a bit daunting, but just dive in. It’s all good (the earlier more sine wave-y stuff may be a little more challenging–the Deep Listening / accordion stuff is much more friendly). Wendy Carlos is also probably in this group - she became famous doing electronic covers of classical compositions but lots of her original work is really nice, thoughtful electronic composition. I like Sonic Seasonings. Jacqueline Humbert’s Daytime Viewing, also, is super fun! Really that’s the best way to describe it: “fun!”

A little bit harder might be a personal fave: Éliane Radigue. Long tracks, not a lot of obvious, big gestures but when you really, really listen oh my god an entire universe of sound and activity. Love, love love her work. Rachel Evans, aka Motion Sickness of Time Travel has some similar works - long and synthy, slow but unlike Radigue often obviously very dense. Though most of her other work is shorter and more … fuzzy - she actually may sit between this group and the first depending upon what you’re listening to. Same with my next suggestion: Grouper (Liz Harris). Often very mood-driven, and ambient-y compositions without a strong *anchor*; floaty. Does a *GREAT* live show if you ever get the chance. 

Difficult - hmmm… lets see. Pharmakon (Margaret Chardiet) comes right to mind. Noisy, harsh but also really interesting and very … natural sounding? It’s hard to put a finger on what makes her work different but it is and it’s very, very good. Diamanda Galas is a classic in this realm - extended vocal technique and a very challenging and intense listen. Also a great live show if you ever have the chance. Okkyung Lee is an incredible cello player and all her work is impressive several times over; my personal favorite record of hers is Ghil. 

To throw a couple more artists out who don’t really make things that are my cup of tea, but who are very talented and highly respected… you may also check out: Ikue Mori, Blevin Blectum, Pamela Z and Antye Greie (aka AGF). 

Hope this was helpful!


Of course experimental-music legend Laurie Anderson’s dog plays the keyboard.

on iTunes or Vudu today – it’s only available until March 29!


The new video from the ‘Black Hole’ is on YouTube for everyone!
Enjoy! ^^


Einstürzende Neubauten - ½ Mensch   LP   33rpm   7″ single  45rpm  Ltd. Ed

1985  Rough Trade / Some Bizzare


Half Man
Half Man
Keep going in any direction
We’ve placed truths for you
Half Man
Only our transmitters shine in their cracks
On the hour we broadcast your values
Keep going
We care for you
We sense for you

Oh clangity-clang-clang! Wonderfully intense and moody cacophony.


My albums selection for this week , be curious , search , listen , buy …

- Daphne Oram : The Oram Tapes vol.1

- Leo Kupper : Electro-Acoustic

- Walter Carlos : A Clockwork Orange (soundtracks)

- She Spread Sorrow : Rumspringa

- Hans Joachim Roedelius : Durch die Wüste

- Rapoon : Song from the end of the world

- Faust : Is Last

- This Heat : Deceit

- Consumer Electronics / Merzbow : Horn Of The Goat                                    

- Zëro : San Francisco


Hey guys! My Album Star Chaser is finally here!

It’s been in the works for the past few months and I’m super excited that it’s finally out! It’s got 12 full length songs too!

You can buy it on bandcamp here! (You can also buy my whole discography for only $10.50 )

The awesome album art is by the awesome bro @vividvulpine, be sure to check them out!


Just in case I have been annoying followers with too much accordion (and variants) - here is somebody doing things to a hurdy gurdy I pretty much guarantee you have never heard anybody do.  (Whether you want him to STOP is another matter!).  I have posted this fellow before - he is certainly taking the hurdy gurdy to strange new worlds…where no hurdy gurdy has gone before.


Listening on headphones :

- PAN SONIC - Gravitoni


- ELIANE RADIGUE - Transmorem transmortem



- JG THIRLWELL - Impoderable ost

- NURSE WITH WOUND - The surveillance lounge


- RUDOLF EB. ER - Brainnectar


One of the best tracks of 2016 so far. It’s basically a guy playing ambient piano music down the phone to a load of call operators. There’s something so melancholy and lonely about it.