I'm on KDVS' mailing list... and their top 30 weekly email list has taken a long time to decipher. At first it was 30 bands I'd never heard of and slowly over the years of keeping an eye on the singles I would recognize more and more bands on their list.... it's always served as a kind of important document of what's happening at any given week in new music. If I missed something, chances are I should go investigate every one of these guys. I wonder if they actually keep track?...Anyway it just seemed like the college radio station near me growing up...at any given moment they were playing something I hadn't heard of and I couldn't get enough...I even subscribed to Reflex magazine because you got a free flexi disc every month...
DJ's are the insiders....thinking about singles as much as humanly possible, more than the guys at the record stores even. They're free to draw from any given decade making connections between them. It makes sense...you want to look for new material for your show, and maybe play something for someone else...getting someone out there as excited as you are about this single that came in.
The internet has saved radio in weird way, streaming shows and podcasts, I wouldn't have had a chance listen regularly to Mark's podcast in Vancouver, Chocolate Grinder, or WFMU. No matter how many times it happens, there's something exciting about hearing that song you recognize being played right now by someone else.
I say this because, these are the guys that make up Mucky the Ducky, and when Sean emailed me about a project he and a few other KDVS DJ's had going, well I definitely wanted to hear it. I think Sean Johannessen headed up the project, also recording and mastering this nightmare soundscape. Rather than slowly lead the listener in a journey, a gradual eye opening collage, they get an enormous noise going from the very moment the needle starts spiraling inward. And why not? This is a god damn single after all, we don't have all day...this one is entitled "Our neighbors Racoons" (sic) which made me think it's some kind of verb...the Racooning of the neighbors. It's chaotic, haunting, delayed, hyper noise that gradually starts to sort itself out into a calm droning hum. Live drums are a plus and I imagine it takes a lot to keep an anti-time signature like this. There's a sound that's almost saxophone-like, maybe a theremin? It's the same kind of squeals and bursts from the '60s free jazz era of Coltrane....
It's interesting they're working almost backwards like this, going from a sort of no era catharsis to ambient synth.
Damn, is that a Casio SK-1 human voice? Balls.
Zac Nelson's, Hexlove is on the flipside, also at 33. These are still chaotic but in a more organic sounding way, manipulated bells, and wind instrument sounds, but maybe that's just the impression I'm left with. I'm partial to the second track, which surprisingly adds vocals to a piece, "Eye Write Who Wins", which has this Vangelis sounding synth under unrhythmic percussion sounds. Like something Gastr Del Sol they have their own logic, completely separate from the glitches and backwards meanderings of the electronics. The last track is barely there, straining to hear if that shimmering mirage is getting closer or just about to fade out again.
The sleeve is a foldover matchbook cardboard cover with all kinds of silkscreen antics all over it, transferring into the sleeve, creating yet another layer of dried ink. I know mine isn't even attempting to look like anyone else's, this is layers and layers of pattern, like the freaking beautiful mailer it was packaged in:
I love this NNF aesthetic, it says "I'm challenging your shit!", like the noise inside. I get excited.
Handmade silkscreen with splattery sky blue vinyl...from A Record Arts Records.
Hexlove (Portland, OR - Porter Records, Holy Mountain, Weird Forest) is the solo work of Zac Nelson (who hand screened all of the cover art and has played in numerous groups outta PDX and Sacramento over the last so many years including Who's Your Favorite Son God?, Chll Pll (w/ Zach Hill of Hella), Prints, and Trawler Bycatch).
Mucky the Ducky (Davis, CA) is an improv collective comprised of KDVS DJs and members of Sholi (Quarterstick) and Afternoon Brother (Dreamsheep, Life's Blood).