Argh! I love doing radio and I am currently doing a program called LIFER on GimmeRadio.com. Gimme is a great station that’s primarily metal oriented, or at least focuses on music that is generally heavy. There are lots of great shows by great DJs, musicians and other notable people in the heavy music community on the station, and it’s great fun. My current time slot is every other Friday at 7pm ET, and I just aired my 7th program Friday!
Gimme Radio is making all it’s past archives available to listeners who join the The Gimme Brigade and thereby having access to The (Gimme) Vault. It’s a great opportunity for people to check out any of the shows at will, on their own schedule, binge listen, and also hear great programs that are off the schedule currently. Go here to check out the special offers on it at the moment, and in case you didn’t get a chance to listen to LIFER #7, here is the playlist:
November 2nd and 3rd marked the American debut of Prophecy Fest. The German label Prophecy Productions, have held festivals inside a huge cave in Germany in the past, and after finally having a US West Coast office/presence, they turned to The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn for their first festival stateside. Some highlights:
FRIDAY November 2nd: Volur from Toronto, a burst of beauty augmented by punishing riffs yet trance inducing at the same time. A trio featuring electric violin and male & female vocals, they were expressive and powerful with a level of authenticity that made them seem hungry, but in a good way – certainly not malnourished!
Xasthur played their acoustic set to an unsettled crowd that was really a little too loud for the subtlety of the instruments. A trio built around Scott “Malefic” Connor, their unplugged presence invited closeness, and played crisply through a set of compositions that shared a blackened timbre with the Xasthur of the past, but felt stripped of abandon and negated by the audience.
Kayo Dot featured their heavy layers and varied atmospheric melodies woven between two drummers, entranced the audience. Their sometimes glistening and experimental, sometimes depressive goth sounds took the audience on a mid-evening experience that kept on giving.
The most recent Prophecy label signing closed out Friday night’s performances. Novembers Doom from Chicago opened with 2 songs off their most recent release – Hamartia, and closed with 2 tracks that went back to 2007 – not their origins by far, but a really good cross section of their work over their 20+ year history. These death/doom rockers were a good conclusion for the evening, with their heavy melodic doom pushing the evening to a final culmination.
SATURDAY November 3rd: 1476 from Salem began the evening with a dark, atmospheric and sometimes uneven presentation. They could be likened to Current 93 meets The Cult, but that would probably not help anyone determine what 1476 sounded like. I was dying for the Les Paul to be turned way UP during the show, although it’s lower volume seemed deliberate. Their more rock oriented parts cried out for more attention, and their chilling moments were reserved for distance. The variation in style and tempo was overall cool and surprising, but made it difficult for this novice listener to determine whether or not I would enjoy their works as a whole. Check their Bandcamp for yourself.
Prophecy Fest was near the end of a 3-week tour for Seattle’s Year Of The Cobra, but they were nothing but energized. The 2 piece mastered doom, sludge, and kickassdom in one shot with their ferocious set. Although consisting of bass and drums in physical instrumentation, Amy’s vocals bring melody and pull the entire package together. Boldly refreshing, focusing on the stoner and doom vibe, look for a Jack Endino produced release from them in 2019!
Eye of Nix created an atmosphere that was anguished as it was eclectic with their psychedelic blackness. They had more of a noisy element onstage than I’ve heard on their recordings. I found them to be passionate and at times thrashy while still holding the feeling of bleakness, alongside Joy Von Spain’s fervent vocals. They had the least amount of lighting of any of the performers, and I really would have liked to have seen more of their darkness!
From almost absolute darkness to subtle musical darkness, France’s Alcestclosed the festival. One of the best known bands on the Prophecy roster, they played all of 2016’s Kodama in it’s entirety. Neige and his band were precise, on and energetic, bringing their blackgaze style to crescendo after crescendo throughout their set. They took very few breaks and blazed through a fan fulfilling collection with their grandiose atmospherics and doom tinged style.
Label head Martin Koller embodied the passion of the Prophecy label in response to my question: Who are you looking forward to watching tonight? – His answer was an enthusiastic two or more sentences about every single band. That’s the kind of label you want to be on if you’re an artist. Welcome to America, Martin!
Acclaimed music producer Martin Bisi is a busy guy. The proprietor of BC Studio seems to always be on the move, as much as being on the move is counter to being a studio owner. He is currently touring in Europe, the BC35 collection was released earlier this year and refers to the weekend of performances – and resulting album that commemorates the 35 year anniversary of his space in Gowanus, Brooklyn.
Many great musicians were invited to participate by Martin, and were assembled into ensembles – not or barely rehearsed and recorded with a live audience. These tracks were mixed and edited over several months by Martin and by veterans of the studio. A partial list of those on the recordings include: Laura Ortman, Dana Schechter, Bob Bert, JG Thirwell, Skeleton Boy, Jason LaFarge, Stu-Art Gray, Jim Coleman, Rich Hutchins, and many more.
I was lucky enough to have him on my WFMU program twice this year, both times to talk about the release, and to speak to Martin about what it takes to be an engineer, where and how he found his niche – that he surmises is “articulating chaos,” and his background that led to such a specific way of listening, as well as his own performances. Here is the link to the First interview and then the Second interview. These are full 3-hour radio programs and you’ll have to fast forward through them, as he comes on in the 2nd hour each time, or you can listen to my podcast here, which links the index. Martin’s feature is Episode #85, and consists of less music than the radio show and is ONLY the edit of the first interview. We also discuss the film “Sound and Chaos: The Story Of BC Studio,” a documentary made in 2014 about Martin and the recording studio. This doc is available on DVD and digital download.
Congrats to Martin on his “success” – I say in quotes because the man has been a vital pillar in the NY underground music scene for the better part of 4 decades, so success is a weird term to use. Many haven’t made it as far, so it’s more about his commitment and longevity. He never seems to get burnt out. Check out the BC 35 collection – it’s available through Bronson Recordings. I hope you’ll check out the podcast or shows posted above, and if you are in Europe, he is currently touring there now! Here is Martin’s Facebook page, as I just realized the text here for Euro dates is too small to read and the image on his page better!