Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Both Alan Vega's music and art have been essential forms of Lower East Side expression, combining his love of the detritus of its gnarled streets with Rockabilly and the sounds of machinery. I remember his exhibition at O.K. Harris Gallery, proprietor Ivan Karp allowing heaps of found objects, dirt, and electricity free reign in his pristine space. This was an amalgam of salvage, garbage and one man's street stories. Like his work with the provocative electronic duo Suicide and solo records, there was little or no attempt to smooth rough edges or foster commercial surrender. Even a single like "Dream Baby Dream" offered repetitive menace in Vega's nearly stuttered motivational "sprechgesang", meshing beautifully with Martin Rev's skeletal vintage drum machine and cheap keyboard synth. Their early performances were a kind of performance art punk, recordings of which only hint at the commotion Vega caused. And let's not forget "Frankie Teardrop", possibly the most intense and harrowing track to wander the dark dirty corners of Alphabet City... ever! Vega will certainly be missed.
Sunday, July 17, 2016
This Zoom pedal is specifically designed as a multi-effects stomp for guitar, but works just as well with modular synthesizers (in this case my Serge M-Class). Its selection of effects is wide and varied (Splicer, T Scream, anyone?), and its three pots (no feet, please) give the synthesist the ability to tweak parameters. Merely stomping won't give you much.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Latest mixed-media painting finally "done". Given its scratchy and half-formed iconography, penciled decisions, and overall amalgam of blacks, whites, and grays, this could hardly be called decorative abstraction. Overall, these new paintings are odes to transience, wielding doubt as their only subject matter.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Kilpatrick Audio’s PHENOL is a compact and affordable take on modular synthesis that is useful as an introduction to patching sounds, as well as a nice addition to banana-based exchanges between modular systems like those from Serge. BTW, the two envelope generator sections contained here are both very useful and complex, not just the standard ADSR. Taking the time to master these sections will make for impressive sound sculpting epiphanies as one experiences the expansive phenomena of electricity.
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
As much as one may delight in the idea of some kind of robot or program sifting through the myriad variations of form, texture, compositional relationships, doing "exactly the wrong thing", etc, our individual and shared humanity makes for choices and random events that reinforce our being, even if this is ultimately meaningless. Process, essentially, is all. ABOVE: Multi-panel work in the throes of birth, doubt and denial. Acrylic, pencil, modeling paste, and gloss medium on wood.