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Music Video Monday!


Faith in the Internet

[a site showing you what you want to hear based on your mood]

[a site showing you what cocktails to mix whilst listening to...]
People have been horrified by the idea, but basically, I love rap music and I love female rap music, and I’m making a Nurse With Wound album, but saturated with female rap, but authentic, you know? For me it’s a wonderful thing to do but I think a lot of people are going to be horrified by it. It’s like one of those things, once they actually have a taste maybe they’ll change their minds and think it’s ok. They’re thinking I’m making a straight hip-hop album. I’m really not going to do that.
-Steven Stapleton (aka Nurse With Wound)


The slacker's tuning. Tune 6th string down to D, 3rd string up to A. Hold down ADA strings to make power chord, as well as DAD strings. Used by Pavement, among others.
Very popular acoustic 'D' tuning. Tune 1st and 6th strings down to D.
Pronounced 'dadgad', this is another folk tuning. Tune down. Chord charts for this tuning.
Called Low-C, this is another folk tuning. The 6th string is tuned all the way down to C, which gives a nice contrast with the normal-sounding other strings.
My favourite open D tuning, good for acoustic and slide. Tune down.
The open G tuning. Chord charts for this tuning. Used by everyone who plays slide, slightly altered versions used by Sonic Youth.
Slightly perverse Stephen Malkmus folk-style tuning. Tune 1st down to D, 3rd up and 6th down.
Similar to the above. Slighter better-sounding tuning, though, I think. Just tune down the 5th and 6th strings two notes.
Vaguely sitary tuning, as used by Beck on 'Black Hole'. Sounds nice just played open.
Tune 1st down to D. Change 2nd string to a different gauge, such as .010 and tune to an E, or alternatively just tune 2nd string down to E, but it will flap around loosely like a sitar string. Tune 5th down to G. Play power chords on GDG strings, leaving the low E string open. Used by Sonic Youth on most the of more 'rock' songs.
Complete thrash tuning. Chord charts for this tuning. Tune 1st down to B, 2nd down to E (or just swap 1st and 2nd strings around). Tune 3rd down to F#, 4th up to F#, 5th down to F#, 6th up to F#. Hold down all four F#s to make a massive one-note 'chord'. Play with maximum distortion. Used on most of the really heavy SY songs.
For those who want it, this is half-step down. Just tune every string down one note. It sounds a little lower and makes the strings a bit wobbly, but Hendrix used it almost all the time.
This is a pretty daft tuning. Tune all the strings down except the 6th. Hold down either the three G#s or the three Es and let the open three strings ring out. Used in SY's 'The Expressway to yr Skull'.
Tune 1st down to B, 2nd down to A, 3rd down to E, 4th up to E, 5th up to A. Used by SY's Lee Ranaldo quite a bit. Power chords readily accessible by holding down low four strings, with or without open strings. For example, a nice chord would be 12-0-0-12-X-0.
The 'E' tuning. Tune 3rd up one note, and 4th and 5th up two notes to E and B. Common tuning for slide guitar, and also used by Phoebe out of 'Friends'. No, really.
Pretty whacked Pavement tuning as used by Stephen Malkmus (although not Spiral Stairs). Tune 1st down to B, 5th down to G. For the 6th string you tune all the way down to a C. The middle GDG strings form a power chord.
Looks weird written down, but this is yer basic nu/trash-metal tuning, as used by Slipknot et al. Tune all the strings down one step (2 notes), then tune the 6th string down an extra step. Play the same way as drop D, just with more distortion!
I think this is my own invention. Open, it forms a C 6th chord without a third. Tune strings down low, low, low. Swap the 1st string for a 2nd string gauge or leave it as is for a sitary sound. Also try CCAGAA.
This is my rock tuning, basically tune all the strings down, except for the 3rd string which goes up one note to a G#. Essentially this means you can play power chords easier.
Originally a folky style tuning, chords played (for example) 5-5-7-5-5-7 or simplified just 5-5-7 sound very evil. All strings tuned down, including the 6th string which is really low. Similar tuning used by Conrad Keeley out of ...Trail of Dead.
Sonic Youth tuning, this really needs the 1st and second strings changed to a heavy gauge, or it sounds a bit odd. Tune 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th down, and tune the 6th string up to F#. Used a lot on the early stuff, most notably on 'Schizophrenia'.
The Koto tuning, as used by Melt Banana's guitarist. Tune all strings up, except the 1st string, which you tune down to C#. AEA forms a power chord, and playing the open strings arpeggiated plays a melodic scale.
Jimmy Page's tuning on 'Bron yr Aur Stomp' - an excellent F open tuning. Chord charts for this tuning. Tune all strings down to the note, except for the 1st string which goes up one semitone to F.

Culturally Relevant Video Tuesday!

more and more and more

It became finally a rock group, we didn't know if we really wanted to become a rock group, but suddenly, somehow we established a rhythm and found out that even a certain sort of impact we got out. And then the desire came, oh yeah, that might be something to interest us. We wanted to try out what can one really do somehow. More by a live concept than by a studio concept actually. And in this state Can started as total beginners. We forgot about what we have studied and we found out that it was very difficult for us all to reduce ourselves to such a limit to such a state where you could say that one tone of everyone was enough. And probably that was the reason how we somehow established a sound. You see if it was too chaotic everything and everyone plays what he has learnt then you disturb more the sound than you create it.

Collateral Damage: Mutant Sounds' Eric Lumbleau

File sharers uploading rare and out of print records challenge official histories of music by confronting hand-me-down narratives with the source artefacts, arguesMutant Sounds blogger Eric Lumbleau.
If you’re critically engaged enough to be hashing through the contours of this column’s ongoing debate, you’re likely also sentient enough to be wracked by one of our generation’s key psychological afflictions; that internal tug-of-war that we each undertake in order to sustain a sense of deeper meaning or connection with the cultural artefacts that we encounter, despite this ahistorical nowever in which we’re all currently adrift; this vertiginous zone in which every last vestige of our collective cultural legacy past and present exists as freely interchangeable atomized particles with no meaningful breadcrumb trail left to daisy-chain them together. But while every conceivable sonic event now exists a few key clicks away, there is, I assume, still some comfort in knowing that the crème de la crème of a certain rarefied aesthetic is being warehoused at a specified location.

With the lid having already been thoroughly pried off the music-sharing Pandora’s box before I ever wandered into frame at the behest of the Greek collector who had started Mutant Sounds a few months earlier, it never occurred to me when I began my postings that this phenomenon was anything other than a fait accompli. Paradigm shifts are a bitch, but they’re also irreversible, and thus I never felt any real trepidation about the actions that I have taken in making all this obscure and long out-of-print material available for free, as long as we were doing our best to, by our own standards, keep our noses clean and keep in print work out of circulation. Fair being fair, I’ve posted the bulk of my own recorded back catalogue with Vas Deferens Organization, Sound, Tone Float and Jaloppy for free download alongside everyone else’s work.

Four years of postings later, the most notable thing about the response from artists is how little there has been, with only an infinitesimal fraction of those whose work we’ve shared having asked for their material to be removed in the absence of an album being either still in print (in the rare event that something still in print was posted by accident) or being due for reissue. Rather, numerous reissues have come to market as a direct result of those albums having first been discovered onMutant Sounds and/or made viable enough to reissue because of the increased profile that a previously obscure album has received by being posted on Mutant Sounds.

Despite the sky-is-falling implications of both this column’s name and the sentiments of contributors like Chris Cutler (The Wire 328), there’s nothing preordained about the presumed collapse of the independent record label. In Cutler’s case, a perceptual shift regarding the continued viability of the CD medium and a peek in on Collateral Damage contributor Amanda Brown’s Not Not Fun imprint would offer an object lesson on how some labels have managed to remain viable while negotiating these same waters, and her ability to quickly sell out of handsomely appointed vinyl in small editions is mirrored by my recent experience with the label that I co-run with my bandmates.

I personally conceive of Mutant Sounds as many things: as a Smithsonian Institute of the musical sub-underground and a psychic enema, releasing a trepanned spill of the accumulated arcana compacted in my brain from decades spent feverishly burrowing into forgotten universes; as the Nurse With Wound list of recommendations re-imagined as a living text and as a decoder ring for historically situating networks of marginalia that have previously sidestepped analysis; as a freak fringe music fan’s Pirate Utopia (consider the rectangle around our logo as a Digger Free Frame Of Reference), where the most elitist artefacts are liberated from the closed circuit of heavyweight rare record collectors; and as a seduction to the merely curious to wander outside their wheelhouse and lift a stray rock called ‘French RIO’, ‘Dadaist kitsch collage’ or ‘Beefheartian blather’ and have all their boundaries blown.

But beyond anything else, Mutant Sounds stands as a raspberry-blowing rebuke to the fates that have marginalised some of the most crucial musical information in history. At the time that I began working on the blog and that first lightbulb went off over my head, my feeling was that here, finally, was a means by which the entire shabby and ass-backward script that cadres of careless critics had foisted on successive generations of music fans could be undermined in one fell swoop; all those critic-generated time ellipses and lazily recycled memes that, for instance, sustain the stubbornly clinging nonsense that still allows ‘post-punk’ to be understood as an after-effect of punk (tell that to Suicide in 1972, Devo in 74 or Pere Ubu in 75). If some of our leading critical lights could fumble such a crucial causal relationship, imagine how much other screwy brilliance outside their ken has been left unassessed and dawdling at the margins.

With the advent of my work on Mutant Sounds, information could now meet artefact with a resounding wet splat and this entire hidden history could suddenly be unfurled like a banner and waved to signal the likeminded, and by likeminded, I mean all those that never subscribed to the ‘punk killed Prog birthed post-punk bred janglepop emerged as Grunge’ chronology that demarcates the eras that we principally cover on Mutant Sounds, and which has up until recently done such a bang-up job of bamboozling the masses with its bogus narrative; those who spent their energies hunting for music brimming with queer and outsider energies; those shrewd listeners that feel themselves aligned with Zappa/Beefheart/Krautrock/Nurse With Wound/Velvets/Residents/Eno/RIO//free jazz/electroacoustic/Prog/psych/fusion et al and find in Mutant Sounds’ aesthetic a perfect (funhouse) mirror reflection of their own sensibility.

With some 3000 posts hoisted since 2007, it could be argued that we’re ultimately just contributing more noise to the circuit. Me? I’d rather view it as an accumulation of wild psychic energies short-circuiting surrounding drifts of less meaningful historical data. Profundity served up in slop buckets. Would you expect anything less at this late date?
Posted 04/11/11

The Now Age



Ghost Modernism and the historical backdrop of the Now Age

The modernist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries was the final cohesive chapter in the culmination of linear history. When post-modernism was ushered in following WWII, philosophical and aesthetic movements ceased to develop according to linear trajectories, and instead diverged into a multifold network of parallel and intersecting paths. But even the end of linear time has an ending. In the beginning of the 2nd millennium A.D., it became apparent that the aesthetic impulse   was one that was less and less engaged in direct dialogue with the present and more and more haunted  by the icons and vernacular of the past (now doomed to reincarnation under the veils of Kitsch and Nostalgia). Surface disembodied from form, form disembodied from spirit, spirit disembodied from gesture… ...From this partial womb, Ghost Modernism is born. 
The sonic landscape of Ghost Modernism is littered with the detritus of past musical movements and guided by the phantom limbs of its revolutionary leaders. Recent technologies have made the graveyard all the more accessible to the living. The linear trajectory of time and all of its cremated entrails are sprayed across the vast fields of the World Wide Web, offering residents of this age a unique opportunity to experience multiple times simultaneously, never having to fully commit to one era or the next. The World Wide Web thus serves as a portal to commune with the spirit world, offering an opportunity to experience both past and present in real time, almost morphing into a means to remember. Music of the ghost-modern era has consequently thrived on this artificial platform of memory, becoming an extension of an ever-expanding archaeology of reference points and nostalgia. A new system of “zombie” sonic and visual aesthetics* is created based on a half-resurrection of relics of past tastes. The concept of a multi-dimensional temporal platform of sharing information is nothing new in the evolution of human consciousness. It is an ancient concept that has been embraced  by many Eastern and occult philosophies for centuries. The advent of the Internet has merely granted us  an externalized paradigm of being able to exist  in multiple virtual dimensions simultaneously. If internalized symbolically, the possibilities can take on  a wholly mystical dimension.   However when the symbolic value of this paradigm is lost,   its current manifestation brings with it certain dangers. When one ceases to distinguish between the original and its ghost, he becomes Possessed and is no longer able to be receptive to the ecstatic state. The Death of the Original and the Decline of Symbolic Power are irrevocably linked  as each time a periodic creative gesture   or musical style is imitated, its vital force is diluted and the original symbolic impact of the action dwindles. Once the historical reference points are exhausted,  bands begin to imitate the imitation,  and thus music history is doomed to eternal repetition in which each succeeding action becomes more and more meaningless.   This is not to be confused with the archetypal impulse of Channeling, also known as the Return To The Source (a creative movement that draws inspirational strength from the past in order to better connect to the ecstasy of the present) so much as it is a nihilistic path of distraction from the source. The latter is a destructive movement that draws strength away from the past   in order to dislocate further from the present, becoming increasingly unable to respond to it in an original and meaningful way (ie recapitulating it via Kitsch and Nostalgia).  *Paul Laffoley, Thought Forms: Gedankenexperiemente in Zombie Aesthetics 


The Now Age and The Resurrection of Symbolic Power   
The Now Age seeks to reconnect the current dislocation between time and space and resurrect the symbolic power of music by means of UTOPIA. 
NOW AGE = NO AGE   Somewhere between Time and Eternity lies a dimension called Hyparxis**. Hyparxis is defined as an 'ableness-to-be'. It does not indicate a change in time, or a manifestation of eternity. Instead it refers to transformations in 'inner time’. Hyparxis combines what is actual with what is potential, thus creating a 'present moment' based on the internalized experience of external temporal events, past, present, or future. Thus, the Now Age refers to no age at all, but instead describes an elemental quality of being.
UTOPIA = NO PLACE  The word UTOPIA by definition signifies “NO PLACE”. It is neither here nor there, of this world or transcendental to it. Its existence as a non-existence can be seen as a singularity,  but within this “no place” exists an infinity of space. Thus an invisible “space between worlds” is created  that acts as a medium between the real and the ideal environments. This aspiration for a space within a pre-existing place is vital for distinguishing the utopian impulse from the transcendental impulse; whereas transcendentalism seeks escape from the “real” world in exchange for an ideal one, utopia instead seeks a deeper connection with this world in the form of tapping into its inner potential, a REALIZATION of the REAL.   It is here that the musical environment lives. Sound in and of itself is a tangible example of “no place”. It is pure vibration, a shifting of air particles, and is thus (by sheer virtue of its nature) wholly meta-physical.
**John G. Bennet, The Dramatic Universe


Now Age aesthetics are not based  a new system of beauty or on creating
taste, but instead encouraging a new form of perceiving aesthetic and symbolic
meaning within preexisting models. It is the act of seeking Beauty (Potential)
through a rejection of Beauty (Actual). Of casting off the shell of the instrument
(Ephemeral) in exchange for its Song (Eternal).
The Hyparctic Song is the ultimate form of potentialized Beauty and lies at the
core of all Now Age aesthetic orientations. Its qualities are eternal, infinite,
formless, and overflowing. It doesn’t refer to any one song at all but instead a
resonance, a point of reciprocal harmony between song and space, thought and
action, feeling and gesture, essence and form. When essence and form are both
in harmonic alignment with one another, they create a resonant relationship that
activates the potentialized Beauty stored in each one in a mutual exchange of
ecstasy. Any relationship between forms that recognizes this mutually ecstatic
resonance between essences is an instrument of the Hyparctic Song.

In Now Age aesthetics, there are no idols, icons, or deities, for that would be
a veneration of the finite. While forms are necessary to construct our present
reality, their aesthetic value is considered only for the extent to which they can
serve as a vessel to channel the Hyparctic Song.

There are no churches, synagogues, or temples. Instead all actualized structures
are viewed as potentialized sacred space for the Hyparctic Song to echo.

Now Age aesthetics reject identification with materials, sounds or designs fixed in
a specific moment in time dislocated from their current space. Any clinging to un-
contextualized nostalgic or antiquated aesthetic ideals hinders the potential for a
reciprocal dialogue with one’s present environment.

Now Age aesthetics embrace materials and sounds that exist in a
mutually engaged and reciprocal relationship with their environment. An example
would be reflective materials that catch the light from their environment and
reflect it back into their environment, thus creating a feedback loop and energetic
exchange between material (tangible) and space (intangible) as well as a portal
between the mundane (real) and the luminous (potential).



Sound is both FORM and FORMLESS.  It can be recorded on various forms, but its original state of being is formless. Its paradoxical state makes it a fundamental building block for constructing the architecture of utopia.
The science of cymatics demonstrates that a single tone can manifest complex geometric forms out of sand.
Ultra-sonic weapon used to sink approaching ships.

Christmas Time Is Here

"Christmas Time Is Here (Vince Guaraldi cover)"


"Christmas Time Is Here (Vince Guaraldi cover)"


By Jenn Pelly; December 1, 2011


Woods wish you a Merry Christmas with a charming, homespun take on Vince Guaraldi's classic "Christmas Time Is Here", from the ever-excellent A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack.

MP3: Woods: "Christmas Time is Here [Vince Guaraldi cover]"


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