Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Solaris, Criterion Edition, Disc One, Commentary Track (Yaroslavl, Russia, 06:21 AM)

I've always loved the Tokyo "future" sequence... How could one find fault with it?



Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Dork in Cheap Blue Dress Shirt Eats Wheat Thins While Walking Through Library...

This post is a lie. There were no entries in November; I was disengaged from the process, coming down from the TLASILA tour, ramping up for Ohne... As is my wont, however, I wept for the gap. In prodigal solidarity, then, a salute to missing keystrokes.

TS

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Urlaub/Touristik/Freizeit/Reisen/Qualität: TLASILA Tour Reminiscence Vol. 1

Here's the tour diary: awoke, and it was over. All a blur. Photos unrepresentative of my experience. Videos too dark. Message boards mixed: some thought us shit, others, Heiddeger's Da-sein sealed in ambiguous perspex. (A gargantuan thank you to all, regardless.) We fucking dug it, however, and that's the extent of our concern. We know when it sucked, and when it did not.

Northsix (9/10) - many strangers hogging our air backstage. Ex-girlfriends crying over recent romantic setbacks. Early dinner with DF, AWK, and Kim Rancourt (After That It's All Gravy), who regaled us with tales of domestic bliss. Nervousness? Non-existant. Wore my specs even; read newly-limned lyrics dashed onto crumpled fliers, Miami '94 all over again. So fucking great to see Ben Wolcott! Unfortunately, as in the past, oscillator perturbation was a constant threat. Not a dreary first outing, more ontological than psychodynamic. (In other words, we were, resolutely, but not yet fully ourselves.) We put the van into reverse and landed outside of...

Tarantula Hill (9/11) - filth, filth, everywhere. Great fucking audience; ideal laboratory conditions. Squalid habitat, but still super-sweet set-up. Hail Nautical Almanac's civic proclivities! (Twig is a seriously cool dude.) AWK and I enjoyed a groovy walk to a "package" store some three blocks from TH. Our ears were opened by the local teen patois, an aggressive, percussive slang which sent our imaginations into hyperdrive.

Southgate House (9/12) - Sonore were blasting upstairs; tried to forge an impromptu collaboration, but there were time limits, somethin'. Few attendees - disappointing, considering the freaks who agreed to participate. I'd like to fuck Irene Moon in a cage full of clamoring crickets and sand gnats. When you see us next, be sure to ask Chris Grier about the after-party.

Empty Bottle (9/13) - worst fucking crowd I've ever seen. Great to hang with Brian McMahon, Magas, Bobby Conn, the Blastitude crew, etc., however. After our Olympian fucking set, Christ, we should have received fifteen million. (We don't ask for what we can't deliver.) At least Bill Pisarri got it all on DVD. Horrid "brutal-prog" groups opened for us... Too insipid for words. I'd rather that Azita'd spun Don Fagen solo boots, anything!

Detroit Art Space (9/14) - another humid, Abu Ghraib-esque detention cell. All I remember is John Olsen standing on a bench in the back of the hall, his arms folded, gears enmeshed in rust and ginseng. And Mike Connelly, going apeshit again (as he did in Newport, KY). His impression of me easily tops Dylan Nyoukis' mimicry, or at least matches it, depending on substances consumed prior to onset of impression. Rat laughed for days after MC launched into "Pictures at an Exhibition"; he sings it far better now than I. Vox no longer screech-supple; I've achieved reverse stasis. (In Euro press, I'm often described as a noise-crooner.) As to the latter portion of the hyphenate, would that it were so. Dilloway really kicked it during his solo set - 'twas awe-inspirin' when he lost control of his reel-to-reel. Lotsa ladies groovin' to his, our performances. Many gowns... I've always liked Detroit; it's got an appropriate euphoria-to-despair ratio. Our piano piece flopped - mics picked up naught but sounds of audience unease. AD and JO warned me about going shirtless into the night post-gig; I caught a sick fucking cold the day after I returned to GA. Should have listened to the Sub Popperz!

More from Hell, soon!

Yours,

TS

Monday, October 11, 2004

"To be taken by mouth... Peas"

Digging through bags of relics from OHNE 2002... At the Contemporary Museum of Art in Yaroslavl, Russia, we performed beside a wall upon which panels from Damien Hurst's "Cornish 100mg Pasty" series had been mounted. The exhibition later travelled to Ekaterinburg, Saint-Peterburg, and Novosibirsk, way the fuck out in Siberia. Wish we'd played there!

A package from Chris Grier arrived on Friday - my video camera, which I'd inadvertantly left curbside in front of the Bug Jar in Rochester... During the night, perhaps during TLASILA's performance, someone had vomited on the sidewalk, just slightly to the left of the stage door... Pink and yellow ropes of bile intersected at the short flight of stairs leading from the carpeted riser to street level. My gaze was transfixed... It's hard not to look at puke. Totally forgot about the camera while loading AWK's drumkit into our van... It was dark out, no illumination on the sidewalk whatsoever... The big bouncer dude found the thing; two weeks later, it's back in the office.

Vid caps of the first six shows will be posted to the main site as soon as I can load the footage and select the most flattering, least interesting stills. At which time I will cobble together a memory of the tour...

Derrida died, as I'm sure many of you have read. Re-read a chunk of Glas again last year...

Best,

Tom

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Ian Haney Lopez...

For my PHIL 4800 History of Anti-Racism class I'm reading three assigned chapters in Ian Haney Lopez's White by Law... Gonna have to track down the entire text (we only have photocopies), 'cuz it's flat-out riveting: "...the Supreme Court's elevation of 'common knowledge' as the legal meter of race convincingly demonstrates that racial categorization finds its origins in social practices." (The book traces the chronology and underlying pathology of the now largely forgotten "racial prerequisite" cases which dominated post-Civil War jurisprudence. From 1878 until 1952, when racial restrictions on naturalization were removed from law, fifty-two such cases were heard...)

No TLASILA thoughts this morning... Kinda absorbed in this other work.

Yrz,

TS

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Cranked-Up... Uhh, Kinda Sorta Really High!

Almost 100% Neanderthal again after eight glorious days of illness, and I can't remember anything that happened during the tour. We drove, we lacked for sleep, we were often damp. We shouted and gesticulated. We were handed long envelopes stuffed with $20 bills. Drive-By Truckers got most of the local press.

As promised, I will take you through the ordea - uh, I mean triumphant God and Blah-Blah-Blah! Tour adventure, step by perilous step. But not now. It's 4:09 AM, and I can't knock myself out for the night. My head refuses to go New Age... It's Hermann Nitsch blowing up horses and Harry Partsch's workshop at full copper-burnishing bore and Harry Reems' death scene in Deadly Weapons and Elyse Perez calling my cell, drunk on her ass, at four in the other morning, all friggin' day long.

Can't I time-share my muse with some unproductive fifth-tier noise schmoe? You can have her for $3250 a month, six hours guaranteed daily Tuesday through Saturday, but be forewarned that there's no off switch - she definitely ain't binary.

***

TLASILA fans: thank you, very fucking sincerely, for all the LEOV you tossed back into our faces during the tour. You could've wiped the damned stuff off before lobbing it at us, but soiled cyclical affection seems an apt enough vector.

The big tour reminiscence next entry...

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

So Much for Entering the Blog Meta-Sphere...

During the God and Country Rally! trek we only managed to squeeze in two Internet sessions, so the whole instant update thing went quickly out the fucking window... You'd think we'd be 100% wireless by now, what with the ubiquity of cell towers, competing providers undercutting each other's plans, and various municipalities entering the fray, some sort of roaming regional wi-fi infrastructure, but...

I will instead use this arena to whine!

As soon as I've bested this friggin' cold or flu or whatever the Hell it is I've been awarded, I'll take you through the tour, one interminable step at a time.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Synapse Collapse / Jeanne

Holy fuck.. I'm sick, a tropical storm is blasting through my neighborhood, and I have an insane headache... I am, as ever, blessed beyond all reckoning. Post-tour blather will commense shortly. I've just swilled a capful of NyQuil... Losing the will to fight...

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

A Letter to the Troops

Hey Guys,

It looks doubtful if we'll have an opportunity to rehearse - as a sextet, at least - prior to our soundcheck at Northsix. Not impossible, but doubtful. Here's where our commando training kicks in. We know the weapons, and we can load them blindfolded. During our debut set we'll sweep through each rhythm carefully, remembering our Black Ops exercises on cunning and stealth. When it is necessary to interrogate a rhythm, do so with clarity and discretion. If a song should prove unruly, murder first, and pose for human pyramid photos later. Our mission? Kill the known, knife all our assumptions in the throat. Don't think TLASILA, at least in terms of the recordings. Think beyond such surface distractions, to the core of the idea of the band: that music can travel in all dimensions, in all permutations, with no genre limitations, with thematic complexity and gut-pummeling intensity, the full dynamic range of emotional responses, all within the space of a single bloody song. We're going for 1950s Hollywood historical epic with thirty-foot faces stretched across the Cinerama screen, interspersed with quick flashes and reverse process shots from Pontecorvo's Battle of Algiers and Godard's Contempt. Don't be afraid.

After our WFMU session, we're going straight to the studio in Hoboken for our "official" recording session. We'll still be wound-up from the tour, fresh from the recording with Brian. If we sleep, and wait until the 20th, we'll lose the nervous energy and momentum. After we wrap everything up in Hoboken, we're officially off the hook, honorably discharged.

This is gonna be golden, lads.

Yours,

Tom

Oh Shit! I Forgot to Blog!

Where to begin? The product launch is but three days distant, and Mothra is zoomin' around my gullet. I get nervous as Hell before tours, with sleep befouled by (prosaic) anxieties and fears of failure setting my blood a-boil. The second we hit the Great White stage shag and super-flammable soundproofing, however, I am in my element. As shameful as that admission must seem from your end, it is doubly damning from mine. I love this madness...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

An Introduction

My name is Tom Smith, and I am at a perpetual loss. I am skeptical of vanity journalism, but I also must admit that I'm as vain as they come, so... perhaps I've found an ideal narcissistic berth. Fuck, I really just wanna talk about the music I and my compatriots create, and use this space to elaborate on underlying themes, political, cultural, and personal nuances, and whatever else manages to make sense. It will also be the place to turn to for morning-after updates on the forthcoming God and Country Rally! tour. (Or, if post-performance activities prove too time consuming, afternoon-after commentaries will perhaps be published.) I never thought I'd be doing anything with this crazy band again, and here I am recanting all the dismissive and scabrous statements I made in 2000, ramping up the (low-level) hype machinery for another wild spurt of Shave stubble, and honestly, digging the fuck out of the prospect of making this dog howl like never before. The '04 assemblage is just perfect, and it's mine to foul. I feel a tremendous responsibility to live up to expectations - mine, the band's, and the motherfucking freaks out there who've actually paid attention, who've been gracious enough to allow us to intrude into their lives, who cede us relevance and spur us to apostasy. Yup, I do not want it to suck. There's one major last-minute hitch to sort out (our Providence contact had a bit of an aneurysm and forgot to secure a booking for us; we've been working on finding an alternate venue for a week now... still nothing), and I'm still piecing the text together. (Meaning, I'm dicking around, downloading albums and Daily Show episodes instead of working on my lyrics.) We begin rehearsals on September 9... Tour begins on September 10th! This has the potential for being an appalling disaster. It also holds another sort of promise... I lean toward the latter.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Test Post

This is probably a lousy idea, but...