Thursday, March 29, 2018

Schluss @ Oberdeck Tonight!

Hey - just in case any locals haven't received the telex, up-and-coming Hamburg freak duo Schluss are performing at the Oberdeck tonight. Our very own Paranoid Leather will be stretched out in the DJ lounger as well. Komm!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Convalescence: Day Eighteen

Hi again,

Well, I returned to work today, but first I had my stitches removed!

The nurse who did the honors commented on the relatively rapid healing processes that seem to be underway, but I won't be happy until I can chuck the crutches and get back to competitive power loitering. Rehearsing later with Bianca and Andreas at the Merkwürdig Riechnerv bunker.

(I realize the affected area looks particularly unsavory. It's been under wraps since the accident on February 28th...)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Convalescence: Day Seventeen / Salt

Carol Levy's cover design for the Boat Of album that never made it to fruition. She decided it should be named Salt, and so it would have been. The label that had been sniffing around weren't serious, and it's probably all for the better. We were too fucking too much for 1981. Carol's illustration has yellowed with age but the late Ms. Levy remains 100% acetylene.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

New on Karl Schmidt Verlag

Available now on Karl Schmidt Verlag and Adult Contemporary Recordings: Cup of Indignation by Boat Of, a 60-minute generative chronology (i.e., an assemblage of stochastically distributed, non-static loops) covering a wide swath of the group's recorded output from 1979 to 1984. Yowza! With the Boat Of compilation cassette Forbidden Mourning Practice forthcoming on Hitomi Arimoto's unhinged 777 Was 666 imprint, it's a very good time to be against every fucking thing that exists all over again.

No physical edition at present. My broken leg precludes hauling parcels into the post for at least another month. Lossless digital, €7.99 at KSV Bandcamp.


Boat Of is quite the complicated beast. Our original idea was to change the name of the group with each live performance and / or shift in direction, but of course the conceit quickly revealed its limitations as soon as we began to be asked to play venues a second time!

I started alone as Prepared Party (in the Cage-ian sense) in 1979, mainly using a shortwave receiver and tape edits. With bassist Mike Green, guitarist Carol Levy, and occasional organist Mike Stipe (we never called him “Michael”), we morphed into Pre-Cave. I made the tape edits, played drums or discarded parts of drum kits, and worked with radios, turntables, and my Farfisa. Sometimes synths too. Sometimes with clothes dryers filled with shoes to create more stochastic rhythms! We rehearsed in an earthen basement at the Cobb Institute in Athens, GA, and furtively in the Method Actors' upstairs space when they were away on tour. The “pre” was also a reference to PRE, the aesthetic strategy I first promulgated in ish #1 of Hot Java, a short-lived arts newspaper published in Athens in 1980.

We had a show booked at the 40 Watt Club in Athens for June 26, 1980, but for some forgotten reason it fell through. Afterwards, we again changed the name of the group to Nest (adj.). (As in, “nest” as an adjective. Mike Green and I were disgustingly deep into semiotics, textual manipulation, etc., but also inveterate wags deeply cynical about the nascent Athens music scene. Dark humor and obscure puns were characteristic elements of our interactions, and remain so to this day. Boat Of Say 'Put'!)

Nest (adj.) had its first gig at the 40 Watt in October of 1980. MSG couldn’t make it, but Carol, Stipe, my then-girlfriend Mary and I showed up with osmium chips on our shoulders. It was quite a good performance and a decent turnout. Maybe 85 people? It seemed phenomenal at the time. There was a second Nest (adj.) show on Valentine’s Day, 1981. Afterwards we took a break while Mary and I made a mess of wedlock and unsuccessfully pretended to be normal. I was recording constantly, refining the edits and inching closer to the sound I'd always heard in my head, a Stygian readymade melange informed as much by the stylistic motifs of my favorite Enjoy and Sugarhill 12" singles as Xenakis or Lee Perry - our range of influences fell noticeably outside those of our peers.

When the group returned in May, we had adopted the name Boat Of, and we remained so limned through late March 1983, when Carol was killed in a dreadful car crash.

So, attributing all the recordings on Cup of Indignation to Boat Of is a form of shorthand. I never tire of relating the tale, but I suppose it might be a bit taxing for those who aren't so interested in convoluted origin sagas.

Boat Of‘s personnel shifted slightly from Pre-Cave/Nest (adj.) - Stipe played the June 1981 gig with us, but afterwards focused his energies on M.R.E. He invited me to one of their early gigs... I was horrified by their dire farmer-rock, and our friendship ended.

David Gamble, one half of the exemplary Method Actors, quit that group in the summer of 1981 to join ours on drums and vocals. Sandra-Lee Phipps, a lovely friend of Carol‘s with a refined wit and great stage presence, cast her lot with ours on vocals. My high school pal Don Fleming also contributed (taped drum machine and library recordings) to the burgeoning collective.

We were obsessed with “field hollers” and glossolalia. David covered the latter, and Sandi the former.

Jim Walker, a friend of mine from the outback and a huge Pip Pyle / Hatfield and the North / National Health fan, sometimes joined us on drums as well. Because PiL’s original (Canadian) drummer had the same name, and since the American television actor Jimmy "Dyn-o-mite" Walker was - at least through the mid-1980s - such a recognized star, we never knew what to call our Jim. Usually we wrote something like “not the guy from Public Image and The Pack, but a really cool drummer nonetheless!”

Dominique Amet and Davey Stevenson from the excellent Limbo District (the only Athenian band with whom we really felt kinship) also joined, performing and recording radio sessions with us from late summer '82 through the winter of 1983. Dominique fell into our orbit earlier, actually - she appears on a July 1981 rehearsal recording, screaming her guts out. Such style. 

When Carol was killed I became quite distraught. Things fell apart for about 15 months. After befriending Minimal Man’s Patrick Miller in California and with the encouragement of both he and Don Fleming, I got back into the game. I moved to DC, decamped with the Velvet Monkeys, and made a final clutch of Boat Of recordings that overtly presaged the shift to a new performance identity, Peach of Immortality.

Boat Of's mix of influences was quite broad, and as acutely insular snobs we were very protective of them. We never revealed much of this sort of info, knowing intuitively that one quickly becomes trapped by pronouncements of aesthetic fealty. As a collective, we were sui generis. That may seem arrogant, but it’s clear that we were doing something well outside prevailing norms. We were also hyper-critical - if we felt ourselves lapsing into any sort of lazy trope we tended to purge ourselves of the offending notions until they'd been expunged.

The archive is rather extensive - about 65 hours of material altogether. A few cassettes of backing tracks and performance edits disappeared between 1983-1984, and another was borrowed by a label guy (Peter from Armageddon / Press) who never returned it. Cunt. There was also a pretty amazing early rehearsal (September 1980-ish) tape that just vanished. But, remarkably, everything else survives.

- Tom Smith, March 2018


Boat Of: Mike Green, Carol Levy, David Gamble, Sandra-Lee Phipps, Jim Walker, Dominique Amet, Davey Stevenson, Don Fleming, Tom Smith, and others.

Part One:

Boat Of, live, 40 Watt, Athens, March 9, 1982 > Boat Of, live, 40 Watt, Athens, May 16, 1981 > Boat Of, live, Coffee Club, Athens, January 30, 1982 > Boat Of, “Bra” cassette radio cut-ups, Seaside, August 1983 > Boat Of, live, Coffee Club, Athens, January 14, 1982 > Boat Of, live, d.c. space, Washington, March 10, 1983 > Boat Of, live, House of Rimbaud, Athens, August 6, 1982 > Boat Of, If You’d Like to Nominate Your Boss remix, WABR studios, Tifton, July 23, 1982 > Boat Of, rehearsal, Cobb Institute, Athens, July 21, 1981 > Boat Of, Los Fabulosos 20 cut-ups cassette, Seaside, September 1983 > Nest (adj.), rehearsal, Cobb Institute, Athens, October 23, 1980 > Nest (adj.), rehearsal, Cobb Institute, Athens, October 27, 1980 > Boat Of, live, Night Gallery, Athens, July 19, 1981 > Boat Of, live, Night Gallery, Athens, September 22, 1981 > Boat Of, live, Night Gallery, Athens, October 24, 1981 > Boat Of, live, Nitery Club, Atlanta, January 17, 1983.

(29:58, contiguous)

Part Two:

Boat Of, ADS Sound session, Atlanta, February 14-16, 1983 > Pre-Cave, Cobb Institiue session, September 9, 1980 > Pre-Cave, From Writing “Indifference” session, Cobb Institute, Athens, July 1980 > Boat Of, Peach Encroachment sessions, Velvet Monkeys rehearsal basement, Washington, July 1-8, 1984, (the final Boat Of recordings) > Prepared Party, shortwave manipulation, Adel, October 1979 > Boat Of, rehearsal, Night Gallery, Athens, July 18, 1981 > Pre-Cave, Tom (magazine) interview, June 13, 1980 > Boat Of, soundcheck, T.V. Dinner, Atlanta, May 22, 1982 > Boat Of, live, T.V. Dinner, Atlanta, April 24, 1982 > Boat Of, live, Tyrone’s O.C., Athens, June 11, 1981 > Boat Of, WABR session, Tifton, January 16, 1983 > Boat Of, WABR session, Tifton, November 30-December 1, 1982 > Boat Of, WABR session, Tifton, March 7, 1983 > Boat Of, live, WREK, Atlanta, September 5, 1982 > Boat Of, live, WREK, Atlanta, January 16, 1983 > Boat Of, live, WREK, Atlanta, August 29, 1982 > Boat Of, live, Wax Museum, Washington, March 11, 1983.

(29:51, contiguous)

Edited, mixed and produced March 2018 by Tom Smith, who looped and sorted the tracks via randomizing algorithms.

Original recordings composed and performed by the various iterations of Boat Of / Nest (adj.) / Pre-Cave / Prepared Party, 1979-1984.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Convalescence: Day Fifteen

A brief programming note: Kevin Drumm's new Karl Schmidt Verlag album, Jury Prize, is live and available at KSV Bandcamp. It's both a colossal return to KD's brutalist mid-aughts form and very much of the fractious moment.

There's no physical edition yet, as bounding up the stairs of Deutsche Post with armfuls of parcels is pretty much an impossibility - I'll be on crutches for another month. 



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Convalescence: Day Thirteen

This is brilliant.

From the Guardian:

"Describing the suspension of (Nacho Carretero’s Fariña, a 2015 expose of drug trafficking in Galicia) from sale as as a “disproportionate and anachronistic measure … to prevent people from reading the story”, the Booksellers Guild of Madrid has launched the website Finding Fariña which uses a digital tool to trawl through the text of Don Quixote to find and highlight the 80,000 words that make up Fariña, allowing users to read the book despite the ban."

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Convalescence: Day Twelve

Looking through my reactivated Facebook profile for hi-res images of Boat Of, the group Mike Green and I founded in Athens, GA. We ruled from (J.) Conradian redoubts from '79-'83, and I've once again become immersed in our simultaneously cosmopolitan, sectarian world. As I finalize the master for the forthcoming Forbidden Mourning Practice compilation, I become ever more aware of the debt I owe to Mike, Carol Levy, Sandi Phipps, David Gamble, Kim Karelson, Jim Walker, Leslie Michel, Davey Stevenson, Dominique Amet, Arthur Davis, Todd Ploharski, Vic Varney...

So far, I've only uncovered low-resolution images from the FB timeline. Bummer. Wanna see a few of them?

Early 1981, rehearsing at the Cobb Institute with Thomas Abdu (sadly out of frame), yours truly in the checks, and Mike Green.

Late '82, atop Vanessa Briscoe's bed. Davey Stevenson is well fit on the left, I've got some sort of perm going to match my red shoes in the middle (I wish I'd been a bit less antithetical in an obvious regard), and the explosively wry Dominique Amet.

A Polaroid collage from the early autumn of 1981, from locations around Athens. David Gamble, Sandra-Lee Phipps, Carol Levy, and myself.

A flyer for what turned out to be an extraordinarily raucous Coffee Club performance. Before our CC gig we invaded the stage during Love Tractor's set at the 40 Watt and assayed a convulsive half-hour improvisation. Officers from Athens-Clarke County Animal Control arrived much too late to disrupt the assault.

February 1983, Atlanta. Neither Carol Levy nor Jim Walker were able to make the gig, so David Gamble invited Birmingham pals Jim Bob & the Leisure Suits (half of whom later morphed into Primitons) to tackle my beautiful music loops. It would prove to be Boat Of's final gig in Georgia.

Carol Levy's flyer for our July '81 performance at Athens' Night Gallery.

Boat Of live at the Night Gallery, July 19. 1981. Sandi Phipps and I are at the far left;  David Gamble is shirtless, and Mike Green's shadow forms a V for viaticum. Carol Levy was out of frame. Or, standing next to Mike without her guitar, which can't possibly be correct. (Photo by Linda Hopper.)

KD Returns to KSV!

Hello Droogs,

Kevin Drumm and I picked up our conversation - one that surges, drifts off, abates, and swells with elliptic certainty every few months - in the orthopedic ward of a hospital. He was in Chicago, and I was recovering from leg surgery (broken fibula) in Hannover. We were shooting the breeze, discussing Blue Öyster Cult, better names for kids (we settled on Four-Hour Binaural YouTube), Windy City rents, our 2011 tour (which we both enjoyed tremendously), and muzak-making.

Coming Friday, a new KD album on Karl Schmidt Verlag.

Pre-wire your jaws, as they're bound to plummet.

KSV Soundcloud preview link: here.



Monday, March 19, 2018

Convalescence: Day Eleven

Completed the final side-long mixes for Forbidden Mourning Practice, the forthcoming Boat Of compilation tape on Hitomi Arimoto's 777 Was 666 imprint.

Took my first extended stroll through the neighborhood since returning home from the hospital. Astounded I can walk on my right leg so soon after surgery and implantation of a metal plate, screws, boatswain's pipe, etc.


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Convalescence: Day Ten

Healing apace, can't complain.

We finally got round to watching Ingrid Goes West. Brutal, hilarious, brilliant.


Happy New Year from the Harz...

Hello Droogs, Happy 2019! I‘m in the Harz region of Germany, enjoying a three-day getaway to cap off an eventful year, one marked by celeb...