Tears of the Moosechaser - Pioneering Spirit For the Future of Country Music

Cried the voice in the wilderness.

Because of the last 14 years of country artists with bleached or high lit hair playing disney type pop songs, it was only matter of time before the creative youth began to rebel and return to roots.  Which means, if you are looking for a better type of country music, the kind that hearkens back to the good old days, modern reproductions of olden style are popping up across the Great States and even being imported from the outside. Less common, however, is the forwarding of the genre especially in radical new ways.  In some parallel universe, County evolved naturally from the 60s picking up along the way a portion of what Coltrane contributed to Free Jazz and dabbling  in the forward thinking of the British Invasion groups like Led Zepplin and Pink Floyd's influence on America's popular rock, eventually allowing rock to step away from itself and bring something like Radiohead into the mainstream creating something all together new.   Country Western Roots music now offers the intellectual and yet approachable Tears of the Moosechaser. 

Tears of the Moosechaser has embraced the Wild West fiber of anarchy in Outlaw Country lost in the days since country turned sterile and cross pollinated it with the chaos propelling 20th Century Classical, Free Jazz and Industrial Music for the last 50 years. They define themselves as Avant-Americana.  It is not clear whether they are trying to salvage or obliterate the splinters of country western music, but It is nice to see a group of classically trained musicians knock at the door of something so home grown.  It holds no irony that a band like this would form in the west.  Los Angeles has been budding for some time now with both alternative country and experimental.  TotM holds a cast covering a huge demographic of the US. The primary songwriters Blanton Ross and Antony DiGenarro hail from Texas and Connecticut.  Other members of the band bring with them the character of Kentucky, Alaska,  California,  and Missouri.  They also have a token German, Ulrich Krieger who holds some notoriety playing with Lou Reed, and his Metal Machine Music trio. 

For Country music with a modern blending old with something forward thinking here are a few videos From their debut album "Songs for a Sinister Woman" to introduce Tears of the Moosechaser


for more see:

Orion Variations on Circ5 Glitch

I have been on an all acoustic tangent for the last little while.  Partially due to Tears of the Moosechaser and partially due to a failing Macintosh Powerbook G4.  The G4 has been replaced by an all new Macbook monster which has meant all new software or at least all those updates I couldn't get because of antiquity of my tools.  I usually hold to the idea that tools are just a means to an end and it is the user that creates but I am not going to lie the toys really open up new doors.   

So here is a little experiment with Max6 which has completely swallowed MSP and Jitter into one behemoth which after using a while has become quite a delightful change from the old version.

The idea was to create a custom controller using the Circle of Fifths.  Of course it was inevitable to build an autopilot to play it with and the first and easiest was random chord and scale variations of the chord playing into perpetuity.  

 I used an object called urn to hold all the possible keys major and minor (24 total) and output them randomly with out repeating.  Using the same object I built a melody engine to play notes of the scale selected.  Some kind of autonomous 12 tone cycling music that is not 12 tone at all rather 24 tone.  I had to cut out 7th notes because they made the transitions from chord to cord funny about half the time.

Basically all the program outputs is midi information.  I connected it to a synth for a sound source like Bladerunner or some other Vangelis 1980s sci-fi movie so thus the name.  The bug in the code though is the really interesting part,  If Miles Davis says there are no mistakes in music just happy accidents this is definitely no exception.  I haven't yet figured out what causes the notes to stick but it is in the MIDI send out to the synthesizer somewhere. Irrelevant to the chord playing or how long the cycle goes on. 

Funny thing though was my computers almost aware willingness to play along I have the screen saver set to dictionary(considering myself the occasional wordsmith) and the computer went to sleep while I was filming the patch with my phone. Just after I got up to deal with the glitch.  The word it chose was:


Happy to have this captured pretty much makes an entire conceptual performance piece out of an experiment.

Whale and Bird Song - The Biological Music of Sea and Air

The social ties of whales are strangely similar to those of a community of humans.  Humpback whales continuously migrate thousands of kilometers throughout their life times back and forth, north in the summer for food and ever south towards the equator in the winter where they breed.  They accompany their journey by singing elaborate group improvisations that actually seem to be the same songs over and over.  The songs are usually 5 to 35 minutes and range from 30 to 4000 hertz.  A song contains up to ten themes that are always sung in the same order.  A pause that lasts over a minute is considered a cycle.   The longest song cycle recorded (by Howard Winn) lasted 21 hours.   The Choir of whales with no leader will change phrasing, often staying on a certain phrase for a long time or shortening others.  Phrases evolve over time a phenomenon known as song drift which is closely related to language drift discussed in  "A Language" by Edward Sapirs.   Over time portions of the whale group songs will become completely different, sometimes unrecognizable from their earlier versions.   However, the main context often remains the same. It has been observed that the song cycles have start and stop themes for the most complex songs.  So why do the whales sing, maybe they just like the sound of it swelling in the water bouncing off under water mountains.  Perhaps whales make aesthetic choices. It has been speculated that the chorus of whales sing for the purpose of building bonds between pods of males,  but honestly no one knows why they sing the songs. Some think its for mating reasons but no one has observed those particular songs while mating.  instead in the tropics during the mating time the whales will sing territorial songs. 
     This is about as close as I think the songs of whales come to those of birds, which sing to repel males and to attract females.  Males sing songs to other males as a competition an alternative to going to physical war over territory or any other resources that could be used to attract mates.  The reason that the singing wars work is because signals that are more costly to produce are likely to be "honest". A weaker bird will be outclassed on every front physically and intellectually and instead of chancing injury will just leave. The intimidations of song rivalries can be seen through increases in intensity which take more energy & show the male condition. Overlapping another bird is a very aggressive move.  It has been learned from territorial playback and observation that territories brodcasting song stay unoccupied longer. 
    The other reason birds sing is to attract mates.  The number of songs that a bird knows shows the ability of the birds survival because an older bird will live longer and thus be able to learn more songs. Birds that match their neighbors songs are better breeders because we all know "chicks dig the songs they hear over and over again" (thats why Pop Music works) My real interest is in song switching which serves to confuse both birds and human observers.  Different birds use song switching differently.  Often birds will just sing a going through song where they say "hey I'm a robin, hey I'm a robin, hey I'm a robin"  According to the Sarah Collins "vocal fighting and flirting"  the song sparrow switches more frequently when aggressive, Redwing Blackbirds and Banded Wrens switch less.  In other birds the female is more likely to switch to attract males.  It all depends on the default non-aggressive state of each bird.

Valentine - Blanton Ross

I'll share with you a sad sort of Valentine, off the album Gray.  The Visuals are blamed on T.S.Nestor as a front for LogicalCurl, but I could say its my very first attempt at frame by frame animation. 

Edward Ruscha

Most noted as Pop Artist, Ruscha has created a great deal of work from the Southern California area where he has taken up residency.  He received training at the Chouinard Art Institute which would Later be joined with Ahmonson by Walt Disney to become The California Institute of the Arts.  A large percentage of his works contain text as a prominent feature,  California itself has also made "a few" appearances.  There is no shortage of work by Ruscha, most of them are large and he has been extremely prolific. Here are a few works

The Future of Noise Music and Childrens Rebellion

In this time of Miley Cyrus, Beiber boinking Selena Gomez, American Idol, Rhianna getting beat up over a herpes incident,  Lady Gaga's fashion use to gain stardom,  Green day getting old and political,   Chocolate Rain and the Double Rainbow Song blasting to insane YouTube heights, remixed and remashed media overload,  shortening attention spans,  the flooding of the markets by the amateur,  the birth of indie music.  the death of indie music, a label driven genre called indie.  Where are we headed?  Blending backwards and round we go again, shifting each pass with a new hue to collide with the old.  Musical trend cycling has placed us in an 1980s shit warp.  The music industry has been shaken in so many ways by technology since the early nineties, the advent of digital music,  freeing up the market to the underdog.  What began as an assault on the damage already done by the big record labels has backfired by the the "Do It Your Selfers" flooding the market with thoughtless mediocrity.  The recording of music was once difficult when proper facilities and the knowledge of their operation was required... now any Joe can do it with programs that come standard on a MacBook or in an iPhone app.  Quality control right out the window.
So now the trick is to get noticed amongst the rubble... somehow... and the musical revolution has been reduced to a media manipulation popularity contest.  To have the time to create quality creations often means the neglect of the realities of the day: kitten comments,  Chuck Norris,  drunk babies and the ruthless recycling of media on and on, though the concept of Memes has become a digital virus, its not really a new idea is it?  Warhol was doing it and now you can too with the war hole preset on Mac Photo Booth.   Complain about it as much as we can,  this reality is here to stay.  What is? What is just stupid?  Indifference and small thought.  It has all been said before.

There is rumor on the wind of Americana bursting through the earth and back into the mainstream, but  the nature of revisionist roots music is inherently reproducing a much further back past. So we wait for a movement, in which something unique will bubble its way into the Echelons of Popular culture. 

But there is hope, Ruscha knew it 40 years ago.

There is possibility the future must be opening towards, and rebellion must certainly play its part in the midst of the brainwashing seeking to render us all thoughtless at the mercy of Murphy's Glee recycling.  Some massive cataclysmic shift away from the American Idol prototype of stardom.   Thought is hoped to prevail,  but it is rebellion which is unavoidable.  If you like the music your parents like, most likely it's not cool.  For those fortunate enough to have parents with good taste, there will probably be a period of rebelling into something else in between.   So that you can come back to it with a mature mindset shaped and renovated before being allowed to think its cool.   Noise is the path, the disturbance in the status quo,  like Obi Won Kenobi It's our only hope.  Just wait and see.  The pure opposite of pop... but as pop? 

It has begun rising up through the Cracks especially in Electronic music like Mr. Oizo, The Books, Matmos, Lexanculpt, Hrvatski, The dirty synthesizer,  the Digital Concréte manipulation of audio files.  Despite being ideas Explored By Pierre Schaeffer, Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis in the early 1900s they have not fairly found their way into the public sight.  Merzbow with his monstorous forward thinking, leads Japan as a beacon of hope to the underground success of noise followed by such names as Melt Banana, The Bordoms and then the much more highly musical Worlds end Girlfriend who pulls no punches when it comes to being noisy.  Add this all to The Underculture of Industrial, Einstürzende Neubauten, Diamanda Galas, Skinny Puppy, Wolf Eyes, Yellow Swan, this stuff makes the Ultimate act of musical rebellion of the 70s seem like kids with guitars.  Not to subtract from Punk music in any way,  It has most definitely paved the way. And is probably the greatest example of how a countercultural movement can swing its way into becoming a Pop culture phenomenon. 

Mark my words, It will not be too long before noise rises.  The economic situation is ripe, people feel unsettled, it leads to needing an outlet, something aggressive perhaps they will take to the streets perhaps they will burn things. We can hope that a creative outlet overwhelms the destructive one.  Street art carries the poetic terrorism inherent in boundary pushing, and doesn't something so underground rising to popularity deserve its own special soundtrack.  New is needed, something is going to have to give,  Kids will only put up with so much of what they are fed. The standard quality of music has become flaccid, There is just not enough time to practice being a real musician. The tools exist to turn everyone into a walking sampler. And this will truly be the failing and breaking point of the noise movement.  The copy cats who think that noise has no shape or form.  The limited mind space to look at the abstract painting and say I could do that and regurgitate with out the background.  But none the less this is the nature of Pop, and the blanket it will weave will ever grow. and in the end perhaps computers will make music only for other computers to hear.