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January 13 2014

18:02

Listen | Wisconsin Public Radio

WPR.org is Wisconsin Public Radio's online source for news, entertainment, arts, culture, music, politics, weather and community information. Whether on-air or online, WPR offers award-winning local news and cultural programming along with the best of NPR, APM and PRI. http://www.wpr.org/listen/407706
02:01

The Pandrogyne: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge | Love Radio

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is the founding fa/mo/ther of Industrial music, a performance artist, and a very, very, very devoted husband. Produced by Nick van der Kolk and Brendan Baker, with sound design by Brendan Baker. http://loveandradio.org/2013/12/the-pandrogyne/

January 10 2014

03:50

5by5 | Amplified #85: The Angriest Santa

Jim and Dan talk about Canadian blizzards, Jim's missing 2013 Mac Pro, the LaCie Fuel, Dropbox, DROPOUTJEEP, coding on an iPad, apps that Must Always Be Installed, Jim's amazing new rig, and more. http://5by5.tv/amplified/85

January 08 2014

17:13

The Blind Flight 01.04.14

Hello. This is my end-of-the-year summary and, I have to say, I never expected to have such a large amount of material released in 2013. I had no idea, when the year began, that I’d be writing so much music and that a lot of it would be accepted to various internet labels. I’d like to thank the proprietors of all the internet labels, people like Jack Hertz of Sound For Good and Aural Films, Thomas park and Phillip Wilkerson of treetrunk, Stephen Philips of Darkduck Records, C.P. McDill of webbed hand records, Thomas Mathie of weareallghosts, Emily Loren Ferrell of subterraneantide, John Tocher of Buddhist on Fire, rad Ross-MacLeod of Free Floating Music, c. reider of Dystimbria, Evgenij V. Kharitonov of 45 echoes Sounds, Paolino Canzoneri of Nostress, and Bing Satellites of BFW Recordings for the numerous opportunities that I’ve had to make all this music available to you, the people who download and listen. I’d also like to thank you, the listener for the time you take to give my music your attention. And now for my list of an astonishing 29 releases for the year which includes various artists compilations, collaborations and solo efforts. All are free to download at the links included in the following summary of activity. Various artists compilations: Free Floating Music – all-is-calm 2013 Yule Tidings http://freefloatingmusic.bandcamp.com/album/all-is-calm-2013 the-bfw-christmas-album-2013 Drone for Christmas http://bfwrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/the-bfw-christmas-album-2013 In Memory of… Soaring through the Radiant Stars (a tribute to Lucette Bourdin) http://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/in-memory-of Album in a day volume 7 Tibetan Daydream http://www.bfwrecordings.com/releases/AlbumInADay/Vol7/ Fukushima Drones Atmospheric Radiation http://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/fukushima-drones Robots Data’s Night Terror http://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/robots The Drone Download Project http://darkduck.net/store_ddp.html Album in a Day Volume 6 Beauty in Tears http://www.bfwrecordings.com/releases/AlbumInADay/Vol6/ 3m33s 2013.02.12 http://leberger.bandcamp.com Collaborative efforts: A Night on Pluto with Mystified https://archive.org/details/ANightOnPluto Into the Eternal Darkness with Jack Hertz http://www.nostressnetlabel.net/NN_LP044_10_13.html Aural Portraits Of Triton – Vol. 1 with G.m. Slater http://lunarnavigationalsystems.bandcamp.com/album/aural-portraits-of-triton-vol-1 The Path to the Gods with Shane Morris http://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/the-path-to-the-gods Solo releases: Wonderland: Alice http://buddhistonfire.com/2013/11/55-scott-lawlor—wonderland-alice/ Jupiter Is A Cosmic Vacuum Cleaner http://45echoes-sounds.blogspot.ru/2013/11/45e024-2013-scott-lawlor-jupiter-is.html The Space Between The Leaves | Meadows of Summer http://weareallghosts.bandcamp.com/album/the-space-between-the-leaves-meadows-of-summer-waag-rel035 Rain 2 http://webbedhandrecords.com/wh273-scott-lawlor-rain-2/ Seeking Rest http://freefloatingmusic.bandcamp.com/album/seeking-rest guitar drone in G Minor http://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/guitar-drone-in-g-minor Rain 1 http://webbedhandrecords.com/wh267-scott-lawlor-rain-1/ Desert winds http://45echoes-sounds.blogspot.ru/2013/06/45e019-2013-scott-lawlor-desert-winds.html Like a Pelican of the Wilderness http://weareallghosts.bandcamp.com/album/like-a-pelican-of-the-wilderness-waag-rel024 Complex Silence 36 http://complexsilence.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/complex-silence-36-scott-lawlor/ Dark Mind https://archive.org/details/bof050 Constant 29 https://archive.org/details/Constant_29 The Ghost of Marianna http://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/the-ghost-of-marianna Haiku 03 http://www.subterraneantide.com/hk03-scott-lawlor.html Times Escape http://weareallghosts.bandcamp.com/album/times-escape-waag-rel016 The Ebb and Flow of the Cycle of Time http://dystimbria.cc/ http://theblindflight.wordpress.com/
14:38

BBC Forum: Hands

Some say that the hand is where the mind meets the world. So what happens if you lose a hand? What are the options for a replacement? And the power of the human hand to create music out of chaos: how does a conductor communicate his musical vision to an orchestra. Bridget Kendall's guests are: prof. Simon Kay, a surgeon based in Leeds, who performed the first hand transplant in the UK; New Zealander Lynette Jones, Senior Research Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who studies tactile sensations; and Sakari Oramo, a Finnish musician who recently became the Chief Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

January 07 2014

08:01

Master Conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner On Bach

Master conductor John Eliot Gardiner takes on the many voices of Bach in a new biography.  He joins us.

Conductor, scholar, and famed interpreter of Baroque music  Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Matthias Baus).

Conductor, scholar, and famed interpreter of Baroque music Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Matthias Baus).

Guest

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, international conductor, scholar, and famed interpreter of Baroque music. Author of “Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven.” Founder of the Monteverdi Choir, the English Baroque Soloist and the Orchestre Révolutionaire et Romantique.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New Yorker: The Book of Bach — “Gardiner, the vital English maestro who has animated repertory from Monteverdi to Percy Grainger, undertook the project of performing and recording all of Bach’s sacred cantatas a decade ago. Beginning on Christmas Day, 1999, and ending on the last day of 2000, he travelled with the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists to more than fifty churches in Europe and America, including hallowed places where Bach worked.”

The Wall Street Journal:  Book Review: ‘Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven’ by John Eliot Gardiner — “‘Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven’  is an unusual book—part biography, part exegesis of Bach’s choral masterpieces (the cantatas, masses, oratorios and passions). Mr. Gardiner organizes it in 14 loosely related chapters, or ‘spokes’ of the wheel that is Bach’s life and music. In a chapter on Bach’s contemporaries Handel, Scarlatti and Telemann, Mr. Gardiner charts Bach’s path away from opera and toward sacred music—a decision that considerably limited his fame as a composer during his lifetime. Elsewhere, Mr. Gardiner gives a fascinating account of the prevailing decorum during church services, concluding that the gossiping, late arrivals and red-carpet-like entrances during the music must have been enormously frustrating to the composer.”

The Daily Beast: John Eliot Gardiner Discusses His Monumental Bach Biography — “Gardiner is the first to admit that reading a book about Bach’s life and times, even one with an insider’s awareness of the music’s particular difficulties (‘those long, long phrases with nowhere to breathe’), does not explain the mysterious beauty of the music itself: ‘Analysis of musical structure has its uses,” he writes in his preface, “but it gets you only part of the way.’ But if you read Gardiner, then listen to—or better yet, try to sing or play—the pieces he’s writing about, then you can’t help learning a lot.”

Read An Excerpt Of “Bach: Music In the Castle of Heaven” by Sir John Eliot Gardiner

January 06 2014

16:00

David Bowie And The 1970s

This program is rebroadcast from August 10, 2012.

Ziggy Stardust, high persona, and a new biography of David Bowie.

David Bowie applies his makeup. (R. Bamber/Rex Features/Courtesy Everett Collection)

David Bowie applies his makeup. (R. Bamber/Rex Features/Courtesy Everett Collection)

David Jones, born 1947, became David Bowie. David Bowie became Ziggy Stardust, messenger from Mars. Starman. And a whole lot more.

In the 1970s, one-of-a-kind rocker David Bowie was the one who walked away from the 1960s utopianism. Went surreal. Went space. Went glam. Went omni-sexual. Fantasy. Strange. Painted his face. Put on the spandex. And ran all over the cosmos.

This hour, On Point: a new biography looks at David Bowie, the master of persona, and the 1970s.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Peter Doggett, music critic and cultural historian. Author of “The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie & the 1970s.”

Earl Slick, guitarist who has played with David Bowie on several albums. He’s also worked with John Lennon, Robert Smith, Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and many more.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post “Doggett convincingly argues that Bowie was the emblematic performer of the 1970s in much the same way the Beatles and Rolling Stones were emblematic of the 1960s. That Bowie didn’t share their universal acclaim is more than made up for, Doggett argues, by his managing to stay relevant even as punk rock and disco relegated the classic rockers to the status of dinosaurs toward the end of the decade.”

New York Daily News “Where Jagger was still coy about his own sexual preferences, Bowie made no effort to conceal the fact that both he and his wife were bisexual and often shared partners. ‘Mick looked at David and wondered if maybe this was the wave of the future,’ said Leee Black Childers, former executive vice president of MainMan, the management firm that handled Bowie. ‘Mick was very conscious of doing whatever it takes to stay hot; David was the hottest thing around at the time.’”

Excerpt: “The Man Who Sold The World”

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

Playlist

Ziggy Stardust (1972, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars)

Space Oddity [Demo Version] (1969, Space Oddity 40th Anniversary Edition)

The Man Who Sold The World (1970, The Man Who Sold the World)

Changes [LIVE] (1972, Aladdin Sane 30th Anniversary Edition)

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide [LIVE] (1973, Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture Soundtrack)

John, I’m Only Dancing [LIVE] (1972, Santa Monica ’72)

Young Americans (1975, Young Americans)

Golden Years (1975, Station To Station)

Fame [LIVE] (1976, Live on Soul Train)

 

Sound And Vision (1977, Low)

Joe The Lion (1977, Heroes)

Fashion (1980, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps))

Rebel Rebel (1974, Diamond Dogs)

 

January 05 2014

20:27

Hip-Hop's Aboriginal Connection

11:36

Livetrad.com: Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin

Donal Lunny and Paddy Glackin live from the Solidarity with Japan Session. http://www.livetrad.com/podcast/
03:15

Acoustic architecture

How does music speak to the buildings that house it? Music has always been a conversation with its environment, but from the 15th Century on, the craft became much more deliberate. And acoustic architecture has changed a lot since Dufay and the Gabrielis were composing their choral works for the Basilicas of Italy. Palaces, cathedrals, concert halls all got the bespoke treatment from composers like Bach and Beethoven. But as we reach the 20th Century and the machine-age, a different sonic logic starts to work. While the tradition was still maintained by people like Benjamin Britten, new minds like Edgard Varèse started to see other parallels between architecture and music. By the time we get to Iannis Xenakis, the architect-turned-composer, the idea of music and structure start to merge. And today the disciplines of architecture and music are spawning brand new hybrids—architects design music—musicians perform buildings. So, would you like to live in my song? http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/intothemusic/acoustic-architecture/4969332
00:05

Pop Up Circus - an outback odyssey

Last spring, the opal mining Corner Country town of White Cliffs held an Underground Art Festival and, as part of the celebration, Jon Rose led a group of musician/sound artists into the small but very engaged community. The Sound Circus brought sonic work, which uses fragile new media and homemade technologies, to challenging and remote environments and conditions hostile to Homo urbanus (heat, flies, floods, snakes, etc). It's a test for a musician, their creativity, and their technologies. The mission also examined the notion of whether a group of 'blowins' could contribute to a 'singing up of country' in a place where indigenous traditional culture has all but been eradicated. (Mutawintji National Park once hosted huge corrobories of over 3,000 people.) The circus sound artists offered improvised performances, interactive musical ‘play’ and highly successful school workshops. http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/intothemusic/pop-up-circus---an-outback-odyssey/4675368

January 03 2014

20:43

Looking Sideways Episode 8 — Sarah Angliss

Sarah Angliss is a composer and performer, writer and historian, roboticist and maker of musical instruments and automata. I caught up with her in the basement of Bom-Banes café in Brighton’s Kemp Town to find out what lies behind her eerie performances and historically-influenced music. We talked about the discomfort of new technology, and nostalgia for old; performance, magic and jeopardy; and the value of physical things in a world being eaten by software. Jane Bom-Banes café in Brighton Sarah talking about machine music and clog dancing at TEDx Brighton Hugo onstage at the 2011 Brighton Mini Maker Faire after-party Dead of Night (1945) on IMDB Florence Nightingale voice recording Google Glass: What You’re Not Supposed To Do Radio 4′s Digital Human – Value Marc Andreessen: Why Software Is Eating The World — and the hardware startup renaissance. Thor Magnusson live coding Sarah with Spacedog at the BFI: Music for Silent Gothic Treasures Sarah on Soundcloud Sarah’s last album with Spacedog and Belbury Poly: Message and Method Down to the Silver Sea compilation featuring Jon Brooks, Pye Corner Audio, Moon Wiring Club, Time Attendant and Sarah Angliss on Boomkat Nerdy Day Trips Kelvedon Hatch Secret Nuclear Bunker in Essex Stewart Lee & Friends: celebrating the music of Nick Pynn – featuring Jane Bom-Bane, at the Brighton Dome, 23 March 2014 http://andrewsleigh.com/1695
15:07

The Blind Flight 12.28.13

Hello. This is my end-of-the-year summary and, I have to say, I never expected to have such a large amount of material released in 2013. I had no idea, when the year began, that I’d be writing so much music and that a lot of it would be accepted to various internet labels. I’d like to thank the proprietors of all the internet labels, people like Jack Hertz of Sound For Good and Aural Films, Thomas park and Phillip Wilkerson of treetrunk, Stephen Philips of Darkduck Records, C.P. McDill of webbed hand records, Thomas Mathie of weareallghosts, Emily Loren Ferrell of subterraneantide, John Tocher of Buddhist on Fire, rad Ross-MacLeod of Free Floating Music, c. reider of Dystimbria, Evgenij V. Kharitonov of 45 echoes Sounds, Paolino Canzoneri of Nostress, and Bing Satellites of BFW Recordings for the numerous opportunities that I’ve had to make all this music available to you, the people who download and listen. I’d also like to thank you, the listener for the time you take to give my music your attention. And now for my list of an astonishing 29 releases for the year which includes various artists compilations, collaborations and solo efforts. All are free to download at the links included in the following summary of activity. Various artists compilations: Free Floating Music – all-is-calm 2013 Yule Tidings http://freefloatingmusic.bandcamp.com/album/all-is-calm-2013 the-bfw-christmas-album-2013 Drone for Christmas http://bfwrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/the-bfw-christmas-album-2013 In Memory of… Soaring through the Radiant Stars (a tribute to Lucette Bourdin) http://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/in-memory-of Album in a day volume 7 Tibetan Daydream http://www.bfwrecordings.com/releases/AlbumInADay/Vol7/ Fukushima Drones Atmospheric Radiation http://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/fukushima-drones Robots Data’s Night Terror http://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/robots The Drone Download Project http://darkduck.net/store_ddp.html Album in a Day Volume 6 Beauty in Tears http://www.bfwrecordings.com/releases/AlbumInADay/Vol6/ 3m33s 2013.02.12 http://leberger.bandcamp.com Collaborative efforts: A Night on Pluto with Mystified https://archive.org/details/ANightOnPluto Into the Eternal Darkness with Jack Hertz http://www.nostressnetlabel.net/NN_LP044_10_13.html Aural Portraits Of Triton – Vol. 1 with G.m. Slater http://lunarnavigationalsystems.bandcamp.com/album/aural-portraits-of-triton-vol-1 The Path to the Gods with Shane Morris http://auralfilms.bandcamp.com/album/the-path-to-the-gods Solo releases: Wonderland: Alice http://buddhistonfire.com/2013/11/55-scott-lawlor—wonderland-alice/ Jupiter Is A Cosmic Vacuum Cleaner http://45echoes-sounds.blogspot.ru/2013/11/45e024-2013-scott-lawlor-jupiter-is.html The Space Between The Leaves | Meadows of Summer http://weareallghosts.bandcamp.com/album/the-space-between-the-leaves-meadows-of-summer-waag-rel035 Rain 2 http://webbedhandrecords.com/wh273-scott-lawlor-rain-2/ Seeking Rest http://freefloatingmusic.bandcamp.com/album/seeking-rest guitar drone in G Minor http://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/guitar-drone-in-g-minor Rain 1 http://webbedhandrecords.com/wh267-scott-lawlor-rain-1/ Desert winds http://45echoes-sounds.blogspot.ru/2013/06/45e019-2013-scott-lawlor-desert-winds.html Like a Pelican of the Wilderness http://weareallghosts.bandcamp.com/album/like-a-pelican-of-the-wilderness-waag-rel024 Complex Silence 36 http://complexsilence.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/complex-silence-36-scott-lawlor/ Dark Mind https://archive.org/details/bof050 Constant 29 https://archive.org/details/Constant_29 The Ghost of Marianna http://scottlawlor.bandcamp.com/album/the-ghost-of-marianna Haiku 03 http://www.subterraneantide.com/hk03-scott-lawlor.html Times Escape http://weareallghosts.bandcamp.com/album/times-escape-waag-rel016 The Ebb and Flow of the Cycle of Time http://dystimbria.cc/ http://theblindflight.wordpress.com/
09:01

New Music: 2014

Out with the old. We’re listening to great new music – a new playlist – for 2014. Don’t miss it.

R&B artist Tei Shi's is one of eMusic.com's top 14 artists to watch in 2014. (photo via Facebook)

R&B artist Tei Shi’s is one of eMusic.com’s top 14 artists to watch in 2014. (photo via Facebook)

Guests

J. Edward Keyes, editor of chief of eMusic. (@keyescore)

Maura Johnston, editor of the online culture publication, “Maura Magazine.” Former music editor for The Village Voice. (maura">@maura)

From Tom’s Reading List

eMusic: 14 To Watch in 2014 — “Every year, we look forward to two things: looking back on our “Ones to Watch” from the previous year, and assembling that same list for the year to come. Last year, we predicted Parquet Courts, Icona Pop, Savages, Sky Ferreira and several others would have a great year in 2013. We think our predictions were borne out. I’m even more excited about this year’s list, as I feel like it consists of 14 artists who are moving music forward, taking time-tested blueprints and refashioning them in their own image.”

The Guardian: Pop music in 2014: what to look out for this year — “A few weeks ago, one of the most powerful men in the music industry, Columbia Records boss Rob Stringer, was interviewed about his label’s plans for 2014. He mentioned the forthcoming January release from Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes, a collection of covers, outtakes and “reimagined” versions of songs from previous albums – and, more speculatively, a forthcoming album by Pharrell Williams, set to include his current single Happy, from the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2. Then he added, vaguely, “at some point, Beyoncé will put a record out and when she does it’ll be phenomenal”. The headlines duly suggested a Beyoncé album would arrive in 2014.”

Esquire: 15 Bands To Watch In 2014 ”Ah, a new year. And here we have some “in with the new” for you, a preview of some great new — and not-so-new — musical acts you should have on your radar for 2014, culled from the playlists of our music writers. We know you’re anxious to get on with writing those resolutions, so without further ado.”

Playlist

Producer’s Note: Some of the included tracks on this playlist contain explicit language 

January 02 2014

05:33

All Songs Considered with the Swedish band The Knife

In a rare audio interview, the Swedish electronic duo reveals how its latest album, Shaking The Habitual, is an extension of the philosophy that "everything is politicized." http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2013/04/10/176778960/the-knife-on-shaking-expectations

December 31 2013

10:41

Inside Musical Subculture

This Program Is Rebroadcast From July 12, 2013

Musical cults, from Phish Phans to Deadheads to Juggalos to Wagner. We’ll look at who gets the caravan of followers.

Fans enjoy the Phish concert. (AP)

Fans enjoy the first concert by Phish in five years at the Hampton Coliseum, March 6, 2009. (AP)

There are fans in music, and then there are superfans, and then – for some musicians, some groups – there are whole superfan sub-cultures. Passionate caravans going where they go, doing what they do, living the dream.

Deadheads for the Grateful Dead. Phish Phans for Phish. Jimmy Buffet’s parrot heads. Juggalos for the Insane Clown Posse.

This hour On Point: music’s superfan sub-cultures, from Paganini and Liszt to Phish, with Alex Ross, Bikini Kill’s riot grrrl Kathleen Hannah, and much more. Rock on.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nathan Rabin, author of “You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures with Two of Music’s Most Maligned Tribes” (2013), former head writer for ‘The A. V. Club,’ ‘The Onion’s’ entertainment guide, and staff writer for the new film website, ‘The Dissolve‘, from ‘Pitchfork’. (@nathanrabin)

Kathleen Hanna, an American musician, activist and writer. She was the lead singer of the punk rock band, Bikini Kill and former front woman for the band, Le Tigre. Her new band, The Julie Ruin‘s album, “Run Fast” is due out in September. (@kathleenhanna)

Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker since 1996, author of “Listen to This” (2010) and “The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century” (2007). (@alexrossmusic)

From Tom’s Reading List

Rolling Stone: Insane Clown Posse’s Juggalos and Phish Fans Explored in New Book – “Rabin went full-on gonzo while reporting the book, ingesting all sorts of mind-altering drugs, traveling the country by Greyhound bus, scalping tickets and interacting with the hardest of hardcore fans. He also blew through much of his savings, nearly broke up with his girlfriend and found out he is bipolar”

New Yorker: Hanna And Her Sisters – “Even though the riot-grrrl community has come to dwarf the songs in historical memory—that was the point, really—the music is still a pungent tonic.”

New Yorker: Deadhead – “Eaton cleaned the tapes with cotton balls and alcohol, and Latvala loaded one up onto his reel-to-reel. The exposed outer layer—the first thirty seconds or so—was ruined, but as the music kicked in they realized they might have a treasure on their hands.”

Book Excerpt

From You Don’t Know Me but You Don’t Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures With Two of Music’s Most Maligned Tribes by Nathan Rabin.

What Madness Have I Gotten Myself Into?

It begins, as these things generally do, with a girl. When I was twenty-five years old in 2001 I traveled to Marietta, Georgia, to visit my younger sister, Shari, and became instantly enraptured with a radiant seventeen-year-old friend of hers I will call Cadence Caraway. Though we spent only an hour together having brunch, the memory of Cadence haunted me until eight years later when she contacted me on the message boards for the A.V. Club, the entertainment monolith where I have toiled as head writer since the beginning of time. We fell in love via e-mails and phone conversations before beginning a long-distance romance that found us shuttling back and forth between Providence, Rhode Island, where Cadence was getting her master’s in teaching from Brown, and my hometown of Chicago.
In Providence one of our most beloved and oft-repeated rituals entailed compulsively watching the music video for “Miracles,” from controversial Detroit horrorcore duo Insane Clown Posse. We were mesmerized by the surreal incongruity between the gothic artifice of Insane Clown Posse’s wicked-clown persona and the video’s glorious lack of self-consciousness. The self-styled World’s Most Hated Group had been on the periphery of my consciousness since I started writing about pop culture for the A.V. Club. The band was an easy punch line for cynics, as well as the inspiration for the most mocked and reviled subculture in existence: Juggalos, the strange, often Midwestern creatures who wore clown makeup, greeted each other with hearty cries of “Whoop whoop,” “Family,” and “Magic magic ninja what!” and sprayed themselves with off-brand Faygo sodas during concerts rich in theatricality and homemade spectacle. They unite every year for an infamous multiday bacchanal known as the Gathering of the Juggalos.
Deans of pop culture had treated the duo with equal parts fascination and repulsion, but after “Miracles” my mild curiosity about Insane Clown Posse and the wild, weird, disreputable world they rule as clown-painted demon deities evolved into something more serious. Yet even as someone fortunate enough to be able to write about his obsessions for a living, I had only a fuzzy conception of what a massive role Insane Clown Posse (aka ICP) and especially their passionate, intense, and unique fans would play in the next few years of my life.
Cadence shared my intense obsession with “Miracles” even if the duo’s self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek take on horrorcore couldn’t have been further from her usual tastes. In one of her first e-mails to me, Cadence inquired, “Do you like the band Phish?” I freaked out a little bit. Asking someone if they like Phish is a loaded question. It’s not like asking, “Do you like Squeeze?” Nobody is liable to care if you enjoy the music of
the veteran British pop band behind “Tempted” and “Pulling Mussels from a Shell,” but if someone says they’re really into Phish, we’re often tempted to make sweeping generalizations about their personality, intelligence, personal hygiene, sobriety, class, education, and taste.
There’s a great T-shirt from my employers at the Onion that reads, stereotypes are a real time-saver. That’s certainly true when it comes to Phish and Insane Clown Posse. Buy into the stereotype of Juggalos as uneducated, violent, racist, and ignorant, or Phish fans as unemployed, weed-smoking, unjustifiably privileged space cadets, and you don’t have to waste time listening to their music or actually interacting with any of their fans.
Part of the revulsion people feel toward Phish and Insane Clown Posse is physical in nature. Being a hardcore Insane Clown Posse fan is an intensely visceral experience involving sticky clown makeup, soda-soaked clothing, homemade tattoos, and, in the case of the Gathering of the Juggalos, thousands of Juggalos gathering in a remote, drug-sex-and-alcohol-choked rural environment for days on end with extraordinarily limited access to showers, toiletries, and other niceties. On a primal level, a lot of people find Juggalos just plain gross.
Phish fans aren’t held in the same contempt, in part because their fan base tends to be better educated and wealthier than the overwhelmingly working-class Juggalos, but as the biggest and best-known jam band in existence, Phish is one of the primary targets of our culture’s long-standing antihippie bias. By the time I went to college in Madison, Wisconsin, in 1994, Phish was the hippie band, just as the Grateful Dead was the hippie band for generations before it. Like the Grateful Dead, Phish tends to be judged by the culture and attitudes of its fans as much as the content of its music. As a college kid, I came to see Phish as the band whose music you were casually forced to listen to in exchange for a free bowl of pot. I don’t remember the music nearly as much as I remember those experiences. I think that’s true for a lot of people’s perception of Phish: The music floats away into a noodly, interchangeable blur of guitar solos and free-form sonic experimentation, but the stoned grins, tie-dyed shirts, and mellow vibes of fans linger on. In part because its oeuvre was critically unfashionable and terminally unhip, I let Phish’s music wash over me without really thinking about it or really, truly listening to it.
As I grew older I internalized our culture’s revisionist take on hippies as drug-addicted, myopic brats luxuriating in eternal adolescence. I inherited the widespread sense that hippies were getting away with something, that they were lazily opting out of civilization to get high in a field while the grueling machinery of late-period capitalism continued without them.
The hippie ethos and Phish’s mythology are inextricably intertwined: Phish isn’t a band; it’s a way of life. It’s a name that conjures up images of lost children with scruffy beards and tie-dyed shorts and sad, emaciated pit bulls on rope chains accompanied by dreadlocked white women habitually clad in flowing dresses.
“Do you like the band Phish?” implicitly means, “How do you feel about jam bands? How do you feel about people who follow Phish? How do you feel about marijuana and Ecstasy and nitrous and acid and mushrooms? How do you feel about traveling from town to town and devoting your life to the music of a group of middle-aged men? How do you feel about the Grateful Dead? How do you feel about the sixties? How do you feel about sex and freedom and the liberating powers of rock ’n’ roll? How do you feel about the open road? How do you feel about earnestness and sincerity and sneering, protective irony?”
Did I like the band Phish? I had no idea. I’d lazily bought into the overriding cultural assessment of the band and its fans, but now I had a whole new frame of reference: my beloved Cadence.
Phish had made my Cadence happy. I wanted to be part of anything that gave her joy. I fell in love with her in a way that paradoxically made me feel powerful and powerless, bulletproof and vulnerable. I felt like I could accomplish anything with her by my side but the prospect of losing her terrified me. I didn’t just want to be her present and future: I wanted to retroactively become her past as well. I wanted to somehow Photoshop myself into her memories. I wanted to travel back
in time and twirl ecstatically at half-forgotten festivals. I fell in love with the woman Cadence had become but I was also in love with the beautiful child she had been. Maybe that’s what my sudden urge to see as many Phish shows as possible was ultimately about: rewriting Cadence’s history with me as the romantic lead.
How could I hold on to my knee-jerk anti-Phish prejudice when the band meant so much to the greatest source of happiness in my life? As a freakishly smart, preternaturally verbal, obscenely well-read teenager in the sprawling suburban wasteland of Marietta, Georgia (Newt Gingrich’s district), Cadence followed Phish to escape a dispiriting universe of jocks and skinny blonde girls, a soul-crushingly homogenous realm where everyone became a real estate salesman or stockbroker, got married in their early twenties, voted Republican, and traded lawn-maintenance tips at the country club after work. To Cadence, Phish fandom was a way of both asserting her individuality and joining a tribe.
Though we grew up nearly a decade apart and several universes away from each other, we both sought out books and music and movies and ideas as a way of escaping a world where we didn’t belong. For me, that meant throwing myself into art that expressed the bottomless rage I felt. I lost myself in the anarchic anger of Johnny Rotten or the righteous rebellion of the Coup. For Cadence, it meant traveling in the opposite direction, seeking out music and a scene that stumbled toward grace, toward transcendence, toward the eternal ideal of one nation under a groove.
We are born with open minds. We want to explore, to learn, to grow, to see and experience everything. But as we get older our minds begin to close. We become stuck in our ways. Preferences become prejudices. Yes, yes, yes is replaced by Bartleby’s “I’d prefer not to.” New movements and stars and genres strike us as strange, incomprehensible, objectionable, and ridiculous. Our lust for knowledge and adventure is replaced by a desire for those damned kids to get off our lawn and turn down that crazy jungle music while they’re at it. We fetishize the music and movies and movements of our youth. We retreat into the comforting cocoon of the familiar.
After a lifetime of feeling different, I started to wonder if we’re all secretly the same. I began to suspect that what divides us isn’t as important as what unites us. We all hurt and ache and bleed and struggle and love. We just listen to different music and align ourselves with different subcultures while we do so.
Like Phish, Insane Clown Posse has developed a vast, intensely loyal grassroots following despite being alternately ignored and mocked by the mainstream. In the case of Insane Clown Posse at least, it could be argued that the group has an intensely loyal grassroots following because it has been alternately ignored and mocked by the mainstream, not despite it. As Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J likes to say, the colder it is outside the circle, the warmer it is inside. The sense of persecution many Juggalos feel from the outside world serves to bind them closer together.
The parallels between the seemingly antithetical groups are legion. They each have elaborate homemade mythologies. Phish has its “Gamehenge” song cycle, a dense, C. S. Lewis/J. R. R. Tolkien–style saga of good and evil rooted in The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday, a concept album frontman Trey Anastasio wrote as his senior study while enrolled in Goddard College in the mid-1980s.
The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday chronicles the fantastical adventures of an aging military man named Colonel Forbin who finds a door into the mythical realm of Gamehenge, a world populated by the Lizards, a peaceful people who led an idyllic existence dictated by the precepts of a manual called the Helping Friendly Book before an evil outsider named Wilson took advantage of their trusting nature to enslave them using knowledge gleaned from the book, which he had hidden away to keep the Lizards from harnessing its incredible power. Colonel Forbin tries to retrieve the Helping Friendly Book to aid the Lizards in their rebellion against the nefarious Wilson, only to have it fall into the hands of a character named Errand Wolfe, who uses it to overthrow Wilson and install himself as ruler instead of returning the book to the Lizards. In The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday, as in life, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Phish has never released The Man Who Stepped into Yesterday as a studio album but its songs, characters, and conflicts live on in the band’s regular live performances of songs from the opus.
Insane Clown Posse has an even more convoluted and central mythology involving the afterlife collectively known as the Dark Carnival, rooted in a series of “Joker’s Cards” that correspond to different ICP albums.
Insane Clown Posse and Phish have both worked to cultivate a sense of community with their followers that obliterates the distinction between artist and fan.
But more than elaborate mythologies, Phish and Insane Clown Posse offer fans the sense of community, identity, and belonging that comes with joining a tight-knit if widely disparaged tribe with its own set of rituals, traditions, and homemade folklore. When I examine my soul, I have to admit that this sense of community and belonging probably attracted me to Phish and Insane Clown Posse as much as the fascinating place they hold in pop culture.
To research the curious ways of modern musical tribes, I decided to augment my travels to Hallowicked and the Gathering of the Juggalos by following Phish with Cadence throughout the summer of 2010. When that proved an epic boondoggle, I found myself heading out on the road to follow Phish in the summer of 2011 in a radically different, perilous new context: I was now broke, desperate, half mad, terrified that my world was about to be rent asunder at any moment, and, most dramatically of all, without Cadence.
You Don’t Know Me but You Don’t Like Me is the rambling tale of a man who followed Phish and Insane Clown Posse for two years and lost his way, whose mind and mission got hopelessly scrambled somewhere along the glorious, hazardous road, and who just barely managed to crawl his way back home. It is a much different book from the tidy, anthropological tome I set out to write, but it’s also the only book I could have written honestly and with a clear conscience. I set out to write a book about musical fandom from the outside in. Instead I ended up writing a book about fandom from the inside out.
What could have motivated me to devote my summers to a band and subculture that had been so utterly foreign to me? Love plays a central role, but I also wanted to capture a snapshot of a funky subsection of the pop-culture universe. I wanted to do it before age and responsibility made traveling across the country to follow a rock ’n’ roll band impossible, before I really had to grow up. I didn’t realize when I began that I had already passed that point in my life and that every time I headed out on the road, I did so at my own peril.
I wanted to understand what attracts people like my beloved Cadence to the traveling carnival of a Phish tour. What compelled others to paint their faces like clowns and get tattoos of Hatchetman, the mascot for ICP’s Psychopathic label? I wanted to delve beyond the caricature of jam-band fans and horrorcore scrubs. I decided to throw myself on the front lines of first-­person journalistic experimentation, like Barbara Ehrenreich in Nickel and Dimed or David Foster Wallace munching on a corn dog at the state fair or A. J. Jacobs dressing up like Moses or that book where George Plimpton went undercover with the Symbionese Liberation Army and ended up offing all those pigs.
My curious years following two of the strangest and strongest musical subcultures represented my first and last fling. Throughout my twenties I avoided many of the responsibilities of adulthood out of a delusional conviction that I’d wake up one day and be transformed into a young Jack Kerouac. I’d become a drifter, a gypsy, an upscale hobo, the Wandering Jew, a merry prankster, a good old American guest. A man like that cannot and should not be tied down by a mortgage, marriage, and fatherhood. As Billy Joe Shaver reminds us, doers and thinkers say moving is the closest thing to being free. As an American, I have an inalienable right to pretend that I’m perpetually on the verge of throwing it all away and heading out onto the open road. I cherish that illusion. Or at least I did until it smashed up hard against a brick wall of reality.

Musical Fandom Playlist

Advisory: The following songs contain explicit content.

December 30 2013

13:46

5by5 | Amplified #84: A Very Small Button

Jim travels to Austin, Texas to join Dan in person for this very special episode. Along with 5by5 Producer Haddie Cooke, they discuss the new Mac Pro, Bitcoin, iPad keyboards, the iA Writer patent controversy, Tim Cook's thank you to Apple employees, and http://5by5.tv/amplified/84

December 29 2013

15:04

5by5 | Amplified #84: A Very Small Button

Jim travels to Austin, Texas to join Dan in person for this very special episode. Along with 5by5 Producer Haddie Cooke, they discuss the new Mac Pro, Bitcoin, iPad keyboards, the iA Writer patent controversy, Tim Cook's thank you to Apple employees, and http://5by5.tv/amplified/84

December 28 2013

20:17

Soundcheck: 2013 Year in Music - Tuesday

All this week, Soundcheck is looking back at the music of 2013 -- from best albums and unstoppable songs to ... http://soundcheck.wnyc.org/story/soundcheck-2013-12-17/
20:16

Soundcheck: 2013 Year in Music - Monday

All this week, Soundcheck is looking back at the music of 2013 -- from best albums and unstoppable songs to ... http://soundcheck.wnyc.org/story/year-in-music/
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