Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"PASTICHE: an evening of post-modern sound-experimentation."

Friday, October 22. Manchester, NH. The Jam Factory (next to/ between Raxx on Elm). Be there.

This will hopefully be the first in a series of nights called PASTICHE in Manchester, trying to find a consistent home for the area's experimental music community (right now we're focusing specifically on electronic material, but down the road that will probably be open to interpretation.) 

This time around, we've got The Attic Bits, a chiptune/ 8-bit act from the seacoast (if you don't know what that means... they basically "DJ" using modified video-game equipment. It's pretty entertaining (and extremely listenable, and often danceable, for electro-fans, even if you don't pick up on the particular schtick.). 

Ross Boyd (frontman of The Tuna Fish Discrepancy, etc.) will be throwing down some electro noise (under an ironically-pompous-sounding moniker that promoter Sadi Khan and I pressured him into assuming for the set {"The Ross Boyd Experience"). To be perfectly honest, I've almost gone out of my way to NOT ask Ross what he has up his sleeve for the night, because I want to be surprised, and I know that it will be epic. (For a taste of Ross doing more electro-ish stuff, T.F.D. released a new record yesterday through Headhat Records, called "Old Haunts." It's rumored to be the last recording in the era of T.F.D. in its pre-full-band format, and features Ross delving into some fun experimental terrain. Download it for free {or donation} here. It's good. Really good.)

And I'm playing a set as LeVautourEnsemble. (now, I'm wracking my brain at the moment, but I believe that, in the 10 years or so I've been recording under that name, this might be the first time I'll perform under the moniker? Weird.) 

 Here's the thing, though. I don't plan to play any of the songs off of the new record. I know, I'm a stubborn bastard like that. Nope, this is an experimental electro-noise event, not a normal "show." My plan is to drop (with an assortment of junk compiled into a sort of deconstructed-"DJ"-rig) a seamless set of ebbing and flowing sound. I plan to get up to play with a couple lists of beats, samples, noises, etc. that COULD possibly be used,  some extremely vague lyric-prompts, maybe some pieces of my poetry to steal lines from, and improvise. 

Here's where I would like your help. This is the perfect opportunity to incorporate a bit of crowd-source magic, to make this a surreal and cathartic experience for all. So I have a couple of extremely minor requests. 

First... if you come to the show, and I walk up to you with a hand-held device of some sort, and ask you to say something that seems strange to you, please play along?

Second... I want to try to compile a list, between now and the show, of odd requests, prompts, propositions, etc... and try to work as many of them as possible into the set. So, either in comments to this post, the discussion-board thread on the L.V.E. Facebook page, to me directly in email, or on the clip-board I'll have at the merch-booth at the show, send me random ideas of things to make up lyrics about, things to sample (samples must make it onto the list at least a day before the show), etc. Then just show up at The Jam Factory and listen for how I incorporate YOUR idea! Sounds like fun, right?

Third... when you come to the show, bring some junk that makes noise. We'll be throwing down whole-room-style, and you don't want to be left out. 

I'm working through some ideas, and talking to some people, about guest appearances, etc... but I'm always open to more suggestions in that regard. Like I said, I'm thinking of this as less "show" and more "experimental {noisy} club-nite-event." So... if you're a visual-artist who wants to set up a projector-screen during my set and show some work? AWESOME! Are you a painter who wants to prop up an easel and create something live while I play? GREAT! PLEASE be in touch. That's the sort of night I'm thinking here... and I need your help to make that happen.

Other than that... just come. If you haven't gotten this idea yet, take my word for it. It's going to be fun. If for no other reason, you get to watch me do my trademark spasm-robot-dance ALL...NIGHT...LONG.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More music...

First off... As I alluded to in my last entry, after being "in the works" for the better part of ten years, the debut record of my experimental literary-electro project LeVautourEnsemble has finally been released!

To get this thing out, we've teamed up with a great little record-label out of Newmarket, New Hampshire called Headhat Records. The partnership is a really good fit for the project... Since 2001, Headhat's been putting out interesting, experimental, and obscure material, with a refreshing strategy that reminds us of a digital-updating of the D.I.Y. attitude of the cassette-mixtape labels we grew up with.

The record was officially released Monday, 10/4/10, and is available for download now, with album-art, liner-notes, etc, here... and the best part is? It's available for FREE (or optional donation if you're feeling particularly generous and supportive).

Don't forget to browse the rest of the Headhat catalog as well, there's a lot of neat stuff over there.

Also, don't forget to stop by and "like" LeVautourEnsemble and Headhat Records on Facebook!

Other music news... 

Check out Pull Trouble From the Fire. I've been making some noise with these guys lately... very exciting stuff, a ton of fun... very interesting things to come on that front I'm sure.

Following up on something else from my last entry, the show that I sat in with The Tuna Fish Discrepancy last month was a ton of fun, and I want to thank Ross and company immensely for the opportunity to tag along and mangle their songs. 

Video-footage from almost the entire show is available here...

This is my personal favorite-


In news of other shows upcoming... mark your calendars... Friday, Oct. 22 will be the first in a (hopefully) recurring series of experimental electronic nights called "PASTICHE: an evening of post-modern sound-experimentation" at The Jam Factory (Next to Raxx, on Elm St.) in Manchester, New Hampshire... I will be playing an improvised LeVautourEnsemble noise-electro set, with The Attic Bits and The Ross Boyd Experience. A flyer and more details (particularly some crowd-response prompts to allow YOU to help me make my set as crazy as possible) will be coming in my next entry... hopefully tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Catch-all seasons-change plugs-and-shout-outs.

A very long summer is finally over, and my last semester of my Master's program has begun.

Predictably, I had several blog entries in the cue that I had been trying to get in before summer ended, but that obviously didn't happen. Most notably, I realized I hadn't written any record or show reviews in a while, and wanted to get back to it a bit... more about that later.

This entry, therefore, will just be a truncated collection of plugs and shout-outs that I need to get out before I become completely swept up in reading and research.

First. Most of you (at least those who know me personally, or have read my blog in the past) are probably aware that I haven't played a live-show as a musician in quite a while (at least a few years? Maybe more?). Well, this Saturday (Sept. 11th) that's scheduled to change. And, hey, what way to get back in the swing than with something completely strange, right?

I've been asked to sit in that night with The Tuna Fish Discrepancy. Those good gentlemen were looking to do something a little more... abstract... for their set at this show... and I'm honored to have had my help requested in order to make that happen for them. Basically, I'll be throwing down some noise, on an odd-ball sort of "DJ"-rig.

...and, if we're going to make it a strange and memorable night you don't want to miss, we may as well go all the way, right? So, Nat Ward and I will be closing out the evening by throwing down a very rare sort of tag-team set of live, improvised, free-form electro-noise chaos. You're welcome. Be there. 

September 11th. Manchester, New Hampshire. "The Jam Factory," inside Raxx Billiards. 8 pm, 21+, $5 at the door.

Let's see... other news...

Oh yeah. I have finally put the final track on LeVautourEnsemble's "...whose wings are a dull reality," a record that's been in the works for the better part of ten years.... and I'm finally calling it officially finished. Options for its release are currently being discussed, and more details will come soon. 

Here's the video for that final track, called "Physical Consent"-

{Disclaimer- This song was composed to get inside the head of a fictional character and scenario. The lyrical content expressed herein does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or ideas of Bernard P. Provencher LeVautour, LeVautourEnsemble, the Asbjorn Arts Collective, or their affiliates.}

OK, I think that's enough for tonight... part 2 coming, hopefully tomorrow, with the rest of the things I wanted to discuss... but tonight I need to get back to reading Chaucer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Madcap Recap, Part 2: Transition-periods, Creative-writing, Workshopping-groups...etc.

OK, so I should really stop posting "to be continued" at the end of entries here. That phrase seems to be a bit of a curse on this blog; the trigger for some of my longer absences from posting, for which I have very little in the way of excuses.

So, where was I? I believe I was recapping a semester (and now half of a subsequent summer) in which I haven't posted much...

Since I left off with some site-housekeeping, it seems appropriate to resume on a similar note. You may notice that there's a bit of a new look around here... I figured it was time. Let me know what you think, I'm still tinkering with it, and there are elements that I'm not sure whether I like or not.

You may also notice, if you had scrolled to the bottom of the page recently, that I finally got around to putting together a new logo for the Asbjorn Art Collective. Again, it was time.

Continuing, then, with assorted Asbjorn news... I'm pretty sure that since my last regular updates, there have been quite a few new videos added to the collective's Youtube channel, from Tipsy CougarCivil VainThe Green SeaLeVautourEnsemblemy solo acoustic stuff, etc. Stop by, check them out, leave snarky comments that will make us laugh, share the ones you like with your friends.

You may also notice, by the badges on the right sidebar, that there are now fan-pages on Facebook for LeVautourEnsembleThe Green SeaTipsy Cougar, and Swords We Swallow. Stop by, check out some audio, and "like" us (well, if you, umm, like us...).

One of the side-effects of grad-school is that my creative-writing work has taken a near-complete hiatus for the last year. (It's seemed increasingly ironic to me lately that there's such a wide disconnect between studying Literature and writing [non-critical] Literature.... and I definitely have some personal qualms with that gap.) Therefore, one of my personal assignments to myself for the summer has been to get my chops back up to where they were prior, resolve some craft-issues that have been sitting on pause, and hopefully have some of my own non-academic work written, edited, and (ideally) ready to be submitted for publication before the next semester starts. To help with this goal, I've been working on getting together a new work-shopping group, with both online forums for critique, and, hopefully, physical meetings, to help our members push each other toward achieving their personal writing-goals. We are still actively looking for members; If you're interested, stop by the Asbjorn Writers' Workshop group-page on Facebook, take a look around, and send a request to join!

My first piece that I'm working through with the group is tentatively titled "Nails... Dig... In," a short work that I've been somewhat snarkily referring to as "commercially viable, gritty, art-house fiction." At this point I'm in the brainstorming stage of my process... to be perfectly honest, due to a particular quirk in the way that I tend to write, what I'm working on right now is putting together a recording of a track that the DJ in a particular scene might be spinning, to help me to better "get inside" the story and the idea in my head... chances are this track will appear soon from LeVautourEnsemble, since such experimental aspects of my writing-process are pretty much the sole reason that that particular project exists.

In other new-music news, Tipsy Cougar is working on a studio-track? That's right, my noisy indie-electro outfit that has stubbornly prided ourselves for a couple of years on our extremely primitive recording techniques (much of our record "Immaculate Conceptions," which we keep claiming is done and then changing our minds, was recorded live with a single mic in the middle of the room, sometimes straight to cassette-tape) finally decided to see what would happen if we actually {*gasp*} record something. What happens? Well, it's not done yet, but so far it reminds me of what it might sound like if Lou Reed, Prince, and Kanye West teamed up to collaborate on a club-banger for hipster electro-DJ's. I might be exaggerating a bit, but I'm definitely not kidding.

On a more personal note, I'm tired of transition-periods. And it feels, lately, like my life is a constant string of them. I moved from Dover last month, and I'm currently staying with family in Manchester until I move in to a new place in Portsmouth in August. I'm living out of boxes and spending more time than I would like commuting to work on the coast. But, if you're in Manchester and want to meet up before I head back out that way and things get hectic again, be in touch.  

Friday, May 28, 2010

Madcap Recap, Part 1: Semester's-End-Scribbles, Food For Thought, The I.D. Student, New Orleans, etc...

It's been far too long since I've posted here. This past semester's been rather hectic. Crazy, even. How crazy? This crazy-

(my paper-writing-process: scribbled on the living-room walls)

This entry, then, will be a sort of haphazard recap of the time since my last post, some lingering thought-fragments, etc, that I'd like to get out of the way before resuming "regular" postings. This will presumably end up being the first in a two-installment series on the topic, as there's quite a chunk of chaos I'd like to cover...

Some food for thought first, from Bruno Latour, inspired by an ongoing dialogue I've been having with another grad-student from a different University...

"Military experts constantly revise their strategic doctrines, their contingency plans, the size, direction, and technology of their projectiles, their smart bombs, their missiles; I wonder why we, we alone, would be saved from those sorts of revisions. It does not seem to me that we have been as quick, in academia, to prepare ourselves for new threats, new dangers, new tasks, new targets. Are we not like those mechanical toys that endlessly make the same gestures when everything else has changed around them? Would it not be rather terrible if we were still training young kids- yes, young recruits, young cadets- for wars that are no longer possible, fighting enemies long gone, conquering territories that no longer exist, leaving them ill-equipped in the face of threats we had not anticipated, for which we are so thoroughly unprepared."
"Is it really asking too much from our collective intellectual life to devise, at least once a century, some new critical tools?"

Just a thought. Ok, then... where to start with the recap? Since my last pre-hiatus entry was a plug for my column at The Interdisciplinary Student, this is probably a good time to point out that I've since added another entry to that site, a bit of a playful deconstruction of the idea of "comparativism" and my tenuous involvement with it, prior to traveling to present a paper at the American Comparative Literature Association's annual conference. (Which reminds me that I never followed up at that site either... sorry Michelle... that's about the point in the term when things got really crazy.)

Logically, that brings me to my next topic. This semester, I travelled to New Orleans for my first literary conference. I was hoping to compile either a photo- or video-blog of my experiences that weekend, but unfortunately my Blackberry decided to come down with an odd ailment halfway through the trip, making this more difficult than it should have otherwise been. Here's a selection of photos that I did happen to capture, however, with brief and scattered caption-commentary-

Yes, I'm a big enough geek to take a picture of my name-badge. It's my first one. So what?

Arrival. The famous Hotel Monteleone, primary venue of the conference, and my Easter-weekend residence.

Royal from Bourbon, in shadows.

The view from the window of my room.

Oh yeah, did I mention I'd never been to New Orleans before?

I have a soft-spot for trellises...

Bourbon Street, predictably blurry at night...

La Fie Verte.

Odd juxtaposition. Holy weekend, Catholic city, notorious street of sin...

The "Literary Traditions" of the Big Easy are, of course, far cooler than elsewhere...

OK, that's probably enough for today...  lost-time-recap to-be-continued. 

Oh, one last thing, though, a brief house-keeping note- I've been getting a lot of spam comments lately... like junk about cheap generic drugs, websites featuring taboo sex-acts, or links to help me spam others with promo-bot-software. Does this mean my blog's hit some sort of a web-traffic radar? (I doubt it, but that's the best positive-spin I could give it...) What it DOES mean, though, is that I've changed a few minor settings about the way that things are set up around here (as it was, I can't seem to figure out how to delete them.) Most noticeable change is that if you leave a comment now, it will say that it needs to be approved by the admin before it posts. I want to make it VERY clear that this ISN'T in any way an attempt to censor comments here, or because I don't want discussions or feedback. It's merely because I'm tired of checking my phone and seeing that there's more corporate junk littering unrelated threads on my page. My apologies, wish I didn't have to do this... hope you'll understand, dear reader... and continue to communicate with my posts on the comment-threads.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"To Bridge or Wedge the Fault-gap..."

My second blog-installment for the site "The Interdisciplinary Student" is now up. In this entry, I discuss the crux and confusion of the current/ future place of the humanities in the academic world, and how the term "interdisciplinary" can either become an important component to finding/ building our futures, or a meaningless fiscal/ institutional catch-phrase that merely makes the problems bigger.

Check it out, here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

...a couple quick things...

My time is limited, since I'm knee-deep in research, so I have to make this quick... but there are a couple brief things that I wanted to point out.

First, you may remember a couple of months ago, provoked by a comment to a prior entry, I dove headlong (at least temporarily) into the heated ongoing debate about the name of the "era of thought" that we currently reside within, and what might come next, with a belated critique of Alan Kirby's 2006 essay "The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond." (follow that link if you don't recall). Well, due (I presume) to the wonders that are Google, another blogger/ artist (with whom I am not personally acquainted) stumbled onto my piece while engaging in the conversation from his own angle. I am flattered to be cited on the reading-lists/ bibliographies for two consecutive entries of his blog, along-side such names as Derida and Lyotard. He has some really interesting things to say on the topic; I strongly encourage you all to head on over and take a read- The Art of John Bittinger Klomp.

Second, I want to congratulate Mr. Macalastair Ming (slide-guitarist for Tipsy Cougar, etc.) for currently having the most views on the new Asbjorn Collective Youtube Channel. One night recently, I really wanted to make some music, but didn't have time... so I challenged Ming to record something weird and post it. I'm not sure that I'd call what he posted "weird," but I would call it "good." Check it out. I'm glad to see there's finally content up on that channel that I'm not in, which is definitely one of the goals. While you're there, I just posted a new acoustic track tonight, and Wes Hopeless stopped by to add some old footage from The Green Sea days in Phoenix. If you're interested in contributing some material to our little odd-ball museum-collection, please be in touch. My friends be warned- I've now discovered that challenging talented people to produce content on short-notice is productive and fulfilling for all involved... so it WILL be happening on a more regular basis.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"The Interdisciplinary Student"

Michelle Jameson, a good friend of mine from Arizona State, put together a wonderful site of resources, tools, and ideas for students engaged in interdisciplinary scholarship.

The site is called "The Interdisciplinary Student", and can be easily found at www.theidstudent.com.

Oh yeah, and I'm honored to have been asked to contribute a blog-column to this great project.

Check it out.

Great work, Michelle, and thanks again for getting me involved with this.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some Poetry...

Larger Constructions: Dedicated to the Influence of Walt Whitman, The Performance-Artist, Not the Poet, Documenting his Projects in Poetry.

I’m like a
Journalist on
Assignment, embedded
With a community
Of Artists,
Made up of
And shattered
Refractions of

Of course, to
Get the inside
Scoop, the
Journalist must
Also be a
member of the
Community, his
assignment part and parcel
Of the projects of the

And, some more poetry... this time on video, accompanied by live beats... This is "A Trilogy of Poems About Music."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Finishing Projects, tying-up pre-semester loose-ends...

... or, how many items can I cross off my "I don't have time for this during class so I better get it done now" list in a week?

In my last post, I linked to audio of a song that I had recently completed for LeVautourEnsemble... This week, I finished putting together the video for that track, pieced together out of footage snapped live while I was recording the track, on the webcam of a tiny blue netbook that I like to call the "baby robot." Obviously, there was quite a bit of editing involved here as well... Check it out.

I have also started a new Youtube channel for the Asbjorn Arts Collective. This channel is intended as a sort of evolving museum-collection, a kind of dumping-ground for content from myself, my collaborators and my friends... if you're interested in contributing content, or have material elsewhere on youtube that you'd like me to add to the page's "favorites," email me. The goal is to make this channel into a sort of one-stop-shopping destination for odd, abstract, and interesting videos from artists affiliated with present, past, and future incarnations of the collective. Stop by, check out some videos, leave some feedback, subscribe to the channel.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

LeVautourEnsemble... back from the dead.

Sometimes projects that lay dormant for a while come surprisingly back from the dead.

I didn't see it coming, but in retrospect, my accidental decision to revive LeVautourEnsemble seems to make sense. The project was started while I was extremely busy with schoolwork as an undergrad. I think about things in an unusual way sometimes, so occasionally, when I was working on writing something or understanding a literary-concept, I would need to make some noise, drop a "soundtrack" for the scenario to tape in order to arrive at my "Eureka!" moment. LeVautourEnsemble was my solo-project dumping-ground for the outcomes of such sonic experimentation. The medium was mostly electronic, but quite a bit of other sonic textures slipped through the filters at various times as well.

During the couple of years I took off between degrees, I didn't need L.V.E.. I had collaborators around, and time on my hands. Fun records from both Tipsy Cougar and Swords We Swallow came out of this time. My first semester in Grad.school, however, I was back to the grind, with little of the vague "I'm a musician" time to work with that I had gotten temporarily used to. I still had sounds in my head, though, ideas that couldn't be worked through in any medium but sound. That's just how I work. So I kept a recording-file open on my macbook, and my equipment plugged in and ready to go, and when I hit a road-block, I would open it up, make a bit of noise, and let off some scholarly steam.

I ended up working on one track over the course of a single semester. It's called "Metamorphoses"... it's kind of a sonic and conceptual mess (as the single audible product of an entire semester should be, right?), but I'm fairly happy with it, considering...

So, between a new track that fits succinctly into the initial purpose of the project, and the video that I posted on Christmas Eve that I could think of no better umbrella to throw under, I guess LeVautourEnsemble is back... and my record "...whose wings are a dull reality." WASN'T really "completed" in 2006 like I thought that it was.

The track is available streaming on both Myspace (click here), and on our new Facebook fan-page (click here). Become a fan/ friend/ whatever... and let me know what you think! (Additional audio and videos from the project are available at both sites as well, and I would assume that more will follow. But as you can probably tell, this one's pretty much out of my control at this point.)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Welcome to 2010

Happy New Years.

I have a break from classes, and yet, so much still to do.

I have little new to write, really (although a whole lot in the works), but I figured I would sign on and share some footage of how the Tipsy Cougar crew rang in the decade at the Swords We Swallow Studios. Sara and I decided that, rather than going out, we would spend a quiet New Year's Eve at home, feel snazzy and drink martinis... then Ming and Dean joined us, which ended up proving that, in the right circumstances, four people can make for the most raging party in town. We ended up rocking out some pretty neat abstract, improvised electro-folk... noise... There are quite a few videos of this chaos floating around the interwebs right now, but this one (although long, I'm sorry) captures bits and pieces of most of them, and sums up the fun (and entertainment) of the evening nicely.