Saturday, November 26, 2011

putting the BLACK in Black Friday!

Two listener-friends of the My Castle of Quiet program were discussing the show, and myself in specific, yesterday on Facebook. (I was privy to the conversation because I was tagged in it.) One of the two posited that I was perhaps "put through the ringer" by WFMU over my program, the things I dare to say, the music I dare to play, etc. The truth, however, is far, far worse—I am almost completely ignored! The occasional or frequent greatness of the show (depending on one's perspective), its challenging programming, contributions to the ever-expanding MCoQ curator page at the Free Music Archive, and the unique, devoted and highly specialized listener base that I serve, are mostly, sadly, non-existent in the eyes and minds of the WFMU powers that be. This then, is my "punishment," not to be "put through the ringer," which would lend the show some significance, at least, but to be a distant blip on the station's radar, like Pluto—maybe not even a planet.

No, the next step for me is likely, and eventually, off the air completely, either by determination of the powers that be, finally swatting that pest off their shoulder, who keeps asking, undeservedly so, to be back broadcasting in east-coast prime time, or, by my own very choosing. Show-i-cide, because one can only continue in this situation for so long. Instead of being between a rock and a hard place, I am sandwiched instead between my loyal and appreciative listenership (who, let's not forget, raised all of my $1,000 goal for WFMU's stealth fundraiser in the month of October; so at least in the case of MCoQ, the station's fundraising "experiment" was a complete success), and you reading this, and tuning in, either live or in the archives, are a BIG part of why I continue to do the show, make no mistake, and then there's the other piece of bread, an almost complete lack of appreciation, significance lent, or sincere acknowledgement by the program's parent organization.

One needs only to view my weekly comments board to witness that I must be doing something right. And these comments get fairly specific, and it's clear that I have to a large extent reached my public by what they say, so in this I am satisfied, because when the show itself is long gone, replaced no doubt by a safer, more "WFMU-type" show, styled almost solely using materials from the station's new bin, (and sorry, but if you're doing this, you are barely trying, dear colleague) I am satisfied that this show will be remembered by all of those who truly enjoyed it, supported it, and nurtured its existence over the years. And it's largely for them, and my own personal enjoyment, obviously, that I am not packing things up just yet, as there is still more work to do, and more great music to represent that inasmuch has no other voice on radio, terrestrial or otherwise.

Aside from the grousing session, I must note that much appreciation was given this week to the new CD by NRIII, Solus Patoir, a magnificent full-length from a band that I knew from the first time I heard them would reach such a plateau. And this is part of the joy of My Castle of Quiet, sharing a real camaraderie with upcoming artists of a rare stripe, and feeling as though I give a voice to the fringe, where such a focused and urgent voice would not otherwise exist.

Thanks as always for listening. I'm quite proud of this week's screen capture, from the film The Sister of Ursula, a quick, bizarre and unexplained insert that itself lasts only 1-3 seconds, and required some pause-button mastery to ensnare. Click on it, to access the audio archives and playlist for this week's horrorcast™.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ahhh, yesterday.

They can use tools, and ironic, iconic ones at that. ...The county was encouraging us here, via the EAS ticker, to make sounds that would counterbalance what their little truck-mounted gadget was doing—making insect colonies fight 'til death like Crips and Bloods. Authorities thought that by playing Hive Mind I could get them back on track, as it were. Too bad bugs like da killin'. Also too bad that their gadgetry had the unfortunate consequence of rousing all the recently dead back to functioning, enough at least to inquire as to "what's for tea?" Me thought, though, and I ain't done told them yet, is that there be some sooopa-natural forces at work, such that my sets gonna have no bearing, yah? And human flesh and blood gonna still be on the menu. Still, I tried. Do ya see any walking dead around now? Yeah, I know, same here—it's kinda hard to tell.
Unwashed, matted hair and a rumpled dress suit could just be Williamsburg chic. Then again, if they pick up a stone cross, pull it straight outta the ground, and start chasin' your ass, it's probably time to go.

Thanks to Jeff Mullan for filling in for The Castle last week. It doesn't happen too often that I miss a show, but it's nice, and preferred, as Pseu would say, to have "quality coverage" in one's absence. So how did he do? ... "Betta," you say? Fuck all y'all. He he he. This week, back to business as usual, with viciousness and a vengeance, for no particular reason other than that when I do miss a week, I really miss it, feeling it in body and mind. Plannin' and plannin' I was. Then, mid-week, a surprise—an excellent packet of materials from the mighty, mighty Universal Consciousness label, which ended up dominating the weekly horrorcast™, with more yet to come next week. Also in the mix, some odd and engaging contributions from the No Visible Scars label, oh hell yeah. More of those next week as well.

So, the notices, and aplenty they were; Cult of Daath, Akitsa, the new Hive Mind long player on Spectrum Spools, Glass Coffin, and the Moonknight tape (one of the UC releases.) I have to assume, though, that you liked it all, as I did for sure, and me with a week off between shows is some serious fuel to the fire. Fuel to the fire, young men and ladies. And still, like most weeks, I could have easily gone another hour. I blame (read: attribute) the show's sonic success to this being perhaps the best time in history for underground music, metal and noise, etc. It's a great time, and all I need to do is have my antennae set on high/receive. It's that easy, America. My filter, applied to the wealth of great, new sounds, and bang!—it's another Castle to remember. And if this reeks of arrogance, I sort of apologize, though not really, as I can feel the radio show experiencing positive growth by the week, and you,the listeners, are a huge part of this, otherwise I'd be able to voluntarily dislocate my shoulder from constantly patting myself on the back.

You spread praise like soft butter on a hot bagel, and you keep me humble when necessary. You are the zombies in my purgatory, just hangin' out. When I transition from metal to noise, or back, however abruptly or gradually, you are there. I salute you, the music makers and the music listeners (sometimes one in the same), for helping me to continue to build My Castle of Quiet into something of note, and value.

Click on that very able-bodied undead, up at the top, to reach the playlist and audio archives of this week's program.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Prison Tatt Showcase #1, in review.

Songs with discernible lyrics got you down? The latest paeans to love, loss, heartache and the human condition leaving you in a pool of your own tears? You can always escape into the world of mystery, horror and enchantment that is the Prison Tatt catalog.

So far, we've had eight releases (one, Grasshopper's Calling All Creeps, is out of print, with a repress being contemplated; the band themselves have a few copies remaining), with two more coming very soon, and a veritable avalanche of releases (for a small, independent company, anyway) coming next year.

In local terms, we held our first showcase in the physical world, on the eve of November 10/11, 2011. Attendance was modest, but not too thin, with good friends, true believers, and actually more than a few people whom I didn't know personally, in the room.

The sights and sounds were excellent, as I knew they would be, though even my high expectations were exceeded by the four, standout performances. That's right—I said four, as I wasn't looking to pack the house with performers, each one doing a quick on/off, like some modern version of a Motown review—blast through your "hit," and then off. In many ways, Prison Tatt just has to be different, and as I always say, we're a "hard" label and a "head" label, and I want for our artists to have room to breathe, room to express, and I'll break convention for sure with the noise-scene standard of quickie sets for this reason alone, among others.

So, starting things off, we had NY's The Communion, whose one-sided LP, A Desired Level of Unease, will be out early next year, and in fact, their set was made up mostly of songs from that forthcoming P-Tatt release. It was really important to me that The Communion play this event, they were on my mind from the earliest planning stages, firstly because they're a great band that gets better every time I see them, and secondly because metal is huge part of Prison Tatt, and most of our metal artists are not local. It was critical to me that this aspect of our catalog be represented. Here's "Marble Husk," slated for release on their Prison Tatt record.

Second on the bill, and visiting from San Antonio, TX, was an artist that effectively bridges the noise-metal gap, sonically as well as in spirit—Husere Grav. Todd W's set was phenomenal, with layers of dense, rumbling graveyard action surging about the room. A bit like Roland Kayn, after a year in a cave with the Burzum discography. Husere Grav's Myths is one of Prison Tatt's newest releases, we're proud as fuck about it, and we hope you'll all buy yourselves a copy. Here's an excerpt from Husere Grav's brief-but-astounding performance.

Third came the majestic, mind-expanding, electronic worlds of Long Distance Poison. It was a personal thrill to witness time stopping, even and especially for many of the metalheads in the room, while LDP plied their very unique approach to modern synthesizer music. They're too melodic and long-form to be noise scenesters, and too engaging, and interesting, with layers of dissonance and constantly shifting interplay, to be Emeralds. (Sorry, if only as a contemporary touchpoint of comparison it needs to be said.) Unlike so many others, LDP do this sound right and with innovation, such that notions of "retro" never, ever come to mind. Their Bog Nebula one-sided LP is coming soon on Prison Tatt. Here's most, but not all, of their thoroughly absorbing set.

Closing out the evening, a performance by Chaos*Majik, for this performance the duo of Todd Pendu and Jesse Gelaznik. From the very beginning, I've employed Klaus Schulze as an easy and appropriate reference point for Todd's sound, though as Sarzan noted after seeing this clip, "Irrlicht, with big, hairy balls on it." CM makes a huge sound, whipping and swirling about the room, low and high frequencies set on assault, while subtle, melodic lines make a calming appearance and then just as quickly shuffle off, with the gait of Lovecraft's Old Ones. Engulfing, occult electronics of the highest order. CM's Telestic Madness—Magickal Music will mark Prison Tatt's fourth release on compact disk, coming very soon.

All in all, our evening was a creative and social success. It felt especially good to hear Bianca Ala Muerte say, "YOU did this!," as we looked around the room at the collective gathering. I tend to naturally want to hang back, not be the "star," and not take credit in person (though I'm happy to do it here in this article), and I still feel that the label has a long way to go towards being what I truly want it to be—financially successful, critically and creatively respected, and banging out at least two releases a month. My personal standard will be met when it's my filter that's the star, and the records really start to sell in large numbers, thereby paying for Prison Tatt's continued and productive existence.

Tremendous thanks to all who played (for, as it happens, not a dime in remuneration—so much for the Cameo Gallery and their "expenses"), and, played extremely well at that, as these video clips evidence. What I learned here will be beard-stroke fodder, as I contemplate PT showcase #2.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Title Sequence of the Day - The Mephisto Waltz (1971)

Alan Alda in pre-Hawkeye-Pierce mode, as a classical-music journalist who's charmed into the company of a wealthy, acerbic pianist and his foxy-but-glacial daughter. They've got plans for ol' Hawk, all because of his "wonderful hands." Haunting in a way that films so rarely are anymore, fugue states and nightmare sequences abounding, The Mephisto Waltz also ties in wonderfully with David Lynch's more modern and abstract meditations on identity, and goddamn if it isn't a Quinn Martin production, too! Enjoy this lovely opening sequence, with music by horror-score pro, Jerry "The Omen" Goldsmith.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

BREASTS!!! ...and The Prison Tatt Showcase #1, TONIGHT.

I keep hanging these up around the radio station, and they keep disappearing, by the following week. Perhaps I started posting too early, though it seems that someone there is always promoting something, or perhaps, and more likely, a woman's bare breasts make more than a few people uncomfortable, in a variety of ways. Unfortunate, as breasts are one of nature's great aesthetic gifts. Here, our model has a wonderful pair of medium-to-small softies, with the coveted "puffy" nipples and areolas. She's a Prison Tatt girl, all the way, with that sleazy grin—you know that if there had been black metal in her day, it would have been spinning on her close'n'play. "I dunno, I just like it," she'd say. "The guys are cool." My flyer was and is intended as an act of exhaltation, never exploitation.

So, tonight is Prison Tatt Records' first live showcase, featuring a great selection and cross-section of artists. Doors open at 9 at the Cameo Gallery, which I'm told is a good place to see a show, and The Communion go on as close to 9:30 as possible—we are starting early, for real. Details below, and I hope to meet you all there.

Today at 9:00pm - Tomorrow at 1:30am
The Cameo Gallery, 93 N.6th St., Brooklyn, NY, USA
Created By
Prison Tatt Records

We're proud to present Prison Tatt's first public event, ever, as it's high time, and we bring an excellent line up that represents both the "head" and "hard" aspects of the P-Tatt experience, as follows >>>

9:30 The Communion
Their one-sided LP, A Desired Level of Unease, is forthcoming on Prison Tatt. One of the best bands in NY right now. "No-faking, gut-churning angst, great songwriting, and an obvious interest in creating something of quality ... Dramatic, hooky sludge-metal, classic hardcore/thrash, and hi-speed black metal are all easily referenced in The Communion's repertoire, these styles employed naturally and with the apparent ease of just doing what they do, without sounding at all forced or postmodern. "

10:30 Husere Grav
The Myths one-sided LP is OUT NOW on Prison Tatt. "...soundtracks to pain, frustration, and ill intentions—the "music" of haunted evil. ... a maelstrom ... thunderingly loud, it was swirling, and it felt dangerous; nothing less than a genuine conjuration." "Low rumbles and sub-strata murmurs that conceal much more than is evident on a first listen. Otherworldly, Lovecraftian music that represents a new plateau in cohesiveness for this Texas-based, one-man monster project by black metal and noise veteran Todd W."

11:30 Long Distance Poison
Bog Nebula one-sided LP out soon on Prison Tatt. Brooklyn's finest post-Kraut, post-Carpenter, meditative, expressive electronic pulsators. " irresistible concoction of convergent psychedelic and analog electronic energies, everything from a love of nature, and Rothko-like visual aesthetics, to musical influences like Sky Records, John Carpenter soundtracks, minimalism, and a less-hyper Mother Mallard or post-Phaedra Tangerine Dream."

12:30 Chaos*Majik
The Chaos*Majik CD, Telestic Madness - Magickal Musick, is coming soon on Prison Tatt. ""Klaus Schulze in a suitcase! I can dig this!" No longer does the performer need to be buried in impossibly tall racks of heavy keyboard gear, that which obscure his very view, to be able to touch other worlds, to taste the unseen, and to take the listener on a significant journey. ... arcing and shifting dynamics; there is tension, resolution, warnings of danger, absolute peace, contemplation aplenty."

The above times are REAL SET TIMES, as we want for every artist to have the chance to play a full set. Besides, your resident mogul is an older man, and I don't keep Acheron hours!

All in-print Prison Tatt merch will be available at the show.

Friday, November 4, 2011

ATTACK! ... You and C. Lavender are cracking me up.

What great fun it was to have C. Lavender make a rare return as co-host, engage in some hilarious banter with me, and perhaps most importantly share some of her wonderfully concomitant musical selections with myself and Castle listeners. As with all of the guest DJs I've had on recently, a buying jag on my own part has already ensued.

C. Lavender especially makes a great co-host for the Castle, as we share many common interests in film, music and culture, and both have no need for popular culture whatsoever. We became fast friends back in the early days of the radio show (Summer '09), and I've always felt that these and other factors bring a natural, easy humor to our rapport, and I only wish that she lived closer to WFMU, so that co-hosting on her part could be an option more often. It's rare that a natural outcast such as myself, full of opinions and bile, should find the perfect foil in a radio co-host, but in Lavender I seem to have found just that. You can keep track of Lavender's artistic activities at her Web site, right here. "Meet Me at the Station, buddy."

There was only one playlist shout-out for a specific piece of music this week, a track by the excellent NY band Occultation, reminding me that I must contact the band tout suite about an on-air appearance. In the meantime, here's a live clip of Occultation by (((unartig))), featuring one of the the tracks from their absolutely excellent 3-song CDr demo.
In other, non-Castle-related matters, the Prison Tatt label presents our first showcase this week, at Brooklyn's Cameo Gallery, featuring artists that have, or are soon to have, releases on the label—The Communion, Husere Grav (you can buy HG's Myths one-sided LP right now at the Prison Tatt site—it's a gloomy, Lovecraftian winner, comprised of four tracks of great, graveyard soundtracks), Long Distance Poison (their Bog Nebula one-sider is coming soon), and Todd Pendu's Chaos*Majik, whose CD, Telestic Madness—Magickal Music is an outright masterpiece (the release has experienced some artwork-related delays, so we won't have them for sale at the show, but not to fear—it'll be well worth the wait!)

This all happens Thursday night @ 93 N. 6th St., with The Communion opening the evening at 9:30 sharp (these are real times, as we want all the artists to have the chance to play a full set.) Please note that all in-print P-Tatt titles (and as many distro items as I can carry with a somewhat f-dup hand) will be available at the show.

Hope to see you all there.

So, this means that WFMU's bright new(-ish) star Jeff Mullan hosts My Castle of Quiet this week on the radio, as I'm still working on being in two places at once. I have no idea what Jeff has planned, but I also have no doubt that it will be good. Not just anyone gets asked to fill-in for The Castle.
Thanks, Jeff!

I'll shoot out a reminder about the Prison Tatt event later this week. As always, thanks for your support, your ears, your eyes and minds. I return them, hopefully in somewhat-electrified condition....

Click on the image of that nasty, shape-shifting seductress up top, to access the playlist and audio archives of this week's horrorcast™.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

TONIGHT on The Castle—The Return of C. Lavender!

Sounds ominous. Like a sequel that's going to be better than the original. She's going to rip out my esophagus, and tie off her pretty hair with it. One can hope.

One of the earliest friends and most consistent supporters of My Castle of Quiet, sound artist C. Lavender returns tonight, not to perform—though you can hear her magnificent set from the show last year at this link—but to co-host with yours truly, as she's done before, bringing her dour wit, casual charm, and some musical selections of her own for y'all Castleheads. Perhaps we'll also premiere a track from her new tape on Spectral Evidence, Meet Me at the Station. I'd say definitely. Don't miss it; C. Lav is bestowed the dubious honor of being the most complimentary co-host the show has ever known, which is to say that she digs the music (though not ALL of it), "gets" the show's reason for being and has from day one, and tends to give me scolding and praise in just about even measure.

Don't miss it; we start at the witching hour.

Also, tremendous, hearty HAILS, my goblet overrunning with mead, to all the devoted Castleheads who were able to contribute to the show during last month's WFMU "stealth" Web-only fundraiser, putting MCoQ's individual show-total at 100-fucking-percent. You've all done me proud, and I dive in this week with renewed vitality (though I always give my absolute best.)

Seriously, thanks! We'll see you tonight on the playlist.