KZSU's "Voice of Doom", June 09, 2002

Another Victory in the War on Trackism

An unofficial playlist, with annotations, written more for my amusement than anyone else's, for yet another substitution fill-in show broadcast on KZSU, the Stanford college radio station (90.1 FM in the SF Bay Area, and elsewhere).

I had a few different angles on what I was doing, and the trick was to get them to all work together...

the playlist


Through out a lot of the show, I was mixing some of the following records into the sound -- almost always when talking on the mic, and often when playing music. Oh, and I was also often using a 3-second echo loop on top of the whole signal... More on the whys and wherefores of this elsewhere... BRIGHT_GRAY

Jarret, Keith - "Spheres (various)"
off of Hymns Spheres
A two record set (yes *only* two this time) from Jarret, playing an old church organ. Incredibly, this is the first time it occurred to me to play both of these records at the same time (I only did this once, though).
Intravene - "90"
off of Rrr 500
I don't really know which track I was using off of RRR-500 -- which is a collection of 500 locked grooves on 12" vinyl --but that's just the nature of the game with this one.
The one locked groove which I used over and over again, abusing mercilessly, along with the listener's ears, was a kind of wind-whooshing noise.
(unknown) - "(various)"
off of Night Recordings from Bali
Sublime Frequencies
Field recordings of the streets of Bali, circa the late 80s. I played little bits of this here and there through out the show, but it was difficult to use a lot of it... the sound on this CD is just *really* hot and penetrating, it dominates everything, no matter how quietly you try to play it.

set 1: featuring modern music of Bali

(unknown) - "Peliatan night walk/Gamelan Rehersal"
off of Night Recordings from Bali
track 1
Sublime Frequencies
slow gongs => noisy, fast, raucous percussion. A more traditional sound.
Balawan & Batuan Ethnic Fusion - "Globalism"
off of GloBALIsm
track 7
Chico & Ira Productions
This is a, dare I say, "fusion" of jazz guitar and Balinese music
A Balinese friend (an artist named Adji) saw we had some Balawan CDs and immediately recommend that we listen to Yudane instead (see below).
Natto Quartet - "Kinpira"
off of Thousand Oak
track 3
482 Music
The quartet: Philip Gelb (shakuhachi), Shoko Hikage (koto), Tim Perkis (electronics), Chris Brown (piano)
Avant/experimental music from the Bay Area with some touches of japanese sound (note the instruments). A dark, murky, complex sound on this track.
Yudane, I Wayan Gde - "paradise regained"
off of arak/balinese intoxication
track 9
Ode Record Company
A similarly dark, complex feel on this track by a more experimental Balinese musician.

set 2: new music with an old focus

All four of these tracks came out of KZSU's A-file. The first three are about historical persons, the final Gary Numan track is meant to suggest that we're haunted by these ghosts.

Joy Wants Eternity - "H.L. Mencken"
off of Must You Smash Your Ears Before You Learn To Listen With Your Eyes
track 3
Self Release
Marchman, Houston - "Amelia Earhart"
off of Key To The Highway
track 10
Self Release
Matmos - "Roses And Teeth For Ludwig Wittgenstein"
off of Rose Has Teeth In The Mouth Of A Beast, The
track 1
Matador Records
Bay area darlings of intelligent electronica.
Numan, Gary - "Haunted"
off of Jagged
track 6
Metropolis Records
Gary Numan, the pick of 80s new wave, as all intelligent music snobs seem to agree, is still putting out releases, in case you haven't heard. They ain't bad.

set 3: swearing at motorists again

Another of my attempts at getting at "new urbanism" themes with music (Jane Jacobs, RIP).

Hwyl Nofio - "Broken Again"
off of Wire Tapper 15
track 7
The Wire
I decide to pretend that the name "Hwyl" is short for "highway" for purposes of this set. Really, I was playing this because I liked it: deep, slow, strange tones.
Joy Wants Eternity - "For We Had No Road"
off of Must You Smash Your Ears Before You Learn To Listen With Your Eyes
track 1
Self Release
instrumental - I only played part of this one.
From the A-file.
MacColl, Ewan, Charles Parker, and Peggy Seeger - "Introduction"
off of Song of a Road
track 1
Topic Records Limited
This is *one strange little recording*, in my opinion. From a series of late 50s/early 60s BBC radio documentaries with folk music instead of narration. This one is about the building of the M-1 highway.
Bowie, David - "Always Crashing in the Same Car"
off of Low
One of the better tracks from Bowie's collaborations with Brian Eno.
MacColl, Ewan, Charles Parker, and Peggy Seeger - "I think it's the soil..."
off of Song of a Road
track 3
Topic Records Limited
Back to the M-1, briefly.
Monkees - "Then and Now"
off of Pleasant Valley Sunday
Swearing at Motorists - "Next Exit Ghost Town"
off of More Songs From the Mellow Str
Secretly Canadian Records
Very nice, slow, serious male vocals: "This is how evil is..."
And a great name for a band. I wish I'd thought of it, it's what I should've called my radio show, considering that most of the listeners are out driving around.
From the A-file.

set 4: against the prime directive

tradition vs modernity, authenticity vs freedom, all in the space of ten tracks. Strange that no one can seem to follow what I'm doing.

(unknown) - "Peliatan night walk/Gamelan Rehersal"
off of Night Recordings from Bali
track 1
Sublime Frequencies
Back to the Balinese gongs... slow, transitioning to rapid and noisey.
Superman is Dead - "Future Disgrace"
off of The Hangover Decade
track 13
Sony Music Entertainment Indonesia
The lyrics: dire predictions of a fascist future.
Basic, fast, hard rock, which goes surprising well with fast, noisy, balinese gong work, possibly in part because the band is from Bali (or maybe Bali and Java?).
Lyrics and vocals by JRX, who usually does drums for this group.
(By a funny coincidence, it turns out that the aforementioned Adji is a friend of JRX.)
Moe! Staiano's Moe!kestra! - "Track 4, Conducted Improvisation Piece No 5 (2002), part 4"
off of Two Forms of Multitudes: Conducted Improvisations
track 4
And here, I must say I out did myself on the this transition. It sounds at first like I must have gone back to Balinese percussion again, but this is the local bay area percussionist Moe!, leading a large ensemble of creative musicians...
Currituck Co. - "Embark"
off of Ghost Man on Second
track 1
Troubleman Unlimited
"sparse psychedelia". Instrumental music.
This was buried pretty far in the mix (I think).
From the A-file.
Traditional Grass, the - "Be True to Yourself"
off of Songs of Love and Life
track 11
Rebel Records
Nothing like that clean high banjo picking to punch through the gray noise drone of doom... for a moment.
P. Skunk Willy - "(Prime Directive One)"
off of Meat Synapse Radio
Space 380
An extremely weak release that has these dorky "prime directive" tracks talking in a robotic voice, essentially posturing about how it's important to do something better than the usual commercial crap.
I just wanted the phrase "Prime Directive" here, so I played the beginning of this track several times, cutting it off before it got into the (bogus) indie manifesto.
Zinn, Howard - "Ethnic Cleansing in America"
off of Stories Hollywood Never Tells
track 10
Ak Press
Here Zinn is talking about how terrible hollywood films are at covering certain issues, (compared to independent documentaries that never get seen).
(I agree completely, but it had nothing to do with what I was trying to get at in this set. Oops.)
Holland, Dave Quintet - "Prime Directive"
off of Prime Directive
track 1
Ecm Records
Instrumental jazz. Just used a few touches of this in the mix.
Great Plains - "Authentic"
off of Length of Growth 1981-89
disk II, track 16 (databased as "40" at KZSU).
Nu Gruv Dist.
Balawan & Batuan Ethnic Fusion - "Bali High"
off of GloBALIsm
track 12
Chico & Ira Productions
An excellent, straight performance of the Rodgers and Hammerstein song from "South Pacific". One suspects that our Balinese friends were having a bit of fun with us here...

set 5: building a dream

We now resume the anti-war portion of our programming. Not an original message, I know, but if college DJS can't be bothered to oppose the war in Iraq, who else is going to do it?

Marsh, Tina/Bob Rodriguez Trio - "Brother, Can You Spare a ..."
off of Out of Time
track 6
Creop Muse
This is a really horrible version of this song, as it happens: it starts well enough sounding like a straight version, then they bust out the latin jazz, and then the vocalist starts to show off her amazing range of tricks, and not incidentally butchers the song completely. Virtuosity is not it's own reward.
I came back to the beginning of the track and tried to put some emphasis on the line "They used to tell me I was building a dream".
Jesus Jones - "Right Here, Right Now (Dean Kexa 12" mix)"
off of 12" Single
side A, track 1
EMI Records Limited
That brief moment of late-80s optimism when The Berlin Wall was coming down.
"Watching the world wake up from history".
I wish I'd picked the original mix... this one is the extended wank-off mix that makes the point of playing it (even more) obscure.
Goodman, Amy & George Bush - "US Forces Massacre Civilians in Iraq"
off of Democracy Now, Thursday June 08, 2006
(personal DAT tape)
Democracy Now
A few sound clips from the "Democracy Now" broadcast of the day before: Amy Goodman does a headline about a civilian massacre, then I spliced in Bush's line "Another Victory in the War on Terror".
I played this in the middle of the Jesus Jones track during some of the extended instrumentals, and it gave the triumphant, happy music an appropriately mocking tone (I hope).
See Appendix 1 for some thoughts on this one...
Smith, Patti - "Radio Bagdad"
off of Trampin'
And from there, we go into the excellent Patti Smith track on the subject of the war in Iraq. "We invented the zero, and yet we mean nothing to you."
An excellent track, and I'm not sorry about playing it on the air again... but it is kind of long, and I did play it the last time I was on the air. I would've played something else in this slot if I could've found it. (Not so much Iraq War "protest music" out there, is there? Hm. Well, maybe I'm just out of touch.)
Yudane, I Wayan Gde - "Creation Song"
off of arak/balinese intoxication
track 4
Ode Record Company
Slow, serious music with slick, operatic, female vocals.
An attempt at closing on a positive note, bringing us back to the opening theme ("building"/"creation").
(Is it significant that here I'm using this as a piece of music in it's own right, rather than as a cultural representative? It's about time, eh?)

set 6: someone killed our innocence

This set was intended to be the thematic center of the show (and I expected it would be more toward the middle, rather than bumped to the end); and the Bauhaus track was thematic center of the set: "someone killed our innocence".

Glass Family, The - "Bad News"
off of Sleep Inside This Wheel
track 4
I Eat Records
From the A-file.
Slow, contemplative rock, heavy on piano: "trapped because we are free"
(I did a false start of the following Phil Ochs track first, but I faded it back into the gray swirl after a few lines.)
Ochs, Phil - "Power & The Glory"
off of Live at Newport
track 4
Vanguard Records
"for her power shall rest on the strength of her freedoms"
I went back to my Bush sample before and after this track: "It's a victory in the global war on terror."
Bauhaus - "Who Killed Mr. Midnight"
off of Burning From the Inside
track 5
A&M Records
"someone shot nostalgia in the back/someone shot our innocence"
Back to another slow, melancholy piece, also heavy on the piano.
Eighty Mile Beach - "(Sky Juice Downtempo Mix)"
off of Arboleda De Manzanitas
side A, track 3
Om Records
"Turn your face to the sun... it's time to wake up and scream"
The dual lead of Beth Custer and Christian Jones plus other cohorts.
This is a really great 12" re-mix (though it unfortunately obscures the lyrics a little too much for my present purpose). Makes me want to try some of the other 12" remixes these guys put out, though, this was really cool.

(Now I ask you: Phil Ochs to Bauhaus to Beth Custer. If someone else were doing this show, I would definitely listen to it. And playing some band I've never heard of that appears to be doing a J.D.Salinger reference, that's not bad either.)

set 7: an abbreviated take on the limits of collective human reason

Spooncurve - "She Doesn't Know"
off of Wire Tapper 15
track 18
The Wire
murky, ominous, with touches of female vox, buried down in the mix.
Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir - "Things I Forgot"
off of Fighting And Onions
track 16
Shoutin' Abner Records
A reasonably authentic folk/bluegrass imitation (neither gospel, nor choir)
From the A-file.
Sea Peoples, The - "Of Sober Judges"
off of Settlement Blues
track 6
Self Release
From the A-file.
This one caught my attention in studying the KZSU database, because despite the fact that it had made it into the A-file and had been there for about two months, no one had played it, not even once. What drove people away from it? Two things: (1) it's in a half-height jewel case with no label on the spine, (2) if you happened to pull it out anyway and read the internal review pasted on the front, it is decidedly unenthusiastic, talking about how sad and mopey it all is.
Smoke - "Shadow Box"
off of Another Reason to Fast
Long Play Records
I've been meaning to listen to some Smoke ever since I saw the excellent Benjamin Smoke documentary years ago. Finally got to it...


Okay, so the usual over-ambitious scheme came off without too many egregious problems. I touched the bases I wanted to touch -- though I often didn't slap them quite as hard as I wanted to.

The biggest problem, to my ear, was not watching the sliders closely enough... sometimes that RRR-500 locked groove was too high up in the mix, and got left there for far too long. A more restrained touch on the noise mix would've improved the show quality a lot.

And there were a number of points where I picked a really weak remix or cover of the song I wanted to play, and it took me too long to react, e.g. that version of "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" that turns really foul a few minutes into it... I cut it off, plunging it back into the gray mud, but I should've buried it a little faster, clicked back to the beginning and made that reprisal just a *little* more prominent. Picky, I know, but it makes me feel like I need to try this set again. Not that it takes much to get me to repeat myself.

Appendix 1: Abusing Bush

About this business:

Goodman, Amy & George Bush - "US Forces Massacre Civilians in Iraq"
off of Democracy Now, Thursday June 08, 2006
Democracy Now
A few sound clips from the "Democracy Now" broadcast of the day before: Amy Goodman does a headline about the civilian massacre, then I spliced in Bush's line "Another Victory in the War on Terror".
I thought about the ethics and taste of this business for a few minutes... but went ahead with it without much compunction about it. You could argue that I'm taking Bush Junior's words out of context... he was talking about the death of what's his name, the great terrorist leader most of us had never heard of before he was offed by the US military. What right do I have to move his words from one news item in Democracy Now to another?

The reasoning, such as it is:

Poetic License
I can duck behind the all-purpose shield that I'm just a DJ doing a radio show, and no one should be using my music sets as their primary source of news. They should expect me to be playing silly tricks like this.
True enough, but I'm not entirely comfortable with this. Do I want people to take what I'm doing seriously, or not?
Restoring the true context
The point of doing this is not just to make it sound like like Bush said something he didn't. My contention is that he's using one news story to distract you from another... by moving the comment, I'm re-establishing a connection, reminding people not to get spun by the spin-masters again.
As far as I'm concerned, these points in combination justify the cut-up.

It's an issue I'll try to keep in mind though... do I want to be held to a lower standard than other artists and intellectuals? If not, maybe I should avoid exercising my "license".