The Aural Illusion

I"You've Gotta Hear These Beats..."
"You've Gotta Hear These Beats..."

Greg Milner – Perfecting Sound Forever

Faber And Faber Inc.

Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

I like to consider myself a Music Collector, spending an inordinate amount of time reading about, and tracking down, recordings that please some sensibility that I can’t quite pin down specifically.  So, I feel a little strange in saying that I have never heard the phrase, “Perfect Sound Forever,” used in reference to what you get when you listen to a CD.  Not once, and I grew up at a time when the CD had just been introduced.

This is strange because this is part of the central conceit of Greg Milner’s book which derives its very name from the phrase.  It is (supposedly) the claim that CDs can deliver on this promise that seems to motivate Milner’s prose, and while I have never heard the claim myself, he stresses several times in the book that this has happened, and it is this claim that he takes the most issue with.  I do no deny that this claim was made about CDs.  However, for this music fan, if a large portion of this book rests on a claim that was not impressed on me (or the others I’ve discussed this with), then how can the narrative in the book hold true for me, too?

Milner’s book is lauded as being, “An Aural History of Recorded Music,” and beginning with the earliest practitioners (largely Edison himself), Perfecting Sound Forever traces the story of a world that had no understanding that sound could even be recorded at all, to a world that is largely defined by recorded sound in all its various forms.  One thing becomes clear very early on in trying to parse the effects this has had on the world around us: while it is impossible to claim that any medium is ultimately “better” than others, Milner’s own preference – the vinyl record – clouds his narrative the entire way through this text.

In a way, his bias is a good metaphor to use when looking at the way recorded sound developed over the years.  In what proves to be a very technically-driven book, Milner illustrates the various format wars that have developed since Edison, that have informed the way the next generation recorded sound.  Acoustic vs. Electric recording was the first, but soon Cylinder vs. Disc, Disc vs. Tape, Tape vs. CD, and CD vs. .mp3 have divided music consumers over something that cannot be encoded into any medium: the “way” a sound was “meant” to be heard.  Each generation that developed a new technology found it frowned upon by the one previous that was clinging to the old one.  Meanwhile a successive generation grows up with the older format, loves it, and tries to emulate it using even newer technology, and creates yet another new format, to be reviled by the prior generation who still loves the one they came up with.  Ad infinitum.

With each new format war, the goal appears to be the same: to improve on the sound quality of the previous format.  But each successive improvement creates a backward looking vision.  Crystal clear recording in perfect environments always manages to impress recording and engineering nerds because of the wonderful dynamic range, but almost everyone else agrees that you seem to loose something in the improvements.  Electrical recording was looked down up because it seemed to “loose” something that pure acoustics had.  Tape was similarly mocked because of the hiss that accompanied it, which was only a mere “motor whirr” on a turntable before it.  These days, why outright “new” formats aren’t developed nearly as often, the battle seems to be focused on the ability to recreate those old, glitchy artifacts that were present in primitive modes of recording, but in an entirely digital world.  By adjusting the digital sheen, we can ultimately create the “perfect” simulacrum.

What is lost on the public at large – and seems to be what Milner is driving at – is exactly that conundrum: music consumers have been fooled in thinking that ANY recording we hear is “real” at all.  While this may seem obvious – the sounds a record makes could never be really mistaken for sound made by the actual thing in the real world – the implications seem to have played out in the rhetoric surrounding recording media.  Media has always been marketed in a way that illustrates the illusion between real and recorded.  Edison himself would put on “Tone Test” performances, where records were performing for audiences who were “unaware” that it was merely a recording.  (This tradition continues into the modern age, most recently with digital performances during the last decade.)  “Is it Live?  Or is it Memorex?”  Even the slogan admits that, while they themselves don’t really know, they would rather you believe they are both the same.

Another issue that is addressed is the notion of scientifically measured High Fidelity.  Usually, people marketing anything like to have science on their side to make a point, and there is plenty of that in this book.  However, many of the points are lost or immediately discarded to discuss who was right in the next Format War.  After making the point that Digital Recordings have a higher possible dynamic range than any other recording format, and further making the point that recordings made on tape with more than four tracks is already suffering from sonic compression and leakage that make eight track (or more) recordings “weaker” in many respects, Milner insists that science cannot account for the preference he has in the preferred media he’s chosen (vinyl records).  He will buy records, played on his stereo, forever, in spite of the fact that the sound is not so perfect.

This seems to be what Milner has missed (or, at least, failed to fully develop) in his book.  While people love to get passionate over technology, the real truth is that recorded music has allowed us to create an audio world that reflects our sensibilities, in whatever kind of fidelity that interests us the most.  At each step in the narrative, the backward looking inventors, trying to add analog sensibilities into the digitally pristine world of ProTools, are not attempting to “perfect” sound.  They are sculpting it, building it, molding it into sounds that reflect the kinds of things that they want to hear more of in the world.  It is a mish-mash of perfect and dirty, clean and analog, all at once.  The way we consume music is an extension of ourselves, and our quirks as individuals.

Music is the place we turn to when we want the sign and symbol confused.  We want to believe that the song is real, that it wasn’t tracked and recorded over a period of months, but is a spontaneous example of the way we feel at that exact moment.  We want to believe in this Edisonian notion that there is a “perfect” sound, that can be reproduced in all it’s depth, for us to hear later.  But this is not possible.  We know, consciously, that even Edison was bending over reality backwards to get his musicians as far into the recording horn as possible, to forcibly capture things that would have been lost in a live setting.  The way we really achieve the illusion of recorded sound – be it an iPod or a finely build stereo with nice cabinets – has little to do with how perfect the sound is, and is as much a part of who we are as the clothes we wear every day.

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The Modern Librarian

The Modern Librarian
The Modern Librarian

Reading Perfecting Sound Forever has reminded me of an experience I had a few years ago.  During one of my many days at the radio station, I decided to multi-task by transferring a few of my records to the station computer, so I could later take the files home and make some .mp3s of them.  I had a number of reasons for doing this, but in the end I spent most of the day listening to records while I was working.  Not a bad way to spend the day.  I transferred the files to my external drive, bussed it home, and set about the task of hunkering down for an evening of editing.

I put on my headphones and started listening to the first file, and to my complete astonishment, I found that I recorded more than I had intended.  As I scrolled through the first few seconds before the opening of, “(We Ain’t Got) Nothin’ Yet”, I noticed that you could actually hear the sounds of me slowly lowering the needle of the record.  They were very faint, but any audio nerd would clearly recognize the sounds for what they were.  This was beyond just the stylus hitting the record.  There was a bit of my voice, the arm moving, me saying, “…okay…,” then click.  A moment later, the song started.

It was something of an epiphany, or, at least, the final piece in a puzzle that has been assembling itself over time.  The only reason that I hadn’t noticed it sooner was that I am so immersed in the ability to edit audio that I hadn’t really seen the ideology that was invisibly at work.  It was almost so clear that I was afraid to say it out loud, and for a while I didn’t.  But it was finally just too obvious to not say it anymore: We do not listen to recorded music.  We listen to recorded ideas & memories.

The moment that I dropped the needle on that Blues Magoos record was, ultimately, nothing to write home about.  I’ve done it hundreds of times before, and will do it again, like millions of other audiophiles across the globe.  But as soon as I captured that moment digitally, there was an idea that could be conveyed in that small recording: an audio re-telling of someone dropping a stylus onto a piece of wax.  The following idea is the song that was contained within that record.  That idea was now forged as a very distinct memory for me, because the idea was re-presented to me, what was a lost moment, an ultimately meaningless moment in the sequences of every day life.  Now, it was more complex than the sounds captured in 1s and 0s.

I snipped off this part of the recording, its implications a little bigger than I had time to wrestle with.  But this book is beginning to stir that pot again, and add a little spice to the broth.

Consider this: while I cannot argue that most music comes in the form of some sort of artifact (CD, vinyl, cassette, etc.), the music therein cannot be pointed to anymore more materially than one can point to the grooves, tape, or aluminum the music is encoded within.  The material that contains a representation of the music constructs, using vibrations, a somewhat realistic sound-image of a musical idea that we then interpret to be the guitars, bass, drums and vocals of The Blues Magoos, in spite of them being no where near where the record is being played.  But the sounds we hear do not “exist” except in the form of created vibrations, that are used to execute the ideas that the artists creating these sounds have.  The results are “music.”  Sound sculptures.  Moments that are, and then pass in a time-based way. They do not “exist” in a tangible sense, any more than the ideas behind words exist in a tangible sense.

However, we confuse the symbol for the sign regularly, because music is encoded in tangible artifacts that we buy and trade in the marketplace.  While the music can never be tangible, the means to communicate it IS, and this cognitive dissonance causes us to refer to music as if it can be possessed.  “I have that,” is a common response when presented with a representation of a song that is also represented in our own material record collections.  While the distinction is nuanced, and seems to play little role in everyday discourse, that does not mean that the implication is any less important.  You may never discuss the meta-realities behind a Brian Eno record at a party, but they are at work at the party – especially at the party – in ways that cause us to want to buy back into this confusion between symbol and reality ever moreso.

I should stress that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  We confuse the symbol for reality all the time, and it is a very human way to deal with things.  Movies would be boring if we couldn’t immerse ourselves in the reality they temporarily represent.  (This is easily recognizable as the friend you hate to take to the movies with you, because they spend the entire film complaining about how unrealistic the movie is.)  So do not think the application of this confusion in the world of recorded sound is meant to deter you from continuing to listen to good music.  I just want to make the point that there is something else going on here.

As way of an example: growing up I had a Sir Mix-A-Lot tape that I would listen to often.  I brought it with me when I went to visit my Dad, and was playing it for my brothers on a new cassette player.  This had a Record feature, that used a built-in Mic.  While my Dad was exploring what the machine could do (while my tape was playing), he pressed the record button momentarily.  I quickly said, “Dad, that’s record.”  He replied, “whoops!” & hit the Stop button.  While I listened back to the tape to survey the damage, both my Dad and myself were surprised to find that, not only was the exchange between himself and I captured perfectly on the tape, but it was actually in-time with “Buttermilk Biscuits.”  Often, when I hear that song, I keep expecting to hear us pop into the recording at a precise moment, because I continued to listen to that tape for quite some time afterward.

We’ve all had this experience with Mix Tapes, Mix CDs, move soundtracks, etc.  Formative moments that were, accidentally or not, captured on tape that become part of the way we hear that song.  I can’t even count the number of stories I’ve heard that all start, “Every time I hear that song, I think of [fill-in-the-blank] song, because I used to have a tape where they were back to back.”  I find these moments interesting.  The expectation is not satisfied, and yet telling the story seems to create the same effect.  Those same people seem to smile after they’ve told it, as if they have heard [fill-in-the-blank] song anyway.

At the party, when we’re listening to Brian Eno with our friends, the ideas that are conveyed are so powerful, it can compel us to want to go out and buy the record.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve done that, or heard a similar story.  What is at work is the Idea & Memory aspect of having heard something.  We hear it, we want to clarify it, to re-experience it, to have the same idea conveyed in a quieter locale.  So we buy the record.  We get to experience music as a side-effect, but what we hear are ideas and memories being formed.

Perhaps this is not big revelation to anyone who is a fan of music.  The media itself is so flimsy, that the impressions of each listening experience is forever etched into the media, preserved for each subsequent time we listen to it again.  Each listening experience accesses a memory – re-written every time it is accessed – with new dimensions that include every time we’ve dropped the needle, every time we accidentally taped over part of something, and every time it was mixed and remixed with something new.

These memories we listen to are what draw me to recorded sound, I think.  Forever nostalgic, but also curious, about the ideas and memories that have been formed before me.  Perhaps I’m really looking to see if Nomeansno is right, and that only so many songs can be sung with two lips, two lungs, and one tongue?  But I think that recorded sound is as limitless as ideas and memories themselves.  It just depends on how much space you want to give to it.

The Search For The Perfect Sound

Perfecting Sound Forever
Perfecting Sound Forever

Just when I was beginning to think that it would be great to find a book about the history of recorded sound, I discover Perfecting Sound Forever by Greg Milner, a book about just that.  While I’ve had this for several months (I got it for my birthday), with school and other projects in the way, it took me a while to get to it.  Now that I’ve already put behind me my first book of my choosing since graduation (The Road by Cormac McCarty, which was excellent), I decided to move on to other things.  This book promises to be an aural history of recorded music, and so far, it is.

While having only just started it, I don’t feel quite right about making a critique just yet.  But what is fascinating is that it does start from the very beginning – with the invention of the phonograph – and goes from there.  At this point, the book is making two big cases for the future history of recorded sound: 1.) That the modern idea of what recorded sound is begins its genesis in how the device was used and marketed in the early years, and that 2.) From the beginning, there were format wars.

I myself have an almost fetish-like obsession with recorded sound, and have always been transfixed by what it is and what it can do.  Some of my earliest memories are of recorded sound, and there is something deeply satisfying about crafting the perfect record collection.  But, like anything, music has an ideology behind it that shapes the way we think about music, and we can no more easily imagine recorded sound existing in any other form save the ones that have been given to us by their creators.  I find it fascinating to imagine the worlds of recorded sound that could have been.  For example: if cylinders had remained king, if the original purists hadn’t lost in the “electricity vs. natural sound” wars, etc.  While I treasure the LP with all my heart and soul, the romantic in me wants to travel briefly in worlds where the artifacts left behind took on a very different form.

In that world, I get the opportunity to occasionally sample the sounds that these amazing cylinders offer (disques? transistor chips? sound plaques?), and in my dreams, the sounds they offer are unlike anything I’ve heard before.  (That is, until I wake up to the neighbors mowing the lawn.)  Perhaps my obsessive aural tendencies stem from this primal moment, so difficult to remember, let alone capture: the moment when an entirely new sound dances across a simple eardrum.

Reading this book makes me feel like I’m very close to that moment.  Almost.

Super-Hero TV & Film

I just picked up watching The Cape again, now that I can stream it all from Hulu for free.  I caught a few episodes when it was new, and was excited to see more.  Of course, before I could really remember to get caught back up, it was already canceled.  So much for that.

Still, a short and sweet 10 episodes should be a nice break until I can find my next televisual obsession.  You can expect a longer post, with more detail about it’s varying qualities, when I make it through all the episodes.

In the meantime: I’m considering a longer essay on the nature of Super-Hero TV and Movies, especially given that there is a glut of them in the here and now.  I’m thinking of a long overview of the “genre,” how it has evolved, what sets it apart from other film genres, etc.  It seems that, like every other genre, there are certain things happening in this genre that are not happening in other films, and it may be worth investigating.

My question becomes: what would you consider “essential” Super-Hero TV and Film?  What shows and movies cannot be omitted from such a project?  What are your favorite Super-Hero TV shows and Movies?

Eureka

Eureka on Syfy
Eureka on Syfy

Eureka

Syfy Channel

Available on netflix.com (streaming), hulu.com (streaming), and Syfy Channel.

Leave it to the universe to cancel a show moments before I manage to discover it.  This morning, before I sat down to watch the most recent episode, I noticed a buzz on Twitter, than pretty much sealed its fate.  After checking with a few sources, it seems official: Season 5 will be the final season.  Say it ain’t so.

Well, actually, I’m pretty okay with that.  For all that Eureka is, at the center it is a dramatic comedy that depends on a fresh cast that can play off of each other to produce the jokes.  A sci-fi version of The Andy Griffith Show, where hometown logic and an old-fashioned sensibility can solve even the most sophisticated dilemma that this particular sci-fi geek-fueled techno-babble can create.  True, on one level you can use the formula ad infinitum, and there will probably be an audience that will follow.  But there are only so many times that Henry and Jack can put their heads together and find a conventional solution to an unconventional situation.  Sooner or later, you’ll have exhausted the gags.

In full disclosure: I’m not even fully sure how I feel about this show.  Since Lost ended, it has been hard to find a new TV show to sink my eyes into.  To me, Lost had everything I didn’t even know I wanted in a TV show, and many things that I’m a complete sucker for.  So to follow up something so brilliant with just about anything is going to leave the new thing a little lacking.  So, for some time I wandered.  Circumstances led me to this and that, and many recommendations were made but few were followed to the bitter end.  I had a brief affair with Mad Men, and may well return, but something was missing.  But through my roommates, I managed to catch one or two episodes of Eureka, and it seemed like a harmless – if nothing else, mind candy on my way to something else.

While modern technology does afford us amazing opportunities, it is the ability to watch many episodes all at once that has ultimately spoiled the show for me.  The comedy millieu requires a certain amount of the formula to be in effect, and repetition becomes particularly apparent one after another.  In making the effort to quickly catch up, the elements that made the show work became far to obvious to continue to be charmed by it.  Smaller doses would have been great, and I can see now why it would have paid off to have watched from the beginning, as these were coming out.  But, what’s done is done, and I now have to pay the price for being impatient.

That being said, there are some wonderfully great moments in this show that make it worth watching.  In keeping with the episodic nature of the show, they don’t make it a point to create a sprawling narrative.  In that regard, character development, and the interactions between the core members of the group, tend to supersede plotlines, sci-fi gimmicks, and the elements that I find particularly attractive in television.  Occasionally, they will diverge into a developing story that will last several episodes.  But even then, it would build using the old Stan Lee A story, B story, C story model.  As with many things in the world, the subplots in Eureka are often the best parts of the show.  The secret military bunker from the late ’30’s was getting great, until the literally sealed that plotline in concrete.  The Artifact subplot was interesting, but ultimately went nowhere.  The Organic Computers were interesting for a while.  Etc.  Everything comes to a close, and moves on.  The story is about characters – and comedy – and not sci-fi.

This is probably a good place to mention the role Twitter has played in all of this.  As a recent convert, I started following some of the Eureka  cast (@wilw & @neilgrayston) to see what it was all about.  To my complete joy, they are very hilarious, as 140 characters also happens to be exactly joke-length.  But this only endears me to the show more, in that I can get this close to the people I’m a fan of.  And for a character and comedy driven vehicle, this can only reinforce things for the good.

So, in the end, this is why I’m okay with the show ending after Season 5.  I don’t want to see the formula become so watered down that it no longer works.  Already, Eureka has used two of my least favorite conventions (Christmas episode and, urg, Clip Show), and having finally written a story to explain their own opening credits, they may be getting so self-refrential as to be bordering of incoherent.

Yes, I can see a good final run, and if you pace yourself and get caught up, you’ll probably enjoy it, too.  Because, in the end: the jokes are really funny.

******

10 August 2011 Update:

It appears that there has been a lot of inter-web buzz about this cancellation, and on some sites it seems to have been reported that a sixth season was also ordered for this show, with a possible ongoing status that may never end.  However, this seems like optimistic speculation on the part of many fans, and more to the point, the cast has all made announcements that Season 5 will be the last one.  I’m sure there will continue to be rumors about a sixth season until the bitter,  bitter end.  Personally, I still think that it is time to wrap it up, and move on to other things.  Perhaps some of the cast can move over to Warehouse 13, while others can move on with their lives.

Paco Jones – Signs and Symbols

Signs And Symbols
Signs And Symbols

Paco Jones – Signs and Symbols

jones4music Records

Available at CD Baby, or iTunes.

The wrong atmosphere can ruin a good album, as much as poor word balloon placement can topple stellar comics.  DIY bands get this wrong all the time, making something that should sound like a basement practice session into a perfectly polished CDR that shines just a little too bright for the generic schlock within.  Other audio noodlers have been known to reverse the formula, layering in tape hiss where the sheen of an electronic synth will do just nicely.  It is this balance in knowing how to create the right atmosphere that Paco Jones excels at, and his newest release, Signs and Symbols, is perfect evidence of this.

Paco’s songwriting and guitar playing preclude the desire to namecheck influences or predecessors.  He’s happy enough to wear those happily, wherever they choose to hang themselves on his body of work.  But in tracks like “Deep Space” and “Crystal,” new territory is carved out in electronic textures and spacy interludes.  Both “And Bess” and “Most Acoustic” find his guitar traversing passages that few choose to tread, and when there are lyrics, like on “Archive,” they are chilling in a way that defies logic or explanation.  Here is an artist content to let his muse – and the technology that allows him to follow her – go where ever she pleases, and the results are worth revisiting over and over again.

There are moments that explore the dark side of experimental music, and on tracks like “Michael Caine” and “Siberia” you can almost hear Paco wrestling with his own demons, musical and personal, transubstantiated into soundscapes that evoke a similar response in the listener.  But it is in these moments that Paco is most himself, most laid bare for the listener in a way that his other pieces only allow glimpses of.  And that is probably the best way to consider Paco’s music.  This is an artist laying out for his audience some very personal work, and it comes through the more attention you give it.  Isn’t that what all the best art is trying to do, anyway?

Blasphuphmus Radio Has A New Home

Blasphuphmus Radio
Blasphuphmus Radio

Blasphuphmus Radio

This summer has offered an opportunity to redouble efforts in new projects, and the first has been something that is over 13 years in the making.  When I first started in radio in 1998, the technology available to me was slim by today’s standards.  Two CD players, two turntables, two microphones, two cart machines, and a tape deck.  With those humble beginnings, I religiously (pun intended) archived my radio efforts with the thought that I may do something with it in the future.  Now, the future is here.

This website is a near-complete archive of all 500 plus radio happenings since then.  Individual listings are posted for every known broadcast, indexed and organized in a way that has never been possible before.  What used to take up innumerable cassette tapes and pen-and-ink notebook records is now carefully filed digitally, for your easy perusal.  It is fully interactive, allowing you to search and comment in a number of ways, and offers detailed information (when available), as well as download links for all recent, and a number of older, broadcasts.

I have to say, this has been a labor of love.  When I first started doing a radio show, I had no idea that it would become the thing it has, all these years later.  The fact that I can continue to work in this very special medium, and continue to challenge myself in order to do new and interesting things, allows me to fall deeper in love with something I cannot quit.  (In spite of trying, twice.)  To have a record like this is something that I’ve always envisioned, and to see it come to life in this way is something that I will not tire of anytime soon.  Not only has this renewed my interest in the possibilities, but it has shown that through humble beginnings, you can grow a wonderful gem that shines better and better with age.

Obviously, some caveats are in order.  While there is detailed information listed for a number of shows in this archive, there are quite a few that have only the barest listings possible.  This is for a number of reasons, which I won’t get into entirely.  Suffice it to say that this is a fluid archive, with information that is only as complete as the other databases I have merged to create this one.  My own frail memory has supplemented entries when possible, but this is not nearly as fleshed out as it will become over time.  There will also be new discoveries added as time goes on, and obviously our staff is tirelessly working to bring every obscure detail into sharp relief.  But if there is any information that can be found about a given show, this is the place.

As noted in a number of places as well, this has coincided with a massive attempt at archiving our shows, digitally.  Currently, all known shows are now safely secure in both DVD and raw-data forms here at Blasphuphmus Radio Headquarters, and thus I am offering older episodes for sale.  (See here for more information.)  While not to belabor the point, all new episodes will always be free, but to offset the costs of file uploads, and my own time, you will have to pay $1.00 per show for old episodes.  I think it is more than fair, considering what you get.  (Sometimes, a three-hour mix of music.)  However, I am much more interested in getting these shows to the people that want to hear them, so if you express some interest, you will most likely get quite a deal.  I am much more excited about seeing people make donations to The Friends of KPSU.  You can donate as little or as much as you’d like, and it keeps shows like mine on the air.  Radio needs your support, and without it, there is the distinct possibility that I won’t be able to continue to work with KPSU.  I would hate to see that happen.  End of message.

It appears that there are about 40 shows that do not exist in any form.  (Probably more.)  About 20 or so additional shows exist in truncated forms.  Only one of the 61 KWVA shows exists in a near-complete form (minus the commercials.)  And a number of shows have poor sound quality, or are in mono.  However, that leaves almost 400 complete broadcasts available for you to listen to, and with over 200 live performances to choose from, there are hidden gems and treasures that I’m rediscovering, too.  This has been a wonderful trip down memory lane, and I am impressed at the number of shows that really stand up, all these years later.

While I’m proud of every single part of this site, and I really just can’t wait for you to dive in and make discoveries of your own, I would like to draw your attention to a few important features that I think you’ll want to know about up front:

Upcoming Events: A rolling update of all known and currently scheduled radio events, including live performances, and scheduled themes.

Audio Essays: These are my personal favorite kind of show.  Centered around a theme, or in some cases an audio narrative, I pick out songs and recordings that create an extended collage mix of content that flows as a complete presentation.  Themes vary in scope and form, and I try not to repeat myself too often, but it is very hard to resist a little Sci-Fi now and then, and the Vinyl Solution Shows are not to be missed.  I’ve been experimenting with shows like this since the beginning, heavily influenced by Negativland and their show, Over The Edge.

In-Studio Performances: Since 2004, I’ve regularly hosted live acts on my show (and on Live Friday).  I’m a live music nut, but the costs of going to shows is a little more than a DJ can afford.  So I invite them into the studio to play a little show for just me and my radio listeners.  I’ve had a number of great artists over the years: Lana Rebel, Devotchka, Jesse Ransom, Levator, Dr. Frank, Roxy Epoxy, Nasalrod, Camper Van Beethoven, Gordon Taylor, Sloths, Ashtray, John Rambo, Murph from Dinosaur Jr., and a host of others.  With over 200 recordings listed in the archive, there’s bound to be something you’ll love.

More than anything, I want to stress that the future is just as important now as it ever has been.  New guests and themes are in the works, and old projects that were once thought forgotten are about to make their return to the airwaves.  Personally, I feel that the past trials and tribulations we’ve faced are all the more easily forgotten considering the consistent quality of the show, which has only gotten better as I have made way for new ideas that only new technology – and radio – can bring you.  It’s my pleasure to continue mining these new opportunities and possibilities for at least another 13 years.

As always, your input is valued.  Every part of this website is interactive, with comments and the ability to make requests.  You can participate in the show via the phone at 503-725-5945, or contact me about guesting on the show.  I also act as KPSU’s Experimental Music Director, and review countless CDs for our ever-growing archives.  Yes, I would love to hear your band’s new album.  Really.

Hopefully you get as much joy out of this as it has been for me to create it.  Radio has really become a passion of mine, something that really just began as a youthful enthusiasm.  But what made it that way was the people listening, the people who have enjoyed it, and have encouraged me to keep at it.  Without you, there would be no show.

Be seeing you.