Category Archives: The Outer Reaches

Grateful Dead – Dark Star (John Oswald Remix, Excerpt)


In 1994, Plunderphonics composer John Oswald released a nearly two hour reconstruction of Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star”, per the request of bassist Phil Lesh.  By chopping and layering over one hundred different performances of the song, recorded between 1968 and 1993, Oswald created one of the longest, strangest (and, hell, perhaps even the best) trips in the Dead cannon.  As he explained in a 1995 interview:

Phil Lesh called me up and talked me into doing it. At that point, I hadn’t listened to any Grateful Dead music in about twenty years. I did think I was qualified, because I do think it’s often a good idea to come into a project without a lot of prior knowledge and get kind of an alien’s overview of what the music seems to be, and then put in your own two cents of what you think it should be. And I think that was the case for this. During the course of working on it, I went to a couple of Grateful Dead concerts, but other than that, I haven’t listened to anything except these hundred versions of “Dark Star” that I found in the vaults.



Animal Collective Chat on NPR


2/3 or 1/2 (their many configurations make it difficult for accurate fractions) of Animal Collective will be on NPR’s All Things Considered today at 2:00 p.m. EST.  Maybe they will talk about the Sun City Girls or drugs or Lisbon or handshakes.  And maybe NPR will read the comment I left with them about their cliched reportage from rural Oklahoma yesterday.  Maybe.  Listen here:

http://www. npr. org/templates/story/story. php?storyId=99607179

And why not?

Clip from the Sun City Girls‘ video “The Halcyon Days of Symmetry”:

Hauschka Live in Japan

Sometime in a previous life (read: junior high) I took piano lessons with hopes of conquering the sonatas of Beethoven, the etudes of Chopin, the oblique structures of Satie.  It never quite happened, seeing as I had zero knack for reading music and even less perseverance, but it helped to instill a deeper appreciation of piano composition. 

Around this same time I became fascinated by the prepared piano work of John Cage.  His techniques seemed to turn the instrument into a living architecture (sometimes even silence prevailed), a sound that was beautifully imperfect. 

The music of Hauschka (also: Volker Bertelmann), a modern German composer, appeals to me in much the same way.  His most recent recording, Ferndorf, is available on FatCat, and should be of interest to fans of Max Richter and Eluvium. 

Purchase here.


Fishing With John (Episode 4)

From The Criterion Collection essay by Michael Azzerrad:

At some point in their lives, probably every sleepless person has switched on the TV in the wee hours of a weekend morning and chanced upon a fishing show. Invariably, a beefy, half-forgotten retired athlete shares a boat with some laconic, baseball-hatted master of the piscatory art, patiently awaiting a bite. The pace is glacial, the visuals unmoving, the murmur of the narrative positively narcotic. It’s the visual equivalent of ambient music. When a hooked fish finally breaks the surface, it’s as momentous as when the creature bursts out of that guy’s stomach in Alien.

The comedic potential of this mise en scène did not go unnoticed by John Lurie. Watching some droll home videos of himself and his buddy Willem Dafoe fishing together, Lurie, a man who is nothing if not always thinking, swiftly came to a brilliant realization: Here was a way to deduct his vacations from his income tax! This was the genesis of Fishing With John…(Cont.)

“Fishing With John: Episode 4” (Dir. John Lurie, 1991)


New Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti: “Can’t Hear My Eyes”


 How do you feel about unbridled subconscious terror filtered through the icy synthesizers of yesteryear and an unsettling but strangely appropriate displacement of self?  How about putting all that in the context of an awkward, contemporary R&B-studded middle school dance? If your first thought was “sign my ass up!” then you’ll need to head over to Gorilla vs. Bear and check out the new track from Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’s ‘Can’t Hear My Eyes/Evolution’s a Lie’ 7″, out now on Mexican SummerYou can groove on it here

I’m not as versed in his back catalogue as many hyper-obsessed AP fans, but “Can’t Hear My Eyes” features the cleanest production that I’ve heard on an Ariel Pink track. Many may still prefer the muted lo-fi beatbox funkscaping of his earlier work, but — according to the man himself — “everything you think you know [about Ariel Pink] is WRONG – DEAD WRONG. THIS is me, naked, without the buffer of awful tape noise drowning out any lack of vision” (via).

“Are You Gonna Look After My Boys?” from FF>> (2002):



Chris Corsano Live

Chris Corsano is, easily, one of the most talented and innovative drummers on the planet.  He has worked with Six Organs of Admittance, Thurston Moore, Nels Cline, Jim O’Rourke, Jandek, Sunburned Hand of the Man, and even toured with Bjork. 

If this video doesn’t make you doo-doo in your pants a little bit then you need to visit your proctologist immediately.

Just Not Tough Enough

Oh Dominick Fernow (a.k.a. Prurient), you win.  I just tried to listen to your “And Still, Wanting” album, which came out earlier this year…and tried is the operative word.  I love noisy music about as much as anything in this world, whether it come in the form of dissonant classical music, shoegaze, black metal, free jazz, no wave, or, you know, whatever.  All that stuff that makes people think I’m really pretentious.  

What I’m trying to say is that I’m open-minded.  I like some of your stuff, and I love the concept of what you do, much like I appreciate Merzbow or Wolf Eyes or Hair Police or Whitehouse or…whatever.  There are moments on this particular album that sounded brilliant to me, but I just don’t have the endurance.  Do they make a Viagra for harsh noise music?  It’s like every time I try to set down and take in your work I start out thinking: “I can handle this!  This is cool!”  and then within a few minutes I’ve switched back to “White Light/White Heat”. 

I know that maybe this is a point; that you are trying to cleanse the world of scum (me?) by punishing us with waves of aural assault.  I’ve heard that this is, like, negative meditation shit, and I think I probably would’ve really dug that when I was still a teen and hated myself…but now I like myself and I smile and I like kitty cats (but I still listen to Burzum and Joy Division).  I get it, I just don’t get it.  I think you are a swell dude, just don’t hold against me that I’m a pussy.

However, this video is kinda cool, so…truce?