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Apr 2021

Pay Your Respects to the Vultures, For They Are Your Future: Transmission 514, 2020 February 27



The pandemic has made me extra-fond of this episode, because it's one of the last "specials" I did before the lockdown, but I think this episode might be suitable for the pantheon in any timeline. I had of course already inducted Coil into the Bombast Hall of Legends, in four stages, to go along with their "equinox" / "solstice" series. Early days! But here I wind up with airtime on what would be Peter Christopherson's birthday, so it's a "proper" chance to devote the full two hours to their music (and other things, with apologies to Jhonn Balance).

I pronounce PC's surname like "Kristofferson" although I don't really know if that's correct--I become wistful about the Dif Juz HoL induction, triggered by that very question. How lucky I was that at least two of them are alive to answer the question. But not in this case. This program is for the spirits, and for the fans, and for the uninitiated.

There is no cool or interesting origin story for me and my Coil records. I'm sure that Jeremy, Friend of the Program, used to encourage me to play Scatology late at night on the radio, many years ago. And there was a kind docent at the local record store, Alex, who insisted I take home The Unreleased Themes for Hellraiser 10-inch. I'm not a pagan, I'm not into male-only onanistic rituals or anything, I'm just a black cishet guy who loves music that is unusual and good and unusually good. My tastes are probably almost as boring as I am.

I guess I stuck with Coil over the years because they were prolific and restless, building a catalog that is almost self-sufficient--not merely a "desert island disc" but a desert island body of work. In that ridiculous hypothetical, you'd hardly need anyone else's records. Also, there are only a handful of “industrial “ artists who (to me) are unproblematic. It’s a depressingly short list--Coil, Cabaret Voltaire, Chris & Cosey, Test Dept., Bourbonese Qualk, Einsturzende Neubauten, Nocturnal Emissions, Zoviet France, I'm not sure whom I'm forgetting...Everyone else seems too close to Alain Jourgensen, too close to Douglas Pearce, or is actually Genesis. This last bit is less trivial than it sounds--Coil's presence on a compilation is a really good indicator of quantity. I've "discovered" a lot of good sounds just picking up the various "various artists" records on which Coil appeared. And I take the willingness to do comps as an indicator of niceness in a person--easygoing, plays well with others, etc.

So I guess that's it.

It was a lovely evening sitting in the studio and letting the music flow through me, loudly, though I couldn’t seem to say anything correctly when it was time to speak. There is a certain magic(k) in the air whether you listen to this in blinding sunlight or at nighttime as intended.

Since this program was broadcast, 418 days ago now, I've gone "on the air" 57 times. I have delivered 53 pre-recorded episodes on account of the pandemic. I am most definitely biased but I have to say that none of those episodes are better than this one.

BOMBAST playlist, 2020 February 27, 2100-2300:

  • "First Dark Ride" | Coil | Unnatural History III | Threshold House
  • "Who'll Fall" | Coil | Stolen & Contaminated Songs | Cold Spring
  • "20 Jazz Funk Greats" | Throbbing Gristle | 20 Jazz Funk Greats | Mute
  • "Red Skeletons" | Coil Presents Black Light District | A Thousand Lights in a Darkened Room | Eskaton
  • "Homage To Sewage" | Coil | Life At The Top | Third Mind / Abstract
  • "Futhur" | Coil | Stolen & Contaminated Songs | Cold Spring
  • "Princess Margaret's Man In the D'jamalfna" | Coil | The New Backwards | Important Records
  • "Amethyst Deceivers" | Coil | Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers | Eskaton
  • "Distant Dreams (Part Two)" | Throbbing Gristle | The Industrial Records Story | Illuminated
  • "Love's Secret Domain" | Coil | Stolen & Contaminated Songs | Cold Spring
  • "Feeder" | CTI With Coil | Core - A Conspiracy International Project | Conspiracy International
  • "Panic" | Coil | Unnatural History III | Threshold House
  • "Cowboys In Bangkok 1995 (Coil vs Elph Mix)" | Chris & Cosey | Twist | T & B Vinyl
  • "The Snow" | Coil | Love's Secret Domain | Threshold House
  • "In My Head A Crystal Sphere Of Heavy Fluid" | Peter Christopherson | Foxtrot | Chalice
  • "The Last Amethyst Deceiver" | Coil | The Ape of Naples | Important Records
  • "Neither His Nor Yours" | Coil | A Diamond Hidden In The Mouth Of A Corpse | Giorno Poetry Systems
  • "Dark River" | Coil | Love's Secret Domain | Threshold House
  • "The Lost Rivers of London" | Coil | Unnatural History III | Threshold House

Everything is good and divine

Jul 2017

Lonely Is As Lonely Does: Transmission 351, 2017 June 28

lonely_is_an_eyesore.jpg I must write a letter to you. I must make myself clear. But just as I do many of these broadcasts "under duress" of some kind, I often write these commentaries, or remembrances, or whatever they are, on short deadlines, self-imposed (out of guilt, usually) or perceived. Occasionally I am reminded that this matters to someone, but for the most part it's an imagined, impatient reader/listener or a voice in my head cracking the whip.

ANYWAY, yes, I gave over a program, basically, to Lonely Is An Eyesore, which I describe herein as a "life-altering record" and a "gateway," and which was "enjoying" its 30th birthday "on the day" of broadcast (if you account for time zone difference). Surely in a hopeless case like mine, you will have guessed that the Senior Catharses are regular listeners--I hope I make them proud, occasionally; my mother texted me after the show to ask me what the big deal was, since I didn't explain. I PLAY RECORDS SO I *DON'T* HAVE TO TALK. But I'll try to "talk" here.

THE GATEWAY: this description is not exactly true. In spring 1987 I was playing new EP releases by Throwing Muses and The (legendary) Wolfgang Press at my old station. So I "knew" who they were. I was already familiar with Cocteau Twins (hard not to be) and This Mortal Coil. (And, "of course," the long-departed Bauhaus.) Once, during the fall term of 1986, I had binged on Hershey's Kisses while blasting Xmal Deutschland at full volume in one of the station's listening rooms and given myself a blinding headache; I would do it again! I would guess that someone had tipped me off to Dead Can Dance; "The Fatal Impact" seems like something Early Me would have played on the radio. Colourbox were also "on my radar" but I hadn't really embraced them yet.

These were merely data points, bands and records I happened to like. Though I did read record covers, it hadn't occurred to me to think about patterns. Labelthink, as I call it, hadn't overtaken me. I recall, as an adolescent, noting that Prince, The B-52's, and Devo were all on Warner Bros. records, so someone there must have had decent taste. New Order and my beloved Durutti Column records were released by something called Factory Communications Ltd., and that was a cool coincidence. I knew that I had to have Smiths records on Rough Trade, not Sire, because I wanted nothing to do with those garish yellow-and-orange labels (also that I seemed not to like anything on MCA or Arista, or the stupid rainbow / mountainscape labels; aesthetics mattered, if only vaguely). Just babbling self-musings, a baby struggling to form words it didn't understand yet.

LIFE-ALTERING: Something flipped when--sitting in my parents' house, listening to some other DJ at my station--I heard (Clan of) Xymox's "Muscoviet Musquito" and, not knowing who or what it was, decided I had to hear and own the record. But, not having caught the back-announce (I'm sure it was because one of my siblings insisted on talking to me or something), I couldn't attribute the tune. The next time I visited the station, either because I had a show to do or because I was bored, I rummaged through the "current" bins. We had received a vinyl copy of Lonely Is An Eyesore--but I had no idea what it was. It just "looked cool." Maybe I thought it looked something like a This Mortal Coil or Throwing Muses record; maybe it was just serendipity. Serendipity was strong in those days. But anyway, here was the song, and everything else: an aesthetic, a catalog, a history, what seemed, stupidly, like a way of being. I was sad and lonely (ha ha) and impressionable; records meant so, so much to me at that time.

I became a 4AD devotee, overnight, it seemed; I wasn't de-programmed until about 5 years later, and only through what must have been a long series of disappointments. It just so happens that my memories of those years are quite repressed--certainly for non-4AD reasons! This is the cause of many of my problems now, I feel. All I know is the initial rush, a blazing summer of limerance, if you will; that labelthink was upon me, that I had to have everything, and that I've never really been the same.

In my (hasty and improvised) defense--objectively I wasn't that far gone. My band did send demo tapes--universally rejected, btw--to other labels. I was not the guy at the Pixies gig who had spray-painted the 4AD logo on the back of his leather jacket. (Counterpoint--but there I was, nevertheless, at two Pixies gigs, and my leather jacket was spray-painted with something else.) I'm not the guy in the facebook fangroup who thinks he's going to blow people's minds by posting some YouTubed Cocteau Twins song we have all heard half a million times. I know, based on the remaining evidence, that there were other things happening, that I had a previous identity (musical and otherwise) that was perfectly fine, and maybe even halfway cool. But there is no denying that I was smitten, dangerously obsessed. I wanted to be this.

Had I understood at the time I first heard this record that I was seeing "light from a dead star," that this was actually, by a plausible reckoning, the end of 4AD as it presents itself here, I might not have to work so hard to recover Young, Unbroken Me. But who knew at the time?

What remains? Three of the bands on this record are in the Hall of Legends, and I can't say for certain that there won't be more. At least a couple of other Legends have had brushes with 4AD, and maybe are people whose music I might have missed had there not been some connection. Despite the fact that I've since concluded that I like the Natures Mortes and Presage(s) compilations better (and am embarrassed by how shy I sound about this when I allude to it in the program!), LIAE is a singular achievement--there are a bajillion great Creation comps, for example, but not one conceptually similiar to this--and it still "sounds good loud," as I said to Friend of Bombast Mr. D when we were texting each other during this broadcast. I'm hopeful that one of these days I'll be able to hear it again with innocent wonder.

Oh yeah, there's about an hour and eighteen minutes' worth of other music here, too. Hopefully it will mean something to someone, maybe even me, in 2047.

Pretty sure I failed to clarify anything here, but as the kids say "it is what it is." Obscene, obscure.

BOMBAST playlist, 2017 June 28, 2100-2300:

  1. "Stairfoot Lane Bunker - Minor Science Remix" | Special Request | Stairfoot Lane Bunker | Houndstooth
  2. "The Seven Armed Drummer" | Autre | Air Texture Volume V | Air Texture
  3. "Your Neighbour" | Boy Robot | Final Transmission EP | City Centre Offices
  4. "Reza's Final Battle" | Saint Abdullah | The Sounds of Evil - Vol. 1 | Boomarm Nation
  5. "Roger Wilco's Night Out" | Marius Circus | Roger Wilco's Night Out | In The Garden
  6. "Huit" | Sky H1 | Mono No Aware | PAN
  7. "Saunter" | Arca | Arca | XL
  8. "My Eye on You (feat. Gavin Clark)" | Toydrum | My Eye on You (To Reinvision) | Skint
  9. "The Same River Once" | Rapoon | Miracle Steps (Music from the Fourth World 1983-2017) | Optimo
  10. "Primitive Methods" | El Mahdy Jr. | Time to Sell the Golden Teeth | Boomarm Nation
  11. "Hot Doggie" | Colourbox | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  12. "Acid, Bitter and Sad" | This Mortal Coil | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  13. "Cut the Tree" | The Wolfgang Press | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  14. "Fish" | Throwing Muses | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  15. "Frontier" | Dead Can Dance | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  16. "Hold Me Tender - feat. Urour" | Khan of Finland | Nicht nur Sex | Shitkatapult
  17. "Stratos" | Julien Villa | Away | Sodasound
  18. "Fukui Morning" | Claude Young | Air Texture Volume V | Air Texture
  19. "Don't Know Why" | Slowdive | Slowdive | Dead Oceans
  20. "Definizione dell'impossibile" | Tale of Us | Endless | Deutsche Grammophon
  21. "The Cotton And The Organ" | Gl. Harlev Organ Orchestra | Organ Sessions | Jahtari
  22. "Crushed" | Cocteau Twins | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  23. "No Motion" | Dif Juz | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  24. "Muscoviet Musquito" | Clan of Xymox | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  25. "The Protagonist" | Dead Can Dance | Lonely Is An Eyesore | 4AD
  26. "Neckless Dub" | Jay Glass Dubs | New Teeth for an Old Country | Bokeh Versions

music for presence

Jun 2017

Post banlieue, post banlieue: Transmission 340, 2017 May 3

four_lips_from_one_mouth.jpg Reading today about the "culture of narcissism," I feel compelled to say "it me," as the kids do. Differentiating between myself and the external world is a challenge. Object permanence, which I thought I had mastered once, is a memory (though I guess the fact that I remember it should reassure me). Things exist insofar as they produce feelings in me. Remembering readings from graduate school, I might fancy myself "His Majesty the Baby," but most likely "l'hommelette" is more apt as a description.

Case in point: I've listened to this program twice, and have no idea whether it is great or terrible. Not that I am certain it is something in between: I heard it once and it was terrible, and I heard it another time and it was great. It may be an infinite number of other things--for me it all had to do with how I was feeling at the time I heard it. Give this a try yourself. Perhaps you should do it more than once.

BOMBAST playlist, 2017 May 3, 2100-2300:

  1. "SAUDADE" | Kangding Ray | HYPER OPAL MANTIS | Stroboscopic Artefacts
  2. "Space Talk" | Cass. | Youth Sessions | Emotional Response
  3. "Virile Poetry" | Glider | New Adventures of TBTCI | The Blog That Celebrates Itself
  4. "Da Gone" | Mahatma X | A Mobtown Suite Vol. 1 | Home Assembly
  5. "64 Bits" | Baloji | 64 Bits & Malachite | Bella Union
  6. "Slag" | Nash the Slash | And You Thought You Were Normal | Artoffact
  7. "ChannelTwo(MurderousDub)" | Seekers International | Presents the RaggaPreservation Society EP | Diskotopia
  8. "Memorabilia" | Soft Cell | Non-Stop Ecstatic Dancing | Sire | "Listening Parlour"
  9. "African Communication" | Phil Pratt | Star Wars Dub | Burning Sounds
  10. "New Life" | Swindle | Purple Walls | Butterz
  11. "Llullaillaco" | Kairon; IRSE! | Ruination | Svart
  12. "Classic NU Shit" | No UFO's | NU LP For RS | Root Strata
  13. "Gender Balance" | Pool Art | New Adventures of TBTCI | The Blog That Celebrates Itself
  14. "Descendants" | Esteban Adame | Descendants | EPM
  15. "Insects" | Thornucopia | Four Lips From One Mouth | Lather | "Physical Evidence"
  16. "Headzdropa" | Will Guthrie | People Pleaser | Black Truffle
  17. "Weird Time" | The Mighty Strangers | Four Lips From One Mouth | Lather | "Physical Evidence"
  18. "Fr3sh" | Kareem Lotfy | Mono No Aware | PAN
  19. "Locust" | JUPITER-C | 001 | Invada
  20. "Geheimes Wissen" | Le Petit Mort | Sammlung (Elektronische Kassettenmusik, Dusseldorf 1982-1989) | Bureau B
  21. "Mass Ignorance Culture" | Jack Ketch and the Crowmen | Brimfull of Hate | M'Lady's
  22. "At Last, At Last" | Xiu Xiu | FORGET | Polyvinyl
  23. "Bloom" | Jaws | Object Dom | Hundebiss
  24. "Firstling, Pt. 2" | Mary Ocher | The West Against the People | Klangbad
  25. "The Moon Is Not A Yellow Sow" | Buick | Four Lips From One Mouth | Lather | "Physical Evidence"
  26. "Construct Conduct" | Odeko | Digital Botanics / Construct Conduct | Gobstopper
  27. "Delta-V" | Shobaleader One | Elektrac | WARP
  28. "When I Fall" | Zombie Motorcade | Four Lips From One Mouth | Lather | "Physical Evidence"
  29. "Baby How Strong Are" | Egyptrixx | Pure, Beyond Reproach | Halocline Trance
  30. "Time Hole (Scene)" | Hand Habits | Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void) | Woodsist
  31. "The Soniferous Garden - Radio Edit" | Auntie Flo | The Soniferous Garden | Sofrito Super Singles
  32. "Lysander" | Mark Barrott | Music for Presence | International Feel
  33. "Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose" | James Brown | Star Time | Polydor
  34. "Skinshaped - Outro" | Moodprint | The Gold Play | Tangram

I'm asking myself, i'm the only one here

Jun 2017

Got Aqua Net Bangs, Got Amplifier: Transmission 336, 2017 April 12

babe_terror.jpg Here I am again, trying out this new "actually writing posts" thing, seeing how it works. Feels good so far, so let's continue. This broadcast was one iteration of "our weekly time together" that was made "extra Bombastic" by DJ Andrea's early departure to see a Howie Gelb show. Humbly and accurately I suggested that listeners scoot down to that concert rather than listening to me (I am, after all, on every week, and then some) but this program turned out pretty well! It's an odd mismash of "new" music and "leftovers" from the program two nights prior, but that is kind of the dream, after all: connections between the current and the dated, which only I understand, and not even always.

At nearly three hours in length, this program is a real exercise in doing what I used to do 30 years ago, which Monday's program could not be. 180 minutes is a long time to do radio, you guys. I am totally happy with two hours (even that feels like a lot sometimes). I am well tired by the end of this program, even though it's no later than usual. There's probably some unpacking to do there. Anyway--I can't believe I didn't get to Sisters of Mercy, or Smersh, or (a non-interstitial tune by) zoviet:france on Monday night, so the extra time gave me a chance to rectify these horrible oversights.

BOMBAST playlist, 2017 April 12, 2000-2300:

  1. "Let Me Be The One (feat. La Femme D'Argent)" | Behind The Name | Confession | Fauxpas
  2. "Under Glass" | The Legendary Pink Dots | Under Glass | Play It Again Sam
  3. "Blue Moon" | Breathless | Blue Moon [reissue] | Tenor Vossa
  4. "Le Mur Mur Nu" | Soviet France | Fight! | Cathexis
  5. "Longue Attent de la Mort" | Mirco Magnani + Ernesto Tomasini | Madame E. | Undogmatisch
  6. "Friends Of Mine" | Buzzcocks | Spiral Scratch | Domino
  7. "Stop" | Quince | Rif | Something Happening Somewhere
  8. "Papal Breakdance" | Psychic TV | Magick Defends Itself | Temple
  9. "Throbbing Gristle" | The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Groove Is In The Heart | A Records
  10. "Autocrat" | For Against | Echelons | Independent Project
  11. "Dronz 1 - Ketter" | Richard Pinhas | Reverse | Bureau B
  12. "Lights" | The Sisters of Mercy | Reptile House EP | Merciful Release
  13. "Golden Hair" | Intenna | Just for a Life, A Homage to Slowdive | The Blog That Celebrates Itself
  14. "Farmers and Villagers Living Within the Shadow of Aerodromes" | July Skies | The English Cold [reissue] | Caroline True
  15. "Birdsong (feat Merely)" | Mythologen | Mythologen | Hoga Nord
  16. "Four Paths" | K. Leimer | Land of Look Behind | Palace of Lights
  17. "Atlantic Verticode" | Babe, Terror | Ancient M'ocean | Phantasy
  18. "Untitled" | Charles Noel & Archetype | The Transformation | Indigo Aera
  19. "Herman" | Smersh | The Part of the Animal That People Don't Like | Dead Man's Curve
  20. "Sicktone - Version 2" | Zos Kia / Coil | Transparent | Cold Spring
  21. "Amaris" | Ulrich Schnauss / Jonas Munk | Passage | Azure Vista
  22. "Pretty" | Love Tractor | Athens, GA - Inside Out | I.R.S.
  23. "Vivid Flu" | Michael Vallera | Vivid Flu | Denovali
  24. "The Room" | Marcel Dettmann / Ben Klock | Phantom Studies | Ostgut Ton
  25. "Honey Power" | Ceremony feat. Candy | Forever and Again, A Tribute to My Bloody Valentine | The Blog That Celebrates Itself
  26. "French Morning" | Specimens | Sculptures | First Terrace
  27. "Blackwell Dynonetics" | Jesse Osborne-Lanthier | Unalloyed, Unlicensed, All Night! | Raster Noton
  28. "Morning Fog" | Mordecai | Abstract Recipe | Richie Records / Testostertunes
  29. "Valerie Verb" | Sparrow Steeple | Steeple Two | Richie Records / Testostertunes
  30. "2.36am" | Grey Hairs | Serious Business | Gringo
  31. "For David Robert Jones" | William Basinski | A Shadow in Time | Temporary Residence Limited

I am the light, or the idea of it

Jun 2017

Most of the Time I’m Somebody Else’s Problem: Transmission 335, 2017 April 10

Bauhaus_-_Bela_Lugosi_s_Dead_-_back_cover.jpg Welcome to the 30th birthday party for my extremely non-lucrative radio career. I pointed out a few weeks ago that it had occurred to me that this anniversary must be approaching, and that I had sussed out when it had to be (more on this in a minute). But I had not anticipated, at that brainwave's first appearance, that I would actually have a chance to observe the anniversary on air, seeing as how it fell on a Monday night instead of "our regular weekly time together." I was more or less prepared to just post that old show tape and be done with it, but then fate decided to send Roger somewhere other than the Kenny Ritter Memorial Studio on this particular evening, so--as it often happens--I "stepped in." Aside from being a special night, numerically, this is also a rare confluence of circumstances: (a) having access to Surprise Airtime and Knowing What To Do With It--I notice that on the last TWO iterations of April 23, I have filled in for someone without managing to do anything for David Gedge's birthday (or William Shakespeare's, for that matter); and (b) having the aforementioned Surprise Airtime at a suitable hour for me to drag my old-ass body down to the station and actually conduct whatever needed to be conducted (still feeling guilty about flaking on Andrew Eldritch).

I started to write this post, and then abandoned it for nearly a month. This probably deserves unpacking, but the time will never come. Odds are, I wanted to discuss circumstances and atmosphere, since, aside from a handful of actual records that I used to play, that's what I carry with me from Spring Quarter 1987. You might think this constituted "traveling light." You would be wrong.

As I mention during the program, the first dozen or so broadcasts I did at KDVS were from 3 to 6 in the morning, that being the standard "debut" slot for a new DJ. Even this undesirable shift resulted from a six-month process of dues-paying, attrition, "extreme vetting," and a bit of training and soundchecking here and there. I have no recollection of how I stayed awake until 3am, and would have to guess that it was 99% "being 18 years old" that did the trick. I do recall the oddity of having a key to Freeborn Hall (the student union, effectively) but not to the station itself (I guess we took security more seriously than the University for some reason). If I'm not mistaken I still have that Freeborn key. Wonder if it still works.

A persistent memory: leaving the building after my program and being greeted by sunlight, which was super-weird. Going back to my dorm room and crashing for several hours (perhaps I didn't have class on Fridays? It probably wouldn't have mattered). Already I was becoming isolated from people--maybe on account of my radio activities, or trying to do music of my own. I don't remember, other than that fights and silences that I didn't understand were piling up quickly, and that this three hours a week of panicked improvisation was really the closest thing to "fun" that I was having. Sometimes I think it was ever thus!

Since I didn't plan this anniversary program either, other than picking the records I brought down to the station, there were some oversights, which I would address in the next regular Wednesday broadcast. There are probably many stories to tell about individual songs and the people of whom they remind me, but it's all gossip. I'll make a general observation sandwiched in between two specific ones. First, it really upsets me that I botched the beginning of the LKJ tracks. That's a thing that never used to happen when I was 18 and competent, and I commit these errors all the time now. Representationally--this broadcast isn't nearly as Wax Trax-y as the first KDVS programs were, which is sort of a beautiful lie; it's also devoid of 4AD content, which is also nice--that would soon be an obsession of mine, but not yet. Finally, Cabaret Voltaire--I can't tell you how much time I spent in the listening rooms, during my "probationary" period, spinning Cabs records. Particularly Voice of America, though for my programs I tended to prefer the ones with heavier drums. I have a very clear memory of listening to VOA while weaving a "friendship bracelet"--but for whom? Did I ever even give it away? Seems like a pretty loaded image.

Thanks for being my friend.

BOMBAST playlist, 2017 April 10, 1900-2100:

  1. "Clustering Train" | The Golden Palominos | Visions of Excess | Celluloid
  2. "Michael Jackson" | Negativland | Escape from Noise | SST
  3. "Qaf Harpy" | Click Click | Fight! | Cathexis | "Physical Evidence"
  4. "The Human Jungle" | The Jazz Butcher | The Human Jungle | Glass
  5. "Dance of Framin" | Tiokoala | Fight! | Cathexis | "Physical Evidence"
  6. "Reality Poem" / "Wat About Di Workin Claas?" | Linton Kwesi Johnson | In Concert with the Dub Band | LKJ Records
  7. "Hazey Daze" | Chris & Cosey | Reflection | Wax Trax!
  8. "Amputate" | Project GK | Fight! | Cathexis | "Physical Evidence"
  9. "The Milkman of Human Kindness" | Billy Bragg | Life's a Riot / Between the Wars | Cooking Vinyl
  10. "Out on Your Own" | Easterhouse | Contenders | Columbia
  11. "The Pilgrims Progress" | Clair Obscur | Fight! | Cathexis | "Physical Evidence"
  12. "Kundalini" / "Vegas El Bandito" | 23 Skidoo | Seven Songs | Ronin
  13. "Bela Lugosi's Dead" | Bauhaus | Bela Lugosi's Dead | Small Wonder
  14. "Thumbs of a Murderer" | Shockheaded Peters | Fight! | Cathexis | "Physical Evidence"
  15. "Israel" | Siouxsie and the Banshees | Nocturne | Polydor
  16. "Teen Love" | No Trend | Teen Love | No Trend
  17. "T.V. Mind (It's In My Brain Version)" | Revolting Cocks | Fight! | Cathexis | "Physical Evidence"
  18. "Uncorrected Personality Traits" | Robyn Hitchcock | I Often Dream of Trains | Midnight Music
  19. "Get Out of My Face" | Cabaret Voltaire | 2 x 45 | Rough Trade

sweat and dirt and sloping shoulders

Apr 2017

I’m Barely Moving, I’m Steady Motion: Transmission -7, 1989 June 30

kdvs2W-1024x681.jpg Dear friends,

About a month ago it struck me that I was approaching the 30th anniversary of my first solo program on college radio. After consulting the college catalog and ye olde internet, I deduced that I must have debuted on April 10, 1987. So here we are.

I'll have more to say about that when I post the sound file of the program I'm doing tonight, but because I enjoy punishment, I went up to the attic this past weekend and found an old show tape. It isn't the debut program, or even one from that academic term, or EVEN one from that calendar year, but it seems to capture some of the spirit of "young me" and that time. At least it will have to, because it's the oldest show tape I have!

It's summer, 1989, and I am 20 years old. I sound it! (Though I think maybe the cassette is playing a tiny bit faster than normal speed.) I also sound nervous and out of breath every time I speak, and self-critical without the self-effacing humor which is my trademark. What was happening to me? I almost never had any kind of plan back then; I would usually bring a small handful of my own records (and it was all records--we didn't bring CD players on board until about 1991, I think)--always including a few compilations--and then make decisions on the fly, running back and forth between the library (a small, small part of it pictured here) and the console. It could have been that. Let's go with that explanation.

Musically, it seems to me that this program is just chestnuts, wall to wall. I am probably biased, but I do remember repeating myself a lot, which makes it a greater shame that I don't have an earlier tape, from a time when it wasn't repetition. I seem to have been much more interested in the past then (albeit the recent past, although a year or two felt like a lifetime back then) than I am now. I certainly wasn't adhering to the station's "currency" rules, at least not during the part of the program captured by these 84 minutes. Music "added" at the station within the prior 3 months was supposed to comprise 30% of our playlists, but the only "current" I know of for sure on this tape is "Into the White," which Discogs tells me was a mere 11 days old at the time of this broadcast (then-GF and I would see the Pixies in San Francisco 3 and a half weeks later; I walked up to Joey Santiago in the bar and strangely he was not delighted to speak to me!) It's possible that Pay It All Back Volume 2 was fairly new to us down in the basement of Freeborn Hall, but I doubt it.

tl;dr this tape finds me doing pretty much exactly what I'd expect me to do. TWO This Mortal Coil songs?! FIVE On-U Sound tracks in the first 45 minutes? Whatever. I am surprised we don't hear from Cocteau Twins, Durutti Column, or Section 25, but I guess even I knew when I was going over the line (or, more likely, I had played them in the first 90 minutes of the program, not captured here).

Other notes: I left in the promo and underwriting spots. We used to have some legendary ads. I miss Sharon MacKenzie (am I spelling that correctly?) and her program. If I recall, she was music director for a while (and never dragged me about my playlists!). She also cracked everyone up in a station meeting this one time when she said, "everyone knows how much I love 7-inches." Maybe you had to be there. Also: Woodstock's Pizza is still a thing! They had better be, as I and everyone I knew gave them so much of our money over the years. I would love to tell you that my program had a high profile sponsor that had chosen me specifically, but our underwriting arrangements did not work that way and everyone was subject to the "luck" of the draw (you're welcome, Woodstock's).

I almost forgot: who is this "Q-TIP" fellow? Why, it's me, of course, with an ill-chosen DJ handle dating from 1987 (TWO YEARS BEFORE A TRIBE CALLED QUEST BECAME FAMOUS, I WILL HAVE YOU KNOW). The name was based on some haircut I must have been sporting at the time, or recently. There was a DJ at the station named "Ridgewood Ray," a slightly older fellow (probably early 30s, which of course meant old to me) who objected to the name. We were a non-commercial radio station, you see, so he insisted that I should call myself "Cotton Swab." I didn't take his advice. Ray was great--he had been at Tower Records in New York City on the day in 1980 when they were giving out free copies of Joy Division's "Komakino" flexidisc. He gifted me his copy because he could think of no one else at the station who'd appreciate it more than I would. He was right about this--and still is!

"Ernst and Deborah" were a couple, these two classical DJs who hated--HATED--following my program, but the program directors, seemingly, would always arrange the schedule so that they did (hmm). They--or one of them, anyway--lived next door to my then-GF's place as well. They got to hear every fight we had, and every other sort of episode. What they would have given to hear Tackhead instead, at any of those times!

Almost certainly I headed out of this program for a sweltering 200-yard walk to my afternoon shift at the Cafe of Regret, which, no doubt, will be the setting of a future tale. Just trying to set the scene for you.

Listening to this yesterday afternoon was a somewhat therapeutic experience for me, good and bad. I hope you get something out of it!

playlist, 1989 June 30, 1330-1500:

  1. "Dju Ya Feza" | Zazou / Bikaye / CY1 | It's A Crammed, Crammed, Crammed World! | Crammed Discs
  2. "Bedward the Flying Preacher" | Singers and Players | Staggering Heights | On-U Sound
  3. "Dateline Miami" | Judy Nylon | Pal Judy | On-U Sound
  4. "Turn the Heater On" | New Order | The Peel Sessions | Strange Fruit
  5. "Throw It Away" | African Head Charge | Pay It All Back Volume 2 | On-U Sound
  6. "Reality" | Tackhead | Reality | On-U Sound
  7. "Pressure" | 400 Blows | The Good Clean English Fist | Dojo
  8. "Circular Motion" | Forehead Bros | Pay It All Back Volume 2 | On-U Sound
  9. "Ha (Original Mix)" | The Anti-Group | Audio-Visual | Sweatbox
  10. "Social Studies" | David Byrne | Music for the Knee Plays | ECM
  11. "Drugs" | Talking Heads | Fear of Music | Sire
  12. "Sixteen Days - Gathering Dust" | This Mortal Coil | Sixteen Days - Gathering Dust | 4AD
  13. "Kangaroo" | Big Star | Third / Sister Lovers | PVC
  14. "Kangaroo" | This Mortal Coil | It'll End In Tears | 4AD
  15. "Bangkok" | Alex Chilton | The Lost Decade | Fan Club
  16. "Into the White" | Pixies | Here Comes Your Man | 4AD
  17. "Youthful Immortal" | Flux | Uncarved Block | One Little Indian
  18. "When You're Sad" | A.R.Kane | When You're Sad | One Little Indian

emerging from a long dark tunnel

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