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Jan 2020

Despite All My Rage, We Still in a Daze: Transmission 488, 2019 October 13

nnyz.jpgHere we are again. I am scrambling to write something in the pre-dawn hours, and you are probably asleep and oblivious. You have no idea how I envy you! Last night I dreamed that I was being bullied; waking up from this at 1 a.m., I decided to go back to bed, only to find myself in a classroom. I was the present version of myself, that is, not a teacher and not the teacher, but of course it was a theatre classroom and worst of all a dramatic literature classroom. "I haven't thought about Angels in America in ten years," I remember myself saying (it's true!), but I'm pretty sure that the text we were discussing, and which I had not read, was not Kushner's play--but we were behaving as though it was. I think I'd rather dream about being punched.

Since this program was broadcast, 107 days ago now, I've gone on the air 19 times. I'm currently editing a sound file from 41 days ago--6 shows ago.

A weak, incoherent idea is starting to form, and it's that existing in "multiple times" like this is maybe not good for my brain? I don't know.

Whatever. This Sunday-night fill-in occasion prompted me to try some pre-planning (seems weird) and to use the station's computers again. Guy was right--we are constantly under duress. You need to bring a Plan B and a Plan C. Maybe one day we'll have reliable equipment, but we have not acquired it in ~7 years of my doing radio here, and October 13 was not going to be the day either.

It's a shame because for the first hour or so the program is pretty good. Stupidly, when the distortion began I tried to ride it out because it actually sounded "good" during Kelman Duran and Carter Tutti Void. Felix made me reboot the computer--I don't think I've felt this way since one of the program directors at KDVS ordered me to apologize to my listeners for playing a certain Cure song! (Who was saying something about living in multiple times at once?) Apologies to Ivan Black for my use of his music to cover up technical difficulties. He deserves better. We all do. Sleep well.

BOMBAST playlist, 2019 October 13, 2100-2300:

  1. "Indo" | NNYZ? | Automation | Kahvi Collective
  2. "You're the One I Idolise" | CTMF | You're the One I Idolise | Damaged Goods
  3. "Buildings" | The I-Burnettes | The Sound of Leamington Spa | Firestation Records
  4. "Billy the Bastard" | The Grief Brothers | Thirty Five Years on Woodfield Street | Country Mile
  5. "Bus Stop Bravado" | The Irony Board | Unfinished Business | The Beautiful Music
  6. "Took the Train Alone (Macerator Remix)" | Diane Marie Kloba | D.M.K vs S.K.1.2.3 | self-released
  7. "Tomorrow Never Knows" | Brian | Idiolect | self-released
  8. "Tokatoka" | Kaiamba Orchestra | Alefa Madagascar ! Salegy, Soukous & Soul From The Red Island 1974-1984 | Strut
  9. "Wire - Leaping Dub" | Massive Attack | Massive Attack V Mad Professor Part II (Mezzanine Remix Tapes '98) | UMC / Virgin
  10. "Zaka Tiako Mamolaka Keriko" | Atrefy Andriana | Alefa Madagascar ! Salegy, Soukous & Soul From The Red Island 1974-1984 | Strut
  11. "ECTODUB" | Velvet Negroni | NEON BROWN | 4AD
  12. "Pretoria" | Tonton David | Le blues des racailles | Because Music
  13. "Vimana Shastra" | elAstrum | Summer Vacation | Kahvi Collective
  14. "Izahay Mpamita" | Mahaleo | Alefa Madagascar ! Salegy, Soukous & Soul From The Red Island 1974-1984 | Strut
  15. "Suabala" | Bantou Mentale | Suabala | Glitterbeat
  16. "Rapela" | Falafa | Alefa Madagascar ! Salegy, Soukous & Soul From The Red Island 1974-1984 | Strut
  17. "Far Reaching Shadows" | Nots | 3 | Upset the Rhythm
  18. "Mitamiyo" | Mendes & Mendes | Radio Verde: Cape Verdean Dancefloor Music (Compiled By Americo Brito & Arp Frique) | Rush Hour
  19. "Rumble On Arab St (Kitsch Kub Remix)" | Rude Audio | Street Light Interference | Zirkus
  20. "Untitled VI" | Kelman Duran | Two Suns | Point Records
  21. "Imagine a Place" | transmission 13 | The Edge Of The World | self-released
  22. "T 3.5" | Carter Tutti Void | Triumvirate | Conspiracy International
  23. "Jade Fade" | James Clarke Five | Parloursounds [reissue] | The Beautiful Music
  24. "Let Love In" | Breakwater | Release the Beast | Be With
  25. "Rhythm Machine (excerpt)" | Ivan Black | Modern City Scapes | vanguardista
  26. "In a Cage (feat. Moor Mother)" | Zonal | In a Cage | Relapse Records
  27. "Rhythm Machine (excerpt)" | Ivan Black | Modern City Scapes | vanguardista
  28. "Truth (2019 Remaster)" | Goldie | Saturnz Return (2019 Remaster) | London
  29. "The Emergency Kisses" | Stereolab | Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in The Milky Night (Expanded Edition) | Duophonic / WARP
  30. "You Never Know Suzuko's Vice" | Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. | Hallelujah Mystic Garden Part Two | Important

successful tenderness

Nov 2019

Rest in Power, Emma Durutti: Transmission 476, 2019 July 31

bad-brains-19791.jpgThe three-week hiatus that preceded this program didn't do me much good, and at the time of this broadcast I wasn't living my best life. My therapist had been telling me for weeks that my "power" was increasing, but she must have been referring to some other power than "competent radio hosting." It is true that I had stepped into a leadership vacuum at work and perhaps had made an awful summer better for some people, but to say that severely underestimates how awful the summer was and glosses over the toll it took on me. I'm trying to be as specific as possible about my feelings and as general as possible about certain other people. Surely you've seen online "defenses" of "the humanities" in this age of STEM and neoliberal rationalization of everything that higher education tries to do. One common defense is to gesture toward Venture Capital and Silicon Valley and say, "look at how racist and sexist and exploitative and generally non-empathetic these things are--this is why people should study literature and philosophy!" Let me tell you something. I've been studying and working in the humanities for three decades, and, specifically over the last three years at this "theory camp" that is a sort of finishing school for future (or would-be) "academic rockstars" in these fields. I could talk to you all day about how immersion in "the humanities" or "the arts" is no inoculation against racism or classicism or narcissism or sociopathic indifference to suffering. We'll leave it at that.

So this was the first show I did after a rather explosive ending (I don't dare say "traumatic," but it was definitely "a lot," as the kids say) to summer camp; out of practice and with a recently acquired Xmal Deutschland record in hand I was straddling the boundary between the new noise I wanted to make and the remnants of what I used to think I was doing. Sometimes it worked, but there are moments that are not authentically "me." I didn't really enjoy the set that that had Reigning Sound in it, apologies to them. I could also have jettisoned The National and Holly Herndon; at some point in my past a person I don't remember having been must have thought they would make good segues. They didn't. "What year is it," I ask, unable to figure out why I am playing three 4AD artists on this night when we all know that only one was ever truly good, and that was a long time ago.

But I can tell you that this broadcast is not even "rock bottom," so there's probably some content here that you will enjoy.

BOMBAST playlist, 2019 July 31, 2100-2300:

  1. "Entrance" | Merz, Laraaji, Shahzad Ismaily | Dream of Sleep and Wakes of Sound | Merz
  2. "Home [live]" | The Durutti Column | Obey the Time [reissue] | Factory Benelux
  3. "White Rhino - Sound Culture Remix" | Chicago Afrobeat Project Featuring Tony Allen | What Goes Up (Remixed) | Future Rootz
  4. "Gaussian" | Com Truise | Persuasion System | Ghostly International
  5. "Who Gives a Damn" | Grotto | Grotto II: Wait...No Hurry | Livingstone Studio
  6. "Big Takeover" | Bad Brains | Rock for Light | PVC
  7. "Art-I-Ficial" | X-Ray Spex | Germfree Adolescents | Real Gone Music
  8. "Eiland" | Xmal Deutschland | Tocsin | 4AD
  9. "Nasa Arab" | Coil | The Gay Man's Guide To Safer Sex + 2 | Musique Pour La Danse
  10. "Call Me #1" | Reigning Sound | Abdication... For Your Love | Merge
  11. "Birth" | Holly Herndon | PROTO | 4AD
  12. "All Of Us Waning In The Firmament" | Nonconnah | Seek Not Your Fortune | Ernest Jenning Record Co.
  13. "Oyo Ka Jojo" | Les Volcans De La Capital | African Scream Contest: Raw & Psychedelic Afro Sounds from Benin & Togo 70s | Analog Africa
  14. "P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)" | Parliament | Greatest Hits (The Bomb) - Parliament | Casablanca / Polygram
  15. "Dust Swirls In Strange Light" | The National | I Am Easy To Find | 4AD
  16. "Anti-Body" | FACS | Lifelike | Trouble In Mind
  17. "Des Etoile Electroniques - Demo" | Stereolab | Mars Audiac Quintet (Expanded Edition) | Duophonic / WARP
  18. "Subtraction" | Sleaford Mods | Eton Alive | Extreme Eating
  19. "They Made Them Up" | C Cat Trance | Screaming Ghosts | Emotional Rescue / Malka Tuti
  20. "Time Safari - Ambient Version" | Clarian | Time Safari | Kompakt

Prepare yourself for the final quest

Sep 2015

The Darkest Night Was the Day: Transmission 231, 2015 August 25

jealousofshitandshine.jpgAnother weekday, another program: here's something else I did, seemingly long ago. On this night I was clearly getting some stuff out of my system; it felt good at the time, and still does, I daresay. This mixtape ripples with anger, but perhaps you will get a different impression (or, if you share mine, will find it useful at least some of the time).

Diary: lately I've been reading Memoirs of a Geezer by Jah Wobble. I have to admit that I am an unfocused reader these days; I'm unfocused about a lot of things. Something that struck me was one really brief conversation the author had with a friend in which he (re)affirmed his life's purpose. If only it were that easy! I could use that conversation, or that friend, right about now. I have been certain for a while that my "purpose" is not volunteer disc jockeying or any of the behind-the-scenes stuff I do. So all of this is just biding my time. Has if felt that way to you? And biding it for what, I wonder?

BOMBAST PLAYLIST, 2015 August 25, 2100-2300:

  1. "We Shall Cleanse the World" | Revolting Cocks | Big Sexy Land | Wax Trax!
  2. "Lurker" | Meat Beat Manifesto | Kasm02 | Kasm
  3. "Slices of Brain I" | Folamour | Chapeau Rouge | Fauxpas
  4. "Practicing To Be a Doctor" | Shit and Shine | Jealous of Shit and Shine | Riot Season
  5. "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" | Barry Adamson | Moss Side Story | Mute
  6. "God Made the Virus" | McCarthy | I Am a Wallet | Cherry Red
  7. "To Love You Blossom" | July Skies | Dreaming of Spires | Rocket Girl
  8. "Should I Leave You Alone?" | Rat Columns | Fooling Around | Blackest Ever Black
  9. "Inbalance 16" | Best Available Technology | Excavated Tapes, 1992-1999, Vol. 2 | Astro:Dynamics
  10. "Down Down Down (Liminals Remix)" | The Radio Dept. | Occupied | Labrador
  11. "A Side" | El Mahdy Jr. | Ghost Tapes | Discrepant
  12. "Tom Violence" | Sonic Youth | EVOL | Goofin'
  13. "A Ground Without A Figure" | Shuttle358 | Can you prove I was born | 12k
  14. "Sound of Confusion" | The Brian Jonestown Massacre | Thank God for Mental Illness | A Recordings
  15. "50 degrees" | Crypto Tropic | Crypto Tropic | Le Cabanon

all the good guys, they drink milk

Jul 2015

I Used To Think in Complicated Ways: Transmission 219, 2015 July 6

littleannieindread.jpgThis was a Monday night time slot I should not have claimed. I say that in retrospect because things were..."technically compromised." Sometimes I feel the radio gods punish me for taking too much airtime, but feeling also that this show could be terminated any day now, I don't know what else I ought to do.

Anyway, yeah, there are some segue difficulties at the beginning, and some equipment malfunctions at the end. I am resolved to be grateful that these things happened on an "off" night and not during the regularly-scheduled program. I can assure you that THAT program, two nights later, was great.

But this one does have Little Annie in the mix, which is ample compensation.

BOMBAST playlist, 2015 July 6, 1900-2100:

  1. "Snax Variation" | Gulls | Patterns Is Life | Boomarm Nation
  2. "Bellevue Baby" | The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion | Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015 | Mom + Pop
  3. "10 Killer Hurtz More" | Little Annie | In Dread with Little Annie (Four Pieces of Heart at 33RPM) | On-U Sound | "Physical Evidence"
  4. "Not A Sign You've Left That I Could've Found In Your Scrapbooks" | Fontarrian | VLV | Antime
  5. "Pep's" | The Fabulous Three | The Best of the Fabulous Three | Truth & Soul
  6. "God's Mirrorball" | The Orb | Moonbuilding 2073 AD | Kompakt
  7. "Le Manger Hereux" | Little Annie | In Dread with Little Annie (Four Pieces of Heart at 33RPM) | On-U Sound | "Physical Evidence"
  8. "Expansion Naranja" | Ford Proco / Coil | Expansion Naranja | Mannequin
  9. "Tonight Or Never" | La Casa al Mare | This Astro | Bandcamp self-release
  10. "Small Talk" | Wetdog | Divine Times | Upset the Rhythm
  11. "Untitled" | Pere Ubu | Elitism for the People 1975-1978 | Fire
  12. "This Town" | Little Annie | In Dread with Little Annie (Four Pieces of Heart at 33RPM) | On-U Sound | "Physical Evidence"
  13. "The Swell" | Sølyst | Kollektion 04 - Bureau B (Compiled by Richard Fearless) | Bureau B
  14. "E45" | Kolsch | 1983 | Kompakt
  15. "War Dub" | Lee "Scratch" Perry | Back On The Controls | Rolling Lion - Upsetter
  16. "Spoilpark" | Ulli Bomans | Riven | Shitkatapult
  17. "Voluta" | Walls | Urals | Ecstatic
  18. "Heartbreak Kids" | Roman Flugel | Correspondant Compilation 03 | Correspondant
  19. "Miss the Light" | Little Annie | In Dread with Little Annie (Four Pieces of Heart at 33RPM) | On-U Sound | "Physical Evidence"
  20. "Lion" | Valet | Nature | kranky
  21. "Gravity" | Phantom Band | Kollektion 04 - Bureau B (Compiled by Richard Fearless) | Bureau B
  22. "Mint" | Lifted | 1 | PAN

mental jazz, not the other kind.

Oct 2013

Too Much Workload: Transmission 56, 2013 August 24

Singers-And-Players-Revenge-Of-The-Underdog-ORIGINAL-PRESS.jpgThis selection from the archive finds BOMBAST in excellent form on a night that is neither a regular program, nor a "test pattern," but rather a substitute slot for "Hip Hop Don't Stop." Since I more or less gave up on hip-hop 20 years ago [what has it done since?] it is hardly like-for-like, but it's quality stuff from the vault, perfect for "retro August."

In case you can't tell, I'm into those old On-U Sound records. They are a perfect conceptual fit--blending of styles, futuristic yet not current, difficult to pin down in time and space. I would much rather see these records made readily available than languishing in the "Physical Evidence" eligibility pool, but I'm always happy to take advantage of a bad situation.

Also, in case you can't tell, my mood swings regarding the program are pretty wide--I'm feeling pretty philosophical about this program, which isn't supposed to make me unhappy, is it, "Friend of Bombast" Iain? And yet it does, a bit. This was a fun night, as I was in contact with many listeners, both friends and strangers, so the vibe was good. And yet it was the "retro" thing that inspired all of this bonhumeur, not the "usual" thing. The past was a good place to visit on this particular night. I don't want to live there. And yet in a structural sense the program does represent my "living" there. TMI?

I'll stop now and let the tunes take over. They're pretty good.

BOMBAST playlist, 2013 August 24, 2100-2300:

  1. "Program for Light" / "Desert" | Section 25 | From the Hip | Les Temps Modernes
  2. "Somewhere in China" | Shop Assistants | Will Anything Happen | Overground
  3. "Porpoise" | Pale Saints | Flesh Balloon | 4AD
  4. "Dungeon" / "Merchant Ship" / "Jah Army Band" | Singers & Players | Revenge of the Underdog | On-U Sound | "Physical Evidence"
  5. "Other Side - Stuck Together Remix" | Atoms for Peace | 50 Weapons of Choice #30-39 | 50 Weapons
  6. "Chock (Shock)" | Skogen-Brinner | 1st | Subliminal Sounds
  7. "Tomorrow (Steve Peck Mix)" | Morrissey | Volume Five | Volume
  8. "Too Much Workload" | Singers & Players | Revenge of the Underdog | On-U Sound | "Physical Evidence"
  9. "Let's Sail Away" | Honey Tongue | Nude Nudes | Playtime
  10. "It's All But An Ark-Lark" | Cocteau Twins | CD Single Box Set | Capitol
  11. "Say So" | Augustus Pablo | King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown | Shanachie
  12. "You Show Great Spirit" | Prurient | Through the Window | Blackest Ever Black
  13. "Oriental Nightmare" | Rodney & The Blazers | Warpaint | TT Shaker
  14. "New Blue Noon" | Scarper! | Unfurl | Plexus
  15. "Sirens" | oOoOO | Without Your Love | Nihjgt Feelings
  16. "Boys" | Beach Day | Trip Trap Attack | Kanine
  17. "Holocaust" | Big Star | Nothing Can Hurt Me | Omnivore
  18. "Prodigal Son" / "Follower" | Singers & Players | Revenge of the Underdog | On-U Sound | "Physical Evidence"
  19. "Freedom" | 400 Blows | The New Lords on the Block | Concrete Productions
  20. "Moonlight in Glory" | Brian Eno & David Byrne | My Life in the Bush of Ghosts | Sire

next time: Albanian fanfare and other stuff. Enjoy the music! --kid catharsis

Aug 2013

The Hall of Legends - A.R.Kane: Transmission 57, 2013 August 28

lolita-2-sided1.jpgTonight we converse with another Legend, this time Rudy Tambala of A.R.Kane. That band enters the Hall of Legends, where they join The Fall, Stereolab, Billy Childish, Coil, Prince Far I, Dif Juz, and Little Annie. Considering that we've played over 800 different artists in the nine months the program has aired, the Hall of Legends is an exclusive club. Nevertheless, the Induction Committee will adjourn while a new wing is built.

Every visitor to the site is a precious snowflake to me (yes, even the spambots!). Some of you, no doubt, are visiting for the first time, having been lured here by A.R.Kane. A special welcome to you. Enjoy what the site has to offer, even if from your perspective it's only this post. BOMBAST is a relatively new thing, but we have many episodes available here. The hyperlink above will take you to a loose description of the Hall of Legends, and this page describes the "idea" of the show, such as it is. The prose you find everywhere on the site is mostly for my own entertainment, since this is my outlet, but if it floats your boat as well, that's fine. Audio's at the bottom of the post if this is all TMI.

We have written too much about A.R.Kane, as some of you have heard, either from them or from me. (No, I'm not linking to it! Show some initiative.) Whether you're familiar with A.R.Kane's musical output or not, the contents of this program will teach you more about it than I could. I can only speak authoritatively about my own experiences:

  • My first sighting of the Lollita record, and this progression of thought--first, "nice cover star"; then, "impressive knife"; finally (after reading the sticker comment promising "Big Black meets The Durutti Column"), "if this is anywhere in that ballpark I'll love it"
  • The entire autumn of 1987, when I couldn't get the sound of "Haunting" out of my head
  • Plugging my weak drum machine into my pathetic guitar amp because it was the closest I could get to that sound
  • Experiencing chills in the middle of "Baby Milk Snatcher" when the guitars drop out

There are certainly more, but as I've mentioned elsewhere the golden years of A.R.Kane coincided with what is more or less a "missing period" for me, which is probably just as well. Less rhapsody to clutter anyone else's impression of the music or the time.

At any rate, there are many descriptors, associations, and likenesses that people toss around when discussing A.R.Kane. If you haven't encountered these classifications and similes, so much the better. To me, there are reasons A.R.Kane belong in the Hall of Legends more than certain "fellow travelers" whose vectors might overlap (although we should never say never). If these reasons aren't apparent to you after listening to this program, I certainly can't help you with words. But I do hope this amounts to a good use of your time. And if it clears the room, that could also be considered success.

BOMBAST playlist, 2013 August 28, 2100-2300:

format = "Song Title" [Artist, Album, Label]

  1. "Sado-Masochism Is a Must" [A.R.Kane, Lollita, 4AD]
  2. "When You're Sad" [A.R.Kane, When You're Sad, One Little Indian]
  3. "Baby Milk Snatcher" [A.R.Kane, Up Home!, Rough Trade]
  4. "Sperm Travels Like Juggernaut" [A.R.Kane, Love-Sick, Rough Trade]
  5. "Anitina (The First Time I See She Dance)" [M|A|R|R|S, Pump Up the Volume, 4AD]
  6. "Haunting" [A.R.Kane, When You're Sad, One Little Indian]
  7. "Spermwhale Trip Over" [A.R.Kane, Sixty-Nine, Rough Trade]
  8. "The Sun Falls Into the Sea" [A.R.Kane, Sixty-Nine, Rough Trade]
  9. "The Madonna Is With Child" [A.R.Kane, Sixty-Nine, Rough Trade]
  10. "Spanish Quay (3)" [A.R.Kane, Sixty-Nine, Rough Trade]
  11. "Listen Up! (Pulsar Mix)" [A.R.K, Listen Up!, Rough Trade] | "Physical Evidence"
  12. "Pop" [A.R.Kane, "i", Rough Trade]
  13. "Back Home / Down" [A.R.Kane, "i", Rough Trade]
  14. "Green Hazed Daze" [A.R.Kane, Love-Sick, Rough Trade]
  15. "Supervixens" [A.R.Kane, "i", Rough Trade]
  16. "Lollita" [A.R.Kane, Lollita, 4AD]
  17. "Up [demo]" [A.R.Kane, Soundcloud self-release]

next time: who can possibly know? Probably the usual. Enjoy the music!

Dec 2012

The Rules

The other night, I asked Lady Catharsis to read over my "Hall of Legends" post.  "I don't understand," she said, "why you want to create all these rules to tie your own hands."

Well, I thought it would be funny to deploy a phrase like "Bombast policy," which I love to say out loud, and to have all this stuff that I could invoke from time to time, an ever-growing mountain of arbitrary things that didn't necessarily add up to anything coherent.  But Lady Catharsis is a tough audience, and perhaps you are too.  Here goes, anyway:

Bombast was always meant to be non-specific in terms of genre.  Usually it succeeds.  Indeed I have a very hard time describing the program succinctly to someone who asks me about it.  "You really have to listen to it, and you might not like all of it, but you will probably like something in it."  That's about the best I can do.  It may seem that Bombast is all over the place, and indeed that is one of its selling points, even though I am selling nothing.

Still, I have established some basic guidelines and standards for myself just to keep the process of programming BOMBAST interesting and challenging, and to prevent laziness, jadedness, and complacency, to which I am prone.  And I figured that by making these "rules" public I could give listeners--all five of you--a glimpse into the process, and a standard to which you could hold me--a failsafe in case the show loses its edge.


No doubt you have seen those "skinny jeans" sported by many a dude.  They are not for me.  My thighs are robust and muscular, and, truth be told, fatty as well.

TMI, to be sure, but it's but one of several reasons why I cannot strike a hipster pose.  I enjoy dark comedy and satire.  I am not humorless.  But irony is not something that I do particularly well, and historically when I have exhibited pretensions of being "above" this or that thing, they have always been undermined by my own vulnerability to the stupid.  The joke is on me, sooner or later.

You have my promise that everything I choose for airplay on BOMBAST is something I genuinely love.  No cheap jokes, only valuable ones.  I don't pretend to like any music just because I think it's "cool."  I'm too old.  No trolling the listeners--you are not experimental subjects.  I like you.  Mostly.  I know that you won't be as crazy as I am about every single entry in the playlist, but everything on that list is played in good faith.


This is my wife's chance to "hack" the show.  While there would be some overlap in a Venn diagram of our musical tastes, there are many artists and albums about which our opinions differ.  The aim of this segment--increasingly, "these segments"--is to stretch the boundaries of the show, and spur me to find relationships between the music I would play and that which I wouldn't play.  Lady Catharsis could easily have her own program, but doesn't want one.  "I would just plug in my iPod," she says, "and say, 'I like ME!'"  I've heard worse shows.


A "rotation," in radio parlance, is a set number of songs that a station plays over and over again.  In the digital, automated era, it could be around 400 to 500.  Prior to this, that number would have been smaller.  This playlist is further broken down into "heavy," "medium," and "light" rotation, with "heavy rotation" meaning that you might hear a song every 3 to 4 hours.

A show like Bombast, which airs 2 hours a week, would maybe air a given song once every six months under these conditions, so it would seem that a rotation is nothing to worry about.  This is where the host's idiosyncracies come into play.  I don't know whether it's Asperger's or just the run-of-the-mill "laziness" and "complacency" I alluded to earlier, but something about me craves familiarity and repetition.  If I didn't put a roadblock in their way, I would keep coming back to the same groups, if not the same songs, week after week.  I know I'm not alone in this, as I have heard other local radio personalities do this with their shows.

So the "anti-rotation" policy, which isn't actually written down anywhere, is that I don't wish to come back to a given artist too soon once I've given them one airing.  "Backward never, forward forever," as the mighty U Roy would say.  But we should never say never.

What, then,  is "too soon?"  It's subjective, so let's just say that "too soon" amounts to "before a considerable amount of time has passed."  Helpful?  No?  Okay.  Given the wealth of interesting music in the world, and the constant stream of new releases, it seems silly to repeat ourselves on consecutive broadcasts, or even to play the same thing again within a few weeks after the first airplay.  It's been suggested that this "anti-rotation policy" could apply to tracks instead of artists, and about that there are two things to say.  1) Again, there is so much terrific music to be discovered week after week that even playing the same artists too frequently diminishes the ability to play all the fantastic things I hear. 2) There are a few escape clauses that allow me to make exceptions without feeling too bad about myself.


Everyone has a different shortlist of artists and albums that fit this category, but, let's face it: the rules are different for some people and some works.  Some bodies of work are so varied, and yet so consistently interesting, that you can come back to them without feeling like you are repeating yourself.  So, to return to that phrase we used earlier, a "considerable length of time" depends, on a case-by-case basis, on how often we can revisit the same people without feeling like we're being repetitive or lazy.  Hopefully this makes sense.

The "extreme genius" exemption can also apply to individual releases.  Again, we all have different opinions about which releases should be considered special, but for each of us certain albums or EPs come along that we find truly extraordinary.  The BOMBAST anti-rotation policy isn't meant to be a technicality that cheats listeners out of hearing how *consistently awesome* a given record or cd is, or a flimsy excuse not to satisfy a listener's interest in hearing more than one song by one artist.  Historical trivia: we have read that John Peel was so blown away by "Head Over Heels" by Cocteau Twins that he played an entire side of the LP on one night's broadcast, and the entire flipside the next night.  But moves like this must be reserved for exceptional music; otherwise they have no value.

The "Hall of Legends" is one way of "making moves" like this, and we will try to induct the deserving on a semi-regular basis.


Of course if I play something by a given artist, and then that artist surprises me by releasing something new shortly thereafter, I am not going to be all recalcitrant about playing the new thing, unless the new thing really lets me down.  Who among us hasn't been there?


Especially early on, as the show approaches certain seasonal observances for the first time, I might revisit some familiar faces simply because they have recorded songs that seem "just right" for a given show.  Also, sometimes big things happen in the world that get us thinking about this or that topic.  I'm not terribly into "theme" shows--especially right this moment, after having programmed SIX in a row [wtf?].  There's nothing wrong with just playing a broad range of outstanding music week after week, but like everyone I am occasionally vulnerable to the charms of topicality.


jk, I don't really have one of these.


This is what the "anti-Bob Marley" policy, as it has come to be known, really is.  Here is the deal.  WRFI is an independent, non-corporate radio station, and IMO it should privilege independent, non-corporate music.  So that is one goal.  Another worthy goal is that of providing value--not just in the local radio landscape, but also in the sense of not wasting the listeners' time by playing material with which they are already well familiar, and which some of them probably have in their personal collections.  There is plenty of music that you hear over and over again without even meaning to, and I don't intend to be part of that problem.

I don't have a handy list of those acts I consider to be well-enough-exposed already, or a guideline for what music is sufficiently "independent."  It's subjective.  You don't have to be happy with my judgment--change the station, or, better yet, join WRFI as a volunteer and get your own show that does a better job than mine with this stuff.  I'll be one of your listeners, I promise.


these are the policies that come to mind at the moment.  There are more, probably, rattling around in my brain "like dried beans."  And, as I have said during some show or other, "Bombast policies are meant to be violated."

So I have little idea what any of this amounts to, other than an unsolicited glimpse into my mind.  You're welcome!

Enjoy the program.

Dec 2012

Keeping It Peel: Transmission 5, 2012 December 8

This show pays tribute to legendary BBC 1 host John Peel, who died eight years ago.  There were many words written at the time of his passing, from some of those who have made a big difference in the world of music, and the BBC even retains its tribute webpage, "Keeping it Peel," to this day.  To get a comprehensive bio, or an account of just how much he meant to musicians and other people in radio, sites like this are the best resources.

I can only tell you a personal story, in two parts.


In a previous life, I had a weekly radio program on a college station.  I began volunteering there in the fall of 1986.  That term, New Order, one of my favorite acts, had released their Brotherhood album, a record which disappointed me at the time [but, in retrospect, one that I think many bands would kill to make].  It is silly to invest so much emotion as to be "disappointed" by these wonderful things called "records" that drop into our lives from time to time, but that was one of the least silly things about the person I was back then.

Anyway, in the "Currents" bin at the station there appeared that October another record by New Order.  This one did not have the usual Factory / Qwest imprint but was instead the first release [cat. # SFPS 001] on a brand-new label called "Strange Fruit."  The four songs had been recorded four years earlier, and only for radio broadcast.  All of our records at the station had stickers on the cover so that DJs could comment on the contents.  [Related anecdotes will follow, I'm sure.]  This sticker bore just five six words: "the way things used to be."

And those contents?  New Order's cover of Keith Hudson's "Turn the Heater On" was a boundary-stretching reggae excursion that quickly got my mind off Brotherhood--

but more importantly that record started a life-long obsession with the "Peel Sessions" series of recordings made specifically for John Peel's BBC show.  Not living in the UK, this was the closest I could hope to get to this greatness, ironically inspired by England's restrictive "needle time" laws mandating that most music on the radio be performed "live."  I could not have the same experiences that Her Majesty's subjects of all ages have testified to, listening avidly to John Peel several times a week, having their lives changed by his stunningly broad taste in new music, his charmingly haphazard delivery of the music, and the freedom and comfort that artists felt when recording for him.  But I could at least listen to the records, without which my life would be much shabbier.


By October of 2004, the BBC had been streaming online for about 3 or 4 years, during which time I had finally been able to experience the John Peel "wingding" in its full context.  The "needle time" regulations had been relaxed, but Peel was still inviting bands to Maida Vale, still the finest studio environment that some of those bands ever experienced.  I finally got to hear my share of segments like "Pig's Big 78" and the legendary "Festive Fifty" yuletide countdown.  On a nightly basis, Peel, by now in his sixties, was outpacing his younger Radio One colleagues in taste and innovation.  It was the best of times.

That fall I was especially busy for whatever reason and had neglected the program's streams and archives for several weeks.  I tuned into the stream one night and heard unfamiliar voices on the air.  I immediately wondered whether Peel had been let go, or quit--his slot had recently been moved to a later hour, and I seem to remember reading that he wasn't very happy about it, what with it screwing up his nightly commute from London to his house in East Anglia.

Soon, it struck me that something much worse could have happened to him, so I did a quick news search to see if my fears had any foundation.  I was relieved to discover that he was simply on vacation in Peru, and that the guest hosts that week--I don't remember whether it was Siouxsie or the guys from Orbital on this particular night--were totally planned.  I went on with my day, thinking that I would catch up with John Peel when he was back from vacation.

A few hours later that evening, I was doing a news search for something totally unrelated, and saw the headline: "John Peel Dies."

Sometimes the circumstances in which you are struck by loss compound the loss itself and become inextricable from the actual event.  I don't know how things would have been different had I heard the news in some other way and not experienced the brutally random stomach-punch of this bizarre evening.  But I do know that it somehow gets a little dusty in the room every single time I think about this, even eight years later.  And as much as I treasure my personal collection of Peel Sessions recordings, I would trade the whole thing in exchange for still having John Peel around.

If any of my programs approach a fraction of the quality that Peel delivered on a routine basis, I will consider that a life goal: met.


I do feel very good about this particular show, in large part due to the companionship of a fellow volunteer at WRFI, Persephone ["Goddess of the Underworld"] Doliner [thanks for that, Catharsis Junior!].  Persephone, as you will hear, is a natural for radio and her commentary on the music is a delight.  I know you will agree with me on this.  I begged her to come visit me again during the normal Bombast show, and I am happy to report that she will return.  I need to take advantage of the free time she has before she [hopefully] gets her own program, tentatively named (I hope I have this right) "Gran-ola's Variety Hour."

Of course the show could not pass without a grievous error, and I called it beforehand, but we still repeated it three times: Amayenge are of course from Zambia, not Zimbabwe.  Also, I'd forgotten to bring my Cure cd, so I was playing that track off my laptop, which accounts for the momentary craziness of the levels and the fact that the next track starts playing through the station ID at the end.  Some would call it slapstick.  There will come a time when you will consider that a tame example.

Notable omissions: I should really have played Peel favorites PJ Harvey and The Wedding Present, and planned to, but it is a habit of mine to ramble in my shows, guest or no guest, to the point where I must skip some items in my intended playlist.  No doubt "Jeremy," friend of Bombast, will be disappointed that the David Gedge Experience didn't get a deserved airing.  Jeremy: if you ever find yourself in the Ithaca area, I'm hoping you will make an appearance on the program so that we can properly induct them into the Bombast Hall of Legends.  I can't give them the pomp they deserve all by myself.

BOMBAST playlist, 2012 December 8, 7-9:30 p.m.

  1. The Specials: "Longshot Kick de Bucket / Liquidator / Skinhead Moonstomp" [EMI]
  2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: "Day Tripper" [Experience Hendrix / MCA]
  3. Orbital: "Lush [Euro Tunnel Disaster] / Walkabout" [Internal]
  4. Robert Wyatt: "I'm a Believer" [Strange Fruit / NME]
  5. Young Marble Giants: "Brand New Life" [Strange Fruit]
  6. George Lewis & His New Orleans Music: "Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula" [Trikont] ***"Listening Parlour"
  7. Plaid: "Eph" [Warp]
  8. Eat Static: "Area 51" [Strange Fruit]
  9. The Flaming Stars: "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" [Vinyl Japan]
  10. Billy Bragg: "This Guitar Says Sorry" [Dutch East India]
  11. Nico: "Secret Side" [Strange Fruit] ***"Listening Parlour"
  12. mum: "Awake on a Train" [Fatcat]
  13. Culture: "Lion Rock" [Strange Fruit]
  14. Amayenge: "Munise Munise" [Strange Fruit]
  15. Timeshard: "Oracle" [Strange Fruit]
  16. Olly Oakley: "The Jovial Huntsman" [Trikont] ***"Listening Parlour"
  17. Stereolab: "Difficult Fourth Title" [Strange Fruit]
  18. The Fall: "Theme from Sparta F.C." [Castle]
  19. Pixies: "Wild Honey Pie" [4AD]
  20. Gang of Four: "At Home He's a Tourist" [Strange Fruit]
  21. Gallon Drunk: "Drag '91" [Strange Fruit]
  22. The Cure: "10:15 Saturday Night" [Strange Fruit]

Next time: Put on your headcoat.  Strap that thing upon your head.  For now, enjoy the music and banter! --kid catharsis

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