For newcomers looking for a crash course, or vets who want to relive old favorites, check out the now-archived 3 hour Music For Maniacs special on WFMU's Bodego Pop, a look back at ten years of blogging. On to the next decade!
My fave new discovery was recently sent to us by Australia's sound collage superstar Buttress O'Kneel, who co-recorded this in 2000/2001 with Panthera Leo (who is now the mother of the kid in Stinky Picnic) and is finally letting it out of the can. The Fruiting Body used no guitars, no keyboards, no drums...heck, no instruments of any kind. Check the ingredients for one song:
2 rubber bands, plucked
1 retractable ball point pen, clicking
2 Bessemer saucepan lids, ringing
1 elephant, thumping
1 elephant, spraying
1 elephant, rumbling
1 extremely low sine wave
Sample, loop, and serve. Could have been a gimmicky novelty, or a dry piece of conceptual art, but it's really just good music. I started listening out of curiosity (what does a radar, owl, and air raid siren sound like mixed?) but ended up being quite struck by both the technical ingenuity and the musical qualities. The song "Eel Race Road" is freakin' epic. Free/name-your-price download here:
The Fruiting Body: "Nudibranch and the Moondew" (click on 'lyrics' to get each track's ingredients)
This album reminded me of the early days of sampling, when the idea of finally being able to make music out of everyday sounds was an exciting new one, e.g.: Bernie Krause' 1988 all-animal-fx classic "Gorillas In the Mix." But sampling existing musics (and tv, radio, etc) as a way to deal with our 'media environment' quickly took precedent, Ms. O'Kneel being one of it's foremost proponents (she claims that the events of 9/11 also pushed her into that direction.) And there's also the fact that it is simply easier to make music with music then with hairdryers and trains. Still, there's a lot of potential for this approach. Back in 2005 we wrote about Matthew Herbert's yummy album that used only food sounds. It is now available to listen/purchase:
Matthew Herbert "Plat du Jour" (song notes HERE.)
The notes point put that the first song uses, among other sounds "chickens being killed for a local farmers' market and its feathers washed and plucked." Oh man, now I'm hungry. Who's up for some KFC?!