Recorded from January - March 2019.
Dylan Houser: guitars; loops; distortions; splicings; ice cream trucks
So far 2019 has been a very productive year. The combination of the Sony ICD-PX470 recorder (I'm not sponsored, I swear) and finally acquiring a looping pedal last summer (it only took me, what? 15 years?!) have opened up an entirely new can of worms for me, creatively speaking.
Nearly everything you hear on this album is a guitar, except for the last song, "Tinker Galute," which is a looped toy keyboard riff and manipulated noise coming from the well-aged toy, plus what sounds like the occasional radio interference from having so many things plugged in. I originally wasn't going to include it on the album, but I re-listened to it and laughed all the way through. It was too hilarious to NOT have it be the closing piece.
I've also started trying to incorporate odd timing signatures in my music again for the first time in over a decade. So far there seems to be a lot of 15/8 or 15/4 or 4/4+4/4+7/4 or whatever the heck it might be.
"Molting Riviera" is one of my favorite pieces that I've ever recorded. On that I used the "Rock On Esteban" acoustic-electric guitar that I had played at Apartment Music #29:
Tracks 2 - 4 were recorded during the first week of March and then the entire album was mixed down and edited on March 8th.
The album cover is a found picture I had laying around while I was putting the album together. The cover, the album and track titles...basically everything came together very spontaneously, which is my preferred method. Nothing beats that, really.
Enough of my rambling: I HOPE YOU ENJOY LISTENING TO THIS ALBUM AS MUCH I AS I DID CREATING IT!!!
Improvised and recorded on the morning of March 2nd, 2019 after a long and busy but yet somehow enjoyable night at my day-for-night job.
Vinci Signature strat knockoff guitar run through a BOSS looping pedal run into the "vocal" channel, and then the guitar run through the "instrument" channel, on a Roland Cube Street EX amplifier.
Recorded on a SONY ICD-PX470 dictamaphone and tweaked around in Audacity.
Artwork made in Instagram stories.
To me, album artwork is important, almost as much (sometimes if not more so), than the music itself.
Album artwork is still very important, especially now more than ever in the 21st century information age.
Thanks as always to Penny Grune-Fae for the awesome Hanukkah present, and to Hal McGee for having Electronic Cottage be the perfect platform to share and express our various creations.
Dictaphone collage album.
Everything recorded in December of 2018 on a pair of Sony ICD-PX470 recorders.
1. PLAY THIS ON "SHUFFLE"
2. LISTEN WITH(OUT) DISTRACTION
Dylan Houser: voice, guitar, percussion, banjo, other stuff, pressing the "record" button, some other stuff that I probably don't remember
Miscellaneous other people: etc.
Also: don't let the title fool you. This WILL be an ongoing series of dictaphone collage albums. There WILL be a Volume 2, eventually. and Volume 3, 4, 5, etc. As long as I don't die before assembling/uploading them, there will be follow ups.
I say this because one of my pet peeves is when an artist refers to an album as "Volume 1" but never follow it up with at least one more release called "Volume 2" or something...do they think their album title is just not long enough???
One of my favorite moments on this release: in the middle of "part 8," in the right hand channel, you can hear people yelling at each other. This moment was captured on December 31st, 2018, in Clearwater, FL on US Highway 19 (in front of Clearwater Mall). I was driving and waiting at a traffic light, when this guy two cars in front of me gets out of his vehicle to yell at the person in the car in front of mine (they had apparently cut him off). I missed the part where he yelled "HEY, THERE'S A FUCKIN' DISABLED VETERAN IN OUR CAR!" followed by someone a few cars behind me yelling at him to get back in his car, with him yelling and cursing and flipping those people off before he went back to his car.
Anyways, I hope you, the reader, will enjoy this here release in all of it's scattered glory.
A few months ago (I'm guessing December? My brain is still frazzled from this year's run of recent International Noise Conference shows), I received a lovely card in the mailbox courtesy of EC's own Aimee and Adam Naworal!
I love the different styles between the two drawings.
At one point on Fakebook, after not having looked at it for a while, I mentioned Aimee's drawing being "an owl" even though it is clearly a cat.
As an added bonus, I've also added a picture of a recent performance that their project Tomokie's Cup had played at the St. Pete Pre-INC show at the Paper Crane on February 3rd, 2019. I sat in on electric bagpipes. Photo courtesy of Emmy Lou.
Recorded January 21st, 2019
on a Sony ICD-PX470 dictaphone.
My contributions are pressing the "record" button, tapping on a cup, and possibly the occasional talking bits here and there.
Recorded at a boba cafe near USF. A mashup of two recordings taken minutes apart from each other, consisting of a pair of teenagers playing the same ominous chord on a piano (presumably they were trying to retune it?), blenders, various kitchen equipment, and people talking.
stream 320 kbps MP3
Recorded in Ybor City. The first 3 minutes are of a street busker playing rock and pop songs on an electric guitar through a battery-powered amp...and a few feet away from him, a street preacher. But not just any street preacher! This is some hippie kid in a tie-dyed shirt (that's him on the cover; I couldn't get a good shot of him. Oh well!) preaching the word about Jesus and telling people about how they're gonna go to hell. Eventually a cop made him move along, where he walked across the street instead. The next part of this side of the EP is of a child crying really loud in Centro Ybor. The last few seconds consists of Reverend Patchouli Oil (aka that hippie kid from earlier) talking to some drunk frat bros around him, where he says "I have acid, but I don't take it."
Special thanks to Emmy Lou for experiencing this fine evening with me.
Recorded during the month of December 2018 on a pair of Sony ICD-PX470 field recorders (and polished up in Audacity).
This is the first release recorded on such devices, which have offered the best sounding quality I've heard in quite a while.
The opening track, "Lungform Deth Radio," was recorded and assembled the day after I got the first recorder, from Hal McGee as a Christmas present.
The second track, "Sarcophagus in Orbit," was recorded using a loop guitar noise and a contact mic'd hurgy gurdy that I purchased from Adam and Aimee Naworal.
Track three, "Fangs of Despair," was recorded using a cheap Casio knock-off (that I got at a thrift store in St. Petersburg, FL for $3) run through some effects pedals.
Tracks four and five were recorded in the same morning (after I got out of work), on a Casiotone MT-68.
This is the first of hopefully many more recordings done with my new field recorders!
Recorded December 2018
Thanks: Hal McGee, Mr. & Mrs. Naworal, Penny Grune-Fae, Hal Harmon, the In-Between, Electronic Cottage
and of course...you
Support Dylan by purchasing a download of Dreary at Bandcamp
On December 25th, 2018, from midnight to 4:01am, WMNF DJ Ira Hankin hosted a very special event on his weekly show The Event Horizon.
WMNF is a community-sponsored radio station based in Tampa, FL. According to many of the volunteers and DJs at that station, it is "Tampa Bay's LAST LOCAL RADIO STATION."
The Event Horizon is a program that airs every Monday night (well technically TUESDAY MORNING) from midnight to 4:01am (yes, it actually ends right at that time). The show specializes in more freeform eclectic programming, ranging from garage punk to industrial to twee pop to death metal to outsider folk to harsh noise ...and everything in between.
You really never know what you're gonna get from song-to-song, and that's why it remains one of my favorite programs on WMNF.
The host of the Event Horizon is Ira Hankin, who is originally from Maryland and has served a long historical stint in San Francisco at their KUSF station. He's interviewed many greats in the field, including Holger Czukay, Lemmy Kilmister, and the members of Faust.
Ira, on the origins of White Noise Christmas:
"White Noise Christmas' first broadcast was on the now defunct University of San Francisco's KUSF 90.3 FM. That was X-Mas 1992.
I only started at KUSF 6 months earlier but quickly everyone there became a new family to me. Many of us DJs hung out together of course going to shows but also bike riding, protesting doing all kinds of things together in San Francisco in the early 90s.
So Christmas was approaching and there was an unfilled air shift at midnight as Christmas started.
My memory is real fuzzy on who actually came up with the idea to do a three hour noise show and call it White Noise Christmas. But all of us DJs that had nothing else better to do that evening piled into the small radio station studio and played everything that was available (2 CD players 2 Turn tables and three reel to reel players) producing noise, feedback and general chaos for three hours.
Someone from the station's publicity department sent a press release to the newspapers in town announcing the 'White Noise Christmas Special.' And the San Francisco Chronicle gave our 'White Noise Christmas Special' a listing in their radio schedule listings... And as I remember it, the listing said:
'December 25th at Midnight White Noise Christmas on KUSF 90.3 FM featuring Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.'
I'm not really sure where they got the Metal Machine Music from but we started out with it for a few minutes before it became even purer noise on the airwaves.
From time to time over the years KUSF did subsequent White Noise Christmas Specials, probably the most recent one was in 2002."
Ira no longer has reel-to-reel players at his disposal, so to compensate, he went on various computers and had each one play a different audio track (usually from YouTube or Bandcamp) in true 21st century schizoid collage fashion.
Early on, our friend Mullarkey called in to perform their set (as Watchable Wildlife) via phone. Mullarkey was not able to be there physically so they literally phoned their set in. Minimal ambient Casio tones permeated throughout.
Up next was Apoc Siren, the solo industrial noise project of Justin Gazmask. Justin is an employee of WMNF (and not a volunteer like 90% of the station) and was even kind enough to share his mixer with some of us to plug into the board (myself included).
I performed next, under my own name. My set consisted of a looped keyboard melody (probably in some odd time signature, not unlike Devo's "Gut Feeling") with distorted improvisations on top. My sources varied from the hum of the keyboard to a bowed dulcimer that I found in the front lobby to field recordings from my Sony ICD-PX470 recorder, to me singing into aforementioned recorder while the record button is still on.
Following that set was a collaborative set between local improv percussionist Meghan Eliza, Justin, and myself. I mostly stuck to messing around with the dulcimer for this set.
There was a bit of downtime after that: Ira played more sound collages and portions of the last White Noise Christmas (from 2002), while the rest of us went to the back lobby to get some coffee and eat some of the broccoli and asparagus casserole that Meghan brought in.
After the break, Vallam busted out some bass-heavy drones, industrial rhythms, and samples from some tapes and records (including a Chipmunks Christmas record) that they had modified.
Whitey Alabastard followed up with a set of harsh noise and dynamic vocal manipulations. Every set Whitey does is always different from the last and this was no exception.
The final performance of the night was another collaborative piece, this time between Vallam, Whitey, Meghan and myself. We wrapped up ten minutes before the top of the hour and had our equipment cleared out in time for the host of the next show to start.
I had an amazing time and was honored to be part of this monumental event. Thank you again to Ira and everyone who played. It's a great way to cap off 2018 for sure. I'm looking forward to White Noise Christmas 2029!
You can listen to the most recent broadcast of
The Event Horizon here:
Or you can listen to WMNF online anytime!:
— Dylan Houser, December 27, 2018
Christmas came early, as a package from our good friend from Sweden, Per-Arne Hognert, arrived in the mail on December 14th!
Included was a spooky one-of-a-kind collage with a handwritten letter on the back, as well as his latest CD, BONG WITCH.
With a title like that, you would think it would be one of those Sabbath-worship "stoner doom metal" bands like Electric Snoop Wizard or EyeLoveDogs or REO WeedDragon or Willie NelSunn O))), right?
Nah, only a few tracks have that thick, sludgy bass guitar (or is it just a regular six-string guitar tuned to drop z?) tone.
What we have here is actually a decent variety of genres! Mostly midi-sounding, but there's nothing wrong with that! Many of these tracks have kind of a krautrock vibe going, and wouldn't sound too out of place in a 70s or 80s Italian horror movie! One song even reminded me of Pat Benatar for some reason...
I shouldn't leave out the album artwork either: the cover is black and white, but printed on green paper, so it's really black and green. Type O Negative would be proud.
All in all, the ooky spooky contents of this great package complement the holiday season all too well. Thank you, Per-Arne!
Happy Mother's Day, pilgrims! Hail Santa! FUCK BONGUS!
On December 8th, 2018, I carpooled from the Tampa Bay Area with a pair of friends (Vallam and Penny Grune-Fae) in tow to play a show in Jacksonville.
Jacksonville is one of my favorite cities to play in the sunshine state. Ironically, the very first time I played there was quite possibly one of the worst shows I've ever played (quadruple-booked show, which I didn't find out about until I arrived at the venue; the curator also bailed right before their part of the show started), but every gig I've played there since then has always been a blast. I've even driven up that way sometimes just to attend some shows that friends of mine were playing.
This particular show took place at the Backroom, aka Thomas Milovac's house. Many acts from throughout the state of Florida played this marvelous event.
Thomas Milovac is a virtuoso jazz bassist that I had originally met when he was living and playing in the Orlando area. Currently residing in Jacksonville (as of this writing), he usually plays standup bass, either finger-picked or with a bow.
Up first was Bongus, the Orlando free improv collective consisting of core members Milovac, Syoma Klochko (drums), and Zach Muth (guitar), plus occasional hankin' from St Pete's Zachary Hickerson and several other collaborators. This performance ended up being a duo of just Milovac and Syoma, the latter of whom alternated between piano and drums. It's also worth noting their catchphrase, in true Primus or Green Jello fashion: "FUCK BONGUS!"
The second performance was by Penny Grune-Fae from St. Pete. Her setup was more minimal than usual, with only a few pedals run through a small amp that she conveniently packed up in small backpack. Ambient field recordings giving off a cinematic vibe.
The third performance was by Formaldehydra, a moniker I had been playing and recording under over the past year. It's my attempt at making more atmospheric noise. Recent sets under this name have consisted of a rhythm run through a looping pedal while improvising over the top of it. I was quite pleased with this set. (Photo courtesy of Penny Grune-Fae, because I don't take selfies when I perform)
The fourth performance of the evening was by local free improv husband-and-wife duo Tomokie's Cup, aka Adam and Aimee Naworal. They drafted Penny and I to collaborate with them for this particular set. The Naworals played tiny electronic devices run through Honeytone amps, while Penny played a theremin and I fumbled around with a ukulele bass. (I unfortunately could not get any photos taken of this set)
The fifth performance was by Fiver's Stereo, the long-running project of our good friend, Jacksonvillain Jay Peele. Jay played a variety of instruments (often simultaneously), including prepared guitar, Moog synth, and a microcassette recording of one of his old prog-metal bands from the 90s rehearsal sessions, played against his guitar pickups. One of my favorite sets I've seen of his to date.
Up next was Vallam, from Tampa, and one half of Tampa Bay noise booking collective the In-Between. Their set consisted of industrial rhythms and textures plus a broken guitar (no strings attached - literally) and what looked like a defibrillator being used on aforementioned guitar.
The final set of the evening was Venus Envy, from Panama City, which consisted of guitarist Scott Bazar and drummer Charles Pagano, plus Milovac sitting in with them on bass and various spacey effects. Scott an Charles usually play and tour together as Plutonian Burrito, but this time they decided to visit an entirely different planet. With the sounds ranging from chaotic free improv to more droning ambient soundscapes, the outer space theme is more than accurate here.
All in all, a great time was had. I look forward to coming back to Jacksonville (at the Backroom or otherwise) more often, perhaps at the upcoming Pre-INC show. Thanks again to Thomas Milovac for hosting the whole thing in his home and for having us!
Oh, also, fuck Bongus.
YouTube videos by Thomas Milovac.
View Aimee Grace Naworal's report on the same show.
(Currently nothing online of theirs at the moment, so here's a link to a Plutonian Burrito set in the meantime)
On November 2nd, 2018 at approximately 4pm (or 16:00), a tornado warning was issued for my area in Polk County.
I quickly ran to my mailbox (which was left open ajar) to see if there was anything in it before I had to sprint back inside to avoid getting swept up by a Wizard of Oz reference (complete with Dark Side of the Moon synchronization)
In my mailbox was a bill from Sprint addressed to somebody else; presumably a previous tenant of this house. I'd been at this address for over 2 years now and I'm still getting mail addressed to two or three other people who apparently used to live here.
Also included was this mail art postcard courtesy of my friend Kai Holyoke, in Tampa!
Kai runs the diy garage-turned-venue the Red Light, which has hosted various events ranging from shows for touring artists to benefit shows to art galleries in the backyard.
All are welcome, but you've gotta ask-a-punk for the location! Also shows start and end early, so you'll have time to either get to bed early or wreak havoc in Ybor or catch a bunch of death metal bands play at 2am at the Brass Mug.
According to the signature at the bottom, the postcard was made on October 31st at midnight.
Maybe one of these days when I'm all moved out and somebody else occupies this space, they'll be receiving mail art still addressed to me and be like "WTF?!"
I started recording "noise music" in early 2004, completely unaware of any "scenes" or other individuals doing this sort of thing. A lot of lo-fi recordings on a portable tape player, oftentimes guitar or bass feedback drone and delay.