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 V.21 No.40 | October 4 - 10, 2012 

Song Roulette

Raven Chacon's Random Tracks

Raven Chacon
Raven Chacon

He isn't really an iPod guy. When the Alibi asked Raven Chacon to play Song Roulette, he came up with a creative randomization solution: “This is a mixture of recently acquired cassette tapes I randomly picked out with eyes shut, vinyl from the collection—reached for in the dark—and an unkempt hard drive on shuffle.”

Chacon is just back from a 17-show tour in support of his noise duo KILT's new album, Santa Muerte. He performed a solo set Downtown at the ISEA Block Party on Sunday, Sept. 23. In order to be heard over proximate rave music, he simply cranked the volume and employed high-pitched frequencies. While effective, this technique caused agitation in dogs being walked in the vicinity and, presumably, at least a few Laurie Anderson fans lined up outside KiMo who weren't packing earplugs. Chacon runs Southwest-based micro-label Sicksicksick Distro, is a member of art collective Postcommodity and co-curates local DIY performance space Small Engine Gallery. His musical endeavors include solo work, Summer Assassins (with Deerhoof's John Dieterich), Mesa Ritual and Death Convention Singers (aka Cobra//group).

Below are five random tracks Chacon brought to light.

1) “Home Is When Your Brain Explodes” • Different Dentist • “Demo 2012”

“Malo Proto from Bay Area noise band Styrofoam Sanchez gave me this on the recent KILT tour. Sliced up and spitted out. A static-electric rattlesnake with tape for a tongue. The bands that come out of that scene, costumed or not, have never failed to amaze me.”

2) “Hammer Horror” • Kate Bush • Lionheart

“This one was bound to come up, as there must be multiple copies on this old-tyme iTunes. I remember after seeing the video I imagined having a pillow filled with red, fluffy Bush hair. A creepy, silly song, with other backing-sister Kates that kick in like a shattered fugue.”

3) ????? • Yo La Tengo • ?????

“Some Yo La Tengo song came up. Doesn’t matter which one. Must delete. This is, of course, the negative side to free, bulk digital music swapping. Get this shit off my hard drive.”

4) “Partiels (1975), Pour 18 Musiciens” • Gérard Grisey • Les Espaces Acoustiques

“What sounds electronic here will be how musicians of the future will try to recreate the timbres of chamber instruments. How will the natural resource of wind factor into the music of the coming decades? Where’s a multi-keyed contra-basso breath instrument to go when it can’t be upgraded with a touch screen?”

5) “Ordinary Pain” • Stevie Wonder • Songs In The Key Of Life

“I’ll admit I cheated. A really corny Stevie Wonder song came up, and I didn’t feel like working hard to articulate the bashing of a musical genius. So I clicked 'skip' 'til another Stevie song played. This one is a binary breakup narrative: the dude in self-pity mode, then his ex-lady relentlessly hammering him deeper into the ground, explaining why.”

 
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