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Uncanny Valley

Wolf Eyes (US), Extended Organ (US), Calhau! (PT), Vom Grill (BE), Airway (us/uk) Nate Young (US), John Olson (US), Human Heads (UK), Rick & Joe Potts (US), 696 Blues Band (UK), Volcano The Bear (UK), Waxy (US), Manuel Padding (NL), Expo Artforms in Nature, artist talks, LAFMS videos curated by Floris Vanhoof
Wed. 08 June — Sat. 11 June 2016
SMAK, Ghent
Vooruit, Ghent
019, Ghent
doors: 20:30

THE L.A. FREE MUSIC SOCIETY AND THEIR LEGACY

“The only way to be absolutely free is to invent your own language.” — Genesis P-Orridge

Uncanny Valley is a new festival celebrating the open marriage between underground music/culture and the visual arts. Central guests for this first edition are the Los Angeles Free Music Society and a selection of contemporary avant-garde heroes who happily embrace the chaos, freedom en energy of those legendary neo-dada artpranksters.

LINEUP & LOCATIONS

Wed 08 June 2016

019
20:30 Manuel Padding
21:30 Waxy
22:30 Volcano The Bear

Thu 09 June 2016

SMAK
20:00 LAFMS movies
21:00 Rick & Joe Potts
22:00 696 Blues Band

Fri 10 June 2016

Vooruit — Balzaal
20:00 Human Heads
20:45 John Olson
21:30 Nate Young
22:15 Airway

Sat 11 June 2016

Vooruit
15:00 Artist Talks (Theaterzaal)
20:00 Vom Grill (Balzaal)
20:45 Calhau! (Balzaal)
21:15 Extended Organ (Balzaal)
22:00 David Toop & Tom Recchion (Balzaal)
23:00 Wolf Eyes (Balzaal)

LAFMS

It could be said that The Los Angeles Free Music Society was born from the dissillusionment of the seventies US Westcoast art scene. Consisting of a a band of artist friends, they giddily blended high art and trashy DIY-attitude with a completely unique sensibility. The otherwise too serious worlds of visual art and music were taken as a playground where B-movies, bad cartoons, fluxus, avant-garde, proto-noise, freejazz and collage got trashed and mixed into something new and something wild. Forty years later their deconstructions of popculture and sound/ video experiments still remain as vibrant and challenging as ever.

Core members like Tom Recchion, Rick and Joe Potts, Fredrik Nilsen, Joseph Hammer, Dennis Duck and notorious visual artists as Paul McCarthy en Mike Kelley formed several bands and projects that took aim at high minded avant-garde and the pittfalls of consumer society. Their collective, freewheeling way of creating influenced a great number of artists and musicians who took up the DIY approach to art and life, like noisecombo Wolf Eyes, dada improv group Volcano The Bear or outsider electronics and performance duo Calhau.

The 4 day Uncanny Valley Festival aims to show that this weird and wonderful world of the LAFMS hasn’t lost any of its bite nor it’s power to inspire. While the catalogue of LAFMS music projects is vast and endless (think of Smegma, The Doo-Dooettes, Dinosaurs With Horns…) , we chose to focus on a couple of specific projects and formations – like Extended Organ (with Paul McCarthy, Tom Recchion, David Toop…), AIRWAY (with Wolf Eyes & Aaron Moore) and Waxy and teamed them up with some of the best postmillenium avant-noise acts around, thus linking up with the here and now.

Next to many music performances we will also host an exhibition of the LAFMS flyer and poster archive at the 019 venue, have a paneltalk with all the artists moderated by David Toop at the SMAK museum and do a screening of LAFMS video work curated by Floris Van Hoof.

“The unearthing of the LAFMS recordings is experimental rock history at it’s most historical and hysterical - a completely bizarro and further-out counterpart to the L.A. punk scene.” — Thurston Moore

Waxy

Waxy, the in the late 70s originated improv duo of Fredrik Nilsen and Joe Potts, invites the Guatemala-born free jazz cellist and singer Vetza (also member of Airway) for this performance. In the stream of quite obscure projects, Waxy is one of the more underexposed LAFMS-bands.

Volcano The Bear

The iconic band Volcano The Bear plays for the first time since long again as a trio. The band transforms the former-factory-turned-into-a-creative-hub 019, into a bleak port pub.

It is quite difficult to characterize Volcano The Bear in a couple of words. Through the years, the band experimented with acoustic folk, drones, noise, tapes, krautrock, dada and absurdist avant-garde. Last year’s at Miasma Recordings released compilation album Commencing illustrates this: unrestrained experiments with unbridled freedom that reminds of the best parts of Throbbing Gristle, Faust and Nurse With Wound.

Manuel Padding

The Hague-based poet, musician and performance artist Manuel Padding, aka City Hands, creates a total, dreamy universe of his own, constructed out of spoken word and tape collages, drenched in ghostly sound effects. Between 2004 and 2008, he was the key figure (as screen print artist and organizer) of Helbaard, a place for experimental music, film and poetry that was an obligatory stop for each weirdo musician and DIY noisehead that didn’t pass The Hague quietly.

Expo Artforms In Nature

The LAFMS created since the beginning of the 70s with uncountable self-designed flyers, posters and records sleeves also on print an incredibly unique oeuvre that preceded the well-known DIY punk esthetics with a couple of years. 

Using the local copy machine, absurd drawings and divers collage techniques, fake advertising brochures with matching slogans were made. 40 years later, these hilarious parodies are still relevant regarding the typical big corporate music industry promotion and brainless consumerism. Open Wednesday evening and Saturday from 2pm till 6pm.

Rick & Joe Potts

The Potts brothers are an essential part of the LAFMS history. Rick and Joe Potts built a crazy audio universe with the sounds of broken toys, found objects, enhanced instruments (like a pliable guitar, or an harmonium with dildo’s) and manipulated tape recorders. Two radical arthouse-terrorists who deconstructed sixties rock with bands like Le Forte Four, and who created a unique style of lowbrow poetry.

696 Blues Band

696 Blues Band is the project of Crazy Jim Baljo, the guitarist of Wolf Eyes since 2013. In this solo project, he blends together minimalistic guitar ragas that are reminiscent of demented surf excursions drenched in echo and delay.

Airway (ft. Aaron Moore, Vetza, Tom Recchion, Frederik Nilsen, Paul McCarthy, Alex Stevens, Joe & Rick Potts, Wolf Eyes)

AIRWAY is the rarely live playing noise bigband of musician Joe Potts, photographer Frederik Nilsen and vocalist Vetza. For each performance they choose another line-up, and so create a unique concert experience every time. This time, Paul McCarthy, Tom Recchion, Aaron Moore (Volcano The Bear) and Wolf Eyes are present. You can describe an AIRWAY concert as a messy deconstruction of basal punkrock with long mantra-esque improvisations and absurd lyrics that makes Half Japanese sound like The Dire Straits.

AIRWAY originated in the late 70s as a project of Joe Potts. In his wall of sound of tape delay he concealed subliminal messages, motivating the crowd to sexual acts. It was a tactic that worked so well live that AIRWAY was put on hold one year after its formation. The album ‘Live at Lace’ is kind of a ‘ground zero’ of the avant-mess noise. The record had a gigantic influence on the japanese extremo acts like Incapacitants en Hijokaidan.

Nate Young

Nate Young started in the late 90s Wolf Eyes as a solo project. In the past he worked under the monikers Regression, Demons and Stare Case, but right now he mostly uses his own name. Young comes to the Uncanny Valley Festival with a toolbox full of scorching, demonic hymns. Live, he transforms dark, analogue synth soundscapes à la Fabio Frizzi, fragmented library music and handmade electronica into primitive, LSD-powered drones.

John Olson

Besides his performances with Wolf Eyes and AIRWAY, John Olson plays on friday a solo saxophone set. Olson is the inventor of the trip metal philosphy, parttime saker, parttime Wolf Eyes musician and electronica wizard whose destructive utterings mix together violently punk, freejazz and psychedelica.

Human Heads

Human Heads don’t make clean, coherent poetry. They make an amalgam of lost tropes, shapes and sounds. A distorted male voice, chopped field recordings, scarce casio melodies and drones: this duo creates psychedelic collages pur sang. Think of the screamy vocals of Wolf Eyes, but thrown through a concrete mixer. The Wire on their last tape ‘The Beauticinist’: “Equally funny and unsettling… cheap analogue keyboards, primitive percussion presets and cut-up vocals blurting private anxieties.”

A selection of LAFMS videos curated by Floris Vanhoof

Artist in residence Floris Vanhoof shows in one of the Vooruit offices an installation and curates also a selection of videos out of the immense LAFMS archive.

Extended Organ (ft. Tom Recchion, Frederik Nilsen, Paul McCarthy, Alex Stevens, Joe Potts & David Toop)

De beruchte beeldend kunstenaar Paul McCarthy was in 2007 nog te gast in het S.M.A.K. met een waanzinnige retrospectieve van zijn oeuvre. Bijna tien jaar later keert hij terug naar Gent met Extended Organ, een supergroep met LAFMS-kernleden Fredrik Nilsen, Tom Recchion, Joe Potts, Alex Stevens en special guest David Toop. 

Net zoals bij zijn installaties en sculpturen recycleert en vervormt McCarthy alledaagse, banale voorwerpen en geluiden tot een unheimliche B-film horrorpastiche. In Extended Organ gebruikt hij daarvoor hypnotische tape collages, ontstemde kermisorgels en met ruis beladen radiosamples. Boven dat alles weerklinkt de licht demente vocals van McCarthy zelf. Zo brouwt Extended Organ een groteske heksensoep van noisey horrorscapes, de perfecte soundtrack bij McCarthy’s controversieel beeldend werk.

McCarthy’s debuut ‘XOXO’ verscheen in 2000 op het Birdman-label en duurde - door de hypergedetailleerde geluidscollages - wel drie jaar om te maken. Sinds hun ontstaan in 1997, en zeker na de dood van losvast lid en geniale West Coast-held Mike Kelley, treedt Extended Organ slechts sporadisch op. De passage tijdens Uncanny Valley - voor de gelegenheid met geluidskunstenaar David Toop in de rangen - is hun enige show in Europa. Niet te missen dus. 

“Three years in the making, ‘XOXO’ is creepy and wonderful. It may sound like a gross exaggeration, but we are wondering if this cd might not just be the Sgt. Pepper’s of noise records.”(Sound ohm)

Wolf Eyes

De heilige drievuldigheid John Olson, Nate Young en Jim Baljo - aka Wolf Eyes - situeert zich ergens op de dunne scheidingslijn tussen vroege industrial, absurde avant-garde electronics, freejazz freakouts en zompige garagepunk. Zij noemen het zelf gewoon trip metal.

Door de combinatie van eindeloze tournees, ontelbare releases en een felle live reputatie schopte Wolf Eyes het tegen alle verwachtingen in van underground darlings tot sterkhouders van indielabels als Sub Pop. Talloze zij- en soloprojecten als Stare Case, Graveyards, Failing Lights, Birth Refusal, Regression, Hatred en samenwerkingen met free music helden als Anthony Braxton, Black Dice, John Wiese, Prurient en LAFMS-vlaggenschip Smegma jaagden de brave indierockers snel terug weg. Wolf Eyes zette zo onverstoorbaar hun compromisloze parcours verder. 

In 2015 verbaasde de groep vriend en vijand door op Jack White’s Third Man Records-label ‘I Am A Problem: Mind In Pieces’ uit te brengen, een zoveelste hoogtepunt in hun eindeloze discografie (ook via hun eigen American Tapes-label). Wolf Eyes, met hun DIY-attitude en radicaal unieke geluid, kunnen we zonder blozen de rechtmatige spirituele erfgenamen van de LAFMS noemen. 

“Wolf Eyes have developed a keen knack for sonically replicating nightmares and making gripping music from dark shadows and subtle motion.” — Pitchfork

David Toop & Tom Recchion

Deze twee reuzen van de avant-improscene speelden eind jaren 70 één keer samen en waren razend enthousiast om tijdens Uncanny Valley hier een deel twee aan te breien.

LAFMS-lid van het eerste uur Tom Recchion maakte deel uit van ontelbaar veel bands (Dinosaurs With Horns, Smegma, Doo-Dooettes…) en staat bekend om zijn minutieus opgebouwde tapemanipulaties. Op gerenommeerde solo platen als ‘Chaotica’ en ‘I Love My Organ’ strooit hij speelse coctails van space age exotica en ontspoorde lounge muzak uit op bedjes van ontwarde tapeloops. 
Naast dit meer obscure pad met zijn Los Angeles kornuiten bewandelde Recchion gelijktijdig ook een zeer andere mainstream wereld; als grafisch ontwerper en art director bij Warner Bros en Capitol / EMI won hij Grammy’s voor platenhoezen die hij maakte voor Lou Reed, Captain Beefheart, R.E.M, John Lennon, Prince en nog veel meer!

“Recchion is somewhat overlooked in conversations pertaining to 20th century experimental sound people, which is unfortunate because the material on ‘Chaotica’ is some of the most beautiful tape music (and best synth music) out there, and it has had a lasting affect on me.” — Daniel Lopatin from Ohneotrix Point Never in The Quietus

Vom Grill

Beeldend kunstenaar Dennis Tyfus richtte met Ultra Eczema éen van de meest essentiële platenlabels voor weirdo en outsider avant-garde geluid op. Een onvermoeibare dwarsligger die naast meer dan 200 UE releases (waaronder Wolf Eyes, Daniel Padden van Volcano The Bear en Floris Vanhoof!) ook ontelbare shows organiseert in plekken als Scheldapen, Gunther en Stadslimiet, wereldwijd tentoonstellingen doet en zelf ook regelmatig op het podium staat als onder andere Vom Grill. Een recente LP op PAN ‘Knerpen’ is alweer een mooi staaltje van schedelfriturende electronica en dubby klaagzangen.