On her new LP Play at Night Masma Dream World blends electronics and ritual to build a shadow world of sound. She joins us to discuss her global history, DJing, and the spiritual qualities of frequencies.
You’re tuned into Transmissions, where each week Aquarium Drunkard presents a strange conversations for these strange times. Today on the show we’re joined by Elisa Ambrogio of Magik Makers. The Markers’ new album 2020 is out now on Drag City. It’s a gloriously smeared burst of noise, raw riffs, and damaged country and folk songs. Ambrogio joined us to discuss the importance of good quarantine companion, living out west, and getting into music—really inhabiting it—before you are even sure what you are doing.
Incoming transmission from…Yves Jarvis. The singer/songwriter/producer’s latest is called Sundry Rock Song Stock, and it’s a blur of soft-focus pop and shimmering melodic mirages. He joined us from the Tree Museum in Ontario to discuss the disparate influences of Joni Mitchell, Bill Bruford, and Kanye. Plus, Vic Berger and Doug Lussenhop of Tim Heidecker’s Office Hours join us to discuss their new audio/visual sonic collage, Drop Concert: The Motion Picture.
This week on the show, we’re joined by ambient hero William Basinski and his collaborator and engineer Preston Wendel. They’ve got two wildly divergent projects out this year. In July, they released To Feel Embraced, a collection of saxophone-laden lounge and electronica under the name Sparkle Division. And on November 13th, they release William Basinski’s Lamentations, which assembles more than 40 years of archival tape loops and studies from his archives. The dual albums encompass the ecstatic highs and dread-soaked lows of this strange year. We spoke with the duo in September, when it was still warm out enough to take a dip in the pool about doom scrolling, iPhone recordings, cutting loose, and much more.
Bonus episode! Our guest for this Sunday edition of Transmissions is John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. He’s got two albums out this year—first, a lo-fi boombox recorded tape, Songs for Pierre Chuvin, and now, Getting Into Knives, recorded with the full Mountain Goats band and producer Matt Ross-Sprang at Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis. John’s songs have hailed Satan and cast possums in a theological light. He’s written about myths, tragic heroes, and people trying to unwreck themselves. We were very excited to speak with him about his latest and much more.
This week on Transmissions, Hari Kunzru in conversation with host Jason P. Woodbury. Kunzru is a novelist and writer; his latest is called Red Pill. It’s about a writer who receives a fellowship in Germany, where he finds himself sucked into a spiral of reactionary thinking. His other 2020 project is a podcast called Into the Zone, from Puskin Industries. It’s a podcast about, well, to put it in reductive terms, the opposite of reactive thinking. Examining the liminal space between borders—visiting Stonehenge, remarking on the early days of the internet, examining what divides country from the blues, and even what constitutes life—and what constitutes death—Kunzru blurs binaries and swims in the waters of the undefined and fascinating.
On his new album Nite Creatures, composer, podcaster, and journeyman Joe Wong stares down existential dread with vivid psych pop lushness and playful sonic abandon. He joins us this week on Transmissions to discuss his work as a television music composer and much more.
Joe Pera of Joe Pera Talks With You and Skyway Man join us on Transmissions to discuss their work together and SM’s new psych-folk opera The World Only Ends When You Die.
The release of the new collection Transmissions: The Music of Beverly Glenn-Copeland continues a wave of new appreciation for the pioneering folk, electronic, and experimental composer’s celestial and enveloping songs. Glenn-Copeland joins us to discuss science fiction, aliens, and picking up broadcasts from the universe.
Incoming transmission from…Sam Prekop. For more than 25 years, he’s released music with the Sea and Cake and on his own. His last few solo albums have found him focusing less on pop song craft and more on analog synthesizers and ambient textures. His latest for Thrill Jockey records is called Comma and on it he blends serene soundscapes with twitching electronic rhythms. Transmissions host Jason P. Woodbury reached him in Chicago to talk about hunkering down, synths, and how he and his Sea and Cake bandmates continue their remarkable work together.
Our guest this week is legendary guitarist Bill Frisell. His latest is called Valentine. It’s out now on the Blue Note label, and it finds him in a trio setting, joined by Thomas Morgan on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. It features Malian folk, standards, and originals, and it’s as deft, nuanced, and emotive as you might expect. Bill joined us early on a Saturday morning to discuss the record, his friendship with the late Hal Wilner, his deep listening practices, and telepathy.
Our guest this week is Jerry David DeCicca. Perhaps you know him best from Black Swans, or maybe some of the great albums he’s produced by so called “outsider” songwriters like Ed Askew, Larry Jon Wilson, and Chris Gantry, among others. Since 2014, he’s been putting out great records under his own name. His latest is called The Unlikely Optimist And His Domestic Adventures. Jerry describes it as “an anti-Hallmark ode to positivity.” Who couldn’t use some positivity this year? In advance of its release on October 16th, Aquarium Drunkard correspondent Chad DePasquale joined Jerry to discuss Texas, his pets and social services work, and of course, Bob Dylan’s Rough and Rowdy Ways, which JDD idiosyncratically reviewed for Aquarium Drunkard.
Our guest week on Transmissions is Jerry Williams Jr., but if you know your musical cult heroes, you probably know him by the name Swamp Dogg. Since the early ’50s, he’s lived as a true record man—writing songs, producing artists, self-releasing music, and putting out major label flops that have gone on to achieve lost classic status. He’s always walked the line between R&B and country, making a joke of the music industry’s intentional segregating of white and black audiences. His latest is called Sorry You Couldn’t Make It, and it pairs him with producer Ryan Olson, Bon Iver, Jenny Lewis, and the late John Prine. Over the many years, Swamp Dogg has embraced auto-tune, twang, and ambient flourishes. He joins host Jason P. Woodbury to discuss it all.
Our guest this week is Chris Forsyth, guitarist, bandleader, composer, and DIY lifer. His studio albums evoke the punk psychedelia of Television, balancing ‘70s rock grooves the loose, exploratory feel of the Dead. But as good as his studio LPs are, it might be live recordings that best showcase his sound. His latest is called First Flight. On it, he’s joined by guitarist Dave Harrington, drummer Ryan Jewell, and bassist Spencer Zahn on stage at Nublu in New York City on September 20th, 2019.
This week on Transmissions, we’re joined by songwriter and Dr. Dog drummer Eric Slick. His new album of classic pop songcraft is called Wiseacre. Best known for his work with Dr. Dog and Natalie Prass, Wiseacre was inspired by the golden-hued melodies of Harry Nilsson, Haruomi Hosono, and a general ’70s gloss. It’s a deeply personal record, one that explores contentment and domesticity, as well as unpacking no small amount of personal weirdness and trauma.