Saturday, August 30, 2008

Summer Camp Casanova - High Windows (2007)

Summer Camp Casanova is one of many of Erik Chaplinsky's incarnations. If you live in Greensboro and have attended a few shows, chances are you've either heard Erik play, or were standing beside him in the crowd.  Erik is one of the founding members of the Subjective Collective, a small group of musicians/friends that often rotate in and out of each other's music projects.  A few projects Erik has been or is involved with are:  Blank_Blank and the Wilson Street Warriors, Poodlestick, Snackster, Hogwild, Aaarrrgghh and Secret Message Machine. The guy must have a notebook full of myspace passwords... geez.  

Blank_Blank, the most consistent of his projects, has been around since 2004 and I'm definitely a big fan, but I gotta say that High Windows really hits the spot for me. Blank_Blank plays mostly instrumental slacker rock in the vein of early 90s lo-fi favorites Sebadoh and Pavement. And while there is some of that sound here, there's a lot more experimenting going on. Erik finds joy in incorporating found sounds into or on top of his music . Like him, I'm a sucker for the sound of some forgotten instructional record on top of keyboards or rock music - on this album, two sampled highlights deal with the benefits of marriage, as told by a 1950s record, and some guy talking philosophy on death and dying - probably some famous guy. 

The instrumentation switches around a lot on these 9 tracks.  The first track is a repeating voice loop speaking of high windows, god, the devil, and so on.  Hide & Seek has a sneaky ambient droney sound going on in the background behind the laid back slack rock guitar, drums and bass.  Mt. 52 is all electronic, dark and creepy.   

The album drifts back and forth between full band instrumental rockers, lo-fi acoustic numbers, voice samples, fuzzed out keyboards and electric guitar stylings reminiscent of Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Folk Implosion) and sometimes the less aggressive side of Archers of Loaf or Polvo. Regardless of the experimentation, the dark mood and songwriting is consistent and well worth a listen.    

1. High Windows
2. Hide & Seek
3. Mt. 52
4. Beach Song
5. Part 2
6. Thousand Armies
7. Somnopolis
8. Aubade
9. Call it a home

Download High Windows free here

Monday, August 4, 2008

Invisible live on local Fox WGHP

Invisible was asked to play some new material from their recent typewriter/keyboard project live on High Point's local Fox channel.  Little did Fox know, one of the songs they played was making a statement about Fox's biased views.  

The song is called "Binary".  It is about groups of two that compliment and define each other in direct relation to the other.  Not exactly like opposites, but close.  The song starts with everyone's favorite binary, one and zero—as in digital binary code.  Others that follow are: "black:white", "north: south", "up:down", and "hot:cold".  Eventually they start becoming a little less clear, like "hate:love" and "cop:criminal".  A cop should be the complimentary other to a criminal, but that's not always the case here on reality earth.  Finally, just for Fox - Invisible ends on "news:propaganda", followed by a sample of Fox news host E.D. Hill saying "A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? The gesture everyone seems to interpret differently."  (in reference to a gentle fist tap exchanged between Michelle and Barack Obama before a speech).  

Did WGHP totally miss the text on the screen and their own infamous racist quote?  Are they just too much of an infotainment factory to catch something poetic and artful? Chances are they weren't paying enough attention, and still aren't.  You'd have to type "fuck fox" or something stupid like that in order for them to see it.  Invisible was truly invisible to Fox WGHP. 

Due to bad lighting, the text can be hard to read, but look closely-  you can still make it out.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Workday/Schoolnight - Electronic Trash (2008)

1. radio w/s
2. The Children
3. What I Want
4. Square Music
5. the Representative
6. Electronic Trash (Refuse)
7. Train to Sleep
8. Michael
9. Going to Work, Working
10. Rewire
11. The Other End. July 19, 2001
12. Immunity
13. Inmemory

Download album for free here

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Kaleidoscope Death - Kaleidoscope Death's Odyssey in Confusion and Contemplation (2007)

Kaleidoscope Death is probably best described as experimental lo-fi rock played mostly on acoustic instruments.  (At least as far as this album is concerned.)  Recorded on a 4-track in his hometown of Greensboro, Chuck Chambers has been putting out tapes and cds under the name Kaleidoscope Death since 2004.

What at first seems like a collection of simple chorded songs with verses and choruses quickly becomes a washy aural dream, not unlike listening to shoegaze music.   In fact I'd say that Kaleidoscope Death exists somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and the more lo-fi side of the Sebadoh incarnations.  True to shoegaze, the vocals are often lost in a sea of instruments. On KD's Odyssesy in Confusion and Contemplation more often than not, percussive acoustic guitars dominate the space as the mostly unintelligible vocals float around in a muddled mess of warm tape analog earnestness.  Unlike many shoegaze bands, there isn't any sense of grandiosity going on here - in that regard Kaleidoscope Death is a lot like Lou Barlow recording whatever diddy happens to be on his mind at that (possibly stoned) moment.  

Made for no one except himself, Chuck seems to put out an album every 6 -12 months.  Like many of us, his solo project is not his only musical love affair.  He is part of the charmingly incestuous Greensboro collective known as the Subjective Collective , where he plays in several different projects (Blank_Blank, Secret Message Machine.. ).  The words "subjective" and "collective" not only rhyme, but are an obvious statement of purpose: The music made by those individuals and groups is about their subjective experience, nothing else.  They're making music only because it feels really fucking great to make music.  That's rock-n-roll—Even when it's folk, synth pop, noisetronics, death metal, psychedelia, (especially psychedelia), or beach music.  (Okay, not beach music.  gross.)  Although I'm not officially part of the Subjective Collective, I'm friends with many of those fine young men and women, and share the same mission statement that's kind of half-assedly hidden in their name. 

What you will find on Kaleidoscope Death's Odyssey in Confusion and Contemplation is an array of passionately strummed acoustic guitars, haunting whistling, drunk tambourines, fuzzed out electric guitars, creepy voice samples and backwards feedback.   Chuck's welcoming murky vocals surface through the acoustic noise and radiate his modesty.  

Oh, and I almost forgot, (as it is easy to forget), that Chuck only has one hand.  I think it's always been that way, but I've never asked him or anyone about it.  Because it doesn't slow him down in the least, it is easily overlooked.  When he plays drums in the slacker college rock group Blank_Blank, he uses electrical tape to attach a stick to his handless right wrist before beating the living hell out of his drum set.  

Chuck is a talented, shy, multi-instrumentalist introvert, with only one hand, who will stop at nothing in his quest to play music forever.   

To learn more about Kaleidoscope Death and become his really real true friend, go to

To hear more about the Subjective Collective visit one of their sites.  New   and   Old.

There are some pretty funny names here.

1. heading off pts. 1&2
2. someone else's relic (headed off)
3. on going into town
4. matter of consequence
5. somanyroadsbluescelebration
6. cautionary little village
7. confusion suite
8. i want no place in your world
9. (what's so fun about) normal people
10. contemplation suite
11. one man homecoming precession waltz
12. somanyroadslbuesshuffle
13. the first stone
14. the first stone's throw
15. routine
16. death dream
17. somanyraodsbluesrelief
18. never to old to fuck shit up
19. last song
20. heading off pt. 3

get Kaleidoscope Death's Odyssey in Confusion and Contemplation here

Monday, July 7, 2008

Miso Skitzo - Songs: for an old boy (2008)

Songs: for an old boy is a companion piece to a film titled Old Boy, (which admittedly I haven't seen)—but according to my sources, it is from 2003, by South-Korean director Park Chan-Wook, and won much critical praise.

Miso Skitzo is Dan Kaufman.  Dan has played in numerous punk, experimental and electronic groups over the last decade or so: Sugar on Shit, Vacation, Verboten Jogen, Penfield-88 and Invisible (the latter two with me).  Dan is all about some home recording and has put out many noisy electronic releases on cds and cassettes under his solo project name, Miso Skitzo.  Dan currently resides in Chicago where he and his partner run the "lazy CDr/tape label", Dirt Road Technologies.

Skitzo's album is an instrumental collection of dark noisy samples,  screeching overdriven tones and warm washes of industrial frustration.  A few electronic beats surface here and there, as well as some pleasingly minimal synth lines.  For every chaotic or abrasive moment, there is an equally delicate down-tempo counterpart.   Honestly, there is a lot going on on this album.  As Dan's moniker suggests, the music comes across as if it was made by a crazy person.  Then again, the movie it is based on is about a man who was trapped in a hotel room for 15 years and then seeks vengeance on his captors.  The emotions the character of the film must have felt in are certainly represented in this music.    (That's all I can say about that, considering I haven't seen the movie.   Yet.    I probably should, huh?)

If you took all the synthesizers, beats, scream-singing, and spoken clips away from a Ministry album, and left only the khooorrrrrrooohhhhrrrrrhhhhhzzzzzzzz sounds, then added the delicately played sparseness of the end of a Nine Inch Nails song, you'd have a Miso Skitzo album.

1. the gas
2. octopus part 1
3. for those that cut
4. exoskeleton
5. we eat the living
6. octopus part 2
7. on the bridge
8. old boy
9. why
10. song for a little dog
11. octopus part 3
12. haircut
13. snow in the blood

enjoy it here

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Penfield-88 (2007)

Penfield-88 was a one-off kind of project.  1/2 of Invisible (Dan Kaufman -aka Miso Skitzo and Bart Trotman aka Workday/Schoolnight) improvising on electronics; small yamahas and casios, samplers, a loop pedal, a bass and a guitar.  We (Dan and I) played together in this arrangement only three times.  Once to record this 5 song cd and two shows.   The music at times has a lightness to it -- strange samples floating in and out with minimal guitar over looped electronic beats.  Other times things are more industrial, like on track 2—which sounds like some sort of synth saw cutting through a piece of space trash.   Tracks 3 and 4  drift atmospherically in small puddles of delay and swells of warm clouds of static.  

The name of the project came from the Philip K. Dick book, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep.  The Penfield was a machine that allowed the user to dial in their desired mood.  Setting 888 would cause the user to have a desire to watch TV regardless of what was on. 

The five songs are simply titled #1 - #5.  

Enjoy it here (It's free to download.  Just enter the 3 letters it asks you to, wait a few seconds, then click the download tab)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Acid of All Ruins

Spacey, rhythmic, sparse, minimal, krautrock-inspired.   This is an improv performance by a group of 4 guys from June 15, 2008 on a live radio show on WUAG in Greensboro, NC. Reminds me of parts of some Can albums - and other similar artists from the Kosmiche Musik scene of early 70s Germany; Cluster, Harmonia, Neu!, early Kraftwerk, Ash Ra Tempel, Popol Vuh, etc... 

One track that runs 33 minutes — but has a few nicely timed breaks of silence here and there, coming off like song breaks.  

If anyone's interested in who's doing what, here's the rundown:

Lloyd Mason: Synth, Djimbe
Lee Gunselman: Synth, Bongos
Justin Swayze: Synth
Andrew Weathers: Various Percussion

For a bunch of people who don't play together as band, they come of sounding really on the same wave length -- so much, actually, it's a little scary at times. 

A really great listen.  Lots of full percussion (played by a percussion major), droney keyboards, blips and bloops, some nonsense chanting, and no guitars.  Experimental. 

Enjoy it here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


INVISIBLE is an experimental band hailing from Greensboro, NC that aims to explore new sounds and techniques for finding them. Through some elaborate homemade instruments and an unusual style of composition, Invisible settles into one sonic comfort zone only briefly before packing up and moving on to the next. The band was formed in 2006 and currently consists of Jonathan Henderson, Mark Dixon and Bart Trotman.  Electronic noise man Dan Kaufman was a founding member, but has since moved to Chicago ( and for a while professional typist Jodi Staley played the Selectric Piano. (see below)

Mark, who for the most part plays bass, recently had his 15 minutes of fame with the online popularity of his "Safetybike" video.  The safetybike was an experiment captured on video in the late 90s, and since then Mark has not stopped creating (inventing!?) mechanical wonders of the mind. In 2007, Mark and co-genius Fred Snider created an adapter to allow an IBM Selectric typewriter to play a piano or keyboard.  Each letter signals a note—44 keys on the typewriter (counting 2x each, thanks to the shift button) = 88 keys on a piano or keyboard. For the performances; a tiny camera is mounted on the typewriter, so the image of the page is being projected on a screen above the band.  This way the audience not only hears the notes but can read what's being typed.  The first experiments with the adapter used an actual stand up piano: a game of  "20 Questions" and a cover of "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads.   

The typewriter/piano contraption is only one of Invisible's arsenal.  Mark has also created an analog drum machine that works on a similar principle of an old-timey music box—a wheel with pins.  The entire drum machine could easily fill a small room with all of it's various percussion instruments attached; a bass drum, xylophones, cymbals, low toms, and even a plastic cup.  

As amazing (and heavy) as Mark's creations are, Invisible has also spent a lot of focus playing more traditional instruments writing and rocking a diverse variety of experimental music stylings.  From slow sludgey metal inspired downmashes, to electro hip-hop beats, to spazzy dance freakouts, to crunchwaves of effected 80s consumer synth/keys. 

for show listings and streaming songs:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Workday/Schoolnight is my experimental recording project. I play and record all the everything as Workday/Schoolnight. I use Apple's idiot-friendly GarageBand for recording software. 

Vocal heavy and categorically hard to describe, this Workday Schoolnight album calls to mind the experimental stylings of early 70s heroes; Brian Eno, David Bowie, Can, and Roxy Music—or at least maybe I'd like to think that some of my influences shine through. No matter if they don't - but I was listening to those bands A LOT when I recorded this, so... 

Here's a review from Go Triad in Greensboro, NC.  The reviewer starts by referencing my first release, Messages, which can be found in an earlier post: 
Bart Trotman's last outing, a unique excursion into the strangely intimate world of found answering machine recordings titled "Messages," succeeded in fusing ambient textures with guerrilla samplings to form a Twilight Zone ready-made of striking proportions: at once entirely familiar and incredibly bizarre. His latest project, going under the name of "Workday Schoolnight," is ostensibly more conventional but no less enjoyable, as this time around the music is the main attraction. The difference of this album from his last is immediately apparent in the way the synthesizer that opens "Calling the Shots" predominates. The synth pulse of several tracks combined with Trotman's dispassionate delivery bring Gary Numan's "Pleasure Principle" to mind (the incessant invocation of the automobile on "SafeCar" doesn't hurt, either). Trotman's synth pop groove is less restrained than Numan's, however, as the backdrop of distorted guitar cartwheels that adorn "Of the End, Too Many" remind. This is not to say that traces of "Messages" aren't present. "The Policeman Said" explicitly recalls his previous project by opening with a grainy sample of an anonymous voice repeating a dispassionate reminder about when to acquire our "value-added data." But what seems like a "Messages" outtake quickly changes directions as an endlessly looping marimba part and Trotman's hushed vocals come to the fore. Ultimately less a departure than an extension of his previous work, "Workday Schoolnight" is a thoroughly engaging outing and worth the attention of anyone interested in music -- local, electronic, or otherwise. Contact Daniel McMillan at daniel.

1. Calling the Shots
2. Of the End, Too Many
3. SafeCar
4. the time it takes to read
5. Years on Years
6. the PoliceMan Said
7. Golden Raindrops

To buy a copy of Workday Schoolnight, go here
or search for it on iTunes

SAURUS - The Word Dinosaur Means Terrible Lizard (2008)


Picture this:  A band of musicians dressed in labcoats, posing as doctors of some variety, singing about the last two dinosaurs left on earth—an Avimimus and a Deinonychus.   Behind the band there is a projected powerpoint presentation with a variety of fast moving still dino images for each song.  
The story SAURUS tells is centered around Evie the Avimimus and the Nameless Evil Deinonychus.   It's a classic tale - the Avimimus is good and pure, the Deinonychus is an evil killing machine.  Naturally, they have to battle to death. Naturally.  Who doesn't want to see two pre-historic beasts battle each other to the death?  It's literally a story older than mankind.

As the legend goes, while each dinosaur laid dormant for hundreds of millions of years they accumulated all the soul power from their respective ancestors.   Kind of like the accumulation of the collective unconscious, only in superpowers—or like that Jet Li movie, "The One".  This powerful attribute means that Evie and the Deinonychus are not just battling eachother for sport, it's world domination they're after. (Naturally).          

As an audience member at a SAURUS show you get to vote by way of cheering for which dinosaur you want to win.   If Evie (the good one) wins, the band plays a dance song about having a good time and well... dancing.   If ,Lord help you, Deinonychus wins, the band plays a slow sludgy metal song with a gloomy marching beat— dooming all of mankind to a life of servitude to the tyrannical evil Deinonychus.    

Now as far as the music goes—it's all over the place.   DEVO? Frank Zappa? They Might Be Giants? Black Sabbath?  It's all here.
The album, which tells the entire story of Evie and the Deinonuchus, was released in January 2008 with two covers and two endings—one for each dino.  

Here are some links to videos which include some live footage edited with the powerpoint slides:

"Terrible Claw (Deinonychus's Theme)":

"She's the One (Evie's Theme)":


The musicians: 
Daniel Bullard-Bates - lead vocals, guitar, bass, synths
Andy Savoy - guitar, bass, synths, vocals
Bart Trotman - drums, vocals, bass, old casio and yamaha keys
Cameron Wilkin - guitar (at live shows)
Ben Hirsch - bass (at live shows)
Johanna de Graffenreid - powerpoint operator (at live shows)

SAURUS - The Word Dinosaur Means Terrible Lizard (2008):
1. A Brief History of Dinosaurs
2. A Fateful Discovery   (the story begins)
3. Deinonychus Escapes!  (intro)
4. Terrible Claw  (The Deinonychus Theme)
5. Fever Dreams
6. I Wish I had a Friend  (Children's Story)
7. Evie Interlude
8. A Phenomenological Explanation of the Consolidation of Physical and Mental Attributes Across Familial LInes During the Extinction Process   (the Dance Song)
9. Deinonychus's Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Really Bad Day
10. She's the One!  (Evie's Theme)
11. The Battle: Xtreme Dino Showdown   (Choose your winner!)

12. Avimimus Victory Dance   (The Avimimus Wins Song)

13.  (silent track)
14. Deinonychus Death March   (alternate winner: if Deinonychus had won)

listen to songs, here:

Messages (2005)

 is a collection of instrumental songs featuring answering machine messages taken from tapes in thrift stores and junk stores. Before the moniker of Workday/Schoolnight, I released this under my own name, Bart Trotman. 

The idea here was to give a lush ambient setting to these answering machine messages I had collected.   Warning: Some of the messages are downright creepy.  Listening in on the line with these people raises questions such as: Who are these people?  Are they still alive? Are they nuts?        

here are some words about Messages from Carla Kucinski's article in Go Triad March 9, 2006:

" We learn of a desperate woman stuck in a relationship with an alocholic, and her friend on the other line who couldn't care less.  We get a scary glimpse of another caller with a sadistic laugh who leaves  a series of disturbing messages about someone pulling out a gun and grabbing a knife.  In that same message, there's a strange reference to a man and a scrapbooko: "She's looking through her scrapbook with all these people she's killed.  She used to be a nurse and she's killed all these people. Bye."  It gives me chills. 
  And then there's Mrs. Beverly, who perhaps causes the most concern.  While listening to "Mrs. Beverly, just when ARE you coming home?" you get the feeling that something terribly bad has happened to her, and that's why she can't get to the phone.   Or why her answering machine ended up in a thrift store.  For days, friends, acquaintances and loved ones leave her messages, wishing her a merry Christmas.  But the messages evolve into worry and concern: "I'm surprised you're not home yet... I pretty much expected to see you today ... I haven't seen your face in awhile ... I love you ... By the way, that will never change.  I will always love you.  "  
As the callers grow more desperate, the intensity of the music increases and creates anxiety within the listener; it gives me a bad feeling in my stomach.  The messages get to Trotman, too."

1. talk at cha
2. The Typewriter Rain
3. Ms. Beverly, just when ARE you coming home?
4. messages
5. CrazyKnife
6. Where My Dogs At?
7. The Conversation

(ignore the hot chicks, find the empty box - enter the 3 letters, wait, then click download)