avant-garde Archive

A Conversation with The Residents’ Spokesman Homer Flynn (Part 2 of 2)

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: The Residents’ Ralph Records was launched in ’72, and the label always existed well outside of what could be considered the ‘commercial sphere.’ In some ways, that almost made its existence sort of counterintuitive. Was there ever a point at which the label was financially remunerative, and was that

A Conversation with The Residents’ Spokesman Homer Flynn (Part 1 of 2)

I recently interviewed Homer Flynn of The Cryptic Corporation, discussing the Residents, the anonymous avant garde group of which Flynn may or may not be a founding member. The conversation – a kind of followup to my 2006(!) interview of Hardy Fox – formed the basis of my feature for SF Weekly. But a great

Permanent Residents: SF’s Notorious Avant Garde Collective Looks to the Future

Few in the early 1970s might have predicted that one of music’s strangest (and most original) acts would continue to tour and release new music well into the 21st century. But San Francisco-based avant garde collective The Residents have always confounded expectations. Though the group’s history is by design murky and mysterious, it’s generally accepted

Album Review: Three-Layer Cake – Stove Top

Bassist Mike Watt is one busy guy. He lends his talents and skills ot myriad creative collaborative projects, and here’s another one. Three-Layer Cake is a trio featuring Watt plus guitarist/banjoist Brandon Seabrook and drummer/keyboardist Mike Pride. Is this avant garde? Americana? Electronica of a sort? Jazz? I honestly can’t tell you; Seabrook’s banjo doesn’t

Album Review: D-Town Brass — Demiurge

Much of what passes for avant garde music tends toward a kind of seriousness, a dour approach that screams, “this is art!” and all but insists that the listeners revel in its importance. Accessibility rarely figures into the mix, and that’s the point, kind of. But there are exceptions. The work of Sun Ra certainly

Hundred-word Reviews: February 2021, Part 2

These five fall loosely – okay, sometimes very loosely – into the progressive and jazz categories. The Mastelottos – Too Much Happiness Though Robert Fripp’s recent video series with pulchritudinous wife Toyah Willcox have shown that he, too has a sense of humor and a light touch, it’s King Crimson’s Pat Mastelotto who perhaps reigns

Bonus Interview: Kevin Godley on ‘Consequences’ and the Gizmotron

I recently spoke with Kevin Godley (10cc, Godley & Creme) about his new solo album – his first, in fact – titled Muscle Memory. But during our chat I also managed to bring up the subject of Consequences, the bizarre boxed set 3LP album that marked the debut of Godley & Creme in 1977. That

Rad Lab: Doug McKechnie and the Moog Model III (Part Three)

Continued from Part Two … You’ve said – only half joking, I’d guess — that the main goal of the San Francisco Radical Lab was attracting women. Well, it wasn’t much more than that. And I came up with the name “San Francisco Radical Laboratories.” At the time, one of the things that I was

Rad Lab: Doug McKechnie and the Moog Model III (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … The Moog Model III didn’t come with a manual. How much was it hit-or-miss to develop the sounds that you wanted? Well, I pretty much grasped immediately what a high/low pass filter was. Because, in my lecture demonstration, with the microphone and my mouth, I would do exactly the same

Rad Lab: Doug McKechnie and the Moog Model III (Part One)

In the late 1960s, Doug McKechnie and his roommate launched the San Francisco Radical Lab, an experimental endeavor launched (in part, as you’ll read) to explore the capabilities of the then new and novel Moog Model III modular synthesizer. The Lab had one of the earliest of that instrument, with the serial number 004. Now