Nate Fitzbutler did a remix to Kanye West’s and Kendrick Lamar’s “No More Parties in LA” called “No More Parties in SD”. He said, "we made this track to try to bring some national buzz to our city that’s always been in the shadow of the LA music scene."

Niko Sitaras from the San Diego based dream rock band Paper Days says, "We just released our new EP 'Fun For Family & Friends'. Our release party is on Feb 19th being hosted at the Irenic (with The Bash Dogs & Splavender). 

Panic Is Perfect is an indie-pop group from San Fran and they are touring in support of their new album, Cellspace, which drops tomorrow on Strange Loop Records. They'll be playing at The Loft @ UCSD on Feb. 12!






Strange Attractor: An interview with California Visionary Writer Erik Davis
10.25.06 Keith Boyd
Erik Davis is one of those omnivorous, strange attractor intellects who seem to find nothing but the most vital and interesting ideas to write about. His three books and multitude of essays are essential reading for anyone wanting to better understand the crossroads of technology, geography, spirituality and the trajectory of human society. His landmark book, "Techgnosis" (republished by Serpent's Tail in 2004) is a potpourri of concepts, ruminations and ideas on everything from Scientology to Cyborgs. His new book, "The Visionary State" (published by Chronicle Books) is a pure product of California genius. It's a Rand-McNally on peyote road atlas of the history of fringe religion in the Golden State. The book is a beauty to read and look at thanks to the wonderfully vivid and creamily textured photographs of Michael Rauner. In addition to these great books, Erik's website, is an ever expanding compendium of his various articles and essays. It is well worth spending some time there sampling the wide-ranging brilliance.
This past summer I had the pleasure of meeting Erik at a talk and signing for "The Visionary State". In a reversal of the usual paradigm of meeting one's heroes and being let down, I found Erik to be as thoughtful, intelligent and gracious as I was led to believe he was by reading his work. In a kind gesture he agreed to an e-mail interview and this is what he had to say.

1. When examining the diverse religious movements in California an essential question comes to mind. Why here? What are the factors that make California such a fertile breeding ground for these movements?

There are lots of angles to answer that question with, but the most interesting and imaginative to me is geographical. Geography is destiny. The Himalaya, the home of Shiva and Tibetan Buddhism and thereby the home of the some of the highest mystical vibes the world has seen, was formed when the Indian subcontinent slammed into the EuroAsian plate. Heavy! Similarly California is the hinge between the Pacific and North America--it is as much a part of the Pacific Rim as the continental US. So it's no surprise that it became one of the main gateways that Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism entered the West. California holds the first Hindu temple in the Western hemisphere (the Vedanta Society Old Temple) and the first Zen monastery (Tassajara). But these two plates are grinding against one another, building up tremendous tension. Perhaps that energies California with this sense of transformation, of possible apocalypse, of a restless urgency to invent, to not stand on the same old ceremonies. Most importantly, though, is the sheer diversity and range of the state's ecosystems. Not only do they make California a "natural" place for a religion of nature, but they everywhere remind us of diversity and multiple perspectives--that the way the world looks from this angle is not the way it looks over the hill.

2. What role does the internet now play within the currently active alternative religious groups in California?

The Internet has changed religion like it has changed everything else. Most of the changes are pretty practical--the web becomes a place to connect with like minds not linked in space, to share texts and information, to draw in people, not just to a place, but to a whole worldview. Increasingly, of course, as we move into a video-dominated Internet, then the charismatic opportunities really explode--video "darshan", or the visual experience of a holy person, is now common, and any alternative religious movement worth its salt needs to start exploiting the new visual language of short, snappy, online videos. Music is key as well. I am not sure how well it will work, since a lot of the power of alternative religions derives from mystery, and the data-heavy intensity and transparency of the medium does not necessarily lend itself to mystery. I suspect some of the more esoteric stuff will derive its power precisely by going off-line. But the net does lend itself to alternative narratives, to spreading networks of connections ("It's all connected!"), and visual displays. I am just waiting for the hip sneaky viral Scientology version of lonelygirl15!

3. What was the biggest surprise you found while researching and traveling for the book?

Research-wise, my biggest surprise was how far back this stuff went in the history of the state. I mean, I wasn't terribly surprised to find isolated communes exploring unusual cosmologies, breathing practices, and sacred sexuality in the late nineteenth century. But there was tons of this stuff! One of my favorite quotes came from a Los Angeles writer in 1913 who was already complaining about all the swamis and "astral-planers" and Rosicrucians. 1913! Those folks were almost coming out on buggies! Plus there was a tiny subculture of German nationals who came to Cali in the teens and lived live hippies -- long hair, raw food, bare feet, playing guitar, communing with nature -- the works!

4. What is your list of the 10 most vital and important books?

Yowza! This is the kind of thing I could spend a week compiling, so this list is Not Gospel, but just what formed itself this afternoon. I am interested in so many things, that its hard to say what is important overall because the priorities keep shifting. I am going to go with "vital" rather than "important," because, like Das Kapital is really incredibly important but its not going on my list, which is pretty personal, but still in a change-yer-life kinda way. These are books that gave me transmission, so they have more to do with the forces that shaped me than where I am now. I have left out fiction and poetry, which demand other lists. In no particular order:

Morris Berman: Wandering God: An Essay in Nomadic Spirituality
The I Ching (read multiple translations!)
The Other Bible, edited Barnstone (apocryphal and gnostic texts)
Dale Pendell: Pharmaco/Gnosis
Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari: A Thousand Plateaus
G.K. Chesterton: Orthodoxy
Lester Bangs: Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung
Chuang-tsu: Inner Chapters (Watson is canonical translation, but others are good)
Marshall McLuhan: Understanding Media (The Extensions of Man)
Mircae Eliade: The Forge and the Crucible

5. What is the next project you'll be working on and why did you choose to do so?

Well I tend to follow the opportunities, and this fall I am teaching at Berkeley, and will be following that up with a class at UC Davis. So rather than plunge into another Big Project, I want to see if I can juggle a couple of balls at once: teaching, posting to, writing articles and essays for different publications, playing more music, maybe writing a libretto, etc. There is usually a whole middle period when I don't know the next book I'll do. I wish I could crank em out like Douglas Rushkoff but I have learned that that is not my Tao. Even the next "book" might be me doing a couple things at once though. Its our ADD world, seeping in. So hard to do one thing, or be one thing, though it still seems worth trying in some ways.


    Lotushouse MP3 Sampler
    Maquiladora - The Revenge of Becky Royal (New Piano)
    Tenniscoats + Maquiladora - Hours
    High Mountain Tempel - Processional (An Invocation to Thee Angelic Sister)
    Raagnagrok - HJD
    Beggars - Will We Call It Love
    Maquiladora - Termez 1936
    Maquiladora - Song 26
    Buzz or Howl - Sendhe Mortu Chin Rigore
    Earthling Tempel - Celestial Inhabitants of the Sun
    Buzz or Howl - The Sins Of The Flower Are Visited On The Shunned
    Maquiladora - Light of the Rain
    High Mountain Tempel - The Ascended Master (Hang Gliding in Heaven)
    High Mountain Tempel - Fluctuat Nec Mergitur
    High Mountain Tempel - Tempel Walk
    Buzz or Howl - 05 Oct 05
    Buzz or Howl - Sun as the Destroyer of Dreams
    Live version at the Make Room SF 2005
    Maquiladora - In This Life
    Maquiladora - Simply to See You
    Maquiladora with Kawabata Makoto - Nampasen
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Drunk and Lighting Fires (A Waltz)
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ritual of Hearts
    Maquiladora Maquiladora - Ankle
    Maquiladora - Mayday
    Loraine Loraine - Pasqually Old Pasqually

    Beggars - S/T
    by Pierro Scaruffi

    Maquiladora's Eric Nielsen and Bruce McKenzie joined forces with Skygreen Leopards' Glenn Donaldson to form Beggars, whose double-disc Beggars (Lotushouse, 2013) is a tour de force of ecstatic Eastern-influenced freak-folk. Mostly these pieces lean towards the traditional song format, although inevitably deformed by the musicians' pedigrees.

    The ghostly hyper-dilated drones of Ghost Coyote are imbued with quasi-Morricone western-movie guitar twang and even harmonica. The sweet lullaby and the trotting pace of Eureka My Love as well as the romantic honky-tonking Justine (with a refrain a bit reminiscent of Dylan's Blowing in the Wind) hark back to the heydays of country-rock. 2-3-74 Floating evokes the martial laments of the young Neil Young although diluted amid discordant guitar jamming and lulled by waves of funereal vocal harmonies. Berserker's Boogie is a lively and poppy almost-bluegrass tune. They even intone the singalong Queen Anne's Lace with drums, banjo and all.

    Thankfully, the spaced-out yodeling of Lullaby de Bourbon (memories of Aoxomoxoa-era Grateful Dead), the free-form quasi-jazz guitar and vocal interplay of Will We Call It Love, the seven-minute dreaming psalm Big Pink Sun and its sublimely disintegrating coda, remind us of what Maquiladora are best at. The 23-minute Midget Decapitates Clownis an ambitious concerto for suspense and agony. Far from being just a droning piece, it piles up sonic event after sonic event, producing the trancey effect out of a multitude of traumatic sounds. The chirping and tweeting that accumulates half-way into the piece decays into a nervous organic filigree and dies away in the most cryptic manner; one of the high points of Maquiladora's career.

    Earthling Tempel - Pilgrimage To Thunderbolt Pagoda
    by Aquarius Records

    Not sure if this is part 4, or just the first in a new multi part epic, hardly matters, what does matter is, this is another glorious expansive collection of meditative psychedelic abstract dronefolk ambience. Every High Mountain Tempel disc we're reviewed thus far has gotten played to death here, and this one doesn't appear to be any different. Well, at least in that respect. In one distinct way it is very different, HMT are not going it alone this time. They've assembled a pretty impressive collection of sonic alchemists and musical conjurers to help with this ritual, Isis Aquarian from the Source Family, Charles Curtis from La Monte Young's Just Alap Raga Ensemble, and two crews from the UK we've never heard of, Earthling Society and Astarism, but even with all those cooks in the kitchen, HMT and friends have managed to weave another dark minimal masterpiece, all hushed barely there guitar shimmer, drifting whispered vocals, delicate crystalline melodies, dense swirls of piano, warm swells of tape hiss, mysterious voices and field recordings, whirring organ, bowed steel strings... so lovely.

    If the liner notes are to be believed, two of the tracks feature Earthling Society on their own, and those tracks do sound different, much less free and sprawling, a bit more structured, like seventies UK acid folk, swirling and melodic and quite lovely. The final two tracks find the two groups in full on collaborative mode, and the gears shift to something much more space rocky and Hawkwindy, all blissed out and heart-of-the-sun, until the final track which is a strummy, delicate, moody chill out closer, a sort of dour doom folk drift, that makes a perfect ending.

    Super nice packaging, silkscreened oversized 4 panel sleeve, white on black, with the cd-r affixed to the inside. And of course, SUPER LIMITED!

    High Mountain Tempel - The Glass Bead Game by Aquarius Records

    Part three in the ongoing series of limited cd-r explorations from mysterious drone combo High Mountain Tempel, and like the two before it, the band continue to delve into some murky sonic underworld, again presenting loooong songs, each separated by brief sonic interludes, this disc seems feature more actual vocals, the opening track features a processed voice, that sounds a bit like throat singing, or a Speak And Spell, intoning some arcane message, interwoven with long drawn out tones, and a thick ropy buzz, super dark and intense and atmospheric. Elsewhere sampled voices surface, there are bits of chanting here and there, all peppered throughout the disc. But even with the extra voices, the focus here is still on dark, lugubrious, extended dronescapes.

    The sound of High Mountain Tempel is probably closest to Expo '70, as their various permutations of dronemusic seem to have a definite krautrock vibe, that gives the sound a sort of spaced out quality, and a subtle propulsion, but unlike Expo '70, HMT seem to have a distinct Eastern influence, much of the music is meditative and subtly dramatic, a bit soundtracky, and some of it sounds like it could be Japanese. Especially the way field recordings are incorporated into the sounds. Giving everything a definite texture, some of it sounding like it was perhaps recorded live in some hilltop temple. Which we would imagine is the idea.

    Not sure what else to say actually. This is indeed fantastic, brooding and malefic, but also shimmery and dreamy, sonically it has much in common with the first two installments, so definitely check out those reviews to read more about their 'sound'.

    Needless to say, fans of the drone and folks into the current crop of cd-r soundscapers will for sure dig this, but like the other HMT discs, this is more than simple drone music, this is ritualistic alchemical soundwork, one can almost imagine stumbling across a group of cloaked figures huddled around a fire in a forest clearing, tossing various powders into the flames, causing the fire to change color and cast beastlike shadows on the branches above, and this is the sound filtering through the forest like a black moonlit fog...
    SUPER LIMITED of course, packaged beautifully in a foldover silkscreened sleeve, gold metallic on red on the outside, black on red on the inside.

    High Mountain Tempel - A Screaming Comes Across The Sky - The Faultline Scriptures
    by Aquarius Records

    Record number two from this mysterious drone-kraut styled duo. Their last disc was a huge hit around here, so we were pretty thrilled to get our hands on this one, a logical sonic extension of the first, delving deeper into some murky tripped out twilit soundworld.
    The disc opens with shimmering clouds of gongs and cymbals, whirring and sizzling, suspended over a deep distant rumble, a delicate intro to a record at once hypnotic and lovely, dark and dense.

    The record is arranged into three epic tracks, interspersed with short sonic interludes, ranging from field recordings of crickets, looped chants (Elizabeth Clare Prophet if we're not mistaken), spirituals and mysterious liturgical songs, whirring drones, and backwards percussion, but it's the long tracks where the duo get to spread out, let their dense soundscapes sprawl.

    The three long tracks sounds like movements of a greater whole, clocking in at 15 minutes, 11 minutes and nearly 17 minutes respectively, each rife with creepy delayed vocals, churning guitars and smeared chords, roiling muddy whirls, which often dissipate leaving streaks of fragmented melody and haunting slowed down voices. Buried amidst the drones and whirs, are lullaby-like melodies, skittery percussion, streaks of grinding distortion, hidden voices, more field recordings, thick swaths of cavernous rumbles, little bits of electronic glitch and lots and lots of low end buzz.

    Packaged in a fancy navy blue fold over sleeve, screenprinted in white ink, with a photocopied insert with liner notes and song credits.

    LIMITED TO 150 COPIES! Each one hand numbered.


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