Joe Surdna

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Joe Surdna  |  Nov 14, 2017  |  4 comments
What exactly is a ghost record? It’s a recording that remains elusive and has perhaps taken on an outsized place in your archivist’s brain. It’s the lost record that you’ve forgotten the name of and, perhaps searched for over the years to no avail. This is not any ordinary album that can be easily searched for on Google, cross-referenced and or found with easy emails and answers from forum posts. I think every music lover has a ghost record in their life and memory, a record that they heard once at someone’s house, maybe when they were stoned, or once owned but then lost in a basement flood or gave away, an album they can still hear in their head but somehow it’s slipped through the cracks and gone down the wormhole of memory.
Joe Surdna  |  Nov 01, 2017  |  2 comments
What an extraordinary month October has been for the release and discovery of great new music. I had to make a new section entitled Honorable Mentions in order to include all the music that deserved to be reviewed. Not that any records on the 2nd tier list are of any less quality than those given longer reviews. Rather than review an artist (see St. Vincent) that every single other site has posted about I prefer to highlight less well known but quite worthy artists that may get short shift when the heavyweights are getting all the ink.
Joe Surdna  |  Oct 17, 2017  |  1 comments
Are you dreaming when you listen? Is there a concomitant reflection of inherent desire manifesting itself within yourself when you go into this system of sound that you have meticulously created, or recreated? Perhaps, as Francois Bonnet suggests in his densely considered book The Order of Sounds there is a predilection when listening to accede to a form of conscious hallucination? What you are looking for is what you hear? A conjuring takes place on an antediluvian, reptilian part of your brain that simultaneously searches for and places music into a predetermined organization? The idea here was to navigate the supposedly passive act of listening and to consider how and when that began for me. When did music crawl out of its realm of being simply aural wallpaper and become something tactile and palpable in my life? Well, it happened when I was 11 and I remember exactly how I felt at the time.
Joe Surdna  |  Sep 13, 2017  |  4 comments
Public Enemy: It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back (1988)
File Under: old-school, mind-altering, radical hip-hop
It came caterwauling out the windows of passing Old's 98's, screeching and scratching with abstract samples of James Brown's funk and Coltrane sped up until he sounded like a siren wailing, Slayer's and Anthrax's buzzsaw guitars, with trunk bass booming enough to rattle the windows in my first floor apartment; it's vibe was aggressive, menacing and overtly political as it spread bespoke: passed hand-to-hand on bootleg cassettes, many recorded directly over something else, hitting the streets before it's official release date in June of 1988; it was a revolution that was not televised and, at least in the beginning, took place virtually outside the structure of the mainstream system of distribution of record stores, radio, television and magazines, or MTV, a radical collage of black sounds that was suddenly everywhere at once, a viral social-cultural and political experience spreading its message across the city where most white people like myself only felt it but didn't really get it.
Joe Surdna  |  Sep 01, 2017  |  0 comments
It all happened so fast. Summer came and went and now some of the leaves are yellowing and beginning to fall. When I'm in town passing one of the high schools I can here the whistles of the football coaches putting the boys through their drills. It won't be long before it'll be time to wrap this year up and cogitate on what moved me the most in this column. But for the next three months there will be the usual avalanche of ear-worthy releases. Here are a few I discovered in August.
Joe Surdna  |  Aug 03, 2017  |  0 comments
The dog days are upon us but there’s no rest here at Audiostream. For August we have quite a line up of eclectic and stunning tunes for you. Some Mississippi blues, minimalist classical, indie rock, ambient techno, ethiopiyawi electronic, feral rock, folkatronic, motorik kraut, hip hop, proto-post rock, experimental, afro-latin-world and perhaps controversially, plunderphonics. So let the sleeping dogs lie, make some cold-brew coffee, fire up the DAC, and get ready for some great music.
Joe Surdna  |  Jul 04, 2017  |  3 comments
A lot of ink has been spilled over what is and what is not punk rock. We know what historical punk is: Iggy, Sex Pistols, Wire, Flipper, but do we know what it is now or have we succumbed to the realm of conservative self-parody and stylistic boredom? The Dadaists were the first proto punks. The punk rock I want is a utopian ideal, while the punk I got is more dystopian. How does punk rock make me feel? Generally just annoyed—it’s an aural irritant. It’s rude, crass, dissonant, noisy and usually assumes a guise of nihilism. NY’s Show Me The Body is the closest Americans have come recently as well as this month’s selection North Carolina’s ISS.
Joe Surdna  |  Jun 01, 2017  |  2 comments
Last year at this time the cicadas crawled out of the earth and filled our ears with the cacophony of their singing. This is supposed to happen every seventeen years or so but for some reason the sonorous bugs are not staying asleep and dormant as they are supposed to and are back buzzing away again against all scientific facts and logic. Nothing is as it appears anymore, and as welcome as the buzzing might be there is an ominous sense that something is not right on the Ponderosa. Not to worry because we’ve discovered some wonderful new and sort-of-new music that will drown out all that unreal noise and hopefully soothe any sense of foreboding you might have from all the absurdity and buzzing going on.

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