The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gig #122: Of late 31: Black Mountain Transmitter, The Telescopes, Massicot, Suffocation, Bitchin Bajas, Danger Incorporated, Felix Kubin, La Tène, Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II, Sugai Ken, Brainbombs, Grim, Thoom, The Transcendence Orchestra


Black Mountain Transmitter
The Telescopes
Bitchin Bajas
Danger Incorporated
Felix Kubin
La Tène
Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II
Sugai Ken
The Transcendence Orchestra


Black Mountain Transmitter Black Goat Of The Woods
‘The one man project of J.R Moore, Black Mountain Transmitter has released several CDrs and tapes, all to great critical acclaim, and the quality of his work speaks volumes. This AB release is the first official release and a reissue of the long sold out and much sought after limited CDr. On describing the recording, Moore said: “The music was certainly very much influenced by that certain breed of 70s horror films. Things like the soundtrack to the original “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, Giuliano Sorgini’s atmospheres in “Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue”; Carl Zittrer’s soundscapes in “Deranged”, “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” and “Dead Of Night”, and of course people like Fabio Frizzi in Italian horror and the BBCs Radiophonic Workshop’s electronic sounds in something like “The Stone Tape” and countless creepy old TV productions…”‘ — Aurora Borealis


The Telescopes Hand Full Of Ashes
‘For 30 years, The Telescopes have existed on the outskirts of the U.K. pop scene, in a host of different forms. Founded by primary member Stephen Lawrie in 1987 as a way to channel his love for such American underground icons like 13th Floor Elevators, The Velvet Underground, and Suicide, the band has since inhabited the worlds of noise, shoegaze, Britpop, and space rock without disappearing too far into any one of them. Rather, Lawrie has preferred to stitch all of them together into a kind of dreamcoat that’s wholly unique. Their eponymous second LP, released on Creation Records in 1992, is a stronger Salvo to Britpop than the records unveiled by Pulp or The Charlatans that year. On their decade-in-the-making follow-up Third Wave, Lawrie immersed himself in jazz and IDM to craft a fitting testament to the endless possibilities for the rock band format in a Kid A afterworld. Since signing with Hamburg, Germany indie imprint Tapete Records in 2015, Lawrie has returned to his roots in noise and space, building on the sound of the scene he helped spawn, with nods to early Primal Scream and Spacemen 3, and then taking it down darker, more abstract musical paths. For his second Tapete full-length release, As Light Return, Lawrie is celebrating three decades in music by tangling up reverb, delay, and echo into some of the most impossible knots he’s crafted yet. It’s a dizzying five-song journey that crescendos with epic 14-minute closer “Handful of Ashes,” where his feedback reaches raga-like levels of abandon thanks to the improvisational craft of his backing group, St Deluxe.’ — Bandcamp Daily


Massicot Kokteilis
‘MASSICOT sounds as if it can barely keep its own energy under control. The songs are reduced to mere skeletons that burst with intensity. ‘Kokteilis’ shows off their ease at genre hopping between their recognisable Tropical No Wave and uncharacteristic hip hop beats whilst showcasing their perfect marriage of pop and noise. Monotone vocals merge with saccharine chants whilst sharp riffs mesh with oscillating percussion to create a perfect bewildering dance track.’ — Hands in the Dark


Suffocation The Warmth Within the Dark
‘Suffocation are like the death metal equivalent of an old roller coaster that still makes your stomach drop even though you’ve ridden it hundreds of times and there are plenty of newer rides that are faster and more jarring. If you were following death metal in the early 1990s, when there was a sudden explosion of technical proficiency across the genre, Suffocation’s work since re-forming in 2002 will probably make you nostalgic for that era. Like those albums, the new material comes stuffed with the instrumental gymnastics and headache-inducing atonality—that’s a compliment, by the way—that first put the band on the map. In many ways, …Of the Dark Light takes you back to a pivotal moment in death metal history. But the album also benefits tremendously from modern production that gives listeners a chance—arguably the best in the band’s almost three-decade career—to zoom in on the finer points of Suffocation’s music.’ — Saby Reyes-Kulkarni


Bitchin Bajas Jammu
‘Cooper Crain once crystallized the Bitchin Bajas ethos with a simple question: “If you find a good loop that can hold its own musically, then why not use it?” That philosophy has served his group well for going on seven years, and has recently proven just as effective in collaboration. Through work with Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Natural Information Society, Olivia Wyatt, and Haley Fohr’s Jackie Lynn, Bitchin Bajas expanded their sound and prodded their partners to do the same. Credit the trio’s knack for finding good loops and knowing how to use them. In particular, Bitchin Bajas know how to use a good loop for a long time. It’s easy enough to let a cycle grind away forever, hoping that repetition alone will entrance listeners. It’s also tempting to get too proactive and force sonic variety from a loop, as a pre-emptive stab at fending off boredom. Bitchin Bajas excel at finding midpoints between those default poles. They trust their loops to grow naturally but can also shift textures and vary moods to avoid predictability.’ — Marc Masters


Danger Incorporated Ashley Olsen
‘In just over twenty minutes, Louie Duffelbags and Boothlord offer up nine expansive and exploratory tracks, each one sliding through with its own unique atmosphere and emotional resonance. Given this divergence of vibes and sounds, I hesitate the use the word “formula,” but there’s certainly a method to the pair’s dizzying, dazzling aesthetic. On most cuts, Louie Dufflebags plays the ideal setup man, serenading the listener with his warm and shimmering falsetto before giving way to Boothlord who then hammers the track with lyrical liquid, his aqueous bars tumbling over the LP’s wavy baselines and pulsing synths. Indeed, the duo’s interlocking chemistry is the key to Birds Fly By Night’s strong sense of cohesion, each track gliding seamlessly into the next as the pair lure you in and lock you into their hypnotic world.’ — IM Atlanta


Felix Kubin Uhren
‘Felix Kubin personality seems to be one of the hardest to pin down. His work stretches through different archetypes/symbols of the collective consciousness of the whole 20th century and beyond. By employing the aesthetics of space age, radio plays, library music, kraut-like experiments and boundary-breaking futurism, he manages to create a parallel world of lost cultural artefacts and innovative, hyper-modernist visions. Felix’s music has traces of analog experiments, library collages, 80’s wave aesthetics, dadaist movement, the ambitiousness and courage of early 20th century modernists. Felix nicely merges the structural approach with jazzy playfulness, improvisation, unexpectedness and pure personal charm. His discography spans over various forms, decades, genres ranging from his electroacoustic experiments to spacious futuristic synth epics of his most recent “Zemsta Plutona” or library/big band punk improvisations of “Bakterien & Batterien”, his collab with Mitch and Mitch.’ — Secret Thirteen


GRIM Dharma
‘For those who already know Grim’s unique brand of industrial, this new material is exactly what you want to hear. And for those who don’t, this release (and all of Grim’s discography in general) is a thing of both beauty and horror at the same time. There’s something truly disquieting about Jun Konagaya’s ability to combine uncomfortably serene melodies and atmospheres with devastatingly crushing heavy, harsh electronics and industrial sounds which really puts him in his own league — nothing and nobody can ever seem to touch him. On Discharge Mountain, Grim brings it all to the table: pulsating rhythms, traditional folk elements, drudging percussion, and veritable tempests of harsh electronics being hurled without mercy; and all of these sounds are held within perfectly crafted threnodies of ritualistic sonic torment.’ — Fucked By Noise


La Tène La tardive
‘In the retro black-and-white photo, they look like a trifle (but still a bit) of three guys who were arrested by the sheriff after they had pointed a train through the chimney of the locomotive. Mines of miners remained too long underground. Heads to prepare a dirty blow, even a Marxist revolution. Their names are Cyril Bondi, Laurent Peter (aka D’Incise) and Alexis Degrenier – a predestined name for the main activity of the group La Tène that they all form: to bring ancient music out of oblivion, and to discover that she is still working very well today. Cyril Bondi plays percussion, incise of the Indian harmonium and machines, and Alexis of the hurdy-gurdy. Yes, from hurdy gurdy.’ — LesInrocks


Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II Eric Garner
‘On the album Silenced Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II is playing duos with: Nels Cline, Vernon Reid, Melvin Gibbs, Arnold Lee, Dave Hofstra, CX KidtroniK. ‘Look: one take is all it took – nothing fake or by the book. “Silenced” giving voice to choice. A cookbook for the now, shaking and shook.’ – Nels Cline. “In Silenced Don McKenzie has reconnected contemporary improvisational music to one of the most crucial & controversial issues facing us today- the misuse of lethal force by those sworn to Serve & Protect ALL of us. I am proud to be amongst the artists participating in this remarkable project” – Vernon Reid.’ — Forward Festival


Sugai Ken Wochikaeri to Uzume
‘With 2016’s Goto No Yoniwa, or “garden in the night,” Sugai Ken examined the same boundary with a different approach. It was a synthetic recreation of his local riverbank, whose nocturnal thrum of insect chirps he remodelled electronically. On his latest album, UkabazUmorezU, themes of nature and nighttime become strange abstractions. Its 11 tracks represent landscapes, folk traditions and daily routines connected to Kanagawa, where he lives. “Sawariyanagi” depicts a yokai, or monster spirit, with odd a capella loops, which drift into Steve Reich-like forms. Other tracks, like “Okera,” use sound as scene-setting cues. Something—possibly a fan, or sandalled feet—gently beats the ground. Synths hum solemnly. Bells and gongs flicker like candlelight. “Okera” seems ceremonial, but the mood is informal and friendly.’ — RA


Brainbombs They All Deserve To Die
‘Brainbombs are a truly interesting band, because they are one of the few whose lyrics focus on extreme violence and abuse while still acting as a commentary rather than being used simply as a means of being offensive — something which has always been integral to noise, but tends to get lost when edgy dudebros don’t get it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still definitely problematic, but I would argue that the clear self-awareness of the presentation makes it far less dangerous than Black Flag casually (and sincerely) throwing in that they want to beat up their girlfriends.’ — Fucked By Noise


Thoom  حرّكت السكوت (No Speech)
‘This is music as situation, a series of entanglements in and with space. Across these four sonic zones, memories, affects, sounds and textures struggle together, straining and falling, the speed of the beats grinding against the heavy slowness of fossilized found sound. But Thoom’s music has no interest in offering resolution: its spaces are produced through antagonism and conflict. Its parts must abrade each other in order to become animated, so that these sounds can flower and rebound and fracture, forever repelling and subsuming one another as they chart a path across an uncertain environment.’ — Rafael Lubner


The Transcendence Orchestra Wychwood
‘Recorded in a remote English rural setting over a period of 24 hours this is an apt location for a recording that eschews time and space in favour of methodological displacement and deep psychological navigation. Modern Methods For Ancient Rituals is an experiment in acoustic and synthetic symbiosis which is deeply influenced by the atmosphere and acoustics of the rural location of Cats Abbey resulting in a set of recordings which can aid to the transformation of consciousness. Deploying a range of ancient and modern instruments and effects including Buchla Music Easel, harmonium, shruti box, bass guitar, hurdy gurdy, Electro Harmonix 45000, Strymon Blue Sky and Roland RE 101 Space Echo among others, Child and Bean conjure an audio experience which encapsulates elements of drone, trance, pulse, rhythm and melody subtly shifting all into a psychologically penetrating experience beyond the aesthetic and into the comforting unknown.’ — Editions Mego




p.s. Hey. I’m still pretty stunned and shaken, but let’s do this. BTW, just to show how important Paul was in France, today’s cover of Liberation, one of the two largest newspapers in France, has been designed to look like the characteristic cover of a book of POL, Paul’s publishing house, in tribute to him. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I love Mark Rappaport’s early films. They’re incredibly distinct. Based on everything I’ve read about ‘Call Me By Your Name’, and based everything I’ve heard about it, it just holds no interest for me whatsoever. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, Paul and POL are very important here. He is very widely considered the best editor and publisher in France. Being published by him, especially as he has only published four or five English language writers in the entire history of his press, has been one of the greatest honors of my life easily. It’s interesting to see you say that about ‘CMBYN’ since that’s exactly my impression. No, I don’t know why Rappaport stopped making features. He still makes short films frequently. I just found out while making that post that he lives in Paris. I had no idea. I think I’ll see if I can contact him and meet for a coffee or something. If I do, I’ll ask him. Funny you mentioned Thoom since there Thoom is right up above. Obviously, I like the EP very much. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi. Thank you for the kind words. Yeah, I’m weird. I’m never very interested at all in characters and acting and stories and things like that in movies or in books. I seem to always watch things and read books studying how they’re made and how they achieve their effects and power. I don’t know why. How is your preparing to move progressing? Oh, you know, I had kind of an really awful day yesterday that’s best not to share, but I have to get back to work and life today, and that’s what I will do. How was yours? ** Joseph, Hi, man! HNY to you! Strangely, I didn’t even know about that documentary until you mentioned it, so thank you a lot. Zac’s and my next film, which we’re writing right now, is about a haunted house attraction, so that documentary will be extremely helpful. Thank you again so much! How are you? ** Ferdinand, Thank you for your good thoughts. Big congrats on finishing that story! ** Brendan, Hi, man, thank you. When I first read ‘blew up my studio’, well, I thought … well, you can guess. Sounds like a great plan. I’m such a workaholic or something about my writing that I’ve never needed to have routines or prompts or anything. I just go there at every opportunity. Lucky, I guess. Yes, I’m coming to LA at the beginning of April because I’ve been asked to do a talk and studio visits at Art Center, so that’ll be nice. I don’t know how long I’ll be in town, but I hope I’ll get to see you. ** Bernard, Hi, B. Thanks for the good words. Yeah, Paul was and is a giant both for literature and for everyone who knew him. Sure, of course I can write that. Give me a couple days to get myself unshocked. I don’t think I know how to make a signed pdf. Is it easy? ** Kyler, Hi, K. Yeah, I think I would go ‘meh’ about ‘CMBYN’ at best, and I would probably get angry at it, is my guess, so no thanks. I don’t know what ‘gaslighting’ means, weirdly. I’ll look it up. I think ‘Song to Song’ is wonderful, a transitional work for him, not among his best but full of inspired, inspiring things. Yeah, my birthday’s soon, ugh, but thank you. ** Misanthrope, Hi, George. Thank you. Happy you’re debugged. Half the things I’ve read say ‘Lady Bird’ is excellent, and the other half say it’s overrated shit and isn’t woke enough or blah blah. I don’t think there’s really any need to read David Leavitt. Decades ago many thousands used to disagree with me, but these days I don’t anybody reads him anymore. I hope the snow has been enjoyable in some respect. ** Chris Cochrane, Thank you, Chris. I think the Yasunao Tone was my favourite album of the year if I had to choose. And, yeah, is the Oxbow album not fantastic? I sort of think it’s their ‘Forever Changes’. ** Tosh Berman, Thanks, Tosh. It would kind of impossible to overstate Paul’s and POL’s significance to French literature. He discovered and published so many of the acknowledged most important contemporary French writers. I mean, he discovered Perec, for goodness sake. ** Amphibiouspeter, Thank you a lot. I hope everything is good with you. ** _Black_Acrylic, Thank you, Ben. Enjoy the last (for now) immediate presence of your dad and then really enjoy being solo. ** Shane Jesse Christmass, Hi. Thank you kindly. And for the link to the documentary. I need distraction, so I might even watch it later today if I can manage that. Very best to you! ** Jamie, Thanks a lot, Jamie. What’s up? How are you? Much love back from me. ** James Nulick, Thanks, James, hugs. ** Mark Gluth, Thank you, Mark. Yeah, you can’t even imagine how important he has been to serious writing here in France. I’d try to think of a US equivalent, but there just isn’t one. Take care. ** Bill, Thanks, Bill. Yeah, according to Google, it really is. Was. ** Okay. I suggest you guys hit the various play buttons today and let my gig wash over you. That’s what I’ll be doing at least. See you tomorrow.


  1. h

    Dear Dennis, I’m so sorry to read your loss of your dear friend and supporter. I of course know your book from POL and I’m sure it meant a lot for you. I hope you’re okay if possible and will speak with you more when you feel a little better. Again, I’m really sorry.

  2. David Ehrenstein

    I believe Mark’s turn from features to short films was brought about by his disillusioning experience in trying to make one particular feature. Mark optioned the rights to Paul Bowles’ masterpiece “Pages From Cold Point” and worked long and hard on getting a major movie of it made. Alas there were no takers. For those of you who’ve never read it drop everything and do so right now. It would make a Beyond Sensational Movie, delving into areas of gay sexuality no one has dared tred before or since.

    That Mark AND Wes Anderson live in Paris yet you haven’t crossed paths with them is amazing, Dennis. This should be remedied ASAP

  3. James Nulick


    Would an American equivalent of Paul be someone like, say, Barney Rosset? I hope today is a little better for you. I know that’s silly to say, but I mean it. At times like these (death) — I always defer to Thomas Bernhard … ‘Everything is ridiculous when one thinks of Death.’

    Jan 30 will be one year ago that my mother died. Ugh.

    Happier note, I’m putting together a post for you, Dennis. I’m crafting it carefully.. perhaps in a month or less? It’ll be fun, I think you’ll like it.

    I bought a stand-alone art object from your friend Lucy K Shaw, it just arrived from Paris on Wednesday, it’s the Joan Didion needlework.. ‘And if someone took my last Coca Cola, There would be a scene in the Kitchen… ‘ I love it! Angelo loves it! It’s going in our kitchen.. and it was nice to have a package arrive from Paris! Seattle is so boring.. I feel like Im living in a walk-in freezer and all the corpses are bedecked in REI.

    W/r/t today’s music post — I’m terribly out of step.

    Much love, Dennis


  4. Dóra Grőber


    Thank you for the gig! ‘Black Mountain Transmitter’ is pretty exciting! I liked the ‘Brainbombs’ song too.

    I find this fascinating. It makes me think about how we must end up with entirely different experiences even if we watch the same movie.
    We’re making quite good progress! My room is almost completely empty by now – it’s really weird because now only my most essential things are here and it’s quite crazy how little in number they actually are. From now on, it’ll only be my Mom and me packing because my brother went back to Amsterdam today. But it looks like I’ll visit him in April! Finally! I can’t wait, I’m really excited!
    I hope you have as peaceful and productive of a day as possible under the sad circumstances. How was it? How are you?

  5. Steve Erickson

    Early observations: Massicot sound like they could’ve recorded for ZE in 1981 (although I think the label would have preferred English-language vocals.) I’m really enjoying the Terry Riley/Pauline Oliveros-style enveloping drone of the Transcendence Orchestra. Black Mountain Transmitter are good faux-soundtrack music; back in the ’80s, who would’ve guessed how influential the scores to horror movies would become? I haven’t heard the Brainbombs track yet, but I recall buying an LP by them in the ’90s!

    A mainstream pop observation: the new Justin Timberlake single is very obviously influenced by Daft Punk – the video even more so – but it’s a very good electro pastiche that could be an Africa Bambaata collaboration . I read a blog do an angry rant a few days ago about how he is abandoning R&B and hip-hop to embrace his “roots” in “white” music and thus guilty of appropriation etc. without hearing a note of his new album, just basing this on some of the imagery in a promo video he released and the fact that country singer Chris Stapleton gets a feature on the album. (They didn’t mention that Pharrell and Timbaland still produced most of it.) They made the valid point that artists of color don’t have the same freedom to go back and forth between genres, but blame American culture for this, not individual artists!

  6. _Black_Acrylic

    I really like that Black Mountain Transmitter Frizzi-esque material. Looking at their Discogs page, I see I’m not alone in craving a vinyl pressing for it.

    Nice being back in Dundee. This is a pic of mine and Dad’s shoes on the floor of Kate V Robertson’s This Mess Is Kept Afloat DCA installation last night.

  7. Jamie

    Hey Dennis,
    I’m good, thank you. I feel like I’m heading back to being healthy, which is pretty sweet. No more dairy, tea, coffee, wheat for me.
    How are you? I hope you’re as well as you can be. How are all your many projects going?
    Amazing to see that PGL has got a premiere! You must be happy, I assume? And this month too! So exciting. Very pleased for you.
    I also liked that Black Mountain Transmitter track, plus the Telescopes and Bitchin Bajas. I’m def looking further into La Tene and Thoom, whose video I thought was pretty good too.
    I hope that you have the weekend that you need. I have to try and pull the best 1000 word segment out of the last thing I wrote to apply for an award.
    Lots and lots of love to you.

  8. Brendan

    Dennis. I hope you are feeling a tiny bit better today. Sending love from this side of the world.

    I think I’m also kind of a workaholic but sometimes I have this compulsion to work but I’m stuck creatively or just hate all my ideas or something. So I get into a rut and need to bust out. Bust busting out isn’t so easy. It’s a conundrum. Anyway, seems like I’m doing better in my post-blown up studio. Maybe I’ll have something suitable to show you this year. Dare to dream.

    Cool about April. Just in time for baseball season . . .

    And great news about the PGL at Rotterdam! So stoked to see it sometime this year.


  9. Misanthrope

    Dennis, I’ve heard nothing but raves about “Lady Bird.” I’ll see how I like it. I like the trailer.

    There’s a trailer on YouTube for this new Netflix show, “The End of the F***king World.” Looks like it might be pretty funny and even good. It’s about boy who wants to kill this girl and falls in love with her.

    Eh, the snow was about 3 inches. Schools closed for 2 days. There was a 2-hour delayed arrival at my work Thursday. It’s just really cold, but frankly, it doesn’t feel as bad as they said it would be or as they’re saying it is. Oh, and I got those withholding tables today. We finished them in 3 hours. Tax cuts indeed. Took almost 4 hours last time.

    I have my ultrasound in the morning to look at my fucked up mesh…if indeed it is fucked up or if the ultrasound can even pick anything up. If there’s something going on in there, I hope it’s easily fixable.

    I hope you’re feeling somewhat better today. Things like that really put things in perspective. They do for me anyway.

    I’ll be working on this novel tomorrow night. Maybe Sunday night too.

  10. Steve Erickson

    Danger Incorporated seem like they should be totally mainstream -their production and the mix of singing and rapping reminds me of Drake’s TAKE CARE taken a bit weirder, and I can also hear elements of “SoundCloud hip-hop” in their sound – but there’s something really off-kilter about them. I could still picture them clicking them with the kids who think Lil Peep was the Kurt Cobain of his generation and now seem to be making Brockhampton into the next Odd Future. They’re one placement on Spotify’s Rap Caviar playlist away from massive fame!

    One more music recommendation from one of the few new releases that came out today, which I heard tonight courtesy Spotify: Matthew Herbert’s score for A FANTASTIC WOMAN. It’s a Chilean film about a trans woman, which I haven’t yet seen (it opens in NYC in early February.) The score is very eclectic, mixing electronics, orchestral music, jazz and Latin sounds, Star Daniela Vega – who, for once, actually is trans – sings two songs. There is one song that combines an orchestra with dance beats which totally rocks.

    I’m thrilled your film got into Rotterdam, and I hope this is the start of worldwide festival/arthouse success.

    It’s really fucking cold in NYC now, and I’m wearing a winter coat inside my apt, as I type these words. I am only planning to really get out this weekend to see two films at Anthology, Milos Forman’s TAKING OFF tomorrow and the German silent classic BERLIN: SYMPHONY OF A CITY Sunday. I would like to make it out to Queens for the Museum of the Moving Image’s “First Look” festival, but in this weather, there’s no way. But I am excited for the “First Look” programs of 3 recent James Benning films on the 14th, and if the subway is running to Astoria and the temperature’s above 20 degrees Fahrenheit, I’ll be there that day.

  11. Bill

    Another intriguing gig, Dennis. I have to see if Donald McKenzie’s duet with Vernon Reid is online, hmmm. And the Sugai Ken video is nicely done.

    Obviously I’m a little starved for culture after the family trip. It’s looking like a surprisingly busy January already. Just got back from Guy Maddin’s Green Fog (great fun, but I don’t consider it among his best). There are various concerts in the next few days that I’ll yak about soon. And the new Thighpaulsandra project URUK just arrived in the mail, yay.


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