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Program 624: Scary Music for Scary Times

KALW Broadcast Date: October 30, 2020 | Host: Mark Abramson

Program 624 of Music For Other Minds promises scary music for scary times, and it mostly delivers. But as the playlist developed, the focus shifted to music that mainly used electric guitars as the means of delivery. I wanted to include a long guitar piece by local composer Brent Miller, and that led me to groups like Swans and performers like Elliott Sharp. And they sort of took over the program. It’s still mostly spooky music, due to the build up of tension from holding chords for minutes at a time. But there are other pieces in between the two long guitar-focused ones that vary the pace and provide variety to our spooky sound. We start the program with remarkable Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, and really, after hearing her work “Aorta” that opens the show, where do we have left to go? We’ve got an improv from Fred Frith and Hans Koch that’s scary because of the surprising sounds the two artists get from their instruments. A creepy track from Psychic TV, a melancholy one from Nico, and then we hit the first wall of guitars, provided by Swans. An early industrial (barely) rock track from Krautrock outfit Cluster, a collaboration between Elliott Sharp and turntable artist Christian Marclay, a piece from Elliott’s ensemble Carbon, and then we hit the second wall of guitars composed by Brent. And finally, a mostly sweet work from Estonian master, Arvo Pärt. And that’s the show.

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: Aorta, Nacreous (2016)
Composer: Tanya Tagaq
Performers: Tanya Tagaq – voice; Radik Tyulyush – vocals; Christine Duncan – vocals, choir conductor; The Element Choir – vocals
Recording Title: Retribution (2016) 
Record Label: Six Shooter Records
Catalog Number: SIX0102


Title: Strange Is The Night Where Black Stars Rise (2017)
Composer: Fred Frith & Hans Koch
Performers: Fred Frith – electric guitar, various small objects; Hans Koch – bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones, spit
Recording Title: You Are Here (2017) 
Record Label: Intakt Records
Catalog Number: Intakt CD 286


Title: Southern Comfort (1988)
Composer: Psychic TV
Performers: Genesis P-Orridge, Psychic TV
Recording Title: Allegory & Self (1988)
Record Label: Temple Records
Catalog Number:


Title: It Was A Pleasure Then (1967)
Composer: Nico, Lou Reed, John Cale
Performers: Nico – vocals; Lou Reed – electric guitar; John Cale – viola, organ, guitar
Recording Title: Chelsea Girl (1967)
Record Label: Verve Records
Catalog Number: V-5032


Title: Frankie M (2016)
Composer: Swans
Performers: Michael Gira – vocals, electric and acoustic guitar; Norman Westberg – electric guitar, vocals; Kristof Hahn – lap steel guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals; Phil Puleo – drums, dulcimer, knocks, vocals; Christopher Pravdica – bass guitar, vocals; Thor Harris – percussion, vibes, bells, dulcimer. Hit Man and 7th Swan: Bill Rieflin – drums, piano, synth, Mellotron, bass guitar, electric guitar, vocals.
Recording Title: The Glowing Man (2016)
Record Label: Young Gods Records
Catalog Number: YG58


Title: 7:43 (1971)
Composer: Cluster
Performers: Hans-Joachim Roedelius – organ, electronically treated cello, audio-generator, amplifier; Dieter Moebius – organ, Hawaiian guitar, audio-generator, amplifier, helias; Conrad Plank – electronics, effects, producer
Recording Title: Cluster 71 (1971)
Record Label: Bureau B
Catalog Number: 948862


Title: Blinding Shadow (2000)
Composer: Christian Marclay, Elliott Sharp
Performers: Elliott Sharp: Guitars, Electronics; Christian Marclay: Turntables
Recording Title: High Noon (2000)
Record Label: Intakt Records
Catalog Number: Intakt CD 063


Title: Tox (1991)
Composers: Elliott Sharp & Carbon
Performers: Zeena Parkins – electric harp, slab; Joseph Trump – drums; David Weinstein – sampler, keyboard; Marc Sloan – electric bass; Elliott Sharp – doubleneck guitarbass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, saxophones, clarinets, sampler, slab
Recording Title: The Age of Carbon (2011)
Record Label: Intakt Records
Catalog Number: Intakt CD 188


Title: Milton (2011)
Composer: Brent Miller
Performers: Brent Miller, Salvatore Barra, Matthew Vandegriff – guitars
Recording Title: Nomad Vigil (2019)
Record Label:
Catalog Number:

2454|55 X

Title: Fratres (1977)
Composer: Arvo Pärt
Performers: Gidon Kremer, violin; Keith Jarrett, piano
Recording Title: Arvo Pärt – Musica Selecta (2017)
Record Label: ECM Records
Catalog Number: ECM 2464

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