PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Music

San Diego's Those Darn Gnomes Up the Weirdness Game With "Birds" (premiere)

Photo: Anita Martinez / Earsplit PR

Can slime mold be a muse? Can you cross more streams than this collective? All those answers and more are shrouded in mystery on new track from Those Darn Gnomes. Maximum weirdness.

San Diego's favorite free jazz/metal unit Those Darn Gnomes will issue their latest album, Calling Whitetails to a Tuned Bow on all digital platforms and via eco-walled CD on 28 June via Nefarious Industries.

The record's opening track, "Birds" serves as an exemplary dose of what Christian Molenaar and his crew get up to on a regular basis: A collision of avant-garde jazz, the wild, wooly experiments of composer Harry Partch, Beatnik poetry, shattered noise, shards of black box theater, the sinister weirdness lurking behind the childlike chaos of The Muppet Show. Somewhere in there are moments of calm and one drifts away on a bed of acoustic jazz meditations that recall Ralph Towner's best, most imaginative work in that world during the 1970s; strains of minimalism, lysergic opera, and ancient campfire songs emerge before we're thrust back into a core of molten weirdness that provides total catharsis. 'Tis only the beginning.

Molenaar offers these observations on the new LP/experience: "Assembling Calling Whitetails to a Tuned Bow was a messy process; this album features a wider range of songwriting methods than any we've made before. While our previous records brewed dense blends of free improvisation and convoluted compositional techniques (serialist canons, tangled webs of counterpoint, aleatoric games to name a few), I knew I wanted to take things farther and try to incorporate more new ideas. To that end, I spent a good deal of this album's gestation time on intricate sound design from unique sources: namely, slime mold."

He continues, "While writing this album and living in absolute filth I ended up accidentally cultivating slime mold (physarum) and, rather than simply cleaning my house like a functional human, I began researching tools to track the mold's growth rates. Once the data was collected, I processed it in a variety of ways to transform it into music, from feeding it to synthesizers as raw MIDI information to creating complex generative music programs in Pure Data and Max. The resulting noise formed the foundation around which much of Calling Whitetails to a Tuned Bow was based."

As for "Birds" itself? "It's the album's opening statement and serves to tease what's to come throughout the rest of the album; layers of collapsing instrumentation collide with otherworldly electronic noise over the course of epic-length pieces. This record contains a lot of surprises, but 'Birds' teases a few early on."

TOUR DATES

6/05/2019 Coaxial - Los Angeles, CA w/ Fuck Your Birthday, In the Womb, Endometrium Cuntplow, Counsil

6/07/2019 Particles - Santa Fe, NM w/ Ceremonies, Mischief and Confusion

6/09/2019 Thought//Forms Gallery - Denver, CO w/ Fuck Your Birthday, Galleries, Narcissa

6/12/2019 Screwdriver - Seattle, WA w/ Fuck Your Birthday, Jayomi, Communal 40

6/13/2019 Twilight - Portland, OR w/ Fuck Your Birthday, Mercury Tree, Leafminer

6/14/2019 The Urgus (house show) - Eugene, OR w/ Fuck Your Birthday

6/16/2019 House Show - Humboldt County, CA w/ Fuck Your Birthday

6/17/2019 Honey Hive Gallery - San Francisco, CA w/ Fuck Your Birthday, Key West, Car Made of Glass

6/21/2019 Infinite Noise Outrageous Loud - Los Angeles, CA

6/29/2019 UC San Diego - San Diego, CA

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.