Sunday, June 3, 2018


June's installment of Chainlinks is here! Roughly once a month we pick the brains of our friends and colleagues to find out what's inspiring them... Today we have lists from Bobby Bray (The Locust, INUS), Mike Reisinger (Sleeping Giant Glossolalia, Opening Bell), and Charlie Schmid (Del Judas, Vaura). Enjoy!

1) David Huron

Within the field of psychoacoustics, the study of how the brain perceives sound (music), researcher/professor/author David Huron lays down some of the most interesting ideas, such as how sad music can make people happy.

Here he is explaining how music can give people frisson (goosebumps) via triggers such as screaming and unexpected time signature changes!

I am currently reading his book, Sweet Anticipation, in which he details his general psychological theory of expectation, using music as the prime example of course. The framing of anticipation-based emotional reactions helps put individual human existence into perspective. And thinking about how these ideas could strengthen the emotional impact of a song can be useful during composition, although he warns against it! 

2) Intercepted podcast with Jeremy Scahill

During the Obama administration there weren’t that many (left leaning) American news sources brave enough to criticize the use of US drones, but The Intercept was one of the few. They even released the famed Drone Papers, which detailed how drone strikes were approved with little to no information of the people who were killed. The Intercept does not shy away from the issue of American empire and they cut right through the bullshit false-dichotomy-fallacy-narrative-trap that lots of American news media seems to fall into. As a result there are not that many journalists or publications today that match their credibility, regarding consistency when criticizing a given administration’s role in the military industrial complex and international law violations involving death and dehumanization.
Jeremy Scahill is one of the founders of The Intercept and now has a great podcast filled with credible, cogent perspectives. Here is the interesting episode around the time the US quickly blamed Syria for a chemical attack: 

3. Genevieve Artadi

The video, and bass line for this Genevieve Artadi song, are addictive. Genevieve is perhaps best known for being in the weirdo art band Knower with Luis Cole.

1) The work of Patrick Keck

This question came at a good time as I just opened up a package that came in the mail from the artist Patrick Keck. I've been fortunate to have worked with PK myself on several occasions, ranging from releases on my label, illustrations for my own bands, and other types of collaborations. Recently his work was highlighted in Flayed Corpse, a collection of works by Josh Simmons and friends published by Fantagraphics. It's lovely book and should be sought out by anyone who finds "Rated Hard R, Ultra-Depressoid" material to be appealing. More of his work can be found at

2) Nick Forté "Primordial Forms"

I recently acquired this LP thanks to Brian Gempp (of the excellent Record Grouch on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint, Brooklyn) who released it as part of the Required Wreckers series on his Amish label back in 2015. Apparently Forté, interested in the visual appeal of waveforms as they appeared on a computer screen, chose five one-second samples, without hearing them, to create the entirety of the five pieces on this album. After choosing source material based on looks, he built an expansive, surprisingly rhythmically active record using no other sounds and with outdated software. Texturally dense, Primordial Forms delivers maximum results despite being built on an impossibly minimal foundation, embracing limitation to the point of near absurdity to produce something uniquely challenging. I find the approach to be intriguing and I imagine the process was endlessly frustrating but ultimately rewarding. That Forté cut his teeth in seminal New Jersey hardcore act Rorschach is another interesting piece of the story behind this bruiser.

3) Columbo solving insomnia

I suffer from pretty severe insomnia and learning to deal with it has become one of my most constant struggles. Reading or working gets me into a headspace I can't pull out of easily so I try to engage in more passive stimuli. Watching something that really draws me in obviously defeats the purpose, and watching anything too dumb just makes me feel even worse about the whole situation, so I strive for balance. I have found it in old episodes of the detective(not a whodunit, mind you, but a "howcatchem") series Columbo. I find the pacing to be somewhat calming and take some peace from knowing that the most unsettling events occur in the opening sequence. Peter Falk's character makes me want to go murder a tennis instructor just to watch him methodically take me apart. The tone of the show is definitely of its time but unique. The Henry Mancini scores, appearances by greats like Patrick McGoohan(of another favorite of mine, late 60's sci-fi/spy drama The Prisoner), as both suspect and occasional director, and pairings like Falk with John Cassavetes(who would again work together in the crucial A Woman Under the Influence alongside Gena Rowlands..I actually just realized I should be talking about that film here instead. What am I doing?) are all things that help me get through the night. I distinctly remember seeing Columbo all the time as a little kid, my mother being put off by the detective's disheveled nature and supposed absentmindedness but also clearly charmed by him at the same time. You see, that is how he gets his man (or mom). You underestimate him. I suppose she and I had similar tastes.

1) Al Bowlly

There's something magnetic about the music of the late 20s and early 30s, and whenever I'm feeling like I want to drift off I always listen to "Midnight, the Stars and You" by Al Bowlly which was famously featured in The Shining. It brings me back to simplicity, 4 bar phrases, call and answer, antecedent consequent, to and from, like a couple twirling across the dance floor. 

2) Alexander Scriabin

Ever wonder what the Devil playing piano would sound like? 

3) Urfaust

I've had the pleasure of hanging with these guys at Roadburn: they're monster musicians, ghostly composers and powerful on stage. I've gotten lost in this mountainous soundscape.

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