Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mandrake Roots Rock

Reading the new history of the 13th Floor Elevators I came across this passage documenting Roky's initial slide into madness:

Tommy (Hall) used Asthmador as part of Roky's draft avoidance regimen. This was an asthma relief preparation that contained the active ingredient Atropine, a psychoactive compound present in both mandrake root and belladonna.

A few sentences later:

Atropine is the same substance present in Mandrax (from the mandrake root) which was heavily abused by Pink Floyd's madcap leader Syd Barrett and has often been attributed to the final crack in his sanity.

Wikipedia provides this interes
ting mandrake root factoid:

It was a common belief in some countries that a mandrake would grow where the semen of a hanged man dripped on to the earth.

Lacking that option, I did some web searching and found that you can buy mandrake seeds and make your own witches brew.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Doctor Nerve
BONE (Didkovsky / Hopper / Roulat)

Saturday Night, February, 16th 8:00pm

Orion Studios plays host to Doctor Nerve and BONE, two of avant-
rock's most extraordinary rock ensembles. Help us celebrate a show
that will offer a night of truly incredible progressive music from
two groups whose members helped pioneer this genre!


Up first, BONE, a rock trio made up of Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine),
Nick Didkovsky (Doctor Nerve, Fred Frith Guitar Quartet) and John
Roulat (Forever Einstein). With their landmark CD “Uses Wrist
Grab” (Cuneiform Records) BONE re-established and expanded the
boundaries of the guitar based rock trio. Bone has only performed
live once, so this is a very special occasion you must not miss. One
reviewer from last year's premiere performance at The Stone (NYC)
summed up the performance with a simple “OMG!”

This night is even more special since Hugh Hopper is coming directly
from London to play his first performance in the Maryland / Baltimore

Hugh Hopper is a British bass player, studio/electronic musician,
songwriter, composer, and improviser, Hugh is one of the most active,
influential and respected figures on today’s international jazz-rock
scene. In a career lasting over 40 years, beginning in the early
1960s and continuing today, Hopper has played and recorded with
countless jazz, rock, and jazz/rock musicians around the globe,
including every musician of the British Canterbury scene, and amassed
a huge body of recorded work. Hopper was a central figure in the
genesis of Canterbury School music,Britain’s most distinctive
contribution to progressive jazz/rock, and he composed some its most
memorable tunes; historian Aymeric Leroy, a Canterbury specialist,
regards Hopper to be THE personification of the Canterbury school.
Hopper also introduced some of the most avant-garde techniques into
jazz/rock, attaching fuzz boxes to his bass and experimenting with
tapes, soundscapes and electronic manipulations of sound. Indeed,
Hopper is one of the world’s most distinctive and influential bass
players in any genre: his signature fuzz bass sound, developed in the
late sixties as a member of Soft Machine, had profound impact on
psychedelic music, European jazz/rock and even ‘zeuhl’ (Magma) music
of the day, and continues to resonate among young jazz/rock players

Next up is Doctor Nerve with guest Ben Herrington (Meridian Arts
Ensemble). Doctor Nerve has been shredding the boundaries between
rock music, heavy metal, systematic improvisation, and avant-
contemporary music for over 20 years. Armed with new tunes (!) and an
expanded horn section featuring Ben Herrington of the Meridian Arts
Ensemble on trombone, Nerve performs for the first time in Baltimore
in what is sure to be a mind bending and screamingly intense musical

This is a rare opportunity to see a night of music that will, if
not change your life, most certainly leave a dent in it. Miss even a
second of this and suffer the scorn of your peers forever. Survive it
all and tell your grandchildren you were there.

Doctor Nerve

"A startling collision of post-metal guitar, avant-garde
improvisation, and tight, large-ensemble arrangements." Guitar Player
"Some of the most cogently raucous ideas on the current scene,
postminimal, neomaximal, and full of energy" Kyle Gann, Village Voice
"A blissful test of musical severity" Carl Howard, Artitude
"Will scare the hell out of you!" Drummer Dude

Leo Ciesa - drums, oaken splinters
Nick Didkovsky - loud guitar, conduction
Yves Duboin - soprano sax and marginally painful squeals
Rob Henke - trumpet and high frequencies
Ben Herrington - trombone, punk bell
Jesse Krakow - electric bass, metrical gyrations
Michael Lytle - marginally sensitive bass clarinet, scientific
Kathleen Supove - piano, vinyl, mona lisa


“This fabulous all-star progressive power trio features Nick
Didkovsky (from Doctor Nerve) on lead guitar, Hugh Hopper (Canterbury
fuzz-bass legend for Soft Machine & Isotope, etc.) and John Roulat
(Forever Einstein) on drums & percussion. ...wicked slide
guitar...great, bent, hard rockin' nastiness... screaming, demon
guitars ... thick, throbbing
bass ... great tribal drums and percussion. Charming in a twisted
sort of way" - Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

"The madness herein is very catching. Assault with a friendly
- Ken Egbert, WHAT'S RATTLIN'

“The music ranges from take-no-prisoners-and-give-no
intensity to deep floating psychedelia. Intense, precise, surreal:
Bone is a power trio that defies expectations!” AMG


COVER: $15
All Ages Show - BYOB - Chairs and Coolers welcome

Doctor Nerve and Bone CD's are available at
and the
iTunes Music Store

Doctor Nerve and Bone merchandise (jerseys, t-shirts, thongs)
available at

Driving Directions:
I95 to exit 50A, Caton Ave South. Take Caton Ave south to the third
traffic signal and turn left onto Washington Blvd. Take Washington
Blvd. about 1/4 mile until you see a big "U-Haul" sign, on your
right. Turn just before the sign onto Inverness Ave. Take Inverness
to its end and turn left onto Whittington Ave. Take Whittington to
its end and turn right, into our lot. Enter through door "B" in the
building on your right as you enter the lot.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tag Your Country's Photos

The Library of Congress recently loaded hundreds of photos onto Flickr as an experiment. The idea is to expose the photos to more people and allow people to assign tags to each photo. I think this is a really cool idea because it 1) opens up the incredible collection of LOC photos that have been sorta collecting dust on their clunky site and 2) leverages the power of the internet in allowing viewers to assign tags ("metadata" in the lexicon of librarians).

Monday, January 14, 2008

thoughts on Jeremy Blake

I've been thinking a lot about Jeremy Blake ever since I saw the Wild Choir show at the Corcoran in December. If you haven't been, you should go. Blake was really onto something with his combination of still media and video (he edited every frame of his 9-12 minute videos in Photoshop). And I'm partial to his themes: sixties Swinging London decadence, punk impresario Malcolm McLaren, the poetry of David Berman (who will be reading at the Corcoran in February)....and there's the heavy back-story too, with his slide into paranoia and death. But I think people should be remembered for the beautiful stuff they create, not for their messy lives. So check out Jeremy Blake- some of his videos are on the web (as well as Theresa Duncan's The History of Glamour) but you really need to experience his stuff on a big wall in a dark room.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

show this Saturday

show this Saturday
Originally uploaded by BarrettJ
come feel the heat

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Theresa Duncan posts again

set to publish automatically on New Year's eve, a post from the late Theresa Duncan