Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

January 1, 2013

Michael Barrett & Mike Griffin, “Birtual Seme-Alabak” (KSE #237), new cdr album now available…Belltonesuicide meets Parashi, and the listener wins!

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 4:07 pm

Michael Barrett & Mike Griffin, “Birtual Seme-Alabak”

KSE #237, cdr

$8 US/$10 outside US, via paypal to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com

michael barrett, mike griffin

Mike Barrett (aka Belltonesuicide) of Western Massachusetts recorded a blistering, unforgettable 3″ cdr for KSE in 2011, called “Non-Conformist” while Mike Griffin (aka Parashi) of Albany, New York, recorded a much-acclaimed drone-psych-noise 3″ cdr for KSE in 2011 called “Zone of Alienation”…..Mike B attended a poetry-and-electronics performance I did with Mike G in Albany at the Upstate Arts Guild in May 2011, and the two met, traded cdr’s/cassettes they’d released, and vowed to work together some day when they had the opportunity. That happened in late 2011…one hungover Saturday morning after late-night shows on Friday, they got down to work, burned the cobwebs out of their brains, and things started to click…later they were joined by bassist Brett Renaud, and BIRTUAL SEME-ALABAK was the result, a varied collection of dense yet spacious analog electronic spin-art jams.

A BELLTONESUICIDE/PARASHI joint album is an exciting event. It’s the noise-drone equivalent of the old duo-blowouts in jazz (such as The Chase with Wardell Gray and Dexter Gordon), where two saxophone or trumpet  power-hitters were paired and alternated doing battle with each other and engaging in a fascinating dance. Barrett tends to be the more skronk/scorched-earth player of the two, while Griffin tends to be more textural and lyrical, but once things get pumping here, all bets are off, and only tech-savvy listeners who know what equipment each is using (and I’m not talking on that subject) will know who is doing what. The two become one, and then supported by Brett’s bass, it becomes a multi-dimensional electronic gumbo that can be grating, beautiful, funny, fascinating, over-the-top, haunting, or all of the above…most often all of the above. Each piece is a multi-textured slab of alien life, sliced open for inspection and then distored via funhouse mirrors, with fascinating tinges of what sounds like trombones or throat clearing or churchbells or woodpeckers or fleabag-hotel radiators or variable-speed blenders or miles-away traffic noise coming from behind the veil. It’s impossible not to be pulled into this world and to put down whatever you are doing.

Mike Barrett, who’s done a lot of work under the Belltonesuicide moniker, besides being a musician, is a visual artist and radio broadcaster and has run the excellent Gilded Throne label since 2003. He’s performed on the same bill with Jason Lescaleet, Ruins, dev/null, Thurston Moore, Sunburned Hand of The Man, Egg Eggs, Cruudeuces, etc. He’s also worked with members of Radioactive Prostitute, Fossils, Noise Nomads, Hora Flora, Diagram A, Marax, Noise Nomads, Abortus Fever, etc. And he has hosted/curated many house shows at his “Puppy Mill” and elsewhere. He’s an important part of the Western Massachusetts scene, and I have made a point to hear whatever he’s done and whatever he’s released on Gilded Throne. Proud to have Mike as part of our KSE family.

Mike Griffin, better known by his “Parashi” moniker, and also half of Urkas along with Russ Aldertone (whose Desert Shapes cassette was on KSE’s best of 2012 list), is one of the most acclaimed independent artists in the contemporary drone/noise scene, having recorded for Stunned, Tape Drift, 905 Tapes and KSE, and with upcoming releases on Tranquility Tapes and House of Alchemy. Working out of Albany, NY (a town with an active and rich arts scene), Mike has performed all over the Northeast. Parenting keeps him from touring more widely, but a week doesn’t go by that I don’t read a review from some farflung place of a Parashi album, and his work is widely appreciated by his fellow electronic musicians that I communicate with. I had the privilege of doing two poetry-and-electronic music performances with Mike/Parashi in May 2011 in New York State, and his sensitivity and his intuition as a performance-partner was clear to me (and much appreciated!) as we rehearsed, and the finished performances (which may well see release some day…we’ll see) were haunting and beautiful (well, his half…I was me, whatever that may be). Parashi is among the most-played artists in my home and at work (where I have a cassette deck, which helps as most of his releases are on cassette). Perhaps because of his roots in punk (with The Wobblies), there’s also a sense of super-structure to his pieces, as if they are still somehow connected by a thin silvery thread to the song-form….almost…

When these two get together, it’s incredible. Belltonesuicide meets Parashi, and the listener is the winner. $8 postpaid in the US and $10 postpaid elsewhere, via paypal, to django5722(at)yahoo(dot)com 

And while you are ordering BIRTUAL SEME-ALABAK, why not pick up some of KSE’s other excellent cdr releases of experimental music:

($8 each, ppd…$2 extra for postage outside US if ordering only one CDR):

KSE #239 (CDR), FOSSILS, “Bells and Gulls”

KSE #235 (CDR), BOOK OF SHADOWS, “Chimaera”

KSE #228 (CDR), UNMOOR, “Night Driver”

KSE # 210 (CDR), HEATHER LEIGH, “Empire”

KSE #226 (CDR), DEREK ROGERS, “Born Into Systems”

KSE #247 (CDR), MARCUS RUBIO & BILL SHUTE, “Only The Imprint Of An Echo Remains” (poetry and electronic music album, recorded in San Antonio, TX)

KSE #207 (CDR), ALFRED 23 HARTH & CARL STONE, “Gift Fig”


KSE #222 (CDR), MASSIMO MAGEE, “Sopranino Solo, “ cover art by MP Landis.

KSE #220 (CDR),  MATT KREFTING, “Sweet Days of Discipline”

KSE #223 (CDR), ALISTAIR CROSBIE, “A Campfire In The Snow”

KSE #214 (CDR), SABRINA SIEGEL,”Bottlecaps” 

As always, thank you for your support of KSE and your support of all independent artists who do not choose to play by the rules of the so-called “alternative” arts world…which, alas, is not really very alternative to the way things have worked in the past…meet the new boss, same as the old boss…



KSE # 185 , out-of-print


KSE #186  , out of print (but to be reissued as a full-sized CDR in a few months)

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