A vital catalyst and nurturing force in Ithaca, Bubba Crumrine’s own solo work is as much a longstanding local force as he is. Recordings dating from as far back as 2007 feature his signature experimentation with washboard, voice, and drone. Bubba’s newest output is perhaps his most stunning yet, merging the usual sonic investigations more completely with a vulnerable and beautiful emotional core. It is a defining and captivating body of work with a flow all its own, and features incredible production work, giving it the presence it deserves.
Ithaca’s premier experimental music event Naked Noise returns, with this annual large ensemble of improvised ritual drone featuring Sarah Hennies, Michael Stark, Josh Oxford, Heather Fae, Beau Mahadev, Chris Knight, members of The Kraken Quartet, Ithaca New Music Collective, Tender Cruncher, BRIAN!, No-Comply, otodojo, MONKI, Lady D & The Shadow Spirits, Monolith, and What Nerve. Visuals once again from the amazing Nils Hoover and team. Tickets & information available here.
Jason Kahn’s performances explore the physical and spiritual limits of breath, stretching the
voice to its breaking point. The disintegration of each vocal gesture leads to the next, creating a
structure where what remains with each evacuating breath creates a context for the entire piece. In partnership with Queer Sound Ithaca.
I recently caught up with Monki, the notorious noise artist, in anticipation of his upcoming performance at Big Day In, which takes place this Saturday at the Haunt. Upon sitting down with Monki, I became aware that he is actually incapable of communication. Thankfully fellow No Aliens member, Mad Brain, was present and willing to discuss: Monki, No Aliens, & their unique backstory.
Evan: Hey Mad Brain, could you explain how Monki came to be?
Mad Brain: Monki was actually once a wild monkey, abducted by scientist in order to test a new Gerber Baby Bath & Skin product. Unfortunately, due to lack of care his face was badly disfigured. Later, an uprising took place in the animal containment, which led to a fight between animals and humans. During this fight a device in the lab was activated, which coded Monki’s brain with a human scientist. After this, the animals escaped leaving Monki free to roam, fated to never find his past.
Evan: Why does Monki feel the need to create music?
Mad Brain: In his case, the music is a search to call on something that can’t be particularly seen. It’s primal, every noise and sound you hear in his music expresses his story. Even though his [Monki] level of intelligence is considered genius, he is still unable to communicate.
Evan: No Aliens, what exactly is it and can you tell me about the other group members?
Mad Brain: No Aliens is a three person collective comprised of Computer, Monki, and myself [Mad Brain]. Monki created Computer, similarly cursed with a high level of self-awareness, he is better able to cope due to his ability to communicate. Computer is also responsible for all production for No Aliens, his music specializes in trance & ambient loops. His inspiration includes Brian Eno, Miles Davis, and Soulja Boy.
Evan: I [Mad Brain] am the voice behind No Aliens; I’m responsible for the lyrics and expressions where Monki fails. Typically, when you hear rapping in our [No Aliens] music, that’s me. I was once a scientist, whose mind was fused with Monki, leading to a constant struggle for control of this body.
Evan: Has Ithaca Underground helped you find a sense of community?
Monki: For the time being, I suppose so, but the point of No Aliens is to never have one home.
Ithaca Underground is proud to present our 12th annual Big Day In. Featured artists on the Main Stage include: B. Dolan, Guerilla Toss, Japanese Breakfast, LVL UP, Eskimeaux, Sharpless, Izzy True, Sammus, Alter, Mr. McBean, Imperials, First Pet, Spazzare, & the Horses. Featured artists on the Deck Stage include: Benjaminto, Shull (formerly _____), Tender Cruncher, otodojo, KNEW, MONKI, Flocarious, Motorcyclez, Eternal Savages, & LC Jones. The show takes place this Saturday, from 12pm to 11:59pm, at the Haunt.
I caught up with Mr. McBean recently in anticipation of his first headlining show taking place tonight at the Chanticleer Loft. Mr. McBean is a rapper, self-proclaimed mind blower and co-founder of Smacked Records, an Ithaca based hip-hop collective.
Evan: So Mr. McBean, how does it feel to be headlining your first show?
Mr. McBean: Could you write that I’m requesting Tyler to answer all my questions? (laughs) It makes me feel like this is only the beginning.
Evan: In what ways do you believe Ithaca’s hip-hop scene has developed over the past couple of years?
Mr. McBean: I want to say that Smacked Records has come a long way this year. I also think the community has come together and become much more accepting of hip-hop because of organizations such as IU (Ithaca Underground).
Evan: What effects do you believe Ithaca Underground has had on the Hip Hop scene here in Ithaca?
Mr. McBean: I think it’s opened doors for us. IU has helped to create a-lot of opportunities for hip-hop based artists in this community to perform in new venues.
Evan: In what ways do you think being raised in Ithaca has affected the narrative in your music?
Mr. McBean: I don’t know, I’m just a product of my environment, I guess… I’m trying to make my environment a product of me.
Evan: What exactly is Smacked Records and how did it come to be?
Mr. McBean: Dude, Smacked Records is history in the making.
It’s a long story if anyone cares to know I would like for that story to unfold for him or her over time.
Evan: Anything releasing from Smacked Records that we should be on the look out for in the near future?
Mr. McBean: Organic Material, man I’m dropping an album, that’s the name of it by the way. (Lil) Fe’s dropping a mixtape, Series of Me. Vol 2, Infamous has a mixtape, Infamy, Lunagram is dropping an album, 2am @ Denny’s, and we have the Bobby Womack video coming soon from Eyukaliptus…
Ithaca Underground and Helen Stride present: Mr. McBean, Uncommon Nasa, Carl Kavorkian, & Asante. The show takes place tonight at The Chanticleer Loft, doors open at 7 p.m.
Our most unique event of the year, Naked Noise is this Saturday! 20 performers (now including Hank Roberts!), form our annual large ensemble for a transcendental sound & visual experience, through two 45 minute sets of improvised ritual drone coupled with visual installation overhead. All for just $5 at CSMA.
Unlike any event in the northeast, performers set up in a ring against the walls of the auditorium with the percussionists in the center, and the audience is encouraged to wander around the ring in-between.
This year’s performers: Jake Burchard (Drumset/Percussion), Jason Calhoun (Keyboard, Radios, Tape Loops), Kristina Camille (Voice), Ethan Cohen (Guitar), Jon Eckhaus (Synth, No-Input Mixing, Turntable, Erhu, Kalimba), Heather Fae (Voice), Matt Gordon, Mario Gutierrez (Drumset), Sarah Hennies (Percussion, Electronics), Nils Hoover (Visuals/installation), Reed Jones (Visuals/installation) Michael Kuhn (Drumset), Owen Lennon (Monotribe), Beau Mahadev (Synth), Keir Neuringer (Reeds, Tapes), Chris Ploss (Synth), Alex Reed (Autoharp), David Resig (Bassoon), Hank Roberts (Cello) Jon Samuels (Synth), James Spitznagel (Synth), Kayla Sewell (Cello).
Naked Noise is one of IU’s major, annual events, supported by grants from the Tompkins Count Tourism Board, Community Arts Partnership, and Community Foundation of Tompkins County.