NEW MUSIC FROM CATHODE RAY TUBE AND BRITTNEY SPARSE

Dropping two new EPs today!

EP the first is Null Contact by Cathode Ray Tube. It’s firmly in the IDM lane, filed under “worships at the temple of Booth & Brown.”

EP the second is by my techno alter ego Brittney Sparse. It’s experimental techno if one must narrow it down. Dig in:

As with most of my releases there’s extra stuff for folks who purchase off of Bandcamp. SNACKS has an extra tracks the streaming services do not. So lucky you!

Enjoy!

FAD GADGET/FRANK TOVEY DOCUMENTARY

I first heard Frank TOVEY one late night in 1987 when the video for “Luddite Joe” burst out of my parent’s TV into my brain. I went to New York shortly thereafter and combed my favorite record stores until I found a used copy of his greatest hits album then the album “Snakes and Ladders.” Both blew me away. Slowly I acquired the rest of his discography and each album blew my mind. Even as he went into his folk period I followed and did my best to enjoy and understand it.

A true artist does this to their audience: pushes them out fo their comfort zone, confronts them and asks them to at least acknowledge if not embrace the things they don’t want to. A girlfriend of mine hated his cover of Sam Hall and some other folky tracks despite liking folk music according to her definition of that genre. But he wasn’t covering old folks songs: he was recasting them in a modern guise.

He he died far too young as he was coming back into the public eye. A tragedy for many reasons.

This doc is required viewing if you do or do not know his work. Strap in and turn it on:

NEWS YOU CAN'T USE

Hey! Here’s an update on where ya boy is at and when and what and why:

VAGUEBOOK THE FIRST: Currently I’m working on a really cool project for a fellow musician. It’s amazing to me that not only do people like my artwork but they want me to draw stuff for them. This project will be really cool and I cannot WAIT to reveal it to you. Yeah, it’ll be worth it. Trust me.

VAGUEBOOK THE 2ND: I’m also doing art for the video of an artist I truly admire. I can’t reveal it yet but damn son when it’s done you will be as amazed as I.

BUNNYHEAD: Yeah, I’m still working on it. 10 issues in all. Currently the mini-comic and album I’m doing for Component must be done before I resume work on Issue 4. “Enter The Doom Pit” will be out in early 2020. Given that it will be over a year since issue 3 expect a significant improvement in the artwork. I’ve been sketching up a storm and busting my ass to fully realize this weird tale. I want it to blow your mind. And it will.

MUSIC NEWS: As always I’m making bleeps and bloops and squeaks and squoops. It’s happening in lots of different ways and places. In order:

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BRITTNEY SPARSE: SNACKS EP. The mistress of disaster techno is back with two songs. Well, three if you buy it through my bandcamp because Condition Human gets all the money. And so do I. Expect lots of 909 and bass.

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CATHODE RAY TUBE: NULL CONTACT EP. Yep. 5 songs. Very pumped about this. I’m covering some newer, weirder ground and I want to inflict it all on you. Lots of good stuff up in this bidnatch.

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CATHODE RAY TUBE: DARK ROADS FOR THE YOUNG MAGUS. Very, very, very excited about this new full album! This album will drop in November 2019 on Truth Table out of Sheffield, UK. This is as close to a paean to my heroes Autechre and Cabaret Voltaire and you can get! As with the Null Contact EP there’s a lot of new stuff happening. Part of it is a return to melody and “songs” so to speak. The other is embracing more chaos and weird tunings.

That’s it for now. Keep an eye out for release dates for all of the above.

Be well and be weird!

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ADIOS FACEHUGGER: Or Why I’m Quitting (Almost) All Social Media.

I think I’m done with social media. 

Okay, not all of it. But most of it.

“Why?” is what you’re asking. “You’re so active on it! Look at you with all the Facebooking, the Twittering, the Instagramming, the Tumbling and such!”

You’re right. And it’s slowly killing me. No joke.

WHEN YOU’RE THE PROBLEM YOU GOT A BIG PROBLEM

When my first reaction to dropping all social media was fear and concern that I couldn’t do it then I should’ve known I had a problem. As I’ve had more and more time to hear their experience and how they felt after cutting this particular cord I knew it was something I had to do.

Of course in grand Terhune style, I made a big frigging pronouncement that on August 1st, 2019 I would be deactivating or mothballing my Facebook and Twitter accounts for one month. I said I’d keep my Instagram and Tumblr active, though I might’ve ditched Tumblr, too, at the end of the month.

But it didn’t work out quite like that.

“Why?” you may ask? (As if anyone’s still reading).

Well, I’ll tell you.

PEER PRESSURE


Two friends of mine cut the cords from social media this summer.

They immediately reported feeling great but not after some initial shock and withdrawal (which apparently was significant). My aforementioned terrified reaction to this turned into admiration then concern and jealousy. They could easily disengage, it seemed, while I found the idea as frightening as severing a limb.

When I began to envy those who can seemingly manage if not thrive from their social media presence is when I realized I was really in it deep.


A HISTORY LESSON

Fourteen years ago our family moved to Maine, uprooting from an established network of friends and family. My wife and I threw ourselves into a new business (a yoga studio) and our daughter was in school. We developed friendships and built a loving, vibrant community around our yoga studio. Our sense of professionalism meant maintaining boundaries though we maintained some social contact in meatspace (what the rest of the world calls in real life or IRL in technospeak). It was enough and made up for what we lost when we moved to a new state.

During this time, from 2005 to 2014, social media grew from a few blogs and LiveJournal into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and others. Many of my social media accounts were created in 2008 after I attended the Viable Paradise workshop. There I connected with fellow writers and future friends from all over the world.

In the beginning, these platforms allowed me to keep in touch while friending new people and reconnecting with friends from my hometown, college and other areas of my life. It was fun to grow my friends lists in all those apps. There I got to know the new friends and reconnect with the old ones. At one time I could even distinguish between someone I knew from real life, the internet, high school, my yoga life, my music life and my writing life.

Then as they often do, things got… weird.

Actually I became severely depressed and then I got weird.

Okay, fine. I got weird-er. Ya happy now?

“MY COMPLICATIONS HAD COMPLICATIONS.”

2013-2014 is when social media became problematic for me. Though in some ways it was a lifeline, where I kept in touch with people when I felt isolated. But more often I grew to feel as if I wasn’t validated unless I posted something on social media. 

Or I wondered if I was valued or even alive if I posted something and got a “like.”

It became the place where I lived the most and this wasn’t good for me.

In that time social media grew into something like the facehugger from the movie “Alien.” If you don’t know what that is (what the hell is wrong with you?!) then here’s a litte background for you:

The facehugger is a parasitoid; its only purpose being to make contact with the host's mouth for the implantation process. The Facehugger secures its eight finger-like appendages tightly around the head of its victim and wraps its tail tightly around the host's neck, eliciting a gasping response and allowing the insertion of an ovipositor into the host's esophagus. An embryonic form of the Xenomorph is then implanted directly into the stomach of the host. During the implantation process the host is fed a constant supply of oxygen via two lung like organs. 

Here’s a fun video (WARNING IT CONTAINS SCARY SHIT):

Get the picture?

Social media - mostly Facebook and Twitter to be honest - became a thing attached to me, breathing for me while implanting something foreign into me. But instead of originating as something invasive I basically invited it in, made it some tea, shaved while it drank the tea then allowed it to hop on my face and ride me like a fucking tired, old pony at the carnival.

OUTRAGE FATIGUE

 

As my friend good friend and bold German brother Marko Kloos wrote, it’s all too easy to open up one of these sites and get enthralled in the rage of the day. I don’t know who manages their social media engagement and doesn’t feel this or how they do it. But I realized that I was experiencing something dubbed extreme outrage fatigue. And it made the depths of my depression in the last five years considerably worse than it had to be. Because it’s one thing to be engaged and aware of what’s going on and yet another thing entirely to go from zero to furious in a second. 

I had enough stress and cortisol cocktails back when we owned our business. Real life then dealt me an even greater dollop of it in the last five. I’m better now with the help of therapy, medication, and a new CPAP machine. And as I get better, I realized giving my body a heaping dose of cortisol every time I open Facebook and see something that jolts my nerves and off I go into a tailspin.

And I’m so, so very done feeling this way. I’m fairly sure it’s killing me slowly.


DER PLAN? DIRT PLANT!


Unlike the facehugger from Alien, pulling the plug on social media hasn’t strangled me or causes acidic blood to scar me or eat a hole in three or four decks of a spaceship.

But the withdrawal was a little intense that first day. I’m not gonna lie. 

Because I’m a little addicted to social media.

Which, if you’re unfamiliar with recovery schpiel, means I’m very addicted.

Social media - with its likes, hearts, emojis, RT’s and everything else - is perfect for our little lizard brains. They only want to feel fed, fucked, free and fat - which really means feeling loved, wanted and secure. When we get a little like or emoji on a post it releases endorphins into our brains and we crave more. So much so that I often wish I’d never gotten involved with it and kept my daughter off social media for as long as possible.

It’s not social media’s fault per se, it’s just that I am wired in such a way that it makes addicts of us (my wife can take it or leave it which is both annoying and enviable). 

Now don’t get me wrong: there’s a ton of things I love about social media. I love that it’s connected me with people all over the world, made new friends and reconnected me to old ones. I love that it’s truly helped people in various causes across the globe from the Arab Spring uprising, the RESIST marches in the US and the Hong Kong protests. It can be a tool for positive change in the world but it’s not being used as such because those who run Facebook and Twitter see more profit in running it another way.

Don’t believe me? Then go to Netflix and watch The Big Hack documentary. Then tell me how you don’t care about what Facebook does with your information. Because I guaranteed they know how you think and decide about your purchases and beliefs almost as well as or better than you.


SOCIETY’S A DRAG SO WHY NOT JUST DROP OUT?


“Well, why are you staying on Instagram and Tumblr?” you may ask. “They’re just as bad!”

Okay. I’ll tell you why. It’s simple.

Because they bring me joy.

My Tumblr dash is mostly science fiction themed posts and a few political ones. I go there for concept art, the work of favorite artists, funny gifs and even music (I certainly don’t go there for adult content since they killed that community off the day before my 50th birthday. Great gift, jackasses!). It’s a nice place to unwind as I usually check it out at the end of the day before I go to bed.

My Instagram feed is full of pictures and videos of synthesizers, cute animals, cartoons, comics, fail videos, concept art and almost no politics. I feel better when I go on it, especially when I see pictures of dogs and cats. And Sparky has a pretty dedicated following which I must curate for his majesty. 

Now if I’m being honest with myself I’m still checking the likes for video clips I post of my songs or artwork. That little approval drug, that little pip of endorphins is something I have to deal with. 

And if I’m being even more honest with myself I can safely say social media has done very little to help me sell my books, music or comics. Most of that I’ve done by hand through word of mouth.


DELETE AND REPEAT UNTIL YOU FEEL THE BEAT

 

“Okay, so big deal,” you say. “You’re not dropping out but you’re cutting back. What’s it gonna look like from here on out?” you may ask (as if anyone is still reading this).

For starters my online presence has shrunk noticeably. Initially I planned to deactivate my Facebook account early in August and do the same with Twitter. I started this by deleting the apps from my phone on a Monday.

Then something extraordinary happened.

First the anxiety whacked me over the back of the head and took me for a ride in the back of a smelly old beater. Like for most of the day I was grabbing my phone, going to the apps and experiencing a jolt at not seeing them there. It was like I kept reaching for a door that had been there or a window only to find it replaced with a giant brick wall or gaping empty space. This went along for a good 5-6 hours.

Then the anxiety went away.

The next day was infinitely easier. Without reaching for my phone the way Charles Bukowski reached for a cigarette or glass of whisky first thing in the morning, my day started off much more relaxed. Combined with the benefits of sleeping with a CPAP machine and POW! I was up earlier and easier in the morning as I went off to walk the dog then head into work. In the weeks since I curtailed my social media usage I feel so much better. More relaxed, less anxious and not nearly as out of touch as I thought I might. I check the news feed for a few minutes and listen to the radio but that’s it. Not nearly as much outrage first thing in the morning.

Despite not deleting my Facebook or Twitter accounts completely I haven’t felt much temptation to reinstall them. In fact most days, instead of checking in on both at least a dozen times an hour, I usually check in on Facebook at work late in the morning then once at night at home in my office. 

It shocks me how, after so little time away from it there’s so little there that I wonder how it became such a huge part of my life. The annoyance hits me like a day old haddock in the face the moment I open Facebook and after seeing if I need to reply to anything immediately I just close it and move on.

I have not, obviously, deactivated or deleted either of the monsters for a couple reasons. It’s nice to check in on people individually because the feed is bullshit due to algorithms that show you want Facebook or Twitter wants you to see (I’ve largely abandoned my artist pages because the effort involved in getting them to produce any results is herculean and yields nothing). My Instagram posts to Facebook and other social media so I didn’t need to check it as often. In fact I can’t usually stay on it for more than 5 minutes before getting bored.


YOU NEED US. DON’T YOU? PRETTY PLEASE?

“So how are we going to stay in touch?” you may ask. “What about the people who need to get in touch with you?” (as if anyone is still reading this in the present day).

Honestly? If you want me you know where to find me. If you have my digits then call or text a brother. You can always email me, too.

I use Facebook Messenger regularly, despite knowing every word and image I put there is used to sell beer and cheap shit. My intention is to focus more on my personal site and blog at www.charlesrterhune.com and www.changterhune.com. There I’ll be posting regularly in an effort to hone and maintain my internet presence as much as I can (for we are all still at the mercy of the behemoth that is Google). It’s also a case of having the time to post as I’m working on several project at a time. My website will post to social media as long as those sites are active.

Honestly, if I feel this good weeks after cutting the cord I’m sure it will feel a-frigging-mazing in a couple months or even a year’s time!

So I’ll see you around these parts I hope.

Or maybe even IRL here in meatspace!

- CHARLIE/CHANG/CHIZZLE/CRT

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MECAF 2019 ROUND UP

A man and his robotic creation.

A man and his robotic creation.

So MECAF 2019 went down this past weekend and it was a blast!

I’m sure I‘d have enjoyed it more were I not recovering from whatever cold/flu/plague swept through my household the week before. Nevertheless, I got up, loaded Ol’ Lazarus the Subaru and got my ass there five minutes before opening and setup in record time!

It was good to see new folks and reconnect with others. These seem to be part reunion part showcase. I sold some books and comics and gave away a lot of free stickers and stuff. I wish I could’ve sold more but hey this is the way for the creator of an independent comic.

A few things made it all worthwhile.

The first was a kid of about 13 or so with a bunch of punk rock band patches on his jean jacket. We got to talking, and he told me a tale I’ve heard before which has been told by many: boring small town, nothing to do but draw and make art. I told them that exactly, and it seemed to help. Then they showed me their sketches, and I encouraged them to keep drawing. I love to show them that Here I Am this 50-year-old newbie in the comics game and that they’re doing the work now which will benefit them later.

The second was a younger kid of 10 maybe who came up to the table, flipped through the first issue of Bunnyhead and said, “Oh, I‘ve read this.”

“Oh yeah?” I said. “Where?”

“At my doctor’s office,” he said. And inwardly I cackled with glee.

I put several issues of Bunnyhead in the waiting room of some doctor’s offices around town, knowing that the kids waiting there would pick them up. Sure enough, my man R had done so and here he was! His dad bought him all three issues, and he grabbed a sticker, too. So why do I love this so much? Well, young R. connected with my comic for one. Two my marketing plan worked. And three it‘s always awesome when young kids like my comic. 

The other thing was a great conversation about horror films with a guy where we both told each other about great movies the other needed to see. This was cool because while M was clearly a bigger horror fan with more knowledge than I, they still didn’t know about (A Dark Song, if you‘re curious).

And then talking to all the other creators, fans and artists. Connection, connecting, connections.

One big takeaway is streamlining my table so I can display my wares, promote myself and also make my setup and breakdown so much easier. 

Until then I’m binge watching the Sopranos and trying not to think of the brownies cooling on the counter.

Until then be well!

- CHANG

Gretchen Reiche Terhune 1934 - 2019

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My mother, Gretchen Reiche Terhune, passed away in the evening on Wednesday, April 24th, 2019. Her passage was peaceful and quick. She was a beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and friend to all cats. My mom was 85 which, as my uncle said, is a good long haul for a preemie. She died in the same hospital she was born in which I think she would’ve appreciated. I’m devastated yet also incredibly grateful she’s free from suffering and pain. I believe she‘s ecstatic at being reunited with her parents, younger brother and other family members who‘ve passed on. At this time we’re supporting my father in his grief as we make arrangements for services. I will post more about that later. For now I ask you to hold your loved ones dear in your heart and make peace with those from whom you’re estranged in the here and now. Be well, Mom. I already miss you too much.

INTONA REMORAE NOTES

Waaaaaay back in December Viral Conspiracy release my EP “Intona Remorae". People dug it which is interesting considering VCR (as they;re known) usually releases louder, faster, noisier and angrier stuff than this. Yet there it is. In side you will find lengthy notes on each song. I’ve included these here because, well, I can. So dig in:

INTONA REMORAE

These songs that make up “Intona Remorae” were born from destruction. In early 2018 I suffered catastrophic data loss, losing much of the last 18 years of music. With the past wiped clean but for finished songs I found myself first grieving then freed. With none of the loops, samples, beats or any other bits of sound and noise I usually drew from I was no longer bound to my habits. So I sought to devise a small set of songs within a fairly rigid framework. I do this often, actually, even before the data loss of 2018. And as is often the case when I dove deeper into the tracks, the limitations I imposed began to bind and constrain rather than focus and energize me. Once loosened, new aspects of the tracks emerged, exposed not because of changes in anything external but only internal. My self-imposed rules were few but firm: each track used roughly the same arrangement of an 808 drum machine, an organ simulator, new samples for atmospherics and each track’s length was not to exceed nine minutes. Of course by the end of the EP, Herbivores, shows I threw that rule aside and let the track blossom to its full size.

As far as instrumentation went, I chose some basics as the foundation. A simple 808 kit formed the root fo the percussive elements while a Hammond organ emulator provided much of the melody and threnodic parts. Audio Damage’s Basic was used for bass and much of their effects for reverb, delays and such. Sonic Charge’s SynPlant, with its extensive morphing capabilities, also figures heavily into the tracks. I sought to keep a large amount of space in each track while at the same time have enough occurring at any given moment so that hopefully the listener is engaged while not entirely aware of the amount of time passing. 

The title itself is a nod to the great composer, painter and futurist Luigi Rossolo. While not expressly imitating his methods or concepts, the EP definitely embodies the idea of evolution, moving forward into new sounds and modes of conceptualizing music. The lowly remorae, a suckerfish usually found attached to a larger sea creature, might seem an odd thing to name check in the title. That is until one realizes that remorae means “delay” in Latin, as suckerfish were thought to slow a sailing vessel down. In fact their aerodynamic design allows them to adhere painlessly and easily to their hosts without dragging unless their numbers grow too large. Once considering this, the title becomes “delay sounds” or “delayed tones” which is perfect. 

SOLITARIAN

The simple howl of a lone train whistle across a dark, barren landscape. Morning in a rust belt city, the citizens awakening hungover, hopeless and determined to carry on. The drones remind me of Richard Skelton, the enigmatic artist who leaves instruments out to the elements then records them. While I did that with none of these - it’s all pretty much done “in the box” i.e. the computer - I find a kinship in the wide open space of his compositions. 

POLLEN

I wrote this during the worst pollen attack of my life. My home was covered with a blanket of yellow powder which infrequent rains did little to remove. At one point I had to sequester myself in a room with an air conditioner and wait out the resulting allergy attack. Only a strong rain cut the powdery foe down. This track bears some of the urgency and sluggish movement that I felt. Wanting it to end but being unable to push my body’s ability to fight without prolonging the allergen’s attack on my system. So within the song, the drums are sparse but insistent. The synths murky and elusive or forceful and harsh. Much like sitting in a room on a bright sunny day wishing you could sleep off the pollen bloom.

TROGLODITICA

The screams are those of my daughter from her infancy, run through the magnificent Quanta plugin. Once manipulated they become unnerving and unholy, like ghosts hovering up high in the cathedral of the mind. The frenetic ice of an arpeggiated organ against the lagomorphic swirl of the bass synth and the heavily processed stabs creates an atmosphere of liturgic reverence, a large space wherein piety and control collide. The word Troglodyte refers to everything from a species of cave-dweller (the name literally translates as “cave goer”) to an ancient seaport in Egypt. Here the title refers to ancient ways of being and the need to rise beyond them, breaking the chains of dogma, forcing the dead hand of habit and going beyond.


HERBIVORES


The track evolves slowly like a lifeforms, sounds collapsing and reforming like the waves of a primordial ocean beating against a shoreline of newly formed volcanic rock. Over time the rhythms coalesce into a shambling, loping unity under the undying rhythm of the universe as portrayed here by the ever present 808. Imagine ancient primates come down from the trees to stare up at the night time heavens, their minds at the cusp of sentience as they struggle to comprehend the vastness laid out before them. While many cowered in fear at this display of dark and lonely astronomical power, perhaps a few maintained their gaze and push consciousness forward a few inches each time they did so. Evolution is a slow, persistent process where life finds a way no matter what.