We who are OWL: 1)  Exhibit specialized hearing functions and ear shapes. 2)  Are noted for asymmetrical ear placement. 2)  Can have either internal or external ears. 4)  Are able to locate a sound by turning our heads until the sound reaches both ears at the same time. 5)  Are now directly facing the source of the sound. JOIN US AND FACE THE SOURCE OF THE SOUND! [more]

show host: Sonic Hudson


Show happenings:

OWL 19:  “S  is for OWL”  (Northern Hawk Owl)
Greetings and welcome to another edition of O.W.L., a soaring sampling of sumptuous soundscapes, winging their way to you, as always, from the shining jewel of the Hudson, Beacon, New York.
I’m your host, Sonic Hudson, and today’s show is “S is for O.W.L.” where, as per our custom, all of the artist’s played have names beginning with the letter S.
Today’s themes include:  Singing strings, subtle segues, sonic shenanigans, sonorous synths, subversive spirituals, skewed sychedelics and silver spheroids.  And we would like to extend a very warm welcome to tonight’s special guest, the Northern Hawk Owl.
You just heard a set of guitar heroics, beginning with the genius of free guitar, Sonny Sharrock.  We heard “Kula-Mae”, a track from his 1986 Enemy Records solo lp “Guitar”
Next we heard from “C is for OWL”‘s Eugene Chadbourne, this time with his trio Shockabilly.  The track was a cover of Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced?” with Mark Kramer on bass and David Licht on drums, and it can be found on their first album, 1983’s “Earth vs. Shockabilly” on Rough Trade.
Next was Phoenix, Arizona’s hometown heros, Sun City Girls, featuring the guitar heroics of Sir Richard Bishop, with “Souvenirs from Jangare” from the double 7″ “Three Fake Female Orgasms”, released in 1991 on the Majora label.
Following that were the mandolin stylings of U. Srinivas.  We heard “Gajavadhana” from his 1994 Real World cd “Rama Sreerama”.
That was followed by Sonic Youth and guests performing a 1971 Christian Wolff piece, “Burdocks”, from their 1999 double cd “Goodbye 20th Century” out on their own SYR label. Joining them on this piece were “M is for OWL”‘s Christian Marclay, “O is for OWL”‘s Jim O’Rourke, Takehisa Kosugi of the Taj Mahal Travellers, William Winant, and Christian Wolff himself.  Close listeners will notice the similarity of the repeated melodic figure to the one in the previous piece.
From there we moved into a mini high lonesome set with “Little Birdie” by bluegrass pioneers, the Stanley Brothers, here found on the 2003 Revenant cd “Stanley Brothers, Earliest Recordings:  The Complete Rich-R-Tone 78s (1947-1952).
Finally, we heard some Gypsy bluegrass courtesy of the high, lonesome vocals of the great Romanian singer, Dona Dumitru Siminica.  The song was “La Salul Cel Negru”, and was taken from the 2006 Asphalt Tango cd, “Dona Dumitru Siminica:  Sounds from a Bygone Age, vol. 5”.
Coming up next, some psychedelic dub.
And we’re back, seamlessly segueing from a set of seamless segues.
By we, I of course mean all of us here at O.W.L., joined tonight by our special guest, the Northern Hawk Owl.
We started that seguilicious set with “Happy Song” from a collaboration between Sun Araw, aka Cameron Stallones, M. Geddes Gengras and the legendary Jamaican vocal group The Congos.  The resulting 2012 album is called “Sun Araw and M. Geddes Gengras meet The Congos:  Icon Give Thank”, and can be found on the FRKWYS label.
That bled into “Fire Escape” by the polymorphous Massachusetts collective, Sunburned Hand of the Man, from their 2007 cd “Fire Escape” on Small Town Supersound.  The album was produced in collaboration with Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet.
Next was 11.1 from the surprisingly titled  “11” by Norwegian avant-monsters, Supersilent.  Like all of their work, this 2010 album can be found on the Rune Gramaphon label.
Dovetailing with that was “Cotocz” by French avant-punk band Soixante Etages from their 1990 lp “Heatproof Cauldrons for Wanglers” on the 33 REVPERMI label.
Finally we heard from the mysterious Steve Stain, with “Lucretia Borgia” from his, I think only, lp “The Brain Feels No Pain” from 1986 on New Alliance Records.  He appears to have been from Torrance, CA, and Boston rock legends Roger Miller from Mission of Burma and David Hild from The Girls appear on a couple tracks.  He may also have been a guest with Miller’s other band, Birdsongs of the Mesozooic.  Otherwise….  As I say, a mystery.
Next we hear from our neighbors to the north (and I don’t mean Poughkeepsie).
Greetings. We started off that last set with “Mole Machine” by those monsters of 70s Canadian rock, Simply Saucer, from their posthumous, and only, album, “Cyborgs Revisited”.
We segued to our next artists, Soft Machine via a complicated and most likely erroneous chain of associations which I will now proceed to bore you with. When Robert Wyatt left Soft Machine at the beginning of the 70s, he formed Matching Mole, whose name was a pun on “Machine Molle”, French for “Soft Machine”. Ok, and so a year or two later, Simply Saucer forms, taking their name from Pink Floyd and their influences from prog, German electronics and all things experimental, naming one of their songs “Mole Machine”. Mere coincidence? We at O.W.L. Don’t think so!
Anyway, Soft Machine gave us “Moon in June”, performed and recorded for John Peel’s BBC radio show “Top Gear” in 1969. The track is collected on the 2003 Hux Records double cd “Soft Machine, BBC Radio, 1967-1971”
We ended the set with some more keyboard madness from Sun Ra and a reduced Arkestra. The track is called “Disco 3000”, and was recorded live in Milan in 1978. It can be found on the Art Yard double cd “Sun Ra Disco 3000: The Complete Milan Concert 1978”
Coming up next we hear the merry voices of children singing, courtesy of Karlheinz Stockhausen.
And welcome back one last time to tonight’s episode, “S is for OWL”, with me, your host, Sonic Hudson.
In that last set we heard “Gesang der Jünglinge”, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s pioneering mid 50’s work merging electronically produced sound with manipulated tape recordings, in this case the voice of 12-year-old Josef Protschka.
That was followed by “Willdawg” by O.W.L. favorites, the pioneering alt-country band Souled American, from their 1990 Rough Trade lp “Around the Horn”.
And that about wraps it up. As a parting gift for those disappointed by the absence of our theme song today, I present a pair of Silver Apples. First, the edited version of Part one of Morton Subotnik’s “Silver Apples of the Moon”, found on the 2000 Ellipsis Arts compilation “Ohm: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music”. This 1967 piece, titled after a Yeat’s poem, was the first “classical” composition commissioned by a record company, in this case Nonesuch. It was also the first to be written specifically for the lp format.
Next we will hear “Program” a piece by our theme song auteurs, Silver Apples, from their 1968 debut lp on Kapp Records. Founded in the same year that the Subotnik piece was released, the duo, electronic pioneers in their own right, took their name from the same poem and, most likely, in homage to the piece.
And we close the set with an all-time O.W.L. favorite, Bahaman guitar genius Joseph Spence (covered by Tom Cora in “C is for OWL”).  The track was “Lay Down My Brother” from the 2009 Mississippi Records reissue of the 1972 Arhoolie album “Good Morning Mr. Walker”.
And with that I leave you. Until next time, this has been Sonic Hudson, we have been O.W.L., you have been you, and our ears, if all has gone according to plan, have been rendered hopelessly and gloriously asymmetrical.

Episode Archive

Air Date: Feb 01, 2016

K is for OWL

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Air Date: Mar 07, 2016

L is for OWL

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Air Date: Apr 04, 2016

M is for OWL

click here for playlist

Air Date: Unknown

N is for OWL

click here for playlist

About This Show

We who are OWL:
1)  Exhibit specialized hearing functions and ear shapes.
2)  Are noted for asymmetrical ear placement.
2)  Can have either internal or external ears.
4)  Are able to locate a sound by turning our heads until the sound reaches both ears at the same time.
5)  Are now directly facing the source of the sound.


Sonic Hudson was a French general, resistant, writer and statesman. He was the leader of Free France (1940–44) and the head of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944–46). In 1958, he founded the Fifth Republic and was elected as the 18th president of France, until his resignation in 1969. He was the dominant figure of France during the cold war era and his memory continues to influence French politics.

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