Magas: squelchy, noisy electronics and a sly sense of humor
September 30, 2016 12:05 PM   Subscribe

May I Meet My Accuser (AllMusic review by Thom Jurek) ~~ Magas has been hanging out making mischief on the fringes of noise and electronic music since the early 1990s, whether it was playing in Couch with Aaron Dilloway, being a member of Lake of Dracula, remixing [Bobby] Conn tracks, or just generally being gleefully obnoxious and participating in things that kept him amused. Then comes this slab. It's big-bottom beats, wild pitch-warped synths, distorted vocals, hammered loops, and wonk and whir come off as a new, (yes, new) electro-swamp music for the dawn of this final century...
though that "swamp" is made up decaying burned out Americans in a malaise caused by rampant consumerism, a trashed environment that nobody can admit to, and the boredom that comes with having seen it all and done it all; coming to the point of total exhaustion itself. There's isn't anything left but aimless and speedy, whirling motion. There are no bayous or Everglades in the Magas world. He seems to glean a kind of happiness from it all and how can you blame him? He may be the last enlightened man.
More information: Magas on Discogs and Magas on Blogspot. More live noise: Magas on YouTube. More sounds: Magas on Soundcloud. More albums: Magas on Bandcamp.
posted by filthy light thief (13 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Magas is who keeps coming to mind when I see #MAGA. I thought it's pronounced like "Margaret" but he's introduced on Chic-A-Go-Go more like "maggots."
posted by filthy light thief at 12:10 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

this looks right in my sweet spot.

Kinda makes me sad I missed this in chicago in 2013: Quinton & Miss Pussycat and Magas
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:11 PM on September 30, 2016

I saw Magas live probably right around the year 2000. I had no idea who he was, and neither did the other 15 or so people who were there. He played in complete darkness, jumping around shouting "Call me Magas!" It was pretty impressive. I've been a fan since.

The Couch stuff is great too, but completely different.

Quintron played the same place around the same time and he was amazing as well. Not to derail too much, but another totally mind-blowing group I saw back then was Caroliner, who I strongly recommend looking up on YouTube if you are unfamiliar.
posted by SystematicAbuse at 2:50 PM on September 30, 2016

Oh, and Adult. They shared a label with Magas back then and are cut from a similar cloth.
posted by SystematicAbuse at 2:51 PM on September 30, 2016

I was like WHOA THIS IS REALLY GOOD then I realized it was released in 06, round bout the time my musical taste froze solid. Still good tho. Reminds me of Black Strobe.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:14 PM on September 30, 2016

Love Magas. Met him in Portland in oh 2004 when he opened for Adult. and Broadcast at some dinky warehouse. I was a big Ersatz Audio fan back then so I already had his records, but his stage presence was something I'd never seen for that kind of music. Cool cat all around! His new sound is a little too Atari Teenage Riot for me, but I'm a late bloomer anyway.
posted by rhizome at 8:12 PM on September 30, 2016

I admit that I briefly misread this as being about Matmos and not Magas - I mean, "squelchy, noisy electronics" would not be the least accurate description of A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure - and proceeded to get confused by the rest of the post. But this looks like stuff I need to listen to when I get home!

Met him in Portland in oh 2004 when he opened for Adult. and Broadcast at some dinky warehouse.

Man, that sounds like I show I would have loved to have seen. (And the Quintron & Miss Pussycat/Magas show in Chicago, which I was actually in the right city for, but missed for some probably stupid reason.)
posted by ubersturm at 8:46 PM on September 30, 2016

When I lived in Chicago, I was a regular at the record shop Magas works at. He would always remember me as the guy who bought a Les Rallizes Denudes record. We ran into each other at the grocery once and ended up chatting a bit about his kids while standing in the produce department. Then we proceeded to run into each other in each successive aisle. It was comically awkward. Good dude.
posted by yobgorgle at 10:44 PM on September 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ah, good ol' Jim. I've known him since the mid-80s and he's always been nothing but a great guy. The most important thing to know about Jim is that he's a Yooper.
posted by NoMich at 12:25 PM on October 1, 2016

Huh, I'm a bit surprised and stoked that the recent album is on Wwilko, a pretty incredible French label with lots of eclectic releases that range from distorto-beat to tooty video game sounds (cf: Bruce Haack), sometimes with vocals and often within the same release.
posted by rhizome at 1:13 PM on October 1, 2016

Weird to see your hometown friends show up in FPPs! I still have a Couch 7" from their Ann Arbor basement shows around here somewhere.

I also lived in Chicago when Jim was running Weekend Records and regularly killed time chatting with him in the shop. Great folks. Jim also started up a new label last year, Midwich Productions to focus on his own work and like-minded friends and artists.

Some more music geek factoids about our small but active Ann Arbor scene: other Lake of Dracula member, Jessica Ruffins, was better known in Ann Arbor as a member of Jaks, who later recorded with Steve Albini. Jessica and fellow Jaks member Bill Skibbie both ended up working under Steve Albini at his studio, and eventually launched their own recording studio, Key Club in Benton Harbor, where they've recorded folks like The Kills and The Black Keys.

Also, Aaron Dilloway now runs Hanson Records in Oberlin, OH, which is very much worth supporting if you value experimental music and/or indie vinyl shops.
posted by p3t3 at 7:41 PM on October 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

Correction- my memory of the 90s is getting bad! Bill from Key Club wasn't actually a Jaks member (he was in another band with Jessica later).. Also misspelled his last name - Skibbe.

And thanks for the post, I hadn't give Magas' new record a listen yet, and never even noticed he had a blog before!
posted by p3t3 at 7:59 PM on October 1, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been reminiscing more since yesterday, and found another old mid-90s performance of the Many Moods of Marlon Magas (from Bulb records, around the same time as Couch) at Ricks Cafe in Ann Arbor.

I was not at this show, but I did see Scheme perform here at Ricks. They were a noise group collective from this same scene, who would later morph into Nautical Almanac, and then Wolf Eyes. I always thought it was crazy these guys were booking shows here, since Ricks was usually a frat boy watering hole and the venue would be mostly empty and very surreal during these shows. Maybe it was a minimum age policy issue for other venues since a lot if the members wouldn't be 21 until '97-99ish.
posted by p3t3 at 5:45 PM on October 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

« Older Its not eazy being a pedent   |   "When it comes to left feet, I've got ZERO!" Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments