Monday, March 28, 2011

Alvarius B. discovery

Y'know, I never bothered to try to figure out the joke behind Sun City Girls/ Brothers Unconnected/ Sublime Frequencies guy Alan Bishop's alternate name, Alvarius B.? I mean, so many musicians have given themselves goofy names that meant absolutely nothing that one wouldn't necessarily think that Alvarius B. had to mean anything at all. But it does, apparently - it's a reference to an endangered psychoactive American toad, the alvarius bufo, also known as the bufo alvarius,or sometimes the Colorado River Toad, whose skin exudes a form of DMT. Isn't that nice to know? Now who exactly are the Blood Operatives of the Barium Sunset, I wonder? ...I love that album.

2 comments:

intergalactic said...

interesting. reminds me of when i found out that grouper was named after a fish. love alvarius b & sun city girls, but i haven't heard anything off sublime frequencies: do you have any recommendations? (though honestly everything there looks fantastic.) if yr into "world" music at all (or rather interesting music that's not from the west) you should check out the सølγ שаябlɛş blog: holywarbles.blogspot.com

there's everything there from singaporean 60s girl groups to eastern european avant-punk to field recordings of balinese metallophone: all super rare/out of print.

-alex

ammacinn said...

Sublime Frequencies (like the Sun City Girls) have a bit of a habit of releasing things in limited editions, leading to some people - including friends of mine - to approach them with a rather odd collector's fever attitude -- "Oooh, I really need to get the new Burmese 1960's girl group limited vinyl edition" - or such; I'm makin' stuff up - paying $40 and really getting into it, while HAVING NO PARTICULAR INTEREST IN WORLD MUSIC OTHERWISE. Which always kinda struck me as strange - the LABEL has the cachet, not the music. It's not like Sublime Frequencies have cornered the market on foreign musics... It would make more sense to me if said collectors were really into Thai psychedelia or Arab hip hop or Nepalese street performances or field recordings in general, but it seems to me that the draw has at least SOMETHING to do with the cult of the Sun City Girls, spilling over onto Alan Bishop's other passions.

Which is fine enough - & they've released a lot of interesting stuff - field recordings, radio recordings, and so forth - but I'm actually not a huge consumer of world music, and the few albums I really like (Chant the Names of God, The Real Bahamas) aren't Sublime Frequencies releases... Truth is, I'm a bit disinclined to "dip into" areas of music that I don't understand at all - either I plunge and DEVELOP an understanding, or else I tend to leave a genre alone... otherwise it's just some exotic random context-free encounter that confuses and provokes, raising unanswered questions to irritate and distract, akin to eating some unknown, foreign fruit that you've never heard of before and may never see again; you don't know if you'll like the taste until you bite, and if you DO like it, you'll have to live with the unanswered questions and unfulfilled desires that it provokes...

Guess I'm just not adventurous, sonically, in the way that the Bishops are...

What I DO find fascinating, however, are the Sublime Frequencies VIDEO releases. They're very compelling - I am more happy to explore the odd corners of world culture the label documents ON FILM, since then at least I have video to aid my understanding... Otherwise, the music can be a bit too alien for comfortable consumption. Any and all of their DVDs are recommended... occasionally there are screenings in Vancouver (I've been to two).