REVIEW: Venison Whirled, 'XIBALBA' (Kendra Steiner)

By Logan K. Young on May 23, 2013 02:39 AM EDT

If pretty girls make graves, and the men that lie in them tell no tales, simple transition would hold that Lisa Cameron would have nothing sound to say. But of course, Lisa once went by "Dave." And there in the live music Kapital of the world, "Dave" was a capital gain, himself, for similar Janus heads like Roky Erickson and Daniel Johnson, not to mention bands as diverse as Glass Eye, Squat Thrust and Moist Fist. (Apropos, who, too, could forget "Dave's" spastic snare salvos in Three Day Stubble and Jherri Siggenfeld's Atrophied Sac?) Things are always bigger in Austin, especially during #SxSW, and that 60 percent more extends also to error margins. (Gov. Rick Perry, anyone?) Moreover, when the transitive property is born transgendered, conditional if/then statements like the lede above have to become neither/nor bi-conditionals. If he, then her; and only if neither she, nor him. In short, when it comes to "Dave" Cameron's transubstantiation, you really can call it a comeback.

Now, Lisa Cameron's Venison Whirled incarnation is, itself, a homophone for a more familiar place--the Venison World emporium in Eden, Texas. Having hit 'n run my fair share of buck n' doe learning to drive stick in the deeper South, I can't say I'm a fan of Bambi and her brood. (Truth be told, deer are the rats of the forest and should be exterminated like the cud-chewing vermin they are; I thus applaud both Venisons for whatever they're doing to help control the pest population.) That said, I do enjoy the taste of a cooked deer carcass, and just as venison's got a gamier nose and throat, Lisa's latest cult jam will no doubt appeal to those fiending for white noise's other white meat. And like the gastro-foodies profess, the x concentrated minutes served here are some of the smartest apéritifs we've ever heard. Amuse-oreille, indeed. To wit, I'd like a second helping.

Limited to a scant 89 mini CD-Rs on the Kendra Steiner boutique, I slid Cameron's newest hand-numbered into a hardened Discman, and after a while--a good, long while, mind you--I could think of no better comparison than the Important drones of Eleh's Floating Frequencies/Intuitive Synthesis. Save for size, I still can't. Whereas Eleh had three volumes, like a transgendered Webern, Lisa gets hers done in two tracks. La Monte Young's Drift études came to mind on a second listen of "Dark Rift," but Young's pissy calculus seemed just too didactic. After all, Cameron's approach here is decidedly non-Ivory Tower. It's been argued, tongue-in-cheekily, that all academic "tape music" (cf. musique concrète, electro-acoustic composition, acousmatic sound, etc. ad inf.) can be made with a whisk and a pail of rocks. Ever the improviser, all Lisa Cameron needed to best the scholastics was a lap steel and a metal bowl from Tibet. Recorded live at Austin's Cherrywood Coffeehouse, apropos, Cameron's economy of means on "Dark Rift" would embarrass the most Spartan of monks. Come the third go 'round pinned under Cameron's "Vortex Compression," I began seeing things. I couldn't help it. And naturally, I blame Joseph Fourier for that.

Y'all, hear me out: If one were to reduce a waveform into a series of magnitude, frequency and phase-unique sinusoids, and subsequently chart them according to frequency content, a power spectrum would soon emerge whence the original waveform would be expressed within the frequency domain. Hell, it's already been done. Long after Fourier bit the dust, IBM's James W. Cooley and John W. Tukey from Princeton went on to develop a computationally efficient means of calculating what, a priori, was as thorny and onerous as listening to Eleh and La Monte back-to-back--that is, the fast Fourier transform. Their FFT was a divide and conquer algorithmic paradigm that could recursively break down a discrete transform of any composite size (n/2) log2 (n)4. Obviously, as the FFT utilizes a base2 logarithm, it necessitates that the range of the evaluated time series contains an aggregate number of data points mathematically equal to a precise 2n number (thus, the four "FFT size" choices available on most of today's freeware). Because of the obvious implied discontinuity--theoretically, there is an infinite number of waveform periods that exist--window weighting functions exist to minimize spectral leakage.

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TagsREVIEW, Venison Whirled, XIBALBA, Kendra Steiner

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