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Summer Bummers I + II
Inter-Dimensional Music's paba-free sun drug soundtrack for heat-stroking your ego and basking in solar radiation
The Basking in Gravity 2023 Summer Tour has been over for awhile now, but re-entry to the East Central Indiana Rust Belt can be tricky. We’ve also been slow to bring our attention to online as the computer is such a terrifying vector for ravishing grimness these days: the reality of environmental apocalypse is easily confirmed by the scent of Canadian wildfire smoke obscuring the Midwestern US sun, no need to pore over another hopeless UN Climate Report.
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Instead it’s been a season of offline reflection and trips across the American West and also into the Roan Highlands. Journeys – “medicinal” [ahem] and otherwise – full of expectedly heady encounters with some of our best friends in the world, and attempts to find camaraderie in our shared trials and tribulations as we suffer the slow fade of pandemic blues into the persistent ringing of armagideon times in our ears. A more expansive account of our travels is still to come, if only as a reminder to myself that it’s good to give voice to our troubled minds, rather than stuff our sorries in a sack. Not so much to find answers: We’ve written extensively on the understandably unpopular “to do this practice we have to give up hope” dharma talks of Joko Beck…
… so our accounting will be more in the spirit of finding respite in the sound of a harmonious choir of lamentations. Or as oft-quoted Zen teacher Lewis Richmond puts it, “The fact that we all suffer means we are all in the same boat, and that’s what allows us to feel compassion.”
In the meantime, please enjoy the inauguration of a new seasonally-appropriate Inter-Dimensional Music series: Summer Bummer Sessions. These programs aired in two parts on Marfa Public Radio and WQRT Indianapolis in August and September. They’re presented here as one continuous 127-minute mix, a paba-free sun drug soundtrack of summer drones, overheated crust, and blackened dubs for heat stroking your ego and basking in solar radiation. As always, this 0% vinyl, 100% digital Serato session was mixed live to MP3 with minimal post-production at Cosmic Chambo Studio in beautiful downtown Muncie, Indiana.
Inter-Dimensional Music for September 2023
Summer Bummer Sessions I + II
Summer Bummer Sessions 2023 starts with the overwhelming density of Tombs’ “Black Hole of Summer” paired with the sustained sludge-crust drone of Abstracter’s “Warhead Twilight.” Rest assured that this weight dissipates, but the momentum carries us further downward into a sun-baked yin space swirling with acoustic Zeppelin, a threefer for the dearly departed, blackened shoegaze, existentialist Americana in dub, yet another extraordinary Cure B-side, plus probably the first and possibly the last appearance of early ‘90s East Bay punk rock on our hallowed airwaves. Annotated setlist below, spoilers abound.
Special thanks to Rachel and Sheridan for the cover art concept, an image of your host floating like a sour crab on a recent backpacking trip behind the Redwood Curtain.
Taj Mahal Travellers - August 1974 A (edit)
Our 2023 Summer Bummer practice begins, and eventually comes to an end, with excerpts from Japanese free-improv drum circle legends Taj Mahal Travellers’ final album, August 1974. As Julian Cope writes in Japrocksampler, “For hour upon hour, Taj Mahal Travellers heap more and more ingredients – mainly voices and percussion – into their dronality, until the sound source is as mysterious as the roots of monotheism”
Tombs - Black Hole of Summer
Abstracter - Warhead Twilight
Led Zeppelin - White Summer / Black Mountain Side (Cleveland '77)
Flying Canyon - Down to Summer
Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou - Hollywood
The line “soaring like The Eagles on Robitussin” caught my attention when Cayce Linder’s (RIP) Flying Canyon project emerged from the Jeweled Antler clique in 2006 and man oh man does he ever deliver. The album only becomes more heartbreakingly beautiful as the years pass. It’s the entry point to a mid-set threefer for the dearly departed, in sad company with Chris Cornell’s classic feel-bad hit of the summer, and Emma Ruth Rundle covering the Cranberries with Thou.
The Cure - Snow in Summer
As my fellow “Charlotte Sometimes” heads already know, “Just Like Heaven” could’ve been the B-side to “Snow in Summer” and people would still be talking about how The Cure was incapable of making a bad song between 1979 and 1996.
Alcest - Summer's Glory
Galaxie 500 - Summertime (live, Copenhagen '90)
Trouble Books & Mark McGuire - Floating Through Summer
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Death to Everyone (live, Summer in the Southeast 2005)
Bill Callahan - Summer Dub
Inter Arma - The Summer Drones
Bardo Pond - Summerflux
Brother JT3 - Summer
N.W.G. - Summer of Love
I encountered the necessarily acronym’d NWG sometime in the late ‘00s via one of the many blogs chronicling the “cassette-tape earth psych” scene. Given that zone’s overpopulation of stony white bros, the name trips me up whenever I’m digging through the N section of my digital crates, but cursory online research never turns up anything definitive on the artist other than the Discogs data point “Terrance Kwesi and others” and old forum threads full of people like me asking if these hypnagogic guitar instrumentals allegedly inspired by NWA, Billy Dee Williams, and Bill Duke is made by a ‘90s Vice-type-of-guy of who should’ve reconsidered, or not. Either way, it’s “neighbors with guitars” at our house.
Kalacakra - September Full Moon
Regular listeners to the ID Music airwaves know to listen for this most jangly of krautrock drum circle jams late in summer and as closely aligned as possible with annual lunar developments.
The Future Sound of London - Her Face Forms in Summertime
Silver Antlers - Summer Breeze
Speaking of heady cassette tape earth psych zones, for our purposes the crunchy desert ambient music that emerged from artists like Silver Antlers and the New Weird Utah scene of the late ‘00s and early ‘10s remains in heavy rotation as some of our most beloved contemporary New Age music. See also: Stag Hare, Wyld Wyzrdz, Seven Feathers Rainwater, et al.
Wackies Rhythm Force - Summer Dub
Buffy Sainte-Marie - Sweet September Morning
Crimpshrine - Summertime
Definitely the first appearance of vintage East Bay punk rock on the show, but given our occasional detours into post-youth crew positivity from the same era don’t be too surprised if Cringer, Shelter, or some other Food-Not-Bombs-core artists return for future Summer Bummer sessions.
Taj Mahal Travellers - August 1974 D (edit)
And we wind up, as usual, where we started, so I’ll leave it to the Arch Drude to provide context: “… here the Taj Mahal Travelers fuss with their primitive electronic gadgetry and Ur-babble like endangered species seeking collective closure, this album’s refusal to dwell in deep ponds of reverb ensuring that the first clawing steps towards the individual are forever approaching, and all achieved with such a remarkable sense of orchestration that a strangely syncopated universal funk develops between the six.”
As always, thank you for your patience, enthusiasm, and intermittent communication. It is my greatest dream that you and I might continue to develop our own strangely syncopated universal funk.
blessing up + blessing down,
Void Contemplation Tactics is free for all! You can help make this undertaking a more emotionally rewarding and/or slightly less unprofitable project by sharing this post, subscribing for free, subscribing for money, dropping loose change into the tip jar, and/or purchasing music from the artists we play on the Inter-Dimensional Music airwaves. Tell them where you heard their tunes if you want to go the extra mile! Breathe deep in the Bandcamp library.
And thank you.
Featuring cover art by your host. Still stoked and deeply grateful to my friends from the Great Basin Desert for using one of my images on an actual vinyl artifact. Or a free download!