BRANDON LOCHER - SELECTED PRESS TRANSCRIPTS (2010 - 2018) [MIF352]

"Brandon Locher (°1985, Johnstown, United States) makes drawings and conceptual artworks. With a subtle minimalistic approach, Locher creates work in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found. The work is aloof and systematic and a cool and neutral imagery is used. His practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for manoeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of drawing: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the fantastical realm of imagination. By applying abstraction, he reflects on the closely related subjects of archive and memory. This often results in an examination of both the human need for ‘conclusive’ stories and the question whether anecdotes ‘fictionalise’ history. His works doesn’t reference recognisable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. By using an ever-growing archive of found documents to create autonomous artworks, he creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles. His works are an investigation of concepts such as authenticity and objectivity by using an encyclopaedic approach and quasi-scientific precision and by referencing documentaries, ‘fact-fiction’ and popular scientific equivalents. Brandon Locher currently lives and works in New York City. " - 500letters.org
01. Pittsburgh City Paper - Johnstown's Emmett and Mary craft a lo-fi pop culture pastiche (2010)

First things first: "Emmett and Mary" does not, in fact, refer to a duo. Rather, Emmett and Mary is a band associated with Johnstown label and music collective My Idea of Fun, and the project of Brandon Locher and Christopher Bell. The cover image of the band's self-titled debut hints at the name's origin: a street sign for "Mary Drive." The album itself is a lo-fi pop-culture pastiche: dramatic, chorus-filled and packed with references, quotes and audio (but not music) samples. It's part rock opera, but also draws (in theory if not in sound) from folk-music "borrowing" tradition, sound artists like Joan of Arc's Jeremy Boyle, and innovators like Steve Reich. It's indicative of a band that takes on a lot of work, but does it in an honest and fun manner that makes the final product an enjoyable listen, instead of a "concept record." Some Emmett and Mary songs have the simple, honest lo-fi pop vibe of close associates Endless Mike & the Beagle Club. Others are more psychedelic, while some -- like the next-to-last track, "There Are No Groupies in Heaven" -- strike the balance between pop and weird that's familiar from genius outliers like Brian Wilson. That's not to say the Johnstown group's first effort is Pet Sounds; it has its flaws. The honest vocals are sometimes a little too honest, and sometimes, especially early in the album, synthetic beats create a bit too much dissonance. But overall, this is a nice arrival from a growing and talented Johnstown music community, one many in Pittsburgh are beginning to take note of.




02. Design for Mankind - a faceted painting. (2011)

Brandon is Olivia Locher‘s older brother, and when I told him his family breeds talent, he said I should hear his mother sing Karaoke. Funny and talented? Win.



03. Pittsburgh City Paper - CD Reviews: Brandon Locher (2012)

Ok, so it's not music, but this sound-art release is pretty genius: Johnstown's Locher began by recording one phone call to a business in which he said nothing, then called another business and played back the audio he collected from the first call. He then repeated over and over, with each new conversation - between one living human and one recording - longer and more complex than the rest. The natural rhythms of human conversation become evident, and the result is a fascinating string of benign park calls.




04. Tiny Mix Tapes - Brandon Locher - Conversations, 2012 (Album Stream)
(2012)

With some of this year's top records landing squarely in the straight noise category (I guess especially of Aaron Dilloway's massive and brilliant Modern Jester here), posting something that's not especially definable as "music" isn't exactly as groundbreaking of a thing to do these days. So yeah, even though this is severely lacking on the rhythm/melody/harmony fronts (…or is it?), Conversations is (a) still music to my ears anyway, and (b) wildly different from other noise albums floating around. It's a sound-art piece edited together from several phone calls to numbers randomly elected from a Johnstown, PA area phonebook by a conceptual artist named Brandon Locher. For each successive call, the answerer is answering to the previous answerer, and the next to that answerer, and on and on. There's almost a half hour of this, and every second of it is fucking gold. It's a great statement on hot topics like consumer culture and the language of the dead/empty signifiers made even more dead/empty in our increasingly mechanized, automated world (among others I'm sure), but I especially like how, as Conversations offers a kind of narrative as it moves along, the various mysteries each caller is presented with develop with each passing transaction, an ever-thickening plot unfolding rather awkwardly and hilariously. There's a real progression here, and it's a horribly addicting thing to sit down and get lost in. Try it out and download it if you want.


05. Pittsburgh City Paper - The Meets - Even When The Time Comes (2012)

Five-track EP from Johnstown's Brandon Locher. Knowing that one of these tracks was mastered by Nick Zammuto of The Books might help guide you toward an understanding of what The Meets is like: An understated but intentional compositional framework is overlaid with complex sound collage. Locher is helped along by a loose coalition of players (as is his wont), but this work shows exactly where he's at as an artist — not a virtuoso player, but a virtuoso thinker.





06. Music for Maniacs!! -- The Conceptual Crank-Calls of "Conversations" (2013)

As I wrote last year: "Brandon Locher's "Conversations 2012" is a near-20 minute tour de force that does for prank phone calls what The Velvet Underground & Nico did for rock 'n' roll,uncovering unexpected depth and score in what had been dismissed as childish nonsense. What he basically did was call a store in a Johnstown, PA shopping mall and then did not speak. The "Hello? Hello" etc. response was recorded and then played to another shopkeeper in the same mall. Then their bewildered response was recorded and played for whoever answered the phone at yet another store in the same mall, and so on, until this game of tag went throughout the mall. It does what a crank call is supposed to do - makes ya laff! - but there's much more going on here. It's ingeniously constructed, a well-edited piece of sound-collage, if nothing else. Locher's back with another epic of prig-prank, 16 minutes longer then the last "Conversations," and we're not in a shopping mall anymore. Just random folks are the unwitting stars rocking' the mic here. The first couple minutes are just people saying "Hello?," but the random collisions eventually become fascinating, thought-provoking, hilarious, and, well the real ancient-sounding old ladies are talking, kinda poignant. I could listen to this all day - but bursting into laughter doesn't look so cool at the office.




07. Tiny Mix Tapes - Brandon Locher - Conversations (Revisited) (2013)

So, the trip of this IS… you cannot listen to Conversations (Revisited) with the lights out. Like, immediately, I think the Jerky Boys. Then I’m thinking, “Boiii, Brandon, is you doing all these calls?” But I start to realized, as I’d said — with the lights out — there’s a VERY haunting effect to this. I mean I feel guilty. I can’t say anything to these people. FUCK, this is stressful, but real-real. Right? Conversations (Revisited) is making my dog bug OUT. So, then I start taking a leak, and it felt like I was disrupting something with the noise of my bowl echoing piss, and WHOA! Is Brandon “crossing-lines?” WHOA! No, yes, he IS!! Wow, people really get on this, Larry. Hello, Larry, yo!! I want this soundboard. Holy moly, this is recorded trolling on a WHOLE new level. Not only do IIIIII feel a mess of guilt, but I’m bearing audio witness to the most elaborate troll scheme EVER. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnd I cannot walk to my bedroom now without freaking out at the mere resemblance of a visage. If I see a face besides my girls, I’m smashing it in Irreversable-style. I’m thinking I’d just start talking to Audre. Paul? Oh shit, I gotta call Paul about dress code, cause I want a rocking Vegas outfit. Nowww, I gotta stop. This track has brought the devil out in me, and there’s too much “ME” and “I” in this post for my liking. So… without establishing character or voice or pronoun: BYE!! YOU called CHUCKY’S dad? Also, when you stop Conversations (Revisited) it feels like these voices are just trapped in this audio forever. As though being prey to the quiet caller absorbed a momentary bit of being through the receiver and into Brandon Locher’s recorder. CONCLUSION: beware, for this release is joyfully maddening.


08. The Fox Is Black - Brandon Locher Confuses Reality (2013)

I've been a little bit obsessed with the work of Brandon Locher for a few months now. I first caught wind of him when avant-techno artist Holly Herndon Tweeted about a sound piece Locher did involving phone conversations being looped and volleys from one called to another. The resulting sound piece Conversations (Revisited) represents a very simple wrinkle in reality caused by a simple mirroring of a phone conversation. Investigating Locher's work, you find that he has a great talent for warping what is real: he is an artist obsessed with the circuitous. Mazes to the Motherlode, an illustration series of ink on paper drawings Locher did, furthers this confusing of reality by playing with planes. The pieces range from very delicate, almost precious, mazes to thick, knotted tangles of shapes. They look like galaxies of twists and turns and like Conversations make very strange connections out of nowhere. Locher is certainly an intriguing artist and he looks to be constantly working as you can see from his website. He's definitely doing some very heady stuff and we're totally feeling it. I recommend you peruse more of his work and, if you have the time, you must listen to Conversations in its entirety. It is a fairly hysterical, odd, and enveloping sound piece. Get more on Brandon here.








09. Mutant Space - Brandon Locher's Wonderful Drawings From His Mazes To The Motherlode Series (2013)

Brandon Locher's drawings from his Mazes to the Motherlode series are strange. Odd. Bizarre. When Locher sent his work into mutantspace I was stumped. I loved them; their aesthetic quality, his technical proficiency, the energy they emitted. But I didn't know how to engage with them. What were they about? Where did they come from? Were they really just mazes as suggested in the title of the series? Or something else. I came to the conclusion that the work was much more than that. For a start Locher works across a wide variety of mediums including audio recordings, visual art, multimedia art and sound art and is a main contributor and co-founder of My Idea of Fun, a collective of musicians, visual artists, film makers and writers based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, USA. This got me to thinking that I was looking at the work of an artist immersed in sound. An artist who had created a series of soundscape drawing, was attempting to recreate sound on paper. They really are beautifully finished drawings. They are precise, controlled, energetic, vibrant and allow you to wander though them, create your own space in which to dream. I must say I'm delegated to hook up with an arts collective working and living on another continent, another group of people who are intent of creating, exploring and seeking. You should check them out. Especially if you're into sound.

10. Tiny Mix Tapes - Premiere: The Meets - "Knocking On The Ground (Live Version)" (2013)



The dressed and also naked guy up there is called Brandon Locher. He’s the one who so skillfully constructed conversations from prank phone calls (which we loved, more than once), and, as it so happens, he’s also a guy who makes actual music with instruments, harmonies, melodies, rhythms, things like that. I guess arguments can be made that those Conversations works were musical in their own unique and specific way, but I’ll be honest, I’m partial to what’s going on with his project The Meets here and the kinked circuitry that frames this live improv session Locher orchestrated. If there’s really “an electronically created bed of sound collage tapestry” beneath the mix, as he so describes on the SoundCloud source page, then that bed serves as a nice springboard for things like fluttering piano lines, honking saxophones, and bass-heavy beats to bounce on top of, like kindergartners refusing to pick up their damn rooms. Locher’s sly sense of humor and meticulous attention to detail (as represented in his visual art) are at the forefront of “Knocking on the Ground,” contributing to a thrilling and wholly fun preview of the greatness to come on a new LP from The Meets, which is due out later this year. Stream “Knocking on the Ground” below, and be sure to visit Locher’s various links for a further peek into the world of a talented and versatile multimedia artist.



11. Lost At E Minor - Mazes to the Motherlode: illustration series by Brandon Locher (2013)

Brandon Locher works across a wide variety of mediums including audio recordings, visual art, multimedia art and sound art and is a main contributor and co-founder of My Idea of Fun, a collective of musicians, visual artists, film makers and writers based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. His series Mazes to the Motherlode consists of detailed illustrations that interlock, tangle, and unravel into different shapes and forms. His illustrations have a sense of chaotic calmness about them, as if the knotted lines and shapes are headed towards an unreachable destination. In addition to his illustration series, Locher is releasing a vinyl EP under the name The Meets where he also created the album art in addition to the music. The album cover is reminiscent of a soundscape, hinting at the character of the music contained inside.




12. Ad Hoc - The Meets: "Even When The Time Comes" (2013)

Co-founder of the Johnstown, PA art-hub, My Idea of Fun, Brandon Locher has accumulated an impressive body of work over the past few years, under a disparate selection of monikers. Perhaps his most continuos stream of creation is under the title, The Meets. Though ultimately spearheaded and directed by Locher, The Meets encompasses over 20 musicians, sampling both electronic and acoustic instrumentation. The result, heard prominently in their latest single "Even When The Time Comes", is a delicately tangled sound-collage, with spooky, jazz-infused melodies, and amelodical phrases lifting the music out of ordinary constraints. "Even When The Time Comes" is off the forthcoming LP It Happens Outside, available physically and digitally October 1. Pre-order the vinyl here.




13. Modern Vinyl - Newest from The Meets up for pre-order (2013)

The Meets, which is a project led by Brandon Locher (co-founder of My Idea Of Fun) and featuring over 20 musicians, has their new full length album up for pre-order. The album, titled It Happens Outside, is being pressed on black vinyl (limited to 300), while housed in a 2-panel jacket. Composed of a rotating live performance and recording ensemble directed and produced by Brandon Locher, The Meets’ ensemble consists of nearly two dozen musicians playing and sampling acoustic and electronic instruments over an electronically created sound collage. According to Locher, ‘80% of the sounds on the album are organic, taken from field-recordings that I made – a drum circle that happened in the streets, recording friends playing orchestral instruments, etc, to build this created ensemble with everyone being credited.’ The album will be released on October 1st. You can stream “Even When The Time Comes,” below, which is a track from the album (courtesy of Ad Hoc).




14. Beats Per Minute - Listen: The Meets - "Even When The Time Comes" (2013)

Multi-instrumentalist Brandon Locher doesn’t seem to understand the concept of downtime. Over the past 7 years, Locher has helped to distribute more than 50 different releases under various monikers and in a wide variety of mediums. He also co-founded My Idea of Fun, an art collective of musicians, writers, filmmakers, and visual artists, which is based out of Johnstown, PA – though much of his time and attention recently has been focused on The Meets. A 20+ member collective of musicians, The Meets create vast stretches of electronic collages, built around various field recordings of him and his friends. From communal drum circles to impromptu orchestral sessions in the streets of New York, Locher has captured a distinct sense of how life in the city operates on an organic level – with people’s daily behavior acting as the lifeblood and the streets being the conduit for its dispersion. We’ll be able to get a more comprehensive picture of how he and his rotating band of musicians portray the minute details of everyday life when It Happens Outside is released on October 1st via My Idea of Fun. For now though, we can satisfy our curiosity with “Even When The Time Comes,” a cacophonous mixture of orchestral strings, brass horns, and DJ Shadow-esque scratches that feels like a roiling concoction of every genre rolled into one song. And it works. Each sample informs the next until a complete picture is formed, and the music forms an interlocking chain of individual moments that feel thematically separate but never dissonant. It’s an odd exercise in musical profusion where Locher manages to keep every piece in check and balanced, despite the track’s overwhelming urge to burst out and spread itself over anything close at hand. Check out "Even When The Time Comes" below.




15. A Closer Listen - The Meets - It Happens Outside (2013)



What’s your idea of fun? Might it be to record 20 musicians who play everything from wind chimes to congas, rearrange their sounds, and send the whole thing over to Nick Zammuto (The Books) for mastering? That’s exactly what Brandon Locher (The Meets) and the My Idea of Fun label have done here. It Happens Outside refers to the fact that this amalgamation of music happens outside ordinary boundaries. The album sounds in turn like a DJ set, a mix tape, a jam session and a tuning orchestra. Is it a live album that sounds like a studio recording, or a studio recording that sounds live? The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Over the course of the last three years, Locher collected the raw material for this sound collage, wandering the streets with field recording equipment, recording the work of local musicians. Friends dropped by with instruments ~ brass, strings, percussion ~ and these were folded into the mix as well. At no time did the principal figures occupy the same space; as Locher puts it, The Meets is a “created ensemble” whose contributions were re-arranged to form a seamless work. The ear is pleasantly fooled as one imagines all 20 musicians sharing a stage together, hanging on the swoop of the conductor’s baton. The dozen tracks unfold as a single piece, the only silence arriving between sides. Despite this break, the sonic thread of Side A continues on Side B. The tracks are shorter than those on Even When the Time Comes (2012), but richer in texture and quicker in sonic turnover. Finger cymbals echo, street musicians yelp, an organist wonders why he’s not in church. A DJ scratches over bongos and bells. Violin and shruti box perform an elaborate duet. Someone has left the television on ~ wait, now they’ve noticed it. Arranged with mandala-like precision, It Happens Outside celebrates the sounds that musicians make outdoors, even if these sounds were brought indoors in order to amplify their impact. Is it fun? Absolutely ~ this is a worthy addition to any groove collection.




16. Impose Magazine - Debut: The Meets, "Today Grew Dark" (2013)

There are roughly 20 members in The Meets, but mostly there is one key player named Brandon Locher. Based out of Johnstown, PA, Locher's clearly a rare breed with the wiring to be a leader of men. In addition to being maestro to The Meets, he is co-founder of art collective My Idea of Fun, which is made up of visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, and writers in Johnstown. Orchestrated on 80 percent field recordings of friends in drum circles and friends in symphonies, the It Happens Outside LP is like biking through the Bowery during CMJ or East Austin at SxSW, as a mess of sounds from cubby hole venues whirr into the exterior noise of rush hour traffic. On “Today Grew Dark” Locher twists the warming up notes of a wind ensemble into ambient clutter and when it settles we're in a subway station next to a plastic pale drum circle, digging in our pockets for loose change. If I knew more of third stream, I might equate Locher's instrumental compositions as such, but It Happens Outside supersedes the synthesis into possibly a fourth stream in which improvisation is manipulated into the fundamentally sound to serve the art of sampling.




17. Exclaim! - The Meets - It Happens Outside (2013)

This is a kaleidoscopic LP that's gargantuan in ambition and scope. Jazz, classical, turntablism and musique concrète tumble over and around each other, anchored only by the singular vision of Brandon Locher (the brain trust behind the Meets and co-founder of Johnstown, PA's My Idea of Fun collective). Featuring a roster of players that's nearly two-dozen strong, the ensemble were recorded out in the field by Locher, who participated on a number of instruments, and then the various parts were collated into two side-long assemblages. There are 12 pieces mentioned in the liner notes, but they play out as two seamless halves of an epic, multi-faceted radio play. The unflagging energy with which the sounds unfold belies the album's processed origins — the music feels too organic not to have been played live. Through sheer sonic wizardry, with It Happens Outside, Locher has his listeners fooled.


18. Beats Per Minute - Album Review: The Meets - It Happens Outside (2013)

There are always certain self-imposed limitations when an artist jumps genres and starts to blend these often disparate sounds into something resembling a cohesive piece of music. We’re always told, “Don’t mesh this type of music with that type — don’t ever have this group of aesthetics set against something that could overwhelm the musical details.” But for those musicians who can successfully fold multiple genres into one another with a minimum of difficulty, there are endless tonal landscapes to explore and combinations of rhythms to develop. Brandon Locher — the architect and curator of musical collective The Meets — knows this all too well. Drawing together a host of 20 musicians, he has constructed It Happens Outside, an album that’s equal parts beat tape, drum circle, and orchestral improvisation. Mastered by Nick Zammuto (The Books) and produced by Locher, the album hums with the vibrancy of everyday life. And as these kind of collections live and die on the strength of their musical footnotes, it makes sense that It Happens Outside never short sells this aspect. Rather than feeling segmented or arbitrarily tracked, it’s best to experience the album as one continuous loop, with each track neatly bleeding into the next — which for the most part, Locher and Co have been gracious enough to do (save for the time it takes to flip the LP). There is a sense of surprise and unexpected composition as you dive further into It Happens Outside. Pulling back layers of aesthetics to reveal their base foundations, Locher proceeds to build his soundscapes from bits and pieces of these genres and keeps them striding so closely together that the borders between each sample and fractured melody sound nonexistent. “Shruti’s Song” opens the record with the sound of what appears to be an orchestra tuning up for a performance, a description which isn’t actually too far off the mark. We hear slight electronic flourishes, percussion that circles back and forth without any real advancement, and some heavily warped brass sounds — though the track does seem leagues removed from being a simple throwaway interstitial. “Stoned Eyes” follows up with a pseudo-martial beat and some vinyl scratches before switching gears and moving over into some respectable indie pop/rock territory. But given its almost overt improvisational aspects, the record never stays in one place for very long and continually changes gears to keep you off balance. But this sense of purposeful evasion only adds to the mystery surrounding these recordings. “Nobody, Not Even The Rain” brings the blooping electronics and heavily submerged piano and never seems to raise its voice above a hesitant welcome, while the “The Fish’s Eyes” blends distorted vocals and some clicking percussion to create an uneasy sense of motion. But it’s less the experience of hearing these sounds played out together (though that does produce occasionally miraculous results) and more an understanding of how Locher was able to creatively and tonally blend these different sounds together that causes It Happens Outside to stay with you long after the last notes have faded from your speakers. And while the album doesn’t hit every note perfectly – the extended cauldron of sounds on “As A Period In Which Nothing Happens” sounds a bit too close to describing itself, and a few of the shorter tacks (both “Broadcast Fireworks Display” tracks for instance) feel a bit on the underdone side. However, other tracks, such as “Even When The Time Comes,” with its DJ Shadow turntablist tendencies, and the atonal percussive rhythms on “Today Grew Dark” display Locher’s deft hand at this type of “kitchen sink” approach to studio production, and the songs effortlessly side step any contrivances or forced associations that could have easily relegated this release to being just another odd musical conflagration. But Locher and his cadre of musicians never allow the weight of what they’re trying to accomplish overshadow the music itself. And as superficially atonal as some of these influences can seem, there is a expert hand working the strings, pulling everything together in an odd assortment of improvised orchestral flourishes, tribal beats, and complex melodies. It Happens Outside may be the work of a number of different musicians, but its voice is so singular and expressive and engaging that the record never seems disjointed — it’s the work of friends making friends, all the while developing the communal bond between the music and its audience.


19. Tiny Mix Tapes - Music Reviews: The Meets - It Happens Outside (2013)

Brandon Locher’s project The Meets is a strange and multifarious act. Its definition is as blurred as It Happens Outside itself. Being both an ensemble (though a largely unconscious and incidental one) and a solo act, orchestrating the very act of orchestrating, The idea of a musician no longer being a musician, a composer stepping farther away from notation, is an issue of the modern era, an issue of definition. Locher assumes multiple roles as much as he attempts to sit outside of it; thus, the title It Happens Outside: Locher intends to investigate the interiors of the banal phenomena while not participating directly with it. The opening moments of the album is all broad and ambient receding tones, needling static and other electronic blips producing an Eastern-leaning tonal piece. This is less a move of significance and more the one that was simply captured. These moments pervade It Happens Outside, rolling out these little niches in time, producing places and then taking them back, tumbling them around before they drift away. One listens to this album at once wide-eyed and inattentively: the work is not for you to hear, but for you to feel your way through, like when one casts out an awkwardly flailing arm in the dark. The pieces move by quickly, as should the listener. Many moments of this record are reminiscent of Julia Holter’s wistful and historicizing Loud City Song. Locher, like Holter, attempts to embody the same singular moment repeatedly, only recapitulating the placements of certain objects within the moment to test their definition. Where Holter spent entire songs meditating on the crowded nothing that occurs in a single moment, Locher crams all of the moments together, creating some genre mutations that can only be considered incidental. However, the entire middle section of the album appears to be a singular suite, each track depositing into the next, before “Today Grew Dark’s” sustained clarinet and fluxing ambience breaks and then starts again in “Knocked on the Ground.” This seems to be less of a continuation of the last section and more of a repositioning. “Knocked on the Ground” lunges into a suite of strings slicing about, never quite lining up, with more sustained tones piercing through, giving way to vinyl crackle and moving into the trip-hop-leaning “Even When the Time Comes.” I don’t particularly seek out these methods — arranging the organic to construct organic ethereality (myself preferring to do so through the myopic, sculpting reality entirely of minute and monastic particles), and It Happens Outside admittedly tastes sour in my mouth, reminding me of the equally beautiful and vacuousness of Relational aesthetics, in which the artist takes a stance outside of craft-watching. But I must concede that Locher has successfully created little niches in perceptibility with each track in the same way that I must accept the total embodiment of non-action in relational aesthetics. They’re like plastic replicants rather than the experience unveiling itself before you, but that notion of turning music on the listener, music as we know it and hear it (still codified and semi-whole), is still a very interesting turn. Locher’s efforts here are borderline vaporwave in the way that it utilizes and mechanizes signifiers as objects, especially in the jumbled Krautrock of “As a Period in Which Nothing Happens.” The significant objects fold into each other — wailing saxophones, cartoony brass all scramble around, fumbling for footing — but this is useless simply because they are just particles of one’s own perceptive and lived experience. And like particles of perceptive and lived experience, they also slip away. It Happens Outside is not about the internet; therefore, it is not “vaporizing waves.” It’s more so about the space in which the internet inhabits within our lives. Locher attacks the hypertextual in relation to memory in the same way that David Byrne and Brian Eno attacked the reduction of experience with My Life in a Bush of Ghosts. Many albums take this stab at contemporary culture, but what’s fascinating here is how infantile and playful Locher’s work comes off. He marvels over every sound like a child in a sandbox, subsumed by the immense possibilities — and this is where the magic is. Locher’s album is not for long play; it is for now, the forever now, and his meditations on the nothing of experience reminds me of one of my favorite cinematic moments. The film Rendezvous d’Anna (Meetings with Anna) is similarly a meditation on space and the spaces therein — not really of the room, but of Anna and her state of being within the room. In an extremely beautiful, laborious scene, Anna does something magnificent yet excruciatingly banal: she opens a window. Anna rises from her bed and scales the majority of the length of the room, arms swaying half lazily, half pensively. Time slowly ticks away, as she takes each step in long but slow, swooping strides. And in exactly five beats, she makes it to a window. The window is closed and locked, the glass is thick, there is silence, and Anna observes this. She then unlatches the first window and a low hum enters; she opens the second, lifting it, and wind can be heard, cars, a train; and finally after she pushes the window out and open, a whole rush of sound bursts into the room, flowing past her. The rush of sound is like a symphony, a kaleidoscope of tones and signifiers, and life itself colors the sterile hotel in which she had spent the last near-15 minutes of run time. Like this scene, Locher positions himself in a liminal place, outside of the standard music narrative affecting and effecting the purely organic. And It Happens Outside arrives at a peculiarly opportune time, wedged between the releases of the ever simulated (and simulating) reality of R Plus Seven, the temporal and spatial testing Loud City Song, and the nature-meditating Field of Reeds. Locher takes organic material and hopes to push it to its limit, fleshing out the hopelessness and ultimately fascinating state of the now. This is a very cinematic practice taking moments in time, qualities, and textures and smearing them before the listener. This post-signifier music follows the structure of narrative only in as far as it is linear in perceptual terms, the fumbling of contextual codes, referents to physical moments as it is collapsed and then having them combine and intertwine is an ambitious stance to take. Again, the playfulness with which Locher strung together this record reflects the way one looks at natural phenomena for the first time, meditating on the definition and dimensions of the moment. And scarily, Locher knows this his album has this to say about itself and him: “Stay inside. Hearing the video, the music, the text… It’s so compelling when you see it all put together.”


20. GoldFlakePaint - The Meets - It Happens Outside (2013)

Was it in The Guardian…? Yes, I think it was. An article many months ago pronounced the death of instruments – that music hacks, keyboard wizards, and laptop DJs are storming the spotlight and stealing the star power from traditional guitar-centered bands. The author concluded that ordinary rock acts will become marginalized to quant little sideliners, while the boys with the synths will command the top billings. Perhaps there’s some merit to this. That is, if you believe in the dichotomy of electronic vs. acoustic implied by the author. Or, for that matter, the dichotomy between programmer and performer. Or even the most widely regarded dichotomy of soloist vs. band, which by its numerical nature seems infallible. Either it’s the work of one, or the work of many. Well, meet The Meets. They’re not a band, per se, but a collective of many musicians, reigned together by recording mastermind Brandon Locher. This bloke runs a label called My Idea of Fun – and his kind of fun is to catch sounds and rearrange them into new creations. (For instance, dig his ‘Conversations 2012′ piece, which is essentially one of the most elaborate prank calls ever devised.) So here, with The Meets, he’s recorded multiple musicians’ improvised performances, spliced up the parts, and re-stitched them into an LP, It Happens Outside. First, the warm-up – a good, quality drone to clean yr head and prepare you for the skittering, smacking, scattered madness that is the rest of the album. It’s a fluid beast, this LP, shifting from the wacky worming clarinets of ‘Stoned Eyes’ to the gently rolling piano sway of ‘Nobody, Not Even The Rain’ to the clattering jangle of ‘The Fish’s Eye‘. Mind, all throughout this first half of the album, drums rattle and ramble – it’s like the heartbeat of It Happens Outside, the thumping, clattering blood and bones of the thing. It’s truly a painting, a Technicolor tapestry, with myriad color and texture in each track. ‘She Who Laughs Last‘ paints broad strokes of cool with its soulful synths and record scratches, but also peppers in punches of various horns. ‘Today Grew Dark’ splices in chirping beats with tiptoeing piano and leering woodwinds. And probably other instruments, too. You listen to these songs, and you often lose track of the vast number of components streaming through your head. But never will it sound like aimless nonsense. No, there’s quite a deal of structure here. A bit jazzy, sort of skankin’, slightly hip-hoppy, but always a riot. And not like a white riot or a teenage riot – a communal riot, something anyone could join in and clap their hands and ring a bell to and not worry about losing a eye or other body parts. It’s not clear what exact genre you could file the Meets under, especially not when you drift into the odyssey of samples that is ‘The Witching Hour‘ – and joyously drift out of it into the rumbling light of ‘As A Period In Which Nothing Happens‘ (which is an oxymoron, because LOADS of things happen, such as a squawking sax riot, a drumming rampage, and a flyby of cackling ghouls). Perhaps it’s best I stop typing now, although I could go on. Suffice to say, though, that It Happens Outside is a glorious, ordered mess that you’ve just GOT to hear to believe. Better yet, you could buy the LP, which is a piece of art in itself – that explosion of color matches the sound of the album brilliantly.


21. Impose Magazine - Stage Hands, "Regardless" (2013)

Sage Hands is the duo of Brandon Locher (The Meets) and Gerald Mattis. Still too early to have a bio or any form of information beyond their names, the first track “Regardless” remains the pressing issue. It's a track with such unabashed promise that it begs to be documented. With Locher behind the boards, Mattis plays drums and bass alongside Sean Jackson on KORG. The result sounds something like Dan Deacon's Ensemble in a jam rehearsal, finding a grooze and settling in so that fingers stay nimble and collective musical consciousness is sustained. From glitchy starts, “Regardless” enters pockets of jubilation after a vocal recording says “let me really like… meditate on this” and winds down slides of blips and arpeggios that instill a warm feeling. It all suggests that before the singular “regardless”, that sound byte said something like “I feel incredible in my entire being".




22. Nooga.com - Notes from Left of the Dail: Stage Hands and more (2013)

Stage Hands is the moniker of producer Brandon Locher and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Mattis; and through their amalgamated vision of jazz, funk and synth-pop, they create twisting worlds of nonlinear melodies and often-abstract strains of beat-driven rhythms. Their latest single under the Stage Hands name comes in the form of “Regardless,” a tropical fusion of synth warbles, Afro-pop percussion and dance floor theatrics that wiggles its way into your ear and refuses to budge. An instrumental track (save for the occasional repeated use of the word “regardless”), the track feels far more cavernous and detailed the further into it you go-this is definitely a track that grows more intricate and memorable with the passage of time. It’s a rousing carousel of assorted tonal nooks and crannies and feels like a song in which you could easily get lost. And considering the depth and beautifully realized atmosphere of “Regardless,” that’s not such an unpleasant thought.


23. Nooga.com - Listen Up: Stage Hands share new single, "Adaptive Lines" (2014)



Electronic duo Stage Hands(AKA The Meets architect and My Idea of Fun label head Brandon Locher and multi-instrumentalist Gerald Mattis) have been making music together for only a brief period of time, but they’ve already got one single, “Regardless,”released with the promise of more to come this year. And they’re already making good on this promise with the release of “Adaptive Lines,” the latest song from the band. With its bouncy electronics easily absorbed through the skin, the track takes the listener on a peaceful, almost meditative stroll into a soft-focus landscape of plinking synths, atmospheric rhythms and intricate instrumentation-a curious amalgamation of Air‘s buoyant circuits and Cornelius‘ unpredictable compositions. But there’s more going on beneath its waves of gentle electronics than seen at first glance. The track feels and sounds like a cacophony of sounds coaxed from a handful of modulators, motherboards and the musical imagination of Locher and Mattis, with fellow musician Sean Jackson sitting in behind the KORG. There’s a depth of musical construction that belies the song’s influences and creates something far more weighted and determined than your first impression might suggest. Ever-evolving and true to its name, “Adaptive Lines” goes through several iterations before we’re brought to the end, and the track feels richer and more fully fleshed out for all its twisting acts of musical rearrangement.




24. Tiny Mix Tapes - Stage Hands - "Adaptive Lines" (2014)

Yo, you know what? Unintentionally, I did the best thing I could for Stage Hands’ new single “Adaptive Lines,” which was waiting until Monday to write it up. As it had been posted by my boii Dwight @SecretDecoder last Wednesday, and one-half of Stage Hands, co-creator of My Idea of Fun Brandon Locher sliced me a few days before, sitting on this track was totally worth the wait. Like, it fits perfectly in light with Monday morning, going to work on a holiday, and feeling the build up of the day. Weather is brisk and rings out a hollow chill that warms as vibrations bounce back and fourth, as does clothes against skin and hair against heat. Stage Hands help me grip my wheel and flick on their new track “Adaptive Lines” through my car stereo. Typically I’m listening to Beyonce’s new album by this time cause of the bass, but WAIT, duo Gerald Mattis and Locher both banging this beat into new horizons as my work blues melt away and give me room to breathe, GAT DAMN! And Sean Jackson on that KORG MS2000 melodying out some nasty-nice is like massaging my brain of all the toxins of the weekend, ready for new ones I’ll recieve via e-mail throughout the week. Follow the My Idea of Fun homepage and SoundCloud for updates on new release, cover art is called “Mazes to the Motherlode XXX” by Locher, but in the mean time, flee your anxiety by streaming Strange Hands’ single “Adaptive Lines” below.


25. Impose Magazine - Stage Hands - "The Populating Of Empty Space" (2014)



Stage Hands—the duo made up of Brandon Locher (The Meets) and Gerald Mattis—crossed our path in December with the release of “Regardless” on My Idea of Fun. Their new track, “The Populating of Empty Space,” picks up where the band's earlier take on abstract synth-pop left off, but this time they lean slightly away from Dan Deacon-referencing playfulness, with more lilt in the drumming and jazz in the beat. After the glitchy-ambient intro wraps up, a dueling xylophone and keyboard weave through the song's middle section over the beat, taking their time to settle down. One thing this band seems to revel in is putting together tracks that are simultaneously organized and amorphous. They haven't released a ton of music to date, but ideally they'll start to pick up the pace.




26. Vice's Motherboard - If You Gave LSD to a Computer... (Stage Hands - "The Populating of Empty Space") (2014)



What exactly would a computer see on LSD? That's the question posed by experimental filmmaker Joshua Rogers in his latest music video for electronic duo Stage Hands' single "The Populating of Empty Space." Rogers fashioned a glitchy, virtual reality-esque computer fantasia. When combined with Stage Hands' procession of percolating electronic sounds and rhythms, Rogers's warped visuals almost manage to simulate both LSD's synesthesia effect and its blurred, hyper-colored, and pattern-rich visuals. Rogers typically roots around thrift stores and flea markets for video samples from long lost VHS tapes, 8mm films, and DVDs. The same was true for "The Populating of Empty Space, for which Rogers excavated a variety of found visual material, then edited it for time and content. "I run the edited video through a daisy chain of 8 VHS players/recorders to give it a real vintage feel, if the footage wasn't already corrupt by that point," Rogers told me. "I then take the 'wonked' video and run it through my Tachyons+ vortex decoder switcher and Tachyons+ fun 21 analog video switching boxes created by Logan Owlbeemoth in order to effect the v-hold, saturation, etc." After running the visuals through the Tachyons+ video synthesizers, Rogers sent the signal into an old 80s Sima Video Ed/It mixer to "sweeten the signal," then fed the results into his video camera. Next, he dropped the finished video into Final Cut for tweaking to make the visuals feel, as Rogers put it, like "glitchy lost Amiga and Commodore 64 graphics scene-scapes and story lines." While it's pretty absurd to think of computers doing acid, if artificial intelligence were to become sentient in the future, and able to experience something like Robin Arnott's kaleidoscopic meditation game SoundSelf, then perhaps computers will indeed trip one day. Then again, what is the human mind if not a complex, sentient computer with the ability to fall down the psychedelic rabbit hole?


27. Impose Magazine: Stage Hands announce debut LP + video for "The Populating of Empty Space" (2014)



Multimedia artist and producer Brandon Locher teamed up with his longtime friend, drummer and producer Gerald Mattis, last year to form Stage Hands. In December they released their first single “Regardless”, a grooving KORG track that established them as connos of texture and rhythm; now, they’re introducing a new full-length of electroacoustic collages. The self-titled debut LP will be out February 10 on vinyl and digital formats via the Johnstown, PA music and art archive My Idea of Fun. Stage Hands have also released a new video for a track from the upcoming record, “The Populating of Empty Space”. Directed by Joshua Rogers, it winds its way through the abyss of glitchy landscapes that you might find in a computer’s dreams. The track itself is filled with funky blips and glitches, drawing on jazz and IDM to create a techno collage patterned around patches of alternating smoothness and asperity. Watch it below.


28. Audio Femme - Album Review: Stage Hands "Stage Hands" (2015)

Stage Hands is a Johnstown, PA-based project made up of multimedia artist/producer Brandon Locher and drummer/producer Gerald Mattis. The duo started making music together in 2013, and are releasing their debut LP, Stage Hands, on February 10 through the PA music archive My Idea of Fun. The self-titled LP is only 26 minutes long. It’s a quick listen, but hard to get out of your head once you’re done. The sound is hard to pin down; it’s busy, but also ambient, soothing, but energetic and danceable. Key tracks are “The Populating of Empty Space,” which builds up slowly into a catchy, funky melody, and the contemplative, keyboard-heavy “Adaptive Lines.” “It’s snowing styrofoam/ A drone in every home/ For the holidays,” and “Am I just imagining these variant rhythms/ Of antidisestablishmentarianism?” The One and Only Matt Miller sings on the creeping “#unabomber,” the only track with vocals. Other musicians that appear on Stage Hands are Jon Livingston, who played piano on “Stage Hands,” Jon Beard, who contributed drum engineering for “#unabomber,” and Sean Jackson, who played synths on tracks “Adaptive Lines,” “Regardless,” and “#unabomber.” If you’re wondering how they’ll be able to pull this sound off live, you’ll be able to see for yourself the day before their record drops. Stage Hands will playing at the Brooklyn DIY venue The Silent Barn on February 9, along with Tallesen, Jono Mi Lo, Middle Grey and Dean Cercone. For a preview, check out a video of Stage Hands below.




29. a closer listen - Stage Hands - S/T (2015)



A follow-up of sorts to The Meets’ It Happens Outside, Stage Hands finds Brandon Locher collaborating with Gerald Mattis and friends for a head-nodding rock and electronic experience. Fittingly, this short, fun LP has found a home on My Idea of Fun, who also released his work as The Meets. The creative nature of Locher’s work is still apparent here, as the album is graced by live instrumentation layered atop diverse electronics. Mattis uses two drum kits, often at the same time: on the title track, an acoustic cymbal with electronic pads. This blurring of lines is a hallmark of Locher’s productions, and draws the listener in, inviting deciphering. The sequencing of the album, with each track bleeding into the other, creates the sheen of a radio show. “The Populating of Empty Space” is the lead single, based on deep bass and clear percussive rhythms. It’s funky in the manner of classic funk, with a jazzy undertone: vibraphone and wooden blocks. The late breakdown hints at glitch with sampled vox, but never tilts into IDM. This stuttering continues on “Adaptive Lines”, but it’s part of the process, a background formation rather than a foreground studio trick. Instead, the track’s most significant sound is one that sounds like glasses being placed in a sink, first heard at 2:01 but repeated throughout the (instrumental) chorus. This is the strength of Stage Hands: the presentation of old sounds in new places. Stage Hands’ labelmate The One and Only Matt Miller lends vocals to “#unabomber”, which takes up the majority of Side B. The spirit of collaboration is laudable, and the delivery respectable, but the track reflects a tonal shift that is difficult to incorporate with the short grooves of Side A. The listener is suddenly in a song instead of in a mix. A deeper problem is the use of a now-clichéd lyric: “we don’t need no water …”, followed by the repeated use of the word “antidisestablishmentarianism.” We’re an instrumental-based site, and this track exposes the reason: we’d rather talk about music than lyrics. It’s too easy to injure a song with awkward lyrics, because they exist in the forefront of conversation. But Side A is great, and we’d love to hear an instrumental version of Side B.




30. Dialogue Incorporated - Shuffle | Stage Hands (2015)



Brandon Locher's happy place is in juxtaposition. As a visual artist who we discovered through his work with the Ghostly International label—most recently on a series of beautiful wallpaper and screen savers—he is a master of high contrast, blending the intricate with the wide open and bright patches of white with whole canvases of infinite black (or vice versa). As Stage Hands, with longtime friend and proficient percussionist Gerald Mattis, Locher revels in contrast of the musical variety, bringing together the live and the programmed in a cross-genre medley that spans IDM, ambient, downtempo and jazz.


31. Tome to the Weather Machine - Stage Hands (2015)

Stage Hands, Brandon Locher's follow-up project to his everything-and-the-kitchen-sink free-jazz ensemble The Meets, is what It Happens Outside would sound like if all of those "outside" sounds were digitized and synthesized into Locher's Abelton Push and Gerald Mattis' expressive live drumming. For Stage Hands, the impressive arrays of sounds both sampled and live Happen Inside. There is a lot in here. And for the depth and breadth this record covers, it feels compact and sturdy. Brevity and completeness instead of endlessly feeling out new sonic territory. There is a reason no one prints the response to the question, "so, uh, how did you come up with your band name?". Because it is an incredibly boring question and incredibly boring response. "Um, because it sounds cool." "Um, it is a French literary term for the relaying of obscure and antiquated terms because band names are inherently meaningless." "Um, fuck you for asking." So, naturally, when I asked Brandon Locher the epitome of the banal music journo question, "so, uh, how did you come up with your name" I wasn't expecting to hear a response I've been ruminating on for months. Locher explained that the idea came after sampling the piano line at the center of the eponymous opening song. That through surrounding the piano line with accoutrements such as electronic programmed beats as well as other sampled and digitally produced sounds - endlessly tweaked and manipulated to infinitesimal degrees - along with Mattis's lock-step groove and emotive fills, they were acting as stage hands of sorts, setting the scene wherein the piano would deliver its best lines in the context of something else. Stage Hands, however, do not operate in anonymity. Their mitts are all over these tracks. Locher's ability to populate every possible space with melodic synth lines, skittering drum patterns, start-stop abruptness and golden long-playing tone massaging. Mattis's drumming can leap into playing funky, muscular lead rhythms or slink into the swirling sea of roiling rhythm patterns, his splashy fills and minimal effect-pad rhythms blending into the layers of tones and melodies that make their presence known and then recede back into the pregnant ether. Can we talk about "#unabomber", Stage Hands collaboration with singer-songwriter The One and Only Matt Miller? I've stated in other places that Matt Miller is one of my favorite songwriters in a long time. In this track, considerably longer and darker (tonally and content-wise than most of the album) you hear some of Miller's whip-smart and doggardly clever lines covering NSA surveillance, drone warfare, the housing market crash, fracking and antidisestablishmentariansim. It is a clear stand-out on the album make the best use of Stage Hands maximalist song structures and Miller's earnest, searching voice. There is more in here than can fit on Locher's hard drive. Humanity is in full display on this record. It happens inside but only through the careful arrangement and scene-setting of two humans working in synchronized connection with one another.


32. Pittsburgh City Paper - New Releases: Stage Hands (2015)

Wildly prolific local artist Brandon Locher is fascinated with finding ways to fill the space. On his self-titled debut LP as Stage Hands, with drummer/producer Gerald Mattis, the songs are brimming with ideas to overwhelm the space. Stage Hands is in a constant state of motion — most tracks start with quiet, ambient passages, before picking up speed with jittery, throbbing pulses, glitches and clicks. Mattis' drumming serves as a reliable anchor, adding a steady, jazzy backbone to much of the LP. Like most of the best current experimental electronic music, Stage Hands smoothly blurs the lines between jazz, ambient and IDM.


33. Cyclic Desforst - Stage Hands - Stage Hands (2015)

US-based duo Stage Hands are comprised of multimedia artist / producer Brandon Locher and drummer / producer Gerard Mattis, and this debut self-titled album (though it comes across as more like an EP with six tracks spread across 26 minutes) sees them exploring a path somewhere between eccentric pop and downbeat electronics. Throughout there’s a predominantly bright and optimistic feel to the material collected here. Title track ‘Stage Hands’ opens proceedings with a wash of delicate murmuring piano keys, before brittle programmed rhythms begin to trail all over the mix and Mattis’ live cymbals intersect with the stuttering breakbeats to create disorienting layers of texture beneath the glacial notes. ‘The Populating Of Empty Space’ meanwhile sends things off on a swaggering hip hop-based trajectory as glittering phased vibraphones and noodling analogue keys wander against Mattis’ robust live drum grooves in what’s easily one of the most trip-hop kissed moments here, before ‘Regardless’ conjures up associations with Mouse On Mars’ playfully eccentric electronics as house rhythms roll against jittering colourful synths and darting keys, the fluid live hi-hats injecting a slight sense of jazz shuffle. Finally ”#unabomber’ sees vocal elements making an appearance in an offering that leans far closer to Animal Colletive’s ramshackle folk-electronics as glittering synths wash over clattering live drums, skittering drum machines and languid, wandering analogue synth tones. A worthy, if brief first taste from Stage Hands.


34. Vice's THUMP - #1 of 5 Unique Holiday Gifts For The Techno Nerd In Your Life Looped Visions) (2015)



This smart looking box, with custom illustration by artist Brandon Locher records an ambient noise, then automatically loops it. You can then play with the pitch control, turning your dog's bark into a chipmunk chirp (or a guttural growl from hell).


35. Cast the Dice - Brandon Locher shares new single "Medium Frequency" (2016)

Beautifully moving from start to finish, ‘Medium Frequency’ is the delicate yet powerful brand new track from Brandon Locher. The New York based multimedia artist and producer caught our ears a while back, with his work in other collaborative projects including The Meets and Stage Hands, and we’re pleased to see him following his very own solo path. ‘Medium Frequency’ starts out quietly, wrapped in mystique and delicacy, before blossoming into an ecstatic affair. Blending ethereal electronics with frenetic horns and gentle strings, the track cycles from moments of otherworldly beauty to ecstatic exuberance, and back again. Locher’s new single also displays his versatile talent as a visual artist, with the stunning cover artwork having been drawn by him. There’s more to come, according to him, and we’ll keep an eye out. Now listen to ‘Medium Frequency’.




36. Impose Magazine - Brandon Locher, "Medium Frequency" (2016)

Brandon Locher has been at the helm of a great deal of projects over the last decade, spanning all manner of genres. Within the world of instrumental music, the New York-based producer speaks multiple languages. He’s performed with drummer and producer Gerald Mattis in the avant-electronic duo Stage Hands, and produced and directed The Meets, an ensemble collaborating on an electroacoustic sound collage; and he’s the founder of the multimedia collective My Idea of Fun. Notably, he works in more mediums than one himself, and the cover art for the latest single from his solo project, “Medium Frequency”, is his own. Across much of his work, he’s relied on intense patterning and repetition to captivating effect, and this new track is no exception. Though it would certainly fall under the category of ambient music, it errs more on the side of neoclassical than drone; Locher is as usual stretching beyond his comfort zone, in this case tightly winding orchestral sounds around an otherwise electronic framework. Horns and strings move in tandem with the constant synthetic pulse and conjure a scene that feels tangible and organic. “Medium Frequency” is what the name suggests—something accessible, grounded, quick to resonate. It’s difficult to land on such delicate middle ground, but Locher seems to have mastered it, and it’s a promising glimpse of what’s to come with his future solo work.




37. Tiny Mix Tapes - Brandon Locher - "Medium Frequency" (2016)

Every piece of art has an elusive “center,” which, when breached, reveals the artist’s intended design, or message, which they guard to varying degrees in an effort to throw the critics and copycats for a loop (or labyrinth). Messy, abstracted, it’s not somewhere anyone except for the proprietor truly belongs. This ain’t a physical place, either. It’s a state of mind. Like wrapping your fat pack of hot dogs around the Ark of the Covenant and thinking to yourself: “I’ve either made the best or worst decision in my entire life” and then WHAM! You wake up in a private screening room watching a GIF of two robots undressing each other to reveal they’re both horses undressing each other to reveal they’re both a set of four kindergarteners wearing complimentary sets of overalls. Your fingernails are eight inches long and 28 milk pints full of urine line the walls. Then you actually wake up, it’s 2016, vaporwave is dead as fuck. Hold up! Don’t go back to sleep yet. I’ve got something for you. Brandon Locher’s work attempts to document his navigation of the “center” – the Motherlode, as he calls it – by employing a multidisciplinary approach. The colorful soundscapes, effusing exotic samples, Ableton sets that are probably denser than the TMT ratings spreadsheet, and hyper-complex pen drawings of mazes galore are all part of his oeuvre. Locher is intensely prolific as a recording and visual artist, and has amassed some serious Chocolate Grinder points too. The tightly wound ambient arrangements on Locher’s latest, “Medium Frequency,” will massage your ears with four minutes of centripetal mindfulness. Just don’t forget your ball of string.


38. Tiny Mix Tapes - Brandon Locher - a decade of My Idea of Fun (2017)



Although he also finds time to be a compulsively productive visual artist, maze master, label head, troubadour, phone prankster, and multi instrumentalist, Brandon Locher recently took a moment to sit back and review ten years of zaniness at My Idea of Fun. Since 2007, My Idea of Fun has released 340+ physical and digital releases from musicians and artists with roots to Johnstown’s DIY scene since the early 2000s. A veritable smorgasbord of musical misadventures awaits: Discover hilarious odes to paying taxes, quirky experiments in vocal manipulation, candid conversations on creativity, and collaborations galore with all manner of drummer, improviser, singers, and electronic spectors. Sometimes Locher is at the forefront with his easygoing, humorous manner – at other moments he’s impossible to untangle in a room full of collaborators. According to the artist: “Like Alan Lomax, since 2007 Locher has collected days upon days of recordings from shows, parties, and everyday life in Johnstown, PA…On 03/25/2007 high school friends Ian Rummell, Jacob Koestler, and Brandon Locher resurrected My Idea of Fun with the Woods at Night cassette tape. Very quickly after other people involved with the Johnstown, Pennsylvania’s DIY music scene started to archive and release…” Artwork for the mix appropriates photos from Jacob Koestler’s The Daily Camera (2007-10) and display Locher surrounded by all of his friends and collaborators in sequences that are Facebook intimate while retaining an openly DIY atmosphere that compliments the sounds within. Listen to the 3+ hour mix below. All 50 of these effin tracks recorded & produced by Brandon Locher, * denotes unreleased recordings.




39. Vice's Creators - Intricate Ink Illustrations Imagine New Terrains and Visual Languages (2017)

New and abstract terrains, visual languages, and imaginary environments nod to interstellar travel and perhaps even science fiction in the intricate ink illustrations of musician and artist Brandon Locher. Locher calls this body of work Mazes to the Motherlode, prints of which have regularly appeared on Ghostly International Media's desktop wallpaper series. The New York-based illustrator envisions lunar surfaces, geometric patterns that look almost microbial, and mazes of precise line work, amongst other black ink drawings. He recently began selecting choice illustrations from the series for Mazes to the Motherlode II, a snapshot of his ever-expanding monochromatic universe. "The titles are organized by roman numerals [and] I think of these titles as an opus number from my visual oeuvre," Locher tells Creators. "The subject is generally an abstraction, but at times I also incorporate imagery of imaginary landscapes and structural shapes built upon layers and layers of abstract textures."



"With each new Ghostly project the conversation becomes more complex and focused on the artistic execution," Locher adds. "If you try to speak of the Motherlode, you can't say what it is, because it won't fit into words or concepts." What can be said about Mazes to the Motherlode is that all of the pieces are ink and graphite on paper. Locher doesn't use any reference materials when sketching, but he does work from a compositional conceptual idea for each piece.




As the series progressed, different environments, terrains, and visual languages developed and became references to a place that can be augmented and displaced," says Locher. Originally, back in 2010, it took Locher five months to produce a 32" x 32" pen on paper piece called Variations in Symmetry. But, as his discipline and focus matured, the work sped up even though his ambitions grew. "I don't think I will ever find the motherlode because I believe it's more than just one thing," Locher says. "It's about here and now. About waking up to this moment, seeing this for what it is. The awakening is available to all of us, at every moment. I'm interested in my own individual journey and going deeper within myself."














Mazes to Motherlode is available for free download at Ghostly International Media. Click here to see more of Brandon Locher's work.


40. Hi-Fructose Magazine - Brandon Locher's Inctricate 'Mazes' Drawings (2017)



Brandon Locher is a New York-based visual artist and musician with a prolific output in both areas. His “Mazes to the Motherlode” portfolio contains 50 pieces of art created over the past few years. These ink and graphite labyrinths differ in approach and convolution, yet all are alluring in their intricacies.




“With each new piece I’m always constantly trying to become more introspective and connected to my own individual journey,” the artist says, in a statement. “My method of working is generally always very premeditated and doesn’t allow much room for chance. Generally composition and ideas for new pieces sometimes takes as much time as physically drawing and executing them. As my work expands my ambitions become larger and as a result I find myself working slightly outside of my own means. Every future piece comes with it’s own unique set of challenges and constraints, as a result of always trying to better my own practice.”




41. Tiny Mix Tapes - Brandon Locher - "Air Notes" (2018)



I have a special crystal I keep in my pocket. I bought it from a store in Asheville, a town which is kind of like Nashville, in so far as it’s very “white”, clean, and aesthetically committed to its chosen tourist demographic, which in Asheville’s case happens to be hippy-ish college students that like craft beer, “sweet leaf”, hiking for an hour or two, and buying crystals with, like, healing powers. When I drove into Asheville a dense fog had rolled in, presumably off of a movie set, and visibility was reduced to a single white stripe ahead of me on the road. When I left Asheville—a purple, milky crystal in my pocket, endowed with the power of convenient foresight, intense charisma, and lavender-scented cuticles—the fog was gone. The full burning brilliance of fall in the Smoky Mountains replaced the foreboding, eerie gray. It was like the crystal had absorbed all of the bad vibes. Since then, I can’t remember the pair of pants I left it in. I’ll never forget that trip. I have another “crystal” that I keep on my bedside table. It’s a large, trapezoidal prism, and if I’m feeling stressed, I might cue up some of Brandon Locher’s methodical, nimble electronica, and let it cast a rainbow on against the wall. It’s nice to know Locher’s got some prisms of his own. Or, at least, he does in this video for “Air Notes”. These prisms have much more of a chaotic tendency than I’m used to. The marriage of new age minimalism and cheeky, adventurous fun is essential to Locher’s music, which has been studiously documented by TMT scholars. You see, Locher produces a lot of music and art. He catalogues much of these releases on the blog My Idea of Fun, and also sells prints of some of his work on Ghostly International. The Mazes series in particular reminds me a lot of “Air Notes”, with its delicate hand, and intimate, dense details. The song starts with a rigid arpeggio. In Locher’s playful, melodic style, a whole orchestra of worldly sounds emerge. “Air Notes” is off the appropriately titled EP1, Locher’s first release under his own name. It will be out digitally on Hush Hush February 8th, and you can pre-order the artifact here.




42. a closer listen - Brandon Locher - EP1 (2018)



Many of our readers are familiar with Brandon Locher, but until now they may not have known his name. The artist has released LPs as The Meets and Stage Hands, and is now finally appearing as himself. His template continues to be a mix of live music and sample, with a wide base of instruments; as a result, his tracks snuggle up against the genres of ambient and post-rock. Each of these pieces is short enough to be a single, and serves as a great appetizer for an upcoming album. The combination of strings and percussion continues to be a huge draw, while the turnover of timbres adds a further appeal. This is most apparent on “Slow Steps”, which unfolds like its title, developing in increments. The track peaks in the middle with Jilk-like rhythms, then takes its slow steps back, forming an arc. “Air Notes” makes great use of stereo effects and bells, allowing for great field of depth. The mixing of certain elements up front (perhaps including sitar and cornet) makes the track the aural equivalent of 3D. There’s even some popcorn synth that one may enjoy as a snack. Apparent throughout the production is the fact that the artist is having fun. Let’s call it a positivity break. f you’re at work and need a quick boost, or only have time to listen to music between classes, this EP may be just what you need. We’re very happy with EP1; now bring on EP2!





 

Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: 10 Years of My Idea of Fun
Release #: MIF342
Release Date: 01/10/2017
Format: Digital



01. Brandon Locher - Medium Frequency (2016)
02. Brandon Locher - January 29, 2006 *
03. Nan Ding - World War II (2007)
04. Nan Ding - World War IV (2007)
05. The One and Only Matt Miller - Left, 2010 *
06. Stage Hands - #unabomber (feat. The One and Only Matt Miller) (2015)
07. Stage Hands - Regardless (Live Version) (04/07/2015)
08. Endless Mike and the Beagle Club - Mr. Miller's Opus (Live at Mike's) 2007 *
09. Brandon Locher - Audio Diary: 11/30/2007 *
10. Cody Wallat - Favorite Everything (Medley) 2007 *
11. Brandon Locher - Recording Instructions (2012)
12. Siamese Dream - 3-6 (2007)
13. Siamese Dream - 1-2 (Demo) 2007 *
14. Siamese Dream - 1-5 (2007)
15. Siamese Dream - Waiting For Our Mother, 2007 *
16. Siamese Dream - Arthur Ritus (2008)
17. Emmett and Mary - Clay's Lament, 2008 *
18. Emmett and Mary - Cult Answers II, 2008 *
19. The One and Only Matt Miller - Acoustic Guitar Sketch, 2010*
20. Bikini Test Go Ahead - Lucy On Your Telephone (Live at VOMA) 2010 *
21. Dallas Zimmerman - Thanks For Waking Me Up (2008)
22. John Thorell - "Track 4" (2007)
23. John Thorell - V (ergo propter hoc) (2007)
24. Adam Clayton Cullum - In The Past Few Months... (2008)
25. The Meets - Drums & Cello (2008)
26. The Meets - Some Other Harlot (2008)
27. Emmett and Mary - Fanatical Hunting Club (2010)
28. Technological Epidemic - Birthmark (2007)
29. Brandon Locher - Geometro (2010)
30. Brandon Locher - 2/4/07 *
31. Brandon Locher - High In Art, 2010 *
32. Emmett and Mary - Early Dismissal (Teenage Queen) (2008)
33. Brandon Locher - Date Created: 1-26-2007 *
34. Brandon Locher - You're Simply Beautiful, 2000 *
35. Emmett and Mary - To Absent Strangers (2010)
36. Emmett and Mary - The Book of Idols (2010)
37. Emmett and Mary - Spanish Blog Review, 2010 *
38. Emmett and Mary - Broadcast Fireworks Display, 2008 *
39. Brandon Locher & Andy Mulkerin - In Conversation (pt. 1) (2013)
40. The Meets - (closing thoughts), 2009 *
41. Brandon Locher & Andy Mulkerin - In Conversation (pt. 2) (2013)
42. The Meets - Knocking On The Ground (Album Version) (2013)
43. Brandon Locher - Conversations (Revisited) (2013)
44. The Meets - Knocking On The Ground (Live Version) (2013)
45. John Thorell - Unreleased Riff, 2008 *
46. Brandon Locher - Sleeping Music (pt. 2) / Walking Music (2007)
47. Brandon Locher - Popcorn, 2007 *
48. Brandon Locher & Andy Mulkerin - In Conversation (pt. 3) (2013)
49. The Wax Ensemble, 2014 *
50: Brandon Locher - Date Created: March 28, 2015 *
51. Emmett and Mary - Popular Invitation, 2009 *
52. Emmett and Mary - Surveying Revelations (Ash Road) (2010)
53. Brandon Locher - Date Created: March 5, 2008 *
54. Elementary Thought Process - December 31, 2010 *

* previously unreleased
All tracks recorded & produced by Brandon Locher (2000-2016)


This coming March 25th is My Idea of Fun's 10 year anniversary! MIoF co-founder, Brandon Locher, releases a free 3 hour digital compilation with over 50 selected tracks spanning the past decade and beyond. Mostly previously unreleased material from Locher's digital archives fills the space, alongside selections of his contributions to the Johnstown, PA based collective.

Since 2007 My Idea of Fun has released over 340+ physical and digital releases from musicians and artists with roots to Johnstown's DIY scene since the early 2000s. Like Alan Lomax, since 2007 Locher has collected days upon days of recordings from shows, parties, and everyday life in Johnstown, PA. Locher alone has contributed over 80 releases to the MIoF archives under various monikers and artistic mediums including audio recordings, visual art, multimedia art and sound art. About ten years ago on 03/25/2007 high school friends Ian Rummell, Jacob Koestler, and Brandon Locher resurrected My Idea of Fun with the Woods at Night cassette tape.
March 25, 2007 from Jacob Koestler's 'The Daily Camera' - thedailycamera.blogspot.com

Very quickly after other people involved with the Johnstown, Pennsylvania's DIY music scene started to archive and release via www.myideaoffun.org, and after the first year alone the art & music collective had over 40 archived releases by the year's end.


(Screenshot from: Archive.org, 12/26/2007)

Since these initial releases My Idea of Fun has always functioned as a completely open platform with physical and digital releases across all mediums and artistic practices. Nobody owns My Idea of Fun and there is no president, leaders, or board. There is also no curators, except the artist themselves who generally all have ties and roots to Johnstown's DIY scene for over a decade plus.

This free digital compilation 10 Years of My Idea of Fun shows Locher's artistic development and growth, musical conversations with himself and friends, as he often gives his friends the spotlight and center stage.

In order of appearance:

Brandon Locher (Tracks: 1-54)
Olivia Locher (Tracks: 2-4)
Matt Miller (Tracks: 5-6, 12, 18-19, 21, 35-36)
Gerald Mattis (Tracks: 6-7)
Mike Miller (Track: 8)
Cody Wallat (Tracks: 8-10)
Dane Adelman (Tracks: 12-17)
Chris Bell (Tracks: 18, 27, 32, 35-38, 52)
PK Harmon (Tracks: 18, 20)
Dallas Zimmerman (Track: 20-21)
John Thorell (Tracks: 22-23, 25-26, 45, 51-52)
Adam Clayton Cullum (Tracks: 24-26) ^
Brandon Volkman (Track: 25)
Rod Fisher (Tracks: 27, 36, 38, 51-52)
Sean Jackson (Track: 35)
Ian Rummell (Track: 49)
Jacob Koestler (Track: 54)

The album art is comprised of lifted photographs from Jacob Koestler's The Daily Camera (2007-2010) and is rearranged digitally by Locher to show himself followed by his friends and collaborators in a fading grid insinuating a structure and a sense of passing time.

^ Adam Clayton Cullum was not photographed.
Note: The photos above will be updated with the rest of the subjects in the next few days...



Selected My Idea of Fun Discography & Art Releases:
2016
Mazes to the Motherlode XLVI - XLVI-VI

2015
Stage Hands - Stage Hands LP

2014
Brandon Locher - Mazes to the Motherlode XVIII (I-VII)

2013

The Meets - It Happens Outside
Brandon Locher & Andy Mulkerin - In Conversation
Brandon Locher - Mazes to the Motherlode XIV-
Brandon Locher - New Paintings, 2013
Brandon Locher - Found Sounds
Various Artists - Music for Bad Weather
Brandon Locher - Conversations (Revisited)

2012
Brandon Locher - Mazes to the Motherlode I-XIII
The Meets - Even When The Time Comes
Brandon Locher - Conversations, 2012

2011
Brandon Locher - You Found My Shadow in a Grave (Looking West)
The Meets - Sketch/Tempo Map for LP2
Brandon Locher - Gallery 1

2010
Brandon Locher - Geo Metro
Emmett and Mary - S/T
Various Artists - House Party, Vol. 2
Emmett and Mary - The Summer's Pull

2009
Brandon Locher - Brandon Locher
Emmett and Mary - Surveying Revelations

2008
Brandon Locher - Six Prepaired Meditations
The Meets - 1

2007
Siamese Dream - V
Various Artists - Things We Lost In The Fire
Brandon Locher - Quartet For Explosive Motor, Wind, Heartbeat, And Landslide
John Thorell
Siamese Dream - IIII
Siamese Dream - III
Brandon Locher - Sleeping Music
Brandon Locher - Walking Music
Siamese Dream - II
Nan Ding
Various Artists - House Party, Vol. 1
Siamese Dream - I
The Woods at Night - MAR 2 5 2007

2006
Brandon Locher - Conversations
Brandon Locher - Bodies

E-mail:
brandon at myideaoffun dot org

Links:
Bandcamp: brandonlocher.bandcamp.com
Instagram: @brandonlocher
SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/brandonlocher
Twitter: @mediumfrequency
Official Website: www.brandon-locher.com

Mazes to the Motherlode XLVI, XLVI-II, XLVI-III, XLVI-IV, XLVI-V, XLVI-VI
Commissions for VIA Festival 2016, October 6-9, Pittsburgh, PA

MIF328

Brandon Locher - Lord RAJA, Ink and Graphite on Paper, 12" x 12", 2015
Click here to listen to GhostlyCast#: 61 by Lord RAJA

MIF312


 
Artist: Brandon Locher & Andy Mulkerin
Title: In Conversation
Release #: MIF263
Release Date: 10/09/2013
Format: Digital



01. In Conversation (37:35)

This telephone interview was recorded on September 26, 2013 by Andy Mulkerin for a feature music article in Pittsburgh City Paper. To read the article "Artist Brandon Locher builds a band with The Meets" please visit: 

Pittsburgh City Paper - Artist Brandon Locher builds a band with The Meets
 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Conversations (Revisited)
Release #: MIF242
Release Date: 01/08/2013
Format: Digital



01. Conversations (Revisited)

This newly revisited and extended sound piece consists of a serial chain of phone calls. The first without a response on the other side is recorded. The confused answerer repeating, “Hello? Hello?” is then used to playback in a new call to another randomized receiver. That person’s response is then taped and played back for another confused recipient, over and over again... The role of the music is to reveal the life that invisibly flows in and through us at all moments. That music is continuous; it is only we who turn away.
 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Conversations, 2012
Release #: MIF221
Release Date: 05/08/2012
Format: Digital



01. Conversations, 2012 (19:34)
02. Conversations, 2006 (06:11)

Conversations, 2012 [MIF221] was recorded between 3:00 PM, April 27, 2012 till 7:00 PM, May 07, 2012 by Brandon Locher in NYC.

Conversations, 2006 [MIF007] was the process of building conversations and response by calling and recording random people in the Johnstown Area Phone Book, recorded on November 21st, 2006.

"After the first conversation "Person 001: Hello. Hello?" was recorded and documented I then proceeded to call another random person with a playback recording of the previous persons' response. The person that is being called and recorded is fooled into thinking they are talking to an actual person when only they are responding to a recording of the previous conversation. As I move through the same process for each conversation, more information develops, and the concrete themes and ideas start to form more complex exchanges between the people and the recording." - Brandon Locher

 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: The First Singing Bird
Release #: MIF219
Release Date:: 03/22/2012
Format: Digital (Coming Soon)

01. The First Singing Bird (06:37)

The first singing bird was noted at 5:30 AM, Johnstown, PA - MAR 22 2012 by Brandon Locher: field-recording with live processing and looping. Photograph by Olivia Locher.





MIF199 + 200 - You Found My Shadow in a Grave (Looking West)
Mixed Media on Canvas, 50" x 45", 2011 [MIF199]
Written & Produced by Brandon Locher, 2010-2011 [MIF200]


Variations in Symmetry, Pen on Paper, 32" x 32", 2010
MIF178 - Gallery 1



 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Geo Metro
Release #: MIF172
Year: 2010
Format: Digital (Coming Soon)

Written and Recorded by Brandon Locher
Mastered by TJ Lipple


 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Brandon Locher
Release #: MIF132
Year: 2009
Format: CD (Out of print)

01. Of Parades and Processions
02. Sons and Daughters
03. January and June
04. Surveying Revelations
05. The Summer's Pull
06. Broadcast Fireworks Display / Corruptible Minds

All songs written by Brandon Locher and Christopher S. Bell for the Emmett and Mary recording project. Recorded in an afternoon in Johnstown, PA while reheasing songs for shows at 709 Railroad Street and Dave D's Moxham Street Fair. Released Online and in CD Format in fear that Emmett and Mary will never be finnished, or released. Here is another docunment of these songs.

 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Found Sounds
Release #: MIF092
Release Date: 02/06/2013
Format: Digital



Produced by Brandon Locher between 2000 and 2012
Compiled in 2013



 

Artists: Brandon Locher
Title: Six Prepaired Meditations
Release #: MIF085
Year: 2008
Format: Digital (Coming Soon)

01. Meditation A
02. Meditation A/B
03. Meditation C
04. Nocturne #1 in C Sharp Major
05. Meditation E
06. Meditation F

Visual Art by T.K. Mundok > Paper Thoughts 11/12.08


Nocturne #1 in C Sharp Major is a composition for two CD players [with pre-paired compact discs] programmed for random continuous playback. Each CD has exactly 100 tracks between the lengths of 4-10 seconds. 90% of the tones outline the C Sharp major triad [C#, F, G#]. The other 10% of the notes are the rest of the notes in the C Sharp major scale [D#, F#, A#, B] that are not a part of the major triad. By playing the CDs on a random continuous playback Nocturne #1 in C Sharp is constantly exploring new musical ideas based on the simple function of chance.

The playback volume of Nocturne #1 in C Sharp should co-exist with the natural changing soundscape of the selected performance space. As the piece plays back continuously the sonic structures & space will fluctuate with itself and also the natural environment.


 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Quartet For Explosive Motor, Wind, Heartbeat, And Landslide
Release #: MIF035
Year: 2007
Format: Digital (Coming Soon)

Brandon Locher
Heartbeat: 05:19:694 | Wind: 08:145

[Snore].
[Brush Hair].
[Blow noise];
[Sounds together [suffice it to say].]

MIF035 - 11/24/07 - www.myideaoffun.org | www.brandonlocher.com
[Cough] - [Laugh] - [Clap]? // Point: 34:13.174

 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Sleeping Music
Release #: MIF026
Year: 2007
Format: Digital (Coming Soon)

01. Sleeping Music [Part I]
02. Sleeping Music [Part II]

A composition / field-recording designed as an audio sleeping aide.

 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Walking Music
Release #: MIF025
Year: 2007
Format: CD (Out of print) / Digital (Coming Soon)

A composition / field-recording designed as an audio walking aide. Please wear headphones while walking.

 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Conversations
Release #: MIF007
Year: 2006
Format: CD (Out of print) / Digital (Coming Soon)

Starting on November 21st, 2006 I started the process of building conversation and response by calling and recording random people in the Johnstown Area Phone Book.

After the first conversation "Person 001: Hello. Hello?" was recorded and documented I then proceeded to call another random person with a playback recording of the previous persons' response. The person that is being called and recorded is fooled into thinking they are talking to an actual person when only they are responding to a recording of the previous conversation. As I move through the same process for each conversation, more information develops, and the concrete themes and ideas start to form more complex exchanges between the people and the recording.

 
Artist: Brandon Locher
Title: Bodies
Release #: MIF006
Year: 2006
Format: CD (Out of print) / Digital (Coming Soon)

Bodies is based on the German research scientist W.O Schumann who identified the dominant vibration in our earth's atmosphere in the mid twentieth century. It's now known as the Schumann Resonance with the rather of 7.83 hertz, a very low and inaudible C# tone. The composition Bodies is in three parts and tries to bridge the connection and ideas between frequencies, earth & body.

See Also: