Cover taken from the original LP
CD with 8 page booklet
1a. Mac McCloud; b. Mac McCloud (2:19)
• 2. Harold Schroeder “Silent rituals” (3:32)
• 3. Greg Neutra/J.D. Elliot “Grieg fatigue” (2:01)
• 4. Smegma a. “Rrose Selavy will wait for my washing machine, even” b. “The Andalusian dog often digs into the furniture with onyx fingers.” (2:02)
• 5. Smegma “Potatoe war” (0:59) mp3
• 6. Fredrik Nilsen “You can’t hide from aldehyde” (1:40) mp3
• 7. Miles Forst “Art, art, art” (0:41)
• 8. Smegma “One moment” (1:30)
• 9. Smegma “Pig face blues” (0:24)
• 10. Doug Henry “View this command as a verbal enactment of a command” (0:15)
• 11. Josie Roth “Heal, and another little time” (1:01)
• 12. Joe Potts “I don’t want to go to the farm” (0:21)
• 13. Otto Fick (0:48) mp3
• 14. Smegma “Excerpt from: I’ll have Julie Nixon-Eisenhower for my appetizer (sour lungs to my surprise)” (3:01)
• 15. Karen Kato “Xmas 1952” (0:35)
• 16. J.J. Allen Vargas “Victim of racism” (1:25)
• 17. Dennis Guy Mehaffey “Busta Nosa” (1:47)
• 18. M/R/Zuniga “Vulnerability: rape, male vs. female” (1:31)
• 19. Mike Green “Martin Heiddeger revisited” (dedicated to Molly) (0:15).
• 20. Mehaffey a. Introdution by Buckminster Fuller. b. “I stumble/You laugh” (4:01)
• 21. Jules Lemelle (1:03).
• 22. Maureen Abbott (0:14).
• 23. Smegma “Take one” (3:29).
• 24. Dan Weiss/P. Hamilton Ross “A bicentennial tribute to America’s freight trains” (0:56).
• 25. Mr. Foon “Timeless #1” (5:50)
• 26. Bertil Petersson “Monologue to Henry VIII” (2:05)
• 27. Amrein & Stoll (1:04)
• 28. Ace & Duce “Dogs are barking" (0:37)
• 29. Irene Dogmatic/Rose Tatoo (0:36)
• 30. Gordon Shields “Cotton duck, up and back” (0:59)
• 31. Gary Beydler “Record stick” (0:16).
• 32. Tom Kemp “Pasadena subway station poetry stills” (3:39)
• 33. Donald Spaulding “I don’t want this to happen” (0:32)
• 34. Janice Felger/Joan Hugo “One minute of art news update in 30 seconds (1:04)
• 35. Sue Farthing (0:22)
• 36. Waynna Kato “White/Noise” (0:29)
• 37. Jim Abuan/Peter Muzzey “Why does love have to be so sad?” (0:20)
• 38. Juan Gomez “This is my country” (2:47)
• 39. P.J. Campbell (1:01).
• 40. Kathe Schreyer “Don’t make me laugh” (0:15)
• 41. Mary Dana Chodzko “Patty Smith by Mary Dana Chodzko” (1:42).
• 42. Gary Laskin “Have sex with Rex” (1:25)
• 43. Jean Koller “Dream” (3:20).
• 44. Le Forte Four a. Discarded portion of the soundtrack for Rick’s film “Burger madness” b. From “The origin of Largie Schrapnel” c. “I haven’t heard you for a long time...” d. “Fat ape” (1:17)
total time 65:48
When the Los Angeles Free Music Society 10 CD set came out I eagerly flipped through the contents to see what treasures had finally been made available again. Much to my surprise the early compilation I.D. Art #2 was not included in this otherwise major overview of the LAFMS. I.D. Art #2 was the second LP release on their label, coming after Le Forte Four’s ‘Bikini tennis shoes’ LP, and before the 2LP ‘Live at the Brand’, a split album between Le 44 and The Doo-Dooettes. It dates from 1976. It is also probably the most difficult LP on their catalogue to find. Originally released in an edition of just 200 copies, most of which were given out to the 44 artists and groups who appeared on this extraordinary LP. The deal was that each track was paid for by the contributor at a rate of $8 per minute in exchange for 4 copies of the disc. Consequently very few copies were ever made available via the LAFMS mail order service.
With a running time of 66 minutes and the sheer variety of contributions, I.D. Art #2 remained for most people a mysterious and tantalising item.
Most of the contributors came from the students at Otis Art Institute in LA, and many make their only ever recordings for this disc. Among the known names from the LAFMS scene are: Le Forte Four, Joe Potts, Fredrick Nilsen, Mr Foon, Ace & Duce, Dennis Mehaffey as well as 6 tracks by Smegma. Other artists include the painter Miles Forst, violinist Josie Roth, film makers Doug Henry and Gary Beydler, mail artist and dog portrait painter Irene Dogmatic, Otis librarian Joan Hugo, graphic designer Kathe Schreyer and many other creative artists and designers at the start of their careers who submitted their audio idea, be it via telephone, in subways, recycling old vinyl, philosophising, story telling, being abstract, joking, rehearsing and lo even playing instruments. This exhilarating journey, bursting with ideas was compiled by Joe Potts and Waynna Kato.
The brainchild of Joe Potts and Waynna Kato, I.D. started out as an assemblage magazine (a compilation of printed matter where each artist prints one page which is then combined with everyone else's pages into a magazine or book). That first issue of I.D. Art was only 50 copies and disappeared quickly. As Joe had just previously had success with the self-publication of his band Le Forte Four's first LP via the L.A.F.M.S. label, it was decided that issue 2 of I.D. Art would be a record on the same label. The deal was that you sent in $2 for each 15 seconds of audio you wanted on the LP, and for each one of those blocks you bought you would get a copy of the LP. The project was apparently a smashing success as instead of the 50 minutes they were shooting for, they put a little over 65 minutes on two sides of an LP. As Joe and Waynna were going to the Otis Art Institute at the time, the audio ranges from the free music that Joe was involved in to spoken word pieces. A lot of the tracks fall into the under 2 minutes category making for a whirlwind tour of diverse but homebrewed recordings. The big spenders were Smegma who bought 6 tracks to showcase their delightful music on vinyl for the first time. Actually, this was probably the first (and probably last in some cases) appearance on vinyl for a lot of the artists. Not too many familiar names are featured. After Smegma some of the less obscure would be Harold Schroeder, Fredrik Nilsen, Dennis Guy Mehaffey, Mr Foon, Ace & Duce, Juan Gomez and Le Forte Four. Not exactly a hit parade - unless you are big fan of the Los Angeles Free Music Society, like myself. And believe me these are names you should become more familiar with (among others here), as there is some great music on this record. Sadly, as it is an edition of only 200 copies which went to a wide variety of contributors, this has been a very difficult record to find. For that reason, I am very thankful that Clive Graham has reissued this lovely collection and I can finally delve into its riches. Preceding each track, we hear a voice reading a number. This is great for keeping track of the tracks, especially since there are so many short ones, but also because Le Forte Four listed themselves as track 44, but in reality they spread their four segments throughout the album, meaning the "forty-four" is the only way you know when they pop up. Given the number of pieces here, I will just give fast descriptions:
1a. Mac McCloud - vocal drone
1b. Mac McCloud - gloomy poetry
2. Harold Schroeder "Silent rituals" - beautiful murky improvisational quartet with Gomez, Mehaffey and Recchion; really dreamy stuff with an overlay of Harold frustrated testing his tape deck.
3. Greg Neutra/J.D. Elliot "Grieg fatigue" - multilayered classical music
4a. Smegma "Rrose Selavy Will Wait For My Washing" - an aural ready made
4b. Smegma "The Andalusian Dog Often Digs Into The Furniture With Onyx Fingers" - backwards sax and electronic tones
5 Smegma "Potatoe War" - classic vocal and jew's harp track
6 Fredrik Nilsen "You Can't Hide From Aldehyde" - tape loops with screaming cut-up voices
44a Le Forte Four Discarded portion of the soundtrack for Rick's film "Burger Madness" - very short tape collage
7 Miles Forst "Art, Art, Art" - a woman groaning, "You're choaking me"
8 Smegma "One Moment" - slow jam with tape collage
9 Smegma "Pigface Blues" - very short primitive blues
10 Doug Henry "View This Command As A Verbal Enactment Of A Command" - just that
11 Josie Roth "Heal, And Another Little Time" - maybe a moo toy?
12 Joe Potts "I Don't Want To Go To The Farm" - overlaid vocals in disharmony
13 Otto Fick "Untitled" - voice and flute, a repeating poem
14 Smegma "Excerpt From: I'll Have Julie Nixon-Eisenhower For My Appetizer (Sour Lungs To My Surprise)" - group with guitar, bass, electronics, flute; very free
15 Karen Kato "Xmas 1952" - home disc recording, probably with Waynna as a child; includes run out groove
16 J.J. Allen Vargas "Victim Of Racism" - record collage, lots of Looney Tunes
44b Le Forte Four From "The Origin Of Largie Schrapnel" - classic Rick Potts song styling
17 Dennis Guy Mehaffey "Busta Nosa" - off center record warpage
18 M/R/Zuniga "Vulnerability: Rape, Male Vs. Female" - miniature radio play
19 Mike Green "Martin Heiddeger Revisited" - short stereo poetry
44c Le Forte Four "I Haven't Heard You For A Long Time..." - CB intercept
20a Mehaffey "Introduction By Buckminster Fuller" - poor audience recording of Bucky
20b Mehaffey "I Stumble/You Laugh" - Foon and Dennis on percussion and guitar scraping and fumbling
44d Le Forte Four "Fat Ape" - distorted vocals with Mexican radio
21 Jules Lemelle - field recording with clock
22 Maureen Abbott - a personal statement
23 Smegma "Take One" - untuned and wonderful for it
24 Dan Weiss/P. Hamilton Ross "A Bicentennial Tribue To America's Freight Trains" - a home drama production about hobos
25 Mr. Foon "Timeless #1" - looping telephone operation and free exploration of instruments; the longest track on the album
26 Bertil Petersson "Monologue To Henry VIII" - multitracked reading
27 Amrein & Stoll - drone and kalimba, who were these people?
28 Ace & Duce "Dogs Are Barking" - low-fi porch folk
29 Irene Dogmatic/Rose Tattoo - a kindred soul to Jack Smith
30 Gordon Shields "Cotton Duck, Up And Back" - creaking? tearing? then reversed
31 Gary Beydler "Record Stick" - record loop
32 Tom Kemp "Pasadena Subway Station Poetry Stills" - associative poetry with echo
33 Donald Spaulding "I Don't Want This To Happen" - that phrase loops with air raid siren
34 Janice Felger/Joan Hugo "One Minute Of Art News Update In 30 Seconds" - overlaid readings from art magazines
35 Sue Farthing - something happening
36 Waynna Kato "White/Noise" - location recording
37 Jim Abuan/Peter Muzzey "Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad?" - the refrain as recorded via telephone
38 Juan Gomez "This Is My Country" - Mrs. Crawfords first grade class sings
39 P.J. Campbell - silence
40 Kathe Schreyer "Don't Make Me Laugh" - ululations
41 Mary Dana Chodzko "Patty Smith By Mary Dana Chodzko" Smith poetry impression
42 Gary Laskin "Have Sex With Rex" - dating service phone recording
43 Jean Koller "Dream" - description of a dream
Really a great collection and highly recommended. Oh, and in addition to being more available, this CD doesn't suffer from the "frying bacon" sound that a friend reports the LP has (no doubt due to its 65 minute length). (Eric Lanzillotta)
THE SOUND PROJECTOR 16th issue
A warped and mystifying listening experience that, on first hearing, will baffle and amaze you, causing your brow to furrow into a knot of delighted puzzlement. By turns terrifying and hilarious, this is one record that really delivers outstanding scores in the bizarro stakes. What music, what strange sounds are these? Who are all these unusually-named people? What in heaven's name were they doing out there?
I.D. Art #2 was originally a magazine that came out as a record in 1976. It was produced by the LA Free Music Society. Rick Potts tells the story of how that came about in the booklet. It was 1975 in California, a heady time of experimentation when ‘the art world was changing…there was a freedom that was open to anything except the same old crap…the whole neighbourhood was slipping’, and most importantly ‘there was a rebellion against the gallery system that was parallel to the DIY music scene that was growing outside of the giant record companies’.
The first issue had been a visual art magazine. The creators found a way to share the costs of doing it in a democratic way. Joe Potts went around the California Institute of Arts approaching students and teachers with his ‘ID Art’ scheme. They could each produce a self-portrait in words and images, for production in a limited-edition magazine. Everyone agreed to work to a standard size of page and had to produce fifty copies at their own expense, using Xerox machines or a local printer. This simple model of working had been inspired by hippies in the 1960s, who would get together to buy granola in bulk and then share it out among their loosely affiliated communities. It was cheap and efficient. If you liked granola, you would come out a winner.
This way of working may seem commonplace from our current perspective, but we’ve lived through a history of small press productions, fanzines, joint label CDR releases, and all manner of co-operative efforts in music and arts. It seems more established and plausible now, but in 1976 it was clearly more of a struggle. Joe Potts and his partner Waynna were faced with the task of collating an edition of 50 copies from all the loose-leaf submissions they had received. All the commercial binding and print finishing services they spoke to were confused by this wayward art project, with its small print run and shifting paper stocks. They apparently gave very expensive quotes. Don’t forget this was also before the time when business advertised on the Internet, and they had to do all this using the Yellow Pages and a lot of persuasive energy.
Applying the same principles of shared costs to issue 2, a flyer went round to prospective musicians, offering them a deal where they would deposit $2 for every 15 seconds of time they wanted on the projected LP, for which they would get one copy of the finished record. The resulting 44 tracks of utter insanity is too much for the human brain to comprehend; few listeners, even those who boast LP collections of the 'incredibly strange', will emerge unscathed from this odd sequence of weirdness, where the only reassuring and constant element is the intoning voice which announces a number between tracks to tell us where we are. For the rest, welcome to Planet Mars earthling. Drones, backwards tapes, field recordings, eerie massed vocals screaming and grunting, demented songs, incompetence, tape loops, early sampling techniques – none of this accounts for the ill-fitting, acid-fried, and just plain bizarre mish-mash of short monstrous grotesques that leak off this record, like the sort of inexplicable mind-freaks that might be cultivated in an entire colony of drug-addled lepers and genius-morons and other idiot savants. Which is all as it should be. The LAFMS and of course Smegma and Joe Potts and Tom Recchion are represented here, though there are lots of other strange names with equally strange aural experiments. Anarchic and free-wheeling, this may not be anything to do with music as we understand it at all. A lovely slab of history, great to listen to, and one that simply sets your mind on fire with the multiple possibilities it opens up. Guaranteed to appeal to anyone who ever loved DIY music from post-punk to cassettes to The Residents and back again, yet few artefacts from that era boasted such a truly primitive ramshackle approach to sound-art as you'll hear here. If they could always be this successful, then let’s hear it for hippy business models. (Ed Pinsent)
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