Notochord

Eric Muhs & Myles Boisen with Gino Robair & Fred Lonberg-Holm

24 Hours
one hour of excerpts from the somewhat longer performance of the same name

Carnage Motel
a savage story written & read by Deran Ludd, with tape loop music


The Green Hills of Earth w/ Gentlemen Be Seated
two Robert Heinlein short stories read by Leonard Nimoy, with tape loop music


Below are reviews of some cassette album releases:

SWOOPLOOP 1987 ERIC MUHS

Tape loop pieces built on repetitive drones and/or simplistic melodic fragments. They are at first hypnotic as they seductively draw the listener in, & then seem to become the focal point of some strange alien universe. I pictured a futuristic world with strange looking buildings & all sorts of futuristic aircraft overhead. The simplistic nature of the basic material actually helps the looping process - the different elements work surprisingly well when combined, & seem to suggest, after a while, some sort of looping symphony orchestra. Oh, & I also appreciated the variations on the "Andy Griffith" theme.

DAN FIORETTI, SOUNDCHOICE, WINTER 1991

RING OF TAPE 1986 ERIC MUHS

Began with experiments in Frippertronics (regenerative tape loops) and led to this masterpiece in instrumental environmentalism. Gorgeous like a series of paintings, very strange. Except for animal sounds in PET TRICKS, all sounds are done live. Electric guitar, casio, tennis racquet, Humanatone nose flute, finger cymbals, toy flute, Roland SH 101, sound effects tapes, oil funnel, Mexican jaw harp, Eric's stomach.
ROBIN JAMES, SOUNDCHOICE, JANUARY, 1987

Although the sounds that Eric draws on are often annoying unto themselves, when he is finished the work is quite enjoyable. Muhs has developed his own advanced "Frippertronics" tape loop system, whereby everything comes back again, so birds and various annoying things are repeated for a desired length of time with music filling it up. The results are often quite successful, such as the piece SLEEPWALKING, which a silly little voice bit is repeated, and some slowly moving synthesizers build around it. If you don't mind sitting for 7 minutes, each piece makes itself apparent and enjoyable. It's a slowly building process, and Muhs is an artist to pay attention to.

SAM ROSENTHAL, OPTION, SEPTEMBER, 1986

ELECTRIC ZEBRA 1989 ERIC MUHS

Electric guitar, electronic percussion, and, as Muhs puts it, "various homemade instruments too bizarre to mention." ( Although if you write to him, he promises to tell you about them.) All recorded live at various unspecified venues, using a special four-track tape system. Muhs' standard approach is to start off with a simple repeating pattern, usually on guitar, and then slowly add to it, tinker with it, etc., and help it to unfold. It's a fascinating process, and Muhs has good instincts for development and direction. The music alternates between heavily rhythmic, riff oriented guitar treatments with percussion, sometimes possessing a Middle Eastern trance feel, to slower, thicker, and more abstract sounds - which makes for a nice balance. Muhs never loses control, but the layering creates a rather sloppy, murky quality at times, which I actually prefer to the pristine sterility which is often characteristic of this genre. According to his notes, Muhs has other, "enormously varied" releases available, and on the strength of ELECTRIC ZEBRA, I'd say they would be well worth checking out.

BILL TILLAND, SOUNCHOICE, WINTER 1989

The redoubtable Muhs returns with a selection of live solo performances which feature a self-designed four-track open reel tape system with his guitar, voice, synthesizers, and various home-made instruments "too bizarre to describe." It's interesting listening, and whatever the " bizarre " instruments are (mostly percussive, it seems), they're not intrusive. No track titles, but most are spacey to some degree, and a couple are quite melodic with catchy riffs. As for the " voice ", it's buried in there somewhere, sparingly. A couple of the tracks don't rise above apparent noodling and go for too long. Overall, however, a worthwhile opus, the plus outweighing the minus.

JACK JORDAN, OPTION, MARCH/APRIL 1990

Eric Muhs Tape Loop Performances

(D) = DAT recording (C) = cassette recording

 

2/84 The Drought, Seattle Mime Theater (C)

4/84 Bubble Factory, Olympia

4/84 Bubble Factory, East Hall

3/21/85 Pet Tricks, Santa Cruz (C)

5/85 Spacewalking, East Hall, Seattle with Tom Herring (C)

5/85 Twisp Grange, Twisp

8/30/85 Kuumbwa, Santa Cruz (C)

10/11/85 Mills College (C)

2/15/86 Seattle (911 ??)

3/27/86 Northwest Artist's Workshop, Portland (C)

6/86 3206 Gallery ??? (C)

7/86 Watsonville High Summer School

9/7/86 KKUP (C)

1986 No Pigeonholes #27, KKUP, Cupertino (C)

1/28/87 KZSC (C)

1/30/87 Sluggo's (C)

4/1/87 Greenpeace, Santa Cruz (C)

5/21/87 Sluggo's Pizza, Santa Cruz with David Stilley, Joee Conroy (C)

6/10/87 KZSC (C)

6/87 El Sausal Junior High

1/10/88 KZSC, Santa Cruz (C)

1/14/88 The Lab, San Francisco (C)

1/19/88 Cafe Cameleon, Santa Cruz (C)

1/20/88 Eric & Tom ??? (C)

6/88 El Sausal Junior High

10/1/88 ??? (C)

11/11/88 Mills College, Oakland (C)

88 Brian's Graduation, Mills College

1/18/89 ??? tape only possibly studio (C)

1/19/89 Cafe Cameleon (C)

3/26/89 Cafe Cameleon with Joee Conroy, David Stilley (C)

6/16/89 The Lab (C)

12/23/89 ?? tape only (C)

89 KKUP, No Pigeonholes #66

3/90 New Zone, Eugene

4/10/90 The Globe, Seattle (C)

6/90 Del Mar Middle School

10/30/90 Works Gallery, San Jose with Don Campau (C)

11/17/90 2nd Bay Area Improvised Music Festival (C)

12/90 Retard Convention, Santa Cruz

90 New Langton Arts, San Francisco

4/28/91 KKUP with Myles (C)

5/91 6th Seattle Festival of Improvised Music

6/91 Watsonville High School

2/92 Wall of Sound, Seattle with Amy Denio

3/92 Ditto ... Vicious Fishes with Brad Matter, Johnny Calcagno

3/92 KSER-FM, Seattle

4/92 New Zone, Eugene

6/5/92 7th Seattle Festival of Improvised Music (D)

9/92 Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle

10/92 New Music Across America, Seattle (D)

12/92 Ditto, Seattle

12/12/92 Emerald Diner, Santa Cruz

1/93 Allied Arts, Security Pacific Gallery, Seattle

2/93 Re-Bar, Seattle

2/93 OK Hotel, Seattle

3/93 OK Hotel with Splatter Trio (D)

3/28/93 New Zone, Eugene

4/3/93 Wonderful World of Art, with Deran Ludd (D)

4/16/93 8th Seattle Festival of Improvised Music as Metal Men with John Hawkley (D)

5/30 - 31 24 hours @ Wall of Sound (D)

7/10/93 Four wild guitars, OK Hotel with Deran Ludd & John Hawkley

9/5/93 Bumbershoot Wild Stage : Machine Language with Deran Ludd

with Splatter Trio

with Big City Orchestra

12/4, 17, 18 Room 608, Festival of One, Seattle (D)

12/11/93 More Noise Please, with John Hawkley, Cafe Capella loft

1/29/94 More Noise Please II (video)

2/28/94 Two Bells Tavern ,Seattle, w/ John

3/4/94 More Noise Please III

3/7/94 7 Beats per minute

2ND ANNUAL BAY AREA IMPROVISED MUSIC FESTIVAL
KONCEPTS CULTURAL GALLERY, OAKLAND NOVEMBER 17, 1990

It was hard to believe, but Saturday night was even more eclectic. Eric Muhs, from Santa Cruz, recorded himself on a complicated tape/mixer/effects system and manipulated the documented sound while continuing to play live. He took the process to new extremes with electric guitar, rhythm samples, voice, trumpet, metal percussion, bizarre woodshop devices, a motor-driven propellor, a long plastic tube, bells, and what looked like a bicycle wheel harp. He was a musical Tom Swift gone haywire.

DERK RICHARDSON, EAST BAY EXPRESS, 11/23/90