LP release by iDEAL on black vinyl with limited edition splatter vinyl
Cover photo by John Duncan

Mercurial maverick of the maelstrom, John Duncan presents a definitive, new, 3rd vinyl edition of his Riot [1984] album: re-recorded, re-mixed at EMS and expanded with material that didn't make the initial pressings, all taken from original 8-track master tape - which required them to revive obsolete machinery - and all re-mastered by Rashad Becker for this release; which, according to the legendary avant-garde agitator himself, is finally packaged in artwork befitting of his vision. Or take it straight from the horse's gob: "If there is any one must-have releases that defines my work in sound, this is it."

So, for anyone who made first contact with John Duncan's catalogue via his sublime, deathly Bitter Earth [iDEAL, 2016] LP songbook, this one may come as a shock. But considering that practically everything else in his catalogue is more akin to this record than Bitter Earth, you may have some catching up to do, and this is a perfect place to start.

Employing the chaos generated by his favoured shortwave radio, coupled with "computer program transmissions, military morse code, atmospheric interferences, random sounds", Duncan makes a genuine, head-flossing racket on the A-side's Riot. Scrambled not stirred, the results still stand gnarled in the historical stream of noise records, strongly representative of a pursuit for total atonality and arrhythmia - pure randomness in a state of flux always anticipating, never resolving.

Contrarily the B-side throws words, both legibly spoken in english and chopped-up in Japanese, into stark negative relief. Firstly a droll description of viciousness at an event by Paul McCarthy at a Los Angeles gallery, then a passage of fulminating noise chaos, followed by an extraction from a performance at the outdoor amphitheater in Hibiya Koen, Tokyo, 1983, and unpredictably shattered into an extreme inky blacknuss.

No messing, this is extreme music of the highest order.
-- Boomkat


LP release by Superior Viaduct: Ètas-Unis on clear vinyl
Cover image by John Duncan

The inter-disciplinary maverick John Duncan emerged in 1970s Los Angeles as a confrontational performance artist and, as the decade progressed, aligned himself with the experimental-music collective Los Angeles Free Music Society. His sound art appeared on various self-released cassettes and alongside artists such as Jim Pomeroy and Yoshi Wada on the Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art's influential compilation Sound.

Duncan's debut album, Organic, released in a tiny edition on the artist's own AQM imprint in 1979 and distributed through LAFMS, collects some of his earliest and most absorbing noise experiments. Recorded live, Organic is composed of two sidelong pieces: "Broken Promise," a patient, murky dirge featuring Duncan on tape and percussion, plus Michael Le Donne-Bhennet on bassoon; and "Gala," a kinetic, durational percussion piece featuring Duncan alone. The meditations on texture and unpredictability, realized with unconventional and found sounds, anticipate his later work with shortwave radio.

First-time standalone reissue. Limited edition of 500 numbered copies on clear vinyl.