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John Scharpen
In a house, with a mouse.
Regurgitator of opinion.
Interests: music, mystery, wonder, wandering, hiking, insects, arachnids, reptiles, amphibians, outside, strange juxtapositions, puns, irony, film, reading, books, stories, storytelling, dark humor, teaching, learning, dirt
Recent Activity
Music is like an emotional lubricant, easing our passage through time, especially tough times. I continue to appreciate all of the musicians in my life, whether they be friends or people I know only through their recordings. I also appreciate that Bandcamp continues to waive their fees once a month,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Tomorrow is June 5th, which is a great day to shell out some funds to the artists and labels of your choosing. It's kind of like Record Store Day, except you don't have to wait in line, and the choices are much better (and cheaper), so it really is a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
So, it looks like Drekka, Bluesanct Records, and Somnimage are going the donation route as well, with all of the proceeds from anything bought on the June 5th Bandcamp day to be donated to the following organizations: NATIONAL BAILOUT FUND RECLAIM THE BLOCK NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE & EDUCATION... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Test Dept recently started recording and touring again. I caught their show in San Francisco last year, and despite delays making it later than usual, not to mention getting a parking ticket, it was one of the musical highlights of the year. The force with which they speak of for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Today, I'm going to shine a spotlight on Wisconsin-based Utech Records, who lean toward the noisier end of the musical spectrum, encompassing free jazz, harsh guitar-based music, noise, drone, and more. I'm going to directly quote from a message I received via Bandcamp today. Utech Records stands in solidarity with... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
For me, during the nineties, local music centered around a lot of the artists on the now defunct Vaccination Records. I've currently got the Vaccination compilation, "Rawk" playing. Like the label itself, a lot of those bands have fallen by the wayside, so I'll do my best to post a... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Xambuca have been one of the musical projects to take a swing at virtual live shows during the shutdown. I've caught a couple of them, and despite the usual technical issues that everybody seems to be having with this kind of thing, the shows were entrancing. Chandra Shukla plays a... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Nest are a balm for the frazzled mind, with warm kantele (traditional Finnish stringed instrument) melodies washing over the listener like firelight from a nearby hearth, while chaotic winds rattle the eaves outside. I think I heard them (or him, as these days Nest is just A. Tolonen) on the... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
I stumbled across Golem Mecanique relatively recently, and I'm glad I did. The name behind the project is Karen Jebane, and her drone-based recordings sound like an alternate sacred reality, elegiac and deeply moving. This is especially true of her most recent release, "Nona, Decima et Morta." I'm still building... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Big Blood have been releasing albums for nearly 15 years now, mostly via small, limited cdr editions. The core duo of Caleb Mulkerin and Colleen Kinsella briefly expanded into Fire On Fire back around 2007/8, which is where I first heard them (although it would be a few more years... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
I've been going through my boxes of 7"s lately, and of course many of them are punk, which made me decide to make that today's theme. Ruin Nation Records are based in Bremen, which is where my dad's side of the family originated. I've never been there myself, but I... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Doc Wör Mirran is the work of Joseph Raimond and a rotating cast of weirdos, plus anybody else he can convince to contribute, musically, textually, or visually. Sometimes the contribution is nothing more than a rejection letter (as is the case with the Iggy Pop letter that graces the back... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
I first stumbled across Swedish folk rock band Garmarna back in the nineties when I worked at Tower Books, which being next to Tower Records, was a good place for a budding music nerd to be, not to mention a lifelong book nerd. Garmarna, along with another Swedish band, Hedningarna,... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
O'death are a great live band, playing stomping americana that sometimes takes abrupt turns into alleyways full of darkness and mystery. The melodies are memorable too, and I sometimes find myself humming them at random moments. I notice that they released a collaborative track with Hungry March Band on May... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
I stumbled across Hungarian avant garde metal project Thy Catafalque via Finnish label Blood Music, and have been buying their/his releases ever since, although I'm currently one release behind. Thy Catafalque is the brainchild of Tamás Kátai, who has also released music under his own name, as well as under... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
There is no real theme today, just a collection of artists worthy of attention and support. There is a Lhasa de Sela Bandcamp page, even there is no longer a Lhasa de Sela. Lhasa passed away on the first day of 2010, so I'm not sure who is collecting the... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
This decade has seen the release of at least two essential albums of pipe organ music. If one wants to create a massive, warm drone, the pipe organ is a very helpful instrument. Of course, it usually means having to go to the pipe organ rather than bringing it to... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
I have always been drawn to music that celebrates the mystery and beauty of the non-human world. It's no coincidence that I work as an outdoor educator, introducing children to the wonder to be found in wild landscapes. Music that expresses that wonder, painting sonic pictures of the myriad natural... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Oiseaux-tempete produce epic, emotional musical soundscapes, sometimes with spoken word accompaniment from G.W. Sok (ex-The Ex) and always providing an immersive, cinematic ride. Comparisons can be made to artists within the orbit of Constellation Records, but Oiseaux-tempete is definitely its own thing. Despite the fact that all of their works... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Warning: darkness and anger may vary. No terms or conditions apply. Folk music is the original DIY music, and thus it reflects the reality of the average citizen. It's telling that the subject matter is usually full of darkness (both literal and figurative) and death. Below is a not at... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Most of my e-mails these days are from Bandcamp, notifying me of new releases from artists or labels I've purchased music from, and today was no different. One of the notifications was that Italian label Signora Ward Records has just released Quarantine Doom Jazz vol.2, and compilation of artists playing,... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
I first heard Marissa Nadler thanks to my friend Matt, who at the time was as voracious a music consumer as I. Her wistful, haunting vocal delivery quickly won me over, and I've managed to keep up with her steady stream of releases since. Her style has progressed a bit... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
Diving right in... Sketis Music is a Russian folk label. One must remember that Russia is a very large country with a lot of different folk traditions, including of course, lots of different styles of throat singing. I've only just scratched the surface of the music offered by this label,... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
There are so many labels out there, and invariably I'll forget some in my attempts to create any sort of comprehensive list, so I'm just going to freewheel it. I'll start with some metal labels, or at least labels whose primary focus is metal. For a few years, I obsessively... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return
My daughter texted me yesterday because she is making a playlist of songs she listened to when she was little, asking, "what's the name of that piss on your parade song?" She and her older sister used to love singing along to that one in the car, mostly because of... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2020 at kNOw Deposit, kNOw Return