Algae and Tentacles

Algae & Tentacles // Algae & Tentacles

LTG 008 //   Release Date:  Sept 11th, 2015

Algae & Tentacles is the art punk band of radical sound professor John Melillo. John researches the sound of poetry and currently teaches at the University of Arizona, and he is the founder of Sound / Thought and To Stretch Your Ears (two desert art music sound series in and around Tucson). John and his A&T cohort perform in unique and outsider venues, as far flung as the underground flood tunnels beneath the city, featuring his music, and audio poetry work next to many other traveling avant grade poets, musicians, writers and percussionists.  We first got wind of John’s work when he performed in Seth Olinsky’s section at Rhys Chatham’s 200 guitar performance at Lincoln center.  

This is Algae & Tentacles's first long-form release, after about five years performing under the moniker and releasing songs and books on his own Teahupoo Press both out of Brooklyn NY and out in the desert . Recorded with drummer Hannah Ensor in a quonset hut in downtown Tucson, the range of sound here is reminiscent of the band’s trajectory—from the claustrophic basement rock of NYC to the open skies and geological repetitions of the far-flung desert. Oxymorons abound: dirty clean song noise of sea creatures emerging from the desert.

John talks about his Lightning Release:

This album was recorded in various homes, practice spaces and studios in Tucson, Arizona, through vintage dictaphones, tape machines and mics. Most of the album was performed and captured in a quonset hut in downtown Tucson called The Hangart, a legendary space soon to be bulldozed to make room for a useless highway gash through the city. Whether accidental fragment or song, it’s all music of possession, which is what, to me, rock ’n’ roll is all about: a sense deep down that something else has got hold of you. Not any particular person or thing: just this noise, right here right now. “I gotta move!”

A few of the recordings were older things that fit into the collection of songs. What I was going for (and what I’ve always tried to do) is create a dynamic range, with many different angles on the song-writing and sound-writing process. Recently when I have been playing live, I have been completely rearranging songs so now what was once a guitar and drums track becomes orchestrated for guitars tuned to single notes and a single tom drum, or something like that. 

I like to live inside songs for a long time and arrange and rearrange them. This record is about capturing a particular moment in the band’s sound (and the awesome collaboration between myself and the poet / drummer Hannah Ensor), but it’s also about being with the weird wide range of sounds that I want to be inhabited by. Songs about bodies and movement and repetition abound because I feel like I want to eject and escape but also stay here and vibrate.