Friday, September 11, 2009

Delirious Insomniac: Compendaemonium 1 and 2

Align Centerphoto by D.J. Demchuk

It occurs to me that today is the 2nd anniversary of my first Delirious Insomniac show, and while this is no big feat, it is also the end of an era of sorts, since WLUW has moved from the Rogers Park Campus to the Watertower Campus in Chicago's Downtown Loop. Tuesday was my first show there, and I can tell that the environment is going to inform how the shows turn out to a certain degree.

I used to look out the window and see the lake, and big open fields. I would go outside and look and appreciate the quiet, brisk air (while smoking a cigarette). Now I look out the window and I see a big wall of vents, and the hue of office buildings. I half expect to see Batman swinging through the air any moment. If I did go outside, it certainly wouldn't be quiet. I'm looking forward to it, adding a little more tension into the mix. On the way home Tuesday morning, I went into a train car that had vomit on one side of it, and shit smeared on the windows for the other side. There were two neurotic old ladies with pastel colored corduroy sweaters and plastic on their heads, gabbing and spraying air freshener crap into the air constantly. The whole car stank and was littered with fruit flies. Everybody that got onto the car immediately moved on to the next one. I just sat there. It certainly wasn't the first encounter of something like this, and I might as well get used to it.

Anyhow, the radio experience will be less influenced by a sort of college campus atmosphere, and replaced by a more urban one, whether that is deliberate or not. I feel like it's a good time to recap a bit with highlights of shows that stand out in my mind as examples of why I do this; whether it is because of a concept that was fully realized, or if it was because of a series of free association type of chance happenings that became artful or preferable to my actual expectations. Here are some prime examples of why I choose to haunt a particular coordinate all the way to the left on the FM dial.

Irreparable Damage: A show that explored children's cartoon elements and some darker underpinnings, plagued by technical malfunction. Up until I went on air us DJs didn't have our voice coming out of the radio for almost 4 hours, despite the fact that we could hear our voices in the headphones as we spoke into the mic. The computer froze, and several perfectly good CDs skipped in the CD player, while some did not play at all. This includes the song Excitable Boy completely stopping immediately after the late Warren Zevon said "... So he raped her and killed her and built a tent with her bones..." as if god was offended. Only the first half of this show was recorded due to computer problems and this is perhaps good because that is where the malfunction really started to kick in. Ren & Stimpy's "Don't Whiz on The Electric Fence" produced a great deal of trouble especially. On top of this, there was a caller blowing into the phone over and over for 2 hours until I finally unplugged it. One of the most rewarding shows I've done though.

The Thirteenth Hour: I have a considerable amount of severely scratched 45s, as well as no small amount that are in good condition. So long as they don't skip (and sometimes still when they do) I find the surface noise to be endearing and complimentary, if not emphatic of the expressive elements in the song. In this case I planned on exploring that, and unbeknownst to me, one of the turntables had a bad needle irrespective of the grounding, so it was extra fuzzy. I played pitched down doo-wop and other such slow numbers unrelentingly. There were a lot of phone calls and praise that night for some reason (from 2 to 6am at that time), including Paul, a guy who spins Reggae at WHPK sometimes, and has been doing it for 20 years. I felt like a gleeful little kid who was mistaken for a professional.

Inauguration of the Delirious Demon: This was one of the shows where I went for 6 hours because no one was coming in after me. I started with some eerie experimental electronic work, and moved into haunting pop music or the equivalent. By the time 4 am came around, I wanted to keep going and it became one of the better examples of material I played to accompany the sunrise (before Edgar Eavil stepped in and did Delirious Sunrise for a 3 episode stint). I was reminded of the times I hung out with the now recently departed Barb Wire, and how she would have truckers calling her at 5 am because they were regular listeners keeping track of her various shift shaping, numerous time slots as they returned to town. It's a pretty rewarding thing to start off in the dark playing one thing, and to finish an hour or two later in the daylight, reflecting upon how much it mutated accordingly.

The Delirious Insomniac Classical Music Radio Program: For April Fool's Day of 2008, I decided to pretend that I was switching from freeform to classical formats, complete with pseudo sophisticate posturing and delicate enunciation. Unfortunately the recording of that show was not successful. However, I continued the confusion with a 2nd Classical episode the following week (with much less enunciation).

Paint It Black: It may not be characteristic of me but I enjoy the Rolling Stones quite a bit, and Paint It Black is one of my favorite songs since I was a wee little one. For this show I think I was more or less successful at executing a widely varied and organically moving cavalcade with only covers or interpretations of this song. I've done this with Gloomy Sunday as well, and I'm definitely looking forward to doing more of the sort. (Low bitrate recording)

Winter Songs: For this show it was 20 below zero, so I planned to play material to accompany that, and I arrived to see Eric Lab Rat entertaining a drug addled, rambling madman on speaker phone, yelling about politics and other things to anybody who was too kind to tell him to shut his trap. As I was getting ready, Eric decided to put the speaker up to the phone to share this person's nonsense with the listeners. I talked to "Carlos" or "Charlie", whichever he decides to go by, for a long time - about his woes and his ideals, from art to illness to love to loss. Meanwhile the wind howls against the windows and the sound of people hyper-ventilating- insane from lack of oxygen at the top of a mountain blares out of the monitors.

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