October 30th, 2013

A Mutable Sounds Review

Radio masquerading as dust
Gabriel Chad Boyer

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Within the first ten seconds of Bode Radio’s Dust Bowl Masquerade the album defines itself as a jarring fusion of the exotic and the deranged. In the following twenty seconds you find yourself really enjoying yourself. Then the rug falls out from under you, and it continues to fall out from under you, and over you, and around you, until you are seeing sound in a very different very unsettling way. Dust Bowl Masquerade is both a frenetic piece of cut-up electronica as well as a very groove-oriented album from start to finish. I’d like to say it’s what it would sound like if The Books and Apex Twin had a baby, but this baby belongs in a species all its own.


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October 24th, 2013

Feliz: Letter 2

Excerpts from the Wes Letters
Feliz Lucia Molina

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February 9, 2012


Dear Wes,
Have you watched the 1960s documentary Endless Summer? After drive-thru at In-N-Out I went home and turned on Netflix. The sunny California male voiceover truly lifts my heart. And I never say lifts my heart. That two surfer friends went around the world searching for the perfect wave is a cute representation of a philosophy of sport or aesthetics of time. Do you know Roland Barthes’ little masterpiece What Is Sport? I wonder what he would have said about surfing.


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October 13th, 2013

The Three Mulla-mulgars
Walter de la Mare

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[First chapter of Richard Adams'---author of Watership Down---favorite book found below.]


On the borders of the Forest of Munza-mulgar lived once an old grey fruit-monkey of the name of Mutt-matutta. She had three sons, the eldest Thumma, the next Thimbulla, and the youngest, who was a Nizza-neela, Ummanodda. And they called each other for short, Thumb, Thimble, and Nod. The rickety, tumble-down old wooden hut in which they lived had been built 319 Munza years before by a traveller, a Portugall or Portingal, lost in the forest 22,997 leagues from home. After he was dead, there came scrambling along on his fours one peaceful evening a Mulgar (or, as we say in English, a monkey) named Zebbah. At first sight of the hut he held his head on one side awhile, and stood quite still, listening, his broad-nosed face lit up in the blaze of the setting sun. He then hobbled a little nearer, and peeped into the hut. Whereupon he hobbled away a little, but soon came back and peeped again. At last he ventured near, and, pushing back the tangle of creepers and matted grasses, groped through the door and went in. And there, in a dark corner, lay the Portingal’s little heap of bones.


The hut was dry as tinder. It had in it a broken fire-stone, a kind of chest or cupboard, a table, and a stool, both rough and insect-bitten, but still strong. Zebbah sniffed and grunted, and pushed and peered about. And he found all manner of strange and precious stuff half buried in the hut—pots for Subbub; pestles and basins for Manaka-cake, etc.; three bags of great beads, clear, blue, and emerald; an old rusty musket; nine ephelantoes’ tusks; a bag of Margarita stones; and many other things, besides cloth and spider-silk and dried-up fruits and fishes. He made his dwelling there, and died there. This Mulgar, Zebbah, was Mutta-matutta’s great-great-great-grandfather. Dead and gone were all.


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September 12th, 2013

Layered Ekphrasis Collaboration
Lina ramona Vitkauskas

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[Delve into the article below by Mutable's own Lina Vitkauskas, and at the bottom you will find a string of poems that were inspired by a chapbook that was inspired by a film.]


I first saw Fando y Lis in 2001. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which the main characters—lovers Fando and Lis—search for a mythical land, Tar, where it is said that all dreams come true. The film documents the journey to Tar—lays before the viewer a series of exquisitely odd and profoundly symbolic experiences; if dreams come true in Tar, it is no matter if we ever arrive, for dreams are fulfilled simply observing the unfolding excursion. The film itself is a poet’s dream—a grand pageant of formidable imagery: burning pianos and high-society aristocrats wandering barren landscapes littered with demolished structures, once beacons of culture/civilization; marionette shows illustrating the rape of innocence; canned peach-testicle metaphors and gaggles of erotic women and transvestites tempting the characters away for moments of sensual curiosity; mud nudes meshing with one another in the soft earth: flower consumption, body-painting, and melodramatic, reclining graveyard poses—a whirlwind of remarkable hallucinations strung together, coupled with intriguing and affected dialogue.


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September 8th, 2013

Ben: Letter 2

Excerpts from The Wes Letters
Ben Segal

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[The Wes Letters is a collaborative epistolary novel composed of letters to the film director Wes Anderson. Mutable Sound will be publishing a series of excerpts from the book over the coming months. They will come in weekly single-letter installments from one of the three authors: Feliz Lucia Molina, Brett Zehner, and Ben Segal.]



Dear Wes,


Will you ever go bald? Do you worry about it? Do you worry that people won’t want to work with bald Wes Anderson, that they’ll see balding as a sign of antiquatedness, that your career might be divided between the haired and hairless eras?


I worry about it, but then again I worry about almost everything.


A wise man would grow out his hair and have a wig made of it, or a couple of different wigs to simulate different haircuts. Don’t even say a wise man wouldn’t care. Wisdom does not obliterate vanity.


Tomorrow I will go back to the zoo to watch the jaguar cubs. The zookeepers handle all of the animals they don’t plan to release into the wild. This way the animals are easier to care for if they need medical treatment or if their exhibit gets moved. The mother jaguar has gone through this process, but she is not really tamed. She would kill a zookeeper if she ever got a chance. The keeper told me so. The jaguar mother licks her cubs often and lets them play with her tail.


But let’s bring this back to balding. Jaguars don’t go bald. I don’t know if any other species balds. People say that man is the only animal that anticipates his own death. If that’s the case then balding is a bit like anticipation, the hair evacuating the body so the man won’t have to go all at once. Imagine a mountain of hair at heaven’s gate, his own head’s worth awaiting each man on his arrival. Imagine naughty angels diving into the mountain like children into an enormous leaf pile, scattering the hair, mixing it all up, leaving all heaven’s new entrants to settle for patchy and multi-hued new hair, hair they’d likely shave off in preference for a clean and familiar-sheened dome.


Did you ever try to Google Map the way from your house to heaven? It tried to send me to a shop for fancy deserts. Wherever you live it might be different, just like different religions have different conceptions of the afterlife, but I bet a lot of the time you’ll wind up getting directions to a pricy bakery.


Until again,

August 30th, 2013

Diary of a Garish Amateur

The Prize Peacock
John Wilmes

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As I’m going through this awful break-up, I feel that the animals should only be in the zoos so to watch the humans. My crying, in public—as the pain invades the numb shock—is present only in short, cacophonous bursts; my decades of socialization have cause it to cut off before it becomes the blubbery mess it could be, in front of Chicago. The sensation is entirely involuntary. And it’s wordless like the break-up conversation might as well have been; words are said, plenty of them, but they’re ultimately just the texture of mine and her’s confused, angsty horse-wails.


I go to work the day after it happens, and some of the cry-bursts happen in the office, too. It’s so hard to present myself to people; it seems like they *know*; they know how pathetic and anomie-plagued I feel—I am plagued now, perhaps. I’m told I’ve got to make plans with people *and stick to them*, so that I feel the world is a structure, and that I’m in that structure.


I talk to everyone who’s got a head worth transferring with, and I feel the Army Of Me amassing. I feel it marching toward refuge and truth; it is a balm, it is a miracle, it is here. My jokes and hugs and favors have all meant something over these years.


I resolve not to eat endless amounts of Q-grade meat slathered in grease, as I have in the past; I am from the Midwest, I tell myself: I have never needed much reason to punish myself, with such things. This is the land of those so docile that they agree to kill their hearts. But now that I’ve got such a reason to hurt me, I refuse to. I demand of myself that I become something else.


I ruminate toward my transformation at top speed, and I sleep only when it’s possible, which is when I’ve got enough Ambien on hand. My consciousness blurs into funny grids of unreal colors, when I take it, and I giggle into nothingness, only to shoot awake four hours later, incapable of more slumber.


I stare at the wall for hours with knots in my stomach, and then go back to work and feed myself into the system’s arms—but I’m plotting my escape on my computer, when they’re not looking. I’m writing and I’m making moves, making deals. I want to go beyond this mushy subservience. I want to convert this pain into beauty, and be the prize peacocked human, for the giraffes to pay to see.

August 26th, 2013

2 of 2

Before The Ghosts Came
D Howland Abbott

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[For the first part of a two-part article go here.]


Dr. Bob wound a chewed pen in his wiry hair and looked at me over the top of his John Lennon spectacles. “So how is your testimony doing these days, David?” I was appalled at the question; he was asking if I was a good and faithful member of the Mormon church, which was none of his business. This question had no place in what was supposed to be a therapeutic relationship; fortunately I knew the language of this particular lie very well. I’d had to recite it dozens of times in my life, and my response was thoroughly scripted.


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August 21st, 2013

My Asinine Life

How a body lights on the ass end of everything
Gabriel Chad Boyer

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You’re always off and away in the airy confines of your skull, like a sparrow trapped in the tiniest cage—that keeps burrowing deeper into the subatomic field in its effort to escape this unfortunate cage—and in general always searching for another crack to crawl into within that fifth wall delineates the back end of your brain. You got hands behind this aforementioned backdrop of your mental operating theater and they’re messing around with the flickering remnants of your dreams while your one sweetest hope is just to see the light over the hilltop at the end of this long night. You erotic ornithologist you.


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