November 22nd, 2015

The Making it Free Project

MUT014: Other Occasions Not Minded

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As we continue with our project to convert all audio product to free download, we have chosen a truly revolutionary synthesis of experimental electronica and noise art. Other Occasions Not Minded is the product of a collaboration between Lineland’s Malcolm Felder and Crank Sturgeon. “I wanted something that breaks from the peaceful, wordless universe of Lineland, something more meandering and experimental.” Felder says, “Collaborating with Matt seemed like an exciting way to do that. Though it seems our approach is at opposite ends of the spectrum, there is a humanness to his brand of noise that I love, and working with his material was immense fun.” The album they’ve crafted bridges noise, melody, spoken word, and electronica, creating a world of music that can be at times infectious, at times challenging, at times funny, and at times sublime.


And now, this album is available for free download here. Be sure to keep checking in as we continue to make each and every one of our Mutable albums free!

November 13th, 2015

The Untitled Michael Lewy
Luther Phillips

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Michael Lewy’s art exists in spaces that are often bare of even desolation, and utilizes common usually office-related objects to then re-interpret or re-examine them in an abstractified way. There is something very etherealized and conceptualizing about his CGI interpretations of office environments and other equally meaningless spaces, and something appealing too, but my favorite of Lewy’s works always have some sort of story to them—a simple image that suggests some larger story we are missing or a video project that is much about the back-story of his trapped minuscule double for example. (I am thinking of the video projection piece in the City of Work series, that gives us a glimpse of a minuscule Lewy in a CGI workplace dealing with his solitude poorly.)


But my favorite example of Lewy’s abilities as a filmmaker is a newer piece, Bigfoot Island—featured below—in which the striking juxtaposition of virtual space invading real space is then flopped on its head when that ubiquitous tiny Lewy slips inside a hole in his floor to go exploring in a world that can at times be bright and almost psychedelic and at times has a very Edward Gorey feel.


Lewy’s filmwork reminds me a little bit of all kinds of different directors—the purposeful artificiality of Wes Anderson, the slow-mo shots at the beginning of Melancholia, the blatant artifice in films like Eyes Wide Shut and The Ninth Gate, and the supernatural emptiness so characteristic of David Lynch. What these films share, and what is true of Lewy’s work specifically, is a black comedy / lighthearted horror with at its core this very blatant artifice—when the characters in Twin Peaks begin suddenly shaking, when in Eyes Wide Shut, Tom Cruise picks up a newspaper and the headline, after a very near run-in with death, says, “LUCKY TO BE ALIVE”. It’s a joke where no one is laughing not even the artist, but one in which we all sit back and calmly appreciate the profound beauty of this horrific gag.


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November 11th, 2015

The Lit Pub

The Lit Pub reviews Welcome to Weltschmerz
Matt Ampleman

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I wanted to walk away from this book as if a newly single man from a conflict-wrought relationship. I wanted to forego any sense of duty to the protagonist and his attendant world. But I had to see things through.


Friends, to read Gabriel Chad Boyer’s book, Welcome to Weltschmerz, is to enter into a conversation with an interlocutor that will break all the rules of polite authorship, but you find you cannot leave for niceties sake, for interest, then for sheer incredulity and inspiration at the arc of the story before you. It is like talking to a homeless man, at whom you are nodding out of politeness until you realize that he knows every line of John Berryman’s Dream Songs and can recite them backwards.


Boyer’s memoir follows a younger version of himself around the perimeter of the U.S. on a failing quest to perform bedroom theater in the homes of strangers and friends in a few keystone cities. The result is a journey fraught with engine failure, interpersonal conflict, and many empty, cold nights in a VW minibus without his side-kick Jill.


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February 27th, 2015

the Making it Free Project

MUT001: A Journey to Happiness Island

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For our next conversion to free download in our on-going project to make every audio product we’ve ever put out free, we’ve chosen the first album Mutable ever released. A Journey to Happiness Island is a children’s album that’s not for kids, a darkly comic journey from the mediocre Ing-land to the fantastical Happiness Island. Mister Tadpole takes Billy and his friends on a journey to the bottom of the ocean and into outer space and to the outskirts of Jupiter, while all the while singing educational songs about quantum mechanics and not setting your sights too high. Lots of fun for the whole family of adult arthropods!


A Journey to Happiness Island came about one weekend when Malcolm and myself got together with a bunch of other musical troublemakers. We spent three days improvising our way from one side of madness to the other. And now, this story album is available for free download here. Be sure to keep checking in every month as we continue to make each and every one of our Mutable albums free!

February 27th, 2015

An excerpt from the God Game
Colin Jacks

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[We here at Mutable wanted to showcase a little bit from Jacks' lost classic on the game of game creation, the God Game---some copies may still be lurking somewhere but most of these books were destroyed during an unfortunate flooding incident in Chicago last summer. The below excerpt begins the section on the creation of role-playing games and their like. If you like what you read below, you can email us at to get a pdf of the full manual, so that YOU TOO can be part of our God Game focus group!]



1.‭ ‬Categories


1.0.0‭ ‬Does the ground consist of spires‭?
What is and what is not within the world that you are planning to create‭? ‬Does the ground consist of spires that reach to the tips of the atmosphere,‭ ‬or is the entire orb made up of a teaming mass of encephalocapsules‭? (‬Brain capsules.‭) ‬All of this begins with categorization.‭ ‬Create a series of types,‭ ‬beginning with animate and inanimate matter,‭ ‬or god and mortal,‭ ‬or up and down,‭ ‬and from these preliminary dichotomies you can create the great font of being,‭ ‬the million hordes and so forth.


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February 26th, 2015

Around London For...

A day about the British Museum
James Mansfield

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I remember visiting the British Museum as a child, when I must have been around five or six, with my father. I say this, but actually can remember nothing from the visit apart from my insistence that we make the return journey by taxi, as I was bored of not seeing anything on the underground. I have since then been to the Museum countless times, and now having founded my own Museum of Imaginative Knowledge, had a strong desire to try and spend some time there for the purpose of what I call pure research, or simply just hanging out. What would it be like to spend an entire day in the British Museum?


Room 13 (Greece)
I sat down and looked at a large sculpture of a seated figure. The wall text told me there were more of these figures in the Museum, somewhere, but I didn’t feel the need to see them. I was more interested in the book I brought with me, an account of the antediluvian civilization of Atlantis. I looked at the gallery attendant, who was writing a note in a small book. I walked over to three visitors, each with a map in their jacket pockets. I told them that the statue used to line a route between a Greek city and a nearby shrine, but both these places are now destroyed.


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February 25th, 2015

Letter from the Editor

Tom Clemons, Frank, and the Found
Gabriel Chad Boyer

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Those of us who are so involved in manufacturing the sorts of weirdness showcased in the award-winning film Frank are prone to be a little over-sensitive that others are chuckling darkly in corners at our futile efforts. We are the sensitive children others beat with mounds of dung. We are the ones who wore the dung-shirts for the sake of something greater than just coins of refined dung, but for the sake greater dung god in the sky sort of thing. Even while screaming this omniscient dung being does not exist. What is Frank?


Frank is a comedy that laughs at and with the musical argonauts—i.e. the fictitious band Soropfbs, and its lead singer/guru, Frank. We witness the strange man in the giant fiberglass head recording himself hopping in a field, and we witness his final falling apart. We are laughing at his confusion when faced with modern social media networks, and watch the audience within the film being chided for laughing at all the amusing footage the carrot-topped lead has been posting on the web this whole time. Which. Isn’t this exactly what we’ve been doing this whole time? As in, laughing at these musical iconoclasts? Am I thinking too much?


Of course, Soropfbs are not really that iconoclastic as Stephen Rennick, who composed the score for Frank, has himself acknowledged. A little bit like a New Wave Captain Beefheart cover band with a little Daniel Johnston’s prose-y lyric stylings and outsider artist insane asylum status, and at least one Zapa-esque digression. Not to mention, Frank Sidebottom, the actual inspiration for the film.


Every time I watch footage of Frank Sidebottom, I always immediately think of the Residents. These days, when I think about what music is becoming in this age of the interweb, and then ponder back to the Residents and their Theory of Obscurity, or Frank Sidebottom and his Max Fleischer-inspired fiberglass head, these artists, that once seemed so intentionally and idiosyncratically obtuse, begin to appear more prophetic. We are living in an anonymous age, in which quality music of all variety lives in a kind of field of obscurity, a sea of unknown eyes and ears manufacturing endless hours of downloadable product on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Of a daunting saturation of home movies and maverick videos on Youtube. It is the age of the anonymous creating public, and most of what we create are funny cat gifs. Which brings us to Tom Clemons.


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January 28th, 2015

the Making it Free Project

MUT015: Cast and Costumes

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We here at Mutable are going to be converting one album into a free download every month for the next six months, and we’re starting with a favorite of ours from several years ago. (Although, of course they’re all favorites.) Cast and Costumes is an album that should have received more attention than it did.


Cast and Costumes is the brain child of Paplib and Paplib is Germain Caillet. More than just a genius of psychedelic electronic rock, Paplib is truly unclassifiable. His music has a dreamy pop quality too and these jarring cut-up moments.


Listen to and download Cast and Costumes for free here, and check in next month when we make another of our many Mutable products free!