MV Carbon & Aki Onda - Erased Gaze cassette

MV Carbon & Aki Onda - Erased Gaze cassette

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wrap-around full-color cassingle style packaging.

Side A. Erased Gaze
MV Carbon: reel to reel, vocals
Aki Onda: cassettes, electronics
Doron Sadja: hard-hit drums

Side B. Shrouded Distraction
MV Carbon: reel to reel, cello, vocals, electronics
Aki Onda: drum machine, guitar, cassettes

Composed by Aki Onda and MV Carbon
Lyrics by MV Carbon
Recorded and mixed by Aki Onda 

"I'm the kind of person who is forgetful and whose memory is clueless. Nonetheless I vividly remember when I first heard MV Carbon play. It was around 2008 and she was improvising with then-Baltimore-based cellist and voice performer Audrey Chen at the Paris London West Nile, an underground DIY space on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, which she co-founded after moving from Chicago. She was living there and sharing the large, high-ceiling industrial-looking space with other newcomers-in-town, such as Doron Sadja, Zeljko McMullen, and Mario Diaz de Leon. She and Audrey were facing each other in the middle of the space, surrounded by tons of musical instruments, stage props, and reclaimed junk. I was the only one who saw the private session, though Tony Conrad, who had a studio there and was an important figure in the PLWN collective, stopped by and chatted with us afterwards. I reckon they were just jamming, but it was jaw-dropping. They didn’t seem bothered by the standard methods improvisers generally employ to keep each's sense of timing and pacing; instead they were exploring what they could do together without relying on pre-existing vocabularies. Their play wasn't matching but co-existing in a whimsical way. Carbon's style -- flamboyant and absolutely-like-no-other -- reminded me of Frenchtrumpeter and provocateur Jac Berrocal's manner of composing sonic palettes. I had been collaborating with Jac around that time, so he was fresh on the mind. I'm the kind of person who’s into a player’s personal style rather than their ability to adhere to a particular genre or form. So it was refreshing to hear both Carbon’s and Audrey’s music, free of any trace of New York’s musical traditions – neither the Downtown ’80s style nor the budding Brooklyn indie scene nor any others I could recognize; it was just their own.

This is one of countless memories I’ve accrued since meeting Carbon. We started playing together just after that. Our first show was back at the PLWN that same year, and we kept playing for a while at venues around New York (MoMA PS1, ISSUE Project Room, etc.) After the PLWN's closure in 2010, Carbon moved to another studio with Tony Conrad, which was just around the corner from my apartment in Greenpoint. We would hang out there or in McGolrick Park down the block, especially in summer time. Once, I recorded her vocals for her solo album in a makeshift booth in her studio. The tiny space wasn’t designed for sound isolation but rather to retain heat, as we were in the middle of a freezing winter and the large studio had no heating. We also went to a mountain to bury Carbon's beloved, long hair cat Mousers in the middle of a saddened night.

Carbon’s creative associations always turn into personal ones, and there is no separation between her art and her life. If you hear her playing, regardless whether it’s cello, voice, reel-to-reel tape recorder or whatever, you recognize her character and edge first. Her painting, film, and even vegan cooking, all the same. I love her fashion -- a bit camp but gorgeous and elegant. There is a hint of Warhol’s Factory superstar vibe (Ultra Violet and Mario Montez...? I wouldn't be surprised if Carbon starred in a Jack Smith film...). She has an extensive and expansive wardrobe of clothes with a very particular taste. I saw her numerous times over the last ten years but she never wore the same clothes twice, always a fresh new look. Or maybe I just can't keep track...

Oh, I almost forgot to say... These two songs grew from our decade-long friendship, but the tracks speak for themselves. I would just mention that the blissed-out, hard-hit drums on the first track were played by our pal Doron Sadja, who now lives in Berlin. Enjoy!"

-Aki Onda