Robert Bush 5 p.m., March 22
RIYL: Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Playground Slap, Gunther's Grass, Me Me the Moth, Nice World
- "You Stay Strange, San Diego" · Jan. 29, 2014
- "Gunther's Grass Serving Up Vintage Stash on New Full-Length" · March 3, 2013
- "Weird Noise Manglers" · Dec. 5, 2012
- Concert Review: "RADulovich!" · Jan. 5, 2010
- "Youth Group Version of Experimental" · May 28, 2008
- "They Never Had the Good Hair" · March 15, 2007
Influences: Kronos Quartet, Wire, John Cage, Augustus Pablo, Pere Ubu, Frank Zappa, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart, the Residents
Guitarist/keyboardist/electronic-manipulator Marcelo Radulovich is an experimental musician in the vein of John Cage and the Kronos Quartet. Asked to describe his music, he says “Always a tough question, but experimental pop, dada funk, and surreal rock are all tags which have been used. I like lush and rich productions. The music is very colorful, with lots of funk in the rhythm, loud in the bass, and with electronics, sampling, and processing that gives it a futuristic feel. Most of the songs are under three minutes, and they come in English and Spanish.”
As a member of the Trummerflora music collective, he performs as Titicacaman, as well as presenting and promoting San Diego shows featuring other avant garde musicians from around the globe. Gunther's Grass began in 2005 as a collaboration between Chilean-born audiovisual artist Radulovich and Christopher Adler to bring together two ancient drone-based instruments from across the world: the medieval European hurdy-gurdy and the Lao/Northeast Thai mouth organ khaen.
He's also a founding member of veteran San Diego group Playground Slap. Blending punk, jazz, psychedelic, and funk, the band has been extant for over 30 years. Radulovich also writes and records solo material, creating ambient collages of techno, industrial, pop, and trance. One of three original members, Radulovich still plays with the group.
“My musical collaborations tend to produce the most offbeat tracks,” he says. “I have an MP3 single coming out soon on dPulse that I did with David J, former Bauhaus bassist and current San Diegan, called ‘Hank Williams to the Angel of Death.’”
Another collaborative effort, Me Me the Moth, pairs Radulovich with Salem, Massachusetts–based Neil Carlill of the band Vedette. “We met through MySpace,” says Radulovich, “and we began writing songs early in 2008. First we exchanged ideas, and then files — instrumental tracks, solo tracks of voice, guitar parts, and lyrics. Then I pieced the songs together at my home studio. At the end of some eight months, we had enough material for a full CD, all done without ever having met! Even though everything was done through the Internet — email and regular Skype meetings — it flowed very naturally. The songs sound as if we were in the same room at the same time.”
Me Me the Moth’s debut album The Weirding Valley was released in June 2010. His new band Nicey Nice World made their live debut in early 2011 -- the trio also includes Jim Call (the Penetrators) and Joyce Rooks (the Dinettes).
In 2010, he formed a new MP3 label Titicacaman Records to release his next two solo albums, Dear Annex and Summer in Winter. Two videos from Dear Annex were uploaded to YouTube; one for “Girls on the Staple Line,” the other for “Rainbow Moo Moo,” with a third video later created for the title track using archival footage of mental patients in the 1940s.
His album Legends & Robots was released in April 2011. The following year, a new video was released for the title track of his Dear Annex full-length, depicting a strange and hypnotic grey old dream, featuring archive footage of mental patients in the 1940s.
Late 2012 saw the release of La Mano Ponderosa, recorded using only an iPod and various apps, along with his vocal tracks. “I’m fascinated with the world of apps, and I see the iPod as a revolutionary sort of musical instrument, providing countless versions of lapsteel guitars, basses, drum machines, pianos, theremins, and weird noise manglers.” Apps used include Thumbjam, iKaossilator, Filtatron, Flautina, i808, DM1, iPlay Kalimba, Shiny Drum, iDrum, Jentreng, Soundbox, and CutupMachine.
“Recording with the iPod is easy. I run a stereo line into my ProTools hardware and, voilà, no mics to set up to capture drums and amps, [and] no cables to unknot. Apps are super cheap, so getting the approximation of a full orchestra can run a couple of bucks. But it can be a major pain to perform some parts on such a small [iPod] surface, so I tidied up my takes afterwards during editing in ProTools, cutting and sliding regions, lining them up with the drum tracks, and so forth. Lots of hours spent muttering under my breath!”
The offbeat recording process makes it difficult to pull off live renditions of the songs. “I’m going through a major transition phase, wanting to get out of the studio and back onstage, so I’m in the process of putting aside most of my electronics and rounding up a few great musicians to make music that really comes alive [in concert]. Less button-pushing, more string-bending.”
With that in mind, Radulovich’s band Nice World (formerly Nicey Nice World) debuted its new four-piece lineup on December 9, 2012, at the Kava Lounge Gallery, minus co-founder Joyce Rooks (the Dinettes, the Cockpits).
A new collection of songs from experimental, minimalist art rockers Gunther's Grass, was released in early 2013 on Marcelo Radulovich's local Titicacaman label. “The stuff was recorded in 2005 and 2006 at my studio and has been sitting around in my hard drives, so time to get it out there,” said Radulovich on its release.
“The music is instrumental, atonal at times, beautifully harmonious at others. The stuff is hard to classify and for the most part, acoustic and unprocessed, plus carries a brain twisting title to boot...it's really cool and original music, droney and all instrumental, totally exotic and psychedelic in the best possible way.”
He developed new material for live performances as Son of Radul, which he describes as "a cool, fat blend of electronics, guitar, and voice, [with] lots of beats and slow, ultra moody spaces." The project debuted March 22, 2015 at the Merrow.
Around the same time, he could be heard collaborating on two songs with Japanese recording artist Haco for a new album called Secret Garden. "Haco and I are also doing a long distance collaboration on a full length album, which we hope to finish early next year," he told the Reader.
His May 2016 album Insomnia Party Feathers was released under the name Son of Radul. Another release from that October, Earthling Hymns of Christmas Past, was credited to the Royal Orchestra of Titicaca.