Baltimore City Paper

Booed Music: Tarotplane, Nerftoss, Odwalla88, more

  • Clarinetist Mick Ricereto is an interior and product designer by trade and his online portfolio finds grand statements in clean lines. Musically he’s equally ascetic, an approach temperamentally matched by violinist/composer Liz Meredith on the debut release from their duo, X|i|O (pictured), “Vol. 1,” a combination of improvisation and graphic scores. It sketches entire worlds out of closely observed details: Fingers on strings create subtle textures; valves opening and closing suggest short rhythmic daydreams; sustained notes held in unison smear abstract drones between the ears. This is gorgeously minimal music that somehow achieves more space and intimacy the louder you turn it up. X|i|O plays an album-release show Dec. 5 at the Carriage House with solo sets from Will Redman, Meg Rorison, and Andrew Bernstein.
  • Booed kinda hates himself for missing Tarotplane’s debut live appearance at the Bahamas a few weeks back, a bill shared with fellow electronics artists HD Sunshine, Functionary (the solo joint of Wume’s Albert Schatz, whose “Live at Lake Paradise” cassette release is worth tracking down), and the indubitable Tom Boram. Tarotplane is PJ Dorsey, who local electronic fans may recall as the proprietor of the mail-order site from the early 2000s. He recently posted Tarotplane’s debut album on Soundcloud ( With the band name nod to a Captain Beefheart song and cover art alluding to the layouts of BYG Actuel’s late-’60s records, Tarotplane wears its inspirations on its sleeve. The 11 exploratory tracks here appreciate the many musical minds who used sound to plumb inner space. The textural ear massage of ‘Excursion 3’ stands out, and fans of Musica Elettronica Viva’s long-form hallucinations should check it out.
  • Dope Body bassist John Jones showcases his inner lava lamp on “Maiden Powers,” his second release under his solo sobriquet Nerftoss that Ehse Records just issued. His 12 soundscapes occupy the air like clouds, morphing from diffuse to dense before heading into the foreboding and chthonic. It’s wintry in places (the echoing ‘Bounty Sweat’), dream-poppy in others (‘Dream of Pennies’), at times downright groovy (the great ‘Reaching’), and overall as rhythmically fetching and moody as Mark Nelson’s Pan American releases over the years. Nerftoss plays an album release show Nov. 29 at Floristree with Protect U, MC Schmidt’s Ensemble Vague, Amanda Schmidt, and Zachary Utz.
  • Booed caught Odwalla88 months and months ago and is still trying to wrap his head around it. The duo of artists Chloe Maratta and Flannery Silva—both of the short-lived Rock512Devil gallery, Maratta also the editor of the fabulous “Rock & Rose” zine—is either a noise band who knows its way around a pop song or a pop band that knows noise performance art is the future of pop or something else entirely. Regardless, the group had a prolific year. It put out a split cassette with You Nori in April, just issued a jump-drive release with an embroidered patch, and a CD is due out on a new label from No Age drummer/vocalist Dean Spunt soon. Odwalla88 also plays a fabulous Dec. 5 bill at the Bahamas that features local composer Sunatirene (aka Sydney Spann) and performances of pieces by Steve Reich and Alvin Lucier.
  • Finally, MICA brings back the local edition of Phil Kline’s “Unsilent Night,” a sound sculpture for a parade of boomboxes, Dec. 4. Interested participants (bring your own boombox) and parade walkers should meet up at the ‘Man/Woman’ sculpture in front of Penn Station at 7 p.m.