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Acid Seven: An Introduction

I'm Patrick. I write poetry under my own name and make silly songs under other ones. I'm an editor at 8th Street Publishing Guild, which is a lil’ surrealist poetry press I started with my pals at Revolution Records. When I'm not putting off my own writing projects, I'm a writing tutor at the college I attend. Before any of this, I was a quasi-music blogger, posting my stuff to be reviewed by the denizens of the beautifully-2000s-looking Sputnik Music.

I get sentimental thinking about Adam Downer's final review for Sputnik, which is simultaneously the best and worst album review I've ever read. It's the best because it concerns itself with the hollow promises of late capitalism -- which endlessly prods at our sensibilities to fine-tune its offerings to us -- thus giving us a feeling of the lived-experience of cultural burnout:

"You wish you still believed in the healing power of power chords and the solidarity of punk lyrics. But you don’t anymore. Not really."

It's the worst because it's definitely not the sort of music criticism we should seek to write in every case. Sometimes an album is just an album -- no need for an autobiography. What's more, I just have to disagree. There's more to this thing than power chords and deep-throated platitudes. I think there's always room for a sprinkle of something that makes us reconsider things in a record review, though. After all, the same is true of the music that means the most to us.

A lot of that music, and a lot of what inspires my belief in music, is right here in Kansas City. Seeing good friends and familiar faces start bands; seeing folks affirm the creepy, the weird, the eerie in their music -- or just the opposite; seeing how varied it is out here -- hip-hop, punk, pop, noise, jazz, electronic... that shit gets me going. There's a hell of a lot to believe in here. I think Shuttlecock has the first half covered so far -- what I want to write about is on the fringes right now: the scantily-attended, the loud, the strange.

A number of venue closures have come to pass -- ones which each time spelled the end to their respective performances. But each time more spaces have sprung up (Farewell Transmission, 1819 Vine), and underutilized spaces have booked more and more shows (Union Library, the Snake Tank). Clearly, folks in the Kansas City music scene give a shit -- by necessity! In a city where arts are perhaps more valued/funded, the apathy on this front is tangible. This is not so in KC. The belief in music is necessary to the scene's survival, and autopilot is not an option. What these venue closures signify is just that: venue closures. Zoey Shopmaker writes of the closure of Niche, "It is impossible to know what KC's underground scene would look like without Niche. The scene as we know it is stronger, more connected and more grounded in a sense of identity, culture and community because of it." The same rings true of venues past, where performers are not giving in, but instead doubling down, making connections in creative places.

One of these connections is something I have wanted to see for a long time: a dynamic intermingling of indiscriminate musicality -- "no genre music." I have always had a hunch there was a throughline with much of KC's music, and now it's materializing via Tim Harte's AKAMFDM Duodectet. I've only heard whispers of what precisely this will be, but the list of performers is a stunning who's-who of some of KC's most ambitious musicians: MX.MRS, Bath Consolidated, Killus, Seth Davis, members of the Sextet, Sacra Saturni, and surely many others. This is what appears to be a culmination of Harte's sprawling Thomas Kinkade project, but I have a feeling it will be much more.

After catching a Sister Zo set at the Union Library recently, I'm optimistic about the future of KC's music scene. I'm looking forward to the FUKLYFE House Party, and An Evening with Seth Andrew Davis at Westport Coffee House. Things I'm digging right now in town include Killus’ newest offering, “Wraith;” Like A Tiger's debut album “Home Movies;” Seth's Ghost In the Machine; MX.MRS’ slow-burn masterpiece “Pagliacci;” Obscenity Plugs’ “Mystic Creep; and Bath Consolidated's new single “Medulla (Cloister of Trials I).” These all belong to the sort of milieu I'd like to cover -- each in their own way compellingly experimental.

Return to Shuttlecock on the seventh day of each month for a transmission from Patrick’s ongoing journey into the experimental and genreless music of Kansas City. Follow him on Twitter.

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