AK025 Nighthoney: Melodies for Prepared Guitar, Vol. 2 hones in on some of the more pristine sounds hinted at from Volume 1. While the focus is still on the melodic, the preparations used to modify the guitar push House Wind’s tones into new sonic territory, offering harmonic textures that sustain a visceral sublime. The compositions shimmer, churn, and resonate with a brimming sensuality evocative of an awakening.

$7 – cassette tape

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From House Wind, on his technique:

“From January through August, 2019, I worked on a technique that created incredible harmonic overtones on a prepared 12-string electric guitar. While it took a while to refine, the technique is simplicity itself, and what turns out to be an easy way of making complex live solo guitar music with a minimum of effects. Here’s how it’s done. (Note: I tried this technique on a six-string with poor results.)

1) Make a second bridge on the fretboard by sliding a heavy nail, glass dropper or pen under all the strings at, say, the 12th fret. This raises the strings from the fretboard on both sides of this added bridge.

2) Pluck or strum on the neck side of this second bridge. All playing is done on the ‘neck side’ so to speak. The strings on the right or pick-up side of the inserted bridge, unless muted for effect, are generally left completely free to vibrate.

3) Use metal finger picks on the index and middle fingers of the left hand as mini-slides to fret the notes (a regular slide can work, though with less control and precision). While there’s limited space to play, and you aren’t so much fretting the strings as caressing them, this set-up can generate unusually complex and beautiful bells, chimes and drones, using only a delay pedal to create a more kaleidoscopic effect.

Like playing natural harmonics on a guitar, you begin by locating the sweet spots that chime. What’s different from typical harmonics with this set-up is that overtone clusters seem to develop from the sympathetic vibration of the open strings on the pick-up side. Sometimes the clusters create simple drones, while at other times they could easily be mistaken for violas, organ and brass instruments. What’s striking about playing this way is that the guitar behaves like two different instruments, with the overtone clusters often building separately and distinctly from the plucked or strummed melody parts, maybe similar to the interdependent way melody and drone respond to each other on drone wind instruments like bagpipes.

Since this technique performs best with a light touch to coax out the harmonics, the notes available to play are more limited. I used several tunings for variation. But compared to most prepared guitar set-ups I’ve tried, this one bestowed more than its share of beautiful surprises and made for easy music making nearly every time I picked up the guitar. As always, it’s a double-edged sword, the heightened element of chance also meant the frustration of being unable to duplicate a particularly stunning passage of overtones.

AK Presents: A Shot is a Stanza

Inspired by The One Minutes Foundation, AgonyKlub invited 23 cultural practitioners to contribute a one minute video poem, using their phones as an entry point.

Works by (in order of appearance):
Matthew Budden, Dan Pon, Nic Hughes, Margaret Dragu, Tiziana La Melia, Karen Zolo, Isabelle Pauwels, Clark Nikolai, Katayoon Yousefbigloo, Steffanie Ling, Myles Black, Aimee Van Drimmelen, TJ Felix, Vikram Uchida-Khanna, Roxanne Panchasi, KC Wei, Barry Doupé, Pia Massie, Yusuke Shibata, Nicole Kelly Westman, Alysha Seriani, and Dan Colussi.

AK06 Magazine+ Mixtape

magazine + cassette ~ $15
Featuring new printed works by: Myles Black, Barry Doupé, Justin Gradin & Doug Wideen, Pia Massie, Trevor McEachran, Andrea Nunes, Colin Osler, Isabelle Pauwels, Jacquelyn Zong-li Ross, and Karen Zolo

With music by: Tommy Tone, Pukesword, Christophe Clébard, Sylvia Wrath, hazy, Alieen Bryant, and Organs Without Bodies.

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AK020 – HOUSE WINDLocusts Make Honey: Melodies for Prepared Guitar

A 16-track suite of altered, prepared, and shifted guitar tones evoking ‘familiar strangeness’, magic, and the ungovernable.  Mirroring the aleatory spectrum of sounds heard in nature, these melodies also affect a temporal and cultural shift, suggesting kinship with older music traditions, particularly non-Western ones, like Gamelan and Japanese shamisen and koto.  Locusts Make Honey pulses, buzzes, and enlightens.

Limited cassette run of 70 out June 1st.  Come catch a live performance and pick up a copy at the Toast Collective Sat June 1st.

$6-cassette with download code
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AK019: Kamikaze Nurse – Bucky Fleur

Kamikaze Nurse’s 10-song debut, Bucky Fleur, is an epic win from start to finish.  Swirling, sparkling, and swerving guitars, a virtuosic rhythm section, and poetically sensorial vocals all add up to a whole that can only be described as indescribable.  Just when you’ve tamed the vibe, it shifts into a brand new way.  With reference points of My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, and the Pixies, they aim high, and have created a rock masterpiece.

A limited cassette run of 50 will be available Sunday June 9th, at Music Waste, and here~!

$6-cassette with download code
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AK017: Maskara – A Visitor

Nic Hughes’ prolific output continues with AK017, A Visitor.  Maskara’s dagger sharp vocals castigates and scolds lovingly through the chaos of his controlled and elegant arrangements in this 9-track odyssey.  Despite the sonic punishment, there are riffs, arcing towards transgression.


$6 – cassette tape with download code
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AK014 is Echuta‘s sophomore release on agonyklub, Even If Long-Winded Waits.  In 7 songs, Andy Resto and Ace Martens develop a novelistic song-arc that rises and falls with the titular song as thematic centrepiece.  Reminiscent of Beckett’s Molloy, Resto’s unearthly human register contemplates the absurdity of existence.  This stream of consciousness is carried over chugging, dissonantly melodic guitar-scapes and atmospheric percussion that leads one into the dark and wild forest of the psyche.

$6 – cassette tape with insert

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AK015 is hazy’s 4 Letter Word, the 2nd release by Vancouver’s own blanket of space-time.  4 Letter Word was recorded over a sleepless winter, riding the ghostly waves of the early AM in a Chinatown basement.  Her voice is mouthfeel in your ear, the guitars are shards of a thunderstorm.  The resulting album is a bit of a mystery, wrangled into whatever 4 letter word you need it to be.

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$6 – cassette tape