Audio Arm #3 ‘Omniana’

John Gullak (from Unsound vol.1 #5, 1984)
Audio Arm #3 side A
Audio Arm #3 side B

A founding member of San Francisco’s infamous art-punk band The Mutants, John Gullak (b. 1953, pictured above) was first a painter with several exhibitions in Bay Area galleries during the 1970s. He founded Another Room Magazine in 1978 with Lucy Childs and graphic designer Michael Mallery [+], apparently one of the first magazines designed using a MacIntosh computer. Another Room was a zine devoted to SF’s underground culture and arts to which Greil Marcus, amongst others, was a contributor. In 1982, the editors also organized Public Hearing events, during which they mixed various cassettes on a PA system installed on the roof of a building in an industrial area in Oakland, CA. Gullak co-founded A.R.P.H. Tapes (for Another Room Public Hearings) in 1982 with Jeff Brogan, and released a dozen of compilation cassettes and solo works from a network of (principally Bay Area) contributors, including XX Committee, Big City Orchestra, Johanna Went, or The Problemist aka Unsound magazine publisher William Davenport – the Gullak portrait on top of this post comes from Unsound vol.1 #5, published 1984, available on Notes From Underground blog. John Gullak is also the No Other Radio show original founder on KPFA FM, Berkeley, CA.

Kristine Ambrosia, 1987

The majority of bands on Omniana, the companion cassette to Another Room Magazine #3, published 1985, come from the Bay Area, with the exception of Architects Office, Controlled Bleeding, Maybe Mental and Joseph Nechvatal. The compilation actually documents San Francisco’s local fringes and arty scene, focusing on the ambient experimental side. Contributions are highly consistent throughout with a strong emphasis on using electronics as an equivalent to mental disorder and social alienation, as if a soundtrack to a Philip K. Dick novel. In this respect, highlights are the unsettling contributions from Maybe Mental, Barrydalive and Ambrosia Transpersonal Communications. The latter is the duo of trance and shamanic performance artist Kristine Ambrosia (picture above from Leonardo Music Journal, vol.24, No. 2, 1991) and Timothy O’Neill on music and visuals. Their infamous live performances blended SM, occult and avantgarde elements, and their ‘Spinning Sigil’ is indeed from a live performance, contrary to most contributors resorting to hometaping, with the exception of National Disgrace aka Fred Rinne [+] whose track is also from a live recording. Also included are backward running synth drones by Steve Fisk, and collage and found sounds on Mashinenraum, START and Joseph Nechvatal. Barrydalive aka Barry Ward is close to musique concrète on his wonderful ‘Phallus in Wonderland’. Excellent cassette. Thanks to reader Spirito Bono for track titles. Audio Arm #2 was posted here.

Audio Arm #3 ‘Omniana’:

01 Architects Office ‘AO 254-4 part 1’ (2:10)
02 Black Iron Prison ‘World 96 Dream’ (3:29)
03 Die Walpurgisnacht ‘Liebestod’ (4:13)
04 Mashinenraum ‘New Primitive’ (3:32)
05 Maybe Mental ‘Calling’ (6:52)
06 Controlled Bleeding ‘Hurl’ (4:36)
07 Steve Fisk ‘No Basket Ball Lying in Texas (edit from)’ (4:35)
08 START ‘Tell Me of War’ (4:31)
09 National Disgrace ‘Creation of the World’ (2:57)
10 Deviation Social ‘She Wants To Be Near Manson’ (2:55)
11 Barrydalive ‘Phallus in Wonderland’ (6:03)
12 Joseph Nechvatal ‘There Must Be a Higher Meaning’ (3:25)
13 All Congo Ju Ju Band ‘Piece of Fat’ (2:56)
14 German Shepherds ‘Love Me’ (3:12)
15 Brad Laner ‘For Master’ (3:36)
16 Ambrosia Transpersonal Communications ‘Spinning Sigil’ (7:06)
17 Architects Office ‘AO 254-4 part 2’ (2:29)

Total time 68:30
Cassette released with Another Room Magazine #3, ARPH Tapes, AT#017, San Francisco, USA, 1985

Download [new link w/ updated track names]

Bonnie Kane

14 Responses to “Audio Arm #3 ‘Omniana’”

  1. 1 spirito bono February 8, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Selon les notes écrites par moi à l’époque et jointes à la cassette :

    01 AO 254.4 pt1
    02 world 96 dream
    05 calling
    06 hurl
    07 no basket ball lying in Texas (edit from)
    12 there must be a higher meaning
    15 for master
    17 AO 254.4 pt2

  2. 2 continuo February 8, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Merci very much.

  3. 3 twinkle February 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    YES: there must be a higher meaning

    Good detective work.

    Congrats again and again and again and again and again and again

  4. 4 continuo February 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    As they say: if you can remember the eighties, you weren’t really there.
    Thanks for trying, anyway ;D

  5. 5 twinkle February 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I grew up in the 80s with the non-profit organization as an option. My feeling is that still today art must indict – or at the very least play the role of the jester who unmasks the unspeakable lies of the powerful.

  6. 6 continuo February 9, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Unmasking the hideous is a wretched job you assign to artists. Besides, you can’t oppose politicians’ abuses with art, you’ll have to speak their language, like the Yes Men, for instance.

    Now, just so I know: you were 30-years old in 1981 and still “growing up in the 80s”. You’re a kind of biological mistery to me.

  7. 7 Scott February 9, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Thanks!!!! Sounds very interesting.

  8. 8 Black Sifichi February 10, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Hello The Arm 3 link doesn’t seem active? can you help?

    thanks very much

  9. 9 continuo February 10, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Download link works fine. Please ignore the above comment.

  10. 10 twinkle February 11, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Did you stop growing at 29? I said indict (point) – not play the same game in the same language. Did you mean mystery? If so, I hope so. ;-)

  11. 11 continuo February 11, 2010 at 7:24 am

    I started losing my hair at 25.
    I was thinking: uselessness is the task I would assign to artists. Daring to be useless is the most subversive act, in my opinion.

  12. 12 twinkle February 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Hair or no hair I assume you continue to grow. In my opinion courageous acts of art are more subversive. To each their own. But uselessness is not the spirit behind this project. Long live les radicales!!

  13. 13 futility February 27, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    looking for a post of A.A.R.M. #1

  14. 14 MKazaza August 26, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I remember listening to John Gullak’s show ‘no other radio network’ on KPFA Berkley. That was a great show. I still have a lot of those radio shows on cassette. Thanks for the post.

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