Cat Jams


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Cat Jams Label releases appear at Maude Vintage Clothing and Costumes, the Peace Nook, Whizz Records, Ragtag CinemaCafe, Slackers, and Apop Records, and the on-campus University Bookstore in downtown Columbia, Missouri, as well as the Slackers in Jefferson City.

Cat Jams Label releases are in format at Columbia radio stations KCOU 88.1 FM and KOPN 89.5 FM.

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since 11/13/03 

©2003-5 Cat Jams Label / Blanche Braden / Aaron Arnoldy / authors & artists / Channing Kennedy


12/23/2005 new event! and post!
edit 12/29: I updated the schedule.

December 22, 2005
Cat Jams Label

For Immediate Release

Japanese painter Hiroaki Koshiba to visit Columbia, perform series of live collaborations with local musicians

On December 24, 2005, 26-year-old Japanese painter Hiroaki Koshiba will begin a two-week, self-financed visit to Columbia from his home city of Yokohama. This will be Hiro's first time to the United States, and Columbia is the only stop on his trip. Hiro, a Kandinsky-influenced painter who specializes in what he calls 'sound images', is coming to town to perform a series of live collaborations with local psych-folk group Jerusalem and the Star Baskets. Over the course of five shows, Jerusalem and the Star Baskets and their musical guests will provide the sounds, and Hiro will interpret them onto a canvas. The fruits of their labor will be on display at the gallery of Ragtag Cinemacafé for one month. The series of shows is being curated by Columbia experimental CD-R label Cat Jams Label.

Hiro first became involved in the Columbia music scene when he and Cat Jams head Channing Kennedy struck up a friendship on the internet messageboard of Japanese avant-pop musician Cornelius. Both Hiro and Channing are big fans, and Channing and his cat Piccolo, aka MC Cat Genius, were chosen to appear on Cornelius' 2003 listener-remix album PM by Humans. In late 2004, Channing asked Hiro to provide packaging for an album he and his friend Gregg Lewis were creating, Entei & Whitesnake's Christmas Illusion 2, a collection of drone-glitch deconstructions of loosely holiday-themed songs. Hiro ended up painting a new work based on each of the five tracks, and seven months later, Cat Jams Label released the collaboration as the label's first VHS. Released in a limited run of 40, the paintings become a sort of non-dynamic music video, hanging still on the screen for the duration of their track -- the longest of which is over twenty minutes -- followed at the end by Hiro's notes in English and Japanese.

For Christmas Illusion 2's July 28 2005 release, Channing and Gregg chose not to perform the music themselves, instead asking their friends Jerusalem and the Star Baskets -- aka Jeremy Freeze and Kim Sherman -- to reinterpret the entire work live. And the (other) catch? A live two-way video feed connecting Columbia to Tokyo, using Apple's free iChat software. Simultaneous to the band playing at Ragtag near midnight Central Time, Hiro was kicking off a showing of the Christmas Illusion 2 series in Harajuku with an early-afternoon in-gallery live painting session. While Jeremy and Kim piped through a computer setup into a gallery space they might never visit, Hiro loomed large on the Ragtag screen, and the painter and the musicians riffed off of each other like old jam buddies, latency notwithstanding. A brief and entertaining Q&A session followed. So in this sense, Hiro's coming trip will be his second appearance in Columbia.

For the first week of Hiro's trip, he'll be sightseeing and making field recordings of his impressions of Columbia. Then, after the new year, the shows begin. On January 2, 3, 4, and 5, Hiro and J&tSB will be performing at Maude Vintage (the old basement shop at 810 E Broadway, not the new street-level location at 818 E Broadway, though they may switch shops from day to day) from 5:30 to 7:00 PM, i.e. within the shop's regular business hours. The band will invite different Columbia musicians to perform with them each day, to make each show a unique experience. These shows will be mostly acoustic psych-folky jams, but the unexpected is to be expected. These shows are all free, and are obviously no-smoking no-drinking. Guests tapped so far include Rex McMurry, drumming wunderkind of the Pows / Sabertooth / Miami Dragons; multi-instrumentalist folker Terry Rice, of Flowers; and Umbros, Stephen Howard and Erik Moore's instrumental slowcore-with-dope-beats project.

The climactic show will take place at Ragtag on Friday, January 6, at 10:30PM. At this show, the audience will be treated to an opening performance by Hiro of his own original guitar folk songs (and a Beatles cover or two), accompanied by a prerecorded video of his brother and frequent collaborator Takaaki Koshiba. Then, Hiro and J&tSB will begin their last collaboration of the series. Hiro will be accompanied by a very large canvas, and J&tSB, plugged in this time, will be accompanied by Hiro's original collaborators Entei & Whitesnake. E&WS, aka Gregg and Channing, will fill out the evening's soundscape with played-back pieces of Hiro's field recordings from Yokohama and Columbia, recordings of the previous weeks' Maude collaborations, and other apropos found sounds.

The Ragtag show, in addition to kicking off Hiro's gallery showing, will also mark the release of the first Cat Jams work since Christmas Illusion 2. Titled Illusion Christmas Overdrive: Hard and Hot Windy (a name shared with the Ragtag event as a whole), the new item will be a CD-R release, but its exact contents will be even more inscrutable than its title. Of a limited total run of 50, any given CD could be a recording of one of the Maude shows, or of July's collaboration, or of Hiro's field recordings. Best of all, and with many thanks to Apop Records and their CD duplicating tower, some CDs will actually contain the full music session performed at evening at Ragtag, burned and ready just minutes after the show ends. Distribution of the several possible CDs will most likely be entirely random, and the CDs themselves may well bear no external markings belying their contents.

Packaging will also be created live; homemade canvas CD sleeves, made by Jeremy and Kim, will border Hiro's canvas at the show and be randomly struck by stray and intentional paint spatters. At the end of the show, the sleeves will be taken down, stuffed with one of the many possible CDs, and handed out to the audience gratis, as thanks for participating in this one-time event. The CDs will not be for sale anywhere after the show, but all the recorded audio will be posted online for free download at the site.

The Ragtag show is free, but a small donation to support the artists is greatly appreciated. Like all Ragtag events, food and drinks are available at the theater bar, and smoking can be done outside. The Ragtag show, along with all the others, will be videotaped for inclusion in a video presentation to be made by Hiro upon his return to Japan. The video will also air on the public access channel CAT3, possibly live.

Friday night will also be Hiro's last night in the United States; Saturday morning sees him boarding a plane to Yokohama, while the paint still dries on his last canvas.

A special thanks to local filmmaker Aron Cho, for agreeing to document Hiro's trip, and to local painter Joel Sager, for being Hiro's crafts liaison.

Channing Kennedy
Cat Jams Label

photos from July's Christmas Illusion 2 release event
press release and post-show roundup for Christmas Illusion 2
Hiroaki Koshiba
Maude Vintage
Ragtag Cinemacafé

suggested press photo:
sound images 025.jpg
photo credit belongs to Takaaki Koshiba

schedule of events

Monday, January 2, 5:30 - 7:00, @ basement Maude Vintage, free: Hiroaki Koshiba and Jerusalem & the Star Baskets with special intra-jam guests Trypmaker and maybe Giavanna Accurso

Tuesday, January 3, 5:30 - 7:00, @ basement Maude Vintage, free: Hiroaki Koshiba and Jerusalem & the Star Baskets with special intra-jam guests Umbros (Stephen Howard and Erik Moore; slowcore guitar / bass / prerecorded phat beats)

Wednesday, January 4, 5:30 - 7:00, @ basement Maude Vintage, free: Hiroaki Koshiba and Jerusalem & the Star Baskets with special intra-jam guests Flowers

Thursday, January 5, 5:30 - 7:00, @ street level Maude Vintage, free: Hiroaki Koshiba and Jerusalem & the Star Baskets with special intra-jam guests Cave

Friday, January 6, 10:30, @ Ragtag, free (donation appreciated): Illusion Christmas Overdrive: Hard and Hot Windy -- Hiroaki Koshiba and Jerusalem & the Star Baskets with special guests Entei & Whitesnake; opening act Hiroaki Koshiba and prevideo'd Takaaki Koshiba

See you at the shows!

12/01/2005 2 novels 2 furious
Congratulations to my mom for completing National Novel Writing Month two years in a row. Read 'em n weep