Postcards 1981-1986


2012 release. Limited edition of 500. Gen Ken Montgomery, a New York-based visual artist and sound composer, is absolutely genuine; he has no training in traditional music or art. He was never a follower of any direction or school. Instead he founded his own school of off-beat DIY-electronics, driven by irresistible curiosity and ingenuous enthusiasm for sound experimentation and process-oriented performance. His music is dense and full of polyrhythms and counter harmonies with singular control over layers of randomly pulsing, bleeping synthesizers and drum boxes. As a composer in the early '80s Montgomery created multi-channel sound works often performed in total darkness. He began his sound explorations with electronic toys, cheap synthesizers, and household gadgetry, for which he had a special fascination. His ever-present objects of affection are electric machines including an ice crusher ("Icebreaker"), aquarium pump, refrigerator, shoe shine machine, hand massager, and laminator ("Laminator Model 2291"). Postcards contains 41 (!) tracks. Twenty-two tracks on the first LP, compiled from his first tape, Gen Ken & Equipment (1981); his second tape, Collaborations (1982); his third official tape, Kalckreuth Keks (1986), recorded at Conrad Schnitzler's studio; and several live recordings under the name KMZ with Michael Zodorozny of Crash Course in Science. The second LP includes 19 songs from the fourth official tape, Beatmusik (1981-84) released by Sound of Pig, New York; songs from his fifth release, Room to Roam (1984); and three previously unreleased tracks from the same time period, one also as KMZ. Montgomery's activity in international cassette culture networks led to relationships and collaborations with such luminaries of the underground music scene as Conrad Schnitzler, Giancarlo Toniutti, Chop Shop, David Lee Myers (Arcane Device), Al Margolis, John Hudak, Francisco López, AMK, Istvan Kantor (Monty Cantsin), GX Jupitter-Larsen (The Haters), Rod Summers (VEC), Maurizio Bianchi, Masami Akita (Merzbow), CM von Hausswolff, and Leif Elggren, among others. "Cassettes were an inexpensive and practical way of getting feedback from the developing international community of sound/noise/music experimenters. Cassettes allowed for spontaneous freedom and experimentation without the burden and commitment of releasing vinyl which was expensive to mail and costly to press in editions of less than 500" --Montgomery. Montgomery used the earliest Casio keyboards, self-made electronic gadgets, cheap drum boxes, and his favorite instrument, the Korg MS-20 synthesizer. The mixture of noise, pop, rock, electronic, and soundscapes on one cassette show how musical genres hadn't yet become entrenched in the cassette culture scene.